Home » About

Our Presses

Running Wild Press

We believe that great stories don’t fit neatly in a box. Most stories available today are simply run-of-the-mill, unoriginal, and in the end, boring, which makes you feel tired and unheard. Our stories can’t be contained, neatly categorized, or homogenized; just like you.

RIZE Press

RIZE Press publishes great stories and great writing across genres that are written by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers. At RIZE, we know you want to be entertained with stories that represent you, not some stereotype. You crave spellbinding narratives and innovative prose written by lesser represented authors. The problem is that there’s very little diversity in publishing and minority writers are rarely celebrated, which makes you feel invisible. We believe that your voice should be heard from the treetops.

Our Team

Lisa Diane Kastner, Founder & Executive Editor

Lisa D. Kastner, Founder and Exec. Editor
Lisa Diane Kastner, Founder and Exec. Editor, Running Wild, LLC

Lisa Diane Kastner is the Founder and Executive Editor of Running Wild Press. She’s been a writer and editor for more than twenty years. She has her MFA in Creative Writing with concentrations in Fiction and Nonfiction from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State University, her undergraduate from Drexel University, and is also an alumni of Moorestown Friends Upper School. Lisa began Running Wild with the belief that we can change the world through story.

Likes: Great stories, great writing, writing in-between genres, laughter, joy, a collaborative effort, great food, great drinks, great music, art, travel, dancing from the heart, great friends and family.

Dislikes: Negativity for negativity sake, offering problems without possible solutions, days so hot that she’d turn into a piece of burnt toast within moments of walking into the sunlight, okra.

Chat with Lisa on Clubhouse at @lisadkastner or Instagram at 60shadesofred or Twitter at @LisaDKastner or FaceBook 

Mona Bethke, RIZE Press Acquisitions Editor & Editor

Mona Bethke, Acquisitions EditorMona Bethke is the product of an African American and German alliance. She spent most of the first 21 years of her life in Germany as an Army Brat and traveled extensively all over the world. Mona holds an MAS from Arizona State University with a main course of study in screenwriting and an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from the University of Tampa. She taught Communications courses at the University of Tampa for seven years and English courses at Hillsborough Community College. Mona has self-published eight books of poetry, hosted a poetry open mic in St. Petersburg, Florida for eight years, featured her spoken word at various events, and has taught classes in several genres of writing throughout the community.

Likes:  Reading, warm weather, cats, nature, art, stimulating conversation, thunderstorms, the ocean, bookstores, books, documentaries, mass media/social media studies, typewriters, and anything that has to do with words…

Dislikes: Racism, misogyny, patriarchy, negativity, judgment, and suffering…

 

Chris Major, Acquisitions Editor & Editor, RIZE (On Sabbatical)

Chris Major is the Acquisitions Editor for RIZE. A native of Birmingham, Alabama he received his BA in British Literature from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is currently pursuing his MFA in creative writing as well as his MBA in organizational leadership.

Likes: Music (well, loves), good writing, stand up comedy, sports video games, cold beer, and a good fish fry.

Dislikes: Big Red gum, Crunchy peanut butter, scary movies, heavy metal, and Kevin Bacon films (I wish he never did that Sleepers film)

You can find Chris on FaceBook

Benjamin White, Acquisitions Editor & Editor

Ben WhiteWhen Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Ben White retired from the United States Coast Guard, he defended his doctoral dissertation, letting the Coast Guard keep the “LC” while he kept the “DR.” Then, when Dr. Ben White was earning his third Master’s degree – an MFA from the University of Tampa – he somehow thought he was a poet. But he is not a poet at all. He is a witness. What he writes is testimony.  Ben is the author of The Kill Gene, Buddha Bastinado Blues, a Running Wild Press Novella, The Cuban, and poems that have appeared in So Say We All, The Purple Breakfast Review, Proud To Be, and various online journals.

