2015 Christmas Letter: Naughty

We are chagrined to hear that you’ve been naughty, but… we admit we’re not completely surprised.

We hope that the naughtiness is of a fun or societally scandalous nature and that it brings pleasure to you and yours.

Failing that, we hope you see it in your heart to follow the wonderful examples set by so many who preceded you, and atone.

We have it on good authority that said heart really can grow three sizes today.
Either way, we trust you’ll get busy. Cheers to a wonderful 2016!

DashingCardEmailSize(Much thanks to Mark Oshiro and Baize White, and the inspiration of internet publishing phenom Chuck Tingle.)

2015 was a strange year in many ways – it was spent closer to home than usual, and deep in thought for the future. We saw many guests, attended many events, and ate a lot of delicious food. Lee took to wearing glasses most of the time (and while he cannot yet bring himself to consider actually wearing the bifocals, it seems a fair guess that that time will come sooner than he’d like).

Guests:

We had several major slumber parties this year, the first being the Librarian’s Slumber Party in March when our house was headquarters to librarians coming into town for the ACRL Conference. June saw a full roller derby team down from Seattle, courtesy of Liz “Betsy Nails” Argall, a member of the Socket Wenches. And we again had a full house in October when more friends from Seattle came down for Orycon. It’s a good thing we have lots of flat spaces for people to sleep on! Right now the record for the most people in our house at one time is at 7 (plus the 2 of us) for 9 warm adult bodies. No one has yet tried to sleep on the massage table, but there’s always 2016….

We also hosted many more friends this year as well as some delicious lunches and dinners with friends passing through (and hope to continue opening our house and giving tours in the coming year): Ang, Rose, Gail, Miko and Jackson, Alaina and William, Erika, Kristina, Jaym, K and Tamra, Andy and Merrill, Debi, Priscilla, Leighton, Laura, Liz, Scott, Kat, Katelyn and Janelle.

Conventions:

We planned to stay close to home this year, and we didn’t really intend to attend so many gatherings. Oops?

1. The one big exception to our “Year Without Jet-Lag” was Lee’s Guest of Honoring at Arisia in Boston. We knew it was off to a great start when Lee collaborated with Nora Jemisin to create the Blue Lotus from her Dreamblood books for the Arisia badge. Lee was honored that Nora got the Lotus as a tattoo!

Nora'sTattooWe saw so many lovely friends in Boston, both at the convention and out in the chilly and slightly snowy city. Crystal took us to the MFA and we saw their Goya Exhibition along with Olivia and Mark. After the museum, Venetia got to hear Mark read from his book and turned many shades of red while laughing at his reading bad romance fan fiction. Meanwhile, Lee enlisted Barb, Grey and Kat to assemble and frame 50 pieces of art for the art show and, later, hang those (and the additional 50 Small Gods). We could never have hung the whole show on our own, but thankfully Michelle, Talia, Jacob and others toiled while Lee began his first day of programming.

ArisiaArtShowPanorama2. April saw us up to Seattle for Norwescon. It was especially busy this year as Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin was the Writer Guest of Honor and the halls were stuffed to (or past) capacity. The brilliant Julie Dillon was the Artist Guest, and we were lucky to come home with one of her large canvasses.

3. CthulhuCon brought the too-long-absent Paul Komoda to Portland. We were extremely glad to use Paul’s trip north as an opportunity to make him a glorious coloring book to sell (adult coloring books are currently all the rage, but we just wanted to create something so that Paul’s fans could take a little bit of his extraordinary work home with them).

CthulhuCon2015Trio copy copy4. Lee later attended a most unusual and inspiring convention in Portland: The World Domination Summit. This (ironically-named) convention took the place of San Diego Comic Con on Lee’s calendar for the first time in a decade, and will do so again in 2016. Our dear friends K and Tamra were going and graciously invited Lee to go with them and we were delighted they did! He had a marvelous time and was very inspired and motivated by the many creative people he got to meet and listen to.

5. August saw us struggling through the fiery gates of Mordor to the World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane (which was, at that time, surrounded by a ring of terrible forest fires). We made the most of our one breathable afternoon to explore the park and the gondola over the falls that had been built for The World’s Fair in the 70s, but other than that it was not safe to venture outside. Venetia and Liz may look slightly shady in the picture below, but going out without a facemask was like breathing pumice! The red sun you see below is, if anything, less red than it appeared to all of us in Spokane.

6We finally met the outstanding Jim Wright, the blogger better known as Stonekettle Station, and bought one of the  wooden asterisk ornaments he made for the event (it adorns our Christmas tree even now). We wrote a more detailed accounting of our World Con adventure at the time.

IMG_2621 copy6. Lee was a guest at the Cascade Writers event in Seattle, educating traditionally and self-published authors about the work of designing cover art and design.

7. Lee designed the poster for this year’s 20th HP Lovecraft Film Festival as he had the 10th, a decade back. Having won the previous year’s version, he couldn’t compete in the live painting competition/demonstration, but he looks forward to a spirited return next year.

HPL2015onlineThe undoubted highlight of that show was that it brought our beloved friends Janelle and Katelyn to stay with us in Portland. We spent as much time with them as we could, with adventures at Powell’s, the Audubon Society, and the Rose Garden. The perfection of that day is hard to even comprehend as Portland enters its 24th day of rain, but hopefully the pictures tell the story.

JanelleKatelynRoseGardens2015(Photos by Janelle.)

8. Lee attended Portland’s own Orycon where he displayed more than 40 pieces, hobnobbed with old pals, and met several wonderful people.

9. Ambercon NW at Edgefield was marvelous as always. Lee’s t-shirt design this year featured the Unicorn (much to Venetia’s delight), and Lee ran his first game in the long history of his attendance there. This year the demonstration of taiko drumming by Murray and Emma (coincident with the celebration of their 30th anniversary) was an especial highlight.

Ambercon201510. While we did not attend the Rose City Comic Con, we enjoyed two of their after-parties immensely – the first, Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-men’s fabulous Days of Future Past bash, the second Stephen and Nicolle’s costume soiree.

11. Venetia and Tracy made several trips to Seattle, however the one for the fabulous Drinks with Authors event after Emerald City Comic Con and the drive up in a rented Prius stand out particularly. While Venetia enjoyed the video game aspects of driving this strange hybrid vehicle, she still prefers our older and less flashy Honda Civic.

Some highlights of the year:

Rob and Lisa figure largely in our highlights of the year – showing us an amazing time in Seattle, Port Angeles, the Olympic Mountains and Victoria BC. Below are three panoramas shot on our phones.

PanoramasThey introduced us to the wonders of the game Legendary and despite Lee’s noted antipathy to games involving “too much randomness and luck”, it quickly became part of our every day routine. As much as we love the game for it’s storytelling, background and math, I think it’s safe to say that we enjoy its collaborative nature most of all. We are pretty fierce team! On average Lee wins every 4/5 games but that just means Venetia can do an extra dramatic victory dance whenever she beats him.

IMG_2206Liz Argall also introduced Venetia to the dopamine pleasures of Neko Atsume and Venetia is now very devoted to checking on her cats in her zen garden and buying them all the best toys.

IMG_2426When birthday-girl Alaina B visited early in the year, she took Venetia to her first strip club. The ladies had a splendid time enjoying the artistry of pole dancing, and were impressed by the skill and musical taste of the dancers (one girl danced to a Firewater song!)

We attended our friend Marysia’s astonishing Renegade Birthday Party and were entertained late into the night so by many talented people – jugglers, poets, acrobats and singers. Lee’s modest contribution was a rendition of Monty Python’s classic Not Noel Coward Song.

While we never seem to have the time we’d like, we managed to see several memorable TV series and movies, Agent Carter, Daredevil and part of Game of Thrones and AntMan, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spy, and Song of the Sea.

Venetia made an apple pie when Miko and Jackson came to stay with us on the day of pie singularity. Not only did we enjoy the pie, we shared it with Lis via the miracle of the internet.

After much debate and consultation we bought a new washer and dryer – the kind that sings when it’s done. Venetia can now do several loads of laundry in one day and is still thrilled by the power.

The abundance of our garden this summer was overwhelming. Literally. We were able to satisfy many friends and the most delightful flock of cedar waxwings with our two crops of figs and Venetia had fresh raspberries every morning for breakfast for almost two months.

2015RaspberriesPostmodern Jukebox visited Portland two times this year, at the Crystal Ballroom. While standing at the front of the crowd and dancing was splendid, we both appreciate the view and relaxing in the balcony on their last trip. Ariana Savalas’ whistling and Sarah Reich’s tap-dancing elevated their version of Bad Romance to new heights.

As usual, this year’s Laurelhurst Yard Sale was (as usual) a huge success! We found everything we were looking for, from a drinks hutch for Liz (requested that very morning, the first item we saw, and hand-delivered by the previous owners in their truck. My, but we love this town!) to the gilded kimonos seen above in the Worldcon photo, to a gorgeous old piano stool (We didn’t know we were looking for it but it was absolutely necessary!)

This fall, Petra led an expedition to the magical bra shop in Portland – The Pencil Test.
Venetia will happily take anyone who needs a proper fitting bra to this fine establishment.

With Halloween impending, Lee figured the time had come for his best Roy Batty. Happily the remaining hair cooperated with the nice lady at the salon, and the lighter tone seemed to go over well in all corners, though he was bemused to have people ask if he was costuming a character from friend Chris Roberson’s TV series I, Zombie. Apparently the key to a successful Blade Runner costume is to carry a rain machine with you at all times. The movie is so much more about atmosphere than mere accoutrements….

22740000365_f95a99fd88_oNews on the work front:

At long last the Doom saga has been laid to rest! In June of this year, the FTC came out with their first ruling on Kickstarters with the Doom that Came to Atlantic City. While it was a major news item, we are happy to move on knowing that the game is out and available and it is a relief to know that justice was finally served. Many stars finally aligned, for the three game creators to be in the same place for the first time ever:

DoomLee was on several podcasts this year but our favorite was the interview on creativity.

Venetia has started volunteering at a daycare and is greatly enjoying her time spent each week holding tiny babies and reading stories to them.

Progress continues on Starstruck, Lee received the final pages from Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta this month and, even as you read this letter, is (with the invaluable help of James Ratcliffe) hard at work finishing them.

StarstruckLee created almost 2 dozen pieces for this year’s Months of Love and Fear challenges, even as last year’s adorable trick-or-treater (the adorable Rowan) found his way into Stephen Jones’ The Art of Horror.

ArtofHorrorSome delightfully random and fun work was created this year, and a great many portraits. Lee was able to do another cover for the fabulous Elliott Kay, as well as see previous covers go on to new heights with Amazon and Audible.

2015PaintingsThe Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan Volume 2: Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea came out and it looks great next to the previous volume. Subterranean Press does the most elegant design for their books, and Lee is grateful that collaboration with Caitlin, Bill and Yanni always yields such fine results.

OilDarkSea31Below is the latest painting for 13th Age – with pencil work by the amazing Aaron McConnell. It’s our favorite dragon painting to date.

GMScreenOnlineMiscellany:

Lee continues to attend yoga three or more times a week. After guiding Lee’s practice for more than three years, the marvelous Sarah and her husband moved to Idaho at summer’s end. It occasioned an excellent party thrown by her grateful students, but she will be much missed.

Venetia got a keyboard and enjoys playing scales on it (she swears she’ll get some YouTube tutorials this year and graduate to actually playing songs!) There were many milkshakes and crepes at one of our favorite food carts in Cartopia and due to mix-up in shake orders, Venetia has now replaced the dulce de leche shake with their strawberry shake as her new favorite. Our other favorite food cart in Portland is just around the corner and Vivi’s Yummy Rolls was especially outstanding in providing pho-to-go for Venetia’s colds this winter.

2015TreeKnown Adventures in the Coming Year:

Well it promises to be busy! These are the places we know we’ll be for sure, several conventions are still pending confirmation.

March 24-27: Norwescon in Seattle

June 30-July 3: Westercon in Portland

August 11-14: World Domination Summit in Portland

August 25-28: Bubonicon in Albuquerque NM – Lee is the Artist Guest of Honor

November 3-6: Ambercon NW

And as always, please let us know if you are in Portland! We would love to see you, show you around, put you up if you need a place to stay.

2015 Christmas Letter: Nice

Congratulations, you’ve been GOOD this year.
That’s so important, and we thank you for your goodness.
May kindness, charity, and love continue to attend you and yours in 2016.

Nice Card B 20152015 was a strange year in many ways – it was spent closer to home than usual, and deep in thought for the future. We saw many guests, attended many events, and ate a lot of delicious food. Lee took to wearing glasses most of the time (and while he cannot yet bring himself to consider actually wearing the bifocals, it seems a fair guess that that time will come sooner than he’d like).

Guests:

We had several major slumber parties this year, the first being the Librarian’s Slumber Party in March when our house was headquarters to librarians coming into town for the ACRL Conference. June saw a full roller derby team down from Seattle, courtesy of Liz “Betsy Nails” Argall, a member of the Socket Wenches. And we again had a full house in October when more friends from Seattle came down for Orycon. It’s a good thing we have lots of flat spaces for people to sleep on! Right now the record for the most people in our house at one time is at 7 (plus the 2 of us) for 9 warm adult bodies. No one has yet tried to sleep on the massage table, but there’s always 2016….

We also hosted many more friends this year as well as some delicious lunches and dinners with friends passing through (and hope to continue opening our house and giving tours in the coming year): Ang, Rose, Gail, Miko and Jackson, Alaina and William, Erika, Kristina, Jaym, K and Tamra, Andy and Merrill, Debi, Priscilla, Leighton, Laura, Liz, Scott, Kat, Katelyn and Janelle.

