Come to The Muse for Writing Workshops in Norfolk, Virginia (VA)

the muse's facilitators & teachers

  • Jennifer Adams
  • Kelly Avery
  • Remica L. Bingham-Risher
  • Angela Blue
  • Ellen Bryson
  • Tara Shea Burke
  • T Campbell
  • Ed Carden
  • Sarah Jo Carter
  • Leslie Clements
  • Linda Carol Cobb
  • Alicia Dekker
  • Tony Delateur
  • Sean Devereux
  • Gillian Durham
  • Greg Eatroff
  • Gregory Epps
  • Patrick Evans-Hylton
  • Chad Faries
  • Alan Flanders
  • Pete Freas
  • Barbara Gardner
  • Caroline Garrett
  • Lamar Giles
  • Colin Ginks
  • Farideh Goldin
  • Evan Hartley
  • Lisa Hartz
  • Caitlin Hayes
  • Heather Hildebrand
  • Patti Hinson
  • Rick Hite
  • Jess Horton
  • Lauren Hurston
  • Matthew Hutchinson
  • Luke Iha
  • Luisa Igloria
  • Victoria Kelly
  • Tori Kerr
  • Michael Khandelwal
  • Jean Klein
  • Janine Latus
  • Tracie Liguid
  • Michael Lovely
  • John Robert Mack
  • Michal Mahgerefteh
  • Catherine Malley
  • Deb Markham
  • Karla Martin
  • Lucian Mattison
  • Claudia Mazur
  • Kindra McDonald
  • Lewis McGehee
  • Brad McMurran
  • Jim Morrison
  • Lydia Netzer
  • Andrea Nolan
  • Renée Olander
  • Daniel Pearlman
  • Susie Pedigo
  • Ken Phillips
  • Tench Phillips
  • Sarah Pringle
  • Eric Ramseier
  • Noah Renn
  • Sheri Reynolds
  • Charles Rhodes
  • Suzanne Rhodes
  • Mira Roberts
  • Tom Robotham
  • Steve Rosenthal
  • Christine Rucker
  • Tony Ruggiero
  • Tim Sanderson
  • Rich Santoro
  • Jesse Scaccia
  • Tim Seibles
  • Melissa Sipin
  • Jack Sommers
  • Dana Staves
  • Melissa M. Stewart
  • Lisa Suhay
  • Michael Tarpey
  • Grace Tazewell
  • Leah Thiessen
  • Rachel Thompson
  • Dillon Tripp
  • Mae Lynn Walker
  • Kip Watson
  • Heather Weddington
  • Mary Westbrook
  • Roberto Westbrook
  • Valerie Wilkinson
  • Leona Wisoker
  • Alba Woolard
  • Kristina Wright
  • Donna Wynn
  • Skye Zentz

  • Jennifer Adams

    Jennifer Adams has an M.F.A. from Cornell University, where she was most recently a Lecturer in Creative Writing (poetry, fiction) and an Assistant Editor at Epoch Magazine. Her short fiction and poetry has appeared in journals such as the Southwest Review, Sonora Review, and Stone Canoe, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Writing Poetry, NaNoWriMo Workshop.
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    Kelly Avery

    Kelly Sokol Avery earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her work has appeared in The Pitkin Review and ConnotationPress. She lives in Norfolk, VA, and is at work on a novel.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, A Mother of a Voice: Writing Motherhood, Introduction to Creative Non-fiction, Creative Nonfiction in the Morning.
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    Remica L. Bingham-Risher

    Remica L. Bingham, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is an alumna of Old Dominion University and Bennington College as well as a Cave Canem fellow. Among other journals, her work has been published in The Writer's Chronicle, New Letters, Callaloo and Essence. Her first book, Conversion (Lotus Press, 2007), won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her second book, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013), will be published in February. Currently, she resides with her husband and children in Norfolk, Virginia.

    Classes taught: Inventive Forms: Exploring Formal Poetry, Love Poems: The Hunger of Words, Writing Across the Lines: Poetry Exploring Race, Culture and Ethnicity
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    Angela Blue

    Angela Blue is the Associate Editor of Hampton Roads Magazine, Hampton Roads Bride and Virginia Wine Lover magazines. She writes the "Hampton Roads Bride Blog" among various other online articles, provides editorial content for weekly and monthly newsletters sent on behalf of three publications and manages the editorial and web editorial internship programs at HRM. Angela earned a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in journalism from Old Dominion University and has freelanced for local and regional lifestyle publications.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Magazine Writing.
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    Ellen Bryson

    Ellen Bryson authored The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno, a novel set in P.T. Barnum's American Museum in the New York of 1865, about human appetites and longings, and what it means to be profoundly unique. Transformation was selected Indie Pick of the Month, Notable, in July 2010, the Book-of-the-Month Club Alternative, 2010, and won the San Diego Book Award for Historic Fiction, 2010. Ellen earned her BA in English from Columbia University and her MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

    Classes taught: From the Horse's Mouth: Crafting First Person POV, How to Write Your Novel, Moving the Scene from Our Mind to Words on the Page, The Novel Doctor, The Novel Studio, The Art of a Sentence,
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    Tara Shea Burke

    Tara Shea Burke earned her MFA in poetry from Old Dominion University in 2012. She also holds a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies, and has traveled to South Africa and Senegal to work with non-profits and offer service to NGOs. She has served as poetry editor for Barely South Review, and is the current poetry editor for The Quotable. She teaches literature and writing at ODU and The Muse Writers Center, and is finishing a teacher training in Hatha Yoga. Burke has an essay in the forthcoming book Loving The L Word: The Full Series in Focus, and her poems are featured in The Quotable, Switched-on Gutenberg, Rougarou, and forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom. She placed 2nd in Split This Rock’s 2013 Poetry Contest, judged by Mark Doty.

    Classes taught: Poetry in the Morning, Introduction to Writing Poetry, Poets, Submit: A How-To Workshop, How to: Submit Your Work to Magazines and Journals, Morning Meditation for Writers, The Muse at Hoffler Creek: Writing the Wild, Teen Writers Workshop, Gay on the Page: Writing the LGBT Experience
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    T Campbell

    T Campbell has been an award-winning comics scriptwriter for nearly a decade, writing over 3000 pages of graphic novels, manga, comic strips and webcomics, both independently and with publishers like Tokyopop and Marvel—including titles such as Fans, Cool Cat Studio, Penny and Aggie, Divalicious, Sketchies, Rip and Teri, Exploding Stills, and other comics.

    Classes taught: Graphic Novel, Comic Book and Manga Workshop, Crosswords & Puzzles Seminar
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    Ed Carden

    Ed Carden has a degree in theatre from Old Dominion University. He's been acting and performing comedy for more than a decade, and has appeared in nearly 30 local theatrical productions, as well as a handful of commercials and short films. He is a founding member of The Pushers Sketch/Improv Comedy Group, in which he serves as a performer, writer, and producer. With The Pushers, he has performed up and down the east coast. By day he works for Virginia Beach Public Schools. In addition to writing and performing, he enjoys cheeseburgers, sushi, and science fiction—not necessarily in that order.

    Classes taught: Sketch Comedy Writing 101, Sketch Comedy Writing 202, Sketch Comedy Writing Studio.
    Ed is teaching Improv and Sketch at The Push Comedy Theatre
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    Sarah Jo Carter

    Sarah Jo Carter writes poetry and fiction, writes about and reviews films, and is an intern and student at The Muse Writers Center. She is a graduate student at Old Dominion University in the Occupational and Technical Studies program focusing on instructional design technology and technical writing (her undergraduate degree was in Sociology and Human Services). She currently works at Old Dominion University (Tri-Cities location) in office administration and satellite technology as well as at the Virginia Living Museum as a Volunteer Services Assistant.

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    Leslie Clements

    Leslie Clements graduated from Old Dominion University with a Master of Fine Arts in fiction. She served as a fiction editor for the first year of ODU's premiere online literary journal, Barely South Review, and writes for the Fiction Writer's Review. She teaches English and academic writing at Virginia Wesleyan College and Tidewater Community College. Currently, she is working on a novel and cheating on that novel with a collection of short stories.

