March 20, 2020 § Leave a comment
Working on a novel? Not too late to join me for these live-remote classes, part of Grub Street’s acclaimed Novel Revision Series!
March 21, 2020. Genre, Concept, Premise, Theme – in which we’ll come up with answers to an essential question: What’s your novel-in-progress “about”?
April 18, 2020. Dramatic Structure & Narrative Drive – in which we’ll explore the hidden structures common to all good novels and the secrets to creating a page-turning read.
Keep tabs on all my upcoming classes and events here.
April 24, 2018 § Leave a comment
It’s been a year since the release of A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing in hardcover. This is just a quick post to let you know that the paperback launches today! It’s a nice little book I think, and I’m pleased to report that since the hardcover release there’s been plenty of good news. It’s been shortlisted for two international book awards (one of which is still in process—please keep your fingers crossed), has resulted in a lot of good press including interviews on both Vermont and New Hampshire Public radio (links to both podcasts here), and has continued to garner favorable reviews.
Another bit of news that I’m thrilled to share is that I’ll be starting a job this June on the core faculty of a new low-residency graduate writing program: the “Newport MFA in Creative Writing,” based at Salve Regina College in Newport, Rhode Island (and Havana!). This is the brainchild of my friend, the brilliant Ann Hood, and it’s an exciting new venture in the writing world. If any of you’ve been contemplating a writing MFA, I highly recommend that you check it out!
The coming year is also shaping up to be exciting in terms of travel: I’ll be the National Geographic featured lecturer on a new Douro River cruise navigating from Porto, Portugal, to Salamanca, Spain and back (Sept 23 – Oct 3). I’ll be leading a new off-the-beaten-track program in Eastern Cuba in collaboration with my publisher, Green Writers Press (Nov 5 – 12). And in May, 2019, we’ll be offering the fourth annual Cuba Writers Program in Havana and one other Cuban destination (TBA).
If you’re interested in any of these and/or in other adventures in the months and years to come, you can find details and keep track of evolving dates here. Maybe we’ll see you out in the world! (And don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like explore ways to organize an affordable custom trip to Cuba.)
Here’s a photo I just took of the new paperbacks. If you want to get your hands on a copy, now’s an auspicious time to buy one! A wave of purchases around the release date can trigger algorithms that can make books more visible to the public, which is of course extremely helpful for ambitious and little-known authors such as yours truly (as are reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, by the way).
As always, thanks for being out there. I’m deeply grateful for your friendship and support. Please don’t hesitate to send a note if you want to run something by me or simply catch up. Meanwhile, here’s wishing you a happy and productive spring!
August 29, 2017 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed my conversation with James Scott on the latest episode of his terrific series of literary conversations known as the TK Podcast. James is a bestselling novelist (The Kept) and an excellent interviewer, with a real knack for asking questions about writing and life that lead to interesting places.
We talked about travel, the writing life, the binary nature of solitude, National Geographic, short fiction, how to sequence stories in a short fiction collection, the Cuba Writers Program, Ingmar Bergman, drug writing, Green Writers Press, Denis Johnson, The Grateful Dead, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Paul Bowles, and much, much more. Highly recommended if you’re a writer and/or a fan of literary podcasts! Here’s the link.
May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
“A caccia del fantasma de Hemingway All’Avana,” Edizioni Sur (translated by Martina Ricciardi). (Originally “Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in Havana,” The Millions.)
May 11, 2017 § Leave a comment
The book tour for A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing kicks off this Tuesday, May 16, at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, a town I know and love, having gone to college there! The reading will be hosted by Jenny Lyons, who recently wrote quite a lovely review of the collection for the Addison Independent. Here’s an excerpt:
“These stories bristle with energy and immediacy. The outside world will fall away as the places and people of Weed’s stories inhabit your mind. The writing is spare and meticulous and packs a hefty emotional punch . . . I am not exaggerating when I say this collection kept me up at nights. I just couldn’t stop reading.” (Here’s a link to the full review).
The book tour is a work in progress—new dates will be added as they come in on the Upcoming Events page—but here are the events we have planned so far, with links to the bookstore event pages where available. It would be wonderful to see you out there!
July 1, 2017 – New Hampshire’s Toadstool bookstores: Keene (11AM) & Peterborough (2PM). Reading from A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
August 28, 2017 – Cornelia Street Café, New York City: Cuba Writers Program Reading with Ann Hood, Alden Jones, and Michael Ruhlman (reading from A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING)
October 1, 2017, 2PM. Tattered Cover Bookstore, Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado. Reading from A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
October 12 – 15 – Brattleboro Literary Festival. Short Story Showcase: Reading from A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
October 21, 2017 – Northern Woodlands Conference, Fairlee, Vermont. Reading and Discussion of A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING
April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment
Take a look at Crystal King’s recent article at Literary Hub regarding the relevance of historical fiction to contemporary society. Crystal, the author of Feast of Sorrow, a gripping new novel on ancient Rome, makes some excellent points about the ways in which the visceral experience of history that comes from reading novels based in the past can inform our understanding of the present. The article also presents the perspectives of ten contemporary historical novelists in whose company I’m quite honored to be included, including Jenna Blum, Anjali Mitter Duva, Margaret George, Heather Webb, and Marjan Kamali. Our current political leaders would do well to read this one!
April 20, 2017 § Leave a comment
Pleased to note that one of my favorite stories in the collection has been excerpted at MidCurrent. In “Keepers,” an amateur sportsman vacationing on an Atlantic resort island leaves his young family behind to go fly-fishing at the edge of the ocean and has occasion to regret it. Read the story here.
April 9, 2017 § Leave a comment
“As a species, we’re ruled and dominated by our over-developed hominid imaginations. Setting is what propels us into the dream of story, because its lucidity — its sensory concreteness — activates our imaginations on a subconscious level, irresistibly, without our knowledge or permission.” — from “Research Notes: A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing,” an illustrated meditation on place and the writing process at Necessary Fiction
“We read novels and stories for distraction, for entertainment, yet the best fiction also gives us something life itself cannot: direct exposure to the internal life of another human being. It is this unique backstage access that makes good fiction more immersive and emotionally gripping than any other narrative medium.” — from “What Are Writers For? A Fiction Writer’s Perspective,” at GrubWrites.
March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment
Yet another new article up, this one at Talking Writing. Here’s a quick excerpt:
Novels act like beacons in stormy weather. Even when they promise an escape from the daily onslaught, novels light a path forward in ways nonfiction can’t. They allow readers to live out life’s worst-case scenarios from within the safety of their own imaginations so that when something terrible actually happens—a personal tragedy, a natural catastrophe, a deadly plague—it’s not a complete surprise. As a reader, I’m an easy mark for dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, and I’m often struck by the unique way such novels deliver not only practical strategies for surviving the unthinkable but emotional strategies, too—which ultimately may be more important. It’s hard to overstate the solace good fiction can provide even in the darkest of times.
So, if you’re stocking the shelves of your survival shelter, don’t forget to throw in a few gripping novels. Here are eight that strike me as especially pertinent right now.
Read the full article here!
March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment
New essay up up at The Millions, in which I trace Hemingway’s 30 year love affair with Havana and try to get to the bottom of what his lingering influence says about both the writer and the city. Read the whole thing here. A brief excerpt:
In Havana, Ernest Hemingway’s restless ghost lingers more palpably than in any of the other places in the world that can legitimately claim him: Paris, Madrid, Sun Valley, Key West. Havana was his principal home for more than three decades, and its physical aspect has changed very little since he left it, for the last time, in the spring of 1960.
I’ve been traveling to the city with some regularity since 1999, when I directed one of the first officially sanctioned programs for U.S. students in Cuba since the triumph of Fidel Castro’s 1959 Revolution. As an aspiring novelist, I’ve long been interested in Hemingway’s work, but I had no idea how prominently Havana figured in the author’s life — nor how prominently the author figured in the city’s defining iconography — until I began spending time there.