For the past couple weeks, I have been back in Tacoma, mainly working on stories (for a Tacoma-based book) and sections of my new book (nonfiction). I have also been getting everything nailed down for my trip to the Midwest, where I am seeing friends and family and interviewing people for the new nonfiction book, and I have readings in Minneapolis, Chicago, and at Miami of Ohio.

Also I have been preparing for Wordstock in Portland, where on Saturday 10/8 at 1pm I am reading with Manuel Munoz (author of What You See in the Dark), and on Sunday 10/9 at 11 a.m. I have a panel discussion on first-time book publishing with publicist Mary Bisbee-Beek and authors Ellen Meerpol (House Arrest) and Scott Sparling (Wire to Wire). On Scott’s site he has a video where he gives a great description of what it’s like to work on a book for many years, comparing it to cultivating a large ball of string. Awesome. Then at 3 pm I teach a workshop on writing setting.

I have also been bracing myself for my reading at the Garfield Book Company at Pacific Lutheran University, where I teach (though I am currently on sabbatical). I say bracing because I know my students, colleagues, and the people who come to these readings (I coordinate the Visiting Writer Series at PLU) can ask very intricate nuts and boltsy questions, and I wanted to make sure to do them right.

It was a great evening, and it was fun to see colleagues, friends, and former students in the audience. The questions I did get were:

1.) Which character from your book do you like the best?
2.) What is you approach to writing setting?
3.) What is the toughest part about the publication process?
4.) What is the difference between writing short stories and writing a novel?

Very fun. Thanks to Kelly and Lana for setting everything up!

Here are a couple pictures: