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Online Instructors

Blake Kimzey, Founder & Executive Director, Fiction


Blake Kimzey founded and directs Writing Workshops Dallas. Named one of D Magazine's Artists to Learn From, he is a graduate of the MFA Program at UC Irvine; Blake also sits on the Board of the Elizabeth George Foundation and received a generous Emerging Writer Grant from the Foundation in 2013. His fiction has been broadcast on NPR, performed on stage in Los Angeles, and published by Tin House, McSweeney’s, Vice/Terraform, Redivider, D Magazine, Green Mountains Review, Short Fiction, FiveChapters, The Lifted Brow, Hobart, Puerto del Sol, The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, Booth, Faultline, FLAUNT Magazine, Malibu Magazine, Day One, PANK, Fiction Southeast, Surreal South '13, and selected by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions 2015. Blake’s collection of short tales, Families Among Us, an Indie Bestseller, was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2014. He recently completed his first novel and is working on his second. Blake has been awarded fellowships to attend the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Vermont Studio Center. He is proudly represented by Ryan Harbage at The Fischer-Harbage Agency. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at SMU and has also taught creative writing at UT-Dallas and UC-Irvine. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeKimzey, find him online at, contact him at, or use the Contact link above.


Whitney Davis, Screenwriting & Literary Management


Whitney Davis is the founder of Whitney Davis Literary, a boutique literary consultancy offering management for screenwriters and editorial/career consulting services for writers. After receiving her BA in Literature and Creative Writing, Whitney moved to Los Angeles where she started out as a TV writer, getting signed to the William Morris Agency (now WME) at the age of 26. During the writers strike, Whitney began her career as a freelance script consultant and developmental story editor for aspiring screenwriters and novelists. Over the past 10 years, Whitney has worked with award winning novelists and optioned/produced screenwriters. In 2015, after being nudged by many of her existing clients, Whitney started her own literary management firm for screenwriters and continues her work with novelists and screenwriters as a developmental story editor and publishing consultant. In the screenwriting world, she moves best in the TV space, and her clients have pitched their scripts to several studios that include HBO, FX, Netflix and Hallmark to name a few.  On the novel writing side, her clients have landed literary agents and secured book deals with Harper Collins, Scholastic and more. Whitney is a sought after panelist and conference speaker, participating at events all over the country. In the last year, she has spoken at The Great American Pitchfest, the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, The Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, The Genre LA Conference, and has paneled at events such as AWP’s 50th Anniversary Conference in Washington D.C, the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival and was selected as a guest of honor for an International Screenwriting Association event this past summer. You can find her at several more events in 2017. Whitney has a passion for storytelling and loves encouraging writers to fulfill their dreams.  You can find her across all social media platforms at @wdavisliterary. To contact Whitney, use the Contact link above.


Maya Perez, 3-Month Online Intensive Screenwriting Mentorship

Maya Perez is a writer and producer. Her writing has appeared in Joyland, Electric Literature, The Masters Review, Misadventures Magazine, and she is co-editor of three collections of interviews with screenwriters and filmmakers: On Story – The Golden Ages of Television, On Story - Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films, and On Story - Screenwriters and Their Craft, all published by the University of Texas Press. She is an executive producer on the television series On Story, now in its ninth season on PBS. On Story won a Lone Star EMMY Award® for Best Interview/Discussion Program Series in 2018 and for Best Arts/Entertainment Program in 2014. It was nominated for a Lone Star EMMY Award® in 2016. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers, SFFILM/Westridge, the Sundance Institute, New York Stage & Film, and was named one of MovieMaker Magazine and Austin Film Festival’s “25 Screenwriters to Watch” for 2016. She received a BA from Vassar College and an MFA as a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin. Maya currently teaches at the Michener Center for Writers and The University of Texas at Austin. An active member of the arts and education community, she serves on boards and committees for several organizations, including Austin Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Texas Book Festival, and Vassar College. She grew up in Kenya, Zambia, and the United States and now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, artist Johnny Walker, and their daughter. Photo Credit Johnny Walker.


