Thursday, November 02, 2006

VCon & More New Stories

Tut, tut. Been lax lately in keeping this blog. But not in writing, critiquing, reading and generally celebrating writing and writers.

VCon 31 was lovely--kudos and thanks to the organizers and volunteers for putting together an A1 convention. There was more good panelling than I could possibly attend, and I enjoyed everything I did see. For details on who was there and what they were up to, see the con website and Ahmed Khan's lovely and detailed report. (Rather alarming, though, is that when I commented on his blog I found my name called up a link to a high-priced "model" in New York. Oh, dear!)

Highlights of the con for me were:
  • Hanging out with my nephews, who are all SF fans and avid readers of nonfiction, too. They are getting interested in the programming now, so we actually see each other a lot more than in earlier years. (I'm not much of a gamer, which used to be what most interested them at the con.)
  • the Turkey Readings--what a hoot! We read lurid passages from old pulp novels and the audience gets to come up and act them out. An auction runs to get us to read--or stop!
  • Visiting with a number of people--Brian and Anita Hades of Edge/Tesseracts Books, Bruce Taylor, Jennifer Taylor (no known relationship), Ahmed Khan, Randy Barnhart, Linda DeMeulemeester and many more.
  • Readings--given and attended. Particularly liked Barbara Hambly's reading. Very personable GoH, and a wonderful writer.
  • Singing with the Filkers (my convention singing debut). Sang NaCl (McGarrigle Sisters) and The Last Unicorn (Jimmy Webb).
  • The video room, with it's stock of old movies and teevee, presided over by the inimitable R. Graeme Cameron.
  • A gallant young man I walked down the hall with who offered me a back rub when I mentioned I was in pain. Naturally, I accepted. Thank you, kind sir!

Stories Update

I have written several stories lately, despite the long break in my routine caused by travel. I am just finishing an "idealistic youth" type story set in 1965 in Winnipeg: "The MagniCharisma Machine", and have sent off "The Ziz", a biblical, well, story, really, and "These Old Bones", set in the dinosaur bonebeads of Alberta. I have been so focussed on writing, though, that I have once again let the marketting slide. Oopsies. Honest, Ma. I'll get to it...

Here is a small taste from "These Old Bones":

Andrea walked out into the hills. The earth crumbled under her running shoes.

She stayed as close to the path as possible, alert for splinters of stony bone and petrified, pebbled eggshell, Cretaceous litter uplifting through the weathered earth. Soft clay interspersed among the sandier soil—kaolinite, if she remembered, used in toothpaste. Glancing up at the dolmen-shaped hoodoos, she took a great soft breath. The desert was magical. The museum, too. Thanh Sullivan was a twit, but God, this place!

Andrea turned at the crest of the hill and looked down. Below lay the shrubby desert, shaped by erosion and tinted with age. Above, all around her, spread bald prairie, and an immensity of sky beyond it. Prairie and sky together were a vast tableau, and she stood solitary upon it, while hidden beneath her—that incomprehensible land. A place where enormous bones were even now shrugging from the soil. Where the first people might have run bison to their deaths, necks broken at the bases of these cliffs. Where time has wound so slowly that what happens there now is out of step with all the rest of the world.

The sky contracted and folded and streaked itself with paint. Stretching out wide and flat it hungered for night. Andrea felt it, the dimming of the heat and slow resurrection of the wild. She sank down onto the ground and placed her palms against it, feeling the fine grains of clay against her skin, lifting them and rubbing them softly on her face.

Andrea stayed there a moment, smelling the earth and the grasses, feeling the cooling air as it played about her. She began her slow descent from the prairie to the badlands before the sky drew its shade to a sudden close.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What Wolf Cubs Need

I have recently re- connected with a long lost niece who is a grown woman now and the mother of an eleven year old girl. Knowing she is an artist, like her mother, I had asked her in an email if she had a site where i could look at her work. She doesn't, but she told me that she, too, is a writer, and has posted many of her poems on the internet. This is the note I wrote back to her, along with a poem I wrote in 1993--"What Wolf Cubs Need".

thanks for the note, in the midst of all your busyness.

you're lucky. one day more and i would have PHONED you! (hey, not such a bad idea, really... maybe in a couple of weeks when the Hubby-Momma has passed through town.)

i'm thrilled that you are a writer, too! i love writing much much much. if you have a science fiction bookstore anywhere around you can find a couple of my stories at the moment--one is in an anthology called Tesseracts 9, that came out last summer, and the other is in the current issue of On Spec: the Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic.

i will dig into your poems on your poetry site. very cool that you are doing that. i guess i will have to board a plane and track you down if i want to see your drawings ever. later, later...

meanwhile, i'm glad you enjoyed my haiti notes, and that your daughter did. i look forward to talking with her about her dreams someday. they sound great. have you ever heard of the american poet, langston hughes? he wrote great verses with bright nuggets of truth in them. i always remember this one:

hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken-winged bird
that cannot fly

hold fast to dreams
for if dreams go
life is a barren field
covered in snow

i've hung onto that even when dreaming seemed fruitless. now that i have one of my oldest dreams back--writing--life is filled with many delicious fruits, indeed!

here's another one that he wrote. it also encourages the dreamer, but not only to dream, to act!

