Newport News

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of presenting a talk on my book, my work, and political fiction more generally at the Newport Public Library in Newport, Oregon.

This was my first author event in a place where I did not already have a fanbase (at this point in my career, that’s a euphemism for family and friends). But three bold souls did indeed brave the sideways rain of the NW coast to see me, so I gave it my best shot.

In the end, two of them bought books and signed up for my mailing list, and the librarian who cut me the check to make the 2.5-hour drive from Portland thanked me for not “phoning it in.” I told her, “Well, I’d prepared,” but what I should have said was this: THANK YOU FOR THIS AMAZING WEEKEND.

That’s because, in addition to cutting me a check, the library had covered my room for the night at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a cute little literary-themed inn overlooking the Pacific. Each room is styled after a different author; mine was the Lincoln Steffens, named after the father, I read, of investigative journalism, the man who coined the term “muckraker.”

Not as popular as the J.K. Rowling, I’m sure, but a worthy muse in such times.

Did I mention that the entire top floor of this place is a library, with comfy chairs with ocean views? And free hot beverages? Where you are free to read or write all day, even after you’ve checked out?

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I had the good fortune of a great book to read during my stay, one that brought me to tears–a book that, when I finished it, actually made me feel more emotionally capable of dealing with the heartbreak of a civically engaged life.

That, to me, as a fiction geek, is a big deal. Because it’s not like this book is about politics; it’s just the fact that getting that protective casing over my heart cracked wide open made me feel more resilient, more capable, more able to withstand despair. How beautiful is that?

And of course, I noodled around on Facebook a bit.

A friend of mine, Kelly Sundberg, had posted a question, both material and spiritual: “What have you done to feed yourself today?” To which I replied:

“Talked about my book and my work to three dear souls at a small town library–but made $150 and sold two books and received a night’s accommodations at a literary-themed seaside hotel that I am now in love with. Read a Henry James novella I found in the library here and took myself out for oysters. Now drinking pinot noir in my room to the sound of the surf and having my heart blown open by Laura Pritchett’s new novel, The Blue Hour, which I practically handsold to my server. What a day!”

To which one of Kelly’s friends replied to say that she’d actually just bought my book, based on that comment.

The next day, when I returned to good old Puddletown, the article I’d written for LitReactor on political fiction–on which a good part of my talk in Newport was based–was published. And the first commenter noted that based on what I’d “had the balls” to write, he’d just bought my book.

As a debut author, what’s the moral of the story? I’d say it’s to show up, both online and in person, and connect; you never know where your next sale might come from.

 

SW Tour 2.0: The Grand Canyon State in Bloom

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I was back in AZ last week, and it seemed as if the whole state was in bloom. This meant the junipers were in bloom as well (see this video, recently filmed in Prescott), which meant a whole lot of sneezing for me, but even those randy male trees, broadcasting their biz, could not put a damper on the SW leg of Hot Season Tour 2.0.

Look at these photos, taken at Sunset Point! Seriously, never have I ever. The state was an unbroken sea of green, all the way down to Tucson, where I presented a Tent Talk for the Tucson Festival of Books (and met the whipsmart and charming Ilana Maletz, author of Cha’risa’s Gift).

I also had the good fortune to run into my old mentor from Prescott College, Sam Henrie–and his son, who is also Sam Henrie (confusing). Sam Jr. is on the board of the fest and invited me to submit a panel proposal for next year, so here’s hoping I’ll be back. (I didn’t get a picture of the madness that is this book fest, but let me tell you, it is big and beautiful and diverse.)

While I was in Tucson, I stayed with my old friend Lara Ruggles, an immensely talented musician and songwriter (whose album, Cynics & Saints, you should totally get). I also met with a friend of a friend, Mateo Keegan Burbano, and ran into all kinds of old homies at Five Points Market.

I also got to eat one of my favorite dishes, Jack’s Magic Beans at The Coronet. (I love this dish so much I took a picture of the menu so I could try to recreate it at home.)

