Danica

Happy Birthday, Danica!

Danica

I keep writing, deleting and re-writing this blog post. It’s a tricky thing to get just right so I think I’ll go with ‘Just the facts, ma’am’.

It’s Danica’s birthday today. Her 18th (which means she gets to vote in the federal election this month!).

Dani, you make me proud every single day and I love you beyond words. Happy Birthday!

<3

Giftmas Eve - Photo by Rhonda Parrish

Giftmas Advent

Giftmas Eve - Photo by Rhonda Parrish

Some people purchase advent calendars to count down the days toward Christmas but for us Advent is an event, not an object.

December 1st we set out 25 candles (usually on our fireplace mantel as you can see from the picture above of last year’s display). Some time after dinner the three of us (Jo, Danica and myself) will turn out the lights and turn on the music. In all the time we’ve been celebrating Giftmas together I don’t think the musical selection has changed. The CDs sitting beside the Advent display invariably are:

  • Salva Nos – Mediaeval Baebes
  • A Medieval Christmas – The Boston Camerata
  • Christmas Through the Ages – Various
  • Meowy Christmas – Jingle Cats
  • A Sesame Street Christmas – Sesame Street
  • Menotti: Amahl and the Night Visitors – Original Cast
  • The Bells of Dublin – The Chieftains

With the music playing, one of us will light the appropriate number of candles (one on the 1st of December, two on the 2nd, three on the 3rd…) while another hands round a box of chocolates or other such goodies.

Some years we just stand and watch the candle flicker and talk a while before blowing the candles out but my favourites have been the years when Jo would read to us. Usually it’s Dickens. One year it was The Cricket on the Hearth and I’m pretty sure we’ve done A Christmas Carol a couple times. My favourite year was one of the Christmas Carol ones. Dani and I sat on the loveseat while Jo read and I crocheted an afghan in the candlelight (which grows brighter and warmer every day of the month and more and more candles are lit).

It felt very homey, very snuggly.

Do you countdown the days to your holiday celebration in any special way?

I saw a wine advent calendar the other day that really got me thinkin’… Perhaps that’s a new thing we could incorporate into our existing traditions. It sure would make the season merry!

~*~

This month on my blog I’m sharing holiday traditions, mine and other people’s as well. This is the second of those posts, you can find the first, entitled Giftmas Cards (and subsequent ones) by visiting the main page, here. Happy Ho Ho!

Bayne -- Artwork by Danica Parrish

All. The. Things.

When I looked at the list of things I wanted to signal boost this week I actually felt a little dizzy. “How the hell am I going to fit Twitter, Facebook and blog posts for all those things in without sounding like a social media spam-bot?” I wondered.

Then I got smart and decided to just put all the things into one big blog post. Yay!

Firstly, check out this character portrait:

Bayne -- Artwork by Danica Parrish

This is Bayne.

He’s a half-incubus swordsman who figures prominently in many of the stories I’ve written set in Aphanasia (Sister Margaret, Lost and Found and the forthcoming Shadows — which is subject to re-naming LoL).

Bayne is also the character I will be playing with at the Character Death Matches at Pure Spec next month and he’s also the only character from those stories who hasn’t been on a book cover… so didn’t have a portrait.

My daughter, Danica, felt bad for me as she watched me struggle to find a stock image I could crop, Photoshop or otherwise fake to fit my character and she drew this portrait for me πŸ™‚ He looks a little younger in this than he is in the stories I’ve written about him thus far… but I’m taking this as a sign that perhaps I ought to write some stories about a younger Bayne… someday.

Anyway, I’m super lucky to have such a talented kid who is willing to draw character portraits for me. Thank you, Danica! He’s awesome and I love it πŸ™‚Aphanasian Stories by Rhonda Parrish

As I mentioned, Bayne features strongly in Aphanasian Stories. If you haven’t read Aphanasian Stories and you like straight-up fantasy, have I got good news for you.

