Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 Demons - The Beginning!

The idea for The Five Demons You Meet In Hell came about because my then-publisher wasn't happy with a trend they saw in my work. I'd just submitted a manuscript to them that I was quite pleased with (aren't I always?) called Young Nostradamus, and they turned it down in fairly short order. "You always write about the bullied kid rising up and beating the odds," my editor told me. "We like to see our authors grow and try new things."

I still have plenty to say about the bullied kid, but I saw the merit in my editor's point of view. What if I mixed things up a little, and wrote from the POV of the bully?

With that thought, Boston Lefebvre was born. Don't ask me where I got the name from - it just popped into my head fully-formed and seemed right. It's certainly memorable. Boston was my bully, around which my new story would wrap.

But if anyone had the notion I was going to sympathize with the plight of the high school bully, well... they have another think bloody well coming! I'll write about a bully, all right... getting what he so richly deserves.

With that in mind, and given my fascination for the metaphysical coupled with my love for demons, it seemed only natural to send my bully Boston Lefebvre to Hell. The title was another inspired bit of brilliance - I just love a good spoof title! Harvard Lampoon has Bored of the Rings, Robert Rankin has Raiders of the Lost Car Park, The Sprouts of Wrath and The Toyminator, and I have a take-off of Mitch Albom's classic. If you meet five people in Heaven, it seemed likely to me you'd get five demons in the other place!

Also, I originally titled the book The 25 Demons You Meet in Hell, because I wasn't sure if five demons would cut it. I needn't have worried; five demons were more than enough to get the job done. Good thing, too - my spoof title works much better as-is!

The story came to me as I wrote it, and it was a joy to put on paper. I'd tell you more, but as one of my favourite fictional characters is fond of saying: "Spoilers!" Go check it out right now, with this link here.

PS: I just found out this very second that I'm not alone in spoofing Mitch Albom's title. There is a book on Amazon called The Five People You Meet In Hell by Rich Pablum! Guess he was faster on the draw. I have not read this work, but I am confident my novel and his are very different. It seems we had more-or-less the same idea on tag lines, however; both of us use the "This is not that book" gag. No worries. There's plenty of room on the Internet for both of us.

PPS: There's also a book called The Five Jerks You Meet On Earth by Ray Zardetto. I'm starting to not feel so special about my title now... :(

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Reversed Polarity: A Weekend of Who

Last weekend I attended Reversed Polarity, a special convention put on by the same people who have run Polaris, dedicated to celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. It was another fun bash, with panels and good friends and well-known special guests including... get ready for it...

Peter friggin' Fifth Doctor Davison!!!

What a coup!

My programming schedule was light - only two panels - and problematic at first. I'd been attached to another Star Trek Into Darkness panel, and one on Doctor Who fanfiction. The night before the convention, however, I got an email saying I wasn't signed up for anything! Naturally I was a tad concerned, especially when my emails weren't returned (which is completely understandable, it was the night before the convention and the programming team were busy as all hell). It all turned out okay, as these things often do. My dear friend Corrine McGill (volunteer extraordinaire) took care of my issues in less than five minutes. My revised panel schedule had me doing Star Trek at noon on Sunday, and Fanfiction late Saturday night. Regrettably I had to back out of the fanfiction one; the bus schedule being what it was, I simply couldn't stay that late. That's twice now I've missed out on fanfiction panels! Bummer.

Now that I had my con badge, I was free to roam the con. There was considerably less of it this time around - only half the hotel space a Polaris con usually gets. Nevertheless, the fandom atmosphere was thick and omnipresent, with every second person clad in a Doctor Who costume. Peter Davison gave a talk on stage; I figured there would be an extra cost to see it, so I didn't go. Turns out there was no extra fee, and I'm an idiot. That's two Doctors I could have met this year but didn't (the other one being Colin Baker at Fan Expo).

I did, however, meet and chat with many friends: Jen Frankel, author of the horror novel The Last Rite, who told me she'd loved Epoch; her friend and frequent River Song impersonator Amanda Portelli, who is currently making me a Tardis-shaped notebook; Rebecca Lovatt, who sold me a red shirt for an extremely reasonable price (even though people are just dying to wear red shirts); and many others whom I'm too lazy to name.

The dealer's room did not disappoint. After less than half an hour I'd bought a Doctor Who novel, a Weeping Angel (very popular and hard to find!), and an almost-naked Wolverine action figure for Violet (which she described as "disturbing"). I attended an interesting panel on 4th Doctor Tom Baker, then reluctantly headed home for the night.

On Sunday I had my first and only panel - Star Trek Into Darkness. Violet came with me; she's a big fan of that movie (and an even bigger fan of Benedict Cumberbatch!). I'd been chosen to moderate, and what a job I had. Few in the audience liked the film, and I was the only panelist willing to praise it. And, I had to deal with one of those fans, someone who lives to nitpick in as loud a voice as they can. He interrupted or talked over me with grueling regularity, and my attempts to reign him in were less than effective. Such people can't be contained, only endured - I managed to get my two cents in when he paused for breath. The other two panelists were far better behaved, and just as enthusiastic. I came away feeling drained but still happy. Not long ago I'd have been angry, and I'd ruminate over what I could have/should have done better for hours. Not this time. For me, that's progress.

Violet and I stayed until five, taking in two more panels (6: The Misunderstood Doctor & The 12th Doctor) and even assisting with the putting away of chairs at the end. We also had drinks with friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in a very long time. Very civilized. I didn't get much self-promotion in, but I didn't have to. I was there with some of the best people I know. That was enough.

Later this month I'll attend SFContario once more! Good times.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's November Next Week!

How did that happen? Well, probably the same way October, September and August arrived, I suppose. Nevertheless, I am once again feeling that the passage of time is occurring far too quickly. And without my consent.

October has been a good month for me. It started extremely well with GenreCon, which amazingly enough is only the second con I've attended this year. My third con, Reversed Polarity, is coming up very soon. It's from the same people who have done the Polaris and Toronto Trek conventions, and it centres around the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I'm booked into two panels.

I prepared and uploaded The Five Demons You Meet In Hell to Smashwords, and I'm delighted to say it meets the requirements of their Premium Club (an honour that means wider distribution). You can have a look at my book's page on the Smashwords site here. I'm still working on some unforeseen complications involving payment and tax issues, but those will be resolved before too long.

Anyone interested in a free preview of 5 Demons can read a sample of it here.

My depression got a little worse this month, partly due to cabin fever. I need structure, and my lack of employment has left me without any. I wrote a kind of 'day in the life of' thing last week, but I'm not sure I want to post it. The day in question turned out to be a fairly bad one, at least for a couple of hours in the afternoon. What I ended up writing is intensely personal; one of the biggest fears a person can have is to reveal one's true, unmasked self.

I have a short-term job starting tomorrow that will last me through to the end of the month. That will be good for me, and my finances.

November promises to be a very entertaining month. Apart from Reversed Polarity, I am looking forward to Catching Fire and Thor: The Dark World. November 23rd is The Day of The Doctor, and of course there will be my own contribution to the world of entertainment - 5 Demons - on November 13!

My writing is going well. I've finished Part III of I, Suicide, and am ready to work on the next leg of Zombie Jesus Day. I'm also working on a new Doctor Who fanfic short story. There haven't been any assignments for a while, but that may change soon.

