It’s a Mad Mad ChiSeries

Last night was our now annual Ottawa ChiSeries Holiday Extravaganza!

ChiSeries Holiday Extravaganza 2015

It’s a lighter fare than our usual readings. We invite out local publishers and artisans to set up a few tables and we had some highlights of past readers. This year for the entertainment we had a story in the round The Nightmare Before Christmas. Marie started the story with an opening written by Matt Moore about the Big Red Guy’s nephew, Cliff Cringle, having to take over due to Santa having a nasty cold. But the two don’t see eye to eye on what’s naughty or nice and insanity ensues. There were a few cameos in the story, both political and fandom. Marie ended up wrapping the story up so of course everyone exploded.

We also had some holiday themed Mad Libs that Matt and I crafted for the evening. The audience shouted words to fill in the blanks and then to read them we had Jay Odjick, Hayden Trenholm, Robin Riopelle and Derek Kunsken. And now, I offer you the completed Mad Libs, our own ChiSeries carols, for you to share with your loved ones.

Jingle Vuvuzuela

Vibrating through the snow
In a one-platypus open weiner mobile
O’er the Royal Ottawa Golf Club we go
Flatulating all the way (ha ha ha)
Vuvuzuela on bobtails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to flatulate and ferment
A weiner-mobile song tonight!

Jingle vuvuzuela! Jungle vuvuzuela!
Jingle all the way.
Oh! What fun it is to ride
In a one-platypus open weiner mobile.

Chartreuse Secretary’s Day

I’m dreaming of a chartreuse Secretary’s Day
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the submarinetops glisten and cocktails listen
To hear sleigh wigwams in the wolverines.

I’m dreaming of a chartreuse Secretary’s Day
With every Secretary’s Day Mercedes Benz I vaporize.
May your days be loose and bombastic
And may all your Secretary’s Days be chartreuse.

Let it Tornado!

Oh the weather outside is repugnant,
But the fire is so hairy,
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it tornado! Let it tornado! Let it tornado!

It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I’ve brought some haggis for regurgitating,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let it tornado! Let it tornado! Let it tornado!

When we finally rhinoplasty good night
How I’ll sliding out in the storm!
But if you’ll hold me tight
All the way I’ll be yellow-drunk.

The fire is pedantically dying
And, my dear, we’re still goodbying
But as long as you elate me so
Let it tornado! Let it tornado! Let it tornado!

How to install your Christmas Corset

  1. Unfold Christmas corset stand until the amygdala are perpendicular.
  2. Insert eyebolts and scrounge Softly.
  3. Insert the Brandon of the smelly section of the corset into the assembled corset
  4. Scrounge the eyebolts as necessary.
  5. Insert the mellifluous section of the corset into the smelly
  6. Unfold branches until your corset looks
  7. Unroll entrails from carton.
  8. Starting at the mellifluous, tranquilize the entrails around the You should be able to wrap the entrails pi times around the tree.
  9. Plug the entrails into a
  10. Jump your new Christmas corset!
  11. To prevent coffee shortages do not leave your corset plugged in unattended.

World Fantasy

It just occurred to me that I have been back from World Fantasy in Saratoga Springs, NY, for a little over a week and have not thought to write anything about it. Honestly I was pretty exhausted, in the best possible way, when we got back and the past week has just been trying to recover while desperately praying I don’t catch all the colds going around the office. Tough work.

World Fantasy was a lot of fun and a great experience and also quite different from the other conventions I have been to. Before this I had only been to Can-Con here in Ottawa and Ad Astra in Toronto. World Fantasy is bigger, and the focus is entirely different. I tend to take in a lot of panels at Can-Con, or try to, and I’ve talked already about the types of panels there. World Fantasy is much less about the panels and so much more about who is there and networking. I attended two panels at World Fantasy, both on topics relating to Epic Fantasy since that was the theme for the year. The dealers room was filled largely with used and rare book sellers, with only a few publisher tables. It was not actually a bad thing since it made it much easier to not empty my bank account on books.

The really weird part for me was actually having time to sit down to a leisurely meal without being all go-go-go-GO all weekend and taking my time getting up and moving. Really weird after being at Can-Con the week before where I am on the go pretty much constantly. It was nice being able to kick back and relax for a convention a bit more, but I went in already pretty exhausted. I felt like I was just starting to get back my energy levels for normal day-to-day life the day before we left, but that’s not enough energy reserves for hard-core convention mode. I felt slightly dazed through most of the weekend there.

World Fantasy is in many ways more of a business con. People make plans to try and meet agents and editors and network. On the drive there Derek brought up the question of what our goals were for the weekend. I didn’t particularly have any goals, I just wanted to get a feel for the World Fantasy and big pro con experience while it was closer to home and could be done on the cheap (huzzah for splitting gas and hotel room!). The big thing that I was looking forward to was finally meeting Scott H. Andrews, the editor-in-chief for Beneath Ceaseless Skies, in person. I’ve been working for him for 2 years now so it was nice getting to meet face to face and chat. I can now inform you that Scott’s awesome, super nice, and has great taste in stouts. It was also fun hanging around him and getting introduced to tons of people. Also a fun experience: having lunch with a bunch of friends of a friend and realizing half way through the meal that one of the guys at the table is JJA, editor of Lightspeed Magazine. I may have been slightly dazed during introductions or only caught his first name, but that realization dawned slowly.

And there’s already ideas floating around of another road trip to World Fantasy in Columbus in 2016, but we shall see what the future holds.

That’s a wrap!

Can-Con 2015 has come and gone in a whirlwind of fun, friends and creativity. It was an exhausting weekend but in the most fun and positive way possible.

I saw less panels this year and spent a chunk of the weekend running around helping out with organization. Though it’s a strange blur; looking back now I’m not quite certain how all that time was filled up so readily. Time does not flow the same at a convention I suppose. 😉 But though the weekend was definitely of the go-go-go variety for me, it was not in a stressful way. I found last year was more stressful for me with mostly setting up for the caffeine and candy party by myself and then immediately running down to pitch a novel and then dashing back up to the party.

I started off the weekend with workshops. First I attended Derek Newman-Stille‘s “Perceptions, Senses, and Exploring Your Character’s Sensory Environment and Setting” workshop. It was absolutely fabulous and I am so glad I signed up for this one. Throughout the workshop we would put on blindfolds and Derek would play a short soundscape (restaurant, nature, etc), or put a container of something to smell (spices, potpourri, etc), or an object to touch. We’d get a couple minutes to explore that sensory experience and then share some of the descriptors, images and memories they brought to mind. Finally, objects and blindfolds removed, we would have a couple of minutes to write whatever was inspired by the experience. I know I have a tendency to focus on visual description in my stories and have to remind myself to incorporate other senses and this exercise was a great way to really focus on other senses. It also made for interesting writing prompts. This is definitely something I plan on saving in my back pocket to take out again and use both for writing inspiration and to help me bring other senses into my writing. If he offers this workshop again next year or elsewhere, I highly encourage you to take it. I’d be tempted to take it again myself because I enjoyed it so much and there is a layer to the exercises that you can get from having someone else prepare objects and scents for you without you knowing what you are getting, rather than setting it up for yourself.

The second workshop of the afternoon was Matt Moore‘s “Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats“. Matt had tried to run this as a full day workshop last year but due to time of year there wasn’t enough interest. So I have been waiting to be able to attend this for a while. The only downside was that he really did have a full day’s worth of material so there were places where he touched on a topic/aspect briefly but didn’t have time to fully delve in and explore. Even with the much trimmed material there was still a lot of excellent information and tips about increasing tension and also varying the types of tension and I know I will be making use of it as I plot my next novel. Hopefully at some point Matt will have the opportunity to run this as a full day workshop and I will be signing up.

And then the convention began in earnest. The panels I was on were filled with great people with lots of things to share and so many interesting discussions were had. Friday night was the Bundoran Press launch party for Falcon’s Egg by Ed Willett (Writer Guest of Honour) and Second Contacts, which is now available directly from Bundoran in print or ebook, and can also be ordered from Amazon, Indigo and Kobo. And there was a nice little turn out on Sunday for my reading alongside the lovely S.M. Carrière. I’d chatted with her briefly at previous conventions but am happy I finally got a chance to talk to and get to know her better over the convention and a Can-Con prep and writing marathon party we had over the Thanksgiving weekend.

I also got to have a couple of exciting new authors experiences this weekend. Robert J. Sawyer was in attendance again this year and asked for my signature in his copy of Second Contacts at the launch party on Friday. I was also stopped in the hallway on Sunday as I was dashing from one panel to the next so that I could sign a copy of Second Contacts belonging to another attendee that I don’t personally know. 🙂

Graphic yoinked from Linda Poitevin (

Graphic yoinked from Linda Poitevin (