Tag Archives: Nancy Kilpatrick

Writing: The Process

I’m sure I’ve written about this before but right now I’m in the middle of the full-fledged process. I’m trying to get a story done for the World Horror Convention writing contest, as well as doing and online interview with the other Evolve authors on Bitten By Books. Go over there now if you have questions to ask or want to see a bit of how different authors view the process of writing or writing specifically about vampires: www.bittenbybooks.com I’ll also be at Orycon from Nov. 12-14 in Portland to talk about writing and to do a reading, maybe two. Right now I think I might read this virginal story I’m working on.

Indirectly, perhaps, it involves the picture to the left. Those are barrow mounds in Ireland, at Knowth. However, to back up to the beginning of this process is the kernel of an idea I had. Perhaps it started with Nancy Kilpatrick saying she was doing a second anthology of vampire fiction. I wrote one page and couldn’t think of a plot. I had atmosphere, a character and…that was it. Well, sure there was a thin plot showing itself but it was a cliché vampire tale and I didn’t want to write that, nor would anyone want to buy it.  So I put it aside and pondered. And pondered.

And came up with nothing. Thinking this one page still had something I finally emailed a bunch of people and said, “Is anyone willing to read one page of fiction and tell me what you think the story should be.” About five people responded. One went for humor, which this story was not, two gave suggestions not really suitable even to the first page, and two others gave me enough suggestions that I could kickstart the thinking process again. Sometime we need a mental smack upside the head to knock us out of those cliché grooves.

Often my next step in the writing process is this: ruminate. Turn the ideas over, think about this or that factor, literally sleep on it and work out a whole bunch logistics in my head before even hitting the paper. Then I start to make points, bits of conflict, images that come together. I went to Ireland a few years back and I’ve never used anything Irish as a setting for a story. Once I started thinking that my story started to come together better and the characters inhabiting it made more sense. Then those thoughts lead to the ability of my character to change or not and the depth of the conflict.

Next, I start writing. And stopping. And writing. And going to clean. And writing. And napping. Sometimes the story pours out and sometimes it creeps shyly. I wrote six pages last night after taking a day to write one page. And now I’m stopped (procrastinating writing this) as I try to work out the next stage. My character has overcome one conflict, but is that it? No. A good story usually has internal and external conflict so I need to bring up her internal conflict and whether she succumbs, fights or changes will remain to be seen but I have to make sure there are enough stakes in the game for my character (whose name is changing as I write this) to either emerge triumphant or changed by her travails.

Some stories have taken me years to finish because I can never satisfactorily work out the plot and conflict to my satisfaction. Some stories leap fully grown from my head like Athena from Zeus’s brow. And some are a bit of both worlds; parts flowing out while others turn to concrete in my head.

And now that I’ve defined my problem, the internal conflict, I guess I need to decide if in fact the theme that I often write about in my stories will be the same here. Morality. “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” was a morality tale. “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” is maybe an immorality tale and this one, well, yeah her morals are question. I’ll see what the character decides.

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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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Vampires in the New Year

Well, I hope you didn’t expect some retrospective of last year or the hopes and fears for this year. Predictions about and it would be easiest to say some politician will be accused of a scandal, another politician will again say we need so investigation into gas prices and nothing will be done, Vancouver will bubble with the hype of the Olympics and its citizens’ taxes will/have already gone up to cover the deficits that they said wouldn’t happen, Harper and Campbell will ignore all protests and implement the HST, charging us more for what we should not have to pay for, a rock/movie star will suffer from drug overdose, more record-breaking climactic disasters will happen with a small camp of naysayers telling us that climate change isn’t happening, corporations will continue to use bailout money to give themselves exorbitant salaries while they lay off workers, a movie/sports star will leave/love/cheat on each other, etc. It might all sound like fiction but it’s so much of the same that happens every year that it’s not really worth speculating about.

However, in the world of possibilities, there is the genre of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction includes horror, fantasy, science fiction; basically anything that you might speculate about, which then means almost any fiction. Confusing? Yes, just another way that people try to parcel stories into little packages.

But in that vein is the anthology coming out through Edge Press. Edited by Nancy Kilpatrick Evolve contains 23 stories and one poem. This is dark fiction, stories about vampires but ones that have evolved. How each author handles that theme will be different but there are no vampires of the past, only a present or a future. For my own story, I dealt with an alternate history where vampires are the dominant mammal (homo vampirii) and homo sapiens is something…less.

