This faculty page for presenters and critique personnel
will be updated over time for the 2021 event. Thank you.
Tara Bailey 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 2021 online MN 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.
Colleen Oefelein is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.
At the 2021 MN event, she is teaching a class on overcoming rejection, and also taking one-on-one pitches from attending writers.
Colleen is an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, a devourer of books, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an Associate Agent and PR Manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Colleen was an engineer in the Air Force who launched satellites, played with lasers, and flew helicopters. Now retired from the military, she lives in Alaska with her husband, son, and boerboel. She holds a BS in chemical engineering/biotechnology and a separate BS in German, both from Penn State. A former 911 call taker and dispatcher for Alaska troopers, she has a soft spot for veterans and law enforcement families. She represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult books in many genres.
Cecilia Lyra is an associate agent at P.S. Literary representing adult fiction and nonfiction.
At the 2021 MN event, she is teaching a course on staying inspired as a writer. She is also taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.
She is particularly drawn to books centered around dysfunctional families, ethical or moral dilemmas, and taboo subjects. As a mixed race Latinx immigrant, Cecilia is passionate about representing under or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation. She began her publishing career through the Centennial College Book, Magazine and Electronic program and The Rights Factory. Cecilia is also a recovering lawyer but asks that you do not hold that against her. If you would like to send a query to Cecilia, please review our Submission Guidelines.
Cecilia is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction on the adult side.
In terms of nonfiction, Cecilia is seeking Psychology, Pop Culture, Science, Business, and Lifestyle from experts in their fields with an original angle, as well as compelling memoirs—both long-form and memoir-in-essays.
As for fiction, Cecilia is passionate about voice-y Literary Fiction and fast-paced Commercial Fiction. She adores reading about dysfunctional families from the point-of-view of a morally ambiguous protagonist. Books that are centered around feminist issues have a special place in her heart. Above all else, Cecilia is looking for a story she can’t put down.
P.J. (Tricia) Hoover wanted to be a Jedi, but when that didn’t work out, she became an electrical engineer instead. After a fifteen-year bout designing computer chips for a living, P.J. started creating worlds of her own.
She’s the award-winning author of The Hidden Code, a Da Vinci Code-style young adult adventure with a kick-butt heroine, and Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life, featuring a fourteen-year-old King Tut who’s stuck in middle school. When not writing, P.J. spends time practicing kung fu, fixing things around the house, and solving Rubik’s cubes.
At the 2021 MN event, P.J. is offering add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.
Literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan founded Handspun Literary Agency in 2016, after more than ten years with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Her eclectic list includes women’s fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, romance, science fiction & fantasy, YA novels, humor, and practical nonfiction.
At the 2021 MN event, she is co-teaching a class on the changing publishing marketplace, and taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.
A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A., Literature), and Johns Hopkins University (M.A., English), she lives in San Diego with her family.
She is always looking for stories she can’t stop reading.
For adult fiction, Courtney represents only the following: mainstream fiction (including historical fiction and women’s fiction), romance (all subgenres except inspirational), mystery novels, and speculative fiction.
For nonfiction, Courtney represents work targeting all age groups (children and adults). Though she will consider nonfiction on any topic, work that deals primarily with issues of religion or spirituality is unlikely to be a good fit.
She is not currently accepting new middle-grade, early reader, or picture book submissions.
Ben Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019, after working behind the scenes since the agency’s founding in tech support and bookkeeping roles. He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and has (under Courtney’s oversight) begun taking on his own clients at the agency.
His interests include humor, YA and middle grade novels, speculative fiction (especially decolonial sff), mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A., English), and New York University (M.A., English Education), he lives in San Diego with his human, canine, and kitchen appliance families.
At the 2021 MN event, he is co-teaching a class on the changing publishing marketplace, and taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.
Carlisle Webber is a literary agent at Fuse Literary.
At the 2021 MN event, she is teaching a class on query letters, and taking one-on-one pitches from attendees.
Carlisle refused to major in English in college because she didn’t think there was anything fun to read on the required lists. No Stephen King? No R.L. Stine? No thanks! After college, she took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from UC-Berkeley.
Carlisle is looking for: high-concept commercial fiction in middle grade, young adult, and adult. If your book is fresh and exciting, tackles difficult topics, reads like a Shonda Rhimes show, or makes readers stay up late turning pages, she’s the agent for you.
Diverse authors are encouraged to submit their fiction. Within the genres she represents, Carlisle is especially interested in stories by and about people of color; with both visible and invisible disabilities and illnesses; who are economically disadvantaged; who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer; or who are members of religious minorities. Take a look at her manuscript wish list. But if you don’t write exactly what’s on her list, don’t worry! She’s happy to look at any work that falls into the categories she represents.
Eve Porinchak is an author, as well as a former literary agent.
At the 2021 MN workshop, Eve is teaching a class on revision, and offering critiques for attendees.
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.
Chuck Sambuchino (@chucksambuchino) is a freelance editor, best-selling 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.
At the 2021 Minnesota conference, he is teaching a course on social media (marketing), and critiquing attendee query letters as an add-on element.
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.
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com.
He is the co-coordinator of the 2020 Toronto 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.