9 Questions with… Christina Weaver

Through many years I’ve written little stories for my family. It was in the early 1980’s I came across an article in the Oregonian. Ann Sullivan wrote about the Martin family that went missing in the Columbia River. I began a couple of years of research then wrote a book. I wrote another paranormal book after reading the entire series by Zenna Henderson.

A few years ago I found a website where I learned the craft of writing. I wrote got my work evaluated and reviewed. I took their online classes and after writing many short stories, getting some of them published and winning awards I tackled another novel.

This one grabbed me and would let me go. I finished it and found a publisher. You can buy it as an ebook or paperback on Amazon. The Vanishing of Katherine Sullivan by Christina Weaver

9 Bridges: When you are writing do you feel more like you are being inspired by a muse, or driven by demons?

Christina Weaver: Inspired. I write because a prompt or plot gets in my head and the story demands to be told. The muse will lead me until it runs to the end and falls off a cliff. I putter around until it has some rest and we are off and writing again.

What is the best advice you have ever given or received about writing?

CW: Where do I begin? They are both the same thing. The basic formula for writing a story is give the Main Character a goal. Then find the thing that motivates them to continue no matter what comes their way. Add conflict that tries to get them away from their goal. Then give them a happy or at least a satisfactory end. It’s my mantra and I write by it.

If you could bring one character from fiction to life who would it be and would you invite them to dinner?

CW: Rose from the Titanic movie. She was classy, feisty and had wonderful storyline.
9B: If you could forever erase from the worlds consciousness one character from fiction who would it be?

CW: I can’t think of any villain that I would want to erase. Each has a purpose. To erase them would mean that story line would be gone. All the detectives and Super Heroes have villains that are unique. I’d love to interview H.Holms. I have strong feelings he may have been Jack the Ripper in England. I never liked Scarlett O’Hara, but what would the book be without her?
9: What tools do you use when you write?

CW: Paper, pen and a computer. I have many books. I use them only for ideas if I’m stuck. I have Vogler’s the Writer’s journey. I use that for character problems I face or if I want a real in depth character. Debra Dixion’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict book was the first book that showed me the craft of telling a story. Its simple. The other book I like is Larry Woods Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling. He taught a couple of seminars at a conference and impressed me. The one thing I learned is: Don’t tell a biography of a fictional character.
9: Everyone always talks about writers block but no one ever seems to do anything about it. What is your solution?

CW: I don’t have writers block. When I come to a point where the story doesn’t go anywhere I: 1) back up to the last choice the MC made and wonder what would happen if they did something else. 2) I pick a minor character and begin to build them a back story. Sometimes it’s a bad person sometimes it’s just a someone’s friend or a shopkeeper, anyone will do. Those things spark an idea, “what if?” and it has added or changed the story.
9: Most writers I have talked to have at least one story about a loony teacher they knew who somehow inspired them. What is yours?

CW: Sorry I don’t have a loony one. In the 8th grade my creative writing teacher held up the picture of Washington crossing the Delaware. We were to write a story. While others gave the literal story, I told the story from two rabbits POV watching the whole thing. There was a wife who worried about her bunny hubby and sure enough they got too close and the two male rabbits ended up as dinner for the General. My teacher was a little surprised. I think I got an A. Its what she told me: “You have the mind of a writer. You look at things possible and from every point of view great job!” That gave me the encouragement to write and read to others.
9: If you were offered a publishing contract by a major publisher with a stipulation that you kill off the character that was most important to you, would you do it?

CW: I could do it. Knowing that, I’d write the story so I wouldn’t be so attached to the character. I’m not George RR Martin. I’ve not read Game of Thrones or watched the series. I think having to do that brings a creative challenge to a writer. What comes next? To kill off the characters people will come to love is a creative genius that shows the mind of a talented writer.
9:Rock, Paper or Scissors?

CW: Paper. Its all I need to live. Oh yes and a pen.

9 Questions With… Elisabeth Flaum

9 Bridges is proud to introduce “9 Questions with…” 
A biweekly blog where we ask writers to answer 9 burning questions people do not even realize they want to know, including the most important question of all; Rock, paper or scissors?  

Elisabeth Flaum began writing because of Doctor Who and hasn’t yet been able to stop. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works in accounting, races dragonboats, and writes short sci fi and poems about volcanoes. Recent publications include The Comet’s Tail: Bits and Pieces available at lulu.com and Ghosts available on Smashwords.


9 Bridges: When you are writing do you feel more like you are being inspired by a muse, or driven by demons?

Elisabeth: Definitely driven. I have a lot of ‘what am I doing and why am I doing it?’ moments.


9: Tell us about the space where you write best and why that space works for you.

EF: I have written great stuff on my work computer after hours; on my home desktop in the middle of the night; on my laptop in the back yard; in my notebook on the bus; occasionally on loose paper on a bench outside the Convention Center. I have also written crap in most of those places. The important thing is having something to write with.


