About Me

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I write about people that are much much smarter than me. See the links on my shiny blog? I wrote those. And some other stuff. Below is the kind of thing you would find about me in the back of a book or anthology.

"Kelly Hale lives in the magical city called Stumptown where the streets are paved with espresso beans and the garbage recycles itself. She is the author of several science fiction-y type stories in scattered anthologies, co-author of a Doctor Who TV tie-in novel Grimm Reality, and also won an award for an early version of Erasing Sherlock – there was a giant novelty check involved.  She is mother of geeks and stand-up comedians. When she isn’t writing she enjoys grinding bones to make artisan breads, creating her own skin care products from locally sourced virgins blood, and knitting with razor wire. She’s been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since age 11. Characters from the original Star Trek represent archetypes in her dreams."

I am a devout secular humanist.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Willamette Writer's Conference 2016 - Victory is mine. And also I'm very tired.

I had a great time this weekend at this thing https://www.facebook.com/WillametteWriters/

I pitched a novel this morning to Kisa Whipkey with Reuts Publications. I much prefer to pitch with the query letter or proposal, because in person is nerve-wracking. I'm a little embarrassed that I completely forgot to give her my actual publishing history. Thankfully, I left her my card.

I read at an open-mike last night. There were a lot of great poets there (whose names I cannot remember at the moment. Sorry poets I'll come back and fill in the blanks later).  I had been in a workshop with two of them - a workshop about how to finish those poems that never seem to feel finished. They had both finished their troublesome poems. I had not, which is why I ended up reading work-in-progress prose.

Also attended a panel discussion with editors of literary magazines. I remember all those years ago when my dream was to get a story into some prestigious literary magazine and how I was convinced you had to have some freaking MFA to get into one because everyone knew everyone and it was terribly incestuous. Which they admitted to - with caveats. Because of how long it takes for literary magazines to actually get through the slush piles, to go through committee to get published, the slow turnaround time, apparently a lot of simultaneous submissions are withdrawn because they've been picked up elsewhere. So what's an editor with a time crunch to do then? Call around to MFA programs. It was comforting to hear and also to learn that MFA does not equal great writing. In fact, sometimes the opposite.

DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON AN MFA! (Unless you want to teach other MFA students someday.)

I am also forced to acknowledge that the reason my stories were never picked up by prestigious literary magazines is because they weren't very good back then.  I am a much better writer now.

Anyway, I left feeling more confident - at least for my chances with the middle-tier literary magazines. And the editor from Calyx Press was on this panel. Calyx was the first feminist literary work I read. So... maybe it's time I submit something?

One of the best workshops today was run by a woman I met last night before the banquet dinner - historical fiction writer, Roberta Rich - who graciously walked me through my novel pitch before the meal and who today had some great approaches to research and how to apply what you find.
Writers conferences have always been out of my price range (and they likely will be again). I have mocked the foolishness of people who paid thousands of dollars to go to a conference in Hawaii, which to me always seems like a way for industry people to get free vacations at the expense of rich dilettantes. But next year I'll have to volunteer to get a price break. Because I'm definitely going back.

A lot of other things, panels, workshops, conversations, etc. about which I took copious notes, but that will have to wait until my brain returns to normal functioning. Not much sleep that past three days.

In the meantime - thanks to Jenny Schrader and all the WWC volunteers and staff. Nicely done.

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