2017 LJWC Faculty & Staff

(“PR&C” indicates those faculty members participating in Private Read & Critiques.) Full conference attendees can register for PR&Cs on the conference registration page once the faculty is announced.


Angela Bole – CEO of IBPA

Bio:  ANGELA BOLE is chief executive officer of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the largest book publishing association in the U.S. serving independent publishers and self-published authors. IBPA’s mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. IBPA’s vision is a world where every independent publisher has the tools and knowledge needed to professionally engage in all aspects of the publishing industry.

Prior to joining IBPA, Angela served two years as deputy executive director of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), an organization that fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, she served two years as BISG’s associate director and two years as its marketing and communications manager.

Angela holds a Masters of Science in Book Publishing from New York University and currently serves on the board of directors for the Book Industry Study Group. She lives in Redondo Beach, California where she rides her bike to work as often as possible.

Proposed Classes:

  • Resources for Independent & Small Press Authors
  • The Importance of Metadata

Private PR&C: No


Annie Bomke – Literary Agent

Bio: ANNIE BOMKE is a literary agent with over a decade of experience in the publishing industry.  Prior to founding her own agency, Annie spent eight years at Margret McBride Literary Agency, where she worked with internationally bestselling authors.  Annie has loved the publishing industry since her position as an Editorial Assistant at Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine founded by Francis Ford Coppola.  She explored her love of books managing an art gallery and rare bookstore.  She represents a wide range of projects—from hard-nosed business books to otherworldly historical novels.  Authors have called her the pH test for good writing, and a bedrock for literary quality control.

Proposed Classes:

  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions
  • The Author/Agent Relationship
  • Fiction Group Read & Critique
  • Nonfiction Group Read & Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


Faye Atchison – Literary Agent

Bio: FAYE ATCHISON is an agent with the Margaret McBride Literary agency interested in commercial non-fiction and young adult fiction submissions.  A San Diego native and graduate of San Diego State, Faye has been in the publishing industry for eighteen years.




Proposed Classes:

  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions
  • Voice
  • Fiction Group Read & Critique
  • Nonfiction Group Read & Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


Angela Rinaldi – Literary Agent

Bio: ANGELA RINALDI is President of The Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency in Los Angeles. She has been a member of the Literature Panel for the California Arts Council, on the board for PEN and is currently on the membership committee for the Association of Author’s Representatives. She established her editorial expertise in New York as Executive Editor at New American Library and Bantam Books, and Senior Editor at Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster) and was Manager of The Los Angeles Times Book Publishing Program for ten years. Her experience as an editor, publishing liaison and industry professional, including the time spent creating books for The Los Angeles Times, developed the strong foundation she built her agency on and has given her the contacts and resources to expertly advise authors about all traditional and state of the art publishing options.

Proposed Classes:

  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions
  • Opening Pages – Fiction Group Read & Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


Ken Sherman – Literary Agent

Bio:  KEN SHERMAN is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights.

An agent for more than twenty years, Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker, having taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference, The Chautauqua Institute and The Eugene International Film Festival where he received a lifetime achievement award.

Since graduating from the University of California-Berkeley with a major in psychology, Ken has returned numerous times to the classroom to teach his course, “The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and the Publishing Worlds,” at both USC and UCLA. He also co-taught a screenwriting class for many years at the Eugene International Film Festival.

Ken maintains strong community involvement as well, serving as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television/Los Angeles (BAFTA), and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Science and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.

Proposed Classes:

  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions
  • Group Read & Critique
  • Facing Rejection Head-On
  • The Business of Writing

Private PR&C: Yes


Steve Hutson – Literary Agent

Bio: STEVE HUTSON is a native of Los Angeles, a child of the sixties, and a storyteller almost from birth. (He’s convinced that the Wimpy Kid books are based on his childhood, but he can’t prove it.) After several years of freelance editing and directing a writers’ conference, he branched out as a literary agent in early 2011. He has placed his clients’ works with Dutton, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Potomac, David C. Cook, Praeger, Writer’s Digest Books, and others. Several clients have won prestigious awards for their works. Steve’s areas of interest are anything except erotica, picture books, poetry, and short stories. He speaks frequently at writers’ events and writes an eclectic blog. Member AAR.

