This past weekend the entire JenEric family went to one of our favourite conventions; Can*Con. The people were lovely and the event was wonderful, but boy am I glad it’s over.
It’s definitely the most stressful convention for me. Most conventions, my job is to stand there, look pretty, and sell coffee. At Can*Con, I’m also an author and need to talk about my books and my experience. Often times, with people I respect and am in awe of.
This year I had a panel about multiple point of view narratives with Tanya Huff and Kevin Hearn. Both amazing writers and extremely intelligent panelists. I think, to my surprise, I didn’t come off as a complete fool, so yay. (A personal fanboy moment was when Tanya chided me for not mentioning my Aurora nomination.)
I also had a signing with Charles De Lint. I spent half the time chatting with people in line to talk with him and half the time chatting with him. He’s a really nice person and we chatted about book formatting and support structures.
Now all that was stressful but awesome. Unfortunately, all 4 of us came down with a cold just before the convention. So doing a convention with a 3 year old and a baby while being sick was… exhausting.
Despite all of us being exhausted, we decided we needed to go to the Aurora awards banquet (we were both nominated but didn’t expect to win). Keladry wanted to dress up and we were just too darn tired so we didn’t. We were the schlumps in t-shirts and jeans but we had a great time.
On the Sunday I had a reading and took Keladry to ensure I had an audience. To my surprise, there were three other people. At least one of which was there to hear me read. Yay, I have a fan! Thanks S!
Doing conventions with kids is hard but totally worth it. Adrien mostly slept, but Keladry was as good as possible. She listened, didn’t touch things, and only melted down a few times. I’m really proud of them.
Doing conventions with kids isn’t easy, but what makes it infinitely better is doing it with people who love them and like to entertain them. S. M. Carrière being the godmother spends a lot of time helping us at almost every con. Nathan of Renaissance was amazing despite being busy 99% of the con. Heather Chambers was absolutely fantastic with Keladry. She drew with her, played, and spent lots of time laughing.
There are more people that helped then I can name.
To everyone who helped, chatted, bought something, listened to me read or rant, or just made this convention amazing. Thank you so much!
This anthology, published by Renaissance Press, is currently on Kickstarter! I’ve been following along with this project since they asked for author submissions in fall 2018, and the authors they accepted are incredible (and I’m sure it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down). I am really looking forward to this anthology.
The Kickstarter is off to a great start, already at over 25% after only two days live.
And there was a delay of a few hours in it going live, because the title of one of the stories is “CharityTM“, and Kickstarter bans any charity work on their platform. Once the issue was straightened out, however, they quickly got to 10% of their goal.
You may recognize the name of the publisher. That’s because they publish Blush! They also publish a diverse variety of books, including several by the author of the other half of this blog; Éric Desmarais.
Here is the summary of the new anthology Nothing Without Us, direct from the Kickstarter itself:
For the most part, people who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness are faced with stories about us that are crafted by people who really don’t get us.
Nothing Without Us combines both realistic and speculative fiction and stars protagonists who are written by us and for us. These are bold tales, told in our voices, which are important for everyone to experience.
Why we’re doing this
According to Statistics Canada’s 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, more than one in five people is currently living with a disability. If one were to go by how many disabled people we see in fiction or on the screen, however, it would be reasonable to assume disabled people are as rare and misunderstood as unicorns. Even worse, when we are represented, we are lonely, unhappy, searching for a cure, and we often die tragically to inspire the protagonist of the story (who is never disabled themself) or find a magical cure (and inspire the protagonist.) It’s very clear most of these stories are being written by people who do not have those lived experiences; an unsurprising fact, considering that people who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness are chronically both underpaid and underemployed.
Spoonies to the rescue
After publishing her first novel, Cait Gordon was invited to speak on several panels, most of which were about disability visibility in fiction. She rapidly found that panel after panel, members of the public would ask her to recommend books where protagonists were disabled, as opposed to them only being side characters, and she found that she could barely name any title. So, with the help of her BFF, activist Talia Johnson, she decided to assemble this anthology to showcase not only what disabled characters, but also what disabled authors, are capable of.
Renaissance Press is a small, independently owned Canadian publisher dedicated to uplifting the voices of marginalized people. When Cait approached us with this anthology project, we recognized it as exactly the kind of project we love to champion: own-voices fiction written by a majority of marginalized people whose stories also show the intersectionality of marginalized communities. We’re very proud and excited to be able to present Nothing Without Us to you.
Arthur Jenkins would have been happy to live his life the way it was until he finally died, but the angel in his office has different ideas. He’s there to grant a wish Arthur made as a kid, and it’s a doozy. It’s also a wish he doesn’t want in the slightest. After all, what grown man would want to be a barbarian hero? Seriously! Whether he wants it or not, Arthur is getting that wish granted. Angels have quotas too, you know. Join Arthur, Dead Mike and Valeria the Paladin on a quest across the land, having unwanted adventures while looking for a comfy place to sit.
John Haas has a fantastic imagination, great sense of humour, and wonderful understanding of narrative flow. He’s also recently won a spot in Writers of the Future.