Preorders for The Ground That Grows Roses Are Now Open!

I am so pleased to announce that pre-orders are now open for the next chapter in Denny’s adventures, The Ground That Grows Roses. This time, Denny is facing her biggest challenge yet, against a pair of Singers determined to use their powers for their own selfish ends, even if that means raising the dead in the middle of a city. You won’t want to miss this exciting new instalment in the Singing Bones trilogy!

Preorder at:

Chapters Indigo


Barnes and Noble


Buying My Books is Now Easier Than Ever.

So, it goes without saying that my publisher is fabulous. Renaissance Press has worked with me every step of the way to ensure a high-quality product that is true to my original vision.

But now they’ve gone and done something that’s amazing for you, too, readers! You can now buy my books wherever fine books are sold in Canada… *drumroll please* including Chapters Indigo!

Check out my titles at Chapter Indigo below, or order at your local indie bookstore. I’ve included one of my faves, Bakka Phoenix, below so if you’re in the GTA you can check them out.

Chapters Indigo:


Bakka Phoenix Books:


100 Days of Halloween: Graveyard

Today’s 100 Days of Halloween theme is ’Graveyard’, and I’ve decided to do a blog post for this one because this touches on some interesting facts about me.

Growing up, I never had the typical relationship with graveyards. I know what you’re picturing, Liz coming from some super goth family that picnics in graveyards and holds seances every Thursday night. And, okay, we did picnic in graveyards, but it’s not what people picture.

You see, my Dad has many passions in life, including engineering, folk music and The Lord of the Rings, but one of his most enduring projects has been to uncover our family and local history. This has led him to direct non-profit archives, work with aerial photographers, write books, help folks who, for one reason or another have lost their family and want to meet them, and all sorts of other cool stuff I am probably forgetting. To Dad, graveyards are a font of anthropological knowledge, a sanctuary for nature, and a space for the community to remember and honour our ancestors.

This commitment to history and family runs deep in our family, and from a young age, Dad would have me out in the graveyard with him, using chalk and thin paper to transcribe gravestones whose inscriptions had almost been lost to weather and time, so that the information could be saved for future generations. Every year, we hold a picnic in the Stenabaugh Cemetery, our ancestral plot, and Dad arrives with a few flats of marigolds to plant by the gravestones. Since my Uncle Mike has passed, we also use this time as a memorial for him, because he loved the place.

So, in conclusion, I don’t fear graveyards. In fact, I think that more people should explore them, find their family, enjoy nature and think about the members of the community that came before us. If the dead are still alive somewhere, it can be nice to just pay a visit now and again. Oh, hey, maybe I got back around to being a little spoopy after all.

Are Pride Posts Ever Really Belated? Let’s Find Out!

I have a confession to make: I write nightmares, and I myself am a nightmare. And I’m starting to own that, even love it.

My thoughts today are coming out of two converging paths, or I suppose I should say threads. The first one is vaspider ’s incredible thread on queer respectability politics. I’m glad it was widely shared on multiple platforms, because Tumblr banned the original post. That’s how you know it’s good, folks. The second thread is John Scalzi’s response to the claims that authors shouldn’t talk politics on social media. I highly suggest reading both if you haven’t yet, as they are short reads. 

The convergence of these threads is bringing up so much for me right now. You see, I’ve always been on the ‘keep social media professional’ side of the fence. Once, I might have said that I didn’t want to lose sales, and certainly the prevailing advice when I was coming up through the ranks was to stay at the keyboard and off the soapbox. I’ve typically stayed quiet about most social issues and prevailing topics online and at appearances, preferring to stick to announcements, life observations and the occasional funny meme. 

The truth about why I’ve stayed silent, though, is much more complicated. Mostly, I’ve been terrified.

