Book Review of SOONER OR LATER EVERYTHING FALLS INTO THE SEA and UNCOMMON MIRACLES

Here’s my second of three book reviews of CHARM CITY SPEC authors AND hopefully a helpful guide for buying gifts for the readers in your life during the holiday season.

For something a little different, I selected two short story collections: SOONER OR LATER EVERYTHING FALLS INTO THE SEA and UNCOMMON MIRACLES. Short stories are nice for those who like to experience many different “worlds” and casts of characters, who want to answer one question or examine one moment in time rather than commit to a three-act structure, and for those who, practically, have less time to read. Convinced? If so, here are two collections that would make a wonderful gift this holiday season.

Storm sunning herself between books.

SOONER OR LATER EVERYTHING FALLS INTO THE SEA by Sarah Pinsker

Cover art by Matt Muirhead

Genre: Speculative fiction, literary

Premise: There are thirteen different stories, so there are thirteen different premises. However, Publisher’s Weekly gave this collection a starred review. Here’s what they said:

*This beautiful, complex debut collection assembles some of Nebula winner Pinsker’s best stories into a twisting journey that is by turns wild, melancholic, and unsettling…The stories are enhanced by a diverse cast of LGBTQ and nonwhite characters. Pinsker’s captivating compendium reveals stories that are as delightful and surprising to pore through as they are introspective and elegiac.”

If that’s too oblique, here’s some specifics: In this debut collection, you will meet runaways, fiddle-playing astronauts, a touring band, under-employed Americans, retired time travelers, and dopplegangers.

Who would love it: Readers who like WINNERS… BECAUSE Sarah Pinkser’s stories have won the Nebula and Sturgeon awards, and have been finalists for the Hugo, the Locus, and the Eugie Foster Memorial Award.

 

Favorite character: Grandmother Windy (from Wind Will Rove)

“My grandmother was an engineer, part of our original crew. According to the tale, she stepped outside to do a visual inspection of an external panel that was giving anomalous readings. Along with her tools, she clipped her fiddle and bow to her suit’s belt. When she completed her task, she paused for a moment, tethered to our ship the size of a city, put her fiddle to the place where her helmet met her suit, and played ‘Wind Will Rove’ into the void. Not to be heard, of course; just to feel the song in her fingers.”

Final Thought: Pinsker’s first novel, Song for a New Day, also released recently so you should buy a copy of that too.

 

One orea bunny, two white with caramel markings, one striped with a Harlequinn face, one striped with solid face, and two fawn colored with gray bellies.

UNCOMMON MIRACLES

Genre: Speculative, Weird

Premise: “Julie C. Day makes a bold debut with this genre-bending collection of stories. At times whimsical, at times heart-breaking, but always clear-eyed and honest, Uncommon Miracles proves that Day has joined the front ranks of the writers carrying American fantasy into a new golden age.”

Specifics: (18 stories) A grieving man travels through time via a car crash. A family of matriarchs collects recipes for the dead. A woman gains an unexpected child in the midst of a bunny apocalypse. An outcast finds work in a magical slaughterhouse. Whether set in a uniquely altered version of Florida’s Space Coast or a haunted island off the coast of Maine, each story in this collection carries its own brand of meticulous and captivating weirdness.

Who would love it: Readers who like stories that are more Alice in Wonderland than Hallmark movie.

Favorite character: Cole (from “Everyone Gets a Happy Ending”)

“Steph and I are stretched out on plastic recliners, our laps full of her offspring: six desert cottontails, and for some unknown reason, one of the English Spot variety. After all my careful care – changing the bedding in their crate, cradling them when Steph disappears from their sight – the English Spot is still the only bunny who greets me when I come near. I’ve named him Cole. A fact I don’t share with Steph, though I whisper it to him like a lullaby when she isn’t near.”

Final Thought: Day recently released a novella titled The Rampant, an apocalyptic tale by way of Sumerian mythology.  Also, I love the cover art (by Tiffany Bozic).

Book Review SONG OF BLOOD & STONE and SUPREMACY’S BOUNTY

Dear Friends,

All I want for Christmas (or Hanukkah or Winter Solstice) is more reviews of Walking Through Fire BECAUSE there is an urban legend among authors that if you have 50 reviews on Amazon then it jiggers the algorithm to show ads for your book. If I hit 50 then I’ll let you know.

I mean, also world peace and a solid Democratic party candidate and a plan for endangered species.

In the meantime, I’m going to post book reviews to hopefully help people with their holiday shopping. I’m not the most voracious reader because of the whole having kids and animals and a day job thing, but when I cast my mind back over the past year I thought of CHARM CITY SPEC in Baltimore and realized that’s been my reading list.

Gabe displays SONG OF BLOOD & STONE and SUPREMACY’S BOUNTY

First up is SONG OF BLOOD & STONE by L. Penelope. 

Genre: Fantasy, epic and romantic

Premise (back jacket copy): The kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar have been separated for centuries by the Mantle, a magical veil that has enforced a tremulous peace between the two lands. But now the Mantle is cracking and the True Father, ruler of Lagrimar and the most powerful Earthsinger in the world, finally sees a way into Elsira to seize power.

Jasminda has been branded an outcast by the color of her skin and her gift of Earthsong, but when a group of soldiers wander into her valley she learns from Jack, a spy, that their only hope to restore the Mantle lies in uncovering the secrets of the Queen Who Sleeps.

Who would love it? Me! I would love this book. Also, readers who enjoy world-building. Besides the kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar, the world has a religious order of the Sisterhood and an anti-religious order of Dominionists, secret societies (Keepers of the Promise), academics from Fremia, etc.

Who else? Readers who love the blurring of traditional genre lines. Against a backdrop of what is 1920’s technology, the characters are worried about war, worried about duty to family, worried about loyalty. But the big questions of life are really the small, daily decisions and Penelope really explores what it means to love. That is, perhaps, my favorite part of this book. Jasminda and Jack, Benn and Ella, even Oola and Eero are wrestling with how to love another person, how to have boundaries, how to sacrifice and when not to…this is so real against the beautifully fantastic world sung into a novel.

Finally, this book would appeal to people who enjoy the “feel” of the Pern series or the Broken Earth series in terms of ancient secrets, advanced societies that made mistakes and then generations pass…and our characters have to figure out how the sins of the parents have created the current conflict.

Favorite character: Zaura nyl Herrsen

Would you like to meet her?

The radio hissed. “Lt. Ravel, this is Private Teraseen. The old woman got away.”

“Got away?”

“Yes, sir. She was here one minute and then she told me she needed the privy. I turned my back while she set off behind a tree, and the next thing I know, she’s stolen my vehicle and driven off. High tailed it out of here like a woman half her age. I’m sorry, sir.”

Final Thought: Book 1.5 is titled BREATH OF DUST & DAWN; Book 2 is titled WHISPERS OF SHADOW & FLAME

Next Book for review is: SUPREMACY’S BOUNTY by T. Eric Bakutis

Genre: science fiction, grimsnark and military

Premise (back jacket copy): “I just saved your life, cowboy. You owe me.”

As a feared and respected bounty hunter, Mackenzie Flores enjoys the finer things in life: a dependable rifle, a clean glass of dirty whisky, and a reputation that leaves her flush with contracts and the freedom to pick and choose her jobs. At least until the Supremacy blows up everything she owns and takes her girlfriend away.

To rescue the woman she loves, all Mackenzie has to do is take down three crime lords, one planet of super soldiers, and a human trafficking base on the moon. Fortunately, she has powerful armor and smart bullets. Unfortunately, they’ve all gone missing.

Who would love it? Me! Okay. Maybe you predicted that, but I got to read an advance copy and I emailed the author in the middle because I couldn’t STAND it. I had to talk about what was happening. This story is that jerky roller coaster at Hershey park. The one that puts a crick in your neck even before you take the first hill. It’s nail-biting exciting and I finished it in two days because there is no place to stop. Seriously. Every scene is rushing your forward to a new, bigger disaster, but you can’t stop rooting for Mack.

