Ellen Urbani’s novel Landfall and your book club

Awhile back, I had the privilege of getting an early peek at Ellen Urbani’s much-anticipated forthcoming novel, Landfall. Set in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, the novel is not so much about the storm but about the maelstrom of our human lives and, specifically, the sudden collision of two pairs of women, mothers and daughters,Continue reading “Ellen Urbani’s novel Landfall and your book club”

A Hagridden Christmas village?

My wife called this “an odd sort of Christmas village.” Back in March 2013, when I was in Louisiana on my research trip (thanks again to the Literary Arts and the Oregon Literary Fellowship that made that possible), I spent some time touring historic villages to get a sense of the buildings and town lifeContinue reading “A Hagridden Christmas village?”

Louisiana research trip: the numbers (and the end)

To wrap up my posts about the trip and the research and my book, I thought I’d share some numbers. My trip lasted 10 days, including 2 days of travel. In those 10 days, I visited: 8 specific locations connected with events in my novel 2 wildlife refuges, where I walked 3 trails (I walkedContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the numbers (and the end)”

Louisiana research trip: the people

In Louisiana, I had the terrific good fortune to meet with some wonderful people. The librarians and staff at the Cameron Parish Library and the Calcasieu Parish Public Library, in particular, deserve more praise than I can offer for their patience and help during my trip. I also am tremendously grateful for the volunteers atContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the people”

Louisiana research trip: the beginning

A couple of weeks ago, during the last ten days of March, I used the funds from my Oregon Literary Fellowship to travel to southwest Louisiana to research the final details of my Civil War novel, Hagridden. I stayed in Cameron and travelled all over the region, visiting libraries and wildlife refuges, touring museums andContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the beginning”

Instant replay

Oops! I was so excited earlier this week about my the excerpt from my Civil War novel appearing in SOL: English Writing in Mexico that I accidentally prematurely posted about it! What I linked to was actually my author preview page — the issue officially went live today! So if you haven’t checked it out, today’s a goodContinue reading “Instant replay”

New publication

Is it still March? Oh. That must mean I have a new story out. Yes, in some bizarre coincidence of editorial schedules, March seems to be The Month of Sam — or at least The Month of Sam’s Fiction. So far I’ve had two stories published, and today I add a third, in the seriouslyContinue reading “New publication”

A Writer’s Notebook: more of Beth Locke’s “A Louisiana Girl”

This is more of my grandmother’s story. The year is 1945. My grandmother, Beth Locke, has just turned 20, and she works at the nearby Navy base, where troops are returning from the war. (I think you see where this is headed….) Along about this time, my social life was at a complete standstill. I hadContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: more of Beth Locke’s “A Louisiana Girl””

A Writer’s Notebook: Beth Locke: “A Louisiana Girl”

This is another exercise drawn from my tutoring, this time from a high school junior who’s been studying The Grapes of Wrath. I’ll explain more below, but before you start reading, a little context: What appears in the Notebook is not my own work but an edit of something my maternal grandmother, Beth Locke (néeContinue reading “A Writer’s Notebook: Beth Locke: “A Louisiana Girl””