The world of podcasting is small and nerdy one, but powerful nonetheless. I have entered the networking circus that is LinkedIn and I gotta say - as much as I dislike self-promotion the thing really works. I was approached by Engel Jones - a podcasting visionary, entrepreneur, and life coach from the Caribbean. In 2016 he recorded 1001 conversations with 1001 different people over a 3 month period and called it the #12minconvo podcast. Insane, right? AFter all that talking with people all over the world, Engel came up with the philosophy YOURS: Your Own Unique Real Self. I was so honored to be part of his 2017 quest to record 800 convos in 12 weeks.

Please, take a listen!  https://twelveminuteconvos.com/marie-macmillan/



2017 PNWA Conference

So on Thursday July 20th I boarded an Amtrak Cascades train northbound to Seattle for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference. I brought my laptop bag, a flash drive, my lucky pen, a fresh blank spiral notebook, my full manuscript, sample chapters printed out, business casual wear, good high heels, and fresh business cards ready to be handed anyone and everyone. I aimed to bring my A game.


It was my first time there, actually first writing conference ever, and I really didn't know what to expect. I was hesitant to even attend due to the cost - but being a Finalist in the Memoir Category earned me a discount and extra recognition so my husband insisted I go ahead and go. So I went. Thursday night we had a Pitch Fest, where we broke out into groups of 7 or 8 and practiced our book pitches with each other. I have to say that was a lively springboard for the weekend. I met awesome writers from vastly different genres - romance, kids lit, paranormal sci fi - and we all were equally self-conscious about presenting our work to fancy New York literary agents in 4 minutes or less. While sitting in a grand ballroom full of 800 writers seeking publication I thought the vulnerability was palpable. But Thursday night we had the pleasure of hearing Natalie Baszile speak about her book's story, QUEEN SUGAR, and how it took more 10 years to come to fruition. I knew there was method acting, but I didn't know there was method writing! She was an inspiring speaker and the perfect match for the audience at hand. I bought her book afterward.

Pitch Blocks happened throughout the weekend - where for 90 minutes we got the chance to stand in line and wait for a 4-minute round with an agent accepting submissions where we either heard "I'm interested, send me chapters" or "Sorry you're just not right for my work" - and sometimes it wasn't even that nice. I was able to formally pitch to 5 people during my Saturday afternoon pitch block, 2 editors and 3 agents, but really, in the words of my old collegiate Theatre Department head, "You're always auditioning." I sat next to an agent for dinner one night and he gave me some names to connect with. I stood in breakfast lines and cockctail hours with other authors and practiced talking about my book and exchanged business cards. It certainly was a different world from call lights, bedpans, and passing out oxycodone. Then after the penultimate Literary Awards Ceremony Saturday night I was invited to the Winners reception immediately following! Oh, because of this:

Whaaaa!!! Awesome right? I'm so honored to have received this recognition from PNWA. I'm honored to have met and connected with great writers and people throughout the weekend. Special shout out goes to: the Pitch Fest group lead by Brian Mercer (Rob, Christine, Sonja, Steven), Donna C Conrad for her flash fiction session, Steven Salpeter for his agent suggestions, William Kenower for his advice on memoir, A.C. Fuller's podcasting for authors session, the cool English teachers from Sequim high school, and my amazing awesome husband for driving up from Portland Saturday night to support me. I love you!

The biggest takeaway for me, other than the 2nd place award and the 10 agent business cards, was getting over my reluctance to speak about my writing and my book. That's all I did for 4 days is talk about writing with other writers so now it doesn't seem so hard to talk about it with friends and strangers. With all the great things that happened I did struggle with some things. It was a weekend fulls of emotional highs and lows (writers, right?).  I got the impression from the non-fiction publishers that unless you are Amy Schumer and have thousands of Twitter followers it would be difficult to sell your book without a huge platform. Furthermore I was disturbed by the specific suggestion from a few professionals that I needed to "align my identity with my content" and go the lecture series self-help dating guru route, and then garner a big following, and then call them. Um, noooooo. I don't want to do that. I know my platform is in a different vein from my book subject matter - but I didn't like the idea that I had to "change my identity." I mean, what? A two-hour, high-heels-free nap later I heard the advice that: "The people who like you, what you do and write, will follow you no matter what so be who you are and be good at it." Then I met an author who wrote a personal memoir first and then published a novel. So I was relieved to hear that not all authors have to fit into nicely labeled boxes all the time. 

Sunday morning we left Seattle for Portland and at 1pm I clocked in to the hospital to finish the last half of my scheduled weekend shift. I convinced another nurse to cover me for the morning. From writing persona to scrubs and bedside report; that's 100% me and I'm gonna run with it.

