CAN*CON 2017

This year’s CAN*CON returned to the Sheraton Hotel location in Ottawa’s downtown business core, 13-15 October 2017.

As always – the programming was fantastic with at least 5 tracks to choose from, plus signings, readings, Blue Pencil Cafe and Kaffeeklatsches! Author overload!

Friday afternoon kicked off with 4 workshops on offer, of which I attended 2: “Policing 101: How to Get The Law Right In Your Story” with Sgt. Pat Poitevin recently of the RCMP, and “Weather that Works: Worldbuilding for the Serious Writer” with The Weather Network’s Mark Robinson. Both presenters were informative, charismatic, and energetic!  Although, the suggested interpretive dance performance by Sgt. Poitevin would have been highly entertaining!

Some of my favourite panels of the weekend include:

Dealers’ Room:  This year I purchased books from Karen Dales Shadow of Death” and “Thanatos” from The Chosen series, the first of which – Changeling and Angel of Death I had bought at last year’s CAN*CON. I picked up a copy of Editor Dominic Parisien’s The Starlit Wood” anthology for my daughter.  Bundoran Press had a table set up where attendees could chose a complementary book to take home – I chose “Disintegrate” by Neil Godbout.

The panels cut a wide swath of topics from Writing Mechanics and Business to Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction and all inter-related sub-genre topics, preparing for NaNoWriMo through on to Diversity and Inclusivity.  Aside from the great programming, CAN*CON’s other strength is the effort  organizers put into making sure the Convention is welcoming and comfortable to everyone.

As always, I’m already looking forward to CAN*CON 2018! 😀

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Chi Series – Ottawa June 2017 Event

So, over the last few years, I kept seeing Events posted on Facebook about the Chiaroscuro Reading Series  in Ottawa.  And I was really keen to go… but well, life happens.

Until THIS event – June 6th 2017!  I said ‘screw you life!’ and decided rather last minute that I was going to attend one of these events – and I’m glad I made the hour-long drive to get there!  It was great!

I’ve heard a few sample readings from Authors before at writer conferences, but this was a different experience.

ChiSeries Ottawa had just moved to a new location The Clocktower Brew Pub where everyone met in the cozy and intimate party room down stairs.  A whole room, and bar, all to ourselves with most excellent service!

With the evening’s special Host Sandra Kasturi , we heard samples from Authors: Kathlyn Bradshaw who read an excerpt from her novel The Frankenstein Murders , Michael Libling read from his novella Hollywood North and Julie Czerneda beautifully read excerpts from 3 very different works.  AND there was a hat story from none other than Marie Bilodeau!

Plus, there were enough donations raised that we were privileged to witness Matt Moore rock a rather dapper basket-hat (of Marie’s choice) for the rest of the evening.

I believe the next Ottawa reading event will be in September – BUT, they have reading events all across Canada!  So, if you don’t live near Ottawa, or just can’t wait till September, there are 5 cities choose from (with more to come in the near future) and you can go and support Canadian Authors there/then – because supporting home talent is a good thing 😉

As I had posted on Twitter later that evening –

There really is something magical about hearing author’s works in their own voices.

 

 

 

Limestone Genre Expo 2017

Limestone Genre Expo is coming soon!  This Saturday June 3rd and Sunday June 4th at Kingston’s St. Lawrence College Campus.

This year’s Guests of Honours are: Horror author Nancy Kilpatrick, Fantasy author Violette Malan, Mystery writer Rick Blechta, Romance author Eve Langlais, Science Fiction author Matthew Bin, and MLR Press.

Today’s post on facebook:

 Check out Kingston Change-Makers on Cogeco TV on Wednesday, May 31 at 7 p.m. (channel 13 or 700 HD in Kingston area) to hear from your humble Planning Committee and three rock stars of the Canadian Genre community: Violette Malan, Vicki Delany, and Alyssa Cooper.

 

Registration is still open !!

CONFERENCES 2017

I’m finally getting ahead of the game and posting about Conferences before they arrive!

Writer/Reader Conferences:

Tickets are available for The Limestone Genre Expo 2017 which will be June 3-4th at St. Lawrence College Campus, Kingston Ontario, Canada.  I bought my tickets as soon as I saw that they were on sale.  I love going to Kingston, and the conference is a good one for writers.

Romancing the Capital 2017 is again at Holiday Inn & Suites, Kanata Ontario, Canada, the weekend of August 3-5th.  I haven’t yet signed up for this one pending my scheduling, but it’s always a great time.

CAN-CON 2017  will be held the weekend of October 13-15 located at Sheraton Hotel, Ottawa Ontario, Canada.  I think this will be my 5th year attending this conference and it’s always a lot of fun and crammed with informative scheduling.

