Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Two amazing releases

My short story "Disbursements" is now available at Carte Blanche http://carte-blanche.org/articles/disbursements/ I'm proud of this one, I wrote it in 20 minutes.  It's one of those stories that hid in my mind then suddenly appeared fully formed. I worked for a large law firm for a while.  At the time I thought it was a great job, but this many years later when characters who want to bomb their bosses flash into my mind, reveals to me I maybe had some pent up frustration I never knew about.

AND... Guess what I found on Amazon today? http://www.amazon.com/Tesseracts-Eighteen-Wrestling-Gods-Liana/dp/1770530681/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417533461&sr=1-1&keywords=tesseracts+18  The new cover for Wrestling with Gods! It looks amazing.  My contribution to this anthology is called "Seven Creations" and shows how an insurgent group hijacks a temple to obtain the powers that rule the universe. Tesseracts 18 comes out in April and I will be hosting a book launch in Lethbridge.  Stay tuned for details.

Thanks to all my readers for allowing me to feed you chunks of my brain!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Expo and ME

THIS WEEKEND is ME at the Lethbridge Entertainment EXPO /http://www.lethexpo.com/  as LUNA CREATIONS with my steampunk art, journals, top hats, calanders, jewelery etc.
This is the last show I'm doing before Christmas. I had a dream that I dressed up as a steampunk Harley Quinn and won the costume contest.  I also set fire to my house just to stay in character.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Marriage of Science Fiction and Shakespeare

When I think of my favourite actors I notice there is a strange parallel with the roles they tend to play.  Take Patrick Stewart for example: He played the role of Captain Picard of the Enterprise in Star Trek for years, Charles Xavier with many X-men movies AND he also played a wonderful King Claudius in Hamlet many times. David Tennant is another example:  He was one of the best Doctors in Dr. Who creating an iconic character, but he also played a stirring Hamlet and Bennedic is As You Like It with flying colours.  So why?  And how can I as a viewer enjoy both far flung space odysseys as well as Elizabethan prose and poetry?
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
The best mash up ever!

Fact: Shakespeare is timeless.  Many of the plots, archetypes, and tropes of Shakespeare have been re-done, re-invented and re-designed because their universal truths of human nature and dilemma can be felt through all time, past, present, future. James Macavoy said: Shakespeare's stories are still very strong. He structured fantastic stories about things that were fundamental to the human being and psyche.

Fact: Even in the vastness of space and time, we will always return to our inner conscience for guidance.  Conflict no matter how great, can only be solved within ourselves.  Shakespeare knew this. Patrick Stewart said:  All of those years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, all those years of playing kings and princes and speaking black verse, and bestriding the landscape of England was nothing but a preparation for sitting in the captain's chair of the Enterprise.

Fact: Deep thinking is attainable only by a man of deep feeling. - Samuel Coleridge. The magical, the eloquent and the mythical components of Shakespeare inspire us to branch out, explore our imaginations and speculate on our future.He said himself: Show me someone who doesn't dream about the future and I'll show you someone who doesn't know where they are going. and There are more things in Heaven and Earth... than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Graduating from the fine to the fantastic: David Tennant said:  If you can sell that you're the King of Scotland, or Henry V on a tiny stage in a studio theater somewhere, then you can probably sell that you're a starship captain or a time traveler.

For further reference check  http://www.geekpittsburgh.com/startrek/shakespeare.htm and http://todayinsci.com/S/Shakespeare_William/ShakespeareOnEarthsGravity.htm

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Word on the Street

Join us September 21, 2014 for The Word On The Street, hosted by Lethbridge Public Library :

 http://www.thewordonthestreet.ca/wots/lethbridge/whatson/intro

 or see the guide at:

http://issuu.com/wotslethbridge/docs/wots_program_2013_web/1?e=9341579/4863759

For those in the Lethbridge area I will be doing my first signing as apart of the Word on the Street Festival.  I hope to see you there and pick up a copy of SHIFTERS, SPIRITED or BALLAD OF THE SEA LION WOMAN.  I will also have my funky art journals available.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Leap Books!

