Word on the Street – Born a Sci Fi Hero Panel

Word on the Street Toronto is coming up! It’s on Sunday September 24.

I am, as usual, terrified/excited for this. Terrified because I will be on a panel and speaking in public, and excited because I love Word on the Street, and have gone almost every year since I emigrated, long before Transferral came out.

So in 2015 it was particularly wonderful that it was my first public appearance as an actual, official author. I ‘accidentally’ wore my Word on the Street lanyard all the way home on the TTC, and would have kept it on for the next week if there had been any plausible way I could make it look unintentional.

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I will be on the ‘Born a Sci-Fi Hero‘ panel on the Teen Spirit Stage from 12.30-1.30pm, then I’ll be hanging out at the Cormorant booth at 2pm.

I’ll be joining three amazing authors on stage – Angela Misri, the host, and fellow-panelists Cherie Dimaline and Sarah Raughley. I’ve read books by all three – and here are my mini-reviews.

Jewel of the Thames– Angela Misri

I first met Angela Misri at a CANSCAIP event a couple of years ago, and from her description I was immediately intrigued about her Portia Adams series.  Portia is a budding 1930s girl detective with a mysterious family background who finds she has inherited 221 Baker Street. I got my hands on a copy as soon as I could, and I was not disappointed. Portia Adams is a fantastic character, smart, charming and endlessly curious. The books stand on their own, so teens do not need to be familiar with the source material. And while we currently seem to be ankle deep in Arthur Conan Doyle  adaptations, these stand apart as a properly fresh take on the Sherlockian myths.

The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves is set in a future world almost destroyed by ecological abuse – where the indigenous people of North America are the only ones still able to dream. Hunted for this ability, they are forced to live on the run to avoid the ‘recruiters’ and the fate that awaits them in the government-run ‘schools’.

I recently read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report,  and the horror of that resonates throughout this novel, adding an almost unbearable weight to the words. The writing is stunning, with too many perfect metaphors for me to pick one. The characters are real and complex and I lost count of how often this story made me cry. I re-read the ending four times, and teared up each time.  If that doesn’t convince you to read this book, check out this starred review from Kirkus.

UPDATE! The Marrow Thieves is a Kirkus Prize finalist! (And I would also put serious money on this book picking up A LOT more nominations/prizes.)

Fate of Flames – Sarah Raughley

I have a shameful admission to make. I read a description of this book last year or early this year, and thought it sounded really interesting: ‘PACIFIC RIM meets the AVENGERS with a SAILOR MOON cast’. But in spite of that great concept, I decided not to read it. I’ve been reluctant to start a new series. Partly because I have a ridiculous TBR list, so adding three books to it at once is daunting, and partly because I started a couple of hyped trilogies from very big names last year, and didn’t love them enough to read the sequels. That left me with a frustrated ‘unfinished’ feeling and a little soured on starting a new series.

But, since I found out I was going to be on this panel, I decided to give this series a go. I am so happy I did (thanks, WOTS programmer – I would have missed these books otherwise!).  I was absolutely glued to this book until it was done, then immediately went online to find the next one and found out it isn’t out until LATE NOVEMBER. Gah! So I’ll be awaiting that eagerly. Fate of Flames is fast-paced with compelling characters, a uniquely dark take on the ‘chosen one’ theme and SO MANY QUESTIONS I WANT ANSWERS TO NOW.

 

So, other than being totally nervous about the whole talking in public thing, I’m really looking forward to my panel. See you there?

 

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Six Ways to Write A Book When You Are Already Stupidly Busy

I have a full-time office job, two young children (3 & 5) and I volunteer. Time is a constant challenge. My second book is coming out now, so I’m often asked how I fit in writing. The answer is – with some difficulty.  Yet I’m more productive than I was before I had children.

Continue reading

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Ajax Library and Word on the Street

I will be at Ajax Library on August 23rd at 4pm to talk about writing, Transferral, Tangled Planet and trying to be brave. You can find the details here. Please come by if you are in the area!

And on Sunday September 24, I’ll be back at Word on the Street, which I am so excited about.  (I will continue to be excited about it until about two weeks before, when I will start to get nervous, a feeling that will slowly grow until the day of, when I’ll be terrified, nauseous, and wondering what on Earth possessed me to agree to stand on a stage and speak in the first place.)  But for now, excitement – eeee!

Word on the Street is one of my favourite festivals, and I’d been going for
years before I became an author. This year, I’m on the ‘Born a Hero‘ panel on the Teen Spirit Stage from 12.30pm-1.30pm with Sarah Raughley  and Cherie Dimaline.