This year, I’ll also be attending a Genealogy Conference for the first time, and I’m very excited!  The Ontario Genealogical Conference will be held in Ottawa this year.  Information for the OGS Conference 2017 shows that the conference is June 15-18th at Algonquin College Campus.  I’m really looking forward to getting reacquainted with the Genealogical community.

My Childhood Pop-Culture Influences

My list is likely considered by some a collection of bad movies/tv.  I embrace it!  While I appreciate quality art, I have also always enthusiastically embraced fun art first 😉  Besides, it’s all stuff from childhood and teen years.

James Bond – World class spy (based on novel series by Sir Ian Flemming), who goes into dangerous situations to thwart world-destroying plotters. Well-trained, he always knew what to do, had the coolest gadgets and cars, and did everything with class. connerybond-01Especially Scottish actor Sean Connery’s Bond. I’d watch anything he acted in! On a side note – I recently watched “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and Bond posed as a Genealogist wearing a Scottish kilted-suit to infiltrate the bad guy’s secret lair. 😀

Who didn’t love Star Wars? Adventure to save the Galaxy! sw-01A regular farm kid gets pulled into a group of seemingly unrelated individuals coming together to defy the Empire, discovering he’s part of the Galactic elite along the way, AND has inherited powers. All led by a no-nonsense Princess (who also now has her own comic book: Princess Leia). The ‘nobody’ discovers that he’s a powerful ‘somebody’. When I was a kid, I thought I was going to marry Luke Skywalker… funny that. When my husband was a kid – he wanted to be Luke Skywalker. Huh.

Indiana Jones – adventure for treasure! indy-01An archaeologist adventuring to exotic locations for the prize, and falling into a scenario where he has to decide between his mercenary ways and stopping evil-doers from using his treasured artifact as a supernaturally charged weapon. (Sean Connery made his way into this series too…). Similarly, I also really enjoyed The Mummy series, and the Tomb Raider movies.

Wonder Woman t.v. lyndacarterwonderwoman-01series staring Linda Carter – A female superhero all about truth and justice, and just as powerful as Superman or Batman. I’m excited she finally has her own movie due out, and that female super heroes are almost as plentiful as their male counter-parts. Her comic book series has been long-running, but the artwork in the latest graphic novels has been pretty spectacular and worth checking out.

 

Romancing the Stone – An insular romance writer forced out of her rts-01small comfort zone on an adventure to Columbia to save her sister, doing all the things she previously only ever imagined her protagonists doing. I love her story arc. My favourite scene is at the beginning when she finishes her latest novel and is wandering her apartment for some kind of tissue to blow her nose.  She’s pretty relatable 😉

 

Cartoons: She-Ra & He-Man – Inter-realm fantasy, where Princess She-Ra fights with a sword and rides a Pegasus, while He-Man has a sword and rides a tiger, and magic abounds. Scooby-Doo – group of kids sleuthing to debunk paranormal activity. X-Men – where everyone had cool powers – Storm was the coolest.

Back to the Future – Wouldn’t it be fun to time travel and see what your parents were really like before adulthood, and maybe change things a little bit for the better?

Star Trek t.v series – in all of its incarnations st-01– a hopeful future where humanity has finally united and go on Exploration Missions to meet new species. So many first contact stories – and mostly doing it right (but not always). My favourite technologies were the holo-deck, transporter and the food replicators.

Highlander – Immortal medieval Scotsman battling for ascendancy into modern day. (Admittedly, I would have preferred that Sean Connery played the Scotsman rather than a Spaniard; or even that the lead role was an actual Scottish actor rather than a French man – but that’s Hollywood)

Quantum Leap t.v. Series – I absolutely loved the idea of ‘leaping in’ to people’s lives to fix events to help redirect host’s lives for the better.

Robin Hood – Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling version.  Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – Returning home from a questionable war in the middle east to discover real oppression at home and doing something about it in a way that matters to your community (with Sean Connery as your King). ros-01And there was also the 1980’s British drama Robin of Sherwood (in which Jason Connery starred in later seasons). The Robin Hood legend is a great one, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much every version of it that I’ve seen over the years (maybe not ‘men in tights’ so much).

Ghost – love transcending death.  The idea that souls live on after death and can interact with the living.

Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper. This story, I read in 6th grade for a book report, and really liked it. It is a classic, and written in that descriptive style.  Later on when the movie came out in theaters, I fell in love with it. Such an intense story of survival in culturally and politically complex 18th century North America.

Ignoring the weird Sean Connery theme – all of these are well known movies/series, but the point being that they have common touch points that still feed my interests now. Okay, and slight Sean Connery obsession.

Maybe someday I’ll do a Sean Connery tribute post.

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CAN-CON 2016 pt.2

Following up directly after Can-Con 2016 over the past weekend (Sept.9-11 at Novotel in downtown Ottawa ON), – the Con was great as always!

At Registration, everyone’s badge was an RPG sheet you had to fill out, and there were weapons to be collected from vendors and guests.  I was awarded a +2 battle axe for purchasing a copy of Clockwork Canada a Steampunk anthology edited by Dominik Parisien.  I didn’t partake in the RP but there were some mysterious formidable Secret Monsters to be found and battled who were busy on twitter.  They may be back again next year.

Books I picked up over the weekend: Ninja versus Pirate featuring Zombies by James Marshall, Angel of Death by Karen Dales Revelations by Jennifer Carole Lewis and as mentioned before, the Clockwork Canada Anthology.

Some of the historically themed panels I attended were: Archeology with Heritage Coordinator Katrina Guy and S.M Carriere, Medievalisms with K.V. Johansen and David Szarzynski, and Local History Sourcing with Amal El-Mohtar and Kate Heartfield.  Of course there were many other authors sitting in on each panel.

My daughter particularly liked the Saturday panels on Animal Senses with Nina Munteanu and Julie Czerneda, and Fairy Tale retelling with Charles de Lint and Melissa Yuan-Innes.  She wasn’t able to see the Comic Creation panel with  Dominic Bercier  and  Jay Odjick  (who had prints of his CAN-CON 2016 Program cover art for sale in the dealer room) because it was scheduled for Sunday.  She was also very pleased to have found some Harry Potter jewelry and magnets in the Dealer’s Room.

This year, the best Business panel was Laurie Stewart ‘s talk on Authorpreneurship about writing and taxes.  I took sooo many notes and am very thankful she provided attendees with printouts!

My favourite philosophical panels were about the domesticity of Horror with Sandra Kasturi, Brett Savory  and Matt Moore, Antagonists with Erik Scott de Bie and Gregory A Wilson, and Witchcraft & Druids with Can-Con Co-Founder Farrell McGovern, Mary Pletsch and Prof. Brendan Myers.

And of course, the timeslots devoted to TEGG Project.  Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve heard Ed Greenwood talking about Onder Librum on PlanetXPodcast with Marie Bilodeau, Jay Odjick and Ken Bonnie , and also on The RoundTable Podcast with Dave Robison.  The first open panel was about the business of the TEGG project with some discussion on the already launched Hellmaw world.  Most of the authors were on hand for the published books to date – Ed Greenwood, Erik Scott di Bie, Suzanne Church, Marie Bilodeau, and Gabrielle Harbowy.  The second panel was devoted to the Storm Talons world, for which Gregory A Wilson was also on hand. The last public timeslot was a small discussion about the TEGG project with Deputy Lore Guardian Marie Bilodeau for more information and Q&A.

Can-Con 2016 was another success and I’m looking forward to what Co-Chairs  Derek Kunsken and Marie Bilodeau and the wonderful network of hardworking Volunteers produce next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIMESTONE GENRE EXPO 2016

LIMESTONE GENRE 2016 was this conference’s second year, and was held July 23 &24 in downtown Kingston Ontario (my favourite Canadian city) at Kingston Frontenac Public Library.  I’m late in posting about this conference since summer was insanely busy with family affairs, but better late than never!

This year I focussed on the panels all weekend, but there were a lot of great Readings and Workshops available too.  The Author list was extensive and the dealer room was impressive and consistently packed with buyers and minglers.

There was a nice mix of all Spec-Fic Genre topics – Fantasy, Mystery, the world of Comics, Science Fiction, Comedy, Thriller, Horror and Romance etc..  and the Cross Genre discussion to round it all up.

In Fantasy, I enjoyed listening to Tanya Huff speak about her career, providing insights for up-and-comers and Violette Malan ‘ s publications as well as her beautiful dresses and classy hats.

In mystery, with my love of history, specifically Canadian history – I was quite interested in Janet Kellough ‘s Thaddeus Lewis series set in historical Eastern Ontario.  And there was Y.S. Lee ‘s Agency series set in Victorian London.

Derek Newman-Stille interviewed Jay Odjick on the topic of Comic creation and Jay’s KAGAGI: The Raven project.  They discussed everything from the details of Comic artistry and publication to the Kagagi  television series production and Jay’s background and success as a First Nations artist and businessman – which for him is important as a role model to his Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community.  It was a great interview -Derek always has insightful questions and commentary to every discussion he attends, while Jay’s charisma and energy make 2hrs fly by.

Another panel I always find interesting is the Horror discussion which aside from great book lists, also leads to reflections on human nature through fear.  Some of this panel’s attendees included David Nickle , Alyssa Cooper and Matt Moore .

Through all of the discussions I listened to over the course of the weekend, the underlying theme in many topics was acceptance and change in diversity in the publishing world.  Panels about Feminism, LGBTQ2 Identities and Disability representations in fiction.  These topics have been growing at every convention with open discussions amongst authors reflecting diversity and promoting them.  It’s great to see the social changes being made through art and the frank dialogue over what has changed and how to navigate what still needs to be improved.

Thanks to Liz Strange and her crew for all the work put into organizing this event!