Techies. Look, I’m a luddite, but the introduction of new weapons and technology did not slow down the story in any way. Nor was it incomprehensible. Somehow the author manages that fine balance of having the tech add to the story in a way that makes the reader complicit. I’m biting back a spoiler right now so PLEASE read this so we can discuss.

Readers who like to be messed with. Look, the author does that thing where he jerks you back and forth in time. (The Mousetrap, remember?) and IT WORKS as a device because you think maybe things will turn out differently if you don’t look away.

Those who like heist narratives. Who like not knowing who to trust. Who like hidden motivations and double crosses and simple contracts that turn out to be verrrrry complicated.

Favorite character: Jinx

Jinx was her support, communications, and tech expert, and she was sitting in a warm shuttle a half klick into the forest. “Alarms disabled, camera feeds cloned, comms monitored. Is there a problem?”

(spoiler: there IS a problem) (Second spoiler: this is the first page.)

Final Thought: This is a stand-alone book, but is in the DUELING PLANETS universe along with Supremacy’s Shadow)

Upcoming Appearances

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re enjoying Fall. It’s my absolute favorite time of year. Don’t come at me with your beach pictures or your bright white snow or even those cute little flower buds. AUTUMN IS THE BEST SEASON.

I have a couple of exciting upcoming events:

I’m being interviewed by Bob Mumby and Leslie Greenly Smith. The radio show will air live on Friday, 9/20 from 9-10 AM and then again on Saturday, 9/21 from 9-10 AM. It will repeat on 9/27 and 9/28 from 9-10 AM. The radio station is WAMN 970 AM.J  You can listen on the radio or online at http://khztv.com/WAMD/.

On Saturday, September 28th the Bel Air Public Library is hosting a Comic Con with a ton of free activities for the entire family including costume contests, video and board games, and a fandom scavenger hunt. I’ll be giving a talk from 11am – noon and then selling/signing copies of WALKING THROUGH FIRE.  Comic Con

October 18-20 I’ll be at Capclave, a literary convention in Rockville, MD that focuses on the short fiction form. I don’t have my programming event schedule yet, but will share when I do.

Nov 1st and November 3rd I’ll be at the Baltimore Book Festival 2019. I’ll be at both the SFWA area and the inspire stage. I’ll also be fangirling because the lineup of authors is INCREDIBLE. They’ve combined with the annual Light City Festival this year so will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Saturday Nov 2nd I’ll be in Bel Air at the Authors and Artists Event to sell/sign books.

Hope to see you at some of these events….and that you get a chance to curl up with a favorite book and your favorite warm beverage to enjoy this time of year.

Here’s the pup enjoying his (chew toy) version of a pumpkin spiced latte.

Love,

Sherri

Get Back on the Horse, Woosley

I’ve been quiet for a while and wanted to update. I was thrown from my horse on June 3rd. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I’ve pieced together a narrative from my twins, who were there, and from another rider, who called the ambulance. Noche, our off-the-track-Thoroughbred, startled soon after I mounted her. I fell, or was thrown, hitting my head and shoulder on the ground. Noche bolted for the stable where Ann saw her and rushed down to the ring. I was unconscious for about ten minutes. Thank God for my helmet. I don’t remember much of the ambulance ride or the ER, only bits and pieces. So, my recovery from the concussion and some devastating events previous were all mixed together into a real-life metaphor.

I’m not the only one who has been passed over for a promotion or didn’t win the game. I’m not the only one who lost a loved one, broke up with a romantic partner, or was stopped by an obstacle. But maybe something here will strike a chord and be helpful to you.

 

  • Feel the hurt. You are allowed to mourn for your dream. You wanted it so badly you could taste it. You put in the work and you didn’t get the pay-off. Your heart is broken.