I like toothpaste before it expires;

philosophical thoughts on windshield flyers;

city skylines marked by ancient spires;

baseball cards pinned to bicycle tires

– and the way tiny fence-post dancers spin their routine…

But I don’t like facts people can’t substantiate;

elevators that take too long to elevate

bumper stickers and the horns they initiate

the magic spells of predestined fate

– and voodoo angels forced to pretend to know what I mean

Peter A. Wright, Acquisitions Editor & Editor

Peter A. Wright enjoys being an editor at Running Wild Press. A published author of both fiction and creative nonfiction, Peter has a novella forthcoming later this year. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a graduate from the University of Chicago’s Graham School. Staying true to the author’s voice while providing honest feedback and creative suggestions is tantamount to a successful editing process.

Likes: Motorcycle touring, writing, stories that do more than just tell a story, traveling, Broadway, books, & grilling

Dislikes: Drivers who don’t pay attention to the road, celebrated ignorance

Resa Alboher, Editor

Resa AlboherResa Alboher, after living for many years in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, has come full circle and is living in Los Angeles, The City of Angels, her city of birth. She misses real winter and deep snow but loves the jacarandas and the warmth of the desert and ocean breezes. She is a founding editor of the International literary journal St. Petersburg Review, on the board of Springhouse Journal, coaches and consults on writing independently, and with both WriteByNight and LA Writers Group, and was lucky enough to have been a lecturer for nearly a decade for the famed Summer Literary Seminars, St. Petersburg. She holds an MFA from the University of Tampa and has studied poetry at the Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire.

Likes: Jacarandas, coffee, books, bookstores, mourning doves, all dogs, most cats, long walks in deep snow, all the names for the full moons such as Strawberry Moon, Wolf Moon, Sturgeon Moon etc., Russian/Armenian tea with thyme, Georgian khachapuri, halva, tacos, Thai Food, the Neva River and the Pacific Ocean, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, kindness, compassion, peace, gentle humor and deep conversations that go all night long….

Dislikes: War, racism, suffering, cruelty, violence, poverty, despair, death, and most reality TV…

Alexis August, Production Manager, RIZE

Alexis August is the production manager for RIZE. Alexis is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California where she earned both her bachelor’s in English creative writing and master’s in literary editing and publishing in four years. Alexis has been writing since she was a little girl and decided to major in English despite her parents’ fear she would never find a job. Her work has been featured in Blavity, Yes Poetry, Talking Lit, Chatter, Scribe, and Talking Out Loud.

Likes: Good books, good food, good company

Dislikes: Those frosted sugar cookies everyone loves

Lexi Danielson, Publicity and Social Media Manager

Lexi Danielson is a creative who believes in story being at the center of every piece. Her journey began as a book-savvy child obsessed with recreating those alternate realities. After a trip to a local car show with her father and a camera, she realized that these written stories could be recreated through images, and a newfound love of film was born. She is currently completing her B.S. in Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College and is ecstatic to have the opportunity to return to her roots.

Likes: Spontaneous journeys, the dusky possibility of sunset, the many personalities of Snoopy, her small dog who acts like a cat, driving with the top down, and overly descriptive sentences that continue for far too long

Dislikes: Normalcy, an unwillingness to grow or mentor, and letting a good cardboard box go to waste

Andrew DiPrinzio, Editor

Andrew DiPrinzio is a literature teacher specializing in educating students with dyslexia. His work has been featured in Philadelphia Stories, Typehouse Magazine, and Inwood Indiana. He currently lives in Philadelphia.

Rebecca Dimyan, Editor

Rebecca Dimyan is an award-winning writer whose nonfiction essays and short fiction have appeared in national and international print and online publications. She teaches writing and literature at several universities in Connecticut. An experienced editor who specializes in long & short fiction projects, creative nonfiction, health and wellness writing, and cultural narratives, Rebecca is excited to join the team of talented editors and impressive authors at Running Wild Press.

Likes: Drinking hot tea all year round, driving with the windows down and radio on, and writing that inspires, provokes, and surprises

Dislikes: Traffic, folding laundry, hiccups, and run-on sentences

Abigail Efird, Editor

Abigail Efird is an editor and writer. She has studied opera at the Jacobs School of Music and earned a second bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in neuroscience and psychological studies. Currently, she is a literary agent intern for the Seymour Agency and works with authors to provide a platform for their work. Her goal is to champion diverse voices and read a few good books along the way. In her free time, she writes for television and has a weekly podcast called Bloom & Huie.

