This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2020 Kentucky Writing Workshop.
Bob Mayer is a former Green Beret and the NY Times Bestselling author of over 75 books across a wide range of genres and nonfiction. He’s been on bestseller lists in thriller, science fiction, suspense, action, war, historical fiction, nonfiction, and is the only male author on the Romance Writers of America Honor Roll.
At the 2020 event, Bob will be teaching courses on building your author platform and also writing great characters. Bob is also offering manuscript critiques for attendees.
Born in the Bronx, Bob attended West Point and earned a BA in psychology with honors and then served as an Infantry platoon leader, a battalion scout platoon leader, and a brigade recon platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division. He joined Special Forces and commanded a Green Beret A Team. He served as the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and with Special Operations Command (Special Projects) in Hawaii. Later he taught at the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the course that trains new Green Berets. After leaving active duty, he was often called back to service as national interests dictated a need for his specific skill set. He began writing while living in the Orient, as he earned a Black Belt in Martial Arts. He’s also earned a Masters Degree in Education.
His novels include the bestselling Area 51, Green Beret, Atlantis, and Time Patrol series and collaborations with Jennifer Crusie. Bob draws on all of his experiences to write his novels and his nonfiction books, including The Novel Writer’s Toolkit: A Guide To Writing Great Fiction; and Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author and Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Tactics for Success; Bob has presented for over 1,000 organizations both in the United States and internationally, including keynote presentations, all day workshops, and multi-day seminars. He teaches both writing and publishing topics as well as presentations on his Who Dares Wins concepts, bringing the tactics and techniques of Special Operations into the civilian world. He also presents workshops on the Area Study, the first step in preparing for natural and man-made disasters based on his survival manuals and Special Operations experiences.
He has taught organizations ranging from the Maui Writers Conference, to San Diego State University, to the University of Georgia, to the Romance Writers of America National Convention, to Boston SWAT, the CIA, Fortune-500, Microsoft, the Royal Danish Navy Frogman Corps, Rotary, IT Teams in Silicon Valley, the Nursing Program at Ohio State Univ. and many others. He has also served as a Visiting Writer for NILA MFA program in Creative Writing. He taught technical writing for the University of Washington as adjunct faculty. He has done interviews for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, PBS, NPR, the Discovery Channel, the SyFy channel and local cable shows. For more information see http://www.bobmayer.com. He offers The Writers Conference Guide: Getting the Most of Your Time and Money for free in eBook format on all eBook platforms and to conference attendees.
Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of WritersDigest.com.
He is the coordinator of the 2020 Kentucky Writing Workshop. At the event, he is teaching a class and also offering query critiques as an add-on element for attendees.
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.
Alexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.
At the 2020 KY workshop, she is meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches. She is also teaching a speech on author brand building.
She is seeking:
Young Adult: “I’m looking for writers who have the ability to turn their pens into paintbrushes; in other words, beautiful writing. The genres I’m most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are my weakness, as are stories that include space and science. Please do not me those. I’m looking for strong YA voices, and ones that go beyond the coming-of-age story. I love stories that explore culture, race, sexuality, and identity. I’m passionate about representing literature from diverse and underrepresented voices.”
Middle grade and children’s picture books: “I love all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Children’s picture books with or without pictures intrigue me, and I’m most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore.”
Adult fiction: “I’m not looking for romance, but I am looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels. I’m interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. I’m open to most genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for me. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality I look for.”
Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com, the PR Manager for a local Chicago circus, and an all-around literary bookworm. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing in 2015. Previously she’s worked as an Acquisitions Editor for the award-winning anthology Hair Trigger, interned as a publicist for Kaye Publicity, and was a loyal volunteer for Columbia’s annual Story Week: Festival of Writers event for the past four years. Ever since she was little, her main goal has been to inspire with words, just like the many beloved books and authors have done before her.
Kenzi Nevins is a junior literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite.
At the 2020 KY workshop, she is teaching on platform and marketing, and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.
Kenzi personally seeks picture books (text only is fine, but author-illustrators are her favorite), middle grade (all kinds), young adult (all kinds, including graphic novels with images), and adult fantasy. She is also happy to take pitches on behalf of her many co-agents, and pass on great submissions to them after the event. That means she will take pitches for romance (all kinds), literary fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction, high & low fantasy, historical, mystery, thriller, suspense, women’s, and Christian/inspirational. For nonfiction, she will take pitches for parenting, leadership, ministry, devotionals, and self-help. She will also take pitches for board books and chapter books
“My personal interests lie in mythology and retold fairy tales, so I would say that fantasy and magic realism generally get me the most excited, but I will look at anything.”
Kenzi is an award-winning writer with a passion for magic realism and mythology. A graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing and theatre programs, she spent two semesters studying in the story-laden Wicklow Mountains of eastern Ireland. Previously, she won second place for theatre journalism and critique from the Kennedy Center for American College Theatre, and her short story, “The Last Freedom,” was published in eBook and paperback by StoryShares.
When she isn’t writing, Kenzi can be found watering her fairy garden, experimenting with little-known tea flavors, or wandering the aisles of her Kentucky library.