Tuesday, 31 July 2012

When the Villain Comes Home

Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood just released another super cool anthology with Dragon Moon Press:

Last year, they released the award-nominated anthology, When the Hero Comes Home, which included my short story, The Legend of Gluck.  This new anthology features another one of my stories, Happily Ever After. I'm super proud of this story.  It takes personality disorders to a whole other level.  When Gabrielle's lovely assistant read it, she said that she liked it, but that I probably should get therapy.  It's one of the sweetest things anyone's ever said about my writing.

I've had the chance to read most of the anthology and, like its predecessor, it's impressive and showcases some bestselling authors and some new voices. I highly recommend it!

Find it here, and it'll pop up other places soon, I'm sure!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Reaching The End

The final instalment of the Destiny series, currently entitled Destiny's Whatever (title will more than likely change), is well on its way.  I'm having fun, getting to the depths of various mysteries, while letting my characters have some fun and blow stuff up.

This is the second time I reach the third book in a series (I like three - it's a nice, clean number. Must be my failed catholic upbringing).  When I wrote Sorceress of Shadows, the final volume in my Heirs of a Broken Land series, I very much had the same experience I do now.

The first book is all about discovery. Discovering your world, your characters, your intrigues... It's a wild ride not to be taken lightly.

The second book, I find, is the highest pressure book. You don't want your series to slack off in the middle, so you have to keep things tense. The story can't just be filler.  It has to have a reason and purpose for being, while leaving the readers wanting book 3.  

The last book, however, is a whole other beast. This is probably your characters' final curtsy.  This is your last chance to visit those hauntings, to give them the moments they've been waiting for (or not), and to let them breathe their last.  Oh, I mean, they might live beyond the third book, but  it'll be off page. A whole other experience.

The final book has to live beyond the pages in your readers' imaginations. It has to be a satisfying ending for them, too - the readers stuck with you this long, after all!  And it has to remain true to the story, no matter how much you might want to end on a high note with sparkling unicorns and caffeinated rainbows.  That's rarely the way to go (thankfully).

I'm reading a trilogy right now and I'm on book 3, the final book (at least so far).  I whipped through books 2 and most of 3 in a few days, regardless of their impressive girth. But I'm slowing down, with less than 200 pages to go.  I'm not sure why I slowed down, but I suspect that, at this point, I'm a bit scared. A few events in the last book made me feel like the author was doing this because it was her last chance to make the characters do something, even if it no longer fit the story.  I might be wrong - I haven't finished the story, after all, but it was enough to make me worry.

I might also have slowed down because I know I only have a few pages left with these characters, and after investing so much into them, I'll miss them when they're gone.

I'm keeping all of this in mind as I write my own final book.  I want it to answer questions while coming up with plausible resolutions for issues plaguing my characters, some since Destiny's Blood.  It's a bit hard watching my characters take their final curtsy, too. I mean, it's hard letting go of characters from books you've read, but it's a lot harder letting go of ones you're writing.

The book is due this Thanksgiving at Dragon Moon Press, and I still have a lot of work to do.  August is full of cons and outings, but I'm still confident I can get 'er done.  I'll keep you up to date!

Onward to The End we go!  

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pepsi Hummus Recipe

Part of me thinks this recipe should be hidden in a vault or warehouse somewhere, Indiana Jones style, but so many of you have asked for it that I cannot refuse. I deny all responsibility for any dire, world-changing or just downright embarrassing consequences that may haunt you for the rest of your life should you choose to make this recipe.

Pepsi Hummus Recipe

It is always preferable to make this recipe while paying little attention.  Add your own touch by not even looking at the ingredients you're using while retelling your Roomy a quite frankly exaggerated tale of your latest caper.

1 can of chick peas (rinsed and cleaned - the chick peas only, not the can. Don't be that absent-minded)
1 garlic clove (crushed)
3 tablespoons of tahini
juice of half a lemon (existing paper cuts bring extra distraction during this step)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 unspecified amount of Pepsi

Mix all ingredients using a handheld mixer.  Add water if too thick.  Once you've added the Pepsi, stare in shock and horror.  Be amazed at the consistency change. Be disgusted, too. Ignore discouraged groans of Roomy/housemate/significant other. Try and wrestle handheld mixer free of now super powerful mixture.  Burst out laughing.

Enjoy hummus with vegetables, some pita bread, or a laser gun if hummus begins to attack. We drank Pepsi while consuming it, in the hopes of evening out the battlefield. And remember, always remember: don't blink.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Rotten Head for the Aurora Awards

The Aurora Awards voting period is ending on July 23.  The award allows Canadians to vote for Canadian works of science-fiction and fantasy, and I was touched and honoured to be nominated for my short story, The Legend of Gluck, from When the Hero Comes Home, edited by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood. 

