The Thin Monster House

Oregon Weekend: The Oregon Writers Colony and a Poetry Party

I spent a long weekend in Portland, Oregon. I was in town for a poetry book launch party for Sue Parman (aka my mom) and to give a workshop, "Different Paths to Publishing," for the Oregon Writers Colony. What an amazing writer's community they've got up in Oregon! If I ever get displaced from the San Francisco Bay Area, I know where I'm moving.

Now, I'm not a poet or a poetry reader, so I had no idea what to expect from the launch party for the poetry chapbook "The Thin Monster House." I was happy to see that soon after we arrived at Periscope Books & Tutoring in Forest Grove, Oregon, the place was packed for the party!

The bookstore is the kind of place I bet many a book-lover has fantasized about opening -- a cozy house lined with books, surrounded by items like a classic typewriter and a wandering cat -- and the owners live upstairs!

The next day, my mom and I led the "Different Paths to Publishing" workshop for the Oregon Writers Colony. They invited us to present because she's had books, stories, and plays across genres traditionally published for decades, and I'm focused on the mystery genre, publishing books, stories, and novellas through a combination of independent and traditional publishing.

Among the group of writers were several members of Sisters in Crime who are working on mystery novels that sound great. It was a 4-hour workshop, but like many things this past month, it felt like it went by in a flash. Here we are with the organizers of the workshop.

Before heading home, I got some writing done at the Insomnia Coffee Company in Hillsboro. I plotted out a new mystery series -- which takes place in Portland, of course. The Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series gives me an excuse to travel internationally, so now I've got yet another excuse to visit Portland!

My Mom's New Book is Out!

My mom, Sue Parman, has a new poetry chapbook out: The Thin Monster House (Finishing Line Press).

Here are a few links, for those of you who are poetry fans:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Finishing Line Press

“Keenly observant, intelligent, and filled with moments of beauty, The Thin Monster House tastes of nature, life and loss.  I felt as if I was on a journey with a poet taking me to new, unexpected places. Sue Parman’s poetry is edgy, sharp and acute.”
—Sandra Giedeman, past president of the Orange County chapter of PEN, Pushcart Prize nominee, and winner of the Mudfish Poetry Prize

“From modern to ancient times, these poems call forth the cycles of the natural world and human life on planet Earth. With unexpected turns, Sue Parman applies the unimagined to the ordinary, taking the reader deep into primal elements and outward into the universe. A thoroughly luscious read!”
Marie Buckley, President Emeritus of the Oregon Poetry Association

The thin house on the hill is invisible
to adults but children know when it will appear,
although it can be seen only by its dark perimeter
for less than a minute.  Such a brief time, seconds fizz
through fingertips, not enough time for fears
to bubble and trouble small spirits, and yet
so much can happen inside of a single minute….
—excerpt from the poem, “The Thin Monster House”

Sue Parman is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and an award-winning poet, playwright, essayist, and fiction writer.  In academia she is the author of six books and numerous articles on topics as diverse as Scottish crofters, Japan, and the neurophysiology and cultural patterning of dreams, and has published in diverse literary genres, from memoirs, science fiction, and travel writing to sonnets and haiku.  For thirty years she studied a Gaelic-speaking community in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, and many of her academic writings and literary fiction deal with Scotland.  Since moving to Oregon in 2009, she has received over ten writing awards, including four first-place awards from the Oregon State Poetry Association and Oregon Writers Colony, two Kay Snow Awards from Willamette Writers, and Honorable Mentions from Best Travel Writing Annual Solas Awards and Oregon Humanities.  Her poetry has appeared in Cloudbank, Verseweavers, Slant, The Hiram Poetry Review, and The Elephant-Ear, as well as other venues, and her short stories, plays, and essays have appeared in Voice Catcher, Lumina, Journeys, The Elephant-Ear, Spectacle, The Los Angeles Times, Songs of Innocence, and  Produced plays include “Queen Victoria’s Secret” (which was performed in Portland’s Fertile Ground New Play Festival in 2011, published in Voice Catcher, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize).  

Information about upcoming readings and publications can be found at: and