For my Grandmas

With a few notable exceptions, my birthday has been pretty low-key. This has been just fine with me. I view my birthday as my personal holiday (everyone deserves to be celebrated a little), and I try to spend it with my family, reflecting on the best gifts I could ever have – the life my parents gave me and the friends and family who have made it amazing.

Other than “getting older,” there has been one birthday constant over the years – and that is my grandmas. Every year, without exception, my grandmas always remembered my birthday. This, along with my mom singing to me, was basically the highlight of my year. Right on time, I’d receive one card from each grandma in their signature handwriting, one smooth and one shaky. Both knowing I enjoy flashy cards and joyful sentiments, there would be ladybugs, flowers, or glittery unicorns riding rainbows. One was to “Emmy” and one to “Emily” – and they always made me smile.

For most of my life, I saw my mom’s mom just before my birthday every year because we’d be together for Thanksgiving. When I was young and we were at her house, there’d be a brief birthday celebration, separate from Thanksgiving. Everyone would sing while the candles flickered on the cake. I loved that.

Last year, my dad’s mom was scheduled to have surgery for a serious issue on my birthday. The evening before, I got this email: “Thought I’d send your birthday wish a little early….seems like I’ll be preoccupied tomorrow 🙂 Have a very happy, fun birthday!” She knew there was a good chance she wouldn’t make it out of that surgery, but she took the time to let me know she remembered, and didn’t bother with anything sad. And I knew she did want me to have a good day and be happy. She passed away twelve days later.

I know a lot of people would tell a sad story at this point – about the day not being the same anymore or something. But why? My grandma understood mortality; we talked about it. She didn’t think it was healthy to deny it. So for me, this birthday is the same. I won’t get a rainbow unicorn or dancing flowers card from her, but I know she’d be thinking about me if she could. And that’s enough. And I have a grandma who will be. I know it.

So, I’m turning 40. It happens – if you’re fortunate anyway. And this year, it’s for my grandmas.

P.S. Mom, thanks for having me.

Cheers – E
November, 2016

My Vote is for Us

I’m sure there will be studies on this election for years. Not just about the politics but the societal impact. The vitriol. The depression. The friendships strained or broken. Every day I notice shorter tempers, more sarcasm, more name-calling. Sadness.

I’m sad too. Not over the flawed people running nor the flawed platforms they represent. I’m sad about us. Where we’re going. Why we aren’t getting along. Why we aren’t sharing and growing.

No matter how important these very real issues are, we’re all paddling the boat together and sometimes it’s just not going to go the way we’d each like. I’ll never stop rowing, but not at the expense of being a good, positive, and friendly person.

I know there are people out there suffering silently, wishing they could ask their friends to be more civil, more open, but not knowing how to do so without joining the fray. To you, I hear you so loud it echoes in my ears. I know. I’m sorry.

Meanwhile, we see internet posts from people we care about saying they’ll hate or never forgive people who vote a certain way. Telling them to F off. Making fun of people. Telling them they are stupid while passionately posting, in many cases without having all the facts or understanding the complexities. It’s hard. It’s hard to see it, and I can’t imagine it feels so good to do it. Does it?

I won’t belabor the point further. I’ll just say – this year my vote is for us. The one I’ll say in public, anyway. Which means I care about you no matter how you’re voting. I care about you if you disagree with issues that are important to me. I care about you if you think I’m stupid or misguided. Or if you think I’m smart. I care either way.

The disagreements are not worth it. Squad is more important. And like it or not, we’re all in this together. Everyone. Please, take a breath. Listen – to each other.

However you’re feeling right now, I hope that you’ll smile. I hope that you’ll smile at someone. Say hello. It’s worth it.

Cheers – E, October 2016

New Books and New Zealand

No musings today, but a couple of big announcements:

First, The Fettered Flame, the center installment of the Shkode trilogy, is available for pre-order. It starts with several big plot twists and I’m so excited to hear what you think.

If you haven’t read The Banished Craft, you’ll want to start there. Which you can start reading today. : ) And if you do, don’t forget to leave reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads – reviews are the winds to an indie author’s sails, so I really appreciate your support.

Second, we have a new campaign online to publish an urban sci-fi duology about a girl who cons her way into a virtual psychoreality program in order to steal back her voice. The author, E.G. Wilson from New Zealand, is very talented and so I hope you’ll check it out. Every pledge helps the project gain visibility, and copies of the book start at $4. All the info is on the campaign site at and you can ask us any questions there.

I hope everyone is doing well! Cheers, E.D.E. Bell, 14 August 2016.

I don’t like sharing the bathroom.