Nancy Kilpatrick is a veteran author and editor. She delivers good dark fiction. The collection is of authors from across Canada with a presumably regional balance. There are four authors from BC, Rhea Rose, Mary Choo, Sandra Wickham (new author) and me. Every province is represented and it will be interesting to see if there is any regional flavor in the stories. Sometimes there is a “Canadian” flavor,whether in movies or stories. These influences often involves the environment/climate in some ways. Of course, once you have a vampire you will most certainly have some battle/avoidance of the environment in the way of sun, but it depends if all the stories involve vampires sensitive to sunlight.

There will probably be not sparkling vampires, or angels masquerading as vampires. They’ll probably all be a bit darker than this. The books are being released at the end of this month, with collector editions and signed trade paperback editions.  For a list of authors, their bios and more information, you can go to www.vampires-evolve.com/ to find something to sink your teeth into. I’m quite curious so see how other authors handled this theme.

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Writing: VCon and Reviews

My story “The Boy Who Bled Rubies” came out in Don Juan and Men: Tales of Lust and Seduction   about a month ago. This is an anthology of homoerotic or gay fiction. I haven’t had a chance to read all the stories but mine is one of the few that is true fantasy. Nancy Kilpatrick’s falls into that category, but judging from the reviews, most of the stories are modern Don Juan’s. Editor Caro Soles had said my story was quite different from the rest and though I write erotica, I am more a speculative (fantasy/SF) author, especially in this story.

It’s not the only story that I’ve written that blends the two realms of fantasy and erotica. It’s interesting that one reviewer presumed all the writers were lesbian or gay. Interestingly, that’s not true but maybe he thought only gay people can write gay erotica. Overall, change the sex of the characters and many of the acts remain the same, as well as the emotions that fuel the human soul. The reviews follow.

http://www.rainbow-reviews.com/?p=1840

http://www.stageandpage.com/don%20juan%20&%20men.htm#don%20juan

VCon, the Vancouver Science Fiction convention, was this last weekend. I haven’t attended for several years because the con organizers seem to be game and media (TV/movie) oriented, forgetting that any con needs panelists for the panels.  As an author and editor I can pass on my knowledge or opinions on panels, but autograph signings don’t serve much of a  purpose…yet. Most local cons also invite their local writers, be they great names or small. VCon has not bothered in several years to do this.

I also have found the disorganization never sat well with me. I’m not a big enough pea in the pod to really have fans clamoring for me.   So I really only dropped by to sign some sheets for the Evolve anthology, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and being launched in Brighton next year at the World Horror Convention. Evolve is a vampire anthology through Hades Publications, featuring Canadian authors from various regions. I Usually spend my pennies sparingly and tend to go to the larger cons for networking, with editors, publishers and authors. There were a few publishers atVCon.

Hades Publications  will be doing a special edition (hence the signed sheets) as well as a regular

Rhea Rose, Colleen Anderson, Brian Hades, Sandra Wickham

Rhea Rose, Colleen Anderson, Brian Hades, Sandra Wickham

print run. So I dropped by to say hi to Brian Hades and sign sheets alongside Rhea Rose, and Sandra Wickham, whose first professional sale this is. (Mary Choo is also in the anthology but had signed earlier).http://www.edgewebsite.com/future.php

I stopped by the dance with a couple of people and there were about ten people (which had increased a bit later on) but VCon dances tend to always be quite small.  Because I was only dropping by I didn’t attend any or sit on any panels so I can’t say of what caliber they were. The dealers’ room was small but had a good variety from publishers, bookstores, jewellery, clothing and other items to attract fan and pro alike.

I stuck around for the party of SF Canada and friends. We are a smallish group at best and at a local con we pretty much know each other. There were a few authors from other regions and the party was pretty informal. Then, like Cinderella, it was time to leave before my coach turned into a pumpkin.

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Writing: Rannu Fund Fiction & Poetry Winners

donjuan-cover-72

To the right is the cover of Don Juan & Men, which is due out in June with my story, “The Boy Who Bled Rubies.” It is obviously a book with tales about the homo-erotic natures of men. I believe all the stories have a fantasy aspect, and mind definitely does.

As well, another story that also revolves around some taboo sex, “An Ember Amongst the Fallen” has been accepted by Nancy Kilpatrick for Evolve, a vampire anthology (of modern vampires, hence the title) due to debut in Brighton, England next year at the World Horror Convention.

