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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Safety in fan communities

Given that I’m a writer, you might be expecting a post with this title to be about speculative fiction fandom.  It isn’t, or not directly.* It’s about hockey, and the very troubling rape allegation that surfaced recently in regards to Patrick Kane, #88, star winger on the Chicago Blackhawks. When professional athletes are accused of serious crimes, their fans don’t always take it well.  There’s a chorus of innocent until proven guilty and but he’s such a great guy, he signed my kid’s jersey one time and sometimes some pretty gross backlash against the victims of the alleged crimes. As a female sports fan–heck, as a decent-person sports fan, here is what I want to hear from other fans when something like this goes down.  I want to hear, first and foremost, that you hope the victim is okay and being treated well.  I want to hear concern for her, belief in her. I don’t want your first thought to be for the alleged criminal.  He’s a rich, highly privileged person who will almost certainly be fairly treated, well-represented and supported with excellent legal advice, and even if found guilty, may keep his prestigious job and his millions in salary. […]

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Just in time for Readercon…

Long Hidden continues to garner attention, this time nominated for a World Fantasy Award!  This anthology punches way above its weight in so many ways.  Every story made me proud to be in that company, and the community of contributors has been such a pleasure to meet.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of the #LongHiddenFam at Readercon! What else am I doing at Readercon?  Reading: Friday, 7pm, Inspire Room: Outer Alliance ReadingFeaturing: Nicola Griffith, Kelley Eskridge, Sarah Pinsker, Malinda Lo, Claire Humphrey, Brad Parks, Susan Jane Bigelow, CD Covington, and Jill ShultzHosted by Julia Rios I’m planning to read the opening scene of SPELLS OF BLOOD AND KIN.  I’m so excited to introduce my book to you all!  This will be its first outing! I’ll also go to panels and readings, of course, and hang out in the bar, and in the lobby, and on the party floor.  (And in the back yard of the hotel, where there’s an open green space that is perfect for sparring.  I don’t really box any more, but I make an exception for Marko Kloos.) […]

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