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This past semester was a game-changer. At the beginning of this year, I “finished” assembling a manuscript of seven stories to submit as my graduate thesis and my first self-published book. Over the next few months, I worked with a brilliant editorial group of other authors-to-be, critiquing each other’s stories, offering design suggestions, and pouring more than one glass of wine to get through the stress of the most demanding four months of our academic career.

I cut one piece from my collection, changed endings and beginnings, and pushed even deeper into the heads and hearts of my characters than I had realized I could. For design, I took inspiration walking around the city that has become so much more familiar to me in the past 4 years, and a serendipitous moment of light and shadow striking rowhouses on St. Paul Street became a cover and a home for six short stories about choices and relationships, the moments we feel suspended in a bewildering space where we are strangers even to ourselves.

My book, Room Full of Strangers, has been out for two months to the day, and I am down to the last 20 copies from the first print run!

To celebrate the jump from MFA student to grad and the publication of my first book, I am relaunching this blog, with a few fun changes: I’ve freshened up the design and added a page where you can take a look at (and order) Room Full of Strangers. I’m also excited to announce a new weekly posting schedule:

Mondays: Writing life and the creative process. A mix of nuts and bolts, updates on what I’m writing and how it’s going, and more abstract or big-picture thoughts on how to incorporate an active creative life into the everyday.

2nd and 4th Fridays of the month: What I’m Reading returns with books that will make you think and (hopefully) jump-start your creativity.

A final note: Publishing a book and then trying to rustle up a blog audience is the opposite way to go about things, so my very first step on this relaunch is wrong! (Incidentally, there’s a fun article about writers and failure here–if I’m failing, I’m in good company). So let’s not think of this as a blatant plug for my shiny new book. My ultimate dream for this website would be to make this a fun hang-out spot for writers and any other creative types to talk shop, read good books, and get good work done. I hope this becomes as much your space as mine.

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