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I press send on an email. Please, please like my stories! What people don't tell you is that agents and publishers often don't respond to your queries. They can't. They get too many. Sending your work out is a shot in the dark, and you can assume if three months has gone by, they aren't interested. The ones I appreciate write back, and they might even say something like, "this is lovely writing, but I don't have the excitement it would require to take this on." Or they default to, "This is not the right fit for us." But more often there is silence. It's simple: supply and demand. Many more... Read More...

I lugged a full cubitainer of water up the porch steps. It felt heavy, too heavy. "Remember, you used to carry those on the fireline," J said. I contemplated this. The cubitainers--plastic jugs encased in a cardboard outer layer, were our sources of extra drinking water on the line, and someone had to bump them along as we worked. (Cubies have fallen out of favor in recent days; people said it was because the water could get compromised in the sun, in the plastic. But we all drank them for years and were okay. It beats the millions of plastic one liter bottles that get used now, and most... Read More...

Everyone I've talked to seemed to love THE GEOGRAPHY OF WATER (order today!). If they didn't, they wisely kept their own counsel. Because what author wants to hear, years later, what they could have done differently? Nobody, that's who! However, I just heard of someone who praised FIRE IN THE HEART  but could not finish Geography because "it was so dark."

I felt kind of sad at first. I don't want to turn readers off. But then I thought: Yay! Because if it's dark, then that was what I was going for. I wanted to reflect the darkness of a southeast Alaska winter, where the sun is only... Read More...

On Mount Howard

I'm leading a workshop! When I thought about what I really cared about, it was weaving in landscape and character, and how setting influences personality and actions. Having lived in many states and environments, it has been a fascinating social study. In my books I have explored that theme and I probably always will. The landscape I live in influences everything I do. It is a constant hum in the background. I can't wait to see what the participants will come up with.

Immersing yourself in nature is a good way to be creative. I regret that hike I took, said nobody ever. That's why... Read More...

I just wrote my first book proposal in years. Guys, this is hard. But necessary. Actually, writing the proposal--and the awful, awful chapter synopsis, really helps you think about your book and what it is about. Also, if you don't have an elevator speech, you are sunk and better go back to the drawing board. So I am casting a net and hoping to find Last Layers of the Ocean a home. Wish me luck.

This is a shortie as I have lots to do. Also, I am finally, finally going to send out an email update to those on my email mailing list. THIS WEEK I PROMISE. So if you want to be on it, hit... Read More...

Hey folks, 

I bought several cartons of my book and need to get rid of them since I live in a tiny house. If you are interested, hit the contact button and send me a message. I am selling them for $10/book plus shipping (media mail).

Folks who signed up for the email list, I am getting something out soon. Lots of news. Just been super busy lately!

Don't you just hate it when you follow a blog and the author just disappears? I have become part of the problem. I'm not sure why I haven't written in so long. I guess because life happens. In April, I sent my agent two ms--the revised kayak memoir and the new novel. Publishing is different than other things and I have waited for three months to ask her what she thinks. The answer will chart my future. As for other writing, I started on a new novel last week. I didn't get very far. Summer is not good for writing. I admire people who can do it. There is just too much to do outside.

I... Read More...

It's funny how you can start out with one dream, and when that's achieved you want more. First I just wanted to get a book published. Then I wanted it to do well. Then..

I have a friend who wrote a compelling memoir. Her book is still going strong years later, and she is at the point where she can command a fee for showing up for events, for which she is still requested. A friend of mine in a different town is going to one of her events and she talked about how good the book was and how much of a fan she was, and how unbelievable it was that I was a friend of the writer. To which I... Read More...

I can't believe I did this, but I finished an 82K manuscript in 2.5 months. How did I do it, you ask? Especially because the last three took, cough cough, five years? I got a big jumpstart when I was on furlough for 35 days and that momentum carried me forward. I also made the time, something I haven't done before. Anyway, it's a novel called The Lightning Within Us. It is looking for a home. I am not sure if I will be hunting up a new agent, or if my current one will take it on. I'll figure that out in the next couple of weeks. 

This one was super messy. I didn't really have writer... Read More...

There may be some authors who can sail through one book effortlessly, but that is not me. Eventually I get completely nauseous at the sight of my work in progress. I hate my main character; she is a wimpy whiiner and I want her to just go away. The other main character is vague, what is it with him? For some reason, I find writing secondary characters much easier than the main ones. Also, I obsessively look at word count (don't do this). So after a while of wanting to throw up, I need a change of pace. 

Furlough Fling started as a joke. I was on furlough for 35 days, as were a lot... Read More...

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