Speaking Topics

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Point of View Go Deep 

Writing in deep point of view, I am the character as I create each scene.  When I get it right, it also means the reader is the character.  The reader smells the salty air, feels the soft bark of a redwood or the smooth cotton of a child’s shirt.  The reader drops into the depths of each dark moment and rises to joy with each triumph.

Through a carefully crafted power point presentation, and a series of writing exercises, I’ll teach you how to immerse your readers into a character from the first word of a story to the last.

Healing with Words

The primary focus of this workshop is to help authors find the courage to share their secrets in a compelling, appealing and marketable way.  My premise is that those dark places we keep hidden away in anger and shame and frustration are precisely what makes us human, and when we open those locked doors and let the light of writing inside, it is not only healing for us, but allows our readers to recognize themselves and step a little further into their own light.

Married for twenty-five years to Jack, one of the most stubborn jarheads on the face of the earth, a man who, fifty years ago, stepped on a landmine in Vietnam, for years I avoided the subject of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  After all, writing was not just my passion, writing was my escape.  But the truth will rise to the surface no matter how much we push and shove it deep.  In My Life with a Wounded Warrior, Clueless Gringos in Paradise, and Ridgeline I opened the curtain on the truth about living with a man wounded physically and psychologically by war. In this presentation I share that journey which includes the miracle of Chesty, a service dog that, in many ways, brought Jack home. I also encourage others to open closed doors and expose their own dark places to the healing of words.

A Family Legacy

As writers of fiction we weave lies in order to reveal difficult truth.   This presentation demonstrates how to turn your family legends into entertaining fiction. I confess to having a natural inclination for this as I come from a family of gifted liars. My kin are good story tellers, one and all.  But everyone has a family story or two which, once we uncover the core truth, has the potential to be a book with almost universal appeal.  That’s the point, after all, of legends–they expose a deep human need of one kind or another.

I was three when my grandpa had his first run-in with Bigfoot in the mountains around Peckwan in Northern California. Memories of that time perked for over fifty years before I held them up to the light of fiction in my novel, Bigfoot BluesRidgeline, the first book in my western Long Journey Home series, exposes core truths about a man surviving war and a woman who loves him.

I’ll tell you a few tales and let you in on a family secret or two before answering your questions and hearing your own experiences.  Together we’ll explore how that funny, or scary, or just plain odd story that persists in your own family might be transformed by your creativity into a wonderful book.

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s Door

A good many writers are tired of scratching at New York’s back door.  The fact is, if you don’t have an MFA from a prestigious university, if your summer place doubles as your winter place, and if the setting of your novel is a town where the feed store doubles as coffee shop–well honey, the chances of getting picked up by New York are slim to none.

The good news is that the publishing world is filled with small publishing companies eager for good writers.  The trick is to find the right small press.  This workshop will teach you how to do just that.  We’ll go over the twelve things to look for in choosing your publisher, I’ll give you a list of interview questions to ask the publisher, and we’ll talk about what you can expect from a good press and what you cannot.   My goal is for you to leave this workshop motivated to write, and confident in your power to find the perfect small press for your unique contribution to the reading world.

Post-traumatic Stress in Combat Veterans

This workshop concentrates solely on understanding the combat veteran.  Post-traumatic Stress is the natural reaction to trauma.  The profundity of the trauma, the duration of the trauma, and the time that elapses after the trauma before treatment is sought determine how deeply PTSD affects each individual.  Survival in combat requires the mastery of emotional skills such as emotional numbing, hyper-alertness, and the need to control each situation. When a combat veteran returns home, these necessary skills often become a burden.

My goal in this workshop is to help the non-combat veteran in a relationship understand why their loved one reacts the way they do to fireworks, or crowds, or a lost personal item.  My aim is to help people understand the men and women who have actually done battle in places our government sent them so that we can truly welcome them home.

The Warrior as a Literary Hero

From Homer’s Odysseus, to Shakespeare’s Henry V, to James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux, the tale of a returning warrior is the stuff of great literary fiction.  Those who experience combat carry the memories of their wars etched deep in their psyches.  Filled to bursting with internal tension, warriors are deeply complex, intensely vulnerable and universally misunderstood. They can be counted upon to lean toward self-destruction, rush toward the figurative burning building, desperately seek love and acceptance at the same time they flee every intimate relationship.

In other words they make wonderful point-of-view characters.

If an author is to portray such an individual correctly, she must have an understanding of war and how it changes a warrior. She must comprehend that which has been labeled melancholia, battle fatigue, shell shock, and, currently, post-traumatic stress.  This presentation will give the writer a basic understanding of the combat veteran and provide the tools to create her own unique warrior hero.

Biography

I currently have three contemporary novels, a book of personal essays, a humorous travel memoir, and the first book in a literary western series published, with a two book contract from Pen-L Publishing and a three book contract from Oghma Creative Media for books coming out over the next two years.   My great joy is writing, but I love also to speak and to teach. With the writing and publication of my last three books, I have shared with readers my own personal experience with combat post-traumatic stress. Married for twenty-five years to a Vietnam combat Marine who worked as a counselor for other combat veterans, I have gleaned a good bit of knowledge about this topic.  More importantly, I understand the day-to-day joys and struggles of living with the aftermath of war.

I’ve taught at The Village Writing School in Eureka Springs, half-a-dozen libraries, and the Fayetteville Veterans Administration.  I’ve presented a variety of subjects at The Ozark Writers League, The NW Arkansas Writers Conference, and Saturday Writers in St. Louis.

Each of my presentations can be taught in time frames between one hour and a full two-day workshop. The longer time allows for more in-depth teaching, additional writing exercises, and increased interaction with the audience.

Philosophy of teaching writing

My philosophy of teaching writing is to share my own personal journey and method as well as what I have learned from others over the years.  This makes for an entertaining presentation and encourages listeners to expand on my process, to take what they can use and apply it to their own writing.  In no way do I ever imply that I have discovered the one, true path to writing and publication.  But I am good at breaking down my own method into small, easily absorbed pieces and sharing those bite-size morsels with other writers.  New authors leave my presentations with a wealth of information and ideas. My goal is for more experienced authors to have at least one ‘ah hah!” moment, one insight that frames the world and their own writing in a way they’ve never seen before.

Philosophy of teaching about Post-traumatic Stress

There are a wealth of pedantic books out there that break PTSD down into symptoms and treatment options and certainly I make sure my audience understands both.  But my goal is to put people inside the skin of the veteran, to help spouses and other loved ones understand what is and, what is not, PTSD.  I explain the day-to-day life of the family living with a combat veteran – why he flees the dentist office, refuses to sleep in a tent on a camping trip, avoids crowds, panics in close traffic, and seeks control over every situation.

Education

BS from Humboldt State University in economics and philosophy

Teaching credential from the University of Hawaii

A life well-lived

References

Alison Taylor-Brown – Owner of The Village Writing School

Linda Apple – 2012 President of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.       Lindacapple@gmail.com

Patty Stith – 2012 President of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.  pstith216@gmail.com

Jan Morrill – 2013 President of Ozark Writers League.  jymorrill@gmail.com

My blog addresses provide a longer biography, a good example of my writing, and a peek at my books.

http://pamelafosterspeakerwriter.wordpress.com/

http://woundedwarriorwife.wordpress.com/

pamelafoster2011@gmail.com

For information on Pamela’s speaking fees and schedule please contact her HERE.