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 take place at the Carnegie Center.

Prefer to pay ONLINE?

That works for us, but be sure to reach out to your Mentor first. Sign up and pay for your Mentor here. Please don’t forget to specify your Mentor in the “notes” section when checking out.

Sylvia Ahrens is a retired English professor who loves all aspects of writing and believes there is a writer in everyone.  She has degrees in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies from Western Kentucky University.  Her chapbook Swooning and Other Art Forms won the Edna Meudt Memorial Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Sylvia’s latest chapbook, Dorothy’s Glasses, is available from Finishing Line Press.  She has received several grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and serves as a Board Member for the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and writes under the name Allison Thorpe.

Sylvia is mentoring in these areas:  poetry, women’s writing, editing, revising, and proofreading. If you are interested in meeting with Sylvia, please send her an e-mail.

Robin_baskt_picRobin Baskette is a freelance proofreader, copy editor, 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.

Leif Erickson is an English professor who has taught composition, creative writing, literature, and other Humanities courses for nearly 20 years. Leif has been passionately obsessed with language and has come to view writing as a way of liberation. In the classroom (and to anyone who will listen), he takes joy in demystifying the writing process and encouraging students to view writing as a practice that enables them to enjoy the best life possible.

Leif holds a BA in English from Georgetown College, an MA in American Literature & Rhetoric/Composition from Eastern Kentucky University, and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Murray State University. His work has appeared, among other places, in Kentucky’s Twelve Days of Christmas and Kentucky Monthly magazine.

Leif is mentoring on these topics: creative nonfiction; other types of nonfiction (i.e. academic writing, journalism, magazine writing, etc.); fiction; improved reading skills & habits; general writing technique and craft; analyzing literature and other writing; and proofreading/editing. If you are interested in meeting with Leif, please send him 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.

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.

stephanie_Mojica_headshotStephanie Mojica  is a freelance proofreader, editor, writer, teacher, and coach with 20 years of experience. She teaches people how to become successful freelance writers and editors.

Stephanie has worked for some of the finest newspapers in the country, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Virginian-Pilot.  Locally, her writing has appeared in The Herald-Leader, The Courier Journal, Louisville Magazine, Today’s Woman, The Advocate-Messenger, and The Woodford Sun. She has created workshops such as “How to Write a Book Fast and Fabulously” and “Querying Magazines, Newspapers, Contests, and More.”

Stephanie has received awards from the Kentucky Press Association, Virginia Press Association, Associated Press Sports Editors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and Native American Journalists Association.

Stephanie is mentoring on these topics: making money as a freelance writer and/or editor, proofreading, and copyediting. . If you are interested in meeting with Stephanie, please send her an e-mail.

Ddudley_stone_pic_websiteudley Stone is an award-winning playwright who has had his work produced in Los Angeles, Hartford, CT, Savannah, GA, Amherst, MA, multiple communities in Kentucky, and at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. He has a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of Kentucky and studied playwriting in the graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Stone is also a published poet, whose credits include “Ace Magazine,” “Poetry Depth Quarterly,” “Poetalk,” and “Hazmat Review.” If you are interested in meeting with Dudley, 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 worldwide. Her works include WOODFORD BRAVE, RATFINK, and CHAMP. She is also the co-author of seven popular series including “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids”. Marcia, a full-time writer, lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She is a workshop facilitator and mentors writers of picture books, chapter books, middle-grade fiction, and journaling for The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. She is also the coordinator of the Carnegie Center Author Academy. For more information, visit Marcia’s Web Site at www.MarciaTJones.com or LinkedIn: Marcia (Thornton) Jones.

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.

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.

tiffany-reisz-headshotTiffany Reisz is the international bestselling author of the Original Sinners series from Harlequin Mira. Her books have won multiple awards, including the RT Editor’s Choice Award, a RITA Award, and a Lambda Literary Award, and have been published in twelve countries and translated into over ten foreign languages. Tiffany received a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

Tiffany is available for mentoring in the following areas: romance and women’s fiction writing, querying a literary agent, and the publishing process. If you are interested in meeting with Tiffany, please send her an e-mail.

Doris Setttles_picDoris Settles has a long career as a writer and photojournalist. She holds a B.S. in English/Journalism and M.S. in Instructional Design and has taught writing classes for years. She has served as a mentor in the UK Writing Center, and developed the first completely online English 101/102 sequence. She has written for newspapers and magazines, managed her own desktop-publishing business, and has written her own “expert” book that was both self-published and traditionally published. She is a frequent speaker at state, regional and national conferences on the topic of school safety and Digital Literacy.

Doris is mentoring on the topics of writing the expert book, writing nonfiction, magazine and corporate writing, and public speaking. If you want to meet with Doris, please send her an e-mail.

andrew-headshotAndrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of over half a dozen humorous books, including Penguin Random House’s How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters, the Ghostbusters tie-in Ghosts from Our Past, and the Goodreads Choice semifinalist Fifty Shades of Earl Grey. He is a full-time freelance writer whose writing has appeared in Mental Floss, Maxim, and many other magazines and websites.

Andrew studied with Iowa Writers’ Workshop instructors at the University of Iowa, where he earned a B.A. in English and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in marketing.

Andrew is available for mentoring in the following areas: freelance writing, editing and revising both fiction and nonfiction, and self-publishing. If you are interested in meeting with Andrew, please send him an e-mail.

Mitch Smith is an award-winning screenwriter whose screenplays have won or placed in contests through Stage 32, Script Pipeline, Screencraft.org and Writer’s Digest, among others. He has worked as a script reader and reviewer for Simplyscripts.com and has helped teach screenwriting at Eastern Kentucky University. He was recently hired by Creative Lexington to write a screenplay with a possible production date starting in 2018 as well as to help produce Tom, the Ghost in the Attic, the winner of the 1st Annual Creative Lexington Screenplay Competition.

Mitch teaches the art and craft of screenwriting by offering notes, guidance and encouragement to his writers to help them see their work on the big screen. If you are interested in meeting with Mitch, reach him by e-mail.


Beth Van Allen holds a PhD from Yale University in European history and is the author of James Whitcomb Riley: A Life. She has worked as an author and editor for over 20 years, and is currently an academic editor for Cambridge Editors Group of Cambridge, Mass. She has written exhibitions for a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, worked as a book review editor, written institutional histories, and conducted and edited oral history interviews. Beth offers mentoring in basic writing skills, editing and proofreading, and nonfiction (academic papers and dissertations, family history, institutional history, biography, book reviews, and historical fiction). If you are interested in meeting with Beth, 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.