Listed alphabetically by first name. View and purchase their books at our Online Bookstore.

Presenter Biography

Andrea Chmelik

Andrea Chmelik 

Andrea Chmelik is a writer, speaker and activist. Her short stories and essays have been published in anthologies, local press and online media. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel.

Andrea grew up in communist Czechoslovakia, a country that no longer exists. Bearing witness to changing regimes, and both the rise and crumbling of democracy, she is passionate about social activism and community engagement. In 2016, she co-founded Women's March San Luis Obispo, a women-led nonprofit organization advocating for equal rights and social justice.

As an inspirational public speaker, Andrea has given speeches, led workshops, and been a panelist for numerous organizations, including Central Coast Writers Conference, Ecologistics, Cal Poly Women in Business annual Women in Leadership conference, and Change the Status Quo social justice conference. As a content creator and communications professional, she crafts messaging that empowers women, amplifies diverse voices and encourages positive and peaceful action.

Andrea lives on the Central Coast of California with her husband, two kids and two cats. She believes in the power of storytelling, embraces humor, and remains an optimist at heart.

 Bryan Young

Bryan Young 

Bryan Young is an award-winning podcaster, journalist, filmmaker, and author. As a journalist, he writes regularly for StarWars.Com, Syfy, /Film, and HowStuffWorks, among others. He's also the founding editor and former editor-in-chief of the geek news site Big Shiny Robot!

As a filmmaker, he's written and directed features, short films, commercials, and any other sort of video you can imagine. Most notably, who produced two award winning documentary feature films, This Divided State (2005) and Killer at Large (2008), which he also co-wrote.

As an author, he's written a plethora of fiction and non-fiction. His first published work was co-scripting the comic book Pirate Club for Slave Labor Graphics and a Gamma Rae story for Image Comics.

Shortly after that, he self-published his first novel, the bestselling and critically acclaimed comedy Lost at the Con, about a drunken political journalist assigned to cover a sci-fi convention against his will.

After that, he released three novels with Silence in the Library publishing: the sci-fi pulp adventure Operation Montauk, the sci-fi western The Serpent's Head, and The Steampunk Tale of World War I The Aeronaut. They also published his non-fiction book A Children's Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination. Most recently, he wrote all the fiction for the officially licensed Robotech: The Macross Saga Roleplaying Game, including two short stories starring classic characters.

His next novel, BattleTech: Honor’s Gauntlet, is set in the BattleTech universe and is kicking off a whole new era of fiction in that beloved franchise. It comes out in July.

As a podcaster, he hosts two shows. Full of Sith is one of the highest rated podcasts covering the world of Star Wars in fandom and Fauxthentic History takes the fictional history of our favorite geeky stories and pretends it's real.

He teaches writing at conferences across the country and at the University of Utah in their Continuing Education Department. He’s also active with the League of Utah Writers. For the state-wide organization he has been named Historian and serves on the board of directors. He’s also president of the Salt City Genre Writers chapter of the League of Utah Writers.

You can subscribe to his monthly short stories on Patreon.

He is represented by Lane Heymont at The Tobias Literary Agency. 

 Chantelle

Chantelle Aimée Osman 

Chantelle Aimée Osman is the editor of Agora, an imprint of Polis Books. Agora focuses on crime fiction dealing with unique social and cultural viewpoints. Her inaugural line, launched in the fall of 2019, has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Lefty, Macavity and Strand Critics awards. The former Editor-in-Chief of RT Book Reviews Magazine and a freelance editor for over 10 years, and is an instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Authors at Large and LitReactor. Chantelle is the author of the non-fiction series on writing The Quick and Dirty Guides To… and has also published numerous works of short fiction in addition to serving as editor for several anthologies. Find her online at chantelleaimee.com and on Twitter @SuspenseSiren

 Chris Moore

Christopher Moore 

Christopher Moore is the author of 17 novels, including the international best-seller Lamb, Noir, and his latest, Shakespeare for Squirrels. He grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of a highway patrolman and a home appliance salesperson, and was a mediocre student and athlete in school. He attended Ohio State University where he studied anthropology; and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, where he studied ramen noodles and alcohol. Before publishing his first book, Practical Demonkeeping in 1992, Chris worked at a wide variety of jobs, including a grocery night stocker, roofer, insurance broker, radio DJ, hotel night auditor, photographer and waiter - all experiences he’s worked into his novels over the years.

Since selling Practical Demonkeeping, a “comedy of horrors”, Chris has gone on to write novels about Native American trickster gods, vampires, cargo cults, sea monsters, the life of Christ, whale researchers, French Impressionists, the job of death, Shakespeare, Medieval England, Venice, Christmas zombies, and San Francisco street life in the post-war 1940s -- all of which he researched extensively, traveling and studying all over the world.

Chris' last nine books have been New York Times bestsellers although he doesn’t get nominated for too many awards because no one is sure what he’s up to. His books are in print in 30 countries and all have been optioned or bought for film at one time or another, but none have yet made it to the screen. Chris lives in San Francisco with his wife of 20ish years.

Chryss Yost and George Yatchisin

Chryss Yost & George Yatchisin

Chryss Yost is a Santa Barbara Poet Laureate who served from 2013-2015. She was awarded the 2013 Patricia Dobler Poetry Prize, and many other honors including multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. She is the co-editor of Gunpowder Press , published by David Starkey, where she founded the Shoreline Voices Project. Her poems have been included in the most popular poetry textbooks in the country and widely anthologized elsewhere. Poems have appeared in Askew, The Hudson Review, Quarterly West, and Solo as well as other national and international publications. She teaches poetry at the Santa Barbara Music & Arts Conservatory.

George Yatchisin is the Director of Communications for the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara and the author of the chapbook Feast Days (Flutter Press 2016) and the full length The First Night We Thought the World Would End (Brandenburg Press 2019). His poems have been published in numerous journals including Antioch Review , Askew , and Zocalo Public Square . He is the co-editor of the
anthology Rare Feathers: Poems on Birds & Art (Gunpowder Press 2015), and his poetry appears in several anthologies including California Fire & Water: A ClimateAnthology (Story Street Press 2020) Reel Verse: Poems About the Movies (Everyman's Library 2019), and Clash by Night (City Lit Press 2015).

