Speaker
Speaker
Writers tell me I'm a popular speaker and instructor at writers conferences because I can relate.  I've been closely involved in every phase of a book's life in the past three decades: from its conception as a tug in the back of a writer's brain; through the explosive creative writing of it; to the painful editing, exacting design, and printing; then distribution and marketing of the baby.  From pen to paper and everything involved.  And, yes, I've even felled an oak with an ax and made paper from pulp.
WORKSHOPS, TALKS, SEMINARS, DELIGHTS
for writers conferences, writers groups, libraries, book clubs, literary societies, service organizations, community groups, etc. 

With more than twenty years as a writing instructor, I will give your group a unique learning experience - plus everyone will have a good time and leave with their questions answered.  As a literary agent and former editor I bring a unique perspective to presentations - a view from the other side of the desk.  Since agents are always seeking unusal projects from unique writers, I love one-on-one pitch sessions, discovering nearly three-quarters of my clients this way.

As to the nitty-gritty mechanics of scheduling an event, as you would for any guest speaker, plan to cover all costs during the stay, including: conference fees; airfare; ground transportation; gas, tolls, ferries; meals; accommodations at a hotel, B&B, home hospitality; plus an honorarium - all of which can be easily covered by workshop tuition and/or one-on-one fees.

To discuss the possibilities and invite me to speak to your group


WORKSHOPS, TALKS, SEMINARSThese can be lengthened, shortened, or combined with others to fit your schedule, from 30 minutes to all-day, or even a weekend.
       WRITING & PUBLISHING 101
       Think you’d like to be a writer?  Come have all your questions answered in this workshop aimed at the general public.  An experienced author, agent, and publisher will outline the options available for new writers to get published, including working with literary agents, small presses, and even self-publishing.
       BLOOM IN BUSINESS: WRITE A BOOK
       If you’re an expert in your field the best way to jump ahead of the competition is to become an author.  But where to begin?  FInd out in this workshop aimed at the general public.  Find out how to pick a marketable topic; organize your information; and attract a publisher.
       OUT OF THE GATE WITH A FLYING START
       Beginnings that tantalize, hypnotize, and mesmerize.  Pump up the opening of your book to pull agents, editors, and readers into your sure grip.  Hold on tight and don’t let go for 300 pages!
       THE ART OF CREATIVE NONFICTION
       Writing fiction?  Is the story you’re writing based on fact?  Why linger in the rejection pile?  Improve your odds – submissions of fiction to nonfiction average 200 to 1, yet nonfiction sells better.  Challenge your creativity using fictional and experimental techniques to tell a broader, truer story, and tell it better. 
       GATHER YE READERS WHILE YE MAY 
       Developing readership and author platform starts long before your book or article is published.  Discover ways to attract readers, gain notice, and build your readership and your platform, and maybe garner the notice of an agent or editor along the way.
       INTO THE TOP 10%
       You have the best book in the world but can’t get in the door – wonder why?  Maybe what anyone sees is a dead mullet lying there.  See what today’s publishing world demands of its authors beyond beautiful words.  Learn what it takes to make that fish jump up and boogie.
       PUBLISHING’S WELL-KEPT SECRET 
       The big secret no one talks about: Money.  Who gets paid what and why.  When you sell your book you’ll be a millionaire, right?  How much do editors make?  How much of an advance can you expect on your book?  And when?  What is the agent’s percentage?  And what about royalties?  Should you pay to see your book in print?  How much should you expect for a magazine article?  Is being paid in copies OK?  When can you afford to quit your job and just write?
       THE KEY TO BEING A DAMN FINE WRITER
Exceptional writers posses one delicate trait that they expand, cultivate, and baby their entire lives.  You have it.  But do you know how to use it effectively?
       PLANNING YOUR WRITING CAREER
       A successful writing career doesn’t just happen.  It is planned, nurtured, orchestrated, shaped and developed according to your goals and shifting circumstances.  Learn what you need to consider, foster, and forget in order to build your own dynamic career.  For all writers – no matter what you write, how long you’ve been writing it, whether you’re just beginning your career or have been publishing for years and need a shot of direction to get back on track.
       A WRITER’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE: WHAT TO TELL WHEN
       The best novelists, memoirists, and narrative nonfiction writers hear, “Your book was so exciting.  I couldn’t put it down!”  These writers know the secret of teasing their readers with just enough to keep them holding their breath and turning the pages.  Discover how to hold back while pushing your story forward.
       QUERY LETTERS: WILLYOU BE A CLIENT FROM HEAVEN OR HELL?
