Tuesday, June 1, 2021

June 2021 update

Recent Publications
A poem titled “Cryptic” appeared in Polar Borealis, Issue 18, May 2021. This poem, like a number of others I've written, was inspired by a new story (in this case, about humans' ability--or inability--to accurately interpret cats' their facial expressions). A link to the poem is below:

A review of Derek Künsken’s The House of Styx appeared on The Future Fire’s site May 11, 2021. Künsken’s book provides an intriguing look at what life in a human colony in the clouds of Venus might look like. Making the book more interesting for me as a Canadian is the fact that many of the colonists are of Quebecois origin. A link to the review is below:
 
http://reviews.futurefire.net/2021/05/kunsken-house-of-styx.html
 
 
What I’m Working On
I’ve slowed down my output this month due to some personal circumstances that have left me with limited time for writing endeavours. During May, I’ve been focussing on making progress on some of the reviews I’ve committed to.
 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May 2021 Update

On some days, April lived up to its reputation for showers—rain and even snow. Still, there were some blue-sky days which made it pleasant for outdoor work. We’ve got robins’ nests in a couple of places on our property, so looking forward to seeing the little ones once they get out and about.

Recent Publications


My second romance novella from JMS Books LLC, Curtain Call, went live April 10, 2021. Curtain Call centres about a woman’s internal struggles as she comes to grips with giving up team sports as she and her teammates age. The sporting backdrop is broomball, a quirky activity I was introduced to when I was in university and played for a number of years. The novella, released in ebook format only, is available through Amazon and other major distributors, or from JMS Books LLC directly.

A short story titled “The Messenger’s Mission,” originally published in The Fifth Dimension in 2018, was included in Engen Books’ Mythology from the Rock anthology. Link to Amazon.ca information is below:

https://www.amazon.ca/Mythology-Rock-Ellen-Curtis/dp/1774780305/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

A poem titled “Letting Go” and reviews of Climbing Lightly Through Forests edited by R. B. Lemberg and Lisa M. Bradley and Million-Year Elegies by Ada Hoffmann appeared in Star*Line 44.2, Spring 2021. You can find the full reviews on the SFPA web site at the link below:

https://www.sfpoetry.com/sl/slreviews.html

A poem titled “A Dish Best Served,” originally published in Liminality, was included in the 2021 Rhysling Anthology, a publication put out by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. It’s the second time I’ve had the honour of being included in the Rhysling anthology. “A Dish Best Served” was written in response to a news story. You can find the poem here:

http://www.liminalitypoetry.com/issues/year-six/issue-23-spring-2020/a-dish-best-served/

Several poems, “Atmospheric Traffic Control, 2045,” “Seeing is Believing,” “Canis Futuris,” “Science Senryu,” and “Reverse Universe,” appeared in Eccentric Orbits Volume 2, Dimensionfold Publishing, April 2021.

My review of Julie E. Czerneda’s Spectrum appeared on the Miramichi Reader site. I’ve read five of Czerneda’s six Esen novels, as well as the e-novella The Only Thing to Fear, and I’d have to say Spectrum is my favourite so far. A link to the review:

https://miramichireader.ca/2021/04/spectrum-by-julie-e-czerneda/

Also on the Miramichi Reader site was a review of Marilla Before Anne, a book by first-time novelist Louise Michalos. This historical fiction novel creates a back-story for Marilla Cuthbert, a character depicted in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. A link to the review is below:

https://miramichireader.ca/2021/04/marilla-before-anne-by-louise-michalos/

A review of Alan Ira Gordon’s The Doggo Book appeared in the Spec Po Blog, link below:

https://specpo.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/the-doggo-book-a-review/

What I’m Working On
During April, I took on the challenge of writing a poem a day for poetry month. I’m not going to lie, it was a tough slog some days, but I managed to meet the challenge. Sometimes, the days I found it hardest to get started were the most productive, once I got going.

Coming Soon
Engen Books is doing a virtual launch for Mythology From the Rock May 5th, so that should be fun.

I also will have a couple of poems in the May 2021 print issue of Scifaikuest.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

April 2021: First Novella, and Spring is Coming

Robins, always a sure sign of spring in our parts, started showing up just before mid-March. We even had an eastern bluebird popping by to check out the feeder a couple of times. So regardless what the thermometer says, I’m confident that spring is on its way.

Recent Publications

My novella To Push Back the Darkness was released by JMS Publishing March 13, 2021. The story is a f/f romance/police procedural with science fiction elements. You can find more details on the “books” page of this site. The novella, released in ebook format only, is available through Amazon and other major distributors, or from JMS Books LLC directly. Super-exciting for me, since it’s my first novella-length fiction publication.

A haiga titled “Two Heads” and a tanka, “[new clothes are hard to come by]” were published in Scifaikuest, February 2021 print edition.

A poem titled “Deck Chairs” appeared in the Norfolk Literary Prize 2020 publication, as the second-place poem in the 18 and over category.

A poem titled “Spaceport” appeared in the February 2021 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk.