Stay tuned for more book related things! ~M

*The full list of PNWA Literary Contest Winners can be found here.

Things are happening.

June 15th, 2017

Wow, my last entry was exactly one year ago! How time flies!

In 365 days many things have happened. I got engaged and wedded to my best friend. It was an awesome party, best day ever. I interviewed several more retired nurses and published 10 podcasts in the first year of Head-to-Toe. I've. I've kept writing. I keep submitting my work for publishing. I keep on nursing, working full-time at a hospital in the intensive care unit. I left downtown solo living for married life in North Portland (it's pretty amazing I gotta say). I went on a stellar European honeymoon. I keep reaching out to different people and organizations about the podcast. I keep recruiting potential show guests. I keep trying to leap over hurdles that come my way like fatigue, lack of time and energy, a busy social calendar, and new shows on Netflix. I keep reading other works on writing and keeping a day job.  

Things that ARE happening - besides packing for a weekend camping trip. My book manuscript was selected as a 2017 Finalist in the memoir category for the Pacific Northwest Writer Association's Literary Contest! I'm super excited about that. If you wanna read a snippet of my entry, find it here. The annual PNWA conference is in Seattle this July and I hope to attend. My podcast was just tweeted by the Oregon Center for Nursing - NBD. I feel like things are rolling and I'm excited to see where it takes me.

I also keep thinking - deeply - about the world we are in now, how it is changing, rapidly. Like everyone, I am affected by news - world, national, and local alike - and I try to balance the terrible shitty things that happen by producing as much good as I can, thanking God/any Deity that will listen for all the blessings in my life, telling the people I love that I love them, being kind to others when sometimes I'd rather be closed off, giving away leftover takeout to homeless, and praying for those that are in the depths of despair and pain and suffering and war and depression and anxiety and whatever else. We have to lift each other up. We have to.

And on that note, I am going to do some housework, read over a few projects on my laptop, and go out to dinner with my handsome husband and drink a beer. Because life is short and I want to squeeze the juice out of it. 

Stay tuned for more things ahead!



I just came back from a week long trip to Ashland, Oregon where I saw eight plays in seven days at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. If you go, see Hamlet and Roe. But honestly they are all fantastic. I made it somewhat of a writing retreat. I spent hours in between shows reading and writing by the pool, though I did get lonely. It's good to be back home and get back to work on the podcast. 

Three episodes are up! I'm really enjoying hearing from these esteemed nurses so far. I'm excited to expand this project and hope to generate more interest. Onward!

Hi there, I'd like to tell you about my...

...podcast idea...it's really nerdy. It's about history and medicine and nursing and the effects of extensive healthcare careers on people and....hello? Hello? Are you still there?

I've sent some emails and made some calls and accosted coworkers who have a mom or dad or estranged relative who is retired from healthcare. I've got one promise from one person to interview in April. It's a start. I'll take it.

Meanwhile, working hard to keep gathering potential guests, writing short stories, working on a play, but mostly taking naps and writing short poems about how too tired I am to work on any of it. They start like this: "I'm too tired / I'm too tired / I'm too tired..." Yawn. 

Adulting can be hard sometimes. And it can be really awesome sometimes.  Exhibit A below from the Most Amazing Man on the Planet. Also a writer. Also a person probably at this moment thinking how hard it can be sometimes to balance income-related work with creative work and get your laundry done/bills paid/dinner made. But we make time for the important things :) 


PS: I submitted my book manuscript to lit agent #1. Dear Lit Agent  #1, if you are reading this - WOW that is so unbelievably rad you made it to the inner parts of my website. Crazy! Talk soon?

Is this thing on?

I spent a few hours yesterday opening and assembling boxes of audio equipment. Disclaimer: I have no experience in recording audio at all. And I decided to start a podcast.....riiiiiiight.

YouTube and le internet has been super helpful, as has my sister an expert recording technician herself. Stay tuned for a hilarious mashup video of me putting all this together. 

Still trying to recruit podcast guests. Proving pretty difficult to find any interest. Maybe I should start that Twitter feed already....uggghhhh...in the mean time, check out my intro audio clip at the end of the PODCAST page.


The News is I'm new.

I launched a website! So...no news, yet. Are you a nurse reading this? Do you know any colleagues retiring or already retired? Click PODCAST. Are you a literary agent looking for narrative nonfiction book and you're also reading this post? (Holy Crap it worked!) Email me if you feel so inclined.

Or, just Google Amy Schumer. Equally entertaining.*

Your friendly neighborhood Regular Nutcase,

-Marie   (*subjective opinion)