Tuesday, 14 June 2022

New Launch is Bittersweet

Welp, Ground Control got a second chance at life, launching again on June 1st as a paperback and ebook. I’m excited (of course), but this launch doesn’t have the same feeling of celebration as the first one – 1, because it’s not the book’s birthday, 2, because I had to let go of my original cover, which I truly loved, and 3, because I’m launching without my original team behind me, the ones that saw the potential in my characters and helped me bring Ground Control to life last year, that were like sort of like a dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.

However, the hundreds of Lights Out's now-limited-edition copies are now collectors’ items. (You’re welcome.)

In the stead of the above, I have the full, warm and steady support of my new publisher, and a dedicated and ongoing marketing effort behind the launch. I have a new cover, which is cooler and prettier the more I look at it (especially now that I have the book in my hands), and I have a book that has not only been really well-reviewed, but I also got a second shot at rewriting some of the less-developed scenes, plus a few (ok, maybe one) less typo. (And there is no truth to the rumour that there will be an audiobook or graphic novel version of Ground Control… yet.)


So, I want to sincerely thank the awesome team at Sley House Publishing for snapping up Ground Control on the first bounce, and I hope that I (and this book) will make them proud. I also want to thank all my readers and reviewers (keep those reviews coming!) for spreading the word about my work, and those that have purchased the new edition too, well, you get hugs.*


The (New! Improved!) Sley House edition of Ground Control is now available to order at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and any indie bookstore of your choice.


*…in fact, if you post a photo on Insta or Twitter with both editions, and tag me in it, I’ll reach out for your address and send you a Ground Control sticker as a thank you! 

Friday, 17 December 2021

New genre fiction anthology released! (Eds. K.A. Hough & Trevor Williamson)

Do you love chills, thrills, and feeling uneasy? 

It has been my sincere pleasure to work with the staff at Sley House Publishing on their inaugural anthology of genre fiction, Tales of Sley House 2021. These fifteen stories were chosen from many, many submissions, with priority given to current students of creative writing. 

It's always fun to work in a group of editors, and I had a great time debating the strengths and merits of the stories we chose, then working with five new authors to get their stories publication-ready. From the weird to the macabre, mysterious to the horrifying, there's tales of strange creatures and stranger characters, some of which are downright disturbing. If this collection of short stories leaves you feeling unsettled... well, good!

Available now at major retailers

This also marks the first of my "official" editing credits, hopefully the first of many. If you do pick it up (as an e-book or paperback), don't forget to leave a review on Goodreads!

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

To Sum Up: Transatlantic Moves and Hangovers Make Poor Bedfellows

Image credit: author

This will be short. 

We move in less than a week, packing up five entire lives into bags and boxes, to travel by air and sea, not sure when we will be in our home or with our belongings again. 

We've also been partying hard. As London opens, all the events that have been cancelled or postponed have hit with a suddenness that has tasked my wardrobe, endurance, and liver function. The last few weeks (aside from the week-long holiday in the Lake District and Edinburgh) have been a whirwind of social engagements — some official — and many, many goodbyes.

We are sad, tired, stressed, excited, overwhelmed... and feel so grateful for the good friends and lovely communities that have embraced us in our London adventure. We hope we have told them, enough, how much they mean to us, how full are hearts are as we leave.

Four years ago this week, we were doing this exact thing in Ottawa. My phone flashes up photos and videos daily, of  'on this date' of our kids (four years smaller) running around our old street, the one we're returning to in... 5 days? 14? 19? We don't know yet.

But, we're going home.

Monday, 10 May 2021

Cranky Book Reviewer Reads Rediscovery

I mean, Cranky's gonna crank, but.

Image credit: Screenshot from Amazon

I've been reading a wider array of fiction lately, choosing genres that I don't normally gravitate towards. This is possibly because my own book was so unaligned with my preferred genres, its very genre defiance has made me question my own prejudices against specific genres. 

The Cranky Book Reviewer used genre way too many times in that paragraph, and is not one bit sorry.

However. The Cranky Book Reviewer also doesn't enjoy short stories, which she didn't notice until she wrote several short stories, submitted them to publications, received rejections for each of them, and then started to think about what kind of short story she likes to read, realized that the answer is, "none of them," because of high school English and university English, so decided to write a book instead.

Right. Back to the review.

Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958-1963) contains science fiction stories written by women (der). Each is prefaced by a short essay by a science fiction writer of today, which provides insight into the author's life and work, as well as what struck the essayist about the piece that follows. These, in themselves, make for interesting reading, though they do contain a few spoilers (the Cranky Book Review does not like spoilers).

