All workshops and events will take place at the conference hotel, the Wyndham Irvine, located at 17941 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614. Workshops summaries can be found on the Workshops and Events page, and within the working Schedule (when it becomes available).
Staffers conducting optional Advance Submission Critique, followed by one-on-one consultation, are indicated beneath their respective bio. The deadline to submit material is August 24, 2018.
Special Guest Speakers
SARA GRAN is author of The Infinite Blacktop, the third noir thriller featuring her self-proclaimed “world’s greatest detective,” Claire DeWitt. “The most interesting private eye I’ve encountered since Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander… Gran presents an unflinching, heartfelt portrait of the way many women of her generation have lived their lives: speeding down the fast lane…” writes the Washington Post. Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls) describes the series as “cryptic, dreamy, funny and gritty as hell … an unreliable detective unlike any other.” Claire DeWitt and The City of the Dead and Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway preceded. Sara’s other books include Saturn’s Return to New York, Come Closer, and Dope. Her work has been published in over a dozen countries and languages, and been optioned for film by Miramax, Dimension, and Paramount.
HENRY LIEN is author of Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword (Henry Holt and Co.) “It’s Hermione Granger meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets the Ice Capades meets Mean Girls,” expounds The New York Times. The first in a series, Publishers Weekly calls the debut novel, “Massively entertaining,” in a starred review. And Mike Jung (Unidentified Suburban Object) declares it, “Thrilling, beautiful, fierce, and like nothing I’ve ever read before.” Henry’s short fiction has appeared in publications such as Asimov’s, Analog, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, earning several Nebula Award nominations, and in a previous life was an attorney, a fine art dealer and college instructor.
AMY MEYERSON is author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays (HarperCollins’ Park Row Books). Of it Publishers Weekly effuses, “In her heartfelt debut, Meyerson brings readers on a scavenger hunt full of literary clues and family secrets… Filled with quotes from and allusions to The Tempest, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Jane Eyre, Meyerson’s evocative novel is a fun homage to book lovers and the eclectic spirit of L.A.” And Kirkus lauds, “A lovely look at loss, family, and the comfort found in a good bookstore.” Amy’s short work has been published in Reed Magazine, The Manhattanville Review, The Bloomsbury Review, The Fanzine and Obit Magazine, and was a finalist in Open City’s RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest and in Summer Literary Seminars’s Unified Literary Contest. She also teaches at the University of Southern California..
TO BE ANNOUNCED
Authors & Industry Experts
AS OF 6/14/18 (MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED)
WES ALBERS is Director of the Southern California Writers’ Conference. For more than a decade he has helped to facilitate over $4 million worth of first time book and movie deals for emerging authors through the SCWC and his personal contacts. His own writing draws from over twenty years in the San Diego Police Department, first as a patrolman, then sergeant. He now serves as Detective Sergeant in charge of Border Investigations, as well as Staff Sergeant supervising the Emergency Negotiations Team, a hybrid team of hostage negotiators from the SDPD, the FBI, and NCIS. Of his debut novel, Black and White, New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds (The Book of Spies) hails, “Gritty and rewarding … A top-notch cop novel. Watch out, Joseph Wambaugh!”
- SESSIONS: “How to Make the Most of the Conference,” No-Host Mixer, Introductions
GAYLE CARLINE began life as a software engineer until she chewed her way out of the cubicle to become a storyteller. In addition to writing a humor column for her local Orange County newspaper, she is the author of the fun and entertaining Peri Minneopa Mysteries, including Freezer Burn, Hit or Missus, The Hot Mess, and Clean Sweep, featuring a housecleaner-turned-detective living in the OC. Her recent releases are the stand-alone From the Horse’s Mouth: One Lucky Memoir, and the first of a new equine-themed murder-mystery series, Murder on the Hoof. A More Deadly Union, featuring housecleaner-turned-detective Peri Minneopa, is out June.
- SESSIONS: TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery, humor, columns; first 10 pages (or multiple columns up to 15 pages), cover letter
MICHAEL STEVEN GREGORY, Executive Director of the Southern California Writers’ Conference, is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter. He has scripted network series, directed television and features, and been involved as a writer, producer or director in over 150 short films. His longform projects include the doculogues We, The Writer and We, The Screenwriter, the romantic-comedy A Valentine Carol, and groundbreaking Don King Presents: Prizefighter, for 2K Games. His books include Disc Golf: All You Need to Know about the Game You Want to Play, which remains a bestseller over a decade after publication. Michael is also the owner of AuthorEdge, a transmedia content producer for publishers. He was recognized as Man of the Year from San Diego Writer’s Monthly, and is a recipient of the Odin Award for Lifetime Achievement from the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild.
- SESSIONS: No-Host Mixer, Introductions
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Screenplays, TV and short-form scripts; first 15 pages in proper format, cover letter
ARA GRIGORIAN is a technology executive in the entertainment industry who helps firms and individuals leverage strategy, leadership, and technology to produce extraordinary results with lasting value. He earned his Masters in Business Administration form University of Southern California where he specialized in marketing and entrepreneurship. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later). Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. Ara is an alumnus of both the Southern California Writers’ Conference and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His debut novel, Game of Love (Curiosity Quills Press), won the 2015 Readers Favorite International Book Awards Gold in Sports Fiction.
- SESSIONS: TBA
MELANIE HOOKS is a recent graduate ‘With Distinction’ of UCLA Extension’s TV Writing Program, Melanie Hooks first dipped her toe into Read & Critiques over ten years ago at her first SCWC San Diego. As an English teacher, she thought herself prepared, but discovered firsthand the terrors that can await the fragile writer ego. She’s happy to share her ‘id’ survival tricks – and all her distinguished, unfunded script pitches if you sit still too long over coffee… you’ve been warned.
- SESSIONS: “Read, Critique & Live to Write Another Day” (with Laura Perkins) and Rogue Read & Critique: SciFi/Fantasy (with Laura Perkins)
HOLLY KAMMIER is a former journalist who has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon. The UCLA honor grad currently splits her time between San Diego, CA and Henderson, NV. She recently published her second book, Kingston Court, a chic lit novel with an edge. Holly is an avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing. Along with novelist Jessica Therrien, she co-founded Acorn Publishing, a new model approach for enabling quality authors to indie publish under a single imprint.
- SESSIONS: “Acorn Publishing: Exploring the Benefits of Hybrid Publishing” (with Jessica Therrien)
JEFFREY J. MICHAELS is a Gemini. As such he is deeply involved in whatever interests him at the moment. He is currently polishing a sweeping fantasy series of interconnected tales collectively known as “The Mystical Histories.” He describes his writing as “metaphyictional,” combining fantasy and humor with metaphysical elements, offering the reader new ways of looking at themselves and their world. In his real life, he conducts motivational workshops and offers personal consultations assisting clients to tap into their own inner wisdom to make positive life and creative choices. Jeff’s published works include: A Day at the Beach and Other Brief Diversions, a collection of metaphyfictional short stories, and Tasa’s Path, Book One in his fantasy trilogy. Over the past decade Jeff has been a monthly columnist for the magazine Sedona Journal of Emergence. Six collections of his inspirational articles are available in trade paperback and on Kindle.
- SESSIONS: “The Long and Short of Storytelling” and “Write from the Heart”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Genre (sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, horror) and commercial fiction; aspirational & transformative non-fiction; first 10 pages double-spaced
OZ MONROE is the author of Soil-Man, Book 1 of the Symphony dark fantasy series, recently awarded the Gold in Horror Fiction by the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. In it, a grieving husband must confront his disbelief in religion during a desperate race to reclaim the soul of his wife, murdered before him by what appears to be a dark angel. Award-winning horror author Mark Clements (Lorelei, The Land of Nod) calls the debut novel, “[A] rare combination of fine (sometimes incandescent) writing, high-speed action, violence, gore, humor, erudition and philosophical point-scoring.” Jennifer Silva Redmond (Editor, Sea of Cortez Review) proclaims it, “righteous in every sense of the word. Not for faint hearts or weak stomachs, Soil-Man will appeal to strong-willed, clear-eyed seekers of truth–if they’re out there.” An active member of MENSA and a passionate proponent of Humanism and critical thinking, Oz is currently at work on the second book in his series.
