As Promised: COUPONS!

I will be receiving my paperback copies of Mechanicville book 2: Alone in the Night within the next couple weeks. Hopefully before the big Xmas craft fair I have a table at.

To celebrate, I am giving away copies of book 1: A Test of Loyalty, on Smashwords. This is a limited time offer, only until Dec 28th. But those who get ereaders for Yule can still pick it up!

The code is KE56Y, paste it into the appropriate spot BEFORE paying.   Feel free to share the link and code with everyone you know.

Also, I will be putting up a free horror-fairy tale on my website today.

 

My last film

As you may or may not know, dear readers… I am also a film-maker. Low-budget, independent, first step for new actors and crew… films.

Well, my last two films are likely to be my LAST films. The chronic pain in my back and hips is not conducive to 16 hour days. Even with a friend whose only job is to make me sit down, I was in tears from the pain by the end of every day.

The one closest to completion is Reliving Marilyn, an intimate look at the woman behind the legend. Painstakingly researched, vetted by experts in Marilyn Monroe’s life, and thisclose to finished.

We are holding an Indigogo campaign to raise the funds for for finishing the last 10%. Go to the page to see the trailers, photos etc. The film is visually stunning.

“Completing the film is just the beginning of the journey. We need your help to cover our final sound mix, festival submission costs, marketing costs, Errors and Omission insurance, without which, we cannot distribute the film.

Distribution deliverables, licensing fees for one Marilyn Monroe song , and something for our hard working crew which have been volunteering to help make  Reliving Marilyn a reality.”

We expect it to be in several film festivals before going on a limited theatrical run, and DVD sales. Many of the perks include Advance release copies of the DVD.

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The other film is a medieval semi-historical-semi-post-apocalyptic story of a group of people living in a village, several generations after a nuclear war. It is also totally filmed, it just needs an editor. And a sound editor. (contact me if interested, but be aware, cost is a big issue)

It was filmed in the log cabin and rambling acres of a local  Pagan Priestess. And appropriately enough, I called it Our Pagan Heart.

It stars local actors and story-tellers, some who have gone on to many more projects. At this time, they were all volunteers, but some have been on Sons of Anarchy, and other local films including those by Brian Lutes.

The film is about 78 minutes long, separated into 9 mini-stories, each centered around a Pagan holiday. The story is also the overall tale of a year in the life of this villages, including marriages, deaths, and battles, both between personalities and between other villages.

Comment if you are interested in helping out, or helping pay for a good editor.

 

 

Nano killed me this year

I have officially given up on Nano for the first time in years. I had a good streak, 4 straight years, but this year it was not working. It was closer to pulling teeth from a live, awake and pissed off bobcat, than writing.

It didn’t help that we had a long, warm Fall which encouraged mold growth up the wazoo. Usually we have had several days of hard freeze by now, which kills off the mold. Mold of pretty much any kind, but especially cellulose mold, gives me migraines. Bold, visual, pounding, nauseating migraines. Guess what the moldy leaves and grass are made of?

Staring at a computer screen trying to force out a set number of words didn’t help either.

Neither did the pressure of a deadline, trying to get 2 books up on every imaginable platform, a sinus infection thing that may be mold related since I’ve had it for a month (same length of time as the migraine, more or less)

Now, I can hear a few fellow migrainers questioning the month long migraine and my still being able to function at all. And in most cases, you would be right. But I’ve been living on antihistamines, migraine meds, tylenol, etc. And I’ve had them for 42 years. (OMG does that make me sound old!) I started them the year before puberty hit. (That’s a bit better)

And since I have always been allergic to mold and cigarette smoke, although undiagnosed until 2003, I am accustomed to being able to function. Not brilliantly, witness my 500 word days on Nano, but enough to eat, dress, wash dishes, go to my Dr for more meds…

I end up with a “migrainey”. Flashy lights, but no real hallucinations, some light sensitivity, but not crippling. (except making coffee before 9am because the sun bounces off our neighbour’s barn’s tin roof right into my kitchen by the… you guessed, coffeepot.)

Other things are difficulty focusing; both eyes and attention, slight nausea so I munch salty things constantly, short temper and other migrainey things, just in smaller amounts.

But don’t worry about A Ring of Earth. I will still write it, just without that kind of pressure. I have someone who wants the complete, perfect manuscript next fall. So… deadline, but reasonable. Hopefully, it will be the first in a series of five books. I’m hoping to pitch it to an agent and/or publisher next year.

To celebrate my freedom to be migrainey, I will be posting a free coupon code in a few days for last year’s Nano winner, Alone in the Night. It’s a gritty, realistic look at teens from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds fighting to survive in the worst neighbourhood in Ottawa. There are elements of sexual/ physical abuse, drugs, homelessness, and street gangs. Recommended for 14+ years

If you have not read the first in the series, A Test of Loyalty, comment and I can send you a coupon for that, too.  My goal is to get 25+ reviews up on Amazon so they’ll put me on the “People who looked at this book, also looked at this one” list.

So, see you in a few days with the codes!

Nanowrimo and/or die

Looks like “and” this year. For the first time in years, I don’t see how I’ll finish on time. It’s very frustrating, as I know the story and characters, have written a 22 point outline and a 9 plot point spreadsheet. But the words just won’t come.

I blame the migraine I’ve been fighting with for weeks. This warm fall has been a boon to molds of all sorts, and I’m allergic to most of them. an allergy that gives me sinus infections and migraines. Not to mention that all the rain is playing havoc with my arthritis.

I have just under 20k words, when I should have 27k.  I know that could be fixable, but it’s harder than pulling teeth, and every day I’m further behind.

Even if I wasn’t sick, I’d be depressed. BUT the novel will be finished, just likely 1st draft done in Dec rather than Jan.

And I can live with that.

Weathering the unexpected.

I woke up this morning to a prepper’s nightmare, or a dystopian writer’s wet dream. I’m not sure which part of me is dominant right now.

But both parts are shocked that Trump won! How could this inarticulate, rage-filled, spoiled baby of a man, this racist, misogynist, hate-spewing wanna-be Hitler WIN?

I am scared for the future, worried about friends in the US, and generally nervous. It has long been an axiom that “Where the States go, so goes the rest of the world.”

I love reading dystopian stories, I don’t want to live in one.

Based on the Nasdaq falling 10+ points last night, and DND having fire drills this morning (coincidence?) I am a bit skeptical of the Sunny Ways right now.

Nasdaq -10.75  /  -0.22%
Level 4,791.50
Fair Value 4,800.14
Difference -8.64

But I have strong, wise, and hopeful friends, who make me feel better about our nation.  (for those who never noticed, I am Canadian, living near our capital city. In nuclear blast range, now that I think about it.) *shiftyeyes*

Anyway, one of those friends is JD Hobbes, professional storyteller and bard, a gentle, loving and wise man.  This was his Facebook post this morning.

“Canada needs to be the strong, united nation now. The world will be looking to us for strength, for guidance, for leadership. We need to be The Beacon on the Hill.

Our leaders need to be strong and hold true to Canadian values. They need to protect us and to inspire us, and in turn, we need to support our country and keep it on the right path.

We the people also need to strong. We need to not give in to fear or hatred or intolerance. It is 15+ years of fear, hatred, and intolerance that have led to this moment.

As Canadians, we need to rise above these base emotions and work towards better solutions. We need to let compassion guide us, rather than fear. We need to consider our second impulse rather than acting blindly on our first impulse.

This is Canada’s moment to shine, to provide the example, and to offer shelter and compassion to those who need it. We have a long history of doing that and we cannot afford to be less now.

We need to be more. We can be more. We will be more.”

Hobbes inspires me to be better, to live on hope rather than fear.

AS the Late Jack Layton, beloved leader of Canada’s Opposition at his death , said “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”— Jack Layton

So I am going to drink my coffee, hug my ginormous white cat, and believe that the niggling fear in the back of my brain is a story fighting to get out, not a premonition.

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SALE! On Shifting Shards anthology.

The first anthology to hit the shelves with one of my stories in is on sale for $.99 at Amazon. It was first by three whole days!  30 at 30 was released only 3 days after Shifting Shards: tales of transformation and metamorphosis.

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The usual price for this anthology is around $5, and it includes 5 long (short) stories by Canadian writers, all around a central theme of shifting on Halloween. Shifting like werewolves, not beach sand. (Don’t ask why my brain went there on a freezing cold day)

My story, On This Day We Maen be Seen, has Norse werewolves, a 6fft tall Norse Dwarf and a Bean Sidhe (banshee) over the three nights of the full moon, which is on Halloween this year. A bad judgement call could lead to the end of the world.

It takes place in the same world as a series of novels I’m working on. And the Christmas anthology by the same publisher (Eighth Ripple Press) will have a vampire story from the same series.

So follow these links aand get your copy before the price goes back up!

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01LXP7OX0
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXP7OX0

The day the buses tried to kill me.

Well, not really, but they did screw with my back and up my pain for 2 days.

You see, it started off simply enough, I had an appt at the hospital for an MRI. One of the ones with contrast, so you needed to be there 1/2 hour early to get the IV put in and stuff. And the MRI machines are booked back to back 24/7. So you really can’t be late.

Should have been easy. Appt at 320, 2 buses, leave at 130, get there by 230, 20 minutes to find my way there.

Should. Have. Been.

Now, remember the big sinkhole a couple blocks from Parliament Hill? Well, it broke through, or another one popped up a few weeks after they “fixed” it. So they closed 2 blocks of Rideau St. to really fix it.

The 2 blocks where all the buses go to let you switch from one bus to another. So I was let off over a block from the mall. (The mall is also undergoing massive renovations to upscale the whole thing to match Nordstroms. So the new hallways don’t go where the old ones did)

I looked for a sign to tell me where to go to get my next bus, because a sign would have been really useful and a smart thing to do.

I didn’t find one. So I asked a bored McDonald’s employee who was out for a smoke where to get the 14 Carlington bus. He said they were all rerouted to the Mackenzie- King bridge, on the other side of a city block sized mall.  Great.

So I skirted all the fences and piles of broken concrete looking for a way into the mall. Found one where I didn’t remember there being one before, but figured that all the road work threw off my sense of distance and shit.

No, it actually was a new door, where the bus stop used to be. Does this mean the buses won’t go there anymore? Who knows. Since I normally can walk about 1/2 a block before my back starts screaming and I’d just walked 2 blocks, who cares about future buses?

I was instantly lost. Last time I was in this mall, this was a drug store, now it’s a hallway leading left, away from where the old hall was. There was a new escalator, too, taking me up a flight to still not where I wanted to be.

I decided to go to the 3rd floor, then look for signs to get to the bridge. That mostly worked, but now instead of 3 distinct floors, the mall has several semi-floors, 2 level floors, like a 60’s bachelor pad.

I finally got to where I figured the door to the bridge-bus stop would be. There was a sign telling me how to get to the new bridge-bus entrance, and a map of where each bus was now stopping.

Hallelujah! Except… the 14 wasn’t listed on the bridge, it was back the way I’d come, 2 blocks in the opposite direction from the mall, on the other side of the street.

My back ached, my left leg was numb from ankle to hip and I had to retrace my steps through 3 floors of mall and then walk 2 blocks. I could have cried, but you really don’t blow off an MRI appt, so I turned around and tried to hurry.

I was no longer early, now I was trying to just be on time.

I got to the second block in time to see my “just get there on time” bus pull away.

I finally made it to the bus stop, nearly in tears, right leg threatening to fall out from under me at every step. Then every bus on the sign went by except the 14. Of course.

Finally, getting on bus. I look so wiped that the driver stopped the bus to make sure I was okay. He looked really dubious at my explanation of just being tired, but he did drive on.

Turns out the bust station map was wrong, the bus did go by the bridge, and I could’ve caught the earlier bus there.  Arrrgh!

Then! Then he had to stop 10 minutes later because he was running ahead of schedule. NOOOOO….

I was finally there, again, road crews, bus stop a block away from where I need to be. I immediately went looking for a wheelchair, the MRI section was as far from where I was as it could be and still be in the same building.

But at long last, despite a snarky nurse because I was now late, and a tech who wanted to discuss Trump… I was there, ready to go, and…

And the machine errored out. Cannot. F’ing. Believe. This. Day.

When I finally was done and ready to leave (At 530 after a 320 appt) My sweet man was waiting just outside the MRI door.

I do love him! He made supper. *

*these 2 statements are not related. Honest.L Stewart

 

Cover reveals and releases!

So, both short stories due in October are officially in anthologies!

Shifting Shards (Eighth Ripple Press) is a Halloween anthology containing a short story from my urban fantasy series set in Ottawa, Ontario. “On This Day We Maen be Seen” takes place between the first two novels, and introduces Moira, the lead character, to Lilu-Lilitu, an Incubus who is a major player in book two. In both senses of the word.  🙂

shifting-shards-closeup

They will also be publishing a Christmas story in this same series, that has vampires. This story takes place in Eastern Europe and introduces us to some characters who may show up later.

A very bitey Christmas to all!

Coming out on October 27th is my short, “The Soul Eggs”, published in 30 at 30, the 30th anniversary anthology from Ottawa Independent Writers, of whom I am a proud member. The Soul Eggs is a short (under 2000 words) horror story based on a fairy tale.

30-at-30

I also received back the rights to a short story that won a fantasy writing competition and am releasing it as an ebook short. It is set in Terreagles, which is both the fantasy country my medieval series is set in, and the actual name of a micro-kingdom my ancestors owned in northern Scotland about 800AD.

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This one fits into the set of Terreagles novels starting with Nets to Catch the Wind, and is backstory for one of the main characters.

My next Nano novel, and the first to be published (I hope, possibly, maybe but I just figured out how to fix Nets to Catch the Wind) is called A Ring of Earth and takes place roughly 200 years before this story.

I am currently trying to convince a publishing program that a 2500 word story does not need a table of contents. It disagrees. Stoopid program.

So I have sent a note off to a live person. Hopefully they publish short stories or I’ve just wasted all day fighting with it.

Cancon and deadlines

I know it’s been awhile since I wrote anything, sorry. But sometimes life catches up and you run out of hours.

Cancon where I did my first presentation to other writers, was 3 weeks before the deadline for a 10k word story I hadn’t started yet.

My darling hubby also had minor heart surgery that month. Is there even such a thing as minor heart surgery?!

Either way it totally wrecked my concentration and process. The first draft of this story was like pulling teeth from an angry cat with your bare hands.

But 2nd draft is now done and I’m sending it off to a few friends for a quick read to make sure it makes sense before shipping it off to the publisher.

In happier news, my first story for this publisher is coming out tomorrow!!!!

Oh, another short is being published in mid-October. The Ottawa Independent Writers are celebrating thirty years by putting out an anthology of 30 stories by their members.

I’m so excited!

My presentation at Cancon seemed to go well. About 30 ppl showed up and took notes. And handouts, which I promise to put up on my website soon. Soonish.

One even caught me in a math error.  A bit embarrassing for a bookkeeper.  But I  brilliantly blamed it on Chizine’s open bar the night before, and insufficient coffee that morning.  I got a lot of understanding nods.

 

Must run, company just arrived.

A writer’s best friends!

When I write, I immerse myself completely in my story. I call myself a “method writer”, Similar to a “method actor” but less annoying. (Why is my hubby laughing?)

I surround myself with tokens of that world; an intricate ring, a photo of a misty mountain, a particular scent… Then I disappear completely. Not always good for something on the stove, but great for imagery in the book.

It’s the burned offerings for supper that annoy me. I know better than to ignore something on the stove. But it happens, rarely, but always the most expensive meals.

So I have decided that these two things are my best friends in the kitchen. A crockpot and an Instant Pot. These two are programmable, useful for more than one thing, and holy guacamole, do they make supper easy!

*I get a small percentage of sales off these 2 items if you purchase them through this page. The crockpot is an incredible price! And if you buy through this page, Amazon won’t close my acct for inactivity.

Both are programmable, so you can pile everything into the pot in the morning, set the timer and ignore it all day! My kinda cooking. The Instant Pot also has 7 functions, including slowcooker. So technically, you only need the one.

I have made chicken and veggie curry in 25 minutes (from frozen) in the Instant Pot. I’ve also made broth so strong it gels in the fridge in 2 hours. THat usually takes at least 24 hours in the crockpot.

I also use them both for making stuff to can; jams, leftovers, stews…. The Instant Pot even lets you pressure can up to 4 500ml jars. Like leftover 20 minute chili?

 

Write, Paint, Film, Create!