This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2022 Kansas City Writing Workshop.
Tara Yilmaz is the founder and CEO of Bailey Publishing House.
Tara founded Bailey Publishing House, LLC in 2016. She serves as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Editor.
At the 2022 online KCWW Writing Workshop, Tara is meeting virtually with writers for add-on manuscript critiques.
Tara is a ghostwriter and author of Dracula of the West Side and Number Seven (2018). She’s the author of the dark comedy play, “Deadbeat” (2017). The play premiered on May 21, 2018 at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater, downtown Pittsburgh. The production was produced by Wali Jamal Abdullah and directed by Kim El.
She was the featured speaker at the Celebration of Reading in June 2017 and Pittsburgh’s Write On: Black Book Expo in November 2017. Along with speaking at book festivals, BPH hosts an annual writers workshop. She’s been a featured guest on WAMO 100 radio programs and Soul Pitt Quarterly wrote an article about her company in Summer 2017 edition. In addition to her commitment to BPH, she is also Editor-in-Chief for a personal care home monthly magazine in Pennsylvania.
Laura Biagi is a freelance editor with 13 years of experience in editing and agenting adult fiction, memoir, young adult fiction, and children’s books. Previously, she was a Literary Agent with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, where she turned her clients’ books into New York Times bestsellers, including the bestselling YA Ash Princess trilogy by Laura Sebastian.
At the 2022 online KCWW event, she is available for add-on manuscript critiques.
Laura holds an MFA from the University of Houston and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine Southeast Review, a Whiting Award finalist. She was previously Fiction Editor with the literary magazine Gulf Coast and is obtaining her PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She has taught numerous novel-focused writing workshops in addition to workshops on how to get published, how to write query letters, and how to get an agent. As a freelance editor, she brings the insight of a prior agent, a current editor and publisher, and an author steeped in the knowledge of craft to the table. She is particularly savvy with character, plot, and pacing and channels her experience into thorough, deep-dive edits that consider every facet of your work to launch your writing to the next level and fulfill your vision for your book.
Ricki Cardenas is the author of two humorous women’s fiction novels, MR. RIGHT-SWIPE (2017) and SWITCH AND BAIT (2018), both published by Grand Central (Hachette) under the name Ricki Schultz. Among other publications, she has contributed to Writer’s Digest Books, and she is also a freelance editor. She has molded the minds of tweens & teens as a teacher in both the CLE and the ATL, and she’s taught writing and communications at the college level as well. She’s back in Cleveland now living la vida loca with her husband and two crazy hound dogs, and her writing is represented by Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
At the 2022 online KCWW conference, she is critiquing manuscripts for women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, young adult, and middle grade.
Ricki earned a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
In addition to freelance writing and editing, she has spoken at writers’ conferences and was formerly the coordinator of the now-defunct online writing community, the Write-Brained Network.
Her writing is represented by Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Sean Fletcher is a developmental editor and former agent scout.
At the 2022 online KCWW, he is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
Sean has also taught and co-taught workshops on developmental editing and book marketing at the PNWA conference in Seattle, the NILA MFA Residency, and RWA San Jose chapter, among many other venues. Sean assists authors in building multidimensional characters, engaging plots, original voices, and deep themes across all age groups.
When not editing he is an author of Amazon best-selling YA fantasy, as well as middle grade.
Shirin Leos is the author of 20 children’s books, the best-known of which is Ruby’s Wish, an Ezra Jack Keats Award winner. Her successful debut had Publishers Weekly include her on a list of “new authors to watch;” several years and two feature articles later, she made it to their front cover as the founding goose of Goosebottom Books. You can see all her books here.
At the 2022 online KCWW, Shirin is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
When Shirin is not writing, she is an editor, writing coach, and writing retreat leader. She has been dubbed a “tiger editor” independently by two of her clients, because she gives tough developmental edits. (They did come back!)
For those who don’t like tough, there are her writing retreats. These are three- or five-night stays in beautiful and secluded surroundings, with all meals catered, and libations poured every evening when participants gather to share our work and receive feedback. There is nothing, Shirin believes, like writing in community. These few days can be the most productive of the year.
At the 2022 online KCWW, Noelle is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
Noelle was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she’s been a Navy recruit, a medical assistant, an NFL cheerleader, and always a storyteller. As a novelist, she has done extensive research into the Women Airforce Service Pilots, interviewing vets and visiting the training facility—now a museum dedicated to the WASP—in Sweetwater, Texas.
When she’s not writing, she can be found dodging raindrops and daydreaming of her next book. Noelle lives in Bothell, Washington with her family. The Flight Girls is her debut novel.
Chuck Sambuchino (@chucksambuchino) is a freelance editor, bestselling book author, and former longtime staffer for Writer’s Digest Books. For many years he edited the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog was one of the largest blogs in publishing, and he wrote the platform guidebook CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM.
His humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, was optioned by Sony Pictures. Chuck’s books have been mentioned in Reader’s Digest, USA Today, the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Variety, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, Mental Floss, New York magazine, and many more media outlets.
He is a successful freelance editor of queries, synopses, and manuscripts—seeing dozens of clients get agents or book deals following his consultations/edits. He loves meeting new writers.
Chuck is the lead coordinator for Writing Day Workshops. At the 2022 online KWW workshop, he is teaching a class and doing add-on query critiques for attendees.
Kelly Peterson is a literary agent with Rees Literary.
At the 2022 online KCWW workshop, Kelly is teaching a class and meeting with writers for one-on-one pitches.
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 manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.
Kelly is excited to be expanding her client list and finding new authors who have a strong story to tell.
Dana Newman is a literary agent and the founder of Dana Newman Literary.
At the 2022 online KCWW workshop, she is taking virtual pitches from attendees, and also teaching on Frequently Asked Legal Issues for Writers.
She is seeking: “On the fiction side, we consider a very selective amount of literary fiction and women’s upmarket fiction. We look for character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice that are emotionally truthful.
“We are interested in practical nonfiction (business, health and wellness, psychology, parenting, technology) by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms who are committed to actively marketing and promoting their books.
“We love compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, history, pop culture, current affairs/women’s interest, social trends, and sports/fitness. A favorite genre is literary nonfiction: true stories, well told, that read like a novel you can’t put down.”
Dana Newman Literary was founded by Dana Newman in 2010. Prior to becoming a literary agent, she worked for 14 years as General Counsel for Moviola and its affiliates, Paskal Lighting and Magnasync Corporation. With years of experience working in the entertainment and communications technology industries during the digital revolution in film editing and audio recording, Dana enthusiastically embraces new technologies and ideas about how books will be created, distributed and experienced. Dana combines her professional insight, educational background (B.A. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley, J.D. from University of San Francisco), and a lifelong love of reading to her role as a literary agent. She regularly attends writers’ conferences and speaks frequently on legal issues for authors (including publishing contracts, collaboration agreements, and copyright). Dana Newman Literary works with Judy Klein of Kleinworks Agency on handling clients’ foreign rights sales. She works as a co-agent with Phyllis Parsons of The Parsons Company, Inc. in connection with speakers and film/TV rights.
In addition to her work as a literary agent, Dana is also Of Counsel at Raines Feldman LLP, where she focuses on business and legal advising, negotiating and drafting contracts, intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks), licensing and publishing law. She has extensive experience with publishing and literary agency agreements, and also does pre-publication legal review of manuscripts. Her specialty is helping creative entrepreneurs and authors achieve their goals, and she’s represented a wide variety of clients in entertainment, media and business. She wrote “Copyright Grants: as Powerful as Kryptonite?” published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and co-authored the chapter on Technology and Intellectual Property Rights in the book Emerging Companies Guide: A Resource for Professionals and Entrepreneurs, Second Edition (American Bar Association 2011).
Dana is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and the California State Bar.
Gabrielle Prendergast is a writer, teacher and designer. She is the author of many books for kids (young adult, middle grade, and picture books). She is represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. In 2018 she won the BC Book Prizes Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and toured the province as part of the BC Book Prizes Tour. In 2017 Gabrielle took part in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week Tour. In 2015 she was nominated for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. In 2014 she was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. She has also been nominated for the White Pine Award and the CLA Award.
Gabrielle won the Westchester Award for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian. A poem from Capricious was chosen for the 2014 Poetry in Transit Program. Pandas on the East Side was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for Junior Fiction in 2016. It was also nominated/shortlisted for the Chocolate Lily Award, The Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow Award, the Myrca Award and the Vancouver Book Award. Her most recent book is the YA sci-fi Zero Repeat Forever, which won the 2018 BC Book Prizes’ Sheila A Egoff Award.
At the 2022 online KCWW event, she is teaching a class.
Rachel Beck is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates.
She joined in 2020 after working at a boutique literary agency for 4 years. She has been in the publishing industry since 2009 and worked at Harlequin editing romance novels for nearly 6 years before transitioning her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for authors. She lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two young sons, and endlessly entertaining cat.
Rachel believes that the right book can change or heal a life, and she wants to find those. But she’s also interested in lighter fiction that helps you escape or simply makes you laugh after a tough day. Or nonfiction that teaches you something about an obscure topic, thus opening up a new world.
At the 2022 online KCWW, Rachel is teaching a class, and meeting with attendees for one-on-one virtual pitches. See here to learn all about what types of books she represents.
Eve Porinchak an author, as well as a former literary agent.
At the 2022 online KCWW workshop, Eve is teaching a class.
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.
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com.
He is the co-coordinator of the 2022 Kansas City Writing Workshop. At the event, he is teaching a class.
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 little girls.