Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Links

First of all, I love this:

It's brilliant and magical and also just a little scary.  Also it's 100% accurate.

It's also wonderfully realised.  Here is the full image on which it was based.  And here is a link to the artist's Deviant Art page, with some of his other quality images:

And more fabulous artists being fabulous:  check out these reimagined covers from classic novels.

In the book world:

Here is a really great interview with a teen blogger about what he reads, his thoughts on ebooks and more.  Once more we have a perfect example that teens are rather intelligent people, something that unfortunately I feel folks need to be reminded of now and then. 

Here's a sneak peak at what children's books are coming up Spring 2012.

Some interesting stats on the buying habits of ebook readers.

In movie news we have some new portraits of the cast of THE AVENGERS. Though of course my favourite, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, is missing.  Bad guys always get a raw deal . . .

We also have some moody WUTHERING HEIGHTS photos.  This is looking very interesting and features a cast of unknowns which also bodes well in my opinion.  

Last but not least . . . this:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Creating Characters

Last week Jimbo G left the following series of questions in the comments section:

When you start writing a novel, do you create biographies for each character? With the intent of helping you keep them straight and understand their thoughts/reasoning/actions? If not, how do you keep these things straight?

It's a good series of questions.  So I thought I'd answer.

I do not write biographies.  But that's just a matter of semantics.  I do come up with biographies, but I don't write them down for some reason.  I just keep them in my head.  They tend to be general, as I enjoy discovering my characters as I write them, but I usually know their name, their age, their appearance, and basic life story up until that point. 

I would recommend writing bios down if that helps you keep track of things.  What's even more fun is scouring the net for images of people who might look like your characters etc.  I think the only danger in writing biographies for characters is that you can wind up spending so much time creating every little detail about a character that you don't actually write the story they are in.  In general, world building and all that background work, while important, can also become a crutch.  And like I said above, there is fun to be had in discovering the character as your write.  Putting her into situations, having her interact with others, and seeing how she grows as a "person".

Another concern is that you as an author might feel obligated to share every little quality about your character in the story since you spent so much time fleshing things out.  Remember to use only the details that matter, not every single thing because you think they're neat.

But as far as thoughts/reasoning/actions go . . . that's a very intuitive thing for me.  It might come from my passion for logic.  The question isn't how someone reacts, but why they react as they do.  For me there isn't much struggle knowing how a character would react, because once I have that character formed in my mind, well there's only one way she would.

That's the way I recommend you look at it.  It's not about keeping a list of pre-chosen behaviours straight.  It's understanding why the character is who she is in the first place.  A person doesn't react because they have an imposed list of traits, a person has a list of traits because of who they are.  This isn't D & D where you choose to have a certain level of power vs magic etc.  This is "My character grew up in a land full of magic where people therefore didn't have to do manual labour.  This means he is fantastic at casting spells, but whenever he has to physically do something, he's weak."  If a character has spent her life being outspoken, she won't appreciate it when the judge tells her to be quiet.  If a character has spent her life following the rules, she'll shut up right away. 

It's all about playing pretend, and ultimately that's where I always go.  I'm an actor, and as a child I was an active make-believer.  I have spent my whole life creating characters and the act of doing so has become quite second nature.  Try to get yourself into the headspace of your character.  Pretend to be him.  Even in writing dialogue, say it out loud and with a funny accent if you want.  No one's watching :) . 

Play pretend.

I hope this helps somewhat, do let me know if you (or any of the rest of my readers) have any follow up questions or any other questions in general!  Thanks so much for this one!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FALLING UNDER - Danielle Younge-Ullman

May I present to you the most wonderful novel FALLING UNDER by my most wonderful friend Danielle Younge-Ullman.

She recently re-released it as an ebook and I highly recommend everyone go out there and buy a copy (though I should warn my younger followers that it is an adult book with sexual content).  This book is simply fantastic, well written, full of pathos and truly hilarious moments.  It's also one of the few books I've read that uses the second person perspective (ie:  "You wake up and discover . . .").  It also is written first person as well, in case you aren't sure if you'd like to read an entire book in second, but I gots to say, she does it so well you might wonder why all books aren't written like that.

I loved this book so much when it initially came out that when Danielle told me she was going to release the ebook version herself and she wanted to create a new cover, I immediately offered to design it for her.  Now the actual art on the cover?  So not me.  I wish it was, I have always wanted to be good at the visual arts.  Alas, I am not. The artist for the cover is Louisa McFarlane.

I did the rest, which is basically turning a gorgeous painting into a gorgeous cover.  

And . . . here it is:

Here is the synopsis:

After growing up as the only child of bitterly divorced parents, Mara Foster has finally gained independence and is embarking on a promising career as an artist. But despite her success, she is fragile. Burdened by a host of fears and anxieties, she finds it difficult even to leave the house on most days. When Mara meets Hugo, the walls she has built around herself begin to crumble, and as she struggles to find a breakthrough both in her art and in life, she must come to terms with her own dark secrets in order to get a second chance at happiness. 

Written in spare, crisp prose and marked by wry humor, Falling Under is a gripping contemporary tale of human weakness, friendship, and hard-earned redemption.

Here are some reviews: 

"Fierce, erotic and absolutely fearless. Falling Under is edgy as a razor blade and unlike anything you've read before." - NYT Bestselling author Caroline Leavitt, for Dame Magazine

“Falling Under is a wild ride; Danielle Younge-Ullman writes about human connections and with thrilling energy, honesty and fury.” —Ellen Sussman, bestselling author of French Lessons

"An astonishing debut novel reminiscent of Janet Fitch's White Oleander. Younge-Ullman has a talent for turning the shadows of life into a thing of beauty, almost poetry."—Curled Up With A Good Book

"Sleek, erotic, wry and poignant." —Karen Karbo, author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel

“Hard-hitting and explosive, with a raw energy that left me breathless.”—

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steampunk Tuesday - Videos

Apologies for my lack of posting Friday and Monday, I'm approaching the finish line of my edits and they are rather taking over my life.  This does tend to happen.  So this week my posts will be short and sweet.  But I still hope of interest to you all!

Today I am posting a couple of videos that I think are perfect for a Steampunk Tuesday.  All Steampunk, and all rather informative.

The first is a trailer for a new show called VINTAGE TOMORROWS.  While, yes, it's nice to advertise it because it looks like it'll be an awesome show, it is also a wonderful short taste of what the heck Steampunk us.

The next is video footage from London 1903, which is just so fascinating to watch.  There is so little actual footage from that time, and when you think of it, our visual experience of that period tends to be recreations in period films.  This ain't no recreation baby:

The last is the video I made (with much much help from the fantastic Nadine Bell) on the Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition that happened back this spring.  Many of you have likely already seen it as I posted it back when the CNSE happened, but again, I think it's a nice summary of all the fun that can be had with Steampunk:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potent Quotables

For no particular reason aside from the fact that I felt like it, I am sharing with you a list of some of my favourite quotes either for their hilarity or insightful-ness or just plain absurdity.  I'd love to hear from you guys what yours are too, please leave them in the comments section below!

My life philosophies:

"Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint." - film version of Mansfield Park

"Never give up!  Never surrender!" - Galaxy Quest

"Just keep swimming."  - Finding Nemo

A bit of wit and fabulosity:

"It is not good for one's morals to see bad acting." - The Picture of Dorian Gray

"Everyone has a heart, except some people." - All About Eve

"You're maudlin and full of self pity.  You're magnificent."  - All About Eve

"You have exquisite taste!"
"My taste is superb, my EYES are exquisite!" - Bullets Over Broadway

 "I hope we never die!"
"So do I!"
"You think there's any chance of it?" - The Lion In Winter

