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.

Friday, 9 April 2021

GROUND CONTROL launches April 23rd!

Image credit: Lights Out Ink

So, my career as a writer has officially reached a new milestone. I'm excited (and more than a little terrified) to announce that my debut novel, Ground Control, will be released later this month, from publishing house Lights Out Ink.

Ground Control follows Sarah Harper as she tags along behind her husband's career yet again, this time, to the new colony on Mars. More Women's Fiction than SciFi, the story focuses on the complex emotional fabric of Sarah's life as she struggles to prepare for the journey, leave her past behind, and find her place in this new reality.

Advanced copy reviewers have been so very kind! (Check them out on GoodReads.) There are still some ARCs available at BookSirens, so if you'd like to leave an early review, download your copy today!

You can also pre-order your ebook or paperback now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and other retailers — just search up Ground Control KA Hough — it's there, I promise.


Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Let Me Entertain Me...

It's a lovely lamp, and came with such a nice note! (Image: author's own)

If nobody else finds me funny, well, at least I do.

Fun is where you find it. Since I've been doing all of my shopping from home for, oh, a year now, I’ve started choosing “This item is a gift” when I order anything online, no matter what it is, then writing myself (or Chris) a nice little note to go with it.

(Please start worrying when I start paying extra for giftwrap). 

These are the notes that came with our two most recent purchases, a new frypan (ooooo…) and a lamp.

It's a non-stick pan, so... never mind. (Image credit: author's own)


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