Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Come take my workshop on Saturday: THIS IS YOUR WRITING YEAR

I can hardly believe everyone is back at school and work and, through the horrible haze of the wildfire smoke-clouded air, I can see the faintest glimmer of that beloved dream: A Fall Routine.

I have BIG GOALS, Crazy Dreams, Small Plans, whimsical wishes and a few faint hopes. All of the aforementioned are tied to FINDING TIME. Of course, time is a precious commodity and, in my experience, the first step to achieving some goals is to let others go. To prioritize. To be honest with yourself about what you most want and need, what sacrifices you are willing to make, and what might bring you the greatest happiness.

That said, I hope I believe you'll find it worth your while to join me at the WOODINVILLE LIBRARY (17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville, WA) this SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM for this year's Second Saturdays Writing Program kick-off workshop. Here's the 'press' from the Woodinville Library website:

THIS IS YOUR WRITING YEAR: Ready…set…let’s start our writing year off with a goal, a plan, and a worksheet! Come loaded with dreams and writing ideas and let’s work on strategies for moving your manuscript forward. Author and publishing professional Stasia Ward Kehoe will give you tips and tricks to get organized for your most productive writing year ever.

Let's DO THIS, writer-friends!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My July in Books & Bikes

Trained for five months to prepare for 166 miles of hilly Irish countryside in County Cork and County Kerry (interspersed with pubs and some awesome gin). Worth every moment in the saddle for the views and the incredible sense of powering yourself up, up, up!

Now, I'm back to reality which currently includes a full-time job, volunteer work for my local library, hosting visiting family, parenting, catching a few plays and trying to finish a new YA novel. Truth be told, my kitchen floor could use a sweep...and a vac...and a serious mop. Heck, my whole house has become a refuge for dust and clutter. I've decided to embrace the dust and love it like a sister. (My sister, btw, is one awesome chick so that's some lucky dust.)

Sometimes it's hard to come up with 500 words of fiction after a day describing wacky retail stuff like toddler party dresses and glitter pens and horse bridles. On the other hand, sometimes it's amazing to spend a day flexing the writing muscle so you're good and ready to write about angsty privileged teens and addiction and murder...!!!! Potato, pah-tah-toh, I suppose.

 Of late, I've read...

  • MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides 
  • THE LAST OF AUGUST by Brittany Cavallaro
  • DISGRACE by J. M. Coetzee
  • STAR-CROSSED by Barbara Dee
  • PYROMANTIC by Lish McBride

...and written...NOT ENOUGH.

Fingers crossed for the rest of the summer. 
Hope you're logging words or miles or whatever brings you joy (and, you know, cash).

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Are You Struggling to Write? Try Making a Change.

Image result for rainbow cloud

This spring, feeling the repetitive wear of two-decades of freelance work and novel-writing from my kitchen, I went back to "work" -- the kind where you drive to an office, wear a corporate ID badge and have a lunch hour (as opposed to ALL the other kinds of equally valid and challenging types of work that take place outside the walls of buildings sporting logos).

It's been amazing. I realized that having so much unstructured time was making me feel intense pressure to produce more fiction while simultaneously making me, well, blue.
Since rejoining the 9-to-5 (or in my case, since I'm on eastern time 6-2) crowd, I have less time to write and more I want to say. More ideas have come to me as I make my 40-minute commute into Seattle surrounded by mountains, water and cars, than in the four daily hours I labored in my home office.

Maybe it will get old. Maybe I'll start being jealous of all those scads of unaccountable time. But, for now, for today, going back on the clock seems to have set me free.

I'm still teaching, freelancing and coordinating writing classes on the side. I've got less time for my fiction but it feels like it's going better. And I've got less time social media, which is probably a good thing, too. So many thoughts to share about creativity and the internet and politics (ah!) but I also have less time to post here on the website. Hopefully, this too will be less frequent but better quality.

I hope you're writing this spring. If you're struggling, if you're in a dark place, I encourage you to try shifting up the old life. Don't be afraid of losing writing time. Sometimes that's the sacrifice you need to make...FOR THE WRITING.

One person's opinion.

Happy wave from my less-frequented kitchen desk!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

FREE CLASS THIS SATURDAY AT KCLS WOODINVILLE: Enter the Fray - An Inside Look at the Publishing Industry with Tegan Tigani

SATURDAY, May 13, 2017
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
 Second Saturdays Writing Program at Woodinville Library 
17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville 

To celebrate the conclusion of this year’s Second Saturday Writing Workshops, we invite you to learn from Tegan Tigani, acquisitions editor for Sasquatch Books’ Little Bigfoot imprint, book buyer/bookseller at Queen Anne Book Company, and all-around industry expert. In her lively, interactive workshop, Tegan will take participants through the “pitch process,” explaining how pitches are used by agents, editorial boards, marketing teams, and booksellers. Gain insight into the way a publishing house works, and hone your own book pitch to perfection with writing exercises.

This workshop is open to writers in grades 7 to adult. Registration is not required. For more details, click here

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spring Reading Recap

Given our political climate, perhaps I should not be surprised that the three books at the top of my reading list all explore some aspect of the concept "us and them." In each of these novels, the main characters struggle to understand themselves in the context of their family, community and belief systems, and in contrast to those they see as "other," racially, religiously, economically, spiritually, and even intellectually. 

I finally filled the gaping Barbara Kingsolver gap in my literary education by reading THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, a breathtaking exploration of a misguided Christian preacher's attempts to convert the denizens of a village in the Belgian Congo, and the decades-long repercussions of his efforts. I've been told that Angie Thomas's New York Times best-selling THE HATE YOU GIVE should not be missed, so I picked it up next and discovered that, with wry, stunning honesty and insight, Thomas, like Kingsolver, brings readers into a place few have ever experienced themselves and makes us question every assumption we've ever made about the inner city, gang life, and the urban violence and gun incidents we experience only from the safety of our sofas while watching the evening news. Next up: ONE L, which was coincidentally recommended to me by a lawyer friend of my husband's the same week an actress referenced it on NPR as a research source for preparing to play the role of an attorney. As I read, I'll be looking for those "other" tensions between students and faculty, among the students and between the rarefied law school community and the "outside world."

Take a look at your spring reading and ask yourself:

  • Do you see any themes or trends? 
  • Do you feel a connection between the way you look at stories and your current questions about the world? 
  • Which recently read novel do you most wish you had written yourself and why? 

Boy, do I take my reading seriously--maybe too seriously? Sorry folks. Nerdgirl out!