Untalented Wins Honorable Mention in Library Journal’s 2016 Indie Ebook Awards

KatrinaNews, Untalented

Isolte and Saroya

Wow. This was a nice thing to wake up to.

self-e_honorablemention_youngadult

Untalented is a YA Honorable Mention in Library Journal’s 2016 Indie Ebook Awards.

Archer has created a vividly detailed realm utilizing the old theme of the haves vs. the have-nots. Saroya, steadfast, independent, and imperfect, is a heroine young readers will want to root for.

A big thank you to Library Journal, the judges and librarians. I’m rather floored. I believe you can now check out Untalented on LJ’s SELF-e system.

Saroya, you go girl!

Upcoming Appearances

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & Conferences, News

Summer has come to a close which means it’s time to get busy with author appearances!

The first is VCon, Vancouver’s premier science fiction, fantasy and gaming convention, this weekend (Sep 30-Oct 2) at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel in Surrey, BC. I’m not sure how final the schedule is, so I’ll refer you to VCon’s site instead of listing here panels that might change. I’m on a number of panels at this point, and will be giving a short reading at the Book Launch event on Friday night, and a longer reading on Sunday at 1 PM in Green Timbers 3. Come on down and check out the con. The Book Launch is free to the public, so even if the full con doesn’t tempt you, I’d love to see you there. White Dwarf books will have my books available for purchase as well.

I’m also excited to share that I’ll be at Surrey International Writer’s Conference Author Signing event on Oct 22 at 7 PM, also at the Sheraton Guildford in Surrey,  but in the Fraser Room. There are going to be tons of great authors to meet, and Chapters will have books for sale. The Author Signing is also open to the public.

July Tidbits

KatrinaNews, The Tree of Souls

I’ve had a string of houseguests, so haven’t been very active here. Why do you care? Well, because I forgot to tell you about the Goodreads giveaway of The Tree of Souls running until the 23rd. Get it in time for your summer beach read!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Tree of Souls by Katrina Archer

The Tree of Souls

by Katrina Archer

Giveaway ends July 23, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Also, today I’m guest blogging over at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University about sustaining tone in longer works. Head on over there to get some tips.

Cycling Follow-up

KatrinaOpining

It’s been a bit of a crazy month; I’ve had visiting guests and a major writing deadline to hit, so had no chance to follow up on my cycling post, which went locally viral in the Vancouver area (the post is now responsible for about 15% of my total site views since 2006, when I started seriously tracking stats).

I’ve closed comments on that post, but apologize because the old comments are still there, just not visible. There’s a bug with my WordPress theme that I’ll have to sort out before they’ll show up again. I’m not trying to stifle the existing discussion.

I touched enough of a nerve that CBC’s On The Coast asked me in to chat, and did a companion article on CBC News. Two days later, so did CKNW’s Jill Bennett show. Even Reddit got a hold of it. So that was weird, because I didn’t set out to become the poster girl for civil cycling in Vancouver (especially given that sometimes I’m no angel, either). At any rate. Apparently I don’t suck at radio :-)

Some commenters seem to think I was personally advocating licensing with that post. That’s not actually true, although I’m not ready to dismiss some form of registration or licensing out of hand. It was that out of hand dismissal on the part of HUB, without any alternate solutions proposed, or even acknowledgement of an existing issue, that upset me.

Of the top of my head here are some things we could do.

Teach Cycling Road Rules, Etiquette and Safety in High School

I learned to bike from my parents when I was a kid. I learned the basics about road signs. But I learned many more road safety rules from driver’s ed. Many of my friends’ kids aren’t going to take driver’s ed, because our transit and cycling infrastructure is so good. So where are they going to learn about things like shoulder checks (which saved me from hitting a jogger on my bike the other day), less obvious road rules like roundabouts, proper lane position and right of way? I don’t trust parents to teach all these things either; the day after I wrote my post I caught a parent letting their kid ride their bike across the marina pedestrian-only bridge. This person thought the rules didn’t apply to their child because their child was “small”.

More VPD Bike Patrols

I know we have a bike patrol unit. If I see them once a year, I’m doing well. I see cop cars patrolling the roads regularly. I don’t see the cop cyclists.

More Studies With Better Data

ICBC does not track cyclist collisions that do not involve motor vehicles. The BICE study out of UBC looked at hospitalizations involving cyclists, but there’s a strong suspicion that accidents and other incidents between cyclists and pedestrians are underreported. If cycling is a core of the city’s transportation plan, there should be more funding to research these types of incidents, since the number of cyclists on the road will continue to rise, and we’ll see more accidents, but we don’t even know how bad the problem really is. There’s some evidence out of the UK that indicates that even though the absolute number of pedestrians injured by cyclists is lower than by cars (because there are fewer cyclists on the roads), per billion kilometres traveled, cyclists are almost as dangerous to pedestrians as cars.

