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.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atthisarts/the-fettered-flame

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

My Fantasy

There are two questions I often get about my writing:

1) Why do you write fantasy? I don’t read that stuff.

There is often this sense that by putting a dragon on the cover, the book must be for “someone else” – someone who “likes that stuff” – that nephew they have that hangs out at the gamer store. I think it’s a shame that people limit themselves that way. This buys into a restrictive, cool kid mentality that I reject. Fantasy is wonderful and magical and fantasy is for everyone. Fantasy throws out the rules and the restrictions that confine us in our normal life. It lets us discover magic, or see the future, or befriend a dragon. In fantasy, everything is more vibrant, because we are unconstrained. We are free. It is a glorious way to write and to read.

The next sculpture was so low to the ground they almost didn’t see it. It was a field of low waves, like those upon the ocean near the coast. Cor was drawn to its grace. “This is beautiful,” she whispered.

Iohn studied it a long moment. “I don’t care for it,” he said at last in a decisive manner. “It’s exactly what the water was like before it froze. It’s pretty, but it’s not art. That’s just imitating what nature already did. If I wanted to see the ocean in summer I would just wait until summer, then go to the ocean.” He winked at Cor.

– The Banished Craft, Chapter 12: Heartbloom

2) What are you genre-bending? Bending fantasy and what?

Just as fantasy isn’t constrained by the realities of our world, I believe fantasy shouldn’t be constrained in the type of storytelling it undertakes. I’ve had people tell me my dragons are not accurate! Inaccurate dragons! I think they have forgotten: Fantasy is unconstrained. I believe in this. So in many ways, what I write is contemporary fiction. It’s relationships and social themes and dilemmas our world faces today. I just want there to be dragons and magic too because it’s more fun that way. The Shkode trilogy is fantasy and contemporary fiction. It’s also ripe with satire and philosophy, has a little humor, and toys with a little mathematical fiction. It’s all of that because I think the blend is more interesting, and has something for everyone. P.S. If you misread this and still think I’m talking about gender-bending, you’re not wrong either. I love that too.

“Ok. Maybe he’s you.” Iohn’s face twitched, as if saying it out loud didn’t make it any more plausible. “Why do you make him dislike women so much?”

“People enjoy it. Keeps them reading. But really, haven’t you heard of satire? It’s actually a thing now. Very popular. I figured if most women read it long enough, it would start to tick them off. Maybe they’d finally stand up for themselves.”

– The Banished Craft, Chapter 20: Until We Meet Again

In that case, what is the Shkode trilogy, anyway. Who’s it for?

To me, it’s about passion. The word shkode means fire in Anishinaabemowin, the native language in the Lake Superior region. It is a word that speaks to me, and symbolizes passion and struggle and glory. This trilogy is about characters who struggle to see their own potential. It’s different. It’s thought-provoking, satirical, and sometimes just silly. And it’s a piece of me that I want to share with you. Who is it for? It’s written for adults, appropriate for mature young-adults, and I’ve found that it’s liked by a fairly diverse audience. Some people like the fantasy setting, others like the social themes, and others enjoy the unique world-building and rich character development.

Jwala knew she should not speak, knew she endangered herself as her mouth opened. She begged herself to stop. But her body burned with rage, and in the decision to act, she felt the weight of her burden shatter—its invisible shards flying from her, clattering to the ground. It was enough.

– The Banished Craft, Chapter 06: A Change of Plans

If any of this interests you, here are a couple things I’d be humbled for you to check out:

The Fettered Flame Project – I won’t be able to continue editing, illustrating, and printing the Shkode trilogy without your help. It’s that simple. We need all levels of backers, from $5 e-books (these get us more visibility) to larger backers (there are some cool rewards like naming a character!). Please join me.

Mase: The Modern Dwarf – I wrote this short serial on Wattpad. It’s free and it’s ridiculous. If you like it, click the ★ to give it a vote.

Cheers, E.D.E. Bell – October 2015

Book 2 Title Reveal !

Let’s do this! Here is the trailer to Shkode: Book 2, the sequel to The Banished Craft. Click this magic link to reveal the book’s title! Many thanks to a great voice actor Anthony Sardinha for his fantastic rendition of Atesh.

Bottom line / TL;DR – Follow this link to Kickstarter. Pledge an amount. Get a copy of the book (and/or other cool rewards) when the book is done.

So, we are launching a Kickstarter project to run throughout October 2015. Here are a few things I’d like you to know about it:

Book 2 is better. Book 2 is better! It’s the best thing I’ve written yet – by far, I think. The characters are developed further, the flow is better, and there is more action. Yes, still two worlds and lots of characters, but that’s part of what makes it different and interesting. I am really excited about this book and I want to give people the chance to read it.

Argh, I don’t know what any of this is! I’ll explain it! The bottom line is I’m not making enough money with my writing yet to pay for continued illustration and editing of the series. But many fans of the series love the high-quality production, including the beautiful custom covers and offset-printed hardcovers. And they are telling me to keep writing! So what I want from you is to pre-order the book through Kickstarter.com between 1 and 31 October to provide enough money to get it edited and produced. You’ll be the first to get the book, and if it’s a hardcover it’ll have a first-day signature date. Which is fab.

Why am I giving you money? You’re actually pledging for cool rewards so I have money up-front to fund the project. Think of it as pre-orders, or just being completely awesome so I can produce this book. Your pledge helps me a great deal (really!), but it’s not a donation. All the money goes into the project, and you get rewards in return. It’s like a pre-order with extra love.