Instagram: @abigail.bloom_

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/abigail-efird1016

Henry L. Herz, Editor

Henry L. Herz
Henry Herz earned degrees from Cornell, Georgetown, and George Washington University. He is the traditionally published author of 11 children’s books and eight children’s short stories. Henry’s adult fantasy, sci-fi, and horror short stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction and numerous anthologies. He edited the anthologies BEYOND THE PALE (adult dark fantasy), COMING OF AGE (middle grade, Albert Whitman & Co.) and THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE (YA horror, Blackstone Publishing).

Likes: author panels at San Diego Comic-Con and other events, animals (especially dogs), trees (especially birch), astronomy, succulents, humor, word play, worldbuilding, kindness, lox, gherkins, and Boston Creme pie (but not together)

Dislikes: Lima beans, hatred and intolerance, licorice, putting politics ahead of democracy, nonpareils, argument not based on facts, incompetence, and homeowners associations

Website: https://www.henryherz.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henry.herz/

Twitter: @HenryLHerz

Laura Huie, Editor

Laura Huie is an editor and writer who specializes in amplifying diverse and underrepresented storytellers for RIZE. She has studied at Belmont University, earning her undergraduate degree in Publishing with an editorial concentration. Laura is also the Co-Managing Editor for Belmont Story Review, a national magazine of arts, faith, and culture. She is currently a literary agent intern with The Seymour Agency and Teachable, working in both marketing and editorial. In her free time, Laura is a fiction writer and screenwriter who also has a weekly podcast called Bloom & Huie.

Instagram: @laura_huie_

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/laura-huie1208

Cecilia Kennedy, Editor

Cecilia Kennedy is an editor for Running Wild Press. She earned a PhD in Spanish literature at The Ohio State University and taught English composition/literature and Spanish language/literature in Ohio for 20 years before moving to Washington state with her family, which includes a very demanding cat.  Currently, she also trains online writing tutors part-time for an education publishing company. Since 2017, she has published her stories in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and England. Her work has appeared in Maudlin House, Coffin Bell, Idle Ink, Open Minds Quarterly, Headway Quarterly, Flash Fiction Magazine, and others. The Places We Haunt (2020)is her first short story collection. Additionally, she thoroughly enjoys being a volunteer adult beverages columnist for The Daily Drunk and an editor and proofreader for Flash Fiction Magazine.

Likes: Running in virtual 5Ks (and collecting the participation medals), writing, cooking, dark tales, funny stories, sea stars, music of all kinds (especially live), and seeing theatrical performances or comedy on stage.

Dislikes: Traffic, snow, sore feet, comma splices (unless there’s a super good reason to use them).

Twitter: @ckennedyhola

Barbara Lockwood, Editor

After leaving a satisfying career in medicine, Barbara Lockwood embraced her love of the well-written narrative and joined Running Wild Press to help their amazing authors birth their books and send them out into the world. She lives with her husband, cat, and bunny in a reconstructed church in the boondocks.

Likes: Brilliant writing, new ideas, different perspectives, communing with nature, creating art, sharing expertise, but most of all learning, learning, learning, and bunnies and kitties.

Dislikes: People whose minds are so closed that no new ideas can squeeze in and people whose minds are so open their brains have fallen out. Bad grammar except when purposefully used in creative ways, which is rare!

Rob McCabe, Editor

Rob McCabeMr. McCabe is a voracious reader of fiction, poetry, screenplays, and plays. In 2016, he received his MFA in Creative Writing from the low-residency program at the University of Tampa, in Tampa, Florida. In 2021, he was appointed Poet Laureate of the City of Gulfport, in Gulfport, Florida. That same year, he released two poetry collections: the second edition of “Junky” (originally published in 2018) and “A Letter to Frank & Other Poems” which were published by Musehicks Publications. His poems have appeared in RFD Magazine, Patchouli Press. His fiction has appeared in Running Wild Press, QPB Press and in a collection published by Wordier Than Thou. He has performed at several open mics in the Tampa Bay area.

