Our people make the difference.

Mascot’s staff is experienced in the various disciplines that converge in the world of publishing. From industry strategists, to marketing gurus, to creative types, to grammar nerds, to bean counters, we have the right people in the right positions to help authors navigate the nuances of the publishing marketplace.

We Love Books

While Team Mascot is composed of individuals offering unique backgrounds and skill sets, there’s attributes that we all share: We’re passionate about books. It’s this appreciation for the written word that provides important context and perspective to our work and enables us to offer knowledgeable direction to our family of authors.

Get to know Team Mascot


Naren Aryal

CEO, Author, Publisher

Twitter: @mascotnaren

Taking a good book idea and turning it into a successful publishing project is just what Naren did in 2003. Today, he leads a team of professionals who provide authors a platform and the know-how to do the same. As an author, Naren appreciates the challenges and opportunities facing writers. As a publisher, he’s well versed in the market factors that determine a project’s ultimate level of success.

Naren is knowledgeable in the areas of writing and editorial, book production, book marketing, book distribution, and he’s passionate about staying apprised on industry technology and trends. Over the years, he’s established relationships with distributors, wholesalers, and buyers at the largest online and brick-and-mortar outlets in the book business. As an educator, Naren enjoys speaking and blogging about the world of publishing.

Naren’s current writing project is How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 SECRETS of Building a Killer Author Platform.

Naren has a B.S. in Finance from Virginia Tech and earned his J.D. from the University of Denver. He practiced law for seven years before publishing his first book and establishing Mascot. He’s never looked back.


Maria Waksmunski

Manager, Marketing, Author Services and Acquisitions

When it comes to books, Maria is both a student and a teacher. First, she educates herself about each author’s work and takes great pride in understanding each project’s opportunities and challenges. When she has a firm handle on an author’s content, she educates writers on the various publishing paths available (at Mascot and elsewhere) and what they can expect at key points in the publishing process.

As if that wasn’t enough, Maria renders project workflow when production is complete and it’s time to initiate a marketing push to help get our authors’ book in front of readers.

Maria’s at her best when chaos reigns supreme and hence is currently balancing two of her own writing projects—a collection of poetry that explores the cause and effect of lucid dreaming called When Here We Come, and her first novel, written using her own version of the cut-up technique popularized by beat writer William S. Burroughs, titled Burning with a Blue Flame.

Maria graduated with a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and though she’s not a football fan, she still visits campus a few times a year, always stopping in at Webster’s, one of her favorite independent bookstores, to browse titles or pick up a new vinyl.


Ben Simpson

Author Services and Acquisitions

Ben enjoys helping aspiring authors achieve their dream of publishing their books and enjoys working with so many different projects and genres. He received his B.A. in Communications with a Concentration in Media Production & Criticism from George Mason University. He greatly enjoys film, television, and books, especially ones that make him chuckle. He is excited to join the Mascot team and show off his ping pong skills in the office!


Ryan Doyle

Acquisitions Editor

Ryan’s interests span a wide gamut; he is well versed in all things sports (particularly football, hockey, and lacrosse), finance, politics, and he is a fierce consumer/dissector of current events.

As a Washington, D.C. resident, he is an ardent participant in local events, playing Saturday morning street hockey on Pennsylvania Avenue (directly in front of #1600!), and attending local political seminars and events.

An avid reader, Ryan is passionate about stories…fiction, non fiction, memoirs and posseses an uncanny ability to transform an idea into a book that sells!

He received a B.S. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from Clemson University (Go, Tigers!).

When he isn’t working or playing hockey, you will find him hiking Rock Creek Parkway with his dog, Natty, and spending time with friends and family.


Jessica Holloway

Author Services and Marketing Representative

Jessica is the newest member to the Mascot Books team! Jessica works with the Marketing team to help authors promote and market their books. She is an enthusiastic book-dragon who loves to find the strengths in every book and finding new media outlets where they could succeed. Working at a publishing company is a dream come true for her, and she loves to help others see their dreams come true in the form of their published books.

