Guest Residency Faculty
Sean Berard is a literary agent at APA, representing screenwriters and books-to-film.
Andy Blumenthal has been a film editor for 35 plus years, working in features, television, animation, and documentaries. Credits include Waiting For Guffman, Tangled, Tortilla Soup, The Natural, Shocker, Waiting, My Baby’s Daddy, Steven Kanner Retrospective, Diner, and The Stuntman. Between breaks in editing he has directed 2nd unit on features; directed television episodes for ABC’s One Saturday Morning; and written screenplays. He also teaches film editing and production at Chapman University, U.C.L.A., and Otis College of Art and Design and holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Bryan Burch has been the production manager of Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle, where he adapted Treasure Island for the stage. His Broadway and touring credits include Les Miserables, Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Steel Magnolias, Crazy For You, Lettice and Lovage, and Aspects of Love. Bryan is a Los Angeles native, but enjoys living on a small farm in Portland most of the time. He holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Michelle Castillo is a writer, an interdisciplinary artist, educator, activist, community organizer, and independent curator. She is the founder of the Feminist creative collective Wyld Womxn and the Filipino pop-up eatery, Lola’s Kusina, a co-organizer of Bayanihan and member of KITAKITS an experiment. Her collaborative and personal practice includes working at the intersections of performance, writing, identity, food, community engagement, and installation. Her writing and poetry have been featured in The Desert Sun/USA Today, East Jasmine Review, Coachella Magazine, DESERT Magazine, alternative weeklies, funky zines, and other places. She has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary community arts programming with galleries, museums, and arts nonprofits. Her approach to art practices and the events she has organized are comprehensive by continuing to cultivate inclusivity, accessibility, and ways for intergenerational connectivity to occur. Castillo’s events and pop-ups have happened inside of studio apartments, coffee shops, malls, supermarkets, and in the middle of the desert. Michelle earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. Currently, she is at work on her first book about growing up in an immigrant household and a chapbook of poetry.
Yennie Cheung is the co-author of DTLA/37: Downtown Los Angeles in Thirty-seven Stories. As a journalist, she served as an editor for HITS Magazine, and has written for The Los Angeles Times and Blender. She was also the co-founder and co-editor of the now-defunct Hipster Book Club book review site. Yennie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside-Palm Desert. Her fiction and creative nonfiction has been published in such places as Word Riot, Angels Flight • literary west, decomP magazinE, The Best Small Fictions 2015, and The Rattling Wall anthology Only Light Can Do That. She lives in Los Angeles.
Lee Cohn For over 25 years, Lee Michael Cohn has held an international reputation as a writer, director, producer, and acting coach. He began his professional career as an actor working with David Mamet, and was an original member of the Atlantic Theater Company. He recently produced the feature film “Bachelor Lions” starring Mitchel Musso, James Maslow, Rene Olstead, Robert Davi, David Arquette, and Jon Lovitz for RiverRock Films. He is producing RiverRock’s next film, “Seven Days as a Kingpin.” The film he co-wrote with Jeffrey Eyres, “Celebrity Relapse” is in development at RiverRock. Lee wrote and directed the independent TV pilot “Crime Share” for Route 17 Productions. He was the director and co-creator of “Inside Private Lives,” the hit theatrical show that was the LA Weekly Pick of the Week, recommended twice by LA Times, received a rave in NY Times, and out of over 2,000 shows placed in the Top 10 at The Edinburgh Theatre Festival, as well as winning the San Francisco Fringe Festival. He has written plays, feature films, PSAs, radio commercials, and corporate industrial films; he was also the editor of the Santa Monica Mirror. Lee is an alumnus of the Warner Bros. Comedy Writers Workshop, where he was one of 25 writers selected annually out of over 700 applicants. Lee is also co-author of “A Practical Handbook For The Actor,” the best-selling acting textbook of the last 25 years (over 300,000 copies sold; #1 on Amazon) that is required reading in hundreds of theatre programs and has been translated into Dutch, Japanese, Turkish, and Chinese. A long time educator, Lee has taught acting for over 25 years at numerous prestigious institutions including NYU, the Atlantic Acting School, and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. He has also taught acting workshops in LA, NYC, Atlanta, Orlando, Vancouver, B.C., and London, U.K. among other places. Lee holds a BFA in Drama from NYU/Tisch and also trained as an actor at the Drama Studio, London. He also holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts (Screenwriting) from the University of California, Riverside.
Jay Paul Deratany is a writer and actor who holds an MFA from UC Riverside. He has written several plays including “Haram Iran” which has been produced in Chicago, Los Angeles, and soon London. Haram Iran was nominated for a GLAAD award for the best theatrical play of 2011, and Jay Paul received a grant from the London Arts Council to further develop the play for London audiences. In addition, Jay Paul has written “Lincolns Dilemma” a novel; multiple articles advocating for human rights and is a well known human rights lawyer in Chicago. In 2008 Permoveo Productions was incorporated to serve as Jay Paul’s production company. In 2018, Jay Paul’s The Civility of Albert Cashier was nominated for 3 Jeff Awards including best new musical. His latest film, Foster Boy, starring Matthew Modine and Lou Gossett Jr, has just completed production.
Maggie Downs is an award-winning journalist, essayist, and travel writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, BC, Smithsonian, Outside.com, Palm Springs Life, the Cincinnati Enquirer, The (Palm Springs) Desert Sun, USA Today, and The Write Life, among other publications, as well as Lonely Planet’s True Stories From the World’s Best Writers, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing anthology, among other publications. Her debut ROAM: THE TRIP OF MY DYING MOTHER’S LIFETIME memoir will be released in 2020 from Counterpoint Press. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
John Flynn-York writes fiction, essays, and book reviews, his work appearing in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Fiction Advocate, among many others. He has edited a variety of arts and culture websites over the years, and was previously the fiction editor of The Coachella Review. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from UC Riverside–Palm Desert. John’s most recent project is Automata, an online literary review he co-founded with Eli Ryder.
Xach Fromson is the creator of Shades & Shadows, a hugely popular national reading series and is a Los Angeles native who has been obsessed with horror and dark fiction from a very young age. After a brief and ill-advised attempt at being a theater major, he received his BA in Creative Writing from California State University Northridge in 2009. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside’s Palm Desert program. He appeared on stage at Dirty Laundry Lit in February, 2013, and has a short story in the anthology Halloween Tales, out in 2014. He is currently in various stages of working on a ton of projects. Asking him his favorite book will earn you as blank a stare as asking him his favorite wine or whiskey.
Mag Gabbert holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA from The University of California at Riverside. Her poems and nonfiction essays have appeared in over twenty-five national and international publications, including 32 Poems, Carve Magazine, The Rumpus, The Boiler Journal, Sugar House Review, Anomaly Literary Journal, and Birmingham Poetry Review. Mag teaches creative writing for the Graduate Department of Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University and for Writing Workshops Dallas; she serves as an associate poetry editor for Iron Horse Literary Review and as the interviews editor for Underblong Journal. More information is available at maggabbert.com.
Max Gee is an internationally produced playwright, whose stage adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band has been performed in both York, England and Sydney Australia. As a screenwriter, her work includes the medieval webseries Tales of Bacon https://youtu.be/wBPsQjflhGs) and science fiction short films Terminal, developed from her PhD practice screenplay and Standing Woman, adapted from a short story by acclaimed Japanese author Yasutaka Tsutsui. Her screenplays have also placed in a variety of international screenwriting competitions. Maxine completed her PhD by Creative Practice in Screenwriting, titled ‘Posthuman Noir: Creating Positive Posthumans in 2017 and holds her MFA from UC Riverside. Her research interests include posthumanism, science fiction film and television, film noir, Japanese anime, adaptation screenwriting, playwriting and the webseries.
Liz Gorinsky is a Hugo Award-winning editor with over a decade of experience, primarily editing popular and acclaimed fiction at Tor Books, the world’s biggest publisher of science fiction and fantasy, where she edited a list that included acclaimed and award-winning speculative fiction authors Liu Cixin, Annalee Newitz, Cherie Priest, Nisi Shawl, Catherynne M. Valente, and Jeff VanderMeer. She was part of the team that founded Tor.com and has won multiple prestigious awards for editing, including the Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form.Her latest venture, Erewhon Books, has just launched and will be distributed by Workman Publishing, which also houses the imprints Algonquin Books and Artisan Books.
Debbie Graber has performed at Second City, worked in an office, and received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from U.C. Riverside at Palm Desert. Her stories have appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, Harpers, Zyzzyva, Hobart, and elsewhere. Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday is her first collection of stories. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Matt Groesch. Before becoming a producer, Matt Groesch was previously at Lionsgate Entertainment in film production and development where he worked one films such as THEY CAME TOGETHER, ADDICTED, LAZARUS, and many others. Groesch also developed a number of other projects in development at the studio, from the SIGMA FORCE franchise to acclaimed New York Times bestseller DORK DIARIES. In 2017, when John Sacchi started his own production shingle, 5 More Minutes Productions, he brought Groesch on board as his producing partner. Since starting the company they have built a diverse slate of projects. In television, ranging from ONE OF US IS LYING at USA and UCP, to a documentary of Ruffhouse Records at Sony. On the film side, an english remake of INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED at Lionsgate, to an adaptation of a debut sci-fi novel with Jon Chu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS) and Starlight Culture Entertainment.
Tiffany Hawk is a former flight attendant, travel writer, and the author of Love Me Anyway. Her essays and stories have appeared in such places as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She’s taught at Rutgers University, Southern New Hampshire University and the Writer’s Center in Washington D and holds an MFA in Fiction from UC Riverside.
Karen Howes My written works include credits in television, documentary and stage. I’ve written over two dozen plays and have been produced in academic, professional, regional, and community venues throughout the country. Several of my plays have been selected for production at competitive festivals, and I’ve received commissions to write original works for specific theatrical venues. My play “Last Flight of The Mercenary” was awarded the CalTech 2015 Mach 33 Award for New Science Driven Plays, and my play “The Moment of Evolution” won the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition for best full length play in 2011. I’ve had work developed at the Blank Theater in Hollywood and The Skylight Theater in Los Feliz. My work was featured twice in the Academy Theater’s Three Plays in May series, produced several times in the Jersey Voices festival, produced by Multi-shades in Atlanta, was a semi-finalist for finalist for numerous competitions including Ashland, Humanitas, Henley Rose and selected numerous times for the Playground LA writer’s pool. In addition, I was nominated for a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and I’ve had numerous commissions to develop youth plays and devised theatre. I’ve worked with several theaters including Open Eye, Academy, Mirobou Arts, SkyLight, The Blank, Stage Door, Theater in the Square, Ensemble Theatre, Bickford, Jersey Voices, BoxFest Detroit, Ivoryton and William Inge. I currently teach in the Theater and English departments at Long Beach City College as well as teach several graduate and undergraduate courses in literature, dramatic writing and theatre at The New York Film Academy. I am also a recipient of a Fulton County Arts grant for new play development, and I serve on several play submission reading committees. I am currently developing curriculum for a course on Women in Theatre, Film and Television. As a journalist, I have written hundreds of magazine features on science and technology, which have been published throughout the world and translated into numerous languages. Throughout my career, I have focused a great deal of time and talent in education and outreach, working with both inner city and rural communities to help foster an appreciation for and hands-on experience in the performing arts and writing. I received a degree in Philosophy from The College of William and Mary and an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for Performing Arts from the University of California at Riverside. I am a professional member of The Dramatists Guild, The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, Theater Communications Group, Women in Arts, and International Women Playwrights.
Dara Hyde is a senior agent at the Hill Nadell Literary Agency in Los Angeles and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including literary and genre fiction, graphic novels, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and young adult. Before joining Hill Nadell, Dara spent over a decade as an editor and rights and permissions manager at independent publisher Grove Atlantic in New York. A graduate of Bard College, Dara has always balanced her love of film and literature. At the agency she assists with foreign and film rights for the whole agency in addition to managing her own clients.
Liska Jacobs essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Literary Hub, Chicago Review of Books, The Millions, and The Hairpin, among other publications. Her debut novel Catalina (MCD | FSG ORIGINALS) was featured in Elle Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, and listed as a 2018 Fall must-read in Pop Sugar, Book Riot, and the Orange County Register. Her second novel The Worst Kind of Want (MCD) is due out Fall 2019. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Tyrell Johnson is the internationally bestselling author of The Wolves of Winter. He holds an MFA in Fiction from UC Riverside. The Wolves of Winter was named An Indie Next Selection, A BookNet Canada Loan Stars Pick, A PopSugar “Best New Book of Winter,” and A Vogue Winter Reading Selection.
Katherine MacDonald is Vice President of Production and Marketing at Paramount Pictures Animation. She finds, buys and develops material including original pitches, submissions, books and adaptations. Prior to this, she has been the liaison between the Production and Marketing teams at Paramount and Vice President of Worldwide Research at the studio. Previously, she was Head of Research at MGM, Director of Research at Lionsgate and worked in both Marketing and Distribution at New Line Cinema. Katherine also has an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of California- Riverside, Low Residency Program and BFA in Film Production from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. During her career, Kate has worked on a variety of both large and more targeted films such as Wedding Crashers, the Saw franchise, World War Z, the Star Trek and Transformers franchises, SpongeBob animated movies and The Big Short.
Jacqueline McKinley is a working television writer who has written for 8 different sitcoms and two dramas. She has over 40 produced episodes of television. Jackie has just finished season two on Disney’s “Raven’s Home”. In the past, she worked on the BET show “The Quad” and TVOne’s “Media”. Formerly, she was a writer for the Emmy award-winning “The Bernie Mac Show” and was the Co-Executive Producer/Co-creator of the TVOne comedy “Here We Go Again”. She also served as writer/Producer of “Are We There Yet?” “First Family” and “All of Us.” In addition to her television work, she began writing short films, web series and screenplays. The short film “Move” played in over thirty film festivals and won eight of them. “Move” has also aired on the Showtime Network. The next short film, “Oxtails” has aired on the BET Network. She has also written and directed the popular web series “Finding My Obama.” Jackie has been accepted in many prestigious programs such as the Writer’s Guild Showrunners Program, the WGA’s Writers Access Project and The Guy Hank and Marvin Millers Screenwriters Program. She is a University of Florida undergraduate and has an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of California-Riverside.
Jeff Meyers is a writer, filmmaker and screenwriter. For ten years he was an award-winning film critic at Detroit’s Metro Times. He was also the president of the Detroit Film Critic’s Society from 2011-2014. In the early 2000s, Jeff was the Creative Producer for Stagedirect, a company that brought live theatrical productions to video, and oversaw half a dozen projects that ended up on PBS, Netflix and AmazonPrime. More recently, he wrote and directed five short films, including The Blood of Love, which was an official selection at over 50 film festivals and won a dozen awards. His latest project, a fantasy web series entitled The Crooked Tower just received funding for 10 episodes from Filmaka Productions (founded by producer Deepak Nayar). Jeff was also the screenwriter for the feature horror sequel Mimesis: Nosferatu, currently screening at festivals in Europe and slated to be released in late 2019. His short fiction has been published in Carolina Quarterly, Confrontation, Exquisite Corpse, Canyon Voices, Paramour, Dark Lane, and other literary journals and anthologies. He is a 2017 UCR alumni and works as a writer at Apple.
Pam Munter has authored several books including When Teens Were Keen: Freddie Stewart and The Teen Agers of Monogram (Nicholas Lawrence Press, 2005) and Almost Famous: In and Out of Show Biz (Westgate Press, 1986). She’s a retired clinical psychologist, former performer and film historian. Her many lengthy retrospectives on the lives of often-forgotten Hollywood performers and others have appeared in Classic Images and Films of the Golden Age. More recently, her essays and short stories have been published in The Rumpus, The Manifest-Station, The Coachella Review, Lady Literary Review, The Creative Truth, Adelaide, Litro, Angels Flight—Literary West, TreeHouse Arts, Persephone’s Daughters, Canyon Voices, Open Thought Vortex, Fourth and Sycamore, Nixes Mate, Scarlet Leaf Review, Cold Creek Review, Communicators League, I Come From The World, Switchback, The Legendary, bioStories and others. Her play Life Without was a semi-finalist in the Ebell of Los Angeles Playwriting Competition and has been nominated for Outstanding Play by the Desert Theatre League. She has also been nominated for the Bill Groves Award for Outstanding Original Writing. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California at Riverside/Palm Desert. Her latest book, As Alone As I Want To Be, is out now.
Ruth Nolan is a poet-writer based in the California Desert and professor of English and Creative Writing at College of the Desert. She is the author of Ruby Mountain (Finishing Line Press); editor of No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California’s Deserts (Heyday Books); and co-editor of Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager.) Her book-length poetry collection Badwater placed as a finalist in the 2018 Hilary Gravendyk poetry book contest. Ruth is the recipient of a 2018 Love of Learning Award from the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society for her forthcoming book Fire on the Mojave: Stories from the Deserts and Mountains of Inland Southern California, for which she also won a 2017 California Writers Residency Award. She’s the 2018 winner of the Los Angeles Poetry Society Women’s Month Poetry contest. Her short story, “Palimpsest,” published in LA Fiction: Southland Writing by Southland Writers (Red Hen Press), was nominated for a 2016 PEN Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writer and also received an Honorable Mention Award in Sequestrum Magazine’s 2016 Editor’s Reprint contest. Her poetry and essays have been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly; Rattling Wall; The Cost of Paper; Angels Flight LA/Literary West; KCET Los Angeles; Desert Oracle; Cholla Needles; News from Native California; Sierra Club Desert Report; Lumen; Pacific Review; The Desert Sun/USA Today and Inlandia Literary Journeys. Ruth also serves on the advisory board for Poets & Writers West, leads community-inclusive writing workshops throughout inland Southern California and holds her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside.
Maret Orliss is the Associate Director of Events Programming at the Los Angeles Times, overseeing the premier book event in the universe, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Prior to working for the Times, she was the associate promotional director at Vroman’s Bookstore. She is a graduate of Occidental College and has served on grant-review panels for the NEA.
Carol Park is the author of Memoir of a Cashier and an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. Her work has been featured on ABC, NBC, NPR, CBS, the Los Angeles Times and across the world. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Heather Scott Partington is a writer, teacher, and book critic. She is the winner of an emerging critic fellowship from the National Book Critics Circle. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Heather has served as a contributor to Goodreads, Las Vegas Weekly, Electric Literature, Ploughshares, and Kirkus. She teaches high school English, and lives in Elk Grove, California, with her husband and two kids. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Bill Ratner is one of Hollywood’s premier voiceover artists and a published author, narrating movie trailers for The Emoji Movie, Despicable Me 3, Twentieth Century Fox’s Why Him, Coen brothers’ Hail Caesar, Pixar’s Inside-Out, Marvel’s Ant-Man, Will Ferrell’s The Campaign, MegaMind, Talladega Nights, etc., commercials for Hyundai, Sprint, Pizza Hut, promos for CBS-TV’s Hunted, documentary narrations for Discovery, History Channel, Smithsonian Channel, Disney World, and is the game voice of “Donnel Udina” on Mass Effect 1, 2 & 3, and the voice of “Flint” on G.I. Joe: All-American Hero, Robot Chicken, Community, and Family Guy. One of America’s leading storytellers, Bill’s spoken word performances can be heard on National Public Radio stations’ Good Food, The Business, and KCRW’s Strangers. He is a 9-time winner of The Moth Story SLAM and a 2-time winner of The Best of The Hollywood Fringe Festival Extension for solo performance. He has told stories at Comedy Central Stage, National Storytelling Festival, G.I. Joe Con, Long Beach Comic Con, Portland Storytelling Festival, Timpanogos Storytelling Conference, National Storytelling Network Conference, and Los Angeles Unified School District classrooms since 1985. His book from Familius Publications, Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth behind Media’s Effect on Children and What To Do About It, is a 2016 National Indie Excellence Award Winner. His personal essays and short fiction are published in The Baltimore Review, Blue Lake Review, The Coachella Review, The Amor Fati, Pleiades, Southern Anthology, Spork, NiteBlade.com, National Cheng Kung Literary, Papier Maché Press, TV Marquee, Coast Magazine, Feminine Collective, Wolfsinger Press, The Missouri Review, and he is contributing author of Secrets of Voiceover Success from Sentient Press. HUFFINGTON POST: “More than just the premiere voiceover talent in Hollywood, Ratner writes with the subtlety and texture worthy of a literary fiction master.” Bill teaches Voiceovers for Storytellers® for The Screen Actors Guild Foundation, SAG-AFTRA, and at storytelling festivals and conferences across the country. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from U.C. Riverside/Palm Desert and is a member of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, Actors Equity Association, and the National Storytelling Network.
Cynthia Romanowski holds an MFA in fiction from UCR’s low res program in Palm Desert. Her monthly book round-up, Shelf Awareness, can be found in Coast Magazine and her fiction has appeared in The Weekly Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, MARY: A Journal Of New Writing, Lit Central OC and on the podcast No Extra Words. This summer she received a fellowship to attend Idyllwild Arts Writer’s Week. She has also been featured reader for Dirty Laundry Lit and Tongue & Groove. In 2013, her story “Santa Ana” was a Top 25 finalist in Glimmer Train’s “Family Matters” contest and her story “Torches In The Ashtray” was selected for the annual Emerging Voices Show for The New Short Fiction Series in Los Angeles. She is a past participant of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and Lit Camp, a former prose editor of The Coachella Review and she has volunteered for Dzanc publications, The Rattling Wall, WriteGirl, 826LA and the The Whistling Fire. She is one of the founder of HB Huddle, a political advocacy group.
