Candas as a Queen of True North SF

We recently celebrated the release of Prairie Starport: Stories in Celebration of Candas Jane Dorsey but some of the contributors wanted to do something a bit more. And so for several Fridays I was honoured to feature more stories about Candas and the anthology in the form of guest posts on my blog. Today’s entry is going to conclude this series which I called:

 

 

Thoughts about one of the Queens of True North SF

by Gregg Chamberlain

I’ve been a fan of speculative fiction since I was kid watching Rocket Robin Hood on CBC and getting a Tom Corbet, Space Cadet juvenile hardcover for a Christmas present one year. Over the years my taste in speculative fiction has broadened and, I hope, matured (though I can still sing both the opening and closing theme songs for Rocket Robin, and will do so despite all attempts to stop me. BIG GRIN).

But for a long while, I thought all the writers of sf and fantasy were either British or American (Jules Verne being the sole exception to the rule). I didn’t know that A.E. Van Vogt was Canadian, though I enjoyed reading Slan. While in high school I discovered H. A. Hargreaves’ North by 2000 collection of short stories and I was amazed. The stories were good, although a bit depressing in their depiction of the future, and that was my impression of Canadian SF then. Cold, bleak, and dark. Kind of like the middle of January in Northern Ontario (and I know what I am talking about, since my family spent two years in the Kenora/Rainy River area—first time ever heard the boom of ice cracking on a river late at night in the middle of winter while the cold stars blinked in the midnight sky).

Now, I did know there were women who wrote sf. Andre Norton and Leigh Brackett were two of my favourite authors, both then and now and always. But again, they were not Canadian sf writers. By a curious chance, during my senior year in high school while the family was living in Kenora, I met in person with Phyllis Gotlieb during a humanities class field trip. But she was introduced to us as a poet, not a writer, and certainly not a writer of speculative fiction. Though she did treat us to a short reading from her novel, Sunburst, during the poetry workshop session with my class. But I did not clue in that this was an actual living breathing Canadian SF writer!

Fastforward to my college years and my somewhat brief nationalist phase. By then I knew there were Canadian sf writers. Giants of the field like Van Vogt and Gordon Dickson, yet Gotlieb was still the only female Canadian sf writer than I knew about (finally figured that much out, I did).

Then, during a trip to visit with the cousins down in the Greater Vancouver area (also known as the Lower Mainland to most of us in B.C.), I discovered the White Dwarf book store. Heaven. Bakka Books in Toronto may be the Mecca for any Canadian sf fan’s mandatory pilgrimage. But the Dwarf was always the one mandatory stop for me any time I was in down in Vancouver town.

There I found Machine Sex and Other Stories by Candas Jane Dorsey. And I was amazed. This was a kind of sf I had never seen before or even imagined. It was edgy, it was off the wall, it was just bloody unbelievably WOW!

I have never met Ms. Dorsey. But then I’ve met in person only a very few of the writers whose works I have enjoyed and loved and treasured over the decades. When you live in the boondocks of Canada most of your life, far from the big cities of Vancouver or Calgary, Toronto, or Montréal, you don’t get a lot of chances to attend sf conventions or hang out with all that many of your fellow sf fans. I am lucky that I was able to attend at least one WorldCon (Torcon 3 is the place for me! Yaaaaay! BIG GRIN again).

Doesn’t matter. I have the words of Ms. Dorsey and all the others. Words which have filled me with wonder, sometimes made me weep, other times had me rolling on the floor laughing, and often left me rubbing my chin and going “hmmm”.

Dorsey and Company all inspired me to put down my dreams into words, and also gave me the courage to send those words out into the wild and see if they might fly. Some crash and burn. But others are soar upwards seeking the stars.

Thank you, Candas Jane Dorsey. I am proud to do my part to honour both your work and the legacy of creativity you gifted all of us.

Gregg Chamberlain

Plantagenet, Ontario (at present)

May 25 2018 (for now)

 

 

Download it for free at:
BookFunnel
Kobo
Playster
Apple

Also available at Amazon

Paperback available at Amazon:
.com
.co.uk

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

 

All profits from this collection will be donated to the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society in Candas’ name.

Swashbucking Cats — Nine Lives on the Seven Seas

And thus was an anthology conceived, contracted and scheduled.

Bad news: Submissions don’t open until next year.

Good news: That gives you lots of time to write something pawsome.

p.s. If we knock this one out of the park maybe we can talk the publisher into a Ninja Dogs follow-up 😉

 

Swashbuckling Cats: Nine Lives on the Seven Seas

If you think cats and water don’t mix, think again.

