Adios 2011, You Weren’t as Bad as I thought…

Yesterday when I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself for not having gotten much done in 2011, I started making a list. What all HAD I accomplished? What had I left behind that I loved best? And the list surprised me.

My book on Lories and Lorikeets was published in February. And I had articles in Bird Talk, BirdsUSA and WildBird.

In January the Inlandia Literary Journal published Homecoming a short story about a loft of pigeons in Banning, California and the places that make us.

I had two essays published at The Rumpus one that dealt with my love/hate relationship with home (and David Grohl) and the other about my grandmother. What We Lost When We Lost Barbara Jean made it on the best of list that week on

I experimented with self-publishing and put together a collection of pieces to accompany the eBook release of Lift. My collection Rise came out in July. Lift continued on its journey and two chapters were included in New California Writing 2011. And I blushed when Zyzzyva thought the chapters were moving. Then I started work on the audiobook, running a successful Kickstarter, finding a recording studio and narrating the book myself. (Now for final edits)

Jessie Sholl, Tom Chandler and ACX interviewed me on their blogs while I mostly neglected my own. Although, I finished a parrot training manuscript and have a couple of other projects in the works.

Also, I made quite a few online friends into in real life friends. And I met Neil Gaiman and found myself remembering why I started writing in the first place.

Maybe most importantly, this summer I flew a Cooper’s hawk and found a new lens for my inspiration.

This is all my personal work. I don’t talk as much about my work as a conservation fundraiser for Ducks Unlimited, although I should. I spend more time working on that than anything else and it is work I am very proud of being a part of.  We managed to save a tremendous amount of NAWCA funding that was on the chopping block. In California we saw the breaching of a levvy in salt flats that had not seen tidal flow for over 100 years. I helped fund work in the Klamath Basin, the San Francisco Bay and the Central Valley of California amongst many other places in the West.

Recently someone asked me if I was truly dedicated to this work, if my plans were really just to wait it out until I was making enough money to live well as an author. I laughed. I buy lottery tickets too, but no one asks if my real plan is to win the lottery. “Aren’t you just working so that you can write?,” he asked. “Are you just working so that you can support your family,” I asked.

Then he asked how I get it all done. The short answer? I’m not married. I don’t have kids. I often wonder how people raise families and work at the same time. He should have asked me why I didn’t get more done. Then I told him that I sit in front of my computer most nights. I almost never watch television. I jot ideas down in between jumping from the shower and getting dressed for work. I write when I go out to eat. I write on airplanes. I daydream about storylines when I’m on the treadmill. I use my vacation time to do readings or to finish writing a project. I haven’t had a real vacation in 8 years. In my free time- I write.

That is how you become an author, but having a job you love helps. It helps a lot. So I am thankful for my free time, but also for a job that allows me to make a difference for something I care deeply about, conservation. So looking back, when everyone said, “Get er done!” I think I did. Happy New Year!

I can’t wait to see what the list for 2012 looks like… I can’t wait to hear what you get accomplished too!!

Bonfire of the Rejections

After duking it out through a bout of pneumonia and finishing a parrot training manuscript, my falconry has fallen to the wayside. Now that I have my free time back, I’m ready to get back in the field, get back to some less technical writing and look back on this year. It’s about time to celebrate the successes, but first I need to burn some baggage.

For twenty years now I have burned all of my rejection slips once a year. Most of my writer friends are horrified by this. Our rejection slips are badges of honor! We are supposed to plaster our office walls with them.

Someday, when we are famous, we are supposed to frighten off wannabe writers with the wave of the despair we road in on. We are supposed to make sweeping soul crushing statements like, “Come back and talk to me when you have 500 rejections. At least one more than I have…” Then we can pour a drink, dim the lights and shoo away our protégé with a curt, “I want to be alone” so we can fill the bathtub with rejection slips and bathe in them. Or something like that. I don’t know. I never really got the “hold on to your pain” philosophy of writing.

