The Other Side of the Partition

The Other Side of the Partition

by Lynn Hardaker

When I was growing up in Toronto in the 1970s and ‘80s, one of my favourite haunts was the Royal Ontario Museum. My favourite exhibit was the dinosaurs. I’d walk through a doorway into a darkened passage which would lead past moody dioramas featuring a fossil T-rex, reconstructed Stegosaurus and Triceratops, all nestled within large-leafed plastic plants while at least one Pterodactyl hovered overhead. My little brother and I would amble and gape; imagine sneaking past the barriers – that thin partition between our world and that of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, parental supervision always prevented that kind of fun. The exhibit was small, old fashioned, and I absolutely loved it. (It stirred my imagination far more than I can imagine the museum’s current dinos-in-a-crystal exhibit could.)

When I was offered the opportunity of writing a dinosaur story for Rhonda’s D is for Dinosaur anthology, I was thrilled. It was a chance to return to a childhood escape, to dive in there, to cross the partition. But when I started, I had no idea how to do it. For a while I brainstormed, but everything I wrote seemed either trite or like rehashed b-horror. So I stepped back from it for a while, and that’s when another memory of Toronto from years back surfaced.

There was a local eccentric who had turned his Victorian mansion into a museum – an oversized cabinet of curiosities – filling it with masks and totems, shrunken heads, the bones and skulls of exotic animals, a live python and Galapagos Island tortoise. I was invited to it once by someone who knew him. It was a magical place. Here was someone who had turned his home into a living exhibit; someone living on the other side of the partition. That experience, however brief, stayed with me. It was only much later that I would read that he’d been charged with, and convicted of, abusing some of the young men he’d offered shelter to over the years.

And that all got me thinking; weaving things together: fact and fiction; inspiration and imagination; an image here, a thought there. I scribbled and eventually the story happened. A dinosaur story.

And, in one of those serendipitous events which so often happen to writers, after having written the story – actually in the course of writing this blog post – I found that one of the displays I hadn’t seen in the home-museum of way-back-when was fossilized elephant-bird eggs. The relevance of which will come to light to any who read the story.

 

Lynn Hardaker is a Canadian writer and artist currently living in Regensburg, Germany.  Her poems and short stories have appeared in Mythic Delirium, Not One of Us, Scheherezade’s Bequest, The Ghastling, and other journals. She’s currently doing the final round of edits on her YA historical fantasy novel set in a slightly alternative eighteenth century London.


D IS FOR DINOSAUR is available now!

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

 

We’ve Got Loki All Wrong

We’re going to take a short break from dinosaurs today to help celebrate a different book. The Songweaver’s Vow is by Laura VanArendonk Baugh. You should recognise her name by now (and not just because it stands out LoL) because I’m a pretty big fan of hers and have been lucky enough to work with her on several occasions. On this occasion she wants to talk about Loki. I’ve been reading a lot about Loki (in particular because I just finished putting together Equus and Loki has that whole ‘turned into a horse’ thing goin’ on), but also because c’mon! It’s Loki!

 

We’ve Got Loki All Wrong

by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Loki is kind of a big deal.

From Diana Wynne Jones’ Eight Days of Luke to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to Marvel’s Avengers films and comic Agent of Asgard, Loki has captured the modern imagination like no other Norse figure. And yes, Thor, sorry, but I’m including you in that. You may be Marvel’s nominal hero, but do you have your own imagine-pr0n Tumblrs? (Okay, you know what, you probably do, because Tumblr. Let’s just move on.)

Because Loki has been so popularly reimagined, however, it can be hard to get an authentic take on him. Even when he is the villain, he usually ends up something of an anti-hero, or at least a sympathetic and attractive villain. (See the Marvel cinematic universe for Exhibit A.)

A playwright friend who adapted Treasure Island for the stage commented to me on how difficult it was to “translate,” because the original audience viewed the pirates as villains while today’s audience (influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) views the pirates as the heroes. That’s much the same thing here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Tom Hiddleston too! but this is not that Loki.

In the source material, Loki is not an anti-hero. He is a – what’s this blog rated? – he’s a turdblossom.

A Force of Destruction

1280px-Loki_taunts_BragiThough Loki is often canonically found in Asgard, he’s not a god. The word Jötunn is often translated “giant,” but that’s not terribly accurate; Loki and his kind are actually “devourers.” They are destroyers. They are the chaos to counter the order of Asgard.

