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Most people (including me) don't think past the I Have A Dream of getting a book published. Now that The Geography of Water has been out for six months, I am thinking back over what I have learned. In a nutshell:

1. There will always be something you should be doing to promote the book. It's best to just do what you are capable of and let the rest go. For me, I don't need more obligations in my life..I have plenty with my day job.

2. Speaking of promoting, the bulk of it needs to happen before the book comes out. Most bigger sites or reviewers won't touch a book that... Read More...

Writing...is hard. These past few weeks have been a struggle. I vacillate wildly between...this is a great memoir/novel and you published one book, give up already! P.S. this is carp!* 

 Yep, it's a writing slump. Nothing really helps in these. You just have to wait them out. I know people who force it, but for me that doesn't work. It's like "junk miles" in running--you might feel better momentarily, but it doesn't advance your training. You just end up with a bunch of stuff to delete. Your process may be different, but what I have to do is just leave it... Read More...

IF you suddenly realize you don't remember when you last washed your hair because your waking hours have been spent at the computer....YOU MIGHT BE A WRITER.

IF you run to put down funny or interesting sayings your friends come out with, YOU MIGHT BE A WRITER.

IF there are times you'd rather go to the gym than write one more word, because the gym is easier, YOU MIGHT BE A WRITER.

IF you are introduced to someone and think, this would be a great character's name in my book!, YOU MIGHT BE A WRITER.

IF you are hiking on a trail and see two people ahead of you, and... Read More...

Recently I finished another section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I've been doing this since 2012 and I now have hiked more miles on the PCT than Cheryl Strayed! (I'm at not quite half). Once again. I was suprised and slightly dismayed at the proliferation of earbuds. Back in 2012, I didn't see any. Now, it's almost an essential part of the gear.

Don't get me wrong. If you hike 2,660 miles, I can understand why after awhile your thoughts might make you crazy. I wouldn't be above popping in a podcast or a book on tape. But where I was this time was less than 150 miles from the... Read More...

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...

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