Fall Updates: Workshops, acceptances, and big plans for the next year!

Early fall (pre-equinox) seems like the perfect time to share "how I spent my summer." (I won't say vacation because there was plenty of hard work in there even if I did go on hiatus for 6 weeks.)

July was all about the Port Townsend Writers Conference

Bill Ransom workshop 
I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure in hybrid forms with one of THE original founders of the PTWC. We took some risks, he shared some Wayback Machine worthy tidbits about the conference grounds and life in town, and I made some new friends. I also had a great camping experience down at the beach, and put in some serious walking time while listening to the first two seasons of Serial. 

August was all about the Hugo House

Waverly Fitzgerald workshop
I started this prior to Centrum/PTWC and missed one class, but came back and finished "Submission Strategies" in mid-August. During that time, I reacquainted myself with guerilla submission tactics I've used in the past, and to good outcomes (see below). I also (insert chorus of trumpets here) made  my first submission of my abecedarian collection (that was on July 17 while I was in PT, actually). 

September started with the PNWA

Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference 2018

I followed the marketing track mostly because I am preparing to make some moves in 2019 (see below). I also found the first day of marketing workshops totally worth the price of the entire conference. So much has changed in the field of indy publishing, POD, and related technologies, services, and distributors. I'm still learning more about KDP, the evaporation of CreateSpace, and challenges to others like IngramSpark. Never a dull moment.

September midstream

SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com is 4 today!
Well, technically, it's closer to 5 (when my dream was first born), but I launched my active sleep health and news clearinghouse exactly 4 years ago today. 

September in the crystal ball

American Association of Sleep Technologists annual meeting, 2018
I'm heading to Indianapolis at the end of the month for the big event, where I will be giving two presentations, one on "Unauthorized CPAP" and the other on "Multiple Sclerosis & Sleep Disorders." 

October and beyond

Washington State Sleep Society annual meeting 2018
I'm retiring as secretary of this organization after 5 years, but will be there for this regular event in mid-October featuring some great speakers and topics related to sleep health education and technology. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!

Richard Hugo House reopens!!!!
I'll miss the grand opening this coming weekend but plan to make a trip over for a class, an event... something to check out the new digs! So excited!

And yes, I #amwriting
My current professional writing and editing status: 
  • I'm writing and producing continuing education seminars, working on pieces for the industry magazine, A2Zzz, and posting weekly on the blog for the AAST
  • I'm still writing my column at Health Union, while taking a short hiatus from BioNews Services
  • I'm working toward a potential new gig starting later in the year in the field of sleep health
  • SleepyHeadCENTRAL.com still captures some of my attention
  • I am evolving SHC to a beefed-up satellite site and blogging less, to make more room for a future podcast ("ZZZCast") 
  • I continue to edit and produce SHC's new literary quarterly, VitaminZZZ, which launched last winter 
  • I'm waiting to see the fruit of shared labor last winter when sleep tech Rui de Sousa and I composed an updated chapter on Hypersomnia for a new sleep technology textbook coming out (I think?) this month. I was second author, and really excited to see it in its final form. 
  • I have a couple of nonfiction books to review that are related to sleep, as well. 
As for my creative writing, here's what I am looking at between now and the end of the year:
  • Polishing and submitting my abecedarian chapbook manuscript (and that includes sending out individual pieces, as well
  • Polishing a new short story collection with the help of an independent editor to prepare for self publication in 2019
  • Working on a new novel manuscript I started while at the PTWC
  • Continuing to research and outline a book on illness narrative in conjunction with a workshop I'd like to teach on the topic
And yes, I #amreading
  • The Power (Naomi Alderman) *
  • Rootless (Chris Howard)
  • So Lucky (Nicola Griffith)
  • Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)
  • The Postmortal (Drew Magary)
  • Soft Apocalypse (Will McIntosh)
  • Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)
  • White is for Witching (Helen Oyeyemi)
  • Exit Channel (Lily Vonderheide)
  • The Sheltering Sky (Paul Bowles)
  • The Forgiven (Lawrence Osborne)
  • Fever Dream (Samanta Schweblin)
  • *What I'm reading now