And so all the crazy antics for which we know Loki best are not merely amusing tales – turning into a female horse and getting pregnant by a stallion, tethering a goat to his testicles, insulting all the gods and their guests in order – but a deliberate overturning of everything the original audience would have held as honorable and just and comprehensible. And Loki isn’t doing it to make a point, not seeking social justice or questioning social norms, he’s doing it because it’s his nature to tear down and it is fun – even when it has dire personal consequences.

I never planned for this book to give Loki a major role, because so many Norse-based stories are Loki-centric. But in the end, he had more to do with it all than I’d intended, because the one thing you can count on from Loki is that he will do whatever is least intended and most inconvenient.

When Euthalia’s father trades her to Viking raiders, her best hope is to be made a wife instead of a slave. She gets her wish – sort of – when she is sacrificed as a bride to a god.

Her inhuman husband seems kind, but he visits only in the dark of night and will not allow her to look upon him. By day Euthalia becomes known as a storyteller, spinning ancient Greek tales to entertain Asgard’s gods and monsters.

When one of her stories precipitates a god’s murder and horrific retribution, Euthalia discovers there is a monster in her bed as well. Alone in a hostile Asgard, Euthalia must ally with a spiteful goddess to sway Odin himself before bloody tragedy opens Ragnarok, the prophesied end of the world.

The Songweaver’s Vow released Tuesday, February 21, and is available at Amazon and wherever books are sold.

 

Elemental-5252-webLaura VanArendonk Baugh overcame the dubious challenge of having been born without teeth or developed motor skills to become an award-winning writer of speculative fiction, mystery, and non-fiction. Her works have earned numerous accolades, including 3-star ratings (the highest possible) on Tangent’s “Recommended Reading” list. Laura speaks professionally on a variety of topics throughout the year, including writing, fan costuming, and her day job as a professional animal trainer and behavior consultant. Find her at www.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com .

 

C.S. MacCath Reading

We’re going to be launching D is for Dinosaur here in Edmonton this March:

D is for Dinosaur

(Details here)

But because the D is for Dinosaur contributors are spread so far out across the globe (and there are twenty-six of them!) we couldn’t possibly include everyone. So I asked the other contributors if they’d like to record themselves doing a reading from their story and I’d share it on my blog.

C.S. MacCath responded with this reading from her story, “One Who Dies as a God Dies”. The language is beautiful. The reading is like poetry. Listen, and enjoy!

 

 

C.S. MacCath is a PhD student of Folklore and a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry whose work has been shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and nominated for the Rhysling Award. Her first collection, The Ruin of Beltany Ring, has been called ‘wonderful, thoroughly engaging, always amazing’ and a book of ‘tiny marvels’. Advance reviewers have called her second collection, The Longest Road in the Universe, ‘a vivid, epic and touching journey’, ‘elegant and elegiac’, and ‘packed full of lush worlds, lyrical prose, three-dimensional characters and honest emotions’. She lives in Atlantic Canada, which might just be far enough north for her tastes, unless something opens up in Iceland.


D IS FOR DINOSAUR is available now!

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

D IS FOR DINOSAUR!

dino500x750

For the fourth installment of Rhonda Parrish’s Alphabet Anthologies, contributors were challenged to write about dinosaurs. The resulting twenty-six stories contain widely different interpretations of the dinosaur theme and span the spectrum from literal to metaphoric.

Within these stories — set in alternative histories, far-flung futures and times just around the corner — dinosaurs whimper and waste away or roar and rage. People can be dinosaurs, as can ideas, fictions and flesh. Knitted dinosaurs share space with ghostly, genetically engineered and even narcotic ones.

Teenagers must embrace their inner dinosaurs in order to find peace and belonging, a dying woman duels a God in a far future city that echoes aspects of our past, an abused wife accompanies her husband on a hunt for an ancient power and finds more than she could ever have imagined and a girl with wonderful magical powers stumbles across the bones of a giant long-dead lizard. And so much more!

AVAILABLE NOW!

