Hometown: Originally from Brooklyn, Steve Piacente grew up on Long Island and now lives in Rockville, Md., with his wife, Felicia. They have three adult children.
Degrees: Bachelor's in communications, American University, 1976; master's in fiction, 2000, Johns Hopkins University
Newspaper career (1976-2001): Sportswriter, Naples Daily News; news reporter, The Lakeland Ledger; Washington, D.C., correspondent, The Tampa Tribune and the Charleston (S.C.) Post & Courier.
Other work: Speechwriter for General Services Administration; now heads the agency's Web, new media and graphics teams; has taught journalism classes at American University for 15 years; writes as an expert on self-publishing on numerous websites.