Writing the Hook

I recently took an online class on how to write a hook. In the publishing industry, a hook is a pitch, elevator speech or description of your book. The class was offered by Wordsmith Academy and taught by Mark Gottlieb, an agent with Trident Media Group.

One takeaway from the class: Be concise and interesting.

According to Gottlieb, “that is really the kind of person who an agent or editor wants to be in business with.” Which makes sense. Who doesn’t like concise, interesting people? Our worst nightmare is that friend who tells long, boring stories that come to no end. Don’t be that person. Be a person Mark likes. You’ll write better hooks and be a better friend.

Book Review: As One Fire Consumes Another

As One Fire Consumes Another

In his collection of poems As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Books, 2019), Oregon author John Sibley Williams challenges the reader to travel with him as he digs deep into topics both timely and timeless.

Whether Williams is addressing love or war, home or exile, with each line he reveals an intellect driven by a desire for understanding.

By confronting hard truths,

…Not that the dead

won’t still be here in the morning if

we dress their wounds & declare the

world healed.

—”Us & Them”

Williams earns our trust before urging us forward

…the world

is big enough for all our histories.


and reminding us there’s always reason for hope.


stars never leave us, at least not for

long. Yes, like love.

“The Children”

Available at Broadway Books.

Artists Talk and Reading – 6/29, 6 pm

Migration Stories participants

(I’m one of several artists and writers taking part in this event. I will read from my book Hooked on Antifreeze: True Tales About Loving and Leaving Alaska.)

An artists talk and reading will take place Friday, June 29, 6 p.m. at the Multnomah Arts Center. Discussions, questions and refreshments will follow. Free and open to all.

The artists talk and reading is being held in conjunction with Migration Stories exhibit running June 1-July 2 at Multnomah Arts Center. The exhibit includes visual art, writing, and video that reflects the experiences of immigrants, refugees, and others finding home.

“Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future. It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make-up as a human family.” – Former UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon

Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219

Migration Stories: June 1 – July 2, 2018

Migration Stories Postcard

[Two excerpts from my book Hooked on Antifreeze: True Tales About Loving and Leaving Alaska have been accepted into the show, Migration Stories (more info below). I will attend the show’s opening reception on Friday, June 1, 6-9 p.m. at the Multnomah Art Center. I hope to see you there.]

Multimedia show honors World Refugee Day

In conjunction with World Refugee Day, Multnomah Art Center is exhibiting a juried multimedia show called “Migration Stories” June 1 through July 2, 2018.   

Former UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon states, “Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future.  It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make-up as a human family.”   

We are a nation of indigenous peoples, ancestors of slaves and captives, refugees, and immigrants.  The show mission supports MAC’s commitment to fostering creative relationships with our community through reflecting our inner and outer worlds, expressing our diversity, building bridges and learning from each other. This exhibit explores the many aspects of leaving home, of finding home, and how we make home where we are.  An opening reception will be held Friday, June 1, 6-9pm.

The show includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, installation, photography, mixed media, poetry, prose and video from these 45 artists representing a wide range of cultures and personal histories from England, Germany, Honduras, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Jewish diaspora, Korea, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Native American Tribes, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Vietnam and more. The exhibit closes 5pm on July 2.

The Multnomah Arts Center (MAC) provides excellent arts education in the visual and performing arts at an affordable cost to students of all ages.  We offer programs in dance, theatre, music, drawing, painting, ceramics, textiles, jewelry/metalsmithing, printmaking, photography, literary arts and more.  Programs run year-round, and scholarships are available.  For more information about MAC or the nonprofit support organization, Multnomah Arts Center Association, call 503.823.2787 or visit www.MultnomahArtsCenter.org.



Two books by Nancy Woods

From review of Hooked on Antifreeze: “The clever turns of phrase and light-hearted observations quickly grow on a reader, and everything up to the final page left me with a rare fondness for a memoir writer as well as a renewed affection for both Fairbanks and Alaska.” ― Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Reader comment on Under the Influence of Tall Trees: “I love the perspectives you share on what it’s like to be a writer.” ― Chuck P.

Cirque ad 4x

Cirque ad