Electronic (US) (CA) (UK)

Paperback 

Laura VanArendonk Baugh Reading

We’re going to be launching D is for Dinosaur here in Edmonton this March:

D is for Dinosaur

(Details here)

But because the D is for Dinosaur contributors are spread so far out across the globe (and there are twenty-six of them!) we couldn’t possibly include everyone. So I asked the other contributors if they’d like to record themselves doing a reading from their story and I’d share it on my blog.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh responded with a video reading… and she got a little bit more help with it than she’d anticipated. Check it out:

 

Laura VanArendonk Baugh overcame the dubious challenge of having been born without teeth or developed motor skills to become an award-winning writer of speculative fiction, mystery, and non-fiction. Her works have earned numerous accolades, including 3-star (the highest possible) ratings on Tangent’s “Recommended Reading” list. Laura speaks professionally on a variety of topics throughout the year, including writing, fan costuming, and her day job as a professional animal trainer and behavior consultant. Find her at www.LauraVAB.com.

Pre-order D IS FOR DINOSAUR for only $0.99!

(prices go up when it’s released tomorrow!)

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

Who Doesn’t Love Dinosaurs?

Who Doesn’t Love Dinosaurs?

by Suzanne Willis

 

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?  I was so excited to find out that “D is for Dinosaur” – for me, those creatures of distant history have the power to endlessly fire the imagination and to bring back childhood memories.  Like a primary school excursion to the museum and seeing the enormous, time-browned bones of a T-Rex and triceratops, their wickedly sharp horns and teeth and claws reminiscent of dragons.  Those shapes were proof that strange, almost-mythical creatures had existed and it felt as though they gave permission for the creatures of the stories that I loved so much – dragons and mermaids, wood nymphs and chimera – to exist, too.  Then there was the long-ago day outing with family friends, one of whom – a boy around my age, which was seven or eight at the time – was blind.  He brought along his large collection of toy dinosaurs and fascinated me by being able to identify each one just by feeling their shapes.  It was the first time I realised that there were ways of experiencing the world that were so different to my own – the first time my view of life was punctured by someone else’s reality.

And so here was the chance to revisit dinosaurs, which had been a source of fascination and wonder so long ago.  Sparks of possible tales popped up, and I began with notes such as “ghost landscapes”, “opalised bones” and “giants made of rock and rainforest pitted against one another?”.  Then there was brainstorming and research to shape the initial ideas: I spent a glorious afternoon going through “Dinosaurs: a visual encyclopedia” by DK Publishing, making notes about stromatolites, archaeopteryx (the link between avian dinosaurs and modern birds), pterosaurs, placoderms, ammonite fossils, griffinflies, amber.  Other resources that taught me about Mary Anning, who made a huge contribution to palaeontology, and science generally, through her work in Jurassic marine fossils on the coast of Dorset, England, in the 1800s.  Being a woman, she did not receive full credit for her work during her lifetime, but was lauded after her death, into the 20th century and beyond.  Seriously, if you’re not familiar with Mary Anning’s story, take some time to read up on her!

In reacquainting myself with my love of dinosaurs and natural history, I began to think about the connection between past and present, and about all those things that time has eroded away, so will forever remain undiscovered, and how future finds will alter those matters we currently accept as truth about that long-distant past.

And so Pax and his kin, and the gliders who were their enemies, the dinosaurs of the in-between, were born…


Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

Not-So-Imaginary Friends

Not-So-Imaginary Friends: A D is for Dinosaur Guest Blog

by Beth Cato

Confession: I am 37 years old, and I still want to believe in magic. I want there to be glorious beings and places that we can’t quite see, and that all of us potentially hold power that is manipulated by the mind, not muscles.

Along those lines, I love the idea of imaginary friends that aren’t imaginary. I want children to see–really see–what is around them. Magical beings. Aliens. Portals to other realms. It’s the stuff of my own childhood wish fulfillment, no doubt, and my writing career gives me the chance to make it all real. In a way.

My D is for Dinosaur story delves into the dark side of not-so-imaginary friends from more of a science fiction angle: the relationship between a brilliant young girl and her mentor, who is invisible to everyone else, but in her eyes is a rainbow-toned velociraptor. The girl knows her dinosaur friend is real. She also knows that, because of her own brain maturation, she will no longer be able to see or hear him soon. And she’s tragically aware that because of that, she’ll begin to doubt that he ever existed at all.

It goes to the very concept of faith. What is “real?” What is imaginary? Can we trust our own memories?

For me, this is a very personal dilemma.

Being a weird, precocious child, I was aware by about age nine that there was a point where other kids stopped playing with toys or looking for fairies hidden among the hedges. To me, it seemed like an ultimate betrayal of self, like these children forgot who they really were. That their imaginations were tossed in shoeboxes along with battered childhood toys, destined for a thrift store shelf at some much-later date.

I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t toss aside my imagination. I’d stay true to myself.

