October 2014 « Reality SkimmingReality Skimming
Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming

Reality Skimming promotes optimistic SF -- stories that inspire us to fight the good fight for another day. Committment to larger projects, the writer's sense of mission, joy of reading, the creative campfire of the SF community and the love of deserving protagonists are celebrated. We believe in heroes and striving to be what we believe in. It is also a news hub for content related to the Okal Rel Saga written by Lynda Williams.

31Oct/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fortyeight

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 48

“Why would I want to go back down there?” Alivda yelled back. “It’s boring down there!”

The first responder looked totally shocked.

Climbing! Alivda thought. This is fun.

She could find little grips in the building and the glass was smooth enough for her bare feet and hands to grip.

Up! Up! Up she went till her hands found a flat surface. She climbed up farther and found herself standing on top of the building.

The view was amazing, but the view didn’t interest Alivda; just the high of life!

She thought of jumping to the next building, but then she would just be up here some more and here was getting more and more boring to her by the minute.

“Okay, now I am bored,” she yelled back down to the Reetion first responders.

She got as far from the edge as she could get and then turned around and ran for the edge. She ran and ran and ran, feeling the wind in her hair and cried with joy as she pushed herself off from the edge.

The first responders caught her, of course.

“What were you thinking!” one of the Reetions yelled, once the sticky foam that had caught her fell off.

Alivda giggled happily and ran off, leaving the first responders in a far worse state of shock than she was.

“What now!” Alivda said to herself as she ran faster than normal, “Jumping, climbing again, or maybe running. No, already running and still not enough.” She was talking very fast to herself as she ran.

Then she rounded a corner and saw what she wanted.

24Oct/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fortyseven

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 47

Meanwhile Amel was still strolling along with Ann on his arm.

“Hello!”

“Huh, what?” Amel said, snapping back to the conversation.

“I said Quickie!” said Ann as she snuggled up to him. “While she’s gone.”

Amel just stared at her, non-pulsed.

“You know,” Ann said suggestively. “A little adult time.” She pressed herself up against him.

“She’s been gone too long,” Amel said, pulling away from Ann and looking far into the distance. “I think I should go look for her.”

“She’s fine,” Ann said, trying to pull him close again.

“You don’t know her,” Amel said. “She isn’t.”

He detached himself from Ann and ran off to look for Alivda.

Due to Alivda’s current state, it didn’t take him very long. All he did was follow the chaos.

“WEEEeeee!” Alvida yelled at the top of her voice, while she climbed the side of a building.

“Don’t be scared,” a Reetion was telling her from the ground with some kind of voice magnifier. “We will catch you.”

17Oct/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fortysix

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 46

Alivda was bored with the adults. They couldn’t go as fast as she could and, though that had been awesome to start with, now it just meant she was way ahead of them. But she was on Rire!

There’s got to be something fun to do here, she thought.

She skipped, jogged, danced and ran till she was off the trail. She had come out onto a street as far as she could tell.

If she had stopped to think about it, she would have realized this meant Rire had a very diverse variety of areas in its cities: green growing areas mixed with commercial and residential and a well-designed transit system running through the whole thing.

But of course Alivda wasn’t thinking about that. She ran off to see what she could find.

In one direction there were some kids playing what looked to her like a very boring game of sitting and looking at screens.

In another direction were people waiting in line. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so entertaining after all.

But in the next direction she found food. People sitting and eating food. At the café they had been at earlier she hadn’t seen anybody eating food, just drinking out of paper and reading things. It had all looked rather boring to her. But now she realized she was hungry and it was all interesting again.

She couldn’t see where the food had come from though.

“Could you tell me where you got that?” she asked a brown-skinned woman seated drinking tea, eating a sandwich and reading a book.

“There is a dispenser right over there,” the woman said, amazed to see a white person at all let alone one with blonde hair and blue eyes! Such pigments were essentially extinct on Rire due to those genes’ recessive nature and years and years of an equal sociality.

“Thanks!” Alivda yelled back as she ran to where the lady had pointed.

“Press here,” she said to herself. “Okay then.” As she pressed the bottom hot liquid came out of a hole in the middle of the machine.

“Well, how am I supposed to drink that?” she said to herself then she saw cups sitting next to the machine and figured it out. Within a minute, Alivda had a piping hot cup of coffee in her hand.