You see, I am a Nightmare Queer. The kind that mainstream culture tosses and turns in its bed at night about. I don’t fit into neat little boxes. I look straight a lot of the time, but I’m not and neither are my partners for the most part. I look like a woman, but I’m not strictly that either, although I like the body I was born with. I don’t feel like a man or a woman inside. My brain and my heart don’t have a gender. I’m a greedy, non-monogamous bi that wants a slice of every pie this world has going, and I have grown to relish my identity as a Nightmare to folks who can’t sleep at night unless everyone is wrapped up safely and suffocatingly in a neat little box. One of my favourite t-shirts says ‘Proud to be everything the right wing hates’ and… yup. There you have it.  

I want to pause that thought for a moment, though, and give a thought to young Liz. Because one thing that I think many people don’t get is just how easy it is for other kids to clock you as a Nightmare Queer from a shockingly young age. And let me tell you, I was not born ready to wield all of this *gestures to my fabulous self* right out the gate. It is a lot to know that the other kids hate you and not understand why. It’s even worse when you realize that it’s not just the other kids, it’s grown-ups too, and the world that wants to villainize and stereotype and reduce you to a fine rhetorical syrup they can use to keep fear and hate alive. Growing up as a Nightmare Queer is complex, so complex. Layers and layers of defence mechanisms that I’ve had to unwrap over the years. 

I have such a complicated relationship with standing up and standing out. In some senses, I realized I was never going to fit in, and used that to my advantage. I can wear literally anything, or nothing, with no qualms, because I feel exposed all the time anyway, so why not use it? I can sing, or speak, or dance in front of huge crowds for the same reason. I can play the rock star, the social convener, the charming conversationalist with ease. And yet, the minute I want to be real, to show the real me, to state an opinion or take a risk or do anything other than play with existing societal expectations or be ornamental, I start to shake. I can’t stop thinking about whatever it is that I did, or am contemplating doing. I have flashbacks of the myriad ways I got hammered down, hard, whenever I gathered the nerve to stick up just a little bit. 

And, contrary to what some folks may want to believe, us Nightmare Queers still have all the same urges as your standard humans. Last I checked, I still have a beating heart. What do you do when you desperately want to be loved and accepted but you know that no one is going to have your back? Well, you cling to the shreds of respectability that you can. I couldn’t help being bisexual but I didn’t have to act on my same-sex attractions, and I didn’t have to tell anyone. I couldn’t admit that I didn’t feel like I had a gender inside, but I could channel my aggression into martial arts and put up so many walls that no one would dare treat me like a woman. 

Thus began a very long period of my life where I was a fortress, open to no one, intense of personality, filled with anger from a source I couldn’t identify and guided by a strict code that caused me to fall apart on the rare occasions that I stepped outside of it. I didn’t drink or smoke pot because I was afraid of what I might reveal about myself, what I might allow to happen if I did. I ran away from so many relationships that might have saved me because I was afraid of how I might be treated if I stepped out of line even one inch from the image that I thought society could respect. 

Needless to say, this is no way to live. I had a breakdown in my late twenties. I hit a wall. I couldn’t keep up the intensity of policing myself all the time anymore, but what I saw looking back at me when I looked inside was someone I truly thought was a monster. It took years to trust myself, as I am. It took years more to realize that I am not a monster. I’m not even a bad person. I am good, and I am worthy. And as hard as it was, I had to eventually come around to the fact that I might lose some people close to me by living authentically, but that the pain of losing them or facing their disapproval, which I am in no way obligated to stick around and engage with, was less than the pain of continuing to hate myself and living a half life. That, as Elphaba sings in Defying Gravity, too long I’ve been afraid of losing love I guess I’ve lost, but if that’s love, it comes at much too high a cost.

I wonder sometimes who I could have been all this time without the damage respectability politics and the fear of withheld love, the fear of violence, has done to me. I wish I had been stronger and able to find out. Like most people, I started out life with the best intentions. I vowed to be myself. I vowed to speak up and be blunt and have courage. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be that simple. In some ways, although I have enjoyed success in writing that many never do and have beaten the odds, I feel like thus far I have failed in my duties as a professional communicator by not using my gifts more forcefully outside of my books in defence of a better world. 

So, that brings me to my conclusion. Too many things are messed up right now for me to stay silent. I have trauma around this, so much trauma, but what makes me feel worse is the idea of the same narrow-minded bullies that tore me down in my early life inheriting this earth and destroying all the strange, beautiful refuges that are out there right now for people to find joy in. I oppose the erosion of freedom through respectability politics. All LGBT+ people in consensual relationships with other adults are valid, or none of us are. That includes people that don’t fit into a binary, kinksters, asexuals, swingers and polyamorous people and ‘straight passing’ queers. 

I’m pledging to speak up more about this and other issues, and to use my communications skills to spread good and useful information. I’m embarking on a journey to excavate the cheeky, blunt young person I used to be from the place where I buried her. This Nightmare Queer is already clawing her way back up through the ground. Now, I’ve just got to figure out what direction to shamble off in to wreak my havoc. 

Cover Reveal: The Ground That Grows Roses

Isn’t it beautiful? This Fall, readers will finally get to experience the long-awaited sequel to Distant Early Warning. The Ground That Grows Roses brings Denny’s adventures to Southern Ontario, where she faces her greatest challenge yet— other Singers who are pursuing a selfish agenda that may jeopardize everything she has worked for.

Our cover model is Tessa, an angry teen girl who carries her sister’s spirit in her wrist. Tessa is determined to have a better life than the one she’s lived, even if it means endangering Canada’s most populous region by raising the dead. Can Denny win her over, or will Tessa burn herself and everyone else to the ground?

Don’t miss this action-packed and emotionally resonant next chapter in Denny’s journey to save Canada.

C.R. Berry Author Chat: Million Eyes II

Anybody who’s been around me for roughly one minute will know that I love action and suspense. That’s why when I heard C.R. Berry was doing a blog tour for his sci-fi techno-thriller, Million Eyes II, I had to get in on it. Below, we’re chatting about fave tropes, books, and building suspense, plus I’ve got a great excerpt for you that puts all of Berry’s theory into practice.

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of writing? Do they lead into the work you’re doing on the Million Eyes series, and if so, how?

I’m a big movie/TV fan, more than I am a reader. I know it’s uncommon to hear a writersay that! Although I do read, it takes a lot longer to absorb a story in book form,whereas if you watch a movie, you get the whole story in a couple of hours. I’m a big fan of Star Trek, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Dark, Lost, 24, Watchmen. TheAlien, Thing, Scream, Halloween, Hunger Games and Back to the Future movies. Loadsmore I’m forgetting. More recently I became a big fan of the Fear Street movies and can’t wait to watch those again. Mostly sci-fi, horror and thrillers, I guess. Oh, and Disney movies!

And yes, these have inspired the Million Eyes series, particularly those movies and TV series that feature time travel.

What are some of your favorite books, and how have they influenced your work?

The book that comes to mind is Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper. I loved that, and there are definite similarities with Million Eyes. It’s part conspiracy thriller, with cops chasing a serial killer with connections to a government cover-up involving a mysterious library; part historical fiction with a storyline set in Anglo-Saxon times following a monk and a strange little boy; and part sci-fi as regards the nature of the library and how it came to be. The Million Eyes books are also hybrid sci-fi historical conspiracy thrillers with a similar jigsaw-puzzle-like structure.

Everyone has a few tropes that are a guilty pleasure when reading. What are some tropes that you just can’t put down?

Time travel! Although is time travel a guilty pleasure? Everyone loves time travel! That’s why it’s such a popular plot device that comes back time and time again—pun intended. Conspiracies, too. I love a network of villains rather than a singular bad guy. Also, I prefer a bad girl to a bad guy. Perhaps because they’re just aren’t enough female villains, but also because, well, they’re just more interesting, aren’t they? Million Eyes has a great central villain in Erica Morgan, the CEO of the eponymous evil corporation.

Of course, that’s not to say I only enjoy female antagonists. I love female protagonists, too, and the gender imbalance in the genres I enjoy is a source of perpetual frustration for me (looking at you, Dan Brown). I’ve made an effort to turn the trend on its head in
the Million Eyes trilogy—not always easy considering the real historical events I’m incorporating. Million Eyes II: The Unraveller has got the ministry of Jesus, the Gunpowder Plot, the disappearance of Flight 19—all events involving men. So I’ve tried to incorporate as many female characters as possible outside of these necessary historical figures. I’m also happy to report that the vast majority of the chapters in Million Eyes III: Ouroboros are from a female point of view.

Do you have any advice for my readers on how to craft an exciting narrative? What’s your approach to writing action and suspense that keeps readers on the edge of their seats?

I do a few things. First, I try to keep the pace of my writing fast. I’m careful to avoid lengthy description of places and things. I’m not trying to write a piece of art and therefore I don’t need to use fancy words and sentences. That’s not to say I don’t try to make my prose interesting. I tend to reflect how people speak, particularly as I usually write in very close third person. So, if I’m doing a suspenseful action scene, I try and get right inside my characters’ heads. I put myself in their position and imagine what they must be feeling in those moments. I will also do quite a lot of research into how similar action scenes are written. For example, in Million Eyes II: The Unraveller, I wrote my first car chase. I had read somewhere that car chases in books aren’t nearly as good as they are in films, so I wanted to challenge that. I collected a few examples, picked up how they’re done, and took bits I could use. I’m hoping I’ve succeeded in creating a rather exciting car chase, but I’ll let you be the judge of that!

Thanks, C.R.! This has been great! You learn more about Million Eyes II at: C.R. Berry – Author of sci-fi & fantasy conspiracy thrillers (crberryauthor.com), on Twitter and Facebook, through his monthly newsletter, or better yet, buy the books directly:

 Million Eyes 

Free download of Million Eyes: Extra Time, 12 time-twisting tales set in the world of the Million Eyes trilogy

Excerpt Time!

September 19th 993

As Cuthwulf moved on to the next patient, the infirmary door opened and a man
entered. He was in a long, black habit and Cuthwulf presumed him to be a fellow
brother. However, his hood was up and hung low over his brow, so that the light in the
room barely touched his eyes, and his habit was somewhat different to everyone else’s.
What Cuthwulf could see of his face he didn’t recognise.
“Brother Cuthwulf?” said the man, looking at him.
Cuthwulf frowned. “Yes. Who are you?”
“You must come with me.”
“Come where?”
“Away from—”
The Hooded Man’s gaze jerked to one of the beds behind Cuthwulf. Cuthwulf
heard movement from the bed and turned around to see that one of the new patients
had risen from it and stood facing him. She had a young, well-cared-for face and wore
an ankle-length, pale blue tunic, fastened at the waist with a girdle, and a white
headscarf that was draped over her shoulders. Her arm was outstretched towards him
and a strange silver object was in her hand.
Cuthwulf glanced back at the Hooded Man, who was clasping a similar-looking
object and pointing it at the woman.
“Brother Cuthwulf, leave the infirmary,” he said. “Quickly.”
“I will not! Who are you?” He looked at the woman. “And who are you?”
The Hooded Man’s eyes were fixed on the woman, as hers were on him.
“Cuthwulf, it is for your own safety. This woman wants to kill you.”
“What?” His stomach turned with dread. “Why?”
“Cuthwulf, please just do as I—no, stop!”