    Classes taught: The Fiction Workshop, Reading For Writers: A Summer Fling with Fantasy, Learn to Knit.
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    Linda Carol Cobb

    A professed grammar nerd, Linda is a retired high school teacher with an M.A. in communications. She coached forensics, sponsored Shore Lines, Bayside High's award-winning newsmagazine, and taught journalism, advanced composition and public speaking among other English electives. Linda has taught sessions at Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Virginia High School League conferences, Evenings at Saint Patrick and for ODU's Career Switcher Program. Linda is a free-lance copyeditor and a public speaking coach. She is writing a collection of short, true stories about her quirky Tennessee family and personal experiences.

    Classes taught: A Grammar Refresher, Preparing for Your Reading (August session), A Punctuation Refresher,Crafting the College Application Essay.
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    Alicia Dekker

    Alicia Wright Dekker is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee and a member of the board of directors of The Muse. Her short stories and micro fiction can be found in The Quotable, The Treehouse: A Magazine of Possibilities, and Barely South Review among others. Alicia has a degree in drama from Syracuse University. She also studied at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and was an intern at The Gate Theatre, in London, England. She, herself, can usually be found in one of Norfolk’s many coffeehouses—but that's another story.

    Classes taught: Reading for Writers: Shine, Shine, Shine, Reading for Writers: The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb, Reading for Writers: Fake I.D..
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    Tony DeLateur

    Tony is an MFA candidate on the fiction track at Old Dominion University. Before moving to Norfolk, he taught high school and college in Los Angeles.

    Classes taught: The Fiction Workshop.
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    Sean Devereux

    Sean Devereux is the executive producer and co-head writer of the sketch comedy group, The Pushers and a member of the board of directors of The Muse. He graduated with a B.A. in English from George Mason University and has studied improv at The Upright Citizen's Brigade in New York. With The Pushers, he has performed up and down the east coast, most notably headlining The Charleston Comedy Festival and The North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. In his civilian guise, Sean is an Emmy Award winning writer/producer at WVEC-TV 13.

    Classes taught: Improv Comedy 101, Improv Comedy 202, Improv Comedy 303, Improv Comedy Studio: Advanced Scene Work, Improv Comedy Studio: New Forms, Sketch Comedy Writing 101, Sketch Comedy Writing 202, Sketch Comedy Writing Studio, Improv Comedy Workshop for Teens, Improv & Sketch Comedy Workshop for Teens.
    Sean is teaching Improv and Sketch at The Push Comedy Theatre
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    Gillian Durham

    Gillian is an instructor of English as a Second Language at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, where she teaches all academic language skills but has a particular fondness for the wild complexities of English grammar. Once a world traveler, she now stays mostly in one place and instead enjoys playing host to the world in her classroom, which is sort of like traveling but much less expensive. She holds a B.A. in English from Elon University and a M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Old Dominion University. Oh, and the swooping, winged figure on the Muse homepage? That's Gillian.

    Classes taught: Grammar Unveiled, English Grammar.
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    Greg Eatroff

    Greg Eatroff is a writer, actor, editor, and historian. He has written two scripts for local history documentaries which have gone into production. His non-fiction has appeared in the Old Dominion Historical Review. Since the late 1990s he has edited and co-scripted comics for both print and web markets. He loves the collaborative nature of comics production, and hopes to share that love and experience with Muse students.

    Classes taught: Graphic Novel, Comic Book and Manga Workshop.
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    Gregory Epps

    Gregory Epps is a freelance journalist and 10-year veteran of weekly film criticism whose work has appeared in a variety of print and web publications. As critic and essayist for PortFolio Weekly, Greg published over 500 reviews, covered local film festivals, and interviewed A-list film directors and actors. Greg subsequently wrote and broadcasted weekly film reviews for Norfolk's public radio affiliate, WHRV-FM, as part of Cathy Lewis's award-winning HearSay program. Greg is currently writing for several freelance clients, has a novel in-progress, and still believes that all of life's riddles are answered, in the movies.

    Classes taught: Film Criticism: The Craft and Business.
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    Patrick Evans-Hylton

    Patrick Evans-Hylton is a banker-turned-Johnson & Wales trained chef. He has been an award-winning food writer since 1995, and is currently senior editor for food and wine at Hampton Roads Magazine. He is also executive editor for Virginia Wine Lover Magazine, and author of six books, including two food history books and a cookbook, Popcorn. Evans-Hylton appears monthly on a food news/issues-themed episode of HearSay with Cathy Lewis on 89.5 FM, public radio on Hampton Roads. He has made several national appearances on ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates, the Food Network and Martha Stewart Living radio. A food educator and historian, Evans-Hylton teaches a variety of classes with a local twist through the Casual Gourmet program at Culinary Institute of Virginia. He is a board member with Culinary Institute of Virginia, Tidewater Community College's culinary arts program, Careers through Culinary Arts Program—Hampton Roads, Hampton Roads March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction and Slow Food Hampton Roads. Nationally, he is involved with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Evans-Hylton, a native of Atlanta, Ga., has lived in Virginia since 1991.

    Classes taught: Expressions in Food, Noshes and Knapsacks, Writing Cookbooks.
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    Food Blog:
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    Chad Faries

    Chad Faries has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from UW-Milwaukee and has taught writing and literature in the United States and Europe. His poetic memoir, The Border Will Be Soon, was the winner of the 2006 Emergency Press book competition which went on to win the 2006 Gran Prix Prize for poetry from the International Academy Orient-Occident in Romania. His memoir, Some Houses, is seeking a commercial publisher. One of The Muse's most popular teachers, Chad recently moved to Savannah, Georgia where he is an Assistant Professor of English.

    Classes taught: Photography & Writing Workshop, Memoir Writing Workshop.
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    Alan Flanders

    Alan Flanders has an M.A. in English from Hollins College with an emphasis on Creative Writing, a Ph.D. and an advanced degree in English Local History from Oxford. He has also been a poetry and non-fiction contributor at the Breadloaf Writers Conference, Middlebury College. For the last 25 years he has written a column for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. Flanders also hosted Century, an Emmy award winning public television documentary on Hampton Roads history. His contributions to local and national television productions include serving as naval historian for a live CBS News broadcast worldwide of the JFK, Jr. burial at sea and numerous commentaries on local, regional and national history topics. He has published eight books and numerous articles in American Heritage, Gourmet, and American History Magazine.

    Classes taught: Creative Non-Fiction Writing Workshop.
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    Pete Freas

    Pete Freas is a retired Navy helicopter pilot with a BA degree in English and History, an MA degree in Communication, and an MSEd. He has studied German and taught for two and a half years at the German Command and Staff College in Hamburg, GE. He has taught Middle-School Special Ed, and High School English in Portsmouth and Smithfield. Pete often hosts open-mic events and workshops, and appears as visiting writer in area schools. The poems in his chapbook Boots tell of his VN War experience. Several of his poems and stories have been published in regional publications, and he has edited five volumes of Skipping Stones, a Hampton Roads poetry anthology. He and his artist wife are the adoptive parents of two working adults who were once twin infants.

    Classes taught: Writing Your War.
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    Barbara Gardner

    Barbara Gardner, a native of Germany, loves poetry and people and is the former facilitator of the First Friday Poetry Salon. She feels equally at home in the US and Germany but also enjoyed very much living in the UK and Norway. Barbara has participated in several poetry workshops and hopes to someday publish a collection of her own work. She lives in Norfolk.

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    Caroline Garrett

    Caroline S. Garrett's first picture book, Sarah's Bead, was published in 2000. Her second, Jeremiah, in 2003. She is the illustrator of a series of "Forest Friends" tales which were published between 2005 and 2007. She earned her MFA in printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and a second Masters degree in Art Education from Ohio State. She gives workshops in children's picture books, art and spirituality, and mandalas.

