Sunday, November 22, 2015

Strangers Among Us anthology

Received notification from the good people at Laksamedia regarding the forthcoming release of the anthology, Strangers Among Us, in which my short story, The Intersection, appears.

Very pleased to be sharing the table of contents of this worthy offering of speculative fiction with a remarkable cast of writers, and chuffed to my toes to have my name appear with dear friend and colleague, Robert Runte.

The anthology will be available in print and digital formats as of August 8, 2016, and launches at When Words Collide this August 12-14.

The table of contents:

Foreword:  Lucas K. Law 
Introduction: Julie E. Czerneda 
The Culling: Kelley Armstrong 
Dallas's Booth:  Suzanne Church 
What Harm: Amanda Sun 
How Objects Behave on the Edge of a Black Hole:  A.C. Wise 
Washing Lady's Hair: Ursula Pflug 
The Weeds and The Wildness: Tyler Keevil 
Living in Oz: Bev Geddes 
I Count The Lights: Edward Willett 
The Dog and The Sleepwalker: James Alan Gardner 
Carnivores: Rich Larson 
Tribes: A.M. Dellamonica 
Troubles: Sherry Peters 
Frog Song: Erika Holt 
Wrath of Gaia: Mahtab Narsimhan 
Songbun: Derwin Mak 
What You See (When the Lights Are Out):  Gemma Files 
The Age of Miracles:  Robert Runté 
Marion's War: Hayden Trenholm 
The Intersection: Lorina Stephens 
Afterword:  Susan Forest 
About the Contributors 
About the Editors 
Copyright Acknowledgements 
Appendix: Mental Health Resources

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Occupational Hazards eligible for Prix Aurora

My short story, Occupational Hazards, which was published in Neo-Opsis Magazine, Issue 25, May 2015, is eligible to be nominated for the Prix Aurora Award.

All you have to do is navigate to the Prix Aurora page here:  and navigate to the Short Fiction category, fill in the form and voila you're done.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Truth and Bright Water, by Thomas King

Truth and Bright WaterTruth and Bright Water by Thomas King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thomas King is that rare writer capable of not only telling a compelling, interesting story, but of seamlessly marrying that to literary devices which, like a painter who understands the medium, is capable of allowing the transfer of light off and through opaque and transparent pigments, creating depth where before there was only two dimensions.

Truth and Bright Water is a story of restoration, reparation, relocation of both the body and the spirit. It follows the lives of a two young boys, and an artist who restores paintings. And it is so much more than that.

In weaving together the narratives of these people, King creates a remarkable, sustained metaphor wherein a church is restored by the artist, returning it to the land by painting it to blend into the landscape around it, yet the church's interior, like a Tardis, remains, in this case the habitation and, if you will, the spirit of the artist who has taken an edifice of misery to the First Nations and made it part of his own self. It is a brilliant bit of writing.

Highly recommended.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, by Lady Colin Campbell

The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen MotherThe Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother by Lady Colin Campbell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Campbell has penned a prurient, verbose, self-aggrandizing pseudo-biography worthy of the British scandal sheets. To call this tittle-tattle a biography is to shame every journalist of integrity, for journalism this is not.

This reader, having been subjected to egregious gossip throughout this interminable book, came away no more enlightened as to any of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon's accomplishments or history. Instead, Campbell has delved into her own personal speculation, snobbery and even racism of the worst sort, putting forth arguments of a medical, political and societal nature on which she is unqualified to write, and plainly is too cavalier to bother to research. Why research when we can have tea with Lady Such-and-So and gossip away the afternoon?

It is ridiculous in the extreme to put forth the argument the Queen Mother was a harridan exceeding her ancestor, Lady Macbeth; that Edward VIII would have single-handedly kept together the British Empire; that Wallis Simpson would have made a far better queen by virtue of her fashion elan.

What is plain is Campbell's obsession with superficial beauty, starvation-mode thinness, the need to associate within accepted, rarefied circles, and a compulsion to the nasty degradation of anyone Campbell feels unacceptable. In short, Campbell has penned a gossip sheet right out of discussions in her own parlour whisperings.

Not once does Campbell make even slight mention of the Queen Mother's extensive charitable work, the extraordinary strides to which she and George V went to bolster British spirit and capability during WWII. Instead we are given to believe the Queen Mother was an old soak who lay abed gorging on chocolates and manipulating every person within her sphere of control, and avoiding any sexual congress whatever with her husband. She even goes so far to assert all of the Queen Mother's children were the result of artificial insemination, so allegedly adverse was the Queen Mother to intercourse.

George V is portrayed as a booby. Edward VIII as the mistreated exiled king. Which does not even touch upon the the fictional creations she has made of Charles, Margaret, Phillip and even Elizabeth Regis.

Truly, if you want to read a decent biography of the Queen Mother, choose some other author, nay any other author than what this ridiculous dabbler has created in this trumped up bit of tripe.

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Review: Moving Pictures, by Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10)Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Classic Terry Pratchett. A fun, witty spoof on Hollywood. What more is there to say?

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Making use of recovery

I'm now into my third week of convalescence. Chaffing a bit. Feeling bored with baby steps and caution and sensibility. Needs must behave, allow myself to heal and fully recovery before leaping off into the great beyond.

So it is I find myself confined to the first and second floors of The Old Stone House, the loft which is my office banned for now. That means the majority of my day to day work routine is verboten, not just because of inability to access the space, but also to pace myself.

I've decided to take advantage of this forced confinement and finish the first draft of The Rose Guardian. Truthfully I'm almost there. All that's required is about another 30,000 words, which is the linking sections to tie together the three narratives of this story. Given I have another three to five weeks in my convalescence, I think it not unreasonable to be able to finish. Then off to Robert for first reading and editing.

We'll see how that plan plays out.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: The Pearl that Broke Its Shell, by Nadia Hashimi

The Pearl that Broke Its ShellThe Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nadia Hashimi's The Pearl that Broke Its Shell is a devastating lens on the horrors of being a woman in Afghanistan, plain and simple. Not the sort of novel one picks up for a light afternoon read, Hashimi, while retaining literary integrity, reveals the myriad daily, devastating details of the absolute subjugation, ownership and commodification of the female sex within this patriarchal, warlord society which is governed by a bastardization of Islam. The novel is relentless.

Hashimi employs a simple narrative style, without embellishment, allowing actions to carry her message. Her characterization is very strong. Her environmental detail is seamless, weaving into the narrative without arresting pauses.

Altogether a novel you should read if for no other reason than to expand your understanding of a culture alien and frightening to Western thinking.

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