Tables of Content

Tables of Content events

Tables of Content

Top 10 Haute Young Authors

Tables of Content begins with a cocktail reception featuring the Top 10 Haute Young Authors. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and all of the authors will be signing books.

Ashlen Brown

The Secret of Hoke Farm

Ever wonder what's hiding in the woods?  Ashlen Brown has.  She is the author of the exciting Charlie series.  Her childhood was spent in the deep woods of Southeast Texas, where she was able to let her imagination run as wild as the woods surrounding her.  After a strange and exciting encounter her mom and sister had with a hairy being, she developed the idea for The Secret of Blackjack Woods, her debut novel. 

Its popularity among people of all ages inspired her to continue the story with The Secret of Hoke Farm and Beyond Blackjack Woods.  Ashlen holds a master's degree in forensic science and biomedical sciences, but writing is what keeps her up late into the night.  When not writing, she loves running and training people of all types for her fitness business.


Chris Cander

The Weight of a Piano

Chris Cander is the award-winning author of the novels WHISPER HOLLOW, 11 STORIES, and the children's picture book THE WORD BURGLAR. Her latest is THE WEIGHT OF A PIANO, released by Knopf in January 2019, which has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal. For seven years she has been a writer-in-residence for Writers in the Schools, serves on the Inprint advisory board, and stewards several Little Free Libraries in her community. A former competitive bodybuilder, Chris currently holds a 3rd dan in taekwondo and is a certified women’s defensive tactics instructor.

Jennifer duBois

The Spectators

Jennifer duBois is the author of Cartwheel,  A Partial History of Lost Causes, and her latest book, The Spectators.  The National Book Foundation named her one of its 5 Under 35 authors. Her second novel, Cartwheel, was the winner of the Housatonic Book Award for fiction and was a finalist for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award. An alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University’s Stegner Fellowship, duBois is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Lapham’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, Salon, Cosmopolitan, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. A native of western Massachusetts, duBois teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University.

Sean Easley

The Hotel Between

Sean Easley started writing in third grade because he was looking for adventure. He’s worked with kids and teens for well over a decade, listening to their stories, and somehow ended up with a Masters degree in education along the way. Now he’s a full-time writer living with his wife and son in Texas, where he stubbornly refuses to wear cowboy boots. Visit him at and on Twitter and Instagram @AuthorEasley.

Mark Falkin '93

The Late Bloomer

Mark Falkin is the author of the novels The Late BloomerContract City, and Days of Grace. Born and raised in Tulsa, Mark graduated from Southern Methodist University then the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Working on his next novel, The Pubs of Great Britain, he lives with his wife and daughters in Austin where he is a literary agent and recovering music attorney, having represented platinum sellers and Grammy winners alike. He used to vocalize in a band that rocked and rolled. Visit Mark Falkin’s Ongoing Concern at

Tessa Hoskin '09

Alpha Females Unleashed: From the Boardroom to the Bedroom

From program management to business development to health care, Contessa “Tessa” Hoskin mentors startup founders in a wide variety of fields. While Hoskin garners experience across a multitude of fields to motivate budding entrepreneurs, her own mentors—in turn—inspire her. So much so, she turned it all into a recently published book. She published Alpha Females Unleashed: From the Boardroom to the Bedroom, under the pen name C.C. Lyons. The book is a candid examination of qualities in women she admires and considers mentors. She is a member of the Cox Alumni Board and received the Black Alumni History maker Award in 2017.

Blake Kimzey

Families Among Us

Blake Kimzey founded and directs Writing Workshops Dallas and was named one of D Magazine's Artists to Learn From. His fiction has been broadcast on NPR, performed on stage in Los Angeles, and published by Tin House, McSweeney’s, VICE, Short Fiction, The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, and selected by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions. Blake’s collection of short tales, Families Among Us, was an Indie Bestseller. He has been awarded fellowships to attend the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Vermont Studio Center. Blake just finished his first novel, a literary thriller set in the Midwest.

Kimberly Packard

The Vortex

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of edgy women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs.


When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book.  She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a yellow lab named Charlie. 


Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. She is also the author of a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass. Her latest novel, Vortex, was released in early 2019.

Melanie Sumrow '95

The Prophet Calls

Melanie Sumrow graduated from SMU with a degree in Religious Studies. This background served as the starting point for her debut novel, The Prophet Calls. Before becoming an author of books for young readers, Melanie worked as a lawyer for more than 16 years, with many of her cases involving children and teens. Her second book, The Inside Battle, is set to publish November 5, 2019. Melanie lives in Dallas with her husband, daughter and one very spoiled dog. To learn more about Melanie, please visit

Ashley Tull

Count on SMU

Dr. Ashley Tull serves as a Clinical Associate Professor and as Program Director for the Ed.D. in Higher Education Program. Most recently he served as the Director of Assessment and Strategic Initiatives for the Division of Student Affairs at Southern Methodist University. He has held previous administration and teaching roles at Tarleton State University, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, and Florida State University. Tull earned a bachelor of science with honors in social and rehabilitation services and a master of education in college student personnel services from the University of Southern Mississippi. He received a graduate certificate in human resource development and a doctorate of education in higher education administration from Florida State University, where he was a Hardee Scholar. As a practitioner, his research interests centered on management concepts and supervision in student affairs and higher education and the role of the senior student affairs officer. As a faculty member, his research interests are centered on fraternal values and the history of college fraternities. In 2017 he received the SMU Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award.