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Talks and Classes Available

I have a wide variety of talks and classes available to fill your programming needs.

Me doing one of my talks and classes available

Ever have an author come in, stand behind a podium and drone on? That is not happening here. I encourage audience participation and will be all over your room, sharing the love of words and stories. My presentations are not only entertaining, they are filled with useful information, whether your patrons want to write their own books, taste and analyze wine, or just see what goes on inside an author’s head. Okay, that last part’s not pretty, but it can be fun.

I have a background (and two degrees) in Theater, and have been teaching classes on reading aloud and the art and process of writing for over twenty years. Whether I’m doing a reading or leading a discussion, your patrons will bring something special away with them. Available live or virtually, too.

Please use the contact form at the bottom to request a class or more information.

Brand New Talks!

I’m constantly developing new ideas for talks. Check out what I’ve come up with lately:

The Confluence of Wine and Writing

A Writing Life talk that covers the early history of the California wine industry, along with how that inspired a character. Participants will come away with fun facts and insight on how a character comes to life.

Down the Research Rabbit Hole

The only thing more fun than the writing is the research! Participants will learn the difference between primary and secondary sources, plus how to use them to make a story come to life. As well as other resources to find out what you need to make your story strong.

The Joy and Art of Reading Aloud

Part entertainment, part skills-building, attendees will not only enjoy some skillfully read bits and pieces from classic and my own fiction, but may participate in a group reading as they learn how to read aloud in a way that’s engaging and fun.

Writing How To

From Idea to Story

A perennial favorite. I’ve done this talk for multiple libraries, including the Whittier Public Library. Participants and I get to explore the process of building a novel from the ground up. We start with an idea from the audience, build characters, and talk about all the different ways stories happen. It’s empowering. It’s exciting. And it’s fun!

How to Plot Your Mystery (or anything else)

Participants will get the building blocks to build their own mystery novels, including the right crimes, bad guys, and victims. Mayhem at its virtual best.

Building Characters that Breathe

The most important part of any story is the people who inhabit it – your characters. Participants will learn how great characters happen and get a chance to work on building some of their own.

How to Outline

Another big fave – this workshop helps participants learn their own creative style and how to use it to create outlines that will get them to The End. Information on tools included.

Self-Publication 101

So you’re got your book written, maybe edited. Here’s a chance to explore the process of getting it out there into the world. We’ll cover most aspects of the ever-changing world of self-publication, from deciding to try for traditional publishing or to go it on your own, what you need to know to make that decision, plus the tools you can use. This one is newly updated, too.

For Entertainment Purposes

Readings From and The Writing Life

I did this talk for Pasadena Central Library a couple years ago, and we had a blast as I both read from one of my many novels and talked about how it came to be. You can visit my Fiction page to select which of my novels you’d like to hear and hear about.

The History of Los Angeles Between Fact and Fiction

My Old Los Angeles series of mysteries takes place in the 1870s. Come learn about how our pueblo got here, and how it became my top selling series.

Stop Those Wine Snobs in Their Tracks

Basic wine tasting and analysis with an emphasis on your palate, not what some “expert” thinks you should like. Another fave that I do with my husband, Michael Holland, who created the wine blog with me.

My Rates are Reasonable

And I’m very flexible. Use the form below to let me know exactly what you need, and we’ll pull together a great program that will entertain and inform your group while working within your budget.

Use the form below to get more information or to book a talk