World Building Workshop with Derek Kunsken

This week I had the opportunity to attend a World Building Workshop hosted by The Ottawa Independent Writers at the Hintonburg Community Center.  This two hour workshop given by Author Derek Kunsken had a wealth of valuable points to consider when thinking about how you want to shape the setting of your novel.

While Derek is a successful Science Fiction author, he approached the topic from a All-Genre  angle, referring to World Building as a writer’s core crafting tool rather than something that was only used by genre fiction writers.  Any setting that may require some research has to be built.  And science fiction and fantasy genres were cases of “extreme setting”.  It was refreshing to hear references from Literary Classics, Historical Fiction, and Historical Romance, as well as Science Fiction and Fantasy all used to illustrate story building points throughout the workshop.

Derek is the author of The Quantum Magician due out later in 2018.  Although Derek’s focus is in the science fiction genre, he dabbles in other fields too.  Check out his list of publications.  Derek is also developing longer length writing workshops.  Something to keep an eye out for in the near future.

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2018 Conference Calendar -Writing

Dates are set for some great genre Writer/Reader Conferences in Eastern Ontario for this year!

May 26th & 27th Limestone Genre Expo will be held at the Holiday Inn this year, in beautiful downtown Kingston Ontario.  Panels, readings, workshops and pitch sessions available, as well as a special evening with Michael Slade.

August  2nd – 4th  Romancing The Capital will again be held at the Holiday Inn, Kanata Ontario, with a great line up of romance authors to meet and have a great time with.  Panels, dinners and signings – and sooo much SWAG!

October 12th – 14th Can-Con will be at the Sheraton in downtown Ottawa.  It’s always a great time, with incredible programming covering all manner of topics for discussion.

Going to be a great conference year 😀

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! 😀

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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