Tag Archives: conventions

Writing, Readings and Cons, Oh My!

ChiSeriesVancouverPoster-web-2014This weekend is VCon, Vancouver’s SF and fantasy convention. I haven’t gone in a few years but I will be attending this year and will be on a panel about Finding Your Muse, tomorrow at 1:00 pm. I have a reading at 7:00 pm where I will read from a story that was long listed for the Stoker Award. And on Saturday I will be on a panel about the role of religion in speculative fiction. If you’re not doing anything come on down and experience the breadth and depth of convention fun.

I should also mention that my poem “Family Tree” has come out in the collection They Have to Take You In, edited by Ursula Pflug. “The Collector” came out earlier this year in Cemetery Dance. My story “Pearls and Swine” will be coming out in the New Exile Book of Canadian Noir, and Our Lady of Redemption, plus an article “Universal Monsters” will be out in Nameless Magazine sometime in the near future. And check out this interview with me at the Reality Skimming blog, by Christel Bodenbender.

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, I host the Vancouver ChiSeries. The Chiaroscuro Reading Series started in Toronto and is held quarterly in Winnepeg, Ottawa and Vancouver. I have a great lineup of authors. You can attend for free, listen to the readings, peruses the books for sale and ask questions of the authors. The Cottage Bistro is a nice little venue at Main, near 28th St. and offers drinks and food as well Easily accessible by bus and lots of street parking. Now read below to see who is coming.

SF, free readings, Vancouver, ChiSeries, CZP

Paula Johanson is a writer, teacher and editor.

For over twenty-five years, Paula Johanson has worked as a writer, teacher and editor. Among her twenty-nine books on science, health and literature for young adult readers the most recent are Love Poetry: How Do I Love Thee? (Enslow Publishers), Fish: The Truth About The Food Supply (Rosen Publishing), and the science fiction anthology Opus 6 (Reality Skimming Press). Twice she has been shortlisted for the Prix Aurora Award. An accredited teacher, she has written and edited curriculum educational materials. Recently she completed an MA in Canadian Literature at the University of Victoria.Twitter: @ PaulaJohanson

publsihing, ediucation, SF, writing, Canadian authors

Lynda Williams teaches, writes and is starting a publishing company.

Lynda Williams is the author of the ten-novel Okal Rel Saga and publisher of Reality Skimming Press. Lynda holds two post graduate degrees, manages an e-learning team at SFU and teaches part-time for BCIT in introductory web development. She is also editor for the Collidor project to create an SF web app magazine. http://okalrel.org/reality-skimming/

Alma Alexander’s life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with her husband and two cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. http://anghara.livejournal.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alma-Alexander/67938071280

Secrets of Jin Shei, fantasy, ChiSeries, CZP

Alma Alexander is the duchess of fantasy, or maybe a lost nation.

Come out and meet some of the writers, and chat with us. We’d like to see more of a community that appreciates SF, fantasy and dark fiction. The next ChiSeries after this one will be in January so this is the last one of 2014. Starting at 7:30 pm.

And one more thing, Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles are editing an anthology called nEvermore! It’s an homage to the glorious, Gothic style of the master, Edgar Allan Poe, bringing Poe-inspired fiction into the 21st century. nEvermore! brings together mystery writers (who already include a slash of the supernatural in their writing) and dark fantasy/horror writers (who currently slip across the shadows and touch on the mystery genre).

It’s crowdfunded to support the authors and has some great perks. Some rare Poe stamps, four one-of-a-kind mini Poe coffins, steampunk Poe necklace, glass tile magnets, the book and more perks to come. And for writers who want to join this anthology, there is a contest. Only three stories will be selected to join the other authors in this anthology. Check out Descent into the Maelstrom for contest and writing rules.  Personally I would love any of the perks. It’s an awesome concept and worthy of supporting on several fronts.

About the editors: Caro Soles is best known for founding the Bloody Words Mystery Conference to highlight Canadian mystery writing. She received the Derrick Murdoch Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, was short-listed for the Lambda Literary Award, and inaugurated the Bloody Words Mystery Award several years ago.  She has published 11 novels and many short stories and has edited several mystery anthologies. 

