AE Micro 2014

Published April 8, 2014 by annadz

I am so pleased to announce that my entry to this year’s AE Micro contest was chosen for publication. My story is called, “From the journal of F.L. Winter, cryptozoologist,” and is up on the site today!

Since 2010, AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review has held an annual micro fiction contest. They give a one-word theme and the challenge is to write a story inspired by that theme in 200 words or less. I love writing from contest prompts because I actually find it easier to write given a strict guideline or theme. I wrote stories for the last two micro contests (“Space” in 2012, and “Elements” in 2013). I didn’t submit the Space one, because my story was honestly very bad, but I did submit to the Elements one, although that story didn’t quite come together in the way I had wanted.

This year’s theme was “Senses.” My submission documents the personal writings of a fictional Canadian cryptozoologist, named Fallon L. Winter, who is tracking a fictional Canadian cryptid called a Burrower in the non-fictional forests of Vancouver Island. Although the Burrower is my own creation, the other cryptid references in the story are actually based on fact (if you can call cryptozoology “fact”). One is the n’ha-a-itk, (which is the Salish word for Ogopogo), a lake monster said to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia (actually just an hour and a half drive from where I live.) The other is an indirect reference to the Waheela, a wolf-bear-type cryptid said to live in the Nahanni Valley in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories.

I wrote this story as a narrative poem about a year ago. (Actually, I wrote it on my 30th birthday, as a contemplative, although admittedly very morbid, musing on personal reflection, memory and growing older.) The micro format is quite challenging, and although my story was already right within the word limit, I spent quite a while working on sentence structure and punctuation. I really wanted it to flow well. Since it is meant to be a diary entry, I wanted it to read the way that I heard it in my head. I also spent quite a bit of time on the title because I needed it to carry its weight in the piece and lend some insight and value to the overall narrative. Aside: This is the fourth piece I’ve written with Fallon as the protagonist, although none of the others are done. The original draft title for this story was, “To my sister.”

“The end of my vampire boyfriend”

Published August 20, 2013 by annadz

The August issue of Defenestration is up today! This is a magazine that I’ve read regularly but never considered submitting to until recently. I was really happy when they held two of my poems and then accepted “The end of my vampire boyfriend” for publication.

I don’t quite remember what inspired me to write this but I do remember that I wrote this poem in the Vancouver airport last year on a pink post-it note.

Check out the Defenestration back issues, because they are awesome as are all the Ben & Winslow comics. You can find all of them on editor Andrew Kaye’s deviantART page.

 

 

New theme!

Published July 20, 2013 by annadz

It’s got purple clouds, and stars, and moons and creepy houses. Anyway, it was time for a change. Like a haircut, but for your blog…which reminds me I have a hair appointment today. Coincidence? I think not.

In other news, the heat wave seems to have found its way over to the west coast and my house is very hot and very messy and it is much to hot to vacuum, or clean or do anything other than watch episode after episode of “Tattoo Nightmare” until it’s midnight and cool enough to sleep.

We’ve also been watching some of IGN‘s live coverage of San Diego Comic Con. I was excited about the X-Files panel, and was hoping that they would have had some sort of big news, and subconsciously knew that, of course they would not. Not surprisingly there is no news of future projects for the franchise. And based on the last movie (which I will not even begin to get into, because it just makes me upset to think about it) maybe that’s a good thing.

On a related topic, my new fan-art project is (like the comic con panel) a tribute to X-Files 20 year anniversary. Will post when done!

Ramblings and writers block…

Published July 17, 2013 by annadz

…or is it writer’s block…yeah, I think it is.

I have this theory that the more I write, the easier it will be to write.

…okay, it’s not my theory, but it’s someone’s theory and I agree with it.

I have 3 short stories that I am working on that I am at the point where I can’t even get words on the page, even random nonsense words that will more than likely be edited out in the near future. Hence the writer’s block. So, when to give up? I would say now, except that I can’t even think of something new to focus on, while I move those three stories to the “probably garbage but maybe not” folder to be reviewed, revamped or deleted at some time in the future.

When ever I feel bad about something I set a goal. It gives me the sense that I’m aspiring to something better, even if I’m really just procrastinating, or ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.

So, goal number 1 is to stick with the random nonsense words on a page, which, in my experience, rarely end of as stories, but occasionally make for decent poem foundations. Goal number 2 is to come up with story prompts and force myself to write something coherent from start to finish with no editing no matter how bad it is.

When these goals will be accomplished or even attempted is not really a priority at this exact moment. Mostly I just feel better knowing I have a goal. In a couple of weeks, when I realize I’ve spent no time writing and 52 hours watching Merlin on Netflix, then I can feel bad again and reassess.

In other news, I have received 2 hold requests for poems, sent one query for a story that has been pending a reply for an unreasonably long period of time (like 8 and a half months) and received about a 100 (okay 7) rejections, 2 of which had very nice and constructive feedback.