Cuthwulf looked back at the woman and saw Brother Rhys leap at her from
behind, the two of them tumbling forwards onto the stone floor. In that moment, a surge
of light—as bright and dazzling as a flash of lightning yet with an unusual green
hue—erupted from the tip of the silver object in the woman’s hand and streaked across
the room with a shrill hiss, making the Hooded Man duck. The surge of light struck one
of the infirmary’s windows, shattering it.
Swallowing hard, Cuthwulf backed away from this incredible display of power.
The woman and Brother Rhys grappled on the floor. Cuthwulf understood
Brother Rhys’s desire to protect his mentor, but his heroism in the face of such a potent
enemy was reckless and going to get him killed.
The Hooded Man straightened and re-pointed what was likely a similar weapon
to the woman’s, then another green burst of light knifed through the air, just missing
him as it blazed into the wall with a crack, scattering dust and stone chips. The Hooded
Man dived for cover behind one of the beds, the patient lying in it apparently sleeping
soundly through this utter mayhem.
The woman turned on the floor and kicked Brother Rhys square in the jaw,
sending him hurtling backwards and crashing into a table topped with cups, pots, jugs
and vials. The table was overturned, receptables emptying herbs and medicines all over
the floor.
Now the woman was looking at Cuthwulf with a piercing glare. She got to her
feet and raised her weapon.
Cuthwulf closed his eyes and held his breath. His heart raced. Sweat collected
around his neck.
“Cuthwulf, get down!”
Cuthwulf opened his eyes as the Hooded Man peeked quickly over the top of the
bed that was shielding him and fired a beam of green light in the woman’s direction.
Cuthwulf didn’t see if the beam had hit her because he’d plunged to his knees as per the
Hooded Man’s instruction and crawled behind the bed that belonged to Ulric. Ulric, too,
was out of bed and crouched down on the floor.

“What is this madness, Cuthwulf?” Ulric said, pale as a corpse and breathing
Cuthwulf shook his head. “I wish I knew.”
Suddenly the room was doused in dazzling white light and Cuthwulf was blind.
He felt a bite of panic that he’d lost his sight forever, then the infirmary started slowly
coming back into view. Thank the Lord.
“W-what was that?” said Ulric.
Cuthwulf just shook his head.
The Hooded Man came and stood over them. “It’s all right. We’re safe now.
She’s gone.”
Cuthwulf stood, clutching his chest and trying to steady his breaths. “Gone
“That’s difficult to explain.”

Ira Nayman Author Chat: Bad Actors

Remember when I said I was going to be hosting more awesome author friends that you should know about on my blog space? Well, the time has come to introduce you to my friend Ira Nayman, who is launching his latest book in the Multiverse series, Bad Actors. Here’s a run-down of the series so far, and a description of his work that’s as accurate as it is wacky:

In You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head), Ira Nayman’s second novel published by Elsewhen Press, a madman develops a machine which he hopes will destroy the multiverse. When he sets it off, nothing seems to happen. Not content with this state of affairs, Doctor Alhambra, the chief scientist for the Transdimensional Authority (which monitors and police traffic between universes) creates an alarm system that will alert him if any of the universes in the known multiverse should start to show signs of collapse.

In Good Intentions: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: First Pie in the Face, the sixth novel in the Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series, the alarm goes off. The universe that is in imminent danger of collapse contains billions of sentient beings; the Transdimensional Authority develops an ambitious plan to help as many of them immigrate to stable universes as possible before their universe dies. Good Intentions follows the first alien immigrant’s journey to Earth Prime.

Bad Actors: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: Second Pi in the Face, takes place two years later. Tens of thousands of aliens have immigrated to Earth Prime, with mixed results. Some have been welcomed and aided by their human hosts. Others have been vilified, exploited and attacked. Just another day in the multiverse…

Reading a book by Ira “is like going head-to-head with an selection of thirty three and a third disconnected Wikipedia entries filtered through seven layers of artesian coffee filters woven from at least three more fibers than permitted by the historic laws of any major religion in a blender made of a strange kind of cotton candy spun from titanium anodized in fairground colours with blades made of live sharks while simultaneously tap-dancing to a Steve Reich composition based on the absolute value of the square root of pi. In other words, simply and elegantly the most entertaining way ever invented to invert your brain over a platter prepared with roasted apples and a variety of field mushrooms for your own delighted consumption.” – Jen Frankel, editor, Trump: Utopia or Dystopia, author, Undead Redhead

So, now that you know the premise, let’s chat with Ira about creativity, comedy and of course, books!