It doesn’t only hurt for one day, for one cry. My headache lasted 9 ½ days. The doctor said to come back if it lasted ten…I guess my brain has a sense of humor. I cried, often suddenly, for the next four weeks. Thinking about parts of my broken dream or even remembering the thud as my shoulder hit the dirt in the ring.

  • The sun came up the next day. Maybe you are surprised? I was surprised.

The worst had happened. Everything I’d imagined had come true. I was devastated…but the world was still going on. My husband and children still loved me. They still wanted to eat breakfast. The dog still wanted to be walked. At the stable, Noche was still given grain and turned out into the field.

  • Get away. A change of scenery is surprisingly refreshing. If your dream was winning a hot dog competition, maybe don’t hang out at the Farm Fair right now. Stick with hamburgers. You don’t have to torture yourself. Say “congratulations” to the person who got the promotion instead of you and gracefully drift away from the party to be with your people.

I was in the bizarrely fortunate state to be headed to Costa Rica for a family vacation that had already been booked for this time period. Some experts think you shouldn’t fly if you have a concussion, but our flight tickets were non-refundable so I went with the experts who said it was okay.

  • Allow help. You don’t know who is going to call the ambulance for you. You don’t know who will actually show up at the hospital or write you a note or call you on the phone. I mean, you might have a reasonable expectation, but there’s a strong chance that someone you didn’t expect to will help you. Maybe they’ve been in your position, maybe they were in the right place at the right time. God moves in mysterious ways.

 

  • Give yourself time. The obstacle changed your five-year plan. It changed the way you saw yourself. You need time for your dream to shift and change. You need time to remember why you wanted it in the first place. You can journal, you can talk, you can sketch, but you can’t force this step.

 

To me, this is the spiritual part. In the middle of pain there is truth. You have to sit through the pain to get there. Here’s the lesson I was supposed to learn: I was equating my self-worth with what I produced and how it was judged. I didn’t believe that I had worth because I was a child of God. Instead, I was a people-pleaser and when a specific piece of art, or pieces of art, failed, that meant I was a failure.

Riders often tell each other, “You aren’t a real rider until you’ve fallen off.” That’s the test! What you do after. Which brings us to the next step.

 

  • Get back on the horse. Even if you’ve realized that you no longer want to be a cowgirl or a dressage rider, you need to go back one more time and face your fear to take away the power from the original negative experience. Have a trainer put your mare on a lunge line, if you want, but get back on, put the memory in the rearview mirror, and get on with your life. Do not give the past power over you. You live in the moment because that is the only place where we can make decisions.

This is me back on Noche. My legs are sore and my heart is happy.

And if you do still want to a cowgirl or dressage rider? Keep going. Set new goals, make a new strategy. Dream a new dream.

Look, the test was hard, but you are stronger now. You’ve leveled up and have the battle scars to prove it. You are ready to take on the next challenge, the next project, the next relationship. I believe in you!

Much love,

Sherri

 

 

 

Story in Pantheon Magazine

Hi Friends!

I’m happy to announce that my story, “A Quick Getaway,” is included in the new anthology by Pantheon Magazine. Isn’t the cover beautiful and haunting?

It’s available for sale from Amazon. Here’s the description: Be changed.GORGON: STORIES OF EMERGENCE contains 42 transformative stories spanning all genres from both emerging and new voices alike, with all new stories by Gwendolyn Kiste, Richard Thomas, Annie Neugebauer, Eden Royce, Beth Cato, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Maria Haskins, Carina Bissett, Julie C. Day, A.T. Greenblatt, and more, and featuring 10 illustrations by Carrion House.

Love,

Sherri

Book Promotion

For two months now I’ve been promoting my debut novel, Walking Through Fire, through orders, interviews, and readings. I made sure copies were in the local library and I gave a talk to the local Rotary Club. I spoke on panels at the Baltimore Book Festival and I’m participating at the World Fantasy Convention. I will attend Charm City Spec as an author instead of an audience member. So, there are a lot more events, but we are making progress in introducing my book to the world.

