Saturday, December 20, 2014

SFContario 2014: My Panels 'n Stuff

This was my third time attending SFContario, and it wasn’t as much fun as before. Not the con’s fault, except that they booked the same weekend as the Book Fair. A large number of con regulars chose the Fair, so the number of authors on hand was significantly lower.

This is not to say I had a bad time. There was plenty to do and good people to hang out with. I made a new fan (hello, Jayden!), enjoyed my panels, attended a fantastic reading, and even managed to spark some completely unintentional controversy! Click here for that story.

I did a reading myself from my upcoming novel Apoca-Lynn, and once again faced a tiny crowd of only four people. Nevertheless, we had a good time.

Next, I went to the much better attended reading by Madeline Ashby. She read from a new story, and it had me on the edge of my seat. Full marks to you, Madeline!

I had four panels that weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. My first was on writing horror for children with David Nickle, Madeline’s fiancĂ©e. It went well, and made me want to rush out and scare the crap out of some kids.

My second panel was about the TV show Marvel’s Agents of Shield. I was a little concerned with how that one would go – my memories for the details of that show are not as perfect as my memory for Doctor Who or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Luckily I had plenty of help from my fellow panelists, and a great time was had.

My first Sunday panel was Troll or Insightful Criticism, about the rise of the so-called ‘trolls’ on the Internet who disparage everything they see. We discussed the difference between a troll and a harsh critic, boiling it down to a matter of respect for the thing being critiqued. The conversation naturally touched upon topics like Gamergate and cyberbullying. Sensitive issues, but they made for a good panel.

Sunday also saw the debut of Adi Everett’s mental health and fandom panel at SFContario, renamed Fandom and Disability. We had a good turnout for that one, and the expanded scope to include all forms of disability led to some great discussion. The room we held the panel in was the least accessible for people with disabilities, an irony that was not lost on anyone.

After all was said and/or done at the closing ceremony, I went up to the Consuite for the Dead Dog, otherwise known as the afterparty. There was lots of food (I cut the ham!) and plenty to drink – it was hard to stick to my no-pop rule, but I managed.

The next day I was back at work with a fandom-sized hole in my heart. Until next year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SFContario Controversy!

My final con for this year, SFContario provided a calm and stress-free outing punctuated by a case of unintended controversy. And I was to blame. Me, and my God Hates Bags satchel, pictured here.

A hotel employee spotted the bag in question through a window and thought it was the genuine article – a God Hates F@&$ sign used by the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. This employee was very upset, and he raised a stink at the registration desk. The Con staff had no idea what he was talking about until I ambled by a few minutes after the irate man had left. I straightened things out with the con organizers, and the other hotel staff were very understanding and didn’t make an issue of it. I would have hated it if I’d caused a rift between the convention and their venue!

I get a lot of compliments on my satchel from people who get the satire, but every so often there’ll be someone who doesn’t get it. I may have bought it at Pride Parade, but it’s the same font and only one letter away from being that message of hate so beloved by the Phelps clan. When I’m carrying it, I’m making a political statement, and I need to take responsibility for that. Not everybody is going to get the joke.

Can-Con 2014

Like GenreCon, Can-Con is an out-of-Toronto sci-fi convention that I want to keep as a regular part of my life. Two years ago I attended, back when I was still pushing The Cupid War, and I regret not being able to go last year (same weekend as my first GenreCon).

This time around, the con was held at the Sheraton, a much bigger and more convenient hotel in downtown Ottawa (as opposed to being out past Bell’s Corners). The Sheraton had a lot more available space, meaning bigger panel rooms and a larger dealer’s room.

My panel schedule involved some interesting and creative stuff. Unfortunately I missed my very first one on Friday night – my bus was over an hour late getting into the city. Saturday morning onwards, however, I had no trouble at all.

