Thursday, March 9, 2017

NEWS! (The Good Kind)

Hello Dear Friends,

I have some tremendous news: I'm honored and delighted to announce that 

Sara Crowe, of Pippin Properties, is now my agent! 

This is me these days:





In a word: HAPPY.

If you don't have much experience with the publishing industry, you might be wondering what having an agent means. The key point is that having a literary agent, a *good* literary agent is one of the most important steps on the path to selling and publishing a book. It's also one of the hardest to achieve. Agents are flooded with queries and sample chapters year round. They have to A) absolutely love a story and B) think they have a good chance of selling it, before they can offer representation to an author. When I queried Sara with TOUGH, my middle grade science fiction project, I knew the odds were slim to none that she'd pick it up. But she did. And with that YES, my life as a writer is on a new and thrilling path.

Sara is an accomplished and well-respected professional in her field. One of the best in the industry. I'm so lucky to have the chance to work with her and I'm looking forward to learning as much as possible from her and the folks at Pippen. 

Thank you, Sara. Thank you, Pippen. And thank you to SO MANY OF YOU who have made this next step possible. In particular, I'd like to give a shout out to Kim Baker, local PNW children's author, who kindly encouraged me to query Sara.

Every nudge, every cheer, every bit of query or manuscript advice, every thumbs up, and every "you can do this" matters so much to me. Thank you.


We're going on an adventure!

Love, 
Edie





Friday, February 3, 2017

Found: On Fragility and Time

It was a bright but freezing day. My little beach was completely empty, so I walked alone, with my hood up and my head full of worries about the recent headlines. Politics, injustice, dissent, and prejudice ricocheted through my mind. I kicked stones and muttered angrily. I couldn't write. I didn't want to. It was high tide. The water was calm in contrast with my thoughts.



When the water's high, there's usually nothing much to find. After all, it's the waves that leave treasure. People usually just leave trash.

Nevertheless, as is often the case, it felt like the universe chose to drop me a sign. A few of them. All strange and troubling in their own ways.
The first was a pair of scuffed and sea-washed sunglasses that read "Seattle" on one side and "Storm" on the other.



This might have been a positive signal. The Seattle Storm are a women's basketball team and a damn fine one at that. But something about the glasses bothered me. I put them on. The world was immediately veiled in a thick fog, darkened and obscured by the wear and tear on the cheap plastic lenses. I stuffed them in my pocket.

The next object spoke for itself. A hypodermic needle.



I was careful. I picked it up and put it in my empty coffee cup. Some things shouldn't be left for children to find.

Then a little further down the beach, I found this.



I resigned myself to the fact it was a grim day for beachcombing. Nothing like that magical day when I'd found the pocket watch and the windchimes and the rainbow. No, these new objects seemed to be more sour and frightening symbols: items related to our fragile minds and bodies, the ways we try to numb pain, feel less, see nothing.

And then, because Nature and Fate are mischievous in their own ways, I looked down and found this:

 

A silver watch. A man's watch. Not a pocket watch, but still, a watch. A second watch? I couldn't believe my luck. The tide had turned during my walk so the watch had only just been revealed by the falling water. It's blue face shone out, wet and and glistening among the stones, the time stopped at 4:10. Thick rust in its joints told me it had been in the water for a while, but the smaller dials on its face had stopped on Wednesday the first. In fact, the previous day had been Wednesday the first of February, but I realzed that this watch must have been lost some other month. Some other time. Curious. It was sheer dumb luck that I'd found it. And odd, since I'd been resigned to my frustrations and to the realities of human weakness.

To be clear, I didn't suddenly feel the same sublime joy as the day of the pocketwatch. This new watch reminded me too much of the men who wear such things, and the troubles that some of them are causing in our world. Plus, the other objects seemed to echo in its shape and weight in my hand.


Time is also fragile. Our perspective can transform hours, days, even eras. What we see, what we feel, what we choose to do, these experiences comprise our short lives.

I would never presume to understand the workings of time, as I would never pretend to know how the sea brought me these things on this particular day. But I knew, as I walked back to my car, that I wanted to write again.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rhysling Nomination

In a world gone mad with terrible news, I received a bit of happy news this past week. My poem, "When the Gunman Comes", has been nominated for a Rhysling Award. I feel astonished, slightly embarrassed, and deeply grateful to the kind soul (whoever you are) who did this lovely thing for me and my poem.

