Thursday, October 17, 2013

Two new releases and an event!

This month marks the release of two books that I'm very proud to be a part of!

The first was this one:

Rookie Yearbook Two was released at the beginning of the month. I still pinch myself on a regular basis because writing for Rookie really is my teenage dream come true. This book is like receiving a box of a hundred really cool ‘zines. It’s filled with amazing essays, photos, illustrations, DIYs, interviews with people like Carrie Brownstein and Judy Blume, and so much more that I’ll just let my lovely boss Tavi tell you about it. The Rookie piece that I am most proud of appears in Yearbook Two and I have to say I teared up a little when I saw it in print.

We’re celebrating the release of Yearbook Two with events in various cities in the US and Canada:

(click to make bigger)

I'll be at the Vera Project event in Seattle on Saturday, November 9th at 1 pm. (It's free! There's zine making!) It’s my first Rookie/literary event in my new city, so I’m super excited about it. Come if you can!

Those of you eager for some new fiction from me. I’m happy to announce that this came out on Thursday:

Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends and Tales of Superstition is a project I'm super psyched about for a couple of reasons. One, it's a charity anthology and the proceeds from the first 5,000 copies go to SPCA International. My kitties mean the world to me, so I'm proud to be supporting pets worldwide. Two, this gave me the opportunity to write a ghost story. I love, love, love ghost stories, but I've never written one. This was particularly fun because I got to write about a local legend.

Forest Park, Illinois, where I spent the past nine years before moving to Seattle, is the one corner of Chicago where I really felt like I fit and part of that was because it's a quirky town that is proud of it's 30 to 1 dead to living ration. It's a city of cemeteries and one of those cemeteries, Jewish Waldheim, has a ghost--a young hitchhiking flapper ghost who is like the brunette, less famous Resurrection Mary. No one knows who she actually is--and I had my fellow YA author/ghost legend expert, Adam Selzer help me do a ton of research on who she might have been, though newspaper articles like this were about all we could find. I relished the opportunity to make up a story expanding on what little is known about Forest Park's Flapper Ghost.

I named her Lulu after the spirit that lived in my childhood home--at least according to my junior high Ouija Board adventures. She and the characters she meets in her story, "The Road Home," also play a small role in The Grief Book. Sadly, I still don't have any news to report about that, but writing and releasing this story is tiding me over and I hope it will tide you over, too!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Three months in Seattle!

Today marks three months since we arrived in Seattle after a four-day drive from Chicago. I'm reminded every day that moving out here was the right decision. A little over a month ago, I landed a job that I adore. It's crazy how polar opposite my life is now from what it was in Chicago. Instead of getting home from work at 2 or 3 am, I'm getting up at 6:15 am. And I don't mind it. I'm that blissfully happy here. In fact, today is Saturday and I still woke up before 7, but it didn't bother me because I got to see this gorgeous view of the sun coming up through my living room window:

And then, by 7:30, I was out the door for a four-mile run.

Yes, I just said that. Someone who knows me well probably just spit their coffee out on their computer and I apologize. I notoriously hated gym class and wrote about it for Ms. Fit and Rookie, but in both of those pieces I also address trying to find ways to enjoy fitness-y stuff. I'm definitely enjoying it more than ever here because the moderate climate allows me to be outside more and the incredibly scenery makes me want to be out and moving as much as possible. 

Seattle is a very healthy city, especially compared to the Midwest, and that's a big part of why it feels so good to be out here. My husband and I go on regular Sunday hikes (which I swear I'm going to more consistently post pictures of on my tumblr), and in addition to going to the gym (yay! perk of the new job! I have a free gym membership!), I run outside twice a week because I'm lucky enough to live just a few blocks from this:

I actually can't think of a better way to show you why I love living here so much than sharing what I see when I run. I usually go toward the Sound during the week after work because it's a 2-mile round-trip run and then on Saturdays when I have more time and energy, I run toward the mountains. I usually don't even make it as far as Lake Washington, but today since Seattle gifted me with such a beautiful day for our three month-versary, I took full advantage. I was actually pretty shocked that I ran as far and felt as good as I did. Maybe it's because after three months of running outside and up and down these hills, my body is getting used to it. Maybe I was properly hydrated for once. Maybe it was because on the advice of my friend Beth Ellen, I finally got some proper running gear, so don't feel like a total amateur compared to the serious runners and cyclists out here in my grody old tank top and shorts combo from 2007. I'm a real runner now:

Okay, no more dorky selfies. Here's what the view was like on my run toward the Sound on Monday. That day was not nearly as sunny as today. In fact, it rained for much of the day, but on my way home from work, the clouds broke and I got a nice mixture of sun and the Seattle gray that I love just as much:

Then, when I arrived home, I was rewarded with this:

Today I ran toward the mountain and Lake Washington, and as I mentioned, I went a bit farther than I normally do because I was feeling so good. But this is what I normally see on my run which takes me through parks and right alongside I-90:

 The orange building in the distance in this shot is Pac Med, which is right by my house. One of the things I love about this run is how it seems so far away and up high when I reach the point about a quarter of a mile from where I usually turn back. It makes me feel like I've really accomplished something.

And here's Pac Med, to the left, so you get a sense of how it looks with the city skyline and a sense of why I love living up on Beacon Hill:

This tunnel here is where I usually turn back. It leads to the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington, to Mercer Island and beyond--where maybe someday I'll go once I get a bike (and re-learn how to ride!) Going to here is maybe three miles or a little bit more round-trip, so I'm generally satisfied with that on a Saturday, but today I was feeling good, so I went on through...

The pay-off on the other side is amazing. I don't think there is a more gorgeous (and um sorta freaky if you're at all afraid of heights) run in the country... maybe somewhere along PCH in California, but seriously, look at this:

Running east along the bridge, you've got Bellevue to the left:

And, on a clear morning like this one, Mount Rainier, on the right:

And the gorgeous peacefulness that is Lake Washington all around:

I also got a chance to take the picture I was too overwhelmed to snap three months ago when we were driving into Seattle, our new home:

Seattle: Portal to the Pacific. Home. Three months ago as we drove through that tunnel, into our new city, "You Know You're Right" by Nirvana came on the iPod, which we had on shuffle. I felt like it was Kurt affirming my choice in a weird way. I was right in making this move. Today as I ran back through the runner/biker part of the tunnel, my favorite female punk band, Civet, reaffirmed it. Once again, the iPod was on shuffle, the same mix of songs I'd been listening to three months ago, but this time the song was "Can't Go Back."

No. I can't go back and I don't want to. I have found a better way.