This week I’m participating in #CreepyFreebies. As part of that I am giving away copies of the most recent issue of Niteblade and I’m running a raffle to win a copy of Aphanasian Stories.

However… there’s this t-shirt I wanted (Roots of Remedy) but my Paypal account was a bit short, so I spontaneously decided to put Aphanasian Stories on a super big sale — 70% off (Coupon code:Β VG96R at Smashwords — click here) to try to top it up a bit*.

That made me feel bad for having Aphanasian Stories as the raffled off item, so I’ll also be throwing in a copy of White Noise for whoever wins. And if you win and you already own a copy of Aphanasian Stories, I’ll give you something else instead. Because.

I’m not just doing CreepyFreebies though. I’m also taking part in #CoffinHop2014 πŸ™‚ This is a super fun little system where rather than interviewing one zombie author a day, Julianne instead asks several of us one question each day. The posts are pretty short too, which in today’s world full of constant distractions, seems like a good thing. So far the posts have included:

But wait! There’s more!

White Noise -- Art and cover design by Jonathan ParrishI was interviewed by Virginia from StarkLight Press recently to celebrate the launch of White Noise. It’s not a very long interview, only about six questions worth, but I really think it gives a lot of insight into what’s going on in my skull. If you’re even a little intrigued, it’s a quick read that ought to satisfy some of your curiosity. You can check it out here:

An Interview with Rhonda Parrish | Starklight Press

Annnnnnd there’s only a few days left to get your submissions in for Scarecrow and Corvidae. Our deadline is Halloween, which is my 10 year anniversary so you can bet I won’t be sitting at my computer watching midnight come around so I can officially cut off submissions, BUT if your work isn’t in my inbox by the time I get up on Saturday I won’t be able to consider it.

Related to anthologies, at the World Weaver Press hosted #SFFLunch last week we announced the subject matter for my next WWP anthology:

Sirens

When submissions open (in 2015) I’ll be looking for siren stories to fill its pages πŸ™‚

Lastly, I think. I will be attending World Fantasy Convention next month, as will several of the authors from Fae and A is for Apocalypse. I’ll post another reminder nearly the time, but just as a head’s up, C.S. MacCath will be having a reading where she’ll be reading from her A is for Apocalypse story, N is for… on Thursday afternoon (plus I’ll be reading part of it with her, so be sure to come by to watch me shake in my boots) AND Adria Laycraft will have a reading Saturday evening which will feature her story from Fae, Water Sense.

Whoot!

Unrelated to this post at all, but I have noticed that my website is running slowly these days. I’m in the process of moving domains over to a new host as they come up for renewal so please bear with me until that process is done at which time things should speed up significantly.

 

*Great plan except that the Smashwords quarter comes at the end of December LOL Oops. #brainfart

Cover art for Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) by Danica Parrish

About My Cover

This is me and my beautiful daughter, Danica:

Rhonda and Danica ParrishPhotograph by Cindy Gannon

And this is the cover for my latest title, Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories):

Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)

It’s not exactly a typical zombie cover, is it? You can’t even tell if there are any zombies on it. Well, since the stories inside aren’t of the scary/gorey type of zombie tales I didn’t want the cover to be like that either. Also, it just so happens that Danica is an artist. A pretty talented artist (even if I am biased to think so :-p):

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One day, on Facebook I logged in and saw this:

Mom, Please Buy Me -- art by Danica Parrish

In case you can’t read that it says, “Plz buy me this program Mom”. She’d found a drawing program that was compatible with her tablet and she wanted me to buy it for her. Now, Danica doesn’t lack for anything she needs but we do try not to just hand her everything she wants, so I told her that if she drew art work for the cover for Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) I would pay her the exact amount of money she needed to buy that program.

I asked her for a cover with a cat, a scarecrow and a yellow brick road.

After several different mock-ups, including this one when I asked her to make something “a bit more cartoony” (my daughter is nothing if not a smart ass):

by Danica Parrish

We ended up with this as the final product:

Cover art for Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories) by Danica Parrish

I passed that on to Jo (my husband) and he played around with it, eventually turning it into the final cover for Waste Not that you see up top there.

Even though we didn’t go with the full colour version in the end, I did want to be sure and show it off because I think it’s wonderful, especially the glow from the Emerald City you can see on the horizon πŸ™‚

The cover then was an undertaking for the whole family, which makes it pretty damn special to me, and probably pretty unique in the zombie fiction world in more ways than one LOL Not many families can say they’ve created a zombie book together, I wouldn’t think πŸ˜‰

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

E is for Eyes

EThis 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 πŸ˜‰

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? ~ Participants ~Β My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

E is for Eyes… with a bonus elephant eye πŸ˜‰

We went to the zoo a couple years ago and I left depressed for the animals… but with a few good photos. Like this one of Lucy:

Lucy - All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Also, Jo bought me a macro lens for Mother’s Day a while back… I had fun playing with it, as you can see in these two similar shots:

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

and

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

This is Eowyn. She’s one of our kitties — the one who always freaking blinks when I try to take her picture, which makes this much more than ‘just another cat photo’:

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Lastly we have Mr. Bogle, who lives at the Birds of Prey Centre in southern Alberta:

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Danica -- photograph by Rhonda Parrish

D is for Danica

DThis 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 πŸ˜‰

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? ~ Participants ~Β My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

D is for Danica. Because of course it is πŸ™‚

Dani modeled for me out in the snow one warm wintery afternoon. This shot was both of our favourites from the day:

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

The conversation preceding this photograph went like this:

Me: Dani, I like the light in your room right now, how about you roll over so I can take your picture.
Dani: *rolls over*
Me: *takes picture* Thank you
Dani: You’re welcome. I’m going to go back to half-sleeping now.

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Finally, I snapped this one in a parking lot when we were on vacation in Nova Scotia in 2012. It turned out to be one of my favourite shots from the whole trip:

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

(I let Dani choose which pictures I was going to share here, so she wouldn’t be too embarrassed πŸ˜‰ )

Our Super Villain

A friend of mine, Michelle (who is the brains and the body behind Busy Weekends) asked people on her twitter feed if they wanted to do a fun project where they would create super heroes. I said I’d participate if I was allowed to recruit my family into the process. She was okay with that, and so we began.

Meet Perish:

CherNobyl1CherNobyl2We decided to create a super villain instead of a hero. Partly just to be contrary, but also partly because we wanted to do a play on our last name, and Perish works far better as a villain’s name, don’t you think?

Both of these images are linked to larger versions of themselves so, as Kyle Cassidy would say, Clickenzee to Embiggen!

As a family we settled on a concept for her, discussed the details of her back story and abilities and talked about her costume. Then Danica drew the picture of Perish and I coloured it (because colouring is cool!)

~*~

Name: Perish

Alter Ego: Cher Nobyl

Super Powers/Abilities:

  • Can generate focused beams of electromagnetic radiation.
  • Can see outside normal visible ranges (x-ray, ultraviolet, etc.)

Special Weapons: There is a gem in the center of her hood which she can use to super concentrate her radiation beams, effectively making it a ‘death ray’.

Costume: In addition to what you can see, Perish is always armed with irradiated throwing knives which she keeps in her boots.

Enemies:

  • Tundra, the Canadian Super hero
  • Pirot Guy, the Ukrainian hero of comfort

Background: Perish was born at Chernobyl during the core meltdown. Her mother was far enough from ground zero that Perish, though irradiated, was not killed. Her mother, however, was.

~*~

We had a lot of fun creating our super villain and I’ve already got a story in mind that she figures in. Even if I never get around to writing that one though, this was still time well spent doing something creative as a family. Thank you Michelle!

 

Happy Anniversary!

Me And Jo

Happy Halloween to you, and Happy Anniversary to Jo and me πŸ™‚

The picture there is the most recent one I have of Jo and I together. It was taken at the book signing for Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories in February. Jo and I co-wrote a story that was included in that book, Sea and Sky. Anyway… this isn’t about that book, it’s about our anniversary πŸ™‚

Today is our 9th anniversary. Ask me how I know it’s the 9th… c’mon, ask me. I know it’s the 9th because Danica is in grade ten and she was in grade one when we got married. That is also how Jo knows it’s our 9th anniversary. We are so screwed once Danica graduates from school LOL It’s kind of appropriate that we keep track of our anniversaries that way, though. I don’t know that we would have gotten married it if weren’t for Dani. We both loved each other very much but we didn’t really feel like we needed a ceremony to prove that however Danica really wanted us to be married, it meant a lot to her and so we did. Now I’m happy that we did. We didn’t need a ceremony to prove anything, but there’s something that really appeals to me about being Jo’s wife and partner.

Now, you don’t need to run away, I’m not going to spend a whole blog post gushing about how much I love him but I do want to share one short story with you that will illustrate just how awesome he is.

A few years ago I was all like ‘Gawd, I need a new job!’ and Jo said, “Well, if you could do anything in the world what would it be?” I replied, “Writing, but that will never happen.” Jo looked at me, I mean really looked at me and said, “Why not?” Why not indeed. If not for that question I might still be stuck in a job I hated and so many stories I’m incredibly proud of would never have been written.

Thank you for being awesome Jo. You rock and I love you.

And now… back to business.

Anniversary or not, today is also the last day for two work-related things. It’s the last day you can enter my draw for a goodie bag full of awesome:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Metastasis Cover - artwork by Jonathan Parrish, Cover design by Carol HightshoeIt’s also the last day to get your copy of Metastasis at a discount:

Amazon.com
Paperback – $14.95
Kindle – $6.95

Kobo
ePub – $6.95

Smashwords — Use coupon code LM63L in order to receive 25% off your order
ePub – $6.95
Kindle – $6.95
PDF – $6.95

Createspace — Use coupon code TGERED9J in order to receive 25% off your order
Paperback – $14.95

Next Big Thing

I try to blog every week, but lately it’s been difficult to keep my mind on writing-related stuff so when Linda Bloodworth invited me to to participate in The Next Big Thing blog train I agreed. Inretrospect that may not have been the best decision, because my current WIP is in very early stages, but I’ll answer the questions as best I can.

What is the working title of your book?

We’re currently calling it Hollow Children. I say ‘we’ because I am writing it and Danica is illustrating it.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

To paraphrase Neil Gaiman, I made it up. In my head. I’m sure I could come up with half a dozen influences for this story, but that would only touch on the obvious ones. The truth, of course, is that I just made it up. I combined dozens of thoughts and images, brainstormed with Danica and asked myself a lot of questionsΒ  and I came up with the very skeletal idea for this book. It’s fleshing it out that is going to be tough part.

Oh. As part of the brainstorming process Dani picked the image you see to the left there to be used as our cover picture sure we decide to self-publish this story. It definitely helped conjur up some ideas and lent a feeling to the story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Um. Yes. I’m not sure. We’re aiming for YA horror but it may end up more on the paranormal end of the spectrum. We’ll have to wait until the first draft is done to find out for sure, I think.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I don’t know. I suck at this game. For what it’s worth, I never pick actors/celebrities to represent my characters physically for me either. I suspect these two things are related πŸ˜‰

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When her younger sister starts acting weird and disappears into the haunted hospital across the street it’s up to Morgan to rescue her and save her broken family at the same time.

Huh. That’s actually not terrible for something I came up with off the top of my head LoL

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Are those my only two options? LOL

I don’t know what is going to happen with this book. I need to finish writing it before I can worry about selling it. I would very much like to see it published with Danica’s illustrations though, which might make it more suitable for self-publication (I have no idea how difficult it would be to find an agent willing to sell a YA book with illustrations by an amateur artist but I imagine it’s not the easiest thing in the world) but… we’ll see. For the most part I prefer to have a publisher other than myself behind my work.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ll let you know when it’s finished LoL

Haunted Hospital, a photograph by Rhonda ParrishWho or What inspired you to write this book?

