Greetings from the Writing Coaches at

Good Contrivance Farm Writer’s Retreat !

We have recruited these coaches for their excellence as teachers, as well as their accomplishments as writers. All of them offer online consultation. If you are local to the Baltimore metro area, you may be able to meet with a few of these coaches in person.

Please keep in mind that these are busy professionals–they will do their best to meet your needs if their schedules allow. We have a few more additions to make to our staff, so check back with us from time to time. Click on the name of the writer (under their photo) to access their info. If you think you’ve found a writer here that you’d like to work with, please go to our Coaching Request page to make your needs known.

If you need help deciding which writer would best suit your needs, contact and he’ll offer some suggestions.

Best of luck with your writing project!

Ron and the Good Contrivance Farm Board

Credit: Mike Cook

Francisco Aragon

is the author of three books of poetry, most recently After Rubén (Red Hen Press, 2020). His poems have appeared in twenty-four anthologies, most recently in: Queer Nature: An Ecoqueer Poetry Anthology (Autumn House Press, 2021), Why To These Rocks: 50 Years of Poems from the Community of Writers (Heyday Books, 2021), and HERE: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon Press, 2019). His poems and translations (from the Spanish) have appeared in various literary journals, both print and online. He holds two degrees in Spanish from UC Berkeley and New York University, respectively. Upon his return to the United States in 1998 after a decade in Spain, Aragon completed graduate degrees in creative writing from UC Davis and the University of Notre Dame. In 2003 he joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, where he teaches courses in poetry and poetry writing and directs Letras Latinas, the Institute’s literary initiative. A native of San Francisco, CA, in 2017 he was a finalist for Split This Rock’s Freedom Plow Award for poetry and activism.

Expertise: Poetry. I have taught poetry writing in both university and community settings for twenty years. I am particularly interested in working with poets who are early in their artistic trajectories. Compensation for my time is $125 per hour for teaching and course preparation.

Rate: $125. per hour


Geoff Becker

is the author of the novels Hot Springs (Tin House Books) and  Bluestown (St. Martin’s Press), as well as two story collections: Black Elvis (University of Georgia Press), and Dangerous Men (U. of Pittsburgh Press).  His awards and honors include: the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction, The Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, an NEA Fellowship, awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology.

Expertise: Literary fiction. I can help with most types of writing, but not high fantasy. Novels or short stories, beginners through advanced.

Online rate: $125/hr

In-person rate: $150/hr

Prep time: $100/hr. (A fifteen-page submission should take less than an hour.)


Elizabeth Dickinson

is a journalist, essayist, and short story writer whose work has been widely published in places like The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Southern Review, The Washington Post Magazine, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, to name a few. Her longform creative nonfiction has been optioned for television and film, and her personal essays have been recognized as notable in Best American Essays. Her writing has been supported with fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Rubys Artist Grant among many others and she was awarded the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize in Literary Fiction. Dickinson has served as an editor at magazines such as Fast Company and Architect, and she has taught graduate-level nonfiction and magazine writing at Johns Hopkins University and MICA.

Expertise: Dickinson specializes in creative literary nonfiction, personal essay, memoir, and literary fiction, particularly short stories. Her own writing, whether in journalism or essay or fiction, is often deeply researched and she likes to help those looking to flesh out their stories through research, interviews, and archives. Dickinson became a writer because she’s too damn curious to stick to one subject area, and she sees her writing as an infrastructure for that curiosity, which means she’s open to most topics.

Rate: $150 for an hour long online session; $200 for an hour long in person session. This includes 30 minutes of prep/reading time. Any additional prep time for a session will be discussed in advance with the writer and pre-approved at a fee of $75/hour.


Russell Davis

has written and sold numerous novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction, under at least a half-dozen pseudonyms. His writing has encompassed media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of DarknessLaw of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. In addition to his work as a writer, he has worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns like Lost Trails to fantasy like Courts of the Fey. As an editor, he has worked with both beginning authors and established, best selling pro’s. Russell was the Genre Fiction Concentration Director for the MA/MFA program at Western Colorado University (2010-2019) and a course developer and adjunct instructor at Excelsior College in undergraduate literature and writing courses (2011-2018). He was the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) from 2008–2010, and has been a member of numerous other writing organization including the Western Writers of America (WWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), and the Romance Writers of America (RWA). His current projects include a forthcoming western anthology (Pulse Publishing), a new collection of his short fiction (WordFire Press), and several different novel and screenwriting projects.

Expertise: Broad and professional knowledge of most genres, including science fiction and fantasy, romance/women’s fiction, mystery, and westerns. I can work with short fiction, though I prefer to work on novella or novel length projects.

Rate: $150/hour

Websites: (currently in the process of updating, please be patient!)

Andrea Hollander

moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2011, after living for more than three decades in the Arkansas Ozarks, where she was innkeeper of a bed & breakfast for 15 years and Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College for 22. Hollander’s 5th full-length poetry collection was a finalist for the Best Book Award in Poetry from the American Book Fest; her 4th was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; her 1st won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Her poems and essays appear widely in anthologies, college textbooks, and literary journals, including a recent feature in The New York Times Magazine. Other honors include two Pushcart Prizes (in poetry and literary nonfiction), two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the 2021 49th Parallel Award in Poetry. In 2017 she initiated the Ambassador Writing Seminars, which she conducts via Zoom.

