All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

N is for Nova Scotia

NThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say 😉

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ ParticipantsMy Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

N is for Nova Scotia

In 2012 we took a family vacation to Nova Scotia. Jo was pretty familiar with the province because he did his PhD in Halifax, but Danica and I had never been. Not only did we have a great time and make a lot of memories, but I got a lot of great photos too. Also, I discovered I’m actually pretty damn good at planning vacations 😉

I took this one at Crescent Beach. It was beautiful with loud crashing waves and lovely sand. The whole time we were there I just kept thinking how much Tre (our dog) would have loved it.

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The tall ship festival was going on while we were in Halifax. It was lovely to see them all in dock… one of the saddest moments of our trip happened when we were walking along the harbour and one of the ships came in, sails open and glorious… and I didn’t have my camera on me. *sigh* We rushed back to the hotel to get it, but by the time we got back the ship was docked and the sails tied up. I did, however, learn a lesson there. LoL

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I learned another lesson at Peggy’s Cove, where I took this shot (actually, these shots–I stitched several images together to get this photograph). That lesson was, always, always, always charge your freaking battery before you go out shooting for the day. Always. >_<

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Halifax is a small city, and an old city. One of the best places I found for photographs there was The Old Burying Ground. I wish I’d gone back again before we left, but there are only so many hours in the day, you know? I took this one there:

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We didn’t only stay in Halifax while we were there. I’d fallen in love with Lunenburg from watching the television show Haven (which is filmed in and around Lunenburg). After visiting I’m still pretty convinced I could live there LOL Anyway, this was my fangirl shot of the trip. It’s the Lunenburg town hall, but in Haven it’s the police station 🙂

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Finally, we spent some time on the farm of some friends. It was a breathtaking farm, right on the Medway river. The lifestyle they have there… well, let’s just say when I retire that’s how I’d like to do it. It was magical. I took this photograph one evening there. It’s stitched together from multiple exposures (it’s worth clicking on to see it bigger):

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Looking Back at 2013

Rearview -- Photo by Rhonda ParrishWhat a year. To say it’s been exponentially better than last year would be a huge understatement, but at the same time, it’s been far from perfect. It’s that time again when I look over my goals, see how well I did, celebrate the good things and figure out how to fail better at the others next year.

I’ll list my goals for 2013 below, bolding the ones I figure I accomplished and addressing each briefly. I don’t want to turn this into a novel-length blog post 😉

Health

  • Lose 25lbs
  • Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
  • No energy drinks
  • Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.

Right. So I totally fell down on pretty much all my health goals (though I mostly managed to avoid Red Bull).  I’m not even sure what happened to tell the truth, I just never managed to get back into the habit of working out and watching what I ate. This needs to be my primary focus for next year though because if I’m unhealthy everything else falls apart too. I may need help remembering that over the coming months though, so I’ll have to figure out a way to address that when I set my goals for 2014.

School

  • Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.

I took Psychology 304 – Research Methods in Psychology (which is required for my degree) and passed it with a B+. A very irritating B+. I was point five percent away from an A. >_<

Editing/Publishing

  • Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
  • Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
  • Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
  • Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
  • Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
  • Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists

Metastasis Cover FinalI sold the Metastasis anthology idea to Wolfsinger Publications and edited the hell out of that thing. I am *SO* freaking proud of this book. So proud, and my mother (who I dedicated my efforts to) would be as well. We’re still in the process of ‘promoting the hell out of it’ and our first statements haven’t come out so I’m not sure how sales are going yet. Fingers crossed though… and if they aren’t where we want them to be, well, I guess I’ll just have to put some more time in.

This year I did increase Niteblade’s readership, distribution and the number of file formats it is available in. We also held a super successful fundraiser (raising $604!) and even adopted a chimpanzee.

While I did check to see if there was interest in a NaNoLJers anthology, there didn’t seem to be. Maybe next year… And my sekkrit projekt kind of got left behind a bit this year, but maybe that’s something I can look to a little closer in 2014 as well because I sure wasn’t slacking when it came to editing projects this year.

In addition to Metastasis and Niteblade, I’m also working on an anthology with World Weaver Press. You may have heard of it, it’s this little thing I like to call Fae. And I also broke ground on the first of what is going to be a huge series of anthologies, A is for Apocalypse.

Writing

  • Participate in The Whittaker Prize
  • Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
  • Participate in Writo De Mayo
  • NaNoWriMo and both camp NaNoWriMos are all optional
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2012 NovPad prompts
  • Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
  • Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
  • Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
  • Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry

Tesseracts 17Well, you win some you lose some, right?

