Come See Me at Hal-Con!

October 24, 2018 at 9:36 pm (Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

Although I won’t be attending the full weekend at Hal-Con, I will be making a couple of appearances on Sunday,  I will be offering up a solo presentation on alternate histories Sunday morning, and participating in the world-building panel put together by the Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada group Sunday afternoon.   Here is a schedule of Jules Verne Phantastical Society-themed and -sponsored presentations and workshops at Hal-Con:

Friday 26 Oct

1:00 p.m. room 501
Flash Fiction Workshop with Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada

2:00 p.m. room 103
Practical costuming with NERO

3:30 p.m. room 501
Tying History to your novel with Grossman and Wendig

[4:00 p.m. room 502
Librarians: the myth, the mystery]

6:00 p.m. room 106
Representation in SF and Fantasy, with Beiko and Little

6:30 p.m. room 501
Frankenstein at 200, with UKC and SMU professors! Happy birthday to the Modern Prometheus.

8:00 p.m. Grand Parade Square
Gothic Halifax Ghost ‘tour’ with Aulenback

Saturday 27 October

12:15 p.m. room 103
Cosplay and Diversity with Akakioga and Knightmage and Hamm

4:15 p.m. room 501
Ask a Linguist with Gardner

5:15 p.m. room 504
Tea Dueling Workshop with Aulenback

6:30 p.m. room 504
Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World and the beginning of science fiction with Morris

7:00 p.m. room 103
Adding lighting and electronics to cosplay with Clarke and Hirtle

8:00 p.m. level 5 ballroom demo space
Mylar’s Old Time Fashioned Radio Program Showe

Sunday 28 October

10:45 a.m. room 506
Pasts That Never Were with Boudreau

1:00 p.m. room 502
Steampunk and Alternate History with Thompson

2:00 p.m. room 504
Fictional World-building with Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada

4:45 p.m. room 106
Gothic Monsters: Then and Now with DU

If you can be there Friday, as a writer, I highly recommend the GWOAC flash fiction workshop (I helped with one of the handouts) and Tying History to your novel with Grossman and Wendig (I so wish I could attend that one.)

I’m looking forward to seeing some of you there!

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Spring Blitz 2017 – The End Is Nigh

May 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm (horror, Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

My blitz is all over now but the waiting. I do already have a couple of acceptances (and multiple rejections).  I should have posted this wrap up on Sunday, but I beg off based on illness (I had a cold), taxes (I had to finish them up) and gardening (we planted this weekend.)

I had meant to write this following review up as soon as I finished the book, but all the things I mentioned above got in the way. Besides, I find writing a review is something better done once I’ve had a chance to mull things over.  And so, I’ve been mulling.

The first thing I want to say is that Zeroes, by Chuck Wendig, was a breath of fresh read.  After having read a handful of very formulaic Sandra Brown thrillers, which while entertaining on a basic level, had seriously flat and repetitive characterization and even reused the “father gave daughter up for adoption but regretted it later” plot line, I needed something with substance.  Zeroes had substance, and then some.

First of all, I always judge a book by its characterization, and the characterization in Zeroes offered novelty and depth.  The cast was diverse.  While one of the protagonists…perhaps you could call him the protagonist-in-chief, because there were technically five protagonists (six if you want to count Harris who perhaps is more of a strong secondary,) is very much a white male everyman, he certainly doesn’t “save the day”.  In fact, he is heavily reliant on the diverse other characters in his hacking group and would have gotten nowhere without them.  There’s a rocky romantic thread with the exceptionally competent Aleena and the “buddy” component with DeAndre, and even the aging mentor/father figure in Wade.  While in essence none of these plot elements are original, what makes them different are the strengths and weaknesses of the particular characters and the out of the ordinary dynamics involved.

And then there’s Reagan – the best part of the book for me.  She’s the character I both loved and hated the most.  She’s the one I could identify with even though in some ways I despised her…someone I could have been if my life had taken a different turn at some point.  She’s callous, brash and unapologetic.  She’s also clever, creative and conniving,  Plus she’s broken.  All the protagonists are in some way, but you can see it most in her because she’s brutally honest about it.  Her most notable shining moment is my favourite part of the book and without it, the story would have been lost.

I can forgive a book with a weak plot line as long as the characters are good, but I didn’t have to in this case.  The plot had oodles of dark intrigue and thrilling action with enough complexity to keep me interested.  And I have to say that I loved the little introductory chapters for each of the characters.  It gives you a chance to properly “meet” them before jumping into the story, so that you actually care what’s going on.

I picked up this book out of curiosity because I follow Chuck’s well-written blog.  Now I will probably go out of my way to read more of his books.  This one was a winner.

Here’s one of the recent release of one of my flash fiction stories from a prior out.  Check out “Pure Mime” at Body Parts Magazine.

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Spring Blitz 2017 – Hanging in There

April 21, 2017 at 2:12 am (Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

I completed my 20th submission for April today, despite not keeping up with regular blitz blog posts. I blame mundane tasks that have gotten in the way, like helping with homework, chasing chickens (see the dastardly Pecan here to the left) and doing my taxes, and not so mundane tasks like being eyeball deep in Chuck Wendig’s Zeroes (which I hope to review on Monday.) I’ve been testing new venue waters too which has meant investing more time to broaden my call searches.

I’ve been waiting on a couple of new releases expected shortly. Forest Seclusion (adult content warning) is now available here, and there will be more to follow fairly soon.

I’ve also received a new acceptance – a year and four days in the making.  I was on the brink of retracting that submission when the acceptance came through, but I was pleased to see the wait was worth it.  I try to give a submission plenty of time before retracting, but I usually figure a year is enough.  Sometimes I do let them sit longer though, if I’m not anxious to resubmit.  At the same time I received a quick confirmation that another submission had made it through phase one of a three phase review process.  Fingers crossed. 🙂

And, or course, this month isn’t without its rejections – 5 so far, with two of the submissions clearing the year long mark.  It only pays to be patient some of the time.

I may not post again until Monday.  I have a short story I hope to finish and then it’s back to working on taxes.

But at least gardening’s not that far off … right?

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