Eli Ryder writes dark fiction and the occasional bit of criticism, and his work can be found online and in print. He received an honorable mention for The Roswell Award in 2018, and is a co-founder of Automata Review. He graduated from UC Riverside’s low-residency MFA program in Palm Desert, and is currently a Professor of English at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX. He is a fan of horror, donuts, cheeseburgers, and any combination of the three. Find him on Twitter @theeliryder.
Senta Scarborough is an award-winning journalist and Emmy® Award-nominated producer, in addition to being a screenwriter. Current screenplays include crime dramas inspired by her time in Southern Appalachia and the borderlands of the Southwest. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside/Palm Desert. She also holds a certificate in screenwriting from UCLA Extension Writers Program and is a graduate of the USC Cinematic Arts Summer (screenwriting) Program. She is a former senior investigative reporter and long-form narrative writer for E! News and E! Online. She spent nearly a decade covering crime as a staff writer for The Arizona Republic. Her work has appeared in USA Today, US Weekly magazine and Asheville Poetry Review, among others. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist’s Association. She earned a B.A. in English and Political Science and a B.S. in Philosophy and Religion from Radford University. A Virginia native, she now lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their dog.
Stephen Jay Schwartz Los Angeles Times Bestselling Author Stephen Jay Schwartz spent a number of years as the Director of Development for Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In the Line of Fire, Air Force One, Troy, The Perfect Storm) where he worked to develop screenplays for production. His two novels, Boulevard and Beat, follow the journey of sex-addicted LAPD detective Hayden Glass. Stephen was a judge for the 2012 Edgar and ITW Awards. His work was included in the short story collection The Los Angeles Fiction Anthology alongside T.C. Boyle, published by Red Hen Press, as well as the short story collection Jewish Noir, published by PM Press. Stephen is a regular moderator at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and judged the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the mystery/thriller category in 2015 and 2016. His film work has been exhibited in the A.F.I. Los Angeles International Film Festival and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. He is currently editing a compilation of short, non-fiction stories called Hollywood Versus the Author for Rare Bird Books as well as writing his third novel, a standalone mystery/thriller. Stephen received his MFA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside and is currently on faculty at Emerson College Los Angeles.
Dan Smetanka is the Vice President and Executive Editor of Counterpoint Press. He has worked in the publishing industry for 25 years. As an executive editor at Ballantine/Random House Inc., he acquired award-winning books including The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner, Down to the Soundless Sea by Thomas Steinbeck, and Among the Missing by Dan Chaon, a 2001 finalist for the National Book Award. At Counterpoint, he acquires both fiction and nonfiction, and his projects include works by Dana Johnson, Abby Geni, Tod Goldberg, Natashia Deón, Jared Yates Sexton, Cristina Garcia, Joan Silber, and Karen E. Bender, Gina Frangello, Elizabeth Crane, Wally Lamb, Maggie Downs and many more. His books have won or have been the finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the NAACP Image Award, the Story Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Hammett Prize, the Dublin IMPAC, and countless others.
Bridget Smith is an agent Dunham Literary. Bridget Smith began her career at Dunham Literary, Inc. in June 2011. After two years as Jennie’s assistant, she began taking on her own clients. Previously, she was an intern at Don Congdon Associates, worked at a secondhand book store in Connecticut, and evaluated short story submissions for Tor.com under Liz Gorinsky and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. She graduated from Brown University in 2010. While there, she studied anthropology and archaeology, worked as a radio DJ, fenced on the varsity team, and helped design an experiment that she later performed in microgravity at NASA. You can follow her on Twitter @bredalot, or listen to her podcast with Jen Udden of Barry Goldblatt Literary, Shipping & Handling.
Jamison Stoltz is the Executive Editor of Abrams Press, publishing first-rate narrative non-fiction on a broad range of subjects and issues, including arts and culture, food, style, design, history, current events, science, technology, memoir, and biography. Its mission is to find and cultivate unique voices, to develop original projects, and to publish intelligent, rigorously edited, carefully crafted, and handsomely designed and produced books that entertain readers and illuminate the world. Prior to that, he served as Senior Editor at Grove Press.
SUPER SPECIAL GUEST is very special. You’re going to be impressed. This person? An actual living legend.