Introducing Cedar Sanderson, Raiding Party Member

*I first met Cedar online when I co-mentored a writers’ group with Dave Freer 11 years ago.  Life has taken both of us places we frankly never expected in that time, and it’s been a joy seeing Cedar blossom into a fine writer and a confident woman.  On both scales, I’d say she’s less than halfway up to her potential, and it’s entirely possible in the future I’ll only be a mention in her biography.  This is a good thing.*
Hi, I’m Cedar. Sometimes called the Lady in Red, or the Lady Sanderson. I’m fairly new to the publishing thing, but I’ve been writing for more than a decade. For some reason despite having only two books and a dozen shorts out, people listen to my blog blatherings. I’ve been here before, but our hostess wanted a more formal introduction. And make it funny, oh, and you know the Huns, keep it interesting… ‘dangit, now I don’t know what to say,’ I’m thinking.
To make my living I’m a professional artist… I paint bodies (yes, just what you are thinking, only not the bits that I’d have to sanitize my brushes after) and faces. I blow things up, professionally. Then I twist them into funny shapes the kids love. I love this job, but it’s not my calling in life, it’s what has been keeping me afloat while I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s also trained this introvert-by-nature how to get up and perform like a wild extrovert.


I’m also a mother of four, and while it’s complicated right now, they are the most beautiful, smartest kids in the world and I’d do anything for them. I wrote my first novel for my daughters, and I am working on more young adult fiction for them, although I know I couldn’t possibly keep up with their reading demands; all four are avid readers. They take after their mother, I’ve been reading since I was four (Mom tells me, I don’t remember when I couldn’t read) and I had a large library for them that I have been collecting since before they were born.

I write what I like to read. In other words, entertaining stories with likeable people, realistic worlds, and hope. I write a lot of hope, and love, and… escapism, they call it, usually with a sneer. I’ve had enough rough spots in my life to truly appreciate the ability to open a mental door with a book to unlock it, step through into another world where no one can hurt me and I’m feeling no pain, and close the door behind me for a few hours. And that’s all I’m going for when I write. I have no literary pretensions, unless you count Human Wave, and that’s not literary, that’s just how I am. I believe in people, and that happiness comes to those who look for it.


Right now the most important asset in my writing life is my Evil Muse. And my First Reader. And my Editor. He’s all that in one person, and Pixie Noir wouldn’t exist without him, since I started it to make him laugh, and finished it with him helping me plot every scene and making sure I wrote male dialogue more manly. Evidently I write like a girl. Maybe because I am a girl. I’m ok with being a girl, and I know he likes that in me, too!


I’ve been called a renaissance woman, which I find flattering, but I will only accept the idea that I am such, in training. I’m half-way through a degree in microbiology, just getting to the interesting bits, and plan to add a dual major in forensic science to that as soon as I can. I’m finally going to be a scientist, which I have wanted since I was a little girl, for my second career, and a writer, for my third career. After that, I shall be the little old lady who alarms my family with never knowing what I will get up to next.


I grew up the military brat traveling a lot until Dad got out and we settled in Alaska, so I have been places. And I did learn to hunt, fish, trap, garden, forage wild edibles, prospect for gold and gems, survive in the wilderness, camp, can, butcher, cook, bake, paint, research, and blow stuff up along the way. I blew up a cave full of ogres just last week! (on paper, don’t worry) After Alaska, which left an indelible mark on me (only some of it from frostbite) I spent my adult life in New Hampshire, before moving to Ohio in 2013. I’m not done yet, I still have much to learn, and miles to go.


I was homeschooled until ninth grade, Mom was a pioneer in that movement, and taught my sister and I sometimes in secret, as it wasn’t always legal in the states we lived in. For highschool, I attended a tiny religious school, graduation was me. Any time I want a class reunion, I just pat myself on the back. Between that, my parents’ penchant for living as rural as they could manage, and not having a television, I grew up American as apple pie (with butter crust, or streusel topping, I can make both) but outside the mainstream culture. I still don’t always get pop-culture references and sometimes have to have them explained to me. Film references bewilder me, unless it’s to the Marvel movies, those have been fun to watch.


