Friday, September 30, 2011

Writing spaces

We're redoing the house--clearing things out, painting--and I find that the more minimal a space is, the better able I can think, and concentrate. So out went the cute vintage plates that hung on the wall, all the photos and knick-knacks and stuff. I'm entering a minimal phase, a monochromatic phase....whites, blacks, blues. Here are two photos of the current state of affairs...where I write and what I see when I look to my left. I'm in the process of buying a desk for that window you see in the second photo.

Where do you write and do you like it to be a cluttered, busy space, or a minimal space,  or something in between?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

West Hollywood Book Fair this coming Sunday

I'll be there, moderating a memoir panel with Emma Forrest, Dan Fante, Matthew Logelin and Amy Ephron.  11:45.  A fun literary day, free, free parking....colorful.... Make a memory.  Join us!

Here's a video.... for your viewing pleasure....and to get you to the fair!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dani Shapiro at the Pen on Fire Writers Salon

Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion, was a guest at the Pen on Fire Writers Salon in February of 2010.  Here is that live event. 

Download audio.  

(Broadcast date: XXX XX, 20XX)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plot board

I'm not the only writer I know who has trouble organizing her material--especially when you get above a certain page count and revisions start mounting, it can be brutal, keeping track. 

So I created this: A plot board, is what others call it. I've been writing down on a mini-legal pad what's going on in each chapter, but I work better with visuals so here I color coded what's happening in my memoir. The light pink represents the far past. The light pink, the recent past. Little orange slips are photographs, etc.  (I blurred out text on the Post-its....)  If I need to move the Post-its around, I can. What is in ink are the lines of the squares.  What do you do, to organize?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kim Wyatt and Danzy Senna podcast up

Kim Wyatt, editor of Permanent Vacation and Danzy Senna, author of You Are Free, a collection of short stories, talking with me about--what else?--the woes and triumphs of writing and publishing. 

Download audio

(Broadcast date: 9/14/2011)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Caitlin Rother and Katie Arnoldi

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett interviews Caitlin Rother, author of Dead Reckoning, and Katie Arnoldi, author of Point Dume. Due to technical difficulties, this podcast begins in the middle of Caitlin's interview in which she's reading from her book.

Download audio.

(Broadcast date: Jun 15, 2011)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Pen on Fire Writers Salon with Heidi Durrow and Danzy Senna

Travis, setting up before the event

Danzy reads from You Are Free
In the background, Heidi talks with author Lynda Zussman. In the foreground, Danzy talks with poet Tina Lustig
Danzy, Heidi, and me

Tina, CJ Bahnsen, Heidi, Danzy, Debra Cross

What a great night with two brilliant authors and an intelligent crowd of writers, and readers.  If  you were there, and would like to hear them talk more about their books and writing, each will be on the show--Danzy next week and Heidi at the end of October. Stay informed by getting on the elist. Email penonfire at earthlink dot net and ask to be put on the elist.

Photography: C.J. Bahnsen

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Save the date: West Hollywood Book Fair

I'll be there, moderating a memoir panel at 11:45. I love this event. Free parking, a literary Sunday. Who could ask for more? Info here. Hope to see you!

Literary prize

Deadline for Entries: January 31, 2012
For More Information:

Nominations are now being accepted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Two prizes of $5,000 each are given biennially for works of fiction and nonfiction. Cosponsored by the Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation, the awards are intended to “encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan legacy of originality, vitality, and stylistic innovation.”

Submit five copies of a novel, short story collection, or work of creative nonfiction published between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, with a $50 entry fee. Visit the website for more information, including entry forms, contest rules, and complete guidelines. Go to:

DEADLINE: Please note that entries must be received on or before January 31, 2012.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact Stanford University Libraries, William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, Green Library, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6004. Sonia Lee, Saroyan Prize Administrator: , (650) 736-9538.

Thank you for helping us spread the word!

Best regards,
(Ms.) Sam Petersen, for Stanford University Libraries
Tel: 650.854.5575; Email:

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

My UCI critiquing workshop begins Sept. 26

Here's the link to the UCI class I'll be teaching this fall. Writers of novels and memoirs...if you're looking for a critiquing workshop, here's a good place to start.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Justin Torres and Helen Schulman

Marrie Stone interviews Justin Torres, author of We the Animals, and Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life.

Download audio.

(Broadcast date: Aug 31, 2011)

Traci Foust and Christina Shea

Marrie Stone interviews Traci Foust, author of Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD, and Christina Shea, author of Smuggled.

Download audio.

(Broadcast date: Aug 24, 2011)