Repurposing Wawona: Pieces at new exhibit made from ship’s salvaged wood

Jewelry sculpture

Jewelry artists made this piece, titled Travel the Ocean, for an exhibit using wood salvaged from the schooner Wawona.

Earlier this year, I was contacted by Kari Berger of the Seattle Metals Guild, a non-profit arts group with a focus on metalworking. The group was working on an exhibit of jewelry and sculpture made from wood salvaged from the historic schooner Wawona. I published a history of the ship in 2006, three years before she was broken up on Seattle’s Lake Union, 112 years after she was launched in Eureka, Calif.

The Guild will exhibit the pieces at the Northwind Arts Center May 4-29 in Port Townsend, Wash.

I spent several years working on maritime history projects, but none captured my heart quite so much as Wawona. She was launched in 1897 and carried lumber from Puget Sound and Washington coast ports to San Francisco and other California ports until World War I. After the war, fishermen based in Seattle took her to the Bering Sea to fish for cod. Northwest Seaport, the non-profit that once owned Wawona, worked for nearly a half-century to preserve her, but the elements finally won the battle and she was deconstructed in 2009.

Port Townsend’s Northwind Arts Center hosts the exhibit May 4-29, 2017.

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Criminy! What do you think of the header image on my blog?

Header image

I’ve been doing some rethinking about content for my blog, especially in light of the chance that it might become the main platform for promoting my upcoming Carbon Run books. Frankly, I need to make the blog more, um, sexy, and what’s better than an attractive woman that suggests one of the characters in my novels? (I’m not saying who.) I needed an image of a reclining figure that would span the blog horizontally, and I came across one by Toxic Wolf.

What do you think?

What Catholic sci-fi writers can learn from Mormon writers.

Mormon gospel art

Mormon gospel art depicts scenes from the Book of Mormon. It reminds me of a mid-20th century style of science fiction cover art.

An unfinished version of this post appeared earlier by mistake. Apologies for my fat fingers.

A couple of days after Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened, Washington Post contributor Matthew Bowman pointed out a long fascination by the Mormon community for science fiction and fantasy. Some of the most well-known and best-selling writers in the genre today, such as Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card, are Mormon, and Bowman shows how the religion’s history and imagery encourages world-building and an appreciation for larger-than-life characters. I’ve never read the Book of Mormon, but the copy that a young, black-and-white clad man gave to me many years ago was full of “gospel art” rendered in a realistic style that highlighted a calm certainty in their beliefs. It seemed so much like the cover art of the science fiction that confirmed my own belief in science and good storytelling.

(I know what you’re thinking: Mormonism is homophobic, misogynistic, and just this side of looney. Just listen for a minute while I talk about our shared capacity for imagination.)

Reading the article reminded me of my upbringing in Yakima, Wash., where I learned a 1960s Catholicism straining to adjust to the historic structural reforms of Vatican II. My first-grade teacher at St. Paul’s School wore a nun’s habit, as all teachers in religious orders did in those days, and her style of discipline was a mixture of the Spanish Inquisition and Attila the Hun. We studied our faith as it if were a parallel government emanating from Heaven, confessed our sins and attended Mass in the diocesan cathedral, and believed that all other religions were a ticket to Hell. (I don’t remember a discussion of Mormonism specifically, but I’d bet that it was considered an express, first-class ticket, without the free liquor.) Continue reading

1st Seattle Indie Book Fair Dec. 20-21

Indie Book Fair logo

The first-ever Seattle Indie Book Fair is scheduled for Dec. 20-21, 2013 at the A/NT Gallery.

More than 30 independent Seattle authors will gather for the first time at a downtown Seattle art gallery in December to discuss and sell copies of their work to the public. The inaugural Seattle Indie Book Fair is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, December 20-21, 2013 at the A/NT Gallery, 2045 Westlake Avenue, Seattle. Several genres will be represented, including science fiction, fantasy, romance, and literary fiction.

Independent authors are writers who have published novels, poetry, and other works outside of the traditional book publishing industry. Instead of submitting manuscripts to publishers, who then produce the work, independent authors contract directly with editors, cover artists, and printers to publish. Many independent authors sell copies to the public in person or online. Bookstores may also carry their works.

At the Indie Book Fair, authors will present readings and sign books. The fair is an opportunity for readers to meet independent authors and learn about their writing and publishing. Author readings are scheduled 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, December 21, at the A/NT Gallery. More information can be found at

Seattle-based Fuzzy Hedgehog Press is welcoming more authors to the fair. Tables are $20 each and may be shared. Ten percent of sales proceeds will support the gallery. Small presses are also invited to the fair. To register, send email to Fuzzy Hedgehog Press is presenting the Seattle Indie Book Fair in collaboration with the A/NT Gallery, a non-profit, all-volunteer business whose mission is to provide an open venue for Seattle’s arts community.