I am working on 2 fan-art type pieces that I’ll post when they are done. I’ve always been a huge fan of fan art (man, that sounds dumb), and I’ve posted some of my favourites here in the past, however I’ve never done much of it myself.

Unless you count when I was in the 4th grade and I wrote a bunch of Get Smart fan fiction stories. One was about a giant mutant vine that took over the whole city and Max and 99 had to fight it, or kill it, or something. Turns out Chaos was behind the whole thing. Go figure.

Futuredaze released today!

Published February 12, 2013 by annadz

Today is the official release date of Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction.

I actually received my contributor copy in the mail yesterday, so I’m very excited to start reading. I’ll be sure to follow up with a post about my reactions to the stories/poems once I’ve read through the whole book. So far, all I can tell you is that the book looks great (the layout, and cover art are fantastic).

***

Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction is for sale at Amazon or at Chapters in Canada

For more information about Futuredaze, visit the book page here.

Reviews and blurbs are posted here on the Praise for Futuredaze page of the Underwords Press site. There is also a full review of all the short stories at Tangent Online, and Reading Teen has featured an article where some of the Futuredaze authors share the inspiration behind their stories and poems.

My favourite YA books

Published January 18, 2013 by annadz

Speculative fiction is really close to my heart. As is YA fiction. I think I spent more time reading between the ages of 8-13 than any other time in my life. I always had a book, and a back-up book for when I finished that book. Needless to say, I read a lot of books. I read good books and bad books. I read novels, short stories, and poetry. I read my father’s old astronomy magazines, and my mother’s biology textbooks. I even read cookbooks.

Most of the books I read at that time came from my elementary school library. I also searched flea markets and garage sales. (I remember a particularly enormous box of Sweet Valley Twins books that my sister and I procured one summer for only $5). Occasionally, I would buy books through the Scholastic Canada Book Club, which was fun because it was like ordering from a catalogue. (And just to be clear, when I say “I would buy,” I mean I would beg my parents, and they would sometimes give me money.)

The whole process of contributing to the Futuredaze anthology has caused me to fondly remember my most cherished YA books. At first, I listed my top choices so that I could re-read them, but I thought it would be fun to share them here.

The list below includes my favourite YA books (circa 1991-1995 or so). I wasn’t surprised to note that most fall into the science fiction or fantasy genres, though there are some exceptions. For the sake of convenience, I’m lumping these all under YA category although some are probably classified as juvenile, (if that is even a term still used), or teen.

I haven’t listed any of the newer YA books I have read over the years, so basically, this is my favourite book list from when I was 12.

(Note: I’ve tried to find a picture of the edition that I read. I’m very visual so when I think of a book, I can’t help but picture it in my mind. When I went to the library, I often chose books based solely on the cover art, which honestly didn’t work in my favour most of the time. And come to think of it, I now seem to remember hearing something about book covers, and judging, all ending in general disappointment and badness…)

So, in no particular order:

A Wizard of EarthseaA Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

This was first on my list to re-read, mostly because I have my copy here in BC, and not my parent’s attic in Ontario with most of my other books. Oh, and because it’s awesome. (But, then, it’s Ursula LeGuin, so of course it is.)

 

 


A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle

I read this whole series but I loved these two the most.

A Wind in the Door

(My sister bought me A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson for Christmas and it is pretty amazing.)

 

 

 

joeplace

Losing Joe’s Place and Son of Interflux by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman books are hilarious and fantastic. These (in my opinion) are his best.

interflux

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fear Street Saga by R.L Stine

I never read Goosebumps, but I did read tons of R.L Stine’s teen books. After inhaling all the Fear Street books I could find, (call it a guilty pleasure) these three were the ones that stuck with me.

thebetrayalthe secretthe burning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna to the Infinite Power

Anna to the Infinite Power by Mildred Ames

So, yes, I chose this because of the title. I remember liking it right away because it was about a girl named Anna who played the piano and got weird headaches and my 10 year brain, said, “she’s just like me!” Until it turned out that she was a genius created in a sophisticated cloning experiment in an attempt to genetically replicate a child prodigy who lived during World War II…which was not so much like me, but made for a great read.

 

 

stonemeadow

The Stone in the Meadow by Karleen Bradford

Time travel, ancient Druids, first loves, and oh, yes, human sacrifice and impending doom…I think…I’m a little fuzzy on the human sacrifice…it’s been 20 years since I’ve read this one.

 

 

 

outsiders

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I read this so so so many times, so it had to go on the list.

 

 

 

 

romeoandjuliet

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Okay, so this isn’t YA, but I saw the play in grade 6 and fell in love with the book.

He ain’t heavy….

Published December 8, 2012 by annadz

heaintheavy-dellazazzera

…he’s my half-squid bother.

Or something.

