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It’s completely awesome to be named “Royal Lady of Autumn Leaves.” Just ask Pat. Meet her in person at our booksigning at her shop.

Pat Rutledge 2009 Royal Lady for Autumn Leaves
In her role as Royal Lady, Pat, owner of A Book for All Seasons will be traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest, representing Leavenworth at the festivals and parades around the region.

A Book for All Seasons owner Pat Rutledge named Royal Lady of Autumn Leaves for 2009

As the 46th Royal Lady of the Autumn Leaves I want to welcome you to the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth. I know you will be thrilled with the wealth of activities we have in store for you. Whether you are looking for a quiet stroll through downtown, shopping and browsing boutiques or you’re revved for some whitewater rafting, hiking or skiing, there is no end to the possibilities for having a spectacular visit here. Come in the spring when the hillsides and mountains are ablaze with hundreds of thousands of balsam root flowers.

Surely you will want to visit us in the fall, as we host Washington State’s Autumn Leaf Festival in September, followed by three weekends of Oktoberfest.

Winter will dazzle you with our snow frosted mountains and town twinkling with millions of lights, making our Christmas Lightings one of the most magical weekends you will experience.

From shopping, to theater, from wineries to restaurants, from lodging to music, to the great outdoors of climbing, skiing and rafting ‑ Leavenworth offers all these world class experiences wrapped up in our own Bavarian hospitality.

Like Renee Zellweger’s famous line from Jerry McGuire,” You had me at Hello”, we are hoping Leavenworth will have you at Herzlich Wilkomen.

Royal Lady Pat Rutledge

Hands down, it’s got to be Leavenworth, in the Cascades. So cute, they used it on the cover of Lakeshore Christmas. Oh, and did I mention it’s a place where you can have Breakfast with A Flock of Angels?!

Sheila RobertsOkay, so maybe “angels” is a stretch and I’m not sure three constitutes a flock, but c’mon. On Saturday October 10, 10:00 AM – noon, breakfast with three angel-inspired authors: the authors of Angel Lane,Coffeehouse Angel, and Lakeshore Christmas! Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors, and Susan Wiggs look forward to joining you at Eagle Creek Winery for a deliciously specialSuzanne Selfors breakfast and warm conversation. Breakfst includes, lox, bagel and cream cheese, apple strudel, grapes, a glass of Eagle Creek white wine, Starbucks coffee and a selection of teas. Susan Wiggs

Further details–including suggestions for accommodations–can be found here.


Field’s End Writers’ Conference 2008Photo by s.j. luke, onsetimagery

WHO: This year’s line-up of authors and speakers includes: Roy Blount, Jr. (keynote speaker), Stephanie Kallos (opening speaker), Knute Berger, Alice Acheson, Lyall Bush, Laura Kalpakian, Thomas Kohnstamm, Rosina Lippi aka Sara Donati, Jennifer Louden, Nancy Pagh, George Shannon, Charley Pavlosky, Sheila Rabe aka Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors, David Wagoner, and Timothy Egan (closing speaker). Professional actor Ron Milton will be on hand for the Page One sessions.

WHAT: Third annual Field’s End Writers’ Conference, “Writing in the Garden of the Gods.”

WHEN: Saturday, April 26, 2008
9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Kiana Lodge
14976 Sandy Hook Rd. NE
Poulsbo, WA 98370

DETAILS: This one-day conference, held at the spectacularly beautiful Kiana Lodge near Bainbridge Island, is a combination of lectures and breakout sessions presented by an eclectic group of people in the literary world.

The day offers three groupings of breakout sessions. Guests will select three workshops to attend according to their interest (literary fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screen writing, dialogue, genre, travel writing, editing, journalism, historical fiction, and commercial fiction). Each breakout session will also offer a Page One workshop, where conference guests can anonymously submit the first page of something they’ve written for possible live reading and critique by the guest authors.

Lunch is provided and there will be an early evening wine and cheese reception and book signing providing conference guests, authors, and speakers a chance to mingle. Shuttle buses will be available to carry walk-on ferry passengers to and from Kiana Lodge.

