The one with all the gratitude--and a gift...


I’m not going to pretend it’s original to write about gratitude in the month of November. But with each passing year, I find myself more and more grateful for my support system. The obvious people to acknowledge are my forever encouraging partner and impressively understanding kids. But I’ve found support in some surprising places and I’d love to acknowledge them:

  • My amazing neighbors who have offered meals, childcare, and ukulele breaks when I’m under pressure.

  • The student success coordinator at my son’s school who helped us negotiate bouts of school refusal so that I could make meetings on time.

  • My best friend who supports my impulsive office redecorating ideas from Omaha.

  • The JuiceBox charger in my garage that makes it possible for me to charge in a hurry, not have to build in regular trips to the gas station, and get in those extra words.

  • Every single person who has ever submitted a review of my books.

This is just a snapshot, as there are at least million more people that deserve a heartfelt thank you. As you move through your day, I encourage you to think about all the small ways in which the people in your life support you. I’m not saying you need to buy them all a Starbucks gift card… but I’m also not not saying that. 😉 


UNCHOSEN is releasing SO SOON! It comes out December 5th and I can’t wait for the world to meet Neve Ruiz in all her glory.

Have you seen some of the posts I’ve made about this world? Have you noticed the HUGE SPOILER on the cover? (Apt readers of BUT FOR THE MOUNTAINS might notice a little detail tied to a specific character in plain sight…)

What could it possibly be???

You can pre-order it now in ebook, or wait for December 5th for a physical copy.

And for my newsletter subscribers, I have a special gift: Fill out this form to request a special signed nameplate for your copy of UNCHOSEN! Just fill out the linked form by December 8, 2023. (Limit 1 per address. At this time, I’m only able to send to U.S. residents.)


My writing community is a thing that is ever evolving, ever growing, and something I’ve realized I literally could not do this without. I am increasingly grateful for the people in my corner of the writerly world for their support, thoughtfulness, and memes.

You can’t spell TEAM without Ron Swanson.

But how does one acquire a writing community? I can only tell you how I found—and have continued—to find mine.

  1. Writing Organization Events. I first attended the Willamette Writers Conference in the summer of 2016 with a close friend who had just become my OG critique partner. I arrived with a freshly completed manuscript, and no idea what the hell I was doing. By the end of the weekend, I had pitched (a truly terrible MS) to two (incredibly kind) publishing professionals, met several friends I’m still lucky enough to keep in touch with, and acquired a legal pad full of notes I was going to apply to my (truly terrible) manuscript. It was my first taste of the community, and it was incredible.

  2. Local Writing Workshops. My very first foray into the world of writing was at The Attic, a Portland writing workshop. I took a class about story structure taught by the masterful Jennifer Lauck. From this class, I became part of my very first critique group, and I learned plotting skills that I still use to this day.

  3. Writing Workshops. I’ve been lucky enough to attend several writing workshops over the years, including Better Books Marin, Andrea Brown Literary Agency’s Big Sur Workshop, SCBWI Oregon, and the Whole Novel workshop at VCFA. I love workshopping and participating in critique roundtables in this kind of setting. It’s immersive, intimate, and damn scary. But I always come away from them a better writer than when I arrived.

  4. Virtual Writers Groups. The first experience I had with a virtual writing support group was my debut year. We called ourselves the Roaring 20’s, and it truly was an experience to debut that year. (In the fall of 2022, we met for an in-person retreat at the Highlights Foundation, and it was incredibly cathartic.) In the post-twitter age, I’ve found some truly lovely groups on hosts like Slack and Discord. In these groups I’ve found candid answers to questions about the industry, beta readers, and cheerleaders for life.

  5. Social Media. I know so many writers who are resistant to the idea of immersing themselves into writerly social media. And with good reason. There are elements of this world that are downright treacherous. But there are also some truly lovely spots. I’ve met several critique partners, beta readers, and book event buddies via Instagram. (And let me tell you, if you’d told me I would EVER say that five years ago, I’d have snort-laughed SO hard.) When it comes to social media, I truly believe you get what you give. And if you push positivity out into the writerly corner of social media, as I do, you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

All of this is to say that it is possible to create your own writing community and to continue to grow it as you move through this industry. And if you’re having a hard time reaching out (any INFPs out there?) let me know! If I can, I’d love to help you find a comfy place to test the waters.


THE WEIGHT IN OUR SKY by Hanna Aklaf has lived rent-free in my head ever since I first read it earlier this year. It’s set in 1968 Kuala Lumpur, following a teen who loves the Beatles and experiences undiagnosed OCD, set amidst the backdrop of a sudden and shocking civil war. This is an era of history I knew nothing about (which is horribly embarrassing as my B.A. is in Political Science and History) and Aklaf paints a mesmerizing world in which the main character must ward off both the Djinn who lives inside her (her OCD) as well as manage the racial tensions of the Malay household she’s been forced to live in as her hometown is ripped apart by racial tensions.


When you first signed up for this newsletter, I shared my plotting worksheet with you. Well, that’s not the only resource I want to share. I’ve recently created an ebook to help writers plan a novel in six easy steps, and I’m so excited to share that with you today!

I hope that whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo, planning to write something fresh in the new year, or somewhere else in the process, that these resources will help you hone in on your story.

I’m wishing you all a very delicious, nourishing, and restful Thanksgiving!

‘Til next time…