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 15, 2018. Advance Submission Reader selection opens beginning November.
Special Guest Speakers
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 nonfiction 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.
DAMIAN MCNICHOLL’s debut, the coming-of-age novel A Son Called Gabriel (CDS Books/Perseus Books Group), was a Lambda Literary Awards finalist and an American Booksellers Association Booksense Pick (now known as Indie Next List). Twisted Agendas followed, exploring cross culture 20-somethings negotiating love and London’s big city lifestyle along with terrorism influenced by Damian’s childhood in 1960s/1970s Northern Ireland. Of his most recent, The Moment of Truth (Pegasus Books), Booklist declares it “rich in emotion and written with style and precision (the bullfighting scenes have the crisp clarity of Hemingway), strikes a fine balance between love story and historical adventure … McNicholl uses the sensibilities of his heroine to give the story a very modern-seeming immediacy.” Historical Novels Review concludes it simply, “A triumphant celebration of women’s equality and empowerment.” As passionate about the business side of publishing as well as the creative, Damian is also an agent with New York’s Jennifer De Chiara Literary, where he represents a variety of fiction and nonfiction.
JANIS THOMAS is the author of What Remains True, her first domestic drama, due out from Union Lake December 1st. Chronicling multiple perspectives of a family shattered by the loss of a child, the novel marks a stark departure from the humorous women’s fiction with which Janis first made her publishing bones: Something New, Sweet Nothings, and Say Never—all published by Berkley Books. It also follows her award-winning first book in the Musical Murder Mystery series, Murder in A-Minor, featuring songwriting detective Samantha Wedlock. A popular workshop leader, speaker, and freelance editor, as well a passionate writing advocate, additionally Janis has written over fifty songs and two children’s books (with her father). Her first-ever short story, “The Mighty and Me,” was recently published in It’s All in the Story, an anthology of short fiction by Southern California writers.
Authors & Industry Experts
AS OF 12/10/17
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
GRETA BORIS is the author of a new domestic suspense series based on the 7 Deadly Sins, which is being published by Fawkes Press in a rare seven-book deal. The first title, A Margin of Lust, is out June, to be followed by The Scent of Wrath later this year. Greta also authored the Amazon Kindle bestseller The Wine and Chocolate Workout, and has written articles on culture, health and entertainment for a variety of national magazines, including Victorian Homes, Zombies, 50 Scariest Movies, Exodus, and Women of the Bible. She is the Director of O.C. Writers, a community of over 700 published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California.
- SESSIONS: “Aspiring to Author: A Personal Publishing Guide” (with Megan Haskell) and 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” and TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller; first 10 pages, cover letter
JENNIFER CALOYERAS is a novelist and prolific short fiction writer. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.A. in English Literature from California State University Los Angeles and an M.F.A. in creative writing through the University of British Columbia. She is the author of two young adult novels, Urban Falcon, and Strays, along with her debut short fiction collection, Unruly Creatures, just out from West Virginia University Press. Of it, author Matthew J. Trafford (The Divinity Gene) declares, “[T]he stories stare back at you like a caged gorilla. Haunting, revelatory, and utterly breathtaking, Caloyeras is an astonishing talent.” Jennifer’s work has also been published in Monday Night Literary, Wilde Magazine, Storm Cellar, Booth and elsewhere.
- SESSIONS: “The Anatomy of a Short Story,” “#TWITTER PARTY MASHUP” and TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Young adult fiction and short stories; first 10 pages (or multiple stories up to 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: “Something to Talk About: Speaking Publicly About Your Book” and “What’s the Point? Story, Subtext & Plot”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery, humor, columns; first 10 pages (or multiple columns up to 10 pages), cover letter
LORETTA ELLSWORTH‘s first adult novel, Stars Over Clear Lake, is now out from Thomas Dunne Books. Set in 1940s rural America and the present, #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller calls it, “A timeless story of love and loss,” while Dana Sachs (The Secret of the Nightingale Palace) declares, “[A] moving romance that, at the same time, illuminates a little-known aspect of World War II history―the presence of German prisoner of war camps in the American heartland.” Loretta is also the author of four young adult novels: The Shrouding Woman, a Rebecca Caudill nominee; In Search of Mockingbird, which won the Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Honor Award, was a Teen’s Top Ten finalist, an IRA Notable, and was named to the New York Library’s List of Books for the Teen Age; In a Heartbeat, which was named a spring Midwest Connection’s Pick and an ALA Notable; and Unforgettable, which was a Kirkus Pick of the Month. She earned a master’s degree in Writing for Children from Hamline University.
