Category Archives: events

Literary Marketing Workshop for Authors!

Guess what, Aspiring Authors?

wear all the hats graphic

(Those who are on the newsletter list already heard, but here’s the general announcement:)

Cal and I are starting a series of workshops focused on the various roles an indie author has to fill in today’s publishing world.

First up is the big bear we all love to hate: Marketing

Wear All The Hats: Literary Marketing Workshop

We both have years of experience reading blogs, talking to other authors, attending panels, and experimenting with our and others’ books. Trust us: nothing is guaranteed, but there are definitely ways to improve your chances of being discovered by the readers who will love your book.

We welcome unpublished, self-published, traditionally published; straight, cis, queer; black, white, multicultural; American, international; any religion and no religion; if you’ve got a story that needs to see the light of day, you are welcome!

bearing an untold story inside you maya angelou quote

We are charging $20 per workshop, payable to either of us, or the bookshop: Another Read Through ($25 at the door, so register this week!).

Sign up through ART, then let your friends know about this opportunity on the Facebook event page! Thanks for your help spreading the word. 🙂

Workshops to follow will touch on topics of Writing, Editing, Publishing, and Bookselling. Get in now, get some new ideas, and meet your fellow Portland-local authors!


Images via Facebook & Surveymonkey

Time to Celebrate the Ploughman Poet

January 25 is Burns Day.

Robert Burns

What’s that, you ask?

It is the birthday of Robert Burns, widely considered to be Scotland’s national poet. He lived from 1759 to 1796, leading a short life full of struggle, defiance, humility, lust, and heartbrokenness.

He wrote poems and songs, collected folk songs from across Scotland, satirized great figures of the day, wooed many a woman to his bed, and called for radical parliamentary reform when that movement was pushing forward in 1792-4.

robert burns highland mary painting

Burns developed this radical zeal starting with his poor childhood as a tenant farming family in Ayrshire. His poor health–a heart ailment and then a rheumatic condition–no doubt came from poor living conditions as his family struggled to survive.

His best-known poem around the world is Auld Lyne Syne, which no one understands, but everyone sings anyway, in a drunken haze on New Year’s Eve.

bagpiper auld lang syne

His next-most famous poem is To A Mouse, or in the lowland Scots dialect, Tae A Moose, because it is where Steinbeck took the phrase for his book, Of Mice And Men.

Two more famous folk songs trace their lineage back to Burns: Scots Wha Hae and A Man’s A Man. The first was a rabble-rousing call to national pride after a Scottish popular reform leader, Thomas Muir, was transported for sedition.

(You might substitute deported for transported to bring it up-to-date)

The second song was composed a couple years later, when he could see the persecution had succeeded, and the fight for reform had to go underground. Its words are stubbornly hopeful for a brotherhood of equality:

It’s comin’ yet for a’ that, / That Man to Man the warld o’er / Shall brithers be for a’ that.

Furthermore, when the Scottish Parliament was recently reconvened for the first time since 1707, this was the song that was sung. So moving.

When Burns died in 1796, the Romantic movement took up his poems as anthems in Scotland and beyond. In the early 1800s, a curious tradition started: the Burns Supper, where people got together to remember the poet, and generally have a good time.

Each Burns Supper has its own flavor, but generally you must:

  1. eat haggis (and Address it, to be sure!)
  2. drink whisky
  3. read Burns’ poetry

I am lucky to be connected to a Gaelic study group here in Portland, and we are celebrating Burns’ legacy as lover, fighter, champion of the poor, and speaker of Truth this weekend.

The haggis…is in the bag.

Celebrate with us and read up on this fascinating figure of Scottish history who predates The Keening by a couple decades only…


Images via Annemarielatour, JackiKellum, & Singingthesonginmyheart

Getting in the Mood for Halloween

I’m not much of a Halloween person.

halloween costume fail optimus prime

But I DO love mysteries.

And Halloween is sort of about Mystery…right?

Join me and two of my fellow authors this weekend!


We’ll be reading from our scary/creepy/suspenseful works on Saturday, October 8th, 1:30-3 PM at Another Read Through in Portland.

Check out the Facebook Event page for more information, and to let us know if you can make it! Keep working on those costume ideas, though… 😉


Images via CostumeFail and Authors’ websites

Festival Fun, Contest Winner, & Research Titbits

Thank you to all the wonderful Readers who came out for the NW Book Festival!


It was a BEAUTIFUL sunny DAY, as you can see, and I got to talk to many lovely book-lovers 🙂 Topics included:

  • the Europeans’ love of Harleys
  • the propogandist nature of Stevenson’s Kidnapped
  • the several causes of waves of Highland Clearances
  • the difference between fantasy and ‘modern fairy tale’
  • and of course: HOW SMALL A WORLD IS PORTLAND!

There were a lot of great new covers that I saw, and I’m looking forward to catching up on all the other writers I met.

But the exciting thing for YOU ALL is the result of the drawing for the $30 gift card to Another Read Through bookshop. I am happy to report that Ali MacLean of Vancouver, WA has won!

Thank you again to everyone who came out and enjoyed the sunshine with us local authors. You sprinkle our work with excitement. 🙂

And on a completely different subject: RESEARCH!

I finally received two hard-to-find tomes from my Interlibrary Loan service, and my rewrite is picking up as I pour over them.

First up is Pictou County’s History  (1972). I am loving the details, the organization, and the anecdotes:

“[The Harriet‘s] owner, William Lowden, Master Mariner, a Scotsman who lived fifteen years in Russia before coming to Pictou…”

“A master workman’s tools were a square, a carpenter’s broad axe, a one and one-quarter inch chisel, a saw, a pin mall, and an adze…”

“In the beginning, Gaelic preaching and praise were given priority in the Kirk and English in the Secession churches…”

“…[religious] bigotry was an aspect of the white man’s civilization that the Indians, as with white man’s diseases, could have done without.”


What, these don’t stir your blood and make you want to jump into a chair and start writing?!?

Well, we have been called a savage breed

“…writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camaraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels.”

Robert Galbraith, The Silkworm