Here’s what I was up to:


10 AM – 11AM
The Economics of Self-Publishing: Kevin Johns (m), S.M. Carriere, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, Tim Carter

12PM – 1PM
The Whedonverse: from Buffy to Firefly to the Avengers:
Derek Newman-Stille (m), Timothy Carter, Kevin Johns

7PM – 8PM
Email spam: Can a narrative be created? Silliness may ensue.
Rebecca Simkin (m), Timothy Carter, S.M. Carriere, Geoff Gander, Max Turner


12PM – 1 PM
No More Sparkly Vampires! Scary Monsters in Fiction:
Derek Newman-Stille (m), Mike Rymar, Timothy Carter, Caroline Frechette, Kevin Johns

1PM – 2PM
Talking about your Sonic Wrench and Other Tricks for Flushing Out the Nerds Who Are Hiding As Muggles:
M. Bilodeau (m), S.M. Carriere, Erik Buchanan, Timothy Carter, Mark Shainblum

I did three panels with S.M. Carriere, a novelist and party animal like myself. She's the one who, during my last Can-Con visit, said "I'm stealing this from you. This looks awesome!" to her friend The Blurry Fan, who was reading Evil at the time. Speaking of The Blurry Fan, I ran into her once more in the dealer's room, next to S.M.'s table. Good times.

I still have my spam stories. It was an interesting writing exercise – each of us interpreted the directive in our own way. I found I couldn’t come up with a narrative and then work the spam into and around it – I chopped my spam up and put the sentences back together in a new and (hopefully) funny way, figuring out where I was going with it as I went along.

Sadly, I no longer have Optimus Plane, my entry into the paper airplane contest. Run by Marie Bilodieu and her terrifying minions, it was just as fantastically fun as 2012’s. And my plane went a lot further, too! Before a terrifying minion crushed it under her foot. I won a prize, and my cats have enjoyed playing with it. Marie really knows how to put on a good show.

No, I mean she really, really knows – I went to her reading Saturday night, and she demonstrated her storytelling talents with a tale of tragic love. It was a moving experience I shall not soon forget.

The final day’s panels were No More Sparkly Vampires and Talking About Your Sonic Wrench. Sparkly vampires was about the de-fanging of monsters that used to be, well, monsters. As an example, vampires used to be bloodsucking fiends of terror before certain authors turned them into brooding romantic leads. Good fun, and we all had plenty to say.

Marie hosted Sonic Wrench, a panel about discovering whether or not someone is a closeted geek. The audience tossed out names from genre media properties, and each panelist had to come up with a way to subtly bring up said media property through casual conversation. Many laughs ensued, and some of them were actually mine! I like it when I’m actually funny (as opposed to just trying to be).

The con ended, I said my goodbyes, and added a few more people to my Facebook friends list. My parents picked me up, and we had some quality time together before I headed back to Toronto the next day.

Can't wait for next year!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Back In The Game

Just got back from Regina, Saskatchewan, visiting my sister Claire! Had a great time with her family.

Now I feel like I need to catch up on things. I've got a bunch of posts waiting in the wings, with updates on recent conventions that I want to share. Motivation continues to be a harsh mistress for me.

Hmm... mistress...

Ahem. I've also let my writing go. I promised a friend I'd submit a story to an anthology she is working on, but I haven't made any progress in over a week. I've also fallen behind on I, Suicide. I'm hoping to turn things around this week. At the very least, I want to publish my post about Can-Con.

Soon, my readers. I'll be back in the game soon...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SFContario Coming Up Once More!

Another convention! When am I ever NOT attending one?

Well, most of the year, actually. Spring and Fall are con seasons for me, and there won't be another until Ad Astra in 2015. That's ok, though. I could use a break. And the time to prepare my next book, Apoca-Lynn, for launch!

Back to SFContario. I have a reading scheduled, and a few panels to do, too. I have three days to prepare before the con begins. Better get cracking!

Here's what I'll be up to:

Reading – Saturday 10 – 10:30 AM – Room 207

Horror For Children – Saturday 2 PM – Room 207 (M)

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, do we love it yet? – Saturday 4 PM – Ballroom C

Troll, or Insightful Criticism? – Sunday 12 PM – Room 207

Fandom and Disability – Sunday 2PM – Room 207 (M)

To answer my own question from my last post about why I was watching Agents of Shield earlier this evening, there it is - I have a panel on that show, and I need to get my studying in.

Yes, watching TV is studying. Not necessarily goofing off, not at all. Shut up.

