Monthly Archives: May 2013

Supporting the Arts

I’m highlighting a few worthy causes today. One is local, taking place in Vancouver, and the other takes place somewhat virtually through Canada.


First is the Magpie’s Nest Community Art Space Events. This is a group of local artists who are trying to create pop-up art spaces for artists to come by and work in, and just spread the fun and love of art.

artists, community art, Vancouver art space, painters, collage, creativity, local events, Vancouver

May 25 at Astorino’s
1739 Venables Street, Vancouver, BC

Magpie’s Nest Community Art Space invites you to create a patchwork of ideas and creativity with your neighbours, young and old.

The completed collaborative mural will be a tapestry of painted and embellished circles – each circle being made up of four quarters.

Each quarter completed by an individual will connect to the work of three others, creating a visual representation of continuity within and encircling our neighbourhood.

The Community Circles Collaborative Mural will be kept and put on display by Britannia Community Centre.

All supplies will be provided by Magpie’s Nest. We will provide paints and printing inks, objects to print with, and ephemera to embellish with: beads, buttons, ribbon, embroidery floss, yarn, and needles.

artists, local events, arts, Vancovuer, East Van

June 2: if you’re in Vancouver, come out and get good food and support the arts.

As well, they have a fundraising dinner for more of those community supplies. East Feast takes place on June 2 and for $20 you get a meal, entertainment and three artist presentations that you can vote on.  I find I love public art, whether it’s a mural paint on the wall by the community (see my previous post on East Van wall art), the knitted cozies wrapped around trees and fences, people bursting into song in a mall, the zombie walk, the machine animals of Nantes (see previous post for this as well) or a myriad other things. These pieces are not done for more than surprising people and bringing smiles to our faces. We need more of this in our everyday lives and to recognize that we are community.


Canadian award-winning author Ursula Pflug is editing an anthology called They Have to Let You In. It is due for a 2013/2014 release through Hidden Brook Press.

Details can be found at the site (by clicking the title above) but here are the basics:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

 Whether or not we agree, we have probably heard Tolstoy’s famous quote. “What is unarguable is that our family shapes us as nothing else.” Family elicits our strongest emotional responses, whether joy and love, or rage and fear. For this anthology don’t feel you have to sugar coat your work—we aren’t timid and want to include stories and poems that explore the darker aspects of family life. After all, healing requires our truth as well as our forgiveness. But also—please don’t forget to include work that expresses the deep sustaining joy our families can provide. The love we give and receive within families is irreplaceable.

This month’s government cuts to CSUMB (the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit ) will put more families on the street. 100% of royalties from the sale of They Have To Take You In will benefit the shelter system in eastern Ontario.

This anthology will have poetry and fiction and is open to almost any genre. If you’re Canadian or expat you can enter. And instead of crowdfunding to buy a video from drug dealers on Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s alleged drug abuse, why not put the money to something that can doubly benefit people: both the family shelters in Ontario and to writers who submit? And, like all crowdfunding, by donating you’ll also get cool stuff. Go here to support and read more about it:


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Writing Update

It’s been a while since I posted about writing. The last few months I was caught up in co-editing, with Steve Vernon, the Tesseracts 17 anthology. I hope to be able to announce the table of contents soon. As well, I’ll be giving a demographic breakdown of the submissions once the details are revealed. Suffice to say, we had around 450 submissions. This was an open theme, which means there were more submissions.

I was so busy in fact, that I didn’t even mention the stories that have come out recently so here we go. Deep Cuts came out in February and my story “Red is the Color of My True Love’s Blood” has received one favorable review. There aren’t many reviews yet so if you are a review try contacting the editors (or me and I’ll let them know) and they might send you a copy to review.

“P is for Phartouche: The Blade” came out in  Demonologia Biblica in March from Western Legends Publishing. It’s edited by Dean Drinkel of the UK, and is available at Again, reviewers can contact the publisher.

And I’ve been told that imminently Bibliotheca Fantastica is about to be released from Dagan Books. My story “The Book With No End” deals with books as does every story, edited by editors Claude LaLumiere & Don Pizarro. Book covers have often been made of different types of leather and let’s say this is a book of leather of a different type.

dark fantasy, dark fiction, horror, speculative fiction, women writers

Demonologia Biblica out through Western Legends Publishing, with “P is for Phartouche: The Blade”

Likewise, as imminent, and in this week, Irony of Survival  is also about to be released from Zharmae Publishing. This is a very massive volume of stories and my alternate history “Tower of Strength” is one of the many tales.

