News

Good Job, Random Stranger

This Sunday, May 3, was supposed to be the 2020 Lilac Bloomsday Run, an annual tradition that is perfectly Spokane. But we’re not running it this weekend. We’re holding each other close by staying separate.

I wrote a short essay about my experience of Bloomsday, how it created community when I was new to Spokane, and how I feel now alongside COVID-19. Our local weekly newspaper, The Inlander, was kind enough to publish the piece! Here’s the link: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/were-not-running-bloomsday-together-this-weekend-but-well-be-back/Content?oid=19535734

And here’s a picture of the piece in their print edition!

Good Job Random Stranger

I’m a Get Lit! author this year, but virtually

Every year, Spokane hosts a wonderful celebration of readers and writers called Get Lit! It’s a fantastic event: authors reading from their published work, readers finding each other, and writers taking classes and learning more about opportunities for their writing.

I am one of Get Lit’s authors for this year, but alas, we’re not meeting together in person. Like so many events this spring, COVID-19 has made it so that gathering together must be done virtually. Instead of delivering the workshop I’d been planning, I recorded a video. In it, I honor last year’s Get Lit authors, last year’s attendees, and this year’s event by reading two poems and offering up a few novel recommendations.

Check out my six-minute video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkzcUfOpl9U

Stay well!

Get Lit 2019
Here I am at Get Lit 2019, staffing a table for Must Read Fiction.

 

Free Books! It’s the 5K Giveaway.

A little over two years ago, I founded Must Read Fiction, a social media community of readers. Our community has now grown to over 5,000 members! I continue to be inspired, humbled, and delighted by this group of readers. Thank you.

To celebrate, I’m launching the 5K Giveaway! Join Must Read Fiction’s monthly email newsletter to enter. Each month, we’ll share book recommendations, book news and highlights, author interviews, and one lucky reader will win a free book!

We just sent our inaugural issue. Read it HERE.

Sign up to receive the next one directly in your inbox.

February beginnings

It’s early Februarywe’ve had snow, but it has melted. Another cold snap is in the forecast. There’s been mud, too early for the spring thaw, but it has brought on the itch for flowers and green and warmth, none of which have arrived. For me, February is a month of patience (if I can find it) or frustration (if I can’t).

February is also a month that is a little bit late for giving a year-end update (bye, 2018!), but I hope you’ll bear with me anyway. Writing is often a slow task that seems to go nowhere. But a year of doing work slowly will still have markers of progress.

My biggest achievement of 2018: I finished my first novel.

Phew! That fact deserves its own line. And then a line of people cheering and toasting with champagne and me being hoisted onto shoulders. Not all of those things happened, but I fully celebrated the completion of the book. I’m still a little in awe of thisI wrote a novel!!

Then I promptly turned my attention to the next step: finding a literary agent. Publishing houses and editors are a small group of people with very specific interests and tastes. Literary agents have the important role of finding new writing and authors they love and helping that work find a home in the publishing landscape with the best possible partner. So I’ve been sending query letters to literary agents: emails about the novel I wrote, about who I am, and why I think we’d work well together. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll find someone who loves my book as much as I do and has a good sense where it might fit in the publishing market.

Since I finished the novel, I’ve been researching the next book idea and have been following my muse as she’s given me other ideas. I’ve written a few creative nonfiction essays. I finished a new short story. I even wrote a few poems.

And all through 2018, I’ve been submitting stories and essays to literary magazines. I didn’t have much to show for this submitting other than a whopping 131 rejections (three of them had nice comments, though). Perhaps this is another reason this update is a little belated. Yeah, I finished the book, but then that turned into a pile of rejections from agents. Yeah, I’ve been writing short stories and essays, but that turned into an even bigger pile of rejections. Last year didn’t have much to show for all of that work.

And then in January: an acceptance.

That deserves it’s own line, too. I submitted an essay that I’d just finished, and it was accepted by the first place I sent it. I almost couldn’t wrap my brain around it. It was joy and surprise and excitement and validation and all the grief from all the rejections that happened to get me there.

Stay tuned: my essay will be published by The Threepenny Review later this year.

One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. The main character is in prison, and he writes one letter a week to the state for support to expand the library. After six years, they send him crates of secondhand books and records and a check for $200. Then they ask him to please stop sending letters.

He looks up, a half-smile on his face, and says, “Now I’ll write two letters a week.”

2019 is the year of “two letters a week.” A year where I’ll keep sending out my stories and essays, trusting that the next acceptance will come. Where I will seek to find a great literary agent to represent my novel. Where I’ll follow the next novel idea, the next story idea, the next poem.

It’s February. The journey starts again, as it always does, and it continues. It starts wherever I am.