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 20, 2019. (Reader selection will open once the majority have been confirmed.)
Special Guest Speakers
LIZ FENTON & LISA STEINKE are the authors of The Two Lila Bennetts, out July from Lake Union Publishing. The writing team’s third psychological suspense, following 2017’s Amazon Charts bestseller The Good Widow and 2018’s Girls’ Night Out, Publishers Weekly declares it, “Intriguing … Chapters headed ‘captured’ and ‘free’ alternate, each describing a parallel reality … Along with two perfect endings, this satisfying thriller offers food for thought. Flawless pacing will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” Remaining the best of friend for 30 years, Liz and Lisa have also published three women’s fiction titles with Simon & Schuster/Atria Books. Your Perfect Life is a hilarious and heartwarming story of two childhood best friends who switch bodies at their twenty-year high school reunion. The Status of All Things is a cautionary tale of a woman who realizes she can change the course of her entire life by what she writes in her Facebook status. And The Year We Turned Forty follows three women who get the chance to relive the year they turned forty, a year they each made decisions that altered the course of their lives.
AUGUST NORMAN is the pen name of Norm Thoeming, author of Come and Get Me, his debut thriller from Crooked Lane Books in a two-book deal. In it, an intrepid journalist confronts a college town’s dark secrets while attempting to solve the mystery of a student’s disappearance. Publishers Weekly proclaims it, “Chilling … The skillfully rendered plot is full of page-turning action.” Booklist hails, “Norman’s debut is a solid purchase for mystery collections [and] a good recommendation for fans of strong female leads.” A champion of crime fiction, Norm is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Sisters in Crime. He has written for and/or appeared in movies, television, stage productions, web series, and even, commercial advertising.
KALI WALLACE is the author of Salvation Day, her first adult novel, published in a two-book deal with Berkley. Of it Library Journal effuses, “The tight plot and well-developed characters create an engrossing read.” And New York Times bestseller Steve Berry (The Malta Exchange) declares it, “More than a science fiction novel, it’s a good old-fashioned thriller set in the future–every page filled with breadth and scope and twists and turns. An exciting, dangerous, magical quest for truth.” Two young adult titles, Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees, along with City of Islands, a children’s fantasy adventure, preceded. Kali’s short fiction has appeared in a number of science fiction and fantasy magazines, including Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Lightspeed, and Tor.com.
JONATHAN YANEZ & JYNAFER ROSE YANEZ: The author of nearly four dozen novels spanning a variety of fantasy and science fiction series, Jonathan’s latest, Dropship: A Near Future Thriller, introduces readers to a new one that delves into the world of galactic cyberpunk. Following the release of his fifth traditionally published book, Jonathan elected to become an independent author, forming Archimedes Books with his wife Jynafer, who transitioned from handling multimillion dollar corporations to helping authors reach their goals, and is instrumental in managing and expanding the brand of their publishing operation. Jonathan’s established sci-fi series include the Gateway to the Galaxy, New Arilion Knights, and Pandora Experiment sci-fi series, as well The Elite, Archangel Wars, and Vampire Project fantasy series. He’s the winner of a Jack London Award for his contributions to literacy, and two of his series have been optioned for film. His latest work is currently under development being adapted into a mobile game.
Authors & Industry Experts
AS OF 8/6/19
WES ALBERS is Director of the Southern California Writers’ Conference. During the past twenty years he has worked extensively with writers ranging from aspiring newcomers to best-selling novelists. This has included repeated contact with literary agents, professional editors, and a range of other industry professionals to help develop, evaluate, and promote quality work. His own writing draws from three decades of active law enforcement starting with field work as a patrolman to leading investigators as a detective sergeant. He has significant experience as a hostage and crisis negotiator. New York Times best-selling author Gayle Lynds (The Book of Spies) hails Wes’s novel, Black & White,” “Gritty and rewarding…A top-notch cop novel.”
