I can – and do – talk about my writing for hours.  I give talks to writers’ groups, reading groups and even people waiting at a bus stop if they’re there long enough.  I have a couple of main topics, (see below) but these are not set in stone. However, don’t expect a learned exposition on the significance of imagery in the modern short story or anything like that – my talks are lighthearted and, I hope, entertaining.  And if I tell you something you didn’t know before or make you look at something differently, well, that’s a bonus. And if your bus comes along before I finish, that’s ok too.

I’m on the approved speakers list of the Somerset Federation of Women’s Institutes. When I went for my audition, I was on crutches, having fallen down a rabbit hole and broken my ankle – so I earned a few sympathy votes , particularly when I told them how my next story , a revenge one, was going to be about a rabbit who fell down a man hole.

 Making Crime Pay – the Fiction Writer’s Way

Who says crime doesn’t pay?  In this lighthearted talk, using examples from my murder mystery stories, I let you in to some of the secrets of planning and carrying out the perfect crime ….  strictly in the fictional sense, of course.  I explain how to bring a cast of characters to life (or to death in some cases),  the importance of choosing the right location and discuss not only who-dunnit but how-dunnit and why-dunnit as well. 

You know what they say about the three most important things about a property? Well, in crime fiction, it’s motivation, motivation, motivation.

Selling My Grandmother – and Other Family Members

This talk is confession time and I always have to check there are no members of my family in the audience as I own up to the shameless way I exploit my family, friends, neighbours and almost everyone who comes in to my local pub.  I illustrate this with examples from my published stories and, if time allows, read a complete story – very often a twist in the tail story because I love to see the look on people’s faces when they realise they’ve been deceived.

You’re not sure what a twist in the tail story is? Then you’ll have to come along to Selling my Grandmother and find out.

Living the Dream – far from the comfort zone

I’ve been a writer (or, rather, a wannabe writer) all my life and had boxes of unfinished novels and unpublished short stories under the bed. But as a Significant Birthday approached, the Big Six-O, I realised that, in the part of my head labelled ‘One Day I’m Going To..’ were all these unfulfilled dreams and ambitions. So I made myself a promise to ‘Never Say No’ – at least in the working sense. 

To say this has changed my life is the absolute truth. It’s dragged me, kicking, screaming and more often than not, whimpering, way out of my comfort zone. It’s been a bumpy, scary ride but never a dull one. I’ve had moments when I’ve soared – others where I’ve fallen flat on my face. Want to come along? But be warned – it might inspire you to leave your comfort zone, too!

Writing as Therapy

This is a new direction for me and is a talk that would work equally well as a workshop as it explores various ways in which to use writing, in the form of a journal , diary – or even keeping a blog – , as a way of making sense out of an often chaotic world. And, did you know that something as simple as keeping a gratitude journal (or, as my Gran would say, counting your blessings) can have a profound effect on your sense of well being?