The Venus Year
Every nineteen months Venus circles Earth, changing from morning star to evening star and back again. Some say the Sumerian myth of Inanna’s descent into the underworld and ascent out of it again riding the crescent moon is a map of the star’s celestial cycle. This book is the almanac of one Venus year in the author’s life.
A year of loss and of gifts. A year of transformation, spent between the Greek island of Crete and her home in California. It is at once memoir and myth, monthly seasonal notes and glimpses of daily life, and the poems and short stories that came from those days, with a Greek language translation by Vicky Chatzopoulou woven through to honor the island's native tongue.
In these pages, the mythic princess Andromeda becomes a starry dragon while Europa rides her white bull across the Aegean. Narcissus is born from a bulb. Kalliope and Calypso tell their own stories. A heart-broken woman falls between worlds and lands in a garden. She carries clay lamps into darkness, harvests olives, and monitors a dying beehive. She grieves, and births, and is born.
Through her, so too are we.
Our Lady of the Dark Country
In this collection of short stories, poems, and a novella, Sylvia V. Linsteadt explores the roots of patriarchal conquest in ancient Europe, and the possibility of something wholly different in both the deep past and the deep future. These are tales of women's power, of a strength rooted in the dark of the moon and the nourishing soil. Within these pages, three girls call down dragons at the end of the world; Rhea Silvia, mother of Rome, tells the story of her life and her love for the river Tiber; a priestess of Delphi defies Apollo the day he comes to conquer the Python; a woman named Magdalena is accused of witchcraft in a small German town; a mountain lion leaps between ages; a group of women spin nettle fiber beyond the end of the world; and a maiden, mother and crone call forth the snakes that live in the Earth to try to overthrow a colonial empire.
In a ruined world, what survives are the stories we tell
Poppy, who speaks the languages of wild things, travels east to the mountains with the wheeled and elephantine beast Lyoobov. He's seeking answers to the mysteries of his birth, and the origins of the fallen world in which he lives. Up in the glacial peaks, among a strange, mountainous people, a Juniper Tree takes Poppy deep into her roots and shows him the true stories of the people who made his world, people he thought were only myths.
Their tales span centuries, from three hundred years in the future all the way back to our present day. It is through this feral but redemptive folklore that Poppy begins to understand the story of his own past and his place in the present.
Tatterdemalion is a stunning collaboration between writer Sylvia V. Linsteadt and artist Rima Staines, featuring the fourteen original paintings that inspired the narrative.
The Wild Folk
-Book one of the Stargold Chronicles-
Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019
When the Star-Priest Brotherhood from the City threaten to ravage and destroy the land of the Wild Folk, their only hope rests with two young hares and their human companions – Tin, an orphan City boy with a passion for invention, and curious Country girl Comfrey. In this magical quest, to protect the precious stargold that runs through the land, Tin and Comfrey must complete seemingly impossible tasks set by the mysterious and terrifying Wild Folk - each stranger than the last - to find the one who holds the secret to saving their world.
The Wild Folk is a timeless adventure, weaving fantasy and folk lore into an enchanting tale that will fill you with wonder. The first in a duology, with a dash of Ursula Le Guin, a pinch of Frances Hardinge, and a generous helping from C.S. Lewis, this is a future classic, filled with unforgettable and diverse characters, and a story to be read time and again.
For a masterclass exploring The Wild Folk that can be used with students in a classroom or at home, see my Authorfy page.
The Wild Folk Rising
The second and concluding volume in the Stargold Chronicles.
The magical Wild Folk of Farallone are in desperate trouble. The City Brothers have discovered that the Country is full of stargold and so they've invaded, hell-bent on destruction.
Country girl Comfrey and City boy Tin are the only humans the Wild Folk trust. They must venture deep underground and to the highest mountains in their quest to save this beautiful world, and the magical Wild Folk they have come to know and love, from devastation.
Lost Worlds of the San Francisco Bay Area
Winner of the 2018 Northern California Book Award For Best General Non-fiction
In this coffee table book of luminous essays accompanied by an array of images, award-winning writer Sylvia Linsteadt brings to life the many microcosms that once flourished in the San Francisco Bay Area: from the farthest reach of the Russian Empire at Fort Ross, to acres upon acres of apricot blossoms in what is now known as Silicon Valley, to the Coney Island of the West on the Alameda shoreline, to San Francisco's bohemian Barbary Coast. For every “lost world,” Linsteadt reconstructs the setting in lyrical prose supported by extensive research into each epoch.
Vintage photographs, maps, and paintings combined with neo-Victorian design accentuate the words, immersing us fully in the nuances of each reality, whether mining quicksilver at New Almaden or shopping underneath the rotunda of the palatial Emporium. A book both dazzlingly beautiful and sensitive to the complexities of portraying bygone eras, Lost Worlds of the San Francisco Bay Area celebrates the ephemeral and, in reminding us of the many moments of humanity threaded through the past, makes our understanding of the present moment that much more rooted.
Wonderments of the East Bay
The East Bay Regional Parks abound in wonderments: animals, plants, sounds, geological formations, histories, and languages that stimulate our curiosity and expand our capacity for awe. In exquisite, lyrical essays, Sylvia Linsteadt and Malcolm Margolin—with help from their friends—revel in these wonderments.
Vernal pools burst into bloom in springtime, transforming cracked earth into wetlands crowded with wildflowers and fairy shrimp.
Marsh wrens trill reedy tunes from their 200-song repertoire.
Stretches of rock wall span the hills, perplexing any who endeavor to explain their purpose.
A volcano lies toppled just a few miles from the core of downtown Oakland.
Drawing from scientific fact, human history, photography, and literature, this exploration of natural areas of San Francisco’s East Bay gently situates us in the area’s “magnificent and fleeting tangle of life.” The authors assure us that Wonderments of the East Bay will be as much fun to read as it was for them to write.
Wallace Stegner once wrote, “No place, not even a wild place, is a place until it has had that human attention that at its highest reach we call poetry.” Wonderments of the East Bay pays homage to the curiosities, miracles, and mysteries hidden in plain sight in the East Bay Regional Parks. Trail guides are for the feet. This is a book for the heart.