The poem, first published in Mythic Delirium Magazine by the generous Mike Allen, is an exploration of my anxieties about gun violence in America. I still feel close to the sentiments reflected there.

To learn more about the Rhysling Award, click here.

Thank you all, again, for your support.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Transformation

Hello sweet friends,



I hope this post finds you well and journeying into the new year with relative ease. I'm feeling okay, though I admit I'm still deeply troubled by the headlines. I'm doing my best to keep my gaze fixed on action, beauty, and art, but I can sense Panic prowling nearby, a hungry old cat. Not that I would deny my fear. I think she just needs to settle by the fire instead of attacking my feet, if you know what I mean.



In more cheerful news, this morning, as I paused in the garden near my children's school, I noticed a definite shift in the air. The birds must have noticed it too because they were out in abundance, chattering and clamouring away in the green cedars and barren oaks. 


Winter is still with us, but a long, slow thaw is beginning to relax the land. The ground is softening.


The wind is not quite as sharp. 


The ice is melting. 


As my little corner of the world slowly transforms over the coming weeks and months, and as our country and world transform with the times, I know I'll be anxious to see the results. Some of the those changes I will accept and celebrate: the return of flowers, of warmth, of my children playing outside. Some of those changes, I'll mourn and struggle against: the worsening of our politics, the destruction of precious lives and landscapes.

It's hard to hold both these trajectories in my mind and heart, but I know that's the work of life. Of art. I'm grateful, and ready (even with the company of my nasty old cat), to engage in both.



Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you peace and strength for the seasons ahead. -Edie

All the pictures in this post were taken in Seattle, WA.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Time & Silence, Color & Light: On Being a Writer Now



I often walk the small public shoreline near my home. This particular beach is cold but lovely, washed with multicolored stones, swells of coarse grey sand, and rags of jewel-toned seaweed lacing the land to the sea. Seabirds and shellfish are common sights, salmon and eagles a bit less so, and rarely, harbor seal pups sleep on the sand while their mothers hunt.


Each time I walk, I try to remind myself to be present and content with the beauty around me, but I often find myself naturally searching for something. I scan the sand for seashells, shards of colorful sea glass, a surprising stone, or even an image to collect and share with friends and family online. My search is both causal and methodical. Every few steps, I check the ground, I look up at the sky, I look out over the water, I look down again. When the weather is wet or windy, as it is in the fall, I’m often alone. A few times -very few times- on this journey, I’ve found something of interest or extraordinary beauty in the sand. Once I found a complete and empty moon snail shell twice the size of my fist. Once, a bright orange bobber. Another time I found a clear glass teacup, miraculously unbroken. Until recently, my favorite find was a small silver key on a rusted loop.

Then two weeks ago I came to the beach on an overcast autumn morning. The water was relatively calm and the skies were streaked with silver. A handful of other people walked in pairs through the gloom. I had thirty minutes to myself before I’d be needed for the day’s business. Life had recently been hassled and harried so I walked with relief, and I searched for calm, for peace, for any object or idea to hold. Then, in my usual rhythm, I looked up and discovered a rainbow arcing delicately across the water. The golden light of morning sun hit the distant rain clouds at precisely the right angle to send a bright beacon of color shining out across the sound. My body and mind lit with joy. I felt instantly giddy and goofy with wonder. Like I’d never seen a rainbow before, or a beach. I snapped a hundred pictures; I barely dared to look away until the entire rainbow had faded to a happy memory.




“Now that,” I said to myself, “was an excellent treasure.” And it was, but the morning wasn’t finished with me yet. I walked with new energy and excitement. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family about the rainbow. I couldn’t wait to post online for more distant people to enjoy this pretty moment. I looked down, more from habit than for longing.

There, peeking out of the sand at my feet was a bright silver object. A pocket watch. Its cover was engraved with intricate designs and apparently untarnished. At first, I thought it must have recently been dropped. I looked up and down the beach, but I was completely alone. I knelt and studied it. Tiny pieces of seaweed were draped across its rim. It looked so new, so shiny, it seemed like a toy. Maybe, I thought, it isn’t a real pocket watch. Maybe it’s just a costume piece. I took a picture before I picked it up. Real or not, I could hardly believe in its existence.