LEAPing Into the Future

"Having a small publishing house means you get to be picky about the books and authors you represent," saysShannon Delany (YA author and now publisher and owner of LEAP BOOKS, LLC). "You don't feel the pressure of filling a certain number of slots each year--you can truly make quality come before quantity."

Thanks to longtime Leap author, Judith Graves, an enthusiastic trio of experienced YA authors has joined forces to lead LEAP Books LLC into the future. Graves had recently begun developing the SHINE e-novella line, and seeing Delany comment on Facebook about possibly starting a small publishing house of her own, Graves suggested Delany join her. But things grew from there.

"We're leaping ahead with the growth of the SHINE e-novella line, but we're gladly maintaining the foundation Edwards gave us. We have a great backlist of books written by eager authors--they just need some more attention in the market. I'm proud of LEAP's history. If I wasn't and I didn't see huge potential in this company, I wouldn't be here. The authors in our backlist are talented--we have award-winners, NYT Bestsellers... What more can you ask for?"

Learn more about LEAP, our books, our talented authors, our vision!

To kick off the official announcement of the big changes LEAP is undergoing, the LEAP Leadership Team has started a Rafflecopter contest for one lucky winner to win three Leap e-books of their choice.

<a id="rc-1d75e57c1" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1d75e57c1/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>
-- 
Shannon Delany, Publisher
Judith Graves, Co-Publisher
Jennifer Murgia, Marketing Director
Leap Books, LLC

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Post from Grammarly

How Linking Websites and Social Media Accounts can Boost Your Writing Career
The Boom of Social Media
            Social media has become the number one way to get up-to-date news stories, announcements, and keep up with your friends. But how can you make the recent explosion in social media work for your writing career? A lot of writers see Twitter and Facebook as an annoyance or a waste of time. However, writers should jump at the opportunity to connect their website with a Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr account because these can lead to exposure, updates, and vital connections.
Use it to Your Advantage
            Social media may make you cringe, but it can help people connect with you and help your writing career. You want to show different facets of yourself as a writer and a website alone isn’t quite the way the writing world is going nowadays. People want updates on your new book, your talk, or maybe your next television appearance. Social media has made careers. You don’t have to become a social media junkie; just make sure that if you do have any of those accounts, they’re linked to your website to allow for better exposure.
            Since social media also doesn’t quite encourage proofreading, as a writer you should make it your job to make sure your accounts are error-free. How embarrassing would it be if the right agent comes along and sees you’ve misspelled a post or the name of a great writer because of auto-correct on your phone? A site like Grammarly is available on any tablet, phone, or computer for online proofreading. It’s quick, so running a post or tweet through it takes no time at all and saves you from the horrors of lack of spell check.
Use social media to your professional advantage. Many top ranked businesses have entire departments completely devoted to social media. Even if you hardly ever visit your social media outlets, it’s never a bad idea to give employers, agents, or publishers more opportunities to contact you. Make it easy for them to find you and want to meet with you. Having a clean website coupled with professional, error-free social media accounts will not only boost the traffic of your website, but allow those you want to connect with to contact you.

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Bio:

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The writing Bug

I had this dream.  Many of my dreams turn into stories that I have to write down.  I read this amazing study about how cursive writing leads to a more creative writing process so I decided to hand write this whole story.  It had been amazing!  I don't get stuck as often, I don't have to wait for a puter to boot up and my hand hurts.  BUT the excitement of creating something new is ever in my mind and I seem to always want to write.  Maybe the cursive experiment really works and my brain's working better.  OR maybe the story is really cool and I've hit on something grand.  OR it's the feeling of smooth crisp paper.  I'm charged up and willing to get finger cramps so I can continue to touch my hands to real paper.  I think I'm old fashioned, but next I want to try quill and ink.  Why not?  The very atmosphere lends itself to steampunk tales of pirates and distopian myths about the end of the human race.
I also have been watching piles and piles of Dr. Who.
It could be that.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Best Review Ever!

