I am writing this in Keflavik airport, and I hate it here. Luckily we will be leaving soon. Let us speak no more about it. Instead, let me tell you about Iceland and the Future.

Iceland was gorgeous. Majestic and stark and frightening and beautiful. I am much obliged to Icebike Adventures who took us on two wonderful trips on Tuesday and Wednesday, especially our guides Rúnar and Lárus. A+ experience. Here is me and Rúnar trackstanding on a sandstone ridge dragon’s spine:

(Photo: Wonderful Mother.)

Seriously, Iceland is not so much a land where dragons live, it is a land that dragons are. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

And Exhibit C:

On Tuesday evening we rode past some thermal vents (pictured above), and WM exclaimed “This is what inspired myths about dragons, not dinosaur bones!” I don’t think she’s wrong.

This trip also marked another milestone: my first time on horseback since Emmy died. We went riding with Eld Hestar (VOLCANO HORSES) and had a wonderful guide, Anina, who introduced me to Gráman, who taught me how to tölt. It was very fun and very different from any other kind of riding I had ever done and I only cried a little bit. Here we are together:

Looking to the future, next week I return to my backlog of publishing projects that I left behind at the beginning of the month. But I have been inspired and encouraged by the enthusiasm of the readers I met at WorldCon, and look forward to putting together the best books I can as promptly as I can. You can look forward to a new issue of Apsis Fiction, the second volume of Bouragner Felpz, Wheel 1 of Driving Arcana, plus some new Professor Odd singles and… hopefully sooner rather than later… some original novels. Going to be good times.

As far as convention appearances, I’ll be attending Rose City Comic Con in Portland OR September 8-10. This is largely an experiment to see if it would be a good fit to exhibit at, and also an excuse to visit Portland. My final con of the year will be World Fantasy in San Antonio TX, November, where I’ll be under the banner of Heliopause Productions in the Dealer’s Room, with new originals in the art show. They haven’t published their program yet, so I do not know what (if any) panels/readings/etc. I’ll be on. I expect I’ll announce it on Twitter later.

It’s early days yet, but for 2018 Further Confusion is looking like a lock-in, as is World Con 76 (both in San Jose, would ya know!) and of course I’ll be at AnthroCon, as always. Of less certainty, but something I’m hoping for, is Biggest Little Fur Con (Reno NV, in May) and Norwescon (Seattle WA, at the end of March). Of these five, only AnthroCon would necessitate a flight, something I am intensely happy about.

Anyway, here’s a parting shot of Iceland. See you when I get back to my own volcanos.

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I’m writing this in the little dining area across from Upper Crust in Helsinki-Vantaa Int. Airport, with about 30 minutes to boarding, since I just know once we get done with Iceland this incredible weekend will be blown from my mind.

With that in mind: WorldCon75 was absolutely magical, fun, exciting, and overwhelming in the best possible way. The rapid-fire highlight reel:

Getting to take City Bikes to and from the Messukeskus. Our hotel was about 2.5 miles away, but that made for a lovely bicycle ride along Helsinki’s marvelous protected bike lines and numerous cycle pathes. In fact, these pathes were so numerous that the WM and I took a slightly different route each of the four days we did it!

I had forgotten the expansive breakfast buffets of European hotels. That was a nice thing. So many soft boiled eggs!

The con itself was very well attended. So well, in fact, that they ran out of program space on the first day, and had to limit day-pass sales the rest of the weekend. What this translated into for me, however, were some of the best-attended panels I’ve had the pleasure to serve on. I walked into the Diana Wynne Jones panel at noon on Wednesday to find it packed wall to wall. It was a job to keep from blubbering in joy.

The Nordic Steampunk Blacksmiths set up in front of the South Entrance added a special ambiance to the whole venue. It was especially charming catching them putting on their (quite necessary) sun screen on Wednesday morning.

While line-wrangling for George R R Martin’s Thursday signing I fell into a conversation about single malt with a large Finnish man who declared he would “get me drunk” on scotch at some point. I later learned he was the head of security. I feel this more or less typifies my relationship with that department. (Glances sideways at her DI friends.)

It was lovely to connect and re-connect with so many kindred spirits. I know I shall forget some but here are the ones I’ve remembered: Eleanor Joslin, Gili Bar-Hillel and her family (hi, Tali!), Rob Carlos and Lee Moyer and Venetia Charles, thank you for saving the Illustrated Stories panel in the absence of Claire Wendling. It was wonderful to see Mari Ness and to watch the Hugos on twitter in the bar with Scotch and David D Levine, who was so kind as to invite me to the Hugo Loser’s Party, held this year at a bar called Steam Helsinki which felt a bit like the game Eye Spy come to life. There were motorcycles on the ceiling and dozens of hidden crannies. Ironically, I think I saw more of my friends compacted into one place on that night than anywhere else at the con! Not leastly Ursula and Kevin, even if I had to lean over the back of a seat to reach them (as you do).