       Ever wonder what’s running through agents’ minds as they peruse your query letter or meet you for the first time?  Get a peek into the inner workings of their rare species, explaining many of their curious habits and sometimes bizarre behaviors – all the better to prepare you for your next encounter with one.  It’s interactive, enlightening, and above all, fun.
       WRITE A BESTSELLER
       Is your secret passion to write a bestselling book?  Learn what makes a novel or nonfiction book rise to the top and grab the attention of agents, editors, booksellers, and readers.
       WRITING SUCCESS: OFTEN MORE PASSION THAN TALENT
       Learn how to orchestrate your writing and your writing life, including targeting your markets, outlining (or not), self-editing, writers critique groups, and stomping out writer's block.
       KISS THE REJECTION BLUES GOOD-BYE
       Transform your tears to determination.  It's all in how you perceive that necessary evil: the rejection letter.  Learn how to mold negatives to positives.
       BUILDING A CHARACTER WHEEL
       Developing well-rounded characters who balance each other and keep your story moving forward – and it includes a free character wheel to fill in.
       PRUNING YOUR LIFE STORY INTO MEMOIR
       You’ve been researching this story your whole life.  Learn the difference between memoir and autobiography, what to leave in, what to leave out, how to craft a book that can compete in the marketplace.
       GRIT LIT: WHAT MAKES A BOOK SOUTHERN FICTION?
       If your muse loves to get lost in Southern settings, characters, and plots, then find out what it is that sets this genre apart from stories set in the South.
       NOVELISTS’ MOST FREQUENT WRITING BLUNDER
       What is it in your writing itself that will earn you a rejection every time?  Why does your novel keep bouncing back to you with “Sorry, not for me.”?  One thing sets apart clear writing from muddy.  Find out the very simple cure.
       MEMORABLE PLACES AND FACES IN FICTION
       Discover how to develop characters that stir readers' emotions and settings that pull readers through stories.  Learn to step back and let the characters tell their story.  How to develop a strong sense of place.
       RESEARCH: ENOUGH TO KEEP YOU INTERESTED, NOT SO MUCH YOU'RE BURIED
       When do you have enough?  How to organize your research to avoid chaos and meanderings in your writing.  Develop successful interview techniques to obtain the first-hand authenticity your nonfiction or novel needs.
       WHODUNIT, HOWDUNIT MYSTERY WRITING
       Discover your niche in the world of mysteries: amateur and professional detectives, cozies, police procedurals, hard-boiled, true crime, psychological suspense, spy thrillers, and crime fiction. Where does your book fit in?  A mix of tips to create mood, build suspense, develop memorable characters, exotic settings, and unforgettable stories.
       HOW TO GET PUBLISHED (Without Sleeping with the Editor)
       Explore the many routes to publication and the tricks of the freelance writer's trade from writing a dynamic query letter to organizing your work to running a freelance writing business. 
       WRITING AEROBICS Writing Exercises to Pump Up Your Lazy Muse 
       Bring your paper and pen to limber up your imagination, stretch your creativity, and exercise your muse through your own writing.  Learn devices to make your muse tap dance, your prose sing, and to get you out of the writer’s dismal swamp when you find yourself quagmired.  Oh, yeah, we’ll have fun, too.
       TAPPING THE SENSES & CREATING MOODS
       Learn through writing exercises to manipulate readers' emotions by reaching the power of the five senses. Get in touch with moods and discover how to translate that into your writing style.    
       CONTRASTING POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE
       Learn how to write a piece from the positive, then from the negative and learn to switch perspectives, change directions, and get to underlying truths.
       EXPLORING YOUR EMOTIONS TO CUT THROUGH NOSTALGIA
       Venture into your depths to connect with the reader and search for the strength and energy behind a story. Master exchanging truth for sentimentality to absorb your reader in your story.
       MOVING FROM VAGUE TO CONCRETE DETAILS
       Learn how to make connections with your reader by abandoning generalities for specifics in your writing.  Glean the advantages of sprinkling in description and layering in details to advance the story without bogging your reader down.
       PLANTING RED HERRINGS, CLUES, HOOKS, AND DEAD BODIES
       An in-depth look at how to pace your mystery or crime novel to keep readers turning the page.  Learn how to keep building suspense by carefully orchestrating your story with new things dropped in just when they're needed, and least expected!
       THE PLOT'S THE THING
       An in-depth look at the ins and outs, twists and turns, ups and downs of a solid story.  How to build tension over the course of your story, dovetail your sub-plots, organize your plotpoints, keep your story engine running, and deliver a satisfying resolution.
       SLEUTHS, DETECTIVES, PI's, DOCTORS, LAWYERS, SPIES
       No matter who your mystery protagonist is, you need a strong, memorable character for your readers to care about so they'll hang on until the bitter end.  Learn how to develop the best person to tell your story, devise their most evil opponent, create entertaining confidants, mold colorful henchmen.  Then once you have a cast of characters, learn how to stand back and let them tell their story in their own words.