As a journalist he has worked for outlets like KCET Food Blog, Sunset , Santa Barbara Independent, and Edible Santa Barbara . His work also appears in the anthology I’ll Tell You Mine: Thirty Years of Nonfiction from the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program (University of Chicago Press 2015). Yatchisin has a MFA and MA/W from the University of Iowa and a MA from the Johns Hopkins University.

Claudia Makeyev

Claudia Makeyev

Claudia Makeyev is a marine biologist, artist, and writer. She has published several mermaid scientist coloring books with a few more in the pipeline. Claudia studied Art and Biology at UC Santa Barbara and then went off to New England to get her masters degree at The University of Rhode Island researching fisheries related bio-economic modeling of Marine Protected Areas. She has been a Research Fisheries Biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA, the Executive Director of her own 501(c)3 devoted to marine science education and now works happily as an Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife doing marine outreach, education, and scientific illustrations. Her drawings and writings are scientifically accurate and show off the extraordinarily beautiful underwater world from Anemone to Zooxanthellae. 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mermaidscientist/?hl=en

 Danny Manus

Danny Manus

Danny Manus is an in-demand script consultant and CEO of No BullScript Consulting, and was ranked in the “Cream of the Crop” Script Consultants by Creative Screenwriting Magazine. He is the author of “No BS for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective” and was also named one of Screencraft’s “25 People Screenwriters Should Follow on Twitter.”

His clients include finalists and winners of numerous prestigious contests including the ABC/Disney Fellowship, Austin Film Festival, PAGE Awards, Nashville Film Festival, and Scriptapalooza. He has worked with over 2,000 writers and has consulted on produced projects including Strangerlands, starring Nicole Kidman, I, Frankenstein, starring Aaron Eckhart, and In-Lawfully Yours, starring Marilu Henner. In 2017, he was a Consulting Producer on the TV pilot Millennial Rules, starring Olivia D’Abo.

Danny has taught seminars and workshops at Austin Film Festival, Producer’s Guild of America, Screencraft’s Writers Summit, Atlanta Film Festival, NY Film Academy, LA Film School, Great American Pitchfest, Kansas City Film Festival, Screenwriting Expo, Oklahoma Film & Music Conference, Florida Writer’s Conference, The World Series of Comedy, Santa Fe Screenwriting Conference, Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Las Vegas Writers Conference, Scriptwriters Network, Sherwood Oaks College, etc., and to groups across the country. He’s appeared as a guest on BBC Radio, Film Courage, and popular podcasts including IndieFilmHustle, Sell Your Script, Write Hot, and On the Page.

Danny is also a screenwriter and was a Development Consultant for Symerra Productions. He was previously the Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions (A Cinderella Story) where he sold the family adventure project “To Oz” to United Artists, and was instrumental in developing numerous projects including Sydney White, starring Amanda Bynes and Just Add Water, starring Dylan Walsh, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Melissa McCarthy, and Danny DeVito.

Danny was also a Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures (Lovelace), which had a deal with Millennium Films, and the Director of Development for Sandstorm Films, formerly run by writer/director J.S. Cardone, which had a first look deal at Sony Screen Gems and a development deal with Top Cow Comics. He was instrumental in developing a number of films for the company including the #1 Box Office hit The Covenant, as well as 8MM2, and Sniper 3. Danny interned at Columbia Tri-Star in the Television Development department and at 20th Century Fox Casting.

Danny has taken over 3500 pitches, written over 250 articles on writing for numerous websites and publications including ScriptMag, and has been a judge for PAGE Awards. Raised on Long Island, NY in an amusingly dysfunctional household, Danny holds a B.S. degree in Television with a concentration in Screenwriting from Ithaca College.  You can find him ranting on Twitter @Dannymanus.

Dare Williams

Dare Williams 

A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, Dare Williams is a Queer HIV-positive poet, artist, rooted in Southern California. He has received fellowships from John Ashbury Home School and The Frost Place. Dare’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a two-time finalist for Blood Orange Review’s contest. His work has been featured in Cultural Weekly, Bending Genres, THRUSH and Exposition Review. He is currently working on his first poetry collection.  

Dayna Bennett

Dayna Bennett 

Dayna Bennett is a writer and educator and serves on the advisory board for CCWC. Her articles on education have been featured in local press and she shares thought pieces and personal essays on her blog. AllThatIsNext.com. Dayna’s first novel, A Light Left Behind, is a contemporary romance with hints of the supernatural.  

Donald Hewitt

Donald H Hewitt

Donald H Hewitt is a working screenwriter and WGA member with 20 years of industry experience. Over the last 10 years, Donald has also been a passionate and dedicated screenwriting instructor using his extensive experience to guide students to success. Not only do Donald's students consistently place highly in contests, (including winner Johan Ingler, whose script Frankie & Chair is now in production) but many of them have gone on to sell their projects. In fact, just this last year, 4 students have sold 5 projects. Donald has also had the privilege of working with some of the top producers in the industry, such as: David Heyman, John Lasseter, Peter Chernin, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Charles Roven and Alex Gartner.

Mr Hewitt is also available for one-on-one screenwriting coach via his website: ScreenwritingCoachLA.com

Doug Richardson

Doug Richardson 

Doug Richardson was born in Arcadia, California. The son of a career politician, Doug did most of his growing up on a small ranch in the rural foothills outside Sacramento. He was twelve when he discovered his father’s collection of Ian Fleming’s James Bond paperbacks on a shelf in his parent’s converted garage. What followed was a teenage obsession with the film series and then cinema in general.

Though Doug attended The USC School for Cinematic Arts with ambitions to become a movie director, while there he discovered his affection for writing screenplays. After leaving USC, Doug directed a few educational films, but his sights remained set on Hollywood. After reading some of his first screenplays, Warner Brothers offered Doug a two-year contract—one of the last “paid by the week” studio writer gigs.

In 1989 20th Century Fox hired Doug to adapt Walter Wager’s novel 58 Minutes into the first sequel to the hit franchise Die Hard. In 1990, it was released as Die Hard 2, Die Harder. Around the same period, Doug and his one-time writing partner, Rick Jaffa, garnered national attention when their spec screenplay, Hellbent…and Back was the first in Hollywood to sell for a million dollars. Doug has since written and produced feature films including the box office smash Bad Boys (1995), Money Train (1995), and Hostage (2005). In 2004 Doug produced the comedy Welcome to Mooseport.

