Writing & Publishing Talks




Speaking at Merck's "BlogPurr" about reaching readers.

I have been speaking at writers workshops since 1994 as well as pet conferences on a variety of pet-centric and writerly topics. Over the past few years I’ve added online webinars to my appearances.

I’ve presented at Thrillerfest, BlogPaws, BlogPurr (Merck), Barkworld, Tufts Animal Expo, WANA International, Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference, San Diego Cat Show, Cat Writers Association Conference, Pet Food Forum, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Wichita Writers Conference, Texas Thespian Festival and more.

For lists of other topics see:



There are many qualified and exceptional speakers available, but my presentations offer a bit of bling-icity and furry flare not present in others offering similar topics. I’ve also “walked-the-walk” having worked with high-power literary agents and multiple “Big 6” editors before turning my paw in new writer-ly directions (both nonfiction and fiction).

I’m happy to visit your class or conference in person to present one or more of the following topics. Most of these sessions also are available as on-demand webinars, too.

  • The Hybrid Author: Publishing Print, Ebooks & Audio: Publishing has changed, and there are many paths today to success. Authors no longer need an agent or New York publisher to become successful–but it still takes work! This powerpoint presentation covers the options available, with some down-and-dirty insider tips for DIY print books (with illustrations), Ebooks, and audio titles.
  • BLOG-ICITY: Why Most Blogs Suck & How to Make it Work: You got a book contract–CONGRATS!–but your editor says you need a blog. How do you start? What should you blog? Why blog at all? A well planned and executed blog can build audience, create content for future books, even get you a book contract, and enhance author credibility. This session answers your must-know questions, and points out some of the common reasons blogs fail, and why every writer (both nonfiction and fiction) should consider blogging. We’ll discuss blog platforms, choosing content, scheduling effectively, monetizing your blog, copyright and FTC disclosure issues and more in this fun powerpoint presentation.
  • DRAMA-MOMMA TO DOTING DAD: (For pet bloggers…can be expanded for other topics.) What types of pet parents are you…and your readers? From weird and wonderful newbies to passionate pros, your audience isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Understand their range of experience, needs and backgrounds (on a retirement budget? singleton pet/kid? dealing with fosters?) to better engage, keep and grow readership–without compromising your credibility or hissing off the audience. Pets are like furry snowflakes, each with a different look and purr-sonality. So are owners. And while we all share a passion for our topic—and so do our readers—understanding the kinds of readers can help us serve them better. This fun powerpoint includes a Q & A discussion of what’s “normal” for you and for your readers.
  • KINDLE-IZATION FOR WRITERS: Ebooks are the current gold standard of publishing…at least for the next 60 seconds or so. In this presentation, you’ll get a step-by-step how-to process for authors, including formatting tips for illustrations, covers, sidebars and table of contents. Includes marketing tips and social networking do’s and don’ts, must-know links to further information, with fun pet-centric illustrations, of course!
  • LIGHTS! CAMERAS! ACTION! Media Training for Writers: This presentation teaches you how to hone your PURR-fect pitch with interview presentation tips, production how-to advice for radio, TV, podcasts, YouTube and more as part of writer/author promotion. Can include interactive mock-interviews with participants.(Seminar Approx. 90 minutes)
  • JUST THE FACTS: Create Winning Nonfiction Proposals: After publishing two-dozen nonfiction books with “traditional” publishers via an agent, I made every mistake possible–and also learned what worked. This session shows you how to choose saleable topics, build an impressive bio, query (or not), and craft the proposal. This includes what components make up the proposal, how to format, and create your competition/market survey. It also includes tips for finding expert sources. (Seminar Approx. 90 minutes)
  • THE REINVENTED WRITER–A Writer-icity Evolution: Today authors must be masochists in order to endure both the real and imagined slings and arrows of writer-hissy-fit bullying. This fun Power Point presentation shows you how to put on your big-boy(or girl)-panties, suck it up, reinvent yourself and succeed. You will gain easy to use tips on how to “brand” yourself; the benefits of collaboration; ways to build “tribes” and why you should; how to leverage nonfiction to transition to fiction; ways to create diverse revenue streams; and how to use multiple platforms (blogs, YouTube, kindle, POD, audiobooks and more) to build your audience and career. Oh, and you’ll see some cute puppy and kitty pictures, too. (KEYNOTE: Approx 30 minutes, or WORKSHOP/Webinar Approx 2 hours)
  • BUILDING YOUR BRAND: Turn Niche Writing Into A “Brand-New” Career. This workshop shows writers how to leverage special interest(s) to build author brand, generate content for blogs, (or use blogs for book content!), create columns and more. Learn how to create credibility as the go-to “expert” in your field. (WORKSHOP/WEBINAR Approx 4 hours split into two sessions)
  • IMAGINE THAT! Transitioning from Nonfiction to Fiction. Nonfiction writers have an advantage over fiction-only writers IF they learn how to leverage their existing nonfiction platform. This session teaches writers how to jump start a fiction career, what’s the same/different, and choosing your publication path that suits you best. (Seminar/Webinar Approx 1 hour)
  • SCRIPTING NEKKID #1: The Playwright’s Life: Learn what’s involved in writing plays, and how to take a script from concept to production. Find out the nuts and bolts about what works, the challenges involved, and personal experience examples (the good, the bizarre and the awesome). Topics covered include play format, path to production, how to include music (or not), copyright issues, and how to collaborate (without killing each other!). This powerpoint presentation includes examples from SHOJAI & STEELE PLAYS productions, and more.
  • SCRIPT NEKKID #2: Use Playwriting Techniques to Hone Character, Dialogue & Story: Scripts strip bare the author’s idea, and use no frilly exposition, dialogue tags or emotive inner thoughts. The playwright uses dialogue and/or lyrics to define character, mood and setting, and drive the plot in only 60-120 pages. Learn how script writing can help you “murder your darlings,” and improve fiction conflict and pacing in novels. You’ll also learn playwriting must-knows and how to take a script from concept to production.
  •  SURVIVING COLLABORATION (WITHOUT KILLING EACH OTHER): Today, authors don’t have to know everything—experts in varying disciplines can partner together to author, publish, promote, illustrate, market, and rely each others’ strengths. The trick is deciding who does what when, how to settle disagreements (if any), and finish the #$%^!!!!  project while remaining on speaking terms. This fun session offers how-we-did-it anecdotes, planning tips, co-writing techniques, and ways to avoid hissing off your collaborator (chocolate!)—at least until you get the check.
  • WRITING LIKE CATS & DOGS: Fiction work today commonly includes pets as sidekicks to humans—or as characters telling their own stories. Whether you write for kids or adults, go for realism or fantasy, animals add texture, emotion and a unique viewpoint. Learn how we’ve effectively used dog/cat “viewpoint” characters in fiction and plays, what to consider when creating a furry character, pet peeves that derail your work, and how to create a furry pick-of-the-litterati!