reading in poor light

Reading at WNBA/Lansing 1.26.17

That ^^ links to a video of me reading from The Flats: A Liz Boyle Mystery. Many thanks to Alex Hidalgo, a talented filmmaker, for taking this video on her regular camera, and to the Women’s National Book Association / Lansing Chapter for inviting me to read at their inauguration.

The light is bad, as artificial light tends to be. Here’s a better photo. Best thing about this photo? It was taken in Cleveland, where the book is set, right before we saw one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.



I’m doing a reading tonight for the Women’s National Book Association, Greater Lansing Chapter. Here’s the flyer. I hope to have a good report this evening!


writing prompt: resister

Here’s a writing prompt my friend gave me today, when I was lamenting my creative entropy (I’m being dramatic):

Write a short story in which someone makes the choice to resist authority in an unexpected way.

So that’s what I’m doing. You should, too.


It’s time to resurrect the blog. Be warned.

Yesterday, in our second meeting of the semester, my creative writing students and I went completely off-script. Instead of the planned lesson, we set up the elements of a brand new (to all of us) story on the chalkboard (old technology FTW!), and then I had each of them write the story, in 1000 words are less.

Here are the elements they generated:

Setting: a dingy, dark dive bar with sticky floors. It smells of old fryer grease and sweat. Either EDM or country/western plays on the speakers–and we talked about how this choice changes the entire tenor of the story.

Characters: a group of young men wearing dress shirts, ball caps, and their sunglasses inside. A bartender. A woman who pinches other people’s cheeks to show affection.

Premise: folks are gathered together for a fundraiser, in the hopes that they’ll raise enough money for someone to have surgery (a kidney transplant and gastric bypass were floated as options).

Narrator: we couldn’t decide, so I let them run with it. Several chose the bartender; one chose a stranger from out of town.

Action: this is what they had to decide. In several versions, murder and mayhem occurs, the police or fire department show up, and chaos spills out into the streets. In other versions, nothing happens beyond a careful character study, mostly of cheek-pincher and/or the guy who needs surgery.

Want to write the story? I’d love to see your take on the prompts.