Writing Excuses workshop at Sea

Yesterday, a writer’s cruise was brought to my attention. And wow, did it ever get my attention!

The Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat 2018! (scroll past the ticket info to get to the event details)

Take a look at the incredible instructors and the amazing seminars being offered!

I have met a couple of these instructors at Can-Con in Ottawa and I was incredibly shy and quiet around them very impressed by them. To have the opportunity to have a one-on-one session with even one of these instructors – where you can cover anything from a critique, worldbuilding, pitching practice (no, not baseball!), or simply get general writing advice – is worth it’s weight in gold.

The seminars themselves are extremely comprehensive and include writing exercises and Q&A time with the professor as well as instructional time.

The cruise allows for a guest to accompany their writer, with a nice discount. Children aged 12-17 can also attend seminars with parental guidance.

Please bear in mind that the prices listed are in USD but they include things like WiFi, gratuities, and transfers to/from the Houston WX hotel, all things that are not normally included in cruise pricing.

There are only a few tickets to the conference left! What are you waiting for?

The Liberty of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Image from Wikipedia.

Are you interested in cruising? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

Can-Con 2015

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

Tomorrow is tue first day of CAN-CON: Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature!


It’s a great weekend for anyone who is a fan or writer of genre books.

CAN-CON 2015 Poster Sep 28

What’s Awesome about Can-Con

This convention is special for its sense of community. Some of the attendees will be hopeful authors, others will be publishers, and there will be multiple award winning giants of science-fiction and fantasy. All with an atmosphere of love for speculative fiction.

It feels like a family reunion. I feel welcomed and accepted.

I unfortunately also invariably say something stupid. Mostly its small things like when I told Matt Moore (One of Ottawa’s master horror writers) I liked his reading when he’d only been the MC.

Then there was the time I told Tanya Huff (The legendary Fantasy author) and Linda Poitevin (The amazing Urban Noir and Romance author) that I preferred writing female protagonists because women are simpler to write. *Facepalm* *Blush* *Dies of embarrassment* What I meant was that I tend to understand women better than I understand men which makes it easier for me… sigh

Hopefully everyone I say something stupid to will forgive me after getting a hearty laugh from my crimson painted face.


Speaking of the possibility for embarrassment… One of my new year’s resolutions was to submit Parasomnia to 3 agents and 3 publishing companies. I’m getting the 3 publishing companies taken care of at Can-Con. Effectively I’ll have 5-15 minutes to sell them on the concept of my book. If they’re interested they’ll take either the whole book for review or the first few chapters.

My like of what I’ve written goes up and down. Mid way through Parasomnia I hated it. When I was done I knew it was the best thing I’d ever written. When I edited it I was convinced it was crap.

I just looked over all the comments from my amazing (Seriously you guys rock) beta-readers to make sure I’m not delusional to think this book should be published. They all seemed to enjoy it. They used words like “Enjoyed” and phrases like, “kept me interested” YAY!

I’m pitching to two publishers I respect a lot and one I’ve only vaguely heard of and I’m sitting here trying not to panic.

Dealers Room

Last but not least the Dealers Room will be filled with amazing authors, publishers, and bookstores. JenEric Designs will be there, with a brand new button and more coffee than even I could drink in a weekend.

This will be your last chance to get the Great Pumpkin (Pumpkin Flavoured) coffee at a convention until next fall.

The vendors room is FREE so even if you’re not at the Con feel free to drop by the Sheraton downtown Ottawa (150 Albert St) and say hi.


Hope to see you there!


Musings on Psychopathy

I read this article and it made me think and my professions. (I’m stretching the definition of profession here.) Civil Servant is tenth on the list but both Layout Artist and Fiction Writer aren’t. As far as Layout Artist goes, there aren’t that many of us and there could easily be a large amount of Psychopaths in the business.

Fiction writing however isn’t on the list and I don’t think it would be on the top 1000. I could be wrong but every fiction writer I’ve met has a strong empathy and understanding of emotions and others. From my exhaustive research. It seems that “antisocial personality disorder” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or “dissocial personality disorder” (World Health Organization) is a condition that limits or prevents someone from being empathic and emotional.