Reality is cruel. We’re told to “grow up.” Stop playing around. That imaginary friends don’t exist, that they never existed. That we need real jobs. That if we make art, it’s not worth anything.

I lost my way for a number of years, caving to pressure that reading and writing fantasy wasn’t “real” writing. But I came back to it because I realized I was incomplete. I still wanted to see hidden magic in the world, and I needed to write it in existence.

My story heroine contends with all of these emotions, too. She’s a kid who has always had an invisible-to-everyone else velociraptor as her dearest friend. She’s going to lose him. She’s going to grow up.

It’s my hope, though, that she grows up in some ways but not others.

 

Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella WINGS OF SORROW AND BONE. Her newest novel is BREATH OF EARTH. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

 


Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

Tesseracts Twenty-one Opens to Submissions

EdgeEDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
www.edgewebsite.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Embargo to February 15, 2017) 

Tesseracts Twenty-one opens to submissions!

The submission period for Tesseracts Twenty-one officially opens, February 15, 2017. Submissions will be accepted until Midnight April 30, 2017.

Edited by Rhonda Parrish and Greg Bechtel, the anthology focuses on optimistic speculative fiction and will be released by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing in the spring of 2018.

The theme of the anthology is ‘optimism’ – which doesn’t necessarily exclude dark or scary settings – but requires some sort of optimistic twist or element. Whether that takes the form of a solar-punk tale set in a sustainable world with a post-scarcity economy, a POV character existing as an advocate of optimism or something else entirely, the editors want to see it.

“We’re not looking for saccharine sweetness, but rather stories which offer a little brightness and hope in one way or another,” says Rhonda Parrish, co-editor.

“While we’re certainly interested in submissions where a Canadian setting (a specific city, region, or province) plays a role, we’re also open to stories set anywhere in the world, the universe, or the multiverse,” says Greg Bechtel, co-editor.

Stories must be previously unpublished, in English, between 500-5000 words.

Submissions are only open to Canadian writers (citizens, residents, expats, etc.). The editors will accept stories previously published in a language other than English, but they must first be translated into English before submission.

Submissions should be e-mailed to: tesseracts21@edgewebsite.com. The e-mail must contain the word “submission” in the subject line. Submissions must be sent as an attachment: in .DOCX, DOC. or .RTF format.

For more information please read the submission guidelines:

http://edgewebsite.com/books/tess21/t21-catalog.html

 

About the Tesseracts Series

The Tesseracts anthology series is Canada’s longest running anthology. It was first edited by the late Judith Merril in 1985, and has published more than 563 original Canadian speculative fiction (Science fiction, fantasy and horror) stories and poems by 335 Canadian authors, editors, translators and special guests.

Some of Canada’s best known writers have been published within the pages of these volumes – including Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, and Spider Robinson.

Tesseracts Twenty-one will be released in Spring, 2018 in paperback and eBook editions.

 

About the editors

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Sirens and C is for Chimera.

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been published in Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015) and Mythic Delirium.

 

Greg Bechtel’s occasionally prize-winning writing has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including Avenue Edmonton, The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, the Tesseracts anthologies, and Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. His first story collection, Boundary Problems, won the Alberta Book of the Year Award for trade fiction and was a finalist for the William L. Crawford Fantasy Award, the ReLit Award, and the City of Edmonton Robert Kroetsch Book Prize. Currently, Greg is serving as 2016-2017 Writer in Residence for the Canadian Authors’ Association (Alberta branch), and he also teaches writing and literature at the University of Alberta, where he completed his PhD on Canadian syncretic fantasy.

-30-

For further information please contact:
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
www.edgewebsite.com
events@hadespublications.com
403.254.0160

This is Jo

Jo

This is my husband Jo and he is amazing.

Every year for Valentine’s Day I plan to do something awesome, to make a big public declaration of love — to write a poem, or a story, or a something — to show just how much he means to me. And every year I don’t quite pull it off. Sometimes I get paralyzed by the enormity of my feelings for him and my limited ability to put those feelings to words and sometimes, like this year, it’s because Valentine’s Day just kind of sneaks up on me.

I met Jo on some forums… my avatar was me lookin’ purdy, his was a sock puppet. And really, that’s probably all you need to know about us right there LoL. We started talking, and I convinced him to get ICQ (please tell me at least some of you remember ICQ?) so that we could chat in real time. Our relationship very nearly ended right there because Jo’s personality didn’t really come across awesomely on instant messenger, but thankfully we paved over those initial bumps and met up in three dimensions in the autumn of 2001. After our first meet-up (during which I had a gall bladder attack, because that’s exactly how romantic I am, apparently) we weren’t very awesome at being apart and I moved in with him a few months later. A few months after that I proposed and he said yes.

