[sticky post]Who Am I?
ME
deatwood
When D.E. Atwood was in second grade, she finally grew tall enough to see the shelf above the mysteries in the bookmobile. She discovered a rich landscape of alternate worlds, magic, and space and has never looked back from the genres of fantasy and science fiction.

When she was twelve, she declared that she was going to be a writer, and share the stories that she saw happening all around her. She wanted to create characters that others would care about, and that would touch their lives, like the books that she read had touched her own life.

Today she has combined her interests, creating genre stories about the people who live next door, bringing magic into the world around us.

When not writing, D.E. Atwood is a mother (to two children and a cat), a wife, a reader, a knitter, a systems administrator, a roleplayer, and a music aficionado. Sleep, she claims, is optional.

Why A Midsummer Night's Dream?
ME
deatwood

JB asked in a comment: Did you feel naturally drawn to telling a trans* character's story through/with Shakespeare? Were the World Mine, for example, felt very natural for a gay romance because of the original concept of Shakespeare's productions, with all the parts being played by males, and because A Midsummer Night's Dream's male characters seem, at least to me, at least a little inherently fey (literally and in personality traits). I mean, there's even a gay joke in one of the protagonist's names: Bottom, which makes me giggle on the inside every time I say or read it. What about Midsummer inspired you to tell Jordan's specific story, if anything?

It was actually the combination of Dream and Twelfth Night, which is how Pepper's involvement in the play came about with her writing the mash-up.

I have always wanted to write a YA story with Dream as a backdrop, in part because it had a big influence on one particular fall semester of my own high school life, and in part because of other stories I saw which had been influenced by it (although not Were the World Mine; I actually watched that on Netflix either after Jordan's story was written or after it was plotted, I don't remember exactly). There is something about Puck's magic that has always drawn me in, and to me, Dream seems to be the epitome of the concept of Fairy magic gone wrong. And that lies at the root of the Shakespearean comedy, where everything seems so simple on the surface, but then nothing is exactly as it seems.

And that theme is perfect for Jordan's story, except… Dream doesn't have the gender themes that appear elsewhere in Shakespeare's work. For that I needed to dig into Twelfth Night, which I fell in love with when I was just a kid and saw it performed. I always loved the character of Viola/Cesario, and the questions that the role brought up along with the mistaken identity and the questions of what it meant to fall in love.

I knew Viola was what I wanted to use as my device for Jordan's story, but I wanted to mix that with the actual magic of Puck. Which meant, for me, rereading both plays and extracting what I needed from them (I carried around both scripts in my laptop bag for months, actually, with notes scribbled in the margins).

For me, in the end, the real root was Shakespeare himself. The stories he told were more than just comedies or histories or tragedies. He included social commentary couched in entertainment, and he was brilliant for it. And some roles, like Viola, were already very meta just by their creation: every actor in the play was male, so there was a male, playing a female character, who then played a male role during the course of the play. He poked at gender roles constantly, just as he poked at the fickleness of human emotion. He was a natural fit for a play that push at those boundaries, which then allowed for the story to be told around it.

Also, that was an awesome question, and one I really enjoyed answering! And if I didn't actually say enough, please poke at my words and ask new questions. :) Sometimes I forget things. Okay, often I forget things, I have a brain like swiss cheese.

Thank you for stopping by to chat!


Where did Jordan come from?
ME
deatwood

I answered this Ask on tumblr, and since I wrote a rambling essay instead of a quick response, I wanted to post it here as well.

christophermossworld asked: OK, you're on. I'll ask. How ddid you get to bee so brilliant? I am reading "If We Shadows", and I'm blown away. What a perfect use of the gender beending in Shakespeare. And how do you know what it's like to be me, a transman? Seriously, how did you come to write Jordan?

First things first: THANK YOU. I’m seriously blushing, and so thrilled that you like Jordan and his story. He is a character of my heart and I was so nervous and have been happy with how people have received him.

I’ve taken three days to answer this because the short version is: it’s complicated. The slightly longer version (still minus all the details) is that every writer has something they do well, and something they have to learn… for me, characters have always been the thing I can create, and plot is my serious weakness. So it’s actually difficult for me to explain exactly where Jordan came from, but I’ll try.

Most of this is going to come through a filter created decades ago, before vocabulary became what it is now, and I apologize if any of it is offensive by today’s standards. I am trying to explain through the way I saw the world (and was taught to see the world) as a child, because in the end, that’s a lot of where Jordan came from.

(This got long, let me put in a “more” thingy so it doesn’t take over everyone’s dash…)

Read more...Collapse )


Reading & Signing at Flights of Fantasy
ME
deatwood

I have scheduled a reading & signing at Flights of Fantasy in Albany, NY on Sunday, April 27th, at 4pm. Yes, it's so new that it isn't even on the schedule yet.

Come and see me! Get a button! Have cookies! (Trust me, the cookies are worth it). Also visit an awesome genre bookstore with a staff that really knows their SF&F, YA, romance, and mystery. New books, used books, and games… I have loved this place since I was in grad school 20 years ago.

Now to decide which pieces I shall read as excerpts… anyone have an opinion what would be fun without being spoilery?


There's still time to win!!
ME
deatwood

Cover Art for If We Shadows

Two weeks ago If We Shadows was released, and I'm still celebrating!

I didn't have as much time to publicize the contest as I'd have liked, so I'm extending the time to enter. From now through Sunday, March 23rd, you can still take a chance on winning a signed copy of the paperback! Five runners up will win an ebook copy, and all who win a book also get a set of eight buttons with quotes from the book.

Interested? I certainly hope so!

All you have to do to earn entries is talk to me. You can find me on Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter and Livejournal and of course, my blog! Drop me a note and ask a question about the book, or about my writing, or why I chose any part of the book to write about (Jordan, theater, magic… pick anything!). You can ask me about non-writing things (want to know about tae kwon do? be careful, because I talk about it a lot!). You can leave Jordan a birthday card! You can just say hi if you want. Feel free to leave me existential rambles; I will definitely be amused. All I ask is please keep it PG-13!

For every place you hunt me down (FB, Tumblr, Twitter, LJ, here) you can earn another entry, up to five entries total including one for the picture (and don’t forget, just by showing me you have the book, you can have a button of your choice). However, DO NOT leave your address anywhere public. PLEASE remember to be safe online and protect your information (things I say to my own teens on a regular basis).

For the record, liking/following on the various social platforms is NOT required. While I would love for y’all to stick around and listen to me chatter, I am not requiring it. That said, I hope you pull up a chair and set a while, and enjoy the company. And if you do win, I very much hope you read, enjoy, and then share your opinion of the book.

ALSO! If you already own a copy of the book (ebook or paperback), if you show me your book (you do not have to be in the picture), I will happily send you a button of your choice. The designs are below (let me know which one you would like)!

CoverArtButtonCave-Man-Speak2 Speechless FearLies

TrueToThyself TruthOfHeart TrueSightButton WeAreWhoWeAre

Hope to hear from y'all soon!

IfWeShadows_headerbanner


Look what I've got!!
ME
deatwood
[And again, posting late… I'll get this figured out eventually! I wish I could just cross-post automagically.]

Look what I've got!! And there's still time to win one for yourself!

20140311-180948.jpg

My author's copies of If We Shadows arrived today, and one of those is earmarked for the grand prize for Jordan's birthday. If you haven't yet, go read the directions, say hi, drop comments, visit me in different places. You could win an ebook or a signed hard copy, plus buttons! (Doesn't everyone love buttons?)

I can't even say how excited I am to hold my book in my hands. I feel like I've been looking forward to this my whole life (okay, since I was twelve or so, but still, that's a LONG TIME). It's beautiful. The quality is lovely.

And when I look around, I see people reading it, and I'm thrilled to see Jordan's story out there.

If you're wondering what comes next, I'm in the midst of outlining a new book and completely rewriting another, both of which will take me a while to get done. I have a lot of ideas and writing is honestly such a huge part of my life. Can't imagine not doing it! It's kind of like breathing.

If you haven't already stopped in to celebrate Jordan's birthday, I hope you will.

Blog tour!
ME
deatwood
[NOTE: I just realized that I forgot to cross-post this here. I'll get this all figured out at some point, I swear.]

Okay, it's a mini-tour, but it's MINE, right? I'll be traveling around a few blogs, with excerpts and articles, and as they post, I'll come back here and link to the other blog posts. The dates are rough (and I'm still writing things!).

Saturday, 3/8 - An excerpt at KitMossReviews
Tuesday, 3/11 - An article at MadisonParkLove
Thursday, 3/13 - an excerpt at MB Mulhall's blog
Saturday, 3/15 - a TBD blog post at JackieMorseKessler

Also, if you happen to be in the northeast, I'm working on setting up a reading at Flights of Fantasy and I will definitely post more details when I have them! We are still discussing dates, etc.