Love: I love reading horror, fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and poetry; watching romantic comedies, horror, fantasy, and science fiction in film and television. I love all kinds of animals, walking on the beach, and generally maintaining a peaceful inner self.

Don’t Tolerate: I don’t tolerate racism, homophobia, and right-wing propaganda.

Lisa Montagne, Director of Education

As the Director of Education for Running Wild Press, Dr. Lisa Montagne is the administrator of the learning management system, oversees curriculum development, and trains and guides instructors. Dr. Montagne brings many years of experience in the arts and in education to this position. She is a visual and performance artist, a writer, a college English professor, and former director of educational technology and online learning at Fullerton College in Orange County, California. She is active in distance education leadership at the local and state levels, and she keeps up-to-date with current federal and California state standards for distance education for accredited higher education institutions. She has 20 years of experience teaching college English, and 17 years of experience teaching writing classes in an online environment. She has taught composition and literature at University of California Irvine, Irvine Valley College, and Long Beach City College. She has B.A. in English with a drama minor, an M.A. in English literature, and a doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in online learning. She was a Carnegie Foundation Research Fellow, and she is an alumna of the Yale Writer’s Workshop. Her creative non-fiction and personal narrative essays have been published by Running Wild Press and Boomer Reviews. Her blog “Talking Out of My Pie Hole” is at lisamontagne.com. She has performed her poetry all over Los Angeles for Linda Kaye Presents, at the Beyond Baroque literary center, and for Lummis Day 2016.

Kelly Powers, Reader

Kelly PowersKelly is a reader, writer, and lover of the printed word. She has devoted her life to promoting literacy through her work as a school librarian and her support of educational groups. She belongs to multiple writing groups, attends writing conferences, and volunteers her time to helping fledgling writers get their work seen. She is excited to be working with both Running Wild Press and RIZE and looks forward to helping authors from every walk of life.

Likes: Animals, water sports, reading, video games, writing, reading, her family, reading, amusement parks, cooking/baking, music, oh, and reading. 🙂

Dislikes: Abuse. Be it animal or human. Loot crates, scorpions, parasites (both human and insect), and working in customer service.

Cody Sisco, Editor

Cody Sisco is an author, editor, publisher, and literary community organizer. As an author, his speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A. Writers, an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.

Likes: Surprises in fiction. Organizing literary events. The fruits of unbridled imagination. Helping authors realize their full potential.

Dislikes: Surprises in real life. Contextless assertions. Preventable disasters. Flying termite season.

on Twitter: @codysisco

Nicole Tiskus, Production Manager

Nicole Tiskus is a Production Manager for Running Wild Press. She is an upcoming graduate of Temple University where she studies a dual major in Criminal Justice and Advertising with an Art Direction Concentration. Nicole has had a wide range of professional roles including social media manager for real estate, design director and graphic designer for What If Innovation Festival, and Assets Protection Executive for a very popular retail chain.

Likes: Running, great stories, art, photography, crime podcasts, and classic rock.

Dislikes: Anything that is pickled…including pickles!

Chih Wang

Chih Wang graduated in 2018 from the University of California, Riverside in Palm Desert with a Masters Degree of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She also holds a certificate in Copyediting from the University of California, San Diego Extension. She served as fiction editor and copyeditor at The Coachella Review. In addition to helping writers at Running Wild Press, she runs her own copyediting business, CYW Editing, specializing in fiction.

Likes: Waterfall hikes, aerial silks and hammock, pole fitness, grocery store cupcakes, and watermelonDislikes: Silk burns, grating cheese, and latex balloons

Our Impact

Memberships

We maintain memberships in the industry associations depicted below to benefit our authors and to push for diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the publishing industry.

Independent Book Publishers Association

Partnerships

We are partnering with The Seymour Agency to license authors intellectual property for audiobook, merchandizing, television, and film projects.

Starting in 2022, our partner in book distribution will be Small Press United, a subsidiary of IPG.