Proposed Classes:

  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions
  • Group Read & Critique
  • What NOT to Say to an Agent or Editor
  • Rejection-proof Submissions
  • Let’s Read That Publishing Contract
  • Tough Love for Writers

Private PR&C: Yes


Jennifer Kim – Junior Literary agent

Bio:  JENNIFER KIM is a junior agent at the Dijkstra Agency. In addition to actively building her own list, she provides support to the team at SDLA.

A graduate from the University of California Irvine, Jennifer holds a B.A. in English Literature and Spanish Literature, and spent a year studying Spanish literature and culture at the University of Barcelona. She also works as a bookseller, having done so since 2012.

In YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Jennifer is looking for multicultural projects featuring multi-dimensional, even flawed protagonists from diverse backgrounds. She enjoys unique, high concept stories, rooted in mythology or legend, with strong world building and character development. She especially appreciates atmospheric settings.

In contemporary YA, Jennifer is looking for unique, uncommon teen stories with an authentic voice. She enjoys stories that tackle themes of being an outsider, displacement, race, sexuality, and self-discovery, and is particularly drawn to bicultural characters and stories centered around subcultures, countercultures, and found families.

In the Middle Grade realm, Jennifer is drawn to stories that don’t shy away from scary or tough subjects. She enjoys witty, whimsy stories, and values tales of friendship, families and found-families, and discovery. She is particularly drawn to stories that feature characters with unique and interesting hobbies or skills.

In the adult market, Jennifer is particularly drawn to eccentric, unusual stories. She values a distinct narrative voice and memorable characters and settings, and is drawn to travel narratives, historical fiction, coming of age stories, family sagas, stories of displacement, and magical realism.

In general, Jennifer loves literary writing, with challenging themes and characters. She is excited to add writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her client list.

Please note that Jennifer is specifically not interested in: Picture books, romance, memoir, business books, cookbooks, poetry, religious/spiritual books, screenplays, self-help, or mystery/thriller/suspense.

Proposed Classes:

  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions
  • Group Read & Critique

Private PR&C: No


Antoinette Kuritz – Founder of the LJWC; Partner in STRATEGIES; Publisher of NightStand Press

Bio: ANTOINETTE KURITZ has been active in the world of publishing since 1994.  As the founder of STRATEGIES, a firm that focuses on literary development, publishing, business modeling, marketing, and public relations, she has worked with self-published, small press, and NY Times bestselling authors.  The founder of  the La Jolla Writers Conference, one of the first conferences in the country to also cover the business of writing, she  has created a pay-it-forward community where each year aspiring authors have the opportunity to learn from NY Times bestselling authors, agents, publishers, publicists, and more. For more than 15 years she has hosted the book segment for KUSI-TV Good Morning San Diego, and for more than 8 years she was the host of Writer’s Roundtable radio show.  Antoinette has taught at BEA, Publishing University, and conferences throughout the country.  And this past year, she launched Nightstand Press, a publishing house dedicated to bringing excellent books to the marketplace.

Proposed Classes:

  • The Timeline to Publication – What Every Writer Needs to Know
  • Media Training 101 – Your Road Map to Traditional PR
  • Media Training 201 – Ready for Prime Time – It’s All in the Pitch
  • Media Training  202 – The Art of the Interview

Private PR&C: Yes


Mark A Clements – Author & Editor

Bio:  MARK A. CLEMENTS is the author of four published novels of horror and suspense, three of them award-winning; two unpublished novels, both of them unpublishable; and three ghostwritten novels, two of which he’s proud of.

He has taught writing in places as exotic as Irvine, California and as mundane as Lake Como, Italy.  Mark has been an active member of the La Jolla Writers Conference faculty for more than a decade.