That's all for now.

Monday, October 14, 2013

GenreCon Part 3: Sunday

Those who know me well can tell you I'm not much of a 'party person'. I rarely drink alcohol but when I do, I limit myself to a single beer or cider. I have a very low tolerance for alcohol (Violet calls me a cheap date), and I'd rather spend my money on other stuff. Plus, I'm the guy who leaves the party early. I get tired, I start feeling anxious, and I'm not fond of the long trip home (especially if there's a bus involved, one that stops running at 1 AM).

How, then, do I explain the partying I partook in Saturday night at the con? Well, that's easy. The con organizers supplied the drinks for the room parties, and my own room was only three doors away. No bus schedule to keep, no need to fret over finances. And the anxiety? Still there, but I didn't let it stop me.

I got drunk. Pleasantly drunk. I did not get wasted. Nor did I get tanked. Nor, I hasten to add, did I get smashed, plastered or hammered. Other people did (or so I heard), and paid a terrible price that involved barfing. Booze can be a harsh mistress. Nevertheless, I offer my thanks to the organizers of GenreCon for providing so much of it.

I had shots. With whipped cream in them! Yum. Made some new friends, got to know some current friends better. Then I got a little flirty... it was probably for the best that I packed it in and went to bed when I did. It was four AM by that point, and I had a lot to do in the morning.

Check out time for hotels is 11 AM. I had a panel at ten, which meant I had to be packed up and out of the room before then. And, I was not going to spend another $20 on breakfast; I would find the nearest Tim Horton's instead.

Which meant I had to be up and with it by nine at the latest. In fact, I rose at eight. I need time to get my shit together in the mornings, and I hate to rush. I made myself presentable and went out into the cool, foggy morning air, and twenty minutes later I had my tea, a bagel, and a box of Timbits to share. Life was good.

Checked out. Luggage stowed. Tea savoured. Bagen eaten. Time for my panel, Self-Publishing in the Age of the Internet with Elizabeth Hirst and Sarah Water Raven. Considering it was 10 AM on a con Sunday morning, attendance was very decent. The panel went well, and I learned a lot of important stuff about ebook publishing. Afterward Sarah and I went for Thai food, and got back in time for a panel about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At that point, my lack of sleep had begun to catch up with me.

My Pacific Rim panel could have gone better. Ryan Consell and I had a large audience, but five minutes in I realized I'd forgotten pretty much everything about the film. I remembered there were giant robots fighting giant monsters, and that the movie had been a lot better than that premise would suggest. And I think I repeated that at least three times. Fortunately Ryan had numerous beefs to pick with the movie's science, and that got a lot of discussion going. I should have done better, though. I've got to stop thinking I can simply wing a movie panel just because I've seen the film in question.

After that, the con was more or less over for me. I got more tea and did some writing, then began my numerous goodbyes. Sarah dropped me off at the Guelph University bus stop, and I was able to catch an earlier bus back to Toronto. I was sad to leave, but I was very happy to get home and see Violet and my two fuzzy boys again. And to get back on my computer and play Candy Crush. Man, had I missed that game!
Will I go to GenreCon again next year? That's certainly the plan. I hope I'll be able to report on the smash success of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, and announce my next project. But even if I don't, I'm sure to have another good time!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

GenreCon Part 2: Saturday

Where we last left off, I was about to embark on a very busy afternoon at GenreCon. Two PM had me on the panel 50 Years of Doctor Who, followed by my reading, followed by The Basics of Writing Genre, followed by my signing. At that point I'd have an hour long break, and then I'd do Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Benedict Cumberbatch at seven. Whew!

The panels were well-attended. My reading and book signing were not. Nevertheless, I had an enjoyable time. And I sold a few books! One I sold for a dollar to my new friend Tristin; he'd been to all my panels and my reading that afternoon and the previous evening, so he totally deserved it.

For the Doctor Who panel, I sat between two panelists (Paul Neale & Dalek Dreadnaught) who had insider knowledge of the upcoming 50th Year Anniversary special. It was very tempting to ask for spoilers, let me tell you! We discussed the highs and lows of the last fifty years of the show, and our hopes for the upcoming adventures of the 12th Doctor.

Sarah Water Raven joined me for my reading, and brought a bunch of kick-ass flyers for my upcoming novel The Five Demons You Meet In Hell with her. She also joined me at my table in the dealer's room for my signing, and we both sold a couple of books. These things are more fun when shared with a friend!

The Basics of Writing Genre was well-attended, at least at first. Bestselling novelist Kelley Armstrong was scheduled to be on the panel, but she'd received the wrong information and thought the panel was on Sunday! When it was clear she wasn't coming, a few of her fans got up and left. The room was still 3/4ths full, however, and aspiring novelist Ed Mochrie and I rose to the occasion. It was Ed's first panel ever, too. Like, ever! Gosh, I remember what that was like, way back in the spring of 2006's Ad Astra. Ed brought a lot to the table, and we had a very good discussion with our audience.

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Benedict Cumberbatch wouldn't have kept my wife Violet entertained for very long; most of the discussion was about the movie Star Trek Into Darkness, and not Benedict himself. Corrina McGill, Cory Albrecht and I talked about the film's strengths and flaws, of which there were many. A good friend of mine was kind enough to sit down with me a week or two back and list those flaws in alphabetical order, so I had plenty of material to draw upon. The majority of the audience (and panelists) seemed to have loved the film as much as I did, however, so a lot of that material was glossed over.

After the Star Trek panel, I headed to the hotel's restaurant with friends for dinner. The place was expensive but convenient, and the staff was just wonderful. One of the servers wore a suit identical to that of the 10th Doctor (by sheer coincidence!), and another one bought a copy of Section K.

The evening was very interesting; there was a dance, an epic card game, and room parties. And did I mention the genre-themed drinks? I had a TARDIS, vodka and some kind of blue juice that was quite yummy. Corrine invited me to the Cards Against Humanity game, and I volunteered to be a judge. The object of the game was to answer questions as rudely, inappropriately, or just plain horribly as possible using a selection of cards inscribed with various things. Hmm, I'm not explaining that very well... let me put it like this: in your selection of cards, you might have one that says kitten and another that says sandwich spread, and you might use them together if you got a fill-in-the-blank question like "A ______ makes a very good _______." Or you might use a card that says an adorable two-month-old baby with the question "What did you eat for breakfast?" Get the picture? And will you ever be able to get that picture out of your head? Sorry about that. Anyway, I took to the game like a butcher knife to a puppy's face - I just sank right in! Ooh, whoops. Did it again! I'm so evil.

And then, the fire alarm went off. Every hotel guest was evacuated to the parking lot, including all convention attendees and one very angry wedding party! They put forward their theories as to who was responsible for disrupting their happy nuptials, and came to two possible conclusions: the alarm had been triggered either by "some faggit" or "one of them cosplayers." Tempers ran hot, even though the temperature outside was very cold. I wished for my jacket, but I was one of the lucky ones - more than a few cosplayers were clad in little more than decorative underwear! The hotel staff moved us four times around the parking lot while the firefighters did their jobs, and we were finally allowed back in when the cause of the fire had been discovered a half-hour later. Turns out someone from the wedding party had lit a cigarette inside the hotel and set off the smoke detectors. Naturally, no apology was offered.