Nancy Kilpatrick is an award-winning author and editor known for her dark fantasy/horror and mystery stories.  She has published 18 novels, over 200 short stories, 6 collections, 1 non-fiction book, and has edited 14 anthologies.  She has worked for major publishing houses and small presses and some of her fiction has been translated in several foreign languages.  Poe’s works have been a lifelong passion and she is thrilled to have this opportunity to create an anthology that honors this exceptional author of style and genius.

So check out the crowdfunding perks and sign up to get yourself some special Poe stories and items. And come out to VCon and to the ChiSeries readings. You can’t get too much of a good thing. October is the official month of bats and pumpkins and things that go bump in the night and slither quietly by day.



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Guest Blogging: Confessions of a Technophobe

writing, blogging, editor, stories, being busy, busyness

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Today, I’m a guest blogger at Steve Lockley’s blog: Confessions of a Technophobe.

You will notice that yesterday’s post and today’s start on similar topics and then veer. That’s because as I was writing about busyness yesterday I took off on a tangent. Then I tried to pull it back together for Steve’s blog. Steve is a writer of speculative fiction and lives in England. Cross-pollination happens through conventions and of course social media.

I’ll be attending Britain’s Fantasycon this fall in Brighton and look forward to meeting more compatriots of writing.

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Writing: The Convention Circuit

This last weekend I took the journey to Portland for Orycon, Oregon’s science fiction and fantasy convention. I traveled down with writer Donna McMahon, Clint Budd, the Aurora Awards administrator and their friend Heidi. The drive from Vancouver can take 5-7 hours so it’s much more fun to travel with others and gave me a chance to catch and talk shop.

Like many fan oriented conventions (there are professional conventions that don’t always have fan tracks) there are panels and workshops in the area of gaming (from live action, roleplaying, to board and card games), costuming, writing/publishing and media. Some cons focus more on one area over another. There can be a Star Trek con or a Star Gate, which would have a heavy media track.

Orycon’s theme this year was dark fantasy. They usually invite pros, giving them a free membership in exchange for serving on several panels. I had a midnight horror reading, where I read “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” newly out by Cutting Block Press and in Horror Library Vol. 4. At one point I think there was supposed to be three readers but one never showed. Instead S.D. Perry read from her novel, as yet unpublished. She is the author of many Resident Evil and Star Trek books. As is the case with a horror reading her piece was visceral and horrific, in the sense of the crimes of the people and what they are driven to. Of course, a writer must describe the scene enough that we can see it and S.D.’s excerpt did that very well. We had a small audience, but one of the con’s few foibles was to not include the readings in the lists of the panels. There were about five or six panels on at any time from about 10am to midnight. The readings were on  a separate page, which meant many people missed them.

This probably explains why, for my second reading, no one showed up. Also, I had questioned the con in putting me down for two readings, as I’m not a big name author and won’t reach even the minor notoriety of people wanting my autograph until I sell a book. My second reading was at 1pm and you would think that it would get more people but there are just too many panels to attend and people already have to pick and choose. The panel range did seem to be quite good, with everything from the usual fan and filk tracks to workshops (in writing, costuming and other aspects) and covering various sciences or how to write/publish.

Some cons are also great for meeting new people or reconnecting. I re-met Mike Drindenberg, a very good Portland artist who I had last seen at a World Fantasy con. I ran into old friend and writer Dave Smeds and met Steve Perry. I also got a chance to see a couple of friends who live in Portland. One is a fan and the other a fan and film student who wants to get into more writing.

I also did two panels, though some people do more. They were on urban fantasy and on gore vs. terror. Good panels have good moderators who keep the flow going and keep one or two people from monopolizing or getting off track. The moderators for these panels did a great job. They were different as suits the topic and the first had more audience participation than the second, but I think the audience enjoyed them. I find that these panels sometimes get my gears turning on old stories and how to rework them or on new stories to create. Also every writer needs to let the reading community know who they are and this is one way for people to become familiar with your name. In the era of tight financial constraints usually writers have to do some self promo even if the publishers are advertising.

The con had a dance and sometimes, like VCon’s tiny one, they’re very bad. This one had a large space with an okay blend of music from those classics like Rocky Horror songs, to German technopunk…something for everyone. I got a chance to dance with a lot of space to move, which I love doing. All in all the convention was a very pleasant experience and if the con can just fix their program guides to have a better font and include the readings in the main section, it will continue to be a popular convention.

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