I draw a lot less than I used to. I have this pesky inflammatory condition in my back that makes sitting hunched over a desk really painful, so I end up with a lot of half-started works that never come to fruition. With writing, my most successful pieces come from weeks (or months) or slow work. Writing, re-reading, re-writing, deleting, re-starting, editing, and fine-tuning with enough time in between steps to gain a fresh perspective on the work each time. With art, I have to do it all at once or I lose my momentum. I will start a art piece and work on it every day until it is done. Obviously, this is best done on full uninterrupted days when I don’t work, which is rare, and I have trouble squeezing creative projects into my evenings. And my days off are usually claimed by housework, sleeping and Netflix (which is a wonderful cornucopia of mindless entertainment, and an evil, bewitching time-suck, in case you are considering a subscription.)

This piece was/is intended as a sketch for a painting. I have a really large canvas with an awful painting on it that needs to be re-gessoed and painted over, and this is my proposed plan. It’s based on those old monster movie posters, where some sort of evil creature/zombie/mutant/alien/robot/vampire is carrying a mostly naked, mostly unconscious woman. Sort of a reversal of that. I’m sure the idea isn’t unique, but I thought it would be fun, and I like drawing squid feet. (I know. I don’t think they’re called feet…)

Futuredaze book trailer

Published October 27, 2012 by annadz

I am excited to share this link to the new book trailer/book video for Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction!

I really like the trailer. It is short and snappy, which I realize aren’t the most eloquent adjectives, but I’ve seen some book trailers that just go on and on (and on), and could seriously benefit from some mindful editing. I especially think that the video does an excellent job of elaborating on the visuals of the beautiful cover art (design by Deena Warner).

Stylistically, the book and the video convey a consistent visual message, which I think is important in branding a product. Because, for all intents and purposes, a book trailer is like a little advert. All in all, I think it is both striking and effective and I enjoyed it…and this little intro ended up way more “review-like” than I had intended…but oh well, here’s the video.

The anthology comes out in February 2013 and I’m looking forward to reading it. More Futuredaze updates, as well as general book-related awesomeness can be found at the Underwords blog.

Writing update and poetry sale

Published October 26, 2012 by annadz

I’ve started a few draft posts in the last couple of months, but just haven’t managed to get anything actually completed. There’s just been a lot of life stuff going on I suppose (both good and bad)…trip to Ottawa, funeral, wedding, MRI, doctor’s appointments, road trip to the apple orchard, unexpected snow, Thanksgiving, season 2 of Justified on Netflix…

Anyway, I’ve actually managed to get quite a bit done in the way of writing and drawing. I’ve sent out a few submissions, sold one poem and received more than a few rejections. Currently, I have six poems and one short story pending responses. I’ve also done more drawing than I’ve done in months…I’ll post something new in the next few days.

In June, I wrote a poem about a conflicted mother whose child comes back from the dead. I submitted “Zombie Baby” to Elektrik Milk Bath Press for consideration in their charity anthology, Zombies for a Cure.

I wrote the poem as a sort of somber nursery rhyme and thought it might be a good fit for an anthology focused on unconventional zombie tales. Also, I really liked the idea that the authors had the option to donate their pieces and that the proceeds from the anthology are to support cancer research.

The editor/publisher (Angela Charmaine Craig) didn’t accept “Zombie Baby” for the anthology, but enjoyed it enough to offer to purchase it for their magazine, Paper Crow, so I’m really thrilled.

I know that rhyming poetry is a hard sell, so I’m so pleased that this little poem has found a home. Recent issues of Paper Crow have included some really amazing and accomplished poets that I personally enjoy (I can think of Marge Simon, Bruce Boston, and Alexandra Seidel off the top of my head) so it’s an honour to be included in such a great publication.

No details on publication dates for Paper Crow or Zombies for a Cure, but updates on Elektrik Milk Bath Press can be found here.

Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction

Published August 11, 2012 by annadz

I am so excited to announce that I have sold one of my poems!

“Market Day” will be included in the Underwords publication Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction edited by Erin Underwood and Hannah Strom-Martin. The anthology is due out in February 2013, but the list of contributors was just released about a week ago here. (And my name is in the wrong alphabetical order…which, to be honest, I’m used to, but I should probably mention something.) I’m thrilled to be a part of this project and honoured to have my work included in the same book as authors that I have read and admire.

I actually wrote “Market Day” as an opening monologue to a YA graphic novel that I was working on last summer. (Which, in very general terms was about a dystopic future Earth, agricultural biodiversity, crazy environmental extremists and a group of friends, oh and there was also a love story, and a motorcycle chase.)   It never really got past the planning stages, because like many of my projects, it took a back burner to real life and “real” work and got filed into the “when I have time/when I win the lottery” drawer. Apart from some sketches and character outlines and research, there were two pieces that I did complete as part of my preliminary work. The first was a watercolour/ink drawing of the main character, (which I gave to my mother because she liked it). The second was the poem “Market Day” where said main character reminisces about the way things used to be. (If I find a scan of the drawing, I’ll post it…)

Yay!!

(Not the strongest closing statement, but it sums up my sentiments pretty nicely.)