All workshops and events will take place at the conference hotel, the Crowne Plaza Hanalei, located at 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108. 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 January 12, 2019. Advance Submission Reader selection opens beginning November.
Special Guest Speakers
HUDA AL-MARASHI is the author of First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story (Prometheus Books), “the first Muslim-American memoir dedicated to the themes of love and sexuality.” “[A] smart, down-to-earth, and unforgettable modern-day love story that celebrates the enduring bonds of culture, faith, and family. A wonderful book,” extols Jasmin Darznik (The Good Daughter). “Al-Marashi fearlessly takes us on a journey into the darkest corners of her young marriage, as well as herself,” lauds internationally bestselling author Jen Waite (A Beautiful, Terrible Thing). And Faith Adiele, author of The Nigerian Nordic Girl’s Guide to Lady Problems, calls it, “An honest, often amusing, account of one young woman’s quest to balance the traditional Muslim values she acquired from her Iraqi immigrant parents with the romantic fantasies she acquired from American media. Her story is both unique in that the devout, overachieving narrator is not the rebellious first-generation daughter we’ve come to expect from immigrant narratives, and universal in its instructive journey from youthful hubris and naïveté to learning how to make a marriage work.” Huda’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the LA Times, Al Jazeera, the VIDA Review, the Offing, and elsewhere.
JOE IDE’s IQ won the Anthony, Macavity, and Shamus awards for Best Debut Novel, and was hailed New York Times Critics’ Best of the Year. Of his follow up, Righteous, Michael Connelly (The Late Show) affirmed, “Joe Ide is the best new discovery I’ve come across in a long time. And Isaiah Quintabe is the kind of sleuth not seen on the mystery landscape before.” One of the Best Books of the Year, effused NPR, Washington Post, BookRiot, Suspense Magazine, Amazon, South Florida Sun Sentinel, and LitHub. Of his latest, Wrecked, Kirkus raves, “The hip-hop generation’s answer to Sherlock Holmes returns fast and furious in the third installment of Ide’s celebrated series … And Isaiah Quintabe remains an engaging, fascinating protagonist.” While writing for the New York Times Janet Maslin argues, “There are a lot of fine reasons to discover Ide’s work … He writes thumbnail descriptions that rival Elmore Leonard’s … His dialogue, much of it unprintable here, has bite that puts him in the Winslow/Lehane league … The world of these books is one of constant trash talk, and Ide delivers it with style.”
JULIE MOSS inspired a generation when she collapsed mere feet from the 1982 Ironman finish line, yet endeavored on hands and knees to cross it. Of the feat, New York Times bestseller and former CBS Sports and 60 Minutes correspondent Armen Keteyian recalls, “[T]here’s a reason this has stayed with me for all these years. It is the greatest display of courage I’ve ever seen in a sports event.” A member of the Ironman Hall of Fame, U.S.A. Triathlon Hall of Fame, and a ten-time Ironman competitor, Julie was the 2012 Triathlon Business International Female Athlete of the Year and was the 2017 Ironman North American Champion in her age group. Booklist calls her memoir, Crawl of Fame: Julie Moss and the Fifteen Feet that Created an Ironman Triathlon Legend (Pegasus Books), written with Robert Yehling, “A courageous account of dealing with disappointment as an athlete and an individual, and a powerful testament to the importance of not giving up on oneself.”
Authors & Industry Experts
AS OF 12/7/18 (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 (ZOVA Books), 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
DEMETRA BRODSKY is author Dive Smack (Tor Teen), a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection. Gretchen McNeil (Ten) calls it, “A tense psychological drama with a voice that pulls you in and a twist you won’t see coming.” Publishers Weekly declares, “Strong characters and a compelling mystery make this a real page-turner.” And Booklist raves, “Brodsky’s debut combines an engaging school story, filled with best friend shenanigans, first love, and a fascinating look at competitive diving, with a tense psychological mystery.” An award-winning graphic designer & art director, Demetra has a B.F.A. from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design was Director of Exhibits and Creative Services for The Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York, before becoming a writer.
- SESSIONS: TBA
TERESA BURRELL is the author of the popular legal thrillers featuring Juvenilie Court Attorney Sabre Brown, The Advocate, The Advocate’s Betrayal, The Advocate’s Conviction, The Advocate’s Dilemma, The Advocate’s Ex Parte, The Advocate’s Felony and, her latest, The Advocate’s Geocache. As an attorney in San Diego, Teresa maintained a private law practice for twelve years, which specialized in juvenile court work where she focused on representing abused minors and juvenile delinquents. She has also enjoyed a satisfying career as a teacher of children of all ages, with diverse backgrounds and special needs.
- SESSIONS: “$0 to Six-figures in 7 ‘Not-So-Easy’ Steps: Strategies” and “$0 to Six-figures in 7 ‘Not-So-Easy’ Steps: Tactics”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller; first 10 pages, cover letter
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 10 pages), cover letter
MARK CLEMENTS‘ first horror novel, 6:02, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award. It was followed by Children of the End and Lorelei, both of which received multiple nominations and awards. As with his The Land of Nod, all of his books have been optioned for film, and he also wrote the script for an original short, Dreamweavers, starring Robert Carradine and Frank Gorshin. A read & critique workshop leader for the SCWC for over 20 years, Mark is currently at work on a new novel, The Black Queen.
- SESSIONS: TBA
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
MARTIN ROY HILL is the author of the Linus Schag, NCIS, and the Peter Brandt thrillers, Eden: A Sci-Fi Novella, and Duty: Stories of Mystery and Suspense from the Cold War and Beyond. Martin’s short stories have appeared in such publications as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Alt Hist: The Journal of Historical Fiction and Alternative History, Mystery Weekly Magazine, Crimson Streets, Nebula Rift, Devolution Z, and others. His first book, Duty, was named the 2012 Best Anthology/Short Story Collection by the San Diego Books Awards. His latest Linus Schag novel, The Butcher’s Bill, was named the 2017 Best Thriller/Suspense novel by the Best Independent Book Awards and received the 2017 Clue Award for Best Thriller by the Chanticleer International Book Awards. Polar Melt, an action thriller, is out December, 2018.
- SESSIONS: “The Business Side of Independent Publishing” and “Writing Violence 101: Authenticity and Responsibility”
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)
NIKKI KATZ is the author of The Midnight Dance, her debut novel out October from Swoon Reads/Macmillan. Replete with magical realism and Gothic settings, the intricately woven story delivers a unique and haunting twist on a classic fairy tale. Of it, #1 New York Times bestseller Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) lauds, “A dark adventure, stunningly written!” And Suzanne Lazear, author of the Aether Chronicles series, declares it, “Deliciously dark and twisty, taking you on a luscious ride.” A recovering rocket scientist, Nikki’s non-fiction titles naturally include The Everything Cryptograms Book: Fun And Imaginative Puzzles For The Avid Decoder, The Everything Lateral Thinking Puzzles Book, Zen and the Art of Crossword Puzzles, and The Book of Card Games: The Complete Rules to the Classics, Family Favorites, and Forgotten Games. Her published articles cover the gamut of topics, including celebrities, entertainment, parenting, pregnancy, women’s issues, commerce, finance, and more.
- SESSIONS: TBA
CHERIE KEPHART served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia on a water sanitation and health education project before returning to the United States with an African souvenir she didn’t expect: a debilitating illness that went misdiagnosed for years and nearly killed her. Aionios Books publisher Gerardeen M. Santiago, PhD, describes her just-released A Few Minor Adjustments as, “[A] memoir that reads like a novel. It contains all the elements of a compelling read: a great story, with perfect pace, and a seasoned/mature writing style.” Kirkus Reviews declares it, “A rich and complicated story, told on each page with clear dialogue and memorable anecdotes.” A graduate of the University of Auckland, New Zealand with an M.A. in Medical and Cultural Anthropology with First Class Honors, Cherie also holds a B.A. in Communications from UCSD and a Certification in Scientific and Technical Writing. In addition to her extensive technical writing, Cherie also has notable experience as both a ghostwriter and editor.
- SESSIONS: “Soul Therapy: The Spirit of Writing Memoir” and Read & Critique: Memoir/Narrative Nonfiction
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: “Character Therapy 1: You’re the Shrink!” and “Character Therapy 2: It’s Alive!”
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 of speculative fiction, n0thing, delves into the subject of computer generated dreaming and is out 2017, following the Spanish release of his recent occult thriller Night Whispers.
- SESSIONS: “Guerrilla Marketing in the Social Media Jungle” and TBA
- 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 Melanie Hooks) and Rogue Read & Critique: SciFi/Fantasy (with Melanie Hooks)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fantasy, young adult, sci-fi, fiction; first 10 pages (or multiple columns up to 10 pages), cover letter
DARLENE QUINN authors the popular Web series, which draws upon real events in the ever changing world of high-fashion of the mid-80’s to present day. As part of a seven-member corporate management team of Bullocks Wilshire, Darlene saw first-hand how greed became a major factor in the demise of our regional department stores. But while the series is brimming with intrigue and haunting nostalgia, she never allows the hard facts to get in the way of page-turning suspense. Each title has garnered national and international awards. Unpredictable Webs won the International Readers Favorite Gold Medal for General Fiction, as well the President’s Choice top prize at the Beverly Hills Book Awards. Conflicting Webs won the International Beverly Hills Award for excellence in General Fiction and Readers Favorite Silver Medal for General Fiction. The series finale, Webs of Perception, is now out.
- SESSIONS: “Rewrite & Read,” “Rewrite & Critique” and Read & Critique: All-Genre
JUDY REEVES is a writer and teacher who has published four books on writing including the award-winning A Writer’s Book of Days, and, most recently, Wild Women, Wild Voices. Her work has appeared in the San Diego Reader; The Frozen Moment; Connotations Press; Serving House Journal; Waymark; Expressive Writing, Classroom and Community, and other journals and anthologies. She is also an editor for manuscripts, journals, and chapbooks. She has been leading writing groups and teaching creative writing for 25 years at writing conferences internationally and at San Diego Writers, Ink, a nonprofit literary center she cofounded. Judyreeveswriter.com.
- SESSIONS: “I/Then, I/Now—Voices in Memoir” and “Turning Moments into Memoir”
- Advance Submission Critique: Memoirs, narrative non-fiction, women’s fiction; up to 10 pages double-spaced
JANIS THOMAS is the author of three critically-acclaimed humorous Women’s Fiction novels, Something New, Sweet Nothings, and Say Never. 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: “The Storyteller’s Toolbox Pt.1,” “The Storyteller’s Toolbox Pt.2,” “Plot vs. Character: What’s Driving Your Story?” and TBA
DR. SETH WAGERMAN is a professor and researcher whose interests lie at the intersection of personality and social behavior. He received his MA and PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside, where he was also granted an award for excellence in teaching. Currently at Pepperdine University, Seth continues to be interested in the ways in which traits manifest in behavior and how personality injects itself into online interactions and character choice in video games. He runs a local creative writing group, The Inklings, and is currently working on a YA novel centered in Celtic mythology.
- SESSIONS: “The Doctor is IN: Using Psychology to Master Character Development,” “Marry/Boff/Kill: Your Characters” and “Your Heart Flutters with Joy: Avoiding Obvious Cues in Writing Emotion”
MARY VENSEL WHITE‘s debut novel, The Qualities of Wood, was published by HarperCollins. Called “quite simply, truly beautiful” by Caroline Smailes (The Drowning of Arthur Braxton), the book was the first published by the company’s digital imprint, Authonomy, only a year prior to hardcopy. Its success set the stage for some 46 other Authonomy community authors to be discovered and published, including Miranda Dickinson, Steven Dunne and Kat French. A graduate of the University of Denver and DePaul University, Chicago, Mary’s work has appeared in The Wisconsin Review, Author Magazine, The Rumpus, Foothills Literary Journal, Fiction Advocate, and other places, and she is a contributing editor at LitChat.com. Bellflower, “a novel-in-moments,” is out February, 2019.
- SESSIONS: “Getting Out and Staying In: Making Writing Connections and Editing Tips & Tricks ” and “Flash Fiction: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why You Should Write It”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Contemporary fiction; first 10 pages double-spaced
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. The third installment in her Kids Like You series, Broken Lines, was published in January 2017. 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: “Infusing Micro-tension Into Your Novel” and “Supporting Cast: Crafting Purposeful Secondary Characters” and Read & Critique: Middle Grade/YA/NA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Middle-grade fiction, mystery; first 10 pages double-spaced
GWENDOLYN WOMACK is the author of The Memory Painter, her enchanting debut novel which, in a starred review, Library Journal declared, “It’s best not to try to analyze the ambitious plot of this thriller, which combines romance, fantasy, and adventure; just hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.” The Fortune Teller, a USA Today and Los Angeles Times bestseller, followed. Of it Publishers Weekly effused, ”With considerable attention to historical detail, Womack gives the readers windows into life in ancient Gundeshapur, Renaissance-era Milan and Paris, and revolutionary Russia….the journey is delightful.” Her latest, The Time Collector, is out April, 2019.
- SESSIONS: “Intuitive Writing: Strengthening Your Sixth Sense at the Keyboard,” “Read & Critique: Perfecting Page One” and TBA
Agents & Editors
AS OF 12/14/18 (More To Be Announced)
JENNIFER CHEN TRAN is an agent at Bradford Literary, joining in September 2017. She represents both fiction and non-fiction. Jennifer is very interested in diverse writers and #ownvoices from underrepresented/marginalized communities, strong and conflicted characters who are not afraid to take emotional risks, stories about multi-generational conflict, war and post-war fiction, and writing with a developed sense of place. In non-fiction, she loves books that broaden her world view or shed new light on “big ideas.”
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Women’s contemporary, upmarket and literary fiction, select young adult and middle grade, graphic novels; non-fiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
ALICIA CLANCY is an acquisitions editor at Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon Publishing. She works on book club fiction, commercial and upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, psychological suspense, family drama, and the occasional literary project with strong commercial appeal (think George Saunders, Meg Wolitzer, Jesamyn Ward, Alice McDermott, and Jennifer Egan) Prior to joining Amazon Publishing, Alicia worked at St. Martin’s Press and Palgrave Macmillan. She is also the author of the illustrated humor book, Be My Galentine: Celebrating Badass Female Friendship (St. Martin’s Press, 2017).
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Women’s upmarket and commercial fiction, historical fiction, psychological and domestic suspense; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
NATALIE GRAZIAN is actively expanding her client list as an associate manager with Martin Literary. She is primarily interested in adult fiction, specifically contemporary, historical, and speculative projects. interests include (but are not limited to) complicated families, immigrant identity and experience, powerful character transformations, questions of fate vs. free will, and dark comedy that still carries a beating heart—because at the end of the day, she looks to books to find humanity.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Adult contemporary, historical, and speculative fiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
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 “Defining Genre: What Are You Really Writing?”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Mystery, suspense, thriller, police procedural; narrative non-fiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced, cover letter
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: “The Publisher Is In: Your Post-Conference Publishing Plan” one-on-one consultation (advance sign-up required; details)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, all genres; first 10 pages, cover letter
KELLI MARTIN is an agent with Wendy Sherman Associates. She began her book publishing career over twenty years ago, starting her career at Simon & Schuster, then rose up the editorial ladder at HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Amazon Publishing. At Amazon Publishing, Kelli acquired and edited some of the house’s highest selling, breakout authors and books in romance and commercial fiction; in addition, she served as a founding editor and public face of Montlake Romance, as well as Executive Editor at Lake Union.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Romance, commercial 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 in 1999, 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, published under MarketingtheMuse Publications. MarlaMiller.com is a resource center for writers with emphasis on marketing information in publishing/epublishing.
- SESSIONS: “Pitch Witches: Query Letter Critique” and “Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?” (with Jennifer Silva Redmond) and 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 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 non-fiction. 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” (with Marla Miller) and “Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?“
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, short stories; first 10 pages double-spaced, 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: All-Genre
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Mainstream, historical and genre fiction, romance; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
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: TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, all genres; first 10 pages, 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 non-fiction titles that have found homes with publishers of all sizes. Bob’s recent 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, and his latest, Crawl of Fame: Julie Moss and the Fifteen Feet that Created an Ironman Triathlon Legend (Pegasus Books).
- SESSIONS: “Beyond the Draft: 20 Steps to Effective Self-Editing,” “The Forest Gump Effect: Blending Fiction and Fact” and “Me, We & You: The “With” Writer Relationship” (with Julie Moss)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial fiction, memoir, biography and poetry; first 10 pages double-spaced
CHRISTA YELICH-KOTH has been a freelance editor since 2013, working with both published (several international bestsellers and award-winners) and first-time authors. Her main focus is science fiction and fantasy, both YA and adult. Christa’s goal as an editor is to help enhance the beauty of the writer’s voice/style while working through anything that bogs the story down. Her published works as an author include Amazon bestselling novels, Eomix Galaxy Books Illusion (also the winner of the 2016 Novel of Excellence Award in Science Fiction) and Identity. She also teaches writing workshops at the Oregon Coast Community College, and is co-editor for the audio drama Redshift.