As you may be aware, we are expecting a baby in July. Our blog doesn’t get a parental leave, but we would love a break from it for a couple months.
This means we need guest posts!
Fandom travel: have you visited a place that was featured in a movie or book? PEI, Petra, New Zealand, etc are all examples.
Blush: these posts can definitely be anonymous! Do you have something that you’d like to contribute? We already have a post about Doulas that has been promised (so excited about that!), but the options are WIDE open!
Travelling TARDIS: I can easily set these up in advance, but if you’re going somewhere exciting, even if it’s just an event in Ottawa, you can ask to borrow the TARDIS to take pictures.
I can’t speak for Éric’s posting days of Tuesday and Thursday, but those are full of variety. If you have an idea for a post, give us a shout.
As I mentioned I have a book and a story that’s eligible for Aurora nominations. If you like The Travelling TARDIS, Fandom Travel, Parasomnia, or Database of the Ageless Kings, pleasego nominate them. The deadline is this Saturday May 26th.
The Aurora Awards are awards, “for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy works and activities.” They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.
It’s a fan voted award in the vein of the Hugo’s, but with way more awesome people.
You’ll have to join the CSFFA for a pittance of $10 before you can nominate anyone. Once you’ve paid, you can nominate 5 works in each category. You can nominate works from now until May 26th.
The extra bonus of joining the CSFFA is you’ll get a voters package that includes most of the works that make the ballot. That’s 8-10 novels plus a bunch of other awesome stuff.
What do we have that’s eligible
My second novel Parasomnia is eligible in the the novel category:
I have noticed something strange among people I know (or follow online). It transcends age groups, social groups, and economic groups.
There seems to be a collective “looking down the nose” towards people who don’t do it themselves.
How did this come about? I’m not sure. I assume it’s the backlash to big businesses selling and doing everything (and doing it as cheap quality as possible); the same backlash that has seen a resurgence of crafts people and small businesses.
But when did, “Oh, that’s hand-made? Where’d you get it?”, turn into disdain because we didn’t make it ourselves?
Maybe it’s the hundreds of DIY shows that make it look like people who know nothing suddenly can do amazing things. Reality (show) check; they’re coached and taught by professionals.
Because there is so much information on the internet about everything and a lot of websites that trick you into thinking you’re doing it yourself for cheaper, people assume that they can do anything.
And that might be fine for a drywall patch or a regular dessert or even setting up your television system. However, no one is perfect or good at everything. When I make a cake it tastes good and looks like something a toddler put together. I know so little about drywall that if I tried alone I’d probably just screw it up.
It’s ok to admit that you don’t know everything and can’t do everything.
Small Business and Freelance Professionals
There are certain things you might be good at and that’s wonderful, work on those and improve yourself. Maybe you have the persistence to turn it into a career.
As a Freelance Layout Artist, I have worked on my profession for years. I did my first professional book layout 17 years ago and I’ve been doing it for private and government for 10 years. I have tools, tricks, and resources that most people don’t. The same goes for your friends and family who are professionals in their trade.
Do you know the downfall of most freelancers and small businesses? It’s not that they suck at what they do or that they aren’t skilled in their craft. It’s the business part that’s hard. It forces us to stop working on our passions to become salespeople.
She and I get plenty of emails that start with or include, “Sorry for bothering you” or “I know it’s a hassle”. It’s NOT, it’s our job and we love it.
If I could lay out fiction books for the rest of my life, I probably would never retire. It’s my passion and something I enjoy greatly.
My wife relishes finding the best price for someone. My photographer friends love taking pictures. My baker friends love baking. My clothes making friends love making clothes. My graphic artist friends love art-ing. Etc. Etc. Etc.
No one starts a small business, or goes freelance, unless they love what they do.
It all comes down to money. Some people DIY because they can’t afford anything else… or can they?
I understand that not everyone can afford to buy coffee from JenEric Coffee. It’s a luxury item and I don’t get annoyed seeing people drink Starbucks.
I do cringe when I see friends and family booking cruises or vacations “on their own.” No one books travel “on their own”. They use online sites with catchy names. These sites charge you for the privilege of searching for your own travel. Good travel agents make their money by taking the commission from the vendor not the traveller. That means the cruise ship pays commission not you. (Airfare is different and requires a small fee but is usually cheaper than doing it yourself.) So you don’t pay for a travel agent and they can get you better deals than doing it yourself.
