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‘Writing/Free Reads’ Category

  1. Vision Quest 2013: The Ranch Life

    May 31, 2013 by Kiersi

    Bodega landscape

    I’m on the road again, taking my bi-annual writing retreat to my friend’s ranch in northern California. I’m finishing up a revision and working on a NEW VERY SEEKRIT PROJECT. It’s actually not that secret but everyone else keeps secrets, so I might as well, too.

    The Ranch Life

    dog posing

    An earwig lies belly-up on the gate latch to the pool, like an offering to the Ranch Gods.

    We walk into the tall grass, bare calves brushing thistles, ticks leaping with outstretched arms onto my pants, onto the dog. He wants to stay ahead, keep an eye out for danger. (more…)


  2. The Ceiling of Imagination

    February 8, 2013 by Kiersi

    I love writing books
    Where the imaginative ceiling is
    impossibly high;

    I want to jump
    arms in the air
    make up the wildest things
    and never once touch that ceiling.

    I want to create worlds
    where anything can happen;
    any creature can exist;
    any magic can be real;

    A world where there are no limits.

    I want to make my reader
    believe anything
    and everything
    is real.


    In case you haven’t stopped by lately, there are dozens more Typewriter Stories up–including one of my favorites, The Search for the Sun. Writer and blogger Lauren Spieller actually liked her custom-made story so much, she framed it and took this photo for us!


  3. Black Holes and Space Travel by Typewriter

    January 3, 2013 by Kiersi

    More typewriter stories today as I work on some long-winded thing about princesses and high expectations. Here’s the photo our latest typewriter-story recipient posted:

    Anthony’s a high school friend of mine who went on to become a filmmaker. He requested one micro-story for himself and one for his mom, Allison, who fed me lots of snacks while I bummed around at her house all those years ago.

    Of course, Allison’s had to have a dog in it.

    Allison’s Portal

    There once was a little girl named Allison.

    Allison had an equally-little dog named Skip. Skip and Allison were always having adventures together: they dug up dinosaur bones in the backyard, and discovered ancient ruins under her mother’s bed (her mom hadn’t thought it was so fun when she found her winter clothes scattered and chewed by the dog). They hiked Mount Everest and flew around the world in a giant slingshot. (more…)


  4. More Typewriter Stories

    December 31, 2012 by Kiersi

    Since I’m in brainstorming mode and not producing much of anything besides (I was hit square in the noggin with a new idea the other night–it’s already turning itself into a manuscript without encouragement or consent), I decided to post some of the typewriter micro-stories I’ve been putting together and snail-mailing out to friends. If you’re not familiar with the typewriter micro-stories, read about it here.

    First up, a typewriter story requested by my pal Austen:

    The Upper-Left Drawer

    There once was a little boy named Austen.

    Austen had a secret. In the left-most, upper-most drawer of his dresser, something very small was breathing. In and out, and in and out, regular-like, with a shuddering sound at the end that would make you think that perhaps it had a cold. (more…)


  5. Typewriter Micro-stories: Rolling Old School

    December 26, 2012 by Kiersi

    I’ve always wanted a typewriter, mostly just for the feeling of physically hammering letters onto the page–but also for the concept of getting away from the computer to write. And not only to write, but to write words that cannot be unwritten.

    A typewriter is, in essence, the ultimate first draft. It’s what every writer participating in National Novel Writing Month strives for: to simply write words as they come, without the ability to go back and edit them. One must continue moving forward with a typewriter. There is no backspace button (actually, mine has a white-out strip, but it doesn’t really work).

    So, a dear friend of mine hunted down a classic-style typewriter, made all the necessary repairs, and gave it to me as a gift. The cool thing about this particular typewriter is that it actually prints in cursive, instead of the traditional Courier.

