About Jenni

I like royalty, tiaras, missing treasure, sleep, avocados, dogs, movie soundtrack music, chandeliers, whiskey, figure skating, bacon, and the color pink. I do not like ham, rum, sports, fruit, working out, politics, superhero flicks, kids, sci-fi, and most things normal people like and do on a regular basis. Sorry.

About Me

Author Jenni Wiltz

I’m Jenni, and I write fiction, creative non-fiction, and the occasional piece of literary criticism. I was born in Salinas, California (also the birthplace of John Steinbeck). Maybe there’s something in the water there?

My novels include The Red RoadThe Romanov Legacy, A Vampire in Versailles, I Never Arkansas It Coming, and The Cherbourg Jewels, which won a 2011 Daphne du Maurier Award (still psyched about this one).

When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading, jogging, doing genealogical research, or sewing. I’m a bad cook and a worse baker. I always burn things, even brownies. Someday I want to have a garden even though I’ve killed every plant I’ve ever had. This includes ferns and other plants specifically labeled “hard to kill” by your local florist.

I earned bachelor’s degrees in English and History from the University of California at Davis, and an MA in English/Creative Writing from California State University, Sacramento, where I won three Bazzanella Literary Awards in fiction and critical analysis.

I’ve worked as a senior editor, advertising copywriter, and USAID grant program coordinator. And they said it would be impossible to find work as an English major. As an editor, I helped write and revise web copy for clients on any number of topics. You haven’t lived until you’ve been on deadline to write 10 expert-level pages on oscilloscopes or diamond saw blades in, oh, an hour. There’s also nothing like the stress of proofreading a catalog that will go out to a 10-million-name mailing list. No pressure.

My short stories have appeared in Gargoyle, the Portland Review, The Copperfield Review, the Sacramento News & ReviewStrange Summer Mysteries, Tales from the Dark Forest, The Darkness Within, and other publications.

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Publications & Awards



  • “Swampland,” short fiction, third prize, Keats Soul Making Writing Contest
  • “Speak No Evil,” flash fiction, published in The Kentucky Review
  • “Porphyria’s Lover,” short fiction, Commended Finalist in Plymouth Writers’ Group annual writing contest




  • “Blood of Lilies, Blood of Lambs,” selected for publication in The Darkness Within, an anthology to be published by Indigo Mosaic
  • “Integers and Atoms,” selected for publication in next summer’s issue of Gargoyle
  • “Clothes Make the Man,” published in Summer Mysteries: A Day at the Beach, an anthology of summer-themed mystery stories published by Whortleberry Press
  • “Integers and Atoms,” second place prize, Sacramento State University’s Bazzanella Literary awards, short fiction
  • “‘Me and Bonaparte Are Chums’: Postcolonial Hybridity in Frank o’Connor’s ‘Guests of the Nation'”, second place prize, Sacramento State University’s Bazzanella Literary Awards, critical analysis


  • “Croatoa,” published in A Rustle of Dark Leaves, an anthology of stories about mysterious happenings in dark forests, to be published by Misanthrope Press
  • First place, unpublished division: RWA Kiss of Death Chapter’s Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Category Romantic Suspense for my novel, The Cherbourg Jewels (Yowza, this one’s a biggie, folks)
  • “And the Devil Said, Wait” selected for publication in Hellology, an anthology of stories about the devil, to be published by Library of the Living Dead Press
  • “Swampland” published in The Copperfield Review, an online literary journal dedicated to historical fiction
  • “A Different Light: Darkness, Danielstown, and Destiny in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September, second place prize, Sacramento State University’s Bazzanella Literary Awards, critical analysis
  • “Giving Bloat the Boot: My Low-Sodium Diet Makeover,” first place, Demand Media Studios’ Writers’ Choice Prize for Non-Fiction




  • “Last Train from Galway,” Honorable Mention in the Diana Lynn Bogart writing contest at UC Davis

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