Saturday, May 28, 2016

May, You Darling You

Hello Dearest Ones!

Thanks so much for stopping by. First, the good news:

TOUGH (my middle grade scifi novel) is now a finalist in the Pacific NW Writers Association (PNWA) Literary Contest. WAAAAHHHOOOOOO!!!

This is a *huge honor* and one that, I'm humbled to say, I've been blessed with before. THE ONE THE EMPRESS HUNTS (middle grade fantasy) was also a finalist in 2013. I had an incredible time that year attending the PNWA conference and left with several requests from agents and editors, happy memories, and one new dear friend.

This year I won't be able to attend the conference because my sweet brother-in-law is getting married to my sweet soon-to-be-sister-in-law and I wouldn't miss their wedding for the world. Still, I'm bummed to miss out on the networking opportunities that come with being a finalist at the conference. I've promised myself to push hard querying TOUGH for the next month or so and to indulge in an extra dessert (preferably something chocolate) at the wedding when the clock tells me that contest winners are being announced back in WA.

Meanwhile, I've been working on a short story for a fantasy collection to benefit Sirens Conference, have submitted a few poems here and there, and am continuing to dabble in a new novel. There is also a secret project in the works with my talented brother, but I'll say no more. ;) There will be time for all these things anon.

In other news, I'll be joining the Board of Trustees at my child's school this fall and I'm excited to launch that work. I'll be scaling back my other volunteer work in order to preserve writing time (and sanity). Our house remodel is fully under way and should wrap up (all digits crossed) in the fall as well. Family and friends are incredible and vital support in all of this. Thank you.

As for my recent writing retreat in Port Townsend & Seattle... I could spend, well, thousands of words trying to capture what it means to me to hang with smart, funny, creative women. Ah, but I could never say enough.

We ferried,

we wrote,

we wandered,



danced in kaftans, howled at the moon,

we ate delicious thalis,

shopped for baubles and boots,

performed, lectured, questioned, hiked, and wandered again.

Some of us got trapped in a lighthouse.

All of us read aloud. None of us slept much. 

Eventually we collapsed back to our separate homes.

We don't get to have such Glorious Howls often, and as our lives continue to change, this kind of trip may be harder to pull off. Thank goodness this one will live on in my memory. I have the kaftan to prove it happened.

My deep thanks to all the Lady Wolves, their families, and my own family who made it possible to have such an experience.

Summer is a step away. What are your plans/ goals/ dreams for the months ahead? Let's do this.

Love and many thanks again,

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April's Adventures

Hi friends!

It's been a tremendously busy month. Travels have taken me deep into the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula and skipping down the streets of NYC. I've had no time at all to post, and little to write, but my heart is brimming. I'm happy to say that I'm slowly settling back to work and very excited about a new WIP. Of course I have plenty else to do with our house remodel, querying, proposals due, and a few other writing commitments I'm excited to fulfill, but I'm scribbling anyway. Hoping that May will bring more peace and I'll be able to catch up.

In the meantime, Happy May Day. One of my favorite days of the year. I'm wishing you joy, health, love, and flowers. Boatloads of flowers.

Lupine in Seattle
Cyclamen (?) in NYC
Calendula in Seattle
Apple Blossom in Seattle
White Iris in Seattle

On the Highline in NYC
For a beautiful post on the meaning of various wildflowers (many not pictured here) please visit Myth and Moor by wonderful Terri Windling.

More soon. Thanks for stopping by. xo

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Swamps of Home

Hiya friends,

Spring has arrived in the Pacific Northwest with a flurry of color and pollen. I hope this entry finds you well and escaping seasonal allergies. As for me, I'm spending lots of time with my good friend Claritin. 

I've been busy with writing, revising, traveling, our house remodel, and the daily mayhem of family life. My middle grade science fiction manuscript, TOUGH, is ready to query and I'm organizing to send to it off on its way.

I recently spoke with a couple of close writing friends about that strange space between writing projects, particularly after just finishing a longer piece. There's plenty to do, too much really, but I still get this itchy, frustrated feeling that I'm making no progress. TOUGH is the fourth novel I've completed, but I'm still not used to these aimless feelings. I want to dive right away into a new long term project, but as good people remind me, I also need to rest and refill my well. Clear my desk. Reorganize. In that spirit, I've started gathering the ingredients for a new manuscript and have been rereading some books that fuel my muse. I'm starting to remember that this part, like all of life, is a process.

In related news, I just took a trip to Orlando, Florida to attend my first International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA). 

I chose to attend this conference because I'd heard from a number of people I respect that it's a great venue to discuss fantasy literature and think deeply about myth and folklore (and, er, sit by the lake).

