Wednesday, 8 March 2017

John W. Campbell Award

So this is kind of cool, I'm eligible for a John W. Campbell Award this year. This is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy was published in a professional publication in the previous two years.

I don't actually expect anything, my name is on this list with a bunch of people whose work is much more well known than mine but it's nice to be included.

Good luck to my friends Charlotte Ashley, Kelly Robson and Nemma Wollenfang who are on the 2 year list and to everyone else, congrats on going professional!

The short story appears here:

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 Wrap Up

Happy New Year!

I'm not going to talk about 2016, suffice to say it wasn't pleasant for much of the world. Closer to home, my own year hasn't been bad. Professionally I'm doing pretty well for a writer who's still emerging.

I didn't submit as many short stories this year as I did last year, only hit 41 but I got a higher percentage of acceptances (2) and personalized rejections (8). I was a finalist in the Friends of the Merril contest and short-listed 3 different stories in various venues. On the grants front, I was a finalist once, long-listed once and received my first Ontario Arts Council grant for the 93k word novel I finished writing this year. I'm pretty sure this one will not be my 3rd trunk novel--I've had 2 editors now express interest in reading the finished work. Yeah!

I feel like I'm on my way. Slowly but surely those numbers keep getting better. I am nothing if not persistent. I hope 2017 is as good!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Remembrance Day 2016

I went to my daughter’s school ceremony for Remembrance Day this year. As I sat there listening to these children recite poems, play music and sing songs, I kept thinking of the recent US election and how it’s apparent to me that we, as humans, insist on relearning our lessons every couple of generations. I am afraid—afraid that we will never learn without the spilling of blood, no matter how much we say we want to.

We wear our poppies “lest we forget”. But we did forget. We forgot how terrible hatred is, how divisive it is. Our parents and grandparents fought against racism and hatred of the “other” yet here we are again, facing the same thing.

The first two days into the President-elect’s time have been filled with an increase in hate crimes, a spilling out of homophobic, racist, and misogynistic graffiti, physical attacks and intimidation.
And what exactly do these public tantrums serve? To anyone who’s lashed out—does it make your life any better to slam a young woman to the ground and rip off her hijab? To those who’ve scrawled racist graffiti on private property—have your job prospects improved by this action? Does yelling “go back home” to someone who was born in the USA, give you anything that you feel your life is lacking? We teach our children to control their emotions, we don’t cave in to our children’s tantrums so they learn to ask politely.

How is it possible that only 48% of American citizens actually voted? I am horrified that my family and my friends in the USA and Canada have to live with this president for four years because people couldn’t be bothered to vote. I know some people were turned away at the polls but half of all registered voters?

So what is the solution here? Personally, I want to turn back the clock to early October and insist that everyone I know in the USA gets out and votes. I can’t just blindly say “let’s give him a chance”. I’ll be okay, I’m white and Canadian. But my friends and family aren’t all safe. What I’m afraid of is them being caught up in this, wounded physically or emotionally by hatred because they are “other”. How does their “otherness” hurt Trump supporters? Being lesbian doesn’t damage hetero relationships. Being PoC doesn’t take away jobs. Being an immigrant/refugee doesn’t mean it’s harder for other Americans to get medical care.

I think—I pray—that this is a pendulum swing back to the past before it swings forward again into the future that Gene Rodenberry envisioned, a future that is diverse and equitable for all.
The last performance at this morning’s ceremony was my daughter’s choir singing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” If we want the world to be a better place, we need to start showing love to all of us, not just those who are exactly like us.

Yes, we need to remember. But it's not enough to remember the past.

If we don't change our behaviour based on what we've learned--we're only paying lip service to the sacrifice our soldiers have made.

Friday, 19 August 2016

My first pro sales!

I've spent most of this year focusing on the new novel, a clockwork historical based on the Acadian expulsion so I haven't sent out as many short stories submissions as last year.  It's hard to write (or edit) while the kids are home for the summer though so I've taken a break from the longer work and rewriting some of my short fiction which has at least one or two rejections.

I must be doing something right in those edits, I just sold two of this summer's revised stories! Both sales are to the same publisher for different anthologies they are printing this year. These are my first pro sales so it's extra exciting!

They will be out later in the year, a very quick turnaround time.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

A very belated 2015 Recap

While I haven't blogged much, it's been a busy year!

I've had 2 short stories come out this year. The Saturday Evening Post published a second story of mine, "The Art of Forgetting" and Acorn Press published Snow Softly Falling, an anthology in which my story "Oh Christmas Tree" appears. This one is rather special to me, it was my first book launch and it took place in PEI so my Mom and some of my aunts and cousins were able to attend. Very exciting!

As for my goals of last year, I've reached a few-- mostly by getting out in the community more, attending book launches and readings and introducing myself to people.

I applied for a couple of different grants this year and I am thrilled that I made it to the final rounds in one and received a Writer's Reserve Grant from the Ontario Arts Council for the SF novel I started writing this year. (I used NaNoWriMo as a push to get most of the novel written in November and am almost at the end of the first draft now, 78k words and counting!)

Another story of mine made it to the finalist round of the Friends of the Merril contest! It's also garnered 3 personal rejections so I have high hopes it will be accepted soon.

Stats for this year:
72 submissions (I definitely hit my year's goal of 52!)
1 acceptance
3 held for further considerations (possibly a few more--it's hard to tell sometimes)
18 personal rejections
No new short stories this year--rewritten a few older ones and outlined 2 novels, one thriller and one SF historical.

I'm still not reading as much as I'd like and I'm still spending far to much time on facebook. I'll keep trying to increase the first and decrease the second. There are a lot of good books out there!

Image result for books

Monday, 5 January 2015

2014 Recap and Goals for 2015

A few of my writerly friends are posting year-end recaps and listing their writing goals for the year. I don't usually make resolutions, it's too depressing when I don't succeed, but I like this one. Achievable goals, that's a good motto for 2015.

So here goes.

Short stories submitted this year:  40
Wow... that's a record for me. Three were accepted giving me a 7% acceptance rate. I got a few VERY nice rejection letters this year too, the "it's almost there" kind that encourage me to keep writing.

New short stories: 3 brand new and 3 complete rewrites of older stories.

Larger projects
  • I rewrote Equilibrium (my first novel, a supernatural thriller) to get under the 'magic' 100K words. It started at 108K, shrank to 105K, was turned down by a handful of agents and is currently at 99K. After a critique buddy gets finished with it, I'm hoping to get it down even further.
  • I finished rewriting my screenplay after losing the last 40 pages when I downloaded Windows 8 and my laptop died. It still needs work but the premise is sound, I think. It's a comedy about a ghost chef.
  • I found a market for my novella, a fairytale retelling and sent it out. There isn't a very large market for novellas, unfortunately. Twice now it's been turned down but with lovely comments added so I'm still hopeful.
  • I also applied for a writer's grant this year for my 2nd novel, The Gully Years. I didn't get it but maybe next year. Two of my short story sales came out of this novel.

Become a more visible member of the writing community.
  • I attended my first convention, Ad Astra and went to Inspire, Toronto's Book Fair.
  • I applied for a couple of slush reader positions and have been reading for Apex Magazine since September. I'm amazed at how much I've learned already.  There is a similarity to many of the stories Apex turns down: not starting in the right place and unsatisfactory endings.  I've spent the last couple of years focusing on my beginnings and quite a few of my rejection letters have said, "the end didn't work for me".  Which tells me 2 things... first, that the beginning DID work (they read the whole thing!) and second, I need to strengthen my endings.

So my "resolutions" this year:
1. Write every day. At least 1 page, preferably 2 or 3 (blog posts are acceptable.)
2. Submit a story every week. (52 in a year? I can do that.)
3. Apply for grants!
4. Read more. Novels, short stories. My TBR pile is completely out of control.
5. Rewrite screenplay, adding more comedic elements and find someone to help critique it.
6. Start querying Equilibrium again after the next round of edits.
7. Start outlining the new SF novel or rewrite one of the trunk stories that is salvageable.
8. Keep attending conventions and meeting other writers/editors.
9. Downgrade FB time to 1-2 hours per day otherwise I'll never have time for the rest!

Happy New Year!

Friday, 31 October 2014

A Halloween Treat: a short story to amuse


A rhythmic thudding echoed through the tree trunks, bouncing off the leafy canopy. Crouched at the base of a tree, the woman froze, her hand almost touching a mushroom hiding in the thick leaf mulch. Terror held her rigid for a long moment before she leaped to her feet and ran, bare feet noiseless on the hard-packed dirt. She zigged through the green-laced shadows, harried by the sound. 

She had only one chance for escape. She ran faster, breath rasping in her throat. A sharp branch tore at her scalp. The stinging told her she’d left hair behind.

Gasping, she slowed down. Think! Think this through! Just because it’s close by doesn’t mean you’re caught. Be quiet and it’ll lose you.

She needed to calm her breathing, calm her heart-rate. The metronome of a quiet heart never caught its attention but galloping heart beats could. No-one knew how it heard a single heartbeat  but it did.
One, two, three, in. One, two, three, out. Her heart slowed and thumped away quietly now, hopefully invisible to the hunter searching for prey.

A flicker of motion to her left. She remained still, only her eyes betrayed her, leaping from shadow to shadow.


She closed her eyes. If it got her, she didn’t want to see.

A melodic whistling sounded nearby. A catchy tune. Ba-da-da-dum. Ba-da-da-dum.

She pressed her lips tighter together, resisting the urge to hum along. It would hear that for sure, it was so close.

Thump, ba-da-da-bum. Thump, ba-da-da-dum. Thump.

It was right in front of her. She could feel its rancids breath on her flushed face. It was too late. A high-pitched singing joined the drumming and the whistles. Then a single, plucked note vibrated, adding to the song.

Her foot began to tap. She fought to regain control—it was her foot, dammit!— but it jerked up and down, keeping rhythm with the drum beat pounding through her body.

She was caught. A tear trickled down her cheek. She’d never see her family again. Their faces flickered behind her closed eyelids, Mother, Father, her sister, her friends. She would be lost to them forever.

But she could face it bravely. If she were done for, there was only one thing left to do. Curiousity compelled her to it. She’d heard such terrible tales of them over the years; horrid stories of the desiccated bodies they left behind, all the life sucked out, only a husk left. She had to see what these terrible monsters looked like. 

She opened her eyes, just a crack. Smooth pink skin. Round and glistening slightly. It loomed in front of her, an eyeless tube. Its gaping mouth was lined with rows of tiny white teeth.

Aghast, she realized she was humming along with its contagious song. Caught in its trap, she felt the life leaving her body, felt her skin crinkling, her very brain being devoured by the monster’s deadly song. 

Held by its eyeless stare, she swayed back and forth to the beat, mesmerized by the dreaded Ear Worm’s melody.