For example, I participated in The Whittaker Prize (well, this year’s incarnation was the Not-Whittaker Prize) but when it carried over into November, when I was trying to do All.The.Things including NaNoWriMo I decided to drop out for my own sanity. I was successful with NaNoWriMo however… but then I totally haven’t written another word on my novel (which needs about 30,000 more of them) since then. >_<

I did participate in Writo De Mayo where my primary goal was to transcribe a family history my grandmother had written and format it as a book to give to her. I did, and she loved it very much making the month’s worth of work well, well, worth the effort. (Alas, now she has edited the proof copy so guess what I’m doing in May 2014? LOL).

I also self-published Aphanasian Stories. Sales have been pretty lame (read: nearly non-existent) but I’m glad those stories are out there and available to an audience who might want them, if not today, perhaps tomorrow. Plus, the reviewers seem to like them, so that’s good for my ego 🙂

I’m looking at bundling some of my other previously published short stories to re-sell as ebooks but right now I don’t have enough which aren’t under contract that have common themes, so that’s something I’ll have to look at again next year.

As for the zombie poetry collection? It’s a work in progress. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it before the end of the year, but I don’t want to rush through and create an inferior product. Because.

Under the writing umbrella for 2013 I’ve had a fantastic year. I’ve produced some stories I’m really, super proud of, and many of them have found homes with dream publishers. Highlights definitely include being published by Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, work forthcoming in Kzine, Mythic Delirium and the Trafficking in Magick anthology, poetry publications with Every Day Poets and especially the story I co-wrote with Jo for Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories.

Reading

  • Read at least 30 books

As of today I’ve read 47 published books. I’ve also been privileged enough to read one soon-to-be published book as a critiquer and a couple anthologies I may have mentioned above. I also read a crapload of short stories as submissions to Niteblade and those anthologies, so overall I think I crushed this goal 😉

A Month of LettersMisc

  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (bonus points if I come up with a theme this year)
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Take a social media retreat for one week a month all year
  • Attend WorldCon 2012 in Texas
  • Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
  • Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
  • Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling

I did well on these ones 🙂 Sadly I didn’t make it to WorldCon, we had some unexpected expenses that needed to be dealt with (stoopid money) and I kinda sucked at putting prompts up for NaNoLJers but other than that I rocked the goals in this area. My month of letters was a lot of fun and I still write to several of the people I met that month (in addition to the friends I’ve always written to — I’ve fallen behind on that, but working on catching up. Let’s blame a crazy autumn, okay?), I did the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with a theme (Niteblade), ran the writing bingo at NaNoLJers and significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend playing World of Warcraft.

My social media retreats have gone very well, except for during the times when I’m in the midst of a promotion or such and need to pop on at least once a day because of that. I think next year I’m going to set a daily time limit for social media stuff rather than trying to avoid it completely for one week of the month. I think it will be better for consistency and also my sanity. Taking a break has definitely been good for my productivity though, and my state of mind. It’s really easy to get caught in a loop when every time something happens you think ‘I need to tweet this!’ Stepping away regularly definitely helped me shift my perspective and live a more balanced life. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

In the next little while I’ll look at my goals for 2014 and share those here, but in the meantime I think I’m going to bask a little bit in the glow of a year which, while it wasn’t perfect, was pretty damn good.

Z: Zee End

Well this is it. The end of the challenge. Thank gawd. I really took on too much this month and I will be very happy to see it come to an end. It was fun but… yeah… sanity will be nice too 🙂

The Niteblade fundraiser has been a success. As of the time of my writing this we’ve passed our goal of $500 and are pretty close to achieving the stretch goals I set for the $600 mark. I learned a lot about running a fundraiser (which builds on what I learned last year) and I’m looking forward to putting it into effect in 2014 (#1 lesson being two months is too long LOL).

I started a giveaway back on letter D and the winners are David and Teresa. I will contact you shortly to get the address to send your copy of our poetry issue to. I hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂

Thank you everyone for coming on this alphabetic journey with me and for your support of Niteblade. You’re awesome.

Y: Yergen, Amy: Handspun

HandspunI love fairy tales, and Handspun by Amy Yergen definitely has that fairy tale flavour. In addition to being a fantastic short story it made me want to learn how to spin my own wool for crocheting LOL

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

X: Issue #10

Lost InnocenceOver the years Niteblade has published three print issues. I’d love to do more but they are expensive. Sadly, it’s not even really the printing part that’s expensive, it’s the shipping part. Sending a copy of a print anthology to each contributor can cost $20. Multiply that by 15 or 20 contributors and we begin to reach numbers that I just can’t afford. It adds up quickly.

