CWCO Presenters

These are the fabulous 2023 presenters

Carolyn Astfalk is the author of contemporary Catholic romances Stay With Me, Come Back to Me, Ornamental Graces, Rightfully Ours, and All in Good Time. She is president of the Catholic Writers Guild, a Catholic Mom contributor and Gospel Reflections editor, and Catholic Teen Books member. Carolyn resides in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the sweetest place on earth.

Anjanette Barr is the author of three full-length works and numerous articles. She is currently employed as Assistant to Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary and has worked in publishing in various roles for the last decade. Anjanette lives in Alaska with her husband, four children, a goldendoodle named Dobby, a cat named Totoro, and six chickens. You can find her on social media, including YouTube as The Book Barrista (two rs).

Amy Brooks is the founder of Catholics and the author of Be Yourself: a Journal for Catholic Girls and Be Yourself: a Journal for Catholic Boys. She has a heart for community and a vision for spreading the faith across the internet through collaboration. Amy leads the Catholics Online community with dedication and enthusiasm. She works daily to promote and support its members, and to help their amazing ministries reach their target audiences more effectively.

Michelle Buckman is the award-winning author of seven novels and a longtime member of CWG. She is an international conference speaker renowned for her dynamic discussions on writing and faith. Although she’s been working for the past decade as a freelance editor specializing in Catholic works, she will soon be releasing some new novels of her own.

Dominic de Souza is an accidental world traveler, who was born in New Zealand, and now lives in the USA. He works full-time in branding and website design for passionate introverts and startups. His hobbies include changing the world through courses and podcasts with SmartCatholics and launching communities to help creators and families meet and thrive.

Claire Dwyer is the author of This Present Paradise published by Sophia Institute Press and works from her home in Phoenix for the Avila Foundation as a copywriter and editor on their primary website,  One of her greatest joys is helping Catholics see their stories come to life; to that end, she is co-founder and content director of, a new resource for those desiring community, creativity, and catholicity.

By day, Karina Fabian freelance writes business articles. After hours, she’s a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all too regularly, a psychic who’s desperate to save his world; a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin, and Catholic religious sisters whose callings have taken them off our world. She enjoys Florida life with her husband, Rob. They have four adult children, two dogs, and a rocket company. This year, she started taking standup comedy classes because she's a glutton for punishment.

Kate Frantz is the owner of Thy Olive Tree and a leader in Catholic self-publishing. She supports authors on their journey to publishing beautiful and innovative books of all genres, especially for the Church. Thy Olive Tree’s “Catholic Self-Publishing Academy” provides authors with courses and resources to support their self-publishing journey. Authors can even apply to sell books in Thy Olive Tree’s Market of independently published books! Learn more at and follow Kate on Instagram:

Jennifer Fitz is the author of The How-To Book of Evangelization from Our Sunday Visitor. She has an MBA in accounting and finance and worked full-time as an accountant before transitioning to writing Catholic non-fiction. Links to her books, blogging, and social media are at

Maria V. Gallagher is a long-time writer and journalist who recently published her first book, Joyful Encounters with Mary: A Woman's Guide to Living the Mysteries of the Rosary, with Marian Press. Gallagher's journalistic work has received awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Cleveland Press Club. Maria currently lives in central Pennsylvania, where she is an active member of the Cursillo Movement.

Allison Gingras works for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Diocese of Fall River as a new media specialist. She is the author of Encountering Signs of Faith (Ave Maria Press). Allison developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series including her volumes—The Gift of Invitation and Seeking Peace (OSV). Podcasts include A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras and co-hosting Catholic Mom's Momcast. Allison is a proud member of the CWCO organizing committee.

Jennifer Gladen is a Catholic children’s author who lives and writes in PA. She is the author of several picture books as well as her middle-grade book. She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Parables Magazine, formerly known as the Catholic children’s e-zine titled My Light Magazine.

Deb Haggerty is Publisher and Editor in Chief of Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., a traditional, royalty-paying Christian publisher that “Publishes the Positive.” A published author, blogger, and professional speaker, she’s been writing stories for over forty-five years. In 2019, she released two books: Experiencing God’s Love in a Broken World—A Spiritual Journey, co-written with her husband, Roy, and These Are the Days of My Life, a memoir with a bonus section of business tips.

