Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Chatting about Writing over at Planet X

Last week was slow for geek news, so Jay Odjick, Ken Bonnie and I chatted writing over at Planet X Podcast!  Check it out if you'd like some inspiration or ideas! The second half of the episode is filled with writing tips and stories.  We're also on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Great Serialization Experiment, Part 2

Check out my Black Gate post where I chat about numbers, business and Power Rangers. (All very important factors in serializing your own novel.)

Strike a pose. It's Serious Morphing Time.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

How Good Are You at Hustling?

I'm late with yesterday's post because I took the weekend off.  I actually took it off, without work or social media, not even writing. I went to visit some friends I've been meaning to spend quality time with, and I had a great time!

Stinky Car is Angry Melty Car.
Then, on my way home, the car in front of me on the highway swerved a bit, then a lot, and bounced up. I took my foot off the gas, but a car hugged my car butt so I wasn't about to hit the brakes. The cause of the leading car's distress soon became my own - a tractor-trailer had lost the rubber from its wheel, and it now bounced toward me. To my left was a car, and to my right a ditch. I wasn't following closely so I managed to move as far right as possible before striking the tire. It hit under the driver's side, thunked my whole car up and then bounced off the highway. (The rude butt hugger got away clean. Road Karma, don't fail me now!)

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Announcing The Wizard and the Dragon!

I've had the pleasure of performing in several shows with Nicole Lavigne, including at an Arthurian legends show at the Tea Party. We had a lot of fun preparing our stories, and agreed that we could push the material much further. I'm pleased to announce that the Ottawa Storytellers have given us that opportunity by welcoming us to their National Art Centre's Fourth Stage lineup! 

Our show will be on January 21, 2016! I'll post updates here, including when the tickets are on sale! Join us for this fabulous journey into history, legend and prophecy.

The Wizard & The Dragon
Coming to the NAC's Fourth Stage in 2016! 
Legendary King Arthur and his mentor the wizard Merlin still cast an enduring spell. Drawing on the original texts of Geoffrey of Monmouth, 1100 to 1155, and Lord Tennyson, The Idylls of the King, Nicole Lavigne and Marie Bilodeau, accompanied by the eclectic musical talents of Jason Sonier, journey into this tale of darkness versus light to explore the role of prophecy and fate in the lives of these two fascinating mythic figures. Let the enchantment begin!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Serialization: Part 1 of 3

Are you thinking of serializing your own novel?  I'm sharing some of my thoughts and experiences from serializing Nigh, from why I did it, to some technical lessons, and of course the most important part - how to adapt your story so that it works as a serialized piece.

This is the next part of the writing life series, although it's hosted over at Black Gate Magazine. Check out this first post!  

Friday, 7 August 2015

GUEST POST: What's In A Name? Changing Perspectives

Continuing on our little impromptu series, here's the perspective of an upcoming writer. Nicole Lavigne is very active in the community and she's hardworking and very ambitious. Keep an eye out for her name, coming in bookstores everywhere soon, I've no doubt!  

Speaking of names (ha), I was stunned to learn that my SF Signal blog post had made such an impact on her, especially knowing that she tends to think things through. This is a perfect example of how what we do now, as authors, can impact future authors. Small ripples in a large ocean. But every little bit makes a difference. Words are power. We're authors, so let's reclaim that power. (Damn it.)

I've wanted to be a writer for pretty much forever (aside from that blip in grade one when I wanted to be a French teacher) and for all that time the name that I envisioned on those future book covers was N.L. Lavigne. My reasons for imagining my initials instead of my first name though had absolutely nothing to do with the bias against women writers that everyone is talking about. Not because that issue didn't exist but ten year-old me wasn't aware of it. It was only in the last couple of years that I even started to think about the outside perception of what name I choose to publish under.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

GUEST POST: Names Have Power

Following my blarghing about female authors hiding their gender in pseudonyms, I wanted to get some different thoughts on the whole thing. I invited Sheena McNeil, Editrix-in-Chief of Sequential Tart, avid reader, burgeoning fiction author and just all around awesome individual, to share her thoughts on the matter. Thanks for sharing, Sheena!   

I love reading stories that touch on that theme. There's usually magic and / or magical beings involved (dragons, demons, sorcerers, etc.), and knowing someone or something's true name allows one power over them / it. In this case, names are personal, not just because they belong to the character, but because it allows a deeper level of interaction with that character -- and usually not in a good way. True names were kept secret because the use of it could allow control over the named. Sometimes, true names can be shared with someone (usually one person -- a soul mate) and shows the ultimate trust. Doctor Who keeps teasing us with this (and I hope they continue to, because the mystery adds to the character). Parents know how to use the power of a name (or at least they did when I was growing up); if they used your full name (including the middle name), you were in trouble and / or need to do or stop doing something immediately. Using your full name means they're serious, and attempting to avoid whatever it is will lead to unpleasant consequences. It was a way to rein you in.

Yes, people suck. And names get judged. So what are you gonna do about it?

We judge gender, ethnicity, even the style of the book and writing just by looking at the author's name. This is nothing new - it's not like humanity is known for its non-judgmental ways. There are bars somewhere out there, on tiny planets with giant telescopes aimed our way, where multiple-armed universethropologists study how complicated we make everything (they're in bars because they're more enlightened, which discourages them and ergo encourages them to drink).

A recent Jezebel article, Homme de Plume: What I Learned Sending my Novel out Under a Male Name, has been making the rounds. Okay, I won't say that these articles/studies/constant reminders that ya, being a female writer has its unique challenges, don't suck. Because it isn't awesome enough already to get creepy e-mails from dudes about how, even though they've not read me, they won't because I'm probably a better lay than I am a read. (I doubt they're experts in either those subjects, quite frankly.)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A Year Later, I'm Still Standing (Mostly)

Life isn't an adventure. It's an experiment. A glorious experiment, with more variables than can be controlled, too little time to try even a pinch of the possibilities, and so many deviations that we don't even have a good comparative baseline. The only certainty is the final outcome. So don't just spice your life. Throw some freaking explosive chemicals into the mix and see what happens.*

A year ago, I left my gainful full-time employment for a slew of reasons. But mainly I wanted to try full-time creation as my main breadwinner.  It was a tough decision, and one that I've only regretted a few times (the only way you don't give up a full-time salary and not regret it is if you're independently wealthy, I've learned).

But, overall, it's been worthwhile.  I honestly believe that we can make art a viable career option. I'm currently experimenting to see if I can personally make it work. I haven't chatted much about this decision on my blog. For me, writing is a very personal process, and this entire journey has often left me feeling unbalanced, teetering from terror to elation. It's dizzying.