Entertaining angels

Entertaining angels

I’ve been marketing books of mine now for more than 20 years but only recently realized a big mistake I was making: Thinking it was only about books and sales. Instead of, say, salt and light. Or experiences. Or giving instead of getting. Example: I used to fret when I’d show up for an event and only a handful of people would be there. It made me feel like a failure. Like I was wasting my time and, given my poor-me attitude, the time of...

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Living a Yahtzee life

Living a Yahtzee life

They say if you want to make money in the writing business you find a niche and go to that place again and again. In other words, if the crowd loved your trumpet solo don’t come back on stage with a guitar or xylophone. Play that trumpet, baby! Again and again and again. I get that. And I don’t begrudge any writer who subscribes to that theory. To each his or her own. But here’s to those who’ve gone the other way, who’ve followed their...

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Mother of Rain outstanding

Mother of Rain outstanding

Mother of Rain, about hardscrabble life in the hills of Tennessee in the 1930s and ’40s, is the most intriguing read I’ve experienced in years. Full disclosure: I consider author Karen Zacharias a “writer friend” among whose attributes is an absolute bulldog tenacity to tell a story she believes needs telling — and tell it well. I’ve written about her in The Register-Guard; the Hermiston reporter-turned-author also wrote the...

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Keyboard Kitten

Keyboard Kitten

Keyboard Kitten: An Oregon Children’s Story, has been described as an “Oregonized” version of Dr. Seuss. It blends the story of a kitten, an unsuccessful children’s author, and the wonderful state of Oregon, from Tillamook Cheese to Mt. Hood, from Beavers to Ducks, from Yachats to Vale, from the Fosbury flop high jump style to Fern Ridge Lake, from tie-dyed hippies to granola, from Cascade Thunder to the Coast Starlight...

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Why I don’t believe in writer’s block

Why I don’t believe in writer’s block

It’s one of the most oft-asked questions I get as a writer and teacher: “What can I do about writer’s block?” “Write,” I say. (I was going say, “Simple. Write.” Alas, I realize it isn’t simple. It isn’t easy.) I tell people I don’t believe in writer’s block. Do the words sometimes come harder than at other times — or hardly at all? Sure. Do you sometimes need to change things up to feel the mojo again? Sure. Do you...

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Neil Young’s new book

Neil Young’s new book

Remember that close-to-the-end scene in White Christmas when General Waverly is being feted at his heretofore empty ski lodge by guys reuniting from his old World War II outfit? “You’re a disgrace to the outfit,” he growls. “You’re soft! You’re sloppy! You’re unruly! You’re undisciplined!” Then he pauses. “And I never saw anything look so wonderful in my whole life!” That’s how I feel about Neil...

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