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and of and the bestselling author of several books including The Grace of YesThe Catholic Mom’s Prayer CompanionThe Handbook for Catholic MomsI Am God’s Storyteller, I’m a Saint in the Making, and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. Lisa’s children’s project, the “Chime Travelers” fiction series for elementary school readers, is read in schools, children’s groups and churches worldwide. She's also produced multiple programs for Catholic TV and radio. Learn more at

Antony Barone Kolenc (“Tony”) is the author of the teen historical fiction series, "The Harwood Mysteries," which already has won seven book awards. He is also the host of "The Shepherd's Pie," a radio show and podcast, which focuses on issues that impact young people today. He is an author of fiction and non-fiction books and articles and a columnist for "Practical Homeschooling" Magazine. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps after 21 years of military service. He currently teaches at the Ave Maria School of Law, and he speaks at writing, legal, and homeschool events.

Jane Lebak writes books and knits socks. Both are warm. Find her books at

Ann Margaret Lewis began her writing career writing tie-in children’s books and short stories for DC Comics. She then published two editions of Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Alien Species  for DelRey/Random House. Moving from licensed publishing, Ann began writing science fiction/fantasy, historical fiction, and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Her first bookMurder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes was the Independent Book Publisher’s Award Winner for 2010 and a finalist for the Catholic Arts and Letters Award. She followed that with another Sherlock Holmes novel entitled The Watson Chronicles: A Sherlock Holmes Novel in Stories.

Her latest book Nephilim: Corruption is her first novel for Silver Empire and her work has appeared in several anthologies.

Father Christopher J. Mannerino is a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Fiction writing, poetry, and storytelling have been dear to him for as long as he can remember. He was the first student at St. Vincent College to be awarded a minor in Creative Writing. He is currently working on a novel, which he hopes to get published before the Second Coming.

Lisa Mladinich, PCC is a founding member of the Catholic Writers’ Guild, a Gallup-certified CliftonStrengths® Coach, and an ICF-certified Life Coach. She serves on the faculty of the Professional Christian Coaching Institute and leads the private Catholic offering for certified coach training, endorsed by Mike Aquilina. (Find out more A best-selling, award-winning author and media host, Lisa has appeared on EWTN, Relevant Radio, and many other Catholic programs. Contact Lisa at

Rhonda Ortiz is a lay Dominican, award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, and founding editor of Chrism Press. Find her online at

A former missionary and former Montessori teacher, Colleen Pressprich seeks to use the lessons she learned in the mission field and the classroom to live her dream homeschooling and building the domestic church. Colleen lives with her husband and children in Michigan, where they enjoy everything about spring, summer, and fall, and hate the winters. She is the author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children and The Women Doctors of the Church. She writes regularly for Our Sunday Visitor and Unleash the Gospel. You can find more information about upcoming projects on her website

Emily Ricci is the CEO and founder of Gloriam Marketing, a Catholic marketing and creative agency. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Theology, with 10 years of parish work experience and eight in the field of marketing. She brings her unique blend of marketing to Catholic organizations and individuals by combining modern marketing strategies with evangelization techniques utilized by Jesus and the apostles to grow the Early Church.

Heidi Hess Saxton is senior acquisitions editor at Ave Maria Press, a publisher of Catholic adult nonfiction books. She has also written or compiled several books including “The Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers.” She and her husband Craig have two grown children and live in a cabin in the woods of northern Michigan.

Matthew P. Schmidt is the author of several science fiction books, including the City and the Dungeon and the World of Wishes. He is also a licensed tax preparer and will talk your ear off about taxes.

Corinna Turner has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. Although she spends as much time as possible writing, she cannot keep up with the flow of ideas, for which she offers thanks—and occasional grumbles!—to the Holy Spirit. She is the author of over twenty-five books, including the Carnegie Medal Nominated I Am Margaret series, and her work has been translated into four languages. She was awarded the St. Katherine Drexel award in 2022.

She is a Lay Dominican with an MA in English from Oxford University and lives in the UK. She is a member of a number of organizations, including the Society of Authors, Catholic Teen Books, Catholic Reads, the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, and the Sodality of the Blessed Sacrament. She used to have a Giant African Land Snail, Peter, with a 6½” long shell, but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan.

Karen Ullo is the author of two award-winning novels, Jennifer the Damned and Cinder Allia, which is now in development as a motion picture with Believe Entertainment. She holds a MFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California and serves as an editor for Chrism Press. Prior to that, she served for more than three years as managing editor of the Catholic literary journal Dappled Things. You can find her on the web at

Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of four, Nana to five granddaughters. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania. When she’s not writing she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, and helping children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-winning author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her kids, running the WhiteFire Publishing Group with her husband, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. Learn more at

Special Thanks to Our Volunteers


  • Allison Gingras
  • Peggy Bluijus
  • Karina Fabian
  • Joseph Scordato
  • Chris Weigand


  • Deanna Bartalini
  • Victoria Everleigh
  • Sophia Lebano
  • Jason Miller
  • Colleen Pressprich
  • Corinna Turner
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