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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...

I've now sold two books, one with an agent and one without. Before I had ever sold one, I read many opinions on which was "better." I've decided that it really depends on YOU.

Do you want to be in control at all times? An agent may not be for you. You aren't the one out there deciding where to send the book or even when to send it. My agent had to wait for a few months until she felt she had the time to devote to my book.  I didn't know what the publishers were saying unless I asked. Whereas without the agent, I was the one submitting, and I got the responses of yes or no... Read More...

Sometimes my life just takes an unbelievable turn. My agent emailed me last week and said that my memoir, which she has been shopping for some time, had received an offer. Since I am the least business minded person ever, I wanted to scream, TAKE IT. This, however, is why you want an agent. She unflappably said that she wasn't done negotiating. This week, things were finalized (though we still need to sign at some point). 

Basically, two books in less than a year (although by the time this one is published it will probably be 2017 sometime). How did I get so fortunate? I'll tell you... Read More...

I sometimes hear rumblings from authors about people passing books around to friends or checking out from the library. Maybe I'm just not monetarily motivated, but this doesn't bother me. After all, I love the library. Once I lived in a sagebrush town, population 50, that had no library. The horror! A bookmobile came around every week or so, and woe befall the person who missed that day. You can't expect someone to drop dollars on new books all the time--they are not cheap. And I love lending books to people whom I know will love them. I don't have the space for a shelf of books in my... Read More...

We don't have home mail delivery in my town. Even though the post office is only half a mile away, getting there during its open hours seems to require ridiculous feats of time management. I often realize it has been weeks since I got my mail. What's not nice about no home dellivery is that you end up waiting in line with all the other souls who keep forgetting to go to the post office, who save up their packages to mail or have to get a bunch of packages because they have waited so long. What is nice is that the post office people remember who you are. "I'll get your packages," they chirp... Read More...

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