Acceptances/publications for 2017

With thanks to the support of the crew in Waverly's workshop (see above), I have a few accepts to show for my efforts! Here's an update for folks who take an interest in such matters:

  • "American Blackshirt,"On September 22," and "Slow Information" in Collective Unrest (reprints)
  • "Sideways" in Postcard Poems and Prose (original)
Short Stories

  • "April 9" in Crab Creek Review (original)

Flash Nonfiction
  • "The Expert" in Halfway Down the Stairs (original)
  • "Gaze" in The Nervous Breakdown (original)
  • "Onset, Multiple Sclerosis, August 1975" (original)
Submissions since Jan 1
  • Poetry - 58 poems submitted
  • Poetry Collection - 4 manuscripts submitted
  • Fiction - 16 story submissions
  • Nonfiction - 40 submitted

Submissions still under consideration
  • Poetry - 38 poems 
  • Poetry Collection - 4 manuscripts
  • Fiction - 10 stories 
  • Nonfiction - 19 essays, creative nonfiction, or flash nonfiction
This doesn't count the half dozen or so manuscripts I've withdrawn over the last year because they were pushing one year responses. That's just too long; I find that to be an inexcusable practice among literary publishers.

Coming up

I'll be missing the Autumn YAWP at Centrum in Port Townsend because my daughter is performing in a show that same weekend. BUT! I'm heading to Oysterville, WA to hang out in an Airbnb on the back side of a bakery and hope to log some serious writing hours then. 

In January, I don't believe the Winter YAWP is returning, but that's okay... I've got another Airbnb A-frame house south of Hood Canal reserved for a full on, week-long silent retreat to get my writing year off to a productive start. 

I'm also biting the bullet and going to AWP in Portland next April. I've got reservations at a hipster hotel just a block off the people mover, and will spend some time with friends and family locally, as these are old stomping grounds for me. 

July 2019 brings the PTWC and I'll be camping out again next year. I'm not sure what my plans are just yet, I only know that I'll be going.  I'm also heading back to Indianapolis in August 2019 to watch my youngest shine at the DCI Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium, where she will be "aging out" with the most elite drum and bugle corps in the world. 

Also in 2019: I'll be launching a new sleep-related podcast as well as continuing publication of VitaminZZZ

That's it in a big, fat nutshell, the kind a squirrel dreams of. Thanks for your support as friends, readers, and peers!



Time flies when your writing life is full

Battery units to explore at Ford Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

If I haven't been up-to-date on my blogging here, it's because I've been blogging and writing everywhere else! 

2018 has been a full year


Since January, I've been two Phoenix three times, Philadelphia, and Port Townsend (twice now, if counting my stay here right now). 

Phoenix in February was about the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, and I'm sure my suitcases were a few pounds heavier coming back from the event. 

Phoenix in April brought me to Tapatio Cliffs in northern Phoenix (Peoria) for the Association of Healthcare Journalists conference, which was a fantastic event, followed by a few days' stay with a long-time friend in Apache Junction. 

Phoenix in June and July brought my husband and I back again, to Mesa this time, to spend time with family and attend my daughter's DCI competition show as a new member of the elite drum corps, the Concord Blue Devils. 

I went to Philadelphia in March to attend the second ever Health Union Connexion conference, which brings together columnists and forum moderators from all over the country (and even Canada and the UK) to celebrate and honor our work in the field of healthcare journalism.  

But before all this, I attend the winter YAWP at Port Townsend, where I finally completed my abecedarian poetry book (it's about 48 pages not counting front or back matter). And I'm here again for the 2018 Port Townsend Writers Conference, a summer tradition I have enjoyed and valued since 2005. 

MS Walk

I finally was healthy enough to attend an MS Walk this year, the first time I've done so since my diagnosis in 2013 (yes, it has already been 5 years, can you believe it?). So far, so good on the remission portion of my life; aside from random strange occurrences (like vertigo that awakens me in the middle of the night), I'm feeling nearly normal these days (knock on wood). 


We've made two trips so far this year: one to Cape Disappointment (or Fort Canby, if you're old school), and one to Twanoh State Park on the Hood Canal. Both were fantastic with great weather and much to keep us busy.

