I Am Not Proud of You

Eighteen years ago, I had a colleague named Bertha at a pretty rough public elementary school where I taught fourth grade. This woman taught first grade with the masterful calm of a Jedi. Her room was an oasis of peace and productivity. I tried to learn as much as I could about teaching from Bertha. She was a goddess of a human being, which she would laugh at me for saying but it’s still true. One day Bertha was telling me about her grown son who had just started his dream job as a forest ranger. I said, “You must be…

An Interview with Tori Rigby, Author of Because I Love You

Blaze Publishing’s forthcoming YA title Because I Love You looked so interesting to me that I had to ask Tori Rigby if she would be willing to answer a few questions for my blog. Read the introduction and you’ll see what I mean:   Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.  Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil…

Here

Catch the cool Q and A I did with the wonderful Catherine Warmerdam in the month’s issue of Sacramento Magazine. It was a fun conversation over tea on a blustery January day outside Tupelo in East Sacramento. Ever since I first moved to Sacramento, I’ve perused the pages of Sacramento Magazine looking for mention of people I knew. I usually know at least one person per issue in the society pages or within the features. I’ve always considered knowing people in Sacramento Magazine a good sign that I was connected to my community. Here’s the thing with Sacramento and me. This…

#AWP16

This is the first day after the AWP conference in Los Angeles. I don’t know what to think right now. I may never know what to think. But I’ll tell you this thing that happened: On my way back from a chat with Francesca Lia Block, I shook hands with Malcolm Margolin while nearby Daniel Jose Older stood talking with Walter Mosley. I was in a dreamscape. Famous writer Disneyland. A Pantheon of brilliant people just walking around with their heads on their necks like whatever. It kind of freaked me out. That’s what I’m thinking about today.

Cover Reveal: Without Benefits

 As a high school teacher, I am often looking out for books that will interest my students for our free reading days. Rest Publications is an indie press that never disappoints. I am a huge fan of their fairy tale retellings and fantasy, and am excited to announce a forthcoming contemporary title Without Benefits that Reuts is releasing in May. I am particular fan of Reuts’ covers. It’s pretty cool having the inside scoop on the latest beautiful design. Here’s a bit about the book: Emma will always be a New Yorker at heart, even though she has a perfect…

Cover Reveal: 27 Days to Midnight

I am truly honored to announce the cover reveal of 27 Days to Midnight, a new YA Steampunk novel from Giant Squid Books. Check it out on GoodReads here and enter to win the giveaway! Here is what 27 Days to Midnight is about: Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die…except her. Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father…

Write Letters On Paper

My friend Laura and I have been exchanging handwritten letters for twenty-eight years. The first is from the summer of 1988. I still have it. The last was from over a week ago. I read it and reread it. My friend Laura is an excellent artist and writer. She is a storyteller like no one else I know. When email started being a thing I was afraid our letters would stop. She lives in L.A., I live in Northern California. Email was so easy. We can’t write too many emails, I warned her.  I shouldn’t have worried. Now we message…

Read Books

At an interview today, a lovely journalist asked me if I read all the time. Answer: I do. I read every day. But reading isn’t a chore. This isn’t a blog for Puritans, despite the writer’s distaste for fun and compliments. When I was a kid, I loved the library. I spent hours there. I came home with piles of books. I read them with great pleasure. I love the library in the same way now, except that I can order books ahead of time and find them waiting for me there with my name tag attached. That’s like Christmas…

5 Brief Book Reviews

The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer The Infinite Tides is a story about a grieving astronaut that is relentless in its integrity. I always appreciate the rare author who can plumb great emotional depths without a hint of sentimentality or a single false note. I read this novel as instructive in craft, as well as a meditative study of grief and mid-life spiritual growth. Indeed, there is a complex spiritual truth woven throughout this narrative about nothing less than what human beings are essentially for. The Infinite Tides is impeccably and beautifully written. This is painfully honest work about grief, manhood, relationship,…

Elizabeth Holzman Reads “The Flat Earth”

Last summer, I was lucky enough to see a short story I wrote performed at Sacramento Stories on Stage. This monthly event is just one more reason why Sacramento is a premier literary town and a wonderful place to be a reader and a writer. My story “The Flat Earth” appears in the print edition of Night Train Journal released last March. The story opens on a scene at a ninth grade girl slumber party that is based almost word for word on something that happened to me when I was a kid. Someday you should try having one of…