Presenters & Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the Fall 2023 Online San Diego Writing Workshop.


Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 2.06.14 PMEve Porinchak is an author, as well as a former literary agent.

At the Fall 2023 online SD workshop, Eve is offering add-on manuscript critiques to attendees. She is also teaching.

Since earning degrees in Biology and Psychology from UCLA, Eve has lived all over the planet and spent much of her time in and out of jail – as a creative writing teacher for teen inmates. A former agent with Jill Corcoran Literary Agency, Eve also attended medical school, served as a social worker with foster youth and homeless populations, and taught everything from first grade to college courses.

Eve writes stories featuring youth she feels have been underrepresented in children’s literature, such as those born into gang life, the abandoned, and the incarcerated who – ironically – have the most fascinating tales to tell. Her first book, the critically acclaimed ONE CUT – a haunting nonfiction story with a juvenile justice bent – launched Simon and Schuster’s new young adult true crime line, Simon True.


Jennifer Bardsley believes in friendship, true love, and the everlasting power of books. A graduate of Stanford University, she lives in Edmonds, Washington, with her husband and two children.

She is the author of several books published by Montlake. See all her books here.

Bardsley’s column I Brake for Moms has appeared in the Everett Herald every week since 2012. She also writes young adult paranormal romance under the pen name Louise Cypress. When Bardsley is not writing books or camping with her Girl Scout troop, you can find her walking from her house to the beach every chance she gets.

She is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary Agency. At the Fall 2023 Online SDWW, Jennifer is teaching, and offering add-on in-person manuscript critiques for attendees.


Leah Pierre is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

At the Fall 2023 Online SDWW, Leah is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitch meetings.

If you are interested in learning about what genres and types of books Leah seeks, see her agent page here.

Leah graduated from Rosemont College with a B.A. in English and History and soon after became an agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. She then went on to receive her M.A. in Publishing from her alma mater. Leah likes to spend her time enjoying the company of fictional characters more than people.

A Texas native, Leah briefly moved to the East Coast to attend Rosemont College to pursue her dream of working in publishing. Not long after graduating with her B.A. in English and History, Leah found an agency home at Ladderbird Literary Agency where she has grown to become a Senior Agent. Leah has since gone on to pursue and receive her M.A. in Publishing from her alma mater. And having accomplished her dream of working in publishing, she moved back to Texas to begin her next adventure and continue searching for the next PB, YA, or Adult project that will hook her (or make her cry). Leah likes to spend her time enjoying the company of fictional characters more than
people. But when not in the company of fictional characters, she likes to crochet, travel,hang out with friends and family, and catch up on the movies and tv shows she is always behind on.

Her projects include forthcoming books from H.D.Hunter, Ravynn K. Stringfield, Kay Sohini Sen, a number of IP projects, and more! She is a tenacious advocate for BIPOC writers and is always looking for ways to bring more diverse intersectionality to the publishing industry.


Kelly Peterson (she/her) is a literary agent with Rees Literary.

At the Fall 2023 Online SDWW, Kelly is teaching a class. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitch meetings.

If you are interested in learning about what genres and types of books Kelly seeks, see her agent page here.

Kelly is a West Chester University graduate with a B.S.Ed in English and Literature. She worked as a Junior Literary Agent for two years before moving to Rees Literary Agency, continuing to champion her authors and the manuscripts she loves. Kelly seeks books in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.


Lindsay Flanagan is an author, editor, photographer, and mom. She writes young adult and middle grade fantasy and is a senior editor at Eschler Editing. She has also edited for traditional publishers and assisted literary agents, At the 2023 fall online SDWW, she is teaching.

Her debut novel, AnnaGrey and the Constellation, was released in August from Young Dragons Press. Her poetry, prose, and short fiction has been featured in several literary magazines, and her writing, editing, publishing, and social media advice has been published on various industry blogs. Her second creative love is photography, and her preferred subject is the majestic mountains of Utah, where she was born and raised and still makes her home with her husband, two daughters, a kitty cat, three dogs, and sometimes a horse.


Helga Schier, PhD, is the Editorial Director of CamCat Books (, a boutique publisher of award-winning genre fiction. With over 25 years of experience powering her work, Helga guides authors through the development and revision process. Helga focuses on concept, story, and approach, helping writers sharpen their vision, refine their voice, and unlock the potential of their manuscripts. A former academic, Helga has lectured on literature and creative writing, published essays on contemporary English and American fiction, and has translated several novels, screenplays, and memoirs (visit for more information).

At the Fall 2023 San Diego event, Helga is teaching. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

With an unwavering commitment to excellence and dynamic growth, CamCat Books is proud to publish what we call Books to Live In: books that allow for an immersive reading experience, that invite you to walk in other people’s shoes, that stay with you far beyond the last page. As Editorial Director of CamCat Books, Helga is heavily involved in the acquisition process, actively looking for stories with a sense of empathy for morally ambiguous characters, a well-structured plot that moves at a nice clip, and an inkling that a wrong choice could quickly lead us down an irreparably treacherous path.  CamCat Books accepts submissions in adult and YA novel-length genre fiction. We’ll consider any good tale, but what we want to see most urgently revolves around these genres:

  • Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Romance
  • Historical
  • Paranormal
  • Horror
  • Western

Please note that CamCat Perspectives will soon open for adult nonfiction submissions in the following subject areas:
– True Crime
– US History and Biography

CamCat Books and CamCat Perspectives are imprints of CamCat Publishing. For
more information visit


Swati Hegde is a desi adult romance and YA author. By day, she’s a mindset coach and freelance editor. She is also a self-proclaimed coffee shop enthusiast who lives in Bangalore, India, and can usually be found at the nearest café with a hot mug of tea.

At the Fall 2023 online San Diego WW, Swati is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.

Swati is represented by Rachel Beck at Liza Dawson Associates. Her debut romantic comedy novel MATCH ME IF YOU CAN is out 2024 from Ballantine Bantam Dell, Penguin Random House.

“I write funny romance novels featuring strong heroines, sweet-as-honey heroes, and happily-ever-afters that will make you tear up and laugh all at once. Oh, and did I mention they’re all desi characters? I live in Bangalore, India, and my writing always centers people like me living in my home country. Right now, I’m working on MATCH ME IF YOU CAN, my desi romantic comedy out 2024 from Random House, ft. an aspiring matchmaker heroine, a pub owner hero, and tons of mis-matchmaking and misunderstandings.” See her website here.


Kristin Bartley Lenz is a writer and social worker who has lived in Michigan, Georgia, and California.

At the Fall 2023 online SDWW, she is offering add-on virtual manuscript critiques for attendees.

Her debut young adult novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, was a Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize winner, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Great Lakes Great Books Award honor book. Her writing has been published in a YA poetry anthology (Rhyme & Rhythm: Poems for Student Athletes), The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, Hunger Mountain, Lunch Ticket, Michigan Reading Journal, Great Lakes Review, Literary Mama, Women On Writing and more. She also writes freelance for Detroit area nonprofits, teaches creative writing for teens and adults, and escapes to the woods and lakes in northern Michigan whenever she can.


Michelle McGill Vargas is an author. At the Fall 2023 online San Diego event, she is offering add-on virtual manuscript critiques for attendees. She is also teaching a class.

“I am writer of speculative historical fiction, flash fiction, and short fiction. I’ve published in The Lutheran Witness, Splickety Magazine, The Copperfield Review, and Typehouse Literary Magazine. I’ve also contributed at Short Fiction Break and Noir Expressions.

“I’m currently represented by the amazing Melissa Danaczko of Stuart Krichevsky Literacy Agency, Inc. I pay the bills as a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing. I’m a member of Highland Writers Group, Valparaiso Writers Group, served as vice-president of the Indiana Writer’s Consortium and chair of its 2016 Steel Pen Conference, and am currently on the board of Midwest Writers.”


Georgia McBride is the creator of Georgia McBride Media Group is home of Month9Books, Swoon Romance, and Tantrum Books.

At the 2023 online SDWW, Georgia is teaching a speech.

Swoon Romance is a digital-first romance imprint from Georgia McBride Media Group that publishes romance for all audiences from Teen to Mature audiences. Our first title, CAPTIVATED BY YOU by New York Times and USA Today bestseller Diane Alberts, published in November 2012. Since then, we have had many Amazon and Barnes and Noble best sellers, with Amazon category best sellers in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Germany. We are home to New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors such as Stacey Mosteller, Diane Alberts, Kenya Wright, and Tamara Mataya as well as international bestselling authors Lizzy Charles, Alla Kar, Natalie Decker, Cassie Mae, and more. We practice a hybrid distribution model of self distribution, but also work with InScribe and IPG.

Month9Books publishes speculative fiction for teens and tweens, where nothing is as it seems. We published our first title in 2012 and our first full list published in 2013.

From concept to cover, Tantrum Books brings kidlit stories to life for readers aged 7+.

Drawing from her experience at veteran branded companies like Viacom, Madison Square Garden, eBay, Toysrus, and ASCAP, Georgia is one of Publishers Marketplace’s most prolific editors, and has spent most of 2014 through 2019 atop the editors lists in Editors, Young Adult, Digital New Adult, Children’s, and Digital deals. She’s completed over 400 publishing deals on behalf of three imprints and consulting clients since March 2012.

Books published by Georgia McBride have been Junior Library Guild Selections, Scholastic Book Club and Reading List Selections, Kirkus Prize nominees, Bram Stoker Award nominees, Moonbeam winners, and winners of various regional and local SCBWI awards. Books she’s published have been sold to Hungary, Turkey, Slovakia, Korea, Czech Republic, Greece, UK, Denmark, Australia, and New Zealand.

Georgia’s published and edited works by NYT bestsellers such as Gretchen McNeil, Nancy Holder, Sayantani DasGupta, and more.

In 2022, Georgia began offering consulting services for content companies in publishing or publishing adjacent verticals. Her recent clients include Inkitt and Hot Ghostwriter.

In 2023, Georgia began literary management representation of Sapir A. Englard, author of the International bestseller, THE MILLENNIUM WOLVES, which has had over 125 million views.


Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 3.23.45 PM.pngBrian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of He is current the director of Writing Day Workshops.

He is the coordinator of the Fall 2023 online San Diego Writing Workshop. At the event, he is offering add-on query critiques for attendees.

His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community.

Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely girls.