Genius Loci table of contents announced…and I’m in it!

By Heather - July 23, 2014

I’m thrilled to say that I’ve placed a story in the upcoming Genius Loci anthology. I’m so excited! The anthology still has to go to a kickstarter for seed funding, so you can expect to hear about it from me soon. I’m in great company, too - Cat Rambo, Ken Liu, Wendy Wagner, and Seanan McGuire all have stories appearing in the anthology.



By Heather - July 17, 2014

Hazy days here at the moment. Forest fires near Banff, in northern Alberta, BC, and the Northwest Territories are sending smoke our way. Not at all unexpected for this time of year, but it makes for grey sky days. The hot weather is truly upon us, too. It is hot. And muggy, although humidity here is really nothing like what other people get. When it starts to creep up over 50%, though, it’s noticeable.


I am, happily, taking tomorrow off. To stay home and complain to myself about how hot it is, but also to just take it easy. I’ve got writing to do (shocking! I know!) — a story came back with a rewrite request, and I’m going to have a close look at the editor’s remarks on the weekend and see what I can do to tweak it. And there’s the novel.

And reading! The third book in the ‘Last Policeman’ series, World of Trouble, is finally out. The first two were great, and I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Ben H. Winters is a great writer, and the detective story is fantastic.

Thinking about writing.

By Heather - July 14, 2014

I do actually blog from time to time. Good lord, but it’s been a while. I’m so sunk into the writing that it’s almost always the same, each time I think I should write a post: working really hard on the novel. Writing lots. Would say more, but it’s not done. It’s going exceedingly well; I feel incredibly good about it.

Yes, I’m afraid I’ll jinx it by saying that.


That is basically what’s what these days. Summer – hot, sticky, sweaty summer – has arrived, and with it the attendant mosquito bites. I’m still walking home from work in the evenings, managing four and a half kilometres a day. The hotter it is, the sooner my water bottle runs dry.

I am lost in thought over this novel. Always thinking about it, mulling it over. I finish writing for the night, or revising work I wrote in the morning, and as I’m putting the computer away and getting ready for bed, I’m thinking about an adjustment to a phrase or a scene. It’s this ever-present awareness that I’m working on a project I really believe in, that I really enjoy. And oh, boy, I really want it to turn out. I want to hold it in my hands as a legit, for-real book.

When I need a break from the novel (and I do, from time to time), I work on my short stories. There are eight or so out on submission at the moment; one has just come back from a professional market with a rewrite request. This is a good thing…I’m getting closer to consistency. It’s like I can feel it, this itchy, oh-so-close-if-I-just-go-a-little-harder sense that it’s almost within my reach. Almost. I’m not there yet — I’ve had some incredible opportunities and breaks, but I still have the work to do.

It reminds of a fantasy novel I read when I was a teenager — I can’t remember what it was, but there was something in it about it taking twelve years, twelve again, and twelve more than that to become a bard (some kind of magical bard, I think). It’s not the story I remember but the idea that if you wanted something, if you really wanted it, you’d have to keep working at it and even then, you’d have to go farther again. And farther some more.

Maybe I’m somewhere in that third set of twelve, getting closer to my master ballad. I think this is what that novel was trying to get at, so long ago.

Maybe I’m getting closer.

Monday: writing for me, spitting for science.

By Heather - July 7, 2014

The writing is going well. I’m not sure what the wordcount on the novel is right now, but I’m still make good and steady progress on it. And I was able to get a couple of short stories tidied up and sent out on Saturday.

The publicity from the Women Destroy Science Fiction story is beginning to wind down, but a few students told me today they’d read the story or were planning to — it brought such a smile to my face. Admittedly, my secret double life is exposed: mild-mannered academic advisor by day, sci-fi writer by early morning, noon, and night.

Meanwhile? I was selected for the second phase of a massive, 30-year study I signed up for:


Spitting for science? I can totally do that.

