Fall Student & Alumni Success

Home/Uncategorized/Fall Student & Alumni Success

Are you ready for an embarrassment of good news? Here’s what the last few months have looked like for a just some of our students & alums:


A.E. Santana and Brian Asman spoke on a panel at Midsummer Scream called “Defining Horror with the Horror Writers Association” on August 3.


Alexandra Neumeister also spoke on a panel at Midsummer Scream entitled “Young Adult Horror Fiction Basics with the Horror Writers Association” on August 4.


Amy Reardon‘s article “All Vaginas Are Normal Vaginas” was published in Glamour.


Ashley Mag Gabbert‘s poem “Bleach” was published in Glass.


Chera King began teaching English composition at Arkansas State University, Campus Querétaro in Querétaro, Mexico.


Cynthia Alessandra Briano read at the Anansi Writers Workshop alongside poet Chad Sweeney in Los Angeles on August 7.


David Olsen‘s story “Below the Silent Flow” was published in Close 2 the Bone.


David Martinez‘s essay “Just a Flesh Wound” was nominated for a Best of the Net award by Anti-Heroin Chic.


Dorothy Rice wrote an article for BabyBoomers.com. Her memoir Gray Is the New Black was reviewed by Mom Egg Review and Beauty Info Zone.


Eli Ryder‘s story “Video Forty-seven” was published in The Macabre Museum.


Jeff Meyers‘s screenplay The Exchange advanced to the semifinal round of the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.


Katherine MacDonald‘s textbook The Market Edge for Filmmakers was released on August 30. The book was cowritten by Russell Schwartz.


Kendall Brunson‘s short film BOX was accepted by the Wasteland Film Festival. Another short film, Grab This!, was accepted by the Rendezvous Film Festival.


Kyle Zaffino started a new job as a technical writer at Tandem Diabetes Care in San Diego.


Leanne Phillips‘s poem “Evening, McAbee Beach,” was published in the 2019 WordFest anthology.


Lindsey Lewis Smithson‘s poetry manuscript, Partum, was named a semifinalist for the 2019 Washington Prize.


Lisa W. Nagel‘s essay “Dear Lisa” was published by Her Stry.


Liska Jacobs‘s upcoming novel, The Worst Kind of Want, was reviewed in Publishers Weekly.


Max Gee‘s short film Terminal was accepted by the Southampton International Film Festival.


Natalie Ferrigno‘s story “The Passenger” was serialized in issues 2 and 3 of New Skin.


Natashia Deón‘s nonprofit, Redeemed, has officially begun pairing professional writers and lawyers with those seeking help in criminal record clearing, expungements, and Certificates of Rehabilitation. Fellow alums Jalysa Conway and Yennie Cheung are both volunteers.


Pam Munter‘s short play Hedda the Hopper has been selected as a featured staged reading for the Midwest Dramatists Conference in Kansas City. She also had her short story “Ethel” published in Literary Yard and a series of three flash fiction stories published in The New Guard Review‘s series BANG!


Pallavi Yetur wrote an article called “Now We’re Awake” for Push and Pole.


Redd Rennick has accepted a job teaching English Language Arts at Harvey Lewis, Jr. Middle School in San Diego.


Ruth Nolan read from her anthology Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California at the Blue Whale Poetry Series in Santa Barbara on August 18.


Sara Marchant read from her memoir Proof of Loss at the Writers Read reading series at the Fallbrook Library in Fallbrook, CA on August 13.


The adaptation of Stephen Jay Schwartz‘s novel Boulevard was named an official section of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.


Tom Mavroudis‘s story ” A Pantheon of Trash” was published in Weirdbook #41.



A.E. Santana‘s story “Be Nice” was published in the Demonic Carnival anthology.


Amie Charney‘s short story “How to Schedule a Nervous Breakdown” was selected as an honorable mention by the Missouri State Humanities Council in their Proud to Be anthology series. The story will be published in their upcoming anthology.


Anne Silva began working as the Manager of Communications in Engagement, Culture and Communications at the University of Southern California.


Annie Connole‘s essay “Marine Base Alchemy” was published in The Rumpus.


Ashley Mag Gabbert‘s poetry manuscript SEX DEPRESSION ANIMALS was named a finalist for the Pamet River Prize. Five pieces in her series “minml poems” were also published in The Hopkins Review.


Charles G Thompson read as part of the Made in LA anthology readings at the Silver Lake Library in Los Angeles on September 14.


Charli Engelhorn‘s pilot Thinner Than Water advanced to the second round of the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition.


Cooper Gillespie‘s band Landroid released its debut album, Imperial Dunes, on September 13. Cooper served as co-songwriter as well as singer and bass, guitar, and keyboard player.


