READING Schedule 2023

(so far!)

JELLYFISH DREAMING (JFD) winner of a LeapFrog Global Fiction Prize for YA, is forthcoming August 22, 2023, with LEAPFROG Press (USA) and CAN OF WORMS Press (UK).

WHALE ROAD is updated & forthcoming in the USA for the first time with JACKLEG Press, October 16th, 2023 (previously published by Random House NZ, 2004, and Blake UK 2006).

Western Massachusetts READINGS:

• ARMS LIBRARY, Shelburne Falls, MA, Saturday July 29th , 2023 (7:00 pm)

• STRAW DOG WRITER’S GUILD as Featured Author at: FORBES LIBRARY, Northampton, MA, August 1st, 2023 (6:00-8:00pm)

• ODYSSEY BOOKS, South Hadley, MA, Aug 22, 2023 (7:00 pm)

• BROADSIDE BOOKS, Northampton, October 17th, 2023 (7:00 – 8:00pm)

• LAVA CENTER, Third Tuesday Featured Author, Greenfield, MA, Dec. 19th 2023 (7:00 pm)

Other readings TBD.

Publication Dates are Out! Readings TBD.

JELLYFISH DREAMING (JFD) will be published August 22, 2023, by LeapFrog Press (USA) and Can of Worms Press (UK). Cover Pending!

WHALE ROAD will be published as an update October 16th, 2023, by Jackleg Press. The publisher sent the final cover (below).

I have some wonderful reading opportunities locally. A full list will be posted soon, but I’ll start with a reading of JFD at our own ARMS LIBRARY, Saturday July 29th, and as Featured Author for STRAW DOG WRITER’S GUILD August 1st (venue TBA), then ODYSSEY BOOKS hopefully on JFD’s publication date of Aug 22! Still working on a date with the LAVA CENTER and others.

WHALE ROAD will have its first reading at BROADSIDE BOOKS, likely in October 2023. Other readings still TBD.

Forthcoming with JackLeg Press, October 2023

Leapfrog Press Global Fiction Prize

Leapfrog Press

LEAPFROG PRESS  · “A HUGE congratulations to our 2022 Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize YA/MG winner, “Jellyfish Dreaming” by D.K. McCutchen! A well deserved winner with an amazing story! Thank you to our judge, Rosanne Parry, for judging and selecting our final winner. Congratulations to D.K. McCutchen and thank you to everyone who submitted their work and made this prize possible.” @D.K.Mccutchen #leapfrogpress#fictionprize#writemore#Consortium#Congrats

Office of Faculty Development Mutual Mentoring Grants for 2020-21 Announced April 9, 2020

The Office of Faculty Development has awarded Mutual Mentoring Grants to ten teams and four individual faculty for 2020-21. 

2020-21 Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Recipients (go to the link for the full list):

Cross-Disciplinary Faculty Designing Multimodal Writing Courses
College of Natural Sciences and College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Team Leaders:
Deborah McCutchen, senior lecturer, associate director for Junior Year Writing (JYW) Program
Haivan Hoang, associate professor, English, associate director of the Junior Year Writing Program
A professional development team aiming to improve members’ respective multimodal junior-year writing courses by exploring and applying new instructional technologies and strengthening the support network for JYW faculty.

About Mutual Mentoring Program:

The Office of Faculty Development’s Mutual Mentoring (MM) program provides funding to individuals or groups of faculty for the purpose of developing mentoring networks. The Mutual Mentoring Team and Micro Grants encourage faculty to develop robust professional networks that support their growth as researchers, teachers, and leaders in their fields.

MM Team Grants provide up to $6,000 for one year to support full-time faculty teams. MM Micro Grants provide up to $1,500 for one year to individual faculty. Applications are accepted in February and announced in April for projects which take place from June 1 though May 31. The Office for Faculty Development works in collaboration with ADVANCE, who also funded a number of team Mutual Mentoring grants.

Desert Fog Collectors

While filming IMMUTO, my nephews posted pics of the Anti-Atlas Mountain Range in Morocco, where the fog collectors can condense & collect 20+ liters of water per meter of mesh a day from the fog rolling in, for about 15 towns like Dar Si Hmad, pictured below, where evidently the temps are 46 degrees Centigrade right now.

Fog Collectors

Dar Si Hmad, Morocco

Anti-Atlas Mountain Range, Morocco

Mhamid, Morocco

Mhamid, Morocco

For Island Reach in Vietnam (pre Morocco) go to: A New Expedition

Vietnam: Woman with meal

Write Angles Journal

It’s fun to publish idiocy with my fav local writing conference (After attending this yearly for about a decade they are very forgiving!)

WriteAngles Conference

By writers, for writers, for over 30 years in Western Massachusetts



Fall submissions are being posted below

Published Nov 27th, 2018



by D.K. McCutchen

One chilly second-Sunday in May, I complained, “Why can’t I hotflash on demand?”

And my daughter said, “you’re not a superhero, Mom.”

But I AM!

Menopausal-Mom! Forgetter of small facts, able to power small (sweaty) cities for minutes at a time!

I flipflop between the guilty miracle of air-conditioning – magical moments when the chemical burn hits and instead of flapping and swearing I punch the AIR button, HIGH, COLD, Ahhhh – or using my ice-block hands to cool nuclear reactors. My thermostat’s off. So, my theory, which is mine, is that I’m simply a metaphor for the larger system. Global change is a menopausal planet.

Think about it! The see-saw’s out of whack, the temp in the terrarium’s varying wildly. The northwest passage opened and Gary Larson’s penguins are about to meet polar bears. Floods of temperamental tears are raising sea-levels, and there’s a whole lotta lost car keys out there. Let’s not even mention the bits that’re drying up or erupting.

So what do we DO for Menopausal-Mom, kids? We help reduce stress. No room for dithering! When sweat rolls off the proverbial brow, it’s DANGER-WILL-ROBINSON! Our path is clear. Drastically reduce emissions, NOW. Shrug off that greenhouse sweater, FAST! Or Menopausal-Mom’s gonna meltdown, and the homefront’ll be even more unlivable.

After all Mother Earth’s done for us, least we can do is be good kids – not bicker about who gets what. We’re all responsible. In fact, Menopausal-Mom needs YOU to be the superhero, ‘cause she’s busy trying to remember where she put that … thing….

So – yeah – imperfect metaphor here! Earth’s a superhero, you’re a superhero, Mom’s a Menopausal Superhero who’s gonna do … something … soon as she remembers what!

And yup! Global Change – Just like Menopause! Let’s hope we can sweat the changes or we’re … kinda done here.

Happy Mother’s Day!

(P.S. Send chocolate.)

D.K. McCutchen is Senior Lecturer in The UMass College of Natural Sciences, and supports other writing teachers via the UMass Writing Program. She may be the longest-running member of the University Writing Committee. Lack of poetic-DNA led to a tale of low adventure & high science titled THE WHALE ROAD. In a literary attempt to save the world, she’s now writing gender-bender-post-apocalyptic-speculative fiction. She lives on a river with two brilliant daughters and a Kiwi, who isn’t green, but is fuzzy.


Santa Fe Writers Project: Author Spotlight 2018

Author Spotlight: Editing Is Supposed to Be Fun and Other Wisdom from a Working Writer

By Monica Prince

(Rough draft. Link to final draft is no longer active)

What is your educational and work background? Have either of these had an impact on your relationship with writing? Do you have a job other than writing?

Reading and writing was a big part of my childhood. As an undergrad I couldn’t decide between science, lit and music. I started out trying to become Jacques Cousteau, then shifted to lit, with music on the side. With a BA in lit, I spent the next ten years following scientists around the world as a fieldworker and writing about it. That led to a grad diploma in science and an MFA in Creative Writing. THAT led to a book about sailing with whale researchers through the South Pacific. And that led to a job teaching science writing at UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences and becoming Associate Director of the Junior Year Writing Program for the whole campus. I help judge the student Best Text Contest each year. I also send out writing each year, and am working on an online journal of student writing. I attend writing conferences and residencies to work on my current writing. As for music? I sang a lot while I traveled, and have been in a small group called A’Cappellago for about ten years now, just for fun. Can anything one learns and practices not have an impact on writing? Probably not in my life.

  • How did you first get involved with writing? What does your writing practice look like?

