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You hear a lot of things on Sirius Radio that makes you think...what the?

For example, the commercials. If you were an alien and happened to turn on one of the talk channels on Sirius, you would be convinced you could order EVERYTHING online, including all your food and all of your clothing, and that people were extremely paranoid of being robbed, thus all the security system commercials. Also, people really care about their sleep number beds. 

But anyway. Twelve days! One of the questions people most ask me is, "How long did it take to write your book?" 

I never... Read More...

So I've been doing a lot of readings lately. You may not be in this boat, but in case you are or will be, here are some lessons learned.

1. Wear cute boots. Or...whatever gives you confidence. I always wear the same pair of Old Gringo boots. Hideously expensive, they were an impulse buy, but they are covered in flowers and I love them. I feel good in them. For the love of everything holy, don't try an untested outfit.

2. Pick your selection carefully. Recently, in Pendleton, I chose the first chapter, because I thought it might entice people to see what happened next. While... Read More...

Well, folks, apparently if you get a book published, people think that you know what you're doing. They may ask you to do things, like co-lead a writing workshop. 

Yikes!

Even though my long distant college degree was in Creative Writing, I never really got into the mechanism of the whole writing thing. My strength is that I have an ear. I just write, and I know what sounds good and what doesn't. I don't proclaim to slay the adverb or to vary sentence length or any of that stuff. I'm of the "I know it when I hear it" school. (It's kind of like my previous career, firefighting... Read More...

Remember all those bands that had one or two hits and then faded into oblivion? On our recent ski hut trip, we pondered some of them. "Billy Squier!" I yelled in triumph after someone had asked, "Who sang that one song....?" (Oh how I remember In the Dark, the theme song of a long gone boyfriend who claimed to love the night better than the day.) 

None of us wants to be one hit wonders! (Though if I have to be, success like Harper Lee's comes to mind.) One book is no longer enough! Isn't that the way with everything? I know for sure one tent isn't enough..but I digress. The reason I... Read More...

When you publish a book, or even write essays or stories for publication, it's not like people are beating down your door, unless you have written WildTwilightHarryFiftyShadesSeaBiscuit. But rest assured, either your past skeletons or misunderstandings just may appear when you least expect it. Be prepared.

An anonymous old boyfriend wrote me to say he regretted his past actions, and while I think I know who it was, I am not quite sure. I prefer to think of it as the whole gang of loves gone wrong, all professing sorrow for their misdeeds. Various past friends have cropped... Read More...

I'm convinced that we all are imaginative people. We all have the "what if". Writers, though, can't let go of the "what if." They can't just meet the Russian girl traveling solo across the country by herself at a remote trailhead and just think, that's interesting! How brave! Writers (or maybe it's just me) start to imagine...what if she walked into the wilderness and disappeared?  Or maybe less sinister--what if she meets the park ranger driving the Rhino over the sand dunes and falls hopelessly in love? (Too romance novel? OK). What if she mistakenly... Read More...

Since I can't bug my agent every day about the status of the memoir, the best thing to do is...write something else. This is how I roll: I work on two things at once. That way when I get annoyed/disgusted/nauseous/stuck with one, I can pop on over to the other. I'm writing a memoir and a novel. The memoir is (surprise) another Alaska book, about being a wilderness kayak ranger in Alaska, while also navigating personal treacherous waters; the novel is about a 14 year old girl in 1982, one of a set of identical twins, who is witnessing the unraveling of her parents' marriage as they hike... Read More...

How to have a great writer's group:

1. Good writers. This sounds cruel, but it's best to pick your folks carefully and with a goal in mind. Keep it small, too. We have six, which I think should be the max. It helps to have a specific genre in mind (a lot of ours is memoir, but we have a poet as well. We'll keep him though).

2. Expectations. At our last meeting we went around and said what we wanted from the group. Some of us wanted big picture on a work in progress. Others wanted input on smaller works. Some of us are just deer in the headlights and aren't sure (me). It's... Read More...

 Making a lot of money was never my goal when I began the publisher search (and that's a good thing). I always wanted to publish traditionally.  If I had chosen to self publish, I would have had 1) more control over the process and 2) keep more of the profits. I can see why people do this. That was not important to me. Let's be real, hardly anyone in the author sea is going to make a fortune. I didn't have time to learn how to self publish, and I knew I was keeping my day job. Plus, we are at the point where anyone can self publish, and often those books are....well, awful. They... Read More...

Ever seen the Missed Connections section of some newspapers and Craigslist? Because I have nothing to say about my writing, here's a parody. All in fun, people.

I saw you in the backcountry this August. You were on the East fork of the West Fork of the South Fork..Wait. Was that the Middle Fork of the South Fork...? North Fork of the South..? Oh, forget it.

You were the guy in Carhartts and boots at Grain Growers! Does that narrow it down? I was getting a fence stretcher and some pig's ears. You know, a typical shopping expedition for a woman around here.... Read More...

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