The thing is, rejection hurts and hurtful memories are meant to fade. I know this from writing memoir and dredging up those moments of my life that would like to stay buried. It HURTS. Revisiting them is only cathartic if you can find meaning in them and let them go. Otherwise you are just worrying a wound, a dog with a hotspot she can’t stop licking. Otherwise you are just a stripper with Daddy issues, er, I mean, a writer with a grudge, you know what I mean. Nobody became a writer with more depth because they were rejected. They became a better writer because they believed they could be a better writer and they KEPT WRITING.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in getting angry. Life is not fair and it deserves the occasional screaming, ranting tantrum. It’s just that I believe in getting angry and then letting go. So every year on what has eventually become a Solstice bonfire, I go through my rejections one by one and burn them. I find this is even better with a friend. It usually goes something like this:

Rebecca: “I really thought that Dark Cow Lowing with love this piece because it has more cowbell than any other piece I’ve read in that literary magazine. Screw you, Dark Cow Lowing.” Whoosh. Flaming rejection.

Friend: You know… that piece you wrote about that epiphany you had… what was it, “Low and Behold”? That would be perfect for DCL.

R: You think so? Awesome. Thank you! I’ll send it in January!

F: This rejection is from Whispering Christopher Box you know that little online zine that what’s his name from our MFA started? I thought he would want it… I don’t know. I mean, look at this. It doesn’t even have my name on it.

R: I TOTALLY understand. You thought you were helping him out by giving him a piece you hadn’t placed and then when you got rejected not only were you hurt, but you were embarrassed that you thought it was a ringer. That happened to me with what’s her name’s Alula Wind. That journal lasted like one issue. Did you SEE the pieces she chose. Ugh. Here’s that rejection. Let’s burn these together.

F: Hey, is it alright if I burn this “thank you for your interest, we will keep you on file for other adjunct professor positions” letter?

R: Hell ya! Burn, baby, burn!

You get the picture. There is always laughter and sometimes there are tears. It isn’t always easy to let go of rejection. That first rejection for the LIFT manuscript from a big time editor at a big six publisher — the one my erstwhile agent was certain was a cinch said,

“Only falconers will find this of interest.”

Burning that once wasn’t enough for me. The last couple of years I have written that out by hand and burned it again for good measure. This year… I don’t think I need to. I do though, have a few “would you be mine, would you be mine, won’t you be my agent” responses to burn.

I don’t need reminders to bring up the pain. It’s hard enough to let the really cruel twists in life go. Really, most of these rejections aren’t even personal. I don’t need to prove to myself or anyone else that the world has rejected me or that I have done my work. In fact, if someday I’m an “overnight” success. I’ll just be grateful. The road I slogged to get there won’t be nearly as important as the person I will be because of the journey.

I do keep a spreadsheet with my submissions. I note the response and if there was anything personal and encouraging in it. I check back during the year to see if I have sent out as many submissions as I did the year before. I measure my goals by my effort, not my rejections. And if someday how many times I was rejected and how many years I shopped a single piece is important, someone can pull up the spreadsheet and crunch the numbers. Because that’s all they are. Numbers. And me, I’m a flesh and blood writer with a soul. And so are you.

You are Coordially Invited:
Annual Bonfire of the Rejections
Winter Solstice
December 22, 2011
8PM Pacific Coast Time

Receptacle of burning of your choosing. Bring your own pain and flames.

On Falconry and Fantasy

Lift Audiobook Cover

This week I head into the studio to record the audiobook version of Lift that some of you were so wonderful to support. I’m nervous and excited and oddly contemplative about this next step. It certainly isn’t that I expect the book to be incredibly successful in audio, it is more that I am realizing what this book has done to shape my life in the writing and after the publication. For a while I was so crushed by its small readership that I completely missed the force of good it had become in my life.