The Best Title One Could Hope To Come Up With

I started writing this at the end of my 3rd week at my latest temp job. Naturally there was a cup of Tim Horton's steeped tea next to me as I put pen to paper. The week has gone well, and it's great to be earning money again.

Writing has also been picking up. The end is in sight for I, Suicide, and new projects are coming together in my head. I'll be posting a new short story here soon. It's a bit of an experiment, with no fantasy elements at all! I know. I'm scared, too.

It is now Tuesday night of my 4th week at work. Still going well, I'm glad to say. I went to a friend's birthday party on the weekend, and I'm very glad I did. Socializing is good for me. I made a new friend!

Right now I'm watching Marvel's Agents of Shield. Good show. And I need to study it. Why? Stay tuned...

GenreCon 2014

This is the con that, to my mind, gets everything right. Not that other cons get everything wrong (or even most things wrong), but GenreCon has nailed it for me two years running.

First of all, it's just awesome to be asked to be a pro panelist. Second, they have far fewer hoops for me to jump through to get into the con programming. A couple of other cons have started inviting me now, and they are getting better at making the process of being a panelist less of a chore. They still have a way to go, though, before they are as friendly as GenreCon has been for me.

This year I wasn't at all sure I would make it. Finances have been bad, and I did not want to incur any further debt in order to attend. I tried raising money with a Facebook event, asking people to buy The Five Demons You Meet In Hell so I could use those funds to offset the costs. I raised about $100 this way, and got another $100 from my parents. The con staff helped me out, too - I shared a room with three of them, and got a ride to and from Guelph.
My friend and fellow author Elizabeth Mary Ann Hirst (pictured here) gave me a place to sleep Saturday night, reducing my expenses even further. I am so grateful to know such good people, and proud to call them friends.

Incidentally, Elizabeth was at the con to launch her new novel, Distant Early Warning. Click here to check it out!

I did two panels Friday night, four on Sunday, and so many on Saturday I lost count. I talked about writing, favourite books, Spider-Man, Star Wars, etc. I even joined in with a Disney sing-a-long, and got rave reviews for my rendition of Randy Newman's You Got A Friend In Me from Toy Story. Turns out I imitate him pretty well!

I was introduced to Burger Priest. They are good, but I have yet to be convinced they are better than Hero Burger. And they are not open on Sundays. :( Not cool, Burger Priest!

I sat in on some interesting panels, too, including the one about Doctor Who head writer Stephen Moffat, and the one on Orphan Black even though I've never seen the show. My good friend, fellow author and cover artist Sarah Water Raven led a panel about the joys of Tumblr, another social media platform I am slowly working my way into. We hung out and drank mead Friday night. Woo-hoo!

One panel that caught me completely off-guard was the fanfiction panel An Unconventional Ship. I figured ship meant space ship. It did not. The actual definition, in fanfic context, is adult subject matter that cannot be discussed here in this sentence. For a proper definition of shipping, please see the next paragraph.

It's about sexy boinking sex! Shipping is writing a story in which two characters from a show, comic book, anime or basically any kind of media property get together and get it awn! The only rule seems to be that you shouldn't ship two characters who are already doing it on the show/in the comic/etc. I haven't written any... well, there was that one Merlin story I did. But other than that I haven't shipped at all. Fortunately I have friends who read (and write) a lot of it, so I was able to contribute something to the discussion.

Of course, being a convention, there was only so much time I could spend with so many people I wanted to see. There were a few friends I didn't get to hang out with at all, and others I'd say a quick hello to while running back and forth between panels.

A few friends I didn't recognize at first, including the guy who turned up in a Princess Leia golden bikini. It was a while before I remembered we'd done two panels together at GenreCon last year! I didn't snap a picture of him, so here's a photo of an 8th Doctor cosplayer instead.

Incidentally, the golden bikini was the subject of a panel about the depiction of women in Star Wars. I wasn't scheduled to be on that panel, but a fellow panel invited me to participate. I'm glad he did; it was an important discussion.

I did a reading from 5 Demons... for one person. Jen Frankel, the author reading immediately before me, did slightly better - she had two people in attendance! One of whom was me. Author readings... there's something we need to jazz up for next year, GenreCon!

