Luanne Smith, Host and Mad Queen

Luanne Smith is a fiction writer, an editor and a retired creative writing and film professor. She taught at West Chester University outside Philly. She knows how to say “yo” and “youse” but seems to only talk that way when a taxi driver in Philly nearly runs over her. A native of Paducah, KY, y’all, and a graduate of The University of Kentucky–you better believe she knows her college basketball and fried catfish. She’s in Florida now. Don’t ask how that happened, but she’s doing fine there. Bought herself a speedy little fat tire scooter instead of the expected golf cart. Found a tattoo artist she likes. She’s somehow still a little bit hippie, a little bit punk, a little bit city and a little bit hick and swears she may not be street smart, but she’s trailer park smart. She’s got a few things in mind for this interview series and Mad Writers’ website to keep it kicking. Y’all come on in and sit a spell. Might want to hang on to your armrest for this ride, though.

Learn more about Luanne at her website.

Lisa Lanser Rose, Co-Host and Kennel Master

Lisa Lanser Rose was a writing professor; now she’s a dog trainer, which turns out wasn’t much of a pivot. An award-winning essayist and fiction writer, she’s the author of the novel Body Sharers and the memoir For the Love of a Dog. Lisa grew up in West Africa, Indonesia, and New Jersey. That means she knows voodoo, shadow puppetry, and a few good men in waste management. Thankfully, she lived in Pennsylvania long enough to learn how to chop firewood and pump her own gas. How she ended up in Florida is a long story, so let’s just say if you fall in love with a frog, you end up in a swamp. Lisa has directed writing centers, co-directed the Florida Literary Arts Coalition “Other Words” conference, and hosted the podast This Animal Life. Thanks to the podcast, she interviewed authors who wrote books about intelligent creatures. She discovered that, next to dogs, writers are her favorite animals. She and her border collies Mick and Maisie do the moonwalk at festivals, hospitals, and nursing homes throughout the Tampa Bay Area.

If you want to know more about Lisa, check out her website.

Kim P. Davis,  Director of Madville Publishing and Mad Pirate

Kim doesn’t go about things the normal way. She majored in classical guitar and sang with a jazz choir. After working as a sound engineer in Chicago, she landed on a Caribbean island and reinvented herself, repairing sails and upholstery and making uniforms for hotel staff. She spent 15 years working as a chef aboard yachts because she didn’t like wearing pantyhose or mascara.

Her sailing career ended when she had kids. You can’t stash them in the chain locker on the rich guy’s yacht while you’re working, so she and her English husband settled in Spain to raise their family. When her stepfather suddenly died and left her mother running the family business, Kim and her family moved back to Texas.

She wrote and self-published The Yachtie Bible in 2004. Then her husband’s aunt hand carried it to Adlard Coles, and they picked it up. The revised edition, Crewing Aboard a Superyacht, came out in 2007.

Right after 9/11, Kim quit her job and hung a shingle as a web designer and taught herself to publish all sorts of things for herself and others online. Along the way, she got an MFA in creative writing, editing, and publishing, taught freshman Composition and Technical Writing as an adjunct, ran a university press for a couple of years, and in 2018 Madville Publishing was born. Madville has rapidly grown, now boasting an extensive catalogue of world-class writers. 

Visit her website for more!

Delaney “Lain” Rose, Madmin

Lain has been a lot of things: a writer of the creative and technical variety, an instructional designer, an academic librarian specializing in forensic science and criminal justice, a caretaker for raptors, and an artist who makes weird things out of Furbies, and now, she does a little bit of everything for Madville and Mad About Writing.

The product of two authors, including Mad About Writing Director Lisa Lanser Rose, Lain was destined to write. She grew up on Penn State University campus, meeting people from all over the world, attending protests with her parents from her BabyBjörn and developing a strong social conscience and a deep affection for the underdog.

Haunted by stories of local murders and living on a campus allegedly teeming with ghosts, her childhood desire to understand what scares us and why we find joy in it is integrally tied to her writing.

She has written poetry, short stories, and has been trying to finish her first novel for the last 5 years…maybe she’ll do it some day.

You can find out more about her and her writing on her website.

Gigi Marino, Marketing Director and Good Witch

Poet, writer, editor, copyeditor and science writer Gigi commands a broad scope of subject matter, from microbes to multiverses and an even broader imagination.

Director of public relations and marketing for Madville Publishing, she’s also taught creative writing, magazine writing, and editing. She helped take The Penn Stater through an award-winning redesign in 1995. As Director of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida, she won CASE awards for redesign of their college magazine. As editor, she also spearheaded a major redesign of Bucknell University’s alumni publication from a 2-color tabloid to a 4-color magazine.

Winner of numerous awards, she’s written over 1,000 articles and is finishing her first book of poetry. Her science writing has appeared in Science News, MIT’s Technology Review, Research/Penn State, Rutgers Magazine, Penn Arts & Sciences Magazine, Purdue Magazine, Denison Magazine, and others. She served as Poet-in-Residence at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Harrisburg, and her poetry has been recognized by the New Letters Literary Award and Associated Writing Programs Intro Award, and her work has appeared in Graham House Review, South Florida Review, and The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women, among others.

Get spellbound at Gigi’s website.

Cherise Pollard, Talent Scout and Mad Mystic

Cherise is a poet and an Associate Professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches African American Literature and Creative Writing and directs the WCU Poetry Center.

She comes from a long line of poets on her father’s side. Her 2016 poetry collection, “Outsiders,” was the winner of the 2015 Susan K. Collins /Mississippi Valley Chapbook Contest. She was a 1997-99 Cave Canem Fellow, and received a 2006 Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant and the 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute in Contemporary African American Literature.

She’s also a psychic and medium specializing in Akashic Records. “Akashic” is Sanskrit for a kind of life force or record of all human thought and action, past and future. She channels messages from your mentors and loved ones inhabiting this plane in order to guide your spiritual path and lead you to your highest good.

“Poetry unites,” she wrote. It “can help people understand what they’ve just been through. People articulate their lives through poetry . . . Post-COVID, when our communities come back together, I think language is going to be the way we start to build ourselves back up, to see who we are.”

Her poetry credits include Connotations Press, African American Review, Cave Canem Anthologies, and 5AM Magazine.