Thanks, GRRM, for using your powers for good.

I would like to thank Gillian for being the best Gopher Mom I’ve ever had, and every single person who came to the Diana Wynne Jones fan meet. I had fellow fans coming up to me for the rest of the con, and it was marvelous.

Shout out to Ellen (from Germany) and Daniela and everyone who came to the Origami Jam. Also thanks again to Ursula for shouting “I’m your biggest fan!” at my signing. I’m planting that moment in my memory like a landmine for the next time depression invades.

Thanks, Nalo Hopkinson. I will forever be proud and grateful for my freckles.

Kind regards to Tim and Malcom and everyone who skipped the masquerade to come to the Furries panel.

Congratulations to the Dublin Team, good luck to New Zealand (2020) and DC (2021), and very best wishes to San Jose, where you will, barring disaster, find me next year.

To cap off the con the Wonderful Mother and I took a cycling tour of Helsinki’s Solar System Model. I do not have time to recap it here, but you can find the live and after-life twitter string, with pictures, over here.

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The newest member of the Strange Owls [part one, part two] family, this one was inspired by the owl mask made by Jennifer Miller which I purchased last year. I’ve been developing the character as a witchy sort of person, complete with a witchy hat by Chronographia! Watercolor on 8″x10″ paper. Prints available soon!

The original is currently for sale! Please shoot me an email at goldeenogawa@gmail.com if interested, and we can talk pricing and options.

P.S. my real-life Strange Owl character is named Prax. Here she is at AnthroCon this year. Props to Abrahm Lion for the photo!

~G

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Two watercolor commissions, one recent, one… not so recent.

Phoenix Magician. 9″x12″ watercolor. Private commission.

This was a take-home order from AnthroCon 2016, which I had to put on hold for a couple of months while I moved to Bend. I was doing a lot of yoga in defense of my sanity, and the affirmation of eagle pose (Amidst life’s storms, I stand serene) resonated with me. Well, I aspired to it, anyway. Combined with the fact the Sanskrit name for eagle pose, garudasanacomes from Garuda, the Indian Phoenix, and I found myself incorporating it into this work. Looks a little funny with bird legs, but then, it looks a little funny with human ones, too.

Promo art for Matthew Ebel’s 2017 Live Concerts. 12″x9″ watercolor. Commercial commission.

Jumping forward: this is from just before AnthroCon 2017, when Matthew Ebel asked me to do artwork for his 2017 season live show promo posters. He gave me loose enough prompts that I was able to run with them to somewhere I felt was evocative of the feeling of his live shows, if not their exact appearance. I went to my old ally, the Hubble Site, for background reference pictures, but the Ebel Ship, and his costume, are my own creation. Matthew Ebel is a geek piano rock artist, and his next show is on August 25 in Herndon, VA.

Commissions are currently closed due to pre-existing workload, but if you’d like to commission me in the future please read my terms of service. You may also let me know that you are interested, and I will keep you in mind the next time I open for commissions.

-G

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It’s been a whirlwind… life, really. AnthroCon was there at the turn of the month, and as always it was a wild, exhilarating ride. So many good feelings, so good to see old friends again and kindle new ones. I missed Susan, who wisely stayed in the Netherlands this year and thus avoided the harrowing trip through US customs, but my partner in fundraising, Shujin, dropped in and was an immense help on Saturday and Sunday. Shujin and I debuted a quirky live-sketch show part iron artist, part charity auction. Shujin is a DJ and we took prompts from the audience, combined with his choice of song, and I drew them. The results were… as irreverent as one might expect.

Yet through the generosity of our audience we raised ~$375 for AnthroCon’s flagship charity, Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary. I managed to scrape together another $75 from charity brush pen commissions I took, so that’s pretty neat.

Commissions were somewhat lighter than in past years, but those I got were lovely, and sales were good. I under-ordered Professor Odd Season 2 singles, and sold out of Driving Arcana Rotation 1, but I had enough of Season One—though all but one copy has been spoken for now. Anyone want a signed copy of Professor Odd: The Complete Season One? Hit me up!

Oh yes, the Complete Season One is finally out! Here is the cover (I am so proud of it):

I will make a proper art post later with the whole thing. It’s a wrap-around illustration that took me months. Whew!

I missed my partners, who were unable to make it this year due to Boyfriend moving from TX to CA to live with Girlfriend, which necessitated a quick trip down to visit them on my behalf directly after the con. This, combined with the mountain biking camp for girls which I volunteered at last week (put on by Soul Sister Cycling) and I am now woefully behind on summer business. Which business has been compacted by our upcoming trip to Helsinki for WorldCon next month. What ho! Time to get off the blog and back to work! I’m on several panels at World Con this year, not least the Diana Wynne Jones panel and a storytelling/illustration panel with (heavy breathing) Rob Carlos and (heavy breathing intensifies) Claire Wendling. Wish me luck.