"Well what family doesn't have its ups and downs?" - The Lion In Winter

"Oh God, but I do love being king!" - The Lion In Winter 

Humour and Absurdity:

"I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine.  And he shall be my Squishy." - Finding Nemo

"Curse you Aqua Scum!!" - Finding Nemo

"Squirrel!" - UP

"I was hiding under your porch because I love you." - UP

"There'll be no butter in Hell!" - Cold Comfort Farm

"A pox on your outlandish feminine antics!" - Love's Sacrifice

Some Shakespeare:

"'Seems' madam? Nay, it is.  I know not 'seems'." - Hamlet

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." - Macbeth

"I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends.  Subjected thus, how can you say to me I am a King?" - Richard II

"I know you all." - Henry IV, Part I

A pair of favourite tweets:

Unfortunately at no point during my workday does anyone ever have cause to shout my name and then toss me a sword.  - Seth Macfarlane

I am beginning to suspect that I am not in the Green Hornet movie. - John Cho

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Riot A.C.T

I am not just a writer.  Hence the title of my blog.  I also have that other acting side to me, and as such I have had the great pleasure of meeting some extremely talented people in the theatre/film community.

Todd Campbell and Kevin Robinson
One such group is Riot A.C.T, a stunt team here in Toronto.  I am good friends with several of the members, and, even more importantly, totally respect the heck out of their talent. They are imaginative, clever and fearless.  If you ever need a stunt crew, may I recommend them.  If you ever just want to go and hang out with some awesome people, I also recommend them.

Simon Fon

Here's the little blurb they use to describe themselves:

We are an “Action Creation Team” who take professional work from conception to creation and finally completion.  Our areas of expertise range from stunts, blade work to unarmed styles, firearms, aerial flying, film making/editing, equipment rentals, advisement and assessment.

Whether it be independent, or professional film. Live show or motion capture. The team is structured so that it is at the helm of it’s own projects, while simultaneously working with sources outside of the group to create what a client needs for their particular project.

When you need your story told through action let RIOT A.C.T. bring your images to life.

Casey Hudecki and Simon Fon

Here is a quick example of what they do.  This is my good friend Casey Hudecki kicking butt (if you want to see more of Riot A.C.T.'s work, check out their YouTube channel):

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Steampunk Tuesday - Archetypal Costumes!

So last week I shared with you my Steampunked apartment.  One of the things I shared was a poster with common Steampunk archetypes on it.  A commenter asked if I could show closeups of each one, and I said sure!  I then thought to myself, "What if I show each one, and then a real representation of each??"  And I was like, "Dude, that's awesome."

So that's what I'm doing this week.  Most of the people in these images are people I know from the Steampunk community.  Also the pics of the poster are a bit fuzzy because . . . well no matter what I did to make them not so much, I couldn't, and I have many things to do today and I couldn't spend too much time making it perfect.

I should also add that the poster is courtesy of Florian Liedtke and is part of his online Steampunk role playing game:  Machina Obscura.

And now!  The archetypes!

Rapper Professor Elemental and Me

Author J.M. Frey and DJ Th'Elf

(I'm expanding this to Mad Scientist because Chemist is awfully specific)

Toronto Steampunk Society's Amanda Stock and Dr. Holocaust

Todd Clark and Ashley Kung

Lloyd Penny and a lovely young lady I don't know.

Adam Smith (Steampunk Canada) and Amanda Stock (again) (The Toronto Steampunk Society).

There are also some other archetypes that I feel are missing from the poster.  Two of which I would like to include:

The Lady and Gentleman:

Kenneth Shelley and Ashley Kung

Just love this picture of Edith Chartier.

And the Intellectual:

The Steampunk Scholar Mike Perschon and lady of Steampunk Canada Lee Ann Farruga

Monday, September 19, 2011

Writing as Problem Solving

I often get asked what inspires me to write.  Where I get my ideas.  And it’s a reasonable question, one that often I can only answer with, “I don’t know” and “I write about stuff I like”.  Not very satisfying answers to be sure.

