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, 2020. Advance Submission Reader selection opens beginning November.
Special Guest Speakers
ANITA HUGHES ABRIEL‘s writing career began at age eight, when she won a national writing contest in The Australian newspaper, and was named “One of Australia’s Next Best Writers.” Since 2012 she has published 14 novels spanning romance, holiday and women’s fiction, including Monarch Beach, Market Street, Rome in Love, White Sand, Blue Sea: A St. Barts Love Story, Emerald Coast–the film adaptation of which premiered on Hallmark this past July–California Summer, Christmas in London and Christmas at The Chalet. Christmas in Vermont is out from St. Martin’s in October. Her sweeping first historical, The Light After the War (Atria Books), is out February and is inspired by the remarkable true story of two Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust. Kristin Harmel (The Room on Rue Amelie) hails it, “A must-read for anyone interested in the emotional toll of the Second World War.”
TORI ELDRIDGE is the author of The Ninja Daughter, her debut novel and first book in the Lily Wong series. Inspired by her short story featured in Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2014, of it New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry (Rage) concludes, “Action-packed, devious, and with a lead character you’ll truly care about. This debut kicks ten kinds of ass—highly recommended!” While USA Today bestseller Jon Land (Caitlin Strong Series and Murder, She Wrote Series) effuses, “[A] riveting, rollicking, roller-coaster ride of a thriller … stunningly ambitious debut juggles sub-plots as deftly as it does cultures. As beautifully realized as it is emotionally wrought, The Ninja Daughter is both striking in its originality and shattering in its ultimate impact.” Tori’s short stories have been published in several anthologies, and her screenplay The Gift earned a semi-finalist place for the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowship.
ADALYN GRACE is the author of All the Stars and Teeth, her much anticipated debut novel, acquired by Macmillan in a pre-empt and expected to be one of the major YA fantasy releases of 2020. Of it, Entertainment Weekly proclaims, “This epic fantasy, which subverts gender stereotypes and expectations, has the potential to break out in the mold of [Tomi] Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, with its fresh take on themes on vengeance and coming-of-age.” Hafsah Faizal (We Hunt the Flame) calls it, “Vicious and alluring.” “A deliciously twisted fantasy that keeps your heart jumping from page to page,” effuses Starfish author Akemi Dawn Bowman. “Jam-packed with swashbuckling adventure, swoonworthy romance, and dark, lush magic,” lauds Christine Lynn Herman (The Devouring Gray). And Astrid Scholte (Four Dead Queens) concludes: “Beautiful and bloody. Vicious and charming. Dark and romantic. Let All the Stars and Teeth ensnare your heart and soul.”
NATHAN MAKARYK is the author of Nottingham (Forge Books), his debut novel. A daring re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend, giving voice to those history never mentioned and challenging who’s really a hero and a villain, Game of Thrones co-executive producer and writer Bryan Cogman calls the epic saga, “The most pleasurable reading experience I’ve had since first discovering George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.” “Refreshingly different … guaranteeing an appeal for fans of adventure-thrillers,” hails Booklist. And Forever Lost in Literature effuses, “Makaryk is a master at both creating charismatic characters that are neither fully good nor fully bad and at creating situations that have no right or wrong … all of which is done with a superb hand and in a manner that makes it impossible to stop reading.” A theater owner, playwright, director, actor and improv comedian, Nathan’s novel is based on his critically-acclaimed stage play, The Legend of Robin Hood.
Authors & Industry Experts
AS OF 11/18/19 (More To Be Announced)
NATHAN AGIN is an online marketing “authorpreneur” and WordPress veteran, specializing in dedicated website and audio book production for writers. As a coach and consultant, he helps writers choosing to narrate their own books to do so in a professional and engaging way. Also an actor, Nathan has performed on stage in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle, was in a Super Bowl commercial, and has been featured on TV and in films. On the narration front, he is the “voice” behind the articles of New York Times bestselling author Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) and blogger, who has a readership of 2+ million.
- SESSIONS: “Selling Your Book in the 21st Century: Social Media and Marketing for Authors” and “Writing Out Loud: The Ins and Outs of Audiobooks” (with Tom Jordan & Mary Vensel White)
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
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 include 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 her latest.
- SESSIONS: TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery, humor, columns; first 10 pages (or multiple columns up to 10 pages), cover letter
MATT COYLE is the author of the ongoing Rick Cahill Thrillers, the debut of which, Yesterday’s Echo, earned an Anthony Award for Best First Novel, San Diego Book Award for Best Published Mystery and the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Silver Award. Library Journal concluded of his sophomore effort, Night Tremors, “In this tale we find all the elements that garnered the first book such high praise: complex characters, snappy dialog, a fast-paced plot, and a clever blending of crime noir tropes with today’s culture.” New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box (Joe Pickett novels) called Dark Fissures, “An outstanding read!” Blood Truth and Wrong Light followed. His latest, Lost Tomorrows, is out December in hardback from Oceanview Publishing.