My day was made today when I checked out Subterranean Blue Poetry where Rebecca Banks reviewed my first poetry chapbook.  Here's a taste of what she said:

"As if breathing in the violence of the New World, dark themes weave through the 15 poems, with titles of Take Heed, Lonely Automaton, Astigmatism, Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman, Ticki ticki tembo no sarembo …, Recycled with Love, Lineascope, The Grimm Fable, Clockwork, Gatsby and more. Images of death, the vagaries of love, a tortured mystic woman, a time machine, the laboratory, ocean voyages, the earth, the huntsman and the princess, and time all fall into new realms of now, and sometimes dark humor. 
"Borrowing from old world forms, the poetry is narrative poetic prose and reads not unlike dark fairytales with inconclusive, surprise or dark endings. The work is well written, it flows in occasional rhyme and with rhythm, exciting new word synergies that play against the quiet of the night. Pagan images of the past recreate themselves within the New Age influences of steampunk and the legacies of Generation X and Y, those born after the ‘60’s children with all the issues of New World angst.
"Also, there is a certain Zen aesthetic, almost Asian mystique within the horror and bonespeak". 
OK This is amazing.  Rebecca read into my words and found messages that I didn't know I'd put in there.  It's like she can read my personality without having met me.  I've always wanted someone to understand me like that.  I gave my mom countless poems growing up that I wished she could "read between the lines" but, and no offense Mom, but you didn't quite get it.  And now, after all these years.  Some one actually sees the real me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
P.S. check out her work here.http://www.subterraneanbluepoetry.com/SubterraneanBluePoetry.About.htm

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Book of Blue by Rebecca Banks

The Book of Blue by Rebecca Banks 
 The Book of Blue is a modern-day love story in poetry, written in a time of great darkness and great light, a story of the heart, the song of love.  The book was inspired by the Muse and the "blue dove" painting by Pablo Picasso, as if the refrain was channeled through the artist and poet.  "Blue you are the dove." weaves through the entire work, encapsulating each verse as if the poem is a chant, a prayer, a love song to Blue.

About the Author

Rebecca Anne Banks (poet, singer, songwriter, musician, writer, artist, philosopher, counselor) is at home in Montreal. She is the CEO/artist at Tea at Tympani Lane Records (www.tympanilanerecords.com) and the poetry editor at Subterranean Blue Poetry (www.subterraneanbluepoetry.com).

My Opinion:
The Book of Blue carries itself like a lullaby I could read  out loud to myself on my porch in the evening breeze.  The structure is simple and skeletal reflective of the reference sketch by Picasso.  The ever-present mood is one of hope and wanting.  At times it appears repetitive and serious in the context that the poet's focus is strong and eager. I would have liked to get more inside the author's head and get a better view the surroundings.  I give it 3 1/2 stars.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Come find me

5.6x8.6 B&W posterClicking on this will take you to a webpage for definitions of 40 major world religions.
I am excited to participate in some cool events coming up.  Come to the conference for a free art journaling workshop.  Find my latest publication in Tesseracts 18!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I am a writer of colored character.


Christopher Meyers said - "Too often today’s books remain blind to the everyday reality of thousands of children. Children of color remain outside the boundaries of imagination. But what it means is that when kids today face the realities of our world, our global economies, our integrations and overlappings, they all do so without a proper map. They are navigating the streets and avenues of their lives with an inadequate, outdated chart, and we wonder why they feel lost.
When I realized how few characters of color exist in literature for young people I went straight to work and wrote a novel with a brown, male main character. BECAUSE the statistics were grossly unfair and biased. I cannot be a part of the mass of white authors who stay safely behind their Caucasian safety nets  in order to avoid stereotypes or inconsistencies in culture.  It seems many minority characters end up being either an overstated stereotype or a helpless victim easily disposed of.   OR the authors who, in order to avoid offending anyone, leave the minority race characters to be written by minority race authors who, apparently, have free reign to describe their race and culture however they feel because they won't be chastised as harshly.  I won't stifle my stories with extensive research in order to portray my colored characters in exact adherence to ethnic norms because in reality today many of these traditions have been dropped. (especially in Canada where generations have passed since our ancestral immigrations).  I can write what I know because in the end, we are all human and that is something I know a lot about.


