March 26, 2018

What an honor to read from my book-in-progress at the amazing 15th Annual Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA)  along side an amazing collection of diverse voices.

It was a nonstop literary feast of craft workshops (“Creating Extraordinary Literary Characters” and “Historical Fiction: Once Upon a Time”) mixed with philosophical discussions, (“We’ve been Through This Before: Baby Boomer Lesbians Talk about Writing, Resistance and Relevance” and “Transgressive, Sacred and Universal: Is Poetry Inherently Queer?”)

Not only did I get to mingle with queer writers from all over the country but I got to meet some of my longtime sheros, including activist and author of Beyond The Pale, one of my all time favorite books, Elena Dykewomon. I learned about plot, character and a lot of history from her 1997 book.

And then there was the practical. All of the attendees in Elizabeth Schwartz’s workshop, “Marriage Minefield” came with questions about this complicated subject and Liz, author of the brilliant “Before I Do: a Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise,” proved to be an expert in the field. 

My only complaint is that there were so many great choices that I had to miss out on some fascinating offerings. . . . There is always the 16th Annual S&S. 


December 30, 2017

Two of my stories were published in the last few months. 

Reading at the FST! book launch, Antigone Books

A story I read at the “Never Say Never” Female Storytellers show in 2013, Crazy Love, was published in the Best of FST!, Female StoryTellers Anthology Volume 1 (2017). You can get it hereMy essay Kitchen Confidential, is included in the new anthology, Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories, (2017). See more about it here.

It’s rewarding and fun to see my stories in print. I’m going to submit to more publications this coming year. I found a lovely spreadsheet online that I modified so I can keep track of the where, what, when, and the outcome. It’s humbling to see the rejections pile up but I hear it’s a numbers game so I’ll just keep sending work out.

November 15, 2017

I started the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge very enthusiastically (see below) but then I changed my mind. This is the breakup letter I wrote:

NaNoWriMo, we gotta talk. I know this relationship is still relatively new but I think it’s best if we just end it now and part as friends. It’s just not working for me. It’s nothing you did. You were completely honest about how much work and focus I would need to get to the finish line. It’s not you; it’s me.
I didn’t mean to lead you on. I really thought we would make a good team. But then I saw how truly demanding you were, expecting me to drop everything for you. You were honest about it but I guess I was in denial.
You told me not to edit as I wrote, that it would slow me down. I really tried to do it your way, but just couldn’t help it. I had to go back and trim sentences and correct syntax. And I felt guilty when I did. I felt like I was letting you down.
I think it’s best if we go our own ways. I respect your world, it’s just not for me. No hard feelings.

October 15 2017

When you register to write a novel in a month, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website asks for a synopsis of your book and a picture of the cover. Since they have been doing this for a while and know how to inspire writers, and because I want to be successful in writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I thought seriously about these requests.

I’ve been writing this novel for around two years. I wrote the first two short stories in a fiction class at Pima Community College and have been adding to it, slowly and steadily with fabulous feedback and support from my writing group. I’m excited about the book and enjoy the process of writing and revising.

I already have 35,000 words and NaNoWriMo is a tool to further me on the path. Writing the synopsis and creating a cover made it more real. I am focusing on the distinct goal of adding another 50,000 words and I feel confident that I will be successful in completing this challenge. 

Of course, it’s only 50,000 words of an unedited word dump that will be finished in a month. There will still be lots of adjusting and improving to go. Not to mention getting it published. This is only the beginning stage of a long and fun undertaking.

If you are taking the NaNoWriMo challenge you can find me by my author name, starrstories. The title of the novel is Desert Haven and the genre is literary.

Synopsis: Desert Haven is a novel that chronicles the past and present women’s land movement in linked short stories that take place over a forty year time span. Each story relates to the theme and moves the novel forward, following a cast of characters through their challenges, choices and transformations.

This is the mock-up of the cover I made using InDesign: