Friday, January 16, 2015

Life After Ashes - an Anthology, and a Helping Hand

Urgent announcement today.

A sad note, and a happy one. I'm a contributing author for an anthology entitled "Life After Ashes". Sad, because this Tilt campaign needs to happen for a fellow veteran and his devastated family, and yet I'm happy to be able to something, anything, to help.

So can you.

A press release:


(16 January 2015 – DAYTON, OHIO – ) An award-winning lineup of over fifty authors are collecting stories to help raise money to help the family of a Navy veteran and fellow author recover after a home-destroying fire. The anthology, entitled Life After Ashes will only be available as a reward to those donating money through a crowdfunding campaign to aid the family before 2 February 2015.
Earlier this month the home of writer, Navy veteran, and single father Greg Campbell burned down. Campbell and his two children, Isaac and Scarlett, lost everything, including childhood mementos, keepsakes and photos of his recently deceased wife, and family pets. To help the family recover, Tia Fix Rumbaugh, Isaac’s stepmother, started a crowdfunding campaign to help the family get back on their feet.
“I started the crowdfunder in a panic,” Rumbaugh said. “My stepson’s house had burned. They were homeless, with only the clothes on their back, and this after my stepson had lost his mother de facto when his Aunt Pam died unexpectedly.”
The anthology started to take shape when author and publisher Steven Saus first offered digital copies of his own books as rewards for backers. “I’d just met Isaac, one of the children who lost their home. Not only is his father an author, but Isaac is an aspiring writer himself and an avid reader. It just seemed natural. Then when other authors asked if they could contribute stories as backer rewards, I knew we had the start of something special.”
Rumbaugh says that this has a great impact for the family. “This anthology isn’t just about raising funds to help the Campbell’s and give people an amazing read from award-winning authors - it’s a cause, it’s a quest, it’s an idea turned into physical hope; hope for Greg, hope for Isaac, hope for Scarlett. Life isn’t all about loss. Life can raise up from the ashes.”
Life After Ashes will have over fifty authors, including Nisi Shawl, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Tobias Buckell, Laura Resnick, and many more. It will be available in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats to anyone who contributes $25 or more to the crowdfunding campaign raising money for the family.
You can find the crowdfunding campaign on at


Should you wish to schedule an interview, please contact Steven Saus at 937-234-7287 or or Tia Fix Rumbaugh at .

Cover art by Steven Gilberts

Let's turn this project into more than just words. Let's make them words of hope.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Snow, and a Sky Full of Singing

We got the first bit of snowfall this winter, in Nashville, that actually stuck around for an hour or so, before dissolving as though it had never been there.

I'm not complaining. I hate the stuff. Got my fill of snow all the years I lived in Michigan!

But, I did grab my camera, slip on some shoes, and run out to my backyard to document the strange little dusting that looked more like vanilla sprinkles than snowflakes. Here's one of my pictures, serving as inspiration for another knitting project, soon:

I can't wait to get started on that!

But, in the meanwhile, I've finished my first scarf project, based on the colors from "In a Nutshell".
I ran into a little trouble trying to photograph the scarf: because of the fun fur, no matter what interesting angle I tried, the thing just looked like a tribble.

So I decided to go with a close-up, instead.

In a Nutshell photo

In a Nutshell scarf

Also on my agenda, I finished reading "The Crystal World" by J. G. Ballard as the book in my 2015 challenge that 'came out the year I was born'. 

I remembered, a page or two in, why it was also a book I started and never finished. I just couldn't engage, no matter how hard I tried. But I soldiered through, this time. 

My reward? The next challenge! 'A book of short stories'. Look at this beauty:

Got this baby right out of my bookshelf, and couldn't even find a reference photo to link online! So I took one myself. I feel like the moment I open the cover, a chorus in the sky will break out. 

I shall read with great reverence, indeed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Knit and Lit

No, not knitting *while* lit. Although, that might be a fun experiment, sometime. (note to self)

I've long had a fascination with photography. I've never taken a course, which I should do, one of these days. But I do like to fiddle around and see what I can manage, and I've gotten a new camera recently--all mine! A "simple" point-and-shoot type thing, with more settings than I know what to do with.

It goes underwater, too!

I like to take it with me (and my dog, Edith) on walks. I have a grand plan to create knitting projects based around the colors of my favorite photos. Or, am I taking photos that would make great color schemes for knitting? Hm.

Either way, I have a few photos to start with! Here's "In a Nutshell":

I've already begun this scarf, with brown/gray/beige, plus cinnamon-colored fun fur to add the pop of autumn orange.

Next up: "Gravel Path":

After I took this picture, I happened across a yarn called "Cobblestone", with big chunks of fluffy woven right in, and couldn't believe my luck. I can hardly wait to see what I make of that! But I have a personal rule that I finish one project before I start another, so this is in my queue.

I'll be sure to post the finished projects with their photos! Plenty more to come. I'm really enjoying my photography/knitting challenge.

Speaking of challenge, I have updates for my 2015 Reading!

I've finished "Dark Dreams" by Roy Hazelwood and Stephen Michaud - a nonfiction book.

Next up - my selection for "a book that came out the year you were born" - which is 1966:

"The Crystal World" actually counts as 'book written by an author with your same initials', and 'book you started but never finished', but I won't double up and count it as three. Where's the fun in that?!

It has a pretty cover (if rather generic), which suddenly gives me an idea to start knitting scarves based on color schemes from book covers. Hm. Hmmmm. 

One more reason to play around in my yarn stash! I like it!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge - Are you in?

As an author, screenwriter, and filmmaker, I am often so busy creating stories that I seldom have time for my first, real love: reading. I miss it, the way one misses the scent of a favorite stuffed toy, or the comfortable feel of beloved slippers.

I'm making it a priority again this year.

This reading challenge, posted by PopSugar, and brought to my attention by my friend, Robin, makes the task seem fun, rather than guilt-laden for my lack of literary exposure. I'm excited to be excited to read again!

Join in on the fun!

From Tara Block at PopSugar:

"Book-lovers, start your reading engines. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to read more books in 2015, get started now with our ultimate reading challenge. From a book your mom loves to a book with a love triangle, we're giving you a wide range of reads, spanning eras and genres, instead of specific books."


My first book from the challenge is a non-fiction book, chosen from the stack I got for Christmas.

I've read other work from the writing duo, and enjoy their voice. They're able to communicate the fascinating parts, as well as the grim realities, without inflating or making it seem tabloid or gratuitously cheap entertainment.

While I'm on the subject, here's another book I got for Christmas:

I blasted through this amazing book, and will be reading it again. It's a true-to-life (because it IS true) foray into a career that could seem macabre, except, it isn't. 

I can't count it on my challenge for 2015, though, because I read it last week! But maybe next time...