About that time I went to China…

By Heather - November 29, 2015

It’s been a pretty solid year of blog silence — a year of change and new beginnings, for me, and the blog writing slid more and more to one side as I marched steadily through the year. And here we are, at the tail end of November, and there is snow on the ground and that whiff of the holidays. This year has been so much its own, and full of so many experiences.

The novel is back in the drawer, I think. As much as the blog posts felt like they were too much to do, the writing has been a struggle. It’s hard to be creatively engaged with fiction when the energy that flows into the stories feels so depleted.

I think that’s changing, now that we’re moving into the winter months. I went to China recently — yes, I went to China! — and if that’s not something that shakes up how you see the world and what you think about yourself, I don’t know what is.


Arguably one of the best parts of the trip: the people I met. This little lady was so charming.


Global Centre, the world’s largest building. It’s impossible to get the whole thing in one shot.


First night in Beijing.

More than anything, I learned that I could be brave. I could fly across an ocean — something I’d been really scared about. I could learn to speak simple phrases in Mandarin, and I could navigate my way through six cities, flying from place to place, on average, every day and a half. Jet lag was something new for me, and not so bad going to China, but pretty vicious coming back. I ate a ton of incredible food and met wonderful people. But most of all, I figured out that I could do something so out of my normal routine, so vastly different…and I liked it. There were times when I looked around and felt like I’d stepped into a William Gibson novel, and other times when I just stopped, looked around, and let the enormity of being so far away from home hit.


Night and rain in Xian. I think this is something I will remember best.


The Terracotta Army in Xian — staggering in its scope. The history of it weighs on you the whole time you move through the museum.


For 10 yuan, you can have your picture taken at the replicas. Totally worth it.


Night in Chengdu. The light displays on buildings make you feel like you’re living in the future.




Pandas, pandas, pandas!


The view from my hotel in Wuhan. It was so breathtaking and beautiful, as the sun came up. East Lake is somewhere behind those buildings.


Lunch in Chengdu. I very quickly learned how to say ‘it’s so delicious!’ in Mandarin. A very helpful phrase to know.

I felt very much the lack of a partner to share it with…both when I was away, and when I was home and crawling miserably into bed or sitting awake at 3am, waiting for the rest of me to catch up to me from crossing the dateline. But I also felt the lack of writing — the lack of creating, I suppose. And both are things I’m working on, restoring and rebuilding. China taught me that you can make do with what you have, because it’s so much more than you realized you had. It’s like driving or walking in a throng of people: you get in there, because if you hang back and wait for a space to open, it never will. One shoulder, one hip forward, watch where you’re going, but get in there and take your place.


More of Xian.


Our driver dropping us off at the airport for the flight to Qingdao.

So! As the end of November approaches…welcome, December, and the tail end of this hard, but wonderful, year, and the feeling that there is a new journey ahead.


Halfway through the trip, chilling at the airport. There were a lot of night flights, and a lot of time for thinking.


Walking across the Han river in Chaozhou, one day before leaving for home. The legend is that Han Yu appealed to the crocodiles to leave with a logical argument. It worked. No more crocodiles in Chaozhou.

Women Destroy Science Fiction wins a British Fantasy Award

By Heather - November 8, 2015

I’m very excited and thrilled to announce that Women Destroy Science Fiction received a 2015 British Fantasy Award in the anthology category.

Congratulations to everybody involved with the project, especially Christie Yant, and thank you to everybody for their support for the project!

I got the news while I was on the road — and it was pretty incredible news to get. This year has brought me so many wonderful things; the award is such a vindication. Thank you!

By Heather - August 31, 2015

I had the immensely good fortune of camping at the Elizabeth Parker hut in Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park with friends who kindly invited me along. We made the journey to British Columbia — Yoho is just over the border, and hiked in to the hut.

It was a beautiful, wondering weekend. One glorious vista after another, in the company of good friends. For the first time in my life, I saw the Milky Way at night,














There is an element of the sublime there: that fearsome, staggering beauty, the feeling of something so much greater than yourself. What a summer it has been! So many changes in my life. And all along the way, surrounded by friends and loving family. As we transition to the fall — the leaves here are beginning to turn — I’m looking ahead to the cooler weather, the adventures still to come. More writing, back to more reading, new things to learn and see.

Summer in Alberta.

By Heather - August 4, 2015

A week and two days of vacation remind me how fortunate I am to live in Alberta, and how beautiful a place it can be.







The novel has taken a back seat lately, sitting and making comments as I try to figure out what to do with it. It is a bit like having back seat driver, I suppose. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Watch out for that plot. Oo, that chapter! Careful!’ I spent some time on holiday to think and draft, and I think I have a workable plan now. I don’t want to be one of those writers forever saying that they’re working on something without ever having something to show for it.

Meanwhile, I’m very pleased to say that Culpability, a story published by Bartleby-Snopes last year, was nominated for the Million Writers Award this past week. The story was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I’m so pleased at this news!

By Heather - July 11, 2015

Since moving into the new place, I’ve been finding myself settling into new routines, new rhythms. Cooking for one, dishes for one, housework for one. One and a half, actually, since I’ve acquired a cat.

mrnoodlesIt’s nice to have him wandering around, saying ‘hrrRRRm?’ and taking toilet paper off the roll. I’m quite enjoying his company. FullSizeRender (2)

It’s been such a season of changes and good things. My story, ‘Wild Things,’ was included on a list of best short stories of the year on io9, which was really exciting. I’m slowly returning to a regular practice of writing, getting myself back into that mindset with the move done. I’m hoping that the cat feels he is a writer’s cat.

By Heather - June 1, 2015

It’s been a long, long while since I posted — and a lot of things have happened. I got a promotion at work. I got my own apartment. I started taking courses for a certificate for work. Things like that. Nothing huge, per se, but enough that it’s been hard to keep up with everything and some things were safely put the side.

Yesterday I ran my first 5K race.



And I actually ran most of it, though there was a lot of winded walking. Finished it in forty-four minutes and fifteen seconds, raised money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and had a great day. And came home to sit on the couch for most of the afternoon and evening, but hey, that’s okay. It was incredible to just do it, to get out there and try it. And I got a shiny medal, too.

My writing has taken a pause over the last few months. It hasn’t been the same fast, frequent pages of last year. With the turn of the new month, and things settling down into the new routine, I’m pledging myself to get back to that, to write my stories and see where they go. I’m trying.

New fiction!

By Heather - April 3, 2015

My latest story, ‘Wild Things Got to Go Free,’ is available at Beneath Ceaseless Skies!

My cousin Ren was waiting for Mama in the kitchen, pacing. When he looked at me, I saw the flickering light in his eyes. He was going away, too. It looked like nobody would get to say goodbye to him properly, either. I hated the soldiers so much it hurt.

When the back door closed, Aisha went silently upstairs. Da picked me up, carried me to the rocking chair. He still hadn’t taken his boots off. There was mud all over the floor. “You can’t hold her to it, Leah,” he said. “She can’t come back for you.”

“She’s going to try. She told me so.”

“That doesn’t mean she can.”

I did not want to hear that. I pretended I hadn’t, as we sat and rocked together, staring at the empty fireplace. I was her special girl. Mama would come back for me.