Presenters and Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2019 Atlanta Writing Workshop.


Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 2.30.48 PMJeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated (and zero-time winner, but he lost to Stephen King TWICE!) author of twenty-nine novels, eight novellas, and three short story collections.

At the 2019 ATL workshop, Jeff is teaching on writing mystery/thriller, and also how to add humor to your fiction. Along with teaching at the 2019 event, Jeff is offering manuscript critiques for attendees.

Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny” and Cemetery Dance Magazine said “No author working today comes close to Jeff Strand’s perfect mixture of comedy and terror.” Several of his books have been optioned for film. 


Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 12.20.10 PM.pngMichelle Muto is the author of six books. Her haunted house novel, THE HAUNTING SEASON has been an Amazon bestseller in three countries. She writes urban fantasy, paranormal, and thrillers. (Find all her books here.)

Along with teaching at the 2019 event, Michelle is offering manuscript critiques for attendees.

Michelle has always loved storytelling. When she was a child, her favorite stories were of monsters and things that lurked in the dark. Telling stories often frightened her classmates and got her into a lot of trouble with her teachers. They had no sense of humor.

As an adult, Michelle traded her love of writing for the corporate life where she was an IT professional. Today, she’s doing what she loves best – writing and storytelling.

She agrees with her dog who thinks cheese and bacon should be in their own food group. But most of all, she believes everyone should trust their imagination, have a kind heart, and should definitely have a sense of humor.


Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 3.23.45 PM.pngBrian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of 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 April 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.

Along with teaching at the 2019 event, Brian is offering query critiques for attendees.


Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 9.13.29 PM.pngSally Apokedak is a literary agent with The Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She represents picture books (author-illustrators only, please), middle grade books, young adult, adult inspirational / Christian fiction, and nonfiction. In MG, she loves boy-centric books, science, boys who go on adventures, boy geniuses, and fantasies. In YA, fantasy is her favorite, and if there’s romance, she loves it even more — though she is open to a variety of YA. In terms of nonfiction (for adults or children), she seeks devotional books, Christian living, science for young children, and biography. But you may try her on anything. Lastly, she seeks fantasy and romantic suspense for the adult inspirational market.

At the 2019 Atlanta Writing Workshop, Sally is taking pitches and also teaching “Breaking In With Picture Books.”


Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.59.30 PM.pngRachael Allen is a mad scientist by day and YA writer by night. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children, and a dire wolf. She loves homemade peach ice cream, having adventures all over the world, and stories that make her feel like she’s been poured inside another person.

Rachael is the author of A TAXONOMY OF LOVE (Abrams/Amulet 2018), THE REVENGE PLAYBOOK (HarperTeen 2015), and 17 FIRST KISSES (HarperTeen 2014).

At the 2019 Atlanta Writing Workshop, Rachael will be teaching on Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction. She is also offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.


Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 1.31.06 AM.pngRicki Schultz is the author of sassy, fun contemporary fiction such as MR. RIGHT-SWIPE (2017) and SWITCH AND BAIT (2018), both published by Grand Central.

At the 2019 ATL conference, she is critiquing manuscripts for literary fiction, mainstream fiction, romance, women’s fiction, and memoir.

Ricki earned a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to writing, she has molded the minds of tweens & teens as a middle school and high school teacher in both the CLE and the ATL — and she also spent a year teaching writing and communications at the college level. Her writing is represented by Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary Agency.


Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 3.47.36 PM.pngAlways an avid lover of books, it only made sense that Dr. Shae A. Anderson would start a publishing company one day.

Shae founded UrbanEdge in 2008, and not long ago brought Skyy Banks, one of her first authors, on board to turn UrbanEdge into a partnership.

Shae serves as CEO of the organization and handles back end duties, social media management, and other related tasks. UrbanEdge Publishing is a traditional publishing company that has recently expanded its offerings to meet the needs of the changing industry and now offers self-publishing services, author consulting, and other a-la-cart offerings for authors. Shae has an extensive background in English and professional writing with more than 15 years as an educator at the secondary and post-secondary levels, editor, and professional writer; she holds a B.A. in English (Bennett College), an M.A. in Technical & Professional Writing (Georgia State University) and a PhD in Rhetoric & Composition also from Georgia State University.

