Athena’s Daughters 2 is Live!

And as of this writing, already funded. I want to thank everyone who’s backed the kickstarter so far, and also everyone who’s shared it on social media to help spread the word. You’ve all been a part of the success of the anthology.

We are barreling past stretch goals – the first stretch author, JY Yang has already been added, at $5000. At the $6000 mark, my story, “The Maelstrom At The End Of The World” gets added.

It’s a steampunk story about an airship captain and a pair of skywhales in a dying world. And because you all clearly need more enticement, here’s a short excerpt:

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Out in the fading light, Kelle thought she saw something drifting through the clouds. A faint glow, and a violet coloured wake behind it.

“You see that out there?”

Weston squinted. “Is that a skywhale?”

“You’re seein’ what I’m seein’.”

“Got to be the last one.” Weston stood with his mouth open as Kelle turned the tiller towards the great beast arcing through the sky.

If they could catch it, it would feed the hundred evacuees on their ship for weeks.

“Get the harpoon ready,” Kelle told Weston.

Weston hesitated. Kelle understood why. Skywhales were beautiful creatures, and the sky had been empty of them for so long. Skysailors had told stories ever since the first airhsips, of skywhales guiding them to safe harbour when they were lost in a storm. To see one again was a symbol of hope.

To kill it would break Kelle’s heart as much as it would Weston’s. But his little one’s needed food, and there was none. And this skywhale was headed into the Maelstrom anyway.

The crew around her readied the main harpoon. It was a heavy thing, bolted down to the outer deck. An older model—this wasn’t a whaling vessel, never had been. The harpoon had been added on when things started getting bad, and they needed to take down the whales for food whenever they could. Still, until now, Kelle had never been able to bring herself to do it. If she were alone, or just with the crew, she might still have claimed the whale was too far away, or too close to the Maelstrom.

But for Weston’s little ones she would do it.

“Weston, tell them evacuees in the hold they might be in for a bumpy ride in a bit, but with any luck we’ll have dinner tonight.”

The Skywhale loomed closer. Kelle wondered aloud to Weston, “I never understood, after all the time humans have been hunting and killing them suckers, they’ve never learned to fear us.”

“My father always said they’re wise beyond our comprehension,” Weston replied.

The skywhale disappeared into a rose coloured cloud of aether fleas, opening it’s gaping jaws to suck in a mouthful. When it came cresting out, they were close enough to see clearly. The creature’s skin glowed white and shimmered with colours in the faded light of the sun. It was a cow—a she-whale—and her fins spread out as long as her body, filmy and glistening like the wings of a giant dragonfly. She didn’t flap—no one knew what kept a skywhale afloat, but the fins were merely rudders, the tail much like the front fins.

And she wasn’t alone.

Sailing next to it’s mother’s dorsal fin was her calf. Both glowed against the cloud, and a white and violet shimmer reflected over their bodies as they moved.

“We taking the baby too?” Weston asked, appearing beside her again.

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So. Yeah. Not even twenty four hours and we’re only about $500 from this story being included in the anthology. I’m really excited to see my work in print, and thank you again for all your support!

Keep your wings level.

Update: And I woke up this morning to see we’re at $6060 – this story will officially be included in the anthology! There are five more stretch author’s though, so if you haven’t backed the Kickstarter yet, we want to get all of them in! Click here to back the Kickstarter and help my fellow writers get included in the anthology: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/athenas-daughters-volume-2/description

Athena’s Daughter II Goes Live Monday! (And How You Can Help.)

I’ve seen a draft of the kisckstarter and is sounds awesome. I’ve also picked myself up a copy of the first one, Athena’s Daughters, and what I’ve read so far kicks ass. (There’s an aviation themed story in there, so if that’s your schtick, pick it up and read Janine Spendlove’s story.)

I’m really excited about this. As much as I come off pro and all, and people assume I have more published than I do, but this will be the first time anyone’s paid me more than the price of a cup of coffee for my writing. The first Athena’s Daughters was really successful, and I’m hoping everyone will make this one as successful as the first one. And you can help.

Okay – they’ve got a thunderclap planned for this kickstarter. A thunderclap, as far as I understand is when a group of people get together and plan to all post about the same thing at the same time. If a bunch of people do that at the same time, social media sites will pick up on it, and bump popular posts to the top of people’s feeds or even get it trending on twitter or facebook. There’s a website that makes it simple: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/20175-athena-s-daughters-2

If you click that link, it’ll take you to a page with an option to schedule a facebook post and/or a tweet and/or tumblr post, that will automatically be posted on December 16th, the day after the kickstarter goes live. This will help the project get more attention and reach more people who might be interested in backing it. If you love me, click the link and schedule a post.

