AWP 2019 Portland

I had a great time catching up with friends and meeting new people in Portland.  The AWP conference always recharges my creative batteries, and I’m already looking forward to and planning for AWP 2020 in San Antonio.  For the second time ever, I’ve assembled a panel and a panel proposal, this time around focusing on managing mental health and the demands of the publishing writer’s life.  I’ll hold off on planning my presentation until I find out whether it’s going to be accepted, but I’m hoping it will be because this panel would address a great need for the conference.

At Mother Foucault’s Bookshop, I read from my recently completed novel.  The space was beautiful, and my fellow readers are wonderful and talented.

I’m also a two-time mentor participant in AWP’s Writer-to-Writer Mentorship Program, and I spent some time talking about the program to interested writers.  It really reignited an urge to participate again.

Here are some pictures from #AWP19.

AWP and Update


AWP2019 starts this week, and I’ll be there.  I’ll be signing copies of my story collection, The Dead Will Rise and Save Us, on Friday, March 29 at 11 AM at table 9063 in the AWP book fair.  If you’re going to Portland, come through and see me.

You can also find me at the AWP booth (table 3030) on Friday, March 29 at 1 PM.  I’ll be available to talk about the Writer-to-Writer Mentorship Program, and my experiences as a mentor.  Spoiler: the program is great, and I definitely recommend it to both prospective mentees and mentors.

I’m nearly done with my first novel, and I’m excited about starting the process of getting it published.  I’m roughly 30 pages from the end (yes, it’s intuition, but I’m so tuned in with the project right now, that it’s accurate), and I’ll be looking for an agent, publishers, or both.

I’ll admit that 2018 was a tough year for me writing-wise.  I’d lost some motivation and was still recovering from the experience of adjunct teaching.  There was a lot to process, and I needed to figure out how writing would fit in with my life or if it would anymore at all.  My conclusion: writing means so much to me, and it’s one of the most joyous experiences I’ve ever felt.  So, once I came to this conclusion, I got to work.  My novel used to be much longer than it is right now, and that’s because I had a second focal character who told a somewhat related, yet different story from the true protagonist.  One day, I realized that it’d be better to cut it out and just focus on the original focal character, and the novel opened up.  It was a quick trip from a slog through to completion to a novel that has energy and at times still surprises even me.  Sometimes, you need to not necessary kill your darlings so much as unburden them.

Year-end Thanks

My book, The Dead Will Rise and Save Us, has been out for just about a year now, and since it was the first year of my first book, it was a special one.  I want to thank everyone who bought, read, and shared it.  I was hoping that it would do well, and since it has already seen a second print run, I can say that I’m more than pleased with its success.  The best things about the publication side of the writing life are the people you meet and the conversations you have.

The AWP conference in LA this year was a great time and taught me a lot about the business end of this.  I met or reconnected with a number of passionate writers, editors, and publishers, people whose passion advances the culture of literature.  (See an earlier post for more on the conference, including pics.)

2017, for me, will be exciting.  I’ll be relocating to El Paso, TX (my hometown) and hoping to finish my first novel.  There will be more readings/events coming up, including a big one in February that I’m dying to announce.  I’m excited about what’s to come.