Being creative is this strange beast.  Being inspired even more so.

But here's the thing.

Writing can, yes, at times seem almost mystical, and sometimes in those rare bouts of inspiration there can be a moment where you as the author are very, “Woah, how did that happen?”  But nine times out of ten?  Writing is deeply practical.   

It’s all about problem solving:  “Okay, so this character needs to get to there, but he’s over here.  Do I write out his entire journey Lord of the Rings style, or instead say something like – 'Three days later . . .'?” or “Shoot, I already used a flock of birds metaphor, I guess I can’t use this one . . .”  or “Anyone know another word for “salacious”?”

And this is something that has always fascinated me about the writing process, that something that can be such a creative and personal experience can also be so pragmatic.

We have an image of an author struggling over just the right words to express just the right thought.  And yes, authors do struggle over that.  But more often than not they are simply reading a paragraph back and realizing: “Shoot, I used the word “quite” three times here.  I guess I need to replace two of them.”  It’s not because of how “quite” affects the artistic integrity of the work.  It’s because it sounds stupid to repeat the same word so many times in one paragraph.  Or maybe the author reads a section of her book and realizes the jump from one paragraph to the next is a little jarring.  So she adds a “but” or a “though” or a “so”, and with one word, she's made the jump seem seamless. 

Writing, editing, putting a novel together?  I compare it to math.  And I am quite fond of math.  I love how you have to rearrange the numbers, add this, subtract that, multiply another thing, and if you do it all in the right order, you come out with the answer.  It’s such a sense of accomplishment.  And smug satisfaction.

And writing works an awful lot like that too.

Take yesterday, for example. I went to a fellow author friend’s place and we edited together.  We wound up spending around an hour trying to solve a plot point in her manuscript.  The solution:  subtract one of the major characters out of the story and suddenly everything fit together.  Once we figured that out, we both felt energized, and I know she felt a huge weight lift off her shoulders, a weight she’d been carrying around all week.

Here's another more detailed example, courtesy of the edits I am currently doing for THE FRIDAY SOCIETY:

My editor pointed out that one chapter I’d written had Character A doing something that seemed like it would make much more sense for Character B to do.  After reading over the chapter a few times, I realised she was right.  So.  What to do?

This is what I did:

I cut the chapter and pasted it into a new file so I had it easy to access.  I decided I would put the scene into the next chapter where both Character A and Character B were together.  The good news was I could keep much of the middle bit of the original chapter.  The bad news, I had to change the beginning and end so that the task made sense within the new chapter.  

I also had to change the perspective.  It had originally been Character A’s, and now it was Character B’s, and they are different people who react to things differently.

So I spent a lot of time copying sentences and paragraphs from the original chapter and pasting them into the Character B chapter in the appropriate spots.  And at the same time I also had to write new bits so that it all made sense.

Eventually though, I managed to knit both scenes together.

But that wasn’t the end of it. 

Remember, I’d just cut out an entire chapter.  My book switches between three points of view (POV) because I have three main characters.  In removing the original Character A chapter, I now had a rhythm problem.  Because that chapter sat between two chapters devoted to Character B’s POV.  In removing the Character A chapter I now had two Character B chapters back to back, and that messes up the rhythm of my novel.


I had to go back a chapter and find a scene that I could move between the two Character B chapters.  It had to take place in the right part of the story so as not to mess up the timeline, and it had to be a scene that could stand on its own without that which went before it.

And I managed to find such a scene.  It was a scene that involved Character C.

I then moved it between the two Character B chapters, and ta-da!  My math problem was solved, and indeed I think the book was stronger for it.

Of course, then I had to re-number all the chapters, which is quite literal math.

So you see, sometimes it isn’t about taking long walks seeking out inspiration, or agonizing over sentences and the perfect description of the setting sun.  Sometimes it’s just about problem solving.  And copy and paste.