Rumors were abounding that BullSpec had folded but they told me they were just behind and issues are coming out so I hope my poem (with them for two years) will be out this year. I’ve also just received the contract for “Gingerbread People” to be released in Chilling Tales 2 this fall by Edge Publishing: Michael Kelly is editor. And perhaps I’ve had the kiss of death with Fantastic Frontiers who paid me but seem to have folded before publishing my short piece and don’t answer emails.

While stories are coming out this year I haven’t yet sold a lot with this first part of the year being about editing. I’m now getting back into the writer’s seat and hoping to hit some deadlines before the end of May. So hopefully you’ll see a few more posts from me.

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Liz Strange Writes About the Strange

Hello, World. I’m back. Sorry about the absence but I’ve been swamped. I’m spotlighting Liz Strange today while I ease my brain back into writing.

fantasy, speculative fiction, Liz Strange, Rachel Armstrong, Wales, Welsh mythology

The Fair Folk in Knob’s end, released in March..

Fair Folk in Knob’s End is about a 16-year-old girl who moves in with her grandma after the death of her mom. At her new school she makes friends with a girl who turns out to be one of three magical sisters from the world of Annwn. She’s in hiding while the people of her land try to find the solution to a terrible curse that’s been placed upon them. Sophie (a human girl) gets swept up in the adventure after it’s discovered she has Tylwyth Teg blood in her ancestry, and in Annwn she has some magical affinity.

It’s a quest-adventure-mythology story, not bogged down by too much romanticism. It’s a fun story with a spunky heroine, and it’s not too preachy, with a unique take on the genre by using Welsh mythology as the foundation for the tale.

I’m often asked where the inspiration for my novels come from, and for the most part I don’t have a clear-cut answer. I’m a voracious reader, a pop culture junkie and a self-confessed nerd. I also have a deep love of horror/sci-fi/action movies and am fascinated with ancient history and world mythology, and I tend to absorb and store away juicy tidbits, images, and phrases from all these sources  to drive and influence future writing. I will also freely admit that I tend to be drawn to the dark side—I love my vampires, ghosts, demons and even the occasional hit man.

So how did a fun, quirky tale about a teenage girl and her involvement with the Tylwyth Teg come about? Like most things it came from a variety of influences and interest; my (admittedly) fanatic devotion to Torchwood (British sci-fi cult fave TV show), my desires to travel through historic Great Britain, and the draw of the unique history/culture/folklore of the often disparaged and overlooked Wales.

fantasy, Canadian writers, fiction, novels

Liz Strange

In this pursuit to find my own story with a Welsh mythological background I dove headfirst into reading about the Druids, the folk traditions of pre-Christain/pre- Roman Britain, the enduring Arthurian tales, Tristan and Isolde, and the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, historical accounts, archeological studies, you name it. In the process my curiosity became a passion. I fell in love with the stories, the language, the physical beauty of the land, and the gumption of the Welsh people in hanging on to their distinct identity.

Thus Fair Folk in Knob’s End (the Daughters of Annwn) was born. The first novel in this planned series was released in March by Featherweight Press, and I’d love for you to take the journey with me to this magical land.

I asked Liz a few questions about writing and her life: When you were a child what drew your attention? Was it trucks and dolls? Were you quirky or just a regular kid?

I did love my Barbies, I will admit, but I did not play with babies or with the beautiful doll house my mother had made for me. I loved to read, draw, write, listen to music and spending time with the hoard of animals we had.

I was definitely quirky. Quiet and introverted—a lot more went in than I shared. I had a huge imagination and my comprehension and reading level was always way above my peers. Even back then I was fascinated with learning about the past, other cultures, and “ghost stories.”

How did you view the world and what were you reading?

I viewed the world as an endless source of information and things to make me wonder, I still do. I read pretty much anything. Started with things like the Three Investigators series, Choose Your Own Adventure, Sweet Valley High and very quickly moved on to authors like Stephen King. Once I found horror and fantasy I was hooked.

When did you take that step from being a reader to wanting to write?

I started writing as a very young child. Even before I could physically write, I dictated stories to my mother. She still has this series about a bird family that I thought up at about three-four years old.

What was your first publication?

My Love Eternal, the first novel in my Dark Kiss Series.

Where do you live and do you find your surroundings influence your writing?

I live in Kingston, Ontario. In some ways I am very influenced by where I live, and in others ways not at all. My mind is often chewing on many different images-places, people, art- at once and I find that transports me beyond my physical place and time. There’s that crazy imagination again.




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