I find, “Would you really like to share the restroom with a dude?” to be such a creepy and winless question. Of course the answer is no.

First, the question is generally meant to mean a transgendered woman, or as I call her, a person. Or, preferably, her name. If I know it.

For those who don’t already know this, the use of gendered bathrooms by non-binary or transgender people has been an issue for a long time. The resolution usually goes either go one of two ways: a quiet acceptance and lack of publicity so people who might get fussy don’t find out (meaning, they just go to the bathroom, nothing bad happens, and people don’t tell anyone who would be a jerk about it), or a separate unmarked bathroom that is then flocked to by other people for private dumps (this is horrible and I’ve seen it several times). Though this has been, for many, a heart wrenching issue for a very long time, recent gains in LGBT civil rights have people now concerned enough to pass new laws about it. Or, in most cases post righteous memes on social media, while in the meantime real people are living a nightmare.

There are few notions more offensive to me than the narrative that a person of either non-binary or trans gender is going to assault people in bathrooms. In fact, that’s all I plan to say on that. But, if people don’t have that reason to worry, then the question is why should they worry? The answer – no reason. If you don’t agree with people living transgendered, or don’t think it’s a real thing, so? Maybe you don’t agree with gays, or divorce, or people wearing old Steely Dan T-shirts – these people are all allowed in the bathroom. There is zero reason to single one group out, just because they bother someone else. This is America. Freedom.

Just the idea of people now checking IDs at the door, or questioning what it “looks like” to be a woman saddens me. Or what it “looks like” to be anyone. Or making sure people are normal or attractive or appropriately feminine, or wherever the heck this is going. Hey, dads, want to help your young daughter in the restroom? Men with elderly or special needs companions? Men’s room is getting cleaned? Come on in. It’s a bathroom.

So, would I like to share a bathroom with a dude? No. Would I like to share a bathroom with a trans-woman? No. Why would I want that? Would I like to share a bathroom with a little girl? Uh, no, weird. What about an awkward teenager? Not in the least. A band of old ladies? Not particularly. How about my female co-workers? Nope. Not specifically. Neighbors? No. Complete strangers. Not really. Husband? Do I get a choice?

In fact, here’s my position on the issue: My ideal public bathroom would be a network of locked, fully sanitary chambers, reserved for use only by me and never shared by others. (Except that people are allowed to clean it while I’m not there, because I don’t like cleaning bathrooms either.) This restroom will also play only Madonna, will smell like evergreens, will have one of those hand dryers that makes your skin wiggle, and will feature vegan soaps and sanitizers. Oh, and the floor will always be dry. Also nature-inspired tilework mosaics and real wood window frames like in old-school rest areas.

In closing, I do not want to share a bathroom with anyone. Now, would I share a bathroom with someone else? Sure, whatever. It’s a public bathroom. My priorities: 1) ability to “go” 2) least amount of time there as possible. If you don’t agree with me, well, think about it. You may realize it’s really all ok. It comes back to the golden rule of America: one person’s freedom is more important than another person’s discomfort with that freedom.

This Independence Day, remember liberty is a wonderful – and precious – thing.

Cheers, E.






I would read your book, but you’re a vegan.

If this sounds like an unnecessary premise – we’re on the same page! Most of my readers are open-minded people who enjoy works written by people with different perspectives. And, truly, I have no power over you. You can still do what you want.

If you aren’t so sure, let me give you some background on my whole writing identity. When I started out, I just wanted to write fantasy. Because I love fantasy – and the escape it provides from the stresses of normal life. I quickly learned that almost no one cared.

So I started reaching out to vegan groups about my vegan characters, and then found a few more people cared. Then I got a few bad reviews from people who disliked my normalization of alternative genders or orientations. So I started being up front about that. Warning: Gays! In my book! #gay Or technically, Kick was more pan. So #pan. If you don’t know what that is, that’s ok too. But then I found that a few more people cared.

Then I started getting reviews saying that people liked my incorporation of discrimination, cultural bias and patronization, and empowerment – all these layers that I thought made the story more interesting. So I started talking about those too.

So now we are talking about all these complex things, and I really just wanted to write about dragons and wizards. And magic! ✴

Katie Cross, a wonderfully talented YA author, posted this great article in 2014:

I guess I’m trying to say something like what Katie said.

I’m a vegan. I’m passionate and unapologetic on the subject. I like it when you think about how other animals are treated by humans. And I’m also a gender equalist who likes to push boundaries. If those things bother you, you don’t have to read my stuff. But if you’re not so worried about it, darn it, just read it. There are dragons and magic and all kinds of ridiculousness you might like. In fact, that’s the entire point. It always was.