I missed my midnight panel on fanfiction due to the 'fire', so my programming responsibilities were finished for that day. I might have packed it in and gone to bed, but it turned out my night was just beginning...

GenreCon Part 3: Sunday Coming Soon!

Friday, October 11, 2013

GenreCon Part 1: Friday

I feel like I'm repeating myself whenever I talk about my experiences at Fandom conventions. I always say that I had enormous fun, felt like I belonged, and was sad to leave at the end. That would be because it's always true. GenreCon was yet another fulfilling experience for me, and I learned a lot of great stuff in the bargain.

For example, did you know that iron is probably the worst metal you could use to construct giant robots with? Pacific Rim got that wrong! And the current level of human technology does not have the ability to detect gravitron waves that may be increasing the mass of our planet. Tsk, tsk, Man of Steel! I also learned valuable information about publishing and selling ebooks, invaluable knowledge given my current writing career plans.

Friday was slow, an evening of settling in. I had no trouble getting to Guelph; I even got the driver to let me off a stop early at the university, practically next door to the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre! Lots of time and a taxi fare saved there! I checked in, registered, and dumped my stuff in my room, then set out to find my friends. And a cup of tea. I didn't worry about supper; I brought a couple of sandwiches to further cut down on my expenses.

My first panel was about the recent Superman movie, Man of Steel. My fellow panelist was Ryan Consell, a splendid chap with a mind for science who looks almost identical to the 10th Doctor. We had only two people in attendance, a bit disappointing considering how prepared I was. Nevertheless we had a good chat about the Superman films in general and the science mistakes in Man of Steel in particular, and generally had a good time.

I got the timing wrong for my next panel, the one on Geek Cliques. I showed up an hour early, and ended up participating in the panel on Canadian content in genre fiction with Jennifer Bickley and my friend and fellow author Elizabeth Mary Ann Hirst. We got some heated debates going, which is what you always hope for in a panel. Attendance was better, too - at least six people - and most of them stuck around for Geek Cliques afterward. Strong emotions were incurred as fellow panelists Corrina McGill, Michael Scott and I discussed the exclusion of unpopular fandoms, fandom hierarchies, and the concept of the 'fake geek girl'. In the end we came to two very noble conclusions: 1. all forms of prejudice or perceived superiority have no place in fandom; and 2. Twilight fans suck. ;)

Next I attended a reading by my good friend and cover artist for The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, Sarah Water Raven. Only a couple of people turned up; Friday nights, it would seem, really aren't very good for programming. Nevertheless we made the most of it; Sarah read from her novel Detective Docherty and the Demon's Tears, and I remember a lively discussion about killing characters in creative ways. Sarah and I went for a drink afterward, as this photo blurrily depicts.

I slept well, and treated myself to room service breakfast Saturday morning. It was expensive, but I could not resist the allure of bacon and homefries! And, I didn't know where to go to get anything cheaper. The morning was mine to do with as I pleased, but the afternoon had me booked solid from two o'clock until eight. I wandered about, checked out the dealer's room, and made a few new friends. Then I woofed down the last of my provisions and prepared myself for action...

GenreCon Part 2: Saturday is Coming Soon!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mid-October Update

GenreCon was a lot of fun. I'm still writing about the experience, and hope to have a post about it up within the next couple of days. I'll probably split it into three parts, like I usually do.

In the meantime, I want to let everyone know that a new review of The Cupid War has surfaced! This one's from Reads 4 Tweens, and can be read here. It's very thorough, and includes a link to Amazon. I'm lucky to have had so many wonderful reviews of my stuff, and I hope I'll have a whole bunch when I put out The Five Demons You Meet In Hell.

Speaking of which, my new novel draws closer and closer to publication. Officially it will be available on November 13th, but it looks like I'll be able to offer a preorder option! I'm going to publish it through Smashwords first, as per advice I got last weekend, and make it available for the Amazon Kindle after that.

That's it for now!

Oh, wait. One more thing...

Go and see Gravity, on the biggest screen you can find. In 3D, too. It is awesome!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Off To GenreCon!

In just under half an hour I'll be jetting out of here and on my way to Guelph to attend GenreCon. Three days of fun and hard work mixed together in such a way that the work feels like fun but the fun still feels a little bit like work. It can be very tiring, doing a con. I can't imagine the strain the con organizers go through! So here's a thank you to all those who work long hours for weeks on end to make sci/fi cons happen. Couldn't do it without you guys, quite literally! You're the best.

I've done my homework this time around. I've got material for my panels, like a couple of magazine articles and stuff I pulled from the web. I will be a more mature panelist this time around. I wish I had more to show for the FanFiction panel; I've done so very little of it. Here's a link to Happy Landings, my Doctor Who story. Maybe the panel will inspire me to write more. Or maybe I'll be inspired to write more of my own stuff!

I'm still trying to decide what to read. I've narrowed it down a lot, however. Something from The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, for sure - that's the one I want to spread the word on! If I have time, I'll probably also throw in a bit of The Cupid War.

That's it for me! I'll have a full update on the con as soon as I can.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Five Demons You Meet In Hell

That really big announcement I’ve been hinting at? Well, here it is:

On November 13, 2013, I will release my latest novel, The Five Demons You Meet in Hell on Amazon’s KDP program! Below you will see the finished cover artwork, courtesy of my artist friend Sarah Water Raven:
I’ve met many authors on Facebook and Twitter who have used Amazon to publish their novels electronically, with varying degrees of success. My first foray into the world of ebooks, Closets, has been something of a spectacular failure. I’m hoping that, with a more marketable novel aimed at an older audience, I will have more positive results.

So, set your clocks and start the countdown! And buy a Kindle. That would really help! And please, tell everyone you know, and even a few that you don’t, that Timothy Carter is back in the far-fetched fiction game!

GenreCon Next Weekend!

Next Friday, October 4th, I will travel to Guelph for my third out-of-Toronto convention! This will be another fantastic opportunity for me to promote myself to a new city's worth of sci-fi/fantasy fans.

I'm signed up for eight panels, something of a record for me. I will also be doing a reading and a signing on Saturday. Woo! That's a lot of work from me. And you all know how I feel about the 'W' word! Of course, this will be fun work. I love cons so very much.

My GenreCon Panels are as follows:

Superman: The Man of Steel - Friday, 6 PM, Terrace
Geek Cliques - Friday, 9 PM, Aberfoyle

Fifty Years of Doctor Who - Saturday, 2 PM in Terrace
My reading (Saturday, 3 PM in Elora)
The Basics of Writing Genre - Saturday, 4 PM in Terrace
My signing (Saturday, 5 PM in Dealers Room).
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Benedict Cumberbatch - Saturday 7 PM in Terrace

Fanfiction: More Than Just Bad Porn - Sunday, 12 AM (Midnight) Aberfoyle
Self-Publishing in the Age of the Internet - 10 AM (room TBA)
Pacific Rim: Robots vs. Aliens - Sunday 2 PM in Elora

Three of those panels are about recent movies, three are about writing and publishing, and one is about trends in fandom itself. The recent Star Trek and Superman movies have caused quite a bit of fandom controversy, so I'd better be prepared for some hostility (in the form of aggressive arguing). I'm always delighted to talk about writing, and the self-publishing panel will be particularly relevant for me. Pacific Rim was an awesome movie that I look forward to discussing, but I'm really excited for the Doctor Who panel (the 50th Anniversary special episode is less than two months away!). The Geek Cliques panel will bring up many tender subjects, such as the ridiculous notion of the 'fake geek girl'. Honestly, why would anybody in fandom want to exclude anybody?

