Public Speaking

I do a fair amount of public speaking to religious groups and various service organizations like Rotary.

Lately, the scourge of heroin addiction – and the grief it leaves in its wake – is a topic dear to my heart following my youngest son’s fatal overdose in 2011. Here are talks and public appearances that have emerged from that tragic event:

Healing from Grief
All of us have -- or will -- experience the loss of a loved one. In my case, in addition to the expected deaths of grandparents and parents, I've witnessed a car-train collision that killed three people, lost my sister to suicide, and endured the death of my youngest son because of an accidental heroin overdose. Even though death is a part of life, it need not be crippling or debilitating. In this talk, I suggest strategies to help a person move forward -- through and beyond the pain and into a future that can once again be filled with hope -- and even joy.

Heroin – An Equal Opportunity Killer
Here’s a link to a short interview I did on WCAX, the CBS television affiliate in Burlington, Vermont about surviving the death of my son Stephen:

Michael Hall, the Chief of Police in Manchester, Vermont, saw the WCAX interview (above) and invited me to come to his community to address the problem of heroin addiction. That led to this interview:

I am eager to speak to the needs of individuals and communities struggling against addiction.

From Journalist to Novelist (Or How I Learned to Start Making it Up)
How to be flexible when your life takes unexpected turns. I’ve crafted this as a motivational talk to students, a commencement address, and as a talk about the power of prayer if I'm speaking to a religious organization.

The chaotic and, in many cases, disgusting 2016 presidential campaign prompted me to deliver the following talks:

Whatever Happened to Objectivity?
This talk is adapted from a speech I gave at the convention of the National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville in early 2016.

Confessions of a CNN Journalist
A glimpse behind the scenes at CNN to show how the news is really created.

I also speak at writers’ conferences on the following topics:

How to Tell Your Story
A practical 15-point plan that takes you from the mere germ of an idea all the way through the creative process, with an eye on getting a finished book into the hands of potential fans. We'll discuss how to transform the nub of an idea into a book-length project, populated with interesting characters, a twisty-turny plot, snappy dialogue, and an interesting setting. We'll also look at strategies for finding an agent and marketing the finished product.

Research: Writing What You Don't Know
Creating believable characters, building accurate settings and scenes, or even crafting a work of non-fiction all require research. But how can a writer get answers without the search becoming permanent procrastination? In this session, an award-winning author and former CNN journalist explores research tips and tactics, including interviewing strategies.

The Art of the Interview
Creating believable characters and building accurate scenes require research. A key research tool is the interview. In this session, you'll learn interviewing tips and strategies for getting even the most recalcitrant person to open up to you.

How to Write in the Voice of the Opposite Sex
Forget about Venus and Mars. Emotions are not gender specific. We all have them. It just takes a little work (ok, a LOT), to get into the head of the opposite sex. But it can be done. In this talk, I show you how.

Introducing Lark Chadwick
In this talk, I give the story behind the creation of my long-time protagonist and alter ego.

Planning vs. Seat-of-the-Pantsing
Are you a meticulous planner, or do you just wing it? In this session we'll explore strategies designed to add variety to your palette of writing techniques. If you're a planner, you'll learn how seat-of-the-pants writing can help you connect the dots. If your style is more free-form, we'll look at how peeking at the road ahead can inspire your writing in the here-and-now. This will be a writing lab, so bring pen and paper, or your laptop.

How to Stay Organized - Creating Order from Chaos
There are a lot of moving parts in a novel. The trick is to keep track of them as you do your writing work. In this talk, I explore strategies for how to avoid getting discouraged when your creativity feels chaotic.

Buffing and Polishing
The best writing is REwriting. In this session, you'll learn practical ways to put your writing on a flab-burning diet so that your copy is tight, trim and hot -- and all without even having to step onto a treadmill. A portion of this is a writing lab, so be sure to bring pen and paper.

Getting an Agent...and Getting Noticed
Writing's the easy part. The hard part is stepping out of your solitary comfort zone and trying to convince someone to buy your book. In this session you'll learn how to attract an agent and how to market yourself using strategies that are tailored to your personality.

Facing Your Fears
Not only is writing a lonely process, it can be downright scary. And, when it comes to mustering the courage to share our work with others, fear can turn to terror. In this session (suitable for a keynote address to end a writers' conference), we'll look at understanding what frightens us -- and how to get beyond those fears.

For more information on booking me to speak to your organization, please Contact Us .

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