And don't forget, Jordan's still celebrating his birthday, so stop on in and say hello. And of course, pick up your copy! It's available from Amazon and B&N as well as directly from the publisher. Speaking of which, yet another thing that is cool to see:

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 1.24.01 PM

See, that's me! On Amazon! [ETA: It occasionally makes it up to #20 which puts it into the FIRST PAGE of new fantasy YA… which is SO COOL… and YES, I KNOW, I sound like a total newbie.]

When does it stop being the COOLEST THING EVER to see my book in places where other people's books are too?

I kind of hope the excitement last a long, long time.

 

Commit to the Kick
ME
deatwood
I could keep talking about Jordan… and you know I want to! But while I will urge you to go to his birthday party and of course, please feel free to spread the news about him, I'll leave that for another day. Today I'm going to talk about how hobbies impact life (and in this case, writing)

You may or may not already know that I do tae kwon do.

I started almost four years ago as a way to try to improve my fitness, and maybe lose weight. My son already did it, and had been doing so for three years. I'd considered starting up after his first year but I felt that I was too fat, too out of shape, too broken, too short… everything a TKD athlete shouldn't be. So I didn't. Then at that magical three year mark, Master Yun offered a Mother's Day special to all moms in the audience at graduation.

I decided that was my stick in the sand, accepted the free uniform and free month, and started class. And I loved it (still do). It was better than step, better than spinning, better than running (WAY better than running, and yet, I cannot ESCAPE the running thanks to tournament team). And in June, if all goes as planned, I will get my black belt (my son is second dan now, if you're curious).

But this post isn't about that.

It's about what I've learned from TKD along the way.

In June, as a part of getting my black belt, I'll need to write an essay on what TKD has meant to me, or what I've learned from it, or a variation on that theme. So I'm starting to gather up my thoughts now. Also, I have known for a long time that I plan to commemorate my black belt with my first tattoo--a quote and a belt on the inside of my left wrist. The quote, however, eluded me. What words were something that summed up TKD for me?

Then I was at a tournament team practice (yes, I'm on the tournament team, and YES, I go to tournaments and compete) and I was struggling with a new technique. We had to be in close (in the clinch) and then lift up one leg and somehow magically kick our opponent in the head. From point blank range, which means pretty much using non-existent twisty-bendiness to get the point. And I was doing it slowly, trying to suss out how I might be able to contort my body and have a hope in hell of getting my foot up that high on a target that was only a foot from my own face. And Master Nash walked by and saw me struggling, wobbling, and failing. And he looked at me and he said, "Commit to the kick."

Don't attempt it. Don't try it. Commit to it.

Assume that it will work and do it.

I'd love to say that I scored a perfect head kick on my next try, but not so much. I'm still not that bendy. BUT. I did get a lot closer, and the faster and harder I kicked, the more I trusted myself to just do it, the better I got.

It's good advice.

The last tournament I competed in, I went in with a few simple goals: (1) I wanted to make it through an entire round with being outscored on a mercy gap, (2) I wanted to score with a spin back kick, and (3) I wanted to score a head kick. I was terrified (as usual) and my coach (one of our black belt teens) said that was good, because he was always nervous, but to just go in and DO IT. And I said commit to the kick and vowed to do just that. And I did. And guess what?

I didn't score a head kick (although I certainly waved my foot in her face and made her get out of the way) and I didn't score a spin back, but I made it through two solid rounds AND I won gold. GO ME!

Commit to the kick is valid. It's true. TRUST YOURSELF.

It's not just good advice on the mats, either. It's great advice for writing.

I've taken some time off from original writing, working on side projects that y'all will never see because they aren't meant to be published. I'll talk a little more about those another day (without examples, sorry). The reason I did that was because I needed to re-learn how to trust my instincts, and how to just write, without pre-rejecting myself, and without trying to second guess all the editors/agents/etc. out there who might read (and either love or hate) my work.

I needed to learn how to commit to the kick.

I needed to learn that sometimes you have to sit down with your idea and just write it. Don't worry about whether it's salable. Don't worry about whether a reader will rant about something being wrong, or want to cuddle it all day. Don't worry about whether an editor might fall in love or turn it away after one page. Just don't worry.

Don't worry about failing.

Throw that kick wholeheartedly and with everything you have behind it, and do it.

