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:

http://kcrosswriting.com/writing-about-witches-in-a-christian-world/

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: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atthisarts/lyric-poets-project

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 atthis@atthisarts.com if you know someone who’d be willing to review.

 

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

Sometimes it’s a Blizzard

If you would have told me that my first book signing would be during a blizzard after even the local Air Force Base had closed, I actually would have believed you.

Because otherwise it wouldn’t be life.

Twists and turns, ups and downs – it’s all ok. My husband and I, in an effort to try and get people reading Spireseeker, had been promoting a local book signing for a couple of months now. We dropped off flyers at friendly local small businesses, and spread the word via social media. The morning before the signing it was sunny and over 50 degrees outside. Then my husband asked, “Do you know there is a blizzard expected to hit tomorrow before your signing?” I simply sighed.

Of course it was a disappointment, when we had worked so hard. We knew that now the turnout would be light to none. Then the schools closed, then the base.

But I still knew I needed to be there. Even on the off chance that someone saw the flyer and decided to stop by, I couldn’t risk letting someone down that way. So we packed up the books, the wine, and the kids, and headed to the event.

We were surprised and humbled by the friends and family who braved the roads to stop by and say hello, some picking up a copy of the book. My brother and sister-in law, nephew, aunt, and uncle were there. Three colleagues and a friend’s mom came by to spend time with us. The staff of the host store (Life in Letters Gallery) graciously picked up some copies. And the local mayor even stopped by to get a signed book for his wife. I am truly grateful for such supportive friends and family. Without them, I would have stood for three hours in the blizzard probably not feeling so great. So thanks to those of you who were there for, instead, giving me a wonderful memory of a lovely evening. Even carrying the unopened boxes of books back to the car couldn’t mar the feelings of warmth and friendship.

My husband and I have received several regrets from people today, saying they intended to stop in and purchase a book, but the weather kept them away. Fear not – the book can still be yours! We don’t have plans for another signing right now, but you can still get a signed copy (or a paperback or e-book) anytime. We love the book, and think it would make a great holiday gift. And there is no shipping charge (in the U.S.) for hardcovers purchased from Spireseeker.com.

No blizzard is going to stop me from writing, in fact I hope that I’ve only just begun this adventure.

If you’d like to help us along, please consider:

  • Picking up an e-book or paperback (or a few) on Amazon.com
  • Buying a signed hardcover (or even a limited edition hardcover) on Spireseeker.com
  • Write a review. If you like the book, help us spread the word. Write reviews on Amazon.com or Goodreads.com – or anywhere else that suits you.
  • Tell your friends! So far, our best success has been people who have read the book enjoying it and coming back for more copies. So if you read it and you liked it, please let other people know.
  • Consider giving copies of Spireseeker as gifts: We think the book would make a great gift, either for the holidays, for winter birthdays, or just because!

I appreciate your continued support for my artistic endeavors, and I promise the next book will be even better. I’m really very excited about it.

The Earth is great and powerful, as are its blizzards. But I know in my heart that the power of creativity is just as great, and will continue to burn long after the ice crystals melt.

E.D.E. Bell
07 December 2013