My Writing Life.

I want to first pay tribute to the world’s on-going efforts to champion free speech, but particularly when it comes to the free expression of art: novels, poems, theater, visual art, dance. I stand in solidarity with Salman Rushdie, an internationally known novelist who has, for decades, been a leading voice against censorship, and who was severely stabbed four days ago with life-threatening injuries at a public event. Below are words from the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, where I read my work this past March. 

I encourage you to go to the PEN website and become a member as a way of supporting the international effort to support artists everywhere – some jailed, tortured, killed, or erased – to create and share our art freely.


I had a wonderful “launch” in Berkeley/Oakland at Mrs. Dalloway’s last month with local author, Keenan Norris (The Confessions of Copeland Cane) as my conversation partner. My son and niece were there, plus close friends, old writing students of mine, a few strangers and the incredibly warm-hearted and admiring owners of the book store! 


AWP (Associated Writer’s Programs) is the largest writer’s conference in the country and convenes annually. In 2023, it takes place at the Seattle Convention Center. I organized a panel and was asked to be part of another. Out of 950 entries, 360 were accepted. I have been inspired and turbo-energized by five AWP conferences over the past ten years, attending dozens of interesting panels. This will be the first time I will be a panelist!! Nerve-wracking…

Ambition of the Short Story: Bringing the Short Form Front and Center
(Leslie Kirk Campbell, Daniel Olivas, Sidik Fofana, Erica Plouffe Lazure)
Storytellers go back to the beginning of human history: wandering bards, a grandmother at the kitchen table, sailors watching the stars from the bow of a ship. Yet in contemporary times, agents and publishers seem to prefer the deep dive of a novel over the compact form of the story collection. In contemplating the merits of short fiction as a genre in its own right, this conversation among four dynamic short story writers will explore the ins and outs of writing and publishing the short form.
Journey to the Prize: Five Women, Five Prizewinning Debut Story Collections
(Kerry Dolan, Kate McIntyre, AJ Bermudez, Leslie Kirk Campbell, Erica Plouffe Lazure)
In this illuminating panel, five women who have recently published a prizewinning debut short story collection will discuss their individual pathways to the prize. Featuring winners of national book prizes including the Flannery O’Connor Award, the Iowa Short Fiction Award, the Juniper Prize, the Mary McCarthy Prize, and the New American Fiction Prize, panelists will detail their writing backgrounds, the development of their collections, and submission strategies, offering wisdom and advice.

Reading at AWP: I am also organizing an off-site reading for Sarabande authors and poets whose books were published in 2022. Reminder: Sarabande is my publisher!! (Seattle friends: I will be in touch!!)

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO A TEN-DAY WRITING RESIDENCY AT PLAYA in Southern Oregon, September 29-October 9. This will be my third time in one of their cabins at the edge of what was once Summer Lake. I have my own kitchen and absolute solitude morning to night. Last fall, I was visited there by Minerva ­– “the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk” (Hegel). I am half-way through a draft of my next collection, Free Radicals, and plan to focus on two new stories “Coyoacan” and “Dark Matters.”

1-Week Critique in Iowa has invited me to do a podcast in September on revision. I worked on my title story, “The Man With Eight Pairs of Legs,” for seven years, including three summer workshops and too many drafts to count. It should be a great pedagogical moment, sharing with others what I did and what I learned.

I have begun attending the San Francisco Writers Workshop to share drafts of my new work and to give feedback to others. The workshop is open and free to all writers and has been bringing writers together since 1946! I have been enjoying getting to know local writers!!

I just finished an intensive month of teaching creative writing to youth. Every summer, I offer summer camps/classes at my very own Greenhouse of the Imagination, to middle and high school students. Keeps me young and hopeful. The kids write terrific pieces and have a blast!


1) Myrtle Tree Arts: I’m heading to Placerville in the Sierra Hills! I will be giving a reading hosted by Myrtle Tree Arts and The Bookery on Friday, September 23 (followed by live music and carousing at the Green Room) and a reading hosted by El Dorado County Poet Laureate Lara Gularte on Saturday, September 24. I will also be giving a three-hour writing workshop Saturday morning at Myrtle Tree Arts. If you know people in the area, please pass the word!

2) LitQuake LitCrawl: A group of Sarabande authors and poets will be giving a rowdy reading as part of San Francisco’s infamous LitCrawl on Saturday, October 22. More details to follow. Bay Area folks: put it in your calendar. There is lots to love that evening on Valencia Street!


WRITE A BOOK REVIEWHere is a link to instructions for posting a book review on Amazon. And a link to post a Goodreads review. 
To inspire you, you can read the reviews that have come in so far on Amazon and Goodreads.
(BTW, I truly believe that if a reader gives my book one star it is not due to the quality of the book but because the person thought it was science fiction or a genre they did not want or expect.)
ARE YOU PART OF A BOOK CLUB?: If so, recommend THE MAN WITH EIGHT PAIRS OF LEGS to your book group, then impress your friends by inviting the author to come (virtually) to your meeting!! I have loved these events so far. With a full hour to discuss the book, they are intimate and rewarding for everyone. So if you are part of a book group, or your library or local bookstore hosts one, contact me by replying to this post. 
TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY: Ten people will receive a signed copy of The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs. In fact, I will be mailing them myself the first week of September. Here is the link.
RECOMMEND THE BOOK to your family, friends and fans! Include this link to make the purchase an easy one.