Friday, March 30, 2007

Back To College

Last Friday, March 23, 2007, was my first experience at the Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association CIPA College. It was also the first time their awards annual banquet was scheduled to follow the sessions that day, a good and effective change.
I had a blast at CIPA College, and at the banquet that followed. It helped that my book, published by Filter Press, Unsinkable: The Molly Brown Story, was selected as a CIPA Award Finalist receiving 2nd place in the Juvenile division. Beyond that, I spent a most worthwhile day, soaking up information and networking with some great people in the book world.
I have been a serious author for more than a decade, a pre-press and graphics professional for a quarter of a century, and a writer all my cognitive life. Although I’m fairly road-tested by now, I don’t presume to know it all, nor even know a good portion of it all. From that standpoint, much of what I saw and heard was already familiar, but there were plenty of ideas and bits of wisdom I was pleased to learn and to add to my arsenal.
My biggest thrill was meeting John Kremer. This is THE marketing guru who wrote the book I picked up some 25 years ago entitled, 101 Ways To Market Your Books. The book and Kremer are still going strong, and his latest version is called 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. I am trying to catch up on my reading so I can study the other 900 ways to market my books. CIPA College’s rotating roundtable format allowed me to talk one-on-one with The Man himself. Wow. I hope my rock-star hero worship wasn’t too apparent.
At any rate, I consider my day at CIPA College a huge success and an injection of inspiration, especially in my weak areas of marketing. I appreciate the folks who brought together these professionals so that we could benefit from them. And thanks to them for the recognition of our work with a much appreciated CIPA EVVY finalist award! Check out the rest of my books at .
My great experience at CIPA College made me anticipate the WWW Conference at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs this fall, Oct. 19-21, 2007. It was a huge success last year and promises to be even better this year. Can't wait to see everybody again and to get that surge of inspiration, wisdom, and fun.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Wildness Is This

When I got my copy of What Wildness Is This, an anthology of women writing about land and life in the Southwest co-edited by WWW member Susan Wittig Albert, my jaw dropped. It wasn't just the wide range of writers represented, including Barbara Kinsolver, Leslie Marmon Silko, Teresa Jordan, Naomi Shihab Nye, Luci Tapahanso, Denise Chavez, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer - nearly 100 in all. Nor was it the inspiring range of genres and cultures and languages; nor even the fact that it includes an essay of mine. It was the sheer beauty of the words and the design. Anthologies can be throw-away volumes, catchalls of unrelated writing hastily thrown together. Not this one: everything from the cover photo to the paper, ivory and a satisfying weight, with a lovely ragged outside edge, to the order of the voices and the writing itself, is beautifully done and inviting. Inviting readers to take it home and curl up in a favorite reading spot, and let the pages fall open to sample the voices of women speaking eloquently and passionately for land, culture, self, and place.

What Wildness Is This was just released by University of Texas Press. "Land Full of Stories," a writing conference inspired by the book will take place in San Marcos, Texas, June 7-9, 2007.

Monday, March 12, 2007

WHAT NEXT, MS. ELLIOTT? by Jo-Brew excerpt
Late March--

In Seattle, Rachel sat across the desk from Carolyn Page, her counselor. She was nervous as she watched the woman sign off on the final paperwork. Rachel had completed the eighteen-month rehabilitation program the judge had sentenced her to after he'd studied the records from the hospital. He'd asked her if she knew how close to dying she'd come. When she answered she did, he'd told her he was going to give her this one last chance instead of sending her to jail again.

She'd gone through the six month locked down program determined to win this time. Now she'd served the required year of supervised probation in a half way house. She was free to build a new life, as long as she stayed out of trouble and reported in for her urine test every month.

In southern Oregon, Dr. Keith Roberts, M.D., a prominent oncologist, sat facing his patient across his file-covered desk. He hated this part of his job. Especially when it was a patient he respected. This woman had courage and strength. She wouldn't cry. Never had. He'd been treating her for more than ten years, since she'd found the lump in her breast and had the mastectomy. The cancer had come back and he'd told her she was terminal two years ago. She'd put her chin up and let him know she wouldn't accept it, she'd fight tooth and nail.

"Madeline, I'm sorry but you have to know the reports from the new MRI show it's spreading faster. We have things we need to finish. You have to appoint someone to make your health care decisions when you can't. It's way past time." He reached to hand her the form but she didn't take it.

In Eugene, Ruth wondered how she could survive the emptiness of retirement. The only place she counted was in the school. She'd been a good teacher and she knew she'd given the children a strong base. If she let herself think about the unknowns ahead, the feelings of panic almost made her ill. The big question was still unanswered. What Next, Ms. Elliott?

While she walked down the ramp from the administration office, she let herself think about how strange it would be never to come back after all the official visits. This old building was just another part of her past.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Talk about world-class experiences!

Two weeks ago, I attended the 18th annual Women in Aviation International conference, held this year at one of the Disney conference centers in Orlando. WWW’s president Jacque Boyd and I roomed together.
Jacque is part of the volunteer staff for WIA. I went to sell my books. I write about the WASPs – the women pilots of World War II. Nine of those ladies were there – all old friends of mine – and after conference attendees meet them at their booth, they come buy my books. I always sell well at WIA. This year, I sold every copy I took.

I also went to help staff the International Women’s Air and Space Museum booth. I got my start writing about the WASP while doing freelance work for IWASM and take every opportunity to give back by working their booth at WIA.

But my finest reason for being there was to help honor an outstanding lady. Her name is Iris Cummings Critchell. She is one of the WASPs and I am proud to call her my friend. Let me tell you a little about her.

Iris was a member of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team in Berlin in 1936 and reigned as U.S. women’s 200-meter breaststroke champion from 1936 to 1939. She majored in science and math at the University of Southern California and graduated from the first Civilian Pilot Training class there. She then flight instructed CPT classes and Navy Cadets until December 1942 when she became a member of the second WASP class. That makes her a member of an exclusive community of 1102 WWII-era women, of whom about 400 survive.

She flew the hot Army planes known then as pursuits and today as fighters — the P-47, P-51, A-20, P-38 and P-61, and many other single and twin-engine aircraft as well.

Using her education and aviation acumen, she wrote several special aviation curricula that use the airplane as an educational tool to broaden and enhance the education of three age groups of young people: junior high, high school and college level.
She and her WWII pilot husband, Howard, established the Bates Foundation’s college age program at Harvey Mudd College of Science and Engineering at the Claremont Colleges in 1962. Iris served as director of the Bates Aeronautics Program and for 28 years served as Lecturer in Aeronautics on the college faculty.

A 53-year member of the Ninety-Nines (international organization for women pilots), she competed in 15 All Woman Transcontinental Air Races (better known as the Powder Puff Derby). She retains all of her flight ratings, including that of flight instructor, and still flies her own Cessna 172.

On February 16, she was inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame. I had the privilege of sitting next to her at the banquet. I also had the privilege of nominating her for this honor.

A woman of the west – born and bred in southern California – an athlete, an aviator, a teacher, a scholar, and an absolutely incredible human being. Iris is 86 years young.

Sarah Rickman, author of THE ORIGINALS — the story of the first women to fly for the U.S. Army in WWII — and — WILLA Literary Award Finalist, FLIGHT FROM FEAR, a WASP WWII novel.