Get to know the DIY MFA team and all the awesome people who help create the resources on this site. Also, if you’re interested in writing a guest article for us, check out our Guest Article Submission Guidelines. Many of our columnists and core team members started out writing guest posts for us.
Founder | Team | Coaches | Columnists
Gabriela Pereira, Instigator and Founder
Instigator and creative mastermind behind DIY MFA, Gabriela spearheads all content creation both online and off and is the author of DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community. She tours the country, speaking at writing conferences and college campuses, and has appeared on various radio shows. Check her speaking page for upcoming speaking engagements and to learn more about Gabriela as a speaker.
Email: Gabriela [at] DIYMFA [dot] com
Phone: (646) 820-8149
Lori Walker, Operations Maven
Lori Walker is the Operations Maven at DIY MFA. Though she’s fallen off the wagon as a writer, she’s hoping to return to writing essays (perhaps even a novel!) through her involvement with DIY MFA. Lori is the writer behind the Book Nook column. She also teaches yoga part-time in Smalltown, Oklahoma, where she lives with her husband and their cat, Joan Didion.
Email: Lori [at] DIYMFA [dot] com
AK Nevermore, Coordinator of Curriculum and Champion of Chaos
AK Nevermore is DIY MFA’s Curriculum Coordinator and resident agent of chaos. After an unsatisfying stint of nailing Jell-O to trees and herding cats for a corporate schtick, she now writes science fiction and urban fantasy with spice.
On the side, she enjoys operating heavy machinery, freebases coffee, and gives up sarcasm for Lent every year. Unable to ignore the voices in her head, and unwilling to become medicated, she delights in creating dark worlds, perversely irreverent and profound, and always entertaining.
You can read all about her and Mr. Nevermore hanging out on the East Coast with their kids, a cat, and far too many chickens on her website.
Email: Alysen [at] DIYMFA [dot] com
Alexis Collazo, Scribe Support Sage
Alexis is the Scribe Support Sage at DIY MFA, welcoming members to the community, helping with tech issues, and answering all the burning questions.
Fueled by past work as a bookseller and library clerk, her reading habit is all-consuming. She has a wide range of eclectic interest—horror, art, music, gardening, bookmaking, comics, and more—often reflected in her writing and other creative projects. In addition to working with DIY MFA, she hosts write-ins and facilitates writing workshops online.
To check out her writing, recommended reading lists, and more visit her website.
Email: Alexis [at] DIYMFA [dot] com
Christa Vande Vegte, Course and Curriculum Logistics Elf (Keeper of The Precious)
Christa Vande Vegte is the DIY MFA Course and Curriculum Logistics Elf (Keeper of The Precious). She makes sure all content is where it needs to be. She loves spending time with her family in both Iowa and Florida. In addition, she enjoys world-building, inventing new fantastical lands/realms, and unique characters for her Middle-Grade Fantasy Fiction writing. For more info, visit her website.
Email: Christa [at] DIYMFA [dot] com
Daria has lived in Texas for most of her life. She never enjoyed reading as a kid. In fact, she almost hated it. However, as she grew up, that all changed. Though she received her degree in healthcare management, Daria kept her writing as a hobby. She meant it to be private and her own way of expressing herself. It never crossed her mind to publish until she was in college. So, she took a chance and self-published in 2013. It worked! Starting off as a sweet romance writer first, Daria branched out in 2020 with books in cozy mystery and Christian fiction. She’s expanded her author business and now helps new authors discover their author identity and unique writing rhythm using timesaving techniques.
Jenn is a writer, editor, storyteller and freelancer based in Washington, D.C., whose fiction works are housed mainly in the speculative genre, and whose freelance projects span multiple genres and industries. She has completed and begun editing her first novel project that explores, through the lens of a failing utopia, what happens when society gives in to its fear of “the other.” For more info, visit her website.
Adam W. Burgess, LGBTQ Lit & Craft
Adam W. Burgess is Professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. He holds a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University, with emphases in LGBT Studies and American Literature. His first book, From a Whisper to a Riot: The Gay Writers Who Crafted an American Literary Tradition, was published in 2019. Adam’s shorter works can be found in Towers Magazine, Variant Literature, America’s Emerging Writers, and Watermark Journal. When he is not spending time with his husband or getting lost on the mountains and trails of southern Nevada, Adam loves to explore all things related to the art and craft of reading and writing. You can connect with him on his website.
