Friday, March 28, 2008

Ad Astra Convention 2008

As some of you may remember from this time last year, I participated ever so briefly at the Ad Astra Fantasy/SF convention here in Toronto as a prize girl.

Well not only am I reprising my role, but this year I will also be sitting on a panel and doing a workshop for young people. If anyone is in town this weekend or is going, please let me know as I love to meet people in person (Ms. Hick can attest to that)!

So here's the info:

March 29th - 30th, 2008 - TORONTO, ONTARIO
Ad Astra SF/Fantasy Convention

Young Writers Workshop (Saturday March 29, 11am - Salon 243)*
"Julie E. Czerneda and Adrienne Kress will be running the workshop. This free one and a half hour workshop is for Ad Astra attendees from the ages of 11 to 17. The workshop is free of charge but participants will need to register in advance. Spots are limited so please contact programming (at) if you'd like to register."

Sunburst Awards Auction (Saturday March 29, 1:30pm - Reflections Room)*
"The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is a juried award based on excellence of writing. This auction raises funds for the award. In the past they have auctioned off items such as a signed copy of Neil Gaiman's novel Fragile Things and a character named after the winning bidder in a Cory Doctorow novel. Come check out the exciting goodies this year!" - hosting along with Lesley Livingston and Peter Halasz

"Writing for Young People" - panel discussion (Sunday March 30, 11:00am - Salon 241)*
- also with authors Julie Czerneda, Lesley Livingston and Rebecca Moesta

* times and locations subject to change

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Rejection. It sucks. It truly does.

As writers and actors we have a heck of a lot of it, and, at least for me, it stings every time. It's very difficult when the product is something so personal. With acting, you are trying to basically sell yourself, and with writing you are trying to sell something that is a part of you.

Now of course we all cope in our different ways. Some deal with it matter of factly, it's business not personal. Some rage against the machine, telling everyone how much the industry sucks. Some sit quietly and mope.

And while some coping strategies may be better than others, I have always believed that the most important thing is to understand the pain.

This is what I have learned after years of acting and the whole writing thing. We are human beings. We feel sad when things don't work out. We can also feel angry, hurt, confused . . . even scared.

And there is nothing wrong with that. At all.

I feel sometimes we waste so much time beating ourselves up for feeling these feelings, that that in itself keeps us from moving on, past the pain of rejection. We live in a society where we have been told it is weak to cry. We are in businesses where others will note, "But you knew getting into it it would be really hard" and so we are not supposed to feel bad when the predictable happens.

Yeah, grand, whatever. We still feel what we feel. Whatever the feeling may be.

It's important, at least for me, to understand that no matter how I feel right now in the rejection state, I know I will not give up. This is a great thought to have because it then doesn't matter that you feel lousy now, or that you are full of self pity, because in the end you know that you aren't about to give up or anything. You're just being indulgent.

And that to me at least is the key. Instead of pretending the emotions don't exist, or being ashamed of them, I say indulge them. Not for a long time mind you, but take a day to just feel lousy. Vent to a caring friend. Cry into your pillow. Do whatever you need to do to purge the unhelpful feelings. Because then it's out. It's like, pardon the analogy, throwing up. Sometimes we consume something that is toxic to our system and our bodies automatically vomit it back up. And we feel better. Well "vomit" up the toxic emotions, lay them bare.

And then move on.

That is also very important.


There is nothing good that comes from wallowing.

The next day do something really proactive. Send out more queries, write a blog entry, write a novel, learn a monologue. Force yourself to feel that things are still somewhat under your control.

Of course this is only my coping strategy, some people have ones that suit them better. My point though is the solving of the problem comes not with the question of: "How do I stop feeling bad when I get rejected?" But rather: "How do I get past the emotions I inevitably feel when I get rejected?"

It's about acknowledging that you are human and feel things. Icky things. And then learning how to get past and cope with those icky feelings. Not get rid of them. But, in a really weird way, befriend them.

Now, I think it's time for others to share their coping methods! Don't be shy, we can all learn from each other!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Smart women . . .

I like Natalie Portman. Let me say that right from the off. Let me also stress that nothing I write in this a-typical blog rant is meant to in any way diminish her talent, her brains (she went to Harvard for crying out loud), her beauty, and all her other qualities which I am unfamiliar with because I don't know her personally.