14Oct/14Off

Interview with Nancy Kilpatrick

Award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick has published 18 novels, over 200 short stories, and has edited 13 anthologies, most in the horror/dark fantasy field. She also published the non-fiction book The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined (St. Martin’s Press) and has written many articles and reviews. Her two most recent award-winning titles are (as editor) the anthology Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper, and her sixth collection of short stories, Vampyric Variations (both from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing). She lives in Montréal with her calico cat Fedex, but travels frequently searching out crypts, ossuaries, mummies, and original Danse Macabre artwork. Check her Website for updates: nancykilpatrick.com. But join her on Facebook for the latest news. And support the nEvermore crowdfunding at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nevermore-a-new-kind-of-anthology

Interview by Christel Bodenbender

Could you tell us more about the anthology?

nEvermore! Murder, Mystery and the Macabre is a collaborative effort in two ways. First, my co-editor, Caro Soles, and I are responsible for the idea and for the crowdfunding. We have acquired writers who write in the realm of this anthology and will be covering all the usual editorial aspects of the job. Then we hand off the manuscript to our publishing partner, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy and they produce the print and ebook and handle distribution.

This anthology came from a spa visit. When I'm in her city, sometimes Caro and I hit the spa for a couple of hours, our too-rare luxury visits. We've been friends for many years and know one another's lives and work very well. We're both writers and we're both editors and we also both teach writing courses for the same college, she in the classroom, me, online. At one point we were in the pool, not so much swimming as wading back and forth, talking, and it came up that we've never done a project together. Somehow, Poe's name was mentioned--likely because we are both Poe fanatics--and Caro croaked out the word 'Nevermore!' Everything escalated from there.

On Indiegogo you mentioned this anthology is different from others. How?

nEvermore! is different because we want to blend the types of writing Poe is famous for but not try to emulate his writing style. He was Poe, everyone else trying to write like Poe is a poor imitation.

EAP wrote mysteries and is considered the father of the modern detective story, for example, with his short stories "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Perloined Letter". He also wrote scads of supernatural fiction, some of it straight up dark fantasy/horror, and some involving murders, like The "Black Cat," and "A Cask of Amontillado" with a preternatural element. His writing is dark, but what's amazing about it is that he manages to create a mood that reaches inside readers and touches on our fears, our despair, our niggling belief that humanity might not be the high life form we view ourselves to be. That there are other elements, including fate, which play a part in existence and which we give very short shift.

We all know that Poe did not have a wonderful life. He was orphaned early. Being a creative type, he clashed with his foster father and ultimately left and also was abandoned. His natural father also abandoned him. He lost both his mother and the love of his life, his wife Virginia, to tuberculosis, and it appears that he was in a state of perpetual mourning. His career also did not go smoothly and he rarely made enough money through his writing to sustain himself and, when she was alive, his wife. To cope, he drank excessively, and although there's no real information that he was addicted to other substances like laudanum, his characters were, so he knew about these pain relievers which were at the time legal. He died as tragically as he lived, passed out in the gutter, a deeply unhappy man, impoverished, alone, and even now, there is some question as to who is buried in Poe's grave--he might be in another part of the cemetery. All in all a man who lived and died in virtual obscurity yet who thereafter became world famous for his marvelous fiction, poetry, articles and essays. How could we not want to honor this man by asking some of today's top writers to emulate the types of blended stories Poe wrote. Our homage to a literary genius.

How are you going to distribute/publish the anthology?

Distribution will be through the publisher, who has a good network. The book will be in the chains in the US and Canada, and in specialty stores in both countries. And ebooks of course in the usual places. Caro and I will try very hard to sell foreign rights to what we believe will be an extraordinary book.

When did you first encounter the writings of Poe?

At a very early age. I recall being interested in spooky stories as a child and seeing Poe stories on television. The "Cask of Amontillado" was one I recall vividly. As I grew older, I began reading more adult books and going to the movies more often. I remember having a book of Poe's collected works from the library and devouring it! I loved that someone put all this darkness of the human spirit into fiction in a very readable character-driven and plot-oriented way. Poe's writing was not as dense as some of the later writers of Gothic supernaturals, like M. R. James and, later, H.P. Lovecraft. Poe's work has always been highly accessible to the masses, particularly in the United States, and that's why he is still read today by just about every school child in that country and in many other countries around the world. I could not have NOT encountered Poe. But, I'm extremely happy that I did.