Can you tell me about your other books? What do my readers need to know about your series that are on the go so they can jump in?

In my novel series, I try to make each work a standalone so that readers can jump in at any spot and not feel like they are missing something. Even in the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy I am currently completing, there is enough information in each book that a reader could conceivably start with any of them and understand all they need to know to fully enjoy them. That having been said, characters do grow and situations do develop over time, so I would never discourage readers from reading the books in order.

The main characters in all of my novels (except for one) work for the Transdimensional Authority, which monitors and polices travel between universes (the exception, It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should, focuses on the Time Agency, a parallel organization which monitors and polices time travel). The focus of the first four novels was on the investigators of the organization, with some support from the science division and the data processing division. For the trilogy (Good Intentions, which was published last year, Bad Actors, the ebook of which has just been published with the paperback coming out in August, and The Ugly Truth, which has been submitted to Elsewhen Press and will be published next year), I wanted to focus on a different part of the organization: the diplomatic corps.

So. At the beginning of Good Intentions, an alarm goes off in Transdimensional Authority headquarters that signals that one of the known universes is about to collapse. The trilogy deals with a crazy plan by the organization to resettle as many of the sentient beings from the dying universe as possible to more stable universes. The first novel explores the experience of the first alien to settle on Earth Prime. The second novel, which takes place two years later, expands to show a half dozen different responses to the now thousands strong population of aliens on Earth Prime. The final novel, taking place four years after the first immigration, expands the scope of the story further to explore a larger number of the experiences of the million plus aliens who have immigrated to different universes. I should probably mention that the reason the alien universe is collapsing is set in motion in the second book in the series (You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head)); but, again, it isn’t necessary to read that to enjoy the trilogy.

One final thing about my writing: I write humour. Readers may not get that impression from my long-winded descriptions of my writing process and intentions, but, trust me, I will drop my pants in a heartbeat if it will get a laugh.

What inspired you to write stories about multiple universes? 

My exploration of the multiverse actually starts with a different series of books: the Alternate Reality News Service. ARNS sends reporters to other dimensions and has them write about what they find there. There are 12 books in this series (14 if you count two omnibus volumes). ARNS is a feature of my web site of political and social satire, Les Pages aux Folles and, although print and ebook versions are available for readers, all of the text is still available in the archive.

Writing about alternate universes gave me a way of satirizing things that are happening in this universe. It also allowed me to indulge in my long-standing love of science fiction. Winning! When I decided, late in the game, to start writing novels, ARNS gave me a foundation of ideas to work with.

Looking back over a decade of writing novels and short stories (as opposed to the short short articles I was writing for my web site), a theme emerges: how we become the people we are. (This is not surprising to me: I was obsessed with understanding why I was the person I was starting in my 20s and well into my 40s, until I finally decided to accept myself and move on.) In the first novel of the series (Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience)), for example, the main character, Noomi Rapier, meets four different versions of herself in four different universes. Without going into too much detail, her experience illustrates how the world we live in constrains the options we have to choose from in our lives, and how the choices we make contribute to who we become. As I often say, life is the dance between choice and chance. Multiple universes was the best way to explore this idea.

Is there a universe you’ve envisioned that you like the best, or would want to live in if you could?

The alien version of Earth in the dying universe in the trilogy is a live-action Looney Tunes world. I think it would be fun to live there, although it would probably be exhausting!

Your work always has such a great rhythm to it, and a sense of fun. What is your advice for others who want to include comedy in their work?

Thank you.

