Saturday, July 16, 2016

#PitchWars Bio

Welcome to my #PitchWars bio. 

Interesting Facts About Me:

photo credit: Elizabeth A. Caroli
1. I am a volunteer with the National Park Service’s Mounted Patrol in the Marin Headlands. I’m going to be featured in a national magazine this fall as part of an article on the physical and mental health benefits of volunteering (And, yes, that horse is sticking his tongue out at the camera, he's a bit of a clown).

2.  I started riding when I was in fifth grade and competed on my college’s equestrian team, which sounds a LOT more snooty than it was. We were an intercollegiate team (IHSA) and, though we competed against schools like Skidmore and St. Lawrence where most of the riders brought their own horses to school with them, I went to a SUNY school and we “trained” at a local stable where the horses were one step up from trail horses.

3. I spent a large part of my childhood at dog shows and put obedience titles on three dogs before I turned 18. My mom showed conformation, and my dad was an obedience judge and dog trainer. I still have dogs (two Airedales at present), but haven’t been to a dog show since I went to college (and, no, it isn’t like the movie Best in Show).

4.  I sometimes seem to wake up in possession of Neil Gaiman’s hair. I suspect he might like it back at some point. 

5. I worked as a freelance writer for many years and wrote on a variety of topics including finance, travel, health, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Holocaust survivors, and the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

6. I am always looking for the perfect tiramisu.
photo credit:
Denise Rehse Watson

7. I am a whisky-drinking woman and proud of it. I favor heavily-peated Islay single malts and love when guys try to help me pick "something for my husband" in the whisky aisle. It usually ends with them asking me to recommend what they should drink next. If you follow me on Twitter (@DeeGeeWriter), half my tweets are about whisky (the other half are about writing). 

8. My favorite book is The Odyssey. I reread it every couple of years and never fail to find something new about it. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a close second.

9. My favorite writers are Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, and George R.R. Martin (and, before you ask, I am a die-hard geeky fan-grrl book-first fan for Game of Thrones. I’ve even read the Dunk and Egg novellas).

10. My favorite place in the world is the Shetland Islands. One of my goals is to do a 4-to-6 month writing residency in the Shetlands within the next five years.

About Me:
Complete Writer’s Bio:

photo credit: Denise Rehse Watson
I was a storyteller even before I learned how to form letters, narrating my toys and model horses through adventure after adventure in my Barbie Dreamcamper. I wrote my first short story when I was six, and my first novel when I was thirteen. It was a Star Wars novel, Children of the Force, written before fanfict became a thing, and it featured a disgraced female Jedi knight who fights the climactic lightsaber duel with Darth Vader and wins.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, writing this novel was the only way I could be a part of a universe that I loved. A geek to the core, I’d started devouring my dad’s classic SF collection when I was twelve, but there wasn’t a place for me in those worlds. I wasn’t a princess to be rescued, or an innocent ingénue waiting for love, or a statuesque object for desire. I was a wizard, a shapeshifter, a warrior. And so I wrote to create a place I could inhabit and have value.

By the time I was sixteen, I’d completed two full drafts of that novel and knew I wanted to be a writer (I still have the original handwritten draft, by the way).

I studied creative writing at SUNY-Binghamton, left with a BA, and tried to be a good, responsible adult by getting a job in marketing. After seven years, I left corporate life to go it alone as a freelance writer. I wrote magazine articles, marketing communications materials, and ghosted articles for business executives. I was also writing fiction, had a few short stories published, received grants from the Nevada Arts Council and the Sierra Arts Foundation, and began work on a novel.

In 2001, my family and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and I started teaching creative writing in the elementary and middle schools in our town. It was that work that prompted me to return to school and get my MFA in fiction from San Francisco State University. I graduated in 2010. I’m an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and LitCamp, and am active in the Bay Area literary community.

At present, I am an associate editor for Zoetic Press, a small press that produces the NonBinary Review as well as independent titles. I also work with a Bay Area literary agent as her submissions reader and manuscript editor as well as working as a freelance developmental editor (small brag: two of the books I’ve worked on were released in 2016 by major publishers).

My project:

What You’ll Know Tomorrow is a literary/upmarket novel that explores issues of memory, history, race, and identity. It is set in Reno, Nevada. 

Quick pitch: After the death of his brother, Matt's quest for the truth reveals secrets about his family and the limits of his photographic memory.

Summary: For seventeen years, Matt Marshall believed in the infallibility of two things: his older brother and his photographic memory. Then one night of joyriding takes both away. Matt wakes with damp clothes and no memory of what happened. As he tries to put the pieces together, what he uncovers destroys what he knows about his family, himself, and the brother who protected him from their abusive alcoholic father. Matt discovers that not only was he complicit in the abuse his brother suffered, he is also responsible for his brother’s death, and these revelations fuel a desire to find the truth so great he will risk going to jail to discover it.

Ways to follow me:

1 comment:

April M Wall said...

Good luck with PitchWars!