What is your favorite Poe story and why?

I love the aforementioned "The Cask of Amontillado." But others that affected me particularly are "The Black Cat," the "Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and of course the poems "The Raven" and "Annabelle Lee." These are the most popular Poe pieces. But I also love many of his less-read works like "Eldorado," a beautiful and touching poetic quest. In truth, I don't think I have a favorite, just a sentimental attachment to what I first read. His work has a slow, churning quality to the life he presents. Sometimes the characters are angry or jealous and commit unspeakable acts from that state. Other times they are depleted, sad and grief-stricken. But they all feel wronged in some way, as if life has cheated them, and there's a certain bitterness that I believe most people have felt. We are often told as children that life is one way, be that good or ill, but as we get older, the reality of the world and how it works seeps in and there definitely is a feeling of being in some ways cheated of the promise. Especially when life was supposed to hold so much promise and turns out to be more routine, mundane, and limited than we were led to believe. Yes, I know, there are some Class A optimists jumping around right now yelling 'But, but, I was promised a wonderful, magical life and it's all magic for me!' That, I postulate, is not the bulk of the population on this planet. Most people seem to be rather unhappy and bitter (not all the time but generally). They were told life would be tough, and it has proven to be more than tough. Or they were told there were possibilities that have not materialized, sometimes through their own actions, sometimes because circumstances beyond their control, sometimes because of fate. Intelligent psychiatrists will assure us that happiness is not the goal, it's an emotion we feel sometimes. Poe captures this in his writing. There's a bleakness that speaks to humanity and says, yes, I understand. I've been there too. I've suffered loss, failure, being cheated and abused. And in Poe's case, the bleakness in his life was extreme, his tragedies deep and relentless.

You have written an impressive amount of stories in the dark realm. What draws you to the nether realms of speculative fiction?

I guess my childhood plays a part. And my genes. There, I've covered both heredity and environment! I do recall the first book I took out of the library when our class made a trip there and I was allowed to take a book home. The Little Witch. That, plus all the TV shows I had to beg to stay up to watch. Horror was my favorite subject matter, but any sort of noir story. I also liked science fiction, the happier cousin of horror.

Perhaps the biggest theme in horror fiction is death, and it's not sugar coated. Death is one of our two major events that completely alter us. We don't usually recall Birth, but are all aware of impending Death. And there's a desire to find out something about it, to know What Happens Next, and if there IS a Next. People have always held a fascination with and terror about death, hence the large and powerful religions that have formed over many centuries. The truly horrified need something to cling to. The rest of us vacillate between curiosity and fear. This is an event that WILL occur. Avoiding death is not an option. Writing about the big D and the smaller d's (which the French thought of as steps to prepare us), that's a big interest of mine and that falls into the dark realm of fiction. One can say that mysteries also deal with death, since there's usually a murder. I've read a lot of mysteries and have written about eight mystery stories and won an award for one, so I have a sense of that realm. But mysteries can often be 'soft', the horror of the murder seen through gauze by the reader. In the horror realm, it's in your face. Sometimes visceral, sometimes supernatural as in thrills and chills, but you're going to 'see' something, and more importantly, feel it. I like directness in most things so it's not unusual that my writing exhibits that despite the fact that I really enjoy tight-roping a line that borders two worlds with my fiction.

Tell us what writing means to you?

My life. My survival. Not so much financially because I think most writers find ways of surviving to support their writing, unless they have a spouse or family to support them, or the handful that are on the level where they receive large grants. There have been times I could live off my writing and other times not. It's feast and famine land. But more importantly, writing is survival of my soul. This is a pretty controlled and predictable world we live in, and getting more so. At a certain point, you tend to know what's coming next, just because you've lived long enough and the repetition is clear. But writing opens up a different world. The work can go anywhere and the job of the writer is to tell a good story without it being predictable. That's always my goal. This is an exciting world to live in that mitigates the dull-normal reality. A world where we are free--and I know this applies to all artists. When one gets published and has a readership, it's like icing on the cake. That others read my work and tell me what it means to them, this is a deep form of communication. It tells me I've tapped into something universal. And frankly, I'm always awed by that. Whatever 'pride' I feel is usually short-lived because I end up feeling humbled by the sense that there's something more, beyond me, that's been involved. I have no idea what that is but I trust it, knowing it's there, and I rely on this source; I'm grateful that this pipeline exists and that it never fails me.