Each story is beautifully formed, interesting and unsettling. I had to take a break after reading each one to think on it, to ponder what I had just read; each story deserved time to wrap my mind around the concepts these women created, and the clarity with which they identified challenges, sixty or more years ago. 

Without revealing any spoilers, these pieces contain themes of inequality and/or miscommunication, often both. Written from both male and female perspectives, with no common planet, species or time between them, the authors sketched palpable differences between males and females; this is true of probably all works of fiction, but it was bittersweet and saddening to see it so clearly here. These women, who made up only 9% of all the sci-fi authors of that time, and who are all but unknown today, so subtly, aptly depicted struggles between genders, between masculine and feminine energy, between humans and alien species. They wrote about colonies led by women, but never fully safe from men. About the dangers of assuming you know anything about another human or humanoid. 

It was an absolute honour to read what they had imagined so long ago, and it's wonderful to think that their work and their lives are being rediscovered by new generations (see what I did there?).

I enjoyed this anthology immensely, and would recommend it to sci-fi fans and anthropologists alike

So, why is the Cranky Book Reviewer Cranky? Well, I liked the book and loved the stories. I'm cranky because such inequality still exists, that the powerful still press their advantage over the less-powerful, that the issues presented with such clarity in 1963 are still present today. But, overall, I'm very pleased that the editor, Gideon Marcus, revived these stories and shared their authors with the world. 

Spoilers spoil. Don't be a spoiler. (image credit: author's own)

Portions of this review were posted on Goodreads as well.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Book Launches to Much Fanfare

Local author is exhausted

So, that's it, then! My book has launched! My book baby has officially gone forth into the world, and let me tell you, it is nothing like having an actual baby, for the following reasons:

An actual baby

...Not really that much effort to make, tbh. I mean, I was going to eat and sleep and buy new pants over that nine-month period anyway. Yes, I was tired and cranky, but who's really to say that I wouldn't have been tired and cranky anyway?

Writing Ground Control 

The writing of the first draft took a cool 30 days. No problemo. Of course, it was (according to Fis) 30 bad days in a row, with heightened emotion and stress, so yes, somewhat like creating a baby, but only for a month. After that, I put it out of mind (ha!) for a full six weeks, dusted it off, and began the long, arduous process of rewriting and editing, filling out and cutting back. This went on for another five months, then the query process began. That took two months, and by the time I signed on with Episodic Reading, I was sure I was done. 

Not so fast. I needed to rewrite each section to fit into an episodic format, with evenly-sized episodes and, if possible, cliffhangers at the end of each one. And THEN they were passed through the editing wringer. So that was another four months. Then, when Episodic folded, and Lights Out Ink rose from the ashes to welcome Ground Control to their catalogue, I rewrote/redid/rejigged again for a proper print format... so another three months there. 

All this to say, the writing of my novel took more time — and far more concentrated effort — than any of my babies. I'm not saying it's better or worse, just that it's different. Also, I got to drink throughout, so that was nice.

Having a baby

Although the lead up to having a baby is quite challenging for a few (too many) hours, that's when the real hard part starts. Sure, like with a book, there are a few moments of holding, gazing lovingly, and smelling it, but too soon, it requires care, feeding and changing, just when you want a nap.

Launching a book

The feeling, of opening up the box that contained my book and holding it for the first time, was magical. I cried. I told everyone I knew what I had done. Launch day required me to participate (awkwardly) in two interviews — one with my publisher and another with a real live podcast —  (after running an annual half-marathon, so you can imagine how articulate I was) and put some kind of cheerful face on at home. But when I put the book down and take a nap (which I need after trying to be not socially awkward), it stays where I left it, and my pants still fit.

There are still many marketing/launch-y events to come, of course. I proudly mumbled about it to my librarian, who ordered it on the spot, and insists that, as soon as they can host an event, it will be a book launch for me. My friends have declared that a party is in order. My publisher is convinced that I will be come ever more coherent and charming in a not-on-paper format... we'll see. She is also convinced that a second book should be written, edited and published as soon as possible. When do I have the time for that, exactly???

But, for those of you that are interested in this whole process, there you have it. And if you're interested in hearing about Ground Control, my process, my inspiration, or any other thing I'm up to, please sign up for my newsletter, which will be sporadic at best and spotty at most, and will attempt to capture all of these events and talks and mentions. 

After my nap, that is.

PS - the other thing you could do that would be lovely and very much appreciated is to leave a review of Ground Control wherever you bought it, as well as Goodreads.

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