Debutante Crystal King
Crystal King grew up in the Pacific Northwest but now calls Boston home. As a marketing and social media professional, she has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. Crystal’s passion for ancient history and the world of food and wine has fueled both her writing and her love of the country of Italy. She has been learning the Italian language for the better part of the last decade. She loves to recreate historical dishes with her husband who loves to cook. Their kitties, Nero and Merlin, supply them with enough white fur to make winter coats each year. Kidding on that last fact, but technically, it could be true.
Her debut novel: FEAST OF SORROW: A NOVEL OF ANCIENT ROME (Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster, April 25, 2017)
Set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family, Crystal King’s seminal debut features the man who inspired the world’s oldest cookbook and the ambition that led to his destruction.
On a blistering day in the twenty-sixth year of Augustus Caesar’s reign, a young chef, Thrasius, is acquired for the exorbitant price of twenty thousand denarii. His purchaser is the infamous gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius, wealthy beyond measure, obsessed with a taste for fine meals from exotic places, and a singular ambition: to serve as culinary advisor to Caesar, an honor that will cement his legacy as Rome’s leading epicure.
Apicius rightfully believes that Thrasius is the key to his culinary success, and with Thrasius’s help he soon becomes known for his lavish parties and fantastic meals. Thrasius finds a family in Apicius’s household, his daughter Apicata, his wife Aelia, and her handmaiden, Passia whom Thrasius quickly falls in love with. But as Apicius draws closer to his ultimate goal, his reckless disregard for any who might get in his way takes a dangerous turn that threatens his young family and places his entire household at the mercy of the most powerful forces in Rome.
Debutante Amy Poeppel
Amy Poeppel grew up in Dallas, Texas and left the south to attend Wellesley College. Since then, she has worked as an actor, a high school English teacher, and most recently as the Assistant Director of Admissions at a school in New York City. Her three fabulous boys are all off in Boston attending school, and she and her husband now split their time between New York and Frankfurt, Germany. A theatrical version of SMALL ADMISSIONS was workshopped at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. She later expanded it into her first novel.
Her debut novel: SMALL ADMISSIONS (Emily Bestler Books/Simon & Schuster, December 27, 2016)
Kate Pearson, would-be anthropologist, has been unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancé.” She abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City. Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season. As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer. She starts to wonder if one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, as suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.
Debutante Lynn K. Hall
Lynn Hall is a memoirist, public speaker, activist in the movement to end sexual violence, ultra-runner, and crazy cat lady. Her memoir, Caged Eyes: An Air Force Cadet’s Story of Rape and Resilience, is forthcoming from Beacon Press in February 2017. Her writing has previously appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, The Sexual Assault Report, The Manifest-Station, the LA Times, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and elsewhere. In the summers, Lynn copes with pre-publication anxiety by spending too many days in the Colorado mountains, and in the winters, with pans of brownies. She lives in Boulder with her partner and their 23 cats. Just kidding…she only has five.
Her Debut Novel: CAGED EYES: AN AIR CADET’S STORY OF RAPE AND RESILIENCE (Beacon Press, February 7, 2017)
In one of the worst scandals ever faced by the military, in 2003, six women went public with their accounts of sexual assault and harassment at the Air Force Academy. The relentless media attention and congressional inquiry instigated a crisis at the Academy, one pitting rape survivors against the classmates who blamed them for trying to destroy the institution. Lynn Hall was one of those survivors desperate to realize her childhood dream of being an astronaut. For Hall, the military offered an escape from her chaotic home—her erratic mother, absent biological father, and a man she called “dad” who sexually abused her. She’s dismissed from the Academy when, after being raped by a classmate and contracting herpes, she is diagnosed with meningitis and left with chronic pain. A story of grappling with shame and a culture that blames victims, Caged Eyes is also a moving account of Hall’s struggle to advocate for herself and recognize her own strength.
Debutante Jenni L. Walsh
Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia’s countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni’s passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet.
BECOMING BONNIE is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s.
Her Debut Novel: BECOMING BONNIE (Tor Forge/Macmillan, May 9, 2017)
The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family’s poverty: finish school, become a teacher, provide for herself . . . and maybe someday marry her longtime boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in the unlikeliest of places: Dallas’s newest speakeasy, Doc’s.
In the fast life of bootleg liquor, glitzy dresses and jazz music, Bonnelyn discovers unexpected freedom, and the pay is not bad either. Living the life of a moll at night, she remains a good, wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnelyn tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn’t know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.
She’s about to meet a convicted felon by the name of Clyde Barrow.
Few details are known about Bonnie’s life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In this richly imagined and empathetic novel, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American Dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.
Debutante Tiffany D. Jackson
Tiffany D. Jackson is a TV professional by day, novelist by night, awkward black girl 24/7. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film from Howard University and her Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School University. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves with her adorable chihuahua Oscar, most likely multitasking.
Her Debut Novel: ALLEGEDLY (Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins, January 24th, 2017)
Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.
Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?