Dorothy Rice spoke at the Montana Book Festival’s panel “Confronting Past Selves in Memoir” on September 15. She was also featured in Inside Sacramento.


Eli Ryder‘s short story “What Should Have Been” was published in Typehouse Literary Magazine‘s September issue.


George D. Morgan announced that his next book, Rocket Age: The Race to Moon and What It Took to Get There, will be published on June 8, 2020 by Prometheus Books.


Guy Nicolucci accepted a position as a visiting assistant professor at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. He’ll be teaching writing for film and television.


Heather Scott Partington‘s review of Jacqueline Woodson’s Red at the Bone was published in USA Today.


Jay Paul Deratany‘s movie, Foster Boy, was the subject of an opinion piece in the Tennessean, written by producer Shaquille O’Neal.


Principal photography on Jon Levenson‘s movie Someone Will Assist You Shortly began in September. Kendall Brunson serves as an associate producer and script supervisor.


Kat Kiefer-Newman‘s essay “Hospitals and Cemeteries” was published in Please See Me.


Kendall Brunson‘s short film Box played at the Wasteland Film Festival in Edwards, CA on September 27.


Lindsay Jamieson Gallagher‘s pilot, LAX Mom, was named a quarter finalist in Final Draft’s Big Break screenwriting contest.


Liska Jacobs‘s upcoming second novel, The Worst Kind of Want, was named one of fall’s must-read books in Vulture, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Crime Reads.


Luke Yankee announced that he has signed a contract with Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama to publish his textbook, The Art of Writing for the Theatre: An Introduction to Script Analysis, Criticism & Playwriting.


Martin Cossio‘s poem “For You” was published in The Lyric Volume 99, Issue 3.


Max Gee was officially named the program leader of the BA in Scriptwriting for Film and Television major at Bournemouth University. Her short film Terminal also received three award nominations at the Southampton International Film Festival.


Natashia Deón read at the Beneficial-Hodson Library Reading Porch at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland on September 17. She also made two of her first four appearances in the BACHE Visiting Writers’ Series, speaking at the University of Montevallo and Samford University on September 30.

Pam Munter‘s essay “Instructions upon My Death” was published by Her Stry, which also reprinted her Pushcart-nominated piece, “The Hypnotic Danube.” Potato Soup Journal also published her essay “My Father, Briefly (1911-1969).” Her play Hedda the Hopper was also read at the Midwest Dramatists Conference in Kansas City.


Sara Marchant‘s short story “The Last Most Depressing Story Until Now” was published on the Fairlight Books website.


Tom Mavroudis announced that his novel Bergdorf & Associates will be published by Omnium Gatherum in 2020.


Amie Charney was named one of the inaugural recipients of Harlequin’s Creator Fund in television writing.


A.M. Larks reviewed Chris L. Terry’s novel Black Card for ZYZZYVA.


Amy Reardon interviewed author CJ Hauser for the Adroit Journal.


Ashley Mag Gabbert‘s poem “America” won the inaugural Rossetti Broadside Prize from American Literary Review. The poem will be released as a letterpress broadside.


Charles G. Thompson read from his story in the Made in L.A. anthology at Book Show in Los Angeles on October 3.


Cynthia Alessandra Briano‘s poems “To Maria, Mi Fea, Love, Jesse” and “To Jesse, Love, Maria Guadalupe A.” were published in the anthology Graffiti from Aunt Lute Books.


Dan McKeithan has five microfiction pieces published in Scary Snippets: A Halloween Microfiction Anthology from Suicide House Publishing. This is his first fiction publication.


Diana Love‘s poems “Thrown Back in the Surf” and “Walking the Beach on New Year’s Day” were published in Kelp.


Dorothy Rice wrote the article “Conquering the Jumpsuit” in Mothers Always Write and a blog post for Brevity entitled “With a Little Help from My Friends.” She also read at Lit Crawl SF’s event “Belize Writers Conference: Three Truths & a Lie, the Family Secrets Edition” on October 19.


Heather Scott Partington‘s review of Susan Straight’s memoir, In the Country of Women, was published in Alta.


Jackie DesForges appeared at the LA Lit Crawl reading entitled LA in a Flash at the LA Central Library on October 6.


Jason Metz‘s multimedia radio-style play Bone Gristle Blues debuted at Club Passim in Boston on October 28. The play is a sequel to his previous work, Transmissions from Fish City.


Jay Paul Deratany and his film Foster Boy was featured in the Chronicle of Social Change.


J.D. Horn was interviewed by HorrorAddicts.net, who also featured a reading from his novel Shivaree.


