Aurora Award Ballots Announced!

The nominees for the Aurora Awards have just been announced and there’s some excellent Ottawa representation this year. Marie Bilodeau has been nominated both for her novel Destiny’s Fall (second in her Destiny series and excellent, I couldn’t put it down) and for her short story Happily Ever After which appeared in When The Villain Comes Home from Dragon Moon Press. Matt Moore‘s Delta Pi was also nominated in the short story category. Blood and Water, edited by Hayden Trenholm for Bundoran Press, which is now in Ottawa, was also nominated in the Best Related Work – English category. There’s plenty more excellent authors nominated.

Voting is available to members only and will begin on May 6, with the ballots closing on September 13. Membership only costs $10 and most of the nominated works will be available for free download to active members so they can vote. $10 is a great deal for all that excellent, award-nominated fiction.

Best of all, the award ceremonies will be hosted at Can-Con in Ottawa this year. Will you be attending?

Reflections

Last night my critiquing group, the Scrawling Narwhals, celebrated its first anniversary. It got me to thinking a bit. We’ve all grown as writers in that time. The improvement in my stories after even just the first couple of critiques was notable. They are a great bunch and I am glad to have them.

It’s all thanks to a writing workshop we took with Matt Moore, Hayden Trenholm and Derek Kunsken (fundraising for Can-Con). It was a great workshop and well worth it, but so much more has come from it, including the Narwhals.

It’s also been a little over a year now since I started writing every morning before work with Derek and Marie Bilodeau, another byproduct of that workshop. It was a brutal routine to adapt to but has proven immensely productive and even entertaining when the chitchat and laughs slip in, but shhh, don’t tell Derek that and he’ll deny everything anyways. ūüėČ
It’s been an awesome year and I know I wouldn’t be where I am now with my writing if not for that workshop, morning write-ins and the Narwhals. Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting about NaNo or my fellow wrimos, but if I get started on that this post will never end and then the pom-poems might come out… I’ll save the explanation on that reference for another post… Now where was I? Right! Wouldn’t be where I am now: I’ve got a collection of stories circulating, nine rejections (so close to double digits!), a few more still circulating *nudge nudge* and an awesome extended artistic network. So thanks to all of you and cheers to an even better year ahead.

ChiSeries Arrives in Ottawa

Ottawa now has a speculative fiction reading series! ChiZine Publications has been sponsoring a reading series in Toronto for a while now but they won’t be hogging it any longer. ChiSeries launched in Ottawa on Tuesday night to an overcrowded basement room of The Royal Oak near the University of Ottawa.

Matt Moore hosted the evening. I stepped in to help man the ChiZine table selling books, which was fun. First Violette Malan read from her urban fantasy book Shadowlands, followed by an excerpt from The Soldier King, the second of her Dhulyn and Parno books.

Following a short break, Matthew Johnson read his short story Heroic Measures, which will be released in a collection by ChiZine next spring. It’s a fantastic read, go check it out. Now. Time’s a wasting.

Last but never least, Charles de Lint read the opening to his recently launched young adult novel, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. I’m pretty sure the audience would have let him read the entire novel if not for pesky things like sleep and work demanding attention. The book is illustrated by Charles Vess and its absolutely stunning.

It was a great night and a huge success. If you missed it, you will definitely want to check out the next one in July. As if I didn’t buy enough books at Ad Astra last weekend, I’ve added yet more to my wish list. At least I have a year to catch up before Matthew Johnson’s short story collection is released. That will help a little.

Ad Astra Recap

This was my first year going to Ad Astra. It was a whirlwind of a weekend. I drove up to Toronto on Friday afternoon with a few other writers from Ottawa. We arrived around 8 pm and spent under 48 hours there. It was a great experience. It seems like I didn’t see much while I was there, but it was go-go-go the entire weekend. I swear I slept.

Friday evening was the launch party for Leah Petersen‘s Cascade Effect from Dragon Moon Press. Saturday I wandered the dealer’s room, worked a couple of hours at the Bundoran Press table, attended a panel on what comes after the manuscript is finished, readings by Gabrielle Harbowy and East Block Irregulars Marie Bilodeau and Derek Kunsken, hosted a room party with Marie Bilodeau and much support with our Ottawa crew to promote Can-Con in October, and then party hopped between the Bundoran digital book launch for Salt and Iron Dialogues (the prequel to Matthew Johnson’s¬†Fall from Earth) and the ChiZine room party. Sunday I attended a couple more panels (one on high fantasy and another on knowing when your story is done and it’s time to stop fiddling with it) and then it was on the road again.

It was a great weekend and a great convention. Everyone there is really friendly and I am now thoroughly stocked on books for the year, in addition to the year or two’s worth of books I already have sitting unread at home.