Presenters & Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2020 San Diego Writing Workshop.


 

Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 5.12.18 PMStephanie Storey’s debut novel Oil and Marble was hailed as “tremendously entertaining” by The New York Times, was named one of Hudson Booksellers’ Best Books of 2016, is a Los Angeles Times and #1 Amazon bestseller, and is currently in development as a feature film by Pioneer Pictures. Her newest novel, Raphael, Painter in Rome, is due out in April 2020 in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death (April 1520). Learn about Stephanie’s novels here.

At the 2019 SD workshop, Stephanie will be teaching, and also doing critiques as an add-on element for writers.

Stephanie has a degree in Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University and attended a PhD program in Art History—before leaving to get her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She has studied art in Italy and been on a pilgrimage to see every Michelangelo on display in Europe. She has also been a national television producer for nearly twenty years in Los Angeles for shows including Alec Baldwin on ABC, Arsenio Hall for CBS, and Emmy-nominated “The Writers’ Room” for Sundance Channel. When not writing novels or producing television, she can usually be found — with her husband, an actor and Emmy-winning comedy writer — traveling the world in search of her next story.

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Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 6.09.10 PMLiz Fenton & Lisa Steinke are the authors of five novels, including Girls’ Night Out and the Amazon Charts best-selling novel, The Good Widow. Their most recent novel (released in 2019) is The Two Lila Bennetts. (Find all their books here.)

At the 2020 SD conference, Liz and Lisa will be teaching sessions together. They are also critiquing manuscripts as an add-on element for attendees.

Liz and Lisa have been best friends for 30 years. They created this website to celebrate books women (and men!) love and to have a place to talk about reality TV stars. They have also published three women’s fiction novels with Simon & Schuster/Atria Books. Your Perfect Life is a hilarious and heartwarming story of two childhood best friends who switch bodies at their twenty-year high school reunion. The Status of All Things is a cautionary tale of a woman who realizes she can change the course of her entire life by what she writes in her Facebook status. And The Year We Turned Forty follows three women who get the chance to relive the year they turned forty, a year they each made decisions that altered the course of their lives. But a lot happened before their first publishing deal.

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Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 11.42.23 AMDee Leone is a published author of children’s picture books.

At the 2020 SD workshop, she is teaching on picture book writing, and critiquing picture books as an add-on element for attendees.

Dee is the author of NATURE’S LULLABY FILLS THE NIGHT, DOUGH KNIGHTS & DRAGONS, and BIZZ & BIZZ MAKE HONEY BUNS. (Find all her books here.)

The author has also written 20 reproducible books for the educational market, covering topics such as language arts, science, and holidays. In addition, more than 100 of her word puzzles, poems, plays, short stories, articles and teaching ideas have appeared in magazines. Her articles about Disneyland can be found online.

Dee taught at the elementary level, was a gifted program aide, and tutored college math. Her interests include amateur photography, scrapbooking, and travel (except for the actual traveling part). She enjoys devouring books and chocolate.

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Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 11.55.19 AMShelley Moore Thomas is the author of the Good Knight series of picture books and easy readers, including Good Night, Good Knight. (See all her books here.)

In addition to writing books, she works as an elementary teacher and as a professional storyteller. The Seven Tales of Trinket is her first middle-grade novel. Ms. Thomas lives in Oceanside, California.

At the 2020 SD event, Shelley will be teaching two classes (including writing MG & YA), and critiquing manuscripts as an add-on element for attendees.

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Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 6.31.09 PMCourtney Miller-Callihan is a literary agent and founder of Handspun Literary.

Courtney founded Handspun Literary Agency in 2016, after more than ten years with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Her eclectic list includes women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, romance, science fiction & fantasy, YA novels, humor, and practical nonfiction.

At the 2020 SD workshop, Courtney is co-teaching on query letter writing. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A., Literature), and Johns Hopkins University (M.A., English), she lives in San Diego with her family.

She is always looking for stories she can’t stop reading.

For adult fiction, Courtney represents mainstream/upmarket fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), mystery novels, and speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy).

For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit.

She is not currently accepting new middle-grade, early reader, or picture book submissions.

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Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.10.22 PM.pngElise Capron is an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

At the 2020 SD event, Elise is teaching on nonfiction book proposal writing. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

In addition to handling her own list, she oversees the daily operations of the SDLA office, and works closely with Sandra Dijkstra on author development and management. She is most interested in character-driven literary/mainstream fiction and well-written narrative nonfiction (particularly serious history with a good story).

A graduate of Emerson College, Elise holds a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has been with the Dijkstra Agency since late 2003.

