Objects In Mirror Are Larger Than They Appear – A Mid-Year Check-In

June has passed, the days are getting shorter again, and 2016 is no longer a theoretical possibility but something that is definitely taking form. This has led me to think about how things have been going – both in terms of my writing and otherwise.

2015 started off with a bang, writing-wise. Two stories of mine – “The Old Boys Club” and “White Noise” – that had already been published were picked up by McGraw-Hill-Ryerson for inclusion in their electronic collection of contemporary Canadian short fiction, which is aimed at secondary school educators.

I followed that with my first trip to Ad-Astra, Toronto’s main science fiction and fantasy convention, in April. There, I participated in several interesting panels, play-tested The Oatmeal’s Exploding Kittens card game, and delivered a few readings with my friend and fellow author, Marie Bilodeau. it was a great time, and my first exposure to one of Canada’s bigger cons. I finally got the chance to meet several people with whom I had been corresponding for quite a while. I’ll definitely be going back.

In May, Black Treacle Magazine has picked up another of my stories – Re-Possession – which takes the zombie trope and adds corporate intrigue, with a twist. Even more recently, another of my stories – The Statuette – will be appearing in in the first issue of a new magazine. More details to come!

2015 has been a wondrous year on a more personal note, too. I started off the year at a New Year’s party, knowing only two people in the house where it was taking place and hoping for a nice diversion and an opportunity to get to know a few people. Little did I suspect that I would meet someone who, in six months, would turn out to be the best partner I could ever hope for. Both of us have been around the block and we went into our relationship with honesty and reasonable expectations. My girlfriend is a loving companion, a confidante, a kindred soul, and my best friend. She not only accepted me into her life; she welcomed me into it. And I her. I couldn’t imagine life without her, now, and the future is looking even better than ever. If nothing else, meeting her has defined 2015 as my best year. Let there be many more! 🙂

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My Ad Astra Schedule!

As promised, I am posting my scheduled panels at Ad Astra, Toronto’s premier speculative fiction convention, which runs from April 10-12!  Hope to see you there.


Saturday, April 11

Spicing up your Game Setting

Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Room: Oakridge

Panelling with: Chris A. Jackson, James Alan Gardner

Jungles, deserts and tundras, oh my! from tribal wanderers to megacities and more! Panelists discuss how you can step away from the monoenvironmental, the monocultural, the monoboring and make your setting varied, alive and deeply interesting.

From The Tabletop To The Side Table

Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Room: Whitchurch

Panelling with: Chris A. Jackson

From Books to TV Shows and Movies, tabletop roleplaying has been a subtile guiding hand for many story, setting and character inspirations. And in some cases, not so subtle. Panelists discuss the process of taking a tabletop game or characters and set pieces and translating it to a different medium for an audience rather than active participants.

The Shadow Over Lovecraft

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Room: Markham B

Panelling with: JD DeLuzio, Nancy Kilpatrick, Simon McNeil

Modern horror fiction inspired or derived from H.P. Lovecraft. What influence has his fiction had? What makes Lovecraftian fiction work? The best and worst texts, both in literature and films. Why all the odd pop culture appearances? Is he really that great? And how do we handle his xenophobia and racism, and the modern-day controversy it has generated?

Saturday, April 12

Reading with fellow Ottawa-area author Marie Bilodeau!

Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Room: Whitchurch

Delectable Baked Yuletide Delights of Doom!

Yes, it’s been a while. Life’s like that. However, the holiday season is upon us yet again, and what better way to celebrate than to eat, drink, and be merry?  I’ve got the eating angle nailed down in this post, at least. So do a bunch of other authors, too, but more about them later.

Linda Poitevin started the great Xmas-cookie-recipe-exchange-and-blog-hop, which was later rechristened as Cookies of Might and Magic by Marie Bilodeau, who then tagged me.  Just as some of my horror stories centre on what happens when you disturb ancient evils, so I am sharing a cookie recipe with a bit of history.

Oh, alright.  “Ancient evil” isn’t always synonymous with “old recipe”, if we’re going to get technical… (everyone’s a critic)

This recipe has a bit of history associated with it.  When my mother attended nursing college in Niagara Falls, back in the early 60s, her landlady was a woman named Mrs. Ibey.  She always had a plate of these cookies available for her boarders, and my mother loved them so much she got the recipe.

 

COCONUT OATMEAL CRUNCH COOKIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, shortening, or margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup shaved coconut (technically optional – the coconut makes all the difference, in my view)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. In a bowl, cream soft butter and sugar together until light and fluffy;
    add egg and mix well.
  3. Sift flour, salt, soda and baking powder together into another bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients along with rolled oats to the creamed mixture. Blend well.
  5. Roll this batter into balls and place on cookie sheet, about two (2) inches apart.
  6. Flatten balls with a powdered fist and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
  8. Yields about 5 dozen. ENJOY!

These cookies freeze very well and can be used as a sandwich cookie with dates, if desired.

Source:  Kindness of Helen Ibey.

And now I am tagging Jamieson Wolf, who will tantalize your taste buds with more baked goodness.