Sunset at The Raven with Michaela Carter? Check. The perfect light to show off her wild and brilliant beauty? Check. Great conversations with old friends? Check on that too.

Oh, and I read at this great reading series in Phoenix called Spillers at Valley Bar. It was so much fun! And the whole thing was recorded for a podcast! More on this to come. =)

 

Hot Season Book Tour 2.0

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I’m thrilled to announce that I am back in the Biskitt (aka, Prescott) today, kicking off part two of the book tour for Hot Season–just as the weather is heating up in the Southwest (well, Phoenix, at least–it was 70 degrees at 8 pm last night when I got in).

After two dates here in the Land of AZ, I’ll be headed back up north to kick off my author/editor mini Northwest tour! Because that’s totally a thing.

If you’re a resident of Portland, take note: no matter where in the city you live, you will be able to come see me at your local indie bookstore. Because this is Portland, and if we don’t have to leave our neighborhoods, we don’t. (Also, we like to support local indies and stuff).

People of the -west I’m looking forward to seeing you at one of these events! =)

Southwest:

3.11.17–Tucson Festival of Books (Tucson, AZ)

Stop by for my Tent Talk 1:40 pm for TRUE, THRILLING TALES of radical activism in the Southwest! And stay for the signing at the Author Pavilion.

https://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org
3.14.17–Spillers No. 7 (Phoenix, AZ)

Spillers, the voice of Phoenix fiction, makes its Valley Bar debut! (I’ve been informed by those in the know that this is the COOLEST BAR IN TOWN.) I’ll be reading alongside Urian GarciaRobert Hoekman Jr.​, and Leah Roper. I even have my own theme song.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1817934961803383/?active_tab=discussion

 

Northwest:

2.23.17–Indigo Happy Hour at Zeus Cafe (Portland, OR)

I’m kicking off my author/editor Northwest mini-tour with an Indigo happy hour. The special focus is on YA this month, but all writers of fiction are welcome. Whether you’re a seasoned author or a fresh new face, I’d love to connect with you. Cheers!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1655777994723256/

3.26.17–Author Appearance at Newport Public Library (Newport, OR)

At 2:00pm, I’ll be discussing my novel, Hot Season, as well as sharing a bit about the small-press publishing landscape.
http://newportoregon.gov/dept/lib/

4.2.17–Presentation at Tsunami Books (Eugene, OR)

At 7:00 pm, I’ll be presenting a talk for the Mid-Valley Chapter of Willamette Writers entitled “Crowdfunding for Authors,” drawing from both my own experiences as an author and that of my editing clients. Bring your questions!

http://willamettewriters.org/mid-valley/

4.7–8.17–IBPA’s Publishing University (Portland, OR)
I’ll be part of a panel of Indigo editors featured at the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Publishing University Conference in downtown Portland.
http://www.publishinguniversity.org

4.11.17–Author Appearance at Broadway Books (Portland, OR)
7 pm–I’ll be reading from my debut novel, Hot Season, answering questions, and signing books. http://www.broadwaybooks.net/event/susan-defreitas-hot-season

4.17.17–City of Weird reading at Post 134 (Portland, OR)

I’m finally in town for a City of Weird reading! These 30 speculative tales set in Portland include some of my fave short stories of 2016, and I’m thrilled to read from mine, “The Mind-Body Problem.
http://www.forestavenuepress.com/catalog/city-of-weird/

4.18.17–Reading at Annie Bloom’s (Portland, OR)

7pm–Looking forward to reading at one of my favorite local indies, Annie Bloom’s in Multnomah Village. http://www.annieblooms.com/event/susan-defreitas-presents-hot-season

4.20.17–Group Reading at Another Read Through (Portland, OR)

I’ll be reading with two other members of my writers group, The Guttery, who have new books out: Tracy Manaster, author of The Done Thing, and Jamie Duclos-Yourdon, author of Froelich’s Ladder. FUN!