Thursday, 25 March 2010

The King's Home

I was an Arthur nut growing up.  I devoured Tennyson in English before I knew what Thou meant.  I was wowed by sword fights in Malory's Morte D'Arthur, and I giggled at the bad sex scenes in the movie Excalibur.  

Yes, Arthur and I were tight.

Based on Lord Alfred Tennyson's Idle of the Kings, The King's Home is a story of the final few breaths shared between Arthur and Guinevere before he leaves her and rides to his final battle. Wrought with betrayal, passion and cute boys, Tennyson's epic poem is a great read if you've never checked it out!

Click here to listen to The King's Home.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Fireborn 2010 Follow-up!

At Fireborn I told two stories that I call "dad stories."  One was based on a family legend and the watch featured on the poster, and the other on a St-Exupéry story that my dad recited to me a few times (not to say he repeats himself - je t'aime papa!).  It's a story of courage and survival, in which Guillaumet, one of St-Ex's friends, crashes in the Andes and survives through the sheer will power of putting one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other.  If you'd like to read the story, which I full encourage you to do, you can do so in Terre des hommes, or the English translation: Wind, Sand and Stars.  

My father sent me this picture today of St-Ex with Guillaumet, following their reunion (centre/right of picture - pilot is Guillaumet and the guy with his arm around him is St-Ex).  After seven gruelling days crossing the Andes on foot following a winter storm that spread 5 metres of snow within 48 hours on the treacherous mountains, a feat that spelled death for everyone else before him, Guillaumet doesn't look too bad now, does he?

Two weeks after the ordeal, Guillaumet and St-Ex flew both ways across the Atlantic, just for fun.  I love stories like these, of humanity, spirit and slight insanity.

Fireborn 2010 was one of my favourite Kymeras shows so far. The Ottawa Steampunk folk showed up in full regalia, which just made the evening so great!  My fellow performers - Ruthanne Edward, Kathryn Hunt and Sean Zio - amazed me once again. It's great working with a bunch of people who keep inspiring you to do better and better each time.

Up next is Earthborn, somewhere around the summer solstice.  Stay tuned for details!

Ad Astra Schedule!

Here's where you can find me at Ad Astra!

Fairytale Inspiration 
Fri 8:00PM
Salon 241

Panelists: Leah Bobet, Ken Lillie-Paetz, Miriam Harrison, Marie Bilodeau
Description: Why retell stories that many people already know, and likely grew up with? How do you use elements of fairytales effectively? What can they bring to your story?

The East Block Irregulars
Sat 3:00PM
Crowne Room

Panelists: Hayden Trenholm, Derek Kunsken, Matt Moore, Elizabeth Westbrook-Trenholm, Marie Bilodeau, Peter Atwood
Description: Ottawa’s newest speculative fiction writers’ group does more than just provide critiques. We share market information and help each other promote (and sell) our work. We write and even blog together. Come meet the members of EBI and find out how a small writers’ group works, and how we went from being unpublished to published authors.

Stories That Inspire the Genre
Sat 6:00PM

Panelists: Marie Bilodeau
Description: Storytelling show on stories that inspire fantasy genre!  Warriors, elves, dwarves, zombies... there will be a bit of everything for everyone!  Um, not a kids event. Kids can come, but it's more adult focused.  There'll be lots of death, you see.

Cold Magics Book Launch
Sat 10:00PM
Con Suite

Description: Okay, this is a friend's launch, but it'll be worth checking out! Erik Buchanan is a Dragon Moon Press author who will be celebrating the release of the sequel to his last novel, Small Magics. I'm gathering  chocolate for the occasion, and trust me, it'll be good variety!

Sun 2:00PM

Reading: Hayden Trenholm,  Marie Bilodeau
Description:  Hayden is a great author, nominated three times for Aurora Awards, bringing one of those  sharp babies home.  He's also part of my writing group and a great guy all around, and I'm honoured to share reading time with him!  I'll be reading from my upcoming Dragon Moon Press release, Destiny's Blood.