Elise is interested in fiction that has unforgettable writing, a distinctive narrative voice, and memorable characters. She loves novels with an unusual or eccentric edge and is drawn to stories she has never heard before. She aims to work with writers who are getting their work published regularly in literary magazines and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Some of Elise’s representative fiction titles include Tiphanie Yanique’s upcoming Monster in the Middle (Riverhead), Land of Love and Drowning (Riverhead) and How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf); Courtney Brkic’s The First Rule of Swimming (Little, Brown); Rachel Toor’s On The Road to Find Out (FSG); Jonathon Keats’ The Book of the Unknown (Random House); Rikki Ducornet’s Netsuke (Coffee House Press); Maureen McHugh’s After the Apocalypse (Small Beer Press), which was picked as a “Top 10 Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly; Ali Liebegott’s The IHOP Papers (Carroll & Graf); and more.

On the nonfiction front, Elise is looking for fascinating true stories told in a compelling way. She is especially interested in working with up-and-coming scholars (particularly historians) who are looking to transition from the academic market to a trade readership, as well as journalists. Some of Elise’s representative nonfiction titles include Cynthia Barnett’s Rain: A Natural and Cultural History (Crown), which was long-listed for the National Book Award and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award; Meera Subramanian’s A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka (Public Affairs); Jack Shuler’s The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose (Public Affairs); Jonathon Keats’s You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future (Oxford University Press); Leo Braudy’s Haunted; Jane Vandenburgh’s The Wrong Dog Dream: A True Romance (Counterpoint); Billy Smith’s Ship of Death: The Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World (Yale); and more.

Please note that Elise is specifically not interested in: young adult, middle-grade, picture books, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, business books, cookbooks, poetry, religious/spiritual books, screenplays, or self-help.

And while she will consider memoir, please note that she is very selective.

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Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 9.25.16 AM.pngCarlie Webber is a literary agent with Fuse Literary. Previously, she was the founding agent of CK Webber Associates Literary Management.

At the 2020 SD event, Carlie is teaching on “So You Have an Agent — Now What?” She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

She represents fiction in the genres of: young adult, middle grade, new adult, women’s fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, science fiction, and fantasy.

She does not want to rep picture books, easy readers, poetry, scripts or curriculum nonfiction. She no longer seeks nonfiction (or memoir) of any kind.

Carlie refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. She took her love of YA and commercial fiction to the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science. For ten years, she worked as a public librarian serving teens and adults, served on book awards committees, and reviewed books professionally for journals including Kirkus Reviews and VOYA. Wishing to pursue her interest in the business side of books, she then enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course. Her professional publishing experience includes an internship at Writers House and work with the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates and the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

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Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 2.52.20 PMTara Gilbert is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Agency. At the 2020 SD conference, she is taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as co-agents.

At the 2020 SD event, she is teaching a class on first pages. And she is meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

Tara wants nothing more than to live and breathe literature. While every other girl grew up wanting to be Cinderella, Tara dreamed about being Belle. Not because she wanted a Beast to call her own. No. She wanted to spend her days with her nose stuck in a book and to find a home with a gigantic library.

Personally, she is seeking all kinds of young adult and middle grade, adult sci-fi, adult fantasy, graphic novels, and romance. On behalf of co-agents, she will take pitches for historical novels, women’s fiction, mainstream/general fiction, and children’s picture books.

When Tara isn’t reading for pleasure, writing, critiquing manuscripts for her CPs, or interning; she is a full-time recruiter and part-time student trying to get her Bachelors in English. She is happily married with four fur-babies in Portland, Oregon.

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Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 3.21.51 PM.pngRachel Beck is a literary agent with Holloway Literary.

At the 2020 SD event, Rachel is teaching a class on writing strategies. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

Rachel is interested in representing:

  • Women’s fiction, especially upmarket/book club fiction, such as Emily Giffin, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain
  • Contemporary romance with a humorous voice and subplots in addition to the romance, such as Kristan Higgins
  • Young adult, especially emotional/deep issue (even dark) stories (no historical, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi or middle-grade please), such as Jandy Nelson and Courtney Summers
  • Psychological, character-driven women’s suspense/thrillers, such as Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Mary Kubica
  • Southern fiction, such as Elaine Hussey
  • Nonfiction — particularly memoir, true crime, and select health and self-help books (such as professional/career development).

Rachel Beck has been in the publishing industry since 2009. After completing an internship with two literary agencies, reading mostly young adult and thrillers, she then worked as an editor for Harlequin, acquiring category romance, contemporary romance, multicultural romance and women’s fiction.

Rachel’s career highlights include helping her authors achieve prestigious romance book nominations and two selective awards, including the National Readers Choice Award, and several top reviews in Romantic Times magazine for her books.

In her free time, Rachel likes reading first and foremost–mostly women’s fiction, psychological suspense and young adult–as well as traveling with her husband, spoiling her cat, Ginnie, and watching football (go Steelers!).

Rachel is drawn to voice-driven fiction, particularly in young adult; quirky, three-dimensional, flawed characters, including and especially secondary characters; beautiful writing; dark themes; books that explore good people in morally complicated situations; and complex, detailed plots.

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screen-shot-2015-05-28-at-3-22-28-pm.pngJill Marr is an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

At the 2020 SD event, Jill is teaching on writing suspense into your story. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

Jill is interested in: commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense and horror, women’s commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for non-fiction by authors who are getting their work published regularly and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Jill is looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of history, sports, politics, current events, cookbooks, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor, music, and very select memoir.

Please note that Jill is specifically not interested in: YA, children’s books, sci-fi, romance, screenplays, graphic novels, or anything involving unicorns.

She graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in history. She has a strong Internet and media background and nearly 15 years of publishing experience. She wrote features and ads for Pages, the literary magazine for people who love books, and continues to write book ads for publishing houses, magazine pieces, and promotional features for television.

After writing ad copy and features for published books for years, she knows how to find the “hook” and sell it.

Some of Jill’s recent and soon-to-be-published nonfiction includes the Travel Channel’s Nick Groff’s Chasing Spirits (NAL); Maybe We’ll Have You Back (Skyhorse) by actor Fred Stoller; The Chosen Few (Da Capo) by USA Today writer Gregg Zoroya; Break Free from the Divortex (Seal Press) by Christina Pesoli; Teaching Kids to Think (Sourcebooks) by Darlene Sweetland, PhD and Ron Stolberg, PhD; Doulas A. Wissing’s Funding Our Enemy (Prometheus Books); Press One for English (The New Press) by Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal; Why We Love Serial Killers (Skyhorse) by Scott Bonn; Mission High (Nation Books) by journalist Kristina Rizga; Don’t Lick the Minivan (Skyhorse) by Leanne Shirtliffe; William Jones’ More Than the Dream: The Untold Story of the March on Washington (Norton); and Spitting in the Soup (VeloPress) by Mark Johnson.

Some of Jill’s new and upcoming fiction includes Brain Storm (Thomas & Mercer) by Anthony-and-Agatha-Award winning author Elaine Viets; A Place We Knew Well (Ballatine Books) by Susan Carol McCarthy; Moving Day and The Teller (Thomas & Mercer) by Jonathon Stone; Fishbowl (St. Martin’s Press); and the Jaden Terrell series that includes the Shamus Award nominee Racing the Devil and A Cup Full of Midnight (The Permanent Press).

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Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 11.59.20 AMKerrie Flanagan is an author, writing consultant, and accomplished freelance writer with over 20 years’ experience. She is the author of WRITERS DIGEST GUIDE TO MAGAZINE ARTICLE WRITING, and creator of the MAGAZINE WRITING BLUEPRINT.

Her work has appeared in publications such as, Writer’s Digest, Alaska Magazine, FamilyFun, The Writer, six Chicken Soup for the Soul books and a variety of anthologies. In addition to the eight books she published under her label, Hot Chocolate Press, she recently teamed up with a co-author for the Curtain Call romantic comedy series under the pen name, C.K. Wiles and two Sci-Fi/Fantasy series under the pen name C.G. Harris. In addition to her own writing, she is passionate about helping other writers. She was the founder and former director of Northern Colorado Writers and now consults with writers. Her background in teaching and enjoyment of helping writers, has led her to present at writing conferences across the country.

Kerrie is part of the Writing Day Workshops team and a co-coordinator of the 2020 San Diego Writing Workshop, At the event, she is teaching on how to start your own self-publishing company.

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Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 6.31.13 PMBen Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019, after working behind the scenes since the agency’s founding in tech support and bookkeeping roles.

At the 2020 SD workshop, Ben is taking one-on-one pitches from attendees, and also co-teaching a class on query letter writing.

He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and has (under agency founder Courtney’s oversight) begun taking on his own clients at the agency.

His interests include: humor, young adult and middle grade novels, science fiction & fantasy (especially decolonial SF/F), cookbooks, mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A., English), and New York University (M.A., English Education), he lives in San Diego with his human, canine, and kitchen appliance families.