5 Reasons why you should attend a writing festival

This is the second year I’ve served on the Board for the Stockholm Writers Festival, and the second year I plan on attending. The first year, I wasn’t sure if I should attend or not. Of course I wanted to support the festival in its debut year! But when I thought about me at the festival, I wasn’t sure it had enough for me. You see, I was under a false impression that I had to have a finished novel ready to be released into the world. I created this imaginary line I had to cross as an author before I should venture forth into the realm of writing festivals. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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New Publication

A couple of updates are due here on the blog.

First, my short story Singapore Wept was published in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. The story is short, five or six paragraphs, and worth reading. Very relevant in this age of gun-related violence. If you have the time, hop over to it and give it a quick read. Also, every time you click on the link, it helps the spider bots of the internet with searches related to my name =).  Read more

Thursday Thoughts – Mud and Fingerprint Mazes

On Thursdays I normally share random thoughts, objects or ideas I plan to use as writing inspiration or prompts.

Last week Stockholm was a winter wonderland. This week? Well, let’s just say I ran across Frosty the Snowman earlier. He’s nothing but a puddle now. In fact, most of the fields around our home are giant lakes. The kids are in love with it. But you’d think one puddle is good enough, right? Nope. They must brave Every. Single. Puddle. to see how high the water reaches. Thankfully, the deepest puddle they could find, the one on the soccer field, only comes to their knees.

Which brings me to this week’s Thursday Thoughts. What am I thinking about today? Read more

Autumn Colors

20151022_115222Autumn! This used to be my favorite time of the year. The world exploding in color, the crisp air, the smell of southern pines in the wind. Harvest festivals and masquerade parties. Apple pie. The smell of chimney smoke when people light up their fireplaces. Piles of leaves to dive into. Not to mention my birthday, which falls in late September. Why wouldn’t you love this season?

Then I moved to Sweden where it rains almost every single day until the snow shows up. I no longer wanted to walk through the leaves anymore because I came out all muddy and wet. An umbrella was required when you left home and, yes, it’s cold, but most years Sweden skips over ‘crisp’ and goes straight to ‘bundle up it’s freezing outside.’

This year, it’s different. I guess the rain came early, or it’s waiting to surprise us–either way, I’m thankful. It’s gorgeous outside! To celebrate, I thought I’d share a few photos.  Read more

Jen Campbell and Marie Phillips visit Stockholm

The Bookshop BookOn Thursday, September 10th and Friday, September 11th the English Bookshop in Stockholm hosted two visiting authors, Jen Campbell, author of the hilarious Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and Marie Phillips, author of The Table of Less Valued Knights. Stockholm Writers Group member Karen Hagersten reached out to the bookshop and organized a wonderful evening for the group, and hopefully the authors.

For Jen’s talk, the bookshop was packed! Some folks were even sitting on the floor. But it was all worth it. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine, a great interview, and a chance to not only get a book signed, but also to chat for a moment with the authors? After Jen’s talk, we took both ladies out to dinner and a number of us returned the following morning for the breakfast talk with Marie Phillips. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the breakfast talk. I’m bummed, too, because Marie was so funny and I really wanted to hear more about her book. The way she described it at dinner was–and I’m paraphrasing here–‘You know how King Arthur had the round table knights? This book is about the other knights–the ones who didn’t make it to the round table.’ My kind of book.) Read more

A Day at the Vasa

Model of the Vasa, copyright Cas Blomberg
Model of the Vasa, copyright Cas Blomberg

On August 10, 1628, the Vasa, the crown jewel of the Swedish Navy, made her maiden voyage. She got a grand total of about 1300 meters before she keeled over. For those of you who like comparisons, that’s about the same distance as four and a half Eiffel Towers or five New York City blocks. In other words, not very far. The problem? Not enough ballast. Which would ultimately be a construction issue in my book, though some say the disaster was the captain’s fault because he sailed anyway. I guess that’s true, but I still think the designer should be held accountable, you know?

Despite her tragic end, Sweden is quite proud of this ship. They rose her from the depths of the sea and turned her into a museum. My husband and I spent Saturday walking around and learning all about her.  Read more

Poetry in the Park

Gazebo Vitabergsparken (Wikimedia Commons / Jopparn)
Gazebo Vitabergsparken (Wikimedia Commons / Jopparn)

I’ve mentioned before how I love new experiences. If there’s a large crowd, I’ll start to feel smothered, but, in general, I’m fascinated by events and people. Add anything about writing, poetry, the craft, or reading into the mix and I’m there — as long as I can afford it. It’s amazing to me how many events, contests and even submissions these days charge fees. And I get it, I really do. You have to cover costs, but what happened to holding events in open spaces? Isn’t that how we used to do things? Anyway! Back to the topic. I like new experiences. Which is handy because yesterday was a day of firsts for me. Read more

Margaret Atwood comes to Sweden

oryx & Crake It all started with a short story I wrote at the end of last year. I wrote it for fun. I had no plan in mind when I began, only a first line–one of ten I came up with for a writing exercise. A voice came next. One that had something to say, but she wasn’t sure what. I didn’t focus too much on plot or theme. I wrote what came out of me and it turns out I had something to say, or rather, Bug did. Within a couple of days, I had a rough draft of Bug Out. I submitted it to my writing group (under a placeholder title called After the Experiment) and for the most part, they loved it. One member said it reminded him of Oryx & Crake from Margaret Atwood. I hadn’t read that book, so I have no idea why it reminded him of Atwood’s novel. Was it the voice? The characters? The setting? Unfortunately, I still don’t know. When we workshop each other’s work, the author (in this case me) usually sits in a virtual ‘Green Room’ and can’t respond to the comments until the critique is over. By the time I stepped out of said Green Room, I had forgotten to ask about it. Read more

My writing group celebrates 20 years!

swg cake
The cake! Minus the sparkly candle things, which were way cool.

Last year I accomplished a lot in my writing world. I finished and self-published my first fantasy novel, Ashborne. I published my first short story, Orbital Extraction. I applied to a grant program. I took several courses related to the craft of writing, including a screenwriting course I never thought I’d take. I created a writing network for writers within Stockholm. And I created this blog. But the best thing I ever did was join a professional, physical, face-to-face writing group called Stockholm Writers Group.
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