Conventions:

We planned to stay close to home this year, and we didn’t really intend to attend so many gatherings. Oops?

1. The one big exception to our “Year Without Jet-Lag” was Lee’s Guest of Honoring at Arisia in Boston. We knew it was off to a great start when Lee collaborated with Nora Jemisin to create the Blue Lotus from her Dreamblood books for the Arisia badge. Lee was honored that Nora got the Lotus as a tattoo!

Nora'sTattooWe saw so many lovely friends in Boston, both at the convention and out in the chilly and slightly snowy city. Crystal took us to the MFA and we saw their Goya Exhibition along with Olivia and Mark. After the museum, Venetia got to hear Mark read from his book and turned many shades of red while laughing at his reading bad romance fan fiction. Meanwhile, Lee enlisted Barb, Grey and Kat to assemble and frame 50 pieces of art for the art show and, later, hang those (and the additional 50 Small Gods). We could never have hung the whole show on our own, but thankfully Michelle, Talia, Jacob and others toiled while Lee began his first day of programming.

ArisiaArtShowPanorama2. April saw us up to Seattle for Norwescon. It was especially busy this year as Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin was the Writer Guest of Honor and the halls were stuffed to (or past) capacity. The brilliant Julie Dillon was the Artist Guest, and we were lucky to come home with one of her large canvasses.

3. CthulhuCon brought the too-long-absent Paul Komoda to Portland. We were extremely glad to use Paul’s trip north as an opportunity to make him a glorious coloring book to sell (adult coloring books are currently all the rage, but we just wanted to create something so that Paul’s fans could take a little bit of his extraordinary work home with them).

CthulhuCon2015Trio copy copy4. Lee later attended a most unusual and inspiring convention in Portland: The World Domination Summit. This (ironically-named) convention took the place of San Diego Comic Con on Lee’s calendar for the first time in a decade, and will do so again in 2016. Our dear friends K and Tamra were going and graciously invited Lee to go with them and we were delighted they did! He had a marvelous time and was very inspired and motivated by the many creative people he got to meet and listen to.

5. August saw us struggling through the fiery gates of Mordor to the World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane (which was, at that time, surrounded by a ring of terrible forest fires). We made the most of our one breathable afternoon to explore the park and the gondola over the falls that had been built for The World’s Fair in the 70s, but other than that it was not safe to venture outside. Venetia and Liz may look slightly shady in the picture below, but going out without a facemask was like breathing pumice! The red sun you see below is, if anything, less red than it appeared to all of us in Spokane.

6We finally met the outstanding Jim Wright, the blogger better known as Stonekettle Station, and bought one of the  wooden asterisk ornaments he made for the event (it adorns our Christmas tree even now). We wrote a more detailed accounting of our World Con adventure at the time.

IMG_2621 copy6. Lee was a guest at the Cascade Writers event in Seattle, educating traditionally and self-published authors about the work of designing cover art and design.

7. Lee designed the poster for this year’s 20th HP Lovecraft Film Festival as he had the 10th, a decade back. Having won the previous year’s version, he couldn’t compete in the live painting competition/demonstration, but he looks forward to a spirited return next year.

HPL2015onlineThe undoubted highlight of that show was that it brought our beloved friends Janelle and Katelyn to stay with us in Portland. We spent as much time with them as we could, with adventures at Powell’s, the Audubon Society, and the Rose Garden. The perfection of that day is hard to even comprehend as Portland enters its 24th day of rain, but hopefully the pictures tell the story.

JanelleKatelynRoseGardens2015(Photos by Janelle.)

8. Lee attended Portland’s own Orycon where he displayed more than 40 pieces, hobnobbed with old pals, and met several wonderful people.

9. Ambercon NW at Edgefield was marvelous as always. Lee’s t-shirt design this year featured the Unicorn (much to Venetia’s delight), and Lee ran his first game in the long history of his attendance there. This year the demonstration of taiko drumming by Murray and Emma (coincident with the celebration of their 30th anniversary) was an especial highlight.

Ambercon201510. While we did not attend the Rose City Comic Con, we enjoyed two of their after-parties immensely – the first, Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-men’s fabulous Days of Future Past bash, the second Stephen and Nicolle’s costume soiree.

11. Venetia and Tracy made several trips to Seattle, however the one for the fabulous Drinks with Authors event after Emerald City Comic Con and the drive up in a rented Prius stand out particularly. While Venetia enjoyed the video game aspects of driving this strange hybrid vehicle, she still prefers our older and less flashy Honda Civic.

Some highlights of the year:

Rob and Lisa figure largely in our highlights of the year – showing us an amazing time in Seattle, Port Angeles, the Olympic Mountains and Victoria BC. Below are three panoramas shot on our phones.

PanoramasThey introduced us to the wonders of the game Legendary and despite Lee’s noted antipathy to games involving “too much randomness and luck”, it quickly became part of our every day routine. As much as we love the game for it’s storytelling, background and math, I think it’s safe to say that we enjoy its collaborative nature most of all. We are pretty fierce team! On average Lee wins every 4/5 games but that just means Venetia can do an extra dramatic victory dance whenever she beats him.

IMG_2206Liz Argall also introduced Venetia to the dopamine pleasures of Neko Atsume and Venetia is now very devoted to checking on her cats in her zen garden and buying them all the best toys.

IMG_2426When birthday-girl Alaina B visited early in the year, she took Venetia to her first strip club. The ladies had a splendid time enjoying the artistry of pole dancing, and were impressed by the skill and musical taste of the dancers (one girl danced to a Firewater song!)

We attended our friend Marysia’s astonishing Renegade Birthday Party and were entertained late into the night so by many talented people – jugglers, poets, acrobats and singers. Lee’s modest contribution was a rendition of Monty Python’s classic Not Noel Coward Song.

While we never seem to have the time we’d like, we managed to see several memorable TV series and movies, Agent Carter, Daredevil and part of Game of Thrones and AntMan, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spy, and Song of the Sea.

Venetia made an apple pie when Miko and Jackson came to stay with us on the day of pie singularity. Not only did we enjoy the pie, we shared it with Lis via the miracle of the internet.

After much debate and consultation we bought a new washer and dryer – the kind that sings when it’s done. Venetia can now do several loads of laundry in one day and is still thrilled by the power.

The abundance of our garden this summer was overwhelming. Literally. We were able to satisfy many friends and the most delightful flock of cedar waxwings with our two crops of figs and Venetia had fresh raspberries every morning for breakfast for almost two months.

2015RaspberriesPostmodern Jukebox visited Portland two times this year, at the Crystal Ballroom. While standing at the front of the crowd and dancing was splendid, we both appreciate the view and relaxing in the balcony on their last trip. Ariana Savalas’ whistling and Sarah Reich’s tap-dancing elevated their version of Bad Romance to new heights.