Seriously, where would we be without the copy and paste feature?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Links

As the title says, and as we've done in the past.  Today's the day I shall post some links that I found interesting around the net this week.

For those of us who enjoy books for more than just their words:

- THAT COVER GIRL analyses the good, the bad, and the ugly of book covers, usually mostly YA.  She also interviews designers and has a delightful sense of humour.

- need decorating help?  Here are some posters made of the text of your favourite books

In the world of Children's publishing we have learned that adult author Phillipa Gregory will be penning a Young Adult work.

Emma Thompson (yes, that Emma Thompson) will be writing a new Peter Rabbit tale.

And we have two new imprints starting up:  the one and only LeVar Burton from Star Trek, but more appropriately in this case, Reading Rainbow, is starting a digital line called RRKidz.  And Sarah Odedina is starting Hot Key Books, a publishing company that will be part of the Bonnier Group.

And in general industry news, we've got the good and some not so good.

Over at - the genre website I also work for - we have some interesting geek news:  JJ Abrams is for sure directing the next STAR TREK film (like there was any doubt), Harrison Ford mentions the possiblity of a fifth Indy movie and William Shatner insists that Star Wars is a derivative of Star Trek (ooh, get the boxing gloves ready . . . )

Last but not least, this:

And thus Adrienne Kress finishes up her first week back blogging and introduces a new routine that is all kinds of awesome (so long as she actually manages to keep it up)!  Thank you to all my readers, old and new, for checking it out.  Let's see what next week brings shall we. . . 

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Small Thought on Speaking in Public

So my plan for Thursdays is a little hazy.  Ideally I'd love to answer any questions you guys might have on this day.  Questions about writing, acting, and the industries that surround said subjects.  Questions too maybe about movies (since I LOVE movies) and my favourite colour.  I dunno.  But if you have a question, please feel free to ask it in any of the comments sections!  I really love answering questions.  Conversations in general make me a happy bunny.

But since this is our first Thursday with the new blog setup, I don't have any said questions yet.  So I just had to kind of come up with something I thought was kind of interesting but not too long winded (long winded is saved for Mondays ;) ).

And finally lying in bed last night, I came up with a little bit of advice.  It is something about which I'd been discussing with a fellow author Tuesday night at Rob's event (see Wednesday's post below).  It was about being an author and talking in front of people (something Rob did very well).

Now I've already written extensively about speaking in front of a crowd.  You can find the posts on said subject on the sidebar under the heading:


But I figure it never hurts to repeat this one very simple bit of advice.  I know that it has helped me so much, and it's something that when I share it with others they're all like, "Hey! I hadn't thought of it like that."

And that's this:

When you are speaking in front of a crowd of people, it isn't about you, but them.  What I mean is this:  so often we are nervous about what we are going to say and how we are going to say it.  Even more, we feel like we shouldn't be there in the first place, like no one wants to hear us.  But the fact is, people have come out to see you.  Why?  Because they like you.  They want to hear what you have to say.  And if you get all "Gee shucks" or "I'm not worthy" or "This is stupid" in front of them, you are insulting them.  You are saying that their decision in wanting to see you and hear from you is a bad one.  That they have bad taste.  And you don't want to do that.

Respect your audience.  Realise that for whatever reason they made a choice to see you and now you have to honour that choice.  You are not speaking so that you can be the centre of attention, but rather so that you can entertain and educate the people who went out of their way to come see you.  It's all about their experience not yours.

And I find that the second you turn it around and make the presentation about others and not yourself, you relax.  You open up.  You care.

So that's my tiny bit of advice in regards to speaking in public.  Like I said, I have tons more in those articles in the side bar.  But I think if we can all keep in mind, "It's not about me, it's about them", that's a very good place to start.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Robert J. Wiersema's WALK LIKE A MAN

So on Wednesdays I thought it would be nice to share with you all some of what some of my friends are up to and just how awesome they are!  And the timing couldn't be more perfect, as last night I attended what was being dubbed a "conversation" between author Robert J Wiersema and Book Madam Julie Wilson on his latest book, WALK LIKE A MAN

(why is conversation in quotation marks?  Dunno, just felt right.)