Could you tell us about some future projects?

Besides nEvermore!, which will be out the fall of 2015, I have another anthology I've edited, this one solo. Expiration Date is coming spring of 2015, from the same publisher.

I write a lot of short stories and recent ones have appeared in the magazine Dark Discoveries, and the anthologies Dark Fusion: Where Monsters Lurk; Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre; Searchers After Horror; Stamps, Vamps, and Tramps. Also recent non-fiction articles in Beware the Dark Magazine (where I write a column and reviews); Nightmare Magazine, guest writer for The H Word.

Upcoming are stories in: The Madness of Cthulhu; A Darke Phantastique; Zombie Apocolypse #3 Endgame; Blood Sisters: Vampire Stories by Women. And a non-fiction essay on vampires in Stone Skin Bestiary.

In addition, I've got one novel out with my agent and another I'm still working on which a publisher is waiting for. I just need time! But, who doesn't?


11Oct/14Off

Diff the Dragon – Part Fortysix

Diff the Dragon by Angela Lott, illustrations by Richard Bartrop. An Okal Rel Universe Legacy Novella featuring the young Alivda

Angela Lott is the middle child of Lynda’s three daughters. She did two years of Business schooling at the College of New Caledonia and is now working as a receptionist at her local FYiDoctors. In her spare time she enjoys writing, video blogging, reading and watching very nerdy TV shows.

Part 46

“Why is she with you?” were the first words out of Ann’s mouth.

“And it’s nice to see you too,” Amel said. He and his Diff had arrived at Ann and Amel’s arranged meeting place for Rire. Since they socialized on so many different planets and space stations they always just had one place on each where they would meet. Otherwise they would end up searching the whole planet for each other.

On Rire it was a little outdoor café near the docks that they both used.

“We agreed that after last time—” Ann started, but Amel interrupted her.

“She is older now,” he said. “And she promised to be good.”

“Fat lot of good that’s worth,” Ann muttered under her breath, as she sat down at her favourite table.

“So,” Alivda said, jumping into the seat next to Ann, “what are we gonna do?”

“I know what we were planning on doing,” Ann said.

“Why don’t you do that?” Alivda asked.

“It’s a grownup thing.”

“I am grown up!”

“You are eight!”

“And Vrellish,” Alivda added with defiance.

“I don’t care if you are the Queen of England; you are still eight years old.”

“You don’t make any sense,” Alivda said knowledgeably.

“What do you mean by that?” Ann asked.

Amel was still standing by the table but he was staring at them both, or more accurately looking back and forth between them, completely at a loss as to what was going on.

“What is this ween and Ingand you speak of?” said Alivda.

“Old earth words,” Ann said. “You Gelacks don’t know as much about earth as the Reetions do.” She sounded proud.

“Yeah!” Alivda said. “Well, we fly better so who cares!”

“How about a change of topic?” Amel suggested tentatively.

Both women grumbled but didn’t contradict him.

“Okay,” Amel said. “Anyone up for a game?”

“What kind of game?” Alivda asked, wary. She had been tricked into a few lame games by Perry over the years; a few of which involved cleaning her room.

“A card game?”

“Boring!” Alivda said.

“Card game sounds fun,” Ann said, “I think I can get a deck from one of the shops around here.”

“No card game!” Alivda almost yelled.

“How about a word game?”

“I don’t like words,” Alivda said. “How about we wrestle?”

“How about not!”

“Okay, fine!” Amel said, giving up and sitting down next to them. “What do you want to do?”

“Not sit anymore!” Alivda said and she got up.

“But we just sat down!” Ann moaned. “We haven’t even ordered yet.”

“I don’t care!” And Alivda ran off.

“You’re going to go after her, aren’t you?” said Ann.

“I kinda have to,” Amel said, “I am responsible for her.” Then in a slightly more fun voice he added, “Unless you want her running wild on your precious Rire?”

That got Ann’s attention. She got up. Together they ran after Alivda.

They really didn’t have a hope of finding her if she didn’t want to be found. It was just lucky for them that she did.

“You guys are slow!” Alivda said. “I will race you to the next bike rack!” And off she went at full speed.

Amel ran after her right away, but Ann decided to take her time and walked to the nearest public transit terminal.

“Diff!” Amel yelled when he could finally see her. “Come back!”

Alivda could tell Amel wasn’t really that mad since he was still calling her Diff, so she ran on ahead.

Then out of nowhere, Ann jumped off a transit train ahead of Alivda and grabbed her.

“Get off!” Alivda yelled and tried to kick Ann.

“No way!”

“Now, girls,” Amel said, having only caught up because Alivda was no longer running.

“Women!” both girls said together.

“Fine, women,” he said, “can we just go for a nice walk together without all this…please?”

Alivda thought about it. A walk wasn’t as much fun as running, but at least it wasn’t sitting and manipulating little pieces of paper.

She nodded. Ann released her.

“There is a great little trail this way,” Ann said and pointed.

They started along the trail together, but Alivda didn’t like to just walk like other people and Ann noticed.

“Why must you skip, jog and dance instead of just walk,” Ann asked Alivda. “I am exhausted just watching you.”

“This path is too bumpy to flat out run, so this makes it more fun,” Alivda explained.

Amel chuckled.

Alivda, thrilled with how she was impressing the adults, ran on ahead after that.

“So we aren’t going to get any alone time on this trip, are we?” Ann asked Amel, moving closer to him now that the blonde child was gone.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Sorry, but she is my—” he paused, trying to find the word, “—something and I want to look after her.”

“I sorta get it,” Ann said, moving up even closer and placing her arm in his. “Maybe one day when you give me a highborn baby I will really understand.”

“I can’t,” Amel said. “It’s too complicated.”

“If you weren’t on Ferni, I would have that child already,” Ann said.

“I know.” Amel smiled.

“You guys are so slow!” Alivda said as she ran back to them.

“We are sorry,” Amel said. “But we just can’t run as fast as you.”

“I knew it!” Alivda cried with joy and ran off again.

Ann laughed. “She is entertaining, though.”

9Oct/14Off

Interview with Ursula Pflug

They have to take you in

Ursula Pflug is author of the critically acclaimed novels Green Music (Edge/Tesseract) and The Alphabet Stones (Blue Denim), as well as the story collections After The Fires (Tightrope) and Harvesting the Moon (PS). An illustrated flash novel, Motion Sickness, has just been released by Inanna. Her award winning stories have been published in Canada, the US and the UK, in genre and literary venues including Fantasy, Strange Horizons, PostScripts, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Tesseracts, On Spec, NOW Magazine, The Antigonish Review and many more. Pflug has been shortlisted or nominated for the Sunburst Award, the Aurora Award, and others. She has served on the executive of arts boards including SFCanada, and has worked as an editor. Her first edited book, the fundraiser anthology They Have To Take You In (Hidden Brook Press) has just been released. She teaches creative writing at Loyalist College and co-organizes Cat Sass Reading Series.

http://ursulapflug.ca

Interview by Christel Bodenbender

Could you tell us about your inspiration for this anthology?

As a teen following my artist mother's suicide, I travelled extensively with often no money at all — a way of life that can be an adventure but also dangerous, so, in one way, this project is a way of looking after the person I was, or someone like her. In addition, the inspiration was the 2012 cuts to the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit. Some of this money has been replaced by funding to municipalities to fund housing and homelessness services but there is always a gap between what's available and what's needed, both financially and in terms of awareness. Around the same time, Kingston poet Bruce Kauffmann edited an anthology entitled That Not Forgotten. It was a fundraiser for the renovations on the Purdy House in Prince Edward County with the goal of turning it into a writers’ residency. I met publisher Tai Grove at the launch and he asked me if I had any ideas for projects. After giving it some thought I decided I'd like to do an anthology that focused on family, showcased local and national writers, and also benefited families.

I spoke to a few potential partners, but Gordon Langill is an old friend and he has a literary background so that gave him specific insight from the outset. The Dana Fund, administered by the Peterborough CMHA is a vehicle for making available a little extra. The fund was inspired by Dana Tkakchenko, a young recovery activist who passed away in 2010. An excerpt from her remarkable semi-autobiographical novel, Anna's Story, appears in the anthology.

Readers can buy the book but there's also a direct link for making donations to the fund: http://www.cmhahkpr.ca/get-involved/donate./.

The title of the anthology has a reference to families, but do they really have to take you in?

The anthology title is a reference to the Robert Frost poem “Death of the Hired Man.” It's about a dying farmhand who reappears at his former employer's rather than go to his brother's house. Many of us have families of choice in addition to our blood families and some of the stories in the book address that. According to Mary, the protagonist of Frost's story-poem, home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. Warren and Sally known Silas better than anyone else does, and, obviously, he felt safer there than he did with his relatives.

Here is the text of the poem in it's entirety: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173525

Your anthology provides valuable space for Canadian authors. What do you think are the unique struggles of Canadians to break into the market as an author?

We're competing with Americans. The US has a much larger population, hence larger print runs, larger budgets for promotion. In Canada a small press author isn't competing just with Canadian best sellers, but with books from the US lists. There are folks who are curmudgeonly about our granting system but that's one reason for it — to level the playing field.

Tell us what writing means to you?

Writing is a place that has always taken me in.

What is it like interacting with so many authors to bring together a cohesive issue? How do you make sure the multitude of stories reflects your vision? Or do you let the pieces guide you?

I've edited for journals and magazines and individuals for decades, but this is the first time I've edited an anthology. There was a fair bit of line editing involved in some of the pieces, so that we could get the very best story possible into the book. And just general correspondence with the publisher and writers was more than I'd anticipated, definitely. You can make friends while you're working with people, or cement or reawaken a friendship you already have. And that can be delightful. As to cohesion — mostly it just fell together, partly because many stories and poems were solicited from writers whose work I already knew I loved, such as Jan Thornhill, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Leanne Simpson, Joe Davies, Tim Becket, Robert Priest and others, but there are also stories I asked for which I then didn't include, because the fit wasn't right, and many stories by emerging authors who came very close that I was sad to turn down. And a few are 'slush pile' pieces from writers I'd never met or heard of, and it's gratifying when that happens.There were three more pieces I wanted to include but they all required a little work. This was last winter, during the polar vortex. There was ice everywhere, and then snow on top of the ice, and like a million other people I fell and broke my arm. I figured that was the proverbial message to 'close the book,' as it were.

How are you going to distribute/publish the anthology?

It's just been released by Hidden Brook Press, located in Brighton, and they distribute their own list. We just had a great launch event in Peterborough at Ryan Kerr's Theatre on King, an incubator for alternative theatre. We'll be doing another event in Toronto, date and location TBA but the amazing slam poet Cathy Petch is going to host, so it promises to be equally fabulous.

Here is the Chapters link for They Have To Take You In: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/they-have-to-take-you/9781927725139-item.html

It's also available on Amazon.

Could you tell us about some future projects?

I had a crazy time the last couple of years — four books were accepted and edited and went to press — so I'm in promotional mode and expect to be for a while. Toronto's wonderful feminist press Inanna Publications has just released a flash novel, Motion Sickness. Governor General award winner Heather Spears wrote us a really nice endorsement. It means a lot, as Heather is both a writer and an illustrator so she understands both aspects of the book. Each chapter is 500 words long, and is accompanied by a woodcut like scratch-board illustration by SK Dyment. I'm touring the book this fall in addition to They Have To Take You In. We launched recently at Librairie Drawn and Quarterly in Montreal, and there will be an event at the Supermarket in Toronto on November 17th. You can find out more about Motion Sickness on Inanna's website, here: http://www.inanna.ca/index.php/catalog/motion-sickness/

PS Publishing in the U.K. has recently released Harvesting the Moon, a hardcover collection of previously published short stories with a gorgeous cover by Francois Thisdale and an endorsement from Jeff VanderMeer. In addition I'm still doing promotional events for The Alphabet Stones, a fantasy novel that came out with writer Shane Joseph's micro-press Blue Denim a year ago. The book takes place near Perth, on one of many ramshackle communes and Tim Wynne-Jones, who lives in that area, told me I'd nailed the milieu and that's flattering. Here's the Blue Denim link for The Alphabet Stones: http://www.bluedenimpress.com/alphabet-stones.php

I've also got a novel, Down From, in draft form that I'd like to finish one day. It's about a couple of witches who live in neighbouring villages. They're both artists, mothers and gardeners. The story tackles the ways in which women undermine instead of support each other. Gossip as black magic. Strong stuff.


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