"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Two local authors land memoir publishing contracts with She Writes Press: session 2 of 3 in the Literary Submissions and Publishing Workshop Series

This week in the second of three sessions, we talked about the nitty gritty of publishing a memoir and getting it accepted by a hybrid press for publication (She Writes / Spark Press). This process involves writing a book proposal, including a synopsis, chapter summaries, and book comparables. Sue Norman recommends writing the book proposal earlier in the process, and closely reading Brooke Warner's detailed book on writing a book proposal. Brooke Warner also has a TED talk on this subject. Sue  gave us some specific tips also for finding comparable titles. She used Amazon to find books no older than 3 years that either competed with her book concept or overlapped in audience and interest. Her book will be published late summer 2025. Congratulations, Sue!

Both Bridey Thelen-Heidel and Sue talked about working diligently with several editors at developmental editing stages and the benefits of being "coachable" writers. They also both credit being in a supportive writing group for helping them write and develop their stories.

We then spent some time looking at what parts of an author platform you might want to develop as a writer to expand your public visibility as a writer. Bridey built a website and managed her new blog for about a year or two before her book was accepted for publication. Even as a well-known teacher/writer in her community, she needed to expand her platform in person and online. I recommend you check out her blog since she was able to use that as a springboard to win an award for her writing as well as gain followers.
Bridey applied to present a TEDx talk in S Lake Tahoe and successfully wrote and performed last October. Through this process she has connected with another community for spreading the word about the video that supports her memoir. She also performed in a play in NYC with similar themes to her memoir and that community is another networking opportunity. Here is Brooke Warner on how to land and write a TEDx talk
As these writers spoke, it became clear to me that the book is not the only goal, or the end of the project. The book becomes another plank in the platform that allows a writer to become a speaker at events, conferences, a teacher at workshops, another step towards the next vision of how we see ourselves as writers.  What are your goals?

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

3 Takeaways from our Guest Authors: Literary Submissions and Publishing Workshop 1 of 3

In last night's first session of this 3-part series on Literary Submissions and Publishing, we heard from three guest authors about their process towards publication of memoir, craft, YA, fiction, and poetry.

Suzanne Roberts started off the workshop with her story of how she found her editor and publisher through University of Nebraska Press. Almost Somewhere: 28 Days on the John Muir Trail was published by Bison Books. She talked with the editors about how they could represent more feminist authors in their line of books offered. Ten years later, she has brilliantly re-released this memoir with a new Afterward, Discussion Questions for book clubs, and more photographs of her original  hike. Her tip is to consider a University Press and seek out one that publishes the niche of your manuscript.

 Lindsay Wilson presented a rundown of the nitty gritty for submitting work to literary magazines. As an editor himself of a few different magazines, and currently editor of The Meadow, he shared the editor's eye view of submissions: "Keep a love for the process of writing separate from publishing. Ultimately, it's about the craft."  The Meadow's reading period is August 15 - Jan 15 each year, accepting poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

Our evening closed with the warmth of Kim Culbertson talking about her path to publication of YA novels, an adult novel, a few other creative projects, and her latest craft book 100 Word Stories: A Short Form for Expansive Writing. She asked us "what book would bring you joy to write?" Kim is a teacher at heart, and calls the 100 word short stories "small, bright things". 

Pick up a copy of these writers' books and feel good about being a citizen of literature. On February 13th, we have our next session of the Literary Submissions and Publication workshop series. You can read the details here and email me to sign up at tangledrootswriting@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Jan 30th 6-8 pm Guest Authors answer your questions: Professional tips on literary submissions and publishing

Bring your questions to this winter’s Submissions and Publication Workshop series, featuring Eight Guest Authors sharing their experiences and tips publishing novels, memoir, essay, poetry, and magazine writing. On January 30th, from 6-8 pm, we will meet the first three authors from the Tahoe/Reno/Nevada City area. Subjects covered include: advice on finding and working with an agent/editor/publisher, pros and cons of different paths to publication (self, hybrid, university press, traditional, other?), tips on finding book comparisons for book proposals, advice on writing query letters, and your strategies for submissions in poetry/fiction/non-fiction works. Inspiring collaborations? A story about what NOT to do?

This workshop is online and open for registration!