- SESSIONS: “How to Make the Most of the Conference,” No-Host Mixer, Introductions
GRETA BORIS is the author of a domestic suspense series based on the 7 Deadly Sins, which is being published by Fawkes Press in a rare seven-book deal. The first three titles, A Margin of Lust, The Scent of Wrath, and The Sanctity of Sloth are now out. She 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. Greta will be accepting advance submissions on behalf of her publisher, which is seeking fiction with series potential, especially cozy mysteries, young adult, and middle grade. She is the Director of O.C. Writers, a community of published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California.
- SESSIONS: “First Page, Lasting Impression: A Hands-On Revision Workshop” (with Megan Haskell)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Mystery, thriller, suspense, historical fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, young adult, and middle grade; first 10 pages (or multiple columns up to 15 pages), cover letter
TERESA BURRELL is the author of the popular, best-selling Advocate Series featuring Juvenile Court Attorney Sabre Brown. Her legal suspense series consists of ten novels, the latest of which is The Advocate’s Justice. She has also started a new mystery series from a spin-off character from book #6, The Advocate’s Felony, called Mason’s Missing. As an attorney in San Diego, Teresa maintained a private law practice for 12 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. Her marketing skills have afforded her a lucrative writing career and is the basis for her first nonfiction book called $0 to Six-Figures.
- 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
JENNIFER DORNBUSH‘s debut mystery, The Coroner, was released in 2018 by Crooked Lane. Library Journal calls it, “[A]n intense, riveting mystery.” “Emily is strong and competent, vulnerable and kind … Add a twisty plot, romance, and family drama and the result is this satisfying first-in-a-series mystery,” says Dawn Eastman, author of Unnatural Causes. A former journalist and teacher, she also earned a degree at the Forensic Science Academy in LA. Jennifer is a screenwriter and forensic consultant for TV shows such as Bull, Conviction, and Hawaii Five-O. She is a frequent speaker about crime fiction and forensics and a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Secret Remains: A Coroner’s Daughter Mystery is out January, 2020.
- SESSIONS: “Behind the Scenes of Crime Writing”
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 the international award-winning author of Game of Love (2015), and Ten Year Dance (2017), his critically-acclaimed second novel. Ara is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly 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. He is a public speaker and a workshop leader for the Southern California Writers’ Conference, Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and others. Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.
- SESSIONS: “Blast Off! Preparing Your Book Launch” (with August Norman), “Immaculate Conception: Your Story’s DNA,” “Front Story: Pouring the Foundation of a Powerful Tale” (with Janis Thomas) and “Story Beats: Your Story’s Pulse”
MEGAN HASKELL is the award-winning author of the dark fantasy adventure series, The Sanyare Chronicles, co-author of Aspiring to Author: A Guide for Your Publishing Career, and Program Director of O.C. Writers, a community of published and aspiring authors in Orange County, California. Called “a must read” by bestselling YA author, Sherry Ficklin, Sanyare: The Last Descendant (Book 1) received a Readers’ Favorite Bronze award and was an IAN Book of the Year Award Finalist in Adventure Fiction. Megan lives in Orange County, California with her husband, two young daughters, and one ridiculously energetic dog. You can find her online at MeganHaskell.com, OCWriters.Network, and Facebook.
- SESSIONS: “First Page, Lasting Impression: A Hands-On Revision Workshop” (with Greta Boris)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Science fiction, fantasy, commercial fiction; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
MELANIE HOOKS started out spinning tales on playgrounds as the perennial ‘new kid’ as an Army brat. These days she’s found new audiences in podcasts (Classic Movie Recall), journalism (Pasadena’s ColoradoBoulevard.net), TV writing (Quarterfinalist for NBC Universal’s ‘Writers on the Verge’) and screenwriting (‘Queen of Wishful Thinking’). She loves classic film, comedy, sci-fi/fantasy and historical fiction. Someday she will figure out how to merge Room with a View with Galaxy Quest … and it will blow your mind!
