shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
In brief:

Friday night:
* AE SciFi party, with cake!

Saturday:
* Late start (for me, anyway) - chatted with the AE SciFi folks
* Edge of Time book launch - also with cake! Dufflet's cake. Mmmm....
* First Contact Without a Universal Translator
* Creation Museum Slideshow by John Scalzi
* Linguistics for Fiction
* The Future of Fandom (only part - I got frustrated)
* Sun of Suns Graphic Novel Sneak Peek

Sunday
* What is a Human?
* Accents and Speech Patterns in Fiction
* It's My Baby and You Can't Touch It
* Auction

And that was that. I didn't take notes on Saturday, as I was knitting, and the conversations were streaming along at a remarkable rate. Very interesting, but would have been self-defeating to try to transcribe.

Next year, SFContario seems to be the weekend after World Fantasy Con (which is also in TO), so I won't be doing both. I already have my WFC membership.
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
A friend of mine found this first on a recipe site, but I can't for the life of me remember where, so here's the transcribed and reiterated version, sans attribution.

Dry Ingredients:
4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Add:
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla

Stir until a cake-batter-like texture is achieved, and no dry flour clumps remain, but do not over-stir.
Microwave for 90 seconds.

Optionally, split batter into two mugs, and microwave each for 45s.

Tips:
Do not forget the salt! It will not work without at least some salt.
Do not use olive oil! Unless you're a fan of olive flavoured brownies.
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
I have acquired a Kobo Touch. Like all tech products, profit margin comes from the accessories, apparently. I may have to get inventive with the knitting/felting.

I am reading Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey for the Permanent Floating YA Diversity Book Clubs.

I highly recommend this lecture: Speak of the Dazzling Wings by Mike Carey, from the 2011 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium. (Assuming, of course, that you weren't there to hear it in person.)

There were other thoughts about this year's event, but I've lost them. Mmm. Mainly that I appreciated Daniel Heath Justice's talk about the intersection of Native mythology and modern myth/Specfic. Could have done with more from a non-European background (I love my Norse mythology, too, but... what about China? and Japan? and India?) Also, Caitlin Sweet and Lesley Livingston were highly entertaining, and convinced me to give both of their work a try. And of course Peter Watts' talk was fun.

I started reading The Night Circus (free book, won on twitter, courtesy of Random House Canada). Not impressed yet, but willing to continue.
shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
Vacation seemed like a great idea: with Nuit Blanche, my birthday, and wedding anniversary in one week, why not?

Well, on Tuesday, we got test results back for the lump in our cat's throat. I suppose it was better than finding out - while at work - that he has thyroid cancer. He's a speshul snowflake - it's extremely rare in cats.

*sigh*

Then on Thursday morning, something went wrong in my right foot, and I've spent the past three days with it propped up on a pillow, alternating ice and ibuprofen. Fun times for this gorgeous weekend.

*sigh*

Did I get any writing done? No, of course not. But I did do a bunch of knitting.

Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful (and not sarcastically) that my life is good enough that I can complain about these #firstworldproblems.

Back to work tomorrow, where I apparently need to Fix ALL the Things, as my co-workers have been missing me desperately, I was told.
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I sold my first story to Crossed Genres on my birthday weekend, three years ago. It really does not seem like that long.

About six months later, my story "Detuned" was a runner-up in the AE Micro contest.

Two months after that, I sold "Carefully Constructed" to CG for Issue 20: Lies. I was especially proud of this one, as it is set in the same world as my novel-under-revision, and features one of the secondary characters.

With those successes under my belt (and some kind words of encouragement on a couple of rejections from Kay, too), I submitted "Turning" to The Monster Book For Girls anthology - and sold it.

This year, despite a couple of intriguing genres, I didn't manage to get anything written for CG, but I did submit to Dagan Books' FISH anthology - and sold "I Know A Secret" to them.

None of which I would have tried, if not for that first sale to CG.

So while I am sad to see the magazine close, I know that the novels and anthologies Bart and Kay put together will be awesome, and I look forward to all the shiny new things they create.

Sale!

Oct. 1st, 2011 02:24 pm
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
My flash story "I Know A Secret" will appear in Dagan Books FISH anthology, to be released on February 8th, 2012.
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Sunshine, for a change!

Heading out to Word on the Street shortly. Must remember to check out the elephoto hunt, and pass by the Spacing booth.

Goal: try not to acquire more books that we don't have room for. :p
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
How do you fall in love with a city? I keep wondering this, wondering when and how it happened. How did Toronto cease to be that distant metropolitan centre (where the mayor had called in the army to deal with the snow, and the rest of us were never going to let them live it down), that ugly duckling cousin of Ottawa's? When did it become MY city?

It certainly wasn't intentional. Giving in to the gravitational pull of the city was an economic necessity, not a voluntary motion. Spouse and I (and the dog, and the cat, and the two rats, and the goldfish) moved to Markham because working five part-time jobs simultaneously - even in a city as lovely as Kingston - was killing me.

Markham, as anyone will tell you, is not Toronto. )
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Been meaning to post this for a while, since I found Terry had put it up on an open forum.

The TOC for The Monster Book for Girls, slated for launch at FantasyCon 2011 in Brighton at the end of September.

TOC (including me!) )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
This month is the last month to read/buy Crossed Genres Issue 20 Lies, which includes my short story Carefully Constructed.

This wasn't my first short story sale, but it is probably my favourite, because it's set in the world of my (unpublished, under revision) novel. Jaz, the protagonist of "Carefully Constructed", is one of the main characters in the novel.

Other things of note:

Science In My Fiction is currently running their second annual contest. Get your submissions in before August 31st!

Kay's most recent blog post may be of particular interest to those plotting Off-Earth adventures.

CGP is also still open to submissions of spec-fic novels. Guidelines here.

And of course, the theme for this month's Crossed Genres Magazine submissions is Sidekicks & Minions. Get your subs in before the end of the month.

(If you're working ahead and prepping for July submission, remember the theme for July is Villains - but don't submit until July!)

And finally - CGP will be releasing Kelly Jenning's novel Broken Slate on July 15th. Spread the word! You can read the first 8 chapters online!


Oops, one more: In non-Crossed Genres news, Red Stone Science Fiction is running a contest as well. The identity-themed story contest runs until August 15.

I'm sure there are others that deserve a shout-out, but that's all I can think of right now.
shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
When I was first interviewing for my current position, my boss-to-be said they were "sort of doing a kind of Agile development". I relayed this to my then-coworkers, to a loud chorus of "NO! Not Agile!" followed by warnings about how horrible it would be. (This from Technical Writers who had never worked in an Agile environment, mind.) So I came to this position with some trepidation about the processes I would have to adopt.

After 9 months of working in a 'kind-of' Agile environment, as we try to actually get Agile, I can see both why they were concerned, and why their concerns were misplaced.

A brief intro to Agile software development is probably in order. The basic idea is that you chunk work into units, and assign units of work (commits) to units of time called sprints. The duration of the sprint can vary -- we do two week sprints because it works for us. During the sprint, we have biweekly status update 'meetings' (scrums), as well as an initial sprint planning/commit meeting and a wrap-up meeting at the end of the sprint.

Writer concern #1, then: )
shaydchara: dirty black keyboard with the F1 key missing (F1)
My MSI Wind U210 netbook had been running hot lately. I finally ran a temp monitor on it and discovered that hot = 60C.

Of course, I never properly registered the netbook, and so could not just request tech support. An eBay search on the model's fan turned up nothing -- never a good sign.

So I decided to just open the case (there would have only been 3 months left on the warranty anyway) and see if cleaning (or replacing, somehow, if necessary) the fan would help.

Long story short, for the cost of a couple hours, and a tube of thermal paste, plus the use of a vacuum, I now have a happily functioning netbook with working fan again. In the process, I discovered that if I ever do need to replace the fan, it will mean contacting MSI, as the heatsink is built into the fan casing and is only available in said design from the manufacturer.

ETA: Fansink! Or, proof of the interior exposure of my netbook )
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The "where I was when" version. Some panel notes to follow. Maybe. >.>

Ad Astra 2011 - 30th Anniversary

Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Short story entitled "Turning" to The Monster Book for Girls (edited by Terry Grimwood), forthcoming this year from theExaggeratedPress.

From the Editor: While helping a friend clear out her parents' effects, recently, I stumbled on a tatty old pre-war tome called "The Monster Book for Girls". It was adorned with pictures of jolly school lasses wielding hockey sticks and was full of “thrilling adventure stories for girls”.

I loved the description of how Terry came up with the idea, and ended up with a story I really loved, but didn't know where else to submit. Turned out it was a perfect fit for this anthology.
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
So it's two days before Ad Astra, and I finally posted the last of my panel notes from SFContario. They're not as well formatted as other panel notes, but I'll fix that later.

The only outstanding one is my notes on Karl Schroeder's solo talk, but those were mostly scrawled for my own use anyway.

Onwards!
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Disability in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Panelists: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Jane Carol Petrovich, Mark Offer, Fiona Patton, Suzanne Church

Description: Disability is a theme treated fairly often in SF/F but not always with complete objectivity and accuracy. How are disabled characters portrayed in SF and Fantasy literature? What are the common misinterpretations and stereotypes of disabled life in Speculative Fiction and how can writers work to avoid these errors? What does Speculative Fiction say about the way disabilities will be treated or managed in the future? Finally, are there unrecognized or hidden disabilities that deserve more attention in Speculative Fiction literature?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Writing the Future
Panelists: Hayden Trenholm (mod), Robert Charles Wilson, Dr Alex Pantaleev, Ira Nayman, Madeline Ashby

Description: A lot of people seem to think the future will be like the past but with better gadgets. How do you create a credible near future (up to 50 years from now)? What things are likely to change and what will stay the same? Technological and scientific changes are important but they aren't the whole story. How do you incorporate probable or possible changes in the environment, economy and politics, culture and social mores, into a believable future?

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

What Do You Mean My Stake Won't Work?
Panelists: Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Douglas Smith, Stephen B. Pearl, Karen Dales (mod)

Description: Drive a stake into the vampire's heart and it is dead right? In traditional vampire lore that stake better be made of Oak, Ash of Thorn wood, or you just made it mad! How incorporating facts from actual mythology can add conflict and challenge to paranormal fiction.

Read more... )
shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Notes behind the cut. People are attributed by initials; aud -> indicates an audience comment or question. As always, transcribed fast and edited only vaguely, misattributions and errors are my own. Assume everything outside of quote marks is a paraphrase. (?) indicates something that I missed.

Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy
Panelists: Peter Halasz, Robert J. Sawyer, Alison Baird (mod)
[Jo Walton and John Robert Colombo were scheduled but didn't make it. It was supper time.]

Description: The only Canadian writers read by significant numbers of people are published in the US, so is there any such thing as Canadian SFF? The British "New Wave" changed American SF forever, but is Canadian SF sufficiently distinctive and coherent to have a comparable impact? Why does the Canadian government give grants to writers nobody wants to read, while genre fiction writers starve to death?

Read more... )

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Shay D.

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