    When I posted pictures of the new find, a friend asked for a typed-up letter. WELL. A letter? Hmm. Too novice for me. Instead, I crafted a little short story starring my recipient, and typed it up on the typewriter. Voila! (more…)


  6. Learning to Fly (excerpt)

    May 22, 2012 by Kiersi

    American Air Force Harlingen, WASP Texas, female pilot ww2 by juffrouwjo - Flickr

    Photo of American Air Force Pilot by juffrouwjo, Flickr (click for link)

    My YA fantasy novel, The Aeronauts, is maybe-sort-of-finally reaching its finale. Soon. So, so, so soon. I hope. I’m rounding on 90,000 words now (longer than the average YA) and I think it’ll be another 15,000 at least before everything is said and done–probably one more month of work. Friends tell me that since it’s a fantasy, long is okay. Well, it better be!

    Before anything else, I have to say this about The Aeronauts and its protagonist, Maria Gomez: it has been a hell of a fun ride so far. This book is such a blast to write that if it’s even a quarter as fun to read, I think it’ll go over well with teenage audiences. (more…)


  7. We Were Summer and Winter (Part 2)

    May 16, 2012 by Kiersi

    We Were Summer and Winter
    (Part 2)

    A short story

    (If you’re new, start with Part 1.)

    We did three more shows, and none were as good as our first. Ms. Gilbert was too kind to push for a between-show rehearsal to clean up our act, but the sudden change in our chemistry didn’t go unnoticed by everyone else.

    “Are you guys fighting?”

    “Did something happen?”

    “No,” I said, shaking my head. “Nothing happened. The stars just haven’t aligned, I guess.” (more…)


  8. We Were Summer and Winter (Part 1)

    May 15, 2012 by Kiersi

    We Were Summer and Winter
    (Part 1)

    A short story

    No one could say how long Dillon and I had been friends. His mother and my father had worked together since before either of us were born—I was a November baby, a winter child, while Dillon burst out screaming sometime in July, a summer child. We were always that: summer, and winter.

    I can’t say we cared for one another much as toddlers, because I doubt toddlers care for much besides their mothers and their juice boxes. We likely flung our poop like monkeys and bit each other’s ears. Of course, the only moments captured on camera are sweet ones, like splashing in the bathtub or napping with uncanny peace in an oversized bed. (more…)


  9. It was probably two a.m.

    May 6, 2012 by Kiersi

    Pulled over

    It’s two a.m., maybe closer to two-thirty, maybe past two-thirty, and I’m driving back to my parents’ house in my dad’s new car. What a responsible family guy car, I think whenever I drive it. A four-door sedan, an up-and-coming car maker (this is important), and—he won’t admit it out loud—a stylish exterior. The color is copper. It looks nothing like copper. He got a piece of marketing material from the car company that was personalized with his name. So intrigued by it, by its personalness, he opened it. I love this about my dad. He is so genuinely curious. He has held onto that lovable trait all these years, one of the few.

    Anyway, he opened it and inside was all this shoo-shaw marketing garbage with glossy color photos. He pored over it. He read out loud a passage about how Magellan’s discovery of South America (side note, I’m pretty pissed the Wikipedia page for Ferdinand Magellan is not the first result for the Google search “magellan”) was really attributable to the hard work of a Basque captain—Basque things always being a point of interest for my dad, as our family is some ubiquitous percentage Basque at all times—as my mom rolled her eyes. What a success for marketing. (more…)


  10. Would you read this book?

    April 29, 2012 by Kiersi

    Write to Publish Conference 2012 - Ooligan PressI just returned from Write to Publish 2012, an event put on by Portland State University’s (PSU) Ooligan Press program. It was great (as arbitrary and rudimentary an adjective as that is). I met lots of cool authors and gathered their autographs, asked a few obnoxious questions and generally made a nuisance of myself. A good time all around. I spent far more money than I should have buying books by authors who spoke at the panels.

    After listening to many a discussion about editors wading through the “slush” pile of unsolicited submissions, mainly involving Logan’s Run author Bill Nolan and his take-no-prisoners approach to acquisitions, I decided that the first page of a manuscript is, in reality, the absolute most important page of the whole piece of work. We may not want to admit it to ourselves, but that first bit of flash and bang is essential to selling a manuscript to an agent or acquisitions editor. (more…)