Distant Early Warning Cover, Trailer and Pre-orders

It’s finally here! The beautiful new cover for Distant Early Warning is ready to meet the world. From this post you can access the book trailer, pre-orders on Kobo, and see the synopsis and new cover. Enjoy!

Pre-order on Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/distant-early-warning-1?utm_source=FNACSpain&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=detailpage

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpR4AYPOmAQ&list=PLnhLvcaGPgg4qXGmbgcDVxWn-jeCURajS&index=33


Canada is in crisis. Climate change has taken hold, and amid the flooding and the super storms, the dead begin crawling out of the ground at night, screaming out strange gibberish songs that entrance anyone who hears them. The north quickly becomes a wild west, without the west.

Denny’s life changes forever one day when she sees her dad on TV, dead and screaming. Denny gives up her job, buys supplies, and heads out with her dad’s dog, Geoff, to discover the truth behind his death, but truth always comes with a cost. What Denny discovers in the wilds of Northern Ontario will shatter all of her assumptions about her life, and what lies beyond.

October Update and RenVCon Schedule

It’s spoopy season, everyone.

Despite the absolute chaos everywhere, and the inconvenient reality of having to stay cloistered indoors as an extrovert who is seriously missing my peeps, I can’t quite get this running music loop out of my head:

In case you are wondering, yeah, in a world without copyright, this would be my entrance music for every reading. And I would dance up to the mike.

So there’s a lot going on. Halloween, Fall, Halloween, oh and I am also taking some courses. I’ve decided to pursue fluency in French, both because I think it would open up more opportunities for me, and because I think that it’s something that all English-speaking Canadians should know if they have the ability. I’m never one to do things halfway, and so I am planning to read some of my favourite books in French to give my coursework a boost, starting with Le Hobbit. Exciting! Someday, I would like to speak five or six languages, but one at a time.

I am also learning a bunch of great new art and animation softwares including Harmony and ZBrush, so you might see some interesting new projects surfacing here from time to time.

In addition to keeping myself busy with course work, I have been delighted that 2020’s social distancing hasn’t meant any slow-down in appearances. In just fourteen days, my excellent publisher, Renaissance Press, is bringing you…

RenVCon II!

The last RenVCon was awesome, and a good time was had by all, and I think that Renaissance Press has done a great job of building on that success with an all-new round of topics and some new faces. I’ll be reprising my Dystopia panel with a new twist on the topic, and some great new participants, including my dear old friend Rae, creator of the new sci-fi adventure comedy webcomic Recursion.

Here’s my schedule below:


Join Me at the 2020 Bi+ Arts Festival on September 23!

This is the most exciting Fall season I have had in quite some time. Sure, the craft festivals are not happening, and that’s a bummer, but there is so much going on that I don’t have any time to sulk about not getting to taste artisan mustards and buy overly elaborate candy apples.

For instance, I have just been invited to a virtual reading plus dance party at the Bi+ Arts Festival. And now, I am inviting you.


It looks like it’s going to be a great event. Below are the bios for my fellow authors, and I think it’s going to be a great lineup. I’ve seen Anuja read before, and I was absolutely blown away, so I’m stoked to be in such a prestigious group.

Jen Brown is a queer, Black speculative fiction writer and academic librarian who’s work has appeared in FIYAH Literary Magazine and PodCastle. When not writing, she’s either playing visual novels and tactical RPGs, caring for an impressive collection of house plants, or desperately tackling her “To Be Read” pile. She tweets @jeninthelib, or you can find out more about her work at jencbrown.com.

Anuja Varghese is a QWOC Pushcart-nominated writer whose work appears or is forthcoming in The Malahat Review, The Humber Literary Review, Hamilton Review of Books, THIS Magazine, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Volume 6, and others. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Pigeon Pages Fiction Contest and took third prize in the Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition. Anuja holds a degree in English Literature from McGill University and is currently pursuing a Creative Writing Certificate from the University of Toronto while working on a collection of short stories. Anuja can be found on Instagram (@anuja_v) and Twitter (@Anuja_V), or by visiting her website www.anujavarghese.com.

I will just end by saying… reading plus dance party. What more can you want?

New Cover, New Life.

I would like to cordially invite you to the Renaissance Press Fall Preview event on September 13. Below are more details from the Facebook event page. There will be a ton of great authors reading and discussing their upcoming work, and I will be revealing Distant Early Warning’s new cover and launching presales.


Out of consideration to everyone who was expecting a Fall launch for Distant Early Warning, we’re opening presales a little earlier than usual to let people guarantee their copy at around the same time as the original launch date.

This cover reveal is a very exciting moment for me. When I first released Distant Early Warning I knew how much potential it had, but there were production problems that prevented us from putting out the same level of finished product as, say, Robotica or 5 Demons. A key player in the production of the book let me down big-time at a very crucial moment, leaving Pop Seagull crunched for time and unable to explore too many concepts for the cover.

My husband, Robin McLean, is the original cover designer, and believe me, he approved this message. He is hugely talented and his interior illustrations for the book really captured the aesthetic. Carrying those illustrations forward to this edition of the book was very important to me. But sometimes, even the professionals can be sitting there, scratching their heads, coming up with nothing except the most literal interpretation of the book for the cover. That was absolutely the two of us back then.

Eventually, in the intervening years, I came up with an awesome cover concept that not only covered Distant Early Warning, but the entire trilogy. It is that cover concept, the one that I wish the book had sported all along, that you will see at the cover reveal on September 13. I am so grateful to Renaissance Press and specifically, Nathan Caro Frechette for making this beautiful cover a reality and introducing Distant Early Warning to the world in a way that highlights what makes it great.

Peace and Love,


Distant Early Warning Launch Date Change

Those who read the blog regularly may remember my announcement that Distant Early Warning, my Canadian cli-fi survival horror epic, would be published by Renaissance Press this Fall.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the upheaval and uncertainty it has brought to nearly every industry, including publishing, my publisher and I have made the mutual decision to push back the Distant Early Warning launch to Spring of 2021. I initiated this change because I wanted to give the book the best chance possible, and because I hoped that by moving the launch date I might have the chance to celebrate with my fans in person at some point when it is safe to do so.

I know that this announcement is long overdue, and I apologize to anyone that was waiting for more news. I always strive to keep readers in the loop, however all of the chaos happening in the world right now made me forget that this detail was crucial to communicate to others outside of my publishing and marketing team. D’oh! This was another great learning experience on my publishing path, and I look forward to providing more news about Distant Early Warning soon.

Love and good vibes!

End-of-Month Writing Update: July

About two years ago, I embarked on a journey to keep developing as a writer, and to become the best that I can be. My slogan for this journey has been be so good they can’t say no. To me, this means that it’s not okay to stop at my best. It’s not okay to stop at adequate, good, or even great. I’m working hard, I’m seeking out critique, and I’m not stopping until my work sparkles. Because ultimately, I want to be a huge success story in publishing and the only way to do that is to wow people consistently and thoroughly, both in my professional interactions and in the quality of my work.

I think all of the work I have been doing is paying off, because a lot of my old patterns are falling away. For a long time, I have written very clean drafts that went straight into working with an editor, and no matter where I thought they were going to land word count-wise, they always seemed to end perfectly at around 90k words.

Not so with my new, whale-sized fantasy manuscript. Not only did it require a full rewrite with a completely different ending, the new draft is also topping out at around 120k. I know this isn’t unheard-of for fantasy, but it’s nearly unheard-of for me. I am also planning at least one more draft before seeking out an editor.

Some might see these changes as a struggle, but I am invigorated by the fact that I can see new opportunities in my work where before I would have seen ‘the best I can do’. I am leveling up, taking chances and challenging myself.

July has also been a good month for word count, and although I haven’t always hit my aspirational count of 1000+ words per day, I’ve been getting my butt in the seat every day and there have only been 4-5 days where I’ve been running on empty and had to take a break. After the creative wasteland that was February through May, I am grateful to have freed up some brainpower to devote to my writing.

Unfortunately, my little COVID-19 detour means that I will probably not finish three manuscripts this year, but I will most likely finish two and a bit. I really wanted to put my Alien-style rogue AI thriller up first on the docket, but given the timing of everything now it looks like I will be finishing the third and final instalment of the Distant Early Warning series first. That’s okay though, because I am very blessed to have far more ideas that I love than I can write in five years with three manuscripts a year. I’m like a tree that won’t stop dropping apples.

I just want to close by sending out love and encouragement to all of the precious and unique human beings that are out there in this difficult time, still making their art and striving to inspire others, shed light on the human condition, and give people burdened with stress some peace and fun. You are beautiful, you are valued, and you’re making a difference! ❤

I’m Offering Editing Services!



Some of you who frequent the blog may have noticed the new section I have added on the navigation bar. I am happy to confirm that I am now offering full-service editing for both fiction and non-fiction projects.

As an introductory special, I am offering a limit of five 50-page critiques for $200 each, a $500 value. You will get in-depth notes page by page, plus 5-10 pages of critique which will help focus your next draft.

My rates for other forms of editing start at $20 per hour, with a minimum of $50. Please get in touch via the contact form, or find me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for a free sample edit and personalized quote.

Lots of Amazing Stories News

Turns out, I’m showing up a lot lately on the YouTubes.

Not only did Amazing Stories put on a rich, varied and totally free online convention experience this summer with AmazingCon, but they are also releasing the panel discussions as free videos to YouTube so that people can enjoy and learn from them in the future. Here’s one of my panels below, where I and the other slush readers for the magazine talk about our process, what it takes to be a slushie, and of course, what kind of story catches our eye and makes it to the next round.

If you care about high-quality programming like this, and about having a fun, positive, pro-paying venue in science fiction like Amazing Stories, please consider giving to our Kickstarter. We would love to keep bringing this high-quality content to the science fiction community, and there are only a few days left to make our goal.



Convention Wrap-Up and Updates

Phew! My whirlwind two weeks of conventions has come and gone, and I would just like to thank the Renaissance Virtual Conference and AmazingCon for putting on such great shows. Both conventions found a creative solution to social distancing and brought us all together as fans and creators, and for that, they deserve a hearty round of applause.

I will never stop hoping for a return to in-person conventions as soon as it’s safe to do so, because conventions are a part of me and where I get to see my friends, but if we still had virtual conventions after social distancing is no longer needed, I would still attend them. It’s nice to be able to show friends that I normally see at a hotel or a bookstore the little things in my house that I show guests, and introduce them to my cat. It’s nice to be able to attend a convention without having to take time off work and to be able to get other things done while listening to panels and throwing my two cents’ worth in now and again. And above all, it is very nice to meet new friends from around the world who otherwise would not be able to travel to our local conventions. So, let’s keep it up! There can be room for both formats. For us Canucks, there is also the added advantage that winter won’t get in the way if some of the cons start happening between November and March. An uninterrupted convention season appeals to me, just a bit.

In the last few days, I’ve had some exciting announcements come my way, so read on for more of what’s new and interesting!

Amazing Stories Kickstarter

As you may know, I’ve been an Assistant Editor for Amazing Stories for a couple of years now, and I want to invite all of my followers to go and have a look at their Kickstarter and consider supporting the magazine. If you’re serious about genre fiction, especially science fiction, so are we, and we’re working really hard to bring something unique and special to the conversation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the magazine yet, but the stories are fabulous, the design and interior are gorgeous with tons of illustrations, and it is a pro-paying venue, which there aren’t enough of these days. Plus, our focus is on a more hopeful future and how humanity is going to get there, which, given our circumstances right now, is something that needs to get promoted.


A Quiet Afternoon Launches July 1

Last year at TNEO, I brainstormed a little flash piece that would later be called ‘It’s All in the Sauce’. It’s a tale of heartbreak, Ribfest and mystical BBQ nomads that so far has left several reading audiences hungry for more. I am so pleased to announce that it will be appearing, along with twelve other gentle speculative fiction stories, in the lo-fi anthology A Quiet Afternoon. On July 1, we’ll all be able to curl up with some comfort food, hunker down for a rainy day, and enjoy this delightful little tome on our e-readers.

The videos for both conventions should be up shortly, so I’ll be sharing those soon for those who couldn’t make it. 🙂