Proposed Classes:

  • Taking Criticism
  • Words & When to Use Them
  • Shhhhhhhh!
  • The Three-Headed Character
  • True Lies: Make Your Writing Real
  • Top secret
  • Book Autopsy
  • Red-Eye Group Read & Critiques

Private PR&C: Yes


Meg Gardiner: Edgar-winning novelist of fast-paced thrillers.

Bio:  Edgar-winning novelist MEG GARDINER writes thrillers. Fast-paced and full of twists, her books have been called “Hitchcockian” (USA Today) and “nailbiting and moving” (Guardian). They have been bestsellers in the U.S. and internationally and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

UNSUB, her current title, is the first novel in a series featuring homicide investigator Caitlin Hendrix. The AP calls it “An intelligent, sharply written, compelling page-turner that is satisfying on every level.” It has been bought for adaptation as a television series by CBS.

The Evan Delaney novels feature a feisty freelance journalist from Santa Barbara, California. Stephen King calls them “simply put, the finest crime-suspense series I’ve come across in the last twenty years.”

China Lake won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. Later it was a finalist for NPR’s 100 Best Thrillers Ever.

The Jo Beckett series features a San Francisco forensic psychiatrist. It includes The Liar’s Lullaby, The Memory Collector, and The Dirty Secrets Club, which was chosen one of the Top Ten thrillers of 2008 by Amazon and won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of the year.

The Nightmare Thief, featuring both Jo Beckett and Evan Delaney, won the 2012 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense audiobook of the year.

Meg’s stand alone novel The Shadow Tracer was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2013. Phantom Instinct was chosen one of “The Best Books of Summer” by O, the Oprah magazine.

Meg was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from Stanford University, where she lettered in varsity cross country and earned a B.A. in Economics. She went on to graduate from Stanford Law School.

She practiced law in Los Angeles and taught in the Writing Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. Later she moved with her husband and three young children to London. There she began writing mysteries set in the California she loves.

She hasn’t stopped. Writing thrillers is job she’s immensely lucky to have.

In addition to her thirteen novels, Meg has published short stories in American and British magazines and the anthology Echoes of Sherlock Holmes. She’s contributed essays to Now, Write! Mysteries, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, and the Anthony Award winning Books to Die For.

Beyond writing, Meg is a three-time Jeopardy! champion and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Proposed Classes:

  • Suspense
  • Point of View
  • Story Structure
  • Plot

Private PR&C: Yes


Brian Jud – Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales

Bio:  BRIAN JUD is an author, book-marketing consultant, speaker, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company that sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission basis. Brian is also the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (formerly SPAN).

Brian is the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns) This is the ultimate do-it-yourself guide to selling your books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He also wrote Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly® book), a primer on non-bookstore marketing.

Brian has also written and published five titles on career transition that are distributed internationally. He is a prolific writer of articles about book publishing and marketing. He is the author of the eight e-booklets with Proven Tips for Publishing Success and the contributing editor to the monthly newsletters, Book Marketing Matters, The Sales Informer, The Authority and Bound to Sell. He was the host of the television show, The Book Authority that aired for 13 years.

Brian was an adjunct lecturer of sales and marketing courses for graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Hartford and the University of Connecticut. Brian is a regular speaker on marketing topics at IBPA’s Publishing University and for publishing groups around the country. Brian has a BS degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA in Marketing from Xavier University.

Proposed Classes:

  • Selling Books to Non-Retail Buyers
  • Selling Books to Non-Bookstore Retailers
  • How to Make a Sales Presentation
  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions

Private PR&C: No


Kathy Cooperman – Comedy Writer

Bio:  KATHY COOPERMAN is a comedy writer.  She wrote Crimes Against a Book Club (released May 2017).  Before that, she spent four years performing improvisational comedy, then decided to do something less fun with her life. After graduating from Yale Law School, she went into criminal law, defending “innocent” (rich) clients. These days, she lives in Del Mar, California, with her husband and four challenging young children.  Follow her on Twitter @Kathy_Cooperman.