I have a diverse set of readers. They are not specific to any gender, occupation, religion, nor region. They are just cool people. People like you. ♥

If you’ve read what I’m writing, thank you!

If you haven’t, well, go for it. You can start with Spireseeker (my stand-alone future cult classic epic) or The Banished Craft, first book in my current trilogy. (Signed copies here.) Hope you enjoy!

E.D.E. Bell ~ 03 May, 2016

An Adventure for the Kids

I want to let you know about a sort of wild idea we came up with at Atthis Arts, and ask you to spread the word – we only have less than three weeks to fund it, so I’m hoping for some buzz.

Behold: The Lyric Poets Project

lpp_logo2_transparent_smallWhat is it? Kids help edit a fantasy book during the summer. Then they get the book.

Who is it for? Upper elementary kids (also known as lower middle grade), approximately 8-10 years old. Middle school kids who are interested in writing or publishing would also enjoy. Or your genius toddler. I mean, I don’t know.

Why would they enjoy this? I think being part of a book sounds sort of awesome. (Says me as I wrap up my third novel.) Anyway, there’s no pressure to participate if they decide they aren’t into it. And they’ll still get the book at the end. On the other hand, maybe they’ll love it.

What author is this? Check out the Kickstarter for details, but it’s a book by K.J. Quint. He’s a debut author who we picked for this because of his vibrant and unrestrained imagination. His characters are alive, big, and bold. I dig it.

Where did you get this idea? When we were looking at an early manuscript I asked my son, Vance, to read it and provide his thoughts. He provided these really insightful, fun edits that brought the introduction to life. My husband and I thought – wow – what if we had a whole group of kids providing these sort of big imaginative edits. So we are giving this idea a chance. We hope it succeeds, and we hope you let people know who might enjoy.

One more time! The Lyric Poets Project ! Specifically:

If you know people who might enjoy: people raising kids, people teaching kids, people who like to give presents to kids – please share the link and let them know! This project supports several artists and small businesses and we hope we’ll teach some kids some skills in the process – thanks so much.

Cheers – E

P.S. I’m still looking for dust jacket reviews for The Fettered Flame. ARCs/Galleys available 1 May – please email us at if you know someone who’d be willing to review.


My First Comic Con!

I sold books at my first comic con this February, at the Great Lakes Comic Con in Warren, Michigan. I was nervous to get into comic cons, mostly because there is a lot of investment in event fees, getting there, taking time off from my other work, dealing with the kids, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sell enough books to even start to make up for that. But, my friend Lisa talked me into it – and I’m glad. It went pretty well, especially for a first try.

IMG_0237bWhen I first got there, Chris realized that, in his desire to load it at the last minute, he’d left the cover poster in Ohio. Signs are important, as they draw interest and can cause people to see what your writing (or other art) is about. So while he rushed off on a mission to print a substitute (he made it happen, super-hero style!) I set up the station.

Once I had the books out on the gorgeous new table runner my mom made me, it took about ten seconds for my first mishap. I saw a bottle and thought, “Oh, Chris got me this carbonated drink to enjoy. How nice.” And I opened it, being sure to turn the cap slowly. Not slowly enough. In a multi-directional explosion of berry-flavored water that I can’t really exaggerate, I somehow managed to spray this stuff on myself, on the floor, on the chair – with drops landing all the way up to the books. Yet, not a single book was touched. I feel like some sort of writer magic overtook me in this moment as I contorted myself to block the spray while I resealed the cap. A man was walking by, and I’m not even going to try to describe the look he gave me. So it must have been pretty dramatic. Why I didn’t snap a picture of the aftermath, I can’t explain. Shock, probably. It would have been quite a picture. When Chris returned with the sign about ten seconds before the show started, the rest of the water (after what I could do with paper towels from the restroom) had finally dried up, and we were ready to go.

I really enjoyed meeting the people. There is a real comradery at events like this (I have attended them just never been a guest before), between people that aren’t afraid to enjoy a bit of magic in their lives, and also who use that magic as an outlet to help with other challenges they face. In significant ways, these were my people, and I had a great time talking to them. Which says a lot, as those types of interactions can be difficult for me.

I have an admittedly hard time promoting my own products, but Anna’s lovely covers certainly helped. Also, I learned a new trick: offer that people can read the reviews online. I was surprised how effective that was, even in a face-to-face setting. You, my reviewers, are my best asset, as a few people even came back to buy the book after reading the reviews on their phone. I sold quite a few copies of both The Banished Craft and Spireseeker – yay! I love getting my stories into people’s hands. : )

So I’ve got the hang of this now. It’s still going to be a challenge financially and logistically, but I’ll work it out. If you like what I do, please tell people about it and encourage them to buy and gift copies of the books. And keep leaving those reviews – they appear to sell books much better than I do! If you’d like to see me this spring, please stop by Gem City Comic Con, Dayton, Ohio, 2-3 April, or Motor City Comic Con in Novi (Detroit), Michigan, 13-15 May. I would love that.