I was so pleased that I asked Roomy to draw me a rotten head in celebration.
Nothing says parté like a worm sticking out of an eye socket!  Wait, there's something missing...
There we go. Matching party hats. Now we're having a party!

Okay, got slightly distracted there.  To vote in the Aurora Awards (by next Monday), just go here.

Thanks again for everything!  You make Klar (the rotten head) and I feel like we're doing something right.  I mean, aside from the polka dot party hats, which are oh-so-right.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

5,000 kms and Many Ponies Later

In February, I came home to an excited Roomy who leapt up and said "Roomy!  Orlando is only a 24-hour drive away!" 

She was of course referring to the My Little Pony Fair location, but I love a roadtrip and I was in. (She's a collector, I'm an enabler. I could be an award-winning enabler, if such awards were handed out.  Heck, I drove her to Memphis, Kentucky and Rhode Island (twice!) to fairs, I made sure a door was built to her pony room so she wouldn't kill my infiltrating kittens (that was partly for me, too), I drive her to random thrift stores to go pony shopping, and I even brought her to IKEA while recovering from food poisoning to get her a new shelf, and even built it that day. See?  Master enabler. Or a sucker.  I'm cool with either.)

Oh, and I help build dioramas.  Past years have been more intricate. This year I was too busy, but we already have a plan for next year.  If it's in Chicago. If it's not in Chicago, we're doooomed. But I can live with that.

Last year, Roomy instituted a Marie Activity into each pony fair trip, partly as a treat/thank you, partly as a way to ensure that I don't lose interest. Last year it was a Lovecraft walking tour in Providence, Rhode Island, and this year it was the Kennedy Space Center.  I have to admit that I'm not even the one who thought about the space centre.  I was looking at Disney Land and Lego Land and all sorts of expensive lands, but my wee little twice-whiplashed-why-do-you-crouch-so-much neck is a ride hater since Edmonton's Mindbender made it go "crick and crook."  And they never answered my requests to rename it The Neckbender.  Oh well.

But Roomy mentioned the space centre and that was that. The rest is pictures:

We gave space ice cream to our friends as a souvenir.  Because nothing says "I'm thinking about you" better than freeze-dried dairy products.
This is me, destroying important and undoubtedly expensive machinery with my poor flying skills on mars.  I died, my whole team died, but it was a heck of a good time.
I know, I know - Danger, Will Robinson (I so love that show).  But if that thing comes out of the woodwork and starts yammering at me about danger, I'm screaming at it and running away. Because I ain't lost in no space and that'd be weird shit happening.
There's just too much awesome in this picture.
Space propaganda made us happy.
This had the Canadarm and the Hubble, so we were happily geeking over it.

That's it for the space centre.  We were there for four hours and could have enjoyed another four.  It was pure awesome.  (Plus, I got in a potential legal altercation going there, where my flight instinct kicked into full gear regardless of alarms and flashing lights and all that good stuff. But I'll see what, if anything, comes out of this before I blog on what might potentially be my poorest reaction to a life situation yet (aka dumbest moment).  My friends were bent over in two crying and laughing as I told them, so that's usually a good clue that I wasn't so bright.  But I'll tell you all about it later!)

So, anyway... then there was the fair!

Our diorama was a bit less than inspired, but still cute.  We brought Canadian winter to Florida.  We have ponies playing hockey, with cheap ass little hockey sticks made out of cardboard.  On the left, you can see a green ribbon - that's the top of the wrapping of a gingerbread house. We decided to wrap it so that we could sell it, and people's grubby little hands and sneezes wouldn't be all over it. I made the world's worst sale sign imploring people to take it so I wouldn't eat it all and gain twenty pounds and have to go pants shopping because I hate pants shopping. In retrospect, that was a poor selling technique.  We didn't sell it (see?  Very poor).  Instead, it broke out of its wrapping as I was carrying it to the car and landed on the hotel carpet on its side in an explosion of happy colours.  ...I still ate it.
The 501st was there, and they were loving it.  Yes, that's a pony/storm tropper hybrid.  It's okay to cry.
Roomy won first prize in the custom contest!  Woo!  She made a nebula pony in honour of the Kennedy Space Centre. It's super awesome.  This side show the Horsehead Nebula, and you'd swear it was airbrushed on, it's so good. But no - Roomy is all about brushes.  There's a little space shuttle with the Canadarm sticking out on her leg (we're proud of that - Canadians like to grab stuff, remember that!).  On her other side is the Cat's Eye Nebula.  I helped with nebula identification, because I love nebulae. They're made of gassy win.
Overall I had an awesome time. My new car, Lorna, did a great job getting us there and back. I can safely say she's broken in, now!  Two weeks with me and she's already needed her first oil change. 

More posts to come later on the Haunted Pony and the legal altercation.  Woo!

Life is good.