For example, a new review came in today from Booklist:

“Woosley gets off to a running start in this debut series starter, and she draws on a mix of mythology and religious allusions to create a post-apocalyptic world caught in a battle for control and power.”

AND, Walking Through Fire was longlisted by Booknest for Best Debut Novel of 2018. The prize was an engraved sword so I’m pretty steamed that I didn’t win…(just kidding).

sherri-4

Plans for this week:

I will be in costume on Halloween as part of Charm City Spec’s reading series. The reading is at Bird in Hand, Charles Village Baltimore and starts at 7pm. Sam J. Miller (The Art of Starving and Blackfish City) and Julie C. Day (Uncommon Miracles) will also be reading.

Then I will commute to the Inner Harbor Thursday through Sunday to attend the World Fantasy Convention. My reading is at 4:30 PM on Friday.

On Saturday I will leave the convention to drive to Towson and I will sign copies of Walking Through Fire at Ukazoo Books (8641 Loch Raven Blvd.) from 3:30-5pm. Then I will join my family to celebrate my son’s birthday.

On November 7th I’ll drive to Hagerstown Community College in western Maryland for an author event: reading, answering questions from the writing students, and judging an impromptu poetry contest (or so I’ve been promised).

Thank you to everyone who purchased a copy, attends a reading, or leaves a review on Amazon. There are other novels that have huge marketing machines, or big publishers, but my little story is making progress. Thank you for believing in me!

Love,

Sherri

DEBUT

Writing-wise I’ve hit some milestones this year.

  1. I became an associate member of SFWA (science fiction writers of America)
  2. I had three short stories published in semi-pro or pro magazines: “Breakage”, “The Boy from Omran”, and “A Quick Getaway.”

    Tethys Issue of Pantheon Magazine. My story “The Boy from Omran” is available to read for free at http://www.pantheonmag.com

  3. I’ll be at author events September – December and……….(Drum Roll)
  4. My book, Walking Through Fire, is finally out in the world. Thank you to everyone who purchased a copy! We get to have fun now! Last night was firestorm yoga and the audience was as silly as I was — we had a lot of laughs as I led a class with poses modified to reflect the story in Walking Through Fire. The next event is Friday the 14th at Barnes and Noble in Bel Air, Maryland. And, on September 18th we will have a PARTY at Julie Ellyn Designs on Main Street in Bel Air. Special cupcakes, you ask? Maaayyybe.
  5. All events have details here.

Now, I need you to do one more thing: If you liked Walking Through Fire then please, please, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Even just rating with stars gets the Amazon AI to recognize traffic and then boosts the page higher on a search results list.

We are getting noticed, though. Check out this review from Fantasy Hive.  AND, I have an interview with S. H. Harrison. And, I have a video chat with The Richard Wilmore Show.

Thank you to everyone who is helping my dream become reality,

Love,

Sherri

 

READINGS AND SIGNINGS

Hi Friends,

First, a big THANK YOU to everyone who pre-ordered WALKING THROUGH FIRE. It’s not too late — here are the links for purchase:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Talos Press

The book will also be available in bookstores starting September 4th, 2018.

I’ve set up some local places where I’ll sign books and do readings. I hope you can join me!

READING AND SIGNING SCHEDULE

Friday, September 7th  FIRESTORM YOGA AND READING

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM  Anytime Fitness, 1 Newport Drive, Forest Hill, MD

Yoga Instructor and Fantasy Author Sherri Woosley will teach a special twenty-minute yoga class inspired by her novel WALKING THROUGH FIRE. The class will be followed by a reading. If you have a book, please bring to have it signed.

Friday, September 14th      SIGNING

6:30-8:00 PM  Barnes and Noble, 620 Marketplace Dr, Bel Air, MD 21014

The bookstore isn’t hosting readings at this time, but I will be present and happy to sign or discuss the book.