While in between movie projects, Doug managed to finish his first novel, Dark Horse. The political thriller was published in 1997 by Avon/Morrow, who released Doug’s second novel True Believers two years later.

While Doug continues to work in Hollywood developing motion pictures and TV pilots, he finds writing novels provides him the greatest satisfaction and reward. 2011’s The Safety Expert marked Doug’s return to penning novels and is his first modern-day L.A. Noir thriller.

Blood Money  (2013) is the first of Doug’s Lucky Dey Thriller Series. With his “uncanny ability to glimpse into the brutality and instability not only of the criminal mind, but also a darkness in the heroes” (IndieReader), Doug winds readers through a sinister L.A. landscape where unlikely worlds intersect to create a stew of tension and suspense. Lucky Dey Thrillers have continued with 99 Percent Kill, Reaper, American Bang, The Night is Never Black, and Hip Slick and Dead.

In addition to writing for the screen and print, Doug has posted years of his weekly blogs on his website, dougrichardson.com, where he shares personal anecdotes and insight from his thirty-year showbiz career. The first collection of his blogs, The Smoking Gun: True Tales from Hollywood’s Screenwriting Trenches was published in 2015.

While not behind his computer Doug enjoys hitting little white balls towards faraway holes, fine cigars, cooking, and a smooth glass of scotch on the rocks.

Eldonna Edwards

Eldonna Edwards 

Eldonna Edwards is a beloved writing instructor, keynote speaker, and best-selling author. Her award-winning novel THIS I KNOW won over the hearts and minds of readers everywhere and was a Delilah Book Club selection. In her second novel, CLOVER BLUE, Eldonna once again explores themes of otherness and belonging, and the true definition of home. Bookpage describes Eldonna’s writing as “Good storytelling that will pull you in from the beginning and never let go.” She is also the subject of the award-winning documentary "Perfect Strangers" that follows one kidney patient and one potential kidney donor in their search for a possible match. Her memoir LOST IN TRANSPLANTATION chronicles this life-changing decision.“Luminous Stories, Unlikely Heroes.” Eldonna taps into her right/left brain careers as a Realtor and a Massage Therapist to create stories with humor and heart. She enjoys facilitating interactive workshops where participants receive hands-on instruction and support in storytelling, editing, querying, and marketing. Eldonna lives and writes in a tiny pink house on the beautiful central coast. Rep’d by Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Hoffman & Assoc

Fauzia Burke John Burke

Fauzia and John Burke 

Fauzia Burke, author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online book publicity firm, co-founder of Pub Site, a platform for building author websites, and a consultant and coach for authors who need help navigating the book marketing and publicity landscape. Before starting FSB, she worked for book publishers, Henry Holt and John Wiley. Fauzia has promoted books by authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. She is based in San Diego, California.

For more information visit, www.fsbassociates.com
For more information on Pub Site visit, www.pub-site.com

Felecia Slattery

Felicia Slattery

Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed., is a #1 best-selling author of six books, an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning speaker, and has happy clients, customers, and subscribers in 81 countries around the world. Featured in Success Magazine, Inc. Magazine, on the BBC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, and CNN, she is responsible for more than 8,000 presentations she has either delivered, written, coached, or/or been paid to judge in her career spanning multiple decades. Felicia Slattery works with experts, entrepreneurs, CEOs, business leaders, and celebrities to help them connect with people on a human level, build relationships from the stage, online, and in person, and to enjoy more effective communication professionally and personally. She has been a radio show host, and continues to be a popular podcast guest, in-demand speaker, and communication consultant with creativity and a heart for service. As a cancer survivor, Felicia’s enthusiastic passion for communication is contagious because she knows that one important message delivered with power can transform a life. 

Twitter: @feliciaslattery

Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips has published various novels, comics, short stories and edited or co-edited several anthologies including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen stories of Conspiracy Noir.  Recently, he co-wrote the prose adaptation of the classic Batman vs. Joker graphic novel The Killing Joke and was a story editor on “Snowfall,” an FX show about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central where he grew up. His latest novel is Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem

Janice Konstantinidis

Janice Konstantinidis 

Janice is a poet with a fascination for fixed form verse. She is currently writing a memoir; she enjoys writing short stories.  Janice was born in Tasmania, Australia.  She retired to the Central Coast of California in 2005.

Janice’s poems have been published in literary magazines over the past several years. She won first and two second places for poetry and fiction in the Lillian Dean writing contest in 2014.

Janice draws inspiration from her past and nature. She has deep regard and sense of the transience of life.

Janice’s years in a Magdalene Laundry, are documented in the book Shaped by Silence, by Rie Croll, ISER Books, 2019, ISBN 978-1-894725-53-8

Janice’s published articles, poems and artwork include:  

  • Words of Beak. Janice Konstantinidis and Lorraine Flakemore 2019
  • Life in “The Mag”, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society, Volume 34 Journal Article (2013) ISSN: 0084-7259
  • The Turning of the Tide, Poem, Sagacious Illumination Literary Magazine, October 2017
  • Curtains in the Morning, Poem, Sagacious Illumination Literary Magazine, August 2017
  • Cover Art Drawing, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, Friday’s Poems, May 4, 2018
  • Swirly Skirt of Skins, Poem, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, Friday’s Poems, December 28, 2018
  • For Johnny, Eulogy Poem, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, Friday’s Poems, April 28, 2017
  • Losing My Daughter, Forced Adoptions History Project, National Archives of Australia

Academic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Letters in English Literature
  • Graduate Diploma in Education

Jason Mirch

Jason Mirch 

Jason Mirch is a feature film and television producer and executive with over 15 years of experience. Jason also serves as the Director of Script Services at Stage 32 where he works directly with screenwriters, filmmakers, and leading industry executives.  

In addition to his work with Stage 32, Jason runs production and development for a company which produced low-budget genre pictures for an international audience, as well as serves as a business advisor to a successful post production vfx company which contributed to The Peanut Butter Falcon, Crawl, Martin Scorsese's Silence, Arctic, and Let them Talk for Steven Soderbergh and HBO.  

Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Emmy-winner Christopher Lloyd, Oscar-winner Mel Brooks, Emmy-winner Kenan Thompson, and Emmy-winner Carol Kane.  

