Award-Winning Author ~ Editor ~ Writing Instructor

Freelance Editing: I am sometimes available for novel editing and on-going coaching. Email me for current availability, pricing and general information.I also edit through Author Connect.Email Author Connect for more information.

Read student endorsements.

Here are some of the online classes I teach for the Writers' Program of the UCLA Extension School, though only one is currently scheduled.

Entry level mystery writing class:

Committing the Perfect Crime: Writing Your First Mystery (Online)
Do you long to commit the perfect crime--and see it bound between covers and on the bestseller lists? Crime novels sell outstandingly well today, but the competition for publication has never been tougher. If you always thought you would like to write a mystery or suspense novel, but you don't know how to begin -- then this class is for you.

Designed for beginners as well as those with a work-in-progress who need direction, this course is a supportive, results-oriented workshop that guides you in planning your mystery or suspense novel, or revising some of the choices made in your work-in-progress. Through weekly writing assignments, some of which draw on characters and develop scenes for the students' projected novels; lectures on craft; assigned readings; and instructor and peer feedback, students learn the fundamentals of crime writing, including structure and pacing, point-of-view, setting, character development, dialogue and voice, and clues and red herrings, as well as critical self-editing techniques. Also covered are the practical aspects of attracting the right agent and/or editor. The goal is to draft the first chapter of your planned mystery or suspense novel.

This course will focus on shaping your vision, by helping you to identify the story and thematic elements of your idea, and providing you various approaches to structure. We will also explore techniques for creating memorable characters that live off the page, dynamic dialog, and ways to identify and capture the unique voice of each student, as well as the practical aspects of finding the right agent and/or publisher, and effective marketing and presentation methods.

Make this the year you complete the mystery novel you've always wanted to write! Click to read the syllabus.

This class is currently scheduled for the Summer session, starting on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

Email me if you wish to be on the email list for its next scheduled date.

Intermediate-Advanced Class
Writing the Crime Novel: Intermediate Workshop (Online)

Designed for writers of mystery or suspense fiction with at least one completed chapter and a plan for their book in hand, this intensive workshop provides in-depth instructor and peer feedback of up to 8,000 words of each participant's novel and synopsis. Focused discussions on characterization, structure, point-of-view, dialogue, and other craft issues are tailored to meet individual writing needs, and all students are encouraged to analyze the choices they have made in their works-in-progress, sharpen their critical judgments, and request feedback on their special areas of concern.

This class is not currently scheduled.
Email me if you wish to be on the mailing list for its next scheduled date.

Approaching the Mystery Marketplace: A One-Week Class(Online)

The mystery market, including cross-genre romantic and paranormal mysteries, always enjoy strong readership, but publication in this varied genre has never been more competitive. As you move towards getting your mystery novel to as good as it can be, how you should approach publication? What does it take to attract the right agent, the right editor? Large presses or small ones — which is right for you? What resources will aid you in your search? This course provides in-depth lectures that address those questions and more, as well as the query letter, synopsis and general-submission procedures. Joining the instructor for part of one day is Greg Lilly, publisher of Cherokee McGhee Publishing, an independent publisher of mysteries, historical and general fiction. Greg shares the best and worst of the queries and approaches he sees, and is on-hand for a 3-hour period to take questions on the publication process. From the instructor, who enjoys the unique perspective as both an award-winning mystery author and a bookseller, you learn how the choices you make now will determine bookstore receptiveness toward your future book. After reading detailed lectures, students have the opportunity to submit their questions to the instructor.

This class is not currently scheduled. Email me if you wish to be on the mailing list for its next scheduled

The UCLA Extension Writers' Program is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive continuing education writing program in the United States where adult learners study with their choice of more than 250 professional screenwriters, fiction writers, playwrights, poets, nonfiction writers and writers of children’s literature. The Writers’ Program offers more than 550 courses annually, both on-site and online, as well as a yearly Writers Studio, nine-month Master Classes, a screenplay competition, and writing consultations – all designed to help students meet their writing goals. For more information, visit