Proposed Classes:

  • Comedy Scene Writing
  • Use of Humor in Otherwise “Serious” Literature
  • Comedy Writing Workshop
  • Group read & Critique

Private PR&C: No


Marni Freedman – Author and Writing Coach

Bio: MARNI FREEDMAN (BFA, LMFT) is a produced, published, and award-winning writer. After graduating as an award-winning student from the USC School of Filmic Writing, Marni began her career with her play, “Two Goldsteins on Acid,” which was produced in Los Angeles. She worked as a script doctor for top film companies and worked as a script agent for the Mary Sue Seymour Agency. One of her plays was made into a film, “Playing Mona Lisa,” and was produced by Disney. She teaches at San Diego Writers Ink, UCSD Extension, The Center for Creative Aging, runs two writing organizations, the San Diego Memoir Association and the San Diego Writers Network and produces a yearly theatrical Memoir Showcase.

Her new book, 7 Essential Writing Tools: That Will Absolutely Make Your Writing Better (And Enliven the Soul) has become an Amazon Bestseller. Her next book, The Memoir Map, will be released in March of 2018. You can also find Marni at thefeistywriter.com, a writing hub to help writers find and believe in their authentic voice.

Marni is also a therapist for artists and writers. Her welcoming, easy-going nature and solid background are the underpinnings of what makes her such a popular writing coach across the country. Marni is a unique writing coach because she has a tool for almost everything. She has a way of taking complicated information and translating it into easy-to-grasp, step-by-step information. Her character worksheets and plotting devices have been met with rave reviews.

Proposed Classes:

  • Plotting Magic with the 15 Plot Spots
  • Memoir 101 – How to Write Your Life
  • Write Your Thought Leader Book!
  • Writer’s Voice!  How to Get Noticed
  • Group read & Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


George Galdorisi – Author

Bio:  GEORGE GALDORISI is a career naval aviator who began his writing career in 1978 with an article in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. His Navy career included four command tours and five years as a carrier strike group chief of staff, as well as three years leading the United States delegation for military-to-military talks with the Chinese navy. He is currently the Director of the Corporate Strategy Group at the Navy’s C4ISR Center of Excellence in San Diego, California.

He has written ten books published by mainstream publishers, including the New York Times best seller, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor, the novelization of the Bandito Brothers/Relativity Media film and The Kissing Sailor, which proved the identity of the two principals in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photograph. His latest project, in collaboration with St. Martin’s Press, is a reboot of the Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series. Book one, published in 2014, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes, is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller. Book two, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Into the Fire, published in 2015, is already a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller. Book Three, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Scorched Earth, will be released in 2016.

These book length-projects build on an additional body of work including over three-hundred articles in national and international media including newspapers, professional journals, popular magazines, and conference proceedings and are captured in his curriculum vitae (also on this website). Additionally, he has presented over 100 papers at a wide array of professional conferences and has published many of these papers in peer-review journals.

His work has been recognized with numerous writing awards, including the Navy League of the United States Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement, the Military Writer’s Society Award for both fiction and non-fiction, the Surface Navy Association Author of the Year, Hook Magazine Contributor of the Year, as well as a diverse array of literary awards from organizations such as the U.S. Naval Institute, the Naval Helicopter Association, the Navy League of Australia, the Naval Helicopter Historical Society, and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego. His articles in professional journals such as Joint Forces Quarterly, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and U.S. Naval War College review have been recognized as identifying important military and technology issues and trends well before they are identified in the mainstream media.

He talks frequently about writing at a growing number of writing classes and seminars including: “Taking Your Writing to the Next Level,” at San Diego Writer’s Ink; “Get Published Now,” at Coronado, CA, Adult Education Class; and as an invited speaker at the San Diego State University Writer’s Conference (fiction and non-fiction panelist); and the Coronado Writer’s Workshop (fiction and non-fiction panelist)

Proposed Classes:

  • A Thrill a Minute: Crafting, Pitching, Selling, and Promoting Thrillers
  • You Don’t Have to Make It Up: Breaking Into the Non-Fiction Market
  • Finding the Heart of Your Story: Your Original Idea
  • Developing Your Book’s Plot and Narrative: From Dissection to Inspiration
  • Group read & Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


Brennan Harvey – Award-Winning Speculative Fiction Author

Bio:  BRENNAN HARVEY is an award-winning speculative fiction author of dozens of short stories and two novels. He was the first-place winner of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest for the 1st quarter, 2010. His work has appeared in anthologies and magazines, and is available on Amazon.

