Book Release & Reading: The Agony of St. Alice

Come one, come all! The third book in the Lizzie Saunders series, The Agony of St. Alice, will be held on October 19 at the Cumberland Museum & Archives, starting at 7 pm. Come and join us! Bring friends! Let’s talk BC history, Victorian medicine, a little bit of murder, and a whole lot of writing!

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3…2…1… LAUNCH!

Psst! Hey you!

I’m going to be launching my next novel, Mark of the Magpie, on Wednesday Oct. 22 at 7 pm, and you’re invited. In this sequel to Bucket of Blood, you’ll find British Columbian history, a little bit of murder, Victorian theatre, sassy ladies and clandestine affairs… the launch party should be fun! All welcome to join us at the Stan Hagen Theatre, North Island College in Courtenay, BC for this free event. Woot woot!

Many things, all in one place.

It has been a VERY busy summer and I have lots of things to share, but you may not be interested in all of these things, so I shall put helpful tags above each. Ease of browsing!

1. Bikes, Community, Happiness

We made a video for Y.A.N.A. and (to quote my friend’s charming exclamation) HOLY HANNAH it was fun!

 

2. Books, Murder, Party

My novel ‘Bucket of Blood’ came out in 2011, and the sequel, ‘Mark of the Magpie’, will be launched in the Comox Valley on Wednesday, October 22, 2014. Come and join us! I’ll have more details closer to the event.

3. Museum, Acting, Exhibition

We also did an interactive exhibition with the Cumberland Museum this summer, which involved actors and costumes and a heck of a lot of research. It was fun to create, and the response from visitors has been great.  You can check out the trailer for the exhibition here:

 

4. Apocalypse, Storytelling, Kick Ass Women

Oh, yeah! Both volumes of the ‘Girl at the End of the World Anthology’ are now out and available to buy, and my copy is somewhere in the great mail system between London and British Columbia.  I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on the copy, because I’m so thrilled to bits to have been part of this amazing book.  My story takes place in the post-apocalyptic Volume 2. HELL YEAH!

5. Podcast, Storytelling, What the Hell am I Thinking?

I’m considering pulling together a series of podcasts, but this requires that I learn how to do audio editing, which I’m discovering is no small feat. This always happens. I become extremely busy with projects, and as I’m working, the mental facilities begin to churn, and suddenly I find myself with a plethora of ideas but no time to implement them. A mind at rest tends to stay at rest, while a mind on fire just burns, burns, BURNS ever higher.  Do you listen to podcasts? I mean, I know I do, but maybe I’m the only one?

6. Halloween, Arithmetic, Children

Because, given their parentage, they are genetically pre-disposed to love all things creepy, my children are buzzing with the concept of hosting a Halloween Party – you would not believe the schematics they’ve drawn to show how the house will be decorated, how many tombstones we’ll erect on the front lawn, where the smoke machine will sit, et cetera. They keep asking how long it is until Halloween, and while I could tell them, I suppose, instead I see this as a fantastic opportunity to practice math.  For example: x weeks = y days = length until ghosty holiday. “No, I will not give you the answer, you have to work it out yourself.” The moaning and wails and whinging that this creates are positively spooky!

It’s Time to Elevate the Arts!

Every year, the Comox Valley hosts an awesome event called Elevate the Arts, where thousands of people get together to be creative in a myriad of different ways. Painting, drawing, dancing, circus arts, puppetry, storytelling, film making, watching and doing inspirational things. The streets and alleys fill with music and laughter. The buildings tremble with the roar of thrilled crowds. Really, it makes for one amazing Saturday.

If you’re coming the Elevate, drop by the Underground Craft Market and say hullo! I’ll be reading onstage at 10:45 am and 2:00 pm, but I’ll be there all day signing and selling books.  Come and chat about transformational mythology, or werewolves, or history, or Victorian medical procedures, or whatever strikes your fancy.  You know me – I’ll gab about pretty much anything.

For more information about Elevate, visit their website and check out the schedule of events.  And before you come visit, take a peek at this, which is brand new and only appeared yesterday and hints at what I’ll be reading this year…. awooooooo!

Where the Words Flow

Not every morning, but most mornings, I write. It gets my thoughts moving in the right direction, all together, like an army in formation. If you see me in the afternoon and I’m scatter-brained, swirly-whirly, and not really making much logical sense? Yeah, I probably didn’t write that morning.

So writing is not just a hobby, but a way to greet the day. Alas, the rest of my household contains non-morning people: that hearty breed of human that prefers to stay up late and sleep in the next day. Shawn does most of his work in the middle of the night, and the children seem to have taken after his side of the family.

So what’s a morning person to do? Our house is small. Typing and muttering myself would likely wake the others. Our studio is currently pretending to be a storage unit for a mattress*. The only answer: go to a coffee shop.

I’m lucky because I live in a tiny village, but it contains some AMAZING f-ing coffee shops run by friendly people who are damn fine bakers. What an awesome combination!  This morning I’m in Tarbell’s, which (if you’ve read Bucket of Blood you’ll know) used to be a hardware store at the turn-of-the-century.  It was owned by a tinsmith names C.H.Tarbell, who used to line up barrels full of hay in the front windows, and there display the newest shipments of fine china recently arrived from England.

I love the feeling of time in a place like this, which has transitioned into a modern function without losing sight of its roots. Look to the right, and you’ll see a few pictures of the place on my photo feed.  Isn’t it lovely? I seriously doubt that, in one hundred years, the emptied shells of Home Depot will house businesses with such character, and that bring so much vitality and gustatory joy to its community. Those vast, concrete-floored behemoths will be more suitable for roller derby, or whatever high-octane contact sport our descendants will play in the future.

A fun fate for the modern hardware store, sure, but not quite as suitable for a writer seeking a quiet place of morning solitude.

Do you write in public? If so, where’s your favourite spot? Who makes you a damn fine cup of coffee?

 

Damn fine cup of coffee!

 

*want a free mattress? Come and get it, friends.

This Beloved Forest

“At first glance, one could be forgiven for mistaking it for the end of the earth. The savage Pacific rain forests crowded in, resisting gentrification, and the lowest basin of the valley remained damp and swampy and choked with vegetation, even during the hottest months of the year.”

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“Everything grew rapidly, eager to live. A cleared field was replaced by shrubs within a season, and a man could barely keep pace against the relentless reclamation of the wilderness.”

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“The woods were thick with life, all size and shape: herbivore, carnivore, omnivore. There were insects as big as a girl’s hand, shaggy deer, packs of wolves, families of black bears, and solitary mountain lions.”

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“There were rats and voles, stoats and squirrels, snakes and frogs. In my estimation, the trees sheltered an infinite zoo of creatures, all of whom rebelled actively against humanity.”

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This is the forest that Lizzie describes in Bucket of Blood, and it is the very same forest that the Cumberland Forest Society is raising money to save, for it is scheduled to be cut down in 2016.  Go check out their page – there’s some amazing initiatives going on, driven by a passionate and creative community.

I hope very much that these woods are never tamed, and that the wilderness will continue to resist civilization’s relentless assault, and that the lovely ravenous beasts continue to roam in those shadowy green depths forever.

Full Steam Ahead!

I’m less than 24 hours into 2014, and already I can see that it’s going to be a busy year.  Good. I like to be busy.  When I have free time, I’m never quite sure what to do with myself, and I get a little gloomy.  Here’s what we have on the calendar:

(1) I have a short story appearing in Fox Spirit’s ‘The Girl at the End of the World’ Anthology, coming out in February.  Competition was fierce, and I was pleased as Punch to be accepted. Not so pleased that I took a stick and beat anyone’s head in, of course; I was able to keep the violence to a minimum.

(2) Then my novel ‘The Tattooed Wolf’ will be released by Hic Dragones Press in late February or March, and goodness, that’s going to be exciting.  Nothing fills my heart with joy quite like werewolf mythology. Awoooooo!

(3) Then, sometime in late summer, the sequel to ‘Bucket of Blood’ will be released. I’m not saying too much about this yet, as the manuscript is not quite finished… the title ‘Bucket of Blood’ didn’t appear until that book was done, so perhaps the working title of this one will change, too, once it’s complete. Who knows? But I’m having fun writing it and the preliminary feedback from my cadre of trusted beta readers is promising.

So be forewarned: there’s going to be a strange intersection between lycanthropy, Canadian history, steampunk, and apocalyptic fiction in my blog posts this year.  It should make for a lively mix.

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