And then, I entered the Rannu fund for poetry and fiction. I did not win, alas, nor get an honorable mention but received a note, I suppose. Here are the results of the winners, post by Sandra Kasturi, one of the patrons of the fund. Now I just need to sell my story, “Shoes.”

**Please note that all judging was done blind; names, bios, e-mails, etc. were all stripped from the entries.**

Fiction Winners (tie):
“Hell Friend” by Gemma Files
“As Promised” by Nick Stokes

Fiction Honourable Mentions:
“God’s Gift to the Natives: Flight” by Sandra Jackson-Opoku
“Crossroads and Gateways” by Helen Marshall

Fiction Judges: Robert Boyczuk, Candas Jane Dorsey, Sandra Kasturi

Poetry Winner:
“Visitation” by Kim Goldberg

Poetry Honourable Mentions:
“Book of Sloth” by Jacques Benoit
“The Gypsy” by Helen Marshall

Poetry Judges: David Livingstone Clink, Mildred Tremblay, Sandra Kasturi

We would also like to note the entries that made it onto one or more judges’ shortlists:

Fiction:
“Shoes” by Colleen Anderson
“Pearls Before Swine” by Don Bassingthwaite
“No Cages” by Kevin Nunn
“Natalie Touches Upon the World” by Ivan Faute

Poetry:
Jacques Benoit’s “Slow Day in Tabloidland”
Robert Borski’s “Neosaur,” “Frog Prince,” and “All the Clocks of Hell”
Gemma Files’ “Tantalus, Reaching Upwards” and “Jar of Salts”
Kim Goldberg’s “Inner Sanctum” and “Green Thumb”
Sidharth Gopinath’s “Watcher”
Riina Kindlam’s “Vulnerable, with a Pinch of Salt”
Helen Marshall’s “Howling,” “The Oak Girl,” “The Queen of the Cats,” and “Pan”

Thank you all for participating in this competition, and I hope you will all enter again next year–check the website for details in the fall. And thank you again for your patience as the judges got through the entries. (And thanks again to the judges!!)

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World Fantasy Convention 2008: Calgary

World Fantasy took place in Calgary’s downtown at the Hyatt Regency this last weekend. Although the hotel had an exceptional collection of paintings and heavily focused ungulate statuary everywhere, it was still a very expensive hotel. I haven’t been in a hotel in the US in the past five years that charged for internet and $1 for local calls. Internet cost $14 a day, an exorbitant fee, and the hotel price was high even at convention rates. We found Calgary pricey for food but cheap for alcohol, if you were buying it in stores but comparably priced to Vancouver in the hotel.

The con hospitality suites were smaller than I have seen at other cons and the air conditioning (hardly needed in Oct. in Calgary) was on high for most of the convention. The dealers room and art show were also small. From one discussion with a Seattle antiquarian dealer, the hoops and paperwork besides shipping costs are prohibitive and discourage international exchanges. The dealers room did have an interesting array of publishers. Some of them were Redjack, Fitzhenry/Red Deer Press, Tachyon, Edge, Talebones/Fairwood Press, OnSpec, Electric Velocipede, SFC table of members’ work, Sunburst awards, used and new booksellers, and other dealers that I don’t remember off hand.

 The dealers room used to feature books and some jewellery. This is a professional convention of editors, publishers and authors (and some fans as well) and fan paraphernalia is not allowed. The books are still there but the jewellery is not. It seems the WFC board has put a stop to it after so many years because it is a “serious” convention. I let them know that quite a few of us “pros” enjoyed buying our piece of con jewellery over the years and that we missed it. Does serious mean no fun? After all, the jewellery could be juried to fit certain criteria as well.

As often is the case with these cons, I get to few or no panels. I went to one on Friday and then left halfway through to see another. Unfortunately both were clunky, with no real flow and very short to no answers by the pros on the panel.

Saturday, I missed half of one, which had George R.R. Martin, Tad Williams and Steve Erickson talking about killing significant characters in a novel. They may have been more focused in the first half but it wasn’t bad for flow and was funny. Tad Williams, one of the special guests and emcee for the World Fantasy awards is a very funny guy.

The other panel I attended was “Why do we write dark fiction?” with Graham Joyce, Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell. It was moderated well by Nancy and thought provoking. Very interesting panel that had many of us thinking of their childhoods and surreal experiences.

Because this is long, I’ll continue tomorrow with more on WFC.

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