Courting Ice – Canadian Style

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 5th slot in the Table of Contents is: “Courting Ice”


I live in Canada and my writing can’t help but be affected by our seasons, particularly winter.

“Courting Ice” takes place in the fictional Daslak. When I wrote the story, I imagined Daslak  as a remote area of Newfoundland. I’ve never visited the province, but I’ve longed to go. Who wouldn’t when so much of the province is absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous?

Here’s a picture of Goose Cove that I downloaded from These things happen.

Newfoundland Iceberg

Nothing like the vista of rock-dominated landscape with a striking iceberg floating past the shoreline.

In the story, Faya is an ice courter. She uses her gift to coax icebergs to shore where the ice is carved into pieces that are used to preserve food.

This courting gift runs in Faya’s family. Her grandfather courted ice and her mother courted water.

Faya’s mother’s gift drew her to the sea. And as anyone who’s worked on the Atlantic in winter knows, the ocean can be a dangerous place to earn a living.

To an ice courter like Faya, all frozen water was uniquely magnificent, from the great bergs that floated past the cape to the thin skins on late autumn puddles. She adored her gift, for it allowed her a connection as splendid as the love she had once shared with her long dead mother. All her life the ice had proven pure and true, until the spring when she fell in love.

We Canadians consider it a national pastime to complain about winter, and I’ve done my fair share during this year’s particularly difficult winter in Ontario. But seriously, I can pretty much guarantee they’ve had it worse in Newfoundland.

Fun Fact

Newfoundland was the last province to join Canada on March 31, 1949 and on December 6, 2001 the Canadian Constitution was amended to change the official name of the province to Newfoundland and Labrador

As many of you know, I love hockey, and the best place to watch hockey is on Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) on the CBC. During the opening montage at the beginning of a HNIC broadcast, they play a clip from the late great Foster Hewitt. And when the clip was recorded, Newfoundland was not yet part of Canada, so he opens with:

Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland

.

Listen to the Foster Hewitt clip on YouTube.


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

Storm Child – Putting a Fresh Face on a Timeless Myth

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 4th slot in the Table of Contents is: “Storm Child”


cicada jul aug cover miniIn the summer of 2000, AKA “2K”, I attended my first writers’ workshop, taught by Ann C. Crispin and held at DragonCon.

At the end of the workshop, we students formed a writers group, which we named the “DC2K” writers. Since then, we still critique, share market listings, and provide support for one another’s work.

One of our group challenges was to write a short story based on a myth or folk story.

I decided to research myths outside of the ones I was already familiar with, and found The Hero with an African Face, Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa  by Clyde W. Ford (Bantam, 2000) at the Kitchener Public Library.

One of the myths was a Rwandan folk tale, and I loved the way it flowed and the atmosphere of the setting.

But the challenge from DC2K was to re-tell the myth, so I decided to set the story in the United States, a few years after the emancipation of the slaves.

Storm Child  was originally published in Cicada. The magazine is gorgeous. They included 7 illustrations by Walter Mendoza for the story. I must admit, the first time I saw them, they took my breath away!

Fun Fact

The main character in Storm Child  is named Wanda.

I took some flack from my writers group about the name, mostly that they felt it didn’t quite fit with the character.

Hear me, writers-to-be: I stuck with my gut on the name. Because I’d based the story on a Rwandan tale, and I thought using the name Wanda was my way of tipping my hat to the origins of the story.


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

March of the Forgotten – The Origins of Sebbee

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 3rd slot in the Table of Contents is: “March of the Forgotten”


Here’s the thing:

I spend at least half (if not more) of my writing time at Starbucks, because
(a) they allow me to linger as long as I like
(b) they have electrical outlets so I can plug in my laptop.

To do my part for the environment, I use travel mugs. (Why not save the ten cents?) One of my favourite mugs looks like this:

Sebbee Mug

So one day, while I was sitting in Starbucks trying to decide what to write about, I made up a story about my mug coming to life. Not a full-on Brave Little Toaster type of life, more like partial consciousness and mobility. Enough intelligence to be self-aware, and enough mobility to march in a circle as a form of entertainment.

In March of the Forgotten  lost objects march around the food court at the mall, in the hopes that their owners will notice and reclaim them. A high-tech lost-and-found.

Fun Fact

In the summer of 2004 I attended a short fiction writers’ workshop at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction in Lawrence, Kansas.

A bunch of the students used to make coffee runs to Starbucks, a place I’d previously NEVER bothered with because I thought they only sold coffee and I don’t drink coffee.

I’m sure, right now, you’re asking, What??

I know, I’m crazy, but I do love tea. (It’s probably a Canadian  thing.)

So I’m in Starbucks and I discover that they do sell other drinks like tea and frappuccinos. Oh, blessed is the strawberry frappuccino  especially with whipped cream topping.

My fellow students hooked me on Starbucks for life! And not only that, one of my pals had an awesome Starbucks mug, which miraculously didn’t leak  and kept my beverage warm for hours.

I bought the same mug. That mug was Sebbee’s predecessor!


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

“The Wind and the Sky” – Backstory

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 2nd slot in the Table of Contents is: “The Wind and the Sky”


neo-op five coverI wanted The Wind and the Sky  to read as a classic Science Fiction story.

So I created a space station, populated entirely with androids.

The station is originally built as a place to store the technological and scientific building blocks of Earth before a meteor hits the planet and destroys the ecosystem. The humans left on the surface build underground caves to keep the population alive until the surface is once again habitable.