I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow panelists – I’ve wanted to read Cherlie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves since I first saw it on the DCB website, and this starred Kirkus review obviously bumped it up my to-read list – I’ll make sure I’ve made time before the panel.

I’m currently reading Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley, and loving it. (How could I not? It is as exactly as she described it – ‘PACIFIC RIM meets the AVENGERS with a SAILOR MOON cast’). Strong female protagonists, monsters, conspiracies and the world in the balance – hugely fun and compelling.

As usual, I’m going to be totally in awe of my fellow panelists. It’ll be a fascinating session, and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about their books.  Please come and sit in the audience and send me supportive looks so I feel slightly more comfortable about the whole public speaking thing.

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Sunburst and Tangled Planet

Transferral has been longlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. So exciting to be nominated! Especially since I’m once again in great company – there are books by several of my friends there –  Lena Coakley with the wonderful Worlds of Ink and Shadow, Marina Cohen’s creepy  The Inn Between, and Ian Donald Keeling’s action-packed The Skids, are all also nominated in the young adult category, and Jay Hosking’s fascinating Three Years With the Rat is nominated in the adult category.

And my next book – Tangled Planet – is coming out in the fall with the wonderful people at DCB! My lovely agent, Lydia Moed, described it as “A tense, compelling read that combines the big ideas of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora with the pace and intrigue of The 100.” Here’s a brief description:

After 400 years, the starship Venture has arrived at its destination: Beta Earth, pristine and uninhabited. But after generations of living on their dilapidated starship, 17-year-old engineer Ursa and her crewmates are not prepared for the rigors of colonization. Deadly accidents and unexpected hardships threaten to tear the group apart. Then Ursa discovers something lurking in the overgrown alien forests of their new home. Something that shouldn’t be there. Something that’s killing the colonists, one by one.

Ursa needs to convince her crewmates to return to the safety of the Venture, but when she tries to tell them about the creature she saw, they assume she’s lost her mind – or worse, that she’s committing the murders herself. As conflict threatens to tear the crew apart and evidence of a conspiracy comes to light, Ursa doesn’t know who she can trust. But if she can’t find out what’s going on in the forests of Beta Earth and in the patched and worn corridors of her starship home, her fragile society won’t survive.

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Willow Award nomination, Transférés, and my next book

I am terrible at updating this blog. At least that means when I get around to it, I have lots of news to share.

Transferral was just nominated for a Willow Award! A Snow Willow Award, to be precise. The Willow Awards are a wonderful young readers’ choice award program in Saskatchewan.  Ten books are nominated in each age group (Snow Willow is for grades 7-9), and the readers vote on their favourite.

I am in excellent company, along with several friends and their fantastic books, including Icarus Down by James Bow (which is next on my shamefully behind to-read list), a favourite of my childrens’, If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle, and the identity-affirming French Toast by Kari-Lynn Winters.

My book is also coming out in France next week! It’s up on Michel Lafon’s website, and has a fantastic cover. Am looking forward to trying to read it with my limited French when my author’s copies arrive.

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And I have another book coming out in the autumn, from the wonderful people at DCB. More to come on that in another post. Watch this space. (That’s a pun. Because it’s set in space).

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Transferral optioned! French rights sold! Signed with an agent!

So, it’s been an exciting few weeks, and a number of things have fallen into place that I can now talk about.

Firstly, Transferral got optioned! And by Temple Street Productions, no less – makers of the wonderful Orphan Black (if you haven’t watched it, get on that).  Here’s the proper news release:

Transferral Option Announcement

Massive, massive thanks to Barry Jowett, Bryan Jay Ibeas, Kitty Yau, Cormorant and DCB for their amazing work in making that happen.

French rights have also sold, to Les Editions Michel Lafon, so it’ll be coming out in France! I am far too excited about getting a French copy. Am going to try to read it. My French is rather limited, but I think reading a book in French that I wrote will help. Right?

I’ve also signed with an agent – the lovely Lydia Moëd at the Rights Factory (who sold the French rights!).  Here’s my page at their site. Lydia is currently building her list, and is actively seeking marginalized authors over the summer. So if you are looking for an agent and are from an underrepresented group – send her a query. Information on definitions, what she is looking for and how to query here.

Currently working hard on finishing up my next book, so it’s ready for submission, and outlining book 3. Oh, you know, and the full-time day job. And parenting two small children. And volunteering.