- SESSIONS: “The Science of Storytelling: How Neuroscience Can Help Us Tell Better Stories”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Science-fiction, fantasy; first 10 pages double-spaced
MATTHEW J. PALLAMARY has a dozen books in print, with many having been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, French, and German. His historical novel of first contact between shamans and Jesuits in 18th century South America, Land Without Evil, was adapted as a full-length stage and light show, the PBS-broadcasted making-of which garnered an Emmy nomination. His distillation of 25 years of teaching experience, Phantastic Fiction: A Shamanic Approach to Story, earned an International Book Award. And Matt’s memoir Spirit Matters, detailing his journeys to the jungles of Peru, took top honors in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, along with being named a finalist in the National Best Book Awards. His latest title, n0thing, an 2017 International Book Awards Finalist in Science Fiction, delves into the subject of computer generated dreaming.
- SESSIONS: “Transformative Narrative: A Shamanic Approach to Story” and Rogue Read & Critique (All-Genre)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Horror, fantasy, transformative fiction; memoir, biography; first 10 pages double-spaced
LAURA PERKINS has penned five young adult fantasy novels and serves as a freelance editor and writing coach. She has an extensive background in facilitating groups as well as conducting personal feedback sessions, assisting clients with motivation issues, goal setting and strength assessment. She brings first-hand knowledge and experience in many areas writers often use as their story worlds, including the Criminal Justice Department, probation, psychiatric facilities, wilderness programs, adventure sports, middle schools and high schools – internationally and in the states. She has lived in Europe and South America and traveled extensively internationally and domestically. While her passion is fantasy, young adult, character driven fiction and sci-fi, she works with many different genres and loves the offbeat and out of the ordinary.
- SESSIONS: “Read, Critique & Live to Write Another Day” (with Hooks) and Rogue Read & Critique: SciFi/Fantasy (with Melanie Hooks)
REINA MENASCHE calls her first love writing fiction, though she is also a professional social worker, certified public school counselor, university instructor, and actress. Her second novel, Silent Bird, was released in December 2013. Her first novel, Twice Begun, was honored in the romance category of the 2013 San Diego Book Awards, and her other fiction has been recognized in contests by organizations such as the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild and Southern California Writers Conference. In 2013 Reina began hosting East County Magazine’s Bookshelf radio program on KNSJ fm in San Diego, interviewing “local literary luminaries.” Her latest book is Silent Bird, recipient of a 2009 SCWC Outstanding Fiction Award.
- SESSIONS: TBA
OWEN PRELL is an entertainment attorney, with a particular focus on the publishing industry. Having represented authors, publishers and agents for decades–Chronicle Books remained a client for 20 years; bestselling author Sara Gruen is one now–his expertise spans publishing agreements to film adaptations and beyond. Also a writer, Own has written for both stage and screen, and his documentary film, Finding Nico, followed his quest to get to know his godfather, a disgraced former Hollywood B-movie actor who may or may not have lived with Marilyn Monroe. His debut novel, Chance to Break (North Loop Books), set during the opening days of Wimbledon, when an otherwise ordinary men’s singles match seems incapable of ending, is now out.
- SESSIONS: TBA
JESSICA THERRIEN is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Aside from her wildly popular trilogy, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, “The Soulless,” won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round. After being published by a small press out of Los Angeles and hitting the #3 best-selling book for Teens on Barnes & Noble, Jessica discovered that the world of traditional publishing isn’t for everyone, got her rights back and, with novelist Holly Kammier, co-founded Acorn Publishing, a new model approach for enabling quality authors to indie publish under a single imprint.
- SESSIONS: “Acorn Publishing: Exploring the Benefits of Hybrid Publishing” (with Holly Kammier)
JANIS THOMAS is the author of three critically-acclaimed humorous Women’s Fiction novels, Something New, Sweet Nothings, and Say Never. The award-winning Murder in A-Minor is the first book in her Musical Murder Mystery series, featuring songwriting detective Samantha Wedlock. She has recently signed a two-book deal with Lake Union, the women’s fiction imprint of Amazon Publishing, for her latest two novels of domestic suspense. Janis is a popular workshop leader and speaker, an editor, and a passionate writing advocate.
