My friend, Krayna Castelbaum, and I both write. I produce novels with hundreds of pages,

Krayna with some of her books   krayna@clearlenscoaching.com

Krayna, poems, sometimes only a few words, all the more precious for the books she makes to share them. With her own creative alchemy, Krayna transforms tea bags––yes, tea bags––into magical embodied poems, words inseparable from the substance of their pages. Holding one of her tiny books in your hand offers intimacy with the poem; each word takes on life and lures you into the symbols and colors and textures surrounding it. I fell in love with these books, never able to just read one and move on, but always called to linger. Krayna’s consistent generosity of spirit humbles me, and it comes through beautifully in these works of art which never dictate their meaning, but welcome discovery.

Virtual reality, algorithms, blockchain, metadata, going wide, artificial intelligence and machine learning––doesn’t sound like the lineup for an authors’ conference, does it? Maybe not ten years ago, or even five, but if you stand still, WHOOSH, you’ll see the world changing so fast

Bellingham lilacs

the faces blur. I recently spent a spring weekend at the Chanticleer Authors’ Conference in beautiful Bellingham, Washington. The presenters did their best to bring us right-brain types up to speed in skills and concepts common in the digital world, while admitting that the details (and we know where the devil lives) were morphing into new shapes even as they spoke.

Bellingham bayside boardwalk

I loved coming home to meet readers face-to-face, in person at North Soles (my favorite shoe store in the world) on Bend’s First Friday May Art Walk. Stimulating and useful as all that digital information is, in the end, what matters is the connection between writer/creator and reader/viewer/listener/experiencer of storyThat’s what makes doing my work worthwhile.

Thanks to all of you who let me tell you stories!

 

At North Soles with Margaux http://www.northsoles.com

NOWEVER, my new YA novel is out! You can find it on Amazon and B&N sites, among others, and if your heart, like mine, is with independent bookstores, on Powells.com.

If you’ve been to Portland’s iconic Powell’s City of Books you’ve felt the total immersion in its color-coded rooms. My favorite is the blue room, and the red room is where I find Spanish language novels I enjoy over breakfast every morning. (I read Spanish more slowly than English, and get butter stains on the pages from eating as I read, so it’s best I don’t try borrowing them from the library.)

One of my literary dreams is someday having my novels translated into Spanish, another is seeing them, in any language, on the shelves of Powell’s, and independent bookstores everywhere.

Meanwhile, I’ll be reading from NOWEVER and doing Q&A about the story, my writing process and anything else at Roundabout Books in Bend’s NW Crossing at 2:30 on Saturday, March 16th. I’d love to see you there, and do bring a friend for delicious coffee, tea and treats.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Nanuq and me!  

My ancestors moved relentlessly west across North America, my father’s parents from Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, my mother’s predecessors from Scotland in the early 1700s. The only “roots” I experienced were several family generations in the Pacific Northwest. That changed this month when my husband and I, along with our daughter and son-in-law, visited Scotland. My daughter and I are descended from the Maclean clan. Clan history in Scotland’s Highlands 

and Islands is full of struggle. Beneath its mysterious, spectacular beauty the earth is soaked in blood shed in battle, as well as in childbirth, for centuries. Perhaps DNA calling out to DNA, whatever the explanation, throughout our visit I vibrated with powerful sensations and emotions of belonging I hadn’t expected. My dreams are filled now with silver spring-fed streams coursing down the Highland braes.

Of course, tango played a part in our trip. In a basement room beneath a pub in Glasgow we were warmly welcomed by a community of impressive dancers, at least one of whom had tangoed in Portland, too.

In Edinburgh we danced beneath crystal chandeliers and a high domed ceiling with a university-associated group. The organizer took a copy of my tango novel for the community’s library.

Home now in Bend, I’m finishing work on my new novel Nowever. I’m excited to share it with you soon. Meanwhile, From Here to Argentina: A Tango Love Story is available at Roundabout Books in Northwest Crossing and Dudley’s downtown, as well a through Powell’s online and all the usual digital sources. 

A reader recently asked, “Where do you write your novels?” One answer is, “Wherever I happen to be.” On these perfect Central Oregon summer days, that’s often outside, in my garden. 

Right now it’s definitely not at my desk, where all the space not occupied by my cat, Nanuq, is filled with sketches I’m working on for my new novel, NOWEVER, due out this October. I try to be as calm as the kitty is. It’s not always easy. Switching to brushes and paint –– from words to images –– means stretching parts of my brain that rest while I write. The goal is always the same, though, creating a story as beautiful and complex as life.

   

Meanwhile, my 2017 book, From Here to Argentina: A Tango Love Story, is available at Dudley’s and at Roundabout Books, our two wonderfully welcoming independent bookstores here in Bend, as well as Powell’s online, and those other internet sources too big to bother mentioning by name.

 

Yes! From Here to Argentina: A Tango Love Story is a perfect beach read, or hammock-in-the-garden read, or airplane getaway read. Reading my novella to the audience at Grassroots Books in Corvallis in May was fun, too, including the tango dancing upstairs next door afterwards. Gracious Sierra has signed copies on her Grassroots shelf for your summer reading treat.

And, you can pick up From Here to Argentina in Bend at Dudley’s downtown, or Roundabout Books in NW Crossing, or order online from Powell’s in Portland. 

When you feel inspired to learn Argentine Social Tango, and dance here on the High Desert, check out www.centraloregontango.com. You’ll be embraced on the dance floor, and you will have fun.

Big thanks to the writers, readers and tango dancers who made the trek through a late February snowstorm, some from as far away as Humboldt County, California, for our Sunday afternoon reading at wonderful Dudley’s in downtown Bend. And thanks to Tyler Haas and Emma James (seen here braving holes in the floor to dance in her stilettos) for sharing tango magic as a two-person “flash mob.” 

Poet Jana Zvibleman and I will be reading together again at 7pm on Thursday, May 24th, in Corvallis at Grassroots Books. Please join us there if you’re intrigued by love, death and tango, or any two out of three. Meanwhile, my book From Here to Argentina: a Tango Love Story is available through select independent bookstores, and online via Powell’s and Amazon.