Jim Butcher (writer of the wonderful Harry Dresden series) wrote a fabulous post on his Live Journal about how writers kill their own dreams. And the subtext is that we somehow completely miss that we are living the dream. My God. How could I have missed that I leveled up? When people ask me, “Really, you have a book published?”  I usually fess up to having published 12 books, but then shrug and quickly add there is no money in it and it’s really no big deal. No big deal. IT’S A BIG FUCKING DEAL. Having a parrot guide that is considered a staple for parrot owners is a big deal. Having a romance novel that finalled for a best first book Holt Medallion is a big deal. Having a memoir that received a starred review in Publishers Weekly is a big fucking deal. I have leveled up over and over in the last twenty years. I’m living the dream and I forget and forget, but something happened this weekend that made that irrefutable.

Twenty years ago I was an undergrad in Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside. I had given up on my Avian Sciences degree because I believe that birds are myth and magic and all the science was killing that for me. I wanted to be a falconer and I didn’t need to take chemistry for that. I didn’t want to be a veterinarian. I wanted to be an author.  I spent the little money I had on falconry books, novels and comic books. It was the early 90s and the story-telling in comics was inspired. I loved the poetry of The Crow, the noir of Frank Miller and no one could tell me that Neil Gaiman’s  Sandman was not literature. I don’t remember, but I am told I held court between classes and gave a treatise so convincing on A Game of You that a friend of mine has given a copy of the graphic novel to every girl he has ever fallen in love with. I learned from Neil Gaiman to embrace that element of myth and magic that can flavor any piece of good writing and I wanted to be an author like him. Neil Gaiman surely would understand how I felt about birds. And fortunately, at UCR no one argued with me about my love of genre as well as literary writing. In fact the first story and poems I had published were in the university’s journal Mosaic -in an issue that included a piece by Ray Bradbury.

Birds & Words

I wasn’t idle about pursuing my dream of being like Neil Gaiman. I somehow wrangled an internship at Image Comics. These were the years when Image had really taken off, a new world order for comic books. I sent a letter offering to do anything necessary – dress like a comic character, bring donuts, wash Rob Liefield’s Dodge Viper. Suprisingly, they offered me an internship doing fan relations that turned into a part time position, but the real pay was in all the free comics and the people I met.  (Having a badge that said I was with Image at the San Diego Comic Con wasn’t bad either. Even if it didn’t get me a date with David Mack.). I read and I wrote and I didn’t break into comics, but I didn’t stop writing.

I also didn’t give up on the birds. I got my falconry license. I flew my first red-tailed hawk. I moved to Florida, trained and presented shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Toledo Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary in Australia and I kept writing. One day Susan Straight, my professor and mentor when I was an undergrad, handed me a stack of papers. I had just returned to UCR to do my Masters in creative writing. The papers were a story I had written in Florida ten years before and had sent to her hoping for notes. She had never gotten to it, but there was a note on it now. “This is a wonderful story. I can’t wait to read what you will write now.” What I wrote was Lift.

Now Lift is going to be an audiobook and this is a circular story too. You see, there wouldn’t be an audiobook if it wasn’t for Neil Gaiman. He is a force to be reckoned with on Twitter and generous with good information, life’s quirky moments and to fans. I learned about Kickstarter from him.  I discovered ACX because he mentioned it and is curating a collection of audiobooks through their program. I put the two together and funded the production of an audiobook that is not only dear to me, but will have distribution. This is the sort of mentorship that can only happen in the Internet age, but it is as warm and wonderful as the one I have cherished with Susan for all those same years. When you hear Neil speak, you are certain he is genuine in his affection for his fans. He has had generous mentors too. It’s not just this though, you see, every now and then Neil replies to one of my Tweets. We’ve tweeted a bit about my audiobook project. And a few days ago we tweeted about how I was attending his show with Amanda Palmer in San Francisco,  he invite me to meet him backstage afterward.  That’s how I ended up in front of him holding a copy of Lift.