People have the mistaken impression that to write comedy involves turning the switch on humour when you sit down to write and turning it off again when you are done writing. In fact, writing humour is a philosophical way of existing in and responding to the world. On the one hand, it is a recognition of the absurdity of most human behaviour. On the other hand, it is a joyous recognition that, as absurd as our efforts may be, there is a joy in simply being alive to make them.

So. My advice would be to become a student of human behaviour: watch people, read psychology textbooks, try to synthesize a theory of human behaviour for work. Then, forget all of that and have some fun.

I know that you are a very well-read guy in a lot of genres. What is your favourite non-science fiction book, and can you tell us why you like it?

If you want to be a writer, I believe that it’s essential to read widely. “What do they know of science fiction, who only science fiction know?” In fact, as much as I love speculative fiction, I tend to enjoy literary and experimental fiction more. I know, I know. Bad writer! Bad!

Two books come to mind that I would highly recommend. One of my favourite writers of all time is Thomas Pynchon. Against the Day is his masterpiece. Like many of his novels, it delineates a historical inflection point (in this case, World War One), exploring the optimism of events leading up to the inflection point and how it sours the social mood. And I found it terrifically funny. (RUNNER-UP: Tom Robbins; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.)

The other is Mark Danieleswki’s House of Leaves. It is a story within a story within a story within a story about a family that discovers that its house is slightly bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. As the dimensions of the interior of the house grow, the story takes on dimensions of horror before it finally resolves as a love story.  Somehow, it works. (RUNNERS-UP: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.)

Thanks for stopping by, Ira! And readers, if you like what he has to say, you can buy Bad Actors at the links below:





Find the previous stops on the blog tour below:

Day 1: www.markiles.co.uk/blog

Day 2: www.TheScribe.space/blog

Day 3: http://sarahudohgrossfurthner.com/

Day 4: Blog | Geoff Nelder – Science Fiction Writer

Update, In Which I Change Gears

Today, I want to talk about blessings from bad things.

The pandemic was undoubtedly a bad thing, and was scary, uncertain and trying for all of us at different levels and in different ways. Now that I’ve been vaccinated, I have been spending some time away from writing and the general hustle to recoup and think about what this past year and a half has revealed to me about life, the universe and everything.

The essence of what I have decided is that life’s too short not to spend your time as happy and fulfilled as possible.

Here are my bad things, and the good that came out of them.

The Bad: I waited too long to start looking for a new job, and got stuck in a situation that felt coercive and exploitative for most of 2020.

The Good That Came Out of It: In my day to day life, I’m no longer apologizing or compromising on the way I want my life to look and what I want my life to be. Life’s too short to spend all day, every day doing things that make me unhappy, or just don’t fit with me as a person, because I’m trying to fulfill others’ vision of what responsible and respectable look like. I’m no longer going to downplay it when people try to run down my wants and needs as ‘too much’. Folks can help or get out of the way.

The Bad: Pretty much all of my progress in being more present online, on social media and actively promoting my books on a weekly basis went down the tubes as I saw more and more aggression, anger and pile-ons online. I do what I can to make this world a better place, but I’m not big on public conflict and so I tend to shy away when a space feels mean or full of call-outs. I also react badly to people who lead with aggressive rhetoric such as ‘Specific political stance or die/GTFO’ even if I do share their views and they see themselves as well-intentioned. After much personal work recently, I have discovered that the reason for this is that I was badly bullied as a child and teen, and I have a trauma response to this kind of thing happening to me. This kind of atmosphere made me feel really uncomfortable in a lot of writing and fan spaces available to me during the pandemic, most notably Twitter.