    Classes taught: Young Writers Creative Workshop: Create your own Children's Picture Book.
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    Lamar Giles

    Lamar "L. R." Giles writes stories for teens and adults. He's never met a genre he didn't like, having penned science fiction, fantasy, horror, and noir thrillers, among others. He is a Virginia native, a Hopewell High Blue Devil, and an Old Dominion University Monarch. He resides in Chesapeake, Virginia, with his wife.

    Classes taught: Reading for Writers: Fake I.D., Writing Young Adult Fiction, How to: Get an Agent
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    Colin Ginks

    Colin is a published novelist, short-story writer, translator and visual artist from the UK. He has also lived in Marseille, Johannesburg, and Lisbon, and recently moved to downtown Norfolk from New York City. Creative writing is his life, and his love: his second novel, You Choose, is currently under review in Europe, and his most recent project, Swimming on the Edge Of, is awaiting review with agents in the US, upon completion. He is also to translate two recent novels by Irvine Welsh, Crime and If You Like School. You'll Love Work into Portuguese in 2009 and 2010.

    Classes taught: Contemplating Your Novel, Fiction Workshop 2: Other Voices, Other Lives, LGBT Memories in Memoir, Completing the Great American Novel, Fiction One-on-One Workshop.
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    Farideh Goldin

    Farideh Goldin was born in 1953 in Shiraz, Iran, to a family of dayanim, judges, and leaders of the Jewish community. She studied English literature at Pahlavi University and earned an MA (humanities) and MFA (creative nonfiction) from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia. Her first book, Wedding Song, concerns her struggle to reconcile her Western education with her deeply rooted Iranian Jewish upbringing. A forthcoming volume, Burying Yehetzkel, chronicles her life as a new immigrant to the United States and her father’s struggle to leave Iran and rejoin the family in Israel. She teaches literature and is the director of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding at Old Dominion University.

    Classes taught: The Memoir Studio
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    Evan Hartley

    Evan Hartley attends Old Dominion University where she is studying theater and film. She enjoys writing screenplays and fiction and participates in improv and sketch comedy. She also spends her time working on local short films and owns a production company, Fatty Bread Productions, LLC. In addition, Evan enjoys baking a mean chocolate chip cookie and all night Netflix binges. She is a Muse intern.

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    Lisa Hartz

    Lisa Hartz is a co-founder, a former co-director, and a current member of the board of directors of The Muse. She is currently the Executive Director of Seven Cities Writers Project, an organization dedicated to bringing writing workshops and other literary events to underserved populations. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PoemMemoirStory, Poet Lore, Subtropics, The Dos Passos Review, Bayou, Miller's Pond and other publications. Her chapbook, Our Destination Remains Uncertain, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

    Classes taught: The Poetry Workshop, An Exploration of the Prose Poem, Exploring Visual Art Through Poetry, The Fiction Workshop, Memoir/Creative Non-Fiction Writing Workshop, The Memoir Studio, The Postgraduate Prose Studio, The Open Studio, Young Writers Creative Workshop: Create your own Children's Picture Book.
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    Caitlin Hayes

    Caitlin Hayes holds an MA in English Literature from the University of New Hampshire and is in her third year of teaching English at Norfolk Academy. Before moving from New England to Virginia, she freelanced for two newspapers, worked in book design, and administered a writing center. She is a student in the MFA program at Old Dominion University, and in the fall, will enter the MFA program at Syracuse University where she will continue working on a collection of short stories.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, The Fiction Workshop.
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    Heather Hildenbrand

    Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.) Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs. Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. You can find out more about Heather and her books at and Facebook.

    Classes taught: How to: Market Your Writing & Yourself.
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    Patti Hinson

    Patti Hinson holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from American University where her collection of personal essays, Pulls Like Gravity, was awarded the Myra Sklarew Prize for Outstanding Thesis. Her prose and poetry have been featured in a variety of venues, literary and otherwise, including past and current photography exhibits at The Mariners' Museum. She is a member of the board of directors of The Muse.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Writing Poetry, The Poetry Workshop, The Prose Poem Workshop, Personal Narratives: An Introduction to Memoir, The Memoir Workshop, Short Memoir: Narratives in a Flash, Poetry Workshop for Teen Writers, Memoir Workshop for Teen Writers: Life Stories
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    Rick Hite

    Rick Hite is Professor Emeritus of Theater/Communications at Virginia Wesleyan College. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College (B.A. Spanish), The Johns Hopkins University (M.A. Romance Languages and Literatures), and Michigan State University (Ph.D. Theater/Communications). His theater career as actor, director, producer, translator, and playwright spans more years than he wants to admit. He has published plays, translations, and poetry in the U. S. and Spain and has had works produced both here and abroad.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Playwriting.
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    Jess Horton

    Jess Horton is a runner, social media/marketing expert, and blogger. She is a graduate of Radford University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education. After teaching elementary school for several years, Jess turned her passion for education into training and teaching businesses about marketing. Jess spends her time running or writing. She has used her knowledge of running and fitness to develop, a health and fitness website. Jess also is a running ambassador and coach for J&A Racing. Her blog documenting her healthy lifestyle journey and race reports is featured on her website. Jess is also a contributing blogger for and the Hampton Roads American Marketing Association. Her blog has been recognized nationally by Girls on the Run International.

    Classes taught: Blogging from the Ground Up.
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    Lauren Hurston

    Lauren Hurston received her BA in English from James Madison University, her MA in English and Publishing from Rosemont College, and she is pursuing her Creative Writing MFA from Old Dominion University. She has contributed to Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, VA, Ticket Weekly in Montgomery County, PA, and Philadelphia Style Magazine. Her fiction has been published in Midwest Literary Magazine and is featured in the anthology Bearing North; her nonfiction has won the William Brenner Nonfiction Prize and the Agnes L. Braganza Award.

    Classes taught: Fiction Workshop for Teen Writers, Teen Writers Workshop.
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    Matthew Hutchinson

    Matthew Hutchinson is the president of Miravalles Culture and Adventure Center, a tour center located in the rainforest of northern Costa Rica, that specializes in Eco-tourism and cultural exchange for students and small groups of adventurers. He founded and runs UrbanXChange, a chain of retail stores and tattoo shops in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Newport News. He received degrees in Journalism and Latin American Literature from UW-Madison, and he studied in Lima Peru (1988–89) and worked in Managua and Esteli, Nicaragua (1986–87). In 1990 and 1991, he taught with Teach for America in the ESL programs at Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles and Park West in New York City. He's a musician and singer-songwriter who performs at open mics in the area, and is currently working on the second draft of his novel, Sandino's Bones and milling about Ghent at any pub that serves O'Connor's new IPA, el Guapo. He is a facilitator of The Muse Writers Center's 2nd Friday Acoustic Jam.

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    Luisa Igloria

    Luisa A. Igloria is the author of Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Award, forthcoming from Utah State University Press in summer 2014); Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, spring 2014); The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013); Juan Luna's Revolver (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize); Trill & Mordent (WordTech Editions, 2005); and eight other books. Originally from Baguio City, she teaches on the faculty of Old Dominion University where she currently directs the M.F.A. creative writing program. Since November 20, 2010, she has written at least a poem a day at

    Classes taught: Love Child: The Prose Poem, Rewriting the World, from the Margins: Poetry, Exile, and Displacement, A Little Fire, A Little Salt, A Little Need: Transformations in the Poem, Here and in the World: Writing Poetry About Inner and External Landscapes.
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    Luke Iha

    Luke Iha is an un-schooling seventeen year-old whose interests include philosophy, psychology, and—of course—writing. He has worked on the KUNM Generation Justice Youth radio program as a host and DJ and has volunteered with the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. As the Muse's second intern, Luke has become a notable expert in promotional fliering, and after completing his internship, he hopes to travel and further pursue his literary career.

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    Victoria Kelly

    Victoria Kelly received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her B.A. summa cum laude in English from Harvard University and her M.Phil. in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin, where she was a United States Mitchell Scholar. Her fiction has appeared dozens of journals including Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Fiction, and The Idaho Review, and her poetry has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, American Poetry Review, Hopkins Review, and Barrow Street. Her first chapbook, Prayers of an American Wife, is forthcoming by Autumn House Press. She teaches Creative Writing at Old Dominion University.