Often writers focus on being accepted by one of the big 4 publishers, self-publishing with a vanity press, or engaging a hybrid publisher. Our first author will discuss her experience publishing with a University Press, a path to publication that can be overlooked.

Suzanne Roberts is a Lake Tahoe-based travel writer, memoirist, and poet. Her books include the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award-winning Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (Bison Books, 2012; new edition, 2023), the award-winning memoir in travel essays Bad Tourist: Misadventures in Love and Travel (University of Nebraska Press, 2020), an award-winning collection of lyrical essays, Animal Bodies: On Death, Desire, and Other Difficulties (Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay), and four collections of poetry.

Her work has been listed as "Notable" in Best American Essays and published in The New York Times, Creative NonfictionBrevityThe Rumpus, CNN, Longreads, ZYZZYVA, ISLE, 1966, River Teeth,  Terrain, National Geographic Traveler, The Normal School, and Litro, as well as anthologized in The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers, The Pacific Crest Trailside ReaderTahoe BluesSouthern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving BadlyPoems Dead and Undead, and in two editions of Best Women's Travel Writing . Suzanne was named "The Next Great Travel Writer" by National Geographic Traveler.

Suzanne served as the El Dorado County Poet Laureate (2018-2020), teaches for the low residency MFA program in creative writing at UNR-Tahoe, and works with individual writers a coach and editor. She is working on a novel and a craft book, 52 Writing Prompts: Inspiration for the Creative Writer (forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press). You can order her books on her website.

 Lindsay Wilson, former Poet Laureate of Reno, is an English professor at Truckee Meadows Community College, and co-edits the magazine, The Meadow. As an editor since 1997, he brings a depth of knowledge about what to do and what not to do about submitting work to literary journals. He will share professional tips and field your specific questions.  He has previously edited Unwound magazine and served on the editorial board for Fugue. I. His two full length collections are No Elegies and The Day Gives Us so Many Ways to Eat, and hi poetry has appeared in the Colorado Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Missouri Review Online Poem of the Week, The Bellevue Literary Review, and Pank

He's been awarded the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers' Hall of Fame, the Quercus Review Press Book Award Spring 2014. He was a finalist for the Philip Levine Prize, 2007, and has a special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. You can order his books at WordTech.

Kim Culbertson’s writing has succeeded in spanning many genres. As she shares her experiences in writing and publishing, her supportive attitude helps writers understand how important it is to not let the publishing industry validate your practice as a writer.  KIM CULBERTSON is the author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), which was named a Booklist Top Ten Romance Title for Youth: 2011 and also won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction, Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014), The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016), which was named a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (2017 edition), and The Wonder of Us (Scholastic 2017). Much of her inspiration comes from her background teaching high school since 1997. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. Kim also works as a fiction mentor for the Dominican University MFA in Creative Writing. 100-word Stories: A Short Form for Expansive Writing (Heinemann 2023) You can order her latest book here.


Saturday, December 30, 2023

Announcing our guest authors for the Submissions and Publication workshop series 1/30, 2/13 & 2/27

Online Workshop Series: Take action now on Literary Submissions and Publication (with Guest Authors)

January 30, February 13th & 27

Tuesday nights 6-8 pm
Guest Authors: Suzanne Roberts, Shaun Griffin, Lindsay Wilson, Marianne Porter, Bridey Thelen-Heidel, Sue Norman, Diana Whitney, Kim Culbertson, and maybe a surprise : )
Over the next two weeks, I'll be sharing juicy details about these writers' books and publications, in many genres, from YA to fiction to memoir to poetry to freelance to craft. They'll share tips on their process including submitting manuscripts, working with an editor, choosing a publisher (University Press, Hybrid, mainstream, self-publish, Indie?) Bring your questions for the Q&A!

I offer this workshop series the beginning of each new year to refresh and revive our submission goals and process. If you took this workshop last year, all the more reason to take it again and pick up right where you left off. If you haven't yet taken it, get started now! We will share the latest news in the world of publishing in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Reassess your goals or set publishing goals for the first time in your writing life. Learn new tips for editing, researching, tracking submissions, publications. Strengthen your professional presence as a writer. $160 for all three workshops. Online.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

New 2024 Workshop Schedule is now open for registration!

