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 !!

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 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!



This year, ROMANCING THE CAPTIAL 2016   ( #RTC2016 ) was held May 5-7th 2016, again at Holiday Inn  Kanata (Ottawa Ontario Canada) location .  This time, I not only attended the evening activities, I lured a couple of friends to join in too!

Of the writing conferences I have attended over the last few years, this one is my favourite.  I enjoy them all and really get a lot out of them, but this one is by far the most fun.  Eve Langlais  does a tremendous job and puts so much into the organization, the overall tone of the event is geared toward having a good time, it’s really difficult not to.

I took advantage of the writing panels on Thursday, which most were geared toward the business side of publishing.  The panel I took the most from was “POV and finding your Voice” presented by Deborah Cooke .  Voice and POV craft are tricky topics, and her delivery of the information was very concise and useful –  she talked about when a writer might use these tools, and how best to.  And I have to say, she has a most excellent Voice!

That evening, some of us were loaded up into a bus and whisked off to the downtown core to enjoy The Haunted Walk   led by tour guide Leonard and sponsored by Viola Grace, who is hilarious!  What a great sense of humour!

Unfortunately, my body seemed to have been trying to fight off some kind of disease-bug and I missed most of the panels scheduled for Friday.  After plenty of napping, I was well enough to return for the Cowboy themed dinner (delicious!), where of all the different life-size cut-out guys around the room, everyone was hoping they had the winning ticket for Dean Winchester.  Me included.  No matter that I had  no idea what to do with a cardboard Dean. However, my friend convinced me he’d make a great ride-along companion since I drive so much.  My rather bemused husband, was a little relived that I didn’t win the Dean.

Sunday morning had a panel “Adding Queer Characters” presented by Nathan Burgoine  that was more of an intimate chat.  I really enjoyed that discussion too.  Later that afternoon was the Author Book Signing.  It was packed!  The evening ended after the 80’s themed dinner (Again, Delicious!) , where I again lost the prize (Viola Grace’s quilt), and also the trivia.  But it was a great time. AND – the best costume was the man-sized Optimist Prime!   I’m happy I had the chance to chat with  Tina Christopher  about writing and characters, after dinner had wrapped up.

Aside from all the fun and interaction with some really cool Authors, there is also the neat stuff I got to take home.  Lots of the usual SWAG, but a few other neat things like: the awesome quilted goodie pouches that Viola Grace made; “Chance Creek” paper dolls from Cora Seton ;  and some free books from Viola Grace , Barbara Devlin (with a beautiful bookmark fob),  S.E. Smith (two from Susan Smith, one from the Dragon series, and another YA novel for my teen daughter.  There were also some cute dragling buttons for my younger daughter).

I came away with two purchased books: one from Claire Delacroix , and one from  Layna Pimentel (which came with lovely handmade soap!)  I missed out on Nathan Burgoine’s new Triad Blood novel.

So, that was #RTC2016 and it was a lot of fun.  Next year looks like an August event according the Eve Langlais’ facebook page.  I’m looking forward to it already!



On April 17 & 18, I attended the writing convention: Romancing the Capital 2015 in Ottawa at the Holiday Inn, Kanata. It was a great time! While I just attended the panels throughout the day and skipped the evening events, I still really enjoyed the time there. Next year, I intend to stay overnight and partake of the festivities!

A great bunch of authors sharing their experience, advice and SWAG! So much SWAG to be had, I’ve never seen such a large SWAG bag! Tons of bookmarks, free e-book downloads, cool pens and other fun stuff including a triangular screwdriver set – who’d have thought a screwdriver set could be gotten at a Romance Conference. But I think my favourite was the box of character cards given out by S.E. Smith, whom also gave a great presentation: “Keys to Being a Successful Author” .

At the book signing, once the massive line up died down, I squeezed my way in and managed to buy a couple of books by new-to-me authors – Kali Willows (who talked about interracial romance along with Milly Taiden) and C.I. Black. I’d hoped to buy Tina Christopher’s steampunk fiction, but there were only digital copies available. Perhaps one day I’ll step into the 21st century and try e-book reading.

Some of the other panelists that I enjoyed were: Eve Langlais , Deborah Cooke, Sharon Page, Nathan Burgoine , Viola Grace, Ashlyn Chase and Robyn Peterman .