Shining together at the holidays

With the holiday gift-giving season approaching, I’ve begun curating work offered by my friends and me — books, art, activities and other fun stuff!

Most of us are independent creators, and every purchase gets our creations in the hands of more people and supports new projects under way.

I hope you enjoy your visit and stop back again to see what else pops up! Feel free to share this growing collection with others.

Thank you for your interest and support!


The Widow, the Priest & the Octopus Hunter, nonfiction short stories

Widow-Priest-Octopus Hunter is a collection of 31 stories based on writer Amy Chavez‘s interviews with her fascinating fellow residents on Shiraishi, a tiny island in Japan’s Inland Sea. Having lived there since 1997, Chavez delves into happenings and personalities spanning the past hundred years … threaded through with a mystery she seeks to solve.

(I’ve known of Amy’s work for years and recently had a lovely conversation with her on Zoom when she interviewed me for a podcast about The Same Moon.)


Prairie Anne, YA novel

Prairie Anne is the award-winning story of a young girl growing up among extended family and broken promises in western North Dakota. Carolyn Lardy tells the story of Annie — her mom — who had to make difficult decisions and face hard truths regarding her own abandonment. Prairie Anne won a Next Generation Indie book award for first novel. Available at Ferguson Books or directly from Carolyn.

(Carolyn is my godmother’s sister. Both are amazing storytellers — I grew up on their family lore!)


The Clean Daughter memoir

The Clean Daughter is Jill Kandel‘s story of building family across cultural, linguistic, and geographical divides — and the ways families both destroy and heal one another … Use the code BOOKCLUB for 10% off + free shipping this holiday season.

(Jill is my Minnesota neighbor and writing buddy.)


Bold Spirit, historical nonfiction

Linda Lawrence Hunt captured this once-silenced true story of a remarkable mother and daughter who walked across America in 1896 on a $10,000 wager trying to save their family farm. Winner of several awards, it’s been a favorite for book groups, especially exploring what silences our family stories. Available through Amazon or ordered through your favorite book store.

(Linda was my mentor when I worked in her department as an adjunct English instructor at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.)


The Same Moon memoir

Sometimes you have to run far, far away to find your way home. Sarah Coomber (that’s me!) takes readers on her post-divorce escape to rural Japan, where she learns how to navigate a new life amid traditional customs and a controversial romance.



This 2023 Desk Calendar is printed with original calligraphy and sumi-e paintings by calligraphy master Koshu for each month of the year. Please see Akemi Lucas‘s Etsy shop for additional items.

(I met Koshu — Akemi Lucas — when I lived in Yamaguchi-ken, Japan. She is a calligraphy master who now lives in England, creating and teaching art.)


Felt art

“Beaver” is a wool felt piece created by Kristen Anderson as a tribute to the industrious creature who perseveres through the long, dark winter months, waiting for the light of spring. (52” x 52”).

(Kristen and I met at St. Olaf College, where we teamed up on biology projects that took us from Minnesota’s Itasca State Park to India.)


Felt beads

Colorful felt surrounds a tiny stone (added for weight), hung from deerskin leather. Each felt bead is unique and approximately 1″ in length. By Kristen Anderson.

(Kristen and I met at St. Olaf College, where we teamed up on biology projects that took us from Minnesota’s Itasca State Park to India.)

(Credit for these images goes to artist-designer Andria Villanueva of Vancouver, Washington. Our sons brought us together, and we’ve been friends ever since.)


Same Moon goods

Love the serene image of a loon landing on a moonlit lake? Or a splash of Japanese characters that mean “The Same Moon”? Check out these T-shirts, bags, yoga mats, phone cases, notebooks, mugs and more in my Same Moon store.

OR, if you’re in the Fargo-Moorhead area, I have some cute Same Moon bags with zippers and spiral notebooks featuring the “same moon” kanji in stock. Feel free to get in touch.


Republic of Formosa T-shirt

Something about this T-shirt tickles me. The front design features the design used on the flag of the short-lived 1895 Republic of Formosa (Taiwan), while on the back is the state seal. It’s offered by Camphor Press, publisher of The Same Moon and many other books on East Asia.


Learn to paint sumi-e!

Calligraphy master Koshu introduces Zen philosophy and the Japanese art of sumi-e painting in this online course offered by Domestika.

(I met Koshu — Akemi Lucas — when I lived in Yamaguchi-ken, Japan. She is a calligraphy master who now lives in England, creating and teaching art.)


Let’s write!

Give the gift of writing to a loved one — or yourself! I coach writing for individuals and offer group classes, along with my work as a writing consultant.


Go on retreat

Looking for a place to reconnect with your thoughts? Theologian Anna Madsen offers a beautiful spot to “Think, write, read, and grow while enjoying the serenity and sights found only along Minnesota’s North Shore.

I’ve known Anna since we were little enough to use our parents’ beds as trampolines — and we have the photos to prove it! She is also a fellow St. Olaf friend.


“Loon Landing” is my monthly e-newsletter, where I share writing tips & prompts, recommended reads, and posts about writing, faith, family, Minnesota, Japan and food — including family recipes.

My goal is to encourage women and men to write and live fully, at middle age and beyond.

I invite you to subscribe to Loon Landing and check out the archive.