I’m putting together an anthology full of feisty felines on the high seas! I want pirate cats, and Viking cats. Submariner cats and explorer cats. This book is going to be filled with adventure-loving cats, puns and fun. I want it to be a wild, rollicking ride complete with sword fights, sea monsters, treasure hunting, discovering new worlds and lots and lots of kittehs.

Be careful not to get too caught up in the fun and forget to include a strong plot and detailed characters for your story, though.

I’m a sucker for a great setting, three-dimensional characters and high stakes and if your story elicits real emotion from me–laughter, tears or anything in between–you will have increased your chances of success significantly.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $50 CAD flat fee and a paperback copy of the anthology. In exchange we are seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: June 1, 2019 – July 31, 2019

Length: Under 9,000 words

Publisher: Tyche Books

No simultaneous or multiple submissions.

No reprints.

Canadian spelling, please.

 

 

 

 

 

Candas as Conversationalist

We recently celebrated the release of Prairie Starport: Stories in Celebration of Candas Jane Dorsey but some of the contributors wanted to do something a bit more. And so for the next few Fridays my blog is going to feature more stories about Candas and the anthology in the form of guest posts for a mini blog series I’m calling:
More about Candas Jane Dorsey and Prairie Starport

Candas as Conversationalist

by Ursula Pflug

Candas included me in a few wonderful anthologies back when I was a baby writer, inclusions that were meaningful and inspired me to stay with the struggle, the way early sales can. We met in ’86, at a workshop Judith Merril facilitated in Peterborough, even though many of us were Torontonians. Judy knew people in the Patch, and found us both housing and a workshop location at the George Street Peter Robinson residences, empty for the summer. One night we all went for dinner to a little cafe on the north side of Charlotte Street. I ordered linguine with clam sauce, all the rage back then; now we cringe at all that white flour. Judy and Candas talked animatedly about books and people the rest of us had never heard of, but also took the time to compliment my little son on his Osh Kosh overalls. He was smitten.

I loved the work Candas brought–fragments which, much later, became part of A Paradigm Of Earth. Some books just need to be written. They tell you so right away, and you have to keep at them whether you want to or not, sometimes for years. The piece I brought to that workshop was a fragment of The Alphabet Stones. Of all the early work of mine that Judy was kind enough to read and comment on, it was the one she said I had to write. It’s a novel that has so many layers and weavings in an out of my life and Eastern Ontario that it took me decades to say what wanted saying, but I’d guess it’s partly because of Candas and Judy’s enthusiasm that it got done. It’s only we ourselves who can do the work, but in the case of a novel, we’re skipping while someone else turns the ropes, and their chanting the rhymes keeps us going.

It was an oddly prophetic trip, because a year or so later my husband and I left Toronto with our little son to rent my father’s country place, a farm in Norwood east of Peterborough, a city I barely knew beyond that trip with a motley crew of aspiring SF and F writers. It was as though Judy had blessed a choice I didn’t even know I was making–I know that sounds twee but it’s a feeling I got from her more than once. Judy and Doug would go to the Hangman in the evenings, and sometimes I joined them for half an hour if I couldn’t get the baby to sleep. Her wholehearted approval of Doug meant something too, as I didn’t have a mother to tell me I’d chosen well.

I feel a little teary now, maybe because the things I’m writing about happened so long ago, and because of all the loss between now and then; Doug and I are at the age when you lose people you really liked much more often than you’d prefer.

Candas published my first novel, the inter-dimensional turtle tale Green Music, when she and Timothy Anderson were proprietors at Tesseract Books, before it became Edge. It didn’t occur to me to include an excerpt from that, even though there are several stand-alones which appeared in places like Now Magazine, Quarry and Infinity Plus. Rather, I chose a piece which she included in Prairie Fire SF, a special issue she edited in conjunction with ConAdian, the 1994 Winnipeg Worldcon.

“One Day I’m Gonna Give Up the Blues For Good,” the near future story (or maybe it’s an alternate world–in my short fiction there’s often a blur there) reprinted in this antho, talks about Ryoan-ji, the famous Zen Garden in Kyoto. I had not yet been there when I wrote the story, and the name of the garden wasn’t mentioned in the original published version, though the place was nevertheless recognizable by context. In the story the garden is filled with stillness, raked gravel around stones, whereas when I was there it was teeming with visitors. My niece and I shot video, and I’d link to it here, but the famous stones are barely visible because of the crowd. Japan is a place of crowds–I probably noticed this more because I relocated to an empty part of Ontario decades ago.

