Some Information About Me

I recently retired from twenty-eight years of teaching creative writing at El Camino College in California, from beginning fiction writing to workshops for advanced students. For much of that time, I've also been giving workshops at writers' conferences all over Southern California, including several week-long workshops in the mountains at the Idyllwild Arts summer programs. I've been invited twice to teach fiction writing for Oxford University Discovery Programme aboard the Queen Mary 2.
For most of that time, I didn't have the luxury of being a full-time writer; I taught and raised a family and fitted in my writing where I could. But I've published eight novels, more than thirty short stories, dozens of poems and a number of articles, and I've been the recipient of several awards (for more information, see my extended bibliography).
I'm a long-time member of the Asilomar Writers Consortium, founded by C. Jerry Hannah, a professional workshop where I continue to learn about the craft and to hone my own skills.

Can Writing Be Taught?

Many people ask whether fiction writing can be taught, feeling perhaps that it's a talent that one either has or doesn't have, and if that's true then nothing a teacher does can have any effect. I'll begin by saying that I've seen dozens of my students publish short stories professionally in national and international publications such as Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Amazing Stories, Reader's Digest, and many more. Many have also gone on to have their novels published by reputable publishers. (Self and vanity publishing are not good options if you want to establish a professional career. See if you're not sure whom you're dealing with.)
So my answer to that question is obviously “yes.”

* You bring to a class or workshop whatever talent you were born with and the determination to work at the craft.
* I'll teach you the craft of fiction, the basics of plotting and character building, and I'll show you how to research markets that are right for your material.

How Does This Work?

To see how my method works, read, “Creativity in the Fishbowl,” and the story it refers to, “Miles to Go.” is available from

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