Paradise Lost 2015 (AKA PL5)

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & ConferencesLeave a Comment

alamo

I spent last weekend chumming around with old friends and making new ones at the Paradise Lost Writers Workshop in San Antonio, Texas. It was a weekend both invigorating and exhausting. I don’t think I went to bed before midnight any night there (and had a couple of 2-3AMers too). I got introduced to Cards Against Humanity, toured the Riverwalk, saw the Alamo, bought the most skookum pair of cowboy boots, ate some great Tex-Mex and steak, drank tasty margaritas, and oh, yeah, workshopped my writing.

Pro lecturers Delilah S. Dawson, Chuck Wendig, Robert Bennett and Marko Kloos were all informative and entertaining. We had the largest gathering of VP XII alumni since 2008, in the form of me, Marko, Claire Humphrey, Steve Kopka, Jeff MacFee, Tim Keating, and Julia Reynolds. I read a lot of great stories by up and coming writers in my critique track. If they are any indication of the future of speculative fiction, readers will be in good hands. I got some nice new data points on how I’ve progressed as a writer since Viable Paradise in 2008, as I haven’t been to a workshop since. It was gratifying to learn that I don’t appear to have regressed, and have, in fact, improved in many areas I’ve been working hard at over the years.

All in all a worthwhile trip. Now, to process all this feedback and get on with the writing!

alamo

The Alamo

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Riverwalk Amphitheatre

claire

Claire sums up the general feeling about PL 5

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La Villita

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We needed a LARGE table at Mi Tierra

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Pools on the Riverwalk

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VP XII FTW!

Traipsing Off To Texas

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & ConferencesLeave a Comment

PL-Logo

I’m winging my way to San Antonio today for the annual Paradise Lost Writers Workshop, where I shall marinate and steep myself in other writers and their work, and hopefully have mine torn apart (in a nice way).

I haven’t been to a workshop since 2008, when I attended Viable Paradise on Martha’s Vineyard. Incidentally, applications for VP are now open, and I highly recommend the experience. Yes, I kind of had a writerly meltdown afterwards, but I learned a ton of stuff that once my mind was able to absorb it, vastly improved my writing.

I found that my first workshop sort of broke me down to build me back up, but it’s where I found my tribe. I’m excited about PL because it will be a mini-reunion of several VP friends I made, and new ones I’ve only met online.

I fully expect to return with a brain of mush. I know I’m not selling it very well, but I’m practically bouncing in my seat in anticipation as I type this.

Creative Ink Festival

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & ConferencesLeave a Comment

Creative Ink Festival

On Saturday, April 25th, I’ll be attending the Creative Ink Festival‘s one-day sampler event out in Burnaby, BC, a preview of the larger 3-day inaugural event to be held in 2016.

I’ll be on several panels, and will be doing a reading from Untalented as well. I and a host of other local and international authors would be very pleased should you decide to join us.

Complete details about my schedule are on my event calendar and listed in the sidebar.

Hope to see you there!

Blood Moon

KatrinaRandom ThoughtsLeave a Comment

I hadn’t really planned on checking out the blood moon, but my body clock (read, “bladder”) woke me up a half hour before today’s lunar eclipse was supposed to start. I debated trying to get back to sleep but I have the type of brain that would just lie there whispering “you’re practically up, and you’re missing the eclipse”, so I hauled my butt out of bed and wandered downstairs to the big picture window.

Astronomical events are pretty hit and miss here in British Columbia: the recent auroras were a bust because of all the cloud cover. There was partial cloud cover when I first started looking last night, and for a while I thought the sky was telling me “fuggedaboutit”, because even though I could see the reflection of the moon on the cloud tops, the moon itself was obscured. The article I’d read said the eclipse would happen at 3:15 AM, and that it would be one of the fastest lunar eclipses ever, only lasting a few minutes. Which puzzled me, since eclipses are pretty slow occurrences. When the clouds finally sauntered away at around 3:23 AM, I thought I’d missed the main event.

Ironically, the clouds are what kept me looking. As they kept scudding across and filtering the moon’s light, they dulled its brightness enough for me to finally determine that yes, the Earth’s shadow was slowly covering the moon’s face, and totality had not been achieved. I guess by “fast”, the article had meant totality, not the full process of the eclipse.

And lo! the sky magically cleared completely, and I got to see my blood moon somewhere around 5 AM. Though I didn’t have my good camera with me, I did remember that on the table behind me there was a perfectly serviceable pair of binoculars I’d just inherited from my in-laws. I’m not sure we got complete totality around here. To my eyes there was always a small bright bead of light visible just near the top edge. But it sure was cool. Sometimes I feel really dorky for losing sleep over this type of thing. And then I lose that sleep and it was all worthwhile.

