Can-Con Schedule

We are less that two weeks away from Can-Con, Ottawa’s own literary convention for speculative fiction. It’s a wonderful and welcoming little convention, with epic paneling. Seriously, go scope out the schedule. I’m really looking forward to the repeat of last year’s blood splatter analysis panel (which I missed), an RCMP sergeant talking real-life police procedure, and the return of Storm Chaser Mark Robinson’s Fantastic Weather Smackdown. As for me, here’s what I’ll be doing:

  • Friday, 7:00 PM: Backstories and the Development of Villains
  • Friday, 9:00 PM: Bundoran Press Release Party for Falcon’s Edge and Second Contacts. I’ll be doing a short reading from my story Soil of Truth.
  • Saturday, 1:00 PM: The Role of Editorial Voice in Acquiring Stories, speaking about my experiences as Editorial Assistant for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Saturday, 7:00 PM: Fantasy Novels, A readers’ panel
  • Sunday, 12:00 PM: Reading from a selection of my short stories

Also, the Dealers Room is open to the public all weekend. In addition to tons of great books from Canadian writers and publishers, there are comics and geekiness PLUS trick-or-treating and a coffin photo booth. Bundoran Press will have copies of Second Contacts for sale if you are looking to pick up a copy (and you might spy me at the table). 🙂


Back to the NAC, Arthur Take 2!

Marie Bilodeau and I have had a lot of fun working together on a couple of shows at the Tea Party and West End Well, including our show of Arthurian Legends, a favourite for both of us. Now we have the pleasure and joy of doing another, new, show about King Arthur at the National Arts Centre as part of the Ottawa StoryTellers’ 4th Stage Series. And we’ll be joined by the fantastically multi-talented musician friend of mine, Jason Sonier.

4th stage web header

The Wizard & The Dragon

January 21, 2016, 7:30 PM

Legendary King Arthur and his mentor the wizard Merlin still cast an enduring spell. Drawing on the original texts of Geoffrey of Monmouth, 1100 to 1155, and Lord Tennyson, The Idylls of the King, Nicole Lavigne and Marie Bilodeau, accompanied by the eclectic musical talents of Jason Sonier, journey into this tale of darkness versus light to explore the role of prophecy and fate in the lives of these two fascinating mythic figures. Let the enchantment begin!

Guest Post

I know, I’ve been silent for a couple of months now. I took some much needed down time after the creative writing workshop (amazing but busy) plus various and sundry submission deadlines. It was greatly needed. But I have been getting back to the writing now. I just finished revising an older short story and have started it circulating again. I also wrote a new story that is inspired by the glass blowing classes I have taken. And I wrote a guest post, over on Marie’s blog.

It all started with this article and one woman’s experiment with using a male pseudonym and getting better response rates. That inspired Marie’s little rant on the subject, and as it is a topic we have discussed in the past, she asked me to write a post about my own decision process on the matter. You can read my post here:

May at Last

With warmth and sunshine and a reprieve from deadlines. Ahhhh.

April was a little intense. Deadlines (revising story for class and for Second Contacts, both completed on time) on the heels of other deadlines (Women in Practical Armour on April 1). Plus April was still in recovery mode from the rib. April was far better than March for the rib pain but it was only last week that I was able to get through a whole load of dishes without pain. Dishes were the lingering hell.

On the Brink was a great success last week. We had a good turnout and people enjoyed the readings. Silver Stag Entertainment was there recording the event, so once the videos are up I will post a link for those who couldn’t make it.

And now… the odd lull after deadlines when current projects are complete and the next is not fully lined up yet. Over the past week I revised a story I wrote last summer and sent it off yesterday to a new call for submissions. And I realized that all the newly drafted short stories since last summer were written for calls for submissions. It actually hasn’t been all that many for some nine months. A few of those months were dedicated to the novel, during which I didn’t touch short fiction. I did also rewrite a couple older stories post-critiques. But it feels a little strange now to not be working towards a deadline.

I do have a short story idea on my list of things to write, but not for any deadlines. First I think I’ll go back and revise some more older stories and get them moving, starting with that one that was critiqued back in the fall that I have not gotten around to editing yet. I’m relishing the idea of May being a bit calmer.

On the Brink Reading

I’m very excited about an event coming up in a couple of weeks, On the Brink. I attended last year (and assisted handing out raffle tickets) and had a great time. It features new local authors as well as a keynote speaker and is sponsored by Can-Con and ChiSeries. This year I will be reading alongside Agnes Cadieux and John Haas.

On the BrinkI will be reading from Stolen Cargo, which was published last year and with copies for sale, and also from my new story, Soil of Truth, which will be coming out later this year.

Beware the Ides of March

(ya, I know, this is the end of March not the Ides, but shit went down at the Ides, a little after the Ides, but I’ll get to that in a minute.)

Ah editing. Let me tell you, bouncing back and forth between editing one short story and another without even finishing a complete pass is not fun, at least not for me. I prefer to focus on one story, finish it or at least finish a stage before consciously setting it aside. I find even after finishing one story and moving onto the next can take me a bit to switch gears, especially compared to the long haul of focusing on a novel for months at a time. But the deadline is King and there is no sense wasting time. So while the Narwhals critiqued my Women in Practical Armor story, I commenced edits on the story for class (more like rewrites) and then once it was critiqued, I had to switch off in the middle. Fortunately I had offers for second readers on the Armor story, but that meant another mid-editing flip-flop.

And then the Ides came.

(I’m making this sound way more exciting than it is. I apologize for your impending disappointment.)

So about two weeks ago I get up (’twas a Wednesday, I remember it somewhat) and notice a little twinge in my back. Nothing major, but it’s a little sore and I’m not sure why, but the back was not a fan of work (sitting at a desk all day, twisting and reaching constantly over files). I thought maybe I pulled a muscle, just a little, or something, but it should go away in a day or two. Come Friday night the back is angrily protesting this whole cooking and doing dishes thing. My plan for the weekend was to make a big focused push on the story for class before Armor came back from second readers. It was a productive weekend alright, at watching tv and playing video games (Chrono Trigger!) while lounging on the couch on a pile of cushions to minimize my pain. Not what I had in mind. So Monday, still in pain, I went to the chiropractor to figure out what was what. Turns out that back pain was actually a dislocated rib. Don’t ask me how. Sadly I cannot even offer you sage advice about how to avoid this because I have no clue. In my sleep is the best guess. But it can take just a sneeze or a cough to dislocate a rib – the slight silver lining is the pain is far worse than the damage – so no one is safe! Seriously, don’t dislocate a rib, it SUCKS! I ended up having to leave my creative writing class last Tuesday because I was in too much pain, even brushing my teeth hurts (standing for more than a minute, leaning and bending is worse). And still in pain this past weekend.

Don’t ask me how she got here, I think the pain is making me delirious.

The good news: in spite of the pain I managed to edit the Practical Armor story and submitted it this morning. YAY! One thing off my plate. This also marks my 75th submission. Now I get to focus back on the story for class. Wohoo!

And in two weeks I’m off to Ad Astra (which god do I have to libate or sacrifice to for this rib to heal before then?) and hosting the Can-Con Caffeine & Candy party with Marie Bilodeau. This year instead of chocolate fountain we’re having a chocolate tar pit with dinosaur cookies to drown in it. Yes, you read that right! Cause that’s just how we roll.

chocolate dino death small

Slouching towards Spring

Dread February is finally over. Hopefully with March will come warmer weather because it has been brutal here in Ottawa. And if not (I really don’t want to think about that possibility) I will certainly have enough reading to keep me busy. This week I had my short story (an old one that has plagued me for years trying to decide what to do with it) critiqued in the creative writing class, kicking off what is going to be a very busy few weeks. Everyone in the class is having a short story critiqued, which means three short stories to read every week and write a critique letter for each. The critique letter was a little odd for me as with the Narwhals I we mark-up the story with notes, discuss our feedback in person and then just hand over the marked manuscript. We have 15 people in the class so that would be a lot of material to go through and carry home after class. Instead we distill our feedback into one to three pages in the form of a critique letter. Not too hard really, just the “letter” format threw me off at first.

All this reading and critiquing for class is on top of my normal slushing for BCS and critiquing for the Narwhals. I did manage to finish my short story I was working on in February and submit it to them this week. It will be critiqued on the 9th, leaving me a few weeks to whip it into shape for the deadline. In the meantime I am editing my short story that was just critiqued in the class. We have to submit a portfolio at the end of the class containing the original draft we submitted, a revision plan (sort of a critique letter to ourselves) explaining how we plan to address the feedback we received and edit the story, and a revised copy of the story with those changes in place. We don’t have to fix everything that was commented on as we may not agree with the feedback and the revision plan can address that as well and explain why the feedback doesn’t work for the story and what we intend to do instead.

Hopefully March will prove sufficiently productive. Deadlines are looming at its end.