Tag Archives: An Ember Amongst the Fallen

Writing: How to Make a Canadian a Star

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Okay, this might really be a small star but in Canada there are a few awards that recognize speculative writing. There is the juried Sunburst Award http://www.sunburstaward.org/, the Endeavour Award http://www.osfci.org/endeavour/index.php, which recognizes a book from the Pacific Northwest, either US or Canada (which is also juried), and the Prix Aurora Awards http://www.prix-aurora-awards.ca/wordpress/, which is voted on by readers and fans. The Auroras recognize professional and fan achievement and anyone who is a Canadian can nominate anyone who is a Canadian (even if living abroad) or a landed immigrant for the awards.

A book or magazine published in the US or any other country cannot be nominated for an Aurora but a Canadian who has a piece in it or has written the book can be. Canadian publishers can be nominated. And you, if you’re Canadian can nominate anyone who is eligible. There  is a list thought it may not be a complete list of eligible works by Canadians listed here: http://canadiansf.com/node/122.

I have four works that are eligible in two categories this year and the Aurora nominations are open until April 30th. Anyone can recommend a piece and the more recommendations, then the better the chance of ending up on the final ballot. To vote on the final ballot you do have to pay a nominal fee I believe and all the info can be found at the Aurora site.

My eligible works are:

Short Stories:

  • “An Ember Amongst the Fallen,” Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, March 2010.
  • “A Taste For Treasure,” Alison’s Wonderland, Edited by Alison Tyler, Harlequin Spice, July 2010.
  • “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha,” Horror Library Vol. 4, Edited by R.J. Cavender, Cutting Block Press, October 2010.

So far, I know that “An Ember” has received very good reviews and was called a “visionary masterpiece” by the Barnes & Noble reviewer, and  “Exegesis” has received several recommendations for a Stoker. It may not go farther than that but that’s a good start. The Horror Library anthology has also been nominated for a Black Quill award.

Poem:

  • “Of the Corn: Kore’s Innocence” Witches & Pagans #21, Edited by Anne Newkirk-Niven, BBI Media, Summer 2010.

The Evolve anthology would also be eligible under Best Related Work, or Best Novel. The categories are somewhat unclear still. But presumably the Aurora committee will sort that out. Of course anyone can nominate any of the works. I’ll be sending in recommendations in the next month, once I’ve had a chance to read some of the pieces. Below is the information from the Aurora site and the site can be accessed by the URL listed above.

THE CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ASSOCIATION IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE:

The 2011 Prix Aurora Award Nominations will open Jan. 8th, 2011
Final nominations must be received no later than Midnight PST on Sunday, April 30th, 2011

[The French-language Auroras have been combined with the Prix Boréal with the new name – Prix Aurora Boréal and will be administered on behalf of CSFFA by SFSF Boréal through the Congres Boréal]

THREE STEPS TO NOMINATE :

  1. Register for membership [One-time, free, CSFFA registration on the Aurora site will enable nomination and voting for the Auroras for this and future years.]
  2. Verify your registration
  3. Use your new membership id# to Nominate

You may nominate via our easy to use online system or by manually filling in our downloadable nomination form and mailing it in to us.

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The End is Only Just Beginning

I haven’t written in the last week, not so much because I was on holidays and gorging myself as I was busy. In fact, I didn’t gorge myself except for some wine imbibition. Otherwise, I was finishing up the rewrite of my novel The Fool’s Game. It’s languished for a long time and I always meant to rewrite it…again.

Then I read about the Terry Pratchett prize by the famous humor fantasy author in England. The contest was free to enter and it was for a manuscript that takes place on Earth in some way. My novel fit the bill and I’m of a Commonwealth country, one of the rules for entering. The prize is a publishing contract and 20,000 pounds. That would be lovely to get.