- SESSIONS: “Finding Your Inner Teen: Writing Contemporary or Historical YA” and “Writing Behind Your Back: Applying Personal History to Historical Fiction”
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: “Every Story is a Love Story” and “Story Beats: Your Story’s Pulse”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Genre fiction; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
MEGAN HASKELL is the award-winning author of the Kindle Best Selling dark fantasy adventure series, The Sanyare Chronicles, and Program Director of O.C. Writers, a community of over 700 published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California. Called “a must read” by bestselling YA author, Sherry Ficklin, Sanyare: The Last Descendant (Book 1) has been honored with a BRAG Medallion, which identifies the book as an outstanding self-published title. Megan lives in Orange County, California with her husband, two young daughters, and one ridiculously energetic dog. You can find her online at www.MeganHaskell.com, OCWriters.Network, and Facebook.
- SESSIONS: “Aspiring to Author: A Personal Publishing Guide” (with Greta Boris) and “Productive Prose: Find and Maximize Your Writing Time”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Science fiction, fantasy, commercial fiction; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
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)
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: “Healing through Writing Memoir” and “Soul Therapy: The Spiritual Side of Writing Memoir”
PAULA MARGULIES is the owner of Paula Margulies Communications, a public relations firm for authors and artists. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned her master’s degree in Language Arts and Literature, Paula also holds degrees in marketing communications and education. She specializes in all aspects of marketing and publicity, including writing press releases and creating media kits, setting up speaking and reading appearances, conducting blog tours, garnering book reviews, and setting up print, radio, and television interviews. Paula is also the author of award-winning novels, short stories, and essays, so she understands the business of writing firsthand. Her latest release is The Tao of Book Publicity: A Beginner’s Guide to Book Promotion.
- SESSIONS: “The Tao of Book Publicity: Book Promotion Strategies that Work!” and TBA
OZ MONROE is the author of Soil-Man, Book 1 of the Symphony dark fantasy series. 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” and Read & Critique
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Science-fiction, fantasy; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
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–And You’re the Shrink!”
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: “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, cover letter
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)
INDY QUILLEN‘s debut thriller, Tracker, introduced readers to Native American survivalist and expert tracker Fox Walker. “Rich characterization, brisk pacing, graceful writing, and an in-depth knowledge of Native American spirituality and survival skills hallmark this novel,” raved 6-Time Romantic Times Award Winner and 2-Time MAGGIE Award Winner Laura Taylor. Judy Reeves (A Writer’s Book of Days) calls its follow-up, Pursuit, “Compelling and complex. Just the way we like our thrillers.” The third book in the series is out 2018. When not writing, Indy manages Media Fastlanes, which she founded, a company specializing in the creation, building and maintenance of clients’ online presence.
- SESSIONS: TBA
- Advance Submission Critique: Thriller, mystery, adventure, general fiction; up to 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
JUDY REEVES is a writer and educator with more than 20 years of experience as a workshop leader. She is the author of four books on writing, including A Writer’s Book of Days, named a “hottest book for writers” by Writer’s Digest magazine. The other books are Writing Alone, Writing Together, A Creative Writer’s Kit, and The Writer’s Retreat Kit. She teaches creative writing at UCSD Extension, holds private workshops, and speaks at writing conferences internationally. In addition to her work as a writer and writing provocateur, Judy co-founded The Writing Center, a nonprofit literary arts organization and is executive director of San Diego Writers, Ink. Her latest book, Wild Women, Wild Voices, is now out, from New World Library.