    Classes taught: Flash Fiction, Beginnings and Endings, Young Writers Week.
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    Tori Kerr

    Tori Kerr studies English and Creative Writing at The George Washington University, where she is a rising sophomore. As The Muse Writers Center's first intern, Tori has assisted in all areas of operations from publicity and promotions to outreach and fundraising. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career as a writer, editor, and teacher.

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    Michael Khandelwal

    Michael writes poetry and fiction as well as editorials, profiles, and features for Hampton Roads Magazine. He is the past poetry editor for Portfolio Weekly and a past web content manager for The American Council on Education.

    He attended USC as an undergraduate and graduate student (MPW with three theses: fiction, poetry, screenplay) and has studied under poets James Ragan, William Matthews, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko and writers Betty Friedan, Shelly Berman, Paul Gillette, John Rechy, Ben Masselink, Sy Gomberg, Shana Alexander, and Gay Talese.

    In Los Angeles, he worked in film and on the radio while teaching neuroscience at USC and poetry, drama, and acting in the inner city. He is a co-founder and is Executive Director of The Muse Writers Center. He was also the President of the 2008 Virginia Electoral College.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Writing Poetry, The Poetry Workshop, The Poetry Studio, Introduction to Fiction Writing, The Fiction Workshop, The Fiction Studio, Fiction Workshop for Teen Writers.
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    Jean Klein

    A non-fiction writer and playwright, Jean Klein holds an MA and an MFA from the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa and studied playwriting at the U of I and at Carnegie-Mellon University. She currently teaches playwriting in the MA and MFA program at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA. As a free-lance writer and editor, she has won awards for magazine articles, plays, and television scripts. For three years, she served as Contributing Editor for Metro magazine and for one year as Cultural Editor for Portfolio. She has also published three books on writing skills and customer service. Her short play, Snapshots was a winner in the Kernoble Contest at the University of Arkansas in 2010 and her full length play, The Refraction of Light is scheduled for production during the Summer Playfest in Norfolk in 2012. She is co-owner of a dramatic publishing company, HaveScripts and ScriptWorks Press.

    Classes taught: Crafting a Plot, Crafting a Scene, Developing Characters: Getting Started, The Film: An Autopsy, Flashing Back: Bringing the Past to the Present, Fragment into Story, Marketing Your Work, Our Characters: Creating & Exploring Their Inner Dimensions, Revisiting Point of View, Settings: Give Your Characters Somewhere to Go, Technical Writing: Opportunity for Freelancers, The Short Story: An Autopsy, Writing Dialogue, Write Great Sentences, You Talkin’ to Me? Writing Great Dialogue, X-Ray Your Characters: What Makes Them Tick?
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    Janine Latus

    Janine Latus is the award-winning author of If I Am Missing or Dead, a memoir that made both the New York and London Times bestseller lists and which was written scene-by-scene in workshops just like the one she's teaching at the Muse. She has taught writing across the country, including at the University of Missouri, University of Wisconsin and East Carolina University. She has written for O, the Oprah magazine, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Parents, Attache, American Way and many other magazines and websites. She currently is fishing around for her next book idea.

    Classes taught: Start Writing, Keep Writing... Write Now, Writing from Life, The Memoir Studio, Writing from Life for Teens, Freestyle Writing for Young Writers.
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    Tracie Liguid

    Tracie Liguid is studying to become an elementary school teacher through the ODU Career Switchers program. A former producer for and Pilot Online, she was a coordinator and chapter writer for the oral history project, "In Our Aunties' Words: The Filipino Spirit of Hampton Roads" by the Filipino American National Historical Society. The James Madison University grad loves the beach, yoga, and pralines & cream ice cream. Tracie has loved writing since she began reading Peanuts, Archie, and Betty & Veronica comics and the Choose Your Own Adventure and Encyclopedia Brown children's book series.

    Classes taught: Young Writers Week, Young Writers Workshop, Writing the Filipino American Experience, Writing in Response to the Filipino American Experience.
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    Michael Lovely

    Sergeant Michael Lovely is an active member of the public safety community in Virginia. He has several years' experience investigating violent crimes, to include over 500 robbery investigations and 42 bank robberies. He is a Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Gang Specialist and General Instructor, and has been certified as an expert in suspect identification. His specialized training includes all aspects of criminal investigation including crime scene forensics, blood spatter and analysis, and interviews and interrogation. He is also a licensed polygraph examiner, and conducts training for financial institution employees in the area of bank security. Sgt. Lovely is currently assigned to his department’s intelligence unit where he continues to instruct new and senior police officers in a wide range of police related topics. During his career, he has received numerous commendations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Officer of the Year, and the department’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. Sgt. Lovely has handled many high profile cases, and has been featured on the Live with Regis and Kelly show and the Virginian-Pilot.

    Classes taught: Police Procedures and Investigation: Research for Writers, What Happens in Court: Research for Writers.
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    John Robert Mack

    John studied writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, published the short story, "Jonny Hates Jazz," wrote a column, "Dancing The Rainbow,: for two years in the regional Texas dance periodical, The Dancer’s Guide,, and has written and produced five plays (one on commission). His play Talking With Jacob won statewide recognition in Wisconsin. He produced an adaptation of the Ray Bradbury story, "The Better Part of Wisdom" with the author’s input and blessing. He also self-published (before it was cool and edgy) a book called, Keep Breathing: Zen and the Art of Social Dance. For the past twenty years, John has worked as a dance teacher. He has choreographed musicals like West Side Story and helped create and coach the original Radio Disney dance team in San Antonio, TX. John now resides in Virginia in semi-retirement to focus on his writing. As a dance teacher, he has been featured twice in the international education periodical Quality in Action. John has self-published one novel, that dance book which is live on Amazon. He has three more projects about to hit the market. The first two novels in his "Tango Tritych" series are Tango with a Twist and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. There is also a collection of shorter works in the same world called Stretches. John does all his own design and formatting, including covers for both ebooks and paperbacks. He also designs covers for other independent authors.

    Classes taught: How to: Self-Publish Your Book, Writing is Fun! Let the Words Flow!.
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    Michal Mahgerefteh

    Michal Mahgerefteh is an award-winning poet and artist from Israel, living in Virginia since 1986. She is publisher and editor of Poetica Magazine and the author of three poetry collections, In My Bustan, Sipping Memories: A Poetic Journal to Morocco, and What's Left Behind. Michal is the webmaster and contest judge for The Poetry Society of Virginia. She is currently working on her forth poetry collection.

    Classes taught: Collage: Your Words with Images (August Session).
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    Catherine Malley

    Catherine Malley holds a BFA from Mississippi University for Women and an MS in Education from Old Dominion University. She is an artist, a poet, and an elementary school teacher.

    Classes taught: Calligraphy: The Art of Elegant Handwriting (August Session).
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    Deb Markham

    Deb Markham works as an online community producer (online speak for "editor") for and, where she manages about 35 community bloggers. She also has built and maintained several Websites in her spare time over the years. She is in the midst of redesigning The Ghent Reader, an online literary magazine founded in 2002. You can follow her and her personal musings via She is a former host of the Muse's First Friday Poetry Salon, which is now part of The Muse Jam.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Blogging & Social Networking for Writers, Blogging 101, Finding Your Audience & Building an Online Presence.
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    Karla Martin

    Karla Martin is a teacher, writer, and journalist. She is a former producer of radio and television programs at WHRO/WHRV, the PBS/NPR station in Norfolk, as well as WAVY-TV and WVEC-TV. Karla is a graduate of The Ohio State University's School of Journalism and a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Karla has written articles for several publications. She is the co-author of the children's book, Logan's Journey (Dove Foundation Seal, Mom's Choice Awards; Gold Recipient, Book Sense Children's Pick). Karla lives in Chesapeake with her family and is now fulfilling her dream of teaching English. A graduate of the ODU Career Switchers Program, Karla currently teaches English at Oscar Smith Middle School.