Aside from all the new faces awaiting me, I will also see several good friends from cons past. For example, Sarah Water Raven, my fellow panelist at SFContario last year, will be doing a reading at 10PM in Elora Friday night and the Self-Publishing panel with me on Sunday morning. I draw specific attention to her because she is the artist who created the cover for (Big Announcement Soon!), as well as a promotional flyer. I'll display those and make the Big Announcement in another post very soon.

I still have plenty of copies of Epoch, Evil and Section K to bring. If I'm lucky, I might make back my travel and/or accommodation costs. I'm out of Cupid War copies, however; I plan to encourage fans to seek out their copies from Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.

Next weekend is going to be busy but fun. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lord of the Matrix

I made a bunch of videos in late 2011 and 2012 - a new hobby for me that I leapt into with both feet. Then I stopped. I just lost my enthusiasm. A shame - I had a ton of great ideas.

Then, last month, I found the mojo again and madeLord of the Matrix. I got a really good deal on some action figures, and saw an opportunity to do a skit I've had in my head since 2002, the year the first Lord of the Rings movie came out.

I'd bought my brother a bunch of the Burger King LOTR toys for Christmas (remember those? Some of them lit up, some of them had sound bytes like "The Ring must be destroyed," and "Then what are we waiting for?"), because he's been a fan of the book for as long as I can remember. I was messing around with the toy of Elf Chief Elrond, played in the films by Hugo Weaving, and I remembered another important movie role Hugo had played - Agent Smith in The Matrix. I put some of Agent Smith's lines in Elrond's mouth, and took advantage of the fact that, in The Fellowship of The Ring, Frodo used the fake name of Mr. Underhill. "Mister Underhill," I said in my best Hugo Weaving voice. "My name is Frodo!" I added in a voice not totally dissimilar to Keanu Reeves...

After that, the skit wrote itself. I haven't even written it down, as such - I've just had it in my head for eleven years. Finally I've had the opportunity to visualize it, thanks to six affordable action figures from The Silver Snail, an Elrod action figure from Ebay, and a plush South Park Satan given to me years ago by a friend. Filming took about a week, using lots of cardboard for sets. In some shots I'm afraid you can see the puppeteer's fingers, but overall I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Here it is! If you are a fan of both movies (and of Hugo Weaving), this will hopefully give you a few chuckles.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn Attitude

The summer has wound down, and fall is upon us. I'm hanging in there, trying to stay positive.

I've temporarily stopped work on Zombie Jesus Day again. For the last two weeks of August I was busy as all heck with three articles. Four, if you count the one they needed me to rewrite. I'm delighted I felt able to do that many articles for them. My confidence and motivation have improved. You can find those articles, and the others I've written, by clicking here.

I also wrote a new short story! It is set in the Cupid War universe, and relates directly to the spin-off novel I've been working on, I, Suicide. I'm feeling renewed enthusiasm for that project, which is why I've started work on Chapter 12 of that book instead of jumping back into ZJD. I will post that story here on the blog, but not just yet.

I'm going to attend GenreCon in October! This con is out in Guelph, which will necessitate a bus trip and a two-night hotel stay. It will be my third out-of-Toronto convention (the other two being Can Con last year and Con Cept in 2006), and I really want to do many more. My finances will have to improve before that can happen.

The first step to improving those finances would be getting a job. Finding one has been very discouraging; I look for what I want, but keep finding myself under qualified. Or over-qualified. Or they want me to be two or three different things at once. And then there are job search articles; you can find out what I think of those here.

I've been working on a new YouTube video for my channel. I haven't made one in over a year; I've had a good, fun experience getting back into the swing of it. I call it Lord of The Matrix, and I'll write a post about the making of it soon. Here's the link to the video. Enjoy!

I may not have a steady income right now, but I've had more good days than bad lately. The time off has actually been quite healing, and I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about my future.

A big announcement is coming soon. Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rejecting Rejection

No writer likes this topic. If you’re a first time author, seasoned pro or bitter veteran, rejection is a term and a concept you know well. If you send your work out, nine times out of ten it’s coming right back.

Rejection should not be taken personally. It’s not you they are rejecting, authors are told, just the work. This is true, and I’ve never had a problem making that distinction. What we create is art, but when it goes out the door it becomes product. That can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Rejection letters themselves don’t make things any easier. If your work is being turned down, it is only natural to wonder why. Most rejection letters won’t contain that kind of information – you’ll get a form letter telling you your work wasn’t accepted with some vague and impersonal turn of phrase. And usually after a wait of several months, or even years (two years is the longest I’ve had to wait). Nothing says ‘you are nobody’ like a letter that arrives after nearly a year, saying “unfortunately your work does not meet our needs at this time.”

“Editors are very hard-working, busy people,” I have been told. “They have so many stories/books/stuff to go through. You can’t expect them to give feedback on every piece of writing they receive!” I’ll go that one better – I had a writing teacher tell me that the publishers I sent material to “don’t owe you a response.” They didn’t ask for my story, so why should they bother with a detailed rejection letter? If they’ve sent any kind of correspondence at all (in a self-addressed stamped envelope that I provided and paid for), then it is a courtesy and I should be grateful. They are doing me a favour!

First of all, bullshit. If nobody sent stuff to publishers, they would have nothing to make money from. Yes, they will keep asking for material from Name Authors, but there are only so many Names to go around. Publishers will always need new talent, and your book might be their next meal ticket. If they receive a work that could potentially earn them money, then they owe that writer a response. It’s just good business.

Second of all, publishers and editors have been allowed to set all the rules. Many of them don’t want writers to submit the same material to multiple publishers at the same time (simultaneous submissions). With publishers like these, you send them your work and must then wait for a response before sending it elsewhere! If they don’t send a response, you have no way of knowing if they are interested or not, and your work is stuck in limbo. If you are going to insist on exclusivity to any manuscript that comes in, and then take several months to read it, you owe that writer a response.

Third of all, just because it’s bullshit doesn’t mean it isn’t the way things are. Publishers have the money and the means to publish, and that makes them the dungeon masters. If they set up a business model that is good for them and bad for writers, then too bad. Suck it up and accept it, they will say, or stay out of the game.

Rejection is a way of life for writers, and the sooner you come to terms with it, the better. It’s not personal, so don’t take it that way. But don’t get used to it, and don’t ever like it. Bug publishers. Write follow-up letters/emails. Call them, even if they specifically say not to. Maintain as much control as you can – tell publishers that if you haven’t heard from them within a reasonable timeframe, you will consider the material rejected and send it elsewhere. Keep a copy of that correspondence with the date on it so you can prove you sent it. It’s one thing for publishers to reject your story. They do not have the right to reject your dignity.

No writer likes dealing with rejection, but we all learn how to. It is a part of the business. And there’s the thing – it’s a business. That goes both ways, with each party respecting the other. One day, the tables may be turned. Keep that vision in sight, and persevere.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Job Search Article, And Why I Hate It

If there’s one thing I really can’t stand about unemployment, it’s the condescending holier-than-thou tone of job search articles. We've all read them, and can spot their well-worn formula. They start with some snooty line about how you're doing it all wrong. That's the premise of these things: "So, you thought what you're doing right now is enough to get you that job? Hah! Silly, stupid job seeker. Let me set you straight."

And that's only the beginning. Everything in your life right now, everything you are doing or have ever done, is bad for your job search. That picture of the melancholy feline you posted on Facebook last week? What's a prospective employer going to think when they see that? Or how about that tweet from two days ago - Im so hapi 2 b here pepl! Not only does this candidate waste online resources on non-fundamental core competencies, but he can't even spell!

Your resume, or resumes in general, are gifts from the employment article gods. No matter how well-written, well presented, well designed or professional-looking you think your resume is, it’s wrong. It’s stupid. You honestly thought you could catch an employer’s eye with that?

The thing is, both the writing and reading of a resume is entirely speculative – there are very few rights and wrongs. One employer might like a detailed account of your job history, while others will want a one-page bullet-pointed list. Some like left-justified text, and others feel that centered text is the way to go. Have an Objective line. Don’t waste an employer’s time with an Objective line! Keep the details of your work experience brief. How can an employer know what kind of work you did if you don’t explain it in detail? Keep every job you’ve ever had on your resume – your time at McDonald’s tells an employer you are dependable, trustworthy and a good team player. Why did you put your McDonald’s experience on your resume – are you stupid?

Any point of view on resumes can be made to seem valid, as long as you sound (or read) like you know what you’re talking about. That’s easy to fake – add a dash of arrogance to whatever you think you know, and you’re there.

And then there are articles that throw in something like this: just because there’s a recession on and the economy is bad, that’s no excuse to slack off in your job search. You just have to work harder, dig into the hidden job market to ferret out those unposted jobs. Hidden job market? Are they making this up? Unfortunately, no. Most jobs, as they’ll tell you, don’t get posted. It’s one of many reasons why job searching sucks. The article writers are right about this one, but they don’t need to be so smug about it. Yeah, maybe I am a lazy dope who hasn’t dug in and explored the options and opportunities hard enough. Or maybe there is a recession on, jobs are scarce, and I’m having fantastically bad luck!

I know, I know, making excuses won’t land me a job. And a prospective employer might read this and think, this person is leveraging his inadequacies onto a slippery slope to a non-proactive attitude! This incumbent needs to utilize his deliverables on a going-forward basis if he is desirous of achieving synergy with our company’s strategic vision. I just wish that the writers of employment articles would resist the urge to add insult to injury. We get enough of that as it is!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Working Out How To Work Out, In A Way That Works Out

I spend so much time exercising my mind, it's easy to forget to do the same for my body. Trouble is, I've never exactly been a workout kind of guy. Back in school, Phys Ed class taught me the joys of not being in Phys Ed class. As a result, the notion of getting in shape has always, in my mind, been synonymous with being shoved into lockers, mercilessly taunted, and occasionally threatened with hockey sticks.

Fitness Clubs aren't much better for me - the only one I nearly joined offered free membership and a free mountain bike. Except, to get the free membership I had to sign a one-year contract. Which cost $600. Oh, and the bike would arrive disassembled. I'd have to pay to transport it from the gym to someone whom I could pay to assemble it. Because that's how bikes are always delivered. Everybody knows that, Mr. Carter. That, at least, is what the insanely hot and ridiculously overtanned sales lady told me when I reacted badly to her scam.

So I don't go to gyms. I have trust issues, and I just plain can't afford them. And I might end up talking like a gym person. "Gonna go work on my quads," I heard a guy say. "Worked on my trys yesterday, pecs the day before that. Today it's the quads." I don't ever want to make that a part of my daily conversation.

So, what do I do to get my heart going? I walk. My neighbourhood has lots of bike paths and walking trails, and plenty of decent places to walk to. I'll head out somewhere, stop for some tea and do some writing, then walk back home again. Often I'll come home with groceries, which makes it an even bigger workout.

I'm sure if I were to discuss my exercise routine with some gym people, I'd be told I'm not getting nearly enough 'cardio', and how can I expect to 'tone up' if I don't have the right equipment? What does my personal trainer have to say? I don't have a personal trainer? How is it I'm not dead already?

Couldn't tell you. And yes, I might drop dead tomorrow. But it won't be because some jerk shoved me into a locker with a hockey stick while making fun of my quads.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Yet Another Cupid War Review!

Another good thing from this month is that I've found another review of The Cupid War! The blog is Sly, Clever and Nerdy, and the link to the review is right here.

It's nice to be reminded that The Cupid War is still alive and well on the bookshelves. Huzzah!

And speaking of Cupid War reminders, don't forget about The Cupid War: Fallon's First Couple, a short story that takes place during the events of the novel.

August Actualization

I've just finished the first third of my new novel, Zombie Jesus Day, and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I've set it aside once more, until I've typed it all up. I can use the break to do a few more blog posts, like this one. Turns out I still have a lot to say.

I'm still writing for This month I've taken on three articles! A couple of months ago, doing two would have stressed me to the max. Now, I feel fully confident in my ability to get all three done well before their deadlines. It's a sign that - mentally and emotionally - I'm getting better. A very positive step forward for me!

August looks to be a good month.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's August, the last month of the summer. The majority of super awesome blockbuster movies have come out, the CNE is almost upon us, and we've had hot days aplenty!

The world of work continues to confound me. Or, to put a more positive spin on my employment woes, the world of work continues to provide valuable material for me to draw upon for my fiction. I've had a couple of interviews; the first one seemed to go really well, but I didn't get the job. The second one also went very well. Does that mean I'm screwed?

Not necessarily, no. Only a negative, pessimistic, down-in-the-dumps person would think that! I am not that person. At least, not today.

I continue to write, but my speed and productivity have gone down. And, I seem to be suffering from rewriter's block. I'll do a post on that soon. And I've had another significant rejection to deal with. I'll blog about that soon, too. Nevertheless, I continue to advance the plot of Zombie Jesus Day. I'm keeping up with articles, and I'm always adding new reviews to Biblical Proportions. Here's the latest one.

I haven't been to a con since Ad Astra, which is sad. I do love them. For one reason or another I've missed a bunch of them this summer. I hope to make it to Can Con and SFContario in the fall. Of course, it's hard to get all gung-ho about promoting my stuff when I have so very little stuff left to promote... There I go, getting down again. It's hard not to, with depression on top of stressful circumstances. I need to turn things around, but it's going to take a lot of passion, energy, and hard work.

I still believe in the dream. I just wish I felt like the dream believed in me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I just checked my stats, and found out that Worlds of Tim has just passed 7, 000 views. I'm a sucker for an even number with lots of zeros, so right now I'm pretty happy.

By way of thanks, I'll reward you all with cute cat pictures. You'll not find anything like that elsewhere on the Internet, let me tell you!

Well, ok, you might just find one or two cat pictures here and there. But these ones feature my two boys, Karma and Ron. So there.

This is Karma.

And this is Ron.

Adorable little buggers, aren't they?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dispatch From The Blackout

Blackout! Power out.
Waiting for the light.
Everywhere in darkness,
How am I to write?

As you can see, yesterday's blackout in Toronto (July 8/2013) had me so downhearted that I resorted to bad poetry. Luckily I wasn't affected by any of the flooding, which I only learned about this morning! I would have been trapped downtown with no way home if I'd been working; I never thought I'd be grateful for unemployment! I did manage to get some work done in spite of the situation, including the post below:

I'm sitting in a bus shelter on the corner of Bathurst and Antibies, a ten-minute walk from my building, in the middle of a blackout and a thunderstorm. It was the only place I could go where I could sit, out of the rain, with enough light to write by. The nearby Tim Horton's is closed, so I couldn't get a cup of tea (aaarg!). Most places were closed due to lack of power, but a family-owned convenience store remained open and willing to sell me a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi provided I had exact change.

So, against considerable odds, I have a drink and I'm still able to write! Not for much longer, though; it's 8:30 PM, and what little sunlight I've been getting through the storm clouds will be gone very soon. Already my eyes are hurting. I was hoping to get started on my next article for, but no go - I need the Internet for that. I was editing one of my manuscripts on my computer earlier today; that's no longer an option, either. That leaves me with the projects I can write longhand: this post, and my current novel project, Zombie Jesus Day.

And now this session is done; my eyes are crying out for vengeance. It really says something about how dependent we all are on electricity. Even writers like me who write mainly by hand can only do so much in the absence of precious voltage. I hope this blackout doesn't last too long. If this post does indeed get posted here, you can rest assured we made it through!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reality vs Superman... and Me

Tomorrow I will take myself to see the new Superman movie, Man of Steel. I expect it will be well made, and probably a lot of fun. I also expect to see a number of attempts made by director Zach Snyder and writers David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan to "modernize" Superman, to "make him relevant to today's audiences." Fine, I say. Whatever. As long as the main character is still Superman.

It doesn't take much to amuse the little kid in me. Add Superman to a movie, or a giant transforming robot (or both!), and you're 90% of the way to making me happy.

Other people, I've noticed, are much harder to satisfy. They want their inner (and outer) adult catered to, with childish things put away (or left to cartoons). They want their movies to have Reality, to feature characters and stories you would expect to see in the Real World. Fantastic stories have their place (again, cartoons), but if you want Grown-Ups to like it, you must make the fantasy Believable. Relatable. It must Say Something About the Human Condition. And Gritty. Don't forget Gritty.

Grit is fine, in and of itself. I'm a big fan of many Gritty, Relatable films and stories (like Batman Begins, Michael Bay's Transformers, Iron Man, etc). I do not, however, think that every story of the fantastic needs to be that way, especially if the concept behind it doesn't lend itself all that well to those elements.

Take Superman. He can fly. He can see through walls. He can lift continents, and his fists could shatter the Moon. And, he's a pretty decent guy. Hooray, say kids! Nonsense, say Grown-Ups. A character like that can't possibly be interesting. How can you Relate to him? He isn't tortured! He doesn't like to kill people! He's NICE, dammit! Such a man can't possibly be REAL.

No, he can't. Superman isn't Real. He isn't supposed to be.

But... Superman is something the child in us wishes was real. He's an amalgamation of everything that's good in humanity (so it's only natural that he's an alien!). He comes from above us, lives among us, and protects us from the worst in ourselves (and Solomon Grundy). Fine, say Grown-Ups, but he needs a Believable Reason for doing so. Is he trying to avenge the death of his parents? Is he making up for a mistake that cost his uncle's life? Is he fighting to prove his kind aren't evil whilst fighting the evil members of his kind? For God's sake, is the man Being Paid?

No. And that's Superman's crime against Reality - he protects us from evil because he can, and because he believes it is the right thing to do. That's it. No burning rage, no agonizing guilt, no paycheque. He's just a really nice guy with super powers.

That, of course, isn't Believable. That's not a Well-Rounded Character. Nice isn't Reality! Grown-Ups hate Nice. It's naive... childish. Real people aren't like that.

Nice guys finish last, no one will go out on a date with them, and they always get picked last in gym class. Nice guys are NOT supposed to be able to save the world from asteroids, alien invaders, criminal masterminds and kitten-capturing trees. They are supposed to get kicked to the dirt while the Real Heroes - the ones with guns and knives and attitude - embrace their dark natures and show ya how we get things done!

But Superman doesn't get kicked to the dirt. Because he's Superman. Try it, and he could punt you into the dirt... on Mars! Except he won't. Because he's Superman. Instead, he'll tell you not to kick him because you'll break your own damn foot. Then he'll fly off to put a stop to Lex Luthor's insane schemes, pausing just long enough to rescue a little kid's balloon.

That's not Interesting! People can't Relate To That! It's not REAL!

Why not?

Because nobody's actually like that!

I know. It's a fantasy. For children, or the young at heart. Or the naive. Or anyone who still believes that people can be good.

So I'm going to see Man of Steel tomorrow. And I hope that, despite attempts to 'make him relevant', he'll still be the nice guy in the red and blue suit with the super powers.

There'll be plenty of Reality waiting for me afterward.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June-Bugging, for want of a better title

May, my second-favourite month, has drawn to a close. Actually it drew to a close over a week ago, but who's counting? Well, me, I suppose.

Anyway, back to May. May is nice - not quite the boiling hot weather that is coming, but warm enough that there's usually no need to bundle up. I say usually, because the weather lately has been pretty wishy-washy. I suspect global warming at work. I also like May because that's the month when the summer movies begin. Already I've seen two sequels, one three times (that would be Star Trek: Into Darkness), and I have plans to see a reboot at the end of this week.

Now it is June. My latest work contract has come to an end, Violet and I have celebrated our 8th Wedding Anniversary, and I finally have new shoes. Hadn't I mentioned my desperate need for new shoes? Well, I needed them. And now I have them. Huzzah! Also, this week Violet graduates from George Brown college with a degree in graphic design. Huzzah for her!

I've done some more work for I'm sure you all remember my article on wedding venues in Toronto; I've written a follow-up to that, and it should be posted soon. I've also seen the publication of my article on Toronto tourist hotspots. This one follows on from an article by my good friend Jeff Cottrill. It seems we'd both worked on the tourist hotspot assignment, each of us believing it was ours to write. One of us was wrong, and that one was me. Fortunately, our editor decided to run mine as a follow-up, so the work was not wasted. You can read it here.

Right now, I'm putting together some ideas for a new short story. Another good friend of mine is putting together an anthology, Neverland's Library. I plan to submit something, so coming up with that something is currently my top priority.

Oh, and I've had my hair cut. Apparently I look much younger. See for yourself! Here's before:

And after:

Ain't I adorable?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Closing Sentences!

Whew! Just finished writing another article for! It seems they liked my last article on wedding venues so much, they asked me to write another! My new article covers another seven venues - two of which were left over from my last article! Good thing I didn't delete my rough draft!

I have to say, one of the hardest things I'm finding with doing articles like this is finding the right closing sentence for each venue. Look at the last sentence for each location in the above-linked article. Go on, I'll wait. Right. Each one was a real chore, much more so than the opening sentences. These assignments are truly a learning experience, forcing me to either get creative... or to go with whatever pops into my head five minutes before deadline! I have newfound respect for writers who do this sort of under-the-gun stuff all the time.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May I Return


Where does the time go? We're halfway through May, hot weather has arrived, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness have both come to movie theatres (and both were awesome!), and I'm way behind in my writing. That Ad Astra post down there? Four weeks late. Current project? On hold while I type it up (again). Backup project? Kinda stuck. I need a new backup project, one I can feel some genuine enthusiasm for. Because if there's one thing that's been in short supply for me lately, it's enthusiasm.

I did, however, manage to get in a sentence that starts with Because. Take that, Grade 3 English! >:)

I have been taking a few freelance assignments from That's been a nice side business, but it's also been stressful working to a deadline. Not a huge deal to some, but I am not some. I'm very anxious to do a great job, to be a professional, to deliver the goods. I wish I felt more grateful for this fantastic opportunity! I mean, I am. For sure. But due to my anxiety I often lose sight of that.

Nevertheless, I have written a number of articles for them, all of which have made it in on time. One was a Valentine's Day article, and they've already taken it down. The next one is about Toronto's best wedding venues, and that one is right here. I did four articles on the High Park neighbourhood - I'll share the links when those articles are published.

I've mentioned my anxiety. My depression has also been giving me problems. I've had a few bad days lately, and on those days I not only can't write, but I sometimes feel like I'll never write again.

But those feelings do pass. When they do, my pen is back in my hand. I know I can rely on myself to keep going. I do worry, though, that I'll never get back the energy and drive I once had.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ad Astra 2013

As always, I had a fantastic time at this year's Ad Astra convention. Saw good friends, sold some books, did some panels and spent some money on stuff I really didn't need but kinda wanted. And yet, I came away from this con with a heavy heart, and did not book a table for next year.

Why not? Let me put it this way: if there was one word I could use to sum up the whole experience for me, however, it would be bittersweet. I had nothing new to sell, after all, and I had nothing on its way to publication to promote. It felt... like I was yesterday's news, making one last desperate attempt to get noticed before fading into irrelevancy.

Whoa. Got kinda dramatic there. That happens when I'm in one of my moods, a topic that will become even more relevant as this post continues.

Anyway, the con. I went down Friday evening to get registered, find my table, and attend a panel on ebook publishing that featured my good friend Sarah Water Raven (author of Detective Dochherty and the Demon's Tears). It was fun and insightful, but left me no wiser on how to boost sales on Closets(anyone? Pretty pleeze?).

Saturday was busy, with my first panel at 10 in the morning. My friend Monica Kuebler (of Burningeffigy Press, publisher of Section K) came early to run my table while I was away. The Changing Face of the Paranormal in YA featured myself, Kelley Armstrong, and moderator extraordinaire Amanda Sun. We covered a lot of YA paranormal ground, agreed that vampires have been done to undeath, and offered predictions on what the future of the genre might bring (hint - Angels!). I left feeling full of beans, metaphorically speaking, and thought I'd done a good job.

I didn't have quite the same feeling coming out of my 3 PM panel, Demons, Werewolves and Necromancers. My fellow panelists were Jim Butcher, Andrew Pyper and Douglas Smith, three guys who really knew their stuff. I choked on a couple of questions, but managed to hold most of my own as the panel went on. Don't get me wrong, those guys are terrific and did not try to intimidate me in any way, shape or form. I just felt a little out of my depth, like a little kid surrounded by the grown-ups. Of course, the image of the big kid is not something I've ever tried to resist (quite the opposite, in fact).

That night, a large group gathered in one of the Consuites to watch that night's episode of Doctor Who. It was a lot of fun watching a favourite show in the company of so many fans. Space was very limited, however, so there was a lot of shuffling about on the floor to acquire a decent line of sight.

On Sunday I had another 10 AM panel, followed by another at 12. Monica could only come for Saturday, but my fellow vendors were more than happy to watch my table while I was out and about. My first panel was Bullying-TNG with Kari Maaren and Sgt. Pat Poitevin. We discussed the issue of bullying in broad and specific terms, identifying weaknesses in so-called 'zero tolerance' policies and exploring a variety of solutions. Sgt. Poitevin (husband of Sins of the Son author Linda Poitevin)is an RCMP officer who specializes in anti-bullying in schools, and he offered a lot of useful insight.

My final panel was Fandom Mental Health Forum, with Adrienne Everitt, Kate Daley and Brenda Shaw (told you my moods would be relevant again!). All of us were in agreement that the panel time of one hour wasn't nearly enough. We all had a lot to say, and things got very emotional. Naturally I managed to get a plug for The Cupid War in there, but I was reminded of how important it is for me to write even more about mood disorders.

One thing about the con in general that needs to be said: the Timmies Girls were lifesavers! Three young ladies came around three times a day asking vendors if they wanted anything from Tim Hortons. Without their heroic efforts, many of us would have faced near-certain decaffeination.

The con was a good one for me; I sold more books than I thought I would, made some new friends, had lunch with some old ones, and did as much as I could with the time I had. Even so, I missed several panels, readings and parties that I otherwise would have loved to have attended. Some friends I caught only a glimpse of, and I'll have to wait for the next con to get another chance to see them. I'm not sure when that will be for me. I hope to attend Can Con in September, but time (and money) will tell. I still won't have anything new, nor an answer to the question of when will my next book come out. One thing is for certain, though - I am definitely not done with the fandom community. I guess I just really want to prove my worth. I know I don't have to, but that's where I'm at right now.

And, table or not, I will be back at Ad Astra next year.

Guess What Day It Is?

May the 4th be with you!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ad Astra... All Of A Sudden!

Ad Astra, one of my favourite conventions, begins tomorrow. And I only found out yesterday.

Well, that's not entirely true. I am, after all, signed up for a table and four panels. I'd just lost track of time, and before I knew it here it is!

Lucky my wife Violet reminded me yesterday - I'd have hated to have found out Sunday evening!

Below are my panels and times. I will be selling copies of my novels (and probably a few toys) at my table the rest of the weekend. Hope to see lots of you there!

Saturday 10 am Ellsemere West - Changing Face of the
Paranormal in YA Fiction
Amanda Sun (m), Kelley Armstrong, Timothy Carter
Characters of diversity, worlds built on non-western mythologies, and stories influenced by anime, manga and gaming culture are combining to create a new face of Young Adult Fiction. This panel explores the face of fantasy and the paranormal in YA and how it is changing. How does it differ from the fantasy books we grew up with? You’ll have to join the conversation to find out.

Saturday 3 pm Ellsemere East - Demons, Werewolves, and
Douglas Smith (m), Jim Butcher, Timothy Carter, Andrew Pyper
There are new trends forming in the paranormal genre. Traditionally ‘evil’ characters are turned into heroes. Paranormal fiction is expanding and so is the demographic of people who read it. How do you keep these new ideas from becoming cliché? What works and what doesn’t? Attend this panel to plumb the depths – and shallows – of the unknowable.

Sunday 10 am Arctic - Bullying- TNG
Kari Maaren (m), Timothy Carter, Sgt. Pat Poitevin
As SF and fantasy nerds, we were probably bullied as kids. With the advent of cyber-bullying, how do we begin bully-proofing our own nerdy kids? Not to mention the more subtle bullying we’ve become subject to as adults. In this panel, conceive and discuss effective strategies for dealing with the Biff Tannens of this brave, new world.

Sunday 12 pm Berczy B - Fandom Mental Health Forum
adrienne everitt (m), Timothy Carter, Kate Daley
Fans come together to discuss their struggles with mental illness and how the deal with it, both within Fandom and in real life. We will provide resources for getting help, as well as some worksheets to take away. This panel focuses on creating a safe environment for people to share successes and failures in dealing with mental illness. This panel is a non-professional peer support initiative and is not intended to replace professional/medical advice.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Revision Needs Revising

I'm really struggling to get on with editing and revising my work. I have four manuscripts on my hard drive, waiting for me to rewrite them from a cruddy first draft into a reasonable second, and then a ready-to-show-people third. I want to get on with it, I really do, but at times it can seem so very daunting.

My depression plays a part, of course. All tasks seem impossibly hard when I'm down, revisions included. I can't even crack my laptop open during those times, so editing is out of the question.

When I'm feeling better, though, it just seems like exactly what it is: a lot of work waiting to get done. That bothers me more than it used to. It would seem like I've got the deck stacked against me, or rather like I've stacked the deck against myself.

Having said that, I have managed to revise the first 100 pages of a project called Kids Who Know. Longtime readers of this blog will remember me describing this novel as the best book I'll ever write. I feel very strongly about this story (obviously), but perhaps I shouldn't have hyped it up so much in my mind. That's a lot to live up to. Will I ever produce a draft of this book that will meet such a lofty goal?

If I don't try, however, I'll never advance any further with my writing career. I've got one very important thing on my side - I want to succeed as a writer. Therefore, I must persevere. Bit by bit, I will.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Business

I'm working on a new business plan for myself. My old novel-writing plan hasn't worked out, and it is well past time I swallowed that bitter pill.

The novels I've put out so far have all taken place in different worlds - stand-alones, in other words, with no recurring characters (even my demons have been different!). I really want to do a series, and my current project Zombie Jesus Day will play into that; it is set in the same universe as my last project, I'm So Goddamn Sick of Vampires. I have ideas for more stories in this universe, including an ongoing mythology, and I might even be able to work in a half-finished project from six years ago.

This new universe is where I feel I should be devoting my creative energy. That means I shouldn't be working on stories that aren't part of this new world, including followups to Evil and The Cupid War. I really want to finish I, Suicide, my Cupid War spinoff; a number of readers have asked me for Cupid War and Evil sequels. However, Evil and Epoch went out of print last year, and I fear The Cupid War will soon join them. Building upon those worlds simply isn't practical for me at this point.

I probably will finish I, Suicide, however. I'm invested in it, and it would be a shame to throw away all that material. It will remain a backup project, and will likely see publication as a self-published ebook. Not that my success rate with ebooks has been particularly high (anyone want to buy an e-copy of Closets? Please?).

Nevertheless, I do feel I should stop working on I, Suicide. I'm being all artist, and I need to be more businessman. On the other hand, I've learned never to stifle my muse. If it wants a story told, that's always been good enough for me. And who's to say I, Suicide won't be a big hit?

Nobody, that's who.

All I'm really saying is, I feel I need more focus, more discipline, and a fresh start in a new universe will get me a lot closer to that goal. That's the plan.

Let's see how it goes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Job, New Time

Tomorrow I start a new job for the same company I've been working for through Manpower for the last two-and-a-half months. I've been doing data entry for the WSIB up until now, but that work is drying up. Starting tomorrow, I'll be working in the mail centre, delivering stuff around the building and the neighbourhood.

And I'll be doing the 7:00AM - 3:00PM shift.

Yeah. Seven in the morning. I can do it - I've been getting downtown for 7:30 every morning for my 8:00AM start time. The thing is, I used that extra half an hour before work to write. I will lose that half-hour period from now on; I just don't have what it takes to get downtown any earlier. I'm pretty fantastic and awesome, but I'm not that fantastically awesome. I'm not even sure I'll have time to stop at Tim Horton's for tea (gasp!).

Fortunately, the mornings aren't my only writing times. I will still have my lunch hour, and more time after work to do my stuff. I'll miss that half-hour, though. I always feel better about my day when I've started it off with some solid creativity.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Typing Tribulations

My writing has hit a bit of a snag recently, and it's all my fault. I've written the first couple of chunks of my new novel, Zombie Jesus Day, and I'm very pleased with how it's going. I write everything by hand first, then I type it up at home on my Mac. That's the plan, but I often neglect the typing up part. Then I get increasingly anxious about losing my notebook, and with it the entirety of my story.

To ease that anxiety, I have twice decided to leave the ZJD notebook at home. In the evenings and on weekends I'll type that novel in, and work on another project during the day until the typing is finished and I can resume ZJD without fear.

Therein lies the snag - Finding another project to work on while I'm out and about, one that I'm equally passionate about. It's been problematic, hence my usage of the word snag. I have a Section K story that's halfway done, and I've been trying to get back into my Cupid War spinoff I, Suicide. I lost interest in the SK story, and I, Suicide just isn't doing it for me. I've managed to get a chapter and a half done, but that's not a whole heck of a lot (at least, I don't feel like it is). I might discuss my issues with that project in another post later.

In other words, I feel I haven't done nearly enough writing while ZJD was at home. I was extremely relieved to get back to it, and to find that the story came as easily as before. In fact, the writing went so well that I've once again reached a point where I have to type it up or risk losing it. It sits at home, waiting for me while I try once more to get into something else.

I really must get better at typing up my work. A little discipline would do me a power of good. Maybe that can be my New Year's resolution, if it's not too late in the year to make one.

It is?


Well, I'll try and get better at it anyway.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm Feeling Indecisive

Sometimes when writing, you can get blocked or hung up on the simplest of things. I've just finished a scene in my current project, which would have been a chapter break except this story isn't going to have chapters. It will have sections, but not chapters. That decision gave me no trouble at all.

But I've finished this scene, right? And it's time to leap into another character's POV and start a new scene. Except I'm stuck; I can't decide which character to go with! Or what the next scene needs to be.

I hope I sort this out soon. I hate staring at a blank page while the minutes go by. Grumble, mutter, mutter grumble...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I've Been Avoiding You

All of you. I've been neglecting this blog, stuck for something to say, and afraid to say anything.

It seems like such an effort, some times.

I'd meant to do some New Year's stuff, maybe a list of humourous resolutions. I've been drafting a couple of posts about my current plans and projects, but not finishing them. I've even been ignoring Biblical Proportions, and I have so much more to do there!

Some of the fun is gone. One of the main reasons I got into blogging was to draw attention to my books. Now three of them are out of print, and one of them I can't even give away, no matter how hard or how many times I plug it. The Cupid War remains on bookshelves, but for how long?

I try to be positive, but the whole situation is kind of bumming me out. And writing mojo doesn't flow easily when one is bummed.

All is certainly not lost, however. My current novel project continues at a decent pace. I'll have some more posts up before too long. And, I've started writing for! Check this one out!

Time to climb back out of the pit of depression with the frayed string of my hopes and dreams.