That’s not to say we won’t do more in the past. I love print issues so anything is possible, especially if our fundraiser continues to be awesome but, well, they are tricky.

Our first print issue was the one you see to the left there, Lost Innocence. That was issue #5. Issue #10, as you can tell by the subject of this blog post, was also a print issue. We called that one Nothing to Dread and it had a Christmas flavour to it. Lastly, our special poetry issue. That was my first attempt at using a printer who wasn’t POD and it was less expensive for me, but did result in a box of books in my closet.

I’m giving away copies of the poetry issue, you can see all about it here. As for the other two, well, I recently decreased their base price over at Lulu and added a 20% discount on top of that. That means you can pick up a copy of either for $7.99. If you combine that with one of Lulu’s frequent discounts you may manage to save even more.

And now, just so this blog doesn’t feel like one giant advertisement and because they are awesome, a duck!

Duck - photograph by Rhonda Parrish

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

W: Where Dreams are Grown

Where Dreams are GrownThat dude there? That’s Old Man Somni. He’s the main character of Suzanne van Rooyen’s story, Where Dreams are Grown. It was my pleasure to publish Where Dreams are Grown in the September 2012 issue of Niteblade. I fell in love with this story on first read. The descriptions were beautiful, poetic and evocative, and the story moving. Suzanne’s imagination and skill with words are both very evident in this piece.

Suzanne is offering to critique a short story or first chapter as part of the Niteblade fundraiser. Because I’m pre-scheduling this post I don’t know if that perk is still available, but it might be, so if you’re looking for a talented writer to cast an eye on your work and offer feedback, you ought to check it out, but read her story first. Trust me on this 🙂

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

V: Vardon, Nicki – Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden FruitIt feels a little wrong to be writing a blog entry about a reprint at Niteblade. Truthfully, I much prefer the works that we get to be the first to publish (and who wouldn’t?) but, well, I really liked this piece.

Forbidden Fruit by Nicki Vardon is told from the point of view of a cat (like my story Feeders which is forthcoming at Bete Noire) but it’s not silly or childish. It’s a little bit like a fairy tale, a slightly erotic fairy tale. It’s a flash story so it won’t take you long to read, but it has a depth to it that belies its brevity. (Do you like that? belies its brevity? Ahhh alliteration!). Check it out, you won’t be sorry.

On an unrelated note, Nicki is donating some knitted wristbands to our fundraiser. I’m pre-scheduling this post so I can’t say for sure, but they might still be available for you to claim. Check out the fundraiser to find out for sure 😉

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

U: Unsettling

Shine OnHe sank into the cold lawn at the foot of the window and began tearing at the blackness, making no more dent on the outside than he did on the inside of his own. Instead of shredding the black lid he was shredding his own fingernails. With every scrape he tore off more nail from each finger, until it was down to skin and he was leaving smears of blood all over the dark canvas. Draynor felt nothing but a need to find someone. To help. To stop this from being his burden alone.

This is an excerpt from J.A. Tyler’s story Shine On which we published in the very first issue of Niteblade. That was quite a long time ago and I’ve read thousands of short stories since then, but this one still sticks in my brain. I find it… unsettling.

Unsettling is a theme we cover over and over at Niteblade, I’m proud to say. What We Give by BD Wilson, for example, has a scene with a hand… well, let’s just say it makes me a little bit ill every time I think about it.

BD’s story was from our March 2008 issue but make no mistake unsettling works pepper the pages of Niteblade all throughout our history, not just in the older issues. More recently, in the December 2012 issue we published a story entitled The House That Did Not Breathe by Gwendolyn Edward and Andrew Austin. I found many things about this story unsettling, from the atmosphere of the piece to the narrator’s prejudices.

Yes. Unsettling indeed, and well worth a read. (Hey, that rhymes!)

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

 

T: For the Dead Travel Fast

For the Dead Travel FastI know. T is not for ‘For the Dead Travel Fast’ but it is for translation, and that’s what this is.

Our most recent issue of Niteblade saw the very first translated story that we’ve published. For the Dead Travel Fast was written in Spanish by Ramón Paso and translated to English by Cora Sáenz. The fact that it’s a translated work is kind of a little bonus (I think it’s cool) but I would have accepted this piece even without that little perk.