As usual, this year’s Laurelhurst Yard Sale was (as usual) a huge success! We found everything we were looking for, from a drinks hutch for Liz (requested that very morning, the first item we saw, and hand-delivered by the previous owners in their truck. My, but we love this town!) to the gilded kimonos seen above in the Worldcon photo, to a gorgeous old piano stool (We didn’t know we were looking for it but it was absolutely necessary!)

This fall, Petra led an expedition to the magical bra shop in Portland – The Pencil Test.
Venetia will happily take anyone who needs a proper fitting bra to this fine establishment.

With Halloween impending, Lee figured the time had come for his best Roy Batty. Happily the remaining hair cooperated with the nice lady at the salon, and the lighter tone seemed to go over well in all corners, though he was bemused to have people ask if he was costuming a character from friend Chris Roberson’s TV series I, Zombie. Apparently the key to a successful Blade Runner costume is to carry a rain machine with you at all times. The movie is so much more about atmosphere than mere accoutrements….

22740000365_f95a99fd88_oNews on the work front:

At long last the Doom saga has been laid to rest! In June of this year, the FTC came out with their first ruling on Kickstarters with the Doom that Came to Atlantic City. While it was a major news item, we are happy to move on knowing that the game is out and available and it is a relief to know that justice was finally served. Many stars finally aligned, for the three game creators to be in the same place for the first time ever:

DoomLee was on several podcasts this year but our favorite was the interview on creativity.

Venetia has started volunteering at a daycare and is greatly enjoying her time spent each week holding tiny babies and reading stories to them.

Progress continues on Starstruck, Lee received the final pages from Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta this month and, even as you read this letter, is (with the invaluable help of James Ratcliffe) hard at work finishing them.

StarstruckLee created almost 2 dozen pieces for this year’s Months of Love and Fear challenges, even as last year’s adorable trick-or-treater (the adorable Rowan) found his way into Stephen Jones’ The Art of Horror.

ArtofHorrorSome delightfully random and fun work was created this year, and a great many portraits. Lee was able to do another cover for the fabulous Elliott Kay, as well as see previous covers go on to new heights with Amazon and Audible.

2015PaintingsThe Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan Volume 2: Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea came out and it looks great next to the previous volume. Subterranean Press does the most elegant design for their books, and Lee is grateful that collaboration with Caitlin, Bill and Yanni always yields such fine results.

OilDarkSea31Below is the latest painting for 13th Age – with pencil work by the amazing Aaron McConnell. It’s our favorite dragon painting to date.

GMScreenOnlineMiscellany:

Lee continues to attend yoga three or more times a week. After guiding Lee’s practice for more than three years, the marvelous Sarah and her husband moved to Idaho at summer’s end. It occasioned an excellent party thrown by her grateful students, but she will be much missed.

Venetia got a keyboard and enjoys playing scales on it (she swears she’ll get some YouTube tutorials this year and graduate to actually playing songs!) There were many milkshakes and crepes at one of our favorite food carts in Cartopia and due to mix-up in shake orders, Venetia has now replaced the dulce de leche shake with their strawberry shake as her new favorite. Our other favorite food cart in Portland is just around the corner and Vivi’s Yummy Rolls was especially outstanding in providing pho-to-go for Venetia’s colds this winter.

2015Tree

Known Adventures in the Coming Year:

Well it promises to be busy! These are the places we know we’ll be for sure, several conventions are still pending confirmation.

March 24-27: Norwescon in Seattle

June 30-July 3: Westercon in Portland

August 11-14: World Domination Summit in Portland

August 25-28: Bubonicon in Albuquerque NM – Lee is the Artist Guest of Honor

November 3-6: Ambercon NW

And as always, please let us know if you are in Portland! We would love to see you, show you around, put you up if you need a place to stay.

Welcome to Amber

Ambercon2015

My t-shirt design for this year’s amazing ACNW.

The party’s over. But for 4+ days it roiled and raged – bringing a 150 of the smartest loveliest people to the same glorious location – McMenamin’s Edgefield.

There were, as usual, 7 different “slots”, ranging from 4 – 7.5 hours in length. While most slots were made of collaborative story-telling games, many were based on “real” commercial roleplaying games (like Amber, Over the Edge, Phoenix, Monster Hearts, Night Witches, et al.), but others were made up on the spot, or so heavily altered from their source materials that they stood alone. It was my pleasure to play in many of them, because, in addition to the 7 official game slots, some were played in Slots -2, -1, 0, and 8. So, diligent attendees (more than a few of whom travel from the UK and beyond!) might well have attended 10 games. I can only salute such focus.

Among the 150 slots, there were periods for board games, knitting, pub-crawling, and many more. I “ran” in 2 slots. And the first of those was not about playing games at all – rather it was about making artwork for games. Several of the participants don’t consider themselves artists in any formal sense, but I do not exaggerate when I say they were some of the most impressive and open-minded people I’ve ever gotten to work with. Several seemed to level-up in their respective styles and I used the 4 hour slot to create a scratchboard portrait of my character from ACNW honcho Simone Cooper’s epic game Court Dances. Happily, great reference saw me through, and the timing worked out very well!

AndrosIn my second GM slot, I ran a proper game. Inspired by the classic Big Trouble in Little China
Here’s a piece of the game summary:

“Have you Paid yer dues, Jack?”
“Yes sir, the check is in the mail.”

You’ve known Grandpa Jack for a long time now. Most of your life really.
Heck, you even remember before his hair all went gray and he lost his eye (He said it was in a poker game, but then he would say that). Any time he’d breeze back into town, he’d visit with your folks, staying up late, drinking down whatever was on offer, showing that crooked grin, and telling the most amazing stories. You got to know some of his stories pretty well, especially his favorite, the one about the ancient ghost of Lo Pan, the brides with green eyes, all those ninjas flyin’ around on wires, cutting everybody to shreds. The one that always ended with “You can bet we shook the Pillars of Heaven that day….” It might not have been the best story you ever heard, but there was something in the way he told it… Hell, he must’ve told it a million times.

You hadn’t seen ol’ one-eyed Jack for a few years (life gets busy when you get busy with your own adventures after all) but it seems Jack didn’t forget you. Where there’s a will, there’s a dead relative. And this time Jack Burton is that relative.

The Last Will and Testament of John Milton “Jack” Burton will be read at 4pm on Sunday, February 19, 2034.

Please join me and your fellow legatees in the sight of Tin How
125 Waverly Place San Francisco, California 94108 (Fourth Floor)

My sincere condolences,
宽限期法皇后

Character & Player Instructions: Characters are intended to be aged 16-30, and all young legatees of Jack Burton (some might be grandchildren, others godchildren, friends’ children, et al.).

And here’s the invitation the 6 players they received when they signed up:
1TinHow1When I painted Lo Pan for Month of Fear, it was very much with this game in mind:

7bLoPan
Unlike years past, I drew a lot during this year’s gathering. Here is the the redoubtable Erik Endress (The Marvel of Princeton), from Christopher and Kat’s massive BLACKMOOR game.
ErikAnd here, the insignia of Blackmoor’s HQ, both drawn during the game.