YOU NAME IT
        Together we can develop a workshop customized for your group.








WORKSHOPS, TALKS, SEMINARS, DELIGHTS
a current sampling

JUST FOR FUN …and a bit of fundraising to benefit the conference or a scholarship fund: 
  AUCTION OFF “DINNER WITH AN AGENT” 
  What would writers pay to have an agent’s ear for an evening just to discuss their books and writing career? Use this money-raiser to boost your group's budget. I'm willing to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and the group keeps the money. Dinner can be the conference banquet, the Ritz, or the closest Taco Bell or Bar-B-Q joint, writer’s choice during the conference. I'll supply a colorful “Dinner with an Agent” certificate for use in a silent or live auction if requested. (Writers routinely pay hundreds to have my ears tuned just to them for one evening and to receive valuable, customized career advice. At the Surrey International Writers Conference in Canada one year the gavel came down for the last time at a whopping $900!)

KEYNOTE ADDRESSa short inspirational talk of 10-15 minutes.
  KICKIN’ THE REJECTION BLUES 
  How do you catch an agent or editor’s eye? What is it that makes some writers hotter properties than others? What can you do to increase your chances? Upbeat, entertaining, and encouraging. 

PRIOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS INCLUDE:

  • Washington Independent Writers Conference, National Press Club, Washington DC
  • Detroit Black Poets & Writers Conference, Detroit MI
  • Harriette Austin Writers Conference, University of Georgia, Athens GA 
  • Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference, Denver CO
  • Oregon Writers Colony, Portland OR
  • Christopher Newport University Writers Conference, Smithfield VA
  • League of Utah Writers Conference, Ogden UT
  • Maryland Writers Conference,  Baltimore MD
  • Mid-Atlantic Writers Conference, Fredericksburg VA
  • Romance Writers of America Workshop, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Writer’s Digest Book Expo America Conference, New York City, NY
  • Writers Retreat Workshop, Kentucky
  • San Juan Island Library Writers Workshops, Friday Harbor WA
  • Albany Writers Conference, Albany GA
  • September Writers Fest, Jacksonville FL
  • Amelia Book Island Festival, Fernandina FL
  • Indian River Community College Writers Weekend, Ft. Pierce, FL
  • Pine Island Writers Conference, Pine Island FL
  • Writing for Media Workshop, University of Tampa, Tampa FL

MULTIPLE YEARS:
  • Surrey International Writers Conference, Surrey BC, Canada 
  • Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Montecito CA
  • Authors of the Flathead Writers Conference, Whitefish, MT
  • Wrangling with Writing, Tucson AZ
  • Columbus Writers Conference, Columbus, OH
  • Oklahoma Writers Federation, Oklahoma City OK
  • National Writers Union Conference, Denver CO
  • Willamette Writers Conference, Portland OR
  • Southeast Writers Conference, St. Simon’s Island GA
  • SleuthFest, Mystery Writers of America, Ft Lauderdale FL
  • First Coast Writers Conference, Jacksonville FL
  • Space Coast Conference, Cocoa Beach FL
  • Suncoast Writers Conference, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg FL
  • Gulfcoast Writers Conference, Panama City, FL
  • Tallahassee Writers Conference, Tallahassee FL
  • Writing the Region,Gainesville FL