I discovered Sarah through the Baen’s Bar forum, which I found back around 2000 through my desperate search for something, anything, to read. I was stuck at home with a baby, then two, then three… I couldn’t drive, and had limited access to the library. Like a lot of you, for me reading is like breathing. I just had to have it. So I was an early adopter of ebooks, and when I found the Baen Free Library, then the Bar, I realized that for the first time I’d found a true home. It wasn’t until years later, when Sarah articulated the “Odd” principle, that I could put it into words, but today, I can proudly stand up and say:


“Hi, my name is Cedar, and I’m Odd.”

58 thoughts on “Introducing Cedar Sanderson, Raiding Party Member

  1. *wondering if we should call you Bones… esp with the ‘not getting pop culture references’ part.

    1. I’ve read and enjoyed Kathy Reich’s books for years. Did you know they were books before TV? LOL… Yes, I actually have watched the show, one of my daughters enjoys it a lot. Had I time and money, I’d pursue a doctorate in forensic pathology, but that isn’t the plan, I need to finish school and ‘get a real job’

      1. I indeed knew that there were books before TV. Though I will say that when I was in elementary school, watching a lot of Sonic the Hedgehog on TV actually made me go out and read Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels.

        1. I was specifically referring to the books Bones is based on, there. But that’s cool, I wasn’t able to get my kids to read Redwall. I thought it was a neat concept, just I was too old for it.

          1. I feel a little too old for it myself, but the stories still stick out in my mind even today — the rat pirates, Martin the Warrior, the “blood-wrath” of the badgers, all of it. It’s quite memorable indeed, but maybe that’s just because I read them when I was ten.

              1. Makes sense. We’re all influenced by the stuff we encountered as children, for good or ill.

            1. *cough*
              You ain’t never too old to enjoy a well-written book, with vivid descriptions, well-defined characters and energizing plots.

              This is especially true for writers who can steal copy lift learn from and adapt his technique for adulter works.

              1. Time to re-read “Wind in the Willows”. “Just nothing quite like messing about in boats” said Ratty. I’ve been messing about in boat ever since.

  2. I always like hearing the ‘background’ story on someone. Sounds like you lived interestingly.

          1. A good attempt. But shouldn’t authors be able to write their own blurbs and copy? It’d certainly save money. 🙂

          2. You know, Kim du Toit was doing life stories for people at one time, based on interviewing them. I’d bet that his experience would make him a good candidate for doing something like that. Don’t know if he would be willing to do something like that, nor have the slightest idea what he would charge someone, though.

      1. Oh, yes, the dreaded “tell me something about yourself.”

        I’ve had to work with my kids that when their composition tells them that, they are really more interested in *how* they write, not *what* they write, and to figure out a way to twist the instructions so they can write about what they want, not dig in their heels and refuse to do it.

        1. It is a good skill to learn, however. A lot of adult life is “selling yourself” and I don’t mean the easy way. Job interviews, resumes, even, yes, bio write-ups are all a necessary evil.

        1. A military recruiter lied to you? I find that highly dubious and am now inclined to distrust any other assertions you make.

                  1. Bottom enlistment age is 17, with consent of legal guardian. My guess is he heard the delightful accent and thought “Commie spy!!”

                    1. I still think that a non-citizen who wasn’t even a resident alien would have a hard time enlisting. Especially if they were only 18, and their whole family, including their immediate family, was living in a foreign country. It may have technically possible, but would’ve entailed much more paperwork than the recruiter was willing to go through.

                    2. If I had enlisted at 17 my life would’ve been quite different. I could’ve met my future husband during a posting to Montgomery. I don’t know if I would’ve made it through basic, but I might’ve. Any time I’ve been in a truly demanding situation in my life, I’ve done well. I’ve spent my life avoiding hard situations.

