About Me

Why am I a writing coach and critiquer? Because I’ve been writing professionally for more than 30 years, and teaching creative writing for 25 of those years. I have more than 75 books published, including 70 children’s and YA titles, and two crime novels as well as a number of short stories.

I’ve helped many writers towards publication. Nothing makes me prouder and happier than to see one of my students achieve a lifelong dream and see their first book in print. And their second, and third.

But I know that many writers receive rejection after rejection without really understanding why. Often they have a great idea but the execution of it on paper just isn’t working. A good critique can help to sort out the problems and offer solutions.

This is what I can offer:

  • Wide knowledge of the publishing industry, how it works, new trends, experience of agents, submission requirements, self publishing.
  • Practical experience and a sound knowledge of what makes a story or novel work and how to fix it if it’s not working – I don’t just tell you the problems, I can help you fix them.
  • A deep understanding of the ups and downs of a writer’s life, the dreams and struggles, the need for motivation and discipline, the usefulness of goals and rewards, the value of true support and encouragement.

I spent many years teaching Professional Writing & Editing subjects at Victoria University TAFE in Melbourne, Australia. My main areas of expertise are fiction writing, poetry, and writing for children and young adults. I’ve also taught nonfiction writing, industry knowledge, self publishing, myths and symbols and editing.

I graduated from Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota, with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I also have completed a PhD creative writing thesis at Victoria University on fairy tales.

I have my own author’s website, as well as a writing blog called Books and Writing with more than 680 posts since 2005. This blog averages 500-600 readers a week. Several years ago, I created Ebooks4writers, where I post articles on the craft of writing, including series on Life Writing, Creating Characters and the DPR of Writing (determination, perseverance and resilience). Sign up for my writers’ newsletter at that site and receive a free copy of The Tough Guide to Getting Published.

I also teach writing and professional development classes around Australia, and overseas. I’ve spoken at conferences and festivals in Australia, Portugal and at the Pima Writers’ Workshop in Arizona. I do school visits on a regular basis, talking to kids about my children’s and YA books.

I love the craft of writing and the challenge of making the next piece even better than the last. Like many writers, I suffer from procrastination! My ebooks are designed to make you a better writer, and to get published – as long as you’re prepared to do the work. That’s why many of my ebooks are called Tough Guides.

If you are a writer looking for guidance and support, or needing a manuscript assessed, take a look at my Mentoring and Critiques pages, and email me with any questions.

Thanks for dropping by!