    Classes taught: Writing Children's Literature, Children's Picture Book Writing Workshop, Young Writers Creative Workshop: Create your own Children's Picture Book.
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    Lucian Mattison

    Lucian Mattison is a graduate of the University of Florida and is currently enrolled in the creative writing MFA program at Old Dominion University, where he teaches both creative writing craft classes and poetry workshops for the English department. His poems are forthcoming or can be found in Barely South Review, Blood Lotus, Literary Juice, and Marco Polo Arts Mag. He also edits poetry for the Green Briar Review. In his spare time he enjoys cooking and playing backgammon.

    Classes taught: Teen Writers Workshop.
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    Claudia Isler Mazur

    Claudia Isler Mazur earned an MA in English from Bucknell University in 2004 and an MFA from Old Dominion University in May 2011. She has written and published both short fiction and nonfiction, and has been teaching writing since the early 1990s. She is a lecturer in the English department at Old Dominion University as well as a freelance copy editor.

    Classes taught: Personal Narratives: An Introduction to Memoir, The Memoir Workshop.
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    Kindra McDonald

    Kindra received her MFA in poetry from Queens University of North Carolina and her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College. She is coeditor and workshop director of Copaiba Press which publishes writing from Veterans and their families. Her work has appeared in Portfolio Weekly, The Quotable, New Fracktur Arts Journal, Stirring Magazine and in the forthcoming Anthology Barbie in a Blender. She is passionate in the belief that poetry has healing powers and that everyone has a poem inside them, waiting to get written. "Poetry is, above all, an approach to the truth of feeling..." (Muriel Rukeyser)

    Classes taught: Introduction to Writing Poetry, Finders Keepers: The Art of Found Poetry, Poetry in the Morning, Young Writers Week, Young Writers Workshop.
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    Lewis McGehee

    Lewis McGehee, a Richmond VA native, graduated from the College of William and Mary with a B.A. in Philosophy. Later, while performing in New York's Greenwich Village, Lewis was "discovered" by Terry Cashman and Tommy West (Jim Croce's producers). Lewis' debut album on Lifesong Records was released worldwide.

    Voted "Best Musician" and a top acoustic act by various publications, including Port Folio Weekly, Hampton Roads Magazine, and 9Volt, he gained much experience touring with such artists as Ry Cooder, Neil Sedaka, and Al Stewart. On the strength of his live shows, McGehee went on to perform with many national acts such as John Prine, Robert Palmer, Talking Heads, Christopher Cross, and Christine McVie. Lewis also completed a 15-city tour as an opening act for Bruce Hornsby.

    McGehee has extensive experience in the recording studio as a session guitarist and vocalist, as well as composing, producing and performing on many regional radio and television commercials, and his aggressive approach to acoustic guitar has made him a prominent force in the Virginia music scene. He has composed more than 200 songs and has been teaching guitar and personal composition in the Hampton Roads area for more than 25 years.

    Classes taught: Songwriting.
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    Brad McMurran

    Brad McMurran is the founder, co-head writer, and performer in the sketch/improvisation group, The Pushers. He is a member of the board of directors of The Muse. He studied long form improvisation at the heralded Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City and studied history and acting at Old Dominion University. McMurran and The Pushers have performed all up and down the east coast, and have headlined numerous comedy festivals, most notably The Charleston Comedy Festival and The North Carolina Comedy Festival. He has acted in numerous plays, done stand up comedy, and will be starring in a one man show touring across America this winter. He likes pizza and describes himself as "adorable and pudgy."

    Classes taught: Improv Comedy 101, Improv Comedy 202, Improv Comedy 303, Improv Comedy Studio: Advanced Scene Work, Improv Comedy Studio: New Forms, Sketch Comedy Writing 101, Sketch Comedy Writing 202, Sketch Comedy Writing Studio, Young Writers Week, Improv Comedy Workshop for Teens, Improv & Sketch Comedy Workshop for Teens.
    Brad is teaching Improv and Sketch at The Push Comedy Theatre
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    Jim Morrison

    Jim Morrison has flown barrel rolls with the Navy's Blue Angels (he didn't barf), climbed and slept overnight in a 243-foot-tall redwood (he didn't fall), and gone one-on-one with Muhammad Ali (he didn't flinch). His award-winning stories have appeared in Smithsonian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Private Clubs, This Old House, National Wildlife, and numerous others. He has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has taught numerous seminars on journalism. He is the past president of The American Society of Journalists and Authors, a trade association of 1,300 freelance writers.

    Classes taught: Breaking Into Magazine Writing, The Nonfiction Workshop, Narrative Travel Writing, Business of Writing Seminar.
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    Lydia Netzer

    Lydia Netzer lives in Norfolk with her husband and two children. She received an MA in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago's Program for Writers. Her novel, Shine Shine Shine, was published by St. Martin's Press in 2012. It is a New York Times Notable Book for 2012, an Amazon Spotlight Book of the Month, and was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction.

    Classes taught: NaNoWriMo Workshop, Flash Fiction Seminar, Reading for Writers: Shine, Shine, Shine.
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    Andrea Nolan

    Andrea J. Nolan is the author of Sea Kayaking Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and Sea Kayaking Virginia. She has a MFA in fiction from Old Dominion University, and has fiction and essays published in journals such as Flyway, Dogwood, Alligator Juniperthe Potomac Review. Her essay, "Edges," was acknowledged as a "Notable Essay" in Best American Essays 2009 and is being reprinted in the Potomac Review's 50th anniversary issue, "Best of 50." She teaches at Old Dominion University.

    Classes taught: Field Trip for Writers: Kayaking Hoffler Creek, The Muse @ MOCA: My Life, one Story at a Time, Reading for Writers: The Short Story, Reading for Writers: The Novel, The Fiction Workshop, Writing the Wild.
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    Renée Olander

    Renée Ellen Olander was born on a military base in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has lived in Detroit, Michigan, Honolulu, Hawai'i, New York City, and southeastern Virginia. She earned a B.A. from Mary Baldwin College (1984), an M.A. from Old Dominion University (1987), and an M.F.A. from University of Southern Maine (2005). Olander is a widely published writer whose poems, essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared journals and anthologies including The Writer's Chroicle, Verse and Universe—Poems About Science and Mathemetics, The Chronicle of Higher Education Poetry Month Blog, The Virginian-Pilot, The Cafe Review, and many others. A Few Spells, a chapbook collection of her poems, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2010. Olander has taught poetry, writing, and the teaching of poetry in the Hampton Roads region and at Old Dominion University for more than twenty-five years.

    Classes taught: Poems of Witness: A Poetry Workshop.
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    Daniel Pearlman

    Daniel Pearlman Pravda was born in Norfolk and raised in Virginia Beach. He blossomed into an English major at the University of Maryland and did his M.F.A. in poetry at George Mason. His concentration in poetry has seeped into other genres such as fiction and music. His work, published in numerous journals, including The Washington Review, Phoebe, Grasslands Review, Poet's Domain, Beltway, and others, shows attention to small detail from natural to urban settings. He was interviewed on NPR's "With Good Reason" in June 2006 as part of their Virginia Poets series. He has taught English and Creative Writing at Norfolk State University since 1996.

    Classes taught: The Poetry Workshop, Craft of Poetry, Poetry Vice: A Workshop.
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    Susie Pedigo

    Susie Pedigo, a native Virginian, earned her BA in English with certification in English, social studies, art history, drama and French. She received her masters degree from the University of Virginia. She taught in public and private high schools in Tidewater and college classes on the bases. After thirty-five years she retired to pursue her creative interests. She writes poetry, fiction, memoir, and nonfiction. Painting in water colors and acrylics became her first new hobby. She has danced since she was four and continues to take classes, choreograph and perform with the Lakewood Tap Club. She also enjoys sewing, gardening, knitting, and decorating. Her latest field of study and practice is the development of creativity.