RedDome3Murray’s mythic game, Shih no On (The Face of Death) allowed me to revisit the deeply serious Akamu, 穴熊 badger spirit and sumi-e master:

AkamuAs the game (now in it’s 5th serial session in 6 years) progressed, my ink pen worked to sum up the elegance and beauty of the game. And while I inevitably failed, the attempt was appreciated by Murray and Emma, his wife and fellow Game Master. On Wednesday (Slot -3?) it had been my pleasure to attend the Taiko drumming demonstration and hear the renewal of their wedding vows (originally exchanged 35 years previous). I had the additional honor of being a villain in Emma’s Middleman game. I don’t mean “I got to play a villain” because her game is so popular, and can only accommodate a few players, I’ve never even gotten to play her game. But happily that didn’t stop me from being a character played by Emma in her own game. I was running Big Trouble in Not-So-Little China while she ran her game this year, and I admit that menacing two groups of players simultaneously defied expectation. But so deep was I into my own tale, that when people stopped me in the hall and mentioned my villainy I was momentarily baffled….FaceOfDeathAnd here is a portrait of Sara Mueller’s ancient dragon (who I mostly know as Jun):      JunThis is the t-shirt design I adapted for the big finish of Murray’s game:

Ambercon2015 BlackBlueDIn addition to all the art and games, there was excellent food and company, sometimes in the Soaking Pool, sometimes in restaurants and bars. And for the big unexpected finish – a glorious game of Monsterhearts that Rose ran in the previously-unexplored Slot 8.

The party’s over; most of us are already planning the next one.
But what to put on the shirt….

VILLAINY – Just in time for Halloween!

Mr. Dark, Lo Pan, Baron Samedi, Maleficent, and The Blue Meanie.
Mister Burns, The Count,  Pharoah, Sir Edmund Blackadder, Futura, der Sabbat, The Mirror, and Pumpkin Spice

If you (or indeed anyone you know) would like to order a Halloween print ($75, highest-quality giclee 8.5″ x 11″) this month, please send me a note. And if you want to see more of this sort of thing, would you please Like and Share them where you can? Thank you!Malificent

MrDarkLoPan    BaronSamediBlueMeanie

Of course these pieces came from my annual participation in Kristina Carroll’s marvelous Month of Fear

But because I wanted a full deck of Villains for Solitaire’s Tarot, I got…. well, a little carried away:

MontyBurns TheCount BlackAdderMirrorderSabbatPumpkinSpice

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing this bunch of no-goodniks as much as I enjoyed making them.

Spokane 2015 – The World Science Fiction Convention

Usually, I’d be writing a long and hopefully entertaining journal about the whole amazing show. But given the events of the last few days (the midnight to 4am ER visit with one dear friend and the trauma work with another, the break in and theft from our car, the still inexplicable internet oddness, and related maladies), I have time only for a brief photo essay:

The crossing of the Columbia River Gorge past Ellensburg, and the horse sculptures upon the hill:
1Step 1: Pass out the 2 full boxes of Voodoo Doughnuts to the Convention volunteers:

2Below Left: I made the little flyer on the right to highlight the Small Gods I had on display, and to suggest that the Art Show might contain unexpected surprises.

Below Right: Most of the crack team (Venetia, Kim and Tracy) that put up my always-complex display in the Art Show:3Many a lovely being! Debi Chowdhury used Venetia as a model in her Sari-tying Class.

Crystal Huff was happy to see us, even before her bid to host the 2017 Worldcon in Helsinki Finland so spectacularly crystalized. ;)

Liz Argall always looks sharp in a black suit. The black mask would not be needed on that day….4Venetia was a woman of many disguises – from the wee fairy hat to the replicant infiltrating the bizarre Kubrick Film that was Spokane’s Grand Hotel, to her rarely-glimpsed Moomin-form (rendered here by the delightful Goldeen Ogawa):5One does not simply expect Mordor. Spokane was, like Johnny Cash, in a burning ring of fire. The sun was red, the air unbreathable, and the idyllic walk across the park to our hotel? Unthinkable. And that’s where the masks came in. Colette and our kind friends at the DC bid committee supplied the fabric. We wetted it down and shared it with Liz (because sharing is caring in any emergency or apocalypse):6Below Left: The me of today with the me of decades past – as seen in Christine Valada’s excellent series of SF Portraits.

Below Right: Me desperately trying to use a PC as I engage in a REDDIT “Ask me anything”:10Now, I had a feeling Daniel Patrick Moran might be a geek. But I had no notion that Jim Wright (aka Stone Kettle Station) was. Here – at the midpoint of the convention – was the first meeting of the firm of Moran, Wright and Moyer:7Saturday, a miracle occurred and the Apocalypse was called off. In gratitude we went and rode the Sky Ride – one of the few features left from the well-loved Expo ’74:8 9The night of the contentious Hugo Awards, we dined with Mark, Baize and Tempest – eventually shutting the slightly seamy (if delicious) Teriyaki House down. When the metaphoric smoke cleared, all was right with the world – and so many of the good people won! Here is the wondrous Wendy Wagner holding her ceremonial mace upside down (for safety no doubt – she is wise):11As we took down the remnants of the art show, we couldn’t help but notice this tiny bird. How clever to seek breathable air inside the Convention Hall!:12After the closing pool party and the good affordable food (where had that been for the rest of the convention?), we wandered to Meg and Will’s room in the Kubrick, and were treated to splendid conversation:13There was ever so much more of course, but my clients are no happier with my delays than I am, so it’s back to work for me!

I am very grateful to Jean and Rob Carlos for their fine opening dinner, and their hosting Cards Against Humanity. But also for the thorough convention reportage that they (and the marvelous Carol Berg, Jim Wright, Vandy Hall, Stacy, and so many others) have written. Here’s to future meetings!

Spokane History

I was last in Spokane in 1974. For the World’s Fair.
Before I arrived, the state of Washington and the rail-hub city of Spokane did a massive amount of work:

expo1_t620Spokane1973

View from helicopter, Expo '74 World's Fair Spokane

View from helicopter, Expo ’74 World’s Fair Spokane

41 years later, I returned for the World Con.
I anticipated the removal of most of the fair buildings, and the reclamation of that land as park, but I looked forward to exploring those changes. It should have looked like this:

riverefrontInstead, because of the record fires surrounding Spokane, staying at a hotel across the waterways and park (which had seemed such an idyllic notion just days before), proved a fascinating challenge when the going got tough.
One does not simply …expect Mordor:

CMz94J0UEAEqL2C

Le Morte d’Artiste

The Germans probably have a word for it.
But in English the closest I can get is “the feeling you have when someone speaks your heart far better than you can”. And its sad addition “and the feeling you have when they die”.

Terry Pratchett’s death (or should I say Death?) was long in coming – Alzheimer’s is a cruel and truly terrible thing. Many of you know Sir Pratchett’s writing, and some of you the man himself. And while I could single out Small Gods as my favorite of his works, I was never sorry I read even one book of his.