I like Natalie Portman.

This rant has nothing to do with her.

It has to do with the cover of this month's Elle magazine.

Natalie Portman is featured on the cover, looking lovely, with the headline: NATALIE PORTMAN IS ONE OF THE SMARTEST WOMEN WE KNOW, WHICH IS WHY SHE'S PERFECT FOR OUR INTELLIGENT WOMEN ISSUE!

I read this headline while in the corner store, and I actually took pause and read it a few times. I couldn't help but laugh. Because, yes, I am sure Natalie Portman is very intelligent, but come on. I think we need a bit of a caveat there.

NATALIE PORTMAN IS ONE OF THE SMARTEST WOMEN WE KNOW - who also happens to be stunningly beautiful, a big famous film star and has a movie out right now that she needs to promote.

See I don't mind when a magazine lives up to its promises of superficiality. I'll read up on the latest trends in skirts like anyone else. Heck sometimes I buy Vanity Fair just for the pictures (I've even tried to emulate their style with my cast photo from last summer's production). But when the idea is to sell what is beneath the surface (in this case intelligence) by so obviously still using the surface to truly sell the message . . . I get a bit frustrated.

So I was all set to get irate and frustrated with the state of the magazine world, when suddenly it occurred to me . . . my goodness. Maybe Natalie Portman is one of the smartest women Elle knows. Then I had a lightbulb moment. It's not Elle's fault. Maybe they just travel in very different circles than, let's say, I do.

If only Elle had asked my opinion on the subject. If only they had asked me for a list. I could have rattled off woman after woman, all utterly brilliant and well worth being a cover girl, and Elle wouldn't have had to lower themselves to using an obvious film star.

How about some ladies going for their PhD's and not yet 30? I know a fair few of those. Or are you more interested in helping others? I have a girl friend out there who not only got her masters in Equity studies, but who started her own theatre company that works with the disabled to create incredibly poignant and fabulous shows. I also know doctors and lawyers if you like the helping other people theme. Perhaps Elle has a soft spot for the arts, well I have a long list of authors, actors, directors, fight instructors/masters, visual artists, singers, dancers . . . if this list of choices is too daunting may I assure Elle that many of these talents can be found within the same person.

Hey, I hear the environment is a big buzz word these days, I have a friend doing her masters on the subject and practicing what she preaches all the way in New Zealand right now.

Or how about my mom. Seriously Elle, how about my mom?

Not only is she an amazing teacher, and knows basically every book like ever, she seems to know . . . everything. You ask her a question about religion, politics, why the sky is blue, and she has the answer. The right answer. Heck, if my mom doesn't have the answer, it's so rare it is shocking. And what is super cool is that she is more than willing to admit she doesn't know the answer and then help you find it. She is also a wiz financially. She just gets numbers, and how to invest, and is ridiculously smart about it. Add onto all that a whim of hers to be my manager of my writing career, something she has no experience with at all, and has somehow managed to book me onto television shows, and events and get me interviews, and just somehow knows what to do and who to contact . . .

Elle, I'm telling you, my mom, now that's one of the smartest women I know. Smartest PERSON, I know. Also she's hot, so she'd make an excellent cover model, if we must do the whole superficial thing. I'm not above being superficial, Elle.

But I don't begrudge you Elle, you didn't know that I knew these people. You didn't know to ask me. I mean come on, when you think about it, what is the chance that one person would know so many unbelievably smart women?

But next time Elle, give me a call first. I've got a list that would give you cover models for a couple years at least.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Being A Good Girl

I'm sorry I haven't been posting this week, but I am currently up to my knees in revisions and I think it makes sense if I am a good girl and just focus on those right now.

But I will post some more stuff next week (I have a couple rants building inside me, so be prepared . . .).

Lastly, if any of you are in the area I'll be reading and signing books at Casa Loma in Toronto beginning Saturday for their pirate festival. Here's the info!

March 8th - 16th, 2008 - TORONTO, ONTARIO
Casa Loma "Pirate Festival"

The Conservatory 1:30 pm (20 minutes)

Join author Adrienne Kress as she reads from her book Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, the story of 10 and a half year old Alex Morningside who must rescue her grade 6 teacher, Mr. Underwood, from pirates. Please join Adrienne in the Gift Shop after the reading where she will sign copies of her book.