Tuesday, September 18th   READING AND SIGNING

12:30 – 1:30 Julie Ellyn Designs, 18 S Main St, Bel Air, MD 21014

Come listen to a reading from Walking Through Fire in a shop that features beautiful handmade jewelry as well as other unique gifts made by artisans from around the country. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday and Sunday, September 29th – 30th Signing and Panels

Saturday: Signing at the SFWA tent at 5 PM, Inner Harbor of Baltimore

Sunday: 1:00 PM       Panel: The Future of Cities, the Fantasy of Cities

4:00 PM       Panel: From Harry Potter to the Broken Earth Trilogy: Magic                                                Systems That Will Put You Under Their Spell

 

CRITTER QUIZ for Walking Through Fire

Hello Friends,

  1. My novel releases in three weeks. I’ve been waiting six years for this, so kind of a big deal. You should definitely pre-order a copy here
  2. I’m working on a list of readings and signings and will share soon.
  3. Please, if you are on Goodreads add my book to your “to-read” list.

Why should you do these things? Well, remember THIS post? But, there are other reasons too. The CRITTERS in my novel deserve their own post.

Animals are important to me. That’s why I have my foster-fail pup Gabe. That’s why my oldest daughter is in the Animal Science program at her high school and we experienced the whole Bunny Project. We still have 2 1/2 bunnies, by the way, in case anyone local to Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania is looking for a wonderful pet. The 1/2 is because…well, I digress. We also have a baby horse. She’s a beautiful four-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred filly who has a ridiculous racing record (like, ridiculously bad. That is also another story…and I’ll post about her with pictures of her doing yoga with the equine osteopath because, you know, that’s my life.)

Anyway, I say all this because OF COURSE animals are going to be a big part of my world-building. Energy follows ley lines and causes changes that… Hey! I don’t want to give too much away, though. There’s a quiz below to tell you who your perfect “pet” would be, but DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED WHEN READING.

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You’re still here? Okay, here’s the quiz:

  1.          Do you want a pet that requires more or less attention?

A) Every minute with my pet

B) I have a couple hours every day.

C) I want a pet that fits into my lifestyle

D) I want my pet around when I remember it

E) I have no interest in actually interacting with my pet

                        2. How important is obedience from your pet?

A) Obedience is nice, but love is more important.

B) I need obedience so I can trust my pet.

C) Well, maybe obedience is overrated.

D) Who needs a pet who does tricks?

E) Umm. I need my pet to understand, “STOP.”

3. How important is it that your pet be housetrained?

A) Very

B) Accidents are unacceptable. We can work on manners.

C) Kind of

D) I’m willing to change my pet’s water.

E). Nope. Never coming in my house anyway.

4. How traditional do you want your pet to be?

A) Very

B) Pretty traditional

C) Somewhat

D) That’s boring

E) I want a pet that no one has never seen before

5. Do you want your pet to like you?

A) You said “like.” I think you meant “love.”

B) I want my pet to respect me.

C) I’d like my pet to recognize my voice, at least.

D) It’s okay if my pet doesn’t even know I’m home.

E) My pet and I will be actively avoiding each other.

 

Look, you guys have done magazine quizzes before. You know what to do. Whichever letter you choose the most often corresponds to your perfect “Misbegotten” pet.

A) Dido — a white female wolf who keeps Caesar “in the friend zone.” She’s elegant, maternal, and protective. With the right person, she’s not above snuggling. Dido is highly intelligent, but discerning about who she’ll love. She’s loyal to a fault and will give everything for her special one.  

B) Caesar — a solid black male wolf. He’s an alpha who will keep you safe by attacking promptly and without remorse. He is stoic, but might come across as arrogant. He’s not into being cuddled, but will consent to sit beside you when, and if, he chooses. He’s a soldier with perfect posture. It’s not his fault that he’s so damn handsome.

C) Saki — a penguin-turtle who helps Tamaki hold on to her sanity through many terrible experiences. She excels at being quiet and her fur is soft to the touch, but she’ll retreat inside her shell when she needs some alone time. She needs a lot of alone time.