Why did you raise the Kickstarter amount from last time? There is no trick here. I won an award through my company in 2014 and I invested the award money into the production of The Banished Craft. There is no award this year, nor can I continue to afford to invest the same amount I have been. I need readers as well as general supporters of my type of genre-bending fantasy. I need you! The base amount of $7500 (remember, that includes fees, reward costs, and shipping – it’s a significantly lower amount we actually get) will cover the combined illustration and editing costs. What we’d really need to reach in order to fully cover our up-front costs (including minimum print set-up and basic promotion) is about $15,000. (Again, that’s the Kickstarter total, not the amount we’d get.)

Why should I support this Kickstarter again? If any of these reasons apply (doesn’t have to be all), I’d love to have your support.
– You’re supporting my dream! I love to write!
– You’re supporting indie writing. The Shkode trilogy provides readers something different.
– You’re supporting several other small businesses including editors and artists.
– You support integrating gender themes, equality themes, or LGBTQ themes into fantasy writing.
– You support integrating vegan, animal compassion, and non-violence themes into fantasy writing.
– You like to read books! This is a story! Read the Goodreads or Amazon reviews of The Banished Craft – people have enjoyed it and I hope you will too.

Thanks for your support! I appreciate it so much, and I hope you enjoy The Banished Craft and…well, Book 2. Go watch the video!

Cheers, E.D.E. Bell, 24 September 2015

The Last Two Weeks

Ha! The title means two things! Words are hilarious that way.

What have I been doing over the last two weeks:

Working and Living: Job. Management. Hug kids. Pet cats. Hope for thunderstorms. Same same.

Writing: I am 85% done with the first draft as of today. This is only the beginning, though. I have tons of notes, and foresee many more rounds of editing before I even think of putting this novel into your hands. I want it to be awesome! Whether you backed the project because you’re a friend, a fantasy fan, a vegan, or just like to read – I’m working hard to have something you’ll love about this story.

Reading: I snuck in reading a book I received via a Kickstarter project – it’s called The Book by Roger Jarman. It was filled with indie love, was exceedingly British, and had some very exciting moments. I am always so proud to be a part of fellow indie writer’s creative endeavors.

Lumberjacking: Ok, not really, as I adore trees, but I did go to the Farwell Lumberjack Festival in mid-Michigan with a pocket full of vegan jerky and a heart full of lumberjack street cred. And I did watch people throw axes at each other (really) and log roll. And I got an eagle carved out of white pine with a chainsaw. So that’s one more life goal achieved.

Also, let’s talk about the last two weeks of my pre-order campaign:

The End is Near: The campaign runs through 11 August so if you’re interested, don’t wait! Signed hardcovers are fun to have, and fun to give as gifts. Know someone for whom it’s impossible to shop? Well, I promise they won’t already have this.

Be a Bro: Please spread the word. I’m nowhere near what I’ll actually need to spend on editing, so every pre-order is a tremendous help to me. Remind your friends that it’s worth the entertainment value alone of watching me write about dragons, for only the cost of a fancy coffee. And besides that, you’ll get a cool book! I’m hitting refresh looking for you right now!

Artwork: Anna Rettberg has been working on the cover and I’m in love with it so far. I’m hoping to get you the early artwork soon – who knows maybe even the finished cover reveal. And the $4000 stretch goal introduces chapter title illustrations, eek – I hope we can get there!

Excitement: I’ve been working really hard on this story, and I’m determined to make it the best that I can. There is world-building, dragons, wizards, art, drama, fighting, sex (oh my!), totally dysfunctional people, and even a touch of mathematical fiction. It’s like getting invited to a fantasy potluck. I can’t be sure to what extent you’ll like it, but I sure hope it’ll be worth giving it a try.

Pre-order The Banished Craft – and thank you!!!

E.D.E. Bell

30 July 2014

Ode to June

This has been a busy month! I’ve had two book signings, was featured on reddit, and we launched our Kickstarter for Shkode Book 1: The Banished Craft:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/506671/the-banished-craft-a-fantasy-tale-of-dragons-and-w/

Please consider pre-ordering a copy of the book through the link above. An e-book is only $5, and by backing the Kickstarter project, 1) you’ll get a great book 2) it’s just a small way of saying you believe in me.

I sometimes don’t appreciate June enough. Sometimes it gets lost between the renewal of Spring, and the festivities of Summer. It’s that month where one day you think Summer is just starting and another day you realize it’s rushing by. And so, for just a quick little moment, I would like to celebrate June.

Ode to June

In June, I harvest twirling, swirling garlic scapes. I chop them into little pieces and use them all month in stir-fries and soups. I try not to be smug to people who don’t know what garlic scapes are.

Thunder crashes and I rush to open the window so I can watch the rain and see the lightning. Sometimes the neighbor is there. Our windows are much too close together.

I celebrate my dad in June, and think not just about everything he’s given to his family, but how much we like him, even when he makes that stop it face.

The pool is open, and finches visit during adult swim time Sunday morning. Stay at home, kids. This is our time to swim. Hello, finches.

The tomato plants grow strong and pop through the top of those metal cages that seemed way too huge. In May.

Fireflies twinkle in evening’s dusk, flying back up into the sky again to become the night stars.

My husband turns another year older, and I’m glad that we are best friends.

Concerts are outside, and the base player gets a funky riff.

I’m barefoot and it’s not too cold or scratchy.

Oops it went by too quickly.

I love to live life.

In June.

E.D.E. Bell

26 June 2014