Mandatory Road Safety Course Upon Citation

If you get a cycling ticket, maybe you should be required to take an online road safety refresher test. The longer you go without taking the test, the more money gets tacked onto your fine. Maybe this should also apply to car drivers.

Some of these ideas are half-baked at best, I’ll admit. But at least they’re ideas, and not outright dismissals. Discussion needs to be had, because my post obviously touched a nerve. And if you touch a nerve, there’s usually a pain point that needs resolving.

My neighbour is on the mend, but still not home. AFAIK, the cyclist who injured him has not been caught. Thanks to everyone for their concern.

Guest Blogging at Fiction University — Format Your Book With Scrivener

KatrinaArticles, Publishing, Tips

Hey there! Today I’ve got a guest post up a Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, all about formatting your book for publication using Scrivener.

So if you’ve found Scrivener too daunting until now, but are even more unsure about design apps like InDesign, head on over there because I’ve got you sorted. With pictures and everything!

A big thank you to Janice for hosting me.

Vancouver Cyclists: We Have A Problem

KatrinaOpining

[Update June 15: I’ve been told by someone who spoke to the victim that the cyclist in this incident intentionally inflicted the injury. The victim told the cyclist to dismount from his bike on the bridge. The cyclist stopped, balanced on his pedals and then thrust his bike at the victim. INTENTIONALLY.]

[Update June 14: I guess I touched a nerve: this post has gotten so popular it briefly took my site down this morning, but we’re back up! Thanks for visiting.]

[Update June 13: Since this post is going ever so slightly locally viral, I’d like to add a plea that if you are the cyclist involved in this incident, or know the person involved, or have any information relevant to the authorities, please turn yourself in or contact the Crime Stoppers / Tips Line 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca, so perhaps some good can come of this.]

Yesterday, on the very clearly marked pedestrian-only bridge that provides access to the marina where I live, a cyclist ignored the signs, mowed down my 84-year-old neighbour, sent him to hospital with a broken hip, and rode off without offering assistance or a care in the world.

In the linked video, I listened to Erin O’Melinn, the Executive Director of HUB Cycling, the local cycling rights organization, state that licensing would be expensive and ineffective. Now, perhaps because this was a short TV interview, she said more that was edited out. But I was really bothered by the fact that she didn’t even acknowledge that Vancouver has a cyclist arrogance, rudeness and entitlement problem. You know who she sounds like with a blanket statement like that? The NRA on the issue of gun licensing.

I’ve been driving cars for 30 years, and motorcycles for 3 years. I’ve also put over 10,000 km on my bicycle in the last 12 years because I use it to commute to work. And while Vancouver’s vehicle driving habits are no bed of roses, the amount of stupidity, carelessness and lack of courtesy I see daily on the part of Vancouver cyclists is appalling. Would licensing be expensive? Most likely. Would it be effective? It won’t stop every problem, but it will solve some. As a vehicle driver, I’ve taken at least 7 different written and practical road tests in my life (due to moves and the types of vehicles I’m licensed for). Those and the courses I’ve taken have all made me a more courteous and defensive driver. Licensing might not be the answer, but some type of mandatory road sense education should be part of the solution.

I’m FOR more cycling. I’m happy Vancouver is installing more cycling infrastructure. I believe in HUB’s mission. But cyclists as a group need to acknowledge we have a fundamental courtesy and road skills problem, and we need to clean our house.

I’ll readily acknowledge I’m not a perfect cyclist. I blow through stop signs. But not when there’s a car that’s reached the cross-street first and has the right of way. But I witness groups of cyclists regularly hold up cross-street traffic on the bike routes by ignoring stops.

I ride on the sidewalk occasionally (mostly on Terminal Ave where the street layout makes it hard to get to my destination without being on the sidewalk, and the traffic speeds. It’s a wide sidewalk). But I do it slowly. With a bell. And give the pedestrians a wide berth. And smile. And say thank you when they move aside to let me through.

A cyclist at Quebec and Terminal blew through the red light and nearly mowed me down because he thought, given he was riding through the top of a T, no cars would hit him. He forgot to take into account other bicycles trying to cross to Science World. He never stopped to apologize.

I’ve watched cyclists go the wrong way through traffic calming roundabouts. Cyclists ride two or more abreast on single lane roads, holding up frustrated drivers behind them. Riders holding a phone to their ear in busy traffic. Riders wearing headphones in traffic. Riders modding their bikes with electric motors, doing 50kph or more while still ignoring traffic rules. Riders failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, even if the cyclist has a stop sign. Riders knocking over and injuring children on the seawall, then yelling at the parents before riding off, refusing to help.

I’m convinced a large percentage of riders do some of these things out of sheer ignorance, because they don’t own a car and have never had to learn the full rules of the road. Then there are simply the assholes.

And if you DARE to call a cyclist out on any of this, you invariably get the finger and sworn at. Once, I tried to cross a street as a pedestrian, and spotted a cyclist coming. He had a stop. He was over 30 feet away when I put my foot into the road, thinking I was safe. He blew past so fast, without giving way, that I had to jump back or get hit. When I complained “Hey, stop!” he told me to fuck off, and called me a cunt.

When we’ve politely asked cyclists on the marina bridge to get off their bikes, they’ve sworn at us and threatened violence. Or they argue, acting completely offended, claiming that we don’t make the rules and they have a perfect right to be there. Really? That bridge is narrow. It’s not made for bikes. It’s busy. And as the co-op that manages it, we do make the rules. Is that sign not BIG ENOUGH? It’s there for a fucking reason. Because otherwise, elderly neighbours get broken hips. My neighbour has MONTHS of recovery ahead of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to move, because boats aren’t easy when you have mobility issues. His life is irrevocably changed. So I have no patience anymore for cyclists who act like they’re god’s gift to two wheels.

SpruceSign

These aren’t isolated incidents. I witness similar things weekly, if not daily, and I’m only one person.

So Vancouver cyclists, as a fellow cyclist, I implore you: acknowledge we have a problem. And I understand: #NotAllCyclists. But there are too many bad apples among us, and something needs to be done. Check your arrogance, rudeness, and entitlement out the door. Shape up, share our spaces more safely, and show some common decency.

To HUB, I understand you run safety courses, but perhaps your core values should include something about basic cycling courtesy as well. Because I see a very great lack of it on the roads out there. We need to do more. We need to be better, and show more empathy to the other people sharing our roads.

Otherwise more people are going to get hurt.

 

A Bubble in the Gastronomic Space-Time Continuum

KatrinaRandom Thoughts

When you move away from a city, you stop being able to keep up with its restaurant scene. But after we left Montréal for Vancouver in the early nineties, on a return trip, one of our friends brought us to YoYo Restaurant, a French cuisine establishment at 4720 Marquette.

We liked it so much, and had such a great time, that on subsequent visits, time permitting, we’d try to eat there. I think we wound up going three or four times over the years.

Family visits back east are always whirlwind tours, and I often don’t let friends know I’m coming because of the family commitments. We went back this past weekend to celebrate my grand-mère’s 100th (!!) birthday, and the cascading series of family engagements threatened to preclude any other nights out. But I carved out an evening, only to discover YoYo’s had closed four years ago.

So I put out a call on Facebook for eats suggestions, and got many great ones. The problem: many, many Montréal eateries are closed on Sunday nights, our one free night. One, however, was not: Maison Publique, located on … Rue Marquette. 4720 Marquette, to be precise.

The food was great. We went with the original friends who’d turned us on to Yoyo’s. The only blip in the evening was that as a tapas place, the dishes came up randomly, which meant that the person in our party with severe dietary restrictions wound up watching the rest of us eat for much of the evening, as their dish came last. But aside from that, we had a lovely time with delicious food. I even ran into a former colleague. The circular coincidences were on their way to becoming uncountable.

I am forced to conclude that 4720 Rue Marquette is a fixed point in gastronomic space-time. Next time I go I’ll be on the lookout for the foodie TARDIS.

Creative Ink Festival Wrap-up

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & Conferences, Uncategorized

Creative Ink Fest is fading into the past, but my memories of it aren’t.

This was my most packed conference as a pro writer. I did four panels (including my first as a moderator), a reading, a signing, and Blue Pencil critiquing sessions for four writers.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced writing conference with quality panelists and presentations, then you should consider this one for next year. Sandra Wickham ran an exceptionally smooth weekend, the volunteers were lovely, and the venue was also great.

I had the opportunity to meet several online writer friends in person for the first time, which is always a blast, reconnect with old ones, and consume too many libations.

Creative Ink Festival 2016: an all-round good time.

(The giggling fit that resulted from this photo also garnered me and my friend Claire the most epic side-eye from a Canadian SF icon)

Ennui, or, The Unspeakable Horrors of the Literary Life

Ennui, or, The Unspeakable Horrors of the Literary Life