In high school, Brennan won a certificate for “Composing an exceptional article for the CDC bulletin.” He promptly forgot about this, until he found the award in 2002. He first realized he had a talent for writing in college, when his teacher asked for permission to publish one of his short stories in the school paper. The deadline had passed, unfortunately, and the story was not accepted.

During his work life, one of his bosses stated that he documented projects and communicated in writing better than any of his peers. It was after this that he started writing on a “hobby” basis. As he got more serious, he took creative writing classes. He finished 1/3 of his first novel “EVE320,” before learning that few first-time novelists ever get published. So, he shelved the novel, and started writing short stories.

His first short story, “In the Service of Others,” was a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. “This isn’t as hard as I thought,” he reasoned. Little did he know it would be years until he achieved any similar success.

Brennan’s first published short story, “Willow’s Bend” was a initally a class paper for a creative writing class. The story was published in Teacakes and Afternoon Tales: New Stories from Mississippi. His first novel, “EVE320,” is a 110,000 word endeavor that is currently out to potential agents. He’s polishing his second novel, “The Nine-Finger Revolution,” Meanwhile, Brennan is working on his third novel.

Brennan has served as the Meeting Coordinator for the Southern California Writers Association, Membership Chairperson for S.F. Novelist, and is the Organizer of the Long Beach Writers Meetup group. He has attended the La Jolla Writers Conference and Literary Orange since 2007 and attended Uncle Orson’s Writing Class in 2008. He attended his first Nebula Awards Ceremony (as an observer) in 2009.

Proposed Classes:

  • Setting–The First Pillar of a Good Story
  • Using the MICE Quotient to Improve Your Storytelling
  • Plotting Templates
  • Developing Modern Stories from Myths and Fables

Private PR&C: No


Martha Lawrence – Author and Editor

Bio: A former editor for Simon & Schuster and Harcourt Publishers and a founding faculty member of the La Jolla Writers Conference, MARTHA LAWRENCE is an executive editor at The Ken Blanchard Companies and the coauthor of Trust Works! Four Keys to Building Lasting Relationships, winner of a 2014 San Diego Book Award. Over the course of her career she has edited hundreds of books, including the blockbuster bestsellers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and The One Minute Entrepreneur, a #1 New York Times bestseller in 2007. She is also the author of the Edgar, Agatha, and Shamus award nominated series of mystery novels featuring private investigator Elizabeth Chase.

Proposed Classes:

  • Books Aren’t Written―They’re Rewritten: How to Revise Your Work
  • Ten Habits of Highly Effective Writers
  • Share If You Dare: Read and Critique
  • Feedback Is the Breakfast of Champions: Read and Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


Warren Lewis – Screenwriter and Pitching Expert

Bio: WARREN LEWIS’ credits as screenwriter include Black Rain (Paramount) and The Thirteenth Warrior (Touchstone).  He has worked on assignments for most of the major film and television studios including Sony, Warner Brothers and Fox. Warren’s recent scripts include,  A World Away – a modern retelling of The Dybbuk, Ansky’s classic play; The Brownsville Boys: A Tale of Murder Incorporated; Trade Craft, an espionage thriller; The Tale of the Bloodstone Riders, a western set in post-civil war Texas, and The Point, a one hour drama. Lewis holds an MFA from The California State University at Fullerton. He teaches screenwriting at La Jolla Writers Conference, the UCLA  and UCSD Writers Programs Extension and The California State University at Fullerton. Warren has been honored with the Persons of Letters award from the La Jolla  Writers Conference,

Proposed Classes:

  • The Screenplay – Basics
  • The State of the Film & TV Industry
  • The Craft Applied Art of Adaptation
  • Screenplay Structure Workshop
  • 7-Minute Pitch Sessions