Jessica is a recent graduate of George Mason University with a BFA in Theater, and a minor in English: Creative Writing. Her current writing project is titled The Book of Trinity, which explores modern Paganism, the mythology of the Goddess Lilith, and Angel of Death sightings.

When she isn’t surrounded by the organized chaos of books and emails, Jessica enjoys fussing over her typewriter, bursting out into musical numbers, drinking absurd amounts of herbal tea, and day-dreaming about roller skates.


Treva Thrush

Author Services and Social Media Representative

There’s nothing Treva loves more than a compelling story, and she’ll share some of her favorite Mascot stories with you on Facebook! Treva works with the Marketing team to promote our authors and their accomplishments through media outreach, as well as on our social media accounts. When she isn’t posting statuses and figuring out what’s trending, you can find her on our blog page writing about the latest in the publishing world.

Treva is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys reading (or watching) Harry Potter, taking photos with her Canon, and attempting to cook the latest buffalo chicken-related recipe she found on Pinterest.


Kristin Perry

Editor and Senior Project Manager

As an obsessive proofreader and meticulously organized individual, Kristin found her calling as a project manager at Mascot. Kristin helps authors see their book ideas come to life, all the way from the beginning stages of a script, through the editing process, design, and finally, the actual publishing of a book in physical and eBook form.

As a project manager, Kristin finds each day is different and full of new and exciting challenges. Working with authors on a variety of topics gives her the opportunity to learn something every day and become even more passionate about the field of publishing.

Kristin earned her B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of Virginia. In her free time, you can find Kristin trying to catch up on all the stacks of books she’s bought online and watching excessive amounts of television.


Susan Roberts

Editor and Project Manager

Susan enjoys facilitating the creative collaboration among authors, editors, illustrators, designers, and print professionals. She likens her job to that of a master conductor, and when everyone’s hitting their notes, a publishing masterpiece is achieved.

Susan understands the many steps of the publishing project, but most looks forward to composing the email that goes something like, “Your books are on their way!”

Susan graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Even as an adult, her favorite genre to read and write is children’s literature.

Rachel Sutton

Editor and Project Manager

Rachel is a proud bookworm who became enamored with storytelling early in life. As she learned and devoured the written word, her imagination grew with her, driving a profound passion for learning. After spending most of her spare time over the years in bookstores and eventually running a social media campaign on behalf of one, Rachel has learned the publishing market from various perspectives as a reader, bookseller, and marketer.

Praising knowledge, communication, and creative expression as pillars for success, Rachel utilizes each as a project manager with Mascot Books. She loves engaging in the creative process to make what authors envision become a reality. Collaborating directly with authors, editors, and illustrators, Rachel works diligently to bring the best possible books into the world.

Rachel earned dual degrees in the four years she spent at Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Psychology, as well as earning minors in British Studies and Religious Studies. In her spare time, she enjoys adding to her personal library, attending live music events, daydreaming about her heroes, and overindulging in television and film.


Daniel Wheatley

Editor and Project Manager

Daniel fell in love with books at an early age and never looked back. As a project manager, he is thrilled to be able to help authors take their ideas and transform them into completed books. He loves helping all the parts—editing, illustration, design, and production—come together into something magnificent!

Daniel graduated from Messiah College with a B.A. in English, with a Writing Concentration. He likes all kinds of stories, but his favorites to read—and write—are science fiction and fantasy. When he’s not working on his own fiction projects, he teaches swing dancing and hunts for cheesy, bad movies to add to his collection.


Nina Spahn

Editor and Project Manager

As a word-loving, detail-oriented, coffee-addicted reader and writer, Nina found her home as a senior production editor at Mascot Books. Prior to moving back to the Washington, D.C., area, she worked in editorial at a New York publishing house. She worked on a wide range of books while in New York, including celebrity nonfiction, memoir, lifestyle, cookbooks, literary fiction, and women’s fiction. Her favorite part about her job is helping authors see their book dreams realized, from the very beginning conceptual stages to the final printing, and everything in between. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Hail to Pitt!) with a BA in Writing and a BA in Communications, and attended New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute before beginning her career in publishing.

A reader of all things and a writer of some, Nina’s favorite books include The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace, Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson, Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. When she’s not lost in a book, you can find her doing yoga in her living room, pilates at a studio, or cooking in her kitchen. A native of Arlington, Virginia, Nina now lives in the DC area with her husband and her incredibly vocal, smart, snuggly miniature pinscher, Teddy.

Michelle Webber

Michelle Webber

Editor and Project Manager

A thorough editor with a passion for story, Michelle loves helping authors achieve their goals for their projects. From children’s books to science fiction epics to business bestsellers, every book has something to offer and presents an opportunity to learn something new. As a project manager, Michelle helps writers at all stages of the creative process develop a book they’re proud of. Nothing makes her happier than hearing that her authors love their finished product!

Among Michelle’s most intense passions are the oxford comma, Irish whiskey, and the cinematic genius of Nicolas Cage. She earned a B.F.A. in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction and accompanying minors in Writing and Rhetoric and Psychology from George Mason University in 2017. When she’s not helping other writers, you can find her reading zombie books or coloring with her niece and nephew.


Danny Moore

Graphic Designer

Danny is a creative jack-of-all-trades. Working with Mascot since 2004, he routinely awes authors (and Naren) with his many talents. His contributions include, award-winning illustrations, snappy print and web design, eye-catching covers, eBook conversion, web games, and app development.

Danny is proud of his alma mater, Auburn University, where he graduated with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration. War Eagle!

And if you look carefully, you can see Danny in every book he illustrates as he always includes a caricature of himself. It’s a perk of the job.


Ricky Frame

Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer, Ricky strives to create each author’s visual ideas…and improve upon them. Whether it’s a children’s book, novel, cookbook, or even a poster or marketing collateral, Ricky takes great pride in not just doing his job, but doing so with a creative flair.

Ricky received his B.A. in Graphic Design from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He is especially interested in typography and hand lettering, using these skills to design logos and t-shirt designs in his free time.

Ricky is always looking for ways to improve his skills by researching graphic design theory and new trends in the field of print and web design. He also takes great pride in his extensive knowledge of keyboard shortcuts.


Jasmine White

Graphic Designer

To say Jasmine is a creative type is an understatement. Jasmine’s days are filled with helping authors look marvelous. From impactful book covers, to solid interior designs, to promotional materials, Jasmine takes great pride in her work and strives to exceed expectations.

For several years, Jasmine has dabbled in fiction writing, hoping her work will evolve into in a book or video game, but she seems to get sidetracked by drawing concept art and writing extensive character profiles. Her current project, set in 2599, is called Study Abroad: Transgalaxy. What if aliens have long since infiltrated our world? How would one deal with the contradicting behaviors of humans in a university setting? Some deep questions to contemplate, right?

Jasmine earned a B.A. in New Media Design from Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina. As a lover of art and technology, Jasmine continues to expand her skillset from paper and pencil to three-dimensional modeling, whether it is in a classroom or from online tutorials.


Morgan Alessi

Graphic Designer

Morgan knew from a very young age what she wanted to do for a career and pursued it thoroughly by earning a B.A. in Graphic Design from James Madison University. She also spent time studying architecture and design in Austria and Poland, which she uses as a well of inspiration in her work. Always finding the beauty in hidden ways, Morgan loves to unearth the potential in each author’s visual ideas. She is now happy and at home working for Mascot Books, where she is able to create exciting content and continue to learn and expand her skill set every day.


Debbie Nosil


Debbie has been with Mascot for five years, and during that time has set up the policies and procedures that have helped the company stay organized during a time of incredible growth. Authors love Debbie as she’s responsible for generating the author sales reports and royalty checks every month. In true bean counter fashion, Debbie gets really excited about spreadsheets (especially those containing nifty formulas)!

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