“We are essayists. We can make a difference,” Stephanie Elizondo Griest said in her electrifying keynote talk that capped the three-day NonfictioNOW Conference in Phoenix recently. I’m a fiction writer. But I went – an interloper, a mole – to glean what I could about writing essays. Not to forsake fiction. I’ll always wants to …

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Claudia Castro Luna’s book Killing Marias is subtitled A Poem for Multiple Voices. Each page addresses the lost life of one of the women or girls disappeared and murdered in Juárez, Mexico on the other side of the border from El Paso, Texas. Claudia invited me, writer Catalina Cantú, and dancer Milvia Pacheco to share …

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“Like reading a soap opera script,” opines sacintl, a user name that faintly suggests the word “succinct,” in keeping with her six-word review of my story collection Hola and Goodbye. Sort of like Hemingway’s six-word story (For sale: baby shoes, never worn) – tragic and sad, but without the tenderness. We are advised not to …

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November 1 is the one-year anniversary of the publication of Hola and Goodbye! I’m marking the occasion by matching some favorite photos of events I did over the past year with excerpts from stories in the book. One of the first events I did was at the North Carolina Writers Network Conference where I sat …

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There’s a great monthly reading series at Phinney Books called Dock Street Salon. It’s organized by Dane Bahr and Heather Jacobs of Dock Street Press, a boutique publishing house in Ballard. The press was founded by folks who believe that “a book is a piece of art.” Dock Street brings that same sensibility to the …

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When I was in college I took a geology class. I learned about igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. I learned about formations and their layers of sand and stone. Whatever their scale – the immensity of a cliff or the insignificance of a pebble – I saw them as inert and objective, separate from or …

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One evening the week before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were sprawled in our opposite corners of the couch, watching the evening news. “Next week isn’t Thanksgiving, is it?” he asked. “Nah,” I said. But it was. And we had no plans. He decided to try to book a table at a restaurant, but the …

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Congratulations to Patty Enrado, winner of Week 3 of the #UnaFamiliaInPhotos Twitter contest!  Her photo of her, her father, her sister, her aunties, uncles, and manongs is captioned “Family get-togethers always involve pig roasting.” It’s a photo that conveys family ties, tradition, and celebration.   The runner-up is Michelle Peñaloza who submitted a photo of …

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Congratulations to Jennifer Munro, the winner of Week 2 of the #UnaFamiliaInPhotos Twitter contest! Captioned with “I owe everything to my mom,” Jennifer’s entry is a lovely expression of family connection. It also happens to reflect the generational theme of Hola and Goodbye. Jennifer will receive an Hola and Goodbye keepsake and a chance to win a …

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Hola and Goodbye is a collection of stories about three generations of a family. In anticipation of its November 1 release from Carolina Wren Press, I’m running a contest on Twitter and inviting Twitter users to post a family photo with a caption. The photo above is of some friends of my grandfather, who was also a …

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