10 Commandments of Writing Collaboration – Drafting Edition



  1. Thou shalt abandon thy darlings. If you wrote a line that you’re damn proud of and the editing sword smites it, speak up by all means… but if you’re the only one who was feeling that line, let it go. Better yet learn to forget who wrote what—that way lies heaven.
  2. Thou shalt obey thine…

Small actions, ginormous impact


I’m really excited and proud of my new book, The Birthday Problem, and now, it’s out!

My press is indie, our marketing budget teensy, but you, my friends and readers are mighty. I’ve compiled a list of things you can do (one that requires spending some money, but most are free) to help promote…

Jul 9


Getting really tired of shit like this and this and the above situation that happened to me this morning at 9AM and sometimes I get mad and comics come out


What goes through your mind as you watch amazing illustrator Marcello Barenghi pencil-draw this bottle of “Oddka” (a delightful word!)? For me, it is an awe-inspiring reminder that, with tenacious devotion, creative talents can be honed to a world-class level. If you spent less time doing stuff you’re not passionate about… and more time in your zone of genius, doing what you do better than anyone else… what might you create?

#NameThatKitten Contest

UPDATE: Congrats to  for her awesome name for the black kitten, Shadow. Really fits hir personality, shy yet curious but also kind of a mastermind.

Can you come up with the perfect names for these special kittens I’m fostering? If I choose your idea, I’ll send you a copy of my book GLIMMER along with some swag. Sound good? Read on to learn more (and see pics of the kitties to help inspire your naming)!


Background/The Why: Everyone has hobbies, passions, causes. One of mine and my husband’s is helping feral cats. Feral cats are just regular cats who have gone wild over one or more generations. We volunteer with Alley Cat Project, a local trap, neuter, release program and we foster through the Seattle Animal Shelter.  Though I’ve trapped my share of cats (around 25), my biggest love is fostering feral youngsters and especially “socializing the unsocializable.” Speaking of which…


The Kitties: Yesterday we took home this adorable pair of feral littermates who were found at an industrial site, with no mother. : ( They are total cuties: one solid black and one gray tabby. However they are already wary of humans—being just a touch past their ideal socialization window of 7 weeks—and will need extreme patience over the next month as they learn to trust us. In time their fierceness will be re-channeled into fierce affection and they will make extremely loving companions (I have 2 formerly feral companions who are wonderful, and they’re both on my desk as I type this). But in the meantime… it’s hard. We don’t even know their weights or genders because they don’t want us getting that close. So keep your names gender-neutral please!

The Contest: Tweet your gender-neutral kitten names with hashtag #NameThatKitten. Mention me, @phoebekitanidis, so I can RT you as soon as I get the notification. There is no cost to this, share with anyone you like who likes cats (the last thing these kittens need is hate), and be creative.  hashtagContest ends Friday 5 PM Pacific. That’s is, can’t wait to see your ideas!

Your Creative Collaboration Kit



So you’ve decided to try an in-person writing collaboration. Congratulations, brave author!

Now, what do you need to bring to the big event? Besides your genius, of course. And your brilliant ideas. And your near-genius, almost-as-brilliant friends.

Below is a list of practical things and…

Quick Recipe for 30 minute Bumglue

  1. Prepare a pleasant beverage
  2. Apply butt to chair
  3. Open document
  4. Apply headset to head
  5. Set timer
  6. The secret ingredient: turn on some concentration music on low volume

Note: sometimes we avoid writing, wisely, because part of us knows that we need something else more. A workout, a good night’s sleep, a hug, a trip to the beach, counseling, or just a better understanding of where it is this project of ours is heading. This is not for those times. This is for those other times, when all we need is a temporary anxiety tamer to get us rolling. Like every process trick, it won’t work for anyone, but it’ll work for some people. Give it a try… all you have to lose is 30 minutes.

And I thought hollerin’ was just yelling in the Ozarks.



Hollerin’ is a form of yodeling, one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication. Often using the natural acoustics or resonances of a space to reinforce and carry the message, yodelers are also adept at transitioning between vocal registers, focusing on and emphasizing the break that occurs at the boundary rather than smoothing it. This creates a unique timbre in the middle of a rapid leap from low to high that further disrupts our ability to track the melody and maintain auditory streams, often resulting in a kind of pseudo-polyphony.

This 1975 performance is from the still yearly contest in Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina.

Recording: Old-timey Holler/Ditty by Leonard Emmanuel, Hollerin’, Rounder Records, 1995

An Odd Experiment in Collaborative Writing



You’ve seen them on the TV. The TV writers. The movie dudes. Eight of them, around a table with coffee cups and pizza cartons and mountains of paper. Flipcharts and whiteboards and sticky notes everywhere. Outpourings of creative energy, driving to a looming deadline, shouting, arguing,…

Seattle Writers’ Café Reviews

As a Seattle author, I spend a fair amount of time typing while drinking coffee. I thought it might be helpful to others to review some of my favorite cafe spots here. I invite you to review your city’s best writers’ cafes reviews too! (If you do, send me the link.)

P.S. I don’t give stars because I don’t think in stars. Yelp, Amazon, and Goodreads are set up that way, fine… but on my blog it’s my rules.

Empire Espresso

Tucked into a Columbia City side street, Empire’s a skinny little joint—one long row of tables—that’s often packed, thanks to superior ingredients and a warm, authentic neighborhood vibe.

Writer Raves: Sweet silence! While some people do chat quietly, Empire’s pretty much a working café during daylight hours—you might not even need earbuds to concentrate.

Best Fuel: Yummy handmade waffles and Panini (gluten-free bread available too).  

Tips: Park in the $1 lot a block away on Ferdinand. If you set up a meeting here, choose evening (when it’s more of a pub vibe) and show up early as you can’t reserve space.

Victrola on 15th

Artistic, retro, hipster, whatever you want to call it, this place balances its coolness with a comfortable, laidback vibe. The coffee is top-notch and the art adds value—so does the latte art.

Writer Raves: The ambience here isn’t just inviting, it’s inspiring. I’ve gotten great work done… once I was able to find a table. (Oh, yeah, it’s popular!)

Best Fuel: Eh, some premade sandwiches and salads. I hear the pastries are good though!

Tip: Call to reserve (free) the fabulous private room with its conference table that seats at least 10.


This Belltown indie wears its quirkiness proudly, with crazy décor that features board games, taxidermy, and unique art pieces. To be honest, the first floor’s art isn’t my absolute fave, but it doesn’t matter because…

Writer Raves: … Because it’s all about the second floor, a secret, silent, book-and-couch-filled retreat where a writer can hide all day—and churn out chapters. Yay!

Best fuel: The toast is out of this world. This is also the kind of café where you’ll find wacky and fun concoctions like bacon cupcakes and lavender mochas—a departure from the Seattle single-origin coffee culture I’m used to.

Tips: If you don’t like your coffee, ask them to remake it—the owner makes a big deal in Yelp reviews that he wants another chance to make you happy. Apparently, this is not the place to be PA!