Expertise: For more than thirty years, I’ve taught classes, workshops, and seminars, and mentored writers of the personal essay (especially the lyric essay) and poetry. My preference at this time is to work with poets at any stage of their development. Interested individuals should read at least a dozen of my poems to get a sense of my literary aesthetic. To those who share this aesthetic, I can be of significant help.

Rate: I use Zoom for consultations and tutorials: $150/hour. No charge for chatting. And no charge for up to 30 minutes of my prep time; after 30 minutes, the $150/hour charge applies.

Credit: Tom Wolff

E. Ethelbert Miller

is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of two memoirs and several books of poetry. For 17 years Miller served as the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. He hosts the WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and hosts and produces The Scholars on UDC-TV which received a 2020 Telly Award. Miller’s memoir Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (St. Martin’s Press, 2000) was selected by the DC WE READ for its one book, one city program sponsored by the D.C. Public Libraries. He was also awarded the 2019 Literary Award for poetry by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for his book If God Invented Baseball. Most recently, Miller received a grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and a congressional award from Congressman Jamie Raskin in recognition of his literary activism. Miller’s latest book is When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories (City Point Press, 2021).

Expertise: Memoir: Miller is the author of two memoirs. His first memoir, Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer, was selected for the DC We Read “One Book, One City” program, sponsored by the DC Public Library. For eight years Miller has conducted a popular memoir workshop at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Festival held in Rockville, Maryland. He has taught memoir classes at Goucher College and the University of Texas-Victoria.

Rate: $150 per hour

Michael Martone

Michael Martone’s recent books include The Complete Writings of Art Smith, The Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, Edited by Michael Martone; The Moon Over Wapakoneta; Brooding; and Memoranda. Unconventions: Writing on Writing and Rules of Thumb, edited with Susan Neville, are craft books. He is also the author of The Blue Guide to Indiana, published by FC2. The University of Georgia Press published his book of essays, The Flatness and Other Landscapes, winner of the AWP Award for Nonfiction, in 2000. With Robin Hemley, he edited Extreme Fiction. With Lex Williford, he edited The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction and The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction. He has edited two collections of essays about the Midwest: A Place of Sense: Essays in Search of the Midwest and Townships: Pieces of the Midwest. His stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Story, Antaeus, North American Review, Benzene, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Third Coast, Shenandoah, Bomb, Story Quarterly, American Short Fiction and other magazines.

Martone was born and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Butler University and graduated from Indiana University. He holds the MA from The Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University. Martone has won two Fellowships from the NEA and a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation. His stories have won awards in the Italian Americana fiction contest, the Florida Review Short Story Contest, the Story magazine Short, Short Story Contest, the Margaret Jones Fiction Prize of Black Ice Magazine, and the first World’s Best Short, Short Story Contest. His stories and essays have appeared and been cited in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies. In 2013 he received the national Indiana Authors Award, and in 2016, the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contribution to Midwestern Literature. Michael Martone retired as a Professor at the University of Alabama where he had been teaching since 1996. He has been a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since 1988. He also taught at Iowa State University, Harvard University, and Syracuse University.

Expertise: I am happy to read and review any and all genres of prose fiction and nonfiction. I don’t think of myself as an “experimental” writer, but I am fond of exploring all the textual forms that can be used artistically while also utilizing the material nature of “the book”. And, as a “formalist,” I am particularly interested in lyrical and non-narrative forms; collage and fragments; the irreal, speculative, and fantastic; flash fictions and prose poetry; hybridity of all kinds; and using smaller stand alone pieces that then connect to other pieces contributing to a larger mosaic whole. I am interested in meta and auto fictions and the various uses of self-conscious techniques that “alienate” the reader and often resist a linear narrative and a transparent style.

I will not be a prescriptive critic. I follow the advice of William Stafford who said “no praise, no blame.” Instead, I try to give a descriptive reading of what the work is actually doing not what I think it should be doing. I believe the writer knows best about what is “working” or not in the piece. Coaching is a conversation between writers about the piece, but also it is about writing in general and the creation of the writer’s life-long aesthetic and the envisioning of future projects. To that end, I am less helpful as a line editor, and I am not that enthusiastic about revision, as I never think any piece of writing is “broken” and needs to be fixed. I enter into reading with curiosity, asking the writer many questions and encouraging the development of the writer’s personal vocabulary of craft. I do not read as a critic making judgments about what is good or bad.

Rate: $144 per hour for coaching and preparation time

Leslie Streeter

is an author, veteran journalist and speaker. whose memoir Black Widow, was published in March 2020 by Little, Brown and Company. Until recently, she was the longtime entertainment and lifestyle columnist and writer for the Palm Beach Post. A native of Baltimore, MD., and a University of Maryland graduate, she and her work have been featured in The Miami Herald, the Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlantic, the Today show, SiriusXM, O, The Oprah Magazine and more. She lives with her son Brooks and her mother Tina in her hometown of Baltimore, which she moved back to last summer. She’s a slow runner, an amateur vegan cook and a true crime and “Law and Order” enthusiast.

Expertise: Leslie specializes in non-fiction, including memoir and pop culture, as well as commercial fiction, particularly if it’s funny. She would love to work with dedicated writers, especially current or former journalists, women and people of color who have felt unpresented and other experienced writers from other genres trying something new.

Rate: $150 per hour