One of my literary idols, Terri Windling, had also been slated to attend as a Guest of Honor, but sadly she cancelled due to health concerns. My thoughts have been with her a great deal lately. Blessedly, there were many other fantasy luminaries in attendance and I enjoyed myself immensely.

Ellen Kushner in her beautiful "Terri Windling Inspired" Garb <3

Delia Sherman relaxes for a moment in the shade. <3
Veronica Schanoes, Ellen Datlow, and my beloved CON-panion, the intrepid Ysabeau Wilce 
I met a few new folks too, which is always *wonderful*. If you are one of the kind folks who shared a conversation or a beverage with me, please accept my thanks. I'm continually impressed by the warmth of the SFF community. I feel so lucky every time I get to spend time in the same space with so many fun people. There were too many of you who I didn't photograph!

Ellen Klages, Molly Tanzer, and Nick Mamatas
I also enjoyed reconnecting with some long lost friends and family who live in the area.
Isis, one of my oldest and dearest friends.
My beautiful aunt and twin cousins.
Worlds collide. Megan and Ysa chatting between hushpuppies.
There's too much to say about my deep love of Central Florida. I spent most of my childhood vacations visiting with my grandparents and aunt who lived there. We caught blue crabs on the Indian River, helped Grandma Bishop in her vegetable garden, and ran wild on the beaches.

In this spirit, I spent a little time on the banks of the lake behind the conference hotel and bothered some fish with my bait (they were too smart to take it).

It was a fun trip, both too brief to see so many wonderful people and too long to be away from my precious boys. It's good to be home.

Next month I head to NYC for other, more...err... theatrical, adventures. Much love to all. Thanks so much for stopping by. <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

House of Wood and Word

Hiya sweet people,

This picture makes me happy for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was taken at my writing critique group meeting this past weekend. Such good soul food. This sweet pup is not mine, but isn't she great? Her name's Petra. *melt*

February has been busy, but all is well. Children have recovered from winter illnesses, our house renovation is well underway, and spring is preparing to spring. I've finished revising my new middle grade science fiction, TOUGH, and will be working to research and send out queries soon. In the meantime, RAIN MUST FALL is in the hands of a few folks and I have lots of fingers and toes crossed there. Poems and short stories are out and about as well, and I'm happy to say that a teeny (but mighty!) poem of mine will be published at the Yellow Chair Review in a week or so. So you see, busy. Which reminds me--

we often visit our local beach and wetlands in the winter.  Even on sunny days, all is quiet. Lately, our beaver family has been very busy working on various projects around their pond.

I'm sure some locals despair at how destructive these beavers can be. They've felled dozens, maybe a hundred trees in this area.  But I can't help finding their muddy, grubby, work beautiful.

Their structures are both intricate and alive. Every time we visit, there are new shapes and areas where they've reworked something. It feels like revision is simply a way of life for these industrious creatures.

We sometimes see them at dusk in the fall or spring, when they come out for a snack of horsetail or birch bark. They're entirely disinterested in our presence and go about their business with diligent focus and energy. Can't blame them. We don't offer much help.

We're working on our property too, or, more accurately, the good people we hired are working on it. Our house is over a hundred years old, so this is the sort of thing they find beneath the plaster:

Solid wood lathe. A bit more orderly than the beavers' work, but still a home of wood.

And here she is, hoisted in the air so that the basement and foundation can be altered for new space and stability.

This is all to say, I'm busy and working. Change is underway. I'm grateful for it all. Hoping this post finds you and yours well and, as always, thank you *so* much for stopping by. Means the world.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Oldest Trees

Winter in the Pacific Northwest can be a special kind of dreary. The rains and mists and fogs seep slowly into our minds and hearts. Too much time inside seems to yield less accomplished. It's easy to find excuses to stay locked up and cranky, but for the adventurous few, the sodden world outside is more beautiful than ever. Many of our trees are even more stunning in contrast against the grey.

They spread wide green arms, bare of leaves but thick with moss, and more lovely for their exposed lengths and curves.

At the start of the new year, I took a long walk in one of my favorite parks in Seattle and photographed a few of my favorite trees. Spending time with these trees, especially the oldest ones, reminds me to slow down and notice the life I'm living.

I find I take deeper breaths and even stop to rest my head against the bark and moss. Their sleeping shapes remind me to be grateful for the ancient wilds behind. They remind me to be hopeful for new growth ahead.

Terri Windling, one of my favorite artists and writers, often writes about her love of trees and her hesitation to overshare photos of her most special, magical trees. I couldn't agree more and hope these images simply serve to inspire some of you to get out in the weather, whatever that weather may be.

Much love,