For me writing started with reading, and I read early and often. I was lucky to have a great elementary education that involved lots of creative writing. A rural Middle and High school was far less rigorous. Our librarian complained to my mother once that I’d read everything in the school library. I remember reading the entire Lord of the Rings on the bus and while walking down the halls. When I finished and came out of the fog, I was on the school bus, but had no idea if I was coming or going to school. My mother often let us skip school for “reading days.”  To be honest, I read so much I assumed I’d be a good writer, and it was rather horrifying to discover in college that my every sentence wasn’t gold-plated. I spent a lot of years learning to edit and –probably more importantly– learning to find the creativity and fun in editing.  My practice now? I have a lot on. Teaching and being a mom takes a tremendous amount of the time I used to write. So, I do a lot of pre-writing in my head while commuting, practice productive procrastination by editing when I can’t face grading, and save the bigger chunks of time, winter break and summers, for creating. I can edit even when the dog is barking in my ear or the kids interrupting with their own projects. But I need those bigger chunks of time (and quiet) to create.

  • What are you working on now?

JELLYFISH DREAMING, a gender-bender, post-apocalyptic, cultural-coming-of-age series that takes a short step into the future, adds climate change, removes species – folds in a bit of magical realism and a bit of hope — and stirs. A fun aspect for me was, I published an excerpt as a short story in Small Beer Press’s journal, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and my daughter’s tutor read it and started illustrating it. Now we’re editing the entire first mss and redoing it as a graphic novel. Collaborating this intensely is new for me, but it’s great fun to see how another artist interprets one’s work, and it’s taught me a whole new form of editing.

  • When you begin a piece, what propels you onto the page?

My fingers. I used to feel that I couldn’t think clearly without a pen in my hand, but lately I imagine my fingers on a keyboard holding the power to orchestrate and communicate thoughts still half formed in my mind. My hands are where the magic is. My father was a clinical psychologist who often said fingers have memories of their own. Anyone who’s played piano knows that sometimes your fingers can remember long forgotten songs, as long as you don’t THINK about it too hard. Sometime I pre-write in my imagination, but my hands are the conveyor of those half-articulated thoughts that only coalesce as my fingers fly across the keyboard — writing to figure out what I really want to say, and later editing to say what I really mean. Editing becomes something like weaving, with my fingers pulling the different themes of the story into place.

  • Why did you decide to enter the Literary Award Contest with SFWP? How do you think submitting to contests impacts your future writing life?

In 2003 the SFWP published a short story, “Fresh Bones,” excerpted from my first book, THE WHALE ROAD, which was published the following year by a small overseas press called Random House New Zealand, and later Blake UK. It was an amazing experience. The contest gave me confidence, a fuller publication list for a newbie writer, and between the published chapter and the book, helped me get my current job teaching writing. These days contests can be a way to test out material I’m close to finishing, and to brag to publishers about when I’m ready to send out. The lovely thing about the SFWP is they also publish, and they archive their online publications seemingly indefinitely, which gave me a long-term place to show off work. SFWP feels very supportive. I was so delighted after time passed, and the copyright to my first book was eventually returned to me, and I discovered it was eligible for the SFWP 2017 Literary Award and possible publication in the USA at long last. Then it made top ten finalists! It felt like coming full circle ‘round.

  • What do you believe is a key to successful publishing?  

I suppose it’s different for everyone, but for me process and success are fairly synonymous in this context. I just like writing. Part of that process is embracing the dichotomy of writing at a level or in a style that satisfies me, but then finding the right home or audience for my work so I can stop editing and move on to the next piece.

  • What advice do you have for writers just starting to make this their priority?

If I were to advise myself as the newbie I was when first publishing with SFWP, I’d tell myself: Write for the joy of it. And if you happen to publish, enjoy the thrill. Then get back to your writing. Also, go small press. It’s incredibly fun to work with people who like your writing and support you. The dream of the Best Selling First Novel doesn’t usually survive much longer than an old Lotto ticket when faced with all the forms of rejection out there – and if you think about it, that’s like a kid wishing to be famous one day. There’s no substance to it. But telling stories, writing, finding the creative power of editing to shape ideas, delighting even one reader, one’s fingers on the keyboard…that’s FUN.