Category Archives: reading

Waterbear Reading Series Debut at One More Page Books

An Tran is launching a suburban experiment: The Waterbear Reading Series at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia. I’ll be reading at the debut event–June 29, Saturday, 6pm– with my good friend Tara Laskowski and my new friend Michael Beeman.  OMP is a rare and lovely venue; not only do they sell books, but you can pick up some great wine and chocolate while you’re at it. Oh, and what else do they have that DC readings don’t? DECENT PARKING.

The Waterbear Series debut comes recommended by The Washington City Paper and renowned poet Buck Downs, writing for The Pinkline Project.

The feature image is of me and Richard Peabody that is featured in the bathroom gallery of One More Page. Here’s what the joint looks like:

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My Turn To Ask The Questions: Amazing Graces at One More Page

It was my great pleasure to conduct a panel at One More Page Books celebrating the publication of  Amazing Graces: Yet Another Collection of Fiction by Washington Area Women from Richard Peabody’s unstoppable Paycock Press. One More Page is a very special place. It’s cozy, bright, comfy, and in addition to books they sell wine and chocolate. You gotta get there some time.

One of my stories appeared in the previous PP anthology, Gravity Dancers, and so many of my friends are in the current volume, it was a real treat to moderate this special, and well attended event. The panel consisted of Bettina Lanyi, Patricia Morningstar, and my long time friend/colleague/fellow MFA survivor, Colleen Kearney Rich. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, these anthologies are jam packed with great stories covering all sorts of thematic territories–great value for your literary buck. The discussion was lively, with lots of laughs and gasps, and at one point Richard sort of wandered out on a limb, declaring that men write in a straight line and he found that pretty boring, whereas women wrote in circles, always surprising him. Okey-dokey sir. You’re the publisher.Here he is explaining about his poison ivy. He got it from a cat.

After introductions, each of these writers read a few pages from her story in the anthology, and then we opened it up for a casual chat, mainly about what being a Washington Area Woman Writer meant. I liked Patricia’s answer that what it meant to her was support. That everyone’s success was shared in our community. I buy that.

Here’s a fave image from the event. I’m biased, but Colleen really hit it out of the park, answering each question with warmth, wit, and authority. However this image shows her (left, Bettina is on the right) surprise at being asked questions after the event and also to sign so many books. I’m not kidding, there was a line. I got in there ahead of the crowd, and Bettina told me this was her first signing.

And sure, I sold a book, too. Also, if you were at the event, thank you so much for ignoring the fact that the hem of my sweater was all ripped out. Happened at the store, don’t know how.

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Goodbye Book Tour, Part One: Allons Y Lafayette

Last weekend I returned to southern Louisiana for the final events of my book tour to promote  my novel, Death Wishing.I had been invited to participate in the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival, which was a dream come true (more on that next post), but we also took the opportunity to visit The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where I was lucky enough to score a slot at their Thursday Night Reading Series. Dean and I attended graduate school there more than twenty years ago when it was still called The University of Southwestern Louisiana. I’ve said this before, but Louisiana changed this Ohio girl’s writing forever.

We got to town early enough to tour the campus, and we were delighted to see that not a whole lot had changed except that there were several new buildings made to blend in with the old ones, making campus seem a little more crowded. Griffin Hall, where the English Department is housed, still had that Griffin Hall smell, and The Fellows office (where Dean and the other PhD freeloaders pretended to toil [PhD fellows got $, free tuition, subsidized housing, and they were not required to teach or in any way serve the University. I wonder if that is still the case today] ) was exactly as it had been when we left–right down to the beardy poet in the corner, reading with his feet up on the desk.

In the center of campus is Cypress Lake. It has alligators in it. What’s your campus got? Some crummy mud pond with a sad swan in it? My eyes are closed here, but it’s a good pic of the lake. The second pic is a typical snap of an alligator–you always have to point out the bumpy ripple.

What made the trip so special was meeting up with dear friends who are still in Lafayette-Joe, Gail, and Lauren–arguing about literature and enjoying life.

In the evening we headed to the Jefferson St. Pub for the reading. A different beardy poet went first and he read for what seemed like a long time. But to be honest, we were all pretty giddy to be in each other’s company again, and some of us were not completely receptive to the nuances of his work.  I wish him more attentive audiences in the future.

By the time it was my turn to read, we’d run out of light, so I eschewed the podium+mic set up for a position at the bar where I could read under the glow of a televised basketball game. This turned out to be a great move because every time I looked out into the audience, it appeared as if they were paying close attention to my words.  Gail and Lauren sat next to me, so I asked them for performance support. Each time I said the word cats, they meowed. I read from the first chapter, and the word cats is mentioned 8 times? And it’s mostly in a sad context, so let’s just say it got weird. Anyway, because I was without a mic, and we were in a bar with spots on TV and a band setting up in the next room, I kinda shouted the whole thing. Dean said it was my best reading of the whole tour.

Good thing, because it was the last reading I’m doing for the foreseeable future.

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Wor-Wic Community College/Echoes & Visions Reading Series

Recently I had the enormous pleasure of reading for the Echoes & Visions reading series at Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury, MD. I hadn’t heard of Wor-Wic before I was invited by Melissa Reddish, a writer who teaches at Wor-Wic and coordinates their student Art Club. Wor-Wic is made up of about eight or nine buildings, and they offer several vocational degrees and certificates. Many of their students transfer into the University of Salisbury for four year degrees. In English they offer a standard slate of reading, writing and literature courses but no courses permanently dedicated to creative writing as far as I can tell. However, they do have Melissa, as well as poet Adam Tavel, and together they have inspired a core group of creative students with really big ideas. It was my privilege to work with a small group of energized student writers (novelists, of course) before reading from Death Wishing and Curio to a group of about 30-40 later that evening. I found the whole thing very inspiring–and a great reminder that programs don’t make writers.

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Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Program is up!

And it looks like the program coordinators came to their senses and shifted National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward to a headliner, rather than panelist, position.  Ah well, the fantasy of paneling with her is probably better than the reality.

I’m still on a panel called “Singular women, Singular Words” with some STELLAR novelists: Lucy Ferris, Ellen Baker, and Jessica Maria Tuccelli, moderated by Bev Marshall. Check out the full program here.

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Video from There Will Be Words #8

Orlando’s premier reading series, hosted by Jesse Bradley.

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Death Wishing Launched at Fall For the Book Festival in Fairfax, Va

Here I am at the debut reading of my debut novel, Death Wishing. This took place in Fairfax, Virginia at the Fall For the Book Festival.

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