Sierra Nevada College

I am on faculty at Sierra Nevada College's low-residency MFA program, where I mentor students in fiction, YA, and creative nonfiction. Students study remotely, except for twice-annual visits to Sierra Nevada's gorgeous campus on Lake Tahoe. The program is unique in numerous ways, including that students spend an entire semester honing their thesis under the supervision of a editor, or another professional in the publishing business. In general the program is dynamic, full of excellent faculty who are dedicated to craft, but also realistic about the nature of the writing business. The program features tracks in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and WCYA. 

If you have any questions about the program, I strongly encourage you to contact me. More information can be found on the program's website HERE.

Advanced Personal Essay: Finding a Way Through — online class through Creative Nonfiction (April 8 - June 16 2019)

“If other people are to care about your life, art must intervene.” - Hilary Mantel

Transforming actual people and events into characters and plot elements in an essay can be disorienting, but this is how we turn what would otherwise be journal entries—written for the author’s benefit—into literature, which exists for the benefit of readers.

This class is designed for those who have already explored the basics of personal writing and wish to explore specific techniques for turning a personal anecdote into a publishable essay.

Specifically, you will look at some typical structures of the personal essay, and how those formats help authors avoid common pitfalls of the form, such as getting lost in a giant pile of information and/or coming off as solipsistic/maudlin.

More info HERE.

Fiction III at Hugo House — online class through Hugo House (April 18 - June 20 2019)

This class will build upon craft learned in Fiction I and II. Students can expect advanced readings, regular workshops, and feedback from their classmates and instructor. This course takes place online through our partners at Wet Ink, and classes can be done at your own pace throughout the week.

Register HERE

Manuscript consultations & Coaching

I offer manuscript consultations and one-on-one writing coaching to writers working on fiction and nonfiction. While there are a limited number of appointments and consultations available, I am flexible and happy to discuss the scope of the work in advance.


Services Offered:

-  Read Complete Manuscript

-  One-on-One coaching sessions (these are typically one hour every week, or every other week).

-  Read first 50 pages of manuscript (plus an outline) and provide feedback

-  All publishing business questions. I have helped many authors find the right agent for them. This includes assisting with the initial search, and crafting the query letter.     

 How I Work:

The best approach is for me to first get a sense of where you are with your work, and what you’re looking for. Based on that initial assessment, we can have a conversation about the best approach.

There are three basic models that usually apply:  

1.     If you want feedback on a completed book, it’s often enough for me to read the first 50 pages and a synopsis of the rest. This usually takes me about 5-6 hours. At the end you will get 4-5 (or more) single spaced pages. This is often enough for a book that has significant problems, or if it is very close to being ready for submission. In the event that your writing is just perfect, you won’t get charged, and you won’t get notes . . . I’ll just wish you well, and we can talk about agents.

2.     If the book has multiple POVs, or if it is structurally complex, I’ll probably need to read the whole book, which can take as much as 20 hours. The amount of notes you get with this varies. The most I’ve given was about 15 pages single spaced. The least is probably 8 pages single spaced. There will be a lot of notes.

3.     If you have a rough draft (or not) and are eager to dig in more deeply, work on process, rather than just the book—basically if you want to become a better writer—my favorite method of working is through weekly coaching (or every other week). We’ll meet for an hour a week, and at each meeting you bring 10-15 pages of your book (the first time we meet, you bring the first 10-15 pages, second time the next 10-15 pages, etc.). I read the manuscript aloud and pause to talk about what I’m seeing as I read. This is a very unfiltered and direct form of feedback, so it can be a little intense, but it’s extremely effective. At the end of each session I’ll give you a plan/assignment for the coming week.

4.     One of my specialties is giving advice to people who are seeking a literary agent, or need advice on the professional aspect of the writing life. I have advised many authors through this experience, and people often seem woefully unaware of how best to proceed. 

My rate is $120 per hour.

My former students and clients include:

Tara Conklin, author of the NYT Bestseller The House Girl

Therese Huson, author of How Women Decide

Shannon Huffman Polson, author of North of Hope

Elissa Washuta, author of My Body Is A Book of Rules.

Gail Hudson, co-author of several of Jane Goodall's books

Nicole Hardy, author of Confessions of a Latter Day Virgin

Paulette Perhach, Seattle area writer