- SESSIONS: TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial and women’s fiction, romance, first 10 pages double-spaced; cover letter
CLAUDIA WHITSITT is an award-winning author and former educator who has published five mysteries and three works of middle grade historical fiction to date. Broken Lines, the third installment in her Kids Like You series, which began with Between the Lines and Beyond the Lines, is out now. Claudia’s novels feature strong heroines and address social issues which continue to plague our country. When she isn’t writing, she’s visiting schools and teaching writing to middle grade students. She’s known for her kind nature, even when telling you that your works sucks, and will make you want to become a better writer.
- SESSIONS: TBA
Agents & Editors
AS OF 6/14/18 (MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED)
JENNY HERRERA is an agent with the David Black Agency, which represents such authors as Erik Larson, Jeff Hobbs, Jennifer Gonnerman, and Bill Phillips. She went to college in Ohio, where she studied Philosophy, French, and Russian, and has master’s degrees in Philosophy and Social Sciences. Jenny loves reading non-fiction books about big ideas and fiction that is thoughtful, un-selfconscious, and authentic. She is seeking submissions in upmarket fiction, serious non-fiction, young adult, middle grade, and thrillers, as well as any book that breaks the mold. Recent books she loves include: An Ember in the Ashes, Sweet Bitter, The Hate U Give, My Life on the Road, Strange the Dreamer, Far From the Tree, If We Were Villains, and many many more.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Upmarket fiction, thrillers, young adult and middle grade; serious non-fiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
JEAN JENKINS is a freelance editor (MsRewrite.com) and consultant to writers. She has successfully shepherded to print genre and mainstream novels with major publishers and small independents, as well as editing/advising self- and e-published writers. Clients include writers, both foreign and domestic. Her specialty is teaching craft and what works in the marketplace as she helps writers polish their material. Several books on which she has consulted are in the pipeline and nearing publication with major houses. Calling upon her varied life experiences and over twenty years of editorial consulting, she is equally at home editing spy thrillers, cozies, suspense, women’s issues, mainstream, or any bloody good story. It might be said, the bloodier, the better.
- SESSIONS: “Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress” (1 & 2), and TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Mystery, suspense, thriller, police procedural; narrative nonfiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced, cover letter
JILL MARR is an agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, one of the most respected literary agencies in the U.S. Representing an impressive and eclectic client roster, SDLA has helped guide the illustrious careers of many best selling authors in several genres, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Lisa See and Diane Mott Davidson and on the non-fiction side, Peter Irons, David Landes, Mike Davis, Chalmers Johnson and Susan Faludi, among others. Jill is interested in commercial fiction, especially women’s fiction, multi-cultural fiction, historic fiction, mysteries and thrillers. She is also looking for non-fiction in the areas of self-help, inspirational, memoir (she especially loves travel and foodie memoirs), parenting, history, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor and music.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery; practical and narrative non-fiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced, cover letter
MARLA MILLER is an author and freelance editor. She wrote for the OC Register’s lifestyle magazine for 16 years before becoming founding editor-in-chief of an O.C. coastal lifestyle magazine. Her first book, All American Girls, the only authorized biography of the iconic World Cup/Gold Medal winning U.S Women’s National Soccer Team, was published by Simon & Schuster, and her sports oriented columns appeared in Oxygen.com. Marla launched MarketingtheMuse Workshops in 2003, motivated by her recognition that most traditionally published authors receive little help from “big house” marketing departments. Her experience in the entrepreneurial author movement includes “with author” bylines for two indie books, The Booty Bible and Decode the Black Box of Group Health Insurance, along with her own Days Gone By and first e-novel, Deadly Little Secrets. MarlaMiller.com is a resource center for writers with emphasis on marketing information in publishing/epublishing.