Happy Blood Moon everyone.

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So Long, Douche Ram

KatrinaRandom Thoughts1 Comment

For the last many months (perhaps even a year or more), there’s been an individual, I presume male, who parks his Dodge Ram pickup truck outside a construction site that sits along my route to work. He seems very proud of his truck, to the point where he’s got bumper stickers extolling its “virtues”. He’s also got another sticker on it, which shows a woman bent over and “presenting”, and which makes a misogynistic pun involving the words “Dodge”, “Father”, “Ram” and “Daughter”.

Every morning as I cycle past, there’s been no avoiding these words. Oh, sure, I could take another route to work, but that route would not be along the bike paths, and thus would entail assuming slightly more risk due to less favourable intersection management and more traffic, which, as a cyclist in Vancouver, I try to avoid. So every morning, I would start my day just a little bit grumpy. Because even if I look away, I know the sticker is there, I know what it says, and it’s Just. So. Gross.

It seems the building construction has finally moved past the phase that needed this person’s services, and I haven’t seen the truck in a while. My days are once again beginning without douchery. It’s really nice.

In a minor coincidence, my husband and I recently upgraded our own truck to what we’re affectionately calling a British Bush Tractor.

So I’ll just leave this video here as my final statement.

(Direct link to YouTube in case the embedded version doesn’t load)

The Thing That Scares Me

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IMG_0051

(I’ve been mulling this since the New Year and have finally decided to get off my duff and post it. You may have noticed me being “louder” in my social feeds about this subject. This is why.)

I’m a pretty loud person. I can cheer and yell at sports events with the best of them. But one thing that’s been pretty constant since I was a kid is that the more frightened I get, the quieter I get. It’s like my throat closes up so I can’t emit a sound. On my first roller coaster ride at the age of seven, I didn’t emit a peep, because I was too terrified to scream. When I heard an intruder in the house once, I hid under the sheets and couldn’t articulate what was wrong to my partner. And I realized recently that I’ve almost completely stopped talking about climate change.

Because climate change is the thing that scares me the most.

An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006. At the time, global warming was on everybody’s lips. It was an existential threat. The human race was running out of time. We needed solutions, and we needed them yesterday. It’s eight years later, and where are we? The problem itself hasn’t changed or gone away. My country’s planning the extraction of some of the dirtiest carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, and emissions are up, not down, worldwide. And the mainstream media has gone mostly silent on the issue.

Lots of people tell fiction writers not to get “political” on their blogs. That people get upset if you’re too controversial. Well, screw that. Climate change isn’t political. Granted, many of the solutions to it involve politics, but the issue itself, being one of species survival, is bigger than just politics. It’s THE moral issue of our time. If we’re not talking about this, then what is worth talking about?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no green angel. I own a guzzler of a car, heat my home with fossil fuels, use air travel, don’t particularly buy local food, the list goes on. But neither am I the biggest offender, and if we’re going to win this battle, we need to start calling the biggest offenders to account.

By some measures, we only have TWO YEARS to tackle emissions before it’s too late to keep us past the dangerous 2 degree warming target often bandied about.

It’s quite clear that our political leaders and the media have abandoned us on this issue. If that’s the case, the responsibility lies with the rest of us. So I’m not going to be quiet anymore. Because being quiet will get us all, in the near term, a lower quality of life. Quiet plays into the hands of the fossil fuel industry that wants everyone to think business as usual, and lower oil prices are a good thing. Quiet is what this lovely, loud, boisterous and exuberant planet will all too be if we keep going as we are now.

So I’ll be talking about climate change more. Here, on my social media feeds, probably, for the first time ever, to my elected officials. If that costs me readers, at least I’ll know I’ve got my priorities straight.

I do not want my silence to be interpreted as consent. To paraphrase a great poet: I will not go quietly into that good night. None of us should.

\\//_

KatrinaRandom ThoughtsLeave a Comment

LLAP

I’ve been sad and a little teary all day. The first thing that came up in my social feed was news of Leonard Nimoy’s passing.

Star Trek was a major Sunday morning family ritual in our house. We didn’t have cable, and it was one of the few science fictional universes I had access to on television (Dr. Who never aired on a channel available to me in Montreal in those days). But the CBC ran Star Trek for years, and no matter how many times I’d seen those syndicated reruns, I always sat rapt in front of the TV on Sundays.

My cousins and I would spend holidays and summer vacations together. We were a 6-kid posse, 2 boys and 4 girls. One of our favourite activities was role playing characters from TV shows: The Six Million Dollar Man, Emergency, Battlestar Galactica. But the one we turned to most often was Star Trek. My eldest cousin always played Kirk, and I, as second eldest, played Spock. Always Spock. Spock was the science officer, the person I aspired to be. So I knew Spock. I was Spock.

I miss Spock.

I never met Leonard Nimoy, but he was and always will be my friend, the one that fired my imagination as a kid. He most definitely contributed to that engineering ring you see on my finger, by inspiring in me a love of science and space. Also, a love of travel and exploration. Star Trek normalized life on a ship, and guess where I live now?

Go boldly across that final frontier, Mr. Nimoy, and thank you for the wonderful memories.

 

LLAP

A Somewhat Diffident Eligibility Post

KatrinaUntalentedLeave a Comment

Isolte and Saroya

This feels weird, in the way that blatant self-promotion always feels weird to me, but here goes*.

Untalented came out August 1, 2014.

Since I am Canadian, it is eligible for the Aurora Awards in the YA Novel category.

While we’re getting too big for our britches, might as well go really big or go home. In the U.S., I believe it is eligible for the Andre Norton Award, and the Hugos in the Novel category (although now I’m reeeeaallly stretching).

If you are a CSFFA, Nebula, or Hugo voter and would like a digital copy of Untalented in either Epub or Mobi format to have a look at for nomination or voting purposes, please contact me in the comments and I would be more than happy to make delivery arrangements with you.

*actually, that shortlisting earlier this year COMPLETELY WENT TO MY HEAD and now I have an inflated sense of self-importance ;-)

Prime Writing — Shari Green

KatrinaAuthors, Prime Writing4 Comments

Following Chelsea

Following Chelsea

I first met Shari Green at Surrey International Writer’s Conference, and am really pleased to finally be hosting her here at Prime Writing. Below, Shari discusses the long road to publishing her debut YA novel, FOLLOWING CHELSEA, and gives us an inside look at the types of structural revisions she needed to make to the story to mature it into published novel.

Oh, and no introduction to Shari is complete without a little “GO HABS, GO!”


Shari: The idea for FOLLOWING CHELSEA was first sparked by a news story of mistaken identity. After letting that brew for a while, it evolved into Anna’s story—a teen girl arriving at a new school with hopes of flying under the radar, only to find she’s in the spotlight, thanks to an uncanny resemblance to Chelsea, a popular girl who recently died.

It was fun imagining how this might play out. Ultimately, Anna’s backstory of betrayal and abandonment leads to her exploiting the situation. (Needless to say, that doesn’t go especially well!) I think, in the end, FOLLOWING CHELSEA became the story of a girl learning to be okay with being herself, when being someone else seems so much more appealing. I didn’t know when I was writing that the take-away of the story would boil down to “be yourself”, but it pretty much did, and I’m okay with that. Even in middle age, it’s something I’m still learning (clearly, my characters are more advanced than I am…ha!).

I worked on this story for about a year, back in 2008. When it was done—the writers among you are now smirking, knowing all too well that a story is never really done—it was told in alternating points of view—Anna’s, and that of the grieving boyfriend. It turned out, that didn’t serve the story all that well. You’ve heard what they say about “killing your darlings”, right? Ooh boy. I hated letting that POV go, but I did it. It was the right thing to do, as darling-killing so often is.

I re-wrote the manuscript (see? it wasn’t done), tossed it under the proverbial bed while I wrote something else, pulled it out again, tucked it away again and wrote yet another novel, and then…I came across a call for submissions from Evernight Teen. It seemed like a potentially good match, so I dusted it off (did one more revision pass…nope, still wasn’t done!) and sent it. Next thing I knew, I had a contract in hand! *cue happy dancing*

There were edits (minor ones, thankfully) and copy-edits, and then FOLLOWING CHELSEA was released in October. I had my first official book-signing in November, and have had great support from my local bookstore, as well as from friends, family, and fellow writers (what a wonderful community!).

I learned a lot during FOLLOWING CHELSEA’s evolution (it feels like the title might be the only thing that never changed from first draft to published book!). I learned about listening to my characters, and about letting the story be what the story wants to be. I learned about revising from big to small—big picture problems first, then smaller things, then polishing—and I learned that even my favourite bits sometimes have to be sacrificed for the good of the story. I think that last one is something I’ll have to re-learn a few times yet…

And now—for my part, at least—FOLLOWING CHELSEA is done. It belongs to readers now, which is kind of cool and kind of terrifying. For those who are interested, links to purchase are on my website. It’s available as an e-book and print-on-demand paperback.

Thanks for reading, and thank you, Katrina, for hosting me!


Shari GreenShari Green writes Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction and occasionally masquerades as a poet. When she’s not glued to her laptop, she can often be found wandering in a blissful daze on the beach near her home on Vancouver Island, BC. Visit her online at www.sharigreen.com.