Speaking/Teaching

Back when I was a soft­ware engi­neer, I once said my per­fect job would be to sit in a big, comfy chair and give peo­ple my opin­ion all day long. My col­league remarked, “Apart from the chair, what would be the difference?”

It’s true. I love to talk. I love to share knowl­edge… and stories.

I have given talks to var­i­ous groups, and I have taught workshops.

 

 

TOP­ICS I have dis­cussed as a guest speaker:

1. My per­sonal jour­ney from artist to soft­ware engi­neer to writer.

2. Why I use my home­town of Pla­cen­tia as the set­ting for my mysteries.

3. How horses got me into writ­ing, and how I decided to write my horse’s mem­oir — from his point of view.

 

 

WORK­SHOPS I teach:

1. HUMOR: Funny How? How Am I Funny?  “Dying is easy. Com­edy is hard.” Humor is dif­fi­cult to define, and there is no magic for­mula for writ­ing it. The per­son who tells hilar­i­ous sto­ries often can­not trans­late the com­edy onto the page. Even when you write well, it’s often hard to tell if you’ve hit the audience’s funny bone. Whether you are writ­ing in the humor genre, or infus­ing wit into your lat­est mys­tery, romance, etc., this work­shop is meant to help you improve your comedic pre­sen­ta­tion. We’ll dis­cuss the kinds of prob­lems you might encounter, and sug­gest pos­si­ble solu­tions for punch­ing up your punchlines.

2. WRIT­ING CRAFT: Rhythm, Pace, and Amuse­ment.  Along with a good plot and char­ac­ters who feel real, a story has to pull the reader from the first page to the last. This requires writ­ing that keeps the reader engaged and want­ing more. We’ll dis­cuss how to plump up flat sen­tences, and how to make sure each scene keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

3. PUB­LISH­ING OPTIONS: Self-publishing — Is It For You?  Self-publishing is a won­der­ful option for many authors, but what is involved? This work­shop is a primer for the basics of being an author-publisher. We’ll start with ques­tions to deter­mine whether your book is a good can­di­date, then move on to the details of releas­ing a fin­ished prod­uct and find­ing your read­ers. If you’re sit­ting on the fence, this work­shop can help you make an informed decision.

4. PUB­LIC SPEAK­ING: How do you pre­pare for dif­fer­ent events, and how to get past your nerves.  Social media is good, but sooner or later, an author must add pub­lic speak­ing to their toolkit, in order to increase their vis­i­bil­ity. This work­shop will offer ideas for orga­niz­ing mate­r­ial and over­com­ing fear when mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions to an audi­ence, as well as a chance to prac­tice in a sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment. Events from launch par­ties to shar­ing a spot on a panel, to being a guest speaker will be covered.

5. How Well Do You Know Your Char­ac­ters? Yes, they hang out in our heads and nag us until we put them on the page, but how well do we really know our char­ac­ters? Dig­ging deeper into their lives can uncover plot points, motives, and bring our writ­ing to a higher level. This work­shop offers meth­ods to help you under­stand who these peo­ple really are. Bring one of your char­ac­ters along and be pre­pared to strengthen your story by learn­ing more about them.

6. Sto­ry­telling is Mur­der. Like any genre, mys­ter­ies need great char­ac­ters, but they also need a puz­zle to be solved within the pages. The same tech­niques used by screen­writ­ers to cre­ate an inter­est­ing crime solved by fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters can be used by nov­el­ists to write a com­pelling story. This work­shop will take a look at an episode from a pop­u­lar TV mys­tery series and what makes it work. Be pre­pared to dis­sect, dis­mem­ber, and dis­em­bowel a 50-minute TV show, then be amazed at how much you’ve learned.

7. Edit­ing, Schmedit­ing. Don’t I Hire Some­one for That? It’s true, it’s not easy to edit your own work. No one wants to kill their dar­lings. But there are ways to make cer­tain the man­u­script you send to an agent, pub­lisher, or edi­tor is the best it can be. We will go over sev­eral tech­niques for a writer to know when to cut, when to add, and what to do with all those pretty sen­tences on the cut­ting room floor.

 

 

REF­ER­ENCES:

Pla­cen­tia Rotary Club

Pla­cen­tia Library

Pla­cen­tia Round Table Women’s Club

La Habra Library

Buena Park Library

Hunt­ing­ton Beach Library

Mt. Zion (Illi­nois) Library

Decatur (Illi­nois) Library

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Writ­ers Con­fer­ence — San Diego

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Writ­ers Con­fer­ence — Los Angeles

Santa Bar­bara Writ­ers Conference

WHAT’S MY FEE?

My fee is entirely nego­tiable, based upon your orga­ni­za­tion and your needs. My min­i­mum require­ment is that I am allowed the oppor­tu­nity to sell my books. And I never turn down food.

FEEL FREE to use my Con­tact Page to email me.