That's it for now!  Otherwise I'll be hanging around at the Dragon Moon Press and Edge Sci-Fi/Fantasy tables, generally running around and enjoying the fun times at Ad Astra.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, 15 March 2010

A Pint to Prophecy

After months of technical issues with, I've decided to merge my podcast blog with my regular blog. It'll become a one-stop shop!

I'm excited to re-post the first podcast for Stories Retold. I started off with one of my favourite stories to tell, "A Pint to Prophecy," which is a modern retelling of Ragnarök, the Norse end-of-the-world myth.

Ragnarök is always told as a vision coming to Odin, since it obviously hadn't happened in the time of the myth, so I kept the same flavour in this telling. My main sources were two of the oldest texts recording Norse mythology: The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda.

This story is also going to be included in a podcast anthology slotted to come out from Dragon Moon Press in April.  More news to come soon!

I had fun recording this and I hope you'll enjoy it!  A word of warning: I am a fairly well assimilated French Canadian, but my H's wander here and there. I try to keep them in check, but I fear they're wild and free.

Listen to A Pint to Prophecy.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Thieves & Scoundrels

One of my publishers, Absolute XPress, holds regular flash fiction contests, and then gathers all of the winning entries into a lovely anthology.  For their third contest they invited me to be the guest reviewer, which proved both fun and enlightening.  All right, and a little bit frustrating as well.  I'm copying here my insights into the process, which I've stolen from my publisher's blog (well, they ARE my words...)

On the Reviewing Process

Absolute XPress threw down the gauntlet once again with its third flash fiction challenge.  This time, writers everywhere were challenged to write about thieves and scoundrels in the genres of horror, science-fiction and fantasy.  And many fine writers answered that call.

Let’s face it – deep down inside we all love scoundrels.  A little piece of us would love to be as wild, free and uncaring as they are, able to move without fear of repercussion or worry of society’s reactions.  To just be your insane self, with clear purpose and direction, and the tools, skills and lack of inhibitions to get you there – come on, that just sounds like fun!

The theme, however, proved more of a challenge than we could have imagined. Not on the writers’ parts – they certainly tackled the theme with unscrupulous ambition.  It was the reviewers who had a tough time.  So many great stories and so many different perceptions of scoundrels!

The authors gave us a lot to chew on.  As reviewers, we had to analyze what we felt best represented scoundrels.  It was tough. As it turns out, there are lots of ways to break laws and freak people out.  There was so much potential in all of the stories that it took us an extra week of debate to get it down to the final 20.

Those who didn’t make it in this anthology, take heart.

Your stories were not bad.  Some had vital flaws that might have been caught with careful re-reads and test readers.  Others needed some refinement and growth, and a good copy editor.  Some just had too much crammed in there for a thousand-word long story.  As readers, we need some familiar footing to find our way to your characters and plot.  I was personally pissed off with some stories – they were so good, but those fundamental flaws lowered their ranking.  So I hope you all stick with it and try again, or try somewhere else, write something completely different – it doesn’t matter, just stick with it and keep increasing your skills.  It’ll be worth it to catch your publication prize.  After all, like most thieves and scoundrels teach us, half the fun is the thrill of the hunt.

The success of this contest is increasing, so expect another one soon.  Thanks to all of the authors who sent in a story, and those of you who didn’t make it in, please try again!  I personally can’t wait to read more from all of you.

Merry hunting!

Marie Bilodeau

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Sorceress of Shadows Release Date

The plan was to release Sorceress of Shadows, the last book in the Heirs of a Broken Land series, in March. It's gonna be close, but it's not gonna happen.

Instead we'll be taking it out in April, just one short month late of its original publication date. Not bad, eh?

I'm really jazzed about this book. Not only does it conclude the stories of Cassara, Avarielle and Shirina, with Shirina taking the helm for a lot of this book (as the title betrays), it also wraps up a bunch of other questions. It was great fun to write, but also left me quite nostalgic. You don't spend three books getting to know your characters and then let them go without falling into some sort of emotional pit.

I have other stories planned for the worlds of Elihor and Graydon, which I'll pitch to my publisher some time soon. In the meantime I can't wait for Sorceress of Shadows to hit the bookstore shelves!