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


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