I adore this story. It’s an interesting take on a vampire story. The style of the author really shows through and the narrator came to life as I read. He may not be the kind of guy I’d want to invite over for dinner, but he has dimension and depth and by the time the story was done I really felt like I knew him. At least a little bit.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

S: Staff

NitebladeWhen I first started Niteblade I did everything but the .pdf layout which Jo did. It was a lot of work. A lot. Like far more than I’d expected going in. Still, I had have control issues so I sucked it up and did what needed to be done.

Then I decided to add some book reviewers. It started with Amber Stults but eventually grew. At one point we had five book reviewers on staff. That was okay with my control-freak self though, because they were essentially independent contractors doing work-for-hire. Which is not to say I didn’t appreciate what they did, I did, still do, but they didn’t have any power, so things were okay. (We no longer do book reviews, but Amber has stuck around and conducts interviews with contributors and others for our blog).

But still, running Niteblade was a lot of work. Slowly it was beginning to wear me down and I began to think about closing the doors. I didn’t want to, you understand, I was just getting worn down. That’s when BD Wilson came on board. BD was (and remains) one of my best friends and so when she offered to take over the web-based part of the magazine, it was only a small struggle with myself to hand over the keys. I couldn’t have made a better decision. Today BD takes care of everything to do with the website, from making it look awesome to ensuring things work smoothly on the back end. I don’t know anything about how the website works anymore, that’s all her. It’s always fantastic. Niteblade would not exist if not for BD. She saved it when I was thinking of closing it and she keeps it going like, if you’ll pardon the cliche, a well-oiled machine.

Even so, Niteblade takes up a lot of my time, and it used to take up more. That’s where Submittable and slush readers come in. Oh my gawd. Slush readers. How I love them. When I switched from email submissions to using Submittable it angered some submitters, but I stuck to my decision because of two big reasons. First, it would mean I’d stop getting spammed. Seriously. You wouldn’t believe the amount of spam my submission email accounts were getting. Secondly, it meant I could bring on some slush readers and make things a bit easier on myself. And did it ever. Man I love slush readers.

We’ve had many different readers over the years so I don’t want to try listing you all in case I miss someone. Still. Slush readers rock. Truly. They have a mostly glamourless job but they are so important. The first line of defense, as it were. They help filter out the submissions that are patently inappropriate for Niteblade and since we started having slush readers the amount of time I have to spend in the slush has decreased immensely. Because I’m sharing the work. It’s fantastic. Our current slush readers are Alexis Hunter, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey and Megan Engelhardt and in my mind they are all rockstars.

And then there is Alexandra Seidel. Alexandra started at Niteblade as a slush reader, but when she expressed a desire to read poetry slush I thought, why not? After a very short while with her reading poetry slush I offered her the position of poetry editor at Niteblade. She and I co-edited a special poetry only print issue of Niteblade together to mark the transition of editoryness (which yes, is totally a word) and then I handed over control of the poetry section to her. This was tough for my little control-freak self, but it was the right decision. Alexa has proven to be a strong, capable poetry editor and has done a lot to increase the visibility of our poetic offerings.

Of course, Niteblade wouldn’t be the same without Marge Simon, but I’ve already dedicated a whole entry to her, so let’s just say she rocks and leave it at that LOL

I wish I could dedicate a whole entry to everyone who works behind the scenes at Niteblade to make it awesome, but I can’t. Not without getting all gush-y and driving readers away. But to all of you, thank you. Thank you so very much. You are the reason Niteblade is as amazing as it is. I couldn’t do it without you.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!

 

 

R: Running Empty in a Land of Decay

Running Empty in a Land of DecayI love zombie stories. Love, love, love them. And one of my favourite short zombie stories is this one by Damien Walters Grintalis – Running Empty in a Land of Decay. When Amber Stults interviewed Damien about this story (and a lot of other stuff) for the Niteblade News blog, Damien said the story was inspired by a picture of a pair of shoes tied together and hanging from a power line. I liked this story so much I chose it to be one of the three recorded by Shadowcast Audio Anthology a couple years ago, so if you prefer you can check it out in audio form.

After you read this short story on Niteblade, if you like what you’ve seen, you should check Damien’s recently-released novel, INK.

~*~

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9This post has been written as a part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is ‘Niteblade‘, which is the magazine I publish. I chose this theme to help draw attention to the magazine during this, it’s 2nd annual fundraiser.

My first post in this series was about choosing stories and poems to nominate for awards and I’ve gone through a similar process in deciding what to write about for these posts. Not only did I have to choose stories and poems I loved, but they also had to fit with the A-Z theme. Tricky!