Private PR&C: Yes


Jonathan Maberry – NY Times bestselling Author

Bio: JONATHAN MABERRY is a NY Times bestselling suspense novelist, five-time Bram Stoker Award winner, and comic book writer. His books include the Joe Ledger thrillers, The Nightsiders, Dead of Night, X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate, as well as standalone novels in multiple genres. His YA space travel novel, Mars One, is in development for film; and his Monk Addison short stories and V-Wars shared world vampire apocalypse series are being developed for TV. He is the editor of many anthologies including the X-Files, Aliens: Bug Hunt, Nights of the Living Dead (co-edited with zombie genre creator George A. Romero). His comics include Captain America, the Bram Stoker Award-winning Bad Blood, Black Panther, Punisher, Marvel Zombies Return, and more. His Rot & Ruin novels were included in the Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults. His first novel, Ghost Road Blues was named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium. A board game version of V-Wars: A Game of Blood and Betrayal was based on his noels and comics. He was a featured expert on the History Channel’s Zombies: A Living History and True Monsters. He is one third of the very popular and mildly weird Three Guys With Beards podcast. Jonathan lives in Del Mar, California with his wife, Sara Jo. www.jonathanmaberry.com

Proposed Classes:

  • The Art of the Pitch
  • Good Work Habits for a Successful Writing Career
  • NAILBITERS: Writing Suspense Fiction
  • Act Like a Writer

Private PR&C: No


Eldon Thompson – Author and Screenwriter

Bio:  ELDON THOMPSON is an epic fantasy author and WGA screenwriter. His novels include The Crimson Sword, The Obsidian Key, and The Divine Talisman, all published by HarperCollins. His first script sale was to Warner Bros in 2007. He is currently writing multiple screenplays for an Oscar-winning film producer while also endeavoring to introduce his next, long-overdue book trilogy.


Proposed Classes:

  • Playing Like a Pro
  • Conquering Writer’s Block
  • Crafting Your Synopsis
  • Group Read & Critique

Private PR&C: No


Dean Nelson – Author and Interview Expert

Bio:  DEAN NELSON is the founder and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He writes occasionally for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Christianity Today, Sojourners, and several other national publications. He has won several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for his reporting, and has written or co-written 14 books. Nelson is a frequent speaker at writing workshops and retreats.

He has traveled throughout the world covering stories of human interest — India, where he wrote about the slums of Bombay; Kosovo, where he interviewed and wrote about victims of terrorism; Tanzania, where he wrote about members of the Black Panther Party who live in exile; Tibet, where he wrote about religious persecution; Central America, where he wrote about poverty and contaminated water; New Orleans, where he wrote about the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Haiti, where he wrote about the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake; Iceland, where he wrote about the literary scene there; Croatia, where he wrote about a part of Europe that is trying to reinvent itself after the breakup of the Soviet Union; Rome, where he wrote about the Canonization of Mother Teresa, and elsewhere.

He has covered the stunning, the moving, the mysterious, the tragic, the amusing and the absurd.

His book on the seven sacraments, God Hides in Plain Sight: How to Find the Sacred in a Chaotic World, was published by Brazos Press in 2009.

His most recent book is Quantum Leap: How John Polkinghorne Found God in Science and Religion, published in 2011 by Lion-Hudson Press of Oxford, England. The book is about the life of John Polkinghorne, a world-famous physicist who became a priest in the Anglican Church. It is also about how faith and science do not need to be mutually exclusive.

In addition to directing the PLNU journalism program, Nelson also hosts the annual Writer’s Symposium By The Sea, where prominent writers come to discuss the craft of writing. Nelson has interviewed Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, Gay Talese, Anchee Min, Ray Bradbury, George Plimpton, Joyce Carol Oates, Garrison Keillor, Billy Collins, Nikki Giovanni, Dick Enberg, Otis Chandler, Kathleen Norris, Donald Miller, Bill Moyers, Jim Wallis, Chitra Divakaruni, Joseph Wambaugh, James Fallows, Barbara Brown Taylor, Eugene Peterson, Philip Yancey, Michael Eric Dyson, Bill McKibben, Chris Hedges, Rachel Held Evans, Luis Urrea and dozens of others. Many of those interviews are available for viewing on this site and on UCSD-TV’s website. They have been broadcast worldwide.

