Behold … terrifying professional athlete images in Saskatoon

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I was parked across the road from these images at a local sports bar this past weekend. Naturally, I have experienced nightmares for three consecutive nights. Still, there’s probably a terrifying children’s story in this somewhere ….

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If You Look North You Can See The Aurora(s)

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Much has been written about the Hugo Awards, sad puppies, Vox Day and his ilk by smarter people than me, so I’m not going to comment on the politicized hot mess this year’s awards have turned into other than to say it’s been wrecked by a handful of uber-agendized types and it’s no longer about quality SFF, which is a damned shame for authors and readers everywhere.

Here in Canada, we have our own excellent award for the SFF community – The Auroras. And really, aside from having exceptionally good drive thru coffee from a vendor named after a dead hockey player, Canada also produces some world-class SFF. Here’s a blurb from the award website:

The Prix Aurora Awards are given out annually to honour the best Canadian science fiction and fantasy literary works, artwork, and fan activities from the previous year. The event is organized by Canvention, and the awards are given out by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA). Canvention alternates between eastern and western Canadian conventions where they host the Aurora awards ceremony and the society’s annual general meeting.

Awards for Canadian SF and fantasy were first given out at Halcon 2 in 1980 and were first called the Aurora Awards in1990 at Con-Version 7 in Calgary. Voting for the awards is open to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Hey look: here’s a list of past winners! (Seriously, who DOESN’T love Tanya Huff or Robert J. Sawyer or Edward Willett? (who lives two hours down the road from me))

This year’s slate of eligible books includes authors ranging from Peter Watts  to Julie Czerneda to Edward Willett once again and even yours truly. There’s YA, Short Fiction, Graphic Novels, Poetry, Artists, Fan Publication … the list goes on. All it takes to vote is a valid membership with the CSFFA (which costs like, ten bucks – a bargain!) and of course, you have to be a Canadian or a Permanent Resident.

There’s only ten days left to nominate eligible works to this year’s awards – April 25th is the deadline day. So do have a look at the website and the authors whose exceptional books and stories are all deserving of recognition. We have amazing authors north of the 49th parallel and I hope you check out their stuff.

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I Think Bruce Willis Might Be a Time Traveler

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Bruce Willis Time Traveler

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I cannot rule out that this MIGHT be Bruce Willis. Anyone with other stills from old movies where Bruce Willis shows up should share the links. The world must know.

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On Authors Kickstarting & General Online Angst

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Author Stacey Jay, whose books I have never read and who I’ve never met before cancelled her Kickstarter and wrote a blog post about it. A really well written blog post, in my opinion, that, according to her, angered the writer/blogger/reader community. In a nutshell, a lot of people didn’t like that she “included money to pay basic living expenses (mortgage, groceries, gas) for the three months it would take to write the book”.

It really did ruffle some feathers. It’s been talked at length about on Twitter. The words “online bullying” have come up. Again.

My two cents:

I like what Chuck Wendig said in his posting yesterday – “Where does that money go? Once it reaches the intended recipients, I mean. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say it goes toward paying their bills. Meaning, I’m helping to fund their lives, if in a small way.”

That’s really quite true when you think about it. Crowd funding doesn’t require a financial audit done by accountants so really, I think that unless Kickstarter requires KPMG to start looking into the financials of every pitched project, some of the money people kick in will go toward paying the bills. Who knows, maybe even the lion’s share.

You see, for authors who haven’t made it yet, $$$ = freedom to write. Say it with me now.

Every author I know wants to be successful but were you to ask them what success looks like, it’s basically, “to make enough to pay my bills.”

Dear God, can I relate to that.

At the time of this writing it is 5:00 AM Central Standard Time where I live. I’ve been up since 3:00 AM writing a novel. I’ve been doing that now since 2007 because I can’t afford to quit my day job. A day job I need to pay the bills. And, agree or disagree, it does have an impact on the quality of my writing. (Yes, yes … I know … it’s not your fault that I have to work full time and write and yes, I know that I’m a lot better off than a hell of a lot of authors.)

Still,  I know that I could be a better writer if I simply had more time to write, but I don’t. I have a mortgage and bills, just like other people. And I’m not physically starving in the sense that I’m living on Ichiban noodles – my day job allows my to buy sirloin. But I know I could write better if I were able to make enough money off the five books I have written and managed to get published. (And the sixth, which I self-published).

I think all the kerfuffle over this issue has less to do with people wanting to express a point of view that their money shouldn’t have to pay for the writer’s living expenses and more to do – way more to do – with the troubling nature by which we communicate via social media these days, the need for everybody to *be heard*. I suspect, though I have no proof, but I suspect that were one to put all the people who kicked up a stink about this in a situation where they were face to face with the author, behavior would be far different. That’s the thing about communicating online – people rarely conduct themselves with one another the way they would were they face to face with someone they disagreed with.

I support the author very much in this case. I don’t think I would have launched a campaign identical to hers, but I certainly know what she’s going through. And I’m really sick to @#$% death of online angst where readers/bloggers are at loggerheads with authors. Dear sweet baby Jesus, but we’re all supposed to be on the same team aren’t we? Authors write because they love to tell stories. Readers read because they love to read stories. Bloggers blog because they love to talk about the stories they’ve read and the authors who wrote them.

So why are we having these online dramas?

I have no idea.

I just wish it would stop but, human nature being the fickle thing that it is, I suspect it won’t. There really is no force on earth quite like social media outrage is there?

I feel bad that Stacey Jay is going through this. I feel worse that this is even being talked about at all.

(Full disclosure – I’m on Patreon – I haven’t received a penny for my proposed project.)

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I’ve got GROOVY book news!

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I’m pleased to announce that my first ever middle grade book comes out this fall thanks to the good folks at Rebelight Publishing! (Yes, I’m finally being published by a CANADIAN PUBLISHER!)

The working title is A CURIOUS CASE OF MISSING CATS and here’s what it’s about:

THE. CATS. ARE. MISSING!

Fear not! Penelope Ann Pickersgill and her grandmother are on the case … assuming that Grandma Bev can coax Penelope out of the spare bedroom and into her psychedelic minivan.

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Did I mention that Penelope’s granny is from the 1960’s?

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Sure there’s macrobiotic food, and yes, the soundtrack from Woodstock is playing on Grandma Bev’s CD player. Yep, the house smells like incense & the Groovy Gals (a trio of hippy seniors with a penchant for civil disobedience) want to bring down City Hall. 

But … there are strange lights in the sky. Grandma Bev is certain there’s a UFO cat-abduction conspiracy afoot. Penelope, being the sensible one, thinks all the evidence points to a faceless corporation that produces GMO’s and one very angry farmer. If only she can convince her granny.

WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CATS?

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It’s  a mad romp to uncover a mystery amid a backdrop of colorful characters and one larger than life pensioner determined to save her granddaughter’s summer.

So, pretty cool eh?

A shout out to award winning author Edward Willett for nudging me toward submitting the project. Thanks, Ed! (PS – order his books. Order E.C. Blake’s books while yer at it because that’s Edward Willett, too!)

Onward, 2015!

 

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