I used the deadline, today, to work on the novel over the past few months, getting down to the wire and the nitty gritty today. I had to rewrite and shorten the synopsis as well and that was a good thing. I also added nine thousand words to the novel, changed a few things and gave more description. Will I win? That would be nice but there could be hundreds, even thousands of entries. I’m a competent writer or understands the techniques of writing. That will give me a better chance than probably half of the entries, but then it will depend on the uniqueness of the story and how well it’s told. I won’t know until March so no point worrying about it now. It’s winging its way across the ether to the other side of the pond.

Other writing news includes that the Evolve anthology http://www.vampires-evolve.com/with my well-received story “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” is number five on the Barnes and Noble list of the top vampire books of the year. That’s great news. http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Explorations-The-BN-SciFi-and/The-Best-Vampire-Releases-of-2010/ba-p/767920

The Horror Library Vol. 4 story has not been receiving any reviews yet. I’ve only found two and “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” isn’t even mentioned which is disappointing. I’ve always said I’d prefer a bad review than no review so not being noticed sucks. The editors also had great hopes for this disturbing story, but the book hasn’t been out long so there is still hope for it. And the story did get good comments when I read it at Orycon. Besides those two stories, “A Taste For Treasure” also came out this year in Alison’s Wonderland, as well as two poems, “Of the Corn” in Witches & Pagans #21, and “Bones of the Earth” in the summer edition of Country Connection magazine. Not a bad year and “Lover’s Triangle” should have been out by December but should be out soon in New Vampire Tales.

That wraps up the writing year, but we’re only as good as our last written story. I will now have to catch up on some slush reading for ChiZine Publications, getting ready to judge poetry for the Rannu competition which closes as the end of January I believe, and then of course write other stories. I can now write the steampunk story placed just before the US Civil War and which is already plotted out. I just didn’t have time.

Then I have another dark story to write about skin and power, and there is a backburnered sci-tech story waiting to be pushed along. And now that I’ve rewritten that novel it’s time to get going on the other novel which is under construction. I hope this coming year will be even more stellar for writing.

And to all of you who read my blog, may you have a fantastic year, achieve your goals and have fun and love. Happy New Year to all.

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Writing: I’m a Rock Star

Okay, really I’m not but I’ve received a rock star review, the creme de la creme in reviews that have been good so far. Now a review is really just one person’s opinion, whether informed or not but it’s so nice to get reviews. I’ve written stories for anthologies before where it seems no one noticed, either my story or the anthology/magazine. And yes, I’d rather get a bad review than no review at all. But of course I’d rather get a good review.

From the first story I ever published (I was publishing poems before that but really, no one does reviews of poems unless you’re Margaret Atwood) the media has changed. Or I should say the supporting media has changed. It was magazines, newspapers and trade journals at first and then with the proliferation of the internet there were a host of sites, blogs, web pages, where people could leave their opinions. There were more forms of marketing as well, and now with social media like Facebook, it has made the word of mouth aspect much larger. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise how many reviews that Evolve is getting. However, other stories that have come out in the last year or two have not received the same response.

I attribute the number of reviews to two things: one, vampires are popular, even before the sparkly shiny Twilight vampires, even before The Vampire Lestat. Two: Edge’s marketing strategy. I actually don’t know all of it for the publisher but they have been setting up readings and signings across the country and obviously giving out review copies and spreading the word through digital media.

Now all of these things do not a good review make or even guarantee reviews, but Evolve has been receiving a majority of favorable reviews, and likewise my story is mentioned in most of those reviews and again mostly in good regard. So I’m stoked. I’m a pretty small pea in the speculative fiction pod so it’s good to get mentioned. The icing on the cake was the Barnes and Noble review by Paul Goat Allen (and I’m really curious how someone ends up with that middle name) who loved my piece.