Wonder twin water bottle powers activate!

I know! Beautiful right??
And it was held at the absolutely gorgeous Ben McNally Books.

It was a very entertaining evening, Julie and Rob are friends and their easy banter was fun.  And I felt I learned a lot too.  About Rob, Julie and Bruce Springsteen.  If the latter name causes some confusion, let me post the synopsis of the book . . . now:

A frank, funny, and inventive blend of biography, music criticism, and memoir told in thirteen tracks.

As he enters his sixties, Bruce Springsteen remains a paragon of all that is cool in the world of rock. He's a genuine voice of the people, the bastard child of Woody Guthrie and James Brown, and an elder statesman who has inspired generations of bands. He's won twenty Grammy Awards, an Oscar, two Golden Globes, and is a member of two Halls of Fame.

There are dozens of books about Springsteen. What's left to say? Nothing objective, perhaps. But when it comes to music, objectivity is highly overrated. Robert Wiersema has been a Springsteen fan since he was a teenager, following tours to see multiple shows in a row, watching set lists develop in real time via the Internet, ordering bootlegs from shady vendors in Italy. His attachment is deeper than fandom, though: he's grown up with Springsteen's songs as the soundtrack to his life, beginning with his youth in rural British Columbia and continuing on through dreams of escape, falling in love, and becoming a father.

Walk Like a Man is the liner notes for a mix tape, a blend of biography, music criticism, and memoir. Like the best mix tapes, it balances joy and sorrow, laughter seasoning the dark-night-of-the-soul questions that haunt us all. Wiersema's book is the story of a man becoming a man (despite getting a little lost along the way), and of Springsteen's songs and life that have accompanied him on his journey.

Rob is an excellent writer, wonderful reviewer (which is an art that I think has been on the wane of late), and all round lovely chap.  So yes, please do check out his book, it's a fascinating way to tell a story, and it really really works.

In conclusion:

Yay Rob!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Steampunk Tuesday!

 Welcome to the very first of my new exciting weekly feature:

STEAMPUNK TUESDAYS!  *echo, echo, echo* - as my OAC Calculus teacher would say, no seriously, he did.  Only it would be with stuff like, "Today we are starting TRIGONOMETRY! Echo, echo, echo!"

(for those of you going, "Wait? What? What's Steampunk?" - click here)

Since it's my first of these things, I thought I'd share with you my thrilling personal relationship with Steampunk.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I thought I'd share with you all some of my attempts to Steampunk out my new apartment.  Now it doesn't look anything like this apartment,  but, it's got it's own special Steampunk flavour to it I think.

So enjoy!

The corner of my living room.  The trunk is my coffee table, upon which rests a couple seasons of DEADWOOD which I'm working my way through right now.  The red walls are me pretending the space is a two story Victorian library.  And now let's check out the mantelpiece.

Here's the mantelpiece.  We have, as all mantelpieces have, a pirate nutcracker, we also have some useful jars to put things in that came from my grandparents.  An Underwood typewriter.  And some prints on the wall that I purchased from CollageOrama on etsy.  Last but not least we have a Clobe.  Which is a clock with a globe like exterior.  Obviously.  This J.M. Frey pointed out to me on a shopping spree at Value Village.  Let's have a closer look at the Clobe shall we . . .


Now we move onto my office:

This is a poster of several Steampunk character archetypes hanging on my back wall.  It was a present to me from the Difference Engineers, a trio of lovely ladies who curated a Steampunk museum exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre for which I was interviewed.  When I went to the opening of the exhibit, I saw this poster and couldn't stop gushing about it.  So when the exhibit was taken down, they most generously gave the poster to me.  I adore it.  Aside from the quality artwork, it's also printed on vinyl.  Here's a closeup . . . 


