Growing up in households where words and phrases in both Kiowa and Cherokee were spoken and mixed with English, it gave me a unique understanding of language. As my family spoke, someone could be both skaw-stee and mon’sape. Skaw-stee is a Cherokee word that means “stuck up,” and mon’sape is a Kiowa word that means “trouble maker.” Mix these words with other phrases and Indigenized English words like gaa which is the Native version of “golly,” and all of a sudden language becomes a playground of agency. Where this Kiowa/Cherokee/Mexican boy had a canvas of words to create a beautiful new symmetry.

(more…)

It’s been a day. A good day. Busy, but good busy. Got some great news. Well, I guess I got the news a couple weeks back and sat on it until today. Why? Because today was the day the American Booksellers Association made the announcement for this year’s Indies Introduce list. And guess what? My debut novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE, made the list! Only 10 adult fiction novels are selected each year, and it looks like 2022 was my year.

(more…)

When I watch movies, I tend to watch independents.  Sometimes I’ll watch the Hollywood independents, if it looks like they’re only going to modestly apply structuralism.  I like to think I’m savvy.  I don’t want to feel like I’m a monkey watching for bananas, which Hollywood has turned into a science.  If you don’t know how structuralism has put your brain on repeat for the last five decades, hit me up on the comments below and I’ll explain.  This post is for Hollywood’s newest charity:  Save the Rich!

(more…)

I don’t denounce structuralism.  Every time I watch a Disney or Pixar movie with my daughters and tears start welling up in my eyes by simple structural tactics, like music and camera angles, I’m reminded there is a reason it works.  But I’m a literary writer and we are defiant bastards and we like to take structuralism and bend it our will.  So we can look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “The industry will not make me a slave.”

(more…)

There’s a lot of insecurities in our very small Native world.  Native identity is a funky thing.  And people are people and people love power (even the ones who say they don’t).  We hold things over each other.  Sometimes these are purposeful attacks and sometimes we’re just reaching into the dark for anything we can weaponize.   Unfortunately, identity is a bullet if it’s not a bomb and even when people are kind they’ll still use it to cut you.

(more…)

The publication game is a beast with a big appetite.  You’ve been there.  You submit to this journal and then to that journal or a whole list of journals.  Maybe you’re like me and you create tiers of journals and cycle your short stories through rejection after rejection.  What’s the price we’re paying?  No, I don’t mean the soul crushing price, but that will make for a great post in the future.  I’m meaning, sad to say, the actual dollar bill cost for submitting your soul to the highest bidder.

(more…)

The most dangerous thing you’re going to do is drive.  Because of the frequency in which we drive and the comfort we get from believing we’ve mastered techniques to maintain proper focus, we get into that “conscious incompetence” space where we increase our likelihood of being in an accident.  Similarly, I seem to find myself doing the same with my writing, driving on automatic.  I’m cruising along and I’m not paying attention to my surroundings.

(more…)