That I associate him with Stephen Colbert may seem bizarre, but I do. I well remember watching Colbert’s Press Club evisceration of George W. Bush, and that exact moment when he went all in – the look in his eyes that told me he hated the mendacious suckfish of the U.S. media as much as the policies of the killers they were failing to report accurately about. And not only that he got it, and was taking a rare moment to speak truth to power, but that he was simply better at all of it than I was. There are many reasons of course, but I cannot shake the idea that it’s because the real Colbert so adeptly used the character of “Stephen Colbert, right wing press hack” as a mask. The way Pratchett used all the hackneyed tropes of fantasy and fiction to tell true stories about all the things that matter.

I’d heard tell of Discworld for several years, but we’d never really “met” before I read Good Omens, his collaboration with the esteemed Neil Gaiman. But once begun, Pratchett’s oeuvre proved hard to put down, and after a couple decades of reading, I was asked to be the artist guest of honor at The North American Discworld Convention. By then I was ready.

But the sad truth of Pratchett’s Alzheimers diagnosis had just been revealed, and Pratchett stayed home. Rather than have a few drinks with the legions of adoring friends, fans, and families, Pratchett sent a high-tech “hello” from across the briny and the likes of Bernard Pearson to keep things lively. (Trying to match wits with Bernard was a highlight of not just that convention, but the entire year).

Pratchett’s Calendar spread shows the not-quite-penultimate one we call ‘November’ but the denizens of Discworld, in their 13 month cycle, call ‘Ember’.
The 8 day week proved problematic, but the double helix makes so many things possible. Nothing was off limits to Pratchett – everything could be questioned, altered and enjoyed.

MonthOfEmberDeath is everywhere in Pratchett’s books (Gaiman’s too, come to that), but some things transcend it – art and love among them.
He left his all on the page. A reformed Om’s blessings to him for that.

LeeMoyer_OmPratchett never got to see these pieces – all from ‘Good Omens’ (and including my favorite joke in the entire book: “Admittedly he was listening to a ‘Best of Queen‘ tape, but no conclusions should be drawn from this because all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into ‘Best of Queen’ albums”). I hope you’ll enjoy them.

AziraphaleCrowley GodSaveTheQueen GoodOmen4Horsemen A&ClogoAdded bonus! The pin-up that goes with the calendar page above.

LeeMoyer_Pratchett

Lee Moyer – Selected Works for 2014 Award Seasons

It’s inescapable. Beautiful art is everywhere and here is some that premiered in 2014 made by yours truly. Please kindly take these into consideration for your award choices.

 

Arisia 2015 Schedule

Having arrived in Boston and already had a splendid day, I realized I need to post a “Where’s Lee”. All the cool kids are doing it.

Friday

7:00pm Map and the Story

Marina 3 (2E)

Maps are a familiar sight in our field, but lately a number of stories have placed maps and cartography at the core of the stories themselves. Maps serve as portals to other worlds, cartographers remake the world in a map’s image, and mapmaking itself becomes a means to discuss the distance between perception and reality, between the map and the territory. Panelists will discuss the ways in which maps and cartography have escaped from the endpapers in recent works of fiction.
Erik Amundsen, Greer Gilman, Walter H. Hunt, N. K. Jemisin, Lee Moyer (m)

10:00pm Art Reception

This is the largest art show I’ve ever done – 100 pieces! Some as large as 4 feet tall! Please come see if your schedules so allow!

Saturday

12:30pm Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes

Grand DE (1W)

I will be the second presentor of an Ig Nobel winning study before I must skedaddle to my own presentation of art.

Highlights from Ig Nobel prize-winning studies and patents, presented in dramatic mini-readings by luminaries and experts (in some field). The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions about the research presented. Answers will be based on the expertise of the presenters, who may have a different expertise than the researchers. NOTE: Some of the presenters will be selected from nominations made in advance by you the fen! Nominate someone here: http://bit.ly/1GfEYQm

1:00pm The Art of Lee Moyer: from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Marina 4 (2E)

35 years of art to show and, hopefully, audience questions to answer.

2:30pm Handling Your Online Image As an Artist

Independence (3E)

How do you create effective online presence? How and where should you sell work online? What social networking tools should you be using, and how? What are best practices for building a fan base and then interacting with them?
Bob Eggleton, Lee Moyer (m)

5:30pm Designing Things That Don’t Exist

Burroughs (3E)

We are always trying to depict the alien, but how far do you have to go to be truly out of this world? When you can’t draw from a model, how do you create a believable fantasy creature or technological object? What artistic techniques help convince the viewer you were there? What in the natural order can you change? Are there rules you should never break?
Lisa Hertel, Scott Lefton (m), Lee Moyer, Mercy E Van Vlack

Sunday

11:30am Inspiration – Art History & Modern Masters

Marina 2

We live in an Age of Miracles and Wonders – the art treasures of the world, past and present, are at our fingertips! Please join Artist Guest of Honor Lee Moyer as shows some of his inspirations, answers questions and signs calendars, games, and/or book covers!

2:30pm Portfolio Review with Lee Moyer

Independence (3E)

I am here to critique your work, answer questions, and possibly make career recommendations. Listen to the critique of others’ works, as you may learn something valuable. (Limited to 10 people. Signup sheet available at con in the Program Nexus on the Mezzanine.)

4:00pm Guest of Honor Tour of the Art Show

Harbor III (3E)

Art Show Tour by our GoH. Limited to 10 people. This is after the auction but before anyone picks up their loot. Come see what you missed with commentary by our Guest of Honor!

8:00pm Masquerade

Grand AB (1W)

The 26th annual Arisia Masquerade. Come watch the entrants perform short vignettes to show off their costumes, and see if your pick matches that of the judges.
Colette H. Fozard, N. K. Jemisin, Lee Moyer

Monday

2:30pm Infamous Bad Book Covers Panel

Marina 4 (2E)

Learning from the tragic past (and ebook present), this panel will hope to prevent future crimes against authors and readers alike.

2014 Holiday Letter

PinUpsJanuary began with preparations for Lee’s big art show of Pin-Ups (featuring more than 3 years of literary calendar art and a few others). Below is one of two longs walls at the Catalyst Studio. And in the next shot, the gorgeous Kiana Phi hangs out with us, and with Miss Kim Stanley Robinson for whom she posed. She has us surrounded!

ShowThe opening presented a splendid chance to meet up with many of our friends as they mingled and enjoyed the delicious cheesecake (and other hors d’oeuvres, natch).
The month ended with a trip to Seattle, where many colleagues and co-conspirators were seen, much fabulous food eaten, and several adorable pets petted.