Todd Sullivan invited me to a Zoom interview talking about the poem “The ABCs of Sci-Fi Nightmares” that appeared in Polar Borealis, and more broadly about reading and writing poetry. A link to the interview, which includes a reading of the poem and is followed by questions about writing, is below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjPKoZsnJFU

My review of Luna Station Quarterly Issue 41, March 2020, was published on The Future Fire’s site March 3, 2021. Link is below:

http://reviews.futurefire.net/2021/03/luna-station-quarterly-41.html

A review of How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason appeared on The Future Fire’s site March 24, 2021. Link below:

http://reviews.futurefire.net/2021/03/eason-how-rory-thorne-destroyed.html#more

I posted a review of Rebecca Warner’s My Dad My Dog on Library Thing and Goodreads. I received an electronic copy of this book through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. My Dad My Dog is a fictional account of the challenges of providing in-home care for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s. Though it’s a work of fiction, the book is based on Warner’s own experiences as the health care surrogate for both of her parents.

What I'm Working On

I’m putting the finishing touches on a review of Canadian science fiction and fantasy writer Julie E. Czerneda’s Spectrum, the third book in the Web Shifter’s Library series (which follows the adventures of many of the same characters introduced in the earlier Web Shifter series). I’ve read all but one of the Web Shifter books, and can say that while I’ve liked them all, I think Spectrum and Beholder’s Eye are the two I’ve enjoyed most.

I’m also planning to take on the Poetry Month challenge for April, writing a poem a day.

Coming Soon

My second romance novella from JMS Books LLC, Curtain Call, is scheduled to go live April 10, 2021. It centres about a woman’s internal struggles as she comes to grips with giving up team sports as she and her teammates age. The sporting backdrop is broomball, a quirky activity I was introduced to when I was in university, and played for a number of years. The issue of letting things go as you age is something I’ve been dealing with the past few years.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Goodbye to an Old Friend and March 2021 Update

Here in southern Ontario the temperature is finally hovering at or above the zero mark more consistently, after a spell of cold weather. I’ve placed my orders for seeds for the garden, which must be a sign that spring is on the way. 


Earlier in February, a fair bit of my time was taken up keeping an eye on my almost-fifteen-year-old border collie, Emma. Though she was in pretty good health up to Christmas, the last few weeks her health went into a steep decline. Sadly, we had to let her go on February 22nd. It’s quiet around here without the click of claws on the floor and the occasional woof from the front window if she happened to spot a passing dog. 

Emma’s passing served as a reminder for how quickly time flies by. It sounds trite, but it seems like only yesterday that she joined our household. I hadn’t realized how much she’d become a part of my daily routines, from morning feedings to night-time excursions into the great outdoors so she could attend to nature’s call. It seems strange to put on my jacket to go outside and not see someone standing there demanding to come too! Even more strange to bring in an order of pizza and not have someone doing a happy dance when she scents what’s in the box . . .

Recent Publications
A short story titled “To Catch a Chameleon” was published in the Were-Traveler’s Women Destroy Retro Science Fiction, link below:

https://the-were-traveler.weebly.com/current-issue/issue-22-women-destroy-retro-sci-fi

A poem titled “Things You Left Behind When the Great Floods Came” was published in Polar Borealis, Issue 17, February 2021:

http://polarborealis.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/POLAR-BOREALIS-17-February-2021.pdf

A review of Shapers of Worlds, edited by Edward Willett, appeared on The Future Fire’s web site February 1, 2021:

http://reviews.futurefire.net/2021/02/willett-ed-shapers-of-worlds.html

A short story “Sisters” was published for Rhonda Parrish’s Patreon sponsors as part of her lead-up to the release of Clockwork, Curses, and Coal, a steampunk fairy tale anthology edited by Parrish and published by World Weaver Press. “Sisters” was my first attempt at a steampunk fairy tale, but contained elements of historical fiction as well. The story converts the “Four Talented Brothers” fairy tale into the story of four talented hockey-loving sisters. 

Rhonda posted a blog piece that I wrote explaining some of the background to the story. The hockey attire sported by the women in “Sisters,” as well as the enthusiasm women demonstrated for the game and some other factors, were based on information I ran across while doing research for my (never-completed) Masters’ thesis in Sport History years ago. If you’re interested, you can read the blog piece here:

https://www.rhondaparrish.com/home/sisters-the-story-behind-the-story/

What I’m Working On
I’m continuing to work on short stories for send-out, as well as some creative non fiction pieces for a number of Chicken Soup for the Soul submission calls. I’ve also amassed a healthy (some would say overzealous) number of books for review, which I’m steadily working through.

Coming Soon
My first-ever novelette, titled To Push Back the Darkness, is due out March 13th from JMS books. Released as an e-book, To Push Back the Darkness is a futuristic f/f sweet romance/police procedural.


