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This weekend I led a writing workshop via Zoom. There were 17 people, and too much to say. I most likely overwhelmed them with all of my talking. There is so much I have learned, but everyone has their own path. 

I asked people to type in the chat about their project. There were all sorts of creative answers. I want to read all of their books! 

So there's this. In spite of the fact that less people are reading, and instead tapping on their phones, in spite of the fact that you don't make any money as an author, in spite of the depressing and divisive state of the world,... Read More...

Maybe somewhere, someone is writing a lot, but most of the writers I know aren't. I for one don't have any extra time--I'm still working, and busier than ever. My writer friends on administrative leave aren't writing much either. I don't know why, except that for me, the uncertainty of what is going on in the world seems to eclipse any writing I could do. It's enough just to stay alive. 

But! Life has to go on, and I have other friends who are paralyzed by panic. Who don't want to do anything due to fear. I have to live my life, so I am starting to revise the novel. I got some... Read More...

I know, I know. I have neglected this poor blog. (I update more often on my personal hiking blog.) but this is a big one! I just signed a contract with the Oregon State University Press to publish my new memoir. The Last Layer of the Ocean. It is a memoir of kayaking and marriage along Alaska's wild coast, and navigating both. I am so excited that I will be working with a university press again, and that they are willing to take a chance on the book. Look for more  updates when it will be out. I am expecting this to be spring 2021, though this is only tentative.

I have been revising... Read More...

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...

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