And don’t forget to follow along at – the cover for The Fettered Flame will be up very soon! The book is basically finished now, as I am in the copy editing and proofreading stages. I’m still looking for reviewers of repute for the back cover, so if you know anyone that would be interested, let us know at I’m very happy with how it turned out, and hope you’ll like it too.

Cheers – E.D.E. Bell, 19 March 2016


Waiting to Take You Away

When I thought about different mid-Winter blog themes, I started with Valentine’s Day. Love! Charm! Cutesy themes came to mind. I looked up the history of St. Valentine’s hoping to base the blog around some fun facts. Thus I saw that Valentinius—if he was even a single person—was tortured and probably beheaded, leaving a note for a woman on the day of his execution signed, “Your Valentine.” This didn’t inspire me, so I moved on to loosely-linked predecessor holidays, like Lupercalia and Februa. Apparently these involved young women asking to be whipped with strips of leather to enhance their own fertility. I gave up on this line of thought entirely.

After considering a whole series of other topics that just didn’t fit my mood, I focused on the idea of happiness. What makes me happy? What makes my readers happy? Well, I may not know you, perhaps — but I do know me. And I asked myself: what moments in life would I relive if I could? Right now? Which were the most memorable? And the answer surprised me. Of course my time with family is always my richest—both at home and on special journeys and adventures which are too numerous to recount—but when I really think about times of unique memory, it’s the time spent alone in different places that leaps to mind. Not sightseeing, visiting, or exploring—but just existing.

Sitting alone on a California beach, ignoring the unanticipated chill. Writing a chapter while sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Walking through the rain to get a personal tour of 70s warning systems from a volunteer in Colorado Springs. Watching the sun set in Waikiki with a fresh natto roll. Being the only non-native at a Catholic fiesta in Albuquerque, and having the locals insist that I stay and enjoy a cob of corn and a dance. Standing on an antique sailboat gazing at the deep blue waters of Lake Superior. And so many more. I don’t travel too often, really, and so these memories are spread over many years. But they are bright in my mind, and each can be revisited, the sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells clear in my memory.

My husband and I love the song, Cool Change by Little River Band. “If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing, it’s the time that I spend alone.” It reminds us that life is short and unpredictable, and we should never miss our own special moments. We should find them, wherever we are. I can’t go to those places today, not in person. But I can stare at the stars. I can sit and relax as people I’ll never meet walk past. I can watch the snow flutter past or the clouds float by. And I can breathe, even if just for a minute.

That’s why I love to read fantasy. Fantasy transports us to another land, but without the need to set an agenda or find our way. We arrive, watch, and wait, as life happens around us – surprise, intrigue, and triumph. And then we return home, another memory captured.

I hope there will be more cool change to come. Maybe, with your help, I can travel this big, beautiful world and bring my stories to you. For now, I can dream about it, from my own little nook in Centerville, Ohio. I hope you will join me, just for a bit, in my place of dragons, wizards, and the undying spark of hope.

The second book of the Shkode trilogy, The Fettered Flame is up again this month on Kickstarter. I hope you’ll give it a look and let others know who might be interested. This little project has a special magic: it holds my heart, soul, and the hope that you will enjoy it.

And that’s all from Teirrah for today. See you around. – Cheers, E.D.E. Bell, 1 February 2016

2016: The Best Year Yet

I say every year is going to be the best year yet. And I never take it back.

2016 will be the best year yet.

But don’t forget, 2015 was the best year yet. Every year I see late-year posts lamenting how tragic the year has been, and how ready people are for the next one. I don’t subscribe to this view: I view New Year’s as both a time to celebrate the last year, and also set meaningful goals for the next. Sure, the world was rough in 2015. But it was beautiful also! There were many deaths among my own friends and family in 2015, but there were as many births. This is life. Volatile. Fleeting. Raw. Breathe it in and go for it.

