Canadian publishing… WTF?

Hello My Imaginary friends,

Last Thursday I got an email from our wonderful publisher checking in to make sure everyone was okay after, “a tumultuous week for Canadian speculative fiction writers”.

I’m on parental leave and not as involved online as normal, also I’m kinda isolated from the larger writing community outside of events. I had no idea what was going on.

Holy Expletive did I wish I didn’t know after I read up on it. It made me sick and more than a little angry. Here’s a quick clean description from S. M. Carrière:

It began with accusations of non-payment and verbal attacks levelled against ChiZine Publishing by author Ed Kurtz.

Then things exploded.  Stories by others associated with the press, either having “worked” for (I put worked in quotation marks, because payment was not something they often did) or volunteered with them, and other authors expression concerns about behaviour and non-payment.  Some of it was truly sickening; verbal and emotional abuse that I found extraordinarily triggering. […]

Thoughts on a Bloody Mess – S. M. Carrière

If you really want to learn more you can check out this blog post by High Fever Books. It’s comprehensive and is still updating with information.

I’ve had very little dealings with ChiZine… Mostly the reading series that was run in Ottawa. The reading series in Ottawa was run by some fantastic people and I’m extremely happy that they don’t seem implicated in the terribleness.

When I first met the publishers, I thought they were the rockstars of publishing. They had edgy cool books, snarky attitudes, and a slight punk vibe. I pitched my first novel to them and was shocked that they liked the pitch.

Over the next two years, I periodically emailed about my submission, always getting emails about how busy they were. It was a stark contrast from Renaissance Press that actually published the novel. They apologized for taking too long (less then 3 months) and even walked me through what I should do to improve the novel.

I asked Sandra about the submission in person at the next years’ Can-Con and she replied curtly that, they’d get to it when they had a chance. From that moment on, she and Brett pretty much ignored me. I was on a panel at Limestone Expo and Sandra spent most of the time talking over me and interrupting the other panelists. I mostly tried to avoid them after that. I assumed it was me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and can rub some the wrong way.

I don’t know all the details, but there are a lot of people speaking out about WAY worse things that ChiZine has been involved. It’s seriously disturbing how bad some of the stuff being discussed is.

In case it’s not clear. I believe and support those speaking out.

In times like these, I truly appreciate my publisher. Renaissance isn’t the biggest, nor is it the fastest growing, but damn do they take care of their authors. They have a careful, people-oriented approach to publishing that I greatly appreciate.

I have nothing new to add to the conversation, but I do want to repeat two important messages:

  1. Don’t punish the writers for their publisher.
  2. Don’t assume that everyone involved with ChiZine knew what happened or were involved. There are some genuinely lovely people who were involved with the company that might not have been involved in the horrible behaviour.

Be kind, my friends,

Éric

Solo Car Trip with an Infant

We’re going to depart from the standard “fandom” article today because I’m tired and this is relevant to my life.

Last week, I drove with Pegasus to Kitchener from Ottawa. Granted, there was another adult (my dad) with me on the way to Toronto, but we were by ourselves for the entire return trip.

Recommendations for travelling with a four month old:

  • hope that the infant sleeps well for long periods of time in a moving vehicle
  • feed baby and change baby right before you leave (in our case, Pegasus usually has 2-3 giant poops right after waking up in the morning. I didn’t leave the house until after these were done)
  • wait until baby is drowsy before leaving
  • bring more diapers than you think you’ll need
  • wipes, too
  • ask in advance if you have access to a washer and dryer at the other end of your trip; if not, bring 2x as many clothes for both of you than you think you’ll need (I did have access, thankfully!)
  • bring a change mat that wipes clean, not a cloth one

Things that I did that worked when driving solo:

  • got gas when arriving at the onroutes – baby was still sleeping and didn’t get upset at the prolonged wait for food/change/removal from car seat (if he’d been awake, I would have gotten it afterwards)
  • changed baby immediately after arriving – and used the toilet myself because I knew I’d forget otherwise
  • got food for myself right after that – meant that I didn’t have to spread stuff out to feed him, pack it all up to get food for myself, and then spread it all out again
  • found a comfy chair (thank you Port Hope onroute for having comfy chairs!!) and spread my stuff out, fed baby right away
  • changed baby on my lap because packing up stuff seemed like way too much work
  • fed myself while baby played with a toy (chairs are big enough to squeeze baby beside myself!)
  • fed baby again
  • changed baby again
  • baby was getting drowsy so I left right away
  • plan for multiple stops every 2/2.5 hours and hope you don’t need stops in between (I had to make an extra stop at the Mallorytown onroute because Pegasus had a nightmare and woke up – thankfully it was before the onroute; there is nowhere to stop after that other than on the side of the road, and I didn’t want to do that in the dark)
  • do not stop for yourself unless you absolutely have to – taking the baby out of the car means that you have to feed and change them and let them play for a bit before getting back in the car – it extends any trip by at least an hour for every stop you make

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Eugene and Rapunzel

Much to Dragon’s delight, Eugene (Facebook, Instagram) and Rapunzel (Instagram) were willing to stop for a photo. She could barely contain herself, but she’s getting better when faced with her heroes. She was willing to stand next to them and actually look at the camera!

Last Chance to Vote

Hello Again,

This Saturday is the last day to put in your votes for the Aurora awards. If you’ve been meaning to, please go and vote before it’s too late.

Go to https://prixaurorawards.ca/ and click on the “Become a Member” button. Once you’ve paid you’ll be able to vote. Don’t forget to download your voters package.

Please consider both The Sign of Faust and The Travelling TARDIS in your votes.

The Sign of Faust

The Sign of Faust is available at Amazon and Renaissance Press.

Elizabeth Coderre solves mysteries. Magic, wizards, and killer kittens didn’t stop her last semester. Now someone is trying to kill her in absurdly complicated ways, she’s hearing voices, her best friends are constantly fighting despite being madly in love, and the desires of Baker City’s residents are becoming reality. Can she find out who’s trying to kill her and discover the source of everyone’s luck, while navigating dating, concerts, school, and competing in the science Olympics? She can only wish… and you know what they say about wishes!

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

This will be my last reminder.

Hope you’ve read and enjoyed the books from this year’s package.

Thank you,

Éric

The Toronto Umbrella Academy

Fans of The Umbrella Academy (viewable on Netflix) can visit several of the sets in Toronto.

Image from Netflix

As I’m not familiar with this show, I’m going to link you to an article that has more information than I know what to do with. You can find the Narcity article here.

Interested in doing an Umbrella Academy tour while visiting Toronto?

You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Only 11 days left to vote

Hello,

There’s only 11 days left for you to vote for the Aurora awards. So go to https://prixaurorawards.ca/ and click on the “Become a Member” button.

Once you’ve paid you’ll be able to vote. Don’t forget to download your voters package.

Please consider both The Sign of Faust and The Travelling TARDIS in your votes.

The Sign of Faust

The Sign of Faust is available at Amazon and Renaissance Press.

Elizabeth Coderre solves mysteries. Magic, wizards, and killer kittens didn’t stop her last semester. Now someone is trying to kill her in absurdly complicated ways, she’s hearing voices, her best friends are constantly fighting despite being madly in love, and the desires of Baker City’s residents are becoming reality. Can she find out who’s trying to kill her and discover the source of everyone’s luck, while navigating dating, concerts, school, and competing in the science Olympics? She can only wish… and you know what they say about wishes!

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Thank you and good voting.

Éric