Other fun stuff

This year, we spent a day in Seattle taking in three films as part of the Seattle International Film Festival. I highly recommend you see The Place. It's an Italian drama directed by Paolo Genovese based on a 2010 concept series in the US titled The Booth at the End. The entire film takes place in a cafĂ© but is peopled with 10 characters who are trying to make some sort of dramatic life change. 

Family news

Our youngest daughter is marching with the Concord Blue Devils this summer in her 4th year in competition color guard. My oldest is nearing completion of her Bachelor's degree in Special Education. 

And yes, I #amwriting

It's been a tough year, I admit. The distractions are considerable: political chaos is something I can't look away from, for one thing. It's hard to leave behind social media when it's so inextricably connected to your working and writing lives. I've also been hooked on some amazing television dramas (Goliath s2, all of Bloodline, etc.). 

And efforts to keep my blood circulating and to prevent the atrophy of my muscles (I have "sitting" disease) have ramped up. I'm walking about an hour at least several days a week now, breaking in tight, inflexible feet and calves and shaking out what I've discovered is an arthritis-riddled spine.

It has been a year of rethinking priorities, as well, and I've hit some dark lower levels where I've questioned the point of my writing life and reflected on what it is I want. Because even though I love the professional writing life I have, I still need the creative writing life to keep me balanced. And time and energy are just so difficult to cobble together and commit for this purpose, these days. 

Still, writing, publishing efforts, and incubation of narrative ideas are happening, and I've been going to bed nearly every night meditating on the details of the book I hope to work on while I'm here in Port Townsend this week. Meanwhile, 
  • I'm putting together a marketing plan for my abecedarian to start submitting it
  • I've attended the summer Hugo House Write-O-Rama, which helped me play around with some story ideas I have been entertaining for months now
  • I'm taking a class taught by Waverly Fitzgerald on submission strategies (also at the Hugo House) to jumpstart my efforts to find homes for my work
  • I've put aside my sleep and dreams manuscript started last summer at Centrum in favor of a novel idea I've been obsessing with for a while now. Let's just say it involves multiple sclerosis, the Lord of the Flies, and ferry boats. 
  • I'm looking ahead to several book ideas I can pitch at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) conference next September.
I blame all the reading I do on the inspiration to keep writing. Most recently: 
  • The Forgiven by Lawrence Osborne (probably my favorite book so far this year)
  • The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (probably my second favorite book so far this year)
  • Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzeburo Oe (very much like Lord of the Flies and just as  compelling)
  • Soft Apocalypse by Will Mcintosh (a fresh take, probably more realistic but, in this day and age of fake news and Trump, sobering and depressing)
Drew Magary's The Postmortal is my current read. 

I also keep hearing and learning more and more about the growing interest in hybrid writing, which is encouraging as it makes me feel a little bit better about the fact that I am most comfortable outside traditional ideas and formats. My Bill Ransom workshop this week at Centrum should help spin out these concepts for me, as well.

Recent acceptances/publications

As for efforts to find publication, here's an update for folks who track such matters:


"The Bridge," "Diagnosis," and "Hot Bath Test" in Something On Our Minds (anthology of MS writing)


"Gaze" in The Nervous Breakdown (with many thanks to Bernard Grant for inviting my submission and to Chelsey Clammer for her great care and support).

Submissions under consideration

Poetry - 5 poems (to 3 markets)
Fiction - 0 
Nonfiction - 0

With almost all the cows come home, it's time to start submitting again! 

Coming up

September will be a crazy month for me. I will be pitching four or five different manuscripts at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference. 

The following weekend I'll be soaking in some great films at the Port Townsend Film Festival, and just a week later, I'm heading to Indianapolis for the 2018 Sleep Meeting for the American Association of Sleep Technologists. 

Not long after, I'll be helping out the Washington State Sleep Conference as the board's secretary. 

There are some camping trips slipped in between these events through October, and I'm hoping to make a trip to Auburn, Alabama in early November to touch base with one of my clients. 

Thanks again for your reading and for your continued support!