Empathy and emotion are two attributes that every political alignment of author seem to have in spades. Writing a character is intensely empathic, you have to think differently and feel differently. Its can sometime, in extreme cases, cause and author to break down.

I don’t think there are no psychopaths in the fiction writing world but I think it’s they are rare.

If you’re interested in fiction staring a psychopath check out the The John Cleaver Series By Dan Wells. It’s both intense and amazingly well written. The protagonist has to deal with his own Psychopathy and a real psychopath killing people.


What do you make of it? Was your profession on the list?


Why I Write

I’ve realized that I never explained why I write. I’ve mentioned my love for stories and that I write because I love stories and not the other way around. But I’ve never told you wonderful people why I do it.

It’s not because I like Telling People

If you’ve met me in public you’d probably have no idea that I write. It’s not something I like to talk about with people. I’d much rather hear their story, I already know mine.

It’s just awkward to tell people something that feels so personal. And people usually make it even more uncomfortable.

I’ve encountered multiple different reactions but I can boil them down to five kinds of people. The Disbelievers, The Suggest-ers, the Critics, the Disinterested, and the Encouragers.

The Disbelievers

These are the people who just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that anyone would bother writing a book, let alone try to get it published. They’ll give you a confused look and say some variation on, “Oh why?” Or “I haven’t read much since high school”

They are generally nice but will classify you as odd and probably avoid you or try to forget about your weirdness.

I suggest leaving these folks alone or changing the topic to Game of Thrones.

The Suggest-ers

“Vampire books are really in right now.” Or “Have you considered self-publishing that’s where the money is.”

These are my second favourite type of people. They are generally well meaning and trying their best to help you out. They’ll tell you everything they know or read somewhere on facebook. They’ll offer to help and talk to their third cousin’s neice’s ex-fiancé for you.

The major downside is if they try to tell you about their novel idea that they think you’d be better at writing.

The best way to deal with them is know that they’re trying to be supportive. Try changing the topic to what they like to read.

The Critics

They just met you and really don’t care about your writing but they will tell you how horrible the state of fiction is right now. Nothing but crap and magical-teens. They’ll complain about everything.

If you’re really unlucky, you’ll get those who will criticise the industry as a whole and tell you that you’ll never be published because of such a reason etc.

It’s best to smile and nod until they get it out of their system, then go find someone to give you a hug.

The Disinterested

These are the people who ask you what your passions are only so they can tell you about theirs.

They are more interested in telling you about their book/idea/life than hearing anything about you. Heck once they’ve started talking, they might not notice you leaving.

Again it’s best to smile and nod, then find someone else to talk with.

The Encouragers.

These are people who will want to hear about what you’re saying, about your story, and about your life. They’ll let you talk and they’ll comment in the right places.

They will freak you out completely. They are the ones that will understand your pain when you get a rejection letter and not go, “Well Tolkien submitted LoTR blah times before…” They’ll know to give you a hug.

If you find them, treat them well, you’ve just met a rare specimen.

I don’t do it for the Money or Fame

Let’s be clear, the amount of people who make enough money to quit their jobs are the minority. If you think you should start writing because it’s an easy way to make cash, you’re going to be severely disappointed.

It takes years of practice, and years of patience to get enough money to cover your own costs. Brandon Sanderson said that it was bitter sweet to be nominated by the Hugo awards for “Best New Author” since he’d been writing, and trying to publish, for over a decade.

As for fame, if I’m never recognised in public, that’s ok with me.

The Real Reason I Write

I enjoy it.

Yes it’s that simple. I enjoy it.

Do I want to make a living with it? Absolutely, if you found something that you loved doing, wouldn’t you?

Will I stop because of my annoyance and dislike in the publishing industry? No.

I plan on writing as long as I enjoy it. Seeing as I’ve enjoyed it for most of my life I doubt it’ll change.


What’s your passion? Are you trying to turn it into a career?