June 15-22, 2022, Elixir Writing Retreat

Campbon, France

I participated and worked as support staff for this amazing Angelella Editorial retreat at a chateau in western FRANCE! The wonderful Jennifer Niven lectured, as did some of our talented Angelella author-editors. If this sounds amazing, watch for the next Elixir retreats in 2023! Click here for more info.

Educational Presentations

I support equity and inclusivity in the world of books and beyond, so I am not available for any book events that discriminate against marginalized or underrepresented people, either on the page or off. Otherwise, I’m available to give presentations both live and via Zoom on any of the following topics:

Writing Doesn’t Have to Be Spooky! (School visit)

For upper elementary or middle-school audiences, I’ll share how I wrote my volumes for the Spooky America series, from research to writing and revision. I’ll cover the differences between reliable and unreliable sources; how to organize research and turn it into writing; and tips for writing an interesting story.

For school visit resources, click here.

World-Building isn’t Rocket Science: Techniques for Making the Unfamiliar Accessible to Readers

For adults. One of the great pleasures of reading is to immerse yourself in other lives, other places, and other times. But there are pitfalls writers face when building their worlds, including confusing the reader with technical jargon or interrupting the narrative with expository info-dumps. How, then, to keep your world-building digestible? Using examples from science-fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction, we’ll look at ways to use setting, character, and exposition to introduce your readers to unfamiliar concepts and experiences without taking them out of the world you’ve created.

Portals, Prophecies, and Magic: Freshening Up Your Fantasy

For adults. Ever had an agent or editor tell you that portal fantasies are old-fashioned? That your magic needs to have rules for your novel to work? Or that stories of prophecies and chosen ones have been done to death? I’ll use examples from modern works to show you how to successfully use these favorite old tropes in a way to keep your fantasy fresh and appealing.

Demystifying the Query Letter

For adults. What goes in a query letter, anyway? Do I have to give away the ending of my story? Do I have to talk about how much writing experience I have? Are rhetorical questions really that bad? How do I make my query stand out? In this session, I’ll go over the basics of querying and answer all your questions about this mysterious yet essential part of the author’s job.

How to Read and Critique Like an Editor

For high-school students or adults. I’ll visit your writers’ critique group and share the basics of story structure, and how learning to look for these elements in your pleasure reading can help you become a better critique partner. Option to add-on individual critiques.