- SESSIONS: “Amateur and Professional Sleuths in Crime Writing” (with Carl Vonderau)
MELISSA FISCHER is a writer, civil engineer, pre- and peri-natal health volunteer, and biodynamic craniosacral practitioner-in-training. Melissa’s debut novel, The Advocacy, is a work of literary fiction released in November 2019 by her press, Kilometer Thirteen. Melissa experienced the writing of this novel as a dialogue with the evolving text, surrendering to obligations placed upon her by the story to grow as a person in order to receive and manifest what demanded its place on the page. Critical feedback from the writing community at SCWC over the past 10 years played an essential role in her development as a writer. She is excited to share her hard-won insights about writing and publishing. She loves learning from others and supporting them to reach their dreams. Melissa has two CD’s of spoken word, Rapp Live and Asklepios. Please visit: melissaannfischer.com.
- SESSIONS: “Separating Chaff from Wheat: Writing Fiction from Real-Life Experience,” “The Whole Shebang: What it Takes to Bring Your Book to Press”
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 periodic 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). 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. His most recent novel, 15 Days With You, is now out.
- SESSIONS: “Front Story: Pouring the Foundation of a Powerful Tale” (with Janis Thomas) and TBA
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 Nathan Agin & 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: TBA
BETHANY LOPEZ is a USA Today Bestselling author of more than thirty books. She is a lover of all things romance, which she incorporates into the stories she writes, no matter the genre. Her debut novel, Ta Ta for Now!, was self-published in 2011, when, by her own admission, she had absolutely no idea of what she was doing. Eight months later Bethany attended her first SCWC, took everything she learned, and got back to work. She published two more books in the Stories about Melissa young adult series in 2012, XOXOXO and Ciao, then turned to the new adult market with her Friends & Lovers Trilogy, Make it Last, I Choose You, and Trust in Me. Jumping genres yet again, Bethany released her first YA contemporary fantasy, Nissa: A Contemporary Fairy Tale, followed by an NA romance set in college, Indelible. Her Time for Love, Three Sisters Catering, The Lewis Cousins Series’–and others–followed, with her most recent addition being Frat House Confessions: Wes.
- SESSIONS: TBA
- Advance Submission Critique: Young adult, new adult, romance; first 10 pages double-spaced; up to 10 pages double-spaced
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: TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Horror, fantasy, transformative fiction; memoir, biography; first 10 pages double-spaced
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: TBA
- Advance Submission Critique: Memoirs, narrative non-fiction, women’s fiction; up to 10 pages double-spaced
JANIS THOMAS is the author of such domestic suspense novels as All That’s Left of Me and What Remains True, both with Lake Union, 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”
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: “Amateur and Professional Sleuths in Crime Writing” (with Matt Coyle)
NICHOLAS WELLS is the author of Luna the Lone Wolf, his debut young adult novel (written as Forest Wells) which follows a wolf, wrongly banished for life from his pack, who must overcome a frightening new world of trials and two-legged strangers in which he must reconnect with the alpha he was born to be in effort to survive. Nicholas’ short fiction, as well as several poems, appear in the 2015-2017 editions of the “Wolf Warriors” anthologies. Another short story can be found in the March/April 2019 issue of Kyanite Publishing’s collection of dragon tales.
- SESSIONS: TBA
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 Nathan Agin & Tom Jordan) and TBA
- 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 four works of middle grade historical fiction to date. The fourth installment in her Vietnam era Kids Like You series, Battle Lines, which follows Between the Lines, Beyond the Lines, and Broken Lines, is now out. 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: “Using Flaws to Deepen Character,” “What Makes A Story Compelling” and TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Middle-grade fiction, mystery; first 10 pages double-spaced
Agents & Editors
AS OF 11/11/19
LISA ABELLERA is an agent with Kimberley Cameron and Associates. She is open to upmarket and literary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, most speculative fiction except paranormal fantasy (no demons, angels, vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.), romance if an element or part of another genre, and all YA and middle grade fiction genres. While especially looking for stories by #ownvoices authors and writers from marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds. Lisa responds to well-crafted prose with strong hooks and high personal stakes, idiosyncratic and sympathetic characters, a tangible sense of place and lush world-building, multicultural aspects and emotionally-immersive fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships.
