New Releases: “The Shark Curtain”

The Shark CurtainChris ScofieldSet against the changing terrain of middle-class values and the siren calls of art and puberty, Chris Scofield’s new YA-Adult novel The Shark Curtain invites us into Lily Asher’s wonderful, terrible world.

The older of two girls growing up in suburban Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1960s, her inner life stands in quirky contrast to the loving but dysfunctional world around her. Often misunderstood by her flawed but well-intentioned parents, teenage Lily orbits their tumultuous love affair, embracing what embraces her back: the ghost of her drowned dog, a lost aunt, numbers, shoe boxes, werewolves, rituals, and stories she pens herself (including one about a miscarried sibling she dubs “Frog Boy”).

With “regular” visits from a wisecracking Jesus, an affectionate but combative friendship is born–a friendship that strains Lily’s grasp of reality as much as her patience. From the violence of a peeping tom and catching Mom in flagrante delicto with the neighbor to jungles in her closet, butlers under her bed, and barking in public, Lily struggles to balance her family’s expectations with the visions that continue to isolate her.

“Brilliant, engaging, engulfing, fulfilling, beautiful… The Shark Curtain will turn you inside out and make you see the world differently. As well you should. As well should we all. Because life isn’t about having the answers, it’s about grappling with the questions. Chris Scofield’s fantastically fantastic novel pins the tail on the donkey with a pneumatic nail gun—I absolutely insist that you read this book!”

–Garth Stein, author of Racing In the Rain

Scofield will be in Portland later this month appearing from 5 to 8 p.m. May 30, Burnt Tongue, at Crush Bar, 1400 S.E. Morrison St.


Cindy Brown on How to Be Funny

May-15aFred Melden will be hosting another Conversations With Writers at the Hillsboro Library Main Branch at 7 p.m. May 18.

How to Be Funny On the Page (even if you’re not in real life)

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek – musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright – since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards and a three-book deal for her madcap mysteries. “Macdeath,” the first in her Ivy Meadows series was released in January and “The Sound of Murder” follows in October.

Join Cindy to discuss the idea that a writer doesn’t need a quick wit, just a sense of humor. Explore different types of comedy, identify your own brand of humor, and learn the basics tenets of comedy in this interactive workshop.

Hillsboro Library Main Branch: 2850 Brookwood Parkway, Hillsboro. 503-615-6500

Conversations With Writers invites authors to read and tell us about their work and their writing methods. Not just a reading, but an event for audience members to interact and ask questions about word choices, styles, or the writer’s development of his / her art. It’s an informal atmosphere to help us all better understand the craft of writing.


New Releases: Heart Strings and Chameleon

Chameleon: The SummoningMaggie Lynch announces the upcoming release of two new books: “Heart Strings” on May 30 and “Chameleon: The Summoning” on Aug. 1.

“Heart Strings” (Book 3 in the Sweetwater Canyon series)  — Sarah escaped  her life with an alcoholic father when she left Broken Bow, Oklahoma and joined the Sweetwater Canyon band. Now, called to her dying father’s bedside, she is forced to leave her band–the one thing that saved her. With her music career on hold and her past threatening to silence her, Sarah must make choices she swore she’d never have to face again.

“Chameleon: The Summoning” (Book 3 in Forest People series) – Surviving the ultimate transformation and the Agnoses predators, Camryn Painter retreats to the solitude of the Cloud Forests. To grieve. To heal. To find peace. But the ancient world proves to be anything but quiet and she is far from alone.


Check the author’s website for a series of workshops taught in Hillsboro beginning in July which cover a wide range of topics from maximizing your social media strategy to designing an effective cover.   Lynch offers a 20 percent discount to OWC members. Enter code OWC2014.


Rachelle Ramirez Becomes Executive Director of OWC

Rachelle RamirezThe Board of Directors of Oregon Writers Colony has chosen Rachelle Ramirez as the new executive director of OWC.

Rachelle is a renewing member of OWC and committed to supporting writers in their craft. She believes in the power of community involvement, education, and a sense of place to help generate, nourish, and produce creative works. One of her greatest pleasures is working with writers in navigating the writing process to help them bring their projects to completion.

Before working with OWC, Rachelle earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Goddard College in psychology and counseling. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Graduate Writing Program on merit scholarship. She received post-graduate certificates in advanced grant writing and community development.

Rachelle brings us her successful experience in not-for-profit management, development, fund-raising, board leadership, and critique group development. Her goals for OWC are to increase the value of our services to our community, increase membership and diversity within the organization, and to increase financial donations in support of writers. Overall, she hopes to strengthen writers’ support for one another through their activities and experiences with OWC.

Rachelle writes novel-length memoir and fiction and is interested in how genres can stretch, like taffy, to mix and be cut into their final form. Her current work, White Girl, Black Sheep, is a young adult novel.


New Releases: Love in the Elephant Tent

0Kathleen Cremonesi announces the release of her memoir, Love in the Elephant Tent, through ECW Press.

In her early 20s, free-spirited Kathleen sets off for Europe in search of adventure and joins an Italian circus on a whim, where she becomes and ostrich-riding, shark-taming showgirl. Kathleen bonds with the exotic animals that could strike and kill at any moment, but instead bring her a peace she has never known. When she stumbles into the arms of Stefano, the handsome elephant keeper, she quickly discovers that falling in love is the easy part. As Kathleen and Stefano travel around the Mediterranean with the circus, they both must learn to navigate cultural differences and shed youthful concepts of love in this romantic, coming-of-age adventure.

“The story of Kathleen’s journey toward self-discovery is enthralling … the descriptions of life in the circus, the animals, and the spectacle put on every night vividly take readers into the experience.” Publishers Weekly

Kathleen Cremonesi lives near Eugene. The official Launch Party for “Love in the Elephant Tent” will be held April 25 in Junction City. Check the Events section of her website for details and additional tour dates.


Day Passes Available for 2015 Annual Conference

OWC has opened some spaces for people to attend the Annual Conference at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, including workshops and some meals. Sleeping space at the classic hotel filled soon after registration opened.

There is some table and conference space for a few people who can stay offsite for the night.

Best-selling author Cara Black will teach about making setting come alive. Literary Agent Stephanie Cabot will listen to participants’ pitches.

Day passes to the “full” conference are $250. That fee includes —

  • Friday night: meet-and-greet and dinner, along with speaker and agent introductions
  • Saturday full day: breakfast, morning session, and lunch
  • Sunday full event breakfast, morning session, and lunch

For Saturday only, full day, the cost is $200

There are a number of nearby hotels and motels, some within a short block or two of the Sylvia Beach Hotel, and the Sylvia Beach Hotel facilities (lobby and upstairs oceanfront lobby and lounge) will be available to conference participants at all times. The hotel is in the Nye Beach area of Newport.

For information or to take advantage of this option, email Carol Cole.


New Releases: “Set in Stone”

Frank Morin’s YA fantasy novel “Set in Stone,” the first part of The Petralist series, will be released Friday May 1.
From the jacket blurb:

“Tomorrow, at sixteen, Connor will reveal his secret curse to the world and take his place as a guardian.
If he survives today.
When armies descend upon his peaceful village, led by superhuman Petralists and clever Builders, most people run and hide. Connor’s not that smart. He manages to get caught in the middle of the escalating conflict. Worse, he learns his curse is the rarest of powers, the Blood of the Tallan, and both sides will do anything to control it and secure his loyalty. Connor is fast, but even he can’t outrun this avalanche.
Truths are sacrificed, loyalties are sundered, and dangerous girls twist his heart into knots.
That’s when things get complicated.”

The author will hold a launch party from 4 to 8 p.m. at Rebel Bricks, 229 SW G St., Grants Pass with hardcover copies available for purchase.


New Releases: Chiseled: A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine

Danuta Pfeiffer announces the publication of her fourth book, a memoir of her colorful life. She tells the story of an unwed teenage mother escaping to the tundra of Alaska; a journalist who became a television evangelist and a wife caught in a web of deceit and substance abuse.

51jdto1uxDL._UX250_She co-hosted The 700 Club with Pat Robertson and had a ringside view of his campaign for president. After leaving the conservative world of the Christian Broadcast Network, she resumed her broadcast career as a Progressive and hosted several radio talk shows on Air America affiliates.

Pfeiffer says that “Chiseled” explains why she threw off the garb of her evangelical past and discloses a powerful story of a family bound by secrets.

Throughout her life, she says she clung to her Polish father’s legacy, sustained by his tales of fortitude and endurance through the horrors of war. She uncovers long-buried family secrets on a sojourn to the Carpathian Mountains of Poland. Today she is an Oregon winemaker as well as an author.

She begins a national book tour in June.


New Release: The Accidental Alchemist

Accidental-Alchemist-Cover-May-20-2014-from-Terri-194x300Gigi Pandian’s “The Accidental Alchemist,” the first in a new mystery series set in Portland, was published by Midnight Ink in January.

Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can’t help but notice she’s picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-a-half-foot gargoyle—not to mention a master of French cuisine—and he needs Zoe’s expertise to decipher a centuries-old text.

Library Journal says: “Pandian launches a supernatural cozy series that hits high marks for a modern twist on an ancient practice. Amusing supporting characters and historical details solidify this engaging mystery.”

RT Book Reviews says: “This new series is off to an excellent start with an intriguing, eccentric amateur detective. This reviewer is eagerly anticipating more from this series, and a return of a cast more fun than an episode of Portlandia.”