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October 26, 2020
I have a thing about sending mail. I love it. I know where this quirk comes from. I grew up on a lonely stretch of road in a house that was equal parts terrifying and nurturing. My mom was a great cook, both parents encouraged my love of reading and my brain, my sister was the best companion, and at night, the monster came out. If you've read Unspeakable Things, you know a version of this story. Some nights, I was so scared I slept under my bed.
The thing that consistently soothed me growing up was getting mail: joy buzzers ordered from the back of Archie comics, Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes packets full of stamps that needed to be licked, Mad magazine, it didn't matter. When I saw the cloud of dust coming down the road telling me the mail carrier was coming, I felt relief. Mail meant someone knew I was out there. It meant there was a wider world, a place I could escape to when I grew up.
Escape I did, but to this day, I still feel that goofy, childhood relief when I receive packages. It turns out I feel even better when I send them. Shipping boxes of fun makes me feel connected, like I'm tossing out lifelines. Crazy, I know, but there you have it. And that's why I started sending out surprise grab bags every few months to newsletter subscribers. I put everything in them. Spam, books, candy, jewelry, a garlic peeler. It delights me. That delight inspired me to send out a 1980s kit with early copies of Unspeakable Things. It included '80s lipgloss, bracelets, scented pencils, and candy, all tucked inside an authentic 1980s Trapper Keeper. WOOT.
Well, now I'm obviously hooked. My next book, Bloodline, releases January 1. Publisher Weekly says, “Lourey ratchets up the suspense...[f]ans of Rosemary’s Baby will relish this,” and Kirkus Reviews writes, “Based on a true story, this is a sinister, suspenseful thriller full of creeping horror.” Guess what else? It's set in 1968. You know what that means! A "Perfect Housewife" kit! Yep, it's exactly as screwed up as it sounds. I've sent out over 60 of them and have five left (minus the early copy of the book), and maybe one of them has your name on it? To be entered to win, forward a copy of your Bloodline preorder receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org before December 1, 2020.
p.s. As always, if you want to order a signed (and/or personalized) copy of any of my books, reach out to Once Upon a Crime, my fabulous local bookstore, and let them know. Preordering from them gets you two entries to win the "Perfect Housewife" kit.
p.s.s. Be well, please.
September 24, 2020
You need to write 500 words a day, six days a week, through December 31, 2020. You, yes you reading this right now. You ended up here because you read one of my books and want to hear updates, or you aspire to be a writer or want to improve your writing and know that I teach, or you saw the title of this post and thought you’d give it a click.
However you ended up here, you need to write 500 words a day, six days a week, through December 31 because the world is on fire.
I see pain and fear. Generational trauma. A reckoning.
There are concrete things we must do here in the United States. Vote. Vote early if you can. Volunteer at your polling station if it’s an option. Wear your mask. If you are white, straight, and cisgender, seek out the voices and experiences of marginalized folks and listen with humility. If it sounds wild, check it don't spread it. Get your news from a reliable source.
And write 500 words a day, six days a week, through December 31, 2020.
You can journal, you can outline, you can blog, you can write a short story or a novel or a memoir. Just make the words true to your experiences and emotions whether you're writing a deeply personal essay or typing up world-bending sci fi. If writing fairy tales appeals to you, check out this Healing Fairy Tales project my friend Allison Quaid created. If you're interested in crafting a focused short story, novel, or memoir, it's so important to me that you write regularly that I opened my Retreat Yourself course early and am offering a 50% discount through October 18*. If fictionalizing your most painful experiences to be free of them once and for all sounds appealing, check out Rewrite Your Life, available through local libraries. If you prefer less structure, here's some writing prompts.
You don’t have to write Good or Important or even Correctly-spelled words. You just need to write 500 of them a day, six days a week, through December 31, 2020, because we can’t go forward until enough of us go within. It’s corny and it’s trite and it’s true.
The pushback you’ll experience is real, and it will take nefarious shapes (I’m busy I am a bad writer It’s a waste of time I’m a failure Writing is stupid I’m no writer There will be a better time Writing doesn’t change anything It hurts). The amount of pushback you will feel toward something so harmless, so easy (500 words=two pages), so verifiably, incredibly powerful is an indication of how important it is.
If you’re someone who’s already doing this work and you have the mental capacity to support one other person’s journey, please share the above resources with them and offer to hold each other accountable. If you know of other resources, please put them in the comments below.
The only way out is through.
*The more diverse the voices, the stronger the community. That's why, if you're living in the U.S. and are a person of color, a member of the LGBTQIA community, or a person with a disability, I am offering a 90% discount on the Retreat Yourself course through 10/18/2020.. The 10% you’ll be paying covers the cost of mailing the Book in a Bag kit to you. I trust you to self-identify if this discount applies to you. You can access this discount here.
August 2, 2020
Two years ago, in a speech class he was taking as part of his return to college (at age 50!!) to pursue his dream career as an elementary school art teacher, my husband had a brilliant idea for a board game that teaches cooperation and celebrates diversity. A couple hundred hours later, after much research, design, and testing, Taller Ants was born.
Hasbro's philanthropic division, Be Fearless Be Kind, made him an offer on the game. So exciting! But then, they decided to go in another direction. Tony, through gentle nudging (gentle, I tell you) from me, begin looking at ways to distribute Taller Ants himself, including securing the funds to donate 50 games to schools and community centers.
Kickstarter was the best option, and his campaign just went live! I hope you'll check it out and consider contributing and/or helping by spreading the word and sharing this link: Taller Ants.
Thank you for embracing the good. I hope you and yours are safe and healthy.