I made a few new friends, including the woman in this picture who was cosplaying a Pokemon character. I didn't know the character, I didn't catch her name, and I thought she looked like a sexier version of Bam-Bam from The Flintstones. Thus, I named her Sexy Bam-Bam. I'm clever that way.

I also met a couple who had a lot to say about Section K. Was all my stuff that... intense? Foul-mouthed? Generally unpleasant? Nope, Howard Plank & Johnny Tall are not for everyone. It was good to get that kind of feedback, though. They certainly weren't rude about it. Section K simply wasn't what they were expecting, given that I'm mainly a YA author.

Back home, the usual post-con depression sank its claws deep into my soul. Fortunately, a case of con-flu did not come with it. GenreCon was fantastic fun, just like the last one. I hope that when next year's con comes, I'll have a new book to launch and/or promote.

I'd better get busy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

An Excellent Title For This Post Is

A lot has happened since I last sat down to post. For one, I've given up soft drinks. Cherry Coke, Pepsi Twist, Doctor Pepper, Orange Crush, 7-Up... all are off my menu, and I'm a little bit healthier. Yay, me. Good god I miss them.

I've been to two conventions in the last few weeks, with another coming up this month. I'll blog about them separately, just as soon as I kick my ass to do it. In short, they were fun, they were wonderful, and they were learning experiences as well. Socially speaking, I'm still struggling. At least, I feel that way.

My depression has been more manageable lately. It helps that I'm currently employed; money is less of a stress. I've landed another data entry position at a bank, and it should run until the end of February.

I'm 90% through the first draft of I, Suicide, my spinoff novel from The Cupid War. I've been at it for three years now, and it's quite a different beast from my usual output. I'll be glad to see it finished.

The Five Demons You Meet In Hell is, in my view, a failure. It was a good first foray into digital self-publishing, and I've been told the vast majority of ebooks sell even worse due to authors being unknown to the masses. That was nice to hear, but 32 sales is still terrible. Nevertheless, I am going ahead with Apoca-Lynn. Glutton for punishment, am I? Maybe. But not ready to give up yet, either. I'm also going to re-launch Closets.

That's where I'm at right now. Blogging hasn't been easy, but I'm making an effort to get back to it. I still have a lot more to say.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Really Awesome Title

Wow, it has been a long time, hasn't it? There are all sorts of reasons why I just couldn't get back on track with this blog, and I don't intend to list them all here. Basically, I'm still doing ok, and I'm still writing!

I went to Can-Con two weeks ago, and plan to write a post about that as soon as I am able. This weekend I'm off to GenreCon, and am very excited to be doing so. And, if all goes well today and tomorrow, I'll have a new temp job lined up this coming Monday. SFContario is also in my very near future. I will have a lot to write about!

I'm glad I jumped in and posted this. Good for me!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ad Astra and Beyond

The con is over, and Post Fandom Depression has set in. Or rather it did, back when I started writing this bit. Better late than never, I say. And I say it a lot.

I've since returned to the real world, where Violet and I must do our taxes, and I'm back in the wonderful world of temping.

But back to Ad Astra. The last day was memorable. There was the Mental Health and Fandom panel, which was reasonably well attended. All of us had a lot to say, in a compassionate and healing environment. I will always be grateful to this panel and its participants.

Violet wanted me to get a picture or action figure of one of her fangirl crushes, like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Chris Evans as Captain America. Preferably shirtless. I was unable to find exactly what she was looking for, so I got her this action figure. I have no idea who the character is, but he's shirtless and ripped, and he's got a sword. Violet very nearly liked him. Ah, well. Next convention, my Love!

The last panel I attended before setting off home was about Star Trek; I sat in attendance, and my friend and fellow author Sarah Water Raven was on the panel. I have to say, it went much better than my Star Trek panel back at Reversed Polarity (though not as good as the one I did at GenreCon). No Uber-Nerds, for one thing. And some interesting ideas were put forth. Well worth my time!

After that, it was time to say goodbye to a few stragglers before catching the VIVA buses back home. I sat across from a dude who had a bag of barbecue-flavoured sunflower seeds, and the area all around him was littered with shells. He taught me how to eat sunflower seeds, which apparently I'd been doing wrong all these years. You don't eat the shells - you suck the flavour out of the shell, crack them and eat the seed within, then spit the shells away. Good to know. Too bad he didn't feel like cleaning up after himself.

Monday, April 7th, involved a ridiculous amount of telephone tag with my temp agency to get me accepted into a mailroom job. It worked out in the end, though, and I was working as early as Wednesday. I've been sticking labels onto envelopes, stuffing envelopes, and lifting heavy boxes full of papers that will eventually end up in envelopes. Not the most challenging of jobs, but work is work. They are a good bunch, which certainly helps. Plus, my contact at the temp agency took me out to lunch last week! That's never happened to me before! Wow.

I've managed to get back into my novel Zombie Jesus Day, about which I am ecstatic. At the same time, my enthusiasm for my Doctor Who fanfic Bane of the Doctor has cooled a bit. I've got two more episodes still to post, so I'm not particularly worried yet. BTW, the latest installment can be found here.

Finally, I got back the processed German tax forms from Revenue Canada. I sent them off by Xpress Post on Thursday - did you know it costs $61 to send something from Canada to Germany via Xpress Post? Well, it does. It will be worth it, however, when they pay me the option fee for Evil. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ad Astra 2014, So Far

Well, I've been having a great time! Friends everywhere, good panel discussions, and that wonderful feeling of acceptance and home. Lucky, lucky me.

My panels on self publishing and never-ending stories went very well, and sparked some good discussions among panelists and audience. I didn't say as much as I wanted to, and feel I'm not as assertive as I could be. Still, I made a few good points, and I'm pretty happy with the way the conversations went.

The book-signing period was a dismal failure in terms of book sales, but a roaring success in others. I autographed one of my The Five Demons You Meet In Hell flyers for a fan friend, and chatted with three of my closest friends. One of them, Sarah Water Raven, sold me a lovely painting she'd done (image to be uploaded soon, I promise), and we discussed plans for the cover of my next book, Apoca-Lynn. Another friend posed for a photo to be used in that cover - a lovely bit of serendipity or convenient happenstance that we were all in the right place at the right time to make that happen!

My reading was moderately attended, but everyone who was there wanted to be there and had a good time. I read from 5 Demons and gave a preview of Apoca-Lynn, and got a good reaction to both. I also had tea with a couple of friends and discussed writing, and the conversation turned to call centres. All of us had horror/hilarious stories to tell!

I ended the night at the launch party for Suzanne Church's latest novel, and had further good conversations with friends. I was sad to leave but had VIVA buses to catch, and got home just after midnight.

Today I have the Mental Health and Fandom panel. I'm looking forward to it. Off I go!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ad Astra, Revised

Sadly, my 10:00 AM panel on Canadian YA has been cancelled. Tomorrow morning I shall be forced to sleep in. Darn!

Here is my revised panel/reading/signing schedule:

Author Signings – Richmond A – 2:00 PM
Advantages and Disadvantages in the Self-Publishing Game – Markham A – 3:00 PM
Never Ending Stories – Markham A – 7:00 PM
Reading – Oakridges – 9:30 PM

Fandom Mental Health Forum – Richmond B – 1:00 PM

Yep, only 3 panels now. I shall endeavor to make the most of them.

What shall I read from? I need to keep plugging The Cupid War and The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, hopefully encourage a few sales. I'm also working on getting a new novel ready for a Smashwords publication - I could read a bit from that project, too. Again, I open the floor to suggestions/requests.

I'll figure it out. Looking forward to seeing lots of you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ad Astra 2014 This Weekend

Well, I’m off to Ad Astra again this weekend. How many times have I been now? Almost every year since before my first book came out, so... a lot. Yes, definitely a lot. I'll be there Saturday and Sunday (April 5 & 6) with copies of Section K to sell and flyers of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell to hand out, four panels to speak on, one reading, and a signing, too. Haven't decided what to read from, yet. Requests?

They’ve moved again; I’d just got used to the last location, and loved that it was TTC accessible. Not so much the new location, I’m afraid, but that’s ok – it’s the Sheraton Parkway North, the same location Polaris has been in for the last several years. True, it will require the use of VIVA buses and the extra fare that goes with that, but it is a great hotel for a convention! Lots of space for the dealer’s room, plenty of rooms to host panels and readings... I have many happy memories of times spent in and around that hotel, although none of those memories involved actually staying there! One day, perhaps... when money is no longer an issue.

Here is my panel/reading/signing schedule for the convention:

YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Canadian Style – Aurora – 10:00 AM
Author Signings – Richmond A – 2:00 PM
Advantages and Disadvantages in the Self-Publishing Game – Markham A – 3:00 PM
Never Ending Stories – Markham A – 7:00 PM
Reading – Oakridges – 9:30 PM

Fandom Mental Health Forum – Richmond B – 1:00 PM

I'll be busy, but hopefully not too busy to spend quality time with my fandom friends. I look forward to seeing many of you at the con this weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bane of the Doctor - An Adventure in Fanfiction

In my last post, I discussed the status of my writing life and how things hadn't exactly gone according to plan. My main novel projects are stalled - I've been trying to write Chapter 16 of my Cupid War spinoff I, Suicide for the last three weeks - and blog posts such as this one have been few and far between (not that that's anything new, I'm afraid).

The only thing I've made any kind of progress on is a Doctor Who fanfic story. That has actually been going really well. And it's pretty much the only thing I've got to show for myself for the last seven months. I call it Bane of the Doctor, and it's a multi-part saga filled with references and popular characters, and a villain of my own creation.

I'm publishing the story on Archive of our Own. Here is a link to a prelude story, and this link will take you to the first chapter. I also chose to re-publish my first Doctor Who fanfic story, Happy Landings, found here.

The second chapter of this epic will be posted very soon. I'm hoping to release an episode every month.

Stay tuned, fellow Whovians!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Business, Part 2

That business plan I was all fired up about last year? Not really working out. I finished a book in my new shared universe and started another, Zombie Jesus Day (ZJD), with plans to keep going while putting other projects aside.

Instead, I’ve spent the last several months working on I, Suicide (a spinoff novel from The Cupid War) and a Doctor Who fanfiction story. I, Suicide will be a hard sell, and I can’t make any money at all from fanfiction! What happened to the great plan?

What the hell went wrong?

Basically, I kept giving priority to other projects. A lot of those projects were articles for Those had to take priority because they had deadlines. And they paid. In money. There was also a short story I wrote for an anthology (they rejected it). Each time one of those came up, ZJD had to be put on hold.

Then, when I was typing up what I had of ZJD, I had to have another project to work on during the day (see this post here for more details). I picked up I, Suicide again, and discovered I had a passion for that story once more. And when I was typing up the new chapters of I, Suicide, I tried to get back into ZJD. Only I couldn’t. I’d lost the mojo for it. I ended up doing an I, Suicide short story instead, and picked up the thread of a Section K story (the one with the chocolate zombies, mentioned in my last post), and got into the afore-mentioned fanfic.

So, what’s the plan now? Finish I, Suicide and the Section K story, then see about picking ZJD back up once more. Then start a new novel in the ZJD world.

Unless... you know, stuff happens.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chocolate Zombies in the Wild, Wild West

There comes a time in any storyteller’s career where he/she will ask him/herself, does this project I’m working on make sense? Is it going anywhere? Am I writing myself into a corner from which I cannot hope to escape?

I’m currently working on a Section K short story where Agent Johnny Tall and a mysterious woman known as the Witch must defeat a horde of zombies made entirely out of chocolate. Why are these zombies made out of chocolate? There is a reason, of course. I’m just afraid it isn’t a very good one.

The chocolate zombies have an objective. I haven’t entirely worked out what that is, yet. Various scenarios have gone through my mind, and concepts are coming together. The thing I keep running into, however, is this: is this objective best brought about with the use of chocolate zombies?

Did any of you see The Wild, Wild West? That Will Smith movie from 1999 that featured a giant steam-powered tarantula? The villain, Loveless, had created this metal monster in order to kidnap the President and force him to surrender the country, or something. One critic wrote in his review, ‘wasn’t there an easier way?’ By which I'm sure he meant, was kidnapping the President an objective that necessitated the construction and deployment of a giant metal steam-powered spider?

And don’t get me started on the anti-aircraft gun atop the metal spider. Put there, no doubt, in case someone invented a flying machine several decades before the Wright Brothers. Lucky thing, too, because without it Loveless would not have been able to shoot down the heroes in a flying machine invented several decades before the Wright Brothers first flight. Because you can never be too careful, I suppose.

But I digress. The point I was taking the scenic route to is, am I writing a giant steam-powered tarantula into my story, in the shape of chocolate zombies?

I sure hope not. However, even if the concept still doesn’t work by the time I reach the story’s end, not to worry – that is what rewrites are for. It might seem preferable to plot each bit of the story out first, but where’s the fun in that? I trust my creative process. If it says chocolate zombies are the way to go, who am I to argue? I’m just the author, man. I just work here. ;)

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 is... Evil?

Already 2014 is off to a very good start. Today, Violet and I both rejoined the world of the employed! I start a new long-term temp assignment on Monday, and Violet has been hired by our local Home Depot. She's worked for the company before, and enjoyed the experience very much. This news could not have come at a better time - both our EIs have run out!

And while that is certainly good news for both of us, I have something else to report that might just eclipse everything. It's been in the works for a little while now, and I didn't want to say anything for fear of a) jinxing it, and b) getting everybody's hopes up before it was more or less a sure thing.

A production company in Germany has approached me regarding the movie rights for Evil.

I know, eh? Wicked!

But that's not all! I've asked if I can write the script, and they appear open to the idea! Now technically, I can demand that writing the script be part of the rights sale. They are mine, after all, and I can make whatever demands I please. I could ask to be paid in green M&Ms! Of course, if I demand ridiculous stuff, they might decide to go after some other author's book. They have a guy in mind to write the script, but they want to see a treatment from me (ie - how I would adapt the book for the screen) to see if we are more or less on the same page. If so, then I might be a screenwriter once again! If not, no worries. Selling book rights is a fairly new thing for me, and I'm delighted enough at their interest. Writing the script would simply be gravy.

The production company have also expressed interest in The Cupid War. Flux still owns those rights, so they'll handle it. I will, of course, get a sweet check out of that sale!

I will of course provide more details as they happen. In the meantime, I'm just delighted to have some really good news to share!

Oh, and our cats got run over. :(

Kidding! They're fine.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My 2013 Post

So, 2013. Time to look back on it. And for the purposes of blogging, time to reflect on what was good or great about last year, and express positive hopes about the year just begun. Very important not to dwell on the bad stuff, as that would be Unprofessional and No Fun To Read, and just plain WRONG. It might get Too Personal, and nobody really wants that.

Except, I always try to tell the truth on this blog. Or at least, I always want to. I've whitewashed events or glossed over hurts for fear that it would Reveal Too Much, and Drive Readers Away. This blog's main goal is to attract new readers to my work, and to entertain and involve current readers in what I'm up to. It should not be about my personal life, unless it is to mark a positive occasion, or has something to do with my cats.
Everyone loves cat pictures.

But, regardless of what I Should or Should Not say in this blog, I'm going to discuss 2013 for what it was. I suffer from Depression, so even the negative events are positives when you consider that I got through them.

So, what was 2013 for me?

It was the year I landed a decent temp assignment, one that kept the bills paid from January through to June. For the first half of the year, Violet and I had financial stability. The company I worked for liked me so much that they kept me on when one contract ended, then extended my contract two more times. I was well liked by the people I worked with... except for just one person.

It was the year I failed, yet again, to deal with a workplace bully. I stood up to that bully, which for me is huge, but that didn't make things any better. I consider this a personal failure because I wasn't able to brush off this bully's behaviour as the antics of an insecure person. I couldn't just "not be bothered" by this person. I took it personally, I felt weak, and I couldn't rise above it. I still can't.

It was the year I finally qualified for Employment Insurance! That helped tremendously, because I couldn't find any more work until just recently. Job searching continues to be a hard and painful struggle for me. EI allowed us to survive the lean summer and fall months while we dished out resume after resume into the void.

It was the year Violet graduated from George Brown College with a diploma in Graphic Design! Very, very proud of her. This is a huge step forward for her career. My parents came up from Ottawa to be there for the graduation ceremony, and took us out to dinner afterward. Splendid days!

I finished the first draft of a new novel that I feel extremely positive about. I call it I'm So Goddamn Sick of Vampires. I still have to edit it quite a bit, but it is a good story and breaks new ground for me as an author. I also wrote a couple of new short stories, continued working on a Cupid War spinoff I'd started but abandoned in 2011, began a new Doctor Who fanfiction story, and wrote the first 3rd of a new YA Horror Comedy as well.

One of those new short stories had been written specifically for an anthology, following encouragement that I interpreted as a request from the anthology's editors. They turned it down. Second time that’s happened to me. Third, actually, if you count the time a magazine asked me to rewrite a story from a different character’s point of view and then turned that version down, too. That was a kick in the balls. Nevertheless I'm proud of that story, and Violet said it was one of my best.

I wrote numerous articles for It was a great experience, and gave me a new perspective on professional article writing. For one article, I interviewed two of my co-workers for information on wedding venues. It was a fun experience that I enjoyed tremendously, and the pay was decent, too!

Then, the former editor returned and made some policy changes. One such change was to reduce the fee for articles by half. I decided my writing is still worth the same as before, so I haven't accepted any new assignments from them. A shame. It was great while it lasted.

Doctor Who celebrated its 50th Anniversary! As a big fan of the show, this was a big deal for me. The anniversary special, The Day of The Doctor, did not disappoint, and it was fun having it to look forward to all year.

I attended four conventions this year: Ad Astra, GenreCon, SFContario and Reversed Polarity. GenreCon was especially important for me, for two reasons. One, it wasn't in Toronto; the decision to do a con in Guelph was a big one for me. Two, I was asked by the organizers to come and be a part of the programming. What an honour! That meant so much to me.

I haven't written about my experiences at SFContario this year, or the panel I did at Reversed Polarity. Both were fun experiences, and both presented new challenges. I didn't write posts about those cons, or any posts since November, for reasons I will make clear momentarily.

It was the year I released a new novel, The Five Demons You Meet In Hell! I self-published the book through Smashwords, and it is my second attempt to break into the ebook market (Closets was the first). A good friend of mine, Sarah Water Raven, did a spectacular cover for me, and made me flyers that I handed out at my last three conventions. It was great to get back into the game once more, and with all the promotion I was giving it through my social media sites, I was certain it would be a success!

It wasn't. Or, to be slightly less negative, it hasn't been a success yet. From the day I released it, November 13, until today, I have sold exactly nine copies.



I haven’t even been able to break into double digits.

What, I’ve been asking myself, have I been doing wrong? Promoted it at conventions with flyers? Check. Even did a reading from it at GenreCon. Promoted it on the blog? Check. On Facebook? Checkity-check. Fan page and everything. Twitter, too. I have over 1,000 followers on Twitter, and nearly 1,500 Facebook Friends. That’s a lot, isn’t it? And I did special deals, like dropping the price to 99 cents on Black Friday. I figured I’d have sold at least 100 copies by now.
But I haven’t. I’ve sold nine.


What. The. Fuck?

I did not take this disappointment well. I went into a serious funk, what many would call ‘Feeling Sorry For Myself’ but a select few would acknowledge as ‘A Depressed Person Dealing With Bad News’. I stopped blogging, withdrew even further from social activities, didn’t even bother to plan my birthday party until the last minute. And on a few dark days, I thought of suicide once more. Not terribly seriously, and never with intent, but always with a strong desire to just Stop. It seemed as if all my efforts, all my hard work, simply hadn’t paid off, and the future did not look bright at all.

I got through it. I always do, with friends and family helping me. I’m feeling better about things, and putting the poor sales of 5 Demons into a different perspective. It’s not the final crashing and burning of my writing career; rather, it is just another learning experience along the way. The book hasn’t had any reviews yet; my next goal is to get some. And, of course, to keep producing output.

So, 2014. Resolutions? Nah. Not unless I can think of some funny ones. What I will do is keep writing, keep going, keep believing in a future where that payoff comes.

And right now, I do believe.

Today is a good day.