Every profession is different but most don’t, or shouldn’t, charge a fee for discussing what you want. And if they do charge a service fee, they are obligated to tell you so at the beginning of the conversation. We love our jobs and are more than willing to discuss things with you. I’ll talk margins, kerning, and fonts all day (and I have).
Before you waste long amounts of time, get a quote or extra information from your friends who do it for a living. You might be surprised at the amount of frustration and money you’ll save in the end.
And if you truly want to do it yourself, ask us to teach you. I’ll gladly teach you how to roast your own coffee, or work with InDesign.
In the Bay of Skaill on the north-west coast of the largest of Scotland’s Orkney Islands sat a large mound known then as Skerrabra. A storm in 1850 washed part of the mound away, revealing part of village that was inhabited 5 000 years ago. A local by the name of William Watt began an amateur excavation of the site, which was abandoned in 1868. After another storm, in which some of the site was lost to the weather, earnest excavation and preservation began in 1925.
It is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of four sites that make up “The Neolithic Heart of Orkney”. And my goodness is this place beautiful!
Inhabited in the Neolithic (literally, the “new stone age”) the village, which has since been renamed Skara Brae, is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. It is a fantastic example of the sophistication of the Stone Age inhabitants of the island of Britain, replete with stone furniture and even toilets!
Tolkien fans will be pleased to note that the dwellings of Skara Brae were dug into the ground and covered over with earth and sod. These were the original hobbit holes!
The site is a brilliant playground for both learning and fun, boasting not only the ruins of the village which you can wander around, but also a visitor’s centre (with games!), a café and a gift shop with locally made souvenirs.
If you’re an archaeology or prehistoric anthropology nerd like I am, Skara Brae and the entire Heart of Neolithic Orkney should definitely be on your must-see destination list.
This article brought to you by our guest author S.M. Carrière. She is a local Ottawa speculative fiction author and prehistory of Britain enthusiast. She has a degree in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies: Ancient Cultures with a Celtic Studies concentration and is celebrating the release of her fifth book, Human, this month.
Today, I was asked to price out a trip to Japan. Since the quickest way to figure out an approximate price for something is to search for tours that already exist, I went to G-Adventures because they are both an amazing tour company, and sustainable. They only offer small group tours, and always make sure that they hire local guides. Among many other things. Plus, they’re Canadian!
I also did a quick estimate for flights. I found that it costs between $1600-1900 CAD per person to fly from Ottawa to Tokyo. Not bad, considering it costs about half that to fly from Ottawa to Vancouver.
This tour completely blew my mind: Discover Japan. It covers temples, castles, and gardens outside of Tokyo, as well as giving the travellers plenty of opportunities to purchase food on their own.
For the geeky traveller, there are tons of things that you can do in Tokyo before and after the tour. Here is an article that helps you to find a bunch of apps that are pretty cool: with one, you can type in your question in English, and it will translate it for you!
If you like robots, (who doesn’t like robots?) the US challenged Japan to a giant bot-fight, and that will be happening next year, date undeclared at the moment. Pacific Rim or Real Steel, anyone?
Akihabara seems to be the place to go, if you’re interested in seeing video games, popculture collectibles, and other attractions.
If you like monster movies, like Godzilla, here is a pre-planned walking tour by Vili Maunula, complete with mini descriptions of the sights you will see.
My wife has started a new job, it’s a summer job that will go into part time while she finishes her degree but I’m very proud of her. She’s a Travel Agent with AJ Travel Canada. She’s a specialist in Fandom Travel and Special Needs Travel.
Another person in my life that is ridiculously talented is my brother. He’s an actor, director, screen writer.
He directed and played the joker in this fan film based off of Batman and Silence of the Lambs.
Here’s his writing and directing debut.
If it’s no obvious, I’m ridiculously proud of both my Wife and my Brother.
The Poll for my next serial story is still open.
Faeries Vs Robots Vs Aliens
An Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction, following a faery woman who must do one last job for her robot overlords before they let her go free. Can she stop the aliens from invading or would they be better than the robots?
A Supernatural Action/Romance, following a human girl who’s enrolled in Monster University in order to avenge her parents. Can she slay her new friends, keep up with classes, and avoid the cute demi-god that likes her?
A Science Fiction adventure, following a girl who is trying to save her friend from becoming just another clone warrior. Can a normal human girl really save her friend from the most powerful empire in the galaxy?