Registration begins February 1, 2008. Early registration is recommended as the conference is limited to 250 guests and has sold out in the past. Cost to attend is $135 if you register before February 28, 2008 and $150 after March 1, 2008. Groups of 5 or more can register for $130/person. To register for the 2008 Field’s End Writers’ Conference, visit

Founded in 2002, Field’s End is a writers’ community whose mission is to inspire writers and nurture the written word through lectures, workshops, and instruction in the art and craft of writing. Located across the Puget Sound from Seattle on beautiful Bainbridge Island, Field’s End is an affiliate of the nonprofit Bainbridge Public Library, which is located at 1270 Madison Avenue on Bainbridge Island. For more information, call (206) 842-4162 or visit


Kirsten Graham
Concept 2 Launch
(206) 890-3435

kirsten graham
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For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

–Ernest Hemingway


I nearly forgot a career milestone this month. It’s the tenth anniversary of my first book with Mira Books, my current publisher. The Lightkeeper original editionThe Lightkeeper was a seaswept, Beauty-and-the-Beast-style romantic epic that takes place on the Washington coast in the 1870s. The setting is literally the ends of the earth, on the Long Beach peninsula at the mouth of the Columbia River, an area notorious for raging seas and terrible shipwrecks. The original title of this book was The Edge of Forever, a title I still love (and a tribute to the Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever”), but The Lightkeeper is probably stronger and definitely more straightforward.

The Cape Disappointment lighthouse still stands. Lightkeeper cover - reissueWhen we visit this area, we love to stay at the dog-friendly Lighthouse (where else?) or the Klipsan Beach Cottages. A walk through Oysterville is a trip back through time. Every time I go there, I feel like writing stories misted in spindrift. It’s a place where I find myself writing better than I can.

This book has one blooper that I know of–there’s no way the characters can be drinking marionberry cordial, since marionberries weren’t introduced until the 1950s. Thanks to alert readers, that will be corrected in future reprints. Cape Disappointment

Happy 10-year anniversary to me and Mira Books!

I used to really not like Donald Maass, an author, literary agent and lecturer on the art and craft of writing. He had a habit of saying things that annoy writers, like, “Who cares?” and “How can you make this matter more?” Why didn’t I like him? Why did I get annoyed? Because his insights and questions, outlined in his books and workshops, forced me to work harder than ever on my novels. Breakout Novel

His directness forces a writer to take a cold, hard look at her own work. And painfully often, to spot its weaknesses.

Then, as I internalized the lessons in Don’s books and workshops, I noticed a deeper understanding of craft, and I started liking this guy. A lot. I used to be stuck in a quandary about some of the most fundamental aspects of the novel–stakes, antagonists, theme, premise. Particularly building high stakes and creating a compelling antagonist. I used to think my books were lacking in that area. There’s no fate-of-the-world-hanging-in-the-balance. No evil overlord or great battle of good v. evil. Then, reading Writing the Breakout Novel, I had an epiphany: These elements were all present in my fiction. I could make the reader believe it by using techniques of craft like building high human value–making the reader care deeply about my characters.

Donald Maass’s upcoming book, The Fire in Fiction, further explores the concepts that consume a fiction writer. He offers practical methods of bringing passion to fiction writing—every day, every page. The book is slated for publication in 2008 by Writers Digest Press.

He also discusses a topic near and dear to our hearts–how to write not just one terrific book, but to build an entire body of work with consistent quality.

“You know how some novels by your favorite authors disappoint?” he asks. “You wonder, did the author rush or have a bad year?” Not only does he pose these tough questions. He has some answers for us.

“Then there are other writers whose every book is a powerhouse,” Maass observes. “Every novel feels passionate. How do such authors stay on top of their game? More to the point, how does passion find its way on to the page? What does ‘passion’ mean when you’re creating characters, or building the world of the novel?”

Field’s End, an affiliate of the Bainbridge Library, is bringing us an exclusive preview of The Fire in Fiction on Saturday, October 13 at the Bainbridge Pavilion. Both the book and the workshop are geared for professional, published novelists…and for fiction writers who are on their way.

All of Maass’s works have guided writers through the process of making a career out of creating fiction. The Career Novelist addresses the writer’s journey from creative dreamer to published pro. Writing the Breakout Novel and The Breakout Novel Workbook contain practical advice for marrying good writing with good storytelling, elevating craft to the level of art.

Maass is one of the most well-read professionals in the industry, and his books cite techniques from a range of writers, from Barbara Cartland to Margaret Atwood to James Patterson.

“I’m a literary agent in New York City,” Maass explains. “I opened my agency in 1980, after working as an editor. Today my company represents more than 100 novelists and sells more than 100 novels every year to major publishers here and overseas. I…teach workshops all over the country. I’m a past president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, Inc., the national trade association for literary agents. I’m also a fan of the Northwest. My wife [independent editor Lisa Rector-Maass] is from Vancouver, B.C. I spend a lot of time out here.”

He’s been a library patron from birth–or maybe even before that! “My mother is a librarian. She worked at Yale University most of her life, but in retirement she works part time at her local town library. Now, my mom is proud of me but doesn’t completely get what I do. One day the head librarian at her library asked me to come give a talk on getting published. I did, and the place was packed. It was the largest turnout they’d ever had. My mom stood in the back, beaming. I’ve written seventeen books, have sold hundreds of others to major publishers, run a multi-million dollar business…but it was a talk at the local library that finally convinced my mom that I’m for real.”

D MaassYou can find out more about Donald Maass at his web site,, and about the upcoming workshop at

So join us, if you’re in the area. Registration info and directions are here.

Maybe he’ll annoy you. But–no maybe about it–he’ll make you a better writer.

Reminder–registration is about to close for both the online workshop, Making a Good Book Great, and the live one on Whidbey Island, Washington. Hope to see you there!

Dockside contestToday’s the day! The wonderful folks at are giving away another crop of brand new, hot-off-the-presses books, and Dockside is one of them. You can’t beat that!

Some of my favorite authors are featured in this contest–Lisa Tucker, Lisa Jackson, Marian Keyes, Meg Cabot–and others that look fantastic, and I’ll surely be trying them. This week, Dockside is the featured title. Enter to win this book and a sack full of other great reads by submitting your name here. Good luck!

Real quick–there’s an excerpt of Dockside online here. Let’s just say we all have a Shane Gilmore somewhere in the past. Here’s hoping he stays there. Enjoy!

That’s entertainment–Levy Home Entertainment: I attended the Levy National Meeting last month. Outside of publishing, people might not be familiar with this firm, but it is one of the biggest players in the industry. And once a year, they have a meeting at a great resort. [Note: This year, the locusts were out in their 17-year cycle, which I’d never seen (or heard) before. These bugs are so huge and fly in such impressive force that they look like alien invaders. In fact, at the airport, they would periodically explain the phenomenon over the PA system, so people wouldn’t look out the window and panic that something very Old-Testament was taking place.]

Back to business–My publisher arranged for me to attend the Levy meeting. Think about it. A week of meetings completely dedicated to getting books into readers’ hands. Meetings attended by people at the highest level of publishing and book distribution, like Louise Burke of Simon & Schuster and Donna Hayes, president of Harlequin–every major publisher sent their top people. The workshops and seminars were designed to maximize the exposure of our book to readers. That’s what Levy Home Entertainment, based in Illinois, is all about. If you bought a paperback at a big discount store, chances are, it was placed there by Levy. Their main warehouse, in the appropriately-named Romeoville, is the size of an airplane hangar and staffed by the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. I know. I was lucky to meet them when I went to the warehouse to sign 6000 books. What 6000 books looks like

That’s not a typo. I signed 6000 books. Levy is going to distribute them to their accounts so 6000 readers can have a signed book. Then I rushed back to the hotel for–wait for it–a booksigning.Yes, I seriously signed 6000 books.

I didn’t know whether or not I could survive signing so many books. On my best day, I’ve written maybe 5000 words in longhand. But the Levy people made it easy. They had us set up assembly-line style so helpers would open the carton, sticker the book, open it to the title page and put it in front of me for my hasty–but legible–signature. Picture the candy-factory scene in “I Love Lucy,” and you get the idea. To make the time pass, we took breaks to dance to the incredibly cheesy disco music being piped into the room. We played with my screaming monkey slingshots. We guzzled bottled water. Tamar Kipper of Levy showed me some chiropractic exercises for hands and I am none the worse for the wear. There is something so special about meeting people whose entire job involves getting my books to readers. Also about attending a banquet with fellow authors Dave Barry, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Jane Clark, Joanne Fluke, Laura Lippman, Ridley Pearson, Deanna Rayburn, JR Ward. We were all privileged to hang out with the Levy people.

God, I love this business.

Would you please see if you get “Sunrise Earth” on your telly? December sunrise over Mt Rainier…And then set your DVR to capture it every day, preferably in High Definition? It’s the sort of program to put on while you’re fixing your morning coffee and then staring dully around, trying to figure out what to write for the day. That’s how it works for me, anyway. I have the prettiest sunrise view in the world, right here (see photo above) but I seriously love getting up with the bison of Wyoming, or with frogs on the Amazon, or the fisherman of Sri Lanka. The only sound track is the natural sounds that take place in the scene. Anyway…check it out. There’s nothing else quite like it on TV.

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