Because that's the only way to win.

When I falter in my writing, when I worry about my characters and my plot… when I sit down and the words huddle behind walls in my brain, afraid to come out… I whisper it now: commit to the kick.

And I put words on the page, one after the other. No matter how hard it is, I do it. Because that's how it works.

Those are the words I'll put on my wrist this summer. Those are the words that I will always carry with me, and that I will look at when I need to be reminded. Those are the words that I will live by, both on the mats and in my office.

Commit to the kick.

Because I can do it.

And by the way: so can you.

Happy Birthday, Jordan!
ME
deatwood
It's time!!

It is Thursday, March 6th, and it is time for If We Shadows to go out into the wide world, into the hands of strangers, and be read.

I'm nervous. :) Just a bit!

BUT! I am also dancing around the house, celebrating and excited to share with you! I'll be taking a small blog tour, and I'll get that schedule posted shortly, but before I head on out for that, I wanted to get the party started here. And this is the kind of party where you get gifts!

For the next week, you can earn up to five chances towards prizes, AND you can score a button outright. How? I'm glad you asked...

If you buy a copy of the book (either the trade paperback or the ebook) and show me that you have it (a picture of your hand holding your ereader or the paperback is perfectly valid, I don't need faces and would prefer that you be safe online!), I will send you a button! You can pick from one of eight designs, all quotes either from or inspired by the book.

CoverArtButtonCave-Man-Speak2 Speechless FearLies

TrueToThyself TruthOfHeart TrueSightButton WeAreWhoWeAre


You will also be entered into the drawing to win a prize! I will be giving away five full sets of eight buttons plus an ebook, as well as the grand prize of a signed (personalized!) copy of the trade paperback (contingent on when I receive my copies) plus a full set of buttons. And there are many ways you can win!

All you have to do to earn entries is talk to me. You can find me on Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter and Livejournal and of course, my blog! Drop me a note and ask a question about the book, or about my writing, or why I chose any part of the book to write about (Jordan, theater, magic… pick anything!). You can ask me about non-writing things (want to know about tae kwon do? be careful, because I talk about it a lot!). You can leave Jordan a birthday card! You can just say hi if you want. Feel free to leave me existential rambles; I will definitely be amused. All I ask is please keep it PG-13!

For every place you hunt me down (FB, Tumblr, Twitter, LJ, here) you can earn another entry, up to five entries total including one for the picture (and don't forget, just by showing me you have the book, you can have a button of your choice). However, DO NOT leave your address anywhere public. PLEASE remember to be safe online and protect your information (things I say to my own teens on a regular basis).

For the record, liking/following on the various social platforms is NOT required. While I would love for y'all to stick around and listen to me chatter, I am not requiring it. That said, I hope you pull up a chair and set a while, and enjoy the company. And if you do win, I very much hope you read, enjoy, and then share your opinion of the book.

The party will be going on for a week, and on Friday, March 14th, I will draw the winners randomly from the pool of entries.

That's it! So please, settle in, have some virtual cake and enjoy the party and chat with everyone. Ask questions, introduce yourself, talk to me! I love talking to people, especially about writing. And of course, GO FORTH AND READ!

The store is open, so head on over to to Harmony Ink (and their parent press, Dreamspinner) where you can choose to buy either an ebook or the trade paperback (don't forget, the first 20 paperbacks ordered will be signed!). Jordan is waiting for you, and I hope you enjoy his story!

Birthday Parties! You get the Gifts!
ME
deatwood
Not only is my book having a birthday party, but so is Harmony Ink Press!

Harmony Ink Press is hosting an anniversary bingo party in honor of the press turning two. Go take a look and read some great books for a chance to win a Kindle Fire.

And of course, on Thursday my book will be born and I'm celebrating with a party, and yes, once again, you have a chance at gifts! I am hard at work making buttons, and there will be various ways that you (yes, all of you!) can claim one for your own.

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Come back here on Thursday (or any of my social media locations) and have some virtual cake and join in the celebration, and possibly go home with a gift. I hope to see you then!

If you want to get me (and Jordan!) a birthday gift, head on over to to Harmony Ink (and their parent press, Dreamspinner) where you can pre-order either an ebook or the trade paperback (don't forget, the first 20 paperbacks ordered will be signed!). The book releases on Thursday, March 6th and you will be able to download an ebook then (I think if you order the trade you get a copy of the ebook too), and the paperbacks will be mailed out. Go forth and read!

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