Wednesday 31 August 2011

When the Hero Come Home Trailer!

I'm not usually a big fan of book trailers, but this one is worth a look because it is, quite simply, made of win. This awesome trailer happened thanks to the vision and artistic direction of author J.M. Frey, and the acting skills of author Erik Buchanan.  These are talented people, my friends! 

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Get your Copy Now!

The promotion put on by my wonderful publisher, Dragon Moon Press, is drawing to an end!  If you're Canadian and are going to vote in the Aurora Awards (and why wouldn't you?), please nab your free copy of Destiny's Blood and make an informed decision. You have until Friday this week (gasp!) Hope you enjoy the read!

(Check out the sidebar and go through shopping bag process to get free copy.)  Thanks for your support, as always!  You all rock, let's face it. 

Some of what's been said about Destiny's Blood (which also won the Bronze Medal in the science-fiction category of the Foreword Books Awards):

"Marie Bilodeau knocks my socks off. She's got an amazing eye for detail and a sumptuous narrative voice. Destiny's Blood is a winner -- another home run from one of Canada's best new authors." -- Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of WAKE, and Aurora nominee (and multiple times winner)

"This book is a highly enjoyable read—it’s compelling and well-written tale of Layela Delamores and her twin Yoma ... this story is well-crafted and often cinematic, at times reminding me of Firefly/Serenity or Star Wars: A New Hope. The story’s pace is fast, with many plot turns. ... Bilodeau writes these numerous action scenes so well that I was more than happy to go along for the ride." -- Regina de BĂșrca, The Future Fire

The other nominees in my category, also worth a read, are:

Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell, Great Plains Publications
Stealing Home by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
Watch by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada

Damn we have a fine bunch of writers in Canada, don't we?  Check out the other categories in the Aurora Awards, too.  Fine bunch of writers/organizers/illustrators.  Truly.  It's an honour being among them.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Confession of a Coffee Addict

I just had an awesome weekend at When Words Collide in Calgary and now I'm chilling in PEI, and it's loosening up the spirits (in a good way).  It's making me come to terms with some aspects of my life and wanting to confess them. To all of you. (If you expect anything serious here, you're obviously new to my blog.  Welcome!)

You see, I post a lot about coffee and caffeine.  And yes, I love them.  Dearly.  There are so many reasons to do so, really. Caffeine wakes me up gently in the morning.  It's warm and comforting on cold winter days.   It's fun to watch it turn from black to caramel colour while pouring milk or cream in it.  (You know it is!)

I love it. But, I must point out, or confess, that I've been... oh, I can't say it.  It's like a confessional.  A self-intervention.  Something the children need to know (okay, my niece and nephew don't care as long as I spin them around enough).

Here goes.

Lately, aside from a few morning sips, I've been mostly drinking... decaf. (Self-gasp!)

I know it's a shock. But the truth is, I'm very high energy naturally.  The coffee tends to send me over the abyss, into a land of (more) incoherence and (deeper) insanity.  If I have too much and it's a busy day (which most of them are), I'll even get shakes.  It impacts productivity, but makes me giggle. Whereas it should sharpen the mind and senses, it often simply dulls them to the point of (further) uselessness.  It's only the daily grind that makes coffee too powerful for my gears. The weekends, the vacations, the days away... oh, how those are still caffeine-filled.  (PEI is a haven of caffeine.  Drinking some as I write this.)

But how I still love coffee.  I love the soothing, warm sensation of it trickling down my throat, I wake up for its roasty scent, I socialize around pots of its earthy goodness.  I wasn't willing to give those up.  Oh no!  Never!

But the caffeine?  Well, yes.  I don't need that.  I'm functional enough (mostly) (kind of) (somedays).  So there you go.  My confession.  I hope you'll all forgive me and still love me.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy my cuppa decaf and continue writing in coffee shops in the morning.  I earn my stay.  I drink my keep.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

From Alberta to PEI!