Candas and I have spent the last few months editing The Food Of My People, a story collection for Exile, though that title may change. It’s inspired by a short story of Candas’s which appeared in my previous antho for Exile, The Playground of Lost Toys, which I co-edited with Colleen Anderson. There’s a lot of reading and detail work when you’re working on an antho, and back and forth with your co-editor and your authors–there you are, attending to your life and your family and work commitments and trying to squeeze the book into the corners. There were moments I felt stretched–this happens to all of us–and then I’d remember I was working with Candas–or she’d remind me, with a couple of yummy lines in an email that were OT but even more delicious because of it.

Candas is one of those people you can have a conversation with that you drop for a year or many years and then pick back up–because you both remember it as a talk worth having, the kind that brings joy when you return. It was this that made me slow down, to remember to have a correspondence that wasn’t just about the nuts and bolts of the work, but that afforded pleasure. Because time is sliding by, and you have to grab joy where you can. In the winter I told a student that I was struggling to put a positive light on it, but this was what I came up with–the fact that Doug and I are losing so many good people signifies how many we knew in the first place. If someone had told me, when I was welcoming new friends into my life that I’d have to lose them all later on, one by one, would it have stopped me?

Like watching candle lanterns float down the river in Hiroshima on August 6th, each symbolic of a loss, I silently say goodbye to one after another. At one point during the editing process, having just lost a woman I’d been very fond of, I wrote to Candas: Thank you for still being here. It’s something I say regularly, and only a little tongue in cheek: Good conversation, it’s one of the things I came to the planet for.

We’ve travelled on promotional tours together, Candas and her partner Tim Anderson and I, to Madison and Orlando and Calgary. I’m shy by nature and my husband isn’t the sort to go to cons with me–our mutual family is the international electronic arts community–so finding people to hang out with at cons can be a bit awkward. But with Candas and Tim there’s always that–it’s not just chit chat, pleasant as that may be. It’s time well spent, in good conversation. The kind I came to the planet for.

People talk so much about what they are doing now, what they have going to press at this very moment, and I do understand why; each book’s fifteen minutes in the spotlight is so very brief. But let’s not forget we have a history–and a great one. Here’s to Candas, who has given so very much to our community. Let’s remember to take the time. To celebrate not just who we are, but who we were. Let’s remember to do it as we go along, and not just save it up for the end.

 

 

Download it for free at:
BookFunnel
Kobo
Playster
Apple

Also available at Amazon

Paperback available at Amazon:
.com
.co.uk

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

 

All profits from this collection will be donated to the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society in Candas’ name.

Earth: Giants, Golems and Gargoyles

Earth: Giants, Golems and Gargoyles

Keep your feet on the ground. Sink in roots. Stay grounded. Mother Earth. We come from dust, and to dust we return…

Earth is steady. Solid. Reliable. It is the source of life and the thing which sustains it. But it’s not always serene and peaceful. It takes a lot to stir the earth but when it does, things get dramatic. Quakes swallow cities. Oceans rise. Mountains crumble. Earth is not weak, and it knows no pity.

In this, the second installment of the Elemental Anthology series, I want to explore the many facets of this often under-estimated element and the creatures associated with it so Earth: Giants, Golems and Gargoyles will be filled with stories about every kind of earthy creature you can imagine, not only those listed in the subtitle. I’m looking for trolls, dwarves, earth dragons, goblins, ogres, orcs, grotesques and earthen beasts no one has ever heard of before. And of course this anthology will not be complete without at least one giant, golem and gargoyle!

Rights and compensation: Payment: $50 CAD flat fee and a paperback copy of the anthology. In exchange we are seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: January 1, 2019 – February 28, 2019

Length: Under 7,500 words

Publisher: Tyche Books

No simultaneous or multiple submissions.

No reprints.

International submissions are welcomed but use Canadian spelling, please.

F is for…

There was a lot of discussion in regard to what the next installment of the Alphabet Anthologies should be. A lot. F is just such a versatile letter, the options were many.

To answer two of the frequently asked questions — no, I didn’t really consider ‘F is for Fart’ and yes, I was absolutely tempted to do ‘F is for Fuck’.

In the end, after a lot of debate and conversation I decided to go with:

F is for Fairy!

