Is this thing on?

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Have we come back to blogging now? Some of us are…and I think I am one. In the last two years, I had a major job change, began learning Chinese (我学习中文,说一点儿。。。但是我的中文不好!), took up running, continued reading submissions for Uncanny Magazine, ran a marathon (I still can’t quite believe that) and did many other things. And sometimes not so many things.

I wrote much less. I had less to say, I think, because I was taking time to instead listen. In at the end of last year, I was so very fortunate to attend a writing residency at the Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts in rural Tennessee. Among the friendship and fellowship of writers, artists, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, and the Smokey mountains, I found my words waiting for me.

So now I write again. Just a little at a time. But a little is a lot more than not.

Darcy’s Law in the Geeky Giving Bundle

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A little bump for sci-fi for a great cause: I have a story in Geeky Giving’s first anthology! Geeky Giving raises ggprintanthocovermoney for the Barrow Neurological Institute, a world-class facility in the area of research, treatment, rehabilitation, and education.

All of the proceeds from the Geeky Giving anthology and bundles go to Barrow, and I’m really honoured to be a part of this initiative…and alongside authors like Mary Robinette Kowal.

The Geeky Giving anthology is available through Amazon (in print or for your Kindle) and and Kobo!

Listening to Calgary Philharmonic’s ‘Mozart’s Requiem’ show.

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I was very pleased to head off to see last weekend’s show at the Jack Singer. The Philharmonic put on Mozart’s Requiem — the headliner piece for the night — but the real gem of the night was listening to the choral performance of In Flanders Fields. It was followed by Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, which was both dreamy and sombre, and a perfect accompaniment to Chatman’s choral piece.

There’s something to be said for live music — for going and immersing yourself in the experience. Hearing a piece played live…it’s special. It is a sensory privilege.

Night at the philharmonic.

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I went to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra with my friend last night; we have concocted a tradition of having dinner at her place, with her family, and then the two of us take the train down to the Jack Singer Concert Hall. We especially like the choir loft seats — for me, it’s a treat to be so close to the musicians, to be able to look down and see their sheet music and hear the conductor talking to them, watch them playing. We really enjoy being able to look out at the audience, too. It’s always a fun evening.


As sombre as the mood can be in Calgary right now, there are still these things going on — still an appreciation for things like this, a long applause for a visiting violinist, the welcome break from dire predictions about oil prices and the reality of inflation. Last night was Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, and between those two pieces, there was a surprise encore of Paganini’s caprice no. 5, which was a real treat. But the best of the night was the Tchaikovsky; we heard Symphony No. 6 Pathétique in its entirety, and it was beautiful.

I’ve seen some great shows this season, but it was an especially touching performance last night. At the end of Tchaikovsky’s 6th, the conductor let the last note die away and we were all silent — conductor, musicians, audience. It was as if we were all sharing the height of that last melancholy moment, holding onto it for Tchaikovsky and communing with him. It was breathtaking.


And then we came out into the snow, and the world transformed.

About that time I went to China…

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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.


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

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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!

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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.