*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.”