The Tomorrow Project is signing up 50,000 Albertans between the ages of 35 and 69 who have never been diagnosed with cancer for an enormous longitudinal study on cancer rates and health in the province. I’ve taken part in research studies before, but they’ve all been fairly short-term. This one will continue on for decades, and the data collected will help to give better information on who develops cancer, who doesn’t, who is at risk, and what roles environment and genetics might play.

I signed up in memory of Alyson Woloshyn, a coworker who was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in 2009. She survived an astonishing three years, putting everything she had into enjoying her life. The Tomorrow Project is totally the kind of thing she would have signed up for. I can just see her now — going around the office, chivvying people into filling out questionnaires, putting up lunchroom posters, arranging a spit sample contest. Yup. Alyson, I’m in it for you.

The first step for the project is a survey — about forty pages of questions on your medical history, including family histories. This second phase is a saliva sample to start a genetic profile. Not very hard at all. I didn’t sign up for the blood tests (it was too close to my surgery, and I was told that some of my values would have been kind of screwy while I was still healing). If they want blood later, I’ll give it.

That’s my Monday. The writing is for me, the spitting was for science. Easy-peasy.

Nice – ‘Cuts Both Ways’ makes the faculty newsletter!

By Heather - July 4, 2014


I made the Schulich Engineer, our faculty newsletter!

Pros: my coworkers get to know more about my writing. Very awesome.

Cons: the world gets to see my messy cubicle. Whoops.

(I am so, so proud to work for the Schulich School of Engineering. The faculty and staff are incredible coworkers, and the students find new ways to impress and amaze me every day.)

A visit to the Glenbow.

By Heather - July 1, 2014

I finally went back to go and visit the Glenbow. I was there a few weeks ago with that charity scavenger hunt, but I admit that I didn’t get much of an opportunity to appreciate the art. Running through the gallery in a tutu really takes away from the art-enjoying experience.

The Glenbow has been working hard at rebranding itself — you get a sticker to wear now (‘I’m Having a Great Time at Glenbow’) which is rather nifty. They’ve come back around to celebrating the art collections, and I was there to see a show of works on loan from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.


It was really lovely. There are some pieces that I enjoyed more than others — John Singer Sargent’s San Viglio, Lake Garda (1913) was something I could have sat and looked at for hours. There’s a lovely Horatio Walker painting, The First Snow, and a George Chambers (The Crew of the HMS Terror Savingthe Boats and Provisions the Night of 15 March (1837)) that makes you think you can hear the ice creaking around the ship.

Well worth it. But even better was the A Singular Vision: Eric Harvie Collects Art show. It’s an incredible collection of Western Canadian artwork. Some of it old, some contemporary, but it’s a seamless compilation, this show, and so striking in its depiction of landscapes and people. It outshines the Beaverbrook collection, I think, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Both exhibits are special in their own way. Both worth seeing.


(and of course, I went to go and visit the old Telstar sign. It’s like an old friend — I always stop by to see it when I’m at the Glenbow.)

Turns out being mentioned on NPR really makes for a good day.

By Heather - June 28, 2014

So how was my day? Oh, you know…

Women Are Destroying Science Fiction! (That’s OK; They Created It)

The perception that the science fiction that women write isn’t “real” isn’t as pervasive as it was in the 1960s, but it’s just as ridiculous. If you need proof to back up that assertion, all you need do is read this issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

It’s more than just an extra-large and particularly great issue of an already good magazine. It’s a master class on all the ways in which women are writing — and have written — some of the best science fiction available. Many of the concepts these stories explore are what purists would expect from the SF label: In “Cuts Both Ways” by Heather Clitheroe, cyborg implants create perfect memory recall; Tananarive Due’s “Like Daughter” deals with what happens when humans have access to easy cloning; “The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick” by Charlie Jane Anders takes place in a future where augmenting and messing with brain chemistry is as common as taking vitamin supplements is now.

However, the authors are less focused on technological changes and more on the relations between people, or between people and society, or changing cultural and gender roles. That’s true across the issue.

It was pretty freaking fabulous.

(my story is here if you want to read or listen to it.)