Colleen Anderson’s “An Ember Among the Fallen” was simply a visionary masterpiece, envisioning a world ruled by “vampirii” and where humans were nothing more than mindless cattle kept in pens and fed specific diets to enhance the vintage of their blood. The vampire’s scripture, The Book of the Fallen, forbids “cruelty to or treating cattle as more than the meat and blood for which they were bred.” And in a wildly indulgent society where essentially anything goes, the one lone taboo is having sex with an animal, especially a hominid. The punishment for being a “meat mater” is nothing short of death. After an emotionally draining dinner party where a male vampire, Buer, realizes that he has lost his ex-girlfriend forever—a curvaceous vampirii named Camiel—he gets drunk on bloodwine and  does the unthinkable: he plays with his food…

It’s rare to ever have a story called a visionary masterpiece and this might be the only time so I’ll take it. He also encourages me to write some sort of bloodsucking novel. If only it were so easy. I have one novel written and unsold. It’s not about vampires though there are a few in there. And I have a second, unrelated novel that’s been long in the works. But perhaps he has something: vampire fiction is immensely popular and I could probably sell such a book. I’ve somehow managed to write several vampire tales. “Lovers Triangle” takes place in a future time, and “Hold Back the Night” takes place in India with a member of the cult of Kali. I have another story that’s not sold that deals with a vampire but not as the main character. So perhaps I should see if I can become the next Charlaine Harris or Laurel Hamilton.

In the meantime, here are a host of new reviews on Evolve. As well, there is a short interview with my alter ego up on Alison Tyler’s blog to do with my story in Alison’s Wonderland: http://alisontyler.blogspot.com/ (Sept. 15th entry). Oh and if you live in Greater Vancouver, I’ll be reading at the Vancouver Public Library on Sept. 27 at 7:00 pm with three other Evolve authors: Rhea Rose, Sandra Wickham and Mary Choo.

Barnes & Noble Review

http://mondovampire.blogspot.com

http://templelibraryreviews.blogspot.com

http://anovelapproachto.me/book-reviews-2/

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Writing: Evolve Book Review

Evolve is being launched at World Horror Convention at the end of this month in Brighton. I’ve already written about this collection of modern vampire stories by Canadians, in which I have the story “An Ember Amongst the Fallen.”  Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and published by Edge publications, it is already available.

The first review has been posted at SciFiGuy Evolve Review and is quite favorable. I’m happy to have a review as my story “The Fathomless World” which was in Cone Zero did not catch reviewers’ eyes favorably or unfavorably.

It seems that the early moniker I was given at Clarion of “SplatterQueen” might live on, but hopefully there is more merit than gore because I try for more depth than that in my stories. The story in Evolve was a long backburnered idea I had, which I was not even sure I could write. It deals with the morals and immorality of vampires in a world where they are the dominant lifeform. No society exists long without rules, without losing its structure. Even in the anarchistic mad Max world, there are rules and a form of honor among brigands and thieves. Those who are complete sociopaths or decide no rules apply to them are soon taken down by society in one form or another.

Although I do not go into that particular story of society I do look at the lives of a vampiristic world and the rules, whether understood or not, that apply and control the vampires with checks and balances. This is, at essence, a morality tale. And here is the review of “An Ember Amongst the Fallen.” It perhaps gives away too much of the plot, so if you wish to read the story without knowing how it turns out, stop now. The review has one thing wrong though; it is the vampires who are the Fallen, not the humans.

An Ember Amongst the Fallen by Colleen Anderson

This is the most horrific of the stories in a very matter of fact way. In this alternate reality, vampires use hominids (humans) as cattle-like food sources. Considered barely inteligent and among the Fallen from a religious point of view. The social mores of this vampiric society are reflected through a dinner party hosted by the stories central character at which a variety of humans including children are served. The hosts intentions to pursue a love interest are crushed and in his disappointment he turns to a taboo source for comfort, one of the hominids. Like temptation from the garden, his fall is understandable and complete. A mesmerizing and squirm-worthy entry.

http://www.horrorbound.com/readarticle.php?article_id=174 (typos are the reviewer’s)

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