Monday, February 1, 2021

February 2021 Update

Recent Publications

My poem “Into the Sea” was published last fall. It’s now available online at Utopia Science Fiction’s web site, link below:

https://www.utopiasciencefiction.com/into-the-sea 

A poem [snowstorm on Titan] appeared in Frozen Wavelets, Issue 5, December, 2020:

https://frozenwavelets.com/issue-5/

My review of Anthony Berger’s No Place for a Woman appeared on the Miramichi Reader site, January 19, 2021:

https://miramichireader.ca/2021/01/no-place-for-a-woman-by-antony-berger/ 

I posted a review of A.J. Hackwith’s The Archive of the Forgotten on Goodreads (link below). This book, the second in Hackwith’s Hell’s Library series, is a sequel to The Library of the Unwritten.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3767047384


What I’m Working On

I’m still focussing primarily on short stories. Two that I’m currently working on are entries in the “Quicksilver and Pepper” series, which focus on a pair of AI-enhanced Galactic Space Service operatives whose personalities are loosely based on my one-time cat Smokey and my border collie Emma.

I’m also working on several book reviews I’ve committed to.


Coming Soon

My review of Shapers of Worlds, edited by Edward Willett, is due to appear on The Future Fire web site shortly, and according to my records I should have a couple of items included in the February print edition of Scifaikuest.

I also have my first-ever novellas coming out, one in March and one in April. More on those in the coming months.

 

 

Friday, January 1, 2021

January 2021 Update

The end of one year and the start of another seems to be a good time to do some cleanup and organizing. To that end, I’ve gone through my bookcases, paring out items I (reluctantly) acknowledge that I am unlikely to read again. The upside of the process is that I also took the opportunity to better organize my bookshelves, which should make it easier to locate items when I need them. 

One item I haven’t gotten rid of entirely is a handful of my favourite Andre Norton paperbacks. I still remember as a teenager tearing out the order sheet at the back of the book, going through the difficult process of selecting from the list (I wanted them all!), and mailing off my requests along with a money order from the post office. Because our local library didn’t have the full range of Norton’s titles available, I deeply enjoyed dipping into the package of books when they arrived, opening new and exciting worlds. 

Hilarious to look at the prices on the cover though: the majority of them were priced at $1.25. Then again, that’s when I was working at a part-time job that started at less than $2.00 per hour . . . 

Recent Publications

Two poems, “Blackbeard Returns as a Porch Pirate,” and “The Day Politeness Revealed Its Limits,” were published in Frost Zone Zine, Issue 2, Winter 2020-21. 

A story titled “Gone” and a poem “No Fairy Tale World” made it into New Myths’ second anthology, Twilight Worlds: Best of NewMyths Anthology Volume II (link below). It’s always a pleasure to be included in the pages of the New Myths zine and the resulting anthologies. 

https://www.amazon.com/Twilight-Worlds-Best-NewMyths-Anthology/dp/193935417X 

My review of On This Day: 365 Tales of History, Mystery, and More, by Dale Jarvis, appeared on the Miramichi Reader web site December 19th. Link below: 

https://miramichireader.ca/2020/12/on-this-day-365-tales-of-history-mystery-and-more/

What I’m Working On

I’m continuing to work on short stories while also catching up on a backlog of book reviews. Maybe it’s the influence of my former employer, but at the start of each year, I set goals for the coming year—some concrete, some less so. In 2021, I’m planning to focus on going deeper with my fiction, which means more time up front planning and outlining. One possible outcome is fewer submissions, with the trade-off (hopefully) of a higher acceptance rate.

Coming Soon

For a variety of reasons, I don’t have the usual number of submissions out in circulation, so it’s not surprising that there’s not too much coming down the pipeline publication-wise in the next couple of months, aside from the February Scifaikuest and a couple of other items. Further out, there are some pending items in March/April. More on that as we get closer.

 

 

 

Monday, November 30, 2020

December 2020 update

Thanks to encouragement from some fellow SF Canada members, I participated in NaNoWriMo in November—not working on one specific project, but trying to make progress on some short stories and a poetry collection. Though I didn’t hit the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words, I did manage to more than triple my usual monthly output by writing more than 30,000 words, which I count as a success! I got the base draft completed for two novelettes as well as a couple of re-drafts and a start on a collection of non-speculative haibun. Now to work on refinements. 

Recent Publications
A poem “Planets With Two Moons” was published in Spaceports and Spidersilk, Hiraeth Publishing, October 2020. 

My review of Ursula Pflug’s Seeds and Other Stories appeared on The Future Fire web site November 20. The link is below: 

http://reviews.futurefire.net/2020/11/pflug-seeds-and-other-stories.html 

Looking back on the books I’ve read over the course of the year, I’d say Seeds and Other Stories is up in my top three, along with Julie Czerneda’s Mirage and Nina Munteanu’s A Diary in the Age of Water.

What I’m Working On
During the next month, I’ll be refining and sending out some of the raw work I put together during November, as well as working on a submission for a specific call for 1960’s detective stories. Researching for that has been a lot of fun so far! Being born toward the end of the 1950’s, I was around for the ’60s, but have needed some fact-checking to fill in the blanks. 

I also have some book reviews to complete and submit.

Coming Soon
A handful of poems are due out in December, January, and February. More on those as they appear.