Also I have several new pieces of art to share. Expect a bunch of art posts in the coming week. And by expect I mean nag me about it on Twitter so I actually do it.

Thanks.

-G

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see that dark one walking there/see the moon caught in her hair/she’s a ghost among your men/she’s a dark one understand

Portrait of Selene Shields, the Dark Moon • graphite pencil • 12″x9″ smooth bristol board • February 2017

I started this in February, which is Black History Month, and I’m posting it here in March, which is Women’s History Month. Both subjects are pertinent to Selene, who is both. I’ve long wanted to do a sister-portrait to “Woman of Thunder” but was lacking the right visual inspiration for Selene. That came to me while writing one of the recent Driving Arcana stories, where there was a lot of lunar imagery and it occurred to me that a fun visual play could be done with a face side-lit by a full moon—in essence created two crescents. The fact that the moon itself does not shine, but only reflects the sunlight cast upon it, was also influential. People forget that the moon is also a dark one, but even in darkness we feel her pull.

You can see Selene in action in Driving Arcana, available in paperback and ebook from Heliopause. Prints available here!

call her a beast, call her a villain, she’ll find a way to settle the score/she sits in the dark, her finger on the trigger/don’t doubt her blood’s redder than yours

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What a month. I am going to make a blanket assumption that everyone reading this is at least as terrified as I am at the political climate change going on, which is almost as dangerous to the future of humanity as the natural climate change we have even less control over.

But in the tradition of artists in times of crisis, and I am going to keep on doggedly doing what I do, as hard and as best that I can. To that end I’m extremely pleased to announce that Heliopause put out three new titles this month! The long-overdue third rotation of Driving ArcanaProfessor Odd #9, and last but not least the Perihelion 2017 issue of Apsis Fiction! You’ve probably already seen the covers, but I’m going to share them again, because I am so proud of them.

Looking forward to next month (tomorrow—eep!) things are going to be very busy on the Professor Odd front: we have Episode 10, “The Thousand Songs” coming out as a single, and—hopefully—the Complete Season 1 (episodes 1-6). The Season 1 volume is still in the process of being put together, but I can share with you the cover for “Thousand Songs” (which can also be found in Perihelion 2017).


It has been an interesting winter here in Oregon. Snowy and cold, we’ve had a minor respite these past ten days, but the prediction is for another good dump this week followed by rain—and just when the roads were beginning to recover! Oh well. It’s given me an opportunity to put to use the shoveling skills I honed cleaning up after horses as a teenager, and I’ve been keeping in practice for mountain biking by navigating the icy, slushy, snowy streets and bike/ped paths between my house and the gym, where I’m doing weight training and lap swimming. Gary Silver (my hardtail) has been tricked out with studded tires, fenders, lights, and flat pedals, so I can ride him in my snow boots. All this combined has rendered him a more reliable means of transportation that my poor little Fit, who performed beautifully in the snow and ice with her own studded tires, but was bested by the deep slush and has spent the last ten days hiding in my garage. But as this is what she often ends up doing even in good weather, it is of no great loss to me. My trusty Blue Sky Cycle Cart has been sufficient to haul the week’s groceries home from the nearby store, though dodging the potholes on the return journey (for the sake of the eggs) has made these trips quite exciting.

Bend is beginning to feel more like home, and less like some surreal, never-ending vacation. Part of this I am sure is that I have set to work in earnest on the titles scheduled for release later this year, and my studio is at last getting the use it so richly deserves.

And on that note I shall leave this post and return to it!

Ice bikes of Bend! Gary Silver is in the background.

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Members of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Science Fiction Conventions can nominate their favorite works of science fiction, fantasy and/or horror, plus editors, artists, and zines! In the interest of making it easier for fans to support me, here is a list of my works (and where you can read them) that are eligible for a Hugo in 2017—and in which category!

Works eligible for Best Novella:

“Chronostrophe” (Professor Odd #8) (Apsis Ficition 4.1: Perihelion 2016 and Single release)

“Star Walkers” (Professor Odd #9) (Apsis Fiction 4.2: Aphelion 2016)

“Sons of Fire” (Driving Arcana #7) (Apsis Fiction 4.1: Perihelion 2016)

“Dying to Live” (Driving Arcana #8) (Apsis Fiction 4.2: Aphelion 2016)

“By Moon and Star” (Driving Arcana #9) (Apsis Fiction 4.2: Aphelion 2016)

Works eligible for Best Novelette:

“The Goblin’s Fiddle” (Bouragner Felpz, Volume II, #10) (Apsis Fiction 4.1: Perihelion 2016)

“The Silver Chimera” (Bouragner Felpz, Volume II, #11) (Apsis Fiction 4.1: Perihelion 2016)

“The Hidden Road” (Bouragner Felpz, Volume II, #12) (Apsis Fiction 4.2: Aphelion 2016)

Works eligible for Best Series:

Professor Odd (Ongoing in Apsis Fiction)

Driving Arcana (Ongoing in Apsis Fiction)

The Adventures of Bouragner Felpz (Ongoing in Apsis Fiction)

All of these titles were published by Heliopause Productions.