I am also a writer of colored characters because that is what kids need.  Kids need to experience and related to their identity in the books they read.  They need to know that their race exists outside of cultural folktales.  They need to feel apart of the society they live in.  They need to feel included and confident to interact with the diversity around them. So, I'll do the best I can even though for some of you it might not be good enough. My character might act "too white" or "too unreal" and I can accept that.  What I won't do is omit the character because I'm not willing to take that chance.  I'm not willing to have my readers think the absence of colored characters is acceptable.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Test for a Test

Andrea Schleicher (2010) said: “Schools have to prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that we don’t know will arise.”

We should be solving real problems, asking questions that matter instead of remembering and repeating facts. Adults’ accomplishments are linked far more strongly to their creativity than IQ (source) and we should be celebrating diverse knowledge and interest instead of trying to standardise knowledge and skills.
Doing something new and getting poor results on the old test shouldn’t surprise anyone. What is the point of doing something new and different if we get the same results on standardized tests… then we might as well just do factory schooling, conform and comply.
If I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – Henry Ford
That is exactly what we are doing today. We are asking our students to remember more, write better and repeat faster then before… just like we wanted the faster horse, when really we should be asking for the car. Sure the car wasn’t better than the horse in the beginning and our education system won’t be perfect either. It will never be perfect, it should be constantly evolving and we should strive to make it better every day.
I don’t know what a perfect education system looks like, and don’t think it even exist. But I believe that if we talk, try something different, fail forward, investigate and share what we do, not only locally but globally, we can get a lot closer.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Digital Hospitality

I've been having a debate with myself over whether or not digital entertainment is conducive to developing relationships.  At first glance it would seem obvious that face to face interactions would be much more beneficial. However, when it comes to siblings I can see my kids watching each other play video games, helping each other out and being relatively agreeable (not to mention quiet). Until computer time is over and they have to experience imagination play.  They are really good at role playing, dramatizations and teamwork.  Unfortunately it only lasts for a few moments before they explode into an intense battle.  Someone wouldn't follow the rules, someone ignored someone else or hit them or past a harsh judgement that resulted in name calling and bullying.  They had time to create a royal empire but their enjoyment is short lived.
So my question is: Is it worth it?  As a parent do I promote free play when it always ends in chaos?  Again, the obvious answer is yes.  They need to develop creativity, social skills and competence in dealing with reality, but the reality is they have violent tendencies and no control over their aggression. Wouldn't it be better to just sit around a screen, quietly and politely helping each other?
Last night is a prime example.  We had friends over and when told to go play they ended up watching each other play video games.  It was great for the moms, we got to talk and relax without any interference.  But, we wanted the kids to interact so we turned off the screens.  Not more than five minutes later the boys were screaming murder, the girls were running crying to their rooms, and I was wiping up a bloody nose.  At times like these I find it hard to convince myself that non-digital play is more healthy.
Some advice please?  And I don't want to hear any arguments in support of video games.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homeschooling

What do you do when your child is reluctant to work?
She's not reluctant to learn.  She loves learning, but that's really hard to prove when she won't write anything down.  She likes writing until she has to do an assignment.  She's good at math until she has to answer questions.  She loves doing science experiments as long as she doesn't have to explain it in writing.  She is an auditory learner.  Give her a video camera and she's awesome.  Give her paper and a pen and she cringes like it's mouldy bread.
The good thing is I can cater to her needs and bend the rules to help her out.  Home schooling allows me to shape the curriculum to whatever works for her. But should I? When she wants to make a power point presentation should I force her to write an essay?  Even if it brings her marks down?  Do I leave her to her own devices to develop self-initiative or do I sit by her and help her stay on task?  These are the questions of a home-school parent that plague me every day. (sigh)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

digital scrapbooking

So I thought I'd try out digital scrapbooking, but it wasn't as easy as I thought.  Maybe my compatibility with photo shop program isn't as strong as I thought.  Maybe my computer likes to take naps on the job.  There are some cool embellishments, but maybe they release viruses every time I open them. I'm even having trouble inserting one into this post cause my puter is wiked. My conclusion is that despite the cool idea, my need for tactile exploration overrides any electronic fandangled gadgets.  I want glue on my fingers people!  I want my depth perception in full employment.  But you can't see that from here.  All you have is a flat uninteractive screen so how can I show you the difference?