I remember wonderful things about 2015. I remember the cold, snowy winter to start the year, and the warm, rainy winter to end it. I remember my mother-in-law picking up a round of top shelf Grand Marnier to celebrate Chris and my wedding anniversary. I remember spending a whole day going end-to-end at Epcot Center World Showcase with my oldest son and finally getting a nice soy sauce pitcher. I remember visiting an Air and Space museum in Colorado Springs on a rainy spring morning, and getting a private tour from a veteran. I remember my grandmother giving me her own grandmother’s framed poem that I had memorized as a child. I met Weird Al for approximately 5 seconds. I wrote Chapter 11 sitting on the ledge of the Lincoln Memorial as the sun set, then got caught in a massive rainstorm on the way back to the hotel. My pants soaked past my knees, I stopped at a bar, and had an expertly crafted cocktail and some lovely conversation. I remember sitting with my mom and son and watching the patriotic parade of boats go by on Independence Day. I got Player’s autographs. I sent my youngest child to Kindergarten. I saw Peyton Manning play again. I took my kids to talk to an astronaut. I hit a Ren Fest three times in one year. I saw Garbage play their first album live just feet from the band. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. I saw Star Wars in 3D. Then saw it again.

As for my writing: I wrote a book this year. It’s called The Fettered Flame, and I’ve poured my soul into it. I plan to release it in 2016, and I hope you will read it. If you haven’t read the first book, The Banished Craft, I’d be honored for you to give it a look. I also wrote a satirical online story: Mase the Modern Dwarf. It was all so fun and so fulfilling.

You know what? I bet if you think about it, you’ll see too – 2015 was the best year ever.

Until now.

Next year I will have more writing for you! We’ll start with a Kickstarter relaunch in February to complete The Fettered Flame. Please watch for that. I will write the final volume of the Shkode trilogy, and continue planning for my next project, The A… well, that’s for another announcement. I will debut as a comicon guest! Right now, I’m locked in for the Great Lakes Comic-Con in Warren, Michigan in February and the Gem City Comic Con in Dayton, Ohio in April. If you’re in the area of either, please stop by! And all the other fun things about life – from walks through the neighborhood to new adventures: I will do those too. There is rumor I’ll even turn 40.

I wish for each of you a beautiful 2016. I hope you enjoy your friends and family and pursue your dreams. I hope you have joy for your triumphs and comfort for your trials. Each of us is beautiful. Each of us is unique. Each of us has an adventure waiting for us to grasp it. It may be large or it may be small, but it’s there. Don’t forget. And go for it.

Cheers to 2016!

Much Love, E.D.E. Bell
31 December 2015

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On the Soul

Today, a little cat named Vashti spent her last hours on this Earth. In tribute, I am posting this blog post I made in July 2000, when Vashti was two years old. It’s a bit indulgent, but it reminds me how much I’ve grown as well in all these great years together. Without modification, here is On the Soul:

On the Soul

Today, I was at home working on some things, and I took a break by sitting on my bed for a moment. I thought I heard my older cat, Vashti, somewhere in the room, so I called her name. (If you think you can’t tell a cat by the sounds she makes, you can.) Within a few seconds, Vashti hopped up on the bed and walked over to me. Even though I had intended to just be there for a moment, Vashti seemed to take this as an invitation for quality time. She cuddled up against my chest and rested her head comfortably on my arm, the whole time staring up at me.

I was touched by the cuteness of it all, and thought to myself what a joy it was having my two little troublemakers around. Having enjoyed the moment, I started to get up, but stopped when Vashti gave me an alarmed look, and placed her paw firmly against my face, as if she were trying to stop me. It worked. I paused, and went back to thinking, as she slowly took her paw down. (Yet continued to stare intently up at me.) I thought about just how intelligent her little eyes looked. Humans do get awfully arrogant, I thought. Just because we’re so much more intelligent than other animals, (and we are), it’s like we completely discount the consciousness and intelligence they do have. Consciousness has no value to us if it’s not our own. We kill animals, eat them, torment them, and none of it matters because they don’t have enough consciousness by our judgement. But you could hardly see that in Vashti’s eyes. In her eyes, consciousness didn’t come in levels. It was just there.

I got up to go again, but back came the little black paw, much firmer this time. I chuckled, that I was being commanded by a little cat, and I was actually obeying. I looked down at her again. She was softly purring now, and still staring back at me. I scratched her head, and she closed her eyes for a moment and purred more loudly. Then she looked back up at me so intently. I looked back. I wondered if she was thinking about me as I sat there and thought about her. What was she thinking? She didn’t have words like I did to structure her thoughts. She couldn’t have my understanding of the many differences between us. She couldn’t have much of a concept of a human, or a cat, or where she fit in. That’s it. I thought. She doesn’t. It didn’t matter to her that I was a human. She didn’t know or care that we were so different. She didn’t care about my education, or my job, or my new car. All she knew was that I was her friend, and she wanted me to stay there just a little longer to scratch her ears. So I did.

And I think the people who say that the difference between humans and other animals is that only humans have a soul… have never looked into the eyes of a little black cat.

E.D.E. – 26 July 2000