- SESSIONS: “Read, Critique & Live to Write Another Day” (with Laura Perkins) and Rogue Read & Critique: SciFi/Fantasy (with Laura Perkins)
LACEY IMPELLIZERI is Project Manager & Marketing Director of Acorn Publishing, a collective of award-winning, best-selling authors. She assists Acorn authors in the process of publishing their books, and helps them with 854 other things from designing websites to setting up social media accounts. Lacey has been writing since she was eight. In fourth grade, author Sarah Pennypacker spoke to her class. She told little Lacey if she wrote every day then she could be an author just like her, so Lacey picked up a pencil eleven years ago and hasn’t stopped since. She is working on completing her first novel and attends Grossmont Community College in San Diego.
- SESSIONS: “The Publisher Is In: Your Post-Conference Publishing Plan” one-on-one consultation (with Holly Kammiers); advance sign-up required; details
TOM JORDAN is an award-winning audiobook narrator and Audible Approved Producer who entered the world of professional voice acting in 1994. He has worked for dozens of clients in a broad variety of voiceover genres from commercials to E-learning, and everything in between. With years of corporate narration and podcast storytelling experience, Tom steered his talents toward audiobook narration and has found his true calling with this creative and infinitely-rewarding endeavor. He has dozens of audiobooks in Audible, with more coming every month, and is a 2019 Independent Audiobook Award winner for his performance of Gutter Medicine: Twenty-six Years as a Firefighter Paramedic, by Roger Huder.
- SESSIONS: “Writing Out Loud: The Ins and Outs of Audiobooks” (with Mary Vensel White)
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
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: “Write from the Heart: Igniting Your Creative Spirit”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Genre (sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, horror) and commercial fiction; aspirational & transformative nonfiction; first 10 pages double-spaced
AUGUST NORMAN 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: “Blast Off! Preparing Your Book Launch” (with Ara Grigorian)
MATTHEW J. PALLAMARY has 14 books in print, many translated into foreign languages and audio books. His historical novel Land Without Evil was adapted as a stage and light show. His distillation of 25 years of teaching experience, Phantastic Fiction: A Shamanic Approach to Story, earned First Place in the International Book Awards writing and publishing category. Matt’s memoir Spirit Matters 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, AfterLife, delves into the subject of life after death and his latest non-fiction book with an admittedly long title, The Center Of The Universe Is Right Between Your Eyes But Home Is Where The Heart Is, is his present best-selling study of shamanism, cognition, and perception.
- 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. Under the pen name Mercy Hollow, she is the author of the dark fantasy novels Scythe – Legions of the Claimed and the second book in the series Grim – Legions of the Claimed.
- SESSIONS: “Read, Critique & Live to Write Another Day” and Rogue Read & Critique: SciFi/Fantasy (both with Melanie Hooks)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fantasy, young adult, sci-fi, fiction; first 10 pages (or multiple columns up to 10 pages), cover letter
MARY ST. JOHN-PUTNAM spent the first part of her career in technology at organizations including NASA/JPL and Amazon. She enjoys interacting with people more than computers, so she switched from engineering to marketing in 2009, where she did video production, blogging, social media, writing, and technical training. She left corporate life in early 2019. Mary and her husband, retired cop turned bestselling author David Putnam, help authors tell and sell their stories. Mary does online media as well as hands-on grass-roots book promotions. She enjoys finding fun and creative was to get the word out, whether through technical online methods or graffiting the side of her house.
- SESSIONS: “Outside-the-Box Book Marketing”
DAVID PUTNAM‘s debut thriller, The Disposables, was hailed by Publishers Weekly as, “a fast-paced tale of idealism and corruption.” Michael Connely proclaimed, “It’s raw, powerful and eloquent … a gritty street poem recited by a voice unalterably committed to redemption and doing the right thing in a wrong world.” The continuing saga of ex-cop/ex-con Bruno Johnson’s violent life is further explored in The Replacements, The Vanquished, The Squandered, The Innocents, and latest installment, The Reckless, which New York Times best-selling author Lee Goldberg calls, “[A] police procedural that dazzles with authenticity, sharply-drawn characters, crackling dialogue, and insider details that only a real cop could bring to the page. Putnam can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Joseph Wambaugh and Michael Connelly.”