Kendra Allen, 6-Month Online Essay Collection Mentorship Program

Kendra Allen is the author of the award-winning essay collection When You Learn The Alphabet (University of Iowa Press), winner of the 2018 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Kendra has an MFA from the University of Alabama. Her work has also appeared in brevity, december, and The Rumpus, among others. Kendra tweets @KendraCanYou.


Kelly Luce, 6-Month Online Novel Mentorship Program

Kelly Luce is the author of Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (A Strange Object, 2013), which won Foreword Review’s Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction, and the novel Pull Me Under (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016), a Book of the Month selection and one of Elle's Best Books of 2016. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in cognitive science, she moved to Japan, where she lived and worked for three years. Her work has been recognized by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, Sozopol Fiction Seminars, Ragdale Foundation, the Kerouac Project, and Jentel Arts. In 2015 she received an MFA in fiction and screenwriting from the Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, where she was editor-in-chief of Bat City Review and the editorial assistant for the O. Henry Prize Stories anthology. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in New York MagazineThe Chicago Tribune, Salon, O, the Oprah Magazine, The Sun, The Southern Review, New England Review, American Short Fiction, Gettysburg Review, and other publications. She is the Essays Editor for Electric Literature and was a 2016-17 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She lives in an old grist mill in Knoxville, Tennessee. Finally, here is a short piece Kelly wrote about reading for the O. Henry Prize Stories. More at


Tori Telfer, Creative Non-Fiction & Longform Journalism

Longform Journalism Tori Telfer

Tori Telfer is a writer and editor based in Chicago. Her first book, Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History (Harper Perennial), was published fall 2017, and called “exceptionally well-sourced and engaging, if gory” by NPR. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Smithsonian, Salon, Vice, Jezebel, The Hairpin, The Awl, GOOD magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Establishment, and elsewhere, and has been featured several times on She has a serial killer anecdote for every social situation, and is always overjoyed to talk about “going freelance” (not to be confused with “going clear”). Read more at


Melissa Marr, 6-Month Online Writing for Young Readers & Teens Mentorship Program

Melissa Marr is a former university literature instructor who writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages and been bestsellers internationally (Germany, France, Sweden, Australia, et al) as well as domestically (on the NY TimesLos Angeles TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal). Accolades include starred reviews on numerous books (in PW, SLJ, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal), YALSA Popular Paperbacks, IRA Notable Book Pick, Book Sense Pick (YA and adult), Good Morning America Summer Pick for Teens, Scottish Book Trust, Red Maple finalist (in both Ontario and Manitoba), and Goodreads Good Choice Award (Horror), RWA RITA award (YA).  In addition to novels, Melissa has co-edited several anthologies, as well as published short fiction, manga and prose non-fiction. She is best known for the Wicked Lovely series for teens, Graveminder for adults, and her debut picturebook Bunny Roo, I Love You. Upcoming books include her first children’s book that will feature her photography as well as her words (2021), a historical fantasy middle-grade series (2020 & 2021), and a sequel to Bunny Roo (2021).  She currently lives in Arizona when she’s not off wandering.


Lindsay Tigue, Online Fiction


Lindsay Tigue is the author of System of Ghosts, which was the winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for Julie Suk Award, and was a finalist for both the Foreword INDIES Book Award and the Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award for a book by a debut author. Tigue writes poetry and fiction and her work appears in Prairie SchoonerBlackbird, Verse DailyPoetry DailyRattlediodeIndiana Review and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among other journals. She was a Tennessee Williams scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a James Merrill fellow at the Vermont Studio Center, and a former assistant to the editors at the Georgia Review. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University and the English/Creative Writing PhD program at the University of Georgia. She is an assistant professor of Creative Writing and English at Eastern New Mexico University.


David Samuel Levinson, Online Fiction


David Samuel Levinson is the author of the novels Tell Me How This Ends WellAntonia Lively Breaks the Silence, and the story collection, Most of Us Are Here Against Our Will. He's received fellowships from Yaddo, the Jentel Foundation, Ledig House, the Santa Fe Arts Institute, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Marguerite & Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. His stories and poetry have appeared in storySouthThe Brooklyn ReviewPrairie SchoonerThe Toronto QuarterlyWest Branch, and Post Road, among others. He served as the Fellow in Fiction at Emory University from 2013 to 2015. He’s taught online at NYU and UCLA’s Writing Program.