Last but not least I present to you the one object I have that is actually from the period that Steampunk is associated with.  This is a theatre chair from the Meaford Opera House, the theatre at my cottage.  It was built turn of the century and this is one of the original chairs.  They renovated several years ago, and to raise funds patrons could purchase parts of the theatre that were being replaced.  My parents bought this one.  So technically they are loaning it to me.  These chairs are gorgeous, but horribly uncomfortable, so it's a good thing they were replaced and that I can now use one as decoration.  See the wire on the underside?  That is for where gentlemen would store their top hats.  No lie.

So there you go!  My apartment so far.  I still have some more plans for more Steampunk goodness, and when I actualise them I will for sure keep you posted.

And now, as promised from yesterday, here is also something else that involves me, but also a bunch of my Steampunk friends.  I was at FanExpo, manning the Steampunk table, and SPACE (the Canadian version of SYFY) came over and interviewed us for InnerSPACE.

If you aren't that familiar with the general Steampunk aesthetic, this is a lovely brief encounter for you, where you get to see some killer costumes and props.

So, here's that segment, and here I am!

And there you have it!  Our first ever Steampunk Tuesday!  I hope you enjoyed it!  Do share your thoughts below.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Recap and a Super Awesome Plan!

 I’m baaaaaack!

Yes, I might have made a decision this summer, and the decision might have been to take a break from blogging.  Which is what I did.  And I’m glad I did.  I’ve recharged my batteries, and come up with what I consider to be a truly brilliant plan, at least for a little while until I realize actualizing said plan is totally unfeasible. 

Still, I did miss you guys, and it’s nice to be back in the blogosphere!  What's new?  And how you doin'?


My plan.

I am going to create a blogging schedule that I hopefully will stick with for a while.  That schedule is as follows:

Monday: one of my usual insightful, witty and thought provoking essay style blog entries.

Tuesday: your weekly Steampunk fix

Wednesday: sharing a bit of what my insanely talented friends in many different fields are doing that you ought to check out

Thursday: Adrienne’s Tips.  On what?  No idea.  But they will be mighty useful. (I was also thinking that this could be where I could answer your questions on stuff, but of course I’ll need the questions from you guys, so please feel free to post them in the comments section)

Friday: roundup of links of note. 

So, that’s my plan!  Pretty straightforward, not nearly as complex as my world domination one which is going quite nicely I should add, but delightful all the same.

And, as such, and seeing as it’s Monday . . .


I thought I’d catch everyone up on what I’d been up to this summer.  Because, you know, stuff happened and stuff.

The first thing you should know is I celebrated my birthday and it was awesome.  Awesomest moment?  I was in rehearsals for a Fringe show, and after rehearsal we were all going to go hang out to celebrate.  Well I went into the washroom to change out of my costume and upon reappearing the cast started singing and presented me with some Red Velvet cupcakes made by one of the cast members.  I swear, I wish every time I came out of the washroom I was so greeted.  Though . . . what would I do with so many cupcakes . . .

And that’s the other thing, I performed in a show this year at the Toronto Fringe Festival.  It was called SWOON! (the exclamation mark makes it extra swoontastic), and was a great success.  It won Patron’s Pick for the Factory Mainspace (which means it was the most popular show in that venue) as well as Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Production.  The cast was wonderful, and we really got along well.  So well that we make a point of still getting together en masse as much as possible (I can tell you, this doesn’t happen with every show).  And we had T-Shirts made!:

And here is the cast/director/stage manager of SWOON!

This summer I also managed to get in a reading at the Gravenhurst Library which was tons of fun (thank you again so much for the hospitality, you guys rocked!) and which also meant that I got to hang out at my aunt’s cottage with my family and stuff.  

My friend Katie got married, and I was one of her bridesmaids.  In fact all four bridesmaids and bride have known each other since grade 8.  So that was just a little bit special. 