- SESSIONS: “Novel by the Numbers”
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) called its follow-up, Pursuit, “Compelling and complex. Just the way we like our thrillers.” The third book in the series, Duplicity, is out June, 2019. When not writing, Indy manages Media Fastlanes, which she founded, a company specializing in the creation, building and maintenance of clients’ online presence.
- SESSIONS: “Before the Book: Creating Your Online Persona”
- Advance Submission Critique: Thriller, mystery, adventure, general fiction; up to 10 pages double-spaced, 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: “Turning Moments into Memoir” and “Writing the Micro Memoir: Life in a Flash”
- Advance Submission Critique: Memoirs, narrative non-fiction, women’s fiction; up to 10 pages double-spaced
KAREN STEFANO is the author of What A Body Remembers: A Memoir of Sexual Assault and Its Aftermath, published by Rare Bird Books in 2019. Affirms Shelf Awareness, “Stefano’s memoir is raw and wrenching, but her solid, candid writing invites readers into this testament to her experience.” Karen also has written a short story collection, The Secret Games of Words, and a how-to business writing guide, Before Hitting Send. Her work has appeared in a number of magazines. She has a background as a lawyer with an MBA and has numerous years of litigation experience.
- SESSIONS: “Behind the Scenes of Crime Writing”
JANIS THOMAS is the author of such domestic suspense novels as All That’s Left of Me and What Remains True, and three critically acclaimed humorous works of women’s fiction—Something New, Sweet Nothings, and Say Never—as well as the mystery Murder in A-Minor. She has written more than fifty songs and two children’s books, which she created with her dad, is a passionate writing advocate, a popular workshop leader and speaker, and editor.
- SESSIONS: “Dialogue in Motion,” “Front Story: Pouring the Foundation of a Powerful Tale” (with Ara Grigorian) and “Make Me Give a Damn: Crafting Characters Readers Care For”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial and women’s fiction, romance, first 10 pages double-spaced; cover letter
CARL VONDERAU is the author of Murderabilia, his debut thriller now out from Midnight Ink. Kirkus Reviews declares it, “An explosive premise … and a clever solution.” And New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter (The Good Daughter) call is as, “[A] story that will lay a cold finger of dread on the back of your neck. Vonderau is a terrific writer who has written a terrific book.” A former banker, Carl has lived and worked in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and North Africa. He is a board member of the San Diego chapter of Sisters in Crime, and also helps nonprofits through the Social Venture Partners organization.
- SESSIONS: “Behind the Scenes of Crime Writing”
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. Her latest, Bellflower, is an experimental “novel-in-moments” that Scott Pack (Weightless Fireworks) declares, “A remarkable feat.” A graduate of the University of Denver and DePaul University, Chicago, Mary’s work has appeared in The Madison Review, Catapult, The Rumpus, The Write Launch, The Wisconsin Review, Author Magazine, and elsewhere. She is also a contributing editor at LitChat.com and owner of TypeEighteenEditing.com, a reader at Craft magazine, and new adjunct professor of writing at Concordia University in Irvine.
- SESSIONS:“Flash Fiction: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why You Should Write It” and “Writing Out Loud: The Ins and Outs of Audiobooks” (with Tom Jordan)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Contemporary fiction; first 10 pages double-spaced
Agents & Editors
AS OF 8/14/19
TARA GILBERT is an agent with Corvisiero Literary, which she joined in 2018 after interning at Entangled Publishing. A voracious reader with a broad range of tastes, she is looking to expand her list and is interested in adult, new adult, young adult, and upper middle-grade fiction in a variety of genres, including romance, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, and graphic novels.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Adult, young adult, new adult fiction, including anything LGBTQ+ ; first 10 pages, double-spaced, cover letter
MASHA GUNIC is an agent with Azantian Literary, where she started her career in publishing as an intern before holding internships at Red Fox Literary and Writers House. She worked as an editorial assistant at Abrams Books on the children’s side for two years. Her love for books across genres, as well as her desire to find and foster great talent, drove her to make the transition from editorial back to representation. Right now, Masha is only looking to acquire middle grade and young adult novels..
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Middle grade and young adult fiction, including horror, adventure and historical; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
WERONIKA JANCZUK is an agent with DFEO Literary, named after the agency’s founder Robert Diforio. Since 1989, the agency has contracted 2,000 plus titles and launched the careers of two hundred-plus authors, many of whom are award-winning and bestselling. Weronika looks to represent a wide array of fiction for adults and young adults, with a particular heart for fiction that hits the literary-commercial sweet spot across all genres. With nonfiction, she is looking to identify experts with different forms of experience, academic and personal, who can help give rise to projects that shape political, cultural, and social mindsets on different issues.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Literary, commercial & women’s fiction, fantasy & sci-fi, crime, mystery & thrillers, romance, young adult; Nonfiction: innovative ideas & research, projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, memoir; first 10 pages, double-spaced, cover letter –SOLD OUT
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 nonfiction; first 10 pages, double-spaced, cover letter
HOLLY KAMMIER is the co-owner of Acorn Publishing, a collective of award-winning, best-selling authors. A writer herself, Holly is a former journalist who has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and Channel 13 News in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon. The UCLA honor grad lives in her hometown of San Diego, close to her extended family and friends. She recently completed her third novel, Lost Girl, expected for release in early 2020. Holly is an avid reader with a passion for timeless books and gorgeous writing. She also enjoys long walks on the beach, pink peonies, and spending time with her family.
- SESSIONS: “Acorn Publishing: Exploring the Benefits of Hybrid Publishing” (with Jessica Therrien) and “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
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: “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
JOSEPH PERRY is founder and president of Perry Literary. After initially interning as a reader of nonfiction manuscripts at FinePrint Literary Agency, Joseph enrolled at St. John’s University School of Law to learn about the legal aspects of publishing and graduated with a juris doctorate in 2015. During law school, he interned in the legal departments at Hachette Book Group; Rodale, Inc.; and William Morris Endeavor, as well as the subsidiary rights department at Columbia University Press. Joseph also works as an associate editor at Thomson Reuters.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Literary & historical fiction, graphic novels, legal thrillers, and picture books; Narrative nonfiction (music, sports, pop culture, biography, politics, current affairs, medical, journalism, history, legal history, and travel), business books, self help, true crime, and more; 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 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,” “Content/Structural Editing—What It Is, When You Need It, and How to Prepare for It,” “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
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,” “Post Conference: Where Do You Go from Here?” and Rogue Read & Critique
- 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
CARLISLE WEBBER is an agent with Fuse Literary. She is looking for high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult, and is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial & women’s fiction, thriller, mystery, suspense, horror, middle grade & YA (any genre); first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
JANET F. WILLIAMS is a writer and freelance editor for both fiction and nonfiction. As a writing coach, she offers personalized instruction and guidance. She teaches creative writing at various venues in So. Cal. She is interested in editing YA and adult fiction, memoir, business, self-help, LGBTQ+, spiritual, and more. Janet 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 short stories under her pen name Zoe Amos, and has one YA novella, Superior. For more info please visit: janetfwilliams.com and gooddaymedia.com.
- SESSIONS: “7 Character Motivations You Need to Know” and “X-traordinary Sex Writing”
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial and women’s fiction, LGBT; Nonfiction: business; first 10 pages double-spaced
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.
- SESSIONS: “The Forest Gump Effect: Blending Fiction and Fact” and TBA
- 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.
- SESSIONS: “Bend Your Boundaries: Twisting Genres to Spin New Tales” and Read & Critique (Mystery, Sci-Fi, Fantasy)
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Science fiction, fantasy, mystery or any mix; horror and romance allowed, but only if they aren’t the main focus; adult or YA (no middle-grade or children’s); first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter