Another Post from the Road

In my last post we’d made it as far as Los Angeles, mainly by plane.  The next phase of the tour began with a road trip to San Francisco! Thanks to the generosity of new friends, we had a fun home base in a camper-van near Golden Gate Park and this author & entourage used our time off to explore the city.  Here’s the view from Moraga Steps: We visited the Castro on our day off as it was Pride Weekend.  It was an emotional visit due to the recent tragic crime in Orlando.  We made friends with some lovely folks at a bar near Dolores Park, and I felt like the heart of the community was sore but still so proud, so kind, and so alive. Curtis and I got to sign books at landmark bookstore Borderlands, and then we had a great event at Laurel Bookstore (photo courtesy of my aunt Mia Stageberg):   Next stop: Portland!  On the road there, we began listening to the audiobook of Spells of Blood and Kin.  What a cool experience to hear my characters voiced so well by Vikas Adam (especially Nick and Jonathan–he really nails the stoner-speak!) Powell’s at Cedar […]

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The Road So Far

One week!  One week since Spells of Blood and Kin officially launched.  What’s happened in that week? First: the launch itself!  A power failure at the Yonge & Eglinton Centre meant the Indigo store had to close for the afternoon, but the amazing events team quickly found a solution–the courtyard of the mall.  Check out the amazing setup (and the long signing line!): Curtis Chen and I are tag-teaming a lot of our events as his debut novel, Waypoint Kangaroo, is with the same publisher at the same time–what a great coincidence!  Curtis came to Toronto for this event and the next one–a day later, at the Chiaroscuro Reading Series. Here’s a great picture Kelly Robson took of me at the reading series…right before I classily smacked myself in the face with the microphone: Next up, a double-header of Indigo signings: Chapters Chinook in Calgary, and Indigo Granville in Vancouver.  Both stores were lovely!  Indigo Granville had an especially great location for a signing table: I got to chat with not one but two different readers who were celebrating birthdays and decided to treat themselves to a signed copy of my book.  I hope they both had great days!  (There […]

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Wiscon!

I’ve never been to Wiscon before and I just found out there’s a time-travel-themed queer dance party! My rainbow leg warmers just got added to the packing list. Will you be there?  Come to one of the panels or readings I’m in! FRIDAY:10:30 PM – 11:45 PM Assembly: Let’s Judge a Book By Its Cover Science fiction and fantasy can have some knock-your-socks-off cover art. Art that draws you to the book and sticks with you later. (Sometimes even being reprinted on posters, t-shirts, etc.) At the same time, sf/f covers can be egregiously sexist or racist. They can be whitewashed and/or designed by committee to be as cookie-cutter as possible. Often, the author has zero control. We will look at classic examples of the good and the bad, and discuss current trends in book covers. SATURDAY:9:00 PM – 10:15 PM University C: Introverts Rock! (Quietly … Alone in Their Rooms.) The hidden power of introversion! Let’s talk about what’s awesome about being an introvert and some of the challenges we face. (I’m moderating this one!) SUNDAY:10:00 AM – 11:15 AM Conference 2: Dispatches from the GlitterShip! GlitterShip is a podcast and magazine of LGBTQIA+ short fiction. Come listen to […]

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Remembering Maureen Frost

Maureen Frost passed away yesterday.  Maureen was a writer: a new writer, with a few stories under her belt, as well as a history of the Mafia which will be in stores later this year. Maureen and I worked together.  Sometimes we took breaks and walked out to get tea.  Maureen introduced me to genmaicha–green tea with roasted rice–and dragon pearls.  As we walked, we talked about writing. Maureen showed me some of her stories.  At that time she had never sent them out, because she was sensitive, and feared rejections would crush her.  She asked me how I could bear it.  I don’t remember what I answered, because it is a light thing to me; but it was a heavy thing to Maureen. Watching her work up the courage to share her writing was so impressive.  Even showing a piece to just me–her colleague and friend–made her extremely nervous.  She took that first step bravely.  Then she began sending her work to magazines.  I remember her being so anxious that her voice was breaking when she told me.  And still she did it. What Maureen faced, only she knew.  I feel like I saw the shadow of it now […]

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Non-Fiction for Fiction Writers: Irritable Hearts

Character and world-building: two essential skills for writers.  I’d submit that our invented characters and worlds are inevitably reflections of our real worlds and our understanding of ourselves and others. Some of that understanding comes hard-won and first-hand.  I learn through falling down. I also learn through shifting perspectives.  I need a sense of the wider context in which my own life sits, and I need it to believably write people who aren’t me. I also have trouble reading fiction when I’m working a lot on my own writing.  Something about the process, especially in the last couple of years, has made it very hard for me to get swept up in a novel the way I used to.  I get hung up on the craft of it, like having x-ray vision, seeing the skeleton too prominently beneath the skin. Non-fiction also has its tropes and conventions, but since it isn’t what I am writing, it’s easier for me to read it wholeheartedly.  And I’ve read a lot more of it in the past couple of years. So: this is going to be the first of a series of posts about amazing non-fiction that has expanded my understanding of people […]

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Setting Myself Up for the Win

2016 is going to be a huge year for me, with the release of Spells of Blood and Kin in June.  And 2014 was a huge year, too: the year I signed with my wonderful agent Connor, the year he made the sale.  A year of leveling up. 2015, then, was a bridge year in some ways: a year to consolidate my gains, to do all the work I could to make sure this next phase in my writing life will be a successful one.  Timelines in writing are very long compared to some kinds of work: even more than a year, in my case, between deal and launch.  I came to learn that it’s very useful time!  Edits, proofing, and a lot of other associated tasks took a lot of it.  And of course, other projects need to be in the pipeline–my next book, plus some short stories, although the time I’ve spent on those has dropped a lot since the novel has to take priority. Like most working writers, I also have a day job–which is understating it a bit; I have a career which I love, and which is sometimes demanding.  Between this, family events, and cons, […]

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Cover reveal!

Spells of Blood and Kin is getting closer and closer, you guys.  You can now preorder it from a whole bunch of different US retailers here, or of course, from Indigo. And take a look at this cover!  It looks even better in person–I am the proud possessor of a mockup (my cover wrapped around a similarly-sized hardcover, since mine won’t be printed for a while yet) and I can’t even describe the rush of seeing it brought to life. Next step for this writer: copyedits!  I have a word list from the copy editors detailing things they’ve corrected, and I need to review the changes.  (Side note: it’s hilarious to me how many swears appear on the list.  Apparently I don’t spell profanity as well as the rest of my vocabulary.  For instance, did you know “douche bag” is two words, not one?!  It never occurred to me to look that up.) One thing I love about this process is the incredible number of talented people who are involved in making this book the best it can be.  I’m grateful to every one and I look forward to thanking them all properly, including those I haven’t yet met… and […]

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On the horizon… look what dawns…

This day, my friends, needs a pin in it: SPELLS OF BLOOD AND KIN has gone up on Amazon (and Goodreads!) It has a preorder link and an ISBN number (which, for anyone reading this who isn’t a book nerd, is like your book’s very own fingerprint or DNA). Go and look!  Look at the beautiful, generous things people have said about this book already!  I am so grateful–and so excited to watch this thing grow. […]

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Daughters of Frankenstein sweepstakes!

Tor.com is holding a sweepstakes–you could win one of three copies of Daughters of Frankenstein by entering here!  Read Brit Mandelo’s generous review also. My story “Eldritch Brown Houses” appears in this anthology–my first, and likely last, engagement with Lovecraft, all mashed up with analog photography, loneliness, and witchcraft.  Enjoy! […]

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