9: If you were alone on a desert isle with no tinder for a fire handy what book would you most want to have with you and why would you chose that book to burn?

EF: I would happily burn Mists of Avalon if it meant I could get all those hours of my life back.


9: If you were alone on a desert isle with plenty of tinder for a fire handy what book would you want most to have with you and why?

EF: Dune. I could read it over and over, and it makes sand appealing.


9: What is the best advice you have ever given or received about writing?

EF: Neil Gaiman said, “Write.” That pretty much covers it.


9: Have you ever entered a writing contest? Did you win?

EF: I once wrote a poem about Portland food carts that won tickets to the Northwest Food and Wine Festival worth $180. At the time I didn’t consider myself a writer and entered mostly as a joke. The response – not just the win, but what I heard from people – convinced me to take my writing a little bit more seriously.


9: Everyone always talks about writers block but no one ever seems to do anything about it. What is your solution.

EF: Just write. Write garbage, write fluff, write a list, write anything, just write. The longer I go without writing, the harder it is to start again, and the crappier my writing when I do start. It’s like sports that way; take two weeks off at the gym, regret it for months.


9: Most writers I have talked to have at least one story about a loony teacher they knew who somehow inspired them. What is yours?

EF: I had a music theory teacher in college who regularly distributed handouts with titles like “A plethora of major seventh chords.” He wore such a smile on his face as he did it. I think of him whenever I come across a really great word.


9: Rock, Paper or Scissors?

EF: Paper. Lots and lots of paper.

9 Bridges Endorsed by People’s Ink

[quote author=”Peoples Ink” position=”Friend of 9 Bridges”] 9 Bridges is worth checking out, especially for those who want to workshop in a read-out-loud / active listening format.[/quote]

Last month, 9 Bridges was able to make a new connection in Portland, Oregon. While at the Willamette Writers open house, we met Richard Pope, founder of People’s Ink, a local writers community, After a great discussion about the similarities and differences in our two groups, we all came to the conclusion that our organizations compliment each other very well.

About People’s Ink:

the-peoples-ink-logoThe People’s Ink is an open, free and independent writers’ community open to writers committed to their craft, 21 and over. They meet each week for critique and discussion groups. They are a self-publishing cooperative that promotes local readings, and have a community zine – Typehouse – which showcases the writing of regional and national authors. Members may participate however they wish.

For more information, please visit http://peoples-ink.com/

“Night People” by Larry Dunlap

NBW-author-profile-masked-02-copyight People, Book 1 of Things We lost in the Night, A Memoir of Love and Music in the 60s with Stark Naked and the Car Thieves was released in June, 2015. More information, including links for downloading ebook versions can be found on Larry’s website: http://larryjdunlap.com/book/


Night People, Book 1 of Things We lost in the Night

THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS in Larry’s life in 1965 Indianapolis are his suddenly troubled marriage to his high school sweetheart and their two little boys, and his scattered-to-the-winds, singing group. Miraculously reunited with his vocalist friends in distant San Francisco, it’s questionable whether they will survive their clumsy transformation into a working rock ‘n roll nightclub band—or the sacrifices required. He doesn’t know it yet, but as their skills improve, he and his rock and roll band will be plunged into an exhilarating ride that will make them the model for Three Dog Night, take them to mob-run nightclubs, Las Vegas showrooms and backrooms, and famous Hollywood nightclubs and recording studios.

It’s an era of great cultural, sexual, and musical change—and the draft. Larry’s group overcomes, or at least survives the obstacles in their path to achieve hard-won successes. But as their fortunes rise, Larry finds everything he thought he knew about life being challenged, as he attempts to adapt to a new life, a new companion and lover, and the things he finds, and loses, in the tumultuous nights.

Elisabeth Flaum Releases “Ghosts.”

Author, poet and Portland 9 Bridges Member, Elisabeth Flaum, has just released one of her stories as an ebook on Smashwords.



A mysterious stranger rescues a young woman from a violent attack. But he’s a mystery even to himself, with no memory of who he is or how he ended up in that dark alley. Nevertheless, she finds herself drawn to him, unaware that solving his mystery will force her to come to terms with her own past – a past she would much rather forget.

Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt & html.

More information and download links can be found here.

About Elisabeth:

Elisabeth Flaum began writing fiction because of Doctor Who and hasn’t yet been able to stop. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works in accounting, races dragonboats, and writes poetry about weather.


Coming Soon – NW Book Festival

Call to Authors

For the third consecutive year 9 Bridges will have a booth at the NW Festival of Books in Portland, Oregon. It takes place in Pioneer Courthouse Square which lies in the very heart of Portland so there is a mix of people who come specifically for the festival and people who are passing through. This festival is a one day event on July 25th and it runs from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

As in the past two years our booth will be a combination of Informational picketing to raise the awareness of 9 Bridges and an opportunity for published writers from the group to sell and or advertise their books to the general public.




Terms are as follows.
  1. Due to high demand only active members of 9 Bridges are eligible.
    (For this event an active member is defined as a person who has attended one or more meetings in the last 3 months)
  2. The buy in this year is fifteen dollars per attending author and ten dollars if are not attending but would like your books displayed. A designated representative of the 9 Bridges will be present at all times to facilitate the sale of books when the author is not physically in the booth
    All books will be displayed for the entirety of the event
  3. There will be eight three hour time slots available for attending authors- Four from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and Four from 2:00 pm to 5:00 Pm.
    Time slots to be awarded upon payment on a first come first served basis.
  4. Because of the dual nature of the booth we are asking that all attending authors be willing to not only sell their books but to answer any questions pertaining to the 9 Bridges as a whole.
    Talking points will be made available.
  5. The NW Festival of Books will be advertising for this event. This is an opportunity to get your name out there. According to the organizers, they will be distributing newspapers for the book festival, which include author names, their book genre or organization information, and their tent number. There was also a map to the booths. Last year the paper was available in Portland and surrounding communities prior to the festival and was very successful in bringing people from around the northwest. They also feature all participating authors on their web site.

If you are interested I participating in the 9 Bridges booth this year please email me.

Clarifying questions and comments welcomed.


Vargus Pike

Willamette Writers Introduces 9 Bridges

Willamette Writers is the largest dues-based writers’ group in Oregon, with chapters across much of western Oregon. We were fortunate to be invited to attend their open house and be featured on their website.

Introducing a New Writers Guild – 9 Bridges

April 27, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.06.24 PMThe Willamette Writers’ 50th Anniversary celebration at our Writing House this weekend brought out members old and new to discover each others’ latest work.
Longtime members Salli Slaughter and George Mason, who have visited over 20 states for their Authors Road project, recently added Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket to their impressive list of author interviews.

We were also visited by the founders of two local literary organizations, People’s Ink, featured in last month’s post, and the executive team behind the new writers’ non-profit 9 Bridges. Elizabyth Harrington, Executive Director of 9 Bridges, describes how the guild went from being a chapter of Coffee House Writers Group to become its own non-profit, and what it offers writers across Oregon, California, Arizona and Montana.

Read the entire article on the Willamette Writers Website…

Poetry Workshop in PDX

This month’s seminar will focus on Poetry as April is national poetry month.

Vargus Pike, published poet extraordinaire and 9 Bridges Board Chairman, will be leading a workshop on poetry. Whether you are interested in trying your hand at writing poetry or simply want to understand the medium better so you can feel more comfortable analyzing and critiquing, Vargus will give you the tools you need. The goal of this month’s seminar is to learn the basics of analyzing poems by the process of close reading with a goal towards developing a greater mindfulness of process and meaning when reading other’s works or writing your own. Breaking down a poem using various strategies informs your own construction. Vargus will be going over basic concepts such as Rhythm, meter, tonality and structure.

The workshop starts promptly at 5:45 PM at First Christian Church, Downtown Portland

For more information and to RSVP, please visit our Meetup page. As always, the workshop is free (although donations are always welcome to help cover our rent at FCC.)

9 Bridges Launches New Chapter

authorPasadena, CA. – March 31, 2015 – 9 Bridges announced today that it has opened a chapter in Pasadena, California. The new chapter connects writers from Arcadia to North Hollywood and beyond. It includes critique groups, but will also support other events, such as workshops, discussion groups, write-ins, local conferences, author readings and book signings.

The chapter is headed up by long-time La Canada-Flintridge resident, Rora Melendy, who has spent many years volunteering in local schools, community programs, and managing projects that focus on the arts and literacy. Elizabyth Harrington, Executive Director of 9 Bridges states, “We are excited to have Rora join us. She is a warm, supportive leader who understands how to help creative people achieve their dreams. The Pasadena chapter of 9 Bridges is extremely
lucky to have her.”

Rora is excited about the new chapter. “Creating space for literary artists of all types has always been one of my passions,” she explained. “This opportunity allows me to give something back to the community I love.”

Membership to the not-for-profit 9 Bridges is free and more information about the Pasadena chapter can be found on the chapter’s Meetup page (http://www.meetup.com/9BridgesPasadena/ ). Meetings will begin in mid-April. Members are also encouraged to join the 9 Bridges Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/9BridgesWriters/), a public group that joins all of the chapters together into one community.

About 9 Bridges Writers Guild: 9 Bridges is dedicated to supporting writers in all stages of their journey to pursue their craft. In addition to providing peer review and support in the form of critique groups, 9 Bridges gives writers access to a wide community through workshops, events, online forums and the promotion of events that are interesting and benefit its members. A large part of the organization’s success is through its flexibility – 9 Bridges can quickly adapt to fill a writer’s needs, whether they are just starting out or have published a dozen best sellers.



Rora Melendy
9 Bridges Writers Guild