Category Archives: events

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!

hist nov soc 2017

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

hist nov soc logo

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…

Crafting & Conversation Event at Backstory Books & Yarn

Hi y’all.

backstory books yarn outside view pdxIt may seem like I’ve done a disappearing act, but there have been a couple big posts over on my personal development blog, Taste Life Twice, and feverish activity on the editing and event fronts, here in Portland!




Next up is something unique, for a unique bookstore:


Backstory Books and Yarn is a wee shop in SE Portland. Its owner, Amanda, pours a lot of love into every detail, from organization to stock to display to features, and knows her biz down to the brass tacks! (if I’m not mixing metaphors too much there)

Although I do love to mix and match my metaphors.

And also love aiming for assonance

But back to business

Since Amanda at Backstory had such a fun unique twist on her offerings, I wanted to offer a complementary twist for my event there (twists, spinning, yarn–get it?):

Not just a reading-and-signing, but a coming-together of community to talk about what the community knows: knitting and weaving.

My character Muirne, in The Keening, is a keen weaver. She takes it as a matter of course, as one did in 1822 Scotland, that a wife and mother would know the quickest way to clean raw wool from a neighbor’s flock, the brightest dyes from nature to set color, and the best way to make a social event or a teaching lesson out of spinning and weaving chores.

So for our talk, I am inviting all the crafters to fill me on the modern equivalent of such tips and tricks. Have you ever been to a milling frolic in Nova Scotia? Have you ever visited Pendleton Mills for a tour? Have you used a drop spindle and learned the knack and timing of spinning after long, patient practice?

I bow down.

Please come on down to contribute to the conversation: Saturday, 3/25, 2-3:30. Your presence and knowledge is greatly appreciated.

Also, Scottish baking treats to be provided.

Can’t miss an opportunity like that, can I!

RSVP on Facebook event page so I’ll know how much to bring. 🙂


Images via Backstory Books & Yarn my Instagram feed.

Literary Marketing Workshop for Authors!

UPDATED TIME: Sunday, April 2, 2-4 PM

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