- SESSIONS: “Nonfiction for Newbies: Is it a Book or Not?”, “Pitch Witches: Query Letter Critique” and “Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?” (with Jennifer Silva Redmond), ” Rogue Read & Critique: “Cold Openings: Your First Five Pages”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction; narrative and prescriptive non-fiction; columns (Note: anything emphasizing medicine or psychology, Marla’s your reader); first 15 pages, cover letter
MICHAEL MOHR is a Bay Area writer, former literary agent’s assistant and freelance book editor. His fiction has been published in: Adelaide Literary Magazine; Bethlehem Writers’ Roundtable; Fiction Magazines; Tincture; Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine; and more. His blog pieces have been included in Writers’ Digest, Writer Unboxed and MASH. His writing/editing website and weekly blog is www.michaelmohrwriter.com. His most recent client accomplishment is a memoir, White American Youth (Hachette), by Christian Picciolini, a former neo Nazi skinhead who changed his life. Michael edits memoir, adult literary and commercial novels, YA and suspense/thriller.
- SESSIONS: “How to Create Sexual Tension in Fiction and Memoir”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Adult literary and commercial fiction, YA/NA, suspense/thrillers; non-fiction: memoir; first 10 pages, cover letter
JENNIFER SILVA REDMOND spent more than a decade as editor-in-chief/acquisitions editor at Sunbelt Publications before becoming a freelance publishing consultant and editor. On the staff of the Southern California Writers Conference and San Diego Writers, Ink, she was also prose editor for A Year in Ink Vol 3, and co-founder of the Sea of Cortez Review. Her essays, articles, and short fiction have been published in various anthologies, such as Latinos in Lotusland, and national magazines. She is always looking for “great new stuff” and has a wide circle of agents, editors, and publishers with whom to share marketable fiction and nonfiction. More information, a short list of edited titles, and client testimonials can be found at www.jennyredbug.com.
- SESSIONS: “Backstory: Employing Expository Like a Screenwriter,” “Pitch Witches: Query Letter Critique” and “Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?” (with Marla Miller)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, nonfiction, memoir, short stories; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
DR. EWE STENDER founded the Triada US Literary Agency, and is a Full Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives. He is interested in all kinds of non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction, he is pretty much open to any project, from memoir, pop culture, and health to how-to, gardening, history and everything in between, including non-fiction for children. In children’s fiction, he is looking for YA, and MG. In adult fiction, his tastes trend towards women’s fiction, psychological suspense, and Mysteries. As an immigrant to the USA himself, he is always eager to bring projects from underrepresented voices into the world.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE:Adult fiction, YA and MG; memoir, practical and narrative non-fiction ; first 10 pages, cover letter
LAURA TAYLOR is an author and freelance editor, whose work has received endorsements from Pat Conroy, W.E.B. Griffin, and Stephen King. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her writing, including 6 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement, Reviewer’s Choice, and Career Achievement Awards, 2 Maggie Awards from GRW/RWA, 2 Golden Heart Finalist Awards (RWA), an RWA RITA Finalist Award, and a Golden Rose Award from the Gold Coast Chapter of RWA. Having sold over a million books in print, an additional 550,000 digital editions have been downloaded by e-book readers. Her novels feature sassy, strong-willed heroines and determined alpha male heroes. Her romance e-books include: Desert Rose, Midnight Storm, Heartbreaker, More Than Friends, Fallen Angel, Wilder’s Woman, Warrior Series Boxed Set, Moment By Moment, The Christmas Gift, Anticipation, Seduction, Surrender, Sublime, and the Love at the Beach Boxed Set.
- SESSIONS: “Indie Excellence: Glocalization and the Key to Survival” and Rogue Read & Critique
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Mainstream, historical and genre fiction, romance; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
ROBERT YEHLING is the award-winning author, co-author and ghostwriter of numerous books, as well as long-time journalist, editor and writing instructor. Through his company, Word Journeys, he has edited more than 130 fiction and nonfiction titles that have found homes with publishers of all sizes. Bob’s latest titles include the biography of autistic surfer Clay Marzo, Just Add Water: A Surfing Savant’s Journey with Asperger’s (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and musician Stevie Salas’ When We Were the Boys: Coming of Age on Rod Stewart’s Out of Order Tour (Rowman Littlefield). Voices (Open Books Press), a novel set against a half-century of rock and roll, is his latest.