Writing Mentors

$45 per hour; $30 per hour for low-income; other fee assistance available

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.

If you are interested in mentoring, e-mail one of the mentors below.


1. See below for full bios and email addresses for Carnegie writing mentors.

2. Contact your chosen mentor by email. Mention that you are interested in Carnegie mentoring and set up an appointment to meet at either the Carnegie Center or Wild Fig Books & Coffee.

3. Before or after you meet with your mentor, pay for your session at the Carnegie Center front desk, or pay online by clicking here. If paying online, please specify your Mentor in the “notes” section during check 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 available for mentoring in the following areas: poetry, women’s writing, editing, revising, and proofreading.
If you are interested in meeting with Sylvia, send her an e-mail.

Robin 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 is available for mentoring in the following areas: general writing skills, proofreading and editing, and non-fiction (memoir, articles, academic papers, and technical writing).
If you are interested in meeting with Robin, send her 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 available for mentoring in the following areas: 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, send him an e-mail.

Kimber Gray is a writer, arts marketer, and token millennial. She joined the Carnegie Center’s marketing department in 2016 and manages Carnegie’s social media and email campaigns. She has written and edited for arts and cultural publications in Lexington, and she has experience working with authors and artists to claim their space on the world wide web.

Kimber is available for mentoring in establishing and developing a social media presence.
If you are interested in meeting with Kimber, 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 an honor from 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. To learn more about Leslie, visit her website.

Leslie is available for mentoring in nonfiction, publishing, and basic writing skills.
If you are interested in meeting with Leslie, send her an e-mail.

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 the Coordinator of the Carnegie Center Author Academy. For more information, visit Marcia’s website or LinkedIn.

Marcia is available for mentoring in the following areas: writing picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade fiction, and journaling.
If you are interested in meeting with Marcia, 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 available for mentoring in playwrighting.
If you are interested in meeting with Bill, send him an e-mail.

Jay McCoy is a poet, freelance writer/editor, and long-time bookseller. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Bluegrass Writers Studio. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. Accents Publishing released his chapbook, The Occupation, in 2015. Jay is co-founder of the Teen Howl Poetry Series and serves as Adult Contest Chair for the Kentucky State Poetry Society and Secretary for the national LGBTQ Writers Caucus.

Jay is available for mentoring in the following areas: generating, revising, and editing poetry, essays, book reviews, and/or short fiction; freelance writing and editing projects; collecting and ordering a manuscript for submission; getting your book on the bookstore shelf; and journaling.
If you are interested in meeting with Jay, send him an email.

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.

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 available for mentoring in making money as a freelance writer and/or editor, proofreading, and copyediting.
If you are interested in meeting with Stephanie, send her an e-mail.

Katherine Greene-Owens is a Lexington native and graduate of Transylvania University with a B.A. in English. She works on a variety of web design projects for local artists, authors and non-profit organizations to help them develop and polish their online presence. She currently serves as the Enrollment Coordinator at Redwood Cooperative School, a local non-profit school dedicated to helping children learn through play, discovery and experience.

Katherine is available for mentoring in blogging and WordPress websites.
If you are interested in meeting with Katherine, 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, 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 wrote her own “expert” book, which 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 available for mentoring in the following areas writing the expert book, writing nonfiction, magazine and corporate writing, and public speaking.
If you are interested in meeting with Doris, send her an e-mail.


Andrew 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 freelance writing, editing and revising both fiction and nonfiction, and self-publishing.
If you are interested in meeting with Andrew, send him an e-mail.

Jason Sizemore is a three-time Hugo Award-nominated editor, writer, and publisher who operates the science fiction, fantasy, and horror press Apex Book Company. He is the author of the collection of dark science fiction and horror shorts Irredeemable and the tell-all creative non-fiction For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher.

Jason is available for mentoring in the following areas: science fiction, fantasy, or horror writing, copy editing, revising, developmental work, and proofreading.
If you are interested in meeting with Jason, 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 First Annual Creative Lexington Screenplay Competition.

Mitch is available for mentoring in screenwriting.
If you are interested in meeting with Mitch, send him an e-mail.


Dudley Stone is an award-winning playwright who has had his work produced in Los Angeles, Hartford, Conn., Savannah, Ga., Amherst, Mass., 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. He is also a published poet, whose credits include Ace Magazine, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Poetalk, and Hazmat Review.

Dudley is available for mentoring in poetry and playwriting.
If you are interested in meeting with Dudley, send him an e-mail.

20151205_1312442Beth 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 is available for mentoring in the following areas: 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, send her an e-mail.


Ben 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. 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 available for mentoring in the following areas: 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, send him an e-mail.