Abigail K. Perry, First Chapter Analysis
Abigail K. Perry is the host of the podcast Lit Match and a certified developmental editor who specializes in Upmarket / Commercial fiction, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, MG / YA fiction, and YA fantasy. Abigail holds a B.S. in TV, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University and a Masters in Secondary Education from Endicott College. Abigail worked as an editorial intern and the Agency Relations Assistant for P.S. Literary Agency, is fluent in book and movie quotes, and loves a long walk with good company, which includes audiobooks and two- and four-legged loved ones and buddies. You can find her on her podcast.
A.H. Plotts, Short Form Fiction Fun
A.H. Plotts writes and watches horror and dark sci-fi stories. She also likes playing in her garden, catching the waves, and eating delicious food on the California coast. Find her rantings on her website.
Ambre Dawn Leffler, Mind/Body Wellness for Writers
Ambre Dawn Leffler is a Tai Chi instructor, gardener, and weather geek who writes about vegetables, seasons, communing with nature, and the interconnections of mind/body. She loves trees and cherishes time in their presence. Learn more about her tree time, garden residents, and wellness practices on her website.
Sign up to get seasonal inspiration from her newsletter here.
Amy Christine Parker, Crafting Chills and Thrills
Amy Christine Parker is the critically acclaimed author of the thrillers Gated, Astray, Smash & Grab, and Flight 171. Find more info on her website.
Angela McAffee-Yeh, Poetry
Angela Yeh is an East Coast Canadian native who grew up a stone’s throw from Stephen King’s Maine. She now lives in Texas and sees Chuck Norris on the always. Angela is a short tall-story-teller who loves to garden, write about magic, and eat cake. If you’d like to check out her first published novel, A Phoenix Rises, she will send you cookies. She lives with her husband, two human children, and three fur babies. You can follow her antics on her website.
Ashley Christiano, Putting the Magic in Writing
Ashley Christiano is a fantasy writer, experienced tarot reader, and professional astrologer based in Los Angeles. As The Novel Mystic, she combines the power of astrology, tarot, and creative writing to empower women, educate the astro-curious, and inspire her own storytelling. You can find her on her website to learn more or get your own reading.
A Discovery of Writers
We are four DIY MFA Small-Group Book Coaching graduates who were partnered in the program in 2020, stayed together after our terms ended, and have turned into a tight, very effective writing support group. We love how we work together and would like to explore/share our experience with the Word Nerd community.
Casey Cooper, Speculative Matters
Casey Cooper is the son of two teachers, the grandson of a university professor on one side, and a jazz drummer on the other. Somehow, he escaped teaching, but not music. After retiring from his day job, just in time for COVID, he devoted his first year of ‘freedom’ to self-recording a musical concept album. In his second year, he turned to writing.
An avid reader, he averages a book a week. The usual fare is Fantasy or Sci-Fi. Sometimes Action/Adventure. He has been seen reading all kinds of things, from fairytales to super-string theory.
He holds guest citizenship in The Forgotten Realms, Oz, Pellucidar, and on the Discworld. He lives alone with his two trusty cats. Liv, a lavender tortoiseshell, and Riley, an orange tiger.
Colice Sanders, The Messy Middle
Colice Sanders is a blogger and diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitator. Colice writes nonfiction, poetry, and memoir. Her blog, A Reason to Rise, chronicles her journey of radical self-acceptance through the lens of childhood trauma.
Constance Emmett, Catching Up
Constance Emmett was born in Brooklyn, New York where her mother’s family landed after leaving Belfast, Northern Ireland. Constance’s debut novel, Heroine of Her Own Life (2019) and sequel, Everything Will Be All Right (2022), books 1 and 2 in the Finding Their Way Home series, were published by Next Chapter. A Massachusetts Hilltown dweller, she is writing book 3 in the series and a novel set in 18th c. New York. For more info check out her website.
Disha Walia, Worldly Wise
Disha Walia is a lifelong storyteller and an enthusiastic writer and editor in love with the idea of exploring the creative world of words. While making her space in the world of non-fiction and fiction alike, Disha loves to spend even her free time daydreaming about what next to write. Connect with her on her website.
Dominique Richardson, YA
Dominique Richardson is the coauthor of The Everbeach Series—a young adult, romantic suspense series full of forbidden romance, deadly twists, and scandalous secrets that will keep you turning pages into the night. The first book in the series, Red as Blood, comes out February 28, 2023.