The way the Alphabet Anthologies work is that each of the twenty-six stories in the anthology not only fits the theme of that anthology but also has a title that is: LETTER is for WORD (ie: A is for Apple, B is for Banana…). I randomly* assign each contributing author a letter and then they write their story. What that means is there is no open submission period for the Alphabet Anthologies, sorry writers.

I’m not announcing all the contributing writers because sometimes those names change before publication as Life gets in the way of things, but I can tell you I’m really excited for this anthology.

If you are too, a good way to spend the time between now and 2019 when this will be coming out, might be to read the first five volumes of the series 🙂

A is for Apocalypse edited by Rhonda Parrish, cover design by Jonathan ParrishA is for Apocalypse (Free!)

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory HokeB is for Broken

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. ParrishC is for Chimera

D is for Dinosaur

E is for Evil

 

I apologise for the towering layout of those book links… this blog theme makes doing anything nicer pretty tricky. I have ‘swap blog themes’ on my to-do list… but the list is even longer than those book covers piled atop one another soo… it could be a while 😉

*It’s random except that I wiggle things around if necessary to make sure people don’t get assigned the same letter twice.

Candas as Partner

We recently celebrated the release of Prairie Starport: Stories in Celebration of Candas Jane Dorsey but some of the contributors wanted to do something a bit more. And so for the next few Fridays my blog is going to feature more stories about Candas and the anthology in the form of guest posts for a mini blog series I’m calling:

More about Candas Jane Dorsey and Prairie Starport

Candas as Partner

by Timothy Anderson

I didn’t write a personal note to accompany my story Slough in Prairie Starport. Truthfully, I could not focus on what to say when our lives are so intertwined. So I have now distilled my thoughts about what I have learned from Candas to a few meme-worthy points.

1. Outgrowing your own successes can be painful, but the alternative is entropy.

In 1991, when we got together, Candas and I had each had our successes in different niches of the artistic community. Candas had excelled at short fiction and poetry; I performed and wrote for the stage, including being librettist-in-residence for the Canadian Opera Company.

Candas believed I could do anything, so suddenly I was writing essays and poetry, I was editing and publishing. And at times when her faith in herself or in her work might flag, I would be the critical eye saying “Don’t pull your punches. Go there.”

We encourage each other to go farther than we would on our own, whether it is in our writing or our painting or our community engagement.

2. We are the architects of our own relationships.

We were both newly single, both building community through volunteer work on various boards and activism, both with a background in communication. We both embraced an arts and crafts aesthetic of life-building: use the materials at hand, apply creativity, and celebrate the unique result.

We were the material at hand. So we built with and for each other. We realized we did not have to follow old scripts forged in prior relationships, both personal and business. I say “we”, but really it was Candas who showed me that.

Candas and Mary Woodbury and I started a writing and editing services company. Candas and her friends/colleagues started a publishing company, and I became a (not-so-)silent partner when we bought the Tesseracts imprint.

We were challenged to find an architecture that would accommodate a third person who loved us, and we decided we would.

And when these things reached the end of their lifecycles, we recognized that as part of the pattern. We grieved, and then we said “What shall we build next?”

3.There will be housework.

Candas quotes Jane Rule saying “politics is housework.” Candas notices things that need maintenance – many, many things. Whether it is for the health of society at large or the dog’s attitude toward food, Candas is ready to tackle it as part of the daily workload. Or tomorrow’s if today’s is full. A hundred small actions work to stave off entropy in what ways we can. It might not be restful, but it is meaningful.

4. Space is not a frontier, final or otherwise.

Speculative fiction is a tough business. The rate of real change in our world is so fast, we risk being ahead of our time when we write the first draft and behind our time when the book is published.

We learned that our working styles were very different and a little neutral space was a good thing. Candas runs on memory and order and focus. I run on caffeine, chaos and a critical process that looks like intuition but is likely misfiring synapses. When I express my admiration for her process, she is quick to point out that mine is as successful. And could I please do something about my chaos before visitors drop in…

We bought a house. And another house. We team-taught at MacEwan while teaching separately for other institutions. We joined the community league board. We created spaces where we are together and spaces where we are apart, and the outsides are not the frontiers. The frontiers are the places where we are challenged inside.

Candas keeps me in that frontier territory, that place where a prairie starport is most likely to appear.

 

 

Download it for free at:
BookFunnel
Kobo
Playster
Apple

Also available at Amazon

Paperback available at Amazon:
.com
.co.uk

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

All profits from this collection will be donated to the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society in Candas’ name.