Jo is my partner, my rock, my advocate and, when I need it, he’ll kick my ass for me. He makes it possible for me to do what I do and be who I am.

I love you Jo, more and more each day–your kind of crazy is a perfect match for my kind of crazy.

I don’t know who I’d be without you, and I hope to never find out.

Happy Valentines Day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth Reading ‘J’

We’re going to be launching D is for Dinosaur here in Edmonton this March:

D is for Dinosaur

(Details here)

But because the D is for Dinosaur contributors are spread so far out across the globe (and there are twenty-six of them!) we couldn’t possibly include everyone. So I asked the other contributors if they’d like to record themselves doing a reading from their story and I’d share it on my blog. In response, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth sent along this recording of part of her story, “J”. Give it a listen — it has one of the best opening lines in the entire anthology 🙂

“J” by Jeanne Kramer-Smyth

 


Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)

A Dinosaur Dream Come True

A Dinosaur Dream Come True

 by Andrew Bourelle 

Writing for Rhonda Parrish’s D is for Dinosaur anthology was a dream come true.

I know: what a cliché, right?

Yes, but please hear me out.

It was indeed a dream to be included in the anthology. I’ve been a fan of the alphabet anthologies ever since first cracking A is for Apocalypse. And I’d been hoping to work with Rhonda Parrish for a while too. However, that’s not the what I’m referring to.

I’m referring to the story—it came to me in a dream.

At least the idea did.

I’d been kicking around a few ideas for months. I was excited about two ideas in particular, and I was having trouble deciding which one to choose. Both were sort of urban fantasy/horror stories. (Sorry, I don’t want to tell you any more details because I might still write them someday!) I had been reading and writing a lot of mysteries at the time, and I thought writing a surreal, strange, and horrific dinosaur story would be a nice break for me. But I was working on a larger project, and I just couldn’t devote the time to start either idea. As the D is for Dinosaur deadline loomed nearer, I kept thinking, “I’ve got to get started writing. Just choose an idea and see where it takes you.”

Then one night I woke from a strange dream. I often have what I call “movie dreams.” I dream as if I’m watching a movie. I’m often not a character in the story, just a floating consciousness observing what happens to others. In a way, it’s like floating around inside a short story—it comes from my imagination but I’m not a part of it. I’ve dreamed new storylines for James Bond or sequels to the Wolverine films. And I’ve also dreamed narratives that come out of nowhere. Often, I’ll think to myself in a half-awake state at three o’clock in the morning that I need to remember this dream so I can write it down. Then I wake up and have either forgotten what happened in the dream or I take a closer look at it with my fully awake mind and realize that what seemed like a great story was in fact incomprehensible nonsense.

In the case of this dream, I woke up and knew: Here’s my story!

The only problem was that I couldn’t quite remember everything: just the concept, the main character, the neo-noir tone. As I find with most dreams, I was left more with a feeling than a story.

But I had what I needed: the seed of an idea, my MacGuffin.

A new drug.

The drug is referred to in the story simply by its street name “Y.” I describe it as “an opiate mixed with cocaine alkaloid and crushed dinosaur bones.”

What if such a drug existed? What would people do to get their hands on it?

After waking up from the dream, before thinking too much about it, I sat down and wrote the first draft in one day. I hadn’t taken the break from mystery writing after all. I’d just found a way to put dinosaur into a mystery story.

I have found that when I think a lot about a story before writing it, I often have trouble coming up with the words. But if I have just a seed of an idea, a blurry fog of a story that I haven’t thought about too much, the words pour out more easily. I find it harder to think before I write. I’m better when I’m thinking as I’m writing. Or, more accurately, when writing is thinking.

That was the case with my D is for Dinosaur entry. The idea came from a dream state, the story spilled out of my fingertips into the keyboard, and poof! there was my story.

A dream come true.

Or, more accurately, a sleep dream turned into fictional dream.

I hope readers have as much fun with the story as I had dreaming it up.


Press play on this here file to hear Andrew read a short (less than a minute long) excerpt from his story 🙂


Pre-order your copy of D IS FOR DINOSAUR now and get it for only $0.99!

dino500x750

Amazon (US) (CA) (UK)