Talks and Workshops

I love speaking to groups about writing and the subjects I write about. Both the audiences and I have a lot of fun, and folks come away educated and inspired.

My qualifications include:

* Forty-plus years as a professional writer, editor and photographer: I have worked for daily, weekly and monthly newspapers in California and Oregon, taught writing courses at community colleges and for writers groups across the country. I have published hundreds of freelance articles, essays and poems in magazines, newspapers, literary journals and websites, and published a dozen books, including poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

* I have been a guest speaker for several branches of California Writer’s Club and Willamette Writers, the Southern Oregon, East of Eden, and Chattahoochee  writers conferences, the National League of American Pen Women, churches, senior centers, and community organizations.

* I have taught writing workshops for Willamette Writers, Oregon Poetry Association,, Chemeketa Community College, Oregon Coast Community College, and for at-risk teens through the Inside Out program. I have also published articles on writing in The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and the Brevity Creative Nonfiction blog, as well as in several anthologies for writers. I am the author of the book Freelancing for Newspapers.

* I have a BA from San Jose State University in journalism and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University.

Talks & workshops:

Childless by Marriage–When one partner wants children and her partner does not, she becomes childless by marriage. The percentage of women who don’t have children these days has risen to one in five. This affects every aspect of their lives. They feel left out of the Mom Club, are accused of being selfish and immature, they often face people who don’t understand why they don’t have kids, and they worry about facing old age alone. Often, they care for stepchildren without ever having a chance to have children of their own. In many cases, they turn to pets, work and other things to fill the childless gap. I am prepared to speak on this subject for 30-60 minutes, followed by a discussion of the issues.

Messy First Draft to Polished Manuscript–You’ve turned out a bunch of pages for a novel or memoir in a burst of inspiration or the marathon of Nanowrimo. Congratulations! You’re off to a good start. But is it ready to publish? Not even close. What you have is a raw lump of clay ready to be shaped into a work of art. In this workshop, we work through the steps needed to create a publishable book. The discussion includes how to make sure your characters ring true, make each chapter do the work it should, ramp up the suspense, eradicate unnecessary words, and conquer verbal tics. We will also talk about when and how to bring in help, such as critique groups, beta readers, and paid professional editors.

Life Happens; Keep Writing–So many people tell me they want to write but can’t do it until the kids are grown, until they retire, or until whatever crisis is happening in their life is over. But a real writer deals with life and writes anyway. Through illness, the deaths of dear relatives and friends, and my late husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, I have never stopped writing. This talk offers ways to fit your writing into the nooks and crannies of your life and use challenging life events as paths to even greater success as a writer.

Everything But Writing–The picture of a writer who does nothing but churn out words and collect royalties is a fantasy. A real writer is also an entrepreneur, accountant, secretary, salesperson and  more. In this talk, we learn how to organize the business side of being a writer and still have time to write.

Wake up your writing with sensory details: Fun exercises and examples will show students how to use sight, sound, smell, taste and touch to ground their abstract ideas in real images to which the reader can relate. As a bonus, some of the prompts are edible.

Poetry 1, 2, 3–Poets often get stuck writing in first person, but the same poem can take on new life written in other points of view. In this workshop, we study some famous examples of different POVs, then then try writing in first, second, and third person.

What makes creative nonfiction “creative?” This workshop explains the elements that make up creative nonfiction and shows participants how to use the elements of fiction while writing about real life. We will read examples and write in class.

You Can Publish a Book–A six-figure contract with a major publisher is not the only way to get published. I will discuss the pros and cons of self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and selling your book to a traditional publishing house. I have published books by each of these methods myself. I can tailor this workshop to the needs of the participants, if desired, focusing solely on one type of publishing or working with individual writers to discuss their options.

I would be happy to present readings or discussions about any of my published books, which include fiction based on the Oregon Coast, nonfiction, about childlessness, Portuguese Americans, and writing, and two poetry chapbooks.

Talks and workshops can be tailored to your needs. For more information, email me at or call (541) 961-4561.


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