Checking In

I realize that I haven’t checked in for a bit. I also keep promising more on the way – well, it’s still on the way! But there is progress.

The bottom line is that I’m still working my day job in addition to writing and publishing and so it’s still hard to connect and engage. I am, however, still trying to make the hours to work on my next project, which I’ve decided to announce on New Year’s Day. I’m pretty excited about it – it’s a lot different than the trilogy. My main goal was to experiment with some key elements while at the same time doubling down on what people have said are my strengths. So we’ll see — I’m happy with it so far.

I have, however, finally settled into our new house in Ferndale. The boxes are put away, the basement is operational, the tree is up, the registrations are switched, and the Ohio house is sold. So that should free up a bit more time.

So here are the main things going on:

New Series: I will announce the details New Year’s Day, but for now know that I spent more than six months world-building in Excel spreadsheets prior to writing a word. I’m serious about this!

Trilogy: Remember, the trilogy is complete and the feedback on the final book, The Scattered Bond, has been wonderfully positive. (I did it!) Please keep spreading the word, and let me know if you’d like signed copies, either to complete your collection or give as a gift. I will say they make a unique gift, and of course, show that you are chic and savvy in supporting small businesses and indie writing.

Anthology: I will be editing Atthis Arts’ first anthology: As Told by Things – a collection of fiction stories (I hope they are fiction) told from the perspective of inanimate objects. For this first anthology, we are keeping it light and easy – no political messages, no depressing stories, etc. We just want it to be really fun – a whole set of surprises about what type of stories people had to share. If you are interested in submitting, the guidelines are posted at: http://atthisarts.com/projects/as-told-by-things and submissions are due by the end of January. You have time! If you want to read this – excellent – stay tuned.

Web Site and Social Media: Oh, I know we need a new website! Well, websites – both Atthis Arts and E.D.E. Bell. New blog. Everything. We’ve been delayed on working on it, but it’s high on our list. I really just want to provide all of you a better experience. So thanks for your patience while we get there.

Events: I plan to hang out local for a while. But that’s just fine; I love local. I will be at Great Lakes CC in February, Gem City CC in March, and Motor City CC in May. I hope to be back at GenCon in August and London in October, and I’ve applied for one more that I am really excited about, so fingers crossed. I’ve got a side eye on Cleveland and Toronto (and Chicago!) but that might be longer-term. I truly miss talking to you and look forward to being out at my goofy table again and saying hi.

Life goals: If you aren’t aware, I do plan to leave my previous career and write and publish full-time. Current timeframe: next couple of months. Yes, really. All in. When that happens, things should start to change. And, yes, I know it’s a tough road and a tough gamble. (A lot of people expect content for free, but artists shouldn’t be asked to produce for free. Separate subject.) But I love writing, we love publishing great works, and we are going to give it our best go. Along those lines, thanks again for your support and for spreading the word about my books and our company. That is always appreciated.

Oathbringer: I have not read it yet! That’s how busy I’ve been! See!

You: I hope you are enjoying a great holiday season. And for those with ongoing challenges, I hope you can meet them with a smile and feeling love and peace from all of us around you. People are tense these days and I understand it. (I just try not to contribute to it.) Just remember there is so much kindness and goodwill in the world. Always smile and always reach out to each other. It’s so important.

Cheers,
E

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