Tag Archives: William Dietrich

Tis the season

Tis the season, right? The season of shorter days, candlelight, “peace on earth” ringing out in choral harmonies.

Lois Brandt launches her book "Maddie's Fridge" at Bellevue Bookstore in September.

Lois Brandt launches her book “Maddie’s Fridge” at Bellevue Bookstore in September.

And, tis the season of holiday shopping madness. This year, I’m jumping in with both feet to support local independent book stores. On Saturday, November 29, it’s my privilege to join authors Janet Lee Carey, Robert Dugoni, Dana Sullivan, Samantha Vamos, Dan Richards, Kazu Kibuishi Justina Chen, Christina Dudley, and William Dietrich at Bellevue University Book Store, 990 102nd Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. Local authors and illustrators will be at the book store at various times all day, from 10 a.m to 5 p.m., for Indies First Small Business Saturday. We each pull an hour shift. I’ll be there from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

I’m a loyal shopper at Bellevue University Book Store — I love their great selection of books, and also their art products and unique, clever toys and gifts. Come by and see us — we’ll be there ready to assist, to answer what questions you might have about books, offering ideas for excellent reads and gifts.

Wherever your shopping list takes you this season, please remember your independent book stores. These days, in addition to books, most have expanded their inventories to include all manner of cool sundries. Below are a few of my favorite local book stores:

In Washington —
Island Books on Mercer Island
Village Books in Bellingham
Edmonds Book Shop in Edmonds
Third Place Books in two Seattle locations — Lake Forest Park and Ravenna
A Book For All Seasons in Leavenworth
and of course, the University of Washington Book Stores, found in many locations, including Bellevue, Mill Creek, and Tacoma,

Loved my visit to Loganberry Books in Cleveland last spring

Loved my visit to Loganberry Books in Cleveland last spring

For my followers in Ohio, here are just a few inspiring, terrific stores —
Loganberry Books in the Larchmere neighborhood of Cleveland
Mac’s Backs–Books on Coventry, Cleveland
Fireside Book Shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio
The Book Loft of German Village, Columbus, Ohio

A milestone

For the past three years, I’ve been studying for an MFA with the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts. An important component of this low-residency program is the “profession of writing.” Students gather for ten days two times a year, for classes and readings, especially for an extended series of workshops taught by published authors, agents, editors, publishers, publicists, etc. It’s how we’ve learned the complex facets of the writing biz, which even in the past three years has toppled on its ear. (When I started the program in 2008, self-publishing was considered suspect. Now, the term is “indie publishing,” and even big name writers are taking it seriously.) The culmination of the program is writing a 60,000+ word manuscript, which has been read and approved by published authors.

Milestone: Last Saturday, I graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing! A shout out to the published authors who vetted my manuscript: Kathleen Alcalá, Wayne Ude and William Dietrich. William Dietrich attended residency as one of our guest presenters this year. What a great writer, and what a great guy. I just finished reading his most recent novel, Blood of the Reich, a historical thriller with a modern-day twist, “inspired by a 1938 Nazi expedition to Tibet.” It’s a fun and inventive read that takes place over spectacular terrain, is packed with information, and features atom-splitters, Lugers, and Gandalf-style weaponry. Very cool.

So I’ve graduated, and people are asking me: What now? Are you taking a break? Is it time to rest on your laurels? Ever the language geek, I went and looked up “rest on one’s laurels.” According to The Phrase Finder, the phrase did not originally imply idling away one’s success. Sure, this past week I might have taken a brief rest-and-recupe nap on aromatically-scented laurel leaves. But the alarm clock has rung. I love this quote in The Phrase Finder’s write-up: “For Miss Edgeworth there must be no rest on this side the grave.” (1825) Like Miss Edgeworth, it’s time for Ms. Gebben to get off her laurel-leaf duff and hike the next mile.