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Readers love the stories of

"I enjoy your column in the Wise County Messenger. It's always fun to read about something, or someone that has been so important to our state's history."
— Janet Wilson
Paradise, Tx

Did you know...

She went “over the road” bringing entertainment, Texas’ first woman circus owner and operator.  But that came after she used her acting and entertaining talents as a spy for the Confederate forces. When her circus hit town, bankrolled out of her purse, veterans (of both armies) got in free.

   Click here for the answers

“You did a very nice job with the writing class;
it was perfect for what I wanted to understand. You have a non-threatening and encouraging nature in your teaching and facilitation which makes it a pleasure to take part. Thanks so much.”
                              -- John D., Nov 19 2013

Talking about researching and writing Texas Dames: Sassy and Savvy Women Throughout Lone Star History to other writers and readers.
And what better place? A library, this time Saginaw’s Public Library.



Writing Circles in Fort Worth

Writing Circles take place in my West Fort Worth home, opportunities for instruction and participation with other writers to learn and craft stories in a small group no matter if you’re beginning the writing journey or already have taken great strides in your writing education, no matter if you’re writing fact or fiction, no matter if you’re writing books or short pieces. We meet…next…

Tuesdays, Jan 7, 7-10 pm, for six weeks at a cost of $90.

Wednesdays, Jan. 8, 2-5 pm, is the start date for this afternoon group, again for six weeks for $90.


Individual instruction and/or coaching; editing of manuscripts for style and structure.



• “WRITE NOW!” -- Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9 p.m. for six weeks, a course for writers of both fiction and nonfiction who want to…
   1. Polish your writing skills & publishing strategies for the “short    market”—magazines, blogs, newspapers, literary journals, etc.
   2. Build your “writerly platform” in the short market before or while    submitting your book length projects.

• “CREATIVE WRITING FOUNDATIONS,” Thursdays for five weeks    beginning Jan. 23, 6 - 9 p.m., and Mondays for five weeks beginning
   March 17, “St. Patty’s Day”; 6-9 pm.
This class introduces—and prepares a foundation—for students to write both fiction and nonfiction in SMU’s “The Writing Path.” You’ll learn the structure of stories and how to move the reader from beginning to middle to end with strong characters and an engaging plot; you’ll learn literary techniques, and gain a familiarity about the various genres in fiction, the various forms in nonfiction and how to write those. In both, you’ll experience the value of strong leads and effective endings plus style pointers that take out that “sound of a beginner” from your writing.
About those “sounds of a beginner…” I now carry a pitch fork into the writer's battlefield-adverbs and adjectives, beware. (Jennifer F., Nov. 20 2013)

• NEW! “MEMOIR, PERSONAL NARRATIVE & ESSAY,” Wednesdays; starts March 19, 6:30-9 pm, four weeks. ..
…for those wanting to tell personal stories either in short essays or blogs or in full length books. In “Memoir, Personal Narrative & Essay,” we’ll explore techniques to shape your passion, your story, for writing about a personal experience, feeling or idea and matching it to the universal cord of human experience that will draw readers (and editors) to your work. Beyond the idea and matching efforts, the essay writer will come away from the class with techniques of writing that will add punch to their story.

TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION for all SMU Classes CONTACT: http://smu.edu/creativewriting


SPRING CONFERENCE May 3 & 4, Hurst: DFW’s annual writing conference where I’ll “teach” two of my favorites: “Creating Story Characters” and “Getting Started…”
For more on the conference go to DFWcon.org.


Leading Writing Workshops,
Seminars & Breakout Sessions

either a long presentation with details, a short summary of the whole, or a more detailed discussion of any subtopic.

1. PLOTTING & SUBPLOTS—for fiction or narrative nonfiction writers. The journey(s)—internal & external--includes the basics of story writing.
SUBTOPICS: Beginning, Middle, End; Openings; Traditional plot vs. Open-ended plot. Then varying methods of developing your plot: Crucible, Scene/Sequel or Action/Reaction; Tension threads; Pace; Resolution, not to mention content tools such as: Research, Transitions, Narrative Summary—up close or distant, and Theme.

2. CHARACTERS & POV—for fiction or creative nonfiction writers: Determining who is your point of view character and how many:
SUBTOPICS: Creating a character “bible”; Which Characters get into your story; Roles of characters, i.e., their job; Transitions and scene breaks; MAIN, SECONDARY & MINOR characters; Character change; Research; Narrative Summary—up close or distant, and Theme.

3. SHOW—WITH MOVEMENT—DON’T TELL—for fiction or narrative nonfiction writers: SUBTOPICS: Setting; Description; Character action(s)/movement; Mood and tone; Action(s); Research & Transitions.

4. LET YOUR WRITING SING…Seduce The Reader With Your Narrative (Author) Voice—for fiction and nonfiction writer with…
SUBTOPICS: Tools Of The Creative Writer (Fact Or Fiction); Style; Literary Techniques; Syntax & Sentences; Word Choices—Connotation & Denotation, and of course, Transitions.

5. WRITING/PUBLISHING FOR THE SHORT MARKET—for writers of fiction and nonfiction —Blogs, Features, Columns, Short Stories, Essays. In this we explore: SUBTOPICS: Short story writing vs. novel/novella length; theme; Writing forms—literary or commercial fiction; traditional or creative nonfiction, and Strategies to identify and market short works.

6. SO…YOU WANT TO WRITE? WHERE TO BEGIN? LET’S GET STARTED—Fiction & Nonfiction/Long & short works—
SUBTOPICS: Idea development, Overview of story elements—plot, character, setting, writing style; Differences between literary and commercial fiction; Differences between traditional nonfiction and creative or narrative nonfiction; Introduction of essay writing; Overview of nonfiction writing forms/techniques; Topic & Theme; Transitions; Tools of the Creative Writer—fiction/nonfiction, and Research for every story--fact or fiction.

7. WRITING THE PERSONAL ESSAY and/or MEMOIR—nonfiction-- SUBTOPICS: What’s the “truth”? How do I find it? The writer interviewing the writer; Essay forms, Organization, and Nonfiction techniques of structure and style.

8. WRITING STORIES of FACT WITH DRAMATIC TECHNIQUES — Narrative/Creative Nonfiction either with or without the marketing segment of Nonfiction Proposal Writing. This would include:
SUBTOPICS: Story Structure; Basic tenets of truth telling; Style, including literary techniques; Titles; Marketing—for long & short market.
A. Proposal writing for long nonfiction-- Audience Identification; Platform Development; Outline; Competition, i.e., what’s out there already; Author Bio; Promotion/Adv/PR, and of course, the Query or Cover letter.
B. Strategies for short nonfiction—electronic & Print: Identifying “best bet” among publications (matching writers’ interests to magazine readers’ interests) & the all important Query or Cover letter.