And I wonder why I’m so tired…

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MYRCA 2017 Nomination

I found out on Monday that Transferral has been nominated for a Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award. And I’m still so happy about it, for three reasons. Firstly – award nomination! Eeee! They like my book! Of course that is beyond exciting. Secondly, the company.  Seriously, look at these books:

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The Scorpion Rules was on my post about my favourite books of 2015, and I’ve since read Speechless and We Are All Made of Molecules, and I absolutely loved them! Two more of the books are on my to-read shelf (The Blackthorn Key, which I have heard wonderful things about, and A Pocket Full of Murder, which was recommended to me by E.K. Johnston when we were at Ella Minnow for Authors for Indies last weekend). And several more are on my (absurdly long) to-read list (and a few more will be added). So it’s amazing to see Transferral in such company.

Thirdly and most importantly, I’m excited because the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Awards is a literary initiative which encourages children to read the books on the list, and then vote on their favourite. So by being nominated, Transferral will be read by many more children. And that’s the whole point really, isn’t it?

By the way, here is my actual to-read-shelf, in case you thought I was making that bit up. I just finished The Lie Tree today (which was incredible), so I get to start a new book now, and it’s going to be a fellow MYRCA 2017 nominee for sure. I still can’t bring myself to read Terry Pratchett’s final book, so that’ll probably stay on the shelf for a while.

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Authors for Indies, Illusionoid Podcast & General Update

Once again, it’s been too long since I updated this blog.

I’ve been busy enjoying being an author and doing authorish things, as well as the day job and parenting – both of which have been even more hectic than usual.

I was interviewed for the Illusionoid improv podcast – you can hear my episode here, but I would also strongly recommend the prior episode, Henry and His Goon Child, which was fantastic.

I also did a reading at the Chiaroscuro Reading Series,  which is a wonderful sci-fi fantasy series with branches in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver. In Toronto, it’s (usually) held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at the ROUND venue in Kensington Market, but this month it’s on April 27th.  I only found out about Chiseries recently, and that’s on me – I have been missing out! I went to the Spec Fic Colloquim on March 12 (as an audience member) which was fab too. Will be trying to arrange babysitting so we can get out to more of the monthly events.

I also did some in-store signings, and my first ever author visit to a school, which I was nervous about, but turned out to be fun. Talking to teens who have actually read my book is an amazing feeling, and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

I’ve been keeping things a bit lighter in terms of upcoming events, but I am going to be taking part in Authors for Indies,  a great day where authors help out in independent bookstores, recommending their favourite books to customers. I’ll be at the lovely Ella Minnow shop on April 30th. So, if you’re looking for book recommendations for children and teens – please come by. I have read so many picture books, middle-grade and YA novels, and I am excited about hooking people up with books they will love!

Plus my book comes out in the US in May!

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World-building and Illusionoid

I was invited to be a part of a roundtable on world-building, along with some excellent Canadian SFF authors, by the 49th ShelfCharlotte Ashley had some great questions, and I found everyone else’s answers fascinating and insightful.  It was fun to be a part of it.

I still have more upcoming events! I’ll be the interviewee at the Illusionoid podcast at the Social Capital Theatre on February 24th at 8pm. The Facebook event is here. If you can’t be there in person, I hope you can catch it online afterwards.

I’ll also be signing at Indigo Oshawa on Sunday February 28th at 2pm. See you there?

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Author Events

I have some of these coming up. That and the fact that my book is in libraries and being checked out by people in places I have never heard of makes me far too excited.

Getting published is this thing that you feel in stages, from ‘OMG, a real publisher likes what I wrote’ to ‘There’s a cover! This is a real thing!’ to ‘I have to speak in public! Why on Earth did I think this was a good idea?’

Anyway, here are the events that are currently causing me mild to moderate anxiety. Please do come. My greatest fear is an empty room.

I will be signing books at Indigo at Yonge and Eglinton on Friday February 5th at 7pm. The Facebook event for that is here.

I’ll also be signing at Indigo Oshawa on Sunday February 28th at 2pm.

I’m the interviewee at the hilarious Illusionoid podcast at the Social Capital Theatre on February 24th at 8pm. It’s a wonderful show by a group of ridiculously talented comedians. If you can’t come, please listen. And you don’t have to listen to my episode. I recently binge-listened to four in a row, because they’re so fun. You will be glad to know I am not one of the people who have to be funny.

And on March 16th, I’ll be reading at the Toronto Chiaroscuro Reading Series event at the ROUND venue in Kensington Market at 7.30pm. Chiseries is a fantastic sci-f reading series and two-time nominee for the Aurora Award. They also have an amazing SpecFic Colloquium on March 12 with Margaret Atwood and other wonderful authors. I’ll be a member of the audience there.

I am also available to come and speak to schools. I’ve been working hard on my presentation, based on advice from many of the best authors I know. You can find out more information about my rates and topics from Authors’ Booking Service. I’m a member of the Writer’s Union of Canada, so rates subsidized by them through the Ontario Writers in the Schools program are available.

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