Advance Submission ProCritique™ Program with Professional Editors

Our ProCritique programs, are a popular, cost-effective way to receive on-on-one constructive, professional feedback on your manuscript and improve your chances for publication and success. Attendees can submit portions of an unfinished fiction, nonfiction, Learn more...or screenplay in advance of the conference for review by professional editors who will read and review your submission in person at the event.

The following professional editors will appear at the conference. While all participate on speaker panels and most are available by appointment at the open pitch sessions, not all participate in the Advanced Submission ProCritique™ Program.  Please read details of the program and each bio carefully to find the best editor for your work before applying.

Stephanie Kelly is a freelance editor at Stephanie Kelly Editorial, which she founded in 2021. As a freelance editor, she collaborates with writers to ensure that their manuscripts are as strong and polished as possible. She has over a decade of experience working on fiction and nonfiction at a major publishing house. From 2011 to 2021, she was a member of the editorial department at Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and beginning in 2017, began acquiring and editing for the Plume list as well as the Dutton list. Her authors at Dutton and Plume included New York Times bestsellers Tami Hoag, Fiona Davis, Asha Lemmie, Hannah Shaw, and Eric Jerome Dickey; international bestseller R. H. Herron; Claire Heywood, Elizabeth L. Cline, Laura Maylene Walter, Olivia Kiernan, Amy Blackstone, and T. Marie Vandelly, among others. For more information, visit

For the California Creative Writers Conference, she has three available one-on-one time slots. Prior to the session, she will read the opening 30 pages of your novel, as well as a pitch and/or synopsis of the whole project (no longer than 2 pages), and offer feedback, as well as answer any questions you may have about the pages, synopsis, editing/publishing process, etc. Sessions will be 50 minutes long, and she will read in the following genres: women’s fiction, historical fiction, thrillers/suspense, and young adult. Her available times are listed below, and she must receive the pages (as a Microsoft Word document) no later than Tuesday, March 8.

Thursday March 10

11am PST

12pm PST

1pm PST 


hsDeanna Brady is a highly versatile freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience. She edits, rewrites, and ghostwrites both fiction and nonfiction, including literary and genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, scripts, self-help and how-to books, articles, essays, proposals, cover and query letters, business communications, and Web content. She enjoys working with authors at every level of expertise to help them enhance and perfect their manuscripts.

She works with a broad spectrum of clients, from individuals to major corporations, in widely varied fields. She taught at California State University for a dozen years and was the editor of an international magazine. In addition to writing and editing numerous books for children, she has been an award-winning author of short fiction and poetry. She also has an extensive background in the entertainment industry and is a voting member of Film Independent (Spirit Awards), SAG-AFTRA, and the IDA.

Deanna specializes in editing fantasy, science fiction, romance, historical, literary, children's, and young adult fiction, as well as general and creative nonfiction and projects concerning spirituality, ecology, American Indian and other indigenous cultures, psychology, and complementary medicine. Known as an “editor’s editor,” she is also adept with ESL, dialects, and translated text. 

She will read your manuscript excerpts up to approximately 2,500 words. She edits on all levels necessary, including copy, line, stylistic, substantive, and developmental, and provides commentary on such elements as clarity, diction, economy, dramatic impact, logic, structure, character development, pace, flow, etc. Please include a brief synopsis or outline in addition to the sample -- which should be the first chapter, or the introduction or prologue and first chapter -- to provide an idea of structure.


Sara Anne "Saran" Fox, a former development executive with a major Hollywood producer, played a vital role in the conception and development of over 25 screenplays, three published novels, and three produced films: "My Favorite Year", "Nosferatu" and "Quest For Fire". For over 20 years, she has used her skills as a writing coach and story editor with screenwriters to strengthen character development, clarify motivation, and improve story structure and plot.

Sara Anne's strong empathetic and intuitive gifts, combined with her editorial talents, serve to provide her clients with a comfortable creative atmosphere in which to realize their artistic goals and visions. She is also a professional expert in story and screenwriting in LA Valley College's IDEAS program. For this conference, Ms. Fox, (who also works with novelists and nonfiction authors), will focus on screenwriting and read the first 15 pages of a script and offer feedback on character, dialog and plot. She will also be available to listen to and critique pitches.


Former Big Five Editor, Helga Schier, Ph. D. is the founder and owner of, an independent editorial services firm. With over 20 years of experience in the (self-) publishing industry, Helga guides authors through the development and revision process. Handling a manuscript like a diamond in the rough, Helga's editorial work focuses on the refinement of story, character, and stylistic issues, helping writers unlock the potential of their manuscripts. Her clients are published, self-published, and not-yet-published writers. 

Helga has published essayistic works on contemporary English and American fiction, and has translated several screenplays, memoirs, and a novel series. She is also a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences with successful lectures on topics such as Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make, and The Three Secrets to Successful Indie Publishing, and High Readability – What Is It and How Do I Get It?

Helga will read and edit (discussing content as well as style and language flow) up to 2000 words of your manuscript, and offer individual consultations of up to 20 minutes each. In addition, Helga will be available for follow-up questions at her company’s table ( throughout the conference. Helga reads all types of fiction, memoir, and narrative nonfiction.

hsMike Robinson will read up to ten manuscripts of approximately 2500 words (10 standard pages) in the Science Fiction, Thriller, Spiritual / Metaphysical and Literary categories.

He will provide both line editing (language flow, style, grammar, syntax) and developmental editing (plot and character logic, story structure). You won't find any MFA or Embittered Teacher Dogma here: possessing a bit of an experimental streak, he knows there are many, many ways a story can work, and so seeks to fully understand and appreciate the author's intention(s), and to edit within that framework to do justice to the original vision.

Mike Robinson has been writing since age 7, when his story Aliens In My Backyard! became a runaway bestseller, topping international charts (or maybe that was also a product of his imagination). Nevertheless, he did go on to write professionally at age 19, when he sold his first short story to the magazine Storyteller.

He has published fiction in a dozen magazines (print and electronic), literary anthologies and podcasts. His first novel, Skunk Ape Semester, released by Solstice Publishing, was a Finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He now has three novels contracted with Curiosity Quills Press, one of which, The Green-Eyed Monster, is set to release October 23, 2012. 

Mr. Robinson is charter member of GLAWS who lends his editing efforts to managing the society's official magazine, Literary Landscapes, which publishes stories, poetry, excerpts and articles by members. See his official website at and his blog,

As a freelance editor, Mike has worked on memoirs, novels and screenplays. A wide reader, he is familiar with most genres, but is especially at home with Speculative Fiction (Paranormal, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy), Mystery, Magical Realism / Metaphysical, Spiritual, Literary (Mainstream, Experimental, Quirky), and Narrative Non-fiction.


Art Holcomb will read screenplays, novels, short stories and comic book/graphic novel scripts - up to 10 manuscripts of approximately 2500 words (10 standard pages) and provide written notes and a twenty minute scheduled consultation.  Please read the bio (below) on Art for more information about his experience and qualifications.

Follow-up consultations after the conference can be arranged separately is desired.


ART HOLCOMB is a screenwriter, playwright, fiction writer and comic book creator who began his writing career at age 13 when one of his plays was professionally performed by the American Conservatory Theater.

He has published poetry, essays and short stories and has written more than 50 comic book stories for franchises such as THE X-MEN, as well as original and licensed properties for Defiant, Valiant, Acclaim, Big Entertainment, FUNimation, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics.  His screen work has appeared on UPN, the Sci-Fi Channel and the SHOWTIME Channel.

He has sold to the STAR TREK television franchise at Paramount Television and worked on projects for the estates of Gene Roddenberry and legendary actor Steve McQueen. He has also written for the critically acclaimed animation series SHADOW RAIDERS, as well as consulted for video game companies, film production companies and publishing houses.

He is a regular columnist for Creative Screenwriting Magazine, called “The Best Magazine for Screenwriters” by The Los Angeles Times.  He is a regular contributor on fiction and screenwriting to STORYFIX.COM, ranked one of the top fiction writing sites on the internet by Writer’s Digest Magazine.

Art is a sought-after lecturer on story and runs a consultancy for highly motivated screenwriters and novelists who are committed to moving their careers to the next professional level.

His most recent short story is The Perfect Bracket with acclaimed novelist Howard V. Hendrix, which appeared in ANALOG Magazine. A play by the same name is currently under consideration for production by the National Actor’s Theater in Louisville, Kentucky.  A new science fiction – treasure hunt novel (with co-writer Hendrix) entitled The Strewn is scheduled for completion in 2015.

You can read more of Art’s thoughts on the craft of writing at


For over twenty-five years, Dan Watanabe was a development executive in the entertainment industry. Sixteen of those years were spent at the company now known as FremantleMedia, where he served as the Vice President of Development and Current Programming,. One-hour dramatic series he supervised included Baywatch, Air America, Sirens, numerous movies of the week, pilots, and game shows (Family Feud, To Tell the Truth, The Price is Right). 

Mr. Watanabe graduated Cum Laude from the University of Southern California with a BA in Cinema, Critical Studies (1985). He is currently in process for an MFA in Digital Cinema Production at National University (expected graduation 2014). 

Dan is also the Director of the IDEAS grant, a California Economic and Workforce Development Responsive Training Fund Regional Center. 

For the past eleven years, he has taught television history, low budget film production/distribution and beginning screenwriting at Los Angeles Valley College. He is also currently serving as SLO coordinator for the Media Arts Department.

Dan will read up to 10 manuscripts of approximately 2500 words (10 standard script pages). Mr. Watanabe was a studio executive who "green lit" movies for 15 years and currently teaches at Los Angeles Valley College.

He will edit screenplays for ProCritiques and provide up to twenty minutes of personal consultation, depending on the need.

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