Wait, what? Kat’s alive?

KatrinaNews, Random Thoughts

Yeah, I know the updates have been thin on the ground here lately. It’s because I’ve been busy! I thought I’d come up for air and let you all know how I’m doing, now that power and internet have been restored after the Great BC Windstorm of 2018 (which took us out for almost a week).

Some of what’s been going on with me this year:

  • I left my job.
  • I’ve been dealing with a massive (ongoing) home renovation.
  • I started up a freelance editing service. If you are looking for an editor, please feel free to contact me at the address on the linked page. Referrals always welcome.
  • I’ve been manning the fort at Little Blue Marble magazine, which is now in its second year of operation.
  • I just released the Little Blue Marble 2018 anthology. Have a look at some really great writing about our futures with climate change. And if you want a deal, the 2017 anthology is now at a reduced price!
  • I’ve been doing lots and lots of writing, although that might not be apparent from the number of releases lately.

On the writing front, I’ve got a science fantasy project on the go that I’m really excited about, but it’s become apparent that it’s going to take me a while to whip it into shape. So just to keep me on my toes in between, I’ve started writing short romances, that I’ll be releasing under my new pen name, Saskia Laine. So if you’re into sexy romances, keep an eye out for some fun short reads I plan to put out in the New Year. I’m excited about these because they were super fun to write.

I hope you are all having a great holiday season and wish you the best for the year to come.

Hitting the Road for WorldCon 76

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & Conferences, News


What’s this? An update from Kat? Yep, that’s right. In about a week and a half I’ll be hitting the road for WorldCon 76 in San Jose, where I’ll see old friends, meet many other fabulous SFF writers, and even be on a panel:

YA vs Adult Fiction: Defining Boundaries

YA Fiction is a crucial part of the SFF world. What defines YA as separate from Adult Fiction? How do writers approach each of these categories differently in terms of voice, structure, themes, and market positioning? Attend this panel to learn more.

See details in my Event Listings.

I can’t wait and I hope to see you there!

My Murdered Darling — The Time Traveler’s Brother by Wendy Nikel

KatrinaAuthors, My Murdered Darling

The Continuum - banner

For today’s My Murdered Darling, author Wendy Nikel talks about the difficulties in shortening The Continuum from novel to novella length, and why it was so hard to cut one character in particular.

Many “darlings” were harmed in the making of this book. It was inevitable, when I decided to turn my 65,000-word novel about a professional time traveler into a 39,000-word novella. Such violent cuts forced me to eliminate a bunch of slow-moving scenes that didn’t really serve an important role in the plot. They also, however, forced me to ditch some parts that I liked (regardless of how slow-moving and irrelevant to the plot they might have been).

Throughout its many iterations, some elements that didn’t make the final cut include:

  • a traveling salesman who sits beside my main character, Elise, on her flight home and tries to talk her into investing in synthetic polymer with the line, “They’ll be making space ships out of this!”
  • a coworker’s nephew who picks Elise up at the airport with “a fluorescent sign the size of New Jersey,” which he then attempts to stow in the trunk of a two-door Toyota (an homage to the first car I owned)
  • a flustered lab tech at the travel agency where Elise works, whom she sticks up for when her coworkers give him a hard time
  • a shopping trip, a restaurant stop, and a resort & spa experience that was meant to show how commerce will be done a hundred years into the future


But the character I felt most conflicted about deleting was Paul. Paul is the younger brother of my main character, Elise, and their relationship is a complex one, as most sibling relationships tend to be. He believes that she works for an ordinary travel agency, jet-setting around the world to research for their travel packages, and Elise carries a lot of guilt over the lies that she has to tell him. Since their parents passed away, they’re all the family each other has left, and it bothers her that she isn’t there for him.

phone-2301819_1920 - pixabayIn a deleted scene, Elise calls him from an airport after returning from a trip in the past, inadvertently waking him up due to time zone differences. The conversation that follows isn’t earth-shattering and doesn’t really move the plot forward (thus why it got cut), but I always liked how it provided a little glimpse into Elise’s own past and her life beyond her job. They share some small talk, chat about their lives, and Paul hints that he’d really like Elise to come see him. At the end of the longer version of the book, Elise writes Paul a letter, explaining all that’s happened to her and the decisions that she’s made.

In the current version, poor Paul is relegated to a single line, even further distancing him from Elise: ” My only relative, an estranged brother, knows nothing about my work.”

I’d like to think that she still called him from time to time, somewhere in between the scenes that are shown.


Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Fantastic Stories of the ImaginationDaily Science FictionNature: Futures, and elsewhere. For more info, visit wendynikel.com or sign up for her newsletter HERE and receive a FREE short story ebook.

THE CONTINUUM is available for pre-order via World Weaver Press! Release date: January 23, 2018.

Worldcon 75 in Helsinki

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & Conferences


I did say a while ago that Kat’s Crazy Counter-Spectacular would be back later this year. Well, Leg 2 is almost upon me. From August 9-13 I’ll be at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention, this year held in Helsinki, Finland.

I am quite excited about this one because 1) Helsinki! and 2) I’ll be on panels this year for the first time.

My first panel is The Editor’s Dream, and is all about the ins and outs of maintaining a good relationship with your editor(s).

My second panel is Climate Change and Social Responsibility in Science Fiction, on how climate change is being covered in science fiction.

I won’t post times, as my understanding is the schedule might change, but here’s a link to the up-to-the-minute online schedule.

It’s an honour to get a chance to present at Worldcon. Anticipation (Worldcon Montreal in 2009) was my very first science fiction convention, so Worldcons have a special place in my heart.

I hope to see you there!

Kat’s Crazy Counter-Spectacular 2017 – Leg 1: London

KatrinaRandom Thoughts


A Short Travelogue and Play Review

Let’s get this out of the way: I lead a comfortable life. I have a good job, a roof over my head, have a great bunch of family and friends, and keep myself (probably too) well fed.

But the last 12 months have been a little rough around the edges. I had a brush with cancer that required surgery. On returning to exercise after a month off from that, I developed painful Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis, which put most of my favourite activities out of reach and left me constantly sore and hobbling for 8 months. I gained an unpleasant amount of weight as a result. A close family member died. World politics went pear-shaped and left me stressed out. And after getting my hopes up for a professional breakthrough on the writing front, I fell short of the prize by a hair-thin margin that, well, threw me for a bit of a loop.

Not a banner year.

So when I saw from a friend’s Facebook post that David Tennant had a new play out in London, I had a little sad. My first thought was, “London! Poo. Of course I can’t go! That’s halfway around the world. Plus it’s probably sold out already.” I gnashed my teeth about it for about 36 hours.

Then a gear tripped in my brain and a little voice said, “What if it’s not sold out?” So I checked. And there were still great seats available. Then the little voice whispered, “Well, how much is a flight?” So I broke out the travel search engines and found a flight to London for less money than what I paid to get there back in 1992. Then I looked at my expected tax refund, and the little voice nudged me and said, “You know, you do have some spare change this year. Enough to funnel back into savings and do a little side jaunt.”

That’s when I said, “Fuck it. I’m going to see David Tennant’s play because it will make me happy, DAMMIT. Screw the jet lag.” The jet lag, incidentally, was the highest price paid: two 9+ hour flights with a grand total of 8 hours time difference each way, with only 72 hours on the ground. *bleurgh*

So that’s how I wound up seeing Don Juan In Soho at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End this past weekend. I rarely review plays because I rarely attend plays, but here goes.

I loved Don Juan In Soho, but I didn’t want to. That’s probably the whole point. David Tennant plays DJ, the titular cad, with Adrian Scarborough as his long-suffering right-hand man. Tennant is genius casting, because his charisma and charm seduce you into rooting for the character, even though he’s despicable.

Rather brilliantly in a meta kind of way, the play abuses and manipulates its audience almost as much as DJ abuses and manipulates his hangers-on. The zany comedy, hilarious slapstick, occasional dance number, and chemistry between the leads suckers you into laughing at some pretty repulsive behaviour. For some, it was too much: the couple next to me didn’t return after the interval. It was one of the crudest, most vulgar, misogynistic, at times racist pieces of entertainment I’ve watched. I can perhaps forgive the Brits for not knowing how offensive the term “Eskimo” is to First Nations, but given the rest of the content, I suspect the usage was intentional. I also had a personal pout at the “moustachioed Ukrainian” jab—the truth hurts almost as much as the plucking middle age has forced upon me.

The one-liners come fast and furious. Tennant’s sheer physicality is mesmerizing—he throws himself into the part with complete abandon—while Scarborough matches him effortlessly as the quintessential straight man. Though some of the farce didn’t work for me, I do hope to never be the recipient of a gaze as filled with contempt and disdain as Tennant’s as he looks upon those DJ considers his lessers. And I was astonished that during one particular scene, upon observing what Tennant was doing to one of the actresses on stage, no one in the audience stood up to shout “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!”

Ultimately, though, the seduction doesn’t work. The people in DJ’s orbit—with the exception of Elvira, his wronged wife, whom I was glad got to exit with dignity—keep returning for more because they can’t help falling for him. But while you in the audience want to love DJ, and you ache to have him turn his charm upon you, you know you’ll just get burned. In his major speech, when DJ tries to justify his actions and his life philosophy by pointing out the hypocrisy rife in the world, and claiming that at least his actions are honest, all I could think was “Bullshit.” He is either the biggest hypocrite of all, or has succeeded in deluding himself: the actions of other bad actors don’t justify or absolve the hurt you do to others. I wasn’t sorry to see DJ’s final comeuppance. I was only sorry it meant saying goodbye to Tennant.