    Classes taught: Ignite Your Creativity.
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    Ken Phillips

    Creative Producer, Ken Phillips, has 25 years experience in the film and television industry as well as a successful track record in advertising, marketing, and promotions from New York to Los Angeles.

    A graduate of James Madison University with a degree in film, radio, and television, Ken worked in radio and TV for several years as a writer, producer, videographer, editor, and talent. In 1984, Ken co-founded the Comedy Zone, which grew to be one of the largest comedy club circuits in North America as well as a talent agency for colleges and corporations from coast to coast. Aside from marketing, branding, and selling the Comedy Zone franchise and booking talent, Ken also promoted major concerts with top stars including: Jerry Seinfeld, David Copperfield, Sam Kinison, Ron White, Ellen DeGeneras, Carrot Top, Rodney Carrington, Sinbad, Paul Reiser, Drew Carey, Brian Regan, Louie Anderson, Phyllis Diller, Pat Paulson, Gallagher, Rich Hall, Emo Phillips, and many more.

    Along with partner Brad Greenberg, Ken took charge of a promising young comedian with the unlikely name of Carrot Top. Under their guidance, Carrot Top went from club performer to national concert act in a very short time. Ken booked Carrot Top on every major comedy TV show in the country including NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno; ABC's Arsenio Hall Show, Regis and Kathy Lee, and America's Super Showcase; A&E's Evening at the Improv and Comedy on the Road; FOX's Comic Strip Live and Sunday Comics; Showtime's Jonathan Winter's Special and Comedy Club Network; and MTV's Half Hour Comedy Show. Ken was instrumental in a Simon & Schuster book deal entitled Junk in a Trunk and produced Carrot Top's first long-form video of his live show, Twist Ties and Duct Tape.

    Ken's film and television credits include: Co-Executive Producer for the Trimark Pictures Chairman of the Board; Producer for AM Mayham on the Cartoon Network, Co-Creator, Writer, Producer for So You Think You're Funny a TV pilot sold to Team Entertainment; In My House with Kevin Meaney a pilot sold to GRB Entertainment; and Banana Skins, pilot sold to TVD Productions; and Segment Producer for the Donnie and Marie Show.

    Classes taught: Standup Comedy 101, Standup Comedy Workshop, Standup Comedy Coaching.
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    Tench Phillips

    Tench Phillips is co-owner and ticket taker at the Naro Cinema.

    Classes taught: Beyond Theism and Atheism.
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    Sarah Pringle

    Sarah received her B.A. in English from Old Dominion University where she is a M.F.A. student and the coordinator of the Writers in Community project. She is also a poetry editor for Barely South Review and Green Briar Review. Sarah holds a TESOL/TESL/TEFL Teacher Certificate and taught English Literature as well as English as a Second Language at the high school level. Sarah is a citizen of the USA and Canada. Her goal in life is to travel as much as possible!

    Classes taught: Fiction Workshop for Teen Writers, Teen Writers Workshop.
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    Eric Ramseier

    Eric earned a Master's Degree in English Literature from Kansas State University and an MFA from Old Dominion University. He has had short stories published in Specter, Shaking Like a Mountain, Huron River Review, Stone's Throw Magazine and others.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, The Fiction Workshop.
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    Noah Renn

    Noah Renn received an MFA in Creative Writing from Old Dominion University in May 2011. His poetry has been published in several literary journals, including Cezanne's Carrot, North Central Review, New Verse News, Blue Collar Review, The Quotable, and Undressed. He is currently teaches composition and literature at ODU and TCC.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Writing Poetry, The Poetry Workshop, Poetic Coding: Writing Our Identities and Our Poetic D.N.A., Poetry Workshop for Teen Writers.
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    Sheri Reynolds

    Sheri Reynolds is the author of the novels Bitterroot Landing, The Rapture of Canaan, A Gracious Plenty, Firefly Cloak, The Sweet In-Between, and The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb, and the play Orabelle's Wheelbarrow. She teaches creative writing and literature at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where she serves as the Ruth and Perry Morgan Chair of Southern Literature. In 2003, she won the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia. In 2005, she received a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts in playwriting. She has also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, The College of William and Mary, and Davidson College. Sheri lives on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

    Classes taught: Reading for Writers: The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb.
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    Charles Rhodes

    After four years in the Air Force, Charles chose to go to college. Although he loved literature, it was the early '80s and a bleak outlook for liberal arts majors, so he chose science. Fast forward 22 years and a lay-off... His partner encouraged him to pursue writing and The Muse... and now he's a poet. He grew up in California, landed in Virginia, fell in love and stayed. he has one published piece, a humorous essay in Orchids Magazine. He's trying for more... He is an intern at The Muse Writers Center.

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    Suzanne Rhodes

    Suzanne Underwood Rhodes is the author of five books of poetry and creative prose, her most recent being a chapbook, Hungry Foxes (Aldrich Press). She has recent poems in Edgar Allan Poe Review, Spiritus, Aethlon, Anglican Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. She is an adjunct instructor of writing at Tidewater Community College and has taught creative writing for many years to students of all ages. She earned an MA degree from Johns Hopkins University in the Writing Seminars and a BS degree from James Madison University. She was a resident fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and is an associate editor for the Sow's Ear Poetry Review.

    Classes taught: Clarity through the Mask: Writing the Persona Poem, To See the World in a Grain of Sand: An Exploration of Nature Poetry.
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    Mira Roberts

    Mira studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in Media and Marketing with PARADE, Portfolio, AltDaily and skirt!. A new mother, an avid journal writer, and closet poet, Mira starts each morning with her journal and her yoga mat. This has made all the difference. She writes a daily blog:

    Classes taught: Journaling for Creative & Personal Growth.
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    Tom Robotham

    For 10 years, Tom Robotham was the editor-in-chief of Port Folio Weekly—he now works as a freelance writer and serves as an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University. His weekly column, "Editor's Notebook," (available on his website: frequently explores spiritual themes. Before moving to Hampton Roads, Tom worked as a freelance writer, book packager and video producer. During this period, he wrote several books on American history and culture and produced a companion volume to the A&E television series Charlton Heston presents the Bible. He holds a B.A. in English from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh and an M.A. in American Studies from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is currently at work on a book about Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    Classes taught: The Riches of Everyday Life: A Memoir Workshop, Spiritual Writing, The Art of the Essay, American Essays: Writing in Response to Norman Rockwell, Literary Nonfiction Workshop, The Language of Love, Nature Writing, Journalism for Teens.
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    Steve Rosenthal

    Steve Rosenthal, Ph.D., is a retired sociologist who taught for three decades at Hampton University, having taught courses in sociological theory that emphasized the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, and has engaged in research, writing, and social activism on issues relating to racism and war.

    Classes taught: Beyond Theism and Atheism, W. E. B. Du Bois a Half Century after his Death: The Enduring Relevance of his Struggle for Equality and Peace.
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    Christine Rucker

    Christine Rucker is a VirginiaBeach native. She studied painting and art history at Pratt Institute. After graduating she began working at an art store selling fine art papers. This experience was a catalyst for her bookmaking, publishing, and printmaking endeavors. All of which are exhibited at

    Classes taught: The Hand-bound Book Workshop.
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    Tony Ruggiero

    Tony Ruggiero is best known for his dark fantasy thrillers about vampires being used by the US military. Ground breaking and fast paced, the novels are a characteristic mixture of the vampire lore of Anne Rice and the clandestine secrets of the military found in Tom Clancy novels. The concept led to a series of books released in 2006 through 2010, labeled the Team of Darkness Declassified Files. The books include: Operation Immortal Servitude, Operation Save the Innocent, Operation Face the Fear, and Operation Endgame.

    A longtime favorite for Tony is the old style of "space opera" (character rather than technology oriented) type stories which is the center of his two book series: Alien Deception and Alien Revelation. The series deals with an alien organization that has infiltrated the American political system. The series runs the gauntlet from humorous and light hearted to deadly serious as a young man and woman search for answers.