By artist Amelia Grace

D) Zombie horseshoe crabs — these are kind of the equivalent of those frog kits where you send away for the tadpoles. They don’t require a lot of maintenance because they are already dead, but they do drift through the water, preferably brackish water like that found in the Chesapeake Bay, especially when in the presence of etemuu.  You can have one or a whole swarm. Warning: under the right circumstances they can be dangerous to humans.

E)Two-headed Moose — This guy is often misunderstood, probably because he is truly of two minds. Like a Gemini, this BIG fella has a good side, purely vegetarian. And then he has the other side, devilish side, literally. His second head, the one growing from his shoulder, would like to spear anyone and everyone. He’ll definitely get your friends attention. Warning: Hire a professional animal trainer for this pet.

 

So, ready to hit the pet store and buy supplies? Post in the comments which pet was right for you.

A couple of notes. The wolves and moose pictures all came from a World Wildlife Fund calendar a couple years ago — and I’m sorry I don’t have the specific photographer’s name to acknowledge him or her.

HOWEVER, I’m very happy to share the artist who created Saki for me: Amelia Grace. Her website is: http://amelia-grace-illustration.com and she has even more artwork on Instagram @Ameliagraceillustration

I’ve ordered bookmarks to give out at readings/signings and they will feature the cover art for Walking Through Fire on one side and Amelia’s design on the other side.

Let me know which pet you chose!

Sherri

 

Taos Toolbox 2018

This summer I had the opportunity to attend a two-week writing workshop called Taos Toolbox in New Mexico.

This is the longest I’ve ever been away from my family — I think the previous record was four days when I attended a mandatory yoga training — and it wouldn’t have been possible without several factors. First, my grandmother moved in with my parents a few months ago. She paid for my trip as a combined Christmas/Birthday gift. Second, my children are older now. They still need to be driven to their activities and their own camps, to have food prepared, etc., but they are old enough to be okay without me. Third, my beloved niece was home from college AND, because of her own summer commitments, hadn’t taken a job. So she stayed at my house while I was gone, my sister checked in, and my partner…well, of course it turned out that he had to go to France for work during the first week that I was gone.

So, I was not only very excited to attend this workshop, but I was also determined not to squander the opportunity. I think it went very well. I studied with science fiction masters Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress. They arranged for guest speakers such as Carrie Vaughn, Emily Mah Tippetts, and this guy that you might have heard of…he’s done this little thing called GAME OF THRONES.

The workshop was exciting, exhausting, and ultimately inspiring. I had the first 15,000 words of my next book (Misbegotten #2) critiqued and came home with a lot of ideas.

I also made friends. This is not the easiest thing for me, but I had three exceptional roommates: Kelli Fitzpatrick, Amanda Helms, and Gabrielle Harbowy. I’m writing their names because these women…wow, they are amazing authors.  I promise that you will see their names all over short stories and novels in the next couple years.

My FRIENDS and I drove to Santa Fe over the weekend to explore Meow Wolf. It’s….an interactive exhibit with a speculative storyline inside of a bowling alley repurposed by a team of about 400 artists. Not that it will make it any clearer, but here’s some pictures:

I flew home at the beginning of July and immediately had to play catch up with work and with the critters and with my kids who were a little angry I’d been gone. And, I’m glad to be home. I missed them all very much, but I’d go so far as to say that Taos Toolbox was a life-changing time for me. I got to be an adult, saturated in reading and critiquing 17 other manuscripts TWICE in two weeks, reading and dissecting published works, dining with guest authors, and being an adult.

I’m going to be pulling on that well of creative energy because my novel WALKING THROUGH FIRE releases on September 4th. Here are some ways that you can help, if you want.

  1. If you’ve considered buying the book, pre-orders REALLY help an author to ensure there will be a second book.  Amazon
  2. Adding the book on Goodreads.
  3. Leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads
  4. Asking your library if they have a copy of the book.

My next task is marketing. This is very much outside my wheelhouse, but I’ll keep you posted.

Love,

Sherri