In addition…

Goldeen Ogawa is technically eligible for Best Pro Artist, but thinks that might be pushing it… But it gives her an excuse to show off the pretty pretty covers she made last year…

Nominations are open through March 18, with WorldCon 75’s official announcement to be found by clicking here!

Keep burning

Some thoughts on the recent spate of cultural icon deaths…


It is destabilizing to lose an anchor of inspiration.

Like looking to your lodestar and finding it dark.

Maybe, you feel, a piece of you has also died.

But the fact is we exist in a continuum. We are not fixed points. We are a reaction. A combustion.

We are fire.

Fires burst into life, flare, crackle and shine, and eventually go out.

We are temporary marvels of the universe,

like rainbows

and sun dogs.

But unlike combustion, or rainbows, our consciousness is greater than the physical reaction that creates it.

We are webbed together by our love and passion and fear.

And through this, though the carriers may change, the fire spreads.

The carriers may die, but the fire rises.

It rises through the embers shot out

by those who came before.

Bowie, Lee, Prince, Fisher—whoever your torchbearers were—were and are part of this great conflagration.

And their torches are still burning.

Even as I grieve, I put my hand into that fire

(it does not burn me; I am fire too),

and I rise.

I rise.

We rise.

And shine.

Keep burning.


(adapted from this tweet string; dedicated to the spirit of Carrie Fisher. 🖕🏼 )

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If I’ve been more than usually quiet this last month and a half it’s because I’ve been preoccupied moving to Oregon. Turns out there’s even more to it than renting a large truck, packing up your life’s belongings and driving for twelve hours. There’s insurance and licensing and you find out how much stuff you truly need. Like blinds. Bike stands. Waste baskets. Spare sheets. A vet.

But I seem to be nearing the end of the turbulent times of change. Routine is creeping in again, even if that routine is necessarily different from my previous one. In the space it has lent me I’ve been writing, both fiction and letters, and hanging pictures. I have a studio now, and it is assembled to the point that I might begin working in it soon. Which is good, because we are already behind schedule on Perihelion 2017, and we have another ten titles to publish next year.

Which reminds me, I really must apply for that Business Permit.

Bend is a funny sort of city, which is probably why I like it so much. It was until quite recently not a city at all, and there is a tension here between all the people who want it to stay small, yet at the same time really want to be here and are proud of the place they live in. There are a lot of transplanted Californians, which gives the atmosphere a kind of comfortable familiarity. At the same time, these are largely Californians who have self-selected as the kind of person who is compatible with the Oregonian spirit, which appears to be slower, more relaxed, and less inclined to dance in the streets when it rains. There are many other out of state immigrants, but the common thread I find is that most of us came here from places that were not right for us, and, having found Bend, understand just how lucky we are to be here.

For myself I find I am not only a Californian in Bend, I am a writer in Oregon. I feel myself developing a new (if still not complete) understanding of Ursula K. Le Guin. I think it has something to do with the volcanos and the high desert.

So far I think the thing I like best about it is that, within walking distance of my house, there is a yoga studio, at least two bike shops, a frozen yogurt café and a hardware store, plus more coffee shops and restaurants than there was in the entirety of my old hometown.

Instead of being thirty minutes away by car, the vet is five minutes. I can ride my bike to the farmer’s market. I can also ride my bike to the dirt trails which lead up into and across the Cascades. The place is riddled with off-leash dog parks. The place is riddled with dogs, period.

Many people have asked in perplexity, “Why Bend?” when they heard about the move. But these have uniformly been people who either didn’t know me very well, or didn’t know Bend, or both. Everyone who knows me, who has visited the city, has looked at the quirky cafés, the bike shops, the dogs, the artwork rampant in the roundabouts, and nodded sagely.

“Of course,” they say. “This is your city.”

It’s not, of course. (I only just got here.) But somehow, though I never visited before 2013, I have managed to grow up into the sort of person who lives here.

And now I do.

I run. I bike. I work. I walk my dog over streets whose asphalt is made lumpy from all the roots growing under it. The houses crowd in tightly, craftsman and prairie style or modern custom built with funky windows and odd angles. There are ponderosa pines and quaking aspen. Every garage has at least two bikes in it. And there are dogs everywhere.

Now there’s me, too.

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