I Will Never Go on a Freefall Rollercoaster, Plus: EVENTS!

First, the TL;DR details:

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#1

Sunday, August 13th, 10 AM – 3 PM

Come one, come all to Veronica’s West Linn, OR Book Festival!

She started the NW Book Festival, which got a little complicated, so now she’s back in West Linn where it all started.

I’ll be selling books under a tent, maybe in costume, ya never know!

Find me at 21860 Willamette Drive, West Linn OR 97068

#2

I will be joined by two other brilliant local authors to talk about writing YA-Histfic Mashup fiction on Saturday, August 19, 130-3 PM at Another Read Through Bookstore:

Kate Ristau (aka blue-haired pixie), Author of Shadow Girl and Clockbreakers

Maud Powell, Author of City of Grit and Gold

We will be talking shop, so both writers and curious readers very welcome! RSVP on Facebook.

Now, for the rest of the story…

top rollercoaster flag

This shot of a roller coaster inches us a little closer to the top. Rides like this I can handle. But you know those new death-defying rides, where you are actually in free-fall, and feel like you’re going to die?

Yeah. Some people enjoy that.

Some people also enjoy the editing process, but you will NOT find me getting a Fast Pass for that ride unless I absolutely must.

All the moving deadlines! All the self-flagellation to get every thing done as soon as possible! And the inevitable heartbreaking decisions about what gets first priority.

As per my usual, I try to do everything.

And as usual, something will get missed. But eventually the story will get out there, and start to put down roots

grasping root peek

See what I did there? Here’s a peek of the cover! (so excited)

I’ve got a handful of Early Reviewers–Thank you, Valerie, George & Gayle, Kim, Kindra, and Deb!! And because I am still editing, the door is still open…check my last post for details.

I am still editing…yes, up to page 92, and there is a LOT of new written material, which makes me a little nervous… but I’ve saved the old version and can always compare the two, scrap the new one…

This is where the Terror of Indecision/ Uncertainty tends to set in…

But that is where your attendance at events helps!

I’m excited to have a few events leading up to my Book Launch (Thursday, Oct. 12, 7 PM).

Someone asked me if they had to reread The Keening to get ready for The Grasping Root...what a grand idea! Come find me in West Linn this Sunday or at Another Read Through next Saturday, and let’s get the party started!

The cover will be revealed next…

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In the meantime, I’ll be singing, dancing, making tea, selling books, and–of course–EDITING.

Thanks for all the good thoughts and wishes, everyone–it helps!

 

Images via Dreamstime and SmarterServices

The Beginning of the Launch Rollercoaster

We are starting our ascent, ladies and gents.

I can feel the tick-tick-tick-tick of the chain pulling the car up its first incline.beginning roller coaster

Soft Launch

That incline is heading to the soft launch for The Grasping Root.

This is a new step in my process. I will also be doing a Cover Reveal, Preorders, and a Giveaway!

I haven’t decided on a Treasure Hunt plan yet…but I am thinking about using geocaching, local businesses, and a white elephant exchange to make it EXTRA exciting.

PSSST! More information will come out about participating in these events via the Taste Life Twice newsletter. Sign up here!

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The Book!

The Grasping Root is the sequel to The Keening. We rejoin the MacLean family after they have survived a hard Nova Scotia winter. Their decision to live in an abandoned settlement exerts its own pressures, just as their efforts to join the community set off sparks! Religion, politics, and simmering jealousies have followed them across the sea to Canada, and both Neil and Muirne must make intense personal decisions that will affect the MacLeans’ future.

Secret Desire to Be a Critic? Free book!

In the last newsletter I put out the call for Early Reviewers. These are readers who get a free early digital copy of the book in exchange for leaving an honest review in the first month of the book’s release (September).

You can post on Amazon (easiest), Goodreads, a personal blog, Facebook, wherever. Anything helps get the word out. (Amazon reviews help the book look legit.)

If you send me an email this week,  I will put you on my Nice list! The manuscript will be sent out the second half of August, and reviews should be posted during the month of September.

Launch Party

At the top of the incline, when the chain releases, will be the Launch Party. In line with tradition, it will be held at Another Read Through Bookstore at 3932 N. Mississippi Ave in Portland.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2017, 7-830 PM

More details to come soon, but…..

I welcome costumes of many sorts! Just check out my Instagram.

I also make historical sweet treats at my launches. Don’t miss out! 🙂IMG_8621IMG_7455

 

Images via LinkedInDepositPhotos, & margaretpinard.com

Personal & Professional, A Writer’s POV

***Pssst! The sequel to The Keening is coming out soon! Sign up for the newsletter to hear about giveaways and events related to the release in the next few months!***

It has been a whirlwind month, ladies and gentlemen.

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Between June 17 and July 17, there was 90s Night in the Ballroom, friend visit from Japan, attending the HNS Conference, Karaoke Night, Mom visit, trip TO Japan, brother’s wedding, friend visit from NYC, friend visit from Alabama…

…plus, weekly critique group meetings, three jobs, final edits before handing over my manuscript, weekly writer dates with this talented lady, and the weekly cleaning I do for a yoga studio in return for the one class I can attend per week.

