Thursday, June 13, 2013

Literary (and in no way despicable) Me

After a long hiatus of experiencing no literary events, I just went through a few weeks of very happy creative activity with other writers. The first was attending Summerwords, a creative writing colloquium at American River College in Sacramento. I was there at the invitation of Michael Spurgeon, organizer and faculty member there, who released his first novel during the conference. Although Michael and I never met before six months ago, we attended the same very small liberal arts college in Maine, Colby College, attended the same MFA program in Tucson, Arizona, and both wound up in the greater Sacramento area. Coincidences too great to be ignored! Facebook brought us together and we had coffee and compared notes on our shared, but not shared, experiences.

Here's a photo of Michael and his friend, fellow author Christian Kiefer, chatting during an audience Q&A following their joint reading at Summerwords. The goody bags had both their novels in it. Score!

Christian, on the left, is the author of The Infinite Tides, which looks like a great read. I'm in the middle of Michael's book Let The Water Hold Me Down now, which is wonderful. Photo courtesy of Bethanie Humphreys.

Next I need to talk about T.C.Boyle, who read a short story and did audience Q&A. Oh, this man. His source of charm must be located and destroyed. He must have kissed the Blarney Stone, located in the parapet of a castle in County Cork, Ireland, which confers wit, charm and eloquence upon the kisser. Although it appears clear he didn't just kiss it, but made out with it. I posit that T.C. Boyle frenched the Blarney Stone.

I was there as a presenter, and did a workshop on how to research and outline a novel. People seemed receptive and afterwards a young woman came up and said something so sweet I had to hug her. Then I went to the main hall and did a reading from The Witch's Trinity and signed books. The energy at Summerwords was honestly so upbeat and happy...I just loved the whole weekend. Bravo to the organizers!

That's me reading from Witch's Trinity, above. One final picture from the weekend...I mentioned above that Michael and I attended Colby College. Well, another person was there from Colby too: literary agent Eleanor Jackson. She represents Christian Kiefer and a slew of other wonderful authors. It's truly a small world! And Colby's English Department rocks. From left: Michael Spurgeon, Eleanor Jackson, and me.

All right, on to my next literary adventure. Last week, my friend Susan Spann (her first novel Claws of the Cat launches next month. Two words: ninja hero. Need I say more?) headed to a reading for Karen Joy Fowler's latest book. She gave a great reading and I'm dying to start her book! Especially since there's apparently a big plot spoiler event early on in the novel. She had us raise our hands to say if we knew already so she could talk about it. She gave a very generous Q&A and signed books.

This was her at the Barnes & Noble in Citrus Heights, CA. Many audience members had been part of her writers group many years ago, so it was neat to hear the familiar back and forth.

My next literary adventure is in a few weeks. I'm off to the Historical Novels Society conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. I'll be on a panel called "The Witchcraft Window: Scrying the Past." I have to admit I shamelessly stole the idea from a previous panel put together by someone else (I'd love to know who! Ann Kent?) at Book Group Expo in San Jose way back in 2008. Here's a "historic" picture of us then:

From left, moderator Michelle Gagnon, me (how I miss those boots), Kathleen Kent, and Brunonia Barry. Photo courtesy of Secret Sushi, Flickr.

From this crowd, only Kathleen and I will be in St. Petersburgh, with added ranks of Mary Sharratt and Suzy Witten. Excited to see all three of these wonderful women again, as well as others I met at HNS 2011 in San Diego.

Writing is such a solitary activity--when we can get together, talk craft, laugh, have a glass of wine and listen to sex scenes...oh wait. I forgot (literally! I was just about to wrap up this post). I'm going to be reading a sex scene from Woman of Ill Fame at HNS too. Moderated by the supreme Diana Gabaldon, this event is a Saturday night standard at the conference.  I'm going to gulp some courage and read a scene. Wish me luck.

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Linda Ayers Tarvin said...

Hello Erika, glad you are getting to participate in so many literary events. Wishing you continued success. Linda Tarvin from Morgan Hill

Cj Fosdick said...

Erika, I was at the HNS WC in Florida. If you want to check out my blog and dozens of photos, go to and feel free to link or use any. It was a great conference!

Erika M said...

Linda, I emailed you (or Facebooked you?) and hope you are doing well! CJ, thanks for the link--lots of fun photos there. :)