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Update, and an NPR Adaptation

Hard to believe it’s been so long since I updated you all on this writer’s life. There have been a number of exciting events and developments in the past few months.

This past May, I appeared on several panels at my very first WisCon. The convention was a wonderful, welcoming place and I was lucky enough to collaborate with talented fellow panelists as well as meet some great new professional friends.

In November, I participated in the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. Good friend and author Andrea Lochen moderated our discussion of Magical Realism and we were graced with a smart, engaged audience. Thank you to the organizers of WisCon as well as the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha for putting together such successful events.

More recently, I’ve been sitting on some delightful secret news that I now can trumpet to the world: my short story “Keeper of the Glass” has been adapted by NPR’s storytelling program Snap Judgment and is now on air!

The twelve-minute radio play can be streamed from the Snap Judgment website. If you’re a local listener (to me, that is) you can listen to the broadcast this Wednesday, March 16, by tuning in to Detroit’s WDET (101.9 on your radio dial) at 1pm or 10pm EST.

I am very excited to be appearing on this program. Snap Judgment is one of my favorite NPR offerings, and I am so happy with adaptation of “Keeper” crafted by producer (and most excellent narrator) Eliza Smith. Go have a listen! I may be a wee bit biased, but in my opinion, it won’t disappoint.

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Frank O’Connor Longlist

I found out today that The Thing About Great White Sharks has been longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award!  I’m still trying to come of grips with the fact that my book is on the same list as Margaret Atwood’s new story collection and Kelly Link’s amazing “Get in Trouble,” along with the work of many incredibly talented others, but I can tell you this–I am proud and excited to jostle elbows with these writers.  The full list of books under award consideration can be found at the link below (Diane Cook!  Richard Ford!  It just gets better!), along with more information about Frank O’Connor and the generous award itself:

It will be a few months until any information is released about the shortlist.  It’s a wild dream, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed . . .

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I Continue to Appear Around the Internet

. . . in order to discuss topics as varied as the importance of setting, what I’m reading these days, and why I would invite Lynda Barry over Sherlock Holmes if I were hosting a dinner party.  If any of this sounds interesting, check out my interview over at My Bookish Ways or my guest post on setting and landscape at Book Snob.  (A full list of all my online appearances–with links–is available here on the site under the heading “Other Writings.”)

It’s been a lot of fun cavorting around the web talking of books and travel and why it’s important to laugh sometimes, even when the world is dark and the skies raining with blood, etc.  With several new interviews and guest blogging invitations currently in the works, I suspect you have not heard the last of me for a while.  Stay tuned!

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Book Party, Starred Review, Launch Day, Oh My!

I’m am so pleased (and relieved) to be able to say that the launch day for The Thing About Great White Sharks was an enormous success.  On the local front, the book launch party went off without a hitch.  We had a great turnout, food was eaten, wine was drunk, a story (“Orchids”) was read, and merriment was made.  Kodi Scheer provided a wonderful introduction to the evening and my father, bless his heart, showed up with a poster blow-up of my very first book review.

Which takes us to launch day success story #2: The Thing About Great White Sharks received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly!

To say I am excited about this is an understatement.  I am absolutely thrilled that PW enjoyed the diversity of the collection and considers me a “promising writer stretching her talents in every imaginable direction.”  If you would like to read all of the kind things said about myself and my stories (and who am I to stop you?) the full review of Sharks can be found on the Publisher’s Weekly website.

There were other wonderful things that happened yesterday–friends running around to make sure everything at the book party came off beautifully, flowers that arrived unexpectedly, etc., but there are two other big bits of Internet Related news I would like to share:

One: my book was featured on John Scalzi’s site Whatever as yesterday’s Big Idea!  Ever wondered what Lofty Theme unites the stories in Sharks?  Now you can find out. (Hint: it all comes back to character.)

Two: I was Monday’s Guest Blogger on the SF Signal, talking about dark subjects, humorous writing, and how (and why) they should come together.

Whew!  A lot of appearances, a lot of excitement, a lot of words.  The important thing behind all of it is that The Thing About Great White Sharks is out in the world.  That means that it belongs to you, friends.  I hope you enjoy!

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Book Launch

It’s been awhile since I’ve appeared with book news, but that doesn’t mean the wheels of publishing haven’t been turning.  First paperback copies of the book will soon be on their way to my place, and, in the meantime, I have scheduled that most important celebration: the book launch party!  Anyone local to Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti, Michigan should come by the Ypsilanti-based Ladies Literary Club on February 10, 2015.  A certain debut author will be reading and signing there at 7pm, and I hear rumors that there may be cupcakes.

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Day One Anthology: “Sheila” rides again!

Wish you had access to more excellent short fiction and poems? Wishing you had read my story “Sheila” when it first came out, but you lived in a cave then with no digital devices? Never fear! “Sheila” has been included in the gorgeous new anthology Day One, Year One, so now you can read it in paperback! Got my copy of the book in my hands right now and it is lovely. Just sayin’. Good artwork throughout, too.


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An Exciting Arrival

…came in the mail a few days ago.  That’s right, the galley for Sharks is in my hands.  Which means my collection is practically a real boy!  (Er, book.)


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Sharks Has a Cover

…and what a gorgeous cover it is!  I love every bit of this design, and I hope that the wonderful juxtaposition of cheerful colors, charming subject, and ominous situation delights potential readers as much as it delights me.

For those of you wanting to know where the beautiful artwork came from, it is a representation of a painting by artist Josh Keyes.  And yes, his other work is just as lovely and strange.  Here is what you will be able to hold in your hands (via paperback or e-reader screen) come February:


So excited by this cover that you’d like to pre-order Sharks?  Let me make it easy for you, dear Fan! Just click on the beautiful image above to be taken to the book’s Amazon purchase page.

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Book Update

I am happy and excited to report that work on my story collection, The Thing About Great White Sharks, is proceeding right on schedule!  I am currently reviewing the manuscript copyedits (and, frankly, feeling a bit awed–it’s amazing how much a few commas, word replacements, and the like can improve the flow of a story).  At this rate, the book will be released in Febuary of 2015, which was the initial goal.  Can’t wait to share more information as it comes (like the cover).  Stay tuned!

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Writers’ Blog Hop, Part II: Kodi Scheer

Guest starring in today’s update is author Kodi Scheer, who has graciously consented to answer the same writing questions I responded to in my last post. 

What am I working on?

I’m still working to promote my story collection, INCENDIARY GIRLS, which means I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on events, interviews, and essays. I’m also drafting a novel that follows several young American girls as they visit Paris for the first time—with tragic consequences—as one of the girls suffers from mental illness. I’d love to say more but I’m a little superstitious about it.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My short fiction isn’t easy to categorize. My friend calls the work in my first book “anatomical horror stories.” I suppose I’m working within the tradition of magical realism, as the stories are all set in our world, usually with one fantastical element—a heart transplant patient starts to take on the characteristics of her donor, a small town is infected by a highly contagious love virus, or a medical student is haunted by the ghost of her anatomy cadaver. The stories focus on science, medicine, and illness, which makes them a bit different than most fiction you’d label magical realism. I like to explore how the physical and psychological intersect.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m definitely influenced by my science background. I’m not a healthcare provider but I’d planned on a career in medicine. I studied the natural sciences as an undergrad and sought out clinical experiences by volunteering in various units of the hospital and at a women’s clinic, plus I worked with human subjects in a neurology lab. But I found myself more interested in people’s stories than their pathologies.

That said, I think there’s a lot of overlap between practicing medicine and writing fiction. In the end, they’re both about empathy — putting yourself in another’s shoes, experiencing the world from another person’s point of view. To a certain extent, I think both medicine and fiction can help relieve suffering. Medicine does this in a more acute and obvious way, but reading fiction can help alleviate suffering just by knowing another individual (“real” or not) has felt the same psychic pain — you’re not alone.

 How does my writing process work?

I teach writing at the University of Michigan. During the academic year, I often write for long stretches on the weekends but only get an hour or so to write on weekdays. Summers are amazing because I get uninterrupted time to compose and edit. I love the quote by Hank Moody on Californication: “Writing is like having homework every day for the rest of your life.” I’m always working on a scene or creating a character in my head, whether I’m washing the dishes or taking a shower. I also find it useful to let my subconscious chew on a writing problem, so I’ll contemplate before I go to bed. Sometimes that leads to some very strange dreams…

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