Sign-up for her email list if you’d like to stay in the know about her upcoming book releases. To learn more about the YA by the Bay Young Adult Book Festival, check out the website.
Jeanette Smith, Editor’s Corner
Jeanette is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She proudly represents her profession in the Editor’s Corner column for DIY MFA. Jeanette has worked with authors, speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs—empowering them with the right mindset, knowledge, and tools to help them reach their writing goals. In her spare time, you can find her teaching a scuba diving class or posting videos of her cats on TikTok. You can learn more about Jeanette by visiting her website (
Jeanette is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She proudly represents her profession in the Editor’s Corner column for DIY MFA. Jeanette has worked with authors, speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs—empowering them with the right mindset, knowledge, and tools to help them reach their writing goals. In her spare time, you can find her teaching a scuba diving class or posting videos of her cats on TikTok. You can learn more about Jeanette by visiting her website.
LinkedIn: Jeanette Smith
JJ Graham, Introverted Writers Unite
JJ Graham writes spooky romance. Strong character representation of everyone, including queer and neurodivergent characters are important to him because everybody deserves to see themselves in romance stories. Check out his website for more info.
Kamm Prongay, Essay: Every writer’s afternoon tea
Kamm Prongay is a writer and veterinarian whose essays intertwine science, nature, people, and place. A child of the South, raised in the Pacific Northwest, Kamm spent time at sea as a Naval Surface Warfare Officer before coming ashore to pursue veterinary school, clinical practice, teaching and research. Kamm lives with her wife, Liz, and two curious cats in Portland, Oregon. You can read more on her website.
Karen Whitehurst, Columnist
A former college professor, Karen Whitehurst holds a Ph.D. in British history from the University of Virginia. She currently resides in Maryland with one long-suffering husband, three naughty cats, and over one hundred houseplants. A writer of both historical mystery and SF & F, she is currently at work on a mystery set in 18th century England during the Gordon Riots.
For more information, visit her website.
Manuela Williams, Poetry Craft
Manuela Williams is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor. She is the author of Ghost In Girl Costume, which won the 2017 Hard To Swallow Chapbook Contest. Her second poetry chapbook, Witch, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. When she’s not writing, Manuela is busy drinking coffee and spending time with her blind Pomeranian, Redford.
Marina Barakatt, Not Just Dudes in Tights
Marina is a West Coast native living in Washington, DC. She loves writing anything, from sci-fi to creative non-fiction to romance, often drawing inspiration from the frequent travel required by her day job. Her work has appeared in such literary magazines as DistrictLit and Corner Bar Magazine. When she’s not writing, you can find her hosting bar trivia, baking something involving peaches, or bothering her extremely patient dog, Daisy. You can read more of her work on her website.
Melissa Haas, Leisure Learning
Melissa Haas is the author and illustrator of Catula: The Misadventures of Dracula’s Cat and The Night Before Christmas (NOW WITH CATS), among others. If you’re interested in downloading free coloring pages or seeing Margaret Atwood with a blowtorch, check out more Leisure Learning related content on her website.
Rachel Teferet, Marketing Tips and Tricks for Writers
Rachel Teferet is a marketing copywriter and content manager, novelist, and poet. Their work has been published by Subprimal Poetry Art, Zoetic Press’ NonBinary Review, and more. For more info, check out their website.
Richelle Lyn, Writers, Choose Your Own Adventure
Richelle Lyn is a book coach and writer. Her favorite fiction reads involve leading ladies who push boundaries and conquer their fears while preferably digging for secrets, learning magic, and/or saving the World. She’s also a fan of non-fiction reads focused on personal growth and transformation. She loves her tea hot and her coffee iced. She calls South Florida home, but her favorite place to be is on a trip. You can check her out on her website.
Sara Farmer, Cozy to Cold-Blooded
Sara Farmer lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, three kids, and two cats. When she’s not chasing kids and cats, she reads and writes mysteries. You can find her on her website.
Tammy Lough, Let’s Fall in Love
Tammy Lough creates cozy women’s fiction sprinkled with humor, romance, and moxie aplenty. Her romantic comedy, Lacey’s Lessons of Love, is a 2022 national and international best-seller & the first book of the For the Love of Lacey series. Available Spring 2023: Lacey’s Circle of Love & Fall 2023: Lacey’s Legacy of Love.
She is an active member of the Missouri Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Southwest Writers, Saturday Writers, and Women Writing the West. You can connect with Tammy on her website.
Facebook: Tammy Lough, Author