This Friday I'm off to Calgary to partake of the new readercon-style When Words Collide.  They have an awesome line-up of guests and I'm really looking forward to seeing a bunch of my friends.  I haven't been to a Western con since World Fantasy in 2008!  That's just wrong, I know.

This is the list of my fine panels:

Saturday, 8pm
Foothills 2
Story Time With Marie
My usual con fun storytelling extravaganza. Requests are welcome, either before or during the show. If I don't know the story you request, I will pretend I do and make it up, FYI.

Sunday, 11am
Brentwood 1
Writing in English... as a Second Language
Marie Bilodeau; Harold Cardona; Ann Cooney; Ron Freidman
The challenges of writing fiction in English, when it's not your native tongue.
Sunday, 1pm
Brentwood 1
Mysticism, Religion and Magic in Fiction
Marie Bilodeau; Susan MacGregor; Tereasa Maillie; Jennifer Rahn; Tim Reynolds
When magic and mystical systems are created are we commenting on traditional religions? How are writers and readers influenced by modern shamans, tarot, new age lead-ers? What are readers looking for?
Sunday, 4pm
Brentwood 1
How to Give Author Readings
Marie Bilodeau; Tony King; Carolyn Pogue; Bob Stallworthy
Learn the tricks and nuances to give a truly inspiring reading of your work.
I hope to see you around!  I'll also be at various book launches and parties.  W00t!
Then I'm off to PEI for a mini vacation!  While I'm there, I'll be doing a book signing in Summerside, so please come out for the fun!
I'll be at Celtic Mist from 11am to 1pm on Wednesday, August 17.  Thanks to Jennafer and Kat for being so welcoming!
I hope to see some of you on my (sort of) cross-country extravaganza!

Thursday 4 August 2011

Five-Year Plan - Strategy 1

Remember a loooong time ago when I promised I'd reveal my five-year plan?  And I revealed my main goal and then said I'd reveal my strategies regularly and soon?  Well, I lied.  There you go.  Just getting it out there.

I've found lately that my focus is wavering, so I guess that's a sign that I should post a bit more about my plan. Well, it'll probably help me re-focus, anyway, so here we go!

We covered goal setting in the last post, so now I'll attack the first of my four strategies.

Each strategy has "tactics," and each tactic breaks down into specific goals, which I think are important to make sure everything's still on track. I'm not going to give you all of those, but enough for you to get an idea of how I set them up.  So far I'm on target, but this is only year 2, so my numbers aren't super high.  And yet I'm in danger of failing at several of the numbers.  Sad, but true.

Some of these tactics are just to remind myself of decisions I made. I'm, um, impulsive by nature. I have to do something to try to reign myself in!

Alrighty then - here we go.

Strategy 1: Gain more financial independence

Maintain 9-5 job

  • Job must be energizing and enjoyable (trust me - it's possible)

Pay off debt and increase savings

Rent home, don’t buy

  • Can afford mortgage, but repairs/maintenance would drain savings too quickly

Increase storytelling revenue

  • Year 1 - targeted 1,000; actual - 1,050
  • Year 2 - targeted 2,000; actual so far - 957 (this is in danger of not being achieved)
There you go.  Strategy 1.  This was the most obvious strategy.  If I'm going to get more options, I need to get rid of consumer debt.  I'm a single girl, so I only have myself to rely on for money. If ever I decide to change my lifestyle, I also only have myself to count on for support.  I like me, so I'm willing to support me.  :P

I'll post Strategy 2 when the spirit so moves me (how's that for a timeline!)  Maybe next week.  If ever you have any questions or want to throw an idea my way, feel free to contact me!  

Again, a personal action plan may not be for you. But for me, with the writing and publishing and full time job and general running around, it's proved to be a lifesaver and has provided much needed focus.  If you have that without a plan, I'm in awe of you and think you're uber cool.

Me, well, I need a plan. Focus is, um, not a natural part of my personality.