Thanks to anyone who’s already clicked on the thunderclap link and scheduled a post already. We had a minimum of 100 participants in the thunderclap, and we’ve made the minimum, but the more people schedule a post, the more the signal will be amplified over the internet.

Oh, and of course, if you really love me, back the kickstarter on Monday!

Meet Your New Manitoba 99’s Web Admin

For the uninitiated, the 99’s is a club started by none other than Amelia Earhart, the famous aviatrix lost on her way to Howland island in her attempt to be the first woman to circumnavigate the earth in an aeroplane. The club was founded in 1929, and originally had ninety-nine members, hence the name.

You have to be a woman to be a member, and you have to have a pilot’s licence, or at least a learner’s permit. Which makes it that much more special to me to be a member.

Anyway, the time came around to hold elections, and I got invited to run for a position. I showed up to the meeting and realized that the chapter’s membership had been flagging for years, the leadership long on the shoulders of only a few women, who’d carried their burden a long time. It was refreshing, for them, to see so many young women showing up for a leadership meeting, ready to carry the torch they passed on.

The elected individuals are named at the bottom of the Manitoba Chapter’s page, and as you can see, I’m their new web admin.

They’ve set me up with a login to the site now, and now that I have all the info, I’ve realized something. The Manitoba chapter’s page is just a child page to the national site. Which means they’ve given me write access to the national 99’s website.

I always get a little bit giddy when people give me that kind of power. I mean, if I was a complete bumbling idiot, I could click the wrong button and delete the entire website. Obviously I’m not that kind of idiot, but I do admit to a mischievous nature. My husband calls me his fox, after all.

Let me tell you a story.

This isn’t going to be nearly as funny as it was when it happened. It was one of those you-had-to-be-there moments. But at my previous job, I was part of the second level support team and we all had a chatroom to communicate efficiently, and one day one of the supervisors came in bragging about how he’d spent so long tracking down this guy who’d left us a voicemail with no info except what city he was located in, and after calling every company building in the city, he’d finally got in touch with the guy.

I commented that he’d spent way too much effort on this guy, and this was (company name detracted), not Myst.

Everybody laughed and Sean said, “That was awesome, now do one for Sim Ant.”

I may be dating myself here. I don’t care.

I told him I can’t just do them, you have to set them up for me, and we went back to work.

About a week later – you know, long enough that something’s not forefront in your mind, but recent enough to remember it – one of the team leads sent an email that was ambiguous in meaning, and I was getting after him about clarifying. And Sean started making fun of me, going “Can you explain that? Be more clarified? What does that mean?”

And I said “It means Sim Ant.”

Now, keep in mind that we were working long hours, we were stressed out and exhausted, every one of us, to the point that anything would have been funny. It was a classic you-had-to-be-there moment, but I shit you not, none of them could talk for five minutes, they were laughing so hard. I didn’t think it was going to be that funny either, but at the time, in that mindset, it was.

Fast-forward to my last day, when there was no IVR message to record (my plan for my last day was always to record an IVR outage notification and end it with “this message will self destruct in ten seconds.”) I had another job lined up and was working out the last of my notice days. My team leader gave me explicit orders to log out of my phone and do something unproductive.

I had write access to their knowledge base (internal website that stores all the info and processes for the employees to do their jobs). There is, in that knowledge base, and still is, as far as I’m aware, behind a link under the subject matter expert heading that says “hymenoptera simulation.” If you click on it, it leads to a screenshot of Sim Ant that reads “Your health is low, find some food!”

Now, I’m too professional to do something like that on the 99’s website, but temptation is there. Oh it’s there.

That said, I may or may not have planted an easter egg on my website from my favourite vintage Windows DOS game. I also may or may not have spent two hours trying to get the game to run on Windows 7 to get the screenshot I wanted. If you find it, send me an email through my contact form, and I will come up with some kind of prize!

Thoughts On Forums

Every year I hop on the Nanowrimo website forums and lurk on the reference forum, where people ask questions to help them with researching their novels. Over the years though, I’ve seen some patterns.

Like, weirdly enough, one of the first questions of the year is always someone asking about  synesthesia, and another person asking about polyamoury. Of all things. Every year. Not a complaint, just an observation.

There’s generally a couple of questions about Canada. Usually one about the weather, but that never specifies what part of Canada, and thinks the weather is the same across the entire country even through it’s bigger than the USA.

There’s also generally numerous questions referring to something ambiguous do to the fact that the poster assumes everyone will know they’re talking about the United States. “Question about the west coast” for example. West coast of what?

There’s the numerous people who ask questions and they haven’t even tried to research it themselves. Like, you can literally type the title of their post into google and the first result is the answer to their question. There’s a shockingly large number of these.

And then there’s the one’s who ask a question about something they haven’t bothered to learn enough about to make the question make sense. Like, they ask a question about the X era, only X is a place name, not an era.

And every once in a while someone asks on the reference forum a question about a mythical or supernatural creature, in a very serious manner, as if they sincerely believe it exists, and why doesn’t anyone just give them a straight answer as to how much silver nitrate it takes to disable a werewolf, and whether or not unicorns mate for life rather than just mocking them. Of course werewolves and unicorns are real, silly. I’m never sure if these people are trolling. They probably are. I would, if I weren’t too lazy to make a troll ID and use it to post shit like that.

And there’s the people who post “tell me everything you know about X.” But it’s never something specific. It’s something like, New York, or Russia, or learning to fly an aeroplane. Dude, what I know about learning to fly fills a textbook. I’m not typing a textbook into a forum post.

And last, but not least, there’s the one that annoys me the most by far. It’s the people who want you to write their story for them. They post a question that’s not a question, but a request for a brainstorming question. Throwing out some vague ideas and go “what kind of character would make a good main character for my story?” or “What kind of profession should my character have?” The sort of questions that, if you’re writing a story, there are more considerations than you can convey to the readers of a forum post, and an experienced writer would know that. They want you to come up with something for them to write about, when those sorts of decisions and inspirations are the things that make a writer unique. They always get the most responses, too. Everyone’s happy to be asked their opinion on something, especially when they don’t actually have to know what they’re talking about.

There’s one more that I don’t tend to see on the Nanowrimo forums so much, but I see it on a writing forum I used to frequent, but got too sick of this specifically that I don’t bother looking at that forum anymore. It’s “Question.” That’s the title of the post. You don’t know what they’re asking unless you actually click on the post and read it. There are questions where the post title is not specific enough as well, that are almost as bad. I don’t have time to click on every post in a page of hundreds of questions to see if I have anything to offer. Please, for the love of whatever gods you hold holy, title your posts accurately and and specifically. If you don’t, I don’t have time to click on them, because many of these sites, especially the Nanowrimo one at certain times, can run slow. Us people who know shit, we ain’t gonna wait for your post to load unless we know there’s a good chance we have something to offer. Do yourself a favour.

Upcoming Events

Originally posted on Chadwick Ginther:

Some fun stuff on the horizon:

Central Canada Comic Con!

I’ll be sharing some space with GMB Chomichuk, Samantha Beiko, Ryan Roth Bartel, and assorted other awesome folks in Artist’s Alley. Come on down to Booth 328 and say hi. I’m also debuting a new illustrated Thunder Road ‘verse short story illustrated by Kevin Madison (who did a series of  “Thunder Road Trip” illustrations)! “A Simple Twist of Fate” will be limited to a 200 copy print run, so you know what they say: buy early and buy often.

Other friends of Thunder Road that will be in Artist’s Alley include: AP Fuchs (#829), Burst Books (#823), Donovan Yaciuk (#316), Kari Ann Anderson (#116), Keycon (#910), Lovern Kindzierski (#425), Nyco Rudolph (#532), Scott A. Ford (#621), Scott Henderson (#324), and Sierra Dean (#724).

NaNoWriMo is kicking off November 1st. I won’t be participating in NaNo this…

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Athena’s Daughters II

Last Dec/Jan, Silence In The Library Publishing did a Kickstarter for their anthology of women authors writing women main characters called Athena’s Daughters. It was the most successful literary anthology ever done on Kickstarter.

This December, they’re Kickstarting Athena’s Daughters II. Why I’m excited about this: I’ve posted this on facebook already, but when the kickstarter goes live, one of the stretch goals will be the inclusion of a story by yours truly.

How stretch goals work: for those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowdfunding service. People put forward a proposal, state  how much they need to do what they’re proposing, and offer rewards in return for donations. Stretch goals are for when they pass the amount they are asking for, at which point they can afford to do extra things. Like include more stories. Like mine.

I’ll put out reminders and updates closer to when the Kickstarter goes live, but if you want another fantasy and science fiction anthology full of awesome stories about women, with a story from me about an airship, a skywhale, and the end of the world, here’s your head’s up.