Nikki & Me

Nikki McClure makes incredible art with nothing more than an X-acto knife and black construction paper. The beauty, emotion and complexity she creates with these simple tools are why she’s such a renowned and beloved artist.  Her cover art and chapter-heading illustrations for Closer to the Ground capture the spirit of the stories, and bring a visual beauty that I couldn’t have even imagined. I’m stoked to have Nikki’s art as a part of this book.

I was also happy to see her at the Olympia, WA reading at Orca Books on Saturday. Actually, the whole day was awesome. Orca Books had a great crowd, there were lots of excellent questions and we sold every copy of Closer to the Ground in the store. We also got to spend some time with Nikki’s family after the event, and then the Sweeneys (great friends who appear in the book) hosted a tremendous feast with bacon-wrapped teriyaki salmon and oven-fried razor clams. What a day. We drove home late at night tired, thankful and with spirits flying high.

To check out more of Nikki’s art, click HERE.



Forest Gold

After the Oregon book events, I was happy to be home. Spent most of the weekend on farm and house chores, but found a little time to wander around in the woods in a driving rain storm. It felt great. The kids were at a birthday party and Stacy was at the farm, so I went looking for chanterelles at a very relaxed pace. Scouted a new spot (nothing), went to an old favorite (very few), and finally ended up at our most reliable area (a few more).

I’m not sure if there were pickers ahead of me or if the late arrival of our autumn rain kind of closed the window on chanterelles, but given the conditions, I thought I’d find more. Pretty tough. The ones I did find, though, were dandies. Mostly deep in the ferns, very few under the huckleberry shrubs or in more open spots. After a couple of hours I was soaking wet, covered with fir needles and carrying about a pound of chanterelles. Just enough for an awesome pizza (more on that in the next post) with some in reserve for salmon/chanterelle linguine later this week.

BOOK UPDATE: I will be at Village Books in Bellingham on Tuesday, October 30th at 7:00pm. Then at Orca Books in Olympia on Saturday, November 3rd at 3:00pm. Come on out if you can–I’d love to meet you in person. Also, I feel honored to have Closer to the Ground reviewed in Publishers Weekly today. Click HERE to read the review.