This question is remarkably similar to “Where did the idea come from?” The answer is, no one inspired me to write this story. The what of it is that Danica and I wanted a project to work on together and this the one we decided to do. It’s not anymore complicated or exciting than that, I’m afraid. The process of creating it may be, but we’re not deep enough into it for me to know for sure yet πŸ˜‰

That being said, I was inspired to include the haunted hospital that is just a few blocks from our home as one of the most important settings in the novel because, c’mon, it’s a freaking haunted hospital. How could I not?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Danica is a fantastic artist and her pictures will keep you turning the page just to see them. What’s more, Morgan is a sympathetic character who most people will be able to relate to and will really want to succeed in her mission.

And now I’m supposed to tag five people. The problem is, when I asked for volunteers to be tagged on Twitter and Facebook no one raised their hand LOL I know the posts got out there because I had one maybe and a couple ‘I’m not working on a novel right now’s but not a single yes. So. Here’s the deal. If you want to be tagged leave me a comment and I’ll tag you otherwise, um… here, in no particular order, are some of my favourite bloggers you could check out.

Beth Cato ~Β  Simon Kewin ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Milo James Fowler

Enjoy!

This and That

Danica -- photograph by Rhonda ParrishIt’s Danica’s birthday today πŸ™‚ She is now fifteen. Fifteen! Dude. That breaks my brain a little bit. For real.

I am the proudest mother in the world. Danica is a kind, intelligent, creative young lady who is made of win. Her art is anime-esque and often takes a bit of a dark bent, but so far it hasn’t disturbed me too much πŸ˜‰ I’m looking forward to seeing her illustrate my work someday.

She loves her computer (many of her friends are in there!), but she’s also happy to sit down with a good book. She adores vampires, zombies, ghosts and ghoulies. She actually likes torture-porn movies (like the Saw series, which me no likee) but also gushes about how cute Pikachu is, and does Caramelldansen at random times:

And yes, she does look that cute when she dances it. And yes, she does sing the words. And no, I have no idea what they mean. She could be saying all sorts of bad things and I’d never know. Of course, that’s just not her style πŸ™‚

Happy Birthday Dani!

I think Dani is made of awesome, which is one reason I chose October 5th as the day I wanted to contribute to the 3hundredand65 graphic novel. What they are doing is creating a graphic novel one tweet and one day at a time. Everyday someone (it could be you!) writes a tweet to continue the story and then David Kirkwood illustrates it. They are trying to raise money and awareness for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

I won’t lie, the story completely lost me more than once as it writhed its way from one plot twist to another, but then I began to feel like I was begining to get a grip on what was happening. Thank gawd. It would have sucked to have to pass on the oppourtunity to be a part of this project because I was confused. But I didn’t have to. I got to add my tweet.

For those of you who are already following the 3hundredand65 story, I will explain a little bit about why I wrote what I did. We’re getting near the end of the story now and so we need to start tying up some of the loose ends. With that in mind I wanted to bring at least one more of the old characters back into the action with Tink now. Slowly gathering people back together. Though I would most have liked to have written something about Big Lad (because, c’mon, how awesome is he?) way back in the spring Cope was given a five day deadline to atone for his sins. Time being maleable as it is in this story, I’m not actually sure how many days have gone by, but I don’t feel like he’s done much atoning yet so…

Of course there is the problem that Cope and Lad went inside all time… time still passes if you’re in it, right? Or… if you’re inside time are you outside of it? Or… Oh yeah, my head is starting to hurt again.

By leaving Cope’s face disembodied I’m hoping to leave things open to the next writer to decide if the Tinks are imagining him, seeing his reflection or some other, cooler, possibility. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes.

If you’re a writer they are still accepting sign-ups from people who want to contribute to the story. If you’re just a reader or a fan of art, it’s definitely worth checking out too. And if you can afford to, consider making a monetary contribution because, Fuck Cancer.