JoAnn Chaney read at Music to My Fears, an event put on by the Denver Horror Collective on October 5.


Lisa Quigley announced that her first novella, Hell’s Bells, is set to be published by Unnerving Press in May, 2020.


Liska Jacobs‘s The Worst Kind of Want was reviewed or featured in Alta, New York Post, Literary Hub, and PopSugar. Liska was interviewed on the podcasts Drinks with Tony and Life Elsewhere. She also wrote a photo essay on Italy for her publisher, MCD, and the article “Remembering Kate Braverman’s Los Angeles” for Literary Hub.


Luke Yankee‘s play Marilyn, Mom & Me was performed in a staged reading at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood on October 16.


Mackenzie Kiera announced that her first novella, All You Need Is Love and a Strong Electric Current, will be published by Unnerving Press in August, 2020. She also wrote an article for This Is Horror entitled “Death of Fear: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984 vs, 2010)—Five Fingers of Fun.”


Maggie Downs revealed the cover of her upcoming book Braver Than You Think: Around the World on the Trip of My (Mother’s) Lifetime. She also published articles this month in Palm Springs Life (“Link to the Future”, “In the Name of Love”) and in 302Health Magazine (“Get By With a Little Hemp From Our Friends”).


Max Gee‘s short film Terminal won the award for Best SciFi short at the Vegas Movie Awards. She was also promoted to senior lecturer at the Bournemouth University in the UK.


Megan Eccles‘s short story “Night Shadows” was published in Automata Review.


Natashia Deón wrote two articles on homeschooling, one published in the New York Times entitled “The Hardest Part of Home Schooling Was the Guilt,” and the other in LA Parent entitled “A Homeschool Mom’s Advice for High School—and Life—Success.” She also completed her dates speaking at the BACHE Visiting Writers’ Series, appearing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College on October 2.


Pam Munter‘s essay “Romancing New York” was reprinted in Eunoia Review.


Ruth Nolan read at Riverside County Poetry Night at Mind & Mill in Riverside on October 3. She was also a keynote speaker at the High Desert Book Festival in Hesperia, CA.


Tiffany Hawk was interviewed by McSweeney’s for their series Interviews with People Who Have Interesting or Unusual Jobs (she’s referred to as a former jump  seat therapist).


Tom Gianakopoulos‘s article “An Ethic of Curiosity: Assessing the Work of Barbara Kopple” was published by Documentary.org.


Tom Mavroudis‘s story “The Bloody Cask of Rasputin” was published in the Muzzleland Press anthology Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror. He also read at the Denver Horror Collective’s Music to My Fears event on October 5.


William Hillyard revealed the cover of his upcoming book Welcome to Wonder Valley: Ruin and Redemption in an American Galapagos.



Amie Charney‘s story “How to Schedule a Nervous Breakdown” was published in the anthology Proud to Be on November 11 by Southeast Missouri State University Press.


Ashley Mag Gabbert‘s manuscript SEX DEPRESSION ANIMALS was named a semifinalist in the Wisconsin Poetry Series’ Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes. Her poem “Steam” was nominated by Thrush for a Pushcart Prize.


Bill Ratner‘s story “Greyhound” was named a finalist in New Millennium‘s flash fiction contest. He also read at Noche de Poesía at the Chicano Resource Center of the LA County Library on November 13.


Cynthia Alessandra Briano was the feature poet at San Bernardino County’s Poetry Out Loud’s Kickoff Bash at the Garcia Center for the Arts in San Bernardino, CA on November 16.


Dan McKeithan‘s story “Bloodlets” was published in Culture Cult, and another story called “Conversation” was published in Elixir.


Dorothy Rice was interviewed by the Feminine Roadmap podcast about her book Grey Is the New Black.


Eileen Shields‘s feature film The Amaranth is now available to screen on Amazon Prime Video.


Eli Ryder‘s story “I Remember Annie” was read on the No Sleep podcast.


Heather Scott Partington reviewed Mitch Albom’s memoir Finding Chika for USA Today.


Jan Steele‘s book Shoes on the Stairs was named a finalist in two categories at the American Book Fest’s Best Book Awards. She was honored in Best New Fiction and Women’s Fiction.


J.D. Horn was interviewed on the Open Book podcast.


John Mattson‘s story “Object Permanence” was named a finalist in New Millennium‘s flash fiction contest.


Katherine MacDonald‘s book, The Marketing Edge for Filmmakers: Developing a Marketing Mindset from Concept to Release, was recommended in IndieWire‘s holiday gift guide.


Laurie Rockenbeck spoke on the panel “The Curious Case of Women and True Crime” at GeekGirlCon in Seattle on November 16.