My experience with the play didn’t end at the play. The next morning, in search of brunch, I walked into a random restaurant suggested by my hotel. The couple ahead of me were arguing with the maître d’ about the hour-long wait for a table, so I figured I’d have to forage elsewhere, but when it came to my turn, I was told that singles were fine, and seated at a stool at the far end of the bar.

I toasted my jet lag with a glass of sparkling wine, and the subject of why I was in the UK came up with the bartender. Who then grinned at my answer. “Don Juan In Soho? I’m the assistant set designer. How did you like the play?” I gave him my review above, and we then proceeded to have a lovely conversation about set design, the rickshaw and the statue that were key elements in the play, architecture, the long slow builds of certain careers, and working with creative people, among other things.

When he found out about the short length of my stay, he—like the border guard, and everyone else I met in London—said, “You must be a big David Tennant fan.” Yes. Yes, I am. That’s the simple answer. There’s a more complex one that I didn’t mention to anyone I met, and that has to do with the relationship between some of Tennant’s performances and my own creative writing output, but getting into the subtleties of that with a border guard just isn’t worth the hassle. “Did you stay to try to see him at the stage door?” Yes I did. But I felt weird about it, and ultimately didn’t get to shake his hand or meet him or anything, because the scrum bothered me, so I stood at the fringe. The whole idea of being in a shouting crowd of people like that and clamouring for 10 seconds of attention felt horribly needy to me. I can see why people do it, but if I’m ever to meet an actor I admire, I’d rather relate to them as a human being than a show pony. Liam the set designer and I both agreed that is one of the less savoury aspects of celebrity.

I don’t travel alone that often, and my Canadian reserve typically means that when I do I don’t interact with many people, but I got out of my shell a bit more on this trip and met quite a few people: a group of French tourists and then two English ladies on a night out kept me entertained on my first terrace. An older Danish gentleman and I talked climate change and the differences between North American and European culture at our neighbouring tables at dinner. I even said hi to an actual celebrity when Devon Bostick (Jasper on The 100) wandered past my first bar terrace, although my jet lag turned me into the worst sort of gabbling fangirl (“Great show! Love your work!” Oh you loser, did you really just say that?) My good friend Jeremy came down from Leeds and walked the Thames for miles with me. And Liam B. serendipitously kept the magic of the play going at brunch.

On the flight home, I mainlined Season 3 of Broadchurch, which I hadn’t had a chance to see yet. It was the perfect length for a 9-hour flight. It’s kind of incredible to, in the same weekend, watch the same actor disappear into first a complete letch, and then a fundamentally decent man entirely at odds with rape culture, and be utterly believable as both. Mad props for acting craft, that’s all I have to say.

So all in all, yes, despite the worst jet lag of my life, this trip made me happy. Thank you everyone for a great time, especially you, David. You did not disappoint. While I know it wasn’t part of the deal, I’m only sorry I didn’t get to tell you that—among other things—myself.

Lesson learned: life is short, see the play.

Stay tuned later this year for Leg 2 of Kat’s Crazy Counter-Spectacular 2017: Helsinki.

PS: Liam, if you’re ever doing set design in Vancouver, I owe you a drink :-)

Join Me at the 2017 Creative Ink Fest

KatrinaEvents, Workshops, Festivals & Conferences

It’s that time of year when you can catch me at the Creative Ink Festival! I’ll be hanging out at the Delta Burnaby Hotel with tons of other great writers from March 31 to April 2.

This is an interesting event to check out if you’re an emerging author looking for craft and business of writing tips and tricks.

I’ll be on a couple of panels and at the autograph session.

Stress Management for Creative People – Saturday, 10 AM

The artistic lifestyle is not and has never been easy. Who has not been bedeviled by money, time and family issues? Not to mention the challenges of self-promotion and the pressure to perform. How do you get a handle on this? Come and find out!

After The Critique – Sunday, 3 PM

You’ve had your worked critiqued by a first reader, workshop or critique group, now what? How do you apply all the input you’ve been given? What’s the next step?

The 2017 Eligible Work Post — The Tree of Souls

KatrinaThe Tree of Souls


Since all the cool kids are doing it, let’s just get the awkwardness out of the way:

I published a single work in 2016 that is eligible for the 2017 SFF awards season: my dark fantasy, The Tree of Soulsin the Novel category.

As far as I know, it is Hugo, Nebula, and Aurora eligible. Perhaps even BSFA too.

Thanks for your consideration, and happy awards season reading. I know I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some great books to put up for nomination.

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.


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.