The Good That Came Out of It: I have realized that life is too short to spend it around people that make me feel uncomfortable or attacked. I’ve always been open to new ideas and discussion, but ‘gotcha’ call-outs and making blanket hateful statements about any group of people that are not explicitly a hate group or similar is going to get people bounced. Unfortunately, regardless of intentions, I think that this kind of behaviour serves to further marginalize people rather than call them in to a discussion or self-improvement. It’s all about getting attention for the poster rather than actually building anything up in the community. I’m going to be seeking out more in-person spaces that have a vibe that I enjoy and don’t make me feel like I’m walking on eggshells, and curating my social media friends lists to ensure that I like what people are posting to my feed, regardless of who it is that’s posting. If I can’t be happy in this career and spend time with folks I love being around and that I trust not to turn on me online over something they could have just talked out with me, then it isn’t worth it. I’m going to stay in my own positive little corner, still volunteering, supporting Canadian, women, BIPOC and LGBT+ creators with my time and money, and doing the things that I think will concretely lead to a better world rather than shouting about it online. This move is 100% about giving myself permission to be myself and not try to fit into a way of relating to others that doesn’t work for me and isn’t fun for me. I want to get back to it being about the art and the joy of creating and not about the external politics that are making us all miserable in other spaces. I am in several marginalized groups and feel strongly about change, but there has to be someplace we can go to just have fun together and enjoy creating, doesn’t there? Otherwise, what’s it all for?

But Liz, what will you do now?

That’s a great question, Made-up Rhetorical Audience Member. I have decided to make some concrete changes going forward. First of all, I will be posting 3-4 times a week to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but I will only be checking my notifications and my feed once a week. I understand that in our current culture, this is just Not Done, and some people may be disappointed with me or read me the wrong way when I don’t respond immediately, but this is the healthy choice for me. If it’s really urgent that someone have my attention, my email inbox is always open. To anyone who is still wondering why I am doing this, I would point to the above realization that life is too short to spend in a negative space online. My promotional strategy going forward is going to be a lot more blog/website focused, and I am going to try to post something here at least once a week and foster a fun and multi-media space that invites visitors into the worlds of my books. This is going to require an overhaul of the current site, and will definitely take time and not be immediate. I also want to focus more on making art (and maybe even animations) of my characters, settings and worlds, because that is something that has always brought me joy that has gotten lost in the shuffle, and I think it is something that fans would enjoy too. To foster a sense of community, I am going to pursue more guest bloggers and artists, as well. I could even see more videos becoming part of the site, but that would be a long way off. I’ve got to get the basics right first. Eventually, I hope to curate a space that centers the kind of discourse and fun that I’ve been missing lately from fandom, and if that starts to happen, I will probably engage in more of the social side of the internet again. One thing I am absolutely going to do is be me, unfiltered, uncensored and 100% genuine, and I’m not going to be arguing, bartering or apologizing for it. Say it with me one more time, for the road…

Life’s too short!

Fall Editing Slots Available

With summer coming to a close, and things ramping up again for fall, I just wanted to let my friends and followers know that I am open for editing slots.

The editing projects I have worked on so far have been a pleasure to be a part of, and I am pleased to report that I have added a testimonials section to the Editing tab on this site.

I will work with you to make sure that you get a high-quality editing pass that works with your budget. Here’s what one previous customer had to say:

“They say you should have a second set of eyes look over your manuscript, and I recommend Elizabeth. I was a client of hers and had wonderful results. Not only is she an experienced editor, and caught things that I missed, especially with punctuation, but her insight into the plot and characters really helped me find hidden gems that will add more depth to my story. Her plot and character analysis pointed out the weak points, and her critique suggestions will help me to create an overall, better story. Critiques can be a hard pill to swallow, but Elizabeth does it with care and understanding, offering a genuine and professional review of your project.”   

If you are interested in knowing more, please consult my editing information page for contact info and sample rates.

For works big or small, get edited this fall!

Another Quiet Afternoon Is Coming Your Way!

Just like last year, I think we can all use a Quiet Afternoon or two. Well, good news for all of you out there who enjoy lo-fi fantastic fiction (and contributing to good causes), I am pleased to announce my appearance in A Quiet Afternoon II, now available for pre-order. I think the story I contributed is one of the funniest I’ve ever done (What? Liz is funny?) and I’m really proud of it. Just follow the link, pre-order, and enjoy!