Mirch was the Head of Feature and Television Development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of Flight, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Contagion, Careful What You Wish For, Ghost Rider 2, and 100 Foot Journey.​ 

Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Storyline Entertainment (Oscar-winning Chicago, Footloose, The Bucket List) where he developed a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime.

He has lectured on all areas of filmmaking, speaking on panels at the Producers Guild of America, Austin Film Festival, the Harvard Screenwriting Group, American Film Market, University of Southern California Film School, Chapman University School of Film & Television, NYU, as well as several international film festivals and markets. In addition, he has consulted brands, including Burberry and Creative Artists Agency. 

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman 

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman is Senior Editor for Script magazine and Writer’s Digest and has a regular column on Script entitled “Balls of Steel where she chronicles her fearless journey as a screenwriter as well as shares stories of other writers in the trenches. She also writes the “Take Two” column in Writer’s Digest print magazine, giving tips on screenwriting.

A graduate of Cornell University, she’s written several spec scripts, including an Expo Screenplay Competition Finalist script — the adaption of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, with its author, Douglas A. Blackmon, former senior national correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, which also was selected as one of the Top 25 in Tracking Board’s Feature Launch Pad Competition. The 10-hour limited series version of the same project is a PAGE Awards TV Pilot Drama Finalist as well as semi-finalist in Sundance Episodic Labs, and quarterfinalist in both Slamdance and Script Pipeline. The book — an exposé of how slavery didn’t end with the Civil War but was resurrected by businessmen and plantation owners by finding a loophole in the 13th amendment and preserved for seven decades after the Emancipation Proclamation — has already dramatically revised conventional American history. It was a New York Times Best Seller and has been reprinted more than a dozen times. A documentary based on the book appeared on PBS in 2012. This 10-hour limited series is a dark piece of our country’s history that needs to be told. It’s impossible to read this story and not have a better understanding of the racial divide, even today.

Her writing has been selected as a Creative Screenwriting Expo Finalist, PAGE Awards TV Pilot Finalist, Top 25 Tracking Board Launch Pad, Semi-Finalist Sundance Episodic Lab, Quarterfinalist in Final Draft Big Break, Slamdance and Script Pipeline. She’s also been selected as Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition Second Rounder and the DC Women in Film’s Spotlight on Screenwriters.

Twitter is her wheelhouse and where she co-founded ScriptChat, a screenwriting chat for screenwriters to come together to learn… with no ego.  She also co-founded #WritersStrong, where she inspires screenwriters and novelists to get words on the page.

Beyond writing, Jeanne lectures at conferences and events on effective social media use for authors as well as the importance of facing fears, inspiring people to pursue their dreams. Jeanne is available for individual consultations as a “Screenwriter Therapist” to help writers understand what’s blocking them from achieving success as well as consulting with novelists to understand the complexities of Hollywood and adaptations.

Self-described “writer of things,” Jeanne writes anything from blog posts, articles, novels, short stories, screenplays, and beyond.

Follow @jeannevb on Twitter and @jeannevb_ on Instagram.

Jim Azevedo

Jim Azevedo 

Jim Azevedo is the marketing director at Smashwords, the largest distributor of self-published ebooks. Since 2008, Smashwords has helped more than 146,000 authors, publishers and literary agents around the world release over 526,00 titles and distribute their work globally to top ebook retailers, subscription services and public libraries. Jim, a convert from Silicon Valley's tech industry, earned his “indie cred” from 18+ years of drumming, recording and touring with an indie rock band. In his spare time, Jim is a certified nutrition coach. Follow Jim on Twitter: @Smashwords or @jazzervedo

Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestseller, 5-time Bram Stoker Award winner and Inkpot winner; author, anthology editor, comic book writer, executive producer, and editor of Weird Tales Magazine 

Jordan Rosenfeld

Jordan Rosenfeld 

Jordan is author of the suspense novels Women in RedForged in Grace and Night Oracle as well as the writing guides, How to Write a Page TurnerWriting the Intimate CharacterWriting Deep Scenes (with Martha Alderson),  A Writer’s Guide to Persistence: How to Create a Lasting & Productive Writing Practice , Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time, and, with Rebecca Lawton, Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life. 

Jordan’s articles, essays and short fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in such publications as The Atlantic, AlterNet, The Billfold,  DAME, Eating Well, Daily Beast, GOOD Magazine, Full Grown People,  Literary Mama, , mental_floss, Modern Loss, Quartz, The New York Times, Ozy, Pacific Standard, Publisher’s Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, The Writer, Writer’s Digest and You, Inc. Her book commentaries have appeared on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio.

Jordan holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from the Hutchins School. She is the creator and former host of  Word by Word: Conversations with Writers, on KRCB radio, a radio program interviewing well-known writers such as TC Boyle, Louise Erdrich and others, which won an NEA Chairman’s grant in 2004.

 

Joshua Corin

Joshua Corin

Joshua Corin is the author of six novels, mostly recently the thriller AMERICAN LIES (Random House 2019) and multiple comic books, mostly recently SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL (Marvel 2018). He lives in Atlanta, GA.  

Kathryn Blanche

Kathryn Blanche

In addition to writing, Kathryn can also be found traveling around the world, working in the theatre, and indulging her love of martial arts and stage combat. Kathryn finds that training in historical fencing as well as stage combat improves her ability to describe fights in her books, and clears her mind. She has trained with professionals from Los Angeles to New York, and even as far away as London, and Moscow.

She has also hiked through the rainforest of Costa Rica, climbed the Alps in Italy, seen the oldest standing man-made structure in the world, and explored long-silent battlefields in Scotland. While she has spent much of the last few years traveling and writing, she is always looking forward to her next adventure.

When she finally returns home to California, Kathryn often spends her time with family and friends, catches up on the latest Scifi and Fantasy films, and supports local theaters. She owes her love of reading to her father, who introduced her to the fantasy genre when she was six years old and has constantly had her nose stuck in a book ever since. 

Katya Cengel

Katya Cengel 

Katya Cengel has written for New York Times Magazine and Washington Post among other publications and teaches journalism at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is the author of “Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life” (Nebraska, 2012), “Exiled: From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to California and Back” (Nebraska, 2018) and  “From Chernobyl with Love: Reporting from the Ruins of the Soviet Union” (Nebraska, 2019). Cengel has been awarded grants from the International Reporting Project, International Women’s Media Foundation, and International Center for Journalists.  

Kerra Bolton

Kerra Bolton  

Kerra Bolton is a writer and documentary filmmaker. She specializes in personal narratives and character-driven, nonfiction storytelling to explore the urgent issues of our times

An award-winning writer with a global reach, Kerra contributes to digital outlets such as: CNN, Sweatpants & Coffee, New Worlder, Building a New Reality, and Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel.

Kerra creates at the intersection of race, politics, and popular culture. Her article about Janelle Monáe and Beyoncé developing a new iconography for Black women was named in 2018 one of CNN’s top culture stories of the year. An article she wrote comparing Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time to a political act was translated in Spanish for CNN Español.

She chronicled the work of a clinic in one of South Africa’s seven Black homelands grappling with the HIV/AIDS crisis. Her newspaper series documenting the impact of U.S. immigration on Mexican small towns and cities won the New York Times Award for Outstanding Journalism. Kerra has also documented the efforts of a small, central Honduran town to rebuild after a hurricane devastated the area.

As a filmmaker, Kerra specializes in narrative change, which integrates documentary storytelling, community organizing, and interactive learning experiences. Detroit Rising is a five-part docuseries that chronicles Black-led efforts to repair harm, restore relationships, and build social capital throughout the city’s sectors. Return of the Black Madonna is a feature documentary that follows Kerra’s quest to learn to swim, dive, and map sunken slave ships.

Kerra’s first job in journalism was as an administrative assistant in the Photography Department of National Geographic magazine.

SOCIAL LINKS

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio is the author of seven poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry: The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius. Her poetry collection Tell Me was a finalist for the National Book Award. She also has two word/music CDS: Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing (with Susan Browne) and My Black Angel, the companion to My Black Angel: Blues Poems and Portraits, a collaboration with woodcut artist Charles D. Jones. Her poetry has been translated into several languages including Spanish, Arabic, Italian, and Hungarian. Collections have been published in Spain, Mexico, Lebanon, and the UK. Addonizio’s awards include two fellowships from the NEA, a Guggenheim, two Pushcart Prizes, and other honors. Her latest books are a poetry collection, Mortal Trash (W.W. Norton), and a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life (Penguin). A new book of poems, Now We’re Getting Somewhere, is forthcoming

Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Laure-Anne Bosselaar 

Laure-Anne Bosselaar is the author and of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, and Small Gods of Grief, which was awarded the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry. Her third poetry collection, A New Hunger, was selected as an ALA Notable Book in 2008.  Sungold Editions published her chapbook Rooms Remembered in 2018.  Her fifth collection, These Many Rooms is just out from Four Way Books.

She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have appeared in reviews such as The Washington Post, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, AGNI,  Harvard Review, and many others. Garrison Keillor read four of her poems on NPR’s The Writers’ Almanach, and her poems have also been widely anthologized and published in school textbooks.

She is herself the editor of four anthologies: Night Out: Poems about Hotels, Motels, Restaurants and Bars; Outsiders: Poems about Rebels, Exiles and Renegades; Urban Nature: Poems about Wildlife in the Cities; and Never Before: Poems About First Experiences.

She taught at Emerson College, at the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College, and at UCSB, as well as at many conferences such as The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA; the Frost Place Poetry Festival; the Palm Beach Poetry Festival; The Santa Barbara Writers Conference; and the Central Coast Writers Conference.

She was awarded a Fellowship at the Breadloaf Writers' Conference, and was a Writer in Residence at The Vermont Studio Center as well as at Hamilton College, New York.  She was the McEver Chair for Visiting Writers at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, Georgia. 

She and her late husband, the poet Kurt Brown, completed a book of translations from Flemish poet Herman de Coninck: The Plural of Happiness.

She is a member of the founding faculty at the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College, and offers private mentoring and poetry editing services. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA. 

Linda Aronson

Linda Aronson

Linda Aronson is one of the great and important voices in screenwriting’  Linda Seger

One of the busiest screenwriting gurus on the international circuit, multi-award-winning scriptwriter, novelist and playwright Linda Aronson is widely regarded as the  leading international expert in how writers can construct film, TV series, games and VR scripts that  don’t fit the conventional linear, chronological one-hero three-act model, but instead, use nonlinearity, flashback, and Pulp-Fiction style multiple fractured storylines.  She shows how films like Pulp Fiction, Inception, Atonement,  21 Grams and many more all work to patterns based on multiplying, fracturing and reconstructing multiple three act structure stories in very specific ways . 

Recently, out of her own extensive TV writing experience, she has been giving masterclasses to senior TV writers in Europe on how to use nonlinear story arcs to encourage binge viewing in long form TV series and talking on future storytelling to games creators.  Her work is endorsed by international experts like Linda Seger, Christopher Vogler and many more.  In the London Screenwriters’ Festival 2017 she and Christopher Vogler, author of The Writer’s Journey, were billed in a friendly session entitled (tongue in cheek) ‘Clash of the Titans’.

Linda's books on scriptwriting (The 21st Century Screenplay, Screenwriting Updated) are required reading at film schools all over the world (including Tisch at NYU, Berkeley, London University etc)  and are translated into Polish and Czech. She regularly teaches internationally for professional organisations and film schools.  These have included NYU, Columbia, UC at Berkeley, American Film Institute, UK National Film and TV School (NFTS), Goldsmiths’, Great American Pitch Fest, Royal Holloway, London Screenwriters’ Festival, The Script Factory London, BBC TV Drama Writers’ Festival, FAMU (Prague), DFFB Germany, Sources 2 (Berlin),   Netherland Film and TV Academy, CEEA Paris, Swedish Film Institute, Story Film School, Gotland, Sources 2, Finland,  BBC TV Northern Ireland (UK )  Northern Ireland Film Festival, drehbuchFORUM , Austria, Danish National Film School, Norwegian Film Institute, South Africa Writers’ Guild, Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School (BFM) Estonia, UTS, RMIT Australia, University of Southern Denmark,  New Zealand Film Commission, Gothenburg Film Festival, UCLA Accredited Screenwriting Intensive, FAS/Screen Training Ireland (Dublin,) London College of Communications, UK) Scottish Screen Academy (Edinburgh UK), City University (London), Northern Film School Leeds (UK), University of Salford (UK)  Warsaw Film School (Poland), Filmpool Nord (Luleå, Sweden), Monash South Africa, , Screen Producers Association of Australia, Open Channel (Australia) RMIT (Australia) Writers Guild, Australia, South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC), DMA (Singapore) and more.

She is also a professional writer of over thirty years' experience with awards as a scriptwriter, playwright and novelist (Kostas, Singles, Dinkum Assorted, Reginka’s Lesson, The Fall Guy, The Young Wife, Butterfly Island, GP etc ). Her young adult fiction (Kelp, A Comedy about Love Seaweed and Rupert Murdoch; Rude Health, Plain Rude, Naturally Rude) is published in nine languages.  She has judged the Emmys and many film and script competitions.  She has also written a very popular ebook on TV writing, Television Writing: The Ground Rules of Series, Serials and Sitcom.  Currently, wearing her writer's hat, she is writing writing/editing/producing new generation emotionally-immersive VR films that marry multiple nonlinear plotlines with a wide range of new VFX digital effects. Her most recent VR project, Ransom, while still only in synopsis form,  was shortlisted in the Virtelio International VR Narrative Film Script Competition in Paris, the world’s first script competition for VR films.

For a video of Linda speaking at the London Screenwriters’ Festival

Lolis Eric Elie

Lolis Eric Elie 

Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans born, Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker.

Most recently, he joined the writing staff of the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle. Before that, he wrote for the OWN series Greenleaf and the HBO series Treme. Working with the award-winning director Dawn Logsdon, Lolis co-produced and wrote the PBS documentary, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. His essay, “America’s Greatest Hits,” is included in Best African American Essays: 2009.

A former columnist for The Times-Picayune, Lolis is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and co-producer and writer of Smokestack Lightning: A Day in the Life of Barbecue, the documentary based on that book. He is also the editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing.

A contributing writer to The Oxford American, his work has appeared in Gourmet, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Downbeat and The San Francisco Chronicle

Twitter: @LolisEricElie

Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson

Luke Johnsons lives on the California Coast with his wife and three kids. His poems can be found in Kenyon Review, Narrative Magazine, Florida Magazine and elsewhere. He was a Finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, and his chapbook, :boys, was released by Blue Horse Press in 2019.  

Lynne Thompson

Lynne Thompson 

Lynne Thompson is the author of Start With a Small Guitar and Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. In 2018, Jane Hirshfield selected her manuscript Fretwork as the winner of the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. Thompson’s recent work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, New England Review, Pleiades, American Poetry Journal, and the 2020 Best American Poetry anthology, among others. Thompson serves on the Boards of Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Maria Rogers

Maria Rogers 

Originally hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Maria graduated from Kenyon College before cutting her teeth in publishing as an intern at Writers House. She went on to work as an editorial assistant at W.W. Norton & Co. and later as an editor at Scholastic. Over the course of her publishing tenure she has worked on behalf of Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award winners, Guggenheim fellows, PEN/Hemingway Award winners, and New York Times best sellers. 

Marie Lamba

Marie Lamba 

Marie Lamba is a Literary Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in NYC (jdlit.com), where she represents fiction and non-fiction picture books, middle grade, YA and adult works, plus memoir. Marie is also author of the picture books Green Green: A Community Gardening Story (Farrar Straus Giroux), and A Day So Gray (Clarion), and of the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head, and Drawn. Her articles are in more than 100 publications, and she’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. She has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, and a book publicist, and has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion. You can follow her blog at her website marielamba.com, follow her on Twitter @marielamba, and like her Facebook page: Marie Lamba, Author

Mark Parsons

Mark Parsons 

Mark has been writing professionally for over 20 years (magazine articles, nonfiction books, and novels). His debut YA novel was named to ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults list, and his latest YA novel is coming Spring 2022 from Random House. 

 

Twitter: @MarkHParsons
Facebook: Mark.Parsons.733

Meagan Friberg

Meagan Friberg 

After years of working fulltime as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Meagan Friberg took her experience and knowledge to create her freelance writing business.

Since transitioning to the freelance life, Meagan’s articles have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including San Luis Obispo Visitors Guide, Paso Robles Magazine, Edible SLO, Colony Magazine, Paso Robles Daily News, Central Coast Active, Living Lavishly, VINO Magazine, Paso Robles Press, and Atascadero News.

A former sports reporter, she has degrees in Journalism and Mass Communications, and balances work with several clients to bring quality, creative, and relevant stories to fruition. In addition, her photography has been chosen as cover art for several magazines and often accompanies her articles. Meagan also works closely with clients to produce press releases and social media content.

Her writing topics include: food, wine, travel, personal profiles, and features. Most recently, Meagan has created a blog for her RV travels with her husband, documenting their adventures across the USA.

“I love writing good stories about good people doing good things!” she says. “I look forward to sharing some of the techniques I have learned over the years to help others pursue their freelance writing career and strengthening their skills to gain more clients.”

For more information, see www.meaganfriberg.com. Find Meagan on social media: Facebook @ Meagan Friberg, Writer; Instagram @rvtravelusa and @travel.eat.write.

Monica Piper

Monica Piper 

Monica Piper was a Campfire Girl… in the Bronx.  “You sense your life isn’t normal when you’re sitting on the D train with a bag of marshmallows and a twig.”

Monica began her career as a high school English teacher. While finding it rewarding, she had to move on. “I couldn’t handle the money and prestige.” She realized her passion was making people laugh. She studied improv with Second City in Chicago, and performed with “Sons of the Sunset” in San Francisco. In L.A. she joined “Raisin Brain” at the Comedy Store. She then went solo as a standup and soon became one of Showtime Network’s “Comedy All Stars.” It wasn’t long before she landed her own Cable Ace Award-winning Showtime Network special, “No, Monica, Just You.”  She was nominated for an American Comedy Award as one of the top five female comedians in the country. She has opened for Gloria Estefan, Neil Sedaka, Glenn Campbell, the Smothers Brothers, Lucie Arnaz and Tommy Tune.

Monica was recruited by Ms. Barr, herself, to write on Roseanne, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. She went on to write for Mad About You and Veronica’s Closet

Monica was now a mother and sit-com hours meant too much time away from her son. She turned to animation and became the head writer and producer of the #1 children’s animated series, Rugrats, for which she won an Emmy. She then developed and wrote series for Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network.

As a standup, she headlines events for organizations, most recently, The City of Hope, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, The Brandeis Committee and The Jewish Federation Annual Fundraising Dinner.

As a keynote speaker and breast cancer survivor, Monica inspires audiences everywhere to lose the stress and FIND the FUNNY in their personal and professional lives.

Monica is proud to be an artist-in-residence with the Jewish Women’s Theatre of Los Angeles. Her critically acclaimed one-woman play, “Not That Jewish” ran to sell-out crowds in LA, before its hit 200 performance run Off Broadway. She was nominated by the LA Drama Critics Circle for Best Solo Performance.

Monica also performs for Jewish organizations around the nation with her hilarious and heartwarming biographical blend of standup and storytelling, “Farmisht, Farklempt, and Farblungit!”

Natalie Obando

Natalie Obando 

Natalie Obando  is the founder of Do Good Public Relations and the author of How to Get Publicity for Your Book. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in Journalism, an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor concentration in Creative Writing. Her work in the PR industry started in 2008 and her love for books and PR transpired into the career of her dreams as a literary publicist. Her passion for pitching and writing has most recently led her to option her own pilot for a television series and attain representation for her writing.

She has been a panelist and speaker at some of the most well-regarded literary conferences in the industry and also a judge for several book awards including the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. Natalie is the immediate past president of the Women’s National Book Association’s Los Angeles chapter and now serves as the organization’s national president. She is also the founder and co-host of the podcast, Women of Color Writers and the chair of the Authentic Voices program which seeks to create equity in the publishing world.

Natalie is passionate about writing, the literary landscape, media and making a difference by amplifying marginalized voices through writing. 

Paul Lobo Portugés

Paul Lobo Portugés 

Paul Lobo Portugés-- Teaches creative writing at UCSB, taught at UC Berkeley, USC,  and the University of Provence. Books include Sorrow and Hope, Breaking Bread, The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg, Saving Grace, Hands Across the Earth, The Flower Vendor, Paper Song, Aztec Birth, The Body Electric Journal, The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson, Ginsberg:  On Tibetan Buddhism, Mantras, Drugs, The Bullet Had His Face in the Dove of His Blood, Witness, and Gracias a la Vida (forthcoming, 2020).  Poems are scattered in small magazines:  Prairie Schooner, Floricanto, The American Journal of Poetry, Hambone, Chelsea, River Styx, ) and anthologies (El Tecolote, Overthrowing Capitalism, The Asian Writer, Naropa Anthology), across the Americas, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.  Awards from the National Endowment, the Fulbright Commission, et al.

Peter Dunne

Peter Dunne  

Award-winning producer and writer, Peter Dunne brings more than three decades of writing and producing to workshops around the world. He served as Vice President of Development for several Hollywood studios before beginning his career as a screenwriter and producer focusing on social change and justice. Among the projects he has produced and/or written are the mini-series Sybil starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, JAG, Melrose Place, Dallas, Knots Landing, Eight is Enough, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, and many others. Peter has received the Emmy Award, the prestigious Peabody Award for Conspicuous Service to Broadcasting for Social Change, the distinguished Kennedy Foundation Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Field of Mental Retardation, the Paul Newman Foundation’s Scott Newman Award for Exceptional Television Writing on Substance Abuse, the Chicago International Film Festival’s Silver Hugo Award for Achievement in Television Drama, The Film Advisory Board’s Award of Excellence for Family Drama, and two Media Access Awards among others.

Phil Cousineau

Phil Cousineau

PHIL COUSINEAU is a freelance writer, documentary filmmaker, independent scholar, worldwide lecturer, storyteller, and creativity consultant. He grew up just outside of Detroit, where he moonlighted in a steel factory for four years while studying journalism at the University of Detroit. His life-long fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him on myriad journeys around the world. He lectures frequently on a wide range of topics from mythology, film, and writing, to beauty, travel, sports, and creativity. His forty-plus published works include several bestsellers such as The Art of Pilgrimage, The Hero’s Journey: The Life and Work of Joseph Campbell, Stoking the Creative Fires, and Once and Future Myths. His most recent books include The Art of Travel Journal, The Oldest Story in the World, Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on Atonement and Reconciliation, and Burning the Midnight Oil, which was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. Cousineau also has over twenty-five documentary film credits including The Hero’s Journey: The Life and Work of Joseph Campbell; Ecological Design: Inventing the Future; Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey, and Forever Activists: Stories from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which was nominated in 1991 for an Academy Award. Since 2009, Cousineau has been the host and cowriter of the much-acclaimed series "Global Spirit." As described by journalist Bill Moyers, "The discussions on the 'Global Spirit' series are sorely needed in this dispirited and disenchanted world. In many ways, it is more important than journalism today."  Cousineau has served as guest host on “New Dimensions Radio,” the longest running radio interview show in history, and as a commentator on mythology in the movies for Warner Brothers, and the mythology of baseball for MLB.com and the Smithsonian Channel. Cousineau has been invited to lecture at many distinguished venues such as the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; Syracuse University; the University of Indiana, Pacifica Graduate Institute; several C.G. Jung Institutes; the American Film Institute, the TEDx Conference in San Jose; and on board the QE2. He has been a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, and a Board Member of Sacred Sites International, and is long-standing member of the Author’s Guild. He lives with his family on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.  

R. Dean McCreary

R. Dean McCreary

IMDB ghost and “baby writer” R. Dean McCreary has been writing feature screenplays and TV pilots for over 20 years. With 25+ screenplays under his belt, 17 of which have been either sold or optioned, and 5 TV pilots, this 12+ year member of the WGA has seen the best and worst from “the business side” of writing. He has sold pitches “in the room” to Paramount and Sony studios, as well as developed original projects with numerous production companies including Screen Gems, Imagine Entertainment, Di Laurentiis and Scott Free Productions. Currently, two of his original features have entered the scheduling phase of production, with a third fully-financed franchise feature on hold due to COVID-19. He also “moonlights” as Director of Visual Development for Revelations Entertainment. 

Ricky Roxburgh

Ricky Roxburgh

Ricky Roxburgh is an EMMY WINNING writer of animated film and television. Currently, he serves as the sole Staff Writer for DISNEY TELEVISION ANIMATION’s signature, multiple Emmy/Annie award-winning MICKEY MOUSE SHORTS. He is also finishing up work as screenwriter for OZI, a full-length animated feature produced by MIKROS ANIMATION set for release in 2022.

Prior to that, Ricky was a Staff Writer on DISNEY+/PIXAR’s upcoming animated comedy series, MONSTERS AT WORK, Disney’s Emmy/Annie award-winning, BIG HERO 6: THE SERIES and Disney’s Annie and Emmy-winning series TANGLED: THE SERIES (aka RAPUNZEL’S TANGLED ADVENTURE) for which Ricky won an EMMY FOR OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR AN ANIMATED PROGRAM

When Disney launched its first ever Creative Mentorship Program, he was the first writer in the studio chosen to participate and was mentored by Scott Peterson, Story Editor of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb.  He has worked on other franchises like DREAMWORKS ANIMATION’S DRAGONS: RACE TO THE EDGE, NETFLIX’S SPY KIDS: MISSION CRITICAL, and HASBRO’S MICRONAUTS and served as screenwriter on the animated feature, SAVING SANTA, which received worldwide theatrical release with THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY and CINEMA MANAGEMENT GROUP. 

Volunteerism is close to his heart and Ricky is proud to serve as a Mentor for the Young Storytellers organization, where he works one-on-one with low-income and mentally disabled children to help them find their creative voice.

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen 

Sara Roahen writes, edits, and otherwise dabbles in storytelling—for fun and for hire 

Her memoir, Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, was the chosen reading for the One Book One New Orleans reading initiative in 2009, and it received the Louisiana Library Association’s Louisiana Literary Award in 2010. Sara co-edited and contributed writing to The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. Her work has additionally appeared in Saveur, Bon Appetit, Tin House, Oxford American, and Garden & Gun magazines, and in/on a host of other magazines, newspapers, books, and web sites.

Sara honed her listening, documenting, backroad-driving, and boudin-ball-eating skills while conducting extensive fieldwork for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s extraordinary oral history initiative.

She holds a copyediting certificate from UCSD and currently teaches life-story writing in San Luis Obispo, California, through Cuesta Community College’s Emeritus program. Sara finds great joy in helping others express themselves; to that end, she offers private mentoring and editing services in person and online.

Before transitioning to a word-based profession, Sara worked as a cook in restaurants and catering kitchens. She still spends much of her free (and procrastination) time in the kitchen. If you need a lopsided but unforgettable cake, she’s got a rate sheet for that too.

Shannon McManus

Shannon McManus

Shannon is a Los Angeles-based actor, voice artist and producer. An alum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the esteemed conservatory program at The Studio Theatre, Shannon tread the boards in regional theatre before taking a side step into producing lifestyle television for Glass Entertainment (HGTV, Food Network etc.). A move to Los Angeles led back to acting (UCB, theatre, film and commercials) and finally to audiobooks where it all came together. She currently narrates for major publishers in multiple genres and produces for indie authors. She is the winner of multiple Audiofile Earphone Awards and Publisher’s Weekly Listen Up! Awards, has been named a Best Voice by Audiofile Magazine and was a finalist for the 2017 Audie Award for Best Romance.  

Shannon Wilkerson

Shannon Wilkerson

Shannon Wilkerson, a native Washingtonian is an Author, Speaker and Coach and the Founder of Shanni Wilke Company. She specializes in author branding, book monetizing and audience connection and engagement. Shannon has always been passionate about writing and teaching and has coached countless authors to becoming best sellers. She believes that anyone with a message can produce a great book with guidance and enjoys guiding authors into their very own success story.  

Steve Kaplan

Steve Kaplan 

For years, Steve Kaplan has been the industry's most respected and sought-after expert on comedy. His first book, The Hidden Tools of Comedy is a best-seller in its field, and his new book, The Comic Hero's Journey: Serious Story Structure for Fabulously Funny Films was recently published. 

In addition to having taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities, Steve Kaplan created the HBO Workspace, the HBO New Writers Program and was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre. In addition to development projects for HBO, he has taught workshops at companies such as DreamWorks, Disney Animation, Aardman Animation, others.

In New York, Steve was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre, where he developed writers such as Peter Tolan, David Crane, Michael Patrick King, and  David Ives, and introduced performers such as Lewis Black, Nathan Lane, and John Leguizamo. 

In Los Angeles, he created the HBO New Writers Project, discovering writers such as  Will Scheffer, and the HBO Workspace, a developmental workshop in Hollywood that introduced and presented performers such as Jack Black and Tenacious D, Kathy Griffin, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, Josh Malina and Paul F. Tompkins. Steve has directed in regional theaters and Off-Broadway (including Sandra Tsing Loh's ALIENS IN AMERICA at Second Stage) 

In addition to private coaching and one-on-one consultations, Steve has taught his Comedy Intensive workshops to thousands of students around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Australia and Mumbai. Steve is about to launch a series of online workshops. For more information, go to his website at KaplanComedy.com

Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland is an award-winning storyteller, former Tribune news reporter and mother-of-two. She’s currently livin’ the Instagram life under the blog name Two In Tow & On The Go ( @two.n.tow ). There, she offers up mom humor, friendship and opinions in play and travel to 10K+ followers. Her posts also appear as a monthly print column in Paso and Colony magazines.

In summer 2020, Tonya and her family moved from California to Washington state where their blog adventures continue. 

Wendelin Van Draanen

Wendelin Van Draanen 

Wendelin Van Draanen is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the long-running Edgar-winning Sammy Keyes mystery series. Her novel Flipped, named a Top 100 Children’s Novel for the 21st Century by SLJ, became a Warner Brothers feature film, and Shredderman became a Nickelodeon made-for-TV movie. Her first non-fiction book, Hope in the Mail, Reflections on Writing and Life, is part memoir, part craft guide, and part publishing insight, suitable for teen and adult audiences, especially those who want to write. Find more info at www.wendelinvandraanen.com

Zoe Quinton

Zoe Quinton

Zoe Quinton, freelance editor and publishing consultant, has spent over thirteen years working in the book industry. Prior to that, she received a Master’s degree in international history from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Santa Cruz. When she's not reading, editing, or reading some more, she enjoys trail running, lifting weights, gardening, and drinking far too much caffeine. All of these activities are possible on a year-round basis in her hometown of Santa Cruz, CA, where Zoe lives with her boyfriend, their two small people, and a very loud Siamese cat.