I lifted it from the sand. It was real, even heavy in my hand. Its chain was still attached. With some effort, I opened the cover and saw that sea water filled its face and had gently damaged the design there. The time was 9:21. 



I looked down again, trying to understand what I’d found. That’s when my eyes fell on the morning’s last gift: three brass rings, connected by a slender black string- a simple wind chime I’d seen hanging in homes and shops before. I picked it up too. There was no center in the chime, no beads to hit the bell-like circles, but otherwise, the chime was perfectly in tact.



So there I was, standing on my little beach, holding the watch, the chimes, and the memory of a glorious rainbow. I’d never felt more lucky or alive and my first impulse was to write.



I didn’t. That was a few weeks ago, before a great deal changed in my life and in the country I call home. I’ll spare you the details (you already know), except to say that the worst part, so far, has been a deep despair, grief, and anxiety pervading most of my liberal social circles. We lost the election, we lost the chance to hire the first woman president, we lost the chance to make significant social change, and our opponents elected an offensive, greed-ridden, racist narcissist to lead the nation. Dark times, as they say, are upon us.

The effect of all this on me, personally, has been profound. I’ve never been so emotionally invested in an election and never felt such total uncertainty about the future of my family, my community, and our globe. At the same time, I feel a resolve to work harder than I ever have before. To tell the stories and write the words that matter most, however and whenever I can.

I know this may sound vain or selfish to many of you, but I’m an artist. It’s taken me a long time to be able to say that out loud. I’m not necessarily a good one, likely not a great one, but it is who I am. Since early childhood I’ve tried, through language, to connect with and inspire others. I studied English in college to do this. I left teaching English to do this. I hired childcare to do this. I’ve joined communities and traveled across the country to do this. I’ve written four novels and dozens of short projects trying to teach myself how to do this and how to do it better.

This is all to say that the election, and my visit to the beach that day has left me with new clarity. I don’t know how we’re going to move forward, but I know what I personally have to do.

The pocket watch is Time. Of course it is.

The day after I brought my treasure home and gently rinsed and drained it, I carefully wound it. You might not believe this, but it worked, ticking softly on my palm. I looked up the markings on the inside and learned that it’s a Russian watch, probably about fifty years old. It stopped working about an hour and a half later, but I know a clockmaker who I’m certain will be able to restore it and I intend to keep it in working order.

My Time is precious, and as a writer, it’s one of the only ingredients I need to do my work. I’ve spent so much of my life on not-writing, and I don’t regret that, but as I get older, and as calamity strikes again and again, I feel much more urgency. No more internet before writing. No more social media first thing in the morning. No more news or chatter or banter or business before writing. No more days without written words. These are my new commitments to myself. This is how I will honor Time.

The bells are Silence and Sound. Again, Silence is one of the most essential ingredients to my work. The clamor of this campaign year and election has been deafening. For many, this noise is important, even life-saving. Outcry is one way of surviving and I honor that. For me, the echo chamber of my social circles means that the noise I make usually bounces back in praise and agreement. There’s very little true dialogue and when there is, it’s often public and impersonal, unsatisfying and watered down. Silence is what I need to delve deep into the worlds of my work, hoping that my efforts can result someday in a powerful and resonant Sound. A Sound that might matter to strangers, as well as to the people I already know and love.

That leaves the rainbow. The rainbow can only be itself, I think. Beauty, light, hope, a moment when things weren’t as dark or grim. I hope my work can shine that way someday for someone, but I know that ideals are there to inspire us, not to be achieved. I’m not afraid to fail, but I’m certain I will if I don’t recommit myself to honoring the time and silence I need right now.

We’re moving back into our house tomorrow after almost a year away for renovation. Tonight, coincidentally, there’s a supermoon. When the sun rises and the truck is unloaded, when we finally get down to the business of unpacking, one of the first things I will do is set up my writing space. I will hang up that wind chime, place that pocket watch nearby, and work on my next novel. There are a thousand other ways I could, should, would spend my time, but this is the work that calls me. I hope, in the days ahead, I can stay true to that calling and deliver the best my life can offer. May we all have the time and silence to hear whatever calls to us, and the strength to answer.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sirens : Lovers

Hello sweet friends,

Thanks for stopping by! I'm newly returned from my fourth time attending Sirens Conference, a wonderful experience designed especially for readers and writers of women in fantasy. I've said a lot about this conference in the past and you can find those entries here: 2013, 2014, 2015. This time, I'll hit the highlights and just say that Sirens continues to be an affirming and centering weekend. I'm so grateful to all the staff, volunteers, guests of honor, presenters, and attendees who make each year incredibly special and important.

