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New Beginnings and Brief Breaks

Published on July 2nd

​It's been a little while since my last update, but I promise I have a good reason: I've been pregnant, and am now posting to say that I'm taking a couple of months of maternity leave before I dive back into work. I will be "out of the office" beginning July 4th, and plan to return sometime around September 2nd. During this time, I will not be accepting new clients or answering queries, but I'd love to hear from you when I'm back on my feet and have this motherhood thing a little bit figured out! read more…

On the Passing of Vonda McIntyre

Published on April 2nd

What feels like ages ago, when I was in college, my friends and I went to a public event that was put on by Clarion West, where we got to hear the three great ladies of Pacific Northwest Science Fiction, Octavia Butler, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Vonda N. McIntyre, speak on a panel about... I don't remember what, anymore, to be honest. Probably about writing. Mostly what I remember was that all three of them were incredibly well-spoken and clever and interesting, and that Vonda had brought some little plastic desk toys that I remember Ursula spending most of the talk playing with whenever she wasn't speaking. As of yesterday, all three of those ladies are gone. read more…

Choose Your Words Wisely

Published on March 9th

As a school tour docent at the Seattle Art Museum, I sometimes find myself explaining relatively complicated concepts in art and culture to classes of kids between roughly five and eighteen years of age. For instance, a few weeks ago I ran two tours focused on the use of perspective in art -- one for a class of eighth graders, and one the following week for a class of fourth graders. The pieces of art that I took the kids around to didn't change between those two tours, nor did the basic concepts that I was introducing them to. read more…

Book Proposal Basics

Published on December 23rd

Recently, a good friend of my husband's was surprised by an email from a publisher of software books--they wanted him to write a book on a new platform he specializes in working with. He was a little surprised, and more than a little daunted. He'd never written a book before, and as much as he was excited by the prospect, he wasn't sure what it would mean. He definitely wasn't sure what the publisher was looking for out of the document they asked him to put together: a book proposal. Fortunately, nonfiction book proposals really aren't as daunting as they may appear to the first-timer, and a lot of what they're about transfers to fiction as well. read more…

Raising the Stakes

Published on October 6th

In writing and editing, we talk a lot about raising the stakes and making sure that there’s enough tension in your story. But how can you do that? One way that I really like is to make your characters choose between the thing they thought mattered most to them and the thing that they’ve now discovered matters more. read more…

Eight Arms for Freedom

Published on April 13th

The last year has been a busy and, recently, a very difficult one as my husband and I dealt with a deeply personal loss, but as I thought about how I could get back into posting here on my blog, I was inspired by the story of an octopus (of course) named Inky who recently made his grand escape from an aquarium in New Zealand. Inky slipped out of his tank after it was inadvertently left ajar after some maintenance, presumably waving a watery farewell to his tank-mate who remained, and hauled himself across the floor to a drain. Lucky for Inky, the drain let out into the ocean. read more…

Write What You Know

Published on March 29th

A lot of beginning writers get discouraged when writing teachers tell them the old chestnut “Write what you know.” They might feel this means they don’t have anything interesting to contribute, because they haven’t lived through the kind of adventures they want to write about. Maybe they’re students, or maybe they’re stuck in a dead-end job, or maybe they’re a stay-at-home parent… what’s happened to them that would be worth writing about? read more…

To Kill a Book-Lover

Published on February 5th

While Harper Lee’s editor and publisher swear up and down that she’s excited to publish her "new" book (actually not so much a prequel as her original draft of what turned out to be To Kill a Mockingbird), the reasons to be dubious of their claims keep stacking up. As exciting as it is to think of a new book by the beloved Lee, who until now only had one published novel to her name, significant caution is warranted. read more…

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