Classes/Seminars

 2014 Schedule

Note:  I retired from teaching at Santiago Canyon College in fall 2013 and now teach a free monthly class at the Orange Family History Center. The FHC is located at 674 S. Yorba in Orange (near Chapman Avenue and the 55 Freeway). All classes are on Thursday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. Here are the dates:

  • Jan. 16
  • Feb. 20
  • Mar. 20
  • Apr. 17
  • May 15
  • June 26
  • Fall schedule TBA

Seminars 2014

  • Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m., North Orange County Genealogy Society, “Breathe Life into Your Ancestors’ Story.”
  • March 25, “Our Lives, Our Stories, America’s ‘Greatest Generation,” a program co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Carlsbad City Library Museum, and the North San Diego County Genealogy Society. Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 10 a.m.
  • April 12, 2:00, Pomona Genealogy Society, “How to Write a Fascinating Family History.” Pomona City Library.
  • April 19, Orange Family History Fair, “How to Write a Family History.”
  • June 8, Jamboree, 8:30, “How to Write a Fascinating Family History”; 10:00, “Write a Personal History that Captures Your Interesting Life”; Burbank Marriott, 2500 Hollywood Way, Burbank (right across the street from the Burbank Airport). See the list of all Jamboree’s offerings here.
  • Aug. 18, Education Week, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; “Turn Your Genealogy Data into a Fascinating Family History.” Three-hour seminar, beginning at 9:50 a.m., 3108, Jesse Knight Bldg.
  • Oct. 25, San Diego Genealogy Society, Marina Village, Coral Room, 1936 Quivira Way, San Diego. “Be a Good Ancestor: Write a Personal History that Captures Your Interesting Life,” and “Turn Your Genealogy Data into a Fascinating Family History.”

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Seminars 2013

  • Feb. 1:  Family History Center, “How to Write a Family History,” 674 S. Yorba, Orange, CA 92869. No registration required.
  • March 2–BASH, hosted by Orange County, CA Genealogy Society, Huntington Beach Library, Huntington Beach, CA
  • April 20–Orange Family History Fair, “How to Write a Personal History,” “How to Publish a Family History,” 674 S. Yorba, Orange 92869 (No registration required)
  • June 16–Questing Heirs, Long Beach, CA, 1:00.
  • Sept. 21Whittier Genealogy Society, 10:30

Seminars 2012

  • Feb. 15–San Clemente Stake, “Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Personal History,” 7:00 p.m.
  • April 21–Orange Family History Fair, “How to Turn Genealogy Facts into a Fascinating Family History,” 1:20-3:30 p.m. 674 S. Yorba Street, Orange, CA 92869. No need to pre-register.
  • June 7–SCGS Jamboree Writers Conference, Burbank, CA. 10:00-12:30–“Breathe Life into Your Ancestors”; 2:00-3:00–“It’s Time to Write Your Own Story”; 3:30-4:30–“The Place of Place in Your Family History Narrative.” Go here for more information.
  • June 15–Miracosta College LIFE Group. “Preserving Your Family Stories.” Miracosta College, Oceanside Campus, Board of Trustees Board Room, 1:00 p.m.
  • July 24–N. San Diego County Genealogy Society, 10 a.m., Carlsbad City Counsel Chambers. “How to Turn Genealogy Data into a Fascinating Family History.”
  • Aug 4–Orange County California Genealogy Society, 11:00 a.m., Huntington Beach Library, “How to Turn Genealogy Data into a Fascinating Family History.”
  • Oct. 16–Association of Personal Historians Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO. All-day seminar, “Boot Camp for Personal History Writers: Kick Your Writing to the Next Level.” 
  • Nov. 2-3–Utah Association of Personal Historians Conference, Utah Cultural Celebration, West Valley City. More coming. 

Seminars 2011

  • June 9, 2011–Jamboree, Southern California Genealogy Society, Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Hotel, 8:30 a.m., “The Family History Writer’s Conundrum: How to Write about Family Skeletons and Other Prickly People”
  • June 28, 2011–N. San Diego County Genealogy Society, 10 a.m., Carlsbad City Council Chambers. Topic:  “It’s Your Life Story: Now Put Yourself into It!”
  • Aug. 15-19, 2011–Campus Education Week, Brigham Young University, “How to Write a Personal History People Will WANT to Read”
  • Sept. 7-11, 2011–FGS Conference, Springfield, IL, “The Place of Place in Your Family History Narrative:  Anchoring Your Family History in Its Setting”
  • Sept 17, 2011–Chino Valley Family History Fair, TBA
  • Oct. 17, 2011–Association of Personal Historians National Conference, Las Vegas, 10:30-noon, “Boot Camp for Life Writing Teachers: What to Teach and How to Teach It”
  • Oct. 18, 2011–Association of Personal Historians National Conference, Las Vegas, 10:30-noon, “Make a Scene: Bring Your Personal Histories to Life”


A little about what I teach…

typewriterMy classes have a dual focus: First to motivate students to write their life story, and, second, to show them how to make it interesting. It’s one thing to write down memories as they spring from your head; it’s quite another to shape those memories into a fascinating story, one that lets readers into your life, and shows them what it was like to walk in your shoes. I focus on SHOWING, not just TELLING. If people learn this skill, they’ll tell an interesting story. Learning to write is like learning to play the piano: The more people practice, the better they get. It’s rewarding to watch my students grow as writers over time.  I also love when they discover that their lives have been interesting and meaningful, something they may not have realized had they not taken the time to record their stories.  It’s so satisfying to play a small part in that process. To learn more about my classes and my teaching techniques, visit my website at www.MemoirMentor.com. You’ll find most of my curriculum in the book I co-authored with my husband and published in 2007, Breathe Life into Your Life Story:  How to Write a Story People Will WANT to Read, available through the publisher, Signature Books, and Amazon.com. ____________________________

Honors and Endorsements:

In 2008 Santiago Canyon College honored me with the Faculty Excellence Award. If you’d like to read what some nice people have said  about  my classes and seminars, click here.