L to R - Gillian, Liz, Katie, Me, Ana 

Here we are in Grade 8

Speaking of bridesmaids, it was also an amazing summer for movies, including a certain comedy starring an ensemble cast of women that managed to break down so many barriers to the point where men were going to see it on their own, not just because they were going with a girl.  Of course the big comic book movies happened also, and were pretty darn good.  I’ve reviewed almost all of them over at  THOR, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (my fav of the superhero films), CAPTAIN AMERICAN and the one dud in my estimation, GREEN LANTERN.  And we had the surprise hits of the summer:  SUPER 8 (not so much a surprise, it was assumed it would do good business, but the film itself in its nostalgic throwback was truly magical) and RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (surprisingly good, and a surprising box office hit).

I did a lot of reading this summer, and made a conscious choice to take a break from anything genre.  So I finally read BARNEY’S VERSION, which is the kind of book that makes you realize you have so much further to go as an author.  It also makes you ask yourself, “How the heck did he write this?”  Also read one of the SHOPAHOLIC books at my aunt’s cottage which took as much time to read as the ARCHIE comics I was also reading.  Some Jane Austen:  NORTHANGER ABBEY (which had very little plot wise – and yes, I get it was a parody of Gothic literature, but still, you can’t sustain a book on an idea alone) and MANSFIELD PARK (to be honest, I couldn’t finish this one and I could see why it took them so long to make a quality film of it.  But the movie version was augmented with letters by Jane Austen to her sister etc, so yeah).  Both these books demonstrated to me just how wonderful her more popular works are, and why her more popular works are more popular.  Sometimes there’s a reason. 

I got my ears pierced for the first time too.  Yeah.  I'm totally bad-a**.  I put holes through my ears, take that society!

The summer ended with FanExpo, which is the Canadian Comic Con.  In the past I’ve attended as a member of HardcoreNerdity, but this year I was there as an author guest.  I have to thank Adam Smith and the Toronto Steampunk Society for inviting me as one of their own.  I got to sit on two panels:  Steampunk 101 and a panel about Steampunk lit.  Both were standing room only, and so much fun was had with my fellow extraordinarily talented panelists (especially the Lit one – for some reason we all had a great chemistry together:  J.M. Frey, Ed Greenwood and Rob St-Martin).

I also sold out of books and gave away some lovely buttons based on the cover design. 

Here are some pictures of me with a giant bike.  I really liked the bike:

Adam Smith, Me, Lee Ann Farruga

Here I am with fellow author J.M. Frey:

And here is an interview I did with YouTube personality, Shakespearean actress, and delightful friend, Cecily Jenkins:

I also did a tiny interview for InnerSPACE for the SPACE channel - Canada's version of SyFy - but as it is about Steampunk I'll share that with you tomorrow - here's a pic of it though, to keep you in suspense:

Don't I just look so full of wide-eyed wonder!

With the start of fall comes the Toronto International Film Festival and our city is now buzzing with celebs and fans and all that goodness.  Once more I participated in Bask-It-Style’s media day.  Bask-It-Style is a swag bag that is sent to celebs’ hotel rooms, and the organisers, JSquared, host one day as a media event to show off what the celebs will be getting.  This time I represented THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE.  Here I am (it's a bit fuzzy, but note the Mockingjay pin???  I got that at FanExpo, I was SO excited to get one!):

And here I am between two Toronto Argonauts (uh, that would be Toronto's football team . . .).  I wish I could take them everywhere with me, they make me feel so petite and delicate.  Note how they are wearing my book buttons! (apologies for the brightness of the pic . . .):

And . . . that was last week, and we now come to this week.  What adventures await this writer/actress?  Who knows!  Edits on THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, to be sure (got those a couple weeks ago), Halloween as well (yay!), but there are likely to be surprises around the corner.  I look forward to them!

That’s all for now!  Come back tomorrow for your first of many Steampunk Tuesday Fixes!

Also Atticus says hi: