I’ve Been Busy Behind the Scenes

I’ve been busy with behind-the-scenes promotional tasks for Elements.

My book launch at Bakka Phoenix Books was so much fun last Saturday, April 19th. I’ll post photos to Facebook soon.

Speaking of Facebook, visit the Elements page for details on the CHAPTERS launches in Barrie (Saturday, April 26th) and Newmarket (Sunday, April 27th) this weekend.

On the interview front, The Qwillery asked me some great questions.

As an added bonus, SF Signal linked to the interview in their April 22 post.

I will post links to the other items I’ve been working on here as they become available.

TML logoSince my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t make the playoffs for the Stanley Cup, I’ve been browsing the teams that did.

Stanley CupMany of you might be wondering if I’ll support the Montreal Canadienes since they’re the only Canadian team to make the playoffs. I’ve tried a couple of times, but it’s a tough pill to swallow for a Leafs fan. Maybe if they make the final round…I’ll keep you posted.

For now, I’ve been cheering for the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’re fast, motivated, with great defense and devoted fans. You can expect plenty of #CBJ #BattleOn action on my Twitter feed.

It’s hard to cheer against the Pittsburgh Penguins since I admire Sydney Crosby, so this #CBJ alliance is a rather fragile one.


Ad Astra Convention is THIS WEEKEND!!
…so my blogging and posting might be a little on the light side. I’ll be tweeting as long as my phone battery holds out.

I learned (from a reliable source at the convention hotel last night) that the ELEMENTS/MILKMAN launch will not be in room 1086. But it will be somewhere on the 10th floor. Follow the signs and the noise. I’m sure you’ll find us since we’ll be the ones with CAKE!!

Elements-5.5x8.5-100dpi-c8MilkMan-Cover miniI will be co-hosting a book launch party on Saturday night with Michael J. Martineck on Saturday night from 9PM to midnight. Please join us in celebrating the launch of…

ELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction


The Milkman

We’d love it if you would RSVP via the Facebook Events page. Come for the cake, stay for the fun!

My other panels at the con are:

Saturday, Apr 5 10:00-11:00 AM The Writing Life, Ada Hoffman, Julie Czerneda, Karina Sumner-Smith, Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Suzanne Church (Newmarket)

Saturday, Apr 5 12:00-1:00 PM READING – Writing in the ‘Loo, Marcy Italiano, Sarah Tolmie, Suzanne Church (Markham A)

Saturday, Apr 5 2:00-4:00 PM GoH + Many Other Authors Signing A mass autograph session. Bring your copies of ELEMENTS (available at the Bakka Phoenix Books table in the Dealers’ Room) to be signed (Richmond A)

Saturday, Apr 5 4:00-5:00 PM READING – Stop-Watch Gang, Ian Donald Keeling, Mike Rimar, Pippa Wysong, Stephen Kotowych, Suzanne Church (Oakridges)

I hope to see you at the party and around the convention.

My recent Blog Tour Posts

I’ve been busy, touring the blog-o-sphere recently.

You can expect more of my guest posts to pop up in the coming weeks as my promotional tour for ELEMENTS  kicks up a notch.

On March 28th, “Planners Vs. Pantsers” appeared on Steve Vernon’s Blog. I discuss the two categories of writers: those who plan out in detail (Planners) and those that write by the seat of their pants (Pantsers).

On March 24th, “New Project Freshness” appeared on Eugie Foster’s Blog. I discuss that wondrous feeling you get when you begin a brand new story.

On March 14th, “The Skill of Asking” appeared on Howard Andrew Jones’ Blog. I discuss the many different ways that writers must learn to ask for things, ideas, and help.

The Final Story “Soul-Hungry”

Below, dear reader, please find bonus content for Suzanne’s book: ELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction.

This series of posts provides stories-behind-the-stories for each tale in ELEMENTS.

The last story in the Table of Contents is: Soul-Hungry

The last story in ELEMENTS  was written specifically for the collection.

Near the beginning of January of 2013, my publisher sent me three different cover art possibilities for the collection. I studied them carefully, but none of them spoke to me. I selected the one that I felt was the best of the three. He agreed that my choice was adequate and he also felt somewhat uninspired.

Fast forward to January 30th when he sent me an email that read…

I was not happy with the way the cover design was heading, so I’ve switched things up. What do you think of this cover mockup?

For the other cover options I had sent emails to my “peeps” asking them which cover they liked. But for THIS cover by Neil Jackson I immediately responded…

I love this cover. The font, the shadows in the background, all of it!

Elements-5.5x8.5-100dpi-c8And so, the cover of ELEMENTS  was chosen. Release the doves!

From the moment that I saw the cover, I was inspired to write a story. At that point in the editorial process, we had pretty much decided on the stories and the order they would appear in the collection, except for one story that we were debating replacing.

So I suggested that I write a story based on the cover. The publisher agreed.

On the 13th of February I sent him Soul-Hungry  and after a minor edit, it became the last story in the collection.

Fun Fact

I’ve always loved the word “posse” which I believe resonates more than words like “friends” or “peeps” and I tend to use it liberally in conversation.

I’d already submitted the Acknowledgements page before I even considered writing Soul-Hungry. In retrospect, I’m glad that I had thanked Sandra Kasturi and Marcy Italiano as my “girl-posse” because after writing Soul-Hungry, the term had that much more meaning to me.

It really does take a posse to put a book together. I can’t possibly list everyone here, but the people who come to mind first are:

My publisher at EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing: Brian Hades. And the rest of the remarkable people at EDGE including Ella Beaumont, Aviva Bel’Harold, Anita Hades, and Janice Shoults. And a big WOW to Neil Jackson for the fantastic cover.

My DC2K writers’ group: Eugie Foster, Lisa Guilfoil, Scott Hancock, Amy Herring, Teresa Howard, Alan Koslow, Aaron Longoria, Jenna Lundeen, Linda Pickett, Gwen Veazey, and Debbie Yutko.

My Stop-Watch Gang writers’ group: Richard Baldwin, Bard Carson, Costi Gurgu, Ian Donald Keeling, Stephen Kotowych, Tony Pi, Mike Rimar, and Pippa Wysong.

My Writing in the ‘Loo writers’ group: Suzanne Carter, Stella Congi, Rick Hipson, Marcy Italiano, Danielle Lowry, Nick Matthews, Sarah Tolmie, and Catherine Warren.

The authors who graciously read early ARCs of ELEMENTS  and “blurbed” the collection: Kelley Armstrong, Ed Greenwood, Kij Johnson, Nancy Kilpatrick, David Morrell, and Robert J. Sawyer.

Fellow EDGE author Michael J. Martineck who’s generously donated his time and expertise to help organize the best double-book-launch of all time at Ad Astra this coming April 5th.

The group of attendees at the Clarion South 2005 workshop in Brisbane, Australia, and especially tutors Ellen Datlow, Ian Irvine, Margo Lanagan, Michael Swanwick, Scott Westerfeld, and Sean Williams.

The 2004 group of attendees at the two-week short fiction workshop at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and especially teachers James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Chris McKitterick.

My friends and family…you know who you are!

Cue the curtain and turn up the house lights. That’s a wrap.

And so ends the month-long adventure of blogging the stories behind the stories in ELEMENTS. I hope that you — dear readers — enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy sharing this journey.

See you on the book tour.

Elements LJ sizeELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction is available in Canada and the USA from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

ELEMENTS of Me in “Muffy and the Belfry”

Elements LJ sizeBelow, dear reader, please find bonus content for Suzanne’s book: ELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction.

This series of posts provides stories-behind-the-stories for each tale in ELEMENTS.

Sitting in the 20th slot in the Table of Contents is: Muffy and the Belfry

I’ve written several stories about ghosts. Probably because I believe in ghosts.

Most writers include ELEMENTS  of themselves in their stories. It’s part of how we speak our truths. How fitting that this story, new to the collection, has so many pieces of the young version of Suzanne.

Christmas Suzanne 1974 miniThe young protagonist in Muffy and the Belfrynbsp; is named “Penny.” (For those of you who think I named her after the character in the television show Big Bang Theory  you’re wrong.) I chose her name because of the ways that Russell-the-bully teases her.

Penny is built of many pieces of me, including…

She anthropomorphises her stuffed animals, as I do to this very day.

Elise and Suzanne Christmas 1974 miniShe lives in an apartment above a store, as I did growing up.Her mom works long hours and comes home hungry and weary, so Penny has dinner on the table for her when she arrives.

She’s afraid of the dark. Like most kids, I was also terrified of the dark, especially if I woke up when my mom and sister were asleep.

And because it’s fun to humiliate ourselves online, here are a couple of photos from Christmas in 1974. My older sister and I are wearing our special holiday outfits that our mother sewed for us.

Fun Fact

The creepy skylight in Muffy and the Belfry  was a real part of my life.

From when I was three until I was about thirteen, we lived in an apartment above a store on Pape Avenue in Toronto. The creepy skylight was in the bathroom.

Many, many times while sitting in that room, I would look up and see …

…four crinkly glass panes shaped like triangles. A big crack zigzags along the one closest to me. The black wood posts holding it together meet at a point and an old piece of rope with a knot at the end hangs down from the center. A bunch of spider webs cling to the knot, and on windy nights, like tonight, it sways back and forth.

Boo Bear miniThat description is from memory. I don’t have any pictures of the skylight, and I haven’t seen it in over thirty years. But I swear it looked just like that description and used to scare the bejeebers out of me at night.

I spent a long time this morning trying to find a picture of a skylight that comes close. I came up empty. Sure, there are photos of skylights online, but none of them looked creepy enough. They were all very pedestrian.

Instead, I give you one of the many stuffed bears from my collection. His name is Boo Bear or Boo for short. Because, hey, he’s blue. He was a gift from a high school friend. To use a stuffed animal term, he’s “well loved” AKA old-and-scruffy, just like Muffy in the story.

Elements LJ sizeELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction is available in Canada and the USA from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.