The Power of Stories, the Magic of Creativity

Upcoming Events


10 am

American Association of University Women
West Contra Costa Branch

Christ Lutheran Church, 780 Ashbury St., El Cerrito, CA

Mystery Writing Panel
I'll join authors SUSAN C. SHEA and SIMON WOOD as we talk about writing mysteries and introduce our books.

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5 pm

Frank Bette Center for the Arts
1601 Paru St., Alameda, CA

"From Brilliant Idea to Successful Publication"
Everyone has stories to tell, and many of us want to put our stories into the hands of readers. We'll explore the process of developing your story -- whether novel, short story, memoir or personal essay -- from getting the initial spark, through putting it on the page, to getting it published and out into the world. You'll come away with inspiration, helpful, information, and a clear idea of the path to becoming a published author.

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OCTOBER 20-21, 2018
Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: 12 noon - 5 pm


Town Square Library

1 Town Square, Vacaville, CA

The Town Square Writers offers a weekend of talks and seminars on the craft of writing and the  journey to getting published. FREE to writers of all levels. I'll be making two presentations:

"Crafting a Compelling Plot" -- Sunday

Discover the essential elements of a well-structured plot. Learn how to entice readers with a strong beginning, keep them turning pages through an unmuddled middle, and reward them with a satisfying end. You will come away with a helpful roadmap to guide you in crafting a story that your readers can’t put down.

"Beyond the First Draft: How to Be an Effective Self-Editor" -- Sunday
It's been said that there is no good writing, only good rewriting. Learn how to refine your editorial eye and gain tips, tricks, and techniques for turning your manuscript into polished prose that will catch a publisher's eye.


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2 - 4 pm


42 Silicon Valley, Room 115, 6600 Dumbarton Circle, Fremont, CA

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"The Economics of Freelancing"
Writing is a creative endeavor offering many kinds of rewards. If you'd like some of those rewards to be financial, it helps to treat your freelance writing enterprise as a small business. Come and learn what writing pays and how to be not just an author but an entrepreneur.

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Mystery Writing



10 Wednesday evenings

September 12 - November 14

6:30 - 9:30 pm

Golden Bear Center, 1995 University Ave., Berkeley, CA
(close to Downtown Berkeley BART; there's a parking garage in the building.)

The mystery is the one of the most popular and pleasurable forms of storytelling for both readers and writers. In this class you will explore the art, the craft, and the business of writing crime fiction in its many forms, including detective stories (from cozy to hard-boiled), police procedurals, thrillers, and suspense. Class discussions, writing exercises, and guest speakers will give you clues and techniques for creating successful mystery novels and short stories: creating strong characters, portraying vivid settings, building suspense, and developing a convincing plot with a satisfying resolution. The course will guide you through the process, from finding ideas to marketing your work.

Click here to learn more details and to register.

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Looking for a Speaker?

If you'd like to have a great speaker for a group or instructor for a writing class or workshop, please contact me.

I enjoy speaking to library audiences, writers groups and community organizations, and sharing my enthusiasm for writing with participants.

I have talks and workshops ready to deliver, or I can develop one to suit your interests and needs.

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A Sampling of Student Comments

"A wonderful class! It was so well organized, focused, and inspirational."

"You are a wonderful and inspiring teacher, thank you. I have been looking for a way to finally begin writing, and you gave me the tools and the courage to do it."

"[Margaret] was very insightful, committed and knowledgeable. The class was a
sheer delight."

"I wanted you to know that Peggy was *outstanding* today, first giving a short story class all morning, then as luncheon speaker . . . 
She was so well prepared, amusing, informative, inspiring . . . the buzz was terrific!"