Meet Team Awesome!

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       |       Columnists       |       Contributors at Large

The Team

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
Twitter: @DIYMFA

Lori Walker, Operations Maven

Lori Walker

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

Jeanette Smith, Curriculum Unicorn

Jeanette is a freelance writer, editor, and coach who joined the team in 2018. Today, she is the Curriculum Director, Editor’s Corner columnist, and lead Book Coach 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 goals. In her spare time, you can find her teaching a scuba diving class or posting pictures of her cats on Instagram. You can learn more about Jeanette by visiting

Email: jeanette [at] DIYMFA [dot] com

Angela McAffee-Yeh, Community Welcome Dragon

Angela Yeh

Angela is a freelance writer and coach who wants to motivate and encourage beginner writers to put their thoughts to paper (or computer!) When we all listen to the voice that tells us to create, we are better humans no matter how many people those words reach.

She is a staunch advocate for writers and literacy/learning and also teaches a love of creative gardening to pre-k kids in her physical community. She is also our “Poetry Rocks!” Columnist.

She lives with her husband, two lovely human children, and two cranky fur babies near Houston, Texas. You can follow her blog at

Email: angela [at] DIYMFA [dot] com

Amy Ayres, Web Editor & Tech Fairy

Amy Ayres is the Web Editor & Tech Fairy at DIYMFA. When she is not in her office writing her column “What’s So Funny?” or about terraformed planets, multiple personalities, and Irish folklore, she is hanging with her awesome tech-savvy hubby, stepson, and RubyCat. Visit You can sign up for her Newsletter where she sends out motivational tips for new writers and her special brand of humor. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.  

Email: amy [at] DIYMFA [dot] com


Laura Highcove, Writer’s Intuition

Laura Highcove has a degree in computer science, which is obviously why she is a fantasy writer. She is influenced by anime, video games, table-top gaming, programming, horses, and Norse mythology in no particular order. She currently lives in beautiful Blacksburg, Virginia with her computer, two cats, and husband. Her psychic abilities have not yet developed, but she remains hopeful. If you’d like to learn more about her, head over to her website and sign up for her newsletter (and get a free short story) here.

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 at and on Twitter @avonlea79.

Amanda Polick, Food Writing

Amanda Polick Nostalgia

Amanda Polick is a writer and book coach for food and entertainment professionals based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has been featured by Cooking Light, Food & Wine and Time, and she’s currently working on her first novel. To connect with Amanda or to get weekly writing and life inspiration, you can find her at

Lauren J. Sharkey

LAUREN J. SHARKEY is a writer, teacher, and transracial adoptee. Inconvenient Daughter is her debut novel, and loosely based on her experience as a Korean adoptee. You can follow her at, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @theljsharks.

Bronwen Fleetwood, Oh, the Kidlit You’ll Write!

Bronwen Fleetwood writes fiction for young adults, and nonfiction for writers. Bronwen studied creative writing at Eugene Lang, The New School for Liberal Arts, has acted as leader of the Princeton Writing Group, and as a Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month. Bronwen currently lives on the Whale Coast of South Africa, between the mountains, the sea, and a lake. You can connect with her at

Twitter: @bronniesway

Tammy Lough, Let’s Fall in Love

Tammy Lough is an award-winning author who loves writing romance and creating unique characters who burst with personality and frequent sprinklings of humor. She is an active member of the Missouri Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the Missouri Writers Guild. You can connect with Tammy on her website

Twitter: @TammyLoughAuthr

Melanie Marttila, Speculations

Melanie is an instructional designer by day, SF&F author-in-progress and ink alchemist by night. She is the third generation of Marttilas to live in her little house on the street that bears her family name.


Adam W. Burgess, LGBTQ Lit & Craft

Adam W. Burgess is an English Professor at College of Southern Nevada. He has a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University and is pursuing a post-doc writing certificate at the University of California, Berkeley. He loves engaging in all topics related to LGBTQ literature and craft.

Twitter:  @ComposingAdam

Pamela Taylor, Past Perfect

An award-winning author of historical fiction and a freelance editor, Pamela Taylor loves helping others polish their stories almost as much as she enjoys writing her own. She’s a member of the DFW Writers Workshop and the Editorial Freelancers Association and is in her fourth year on the judges panel for the Ink & Insights Writing Contest. She shares her home with two Welsh Corgis who frequently reminder her that a dog walk is a great way to get inspiration for that next chapter.

Twitter: @PJTAuthor

Emily Wenstrom, Pixels to Platform

By day, E. J. Wenstrom is a content marketing and public relations expert. By early early morning, she’s the award-winning author of the Chronicles of the Third Realm War series. Join her email list for bookish news and a free download of the TRW series prequel RAIN at

Twitter: @ejwenstrom

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. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Twitter: @elawilliams

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 at and find pictures of Daisy at

Anita Ramirez, A New (Old) Writer’s Life

Anita Ramirez is a writer and teacher who transforms dispassionate teens into lovers of books — one reader at a time. When she’s not teaching Hispanic/Latinx literature and composition to her high school students or linguistics at the college level, she’s revising her first novel, a YA contemporary featuring bilingual characters. She loves the poetry of Pablo Neruda, teen movies from the 1980s and café con leche.

Ambre 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 at her website and seasonal inspiration from her newsletter

Richelle Lyn, Writers, Choose Your Own Adventure

Richelle Lyn is a former compensation & benefits attorney and HR executive, who is now chasing her second career as a writer. She loves reading mysteries and contemporary fiction and is writing her first YA mystery novel. She calls South Florida home, but her favorite place to be is on a trip.

Carol Van Den Hende, Your Author Marketing Toolkit

CAROL VAN DEN HENDE is the award-winning author of Goodbye, Orchid, a public speaker, and MBA with 20+ years’ experience in marketing, strategy and insights.. Carol is passionate about simplifying marketing concepts into actionable steps that authors need for publishing success. Please sign up for Carol’s newsletter at or

Savannah Cordova, What Lies Beyond Craft

Savannah Cordova is a writer and content creator at Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the best editors, designers, and marketers in the business. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and low fantasy, as well as writing the occasional short story. She’s here to pull back the curtain on publishing so that every author can have the greatest possible chance at success.

Stephanie BwaBwa, Indie Author Insider

Stephanie BwaBwa is the Jesus-centered, YA Fantasy Author and Entrepreneur, creator of fantasy world Elledelle, and Co-Host of the Indie Author Lifestyle Show, who’s enjoying building a legacy through the lens of story. You can usually catch her going for a walk through a park, or simply binging Disney+ with too many snacks. Get in contact with Stephanie directly at:

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