Tuesday, 22 October 2013

I'm Number Two!

I wanted to thank everyone for their votes in the Aurora Awards.  It seriously meant a lot to me to make it on the ballot, and to come so close to a win!  Douglas Smith, a wonderful writer and person, won in the short fiction category.  But I came in second!  That's awesome - I absolutely adored writing Happily Ever After and still feel it's one of my strongest pieces.

I had predicted the winner for the novel category: Tanya Huff.  She predicted I would win, so I got to tell her that sure, she'd won an Aurora, but I was better at predicting winners. Ha!  Tanya is a wonderful writer and human being, and go check out her books. 

I couldn't be happier to see two such wonderful people take the Aurora Awards, as well as everyone else who came away with an award or just made the ballot.  Nods to Robert J. Sawyer for his Lifetime Achievement Award, to Hayden Trenholm for his Best Related Work win (Blood and Water anthology), and to Derek Newman-Stille for Speculating Canada (one of my favourite sites). 

I also had the honour of presenting the award for Best Poem/Song, which went to David Clink (accepted by his brother-in-law, Robert J. Sawyer).  For that, they gave me the punched out leaf from the trophy - it's deadly and sharp. These people know their community!

And so I leave you with my heartfelt gratitude and a picture of me with a punched out leaf:

Thanks to Tracey A. Vibert for accosting me in the corridor to take this picture.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Weekend Shtuff!

Don't miss out tomorrow evening (free stories!):

And then I'll be at the Ottawa Geek Market.   Roomy and I are sharing a booth, so if you're still wondering if I made her up, come and say hi!  ... of course, now that I've said that, she'll get kidnapped by ogres for the weekend. Again.

See you around!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Learning to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite "holidays."  Over time, I've learned to be more and more thankful of my life, my farmily and my friends. To have a day where we're reminded to be grateful is a wonderful thing.

I don't think I was ever an unthankful/ungrateful child (my mom can correct me if she so chooses to), but I remember the exact moment Thanksgiving gripped my life.

I was 18, in first year university.  I'd chosen to go to a school fairly far away and, despite my school being aghast with my decision, I'd selected an Englih university (not a popular decision at French schools, understandably).  I didn't realize at that time how poor my English skills were.  I was a fantasy reader by then, but I learned English by reading, not by listening.  And, turns out, fantasy vocabulary isn't necessarly the most useful for getting through university (go fig).

My first class, Archaeology 101, almost left me in tears (or at least terrors).  I had absolutely no clue what they'd been talking about. Not one clue.  I couldn't even grab enough words to contextualize the conversation (which is funny - archaeology is all about context!)

I made it through my first six weeks of school, but it was painful.  I didn't know how to craft English essays, I couldn't effectively crack jokes in English (anyone who knows me knows I think I'm funny), and some less informed Canadians made remarks that were less than tasteful about conquest and language barriers.  Those, I understood.

By the time I went home for Thanksgiving, braving the 8-hour train ride just to get to somewhere where I could finally speak and be understood, I was ready to call it quits.  Screw trying to do something more, screw a university degree, and screw not being understood.

I whined (a lot, I imagine) to my big brother, who looked at me with a slighly furrowed brow (or boredom).  When I informed him that I didn't want to go back, he told me to go back. He said that if I didn't want to go back after Christmas, once I'd completed a complete semester, then I could stay home.  But not before I'd really tried.  "Why don't you just embrace the experience instead of fighting against it? See what comes out of it?"  He said something like that, anyway. It struck me as pretty wise for my brother.

I went back ready to embrace, but mostly expecting to struggle.

A few things happened shortly after Thanksgiving that changed everything for me. A teacher with a French Canadian background understood my language barrier and offered me support.  I learned of the writing centre and they provided me with all kinds of resources.

But, most importantly, I met my friends, who are still sisters to this day.  We met quickly, one after the other, for a count of five of us in the end.  One is now the infamous (or long-suffering) Roomy.  The other is my sister-in-law.  Then there's Ren, whose house I'm now sitting in while the turkey cooks. I'm a good turkey watcher. There's one of us still a bit far, Kat.  I see her as often as I can.  She's coming right after Christmas with her husband, to stay for a week.

I'm in Ren's house because most of us are going to gather here, all of our families, to celebrate Thanksgiving.  To break bread and share laughter and stories.  And we do this at Christmas and Easter, too. Not because most of us are religious, but because it's about family, and we understand that bonds, whether blood or not, are maintained with love, friendship, and by remembering to be thankful for the people in our lives.

So, on Thanksgiving, I'm thankful my brother practically threw me into the train.  I'm thankful I met my friends, who are now my family.  I'm thankful that my friends helped me learn and embrace English, which then lead to so many great adventures and people that I've had the chance to meet over the years. I'm thankful  that every new addition to the family, whether husband or child, falls seamlessly into our stride, as though we'd all known each other forever.

But most of all, I'm thankful that I get to sit here, in a good friend's house, excited to see everyone in my family, and think of those who couldn't be with us today, and forge another beautiful memory.

And eat turkey.  Mmmm, turkey...

Happy Thanksgiving!
My group of friends (and their husbands including my brother and one child) at a random gathering last year.  Aren't we just a cute bunch? 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

CAN-CON - Paper Airplane Contest Rules


Back by popular demand, the paper airplane contest shall once more wreak havoc upon CAN-CON. I've been asked mutliple questions by citizens: what shall I bring?  Do we need our own band aids?  A change of clothes?  To sign a waiver?

Well, here are your answers: BRING ONLY YOURSELVES!

I've also received questions on the rules.  Some of you poor souls didn't make it last year.  So, here are the rules:


That's it.  Bring yourselves only, and be prepared to earn your way to even just folding the paper airplaine.


It is for the strong.


I've been asked if people, whom I shall now refer to as show-offs, can bring a pre-constructed plane. I've pondered it and decided that I shall graciously accept to allow show-offs to bring pre-made planes within the competition grounds.  


An even harsher skills competitions will be demanded of those who bring a pre-made plane.  If you only bring the supplies and build it on site, I shall be less harsh with my demands.  Slighly.


I've been asked that, especially considering all of the fine prizes I make available.  Fine, fine prizes. 


That's how you win.  And I define best based on my daily whim. 

... If this contest doesn't sound like a good time, I don't know what is! 

SEE YOU THERE.  8pm. Saturday evening.