Claim Your Story!

 Experience the Magic of Hedgebrook… 

HEDGEBROOK LOGO

Decades ago when I was first writing fiction, a good friend of mine pressed a newspaper article about a marvelous  writer’s retreat near Seattle. I applied for a spot in the dead of winter when I figured I’d have a better chance. Fortune smiled on me, and I spent thirty days entirely devoted to writing where I wrote as Dear Sugar says, “Like a motherfucker.”

5 Weeks Left to Apply…

Hedgebrook retreat for women writers is on Whidbey Island, about thirty-five miles northwest of Seattle. Situated on 48-acres of forest and meadow facing Puget Sound, with a view of Mount Rainier, the retreat hosts women writers from all over the world for residencies of two to six weeks, at no cost to the writer. Residents are housed in six handcrafted cottages, where they spend their days in solitude – writing, reading, taking walks in the woods on the property or on nearby Double Bluff beach. In the evenings, they gather in the farmhouse kitchen to share a home-cooked gourmet meal, their work, their process and their stories. The Writers in Residence Program is Hedgebrook’s core program, supporting the fully-funded residencies of approximately 40 women writers at the retreat each year.

Writers in Residence Application 

Good luck!

Writing Memoir: Ready Or Not?

It truly is all in the timing. Stretch Marks took almost a decade to write and I’m certain, now, that every one of those 87,600 hours were necessary to craft my story.

Marion Roach Smith renowned author of the Memoir Project has graciously invited me to share my ‘Writing Lesson’ on her blog. You’ll also find an excerpt from my memoir and a chance to win a copy of Stretch Marks. Find out how…

Writing Lessons: When Are You Ready To Write Memoir? 

Five Star Review!

 San Francisco Book Review
By Liz Raptis Picco
L/M Press, $14.00, 257 pages, Format: Trade

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

After two years of marriage, propped by Marty’s enthusiasm for a family while her friends’ husbands wanted to wait or remain childless, Liz puts aside any personal reservation she may have felt to begin a family as they strive to have a baby. A year after three miscarriages and one an ectopic pregnancy that almost took her life, Liz resolves herself to not having children until one day Marty suggests, “Let’s adopt. Adoption is just a different set of issues.” Navigating the issues, however, bear a true test of their desire for children. First, there was the joy and sorrow of newborn Sofia. Again, Liz resolves herself to being childless, but then came the seemingly insurmountable challenges after meeting Agustin and Ricardo in Ciudad Juarez at DIF, the equivalent in Mexico of child protective services in the U.S. after another American couple returned the rejected brothers. “The next thing I remember crystal clear is Agustin, at three and a half years, introducing himself with a firm handshake before collecting his little brother. I scooped up a congested, feverish Ricardo, who had a serious respiratory infection.” Liz knew that she wanted to become their mother, as Marty additionally fell in love with these boys.

Picco provides a compelling, brutally honest account of their fight to become parents. Written without any phony platitudes, she shares with readers her innermost fears, frustrations, and ambiguous feelings about the path they chose to pursue. Yet the love Augustin and Ricardo elicit, despite the difficulties, keeps both Liz and Marty fighting for them. The writing style and true-to-life dialogue keeps readers absorbed in this story as they laugh, cry, get angry, and persevere with Liz and Marty throughout this loving memoir that covers the seven years of their hopeful, while many times terrifying, journey to parenthood.

Sponsored Review

SAN FRANCISCO / SACRAMENTO BOOK REVIEWS
A subsidiary of 1776 Productions, LLC

¡Feliz Verano!

Red Sweet Pea

Photograph taken with my iPhone–a faux macro shot–leaning in, but stopping shy of blurry while holding my breath. Happy Summer!

Debut Interview

It is most fitting that my first online interview is with Miriam Sagan, poet, writer, blogger and founder of the Creative Writing Program in Santa Fe.

I had the good fortune to work with Miriam when I first began to scaffold Stretch Marks and was clueless how to write memoir. Her advice remains crystal clear–just write, keep the story simple, make a schedule and meet deadlines.

Please read our interview here…Miriam’s Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond. Thanks!

My Hometown Bookstore

It didn’t sink in that me, Liz had published a book when I first saw Stretch Marks and the familiar layout on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. My Man and I hugged and toasted, but I felt more relieved than anything else.

Then the phone calls and emails made me flutter with sparing moments of happy, but it still felt distant.

It hadn’t sunk in until the afternoon I walked into my hometown bookstore, hardly pausing at the aisle displays, and headed for the Local Authors section. Seconds later I saw, gasped, and stared at  the book cover I helped design.

I was a cliché: hands to heart, blushing, grinning, and rocking myself with enormous satisfaction and pride. I knelt down and stared from every angle, before taking photographs, oblivious to the fact that my rear end blocked the flow of busy traffic.

I was that author staring back at me in bold black print.

SC BookshopSANTA CRUZ BOOKSHOP

1520 Pacific Avenue  / Santa Cruz, CA 95060  / Tel: 831-423-0900

specialorders@bookshopsantacruz.com

Cutting Room Floor

After hearing from so many of you while you’ve been reading Stretch Marks or have just finished, I am heartened by the praise and enjoying the questions and curiosity!

It’s great that so many of you are intrigued with the scenes that didn’t make the final cut. There are so many scenes that every writer struggles with letting go of for the sake of the story. Stretch Marks was 300 plus pages when I first transcribed my journals and annotated it along the way.

My man reminded me of one of our favorite stories that didn’t make the cut.

In an earlier draft of Stretch Marks, I recounted when we removed the bandage from our daughter Sofia’s belly button and gasped at the beef jerky like stub hanging loose from our precious child. I could only shake my head when Marty looked at me for the answer.

“What did we do wrong?” he asked.

I made the mistake of thinking out loud. We had completely screwed up and deformed our little girl’s perfect body. My man raked his hair. I called my mother with a sinking feeling, wincing from head to toe. Would she laugh or admonish us?

“That’s wonderful!” I could hear her settling into her spot at the dining room table.

“My mother says it’s wonderful, and you should carefully remove it,” I walked back towards Marty, repeating every word my mother was saying to me.

“Of course,” Marty’s look of relief turned triumphant when he held up the shriveled and stinky stub while Sofia gurgled and kicked her tiny feet.

My mother’s reassuring voice steadied me.

I, in return, listed every minuscule detail to her as we inspected Sofia’s delicate rosy pink indentation.

“We should send it to her right away. She’s going to bless it and bury it along with all the other grandkids belly buttons.”

I found an empty earring box in my dresser where we reverently placed the stub on a cotton lining and covered it with another billowy layer. Later we triple-bubbled wrapped the box before mailing it.

Paper or Plastic?

For those of you who have made the jump from tBooks (tree-based books) to eBooks, you can now get Stretch Marks for your Kindle or Nook, and an iBooks version is coming soon.

I’ve been slow to embrace eBooks myself, as the aesthetic experience of reading– texture, smell and so forth– can’t be replicated in plastic. I recently started using a Kindle paperwhite for nighttime reading, and now I’m doing a big chunk of my reading on it.

So whether you prefer paper or plastic, now there’s a version of Stretch Marks for you!