Poet Aaron Abeyta in his letter In Praise of Books, says of writers:

"We broker in what we see on a daily basis and also that which we imagine. We fuse the two constantly, alchemists that work at new meaning, new vision, new understanding. We must see differently; it is, perhaps, the only requirement of the job."

Reading, writing, joining in community to study and explore other writers' work is how we continue to see differently, to explore meaning and deepen understanding of each other.

Winter 2024 Writing Workshops

Submissions and Publication: a workshop series online with guest authors
3 Tuesday evenings 6-8 pm

January 30th, February 13th & 27th

Successful authors will share the latest news in the world of publishing in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Reassess your goals or set publishing goals for the first time in your writing life. Guest authors each week share their tips and experience.  $160

Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop 6 wk Series In-person and on zoom with chocolate and tea: January 8, 15, 29, February 5, 12, 19 6:30-8 pm

A fun and generative workshop for beginners and experienced writers alike. Do you wish you wrote more? Want to feel a sense of community when you write? Craft, technique, and prompts for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. A kick in the butt for your writing life! $180.

Revision Workshop for Memoir, Fiction and Non-fiction - call me for details

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.   - Elmore Leonard
In this intimate workshop, the goal is to develop and revise your first draft by pushing further to the next level, strengthening your writing skills and exploring meaning in your writing. This workshop is deadline- and goal-oriented to complete the next draft of a project for publication.

I am always available for manuscript review and developmental editing in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Happy writing!
Karen Terrey

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Looking ahead to April 13th, 2024: Sierra Poetry Festival in Grass Valley

Sierra Poetry Festival’s mainstage event will take place on April 13, 2024 at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, CA. Attended by some of the most exciting local, national and international poets and performers, it is the highlight of a month-long festival, taking place in venues across Nevada County and its two California Cultural Districts. 

Keynote Jane Hirshfield will kick off the day. I'm still finding inspiration from a workshop I participated in many years ago Sierra Nevada College led by her. I recommend reading Nine Gates, a collection of essays on creative process along with any of her poetry. 

This poem in particular speaks to my curiosity about the unknowable in poetry:

The Supple Deer by Jane Hirshfield, 1953

The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.

Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.

No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.

I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.

Not of the deer:

To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

Poet and essayist Ross Gay will be our closing highlight. Gay is author of four books of poetry, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is a New York Times bestseller, and his newest collection, The Book of (More) Delights was released in September of 2023. The Book of Delights is a collection of short essays I give as a gift to friends and that is always on my desk for me to read through, reminding me of how many ways exist to discover delight in the everyday.

Luis Alberto Urrea, another author I met at SNC and author most recently of the wonderful novel Goodnight, Irene, writes, “Ross Gay is a writer perfectly suited to find delight. His eye is so brilliant, it seems to glow from within. When I need hope, I turn to his words. And this collection will remind you how beautiful it is to be alive.” 

I'll see you there!

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.sierrapoetryfestival.org.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

November skies and January workshops


That's the November sky clouding up across Lake Tahoe. How quickly I am preparing myself for winter again. I gathered up the brown-purple leaves from the Chokecherry trees in my backyard that covered the stonework like discarded drafts. I tipped the flower containers sideways along the fence, just in case they will succeed in their second chance next spring. I planted all perennials in the garden this summer, even the containers. About half grow will grow back, mint and lemon-thyme and chive, as the snow melts in springtime. Using dull, rusted clippers I cut back the Water Birch branches that crowded my shoveling all last winter in front of the studio door. And I bought my Nordic pass for myself and Towhee. 

I'm grateful for this past year, as invisibly as it flew past us. More on the opportunities and accomplishments, personally and professionally, in December's posts.  

I even added new lights to my living room and front porch to allay the darkness of being buried for months. So whether writers are zooming into workshop or joining the community in a circle around the fire warming my home, we'll be able to read what we write.

So I'm ready for what comes next.  Tangled Roots Writing will offer a new line-up of workshops in 2024,  beginning with the next 6 week series of Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop on January 8th. This series meets for 6 Monday nights and is the kick in the ass you need to jump start your writing life. 

Here are the dates: January 8, 15, 29 and February 5, 12, 19. We meet on Zoom and in-person, your choice 6:30 - 8 pm. In a supportive and intellectually curious writing community you will generate new writing, develop a work in progress, begin a new project!