Writing Mentors


Do you need feedback on a manuscript? Could your writing improve with a dedicated coach? The Carnegie Center’s Writing Mentor Service is your opportunity to work one-on-one with a published writer. $45 per hour; $30 per hour for low-income; other fee assistance available. If you’re interested, call 859-254-4175, ext. 21 or e-mail a mentor below.


Mentoring sessions can take place at the Carnegie Center or the Morris Book Shop (882 E. High Street).

Prefer to pay ONLINE?

That works for us, but be sure to reach out to your Mentor first.


Our mentors include:


Robin_baskt_picRobin Baskette is a freelance proofreader, copyeditor, and writer. She has a background in engineering and math education. She started her own consulting business, where her work includes editing, technical writing, and education writing. She is a graduate of Purdue University and Eastern Kentucky University.
Robin has published magazine articles and she is working on a young adult novel.
Robin offers mentoring on general writing skills, proofreading and editing, and non-fiction (memoir, articles, academic papers, and technical writing). If you are interested in meeting with Robin, please send her an e-mail.

Michael L  Cooper_pic Michael L. Cooper specializes in nonfiction books for young people. He has just published his 16th book, FIGHTING FIRE: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them (Henry Holt). Michael’s honors include a Golden Kite award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. SCBWI named his 2004 book DIRT TO EAT: Drought and Depression in 1930s America (Clarion) the best nonfiction children’s book of the year. Writing for adults, Michael has published essays, book reviews, travel pieces, and historical articles in such publications as the Washington Post, Outdoor Life, Travel & Leisure, and Highlights. Michael has taught distance classes for 14 years for the Institute of Children’s Literature in West Redding, CT.

Michael is mentoring on these topics: writing middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction; nonfiction writing; writing for magazines in both the adult and children’s markets; photo research; and working with editors and agents. If you are interested in meeting with Michael, please send him an e-mail.

Ellingsen_C_website_pic Cynthia Ellingsen is a commercial women’s fiction writer and screenwriter. Her first novel, The Whole Package, was published by Penguin-Berkley in 2011. Her second book, Marriage Matters, also published by Penguin-Berkley, was released in April of 2013 . Cynthia is delighted to note that her first reading ever took place at a Kentucky Great Writers Series open mic and that, she was later featured as one of the main stage Kentucky Great Writers. Cynthia serves on the Advisory Board at the Carnegie Center, the Young Professionals Board for the Lexington Public Library and as an Ambassador for Women Leading Kentucky. If you are interested in meeting with Cynthia, please send her an e-mail.

Leslie Guttman grew up in Lexington and went to journalism school at Indiana University Bloomington. She worked at the San Francisco Chronicle for over a decade as a writer and editor, and her awards include being honored by the Society of Professional Journalists in Northern California for outstanding journalism. Leslie works in multiple formats: print, radio, video and the Web. She is the author of the nonfiction book, Equine ER (Eclipse Press, 2009) and has received a fellowship to Yaddo, the artists’ colony in upstate New York. One of her public radio essays is featured in the book, This I Believe: Life Lessons (Wiley, 2011). She has taught nonfiction writing and publishing at the Carnegie Center. Website: http://www.leslieguttman.com.

Leslie is mentoring on these topics: Nonfiction, publishing, basic writing skills. If you are interested in meeting with Leslie, please send her an e-mail.


hap1aHap Houlihan has worked in bookselling and publishing for over 20 years, most recently as manager of the Morris Book Shop. He is co-founder (with Katerina Stoykova-Klemer) of Lexington Poetry Month, an open-participation, citywide celebration of poetry each June, and acts as series editor for the annual collection that’s harvested from poems submitted each year, most recently Her Limestone Bones: Selections from Lexington Poetry Month 2013. A graduate of Miami University, Hap is currently the general manager of Lexington Community Radio, a nonprofit low-power FM network serving central Lexington (scheduled to begin broadcasting in September 2015). He lives with his wife and two sons in Lexington. If you are interested in meeting with Hap, please send him an e-mail.


Myra Hughes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and is a longtime marketing expert. She uses both social media and traditional techniques. Myra worked for 17 years as Vice-President of Business Development and Publications for Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. She has also worked as a freelance editor, website designer and print graphic designer. She was General Manager and Freelance Editor for Old Cove Press, a literary press founded by Nyoka Hawkins and Gurney Norman. She helped Frank X Walker promote his books, including Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride. She recently conducted two successful Kickstarter social-media campaigns, one for an author, the other for an artist.

Myra is mentoring on these topics: book promotion and marketing. If you are interested in meeting with Myra, please send her an e-mail.

Chris_McCurry_picChristopher McCurry is a high school English teacher, Junior Editor at Accents Publishing, and a Field Office Advocate for poets. His poems are, or will be published soon, in Limestone, Kudzu, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, the Los Angeles Review, Rattle and others. In 2013 he came in second place in the Robert Haiduke Poetry contest and won Still: the Journal’s fiction contest judged by Holly Goddard Jones. His debut chapbook Splayed (2013) is currently available from ELJ Publications. He is completing his MA in English Literature at the Bread Loaf School of English.

Christopher is available to mentor poets and short fiction writers of all ages who have a desire to build the fundamental writing, revising, and organizational skills necessary to submit and publish work once it is ready. If you are interested in meeting with Chris, please send him an e-mail.

