GUEST POST: A Canuck Among Yankees by Megan Crewe

Siri here. I’m excited to introduce our first guest blogger for 2012, Megan Crewe. Megan is, as of today, the author of two published YA novels. She’s also a cat lover, a critiquing guru, a kung fu fighter (yes, really), and a Torontonian (like me). Like Megan, many Canadian authors’ primary market is the United States, but that can lead to a culture clash. Here she is to explain…

photograph of Megan Crewe, a redheaded woman looking up towards the camera

Growing up next to the US, watching American TV shows and movies and reading American books, I saw their stories and Canadian stories as being pretty much the same.  Sure, I changed my “centre”s to “center”s and “colour”s to “color”s when submitting a story to a US magazine or anthology–to make it easier for the editors, who’d have to do it anyway if the piece was accepted.

It was only when I started publishing novels with American publishers that I realized how many little cultural and linguistic differences there are, as my Canadian foibles were corrected in copyedits.  Where I’d say “grade ten,” Americans say “tenth grade.”  I use “washroom” interchangeably with “bathroom,” but to most Americans it sounds old-fashioned.  And everything from high school classes to the health care system …

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Winter’s Night

Book cover of Winter's Night anthology, showing a cold winter sun over rocks and snow

To celebrate the release of our new anthology, Winter’s Night, I’d like to share the inspiration behind the short story I’ve included in the anthology.

 

I’ve always loved Christmas – the lights and the glitter, the sense of mystery, the traditions, the celebration at the coldest and darkest time of year. And this from a northern Canadian. But for our winter anthology, I decided instead to write about Inuit mythology.

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GUEST POST: On Being a Jane Austen Author by Nancy Kelley

Siri here. I’m very pleased to introduce our guest blogger for today, Nancy Kelley. Nancy is a friendly Tweeter, a hardworking writer, and an indie author with a twist. Here she is to explain…

Book cover of His Good Opinion by Nancy Kelley, showing artwork of a man in Regency garbI write Jane Austen sequels. My new book, His Good Opinion, is Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. The novel I wrote this year during National Novel Writing Month is a sequel to P&P, focusing on Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy. I have two additional Austen novels turning over in the back of my mind, waiting for their turn.

A humorous conversation plays out many times when I tell people I’m an author.

“Oh really! What’s your book called?”

His Good Opinion. It’s a Pride and Prejudice sequel.”

(Long pause, often accompanied by a blank look)

“Oh. People do that?”

 

 

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Five Ways to Make NaNoWriMo Work for You

 

At this time of year, the blogosphere is full of chatter about NaNoWriMo. Many writers love it. Other writers hate it. (Full disclosure: I fall into the former camp. This will be my seventh NaNo.) But what if you fall in between? What if you like the idea but you know there’s no way you can hit 50,000 words on a new novel in November? Here are some suggestions that might help, from least to most radical…

1. Do NaNo in another month. If you want to try a writing challenge but November is just a bad month, you have options! This year, the NaNoWriMo people put on Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer. They also do a screenwriting challenge, Script Frenzy. Other challenges have sprung up using the same model – NaNo-style challenges in most other months, National Novel Editing Month, National Novel Writing Year, and so on. Pick the one that works for you.

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A Night of Wonder

Imagine.

Imagine that for one night, your city is transformed into a strange and magical place. Art installations sprout everywhere, in dark alleys and concrete plazas and green parks, on streets, dangling in the air between buildings, projected onto the facades of other buildings, inside tiny galleries and indie shops. Huge crowds of people wander the sidewalks and block the roads, all experiencing and participating in a city turned art playground. For one night.

This is Nuit Blanche.

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GUEST POST: Rainbow Connections by Kat Anthony

Siri here. I’m thrilled to introduce our very first guest blogger. Kat Anthony is a writer, editor, and founder of Crow Girl Publishing, as well as a student and an all-around smart woman. Today’s post has to do with two things that have always intrigued me: rainbows and mysteries.

We all know the legend of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow–and yet for me, the rainbow itself is the treasure.

The science of light and refraction is straightforward enough, but this doesn’t dispel my rising sense of wonder and anticipation, when I see the sudden brightening of the air in the middle of a rainstorm. The grey sky grows intensely vibrant, and the falling drops turn luminous: sparkling and ephemeral jewels of liquid and light. This exquisite spectacle might seem like reward enough, and yet, it is also the harbinger of the rainbow itself. Even now, when I see the beginnings of a sunshower, I go rainbow hunting. Once I’ve found it, I often as not stand staring, a silly grin pasted on my face (“double rainbow all the way!”), as others walk by, hunched and oblivious, anxious to avoid getting drenched in the downpour.

In India, when any of the adults would see a sunshower, and the glorious emergence of the rainbow, they’d smile mysteriously (as I remember it) and say, “Oh–the fox’s wedding and the monkey’s dance”. The observation would roll off their tongues, with a little bit of a singsong …

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Help! I’m not ready yet! 4 ways to embrace autumn

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. I haven’t been in school for ten years, but I still love the sense of new beginnings. But at the same time, autumn also makes me wistful, because it reminds me that winter is coming (no, I’m not a Stark of Westeros – just a Canadian). It’s an odd dichotomy. Tell me I’m not alone?

If you’re the sort of person who feels left out of all the hustle and bustle, who struggles with the transition because you’d rather hibernate until spring (much like turtleducks), here are some ideas for embracing the season.

Hit the school/office supply stores. The tricky part of this is coming up with a good reason to be there so people don’t look at you weird. If you’re a parent, you have a ready-made excuse to go roam the aisles, ogle the shelves, and stock up on all the pretties – the lined paper on sale, the new pens and pencils, the notebooks, the Post-It notes… If you’re not a parent, maybe you’re a writer (or thinking about being a writer someday), which is still a good excuse. Even if you do all your writing and planning on computer. Ahem.

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My Mother, My Hero

My mother is one of my heroes. Let me tell you why.

When I was very ill as a small child, and doctor after doctor couldn’t determine what was wrong, she refused to stop digging until she found the answers herself. (I was celiac, a disease that was almost unknown then.)

She went against convention and social pressures to raise my two siblings and me.

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An Urban Adventure: Kensington Market, Toronto

If you’re ever in Toronto, after you’ve visited the CN Tower and the other obvious places…or if you’ve just moved here and want to see what “here” consists of…or even if you’ve never been anywhere near Toronto…come take a walk through a neighbourhood. Any neighbourhood will do, they’re all different, but one of my favourites is Kensington Market.

If you’re taking the Spadina streetcar from the subway line, as we did, you enter via the bustle and strong smells of Chinatown – people hawking cheap t-shirts, designer knockoffs, herbs right on the sidewalk, sometimes pirated DVDs although none are to be found this time; there must have been a crackdown recently. Coming from the south, you turn off Spadina onto Dundas Street West, suddenly surrounded by quiet.

One short block later, you turn again and now you are in a different world.

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