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You guys!

(Does anyone read this? I really hate that I can't enable comments here, but my website designer convinced me I would just get a lot of spam. Judging from the amount of email I get from people who think I should hire them to work on the site, he is probably right).

Anyway. I got the first half of my advance for Fire in the Heart! (Minus agent commission)

But whoa there, partner. You don't want to go out and blow it all on a trip to New Zealand (tempting). I have heard horror stories of authors getting big advances (mine is not that big) and having to pay them... Read More...

 I was at a book signing recently, which consisted of a bunch of authors sitting around with their books and eating cake, and a few random locals popping in. I sold three books. Mainly because I think everyone in the county has read mine who is going to. I sat next to a woman who had written a book in 2012. Someone asked us about our next books. She piped up, "I am NEVER writing another book! It's too hard."

This probably falls in the category of Captain Obvious, but I had never really considered this as an option. So many people have asked me about my next book that I have felt... Read More...

Remember in gym class, when some of the other kids could climb the rope and you couldn't? Okay, maybe you could climb the rope. Or maybe you didn't ever have to climb the rope. Anyway, my point is, in all lives envy sometimes creeps in. Along with a sense of failure. I couldn't climb the rope! Sally can climb the rope!  Oh, I am just worthless. I should just give up!

An author friend of mine is having great success with her book. It is great. She is very talented and deserves every bit of it. We both entered a very high level contest and her book is on a very short list to win. Mine... Read More...

Ah, November. The cruelest month. When the weather teeters between frigid and oddly warm, when it is pitch black as you finish working. Good times! 

There are some social traditions with November, besides eating too much turkey. One is Movember, or a month of growing a mustache. Gladly, I can't do that. There is also NaNoWriMo, the much maligned "throw a bunch of words on a page" project. I almost signed up for it, because some friends were, but then sanity prevailed. I can't have one more obligation in my life. 

However, I am writing. I am 23 pages into a novel in which one... Read More...

A milestone arrived in the mail. The first royalty check for The Geography of Water. It might sound crazy, but I'm still amazed to get paid for something I loved doing so much (I wish I felt like this about my day job!). It's hard to say if checks will continue. There are just so many books out there, and it's hard to make them stand out, especially after they have been published for a year (a publicist wouldn't touch it; it's all on you at this point). I never got into this to make money, but it's still pretty exciting.

"What should I do with it... Read More...

It's fall, it's dark early, i't isn't very warm. I've begun muddling through the two book length projects I started earlier this year. Optimistically I declared to myself that I would have a manuscript of at least one of them done by the date my book came out last year. News flash! Not going to happen. It's the MIDDLE that is giving me fits.

Some writers outline their whole book before they begin. This is probably the sane, organized way to do it. I equate this with the backpackers who place everything in different color stuff sacks. Not me! My writing is a messy process. I never... Read More...

I'm reading over my new book contract (For Fire in the Heart, my firefighting memoir) and it strikes me that this is a big, big deal. Not that the first contract wasn't, but I was so giddy with getting a book published that it just was a bonus to sign something. However, there is something solemn and frightening about a book contract, and it makes sense to really read it. This one has clauses about not doing immoral things, which luckily I don't need to worry about, or disparaging the publisher on social media. Which again, I have no intention of doing--I love my publisher!--but it got me... Read More...

There's a reason for no blog posts lately. No, it isn't something extremely interesting, like I was climbing Mount Everest, or I set sail with a group of nice pirates. Basically, it's this, a secret my agent let me in on when I asked about my contract: nothing happens in August. Actually, it seems like many people take that time off in the publishing industry. At any rate, it's not a great time to look for an agent, or a publisher. Or sign a contract.

I remember when my job used to have a down time. We lived for it during the manic summer months, when we worked all hours... Read More...

There I was, at dinner with a co-worker. We were far from home in a tiny town, after a day of roaming the woods and puzzling over a project we had been assigned to analyze. I don't know how it came up, but this person who shall not be named revealed a personal story about one of his relatives--one of those stories that makes a writer's ears perk up. Whoa! I thought. What a great premise for a novel! But then: Hmm. Would using it be bad? It's not like this event didn't happen to other people in history...but...

That, my friends, is why knowing a writer can be... Read More...

I've given up feeling guilty for not writing more this summer. There's just..so much. The summer is really short here, and I feel compelled to be outside as much as I can, as much as working ten hour days will let me. There's time in winter, those long, long blue nights when the dark falls early and you are trapped inside. Summer is for backpacking and swimming and lying in hammocks. If that makes me not a "real" writer, so be it.

I do have a story simmering in the back burner, and I will get there. The Alaska memoir is temporarily stalled as I decide whether it should be a novel or... Read More...

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