Darian, Lola, and I started our weekend on Wednesday at my mother's home in the foothills. We visited, sang, ate, sipped tea, and hiked a while in the red rocks nearby. (My mom and stepdad live in the foothills near Castlerock.)

My sweet mama at the piano:


Darian on a cliff:


Lola among the rocks:


On Thursday, refreshed and rested, we made our way to the Inverness Hotel in Denver where we registered and ate an early dinner with other beloved Sirens:



That evening, we enjoyed the first brilliant keynote by author Laurie J. Marks on imaginary friends, writing fiction, and catharsis. I can't say enough about this keynote. It moved me to tears of gratitude more than once and I told Laurie as much (though I was tremendously nervous speaking with her).

On Friday, I attended:

Writing the Fantastic: Love, Romance, Sex, and Humanity [Panel]
Guests of Honor Panel: Renée Ahdieh, Laurie J. Marks, Kiini Ibura Salaam.
Moderator: Amy Tenbrink

Can You Go Home Again?: Fantasy, Re-reading, Childhood Favorites, and Nostalgia [Rountable] Facilitated by: Faye Bi

Keynote: Renée Ahdieh spoke beautifully on writing diverse worlds, the dearth of diversity in children's lit, and the origins of her gorgeous book The Wrath and the Dawn.

Love Beyond Romance [Panel]
Panelists (in order from left to right below) Rosemary Clement, Jeffe Kennedy, Rosamund HodgeArtemis Grey, Bethany Powell, Shveta Thakrar.


Potions, Poppets, or Poison: Plant Lore for Any Love Problem [Afternoon Class]
Presented by Erynn Moss & Bethany Powell





After dinner and a late night of gabbing, glitter tattoos, hilarity, and an impromptu self-defense tutorial by Lola and Rook Riley, it was Day 2 of the conference.

I spent most of the Saturday reviewing my notes, visiting with my sweet step-sister, and taking some much needed time for myself to write and breathe outside.




I also enjoyed a bit of colorful company:


Saturday's lunch Keynote was Kiini Ibura Salaam who spoke passionately on living our own adventures, answering our callings, and getting out of our own way. This speech was another profound and deeply moving part of the conference for me. Kiini's honesty with us, and with herself, was something that will inspire me for years to come.


Speaking of inspiring, these smart, kind, beautiful women were my company at lunch. <3


After lunch, I got to sign books for the first time in life. (A reminder that ,if you're interested, Queens and Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology is still available for purchase!) Then it was off to:

Consumer Reports: Readers Talk Books, Markets, and What They Really, Really Want [Panel]
Faye Bi, Daniella Bohill, Suzanne Rogers Gruber, Amy Tenbrink, and Hallie Tibbits

And finally: 

Love is a Battlefield: Weapons and Methods for When Love Goes Wrong
Amy Boggs

Saturday evening included a casual dinner with more incredible women. Then we dispersed and got ready for the Sirens Ball, a wear-what-you-want and dance-how-you-want affair. Always a blast. 

Darian and I went as a famous pair of lovers from one of our favorite fantasy TV series. Can you guess?


And here's a larger group of Sirens decked out for the Ball. Please take a moment to note that Howl and Sophie are in the house...


I mean, seriously. No offense to the rest of us, but who wins? They win.


Also, please meet Jo O'Brien who also wins. In collaboration with her mother, Jo crafts the most divine coats I've ever seen and brings them to Sirens each year.


In case you haven't noticed yet, one of the best parts of Sirens is just how many diverse representations of "woman" there are


and how easy it is to dance like no one's watching.


This year's ball ended with an epic Hamilton sing-along. If there's a heaven, I hope it includes a Sirens Ball Hamilton sing-along. I really do.

So I wish I could better capture the magic of a Sirens weekend, the wisdom of its speakers, the supportive and creative energy of its crowd. I guess these photos will have to do.








Thank you, each and all, for the joy, friendship, discussion, laughter, and inspiration you shared this year at Sirens. If you weren't there, I hope you'll consider coming next year. I promise you, it's worth it.

Love,
Edie