It’s time for some trimming, yes.

But all this whirligig got me thinking…which parts of my life are personal, and which professional?

singing karaoke dancing jane austen style

The singing and dancing bits I can call personal, as well as the friend visits. And the jobs I can label professional, while the critique group and writer dates are plainly both.

But the conference for the Historical Novel Society wound the two strands together like a Susanna Kearsley story. I prepared to network, I kept my energy up to make an impression on others and engage with them on their own projects, and I took copious notes during the sessions I attended.

Some of the connections were cursory, but I thanked them for the chance to talk. Others were longer conversations or better chemistry: “OMG, you write about THAT?! That’s So AHMAZING!!” And these people I am excited to cultivate an acquaintance with.

For a writer, I think the professional can become very personal, and the personal inevitably becomes part of the professional. Wouldn’t you agree?

When I spend time to research authors, read their work, note what they do well, give them honest praise, and warmly greet them, that is an immense expense of energy. If I don’t get the courtesy back, if the person is terrible with fans, then I can analyze my actions and determine to find a better object next time. But I also feel a little bit of failure personally, to be so rebuffed.

The professional can also become personal when one simply becomes friends with professional contacts, see Exhibit C: the visitor from Alabama. He was an engineer on a project I worked on five years ago. We reminisced about a colleague’s ability to mask a hangover so well it was undetectable. I no longer have anything to say about the energy planning needs of the eastern U.S., but that experience forged a link, one that still holds us together in friendship and support. Maybe I’ll get a few new readers in Alabama! 🙂

And what about the other way around? Well, this one is more familiar for writers. Everything you go through as a writer ends up influencing what and how you write. Beyond childhood trauma and MFA program grooming, there is the Why. And there is the taste you have cultivated, influenced by all the media you’ve consumed since birth, and what people of influence told you about it.

The personal engine of personality spins all that around and expresses ideas creatively that contain opinions and prejudices, quests and rejections. I had a funny moment when I looked back at Dulci’s Legacy and realized, “Oh.”

It’s a story about a girl lost in the past who needs to free herself and others from injustice to get back to her life.

Huh.

And just like that, you realize how your personal life spills over into your professional body of work.

Have you had similar experiences? Do share in the comments!

Historical Fiction Fans, Here I Come!

In a bit of a dream come true, the Historical Novel Society is having their annual conference in Portland, OR this year!

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This organization exists to promote the enjoyment of historical fiction, to which I lightly pound my wooden desk and say, “Hear, hear!”

They’ve got all sorts of fascinating panels in store for this week’s conference, including:

  • Regency & Victorian FOOD
  • Victorian FUNERALS
  • Regency WIT & VOICE
  • Writing CELTIC
  • Writing with TWO STORY ARCS

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Basically, it’ll be a huge nerd-fest, with all different periods mixed in for fun. And the coolest, or maybe most frightening? is the Regency Ball, where there will be an instructor from JASNA to teach dances of the time!

jane austen dance figures regency

It will be my first time at this conference, so if you are going, do please send me a message if you’d like to meet up with someone beforehand. I want to see so many of the panels, but am forced to choose–perhaps we can share our notes?

Here’s to shooting for the stars, ladies and gentlemen.

Enjoy your trips back in time…

Another Memorial

Remember the fallen today.

Those who’ve given their lives in the long slog toward justice and equality…

I know some veterans, but I have never known someone killed on a battlefield.

This Memorial Day, I am thinking of a different kind of soldier, because two of those were just killed in the city where I lived: Portland.

“Three US men [were] attacked while defending a Muslim teenager and her friend on a train. Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best were killed and Micah David-Cole Fletcher was severely injured in Portland, Oregon on Friday. They…intervened after a man launched into a verbal tirade against the teens, one wearing a hijab.” [source]

I was a little shocked by the closeness of such a crime, but it was only my friend Claire’s words of warning becoming visible: Portland is still infested with the white supremacists that founded this state. Then when someone I knew had known one of these fallen heroes, it hit me even closer to home.

I am tired of the metaphors of war. I doubt their effectiveness, even as they continue to mobilize parts of the population. But this war–on ignorance and prejudice, on arrogance and insecurity–is being fought everywhere. From the MAX train to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner table:

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I’d been to a rally after the disastrous election and picked up a Black Lives Matter button. I had it on a puffy vest, and though I hesitated wearing it home for the holidays, I felt my hesitation as cowardice, and left it on the vest, packed into my suitcase for the cold weather.

When I wore the vest, the first glance of my brother-in-law, a former Marine and current Republican, produced a leaden silence. Then, my sister: “Really? I would’ve thought if anything you’d have an ALL Lives Matter one.”

How close can you get?

Me with my Americorps service, my international living, my frequent travel, my peacenik views… but I fallback on the simple analogies that explain the Black Lives Matter movement, and its reason for existing: black people’s lives are disposed of much more cavalierly than white people’s in America.

All lives do matter, but we don’t need to champion that message for some of those lives.  Black Lives Matter Just As Much.

And Muslim lives.

And Queer lives.

Everyone. Deserves. To Live.

Here’s to America finding its way back to Liberty and Justice for ALL.

Inviting you to read, write, and taste life twice