Marcia_by_Ella_Clem_small Marcia Thornton Jones is an award-winning author who has traditionally published 131 books for children with sales totaling more than 43 million copies world-wide. Her works include RATFINK (mid-grade novel), CHAMP (mid-grade novel), GODZILLA ATE MY HOMEWORK (chapter book), THE TALE OF JACK FROST (picture book) and LEPRECHAUN ON THE LOOSE (picture book). She is also the co-author of seven popular series: The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, Keyholders, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Books, Triplet Trouble, Bailey City Monsters, and The Barkley School for Dogs. She also has published the Writer’s Digest Guide, STORY SPARKERS: A CREATIVITY GUIDE FOR CHILDREN’S WRITERS.

Marcia is a full time writer living in Lexington, Kentucky. She is available to mentor writers of chapter books, middle-grade fiction, and journaling. If you are interested in meeting with Marcia, please send her an e-mail.

Journey McAndrews imageJourney McAndrews is a freelance writer, editor, journalist, educator, and community art/literacy activist. She was editor and publisher of The Single Hound—an international literary journal from 2011-2013. She was also the poet mentor in the Nation of Nations Art Project, former board member of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the American Association of University Women, and has held two writing residencies at Hopscotch House in conjunction with grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Journey holds a BA from Morehead State University focused in English, Communications, and Women’s Studies with a minor in Creative Writing, an MA in Communications from Morehead State University, and begins an MFA program at Spalding University in Louisville in fall 2013 with a focus in Poetry and a minor in Creative Nonfiction. Her poetry, book reviews, and creative nonfiction have appeared in ninepatch, Motif, LILOPOH Magazine, New Verse News, Inscape, Kentucky Monthly, Story Magazine, and numerous newspapers. She is currently working on two full-length poetry collections, three poetry chapbooks, a novel, a novella, a collection of scholarly essays (exploring depictions of gender in popular culture), and articles, which regularly appear in monthly and quarterly journals and magazines.

Journey offers mentoring and editing in poetry and nonfiction (essays, memoir, literary journal writing, and writing for magazines), general writing skills, and craft-building techniques. Writers who are ready to submit their work to editors will find her helpful in such areas as, creating successful queries, writing effective e-mails or letters to editors/publishers, advising on final edits, and learning the “etiquette” of interacting with editors. If you are interested in meeting with Journey, please send her an e-mail.

GE DIGITAL CAMERABill McCann, Jr. is a playwright, producer and college writing teacher. Bill holds a MEd from the University of Virginia and an MA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky. In 2009, Bill helped found the Kentucky Playwrights Workshop, Inc., a 501(c)3 public charity, whose sole purpose is to help and encourage playwrights and play writing in Kentucky; he is currently serving the organization as president. He is also an Associate Member of the Dramatist Guild of America. Since 2012, Bill has served on the board of directors of the Kentucky Theatre Association and served as the contest coordinator for the Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Contest. Finally, for the past two summers Bill has produced the Kentucky New Play Series (KNPS) at the Kentucky State Fair; so far the KNPS has premiered five short plays by Kentucky playwrights. During the academic year he teaches developmental English classes for Bluegrass Community and Technical College at both the Cooper and Winchester campuses; Bill also works as BCTC’s online writing tutor. Bill is mentoring playwrights ranging in age from high school to senior adults. If you’d like Bill to mentor you, send him an e-mail.

Katherine Greene-Owens is a Lexington native and graduate of Transylvania University with a B.A. in English. She is also the co-founder of bluegrass THREADS, a blog devoted to living stylishly in the bluegrass (www.bluegrassthreadsky.com). A full-time Carnegie Center staff member from 2006-2011, she continues as a part of Carnegie Center by teaching blogging and WordPress classes and serving on the AmeriCorps VISTA Advisory board.

Katherine is mentoring on these topics: Blogging & WordPress Websites. If you are interested in meeting with Katherine, please send her an e-mail.

Bianca_headshotBianca Spriggs is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow based in Lexington, Kentucky where she is currently a Ph.D Candidate in English at the University of Kentucky. Bianca is the recipient of an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. In partnership with the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, she is the creator of The SwallowTale Project: Creative Writing for Incarcerated Women. Bianca’s work may be found in numerous journals and anthologies including Red Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature, The Louisville Review, Muzzle, Caduceus, Tidal Basin Review, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and Appalachian Heritage Magazine. Bianca is the author of Kaffir Lily and How Swallowtails Become Dragons. Bianca currently serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Apex Magazine, a monthly speculative literature publication, and the Managing Editor for pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture. If you are interested in meeting with Bianca, please send her an e-mail.
Ben_woodword_picBen Woodard grew up in Lexington and has a background in marketing and management. He worked as a marketing manager for a major corporation and started his own consulting firm where his work included technical writing.

He began writing five years ago, concentrating on children’s books including picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels. For the last three years he has worked to develop an author platform and now has over 7,500 Twitter followers, nearly 2,000 friends on Goodreads, and a presence on other social networking sites.

He has self-published several short stories, an illustrated middle-grade book, and a YA novel. More short stories and novels are scheduled to be published in 2013. Ben designs and publishes the books himself and hires editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and illustrators to help.

Ben is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Spellbinders storytelling group, and the Central Kentucky Children’s Writers.

Ben is mentoring on these topics: Self-publishing books including: Getting started, marketing, building an author’s platform, networking, and other topics as requested. If you are interested in meeting with Ben, please send him an e-mail.