Guests are marked “G•” and shown in burgundy throughout:
G• Ang, Echo & Her Traveling Troupe d’Arte

February was marked by collaborations with Todd Lockwood: Two paintings in honor of Jeff Easley (one of the original D&D artists), and an unusual Superbowl party where both our “home” teams were playing (like me, Todd grew up in Colorado and now lives in the Pacific NW).  The paintings ended rather stronger than the Denver Broncos, but our other home team won.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 8.17.54 PMG• Gail & Rod

March began with the departure of dear friend Dan Cottle – bound for the wilds of distant Massachusetts. The opening soiree for Kate Ristau‘s book Commas: An Irreverent Primer left us with a new coloring page on our refrigerator (as you know, Lee cannot really be trusted with loose crayons) and a cryptic phrase that might be… a pass code? Mere Dadaist ramblings? Who can know?

DraggyA few weeks after the big Pin-Ups show first appeared, it moved to the Radio Room, site of the original Pin-Ups show some 5 years gone, and we got to spend some time with models Becca and Saamanta into the bargain!

Our friends Tara and Accalia came to stay with us from icy Winnipeg while they attended Rachel Brice‘s intensive belly-dancing masterclass. They were marvelous, even despite their exhaustion and overwork.

We opted for Health Republic (an actual public health co-op) as we sorted out our coverage in light of the ACA.

G• Tara & Accalia

April marked the arrival of The Doom that Came to Atlantic City (just in time for the HP Lovecraft Film Festival!) and the real beginning of Guest Season – Gail and Rod’s visit ending just as Andrew and Anya arrived. The weather was perfect, and a good thing, since Mina and Jamie would arrive from DC the very next day – both couples intent on the HP Lovecraft Film Festival.
Happily, after several years of near misses, Lee finally bested his colleagues at the Film Festival’s live painting demonstration/competition – thus allowing him the right to design the festival’s 2015 poster.

G• Gail & Rod, Andrew & Anya, Mina & Jamie

Doom copyVenetia got a mohawk! She had pondered it for the better part of a year at Lee and Phryo’s suggestion and decided it was the best idea ever. It was… and is!

MohawkCropWith all our guests returned home, we headed back to Seattle that Lee might participate in panels and hang artwork in the show at Norwescon. Artist and Faerieworld’s impresario Robert Gould was this year’s Guest of Honor, but happily past guest John Picacio was in the house too, with Lee rounding out an unlikely trio of Honored Guests. The panel on mapping with Bradley Beaulieu was delightful, and moderator Brenda Carre introduced Lee to the marvelous Carol Berg afterwards (oh, how Lee would love to make the maps for her cartographically inspired books a reality!)

NorwesconHaving done some type design for the von Trapp Family (4 of the grandchildren of the original Sound o’ Music bunch), we ventured out to a local bookstore to see them sing. And while we’d seen them perform with Meow Meow at the Schnitz and Pink Martini in Pioneer Square, the little solo concert was particularly sublime.

The World Horror Convention came to Portland in May. And while we were too busy with work to attend, Lee did put art in the show and pop by the odd party. More importantly, we got to host most of the Illuminaughty – that amazing group of guests we’d met the previous year in Winnipeg. From Mexico, author Ann Aguirre; From Canada, authors Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Chadwick Ginther and GmB Chomichuk – a sort North American Embassy was established here on Alameda Ridge.

Lee created a coloring book and a couple Golden Tickets as part of the party favors for his birthday party and costumed whing-ding at the end of the month. We must again thank the marvelous Jessie and Annabel for hosting, and Ang and Gail and Alanna for abetting! And of course those who could attend. Such good food and idyllic weather!

G• Ann, Silvia, Chadwick, Gregory, and Ang

BirthdayJune. At this point there is precious little we need to acquire, but the siren call of the annual Laurelhurst Yard Sale is irresistible and beautiful objets de art have to live somewhere.

Is there a more curious juxtaposition than ‘Showboat’ and The March Violets? We took in the former at Lakewood Center. The latter came to town (and the menfolk in the band to our house) from England. Sadly, Lee missed meeting up with talented singer (and author) Rosie Garland, the wife of Lee’s friend and collaborator, Aly Fell. Next time for sure!

Larry and Serena’s wedding celebration brought many notables to town – including Dr. Melissa Ganus and her assistant Tara, who we were happy to host. Doctor Mel’s research on children and their cognitive development is quite interesting, and Lee did a little design for her upcoming book too.

G• Tara, Si & Tom

SquidKate Ristau’s birthday Kickball party gave Venetia her first sport’s related injury in years, and cost her a favorite pair of pants (being a ruthless competitor clearly has it’s costs). We enjoyed the ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ with Kimberly, and looked all the more forward to comparing an actual grand Budapest hotel with Wes Anderson’s more fantastic one.

July began with Roxanne’s sublime show of Gummi Bears as the appetizer, and Keith’s birthday the main course. Lee and Kimberly ventured up the Oneonta Gorge, and enjoyed the sushi in Troutdale thereafter (both of which sound oddly like euphemisms now I come to write them….)

We stayed with Ang in her timeshare during this year’s pilgramage to San Diego, and traveled to both the Hotel del Coronado and the San Diego Zoo with her. The San Diego ComicCon was mad as usual, but seemed to peak with the appearance of the amazing Francois Schuiten. Lee gave him a calendar, and Francois drew the hand you see below in pen! And it’s one thing to get your caricature drawn at the mall, but another to get it drawn by the astonishing Bill Plympton!

SanDiegoG• Zan & Sam

In August, we drove down through Salem to see ‘Avenue Q’ with our friend Kim’s star turn as Christmas Eve, arguably the world’s worst therapist. Seeing the Bad Idea Bears try to sell Venetia (sitting on the aisle) on Scientology was especially delightful!

BadIdeaBearsLater in month we were delighted by a surprise visit from Doug & Lisa. Time was shorter than we’d have liked, but so much good food (at Verde Cochina and Laurelhurst Market) and such lovely sights (the Falls, the Hatchery and Bonneville Dam) were taken in!

G• Doug & Lisa, Gail & Rod, Rose

September was our month of adventuring overseas: to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. We’ve written about that journey HERE.

The timing of our trip abroad was specifically designed to put us back into DC in time for Della and Kevin’s wedding in Alexandria  – as well as allowing Venetia to get back to the precious Smithsonian! This time the highlights were largely sculptural, but the exhibit of Andrew Wyeth still lifes was a refreshing break from the Euro-snobbery that so defines the National Gallery. We didn’t plan on having our luggage kept overlong in Brussels, but when we arrived in DC, our luggage did not. The Barkers kept us in high style and we used the opportunity to see everyone we could amid our wild ride around and through the Beltway. This included the Kate and Heather Hanna at Kate’s home in Annandale, and Helen Svensen in Raljon (Actually Landover. Thank heavens the grasping Jack Kent Cooke couldn’t tar the community with his spoiled children’s names forever!). Helen kindly donated one of her late husband’s shirts for me to wear, and directed Venetia to an amazing shoe store. After our stop in College Park to pick up a frame for the wedding gift, we found Ellie at home in Tacoma Park, where we patted her adorable wee rabbit and dined alfresco. Then, we made the mad dash through the dark heart of DC, arriving at the wedding exactly on time. It was a sort of miracle!