- SESSIONS: “Getting More Out of Social Media: New Ways to Query and Pitch Your Book” and “Introduction to Publishing: A Primer on Publishing and Querying Agents”
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Upmarket, literary, women’s and historical fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy and romance, YA and middle grade; first 10 pages, double-spaced; cover letter
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
AMANDA JAIN is an agent with Bookends Literary Agency. She began her career in publishing at W. W. Norton, where she spent seven years before pursuing a masters degree in history of the decorative arts. Amanda currently reps adult romance, mystery, women’s fiction, upmarket fiction, and science fiction & fantasy, with a special emphasis on historical fiction in all genres. She also represents narrative nonfiction, especially projects exploring the literary world, art history, material culture, archaeology, food history, social history, and popular science. She loves projects with a strong sense of place and those that create a completely immersive world. She is particularly interested in books that add something important to the conversation, that explore stories we haven’t yet heard, and that introduce new voices to our reading experience.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction and nonfiction; 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 “Suspense: Make it Work for You”
- 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: “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
JILL MARR is an agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, one of the most respected literary agencies in the U.S. Representing an impressive and eclectic client roster, SDLA has helped guide the illustrious careers of many best-selling authors in several genres, including Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Lisa See and Diane Mott Davidson and on the nonfiction side, Peter Irons, David Landes, Mike Davis, Chalmers Johnson and Susan Faludi, among others. Jill is interested in commercial fiction, especially women’s fiction, multi-cultural fiction, historic fiction, mysteries and thrillers. She is also looking for nonfiction in the areas of self-help, inspirational, memoir (she especially loves travel and foodie memoirs), parenting, history, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor and music.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, mystery; practical and narrative nonfiction; 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), ” TBA
- 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
MONICA ODOM is an agent with Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents a variety of nonfiction, literary and upmarket fiction, and illustrators. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. In nonfiction, she is interested in Advice/Relationships, Self-help/Self-Reflection, How-To, Crafting/Creativity, Food and Cooking, Humor, Pop Culture, Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty, Biography, Memoir, Narrative, Business, Politics and Current Affairs, History, Science, Social Studies, including topics of: identity, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, civil rights and social justice.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Literary and upmarket fiction (no genre fiction); nonfiction; 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. 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” (with Hooks) and Rogue Read & Critique: SciFi/Fantasy (with Melanie Hooks)
SARAH PHAIR is an agent with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, which she recently joined after having rep’d with Trident Media Group for six years. In fiction she focuses on books by women, for women, ranging from commercial, to upmarket and literary. If you would read it in your book club or take it on vacation, it might be a good fit for Sarah’s list. She particularly loves: family sagas, female friendship, complex psychological suspense, campus novels, anti-heroines, and a good love story. In nonfiction her areas of interest include feminist issues, millennial topics, pop culture, and anything about food. She is especially interested in projects analyzing the future of media consumption, how and what we eat, agriculture, and housing.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Adult market fiction; nonfiction; 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), TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, short stories; first 10 pages double-spaced, cover letter
DR. UWE STENDER founded the Triada US Literary Agency, and is a Full Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives. He is interested in all kinds of nonfiction and fiction. In nonfiction, he is pretty much open to any project, from memoir, pop culture, and health to how-to, gardening, history and everything in between, including nonfiction for children. In children’s fiction, he is looking for YA, and MG. In adult fiction, his tastes trend towards women’s fiction, psychological suspense, and Mysteries. As an immigrant to the USA himself, he is always eager to bring projects from underrepresented voices into the world.
- STATE OF THE AGENT PANEL
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Adult fiction, YA and MG; memoir, practical and narrative nonfiction; first 10 pages, cover letter
LAURA TAYLOR is an author and freelance editor, whose work has received endorsements from Pat Conroy, W.E.B. Griffin, and Stephen King. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her writing, including 6 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement, Reviewer’s Choice, and Career Achievement Awards, 2 Maggie Awards from GRW/RWA, 2 Golden Heart Finalist Awards (RWA), an RWA RITA Finalist Award, and a Golden Rose Award from the Gold Coast Chapter of RWA. Having sold over a million books in print, an additional 550,000 digital editions have been downloaded by e-book readers. Her novels feature sassy, strong-willed heroines and determined alpha male heroes. Her romance e-books include: Desert Rose, Midnight Storm, Heartbreaker, More Than Friends, Fallen Angel, Wilder’s Woman, Warrior Series Boxed Set, Moment By Moment, The Christmas Gift, Anticipation, Seduction, Surrender, Sublime, and the Love at the Beach Boxed Set.
- SESSIONS: “Indie Excellence: Glocalization and the Key to Survival” and Rogue Read & Critique (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
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
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: Write Using 6 Senses” and “The ABCs of LGBT+”
- 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 non-fiction 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: TBA
- ADVANCE SUBMISSION CRITIQUE: Commercial fiction, memoir, biography and poetry; first 10 pages double-spaced