Lisa Quigley announced that she has accepted a full time position as the Communications Coordinator with the School of Science and Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.


Liska Jacobs‘s second novel, The Worst Kind of Want, was published by MCD on November 4. She celebrated with book release parties and readings at Skylight Books in Los Angeles (November 8), Book Soup (November 13) in West Hollywood, and Green Apple Books in San Francisco (November 20). The book was featured in Cosmopolitan,  The Los Angeles Review of Books, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Millions, Crime Reads, Literary Hub, A.V. Club, PureWow, The Skimm, Salt Lake Dirt, and Elle Australia. Liska was interviewed by Kelp and also selected for the longlist of the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize. Liska also interviewed Dawn Finley from Feminist Library on Wheels for Electric Eel.


Maggie Downs wrote three articles for Palm Springs Life: “It’s a Wonderful Resort” and interviews with J.D. Horn and screenwriter/director Ron Oliver.


Mary Perera‘s essay ” To Bruce Chatwin (1940–1989)” was published in the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Matthew Johnson‘s story “Shadow’s Promise” was published in the Blackest Spells anthology from Crossroads Press.


Max Gee‘s award-winning short film Terminal is now available to watch online.


Shawnacy Kiker Perez announced she is co-teaching a free massive open online course with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program called “Hidden Meanings: Creative Fiction, Non-fiction, and Facts.”


Tiffany Hawk‘s story “Don’t Flinch” was published by Collateral. She also interviewed writer Xu Xi for The Rumpus.


Tom Mavroudis‘s story “Block 12” was published in the Denver Horror Collective’s anthology Terror at 5280′.


Trai Cartwright was interviewed by the Denver Media Professionals podcast.


Travis Hedge Coke announced that the anthology he edited, Along the Chaparral 2019, is headed into its second print run. His romance/crime story “Those Old Boi Distant Sounds” was published by Yellow Medicine Review.


William Hillyard read from his book Welcome to Wonder Valley: Ruin and Redemption in an American Galapagos at the Wonder Valley Community Center in Wonder Valley, CA on November 30.



A.M. Larks interviewed author and UCR main campus professor Susan Straight for Ploughshares.

Amy Reardon‘s interview with writer Lucy Ellmann was published by The Adroit Journal.

Annette Roy Davis‘s essay “Searching for Answers” was published in Please See Me.

Ashley Mag Gabbert had three poems published in Redivider (“Oyster,” “Bone,” and Ship”) and five poems from her minml series published in mutiny! She also read her work at the Inner Moonlight reading series at The Wild Detectives on December 11 in Dallas.

Ashley Santana‘s story “Tense” was also published in Please See Me.

Carol Lynne Damgen is a featured actor in The Unsung Feather, which screened at the Tampa Bay Underground Festival on December 7. The film is also a semi-finalist at LA CineFest. She also announced that she has signed with Universal Attraction Agency.

Cate Dicharry was interviewed by the University of Iowa about her work with the Carver College of Medicine’s Writing and Humanities Program.

David Martinez‘s essay “Not Today, Satan” was published in Writers Resist.

Dorothy Rice‘s article “It’s Never Too Late to Dust Off Your Dreams” was published in 8 Women Dream.

Heather Wehland announced she was hired as an event producer for the Los Angeles Times. She was previously an intern the newspaper’s Festival of Books.

Jennifer Croslow‘s first professional work as a book editor was published on December 14: Eva’s Uncommon Life—Guided by Miracles by Eva Perlman.

JoAnn Chaney‘s novel As Long as We Both Shall Live was named one of the top fiction books of 2019 by Book Riot‘s podcast All the Books.

Katherine MacDonald was a panelist at the UCR networking event “Industry Insights: Entertainment” on December 12 in West Hollywood.

Liska Jacobs‘s book The Worst Kind of Want was featured in The Washington Post, The Believer, and Shelf Awareness. She was also interviewed in Charge.

Lon Varnadore revealed the cover of the first book in his new series, Junker Blues.

Lucio Rodriguez‘s story “So You Think You Can Live?” was published in issue 6 of Forbidden Futures.

Pam Munter‘s short play Hedda the Hopper was named a semi-finalist in the Rover Dramawerks Ten-Minute Comedy Contest.

Stephanie Green Smith‘s essay “Digging” was published in Charge.

Travis Hedge Coke read from the anthology Along the Chaparral 2019 on the radio on December 4.


And, of course, congratulations to our Fall 2019 MFA graduates!

By | 2020-01-05T21:46:48-08:00 January 5th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Fall Student & Alumni Success

About the Author: