Friday 12 January 2018

2017 in Review

Time for the yearly writing recap after a long year of no blogging. My only excuse is I was busy, busy, busy. I finished the 2nd draft of my latest novel, outlined another one, wrote first drafts of two novellas and four new short stories, one of which was long-listed its first time submitted.
I didn't send out as many submissions as in some years but I did hit my goal of a submission a week, ending up with 55 for the year (not including grant applications). I didn't have as many short stories accepted in 2017 as I'd have liked. Only one, to my favourite UK publisher Flame Tree Press for their Supernatural Horror anthology.

A number of my stories did shortlist for a variety of venues. One of them was the Friends of the Merril short story contest for the second year running.

Most of the early part of the year was spent on my PEI historical clockwork story and now that I've received some feedback from an early reader I'm looking forward to incorporating her comments. Thanks L! The novel was long listed for a grant again this year and one of the publishers where I sent grant applications have asked for the full MS when it's done, bringing me up to three requests. I also volunteered as grant juror which was a real learning experience. I plan to do that again this year.

I've used all that historical research as the basis for a new novella about the adventures of a menopausal Anne Bonny who returns to her piracy. SUCH fun to research and loads of fun to write, cranky old women rock!

This is my 2nd year of John W. Campbell eligibility. I don't really expect much but it is nice to be included on this list.

55 submissions
5 long-listed stories
12 personal rejections (26%!)
              Thanks for your comments, Editors-- they are super helpful in making the story better.

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Ad Astra 2017

I will be at Ad Astra from May 5 to May 7th.

I'll be a panelist this year, for the first time. I'm scheduled for two:

Starting Them Young: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Picture Books: Nearly everyone who is a fan of genre will look to things like Narnia, the Hobbit, Redwall, or Ender’s Game as their introduction to SF/F, but how much earlier could one be introduced to such things? How do you define what makes a picture book scif-fi or fantasy? What are some examples, classic or new, that illustrate this?
Saturday 2:00 PM – Newmarket: with Brandon Draga, Charlotte Ashley, Deanna Laver, Alisse Lee Goldenberg, Carolyn Charron

Disrupting the Narrative: Science fiction and fantasy has the potential to transform our worldview. The inclusion of alternate perspectives and diverse characters help us to re-examine the past, present or future, in our universe or beyond. Inserting new experiences into old narratives shows the limitless potential of stories to inspire us. This panel will look at stories that shake up our perspective, from Steampunk and alternate history to dystopian fantasy.
Sunday 11:00 AM – Richmond CD: with Rebecca Diem, Charlotte Ashley, Eli K.P. William, Cathy Hird, Vanessa Ricci-Thode, Carolyn Charron

I'll also be doing my first reading (nothing like throwing myself into the deep end my first time out!)
I'll be reading a favourite story of mine, Crossroads. Written for Genius Loci it was turned down a few times and the feedback I received from various venues taught me a lot about how to structure a story for an anthology and still have a vivid piece. It will be appearing in an anthology later this year.

Reading: Markham B Sat. 8:30pm

Hope to see you there!

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!

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