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 3.47.40 PM.png“What would happen if you didn’t do it?” is one of Skyy’s favorites quotes and with that she leads a fearless life of a budding entrepreneur. She is an author who currently travels to share her literary work via book clubs meet and greets, book signings, and other events. Often called upon to raise awareness about HIV and rally others to get involved she speaks to various organizations including colleges/universities, civic groups, public health agencies, and more. Most recently Skyy teamed up with her publisher, UrbanEdge Publishing, to become a partner. UrbanEdge is a 100% woman-owned publishing house. She works day-to-day overseeing interns, developing authors, and other operational duties as the Chief Operating Officer. Being the influencer that she is she created “Dare to Be” a brand that encourages women to be themselves, authentically. A portion of all sales from products under the brand will be donated to a cause related non-profit. Skyy is an active and proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. (UrbanEdge Publishing seeks submissions for romance, drama, crime/mystery, and non-fiction/self-help.)

Together, at the 2019 event, Shae and Skyy will be teaching about Romance Writing.


Screen Shot 2019-01-05 at 1.56.38 PM.pngLorna Hollifield is a published Southern fiction author. Her first novel is Tobacco Sun.

At the 2019 ATL workshop, Lorna is offering critiques for manuscripts, and also teaching on how to write Southern fiction.

Lorna is represented by Kimberly Whalen of Whalen Literary. She is a former officer with the South Carolina Writers Association. Learn more about Lorna at her website.

Lorna was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but now enjoys the island life outside of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Kimsey, and two mutts, Scarlet and Daisy.

She’s been an author from the time she could speak, always spinning yarns for anyone who would listen. She began her professional writing journey as a tourism and travel blogger, before finally deciding to pursue her dream of publishing fiction. Tobacco Sun is her first novel, and she’s delighted to share it with the world, When Lorna isn’t writing fiction, she enjoys blogging about writable women at


Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 5.59.32 PM.pngCaroline George is a literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite.

At the 2019 ATL workshop, she is teaching on pitches and query letters.

She is a generalist, and seeks many genres of fiction, including: picture books, middle grade contemporary, middle grade sci-fi/fantasy, YA contemporary, YA sci-fi/fantasy, historical, women’s, mystery, thriller, romance, adult science fiction and fantasy, Christian/inspirational fiction, horror literary fiction, and mainstream fiction.

Regarding nonfiction, she likes memoir, inspirational, self-help, and socially relevant titles.

Caroline commits her time and energy to telling stories in their many forms. As a Belmont University graduate with a double-major in publishing and public relations, Caroline aims to pursue a career committed to helping authors, publishers and organizations project their stories to their publics. She spends her time blogging, writing for various magazines and authoring young adult fiction books (her current publications include “The Prime Way Trilogy” and “The Vestige”). She considers herself a not-so-southern Georgia peach, coffee-junkie, bona fide goofball and delights in being best known for writing the phrase, “Coffee first. Save the world later.”


Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 1.57.06 PM 1.pngWeronika Janczuk is a literary agent with D4E0 Literary.

At the 2019 workshop, she will be teaching on plotting and pacing, and also meeting with writers for one-on-one pitches.

Weronika (pronounced like Veronica) broke into publishing in 2009, through a high school workshop that placed me with former young adult editor Brian Farrey at Flux (now North Star), a small imprint in Minnesota, where she pulled, from the slush pile, the lovely Out of the Blue by Holly Schindler, which received a starred review in Booklist. She then moved on to intern with Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management, Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency, and Mary Kole, formerly with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. From 2010-2011, as an undergraduate at NYU, she worked with Bob Diforio and sold an array of projects. Weronika’s parents immigrated from Poland to Canada, where she was born. “I grew up in the Twin Cities of Minnesota; and now I reside in New York City, NY. I studied at New York University’s Gallatin School, where I finished a self-designed degree in the philosophy of the human person. I love Earl Grey tea and lattes, Sudoku, rivers, and pierogi with blueberries. I am also a writer, as are many other agents and editors. I queried my first project when I was 13, and have never queried again, tinkering in silence, perfecting craft, with my current project a science fantasy.”

“Human nature fascinates me, and I am drawn to stories that share the rawness and truth of what is and what is possible. I love beautiful writers, worlds, characters; smart, quirky and genre-bending stories. I love underdogs, and stories about characters that rise above limitations. I love romance, whether genre- or element-wise, that is visceral in its rawness. I love dark contours, intense in their immediacy, and world-building that catches your breath with its precision and distinctness. I am very much a reader that likes to be challenged, and expanded; very carefully constructed projects, which reveal a writer’s capacities, are most often those that awaken my heart and mind. I would prefer to work with writers eager to grow in their skill as novelists and build long-term, sustainable careers.”