Presenters & Instructors

This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2020 Tennessee Writing Workshop.


Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 1.10.41 PMBob Mayer is a former Green Beret and the NY Times Bestselling author of over 75 books across a wide range of genres and nonfiction. He’s been on bestseller lists in thriller, science fiction, suspense, action, war, historical fiction, nonfiction, and is the only male author on the Romance Writers of America Honor Roll.

At the 2020 event, Bob will be teaching courses on building your author platform and also writing great characters. Bob is also offering manuscript critiques for attendees.

Born in the Bronx, Bob attended West Point and earned a BA in psychology with honors and then served as an Infantry platoon leader, a battalion scout platoon leader, and a brigade recon platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division. He joined Special Forces and commanded a Green Beret A Team. He served as the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and with Special Operations Command (Special Projects) in Hawaii. Later he taught at the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the course that trains new Green Berets. After leaving active duty, he was often called back to service as national interests dictated a need for his specific skill set. He began writing while living in the Orient, as he earned a Black Belt in Martial Arts. He’s also earned a Masters Degree in Education.

His novels include the bestselling Area 51, Green Beret, Atlantis, and Time Patrol series and collaborations with Jennifer Crusie. Bob draws on all of his experiences to write his novels and his nonfiction books, including The Novel Writer’s Toolkit: A Guide To Writing Great Fiction; and Write It Forward: From Writer to Successful Author and Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Tactics for Success; Bob has presented for over 1,000 organizations both in the United States and internationally, including keynote presentations, all day workshops, and multi-day seminars. He teaches both writing and publishing topics as well as presentations on his Who Dares Wins concepts, bringing the tactics and techniques of Special Operations into the civilian world. He also presents workshops on the Area Study, the first step in preparing for natural and man-made disasters based on his survival manuals and Special Operations experiences.

He has taught organizations ranging from the Maui Writers Conference, to San Diego State University, to the University of Georgia, to the Romance Writers of America National Convention, to Boston SWAT, the CIA, Fortune-500, Microsoft, the Royal Danish Navy Frogman Corps, Rotary, IT Teams in Silicon Valley, the Nursing Program at Ohio State Univ. and many others. He has also served as a Visiting Writer for NILA MFA program in Creative Writing. He taught technical writing for the University of Washington as adjunct faculty. He has done interviews for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, PBS, NPR, the Discovery Channel, the SyFy channel and local cable shows. For more information see He offers The Writers Conference Guide: Getting the Most of Your Time and Money for free in eBook format on all eBook platforms and to conference attendees.


Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 6.24.47 PMVictoria Griffin is a full-time professional editor and has worked with genres including literary fiction, suspense, horror, thriller, romance, historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and memoir. She adores any work that blends genres. Victoria’s clients have gone on to land traditional book deals and launch successful writing careers through self-publication.

At the 2020 TN conference, she is teaching on self-editing.

Victoria’s short fiction has appeared in more than forty publications, including A Journey of Words, Apeiron Review, FLARE: The Flagler Review, NonBinary Review, Sweatpants & Coffee, Synaesthesia Magazine, Torrid Literature Journal, and Unbound Octavo. She is passionate about Appalachian culture, and most of her writing is set in the South. She is represented by Sandy Lu of L. Perkins Agency. She is also the author of Craft Your Query: A Workbook and Edit Like a Pro: A Self-Editing Guide.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Campbell University, where she graduated with honors while playing D1 softball. Victoria is an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, and the Tennessee Mountain Writers.


Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 3.23.45 PM.pngBrian A. Klems (@BrianKlems) is the former online editor of

He is the coordinator of the 2020 Tennessee Writing Workshop. At the event, he is teaching a class and also offering query critiques as an add-on element for attendees.

His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community.

Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.