“Wow. Just wow. I was just blown away by your program. Not all great writers are good speakers. But you are just TERRIFIC at both.” –Stephen Terrell, program chair of Sisters in Crime Speed City

I used to hate public speaking. It’s true. But now I love it. Give me the mic, and I’m happy to talk about almost any topic pertaining to reading, writing, or publishing.

I teach courses and workshops in creative writing, crime fiction, creative nonfiction, and strategies for writers in writing, revising, publishing, and marketing and promotion. I also teach popular fiction writing for the Northwestern University’s MFA in Prose and Poetry and have previously taught at Ball State University, Roosevelt University, Yale Writers’ Workshop, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference, Antioch Writers’ Workshop, Chicago Writers Workshop, Midwest Writers Workshop, StoryStudio Chicago, as well as many for many association chapters and meetings.

Looking for a speaker or panelist? My special interests include psychological suspense thrillers and amateur detective mysteries, historical mysteries, mysteries with strong female protagonists (and also troubled ones!), mysteries that address social ills, Chicago crime fiction, Midwestern crime fiction, writing unreliable narrators, and writing difficult-to-like protagonists. Pet craft topics include suspense, point of view, characterization, and tackling daunting writing projects. I can also talk about the value of reading and writing (other than publication) and the influence of libraries and writing associations for writers for as long as you’ll let me.

Here’s a YouTube sample of me teaching an in-person/online hybrid class! (It’s also the one Stephen is talking about, above.)

Sample talks:

One-hour talks

Motivation and Productivity for the Writer

Writing the White Whale: Advice for Large, Lingering, Looming Writing Projects

They Fight Crime! How to Write the Amateur Sleuth

Tips for Writing Suspense

Writing Chills into Your Thriller

Up All Night: Writing the Crime Fiction Page-Turner

Point of View as Foundation of Story

Liars and Thieves, and These are the Good Guys: How to Create Conflict-Driven Characters People Still Want to Read

Self-promotion for Introverts

Mystery Writing for High School Writers

Book Club Talks for each of my books


Talks scalable to length of time

Mystery Bootcamp/Workshop
(This program can be one hour to multiple days.)

The Art of Revision
(This program can be one to four hours.)

Novel Writing for Blank-Page Beginners
(Half-day to whole-day session.)

Want me to talk about a topic not listed here? Ask! For more information, contact me through this site.