                      Sorry for the TMI guys! It is what it is.

      1. I was 27 when I went into the Navy– so I was older. I wonder sometimes what it would have been like to go in at 18. Nowadays I think that going in later was good for me.

    1. I had no TV till I was eight and not just because it was rare in the village. Mom thought it was a fad and it would pass. Even after we had it, I was only allowed to watch the Sunday Matinee (think movies from the forties and fifties US) and Saturday afternoon cartoons — mostly merry melodies.

      1. Good thing she didn’t have to contend with video games. Not that I think video games are bad, of course, but their entertainment value is far different from television’s.

      2. I was ten before we had a TV channel we could actually watch (watching one from 100 miles away just wasn’t very good — remember, this was about 1956. Even the local channel was fuzzy, and everything was in black & white). I discovered the local library when I was in second grade, and from then on out I had a recurring history of late fees. I don’t watch television at all now, since even the softest sound drives me up the walls. Saved by ebooks! There are enough free ones I can download that I haven’t been to the library in six months, and to the local bookstore only twice in that time period. Of course, each trip to the bookstore resulted in my buying six or seven books!

        1. Amazon has a program where an owner of an eBook title can loan that book out for 14 days. I think (am not sure) that the recipient doesn’t need a kindle. I buy tons of eBooks, so if you would like me to loan you one, I’d be more than happy.

  3. Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

    I see what you did there.

        1. You have to write a story that would have appeal, of course, but your furniture assembler or aircraft factory worker would have skills that you could use to their advantage in the story, even if it’s the ability to move more quickly through a warehouse or factory floor in order to catch the person they are pursuing, or else they could actually be in the factory where they work, and use knowledge of the works to trip up the bad guy so he could be captured.

          It might not be an epic battle, but it could still be an interesting read.

          1. If your experience is in designing model radio-controlled aircraft, perhaps you find yourself aboard a transport plane that crashes in the Sahara, forced to cannibalize the plane according to your designs. Might be a movie in that.

  4. Cedar –

    There are a lot of things in your story that I can relate to, but also lots that are different from my life story.

    I attended the NYC public schools, and as a result of their teaching methods I got out of the 3rd grade totally unable to read. That summer my mother hired someone to teach me to read. She taught me using phonics and that did the trick. I read everything I could lay my hands on, and by 6th grade was reading 12th grade level. Can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had learned to read earlier.

    We had no TV. My parents thought it was evil. We eventually moved into a house with a built-in TV, but it was rarely turned on.

    Did not discover C.S. Lewis and Narnia until college. It probably would have done me a lot of good if I had read it at a younger age, but it and his other books did make a huge impact on me.

    While in school I thought I hated to write. When I got my first computer I discovered I really hated correcting and editing what I wrote, not the writing itself. Electric Pencil on the TRS80 made it easy to edit, and changed my opinion about writing.

    Thanks for sharing. Knowing the background helps a lot with understanding what someone writes.

    1. TV was minimal during my childhood, too, pretty much limited to weekends and holidays. Then again, it was the 90s, before high-speed internet and ubiquitous smart devices.

  5. OT: but of interest from Instapundit
    “Under Obamacare, I went from being a successful, self-sustaining small businessman,” Zack told me, disdainfully, “to now signing my kids up as dependents of the state.”

    That’s not a bug it’s a feature! (my paraphrase)

  6. ” It’s also trained this introvert-by-nature how to get up and perform like a wild extrovert.”

    There is no need to get a job for that, that is what vodka is for.

    1. I can make anybody pretty
      I can make you believe any lie
      I can make you pick a fight
      With somebody twice your size

      I been known to cause a few break ups
      I been known to cause a few births
      I can make you new friends
      Or get you fired from Work

      [1st Chorus]
      And since the day I left Milwaukee
      Lynchburg and Bordeaux France
      Been making the bars lots of big money
      And helping white people dance
      I got you in trouble in high school
      But college, now that was a ball
      You had some of the best times
      You’ll never remember with me

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