“You found your way back,” he said and I opened my arms to offer a hug that he accepted and returned, a good hug, the kind you get from a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. All I could think was, I did. I did find my way back.  And when Neil introduced me as an author to Amanda Palmer, holding up his copy of Lift I nearly burst into tears.  Then he asked me, “If I read this, will I learn all about falconry?”

I had bagged-and-boarded issues of “Death: The High Cost of Living” in my purse to sign. I had my phone on and ready for photos, but finally talking to him in person I found that the hug was all I really wanted. So I didn’t ask for a signature or a photo. I didn’t say, “Your writing means so much to me.” I didn’t say much of anything at all. I just basked and smiled, thanked him. I thought to myself,  No really. This is a big fucking deal.

I haven’t become a best-selling author, but I believe Jim Butcher is right. Only you can kill your dream. I burn a stack of rejections every year, reading them one last time and explaining to the fire why they hurt me and then letting them go. I nurture the dream, but I’m going to stop diminishing the big part of it I already have. I’m going to stop doing that RIGHT NOW. And I hope you will all understand and forgive me for not acting like I was living it all along.

And now, back to work. You see, I have a parrot training book due December 1st, an audiobook to record starting next week and I have a biography/memoir/novella to write about my grandmother and whether or not my grandfather murdered her. The prologue is published over at The Rumpus if you are curious. And if you are wondering how things are going with Irony, the Cooper’s hawk I guess you’ll just have to wait a bit. I’ll get to that eventually too. I plan to do the work and I hope you’ll stick around to find out what another 20 years might bring.

And if it just so happens that you are writer who is getting started, don’t kill your dream. Fight for it. Trust me. You won’t know just how much until you’ve done it, but it is so SO worth the fight.

Lift: The Audiobook

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

If you haven’t read Lift, my falconry memoir published by Red Hen Press — I would love for you to!  And if you haven’t, perhaps you would rather listen to it?, now an arm of Amazon has created a very forward-thinking site, Audiobook Creator’s Exchange (ACX) which facilitates rights owners ability to connect with producers and voice talent and most importantly get their finished product distributed on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

Ultimately deciding I should read Lift myself, I looked into the cost and though not a crazy amount of money $1100 on studio time was a pretty big chunk of change. So I decided to start a Kickstarter campaign. There are a few more days left of the campaign and if you would like to support me, get an advance download of the audiobook or just keep updated on the project all you have to do is pledge on Kickstarter. Check it out!!  Oh and spread the word? Please?

Happy Hawking!!

What to Do with your Photos

These days bloggers get asked from time to time to try out products to review. I almost always say, “no”.  I barely manage to get my own blog posts done. It feels like a burden to write something for the sake of commerce. Also, it makes me feel a little bit like a fraud. This last month though, a couple of opportunities crossed my email that I thought I would pay for regardless.

Anakin at Sunset

Falconers take a lot of photographs. What do you do with them though?

I love the idea of putting photos on canvas and when I was offered the opportunity to buy one, discounted for review, the hardest decision was figuring out which photo to use. The print on canvas was easy to order and arrived quickly, packaged dilligently to protect it. I ordered a 12×18 inch with a .75 inch wrap and it was ready to hang on arrival. Not to mention gorgeous!

Of course, wall space is limited and when my friend Jessica Lawrence put a call out for art by friends to hang in her new digs in New York, I knew just what to send her. I hope she likes it! (Although once I saw it on my wall, I almost reneged on the deal…)

I would highly recommend putting your prints on canvas if you have something you would really like on your wall. The service is very reasonable and I was very happy with the results!

The other opportunity I was given was a perk through Klout. If you aren’t on Klout, I’m not sure you necessarily should be. No one needs one more proprietary algorithm to obsess over. It’s bad enough I consistently consider my Amazon numbers, Google Analytics for all my sites and try to figure out my Feedburner stats. I can’t help it. I am fascinated by what people connect with and don’t.

Klout is just the icing on the cake. It’s an algorithm that figures out your influence on the web and then companies decide whether or not to offer you perks based on your score and what topics you are “influential” in. You are not  forced to review any of the trial products, in fact, you are welcome to hate them. The Klout disclosure is here. So when Moo offered up free MiniCards, I jumped at it.

Moo MiniCards

MiniCards are such a cool idea. Half the size of business cards, they come in orders of 100 or more and you can choose as many 100 images to put on them. It’s like making trading cards! (The nerd in me squeals). This seemed another great opportunity to put some of my falconry photos to use. So I chose 8 images for the front and used the lovely logo my webdesigner created for me and put my web information on the backside. I was so excited when I got them in the mail. They are just gorgeous and I can’t wait to pass them out at readings, lectures and workshops. I’ll have to make a set of parrot ones as well. You can get your own Moo products here.

So if you collect some really awesome falconry photos this season and aren’t sure how to put them to use, those are two ideas that worked out well for me!   — Oh, and I’m always looking for great photos to use for the Monday Morning Falconry Fix. (hint. hint.) So get your cameras out!

Release Day! RISE $.99!!


Some months ago I had a small melt down online about the long journey of writing and publishing Lift and considering the acclaim the little book managed to muster, dare I say, the shockingly poor sales. 411 copies it’s first year, in fact. (My expectations weren’t high, but when you consider my parrot owner’s guide, A Parrot for Life has sold about 8,000 copies, this seemed especially dismal.) I only meant to shake off a little pain and frustration and move on.

I am still utterly amazed how many hits the page gets and deeply grateful for all of the support and kindness that welled up from readers of that post. My mighty 411 are fierce and wonderful and I love you. In fact my eBook, Rise: A collection of  writings imspired by Lift –is for you. Here is the description:

In celebration of the Kindle version release of LIFT, an award-winning falconry memoir, author Rebecca K. O’Connor shares a complementary collection of essays, short stories and poetry that further examines life in the shadow of a raptor’s wings.

LIFT, Rebecca K. O’Connor’s arresting memoir of love, loss, relationships and one impossible peregrine falcon is further illuminated with this collection of writings on the world of falconry. The opening short story, “A Good Falconer Lets Go,” about a teenage boy and his red-tailed hawk is a classic coming-of-age tale with a falconry twist. If you are a dog lover, “Heart to Tear” and “About a Dog”, essays which read like O’Connor’s love songs to the dogs of falconry will resonate with you, if not evoke a few tears. In short essays such as “The Knife” and “Storytelling” O’Connor explores early moments in falconry in the icy-clear voice readers grew to love in LIFT. The collection also includes a glossary on falconry and a bonus excerpt of her novel in progress, a post-apocalyptic wilderness adventure. If you have read LIFT and loved it, this short collection will add to your experience. If you’ve yet to read O’Connor’s writing, RISE may encourage you to read more.

Sound interesting? You can buy it for .99 in the US here on Amazon. Or if you’re in the UK get it for £0.70 here. And if you don’t have a Kindle you can download it in just about any format– for Nook, HTML, PDF, ePub ect. on Smashwords for .99

But WAIT! Did you read Lift? Then Rise is my gift to you. You can download it for free on Smashwords.  Email -prove you’ve read Lift and riddle me this:

What is the name of the ranch near Palm Springs where Rebecca and Anakin met and hunted with Butch, the old cowhand and where later Rebecca took her mother out to hunt? — Need a hint? It’s a color + a fluid and it’s only one word.

I hope you will go grab a copy. And if you haven’t read Lift and would like to join my army of 411 (Okay, there are a few more of you now, but you will always be affectionately 411, to me) you can also now officially get Lift for Kindle here and in the UK

Please share this post. Whether you throw a few cents my way or pick up the eBook for free, I’m hoping to see 411 copies dowloaded by the end of Monday. Can you help me make that happen?  I would love to share my holiday weekend with all of you! (In fact there’s a party online tonight if you want to join me…) Happy 4th of July my fabulous 411!! I adore you all.

The Way of the eBook

I hope everyone is loving the Wednesday interviews as much as I’m enjoying writing the questions and getting the answers. I have several in the queue and quite a few other falconers who have agreed to be tormented. I’m hoping to keep this going throughout the moult!

Available Now!

In the meantime, as my July 1 release date approaches for the eBook RISE and debut of LIFT on Kindle, I’m honing my eBook creating and distribution skills. Check out my short story, available FOR FREE  here on Smashwords (use the coupon code FT48U when you check out if it’s no longer listed as free) or if you feel like throwing a little change for beer my way, get it on Amazon for .99.

Also, keep your eyes out for a give away of some of my favorite falconry things soon!


Five on Falconry

Tulelake NWR

The sun rises at 6:15 right now. I woke up at 5:30 and thought to myself that if I had the wherewithal to get out of bed, I could be in the field just in time to fly a falcon.

Except that it’s April and the falcons are moulting.

So I did the other thing I do early in the morning sometimes, went to work on my morning pages after grabbing a cup of coffee. I wouldn’t say this is where I get my best ideas, but it’s definitely where I get my strangest inspiration. Three pages of long-hand in a hardcover, lined and blank book equals deciphering crazy dreams, bitching about everything worth bitching about (but mostly at myself) and occasionally a spark of (what I think) is a great idea.

This morning I was lamenting the moult in my pages (because seriously– it looks so much nicer out there than it did in January). And I was also thinking about what my “marketing plan” should be for releasing myeBook, RISE on July 1st. I have a great book trailer that just needs a few edits. (Amazing music by Rob Diebold and guest narration by my suspicious by surprisingly professional-sounding next door neighbor). We’re just a couple weeks away from that… And I have a few other ideas, but I got to thinking this morning about how sick of my own story I was.


Coming July 1, 2011

What I really wanted when I wrote LIFT and what I would like to continue with RISE is to tell the story of a modern life molded by falconry. Unfortunately, I only have my own lens to tell it through. That’s when the spark came.

Wouldn’t it be great to interview other falconers on the blog?

Not a bunch of “famous” falconers mind you, but a cross section of us. I would love to wile away the moult experiencing falconry through everyone else. I would love to show that falconers are a cosmopolitan mix who make their living in a variety of ways and who all share the same passion and life-shaping force of this sport. I want people to know that we are generous, funny, a lovely combination of strange and smart and that what we all have in common is that no matter what is happening on the ground… we keep looking up.

So here’s what I’m going to do about that. I’m going to start harrassing falconers. (A few of you probably suspect your in the line of fire.) If I get green-lit, I’m going to ask you five questions. They will be specific to you. And I’m going to try to find out enough about you (if I don’t already know you) to ask good questions. (I Heart Google.) They will be meant to shed light on our sport, it’s joys, beauties, challenges, ironies and necessary humor. You can answer them in an email, over the phone or on Skype. Nothing will get published without your permission. I’ll just ask for your thoughts and a photo of you or a falconry bird or you with a falconry bird.

I’m taking suggestions. I want people across the country, across continents and a 50/50 split of men and women. So come on! Volunteer an unsuspecting victim. Volunteer yourself.

I can’t wait. There is so much I want to know about you! And I would love to tell your story. May I?

Contact me here.

A Novel Story


It was 2001 and I had just turned 30, announcing to all that THIS was the year I was going to finally not just write, but finish my first novel.

I had written a handful of short stories, started and stopped two other novels and had a dusty diploma for a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing above my desk. Now, at last, I was determined and not just to write this one book, but to write for a living. I had a ten year plan. By the time I was forty I would be a bestseller!

First though, the novel. I gave myself permission to write something fun, something not meant to change me or the world, just a good story with a beginning, middle and end. So I decided to write a romance. I found a publishing company, Avalon Books that published sweet romances and had a long reputable history selling their books to libraries. I wrote an outline and then three chapters and a synopsis and I sent it to them.

I didn’t think they would ask for the manuscript. I also didn’t think that they would buy the finished book. All the same, I received a letter requesting the rest of the manuscript.  If it wasn’t for that bit of encouragement, I doubt there would have been a novel.

It was not a good summer and fall to be writing a book. I was working as a bird trainer and managing my first new free-flight bird show as supervisor. It was in Toledo, Ohio where the summer was somehow an even thicker, more suffocating blanket of wet heat than my Florida homebase. Before we left for the summer, my boyfriend had broken up with my answering machine and stopped taking my calls. Then all the birdshow staff moved into the same house and we were immediately at odds with each other. No one thought I should be supervisor. And I fought them when I should have been bending.

And in the heat and the strife, it seemed we lost and tracked birds constantly. We found them in residential neighborhoods, in the next county over and once in the cheetah enclosure – where the quick cat came damn close to having a gourmet snack. We tied a falcon too close to an eagle owl in the weathering yard, my favorite falcon, and she was killed. The king vulture almost got me by the throat and the crow that I raised and trained from a chick literally went mad.

I wasn’t well either. I woke most nights with a pain so intense rippling through my right side that my housemates would find me pacing the halls and quietly crying. We passed each other like ghosts. We were all too exhausted from working 12 hour days, 6 days a week, from faking smiles on stage and calling out for lost birds to explain our pain, let alone express empathy. I cannot think of a time in my life that I felt more broken.

And yet, I built a plywood desk to have a place to write and I wrote. I wrote at night. I wrote on my one day off. I wrote one page at a time. I wrote while the sounds of the zoo across the street whispered through the house, trying to drag me away from Marshall and Brooke falling in love, falling apart and falling back together. Still, I wrote. I had surgery to have my gallbladder removed. The Twin Towers fell a few days later. And I kept writing. I wrote until I was done.

Falcon's Return

Falcon’s Return is not a great book, but it’s not a bad one. Avalon published it.

I’m forty now. And I’m not a bestseller, but I’ve written 11 books. Lift is the one I’m most proud of, but none has a back-story quite like Falcon’s Return. There are a  hundred stories in the writing of a book; hobbled together they make up the story of an author’s life, or rather, the changing of an author’s life.

And I have made a thousand choices that have been spun into good luck because ten years ago I sat at a plywood desk across the street from a zoo all throughout an oppressive summer —-and I wrote. It would be nice to be a best-selling author, but it would be nice to win the lottery too. No one can force such splashy swathes of good fortune. But you can show up at the page – write, compose, create. You can change your life one page at a time just by showing up and trying. I think in the end you’ll find your nostalgia is for the journey, not the successes –and that the journey was utterly worth the work.  

Happy Anniversary Falcon’s Return! I’m grateful that you’re mine.


I am admittedly horribly behind in blogging this season. Please know it is because I am hunting nearly every day and working hard to raise money for wetlands conservation. I have embraced my renewed falconry zeal whole-heartedly. Stories to come!!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a little project I’ve been working on. (Although yes, I am diligently working on my novel and may have a stand alone piece from it in this project.)

A new Ebook from Rebecca

New ebook Coming!!

So… Coming soon! A companion ebook of essays and short stories that complement and add to the story of LIFT. This book will be free to anyone who has read LIFT (you’ll be given a code if you can answer the qualifying question!) or you can support the author (Me!) and download it on Amazon for $2.99. Check back for release date and online events!

Also, note the amazing cover art by my brother, Raymond Swanland. He is a lauded fantasy artist whose work is pretty much ubiquitous these days.  If you’re a fan girl or fan boy (Lord knows, I am.) he’s done covers for Priest, MTG cards, WOWC cards, an album cover for Disturbed and consistently has art in Spectrum. I especially love his art on the promo posters for the David Fincher remake of Heavy Metal. Check his website for these!

So needless to say, “little bro” or not, I’m in love with this cover. I hope you like it too!