Proposed Classes:

  • The Truth is Interesting Enough
  • Talking to Strangers
  • What the Great Writers Say About Writing
  • Travel Writing Made Simple

Private PR&C: No



Jeniffer Thompson – Book Design and Author Website Expert

Bio:  JENIFFER THOMPSON is a personal branding expert and Internet Marketing strategist. She is the Founder and Principal at Monkey C Media, an award-winning design firm specializing in book packaging, author websites, and Internet marketing strategy. She is an author and speaker, and serves on the board of Publishers and Writers of San Diego and San Diego Memoir Writer’s Assoc. With more than 20 years experience in publishing and marketing Jeniffer is passionate about helping authors navigate their publishing journey, elevate their brand and establish their author platform.

Proposed Classes:

  • Creating The Essential Author Platform Finding Your Super Power
  • The Secrets to Designing a Website that Sells Books

Private PR&C: No



William Craig Reed – Bestselling Author

Bio:  WILLIAM CRAIG REED is the author of the non-fiction books The Seven Secrets of Neuron-Leadership: What Military Commanders, Neuroscientists, and the Ancient Greeks Teach Us About Inspiring Teams (Wiley, 2017) and the critically acclaimed Red November: Inside the Secret U.S. – Soviet Submarine War (HarperCollins, 2010). Also, the novel The Eagle and the Snake: A SEAL Team Six Interactive Thriller. He is also the co-author of Tarzan, My Father with the late Johnny Weissmuller, Jr. Born in a naval hospital on the U.S. island of Guam, where his father won a middle-weight navy boxing championship, Reed is no stranger to the military. He served as a submariner and U.S. Navy diver and earned commendations for completing secret missions during the Cold War, several in concert with Navy SEAL teams. Reed is the only author invited by the U.S. Navy to observe recent Ice Exercise submarine operations in the Arctic. Reed is an alumnus or member of numerous military, veteran, and technology associations, allowing him to reach an audience of millions.

Reed holds an MBA in Marketing and was a former vice president and board director for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. He founded two software companies and developed an innovative mobile device app (called PIERapp™) that automatically customizes ebook content based on a reader’s personal preferences and selections. In his rare spare time, Reed likes to mountain bike, hike, golf, and scuba dive. He is also a co-founder of the Us4Warriors Veterans Foundation, honored as San Diego County’s Veterans Non-Profit of the Year in 2016. Proceeds from Reed’s books help support this foundation and its subsidiary, Veterans Publishing.

Proposed Classes:

  • Using Neuroscience to Create Compelling Characters
  • Using Neuroscience to Create Bestselling Plots
  • Group Read & Critique

Private PR&C: Yes


Jared Kuritz – Director of the La Jolla Writers Conference; Managing Partner of STRATEGIES; Co-Publisher of NightStandPress

Bio:  JARED KURITZ has been an active part of the ever-changing publishing landscape for nearly two decades.  Jared is a managing partner of STRATEGIES, a firm that focuses on literary development, publishing, business modeling, marketing, and public relations for traditional, small press, and self-published authors of all genres at any stage of their writing, publishing and promotional journey.  Jared is also the director of the 17th annual La Jolla Writers Conference—an interactive and intimate, 3-day immersion dedicated to teaching authors about the art, craft, and business of writing.  Jared and his firm also manage NightStand Press, a publishing house dedicated to bringing excellent books to the marketplace.  Jared frequently teaches on publishing, platform building, business development for authors, and PR and marketing at UCSD, BEA, APSS and Publishing University.

Proposed Classes:

  • Your Publishing Options Demystified
  • Business Modeling for Authors
  • 5 Steps to Platform Building
  • Social Media & Blogging 101
  • 5 Steps for Successful Book Promotion

Private PR&C: No