    Short stories are also a big favorite and in Aliens and Satanic Creatures Wanted: Humans Need Not Apply, Tony has a collection where the center character is not human. It includes his award winning story, "Lucky Lucifer's Car Emporium," as well as "Electronic Bliss," "Invasion or Subversion," and "Going up?"

    Tony retired from the United States Navy in 2001 after twenty-three years of service. He and his family currently reside in Portsmouth, Virginia. While continuing to write, Tony teaches at Old Dominion University, Saint Leo University, Tidewater Community College, and The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA

    Classes taught: Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror.
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    Tim Sanderson

    Tim Sanderson is a graduate of Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1980 and of the Psychiatric Residency at EVMS in 1984. He has been in private practice since 1984. He received certification as a Jungian Analyst from the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts in 1991. He has been teaching in the EVMS Graduate Art Therapy program since 1990, and was certified as an Art Therapist in 1994. Tim has been studying Jung for over 48 years now, and he recently served four years as President of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, which is the largest group of Jungian Analysts in the United States.

    Classes taught: Psychologists, Psychology, and Psychotherapy: Research for Writers
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    Rich Santoro

    Rich Santoro is an award-winning journalist and video producer. Most recently, he worked as a scriptwriter and producer for the Christian Broadcasting Network while completing a fiction novel. His independent documentary, After the Cloud Lifted, aired on PBS stations across the country and won a first place award at the Chicago International Film Festival. While living in Hiroshima, Japan, he had a short story published in Japanophile magazine. His diverse communications background includes teaching public speaking at Tidewater Community College, newspaper reporting, direct marketing, industrial training and technical writing, and teaching ESL. He received his Masters degree in Communication at Regent University.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, The Fiction Workshop.
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    Jesse Scaccia

    Jesse Scaccia is the editor of Hampton Road's alternative news and culture web magazine, His journalism has been published in various periodicals, including The New York Times, The Virginian-Pilot, and The San Diego Union-Tribune. He also developed, pitched, and produced a documentary series for B.E.T. Here in Norfolk Jesse is on the Public Arts Commission. He has been a part of numerous public art, activism, and community betterment projects in the City.

    Classes taught: Writing About Local Culture, Writing Your Personal Narrative, Journalism 101, Blogging 101, Building an Online Presence 101, Finding Your Audience.
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    Tim Seibles

    Tim Seibles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1955. In 2012 he was nominated for a National Book Award for his most recent collection, Fast Animal. He is the author of several other books of poems including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, and Buffalo Head Solos. He is a former National Endowment for the Arts fellow and has been a writing fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts. Seibles also received an Open Voice Award from the 63rd Street Y in New York City. His work has been featured in anthologies such as Best American Poetry: 2010; Manthology; Rainbow Darkness; Evensong; The Autumn House Anthology; and, Under the Rock Umbrella. He has been a workshop leader for Cave Canem and for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. Tim is visiting faculty for the University of Southern Maine's low-residential Stonecoast MFA Program. His home is in Norfolk, Virginia where, as an associate professor of English, he teaches in Old Dominion University's English Department and MFA in writing program and is a member of the board of directors of The Muse.

    Classes taught: The Shorter Poem: Sure as a Karate Chop, The Persona Poem: A Poetry Workshop, Weekend Intensive Poetry Workshop: Remembering to Remember.
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    Melissa Sipin

    Melissa R. Sipin is a writer from Carson, California. In 2013, she won First Place in the March Glimmer Train Fiction Open and Honorable Mention in the September Glimmer Train Fiction Open. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Glimmer Train Stories, PANK Magazine, Fjords Review, Quiet Lightning's sPARKLE+bLINK, Hyphen Magazine, 580 Split, Lantern Review, and Kweli Journal, among others. Cofounder of TAYO Literary Magazine, she was the Community Engagement Fellow at Mills College and the Tennessee Williams Scholar at the 2013 Sewanee Writers' Conference. Her short fiction received the 2014 Amanda Davis MFA Thesis Award (Runner-Up), the 2013 Ardella Mills Prize, the 2011 Miguel G. Flores Prize, and, in 2012 and 2013, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. As a Kundiman Fiction Fellow, VONA/Voices Fellow, and U.S. Navy wife, she teaches at ODU and Tidewater Community College. She blogs at and is currently working on a novel.

    Classes taught: The Middle: Writing the Heart of Your Story
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    Jack Sommers

    Jack Sommers teaches at the TCC-Norfolk campus: world history, social ethics, western philosophy, world history, critical thinking, and survey courses in the humanities. He especially enjoys teaching 20th century arts, culture, and politics. He has master’s degrees in humanities, European history, and did his Ph.D. on the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. While he did a bit of acting at The Little Theatre of Norfolk, the classroom is his stage where he instructs and entertains his students.

    Classes taught: The Fabulous Fifties.
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    Dana Staves

    Dana Staves is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University, where she studied fiction. She now teaches writing at Old Dominion University and The Muse Writers Center. She writes a weekly food column called "How I Spent My CSAcation" for AltDaily, where she also serves as a food editor. Her work has appeared in The Virginian-Pilot, Fiction Writers' Review, and her first short story publication is forthcoming in Shaking Like a Mountain.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, Flash Fiction Workshop, Whisks and Words: Food Writing 101.
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    Melissa M. Stewart

    Melissa M. Stewart has served as editor-in-chief of Hampton Roads Magazine for more than five years and Virginia Wine Lover magazine for the past two years. She also helps develop and update ancillary publications such as HRM Bride, the HRM Beauty Book and HRM PrimeTime. After earning degrees in magazine journalism and English and textual studies from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Communications, she worked as a reporter, lifestyle editor and magazine/special sections editor for a New Jersey newspaper group and also a freelance writer before moving to Hampton Roads in 2005. She quickly learned to embrace her new Southern surroundings and is now proud to be a Virginian (Jersey does get a bad rap, after all). When she's not on deadline in her Virginia Beach office, she likes to spend time wine tasting (research!), tending to her community garden plot, trying to re-create haute cuisine at home with her husband, and fixing up her house in Norfolk's Colonial Place.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Magazine Writing.
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    Lisa Suhay

    Lisa Suhay is the author of eight books for children, including fables, picture books and a work that has become an internationally performed symphony (ala Peter and the Wolf). She is the author and publisher of the Norfolk mermaid book series as well as a veteran journalist whose commentaries appear regularly in The Virginian-Pilot and Christian Science Monitor.

    Classes taught: Writing Children's Literature.
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    Michael Tarpey

    Michael Tarpey is an instructor of philosophy at the Norfolk and Chesapeake campuses of Tidewater Community College. He regularly teaches introductory courses in general philosophy, logic, ethics, and religion, and his main academic interests include metaphysics, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of culture.

    Classes taught: Beyond Theism and Atheism.
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    Grace Tazewell

    Grace Tazewell lives in the Ghent area of Norfolk. She sometimes writes poetry, and writes a blog for Grace works as a conflict mediator in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Norfolk, and occasionally teaches a Dreams and Meditation class at the Cayce Reilly Massage School. When she's not working, she travels to the Arctic Circle in winter to indulge her love of beautiful scenery and cold, cold weather. But mostly she just likes getting together with intelligent and creative people and sharing ideas and the beauty of writing, which is what she did as one of the former hosts of the Muse's First Friday Poetry Salon, which is now part of The Muse Jam.

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    Leah Thiessen

    Leah Thiessen, an intern at The Muse Writers Center, graduated from University of Iowa where she completed the Undergraduate Creative Writing Track in addition a Bachelors of Arts in English in 2013. She studied abroad in Durban, South Africa at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in the spring of 2011. She was the nonfiction editor of Closed Captioned Magazine, winner of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Annual Journalism contest, and a volunteer for two years with Iowa Youth Writing Project, a non-profit outreach collective, founded by University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates in 2010, that aims to join Iowa City’s unique literary heritage with Iowa’s larger community, empowering, inspiring, and educating Iowa’s youth through language arts and creative thinking. In 2013, she became the Geographical Outreach Summer Intern.

