Exhaustion & Gratitude

On this day, the day before the public launch of my book, this is how I feel. Exhausted after juggling dozens of balls in the air for months – details, people, dates, queries, correspondences, posts, promotions – and grateful for the many incredible people I have met along the way, which includes, most recently, reviewers and event directors at bookstores across the country.

BOOK REVIEWSThe durable grace of human care. These are the words one reviewer used to describe “Triptych,” the final story in my collection. I was struck by the phrase. Every story in THE MAN WITH EIGHT PAIRS OF LEGS is, I realized, about just that. This reviewer directed me to my own book’s heart. 

This same reviewer “marvels at Campbell’s great patience with her characters: how she allows them a certain integrity of becoming — what author Grace Paley called the “open destiny” of their lives.” I had never thought of my characters that way, and yet the words felt so true.

This is what I am learning. Reviews can teach the author! Each review is a surprise gift. I am beyond thankful for the person behind each one. It is both humbling and surreal to imagine strangers in their beds, in cafes, on their verandas, carefully reading the eight stories in my collection, then reflecting upon them, and finding words to talk about them. It is also affirming. I have been embarrassed, flattered, blown away.

Publishers Weekly

A meaningful and utterly devastating collection that cements Campbell as a leading short story writer.
BuzzFeed News

[Campbell’s stories] slap us awakea remarkable collection — every story a deep dive well worth taking.
San Francisco Chronicle

Ambitious in scope, at once gritty and lavishly told.

I hope you all like my collection as much as the reviewers do!!
(If you do, review it on Amazon). 

You can read the full reviews here.

One writer friend, who bought, read, and loved my collection today, told me I give her hope. She knows it has been a long road. My advice to writers is simple: when you get a rejection, make it better. If you don’t know how to make it better, go to a writing workshop for feedback to shake things up. Don’t get distracted by the “trends.” Stay true to yourself and the result will be extraordinary. Have faith. Never give up. 

It is finally time for me to read my work, those sentences I have labored over.

EVENTS: In-person events. Virtual events. Radio. Events in (or hosted in) Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Santa Cruz, San Francisco; Bend, Oregon; Madison, Wisconsin; Chicago, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Provincetown, Honolulu, Key West, with more on the horizon. 

These should be lively, engaging happenings, many including conversations with dynamic writers and artists who will be asking me penetrating questions about my book: Nona Caspers, Allison Bartlett Hoover, Tanya Shaffer, Scott Landers, Sidik Fofana, Ellen Santasiero, Edgy Lee. 

Come to an event if you can! Recommend THE MAN WITH EIGHT PAIRS OF LEGS to your friends and invite them to a reading! Order the collection from your favorite local book store. (As soon as we hit 2000, the book will go into re-print so that is our first goal.)


Let me know if you would like to suggest a venue in your town or city, a book store or reading series at a local university. I am game for just about anything!

PUBLISHING NEWS: 1) I will have a mini-essay published in Poets & Writers, the top professional magazine for writers, in a column called “Writers Recommend” in March. 2) My agent, Felicia Eth, is now making queries for an audiobook. Getting an audiobook deal would be a dream for me because my writing, as I have said, is also music, and I would love for people to be able to hear the sentences out loud. Perhaps with the soundtrack I sent you in the last post! The audiobook market is a very competitive one and I am new to the fiction field… Let’s see what happens.

GRATITUDE: Sometime between July 2021 and now, I invited you to board this train with me. And you did. In between posts, I swear, I could hear the rattling against the tracks, the glasses clinking in the dining car, shouts at the unexpected views out the window. I felt the conductor brush against my sleeve as he collected tickets and knew he was also brushing up against yours in the other cars. There were days when the journey felt raucous, people laughing and hugging, getting up out of their seats, inexplicably in a merry mood; other times quiet, the hilarity hushed, and not just at night. I might hear a whisper, and sometimes just the velocity of the train and nothing else. But I always felt you there with me. The train is still steaming ahead but I am so grateful for your company during the slow lead up to tomorrow, my official pub date and launch, that big day the team at Sarabande Books and I have been working towards since I won the Mary McCarthy Prize for Short Fiction in June 2020. A special thanks to Sarah Westergren, my Mailchimp & social media intern, and Abby Kojola, my webmaster. THEY ARE AWESOME!!

(Note: The eight legs of my journey are all posted now on my website as blogettes. If you missed any of these literary news posts, you can find them here)

‘It is predicted that The Year of the Tiger will be about making big changes, a year of risk-taking and adventure. We will find enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone will be fired-up, generosity will be at an all-time high and social progress will feel possible again.’ 
Until next time, please do whatever you can to take care of your fellow humans. As well as the aina and all life – mineral, flora, and fauna. XO