Archive for Christina Katz

“How Wild It Was, To Let It Be”

A couple of years ago, I submitted an essay to a local writing competition. The winners would be included in an anthology based upon the topic of “Journeys.” The topic of “Journeys” was based upon the upcoming appearance of Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild.”

My essays had been in several anthologies before, but this was local. And, the book “Wild” was soon to become a movie by the same title, starring Reese Witherspoon.

I knew in advance what a wonderful opportunity this might be. I knew a lot about Strayed from my friend and writing mentor, Christina Katz.

I was thrilled that my essay was selected.

Along with others, I read from my essay on the topic of “Journeys” one evening at our local bookstore with my oldest daughter by my side. I had Eva (then, 7) stand with me at the podium so she could experience the joy of work. Of performance, experience, and memory. Art.

I had written my particular essay knowing that the journey I wrote about was likely about to take a serious left turn. I did not want the journey to end, but I could see the end was coming.

The wonderful thing was that I was published again, I got to read, I had friends and family in the audience, and my oldest daughter stand with me at the podium.


 Flash forward two years. I recently had the opportunity this weekend to actually watch the movie, Wild.

I rewound the ending at least five times. I’ve researched the quotes. I have thought about my mentor Christina Katz and how right she was about Cheryl Strayed.

I am now a total fan of Cheryl Strayed. She is brave, honest, authentic, and unashamed. She wrote about things I would never have been brave enough to broach.

She has helped me “come out of the woods.” There are so many things I have felt ashamed about, wondered about, even sometimes hated myself about.

That’s what writers do; help others feel less alone. They encourage and validate, in writing and in life.

Thank you, Christina and Cheryl.


 “There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another.

 What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die, or take another course.

 What if I forgive myself? What if I was sorry? But if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do a single thing differently…but if all those things I did were the things that got me here…

 What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?

 After I lost myself in the wilderness and my grief, I found my own way out of the woods.

 And I didn’t even know where I was going until I got there. Thank you, I thought, for everything the trail had taught me. And everything I couldn’t yet know…

My life. Like all lives: Mysterious, irrevocable, and sacred.

 So very close. So very present. So very belonging to me.  How wild it was,

 To let it be.”


–Some of the final lines from Wild, the movie



Always Looking And Learning Along The Journey

I like to stay alert to what is going on in the world directly around me, remaining on the lookout for messages I need to pay special attention to and heeding lessons I’m meant to learn.

I wrote a lot last year about all of the (mostly unpleasant) changes that kept being thrown my way. I won’t rehash them all again, because at this point I am just grateful that things are starting to calm down and 2014 is getting off to a much smoother start. Yes, I’ve faced difficulty and discouragement before, but never in such a relentless manner. Needless to say, I learned a lot of lessons I won’t soon forget.

On Facebook recently, two messages came through my feed that struck a chord with me. They weren’t directed at me specifically, but I took special note.

The first was from my friend, Katie, who posted a picture of a beach at sunset with the caption “Relax. Nothing is under control.”

The second was from my friend, Molly, who wrote “An amazing part of having faith in the Divine is the reassurance and peace that comes from knowing that everything will work out for good.”

As I move into this New Year, I am also forming my writing plan. Each year, I set publication goals,  jot down essay ideas, and see what I can realistically accomplish as a busy seasonally-single stay-at-home-mother of three young children. I had a telephone conference with my writing mentor, Christina Katz, who has been indispensable to me these last many years as I have transitioned my writing career from that of a gal with nothing but time to travel and write, to that of a wife and mother.

We discussed many things over the hour, and I took five pages of notes. Christina helped me see that some of my goals were simply not realistic and would take me in too many new directions, which would only create more chaos. She showed me where I could simplify and streamline. We also talked about steering clear of toxic people and negative situations that would also pull me in directions away from what I want for my family, my writing, and me. Here is some of what she said:

“Draw a circle around your family and let the rest go. You are the orchestrator of your life and you decide where your energy goes. Don’t be thrown off track or taken out of your process. Don’t fall into all of the potholes you come across; run around them, jump over them, do any and everything to avoid them. Don’t let the world toss you around like a ship at sea.”

Thank you so much, Christina!

Yesterday, I got to read at our local bookstore from the most recent anthology in which I have an essay. The anthology is called “Journeys.” Although my essay was  about an event from over a decade ago, in which I suddenly changed course and decided to go down a different road from the one I was on, I think the title “Journeys” is relevant to each year of our lives.

George is at sea, so he was unable to attend the reading. My parents came and I also brought my two oldest children with me. In fact, my eight-year-old, Eva, stood right next to me as I read into the microphone. I held her close as I read, hoping she would always remember her mommy this way.

Not her mommy who is so often torn in many different directions, but her mommy who likes to write stories. Her mommy who likes to read books. Who especially likes to read from her own stories in books, with family and good friends in the audience and her firstborn girl by her side.


Captain of Her Crew: The Commercial Fishing Mom’s Guide to Navigating Life at Home, Has Launched!

My e-book, Captain of Her Crew: The Commercial Fishing Mom’s Guide to Navigating Life at Home, is now available!

This is an e-book that has been long in the making and involved the expertise of many people.

First and foremost, it was you, the readers of this blog, that set the book in motion. I have received so many thoughtful and pertinent questions and comments over the last five years since starting Highliners and Homecomings that it seemed like a great idea to put my best advice to navigating life within a fishing family into one place. Thank you to you all who have read my blog, shared your experience and frustrations, asked questions, and offered encouragement and support to me and others just like us along the way.

A special thanks goes out to my fishing family. My husband, George (“G”) whose infinite patience and encouragement towards me helps make everything happen. My commercial fishing parents, Jack and Peggy Karuza, who set a phenomenal example about how a fishing family should operate and now help me hold the fort down when G is at sea. My sisters, Stephanie Dyer and Cassandra Wright, with whom I grew up, fished alongside of in Alaska, and laugh with and treasure to this day!

In memory of my late brother-in-law, Danny Wright, whom we lost at sea during crab season fifteen years ago. I love you, still. You always accepted all of us at face value and inspired us with your joy and zest for life. Never a day goes by we don’t think of and miss you. Ever.

On the professional front, thank you to my writing mentor, Christina Katz, who showed me how to blend motherhood with writing and never fails to provide practical instruction and advice along with encouragement. And thank you to Jerry Fraser, former editor-in-chief (and current publisher) of National Fisherman magazine, who gave me my first shot at writing professionally well over a decade ago and who remains especially dear to me.

An e-book of high quality cannot be produced without the help of a variety of professionals. Thank you to Jim Thomsen, who edited the book. Courtney Bowlden, who took the family photographs. David Hills, who took the commercial fishing photographs and allowed me to use them. The long–suffering and kind Craig Lancaster, who designed the entire book and made it available as both a PDF e-book and as a print book. (I’ll not soon forget this experience!)

Thank you to my early readers with writing and/or commercial fishing expertise: Abigail Green, Dylan Klempner, Lisa Gooch, Robin Blue, Lori French, and Michele Eder.

There were many laughs along the road to producing this e-book, which is exactly the way I like to operate. I could not have asked for a better team of family and professionals to accompany and guide me on this venture!

Last but never, ever least…thank you to my three sweet babes: Eva, Vincent, and Valerie. You are precious, strong, resilient commercial fishing children with hearts full of love and laughter. Mommy loves you so much, and you make every one of my days full and blessed. You mean everything to me!

Captain of Her Crew: The Commercial Fishing Mom’s Guide to Navigating Life at Home, can be purchased and delivered immediately to your in-box as a PDF download. If you enjoy a traditional book to hold and carry around, you may also order the guide in paperback and choose your prefered shipping method at checkout.


“Author Mama” by Christina Katz

When I was a younger gal, I decided that writing was the career/hobby/passion for me. I’d been a lifelong journal writer and reader of all books from the word go. I chose English Literature as my major in college simply because it combined two of my primary interests: Reading and Writing.

After college, my dad encouraged me to reach out to a magazine from whom I ended up getting an incredibly lucky break: National Fisherman and its editor, Jerry Fraser. I got to travel up and down the West Coast and Alaska writing about a subject I knew and cared a lot about: commercial fishing.

I met my husband while on assignment for National Fisherman, and we started a family as soon as we could. We also bought my family’s multi-generation commercial fishing business. I was busy! New husband, new mom, new business.

Goodbye, writing!

Until, that is, I saw a notice in my local paper that Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, was speaking at a local bookstore that night.

Seven months pregnant and a one-year-old in my arms, I attended that reading. I began taking classes, reading, and listening to any and all advice Christina had to offer. I’ve come to find out that Christina Katz is many things: bold, fun, friendly, smart, honest, and helpful.

The following is an interview with Christina Katz regarding her latest creation, an e-book called “Author Mama.”

An Interview with Christina Katz About Author Mama

April 2010

Why would you do an e-book after two traditionally published books? Why did you decide to write an e-book?

Like most traditionally published authors, who blog, teach and speak, I have a backlog of quality content to draw on and some of it, though not all of it, will lend itself to the e-book format. So I plan to write several e-books over time and Author Mama is the first. I have old sketchbooks full of ideas I’ve had over the years, which will lend themselves well to e-formats. Equal opportunity access to e-publishing technology offers all of us writers a lot more creative leeway than we have traditionally had, which can lead to exciting and fun possibilities.

Besides being in e-book format, how is Author Mama different from Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal?

Author Mama is the story behind how I landed my book deal for Writer Mama and then wrote the book. I wanted to describe in play-by-play form what writing a non-fiction book is like for the benefit of moms considering the possibility with the lessons I learned along the way. One of my students who is on the verge of querying agents with a nonfiction book proposal says that Author Mama “goes there.” In other words, it deals squarely with the rollercoaster ride that most first-time authors experience. The format of my traditionally published books is not as driven by my personal experience, even though it informs them both. In Author Mama, I include all of the books that I recommend first-time authors read before, during, and after the book deal, so they can become as informed and empowered as possible.

Who are the intended readers for Author Mama?

Well, my two traditionally published books don’t target the same exact audience and neither does Author Mama. When I wrote Author Mama, I had my Writer Mama readers in mind, but of those readers, I was specifically focused on anyone seriously considering writing a book someday. Not every writer mama wants to write a book someday. Some are perfectly happy writing and publishing articles. So Author Mama is a slice (a writing book), of a slice (for moms), of a slice (who are considering becoming an author some day), and therefore too small of an audience for a traditional publisher. But many of my students and fans have this question and would like to answer it for themselves. Author Mama is for them.

Did you have any hesitations about self-publishing?

Considering how much content I have sitting around languishing on my hard drives, I am sorry that it’s taken me this long. The person I had the hardest time convincing was myself. I’ve had some hang-ups about e-books that I’ve had to get over in order to move forward. As long as my work continues to serve the best interests of my readers, why wouldn’t I self-publish? I certainly have a lot more to offer than I would just letting it sit around collecting virtual dust. At this point in time, I feel like it would be foolish not to e-publish, even as I continue to write traditional books.

Are publishers anxious about traditional authors self-publishing? Doesn’t this undermine their business?

I think, when it comes to self-publishing the opportunity always exists to take the enlightened view or the fearful view. I have heard people in publishing make comments that authors self-publishing is terrible news, which is absurd. The fearful attitude is, “Oh no, if that author can self-publish, then we lose.” The enlightened view is that when the people you partner with are more successful it’s good for you too because it raises all boats. Besides, when all the folks involved in a partnership are empowered and come together because they want to be there, that’s good for the relationship. It’s important to have good boundaries and communication in business and know the difference between what’s yours, what’s not yours, and what is joint ownership. When you keep these things in mind, and communicate clearly, there is really nothing to fear but fear itself.

How do you keep people from “stealing” your e-book?

I can’t stop people from stealing my e-book. I am completely powerless over that aspect of e-publishing, as most of us are. However, my target audience is not teenage boys and young men, who are supposedly the folks who do most of the pirating, according to the experts who study these trends. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Also I don’t plan on giving my e-books away to avoid the impression that they are “freebies,” whereas with a traditional book I always do a lot of giveaways to get the content out into circulation. E-books are a lot easier to circulate. I can send one to you in seconds. So at this time, I don’t see the point in giving them away and encouraging others to share them without permission. I’d prefer to sell them to a smaller, more exclusive audience, who will see the value and, hopefully, respect my copyright.

What are three major points you hope aspiring writers learn from reading Author Mama?

That landing a traditional book deal and delivering a well-written book is possible but not easy by any means.

That someone else has survived the rollercoaster of emotions that come part and parcel with a first traditional book deal and you can too.

That some writers actually give up along the way and don’t succeed at delivering their first book but this won’t happen to the writers who read Author Mama because forewarned is forearmed.

Is this book only for nonfiction writers or can fiction writers benefit from it too?

Author Mama is specifically about my nonfiction book writing process, which is different from the process for other genres like fiction or memoir. However, a lot of my readers, who write in other genres, have said over the years that they find a lot of takeaways in my nonfiction experience. Also, I fully expect Author Mama to convince a few readers to try writing a nonfiction book, who might have only considered themselves other types of writers or not even writers at all.

Can I order a print copy of Author Mama?

When the book comes out in the final version in May, I will make it available for purchase in print-on-demand format, as well as all the other e-formats. During April, while it’s in beta, Author Mama is available in PDF format, which means you can print it out and put it in a binder yourself, if you prefer a hard copy. I’ve invited the first readers to participate in the process, so I’ve included a feedback form with the e-book but participation is voluntary. However to sweeten the deal, I will provide those who share feedback on the beta version with the final version for free, after it’s updated in PDF form.

How can I order this e-book for someone as a gift?

Sure you can. When you place your order, simply submit their e-mail address in the notes section and I will e-mail the copy to them instead of to you.

Thanks for your questions about Author Mama. If you’d like to learn more, please visit

About Christina Katz, The Author Mama

Christina Katz has been teaching writers to cultivate thriving careers for the past decade. Many of her students start by writing short articles and work hard and long until they eventually succeed in landing traditional book deals. Christina is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, both from Writer’s Digest Books.

In addition to writing books and articles, Christina publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, hosts The Northwest Author Series, travels to writing conferences and literary events, and coaches a hundred writers a year. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. She lives in an idyllic cottage in Wilsonville, Oregon with her husband, daughter and far too many pets.

Keep up with Christina, if you can, at