Kirsten Imani Kasai, Online Novel

Kirsten Imani Kasai is the author of three novels: The House of Erzulie, Ice Song, and Tattoo. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in Arts & Letters, Existere Journal of Arts & Literature, Drunk Monkeys, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, the anthology Then Again, and The Body Horror Book. According to Foreword Reviews, Kirsten “makes the macabre beautiful.” She is the recipient of the Antioch University Los Angeles Library Research Award for “Redefining Utopia: How Feminist Utopian Literature Can Serve as a Model for Creating Workable Futures.” Kirsten teaches graduate creative writing and literature courses at Southern New Hampshire University and quietly advocates for introvert rights from the privacy of her home. Find her online at and @mehetebelly.


Diana Spechler, Online Nonfiction

Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny, of the New York Times column Going Off, and of a nonfiction book forthcoming from Crown Publishing. Her work has appeared in GQ, the Wall Street Journal, Harper's, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Tin House Open Bar, Paris Review Daily, Travel & Leisure, Glimmer Train Stories,  The Southern Review, Lenny Letter, Playboy, and many other publications. She is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including a Hawthornden Castle Residency and the Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation. She is also a seven-time Moth Story Slam winner who has been featured on NPR.


Colin Winnette, Online Novel


Colin Winnette is the author of several books, including Haints Stay (Two Dollar Radio) and The Job of the Wasp (Soft Skull Press). His writing has been published in numerous publications, including McSweeney's, Playboy, and The American Reader. He was a finalist for Gulf Coast Magazine's Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, judged by Robert Coover, and he was the winner of Les Figues Press's NOS BOOK CONTEST, for his novel Coyote. His novels have been translated into Italian & French.


James Tate Hill, Online Memoir/Personal Essay


James Tate Hill is the author of Academy Gothic (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2015), winner of the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. His fiction and essays have appeared in Literary Hub, Prairie Schooner, Writer’s Digest, Hobart, The Texas Review, Story Quarterly, and Waxwing, among others. He’s the fiction editor for the literary journal Monkeybicycle and a contributing editor for Lit Hub, where he writes a monthly audiobooks column. Born in Charleston, West Virginia, he’s a graduate of the writing programs at Hollins University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro.


Constantine Singer, Online YA Fiction


Constantine Singer is the author of Strange Days, a young adult science fiction novel released by Putnam/Penguin Teen in December of 2018. Constantine grew up in Seattle and earned his BA in history from Earlham College and his Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. He is a teacher and a 20 year veteran of Los Angeles area public schools. Constantine only began working towards his dream of being a novelist later in life and his publication journey is the story of a "slush-pile" query success. He currently lives in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles with his family and he still teaches high school history, government and economics in South LA. 

Todd Robert Petersen, Online Fiction


Todd Robert Petersen lives in Cedar City, Utah, with his wife and three children. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Northern Arizona University, and Oklahoma State, Petersen is now a professor of English at Southern Utah University. He also teaches in SUU's interdisciplinary Screen Studies program. His work has appeared in Mid-American Review, Weber Studies, Hobart, and the Wisconsin Review. He is repped by Nat Sobel and publishes with Counterpoint, who released his novel-in-stories called IT NEEDS TO LOOK LIKE WE TRIED last year. His next novel, PICNIC IN THE RUINS, a dark comedy about Native American antiquities theft set in the desert Southwest, will be released by Counterpoint sometime next year. 