- SESSIONS: “Structure in Memoir: How to Reveal the Universal Story Inside the Personal Narrative,” “Tell Me a Story—Using the Techniques of Fiction to Craft a Compelling Memoir” and “Time in Memoir—A Chronology of Its Own”
- Advance Submission Critique: Memoirs, narrative non-fiction, women’s fiction; up to 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
MICHAEL R. SHEVOCK is a retired federal agent with twenty-eight years behind the badge. During his career, he enjoyed the experience of working a broad spectrum of case categories. Much of his law enforcement time was spent working undercover, where he formed long-term relationships with people who operate far outside of polite society’s norms. His background has enabled him to function as an instructor for a number of agencies, both in the US and overseas. He has taught sex crime investigations internationally.
- SESSIONS: “Writing for Real: Sex Crimes & Perversion”
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.
- SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER
- SESSIONS: “Plot vs. Character: What’s Driving Your Story?” and “The Storyteller’s Toolbox”
- 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. 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: “Applying Tension and Voice to First Pages,” “What Makes a Compelling Story” and Read & Critique
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Middle-grade fiction, mystery; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
Agents & Editors
AS OF 12/3/17
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 “Writing for Your Reader”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Mystery, suspense, thriller, police procedural; narrative non-fiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
KAITLYN JOHNSON is an agent with Corvisiero Literary, and a freelance editor with her own company, having earned her BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Excluding horror, thriller/suspense, Kaitlyn in interested in a broad range of fiction. In particular: upper middle grade, young adult, new adult and adult, fantasy, romance, most historical, and particularly unique contemporary with a “good grab,” and LGBT. She is not interested in nonfiction at this time.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Middle grade, YA/NA, contemporary, fantasy romance, LGBT and historical fiction (no horror, thriller/suspense); no 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: “Acorn Publishing: Exploring the Benefits of Hybrid Publishing” (with Jessica Therrien)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, all genres; first 10 pages, cover letter
DAMIAN MCNICHOLL is an agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary and author of the novels A Son Called Gabriel, Twisted Angels, and The Moment of Truth. In fiction, his interests are stories that hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial, historical and select offbeat/quirky. Nonfiction interests are memoir, biography, history, investigative journalism and current events especially cultural, legal as well as LGBT issues that can help lead to meaningful change in society.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Literary, commercial and historical fiction (no genre fiction); 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 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), 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
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, by Christian Picciolini, a former neo Nazi skinhead who changed his life. (Hachette, Dec 26, 2017.) Michael edits memoir, adult literary and commercial novels, YA and suspense/thriller.
- SESSIONS: “Instrumental Editing: The Process of Getting Out of Your Own Way“
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Adult literary and commercial fiction, YA/NA, suspense/thrillers; non-fiction: memoir; first 10 pages, cover letter
MARGARET O’CONNOR is an agent with Innisfree Literary, which she founded in 2011 after returning to New York following successful stints at AEI, the Gersh Agency and The Firm (which later became Renaissance Literary Management), on the West Coast, retaining all of her clients. Among her clients: Sarah-Jane Stratfor (Radio Girls), Jenna von Oy (Situation Momedy: A First-Time Mom’s Guide To Laughing Your Way Through Pregnancy & Year One), Damian McNicholl (The Moment of Truth), and Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather Notebook).
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial, literary, 20th century-based historical fiction; non-fiction: memoir, pop-culture, sports, and anything to do with cats, food, cookbooks and wine narratives; first 10 pages, double-spaced, 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: “Pitch Witches: Query Letter Critique” and “Pitch Witches: What’s Your Book About?” (with Marla Miller), “Backstory: Employing Expository Like a Screenwriter”
- 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: “Acorn Publishing: Exploring the Benefits of Hybrid Publishing” (with Holly Kammier)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, all genres; first 10 pages, cover letter
JANET F. WILLIAMS writes and edits both fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the self-help/communications book You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get: Proven Techniques to Get More Out of Life, named Best Specialized Instruction Book by Kirkus Indie, and selected one of their top 10 books of the year. She also writes lesbian romance and erotica under the pen name Zoe Amos, including her novella, Superior, and numerous inclusions in short story anthologies. Her website is janetfwilliams.com.
- SESSIONS: “7 Character Motivations You Need to Know” and “X-traordinary Sex Writing”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Women and commercial fiction, LGBT; Non-fiction: business; 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.