    Classes taught: Young Writers Week.
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    Rachel Thompson

    Rachel Thompson is a traveler, educator, and writer who works in fiction and translation. After living in Spain for nearly four years, Rachel graduated summa cum laude from Saint Louis University in Madrid, and has spent the last ten years teaching Spanish in an International Baccalaureate high school and exploring the planet in her free time. Rachel holds an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is an educational travel consultant for Walking Tree Travel. She recently completed her first collection of short stories and is working on several translation projects.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing.
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    Dillon Tripp

    Dillon Tripp is a graduate of the MFA (creative nonfiction) program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where he attended as the Perry Morgan Fellow. Tripp is originally from Northeast Texas, on the Arkansas line, and his work attempts to show the world the Blue-Collar pride of growing up in the backwoods of the South. He has been published in journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Rectangle, Dew on the Kudzu, and was Runner-Up for Gulf Stream Magazine's 2011 Literary Nonfiction Award.

    Classes taught: The Memoir Workshop.
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    Mae Lynn Walker

    Mae Lynn earned her MFA from ODU with a concentration in poetry studying with The Muse's own Tim Seibles. In 2002 she was awarded Honorable Mention in the Non-rhyming Poem category by Writer's Digest Magazine in a contest hosted by Robert Pinsky that received over 19,000 entries. More recently, she was awarded first place in The Barbara Dunn Hartin Memorial Poetry Prize and first place in The Hampton Roads Writers Nonfiction Prize. Mae Lynn has taught Literature and Women's Studies at Tidewater Community College. Currently, she works full time and is raising two young boys. She still finds time to blog, write poetry and fiction, and work on a YA novel—the first chapter received the Edith Thompson Award for Juvenile Fiction. The manuscript is now with an agent.

    Classes taught: Young Adult Fiction Workshop, Open Studio.
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    Follow Mae Lynn on Twitter @ml_walker, where she tweets her daily word count.
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    Kip Watson

    Kip Watson is a Tidewater native who picked up his first movie camera at age 15. In 1984, he attended VCU in Richmond where he earned a B.A. in filmmaking and film history. His senior project was a music video airing on MTV's 120 minutes. Kip worked on many feature films shot regionally and was involved in local television. He studied feature screenwriting at Regent University in the early 90's. From 1999 to 2003, Kip worked in Los Angeles as a script reader for independent producers and as a creative executive. He has written 5 scripts and was a finalist in Paramount Studios' prestigious Chesterfield Screenwriting competition. While in Los Angeles he studied with industry guru Michael Hauge and read hundreds of screenplays for consideration. IFC West (now Film Independent) hired him to cover scripts for their screenwriting and directing labs. Since returning to Norfolk, Kip has produced, shot and appeared in many commercials and infomercials. Currently he freelances as a script doctor and story developer. Kip also recently became licensed by the Darden School of Education to teach elementary school, and hopes to teach the next generation the value of storytelling.

    Classes taught: Screenwriting 101, Screenwriting Workshop, Screenwriting Consultation, Screenwriting One-on-One
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    Heather Weddington

    Heather Weddington is a graduate of ODU's MFA program in creative nonfiction. While at ODU, she served as both Poetry Editor and Nonfiction Editor for Barely South Review, as well as a staff editor for the twitter-based journal Escarp. She currently teaches science writing and science fiction literature as an adjunct professor at ODU.

    Classes taught: My Life, One Story at a Time, The Lyric Essay.
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    Mary Westbrook

    Mary Westbrook earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Old Dominion University in May 2010. She was a contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in the summer of 2009 and served as the director of Old Dominion University's Writers in Community program from 2009 to 2010. She is working on a collection of short stories.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, The Fiction Workshop, The Muse @ MOCA, Young Writers Week.
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    Roberto Westbrook

    Before settling in Norfolk with his wife, Roberto Westbrook worked as a photographer in Washington DC and then Buenos Aires, Argentina. His photographs of South America have been exhibited at the American Embassy in Lima, Peru and at the University of Florida. Roberto has been published in National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, Time, The New York Times and others.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Photography: Learning to See, Intermediate Photography: Staying Motivated, The Photography Studio.
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    Valerie Wilkinson

    Valerie Wilkinson earned her MFA in fiction from ODU in May 2013. She has published short fiction in Water~Stone Review and in Yemassee Journal as a runner-up in the 2012 William Richey Short Fiction Contest. In nonfiction, she co-authored Whispers from Our Soul, a book of creative nonfiction, and served as a quarterly essay contributor to She’s currently revising a collection of short stories set in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Her teaching experience includes multiple craft seminars offered by Hampton Roads Writers and student teaching Advanced Craft of Fiction with Sheri Reynolds and ODU.

    Classes taught: Introduction to Fiction Writing, Begin with Style, Creating Successful Endings, Exploring the Scene/Summary Balance.
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    Leona Wisoker

    Leona Wisoker's work is fueled by coffee and conviction, and has appeared in such diverse outlets as Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Futures: Fire to Fly,, and more. Her debut novel, Secrets of the Sands, and its followup, Guardians of the Desert, both set in a wholly fictional world, have gathered critical praise for the strong characters, compelling prose, and intricate worldbuilding.

    Classes taught: World Building Seminar, World Building Seminar 2.
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    Blog: The Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose.
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    Alba Woolard

    Alba Woolard has been a performer and writer of the sketch and improv comedy group The Pushers since the summer of 2009. As a member of the group, she also performs, writes, co-produces and co-directs for "Panties in a Twist: The All Female Sketch Comedy Show." She graduated with a BFA in Acting from Old Dominion University. She has studied Improv with the Pushers as well as several regional improvisers. With the Pushers, she has performed up and down the east coast. By day, Alba is a Standardized Patient Educator at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

    Classes taught: Using Environment to Bring Improv Scenes to Life, Improv Comedy 202.
    Alba is teaching Improv and Sketch at The Push Comedy Theatre
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    Kristina Wright

    Kristina Wright holds a B.A. in English from Charleston Southern University and a M.A. in Humanities from Old Dominion University. She is the editor of several erotica anthologies for Cleis Press, including Fairy Tale Lust, Dream Lover, Steamlust, Lustfully Ever After, and the Best Erotic Romance series. Her fiction has appeared in over 100 anthologies and she is the author of the forthcoming erotic romance Seduce Me Tonight for HarperCollins Mischief. She has taught College Composition and World Mythology at Tidewater Community College.

    Classes taught: Writing Erotica, Behind Closed Doors: Writing the Love Scene.
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    Donna Wynn

    Donna Wynn lives with a purpose to be creative each and every day. She is a Virginia State Licensed Optician/Optical Manager here in the Tidewater area, Co-Facilitator and teacher of The Artful Spirit Retreats. A current member of the Poetry Society of Virginia, Donna serves as their Communication Liaison, lending a hand with membership. She loves helping Senior Adults each and every week at the First Colonial Inn Creative Writing Group. Donna is a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher here in the Tidewater area. When she is not working her "day job" she writes her poetry, works on her own blog at, knits socks and plays with her watercolors in her art studio. She loves photography and always has a camera nearby. Donna is passionate about the Zentangle art form and leading others to this magical and meditative drawing process. Teaching others to create beautiful works... "just one stroke at a time" (tm). Donna strongly believes Zentangle and Writing go hand in hand in the creative process.

    Classes taught: A Zentangle Workshop, Advanced Zentangle Workshop.
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    Skye Zentz

    Skye Zentz is a singer-songwriter with thick folk music roots. She grew up in Norfolk, playing in the practice rooms of her father's music store and listening to Mariah Carey on the radio. Skye began writing songs by ear on her grandmother's piano, and later picked up the guitar and ukulele. Her debut album, Legitimate Bohemia, was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2008 Portfolio Music Awards. Since then, Skye has taught ukulele and songwriting workshops, performed at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California, and married a tall, sweet man who bakes her banana bread. Skye is currently recording her sophomore studio album in Norfolk, and plans to release it in June.

    Classes taught: Songwriting, Ukulele for Beginners, Songcraft for Teens.
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