Ryan David Jahn, Online Fiction

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Ryan David Jahn grew up in Arizona, California, and Texas. He worked several odd jobs and spent time in the army before beginning his career as a novelist. He published his first book, Good Neighbors, which went on to win the Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Dagger, in 2009, and has since published several others, including The Dispatcher (2011), named by the Financial Times as one of the top ten crime novels of the year; The Last Tomorrow (2012); Dark Hours (2015); and The Breakout (2017). Translation rights to his works have been sold in twelve languages. More at

Zachary Tyler Vickers , Online Fiction


Zachary Tyler Vickers is the author of Congratulations on Your Martyrdom! [Indiana University Press]. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop where he was the Provost's Fellow. He is the recipient of the Richard Yates Prize and the Clark Fisher Ansley Prize for excellence in fiction. He has been a finalist for the Calvino Prize, the Gertrude Stein Award, and the ProForma Prize. His work has appeared in numerous journals. You can learn more at

Cara Benson Writing Workshops Dallas Online Flash Fiction

Cara Benson is an award winning writer whose stories, poems, book reviews, and essays have been published in The New York Times, Boston Review, Best American Poetry, The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Electric Literature, Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, 3:AM, and in syndication. She has received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Literature and is in revision on her second book, a novel. Of her first book, a hybrid prose collection called (made), the Huffington Post writes: “Benson does more with the two-word sentence than many poets do in two stanzas or even two poems, largely because it would be difficult to find even a single wasted word." Cara is Program Manager for The Millay Colony for the Arts and has been a Visiting Writer for The New York State Writers Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Evergreen College, Kelly Writers House at PENN, Stonecoast MFA, and Toronto New School of Writing. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and loves teaching and mentoring other writers! Cara's online home is:

Ethan Chatagnier, Online Fiction

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Ethan Chatagnier is the author of Warnings from the Future, a short story collection forthcoming from Acre Books in fall 2018. His stories have been awarded a 2018 Pushcart Prize and named a notable story of the year in the 2011 Million Writers Award. His work has been published or is forthcoming in literary magazines including the New England Review, Glimmer Train, Georgia Review, Cincinnati Review, Five Points, Kenyon Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness, Barrelhouse, Ascent, and Necessary Fiction. He is a graduate of California State University Fresno, where he won the Larry Levis prize in poetry, and of Emerson College, where he completed his M.A. in Publishing and Writing. Find him online at

Janée J. Baugher, Online Poetry

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Janée J. Baugher is the author of two ekphrastic poetry collections, Coördinates of Yes (Ahadada Books) and The Body’s Physics (Tebot Bach). Baugher’s books are collected in libraries around the world, including the British Library. She holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University, and her writing has been published (or forthcoming) in 100 journals, including Tin House, The Southern Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Boulevard, Nano Fiction, and The Writer’s Chronicle. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as Best of the Net. She’s taught at Northeastern University; University of Phoenix; Seattle Public Library; Port Townsend Writers’ Conference; Richard Hugo House; Interlochen Center for the Arts; University of Washington–Experimental College; and Eastern State Hospital, among other places. Her interdisciplinary collaborations include work with visual artists, composers, dancers, and choreographers. Her poems have been adapted for the stage and set to music at University of Cincinnati, Contemporary Dance Theatre (OH), Interlochen Center for the Arts, Dance Now! Ensemble (Florida), and University of North Carolina-Penbroke. As a spoken-word artist, Baugher has performed at arts festivals around Seattle, and in 2011 she presented her poetry at the Library of Congress. Currently Baugher is a Poetry Reader for Boulevard Magazine.

Jonathan “J.G.” McClure, Online Poetry

Jonathan “J.G.” McClure studied poetry at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and the University of California – Irvine, where he earned his MFA. His poetry and prose appear widely, including in Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Nashville Review, The Pinch, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. His work was selected for inclusion in Best New Poets 2015 by U.S. Poet Laureate Traci K. Smith, and has been nominated for awards and honors including the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, and Best of the Net. He is a book reviewer for multiple journals including Colorado Review and Rain Taxi, and is the former Craft Essay Editor and Assistant Poetry Editor of Cleaver Magazine. His first collection, The Fire Lit & Nearing, is forthcoming (Indolent Books, April 2018). He is currently at work translating a book of Spanish-language poetry.  A former instructor at UC-Irvine, he has taught a variety of courses both in-person and online. More info is available at

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