Last set of critiques today: Carina Bissett (surreal fantasy with portal bees), Emily Fockler (fantasy with “hags in the crags,” as Walter put it), and me. Nancy’s advice on tension during Carina’s critique: Make sure the readers know what’s happening now, so they can worry about what’s going to happen next. I had submitted an old short story based on obscure Vietnamese folklore, partly because I couldn’t get the beginning of my new novel in on time, and I wanted to know what I could do to improve that short story so it can sell. Nancy telling me that I could cut 1k-1.5k words was music to my ears. I’ve been wanting to cut the darn thing because the shorter the better, but I couldn’t figure out how. People gave me good suggestions on rewriting the ending and tightening the middle.

After our last “class” ended, Suzanne, Emily W, and I took the scenic chairlift. The mountainous views were spectacular. The slope at the top was particularly steep, probably a black slope. The chairlifts were going pretty fast, like a mini roller coaster, so getting on and getting off sent the adrenaline pumping. Emily might have uttered a bunch of panicked expletives during those moments.



Clayton, Emily W, and I drove down to Taos together. Farewell dinner is at Lambert’s in Taos. I tried elk tenderloin (which I’ll most likely not try again, not because it tastes bad, but because it’s so pricey). I asked Nancy for her opinion on how she would characterize our class. She deemed us the Improvement Class, because we’ve made the most improvement on our work from Week 1 to Week 2. I’m glad we weren’t the Party Class, or the Class With the Most Drama. I had Walter sign my copy of the first book of his Dread Empire’s Fall series before we said goodbye to our instructors. Wen had brought gifts from China for all the ladies in our cohort, so her gift to me was a lovely patch of the rabbit in the moon. The villain in Guardian Lion, the YA Asian fantasy novel I wrote back in 2016, is based on the moon rabbit, so I’m amazed that Wen had picked out the perfect thing to give me.


After dinner, I had ice cream with Suzanne, Emily F, and Wen. There was some kind of festival going on, so we walked around while eating ice cream and Emily got a hand-made bracelet of her mom’s name, which is apparently hard to find on personalized items. Once we got back to Angel Fire, I hung out at Emily F’s suite to carry out the plotting session for SEAL Splintered, and Emily really helped me flesh out the storyline of my 2nd POV character, Isaac.


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