Time passes. All the humans posted to the space station die off, leaving androids capable of self-replicating. They are charged with the task of protecting the Earth’s scientific treasures, and the long-dead humans programmed them to share the storehouse of wealth with the rebuilt human civilization once it’s deemed “ready”.

The androids consider themselves so superior that the humans on the surface are never deemed “ready.” The androids build in improvements with each successive generational upgrade. I named the various upgrades after elements in The Periodic Table.

In The Wind and the Sky  Polnine is a member of the 84th upgrade Polonium series of androids. His boss, Astfour (a member of the 85th Astatine series) is a typical corporate manager: big ego, no compassion, and always giving Polnine a hard time for paying more attention to his passions  than his job.

Polnine becomes so fascinated by the humans living on the surface that he decides to pay a visit to the surface. The story evolves as this technologically and scientifically superior android interacts with the hunter-gatherer humans on the surface who are scratching their way back to civilization.

Fun Fact

In an earlier draft of The Wind and the Sky  Polnine’s boss was Asttwo or “AST-2”. (Which in my mind, meant he was the second built of the Astatine series.) But when beta readers told me they thought it read as “AST-TWOW”, the dog with a speech impediment from The Jetsons. I changed his name immediately!


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

“Coolies” – The Story Behind the Story

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 1st slot in the Table of Contents is: “Coolies”


On Spec Coolies covCoolies  is the first story in ELEMENTS, and one of my personal favourites, probably because in it, Canada  is at war with the United States. Crazy, right? Why would the little guy take on their big neighbour to the south?

And here’s the kicker: we’re winning!

I wanted to explore the idea that our two countries would be so polarized on an issue that we would take up arms. In this case, the issue is the existence of stem cell factories where organs and other body parts are grown for surgical transplantation.

Near the Alberta/Montana border, we meet Marvin, a sergeant in the Royal Canadian Regiment who leads a coolies detail–soldiers responsible for harvesting organs in the battlefield.

Since our armed forces already make so many sacrifices for our country, I thought I’d push their sacrifice one level deeper. In the few minutes after their deaths, their bodies can be used to save their wounded comrades.

Fun Fact

Jack McD StarhawkBefore I finished writing Coolies  I read the first few pages aloud at Con*Stellation a convention in Huntsville, Alabama.

The amazing and talented Jack McDevitt was in the audience.

After we all finished our readings, Jack told me he loved the story and couldn’t wait to read the rest.

His enthusiasm gave me the drive to finish Coolies  and to not give up on submitting until I sold it to OnSpec.


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

Table of Contents for Elements

I’ve always enjoyed learning how authors create the stories they publish, and I’m not alone. It’s no surprise that the most popular question authors hear is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

To answer that question in my own way, I’ve added extra content here on the blog as a bonus for my readers.

Elements  contains 21 short stories — 14 reprints and 7 new to the collection.

If you click on a story title, the link will take you to extra content!

Introduction “What Becomes a Legend Most” by Sandra Kasturi

Coolies
Originally appeared in On Spec, Volume 20, Number 4, #75

The Wind and the Sky
Originally appeared in Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Issue 5

Elements-5.5x8.5-100dpi-c8March of the Forgotten
New to the collection

Storm Child
Originally appeared in Cicada, Volume 9, Number 6

Courting Ice
New to the collection

Hot Furball on a Cold Morning
Originally appeared in Doorways Magazine, Issue 6

Jelly and the D-Machine
New to the collection

Everyone Needs a Couch
Originally appeared in Oceans of the Mind, Fall 2003

Waste Management
Originally appeared in Challenging Destiny, #21

Fuzzy Green Monster Number Two
Originally appeared in Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Issue 12

Destiny Lives in the Tattoo’s Needle
Originally appeared in Tesseracts Fourteen, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop
Originally appeared in Clarkesworld, Issue 68, May 2012

Tattoo Ink
Originally appeared in The Shadow Box e-Anthology, Brimstone Press

Gray Love
Originally appeared in Chimeraworld #2

The Tear Closet
Originally appeared in Tesseracts Thirteen, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Hell’s Deadline
Originally appeared in Book of Dead Things, Twilight Tales

Mod Me Down
New to the collection

The Needle’s Eye
Originally appeared in Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell, Lewd I Did Live, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

The Flower Gathering
New to the collection

Muffy and the Belfry
New to the collection

Soul-Hungry
New to the collection

Book tour for Elements

Ongoing appearances for Suzanne Church and her book Elements:

What Scares You? Book Discussion on Stephen King and Other Scary Authors with speakers Lou Rera and Suzanne Church Thursday, October 29, Noon to 1:00pm
Central Branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Ring of Knowledge, main floor, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, New York


Horror Writers’ Association Reading and Q&A Thursday, October 29, 7:00pm
Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, 2 Park Drive, Stouffville, Ontario


SFContario 2015, Aurora Awards ceremony on 22, 2015
The Ramada Plaza Hotel, Toronto, Ontario


37th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts 2016, March 16 to 20, 2016
Marriott Orlando Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida


Ad Astra 2016, April 15-17, 2016
Sheraton Parkway North, Richmond Hill, Ontario

ChiSeries Reading in June

Suzanne will be reading at the monthly ChiSeries Toronto event on June 18th at the ROUND Venue (152A Augusta Ave) starting at 8:00PM.

Held on the third Wednesday of each month, the ChiSeries Toronto events are run by ChiZine Publications and take place in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

For more information about this event, visit the ChiSeries Toronto page or check out the Appearances page on this site.