You can probably tell how happy we are watching Della and Kevin married:

023DK_blog_-1024x682Despite the three weeks of traveling, we still managed to fill the last weekend of the month with guests from all points, and luncheon with Stephen, Nicolle, Rajuli, Alaina, and Rose.

Though it happened while we were overseas, one of the definite highlights of the month, (and the year in general), was Arisia’s Author Guest of Honor N.K. Jemisin getting a tattoo of the blue lotus design Lee rendered from her description of it in the Dreamblood Duology.

JemisinTattooG• Rajuli, Rose

In October, Lee was invited to reprise his Month of Love with a Month of Fear. Other entertaining projects this month included Lee’s heartfelt tribute to Kim Newman‘s exemplary ‘Anno Dracula’ in the online comic (beloved of Librarians everywhere) Unshelved. (We had found Kim’s ‘Life’s Lottery’ earlier in the year and found it, though completely different from ‘Anno Dracula’ or the ‘Diogenes Club’ books Lee has illustrated, to be quite astonishing. As she navigated the complex and surprisingly meta narrative, Venetia had some bad life experiences that left her bitter. Lee, by contrast, enjoyed his golden life so thoroughly he couldn’t bear to dip back in for results virtually guaranteed to be less pleasant.

We traveled with Tracy traveled down to Salem for a splendid autumn party hosted by Kim and a couple of adorable dogs. Venetia journeyed on her own via Portland’s excellent public transit to see outed-spy and budding-stateswoman Valerie Plame at Powell’s in Cedar Hills.

We attended Halloween Parties hosted by Trinity & Sam, and Stephen and Nicolle. While Lee’s Willy Wonka seemed to go over well, who can compete with Totoro in any form? Much less as Iron Totoro?

HalloweenWe finally replaced our iPhone 3s with iPhone 6s – not because they were lacking or busted, but because the 6 is large enough to serve as a proper little portfolio (well, in Lee’s case 28 different little portfolios), thus allowing us to leave the iPad at home far more often.

Peter Beagle, Connor Cochran and ‘The Last Unicorn’ started our November in style. The following week we flew out to DC for the World Fantasy Convention in Lee’s old suburban Virginia stomping grounds. The Art Show was as fancy as an convention art show could hope to be and there were many parties and delightful people throughout – especially Les Howle’s fine Clarion West Party where I almost tripped over that tightknit Ben Rosenbaum/Lis Argall cabal! We found the private Kelly Collection as inspiring as the Belvedere’s more famous one, and spending quality time among the Pyles, Wyeths, Leyendeckers, Cornwells and Schaeffers was a real honor!
ArtMina’s lovely houseparty provided Lee an opportunity to see some old friends, and meet the marvelous Christine Watson at last. And since she had experienced a flat tire en route from Richmond, we put her up that night in our Crystal City hotel room. Here’s to that extra bed!

Panels were moderated and participated in, with the creme de la creme of artsy society – from British art guest/s of honor Les Edwards/Edward Miller to Irene Gallo to Chris Roberts to Michael Whelan. A good time might not have been had by all in attendance, but we had a fine time indeed. And not just because the mohawked ladies were representing.

WFCBack in Portland, we treated ourselves to a concert by Postmodern Jukebox which is currently the most popular band playing in our house. (Maybe tied with Andy Prieboy, but at least our most recent favorite.) Within the same week, we went to Amanda Palmer‘s book launch which Lee wrote about earlier.

And we continued the tradition of inviting our multi-talented friend Jaym to help us host a Thanksgiving feast:

ThanksgivingJaym proved herself to be an especially amazing friend by sacrificing her computer to Venetia’s lust for Civilization V. The game is addictive as can be, but can also easily be used as a teaching tool to show why the world is in such an ongoing state of disaster.

CivG• Jaym

December started out with Lee deep in the throes of pneumonia (he might well have stayed healthy had not the furnace died amid November’s vicious cold snap) and while taking excellent care of him, Venetia and Jaym had their own adventures in Portland and in Seattle – shopping, visiting friends, and seeing the final night of Todd Lockwood’s art show at Krab Jab Studio. This year also saw the last of Lee’s teeth receiving it’s own golden crown and some festive holiday parties: our neighborhood block party, cookies from Andy & Susie (well, Susie’s Mom), Krampus cheer with Michael and Liv, and a gorgeous family meal the day after Christmas. Venetia also saw Jason Webley‘s return to Portland for his kickstarter tour of ‘Margaret‘. And Ang brought her lovely family up and took Venetia to see the sparkling Zoo Lights.

ZooLightsOur year ended full of parties and friends and we hope to see much more of both in the coming year.

G• Ang, Jordan, Kitra

Work

Lee’s art year in review for 2014 is in it’s own separate blog (to keep this one from being overwhelmed with images) and you can view it HERE.

Harry Palmer: Starstruck with Elaine Lee, Mw Kaluta and James Ratcliffe is not quite finished, but we made some serious headway! And from where I sit, the book is looking like a masterpiece…. Here’s a small sampling of 3 non-consecutive pages:

StarstruckTrioStill-unrevealed: the cover for ‘The Best of Caitlin Kiernan, Volume II’, a board game for Sasquatch games, and the branding for a fabulous wedding in 2015.

Other activities

Yoga

Kickstarters We Supported
Periscope Studio: Maiden Voyage
Grandmother Fish
Margaret by Jason Webley and Friends
Strong Female Protagonist
EVOLUTION: The Art of Rebecca Guay 1993-2014
The Tooles Record
Reading Rainbow

Books We Read
Carol Berg’s Lighthouse Duo
Impulse by Steven Gould
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
Life’s Lottery by Kim Newman
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Passionate Journeys: Why Successful Women Joined a Cult by Marion Goldman
The Shelter Cycle by Peter Rock
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
Dreamwalker by C. S. Friedman

Movies and Shows We Watched
Game of Thrones
Venture Bros: Season 5 (and then re-watched Seasons 3 & 4)
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Rocketeer
Boardwalk Empire
The Tick (the series)
The Lego Movie
The Artist
City of Ember
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Snowpiercer
How to Train Your Dragon
X-Men: First Class
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Winter’s Tale
House of Yes
Sky Captain: World of Tomorrow

Theater
The Last Five Years
Lizzie
Avenue Q
Showboat
39 Steps

New Artwork
Three posters from the Kelly Collection: Pyle’s extraordinary ‘Angel’, Leyendecker’s triumphal ‘Saturday Evening Post’ parade, and Mead Shaeffer’s sublime ‘Count of Monte Cristo’; a stupendously framed print of James Christensen’s ‘Superstitions’; Malachite Glass ashtray-turned-crystal-globe-holder from Prague. Also: Paul Komoda’s Ceratosaurus as well as a mystery commission as yet unrevealed!

Grrr