April 2024 Update: News, Events, and More

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When was the last time you sat down to share kind words with yourself?

As a mentor, I spend a lot of time encouraging others. But recently, I found I wasn’t giving myself the same courtesy. So I set out to change it. Every day (nearly), I’ve been writing notes to my future and past selves.

Initially, my inclination was to disparage myself. I found myself gravitating towards criticism. But then, I forced myself to take a step back.

I wouldn’t disparage one of my mentees, would I? Of course not.
So I revisited the activity, this time as my own mentor. The results have been fascinating. Not only am I actively practicing kindness towards myself, but I’m actually getting more done while doing less.

Alt Text: A handwritten page of my bullet journal for Thursday, March 28th. It reads:

Dear Past Self,
Good job today! You got pretty much everything done that you needed to do. I saw when you were struggling and remembered to stick tot he timeline and it worked. Well done.

Dear Future Me,
Today is a little bit lighter, but it is still a lot of work. You know how much you can get done in sprints so let's focus on MC and work on it in the gaps. Reach for meditation and tidying as a break. The sweater completion is a reward.

Do you have any sort of kindness practice in your own life? How have you used it to ground yourself? I’d love to know.

Mundane Moments with MRK

In addition, this month I thought I’d finish off this introduction with some of my most recent fixations—while also taking advantage of the most alliterative title ever.

So here’s a quick snapshot of what I’m…

Writing: “Exotic. If she never heard that word again, she’d be content and yet, that’s exactly how she had to paint herself tonight. The Hotel Apocalypse offered its patrons a chance to experience ‘life after the end of the world’ — for a price. And Sinead needed them to be fully invested in the escape room tonight. She was running out of time.”

(Public Classes, Awards, and More)

Upcoming Class: Structuring a Heist

Sunday, May 5 at 2PM ET / 11AM PT

Heist’s are a unique and exciting story structure all their own—filled with a team of complementary individuals working together to achieve a goal. This class will help you learn how to balance an ensemble cast, thriller elements, and the need to deliver satisfying twists.

Writing Excuses (re)Generate Retreat

June 9 – June 15, 2024

Sometimes maintaining momentum as a writer is hard. We all experience times of drought, where the ideas won’t arrive and the words won’t flow. Often, the answer isn’t to push harder. It’s to pause, reset, and carve out dedicated time where you can simply be creative.

This summer, I’ll join Writing Excuses for the (Re)Generate Retreat in Minnesota. Consider this your invitation to nurture your creative process, unlock inspiration, and find companionship among fellow writers.


I’ve decided to introduce a new section to this newsletter—Featured Reads. Each month, I’ll post a new link to a book, short story, or other work I think deserves a read. Sometimes it will be my own writing, other times it will be someone else’s.

We’re kicking off with Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell. Be sure to also take a look at his post on my journal page, where he talks about his favorite part of the story.

Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she’s fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth. 

However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.

Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?

Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.


This month I’m headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I’ll be a guest instructor for the inaugural Sandia Starforgers Writers Retreat and Workshop.

This event will help writers get their current work-in-progress one step closer to publication. I’m incredibly excited to meet all of the attendees and workshop their stories together.
If you’re interested in hearing about next year’s Albuquerque event, click here to sign up for the waitlist.


Class: What Drives a Genre?

April 29th at 8 PM ET / 5PM PT

Most genres break down into two types, structure genres (mystery, romance) vs Aesthetic genres (science-fiction, fantasy). We’re going to look at what the major drivers are and how you can mix them to make your fiction feel fresh.

If you want to join me, you can do so at the class level of Patreon.


Elsie, a calico cat, sits regally on her cat bed, head facing to the left and staring off camera. She's donning her brand new pink and purple crocheted sweater and looks very pleased with it. A window with greenery is in the background.

Elsie has a new sweater! Contrary to popular belief, not all cats hate clothing. In fact, Elsie frequently will ask for “coat,” which can mean anything from her harness to an actual coat.

Recently, I crocheted a new item for her wardrobe using a pattern from Lottie and Lulu Crochet. What do you think?

Elsie certainly had her own opinions.

Give this video a watch to see how she responds to her new clothing.

It’s nice to know she’s a well-mannered cat.


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