But someday, somebody'll
stand up and talk about me
and write about me
black and beautiful
and sing about me
and put on plays about me!
I reckon it'll be
me myself!
Yes, it'll be me.

i'm thinking of going back to australia, myself. i was there in 1985--about five minutes ago, by my watch--and stayed for five months. what a beautiful place! being your mother's daughter, i suspect you have a deep love for the outdoors, and there are so many amazing places and so many amazing plants and animals there--you and your daughter would not be disappointed.

it's funny. it strikes me when i say that about you and your mom, and knowing how true it is of me and several other of my did we get that way? so in love with beauty and wildness, so sensitive toward animals and plants and the environment.

it isn't true of everyone, or even of most people, and it isn't as though our folks made a big point of it. so how did we get so lucky? it must have been there in the home environment somehow--oh, i know what it was, partly, anyway. even though the folks weren't BIG-time into it themselves, they didn't get in the way of our loving the natural world--animals, for instance.

lots of people grow up with one or two pets over a lifetime if they're lucky, and they're kept outside or in little cages and never get to be part of the family. i think that often those people grow up without really falling in love with their animals (and it is a small jump from falling in love with animals to falling in love with their natural homes). i remember a time when we had ten people, four bedrooms, a dog, three cats, three rabbits, two guinea pigs and a budgie. in the city! (i was only supposed to get one guinea pig, but when i told them the lady said it would be lonely on its own, they grudgingly accepted it...but gave it to my younger sister.)

and of course, mom and dad were just as amused by the critters as we were, even if they didn't have quite the same feelings about them or the same approach to their care. (like, say, they actually thought we should feed them and clean their cages. weirdoes!)

in fact, in her extreme dotage, say when she was around forty, mom turned into a pretty big animal-lover herself, adopting all the stray cats and feeding squirrels and raccoons and generally making a nuisance of herself in the neighbourhood. so i guess the germ of that was always there, and we picked it up.

then there were all those nature shows on tv. nowadays there are endless superhero cartoons and so on but back then there was much less of interest to kids on tv, and the wildlife stuff was the best. the antelopes ran, and i ran with them. the wolves howled, and i cried, too. the lions tore apart their prey, and one piece of me was munching while the other piece was being torn apart. (brrrghghgh.) even the close-ups of water dripping from a leaf, or mists in the northern woods were incredibly stirring. what a blessing! even though we never camped or stayed in cabins in the woods or any of that, we were steeped in the wonder of the Great Outdoors.

anyway, my dear, i am rattling on when you should be ramming down walls, so i will let you go.

one day, i'll send you one of my old poems. (i mostly write stories now.) ah, heck, i'll give you one now.

much love,

what wolf cubs need

brown and curled and wet with mother's dew
each cub slides into this world
cleaned tongued nuzzled
until the mewling starts
until the new wolf waves her helpless nailed paws
into the air
against her mother's cheek
until the sealed eyes and questing mouth
find their way to her white-filled source
every cub needs her mother
her brothers and sisters, too
to lean against in slumber
tumble over
tweak in play
to run with
growing smart gleeful strong
each cub needs her father
warm against the night
gambolling when mother's gone to hunt
stretched out calm and watchful
running quick and eager
barking against those who'd pull her down

those cubs who have them are the lucky ones
cubs with "aunts" and "uncles"
who wrestle long with them
who sleep with eat with
bring treats to them
you are my uncle wolf
caring when you need not care
bringing me the long red leg of a fallen deer
to chew and fight and chew
you are my brother wolf
wrestling playing
barely conscious of the cougar on the hill
you are my comrade wolf
and i walk with you contented
safe as i can be
on this long expanse
of snow

copyright C. June Wolf
3 June 1993

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"After Hours" in On Spec

23 August Update:
The Summer 2006 issue (#65, Vol. 18, #2) has arrived in bookstores and letter boxes. So you'll want to scurry right down to your local dealer and grab one, settle down and take off for Old Guzzler, the Black Hole. (Right, Mom?)

Having great time in Haiti. back soon.

This issue of OnSpec and the story itself are reviewed on TangentOnline.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tesseracts 9 Wins Aurora Award!

I'm pleased to learn that Tesseracts 9 has won the Aurora Award for Best Work in English (Other). My short story "The Coin" was published in this anthology. Yeehoo for us!

I look forward to checking out the other winners (and the short-list), especially Karin Lowachee's Cagebird, (Warner Aspect, Apr/2005), which won the award for Best Long-Form Work in English. For a brief chapter excerpt go to the Hachette Group's Excerpt site.

Congratulations, all!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back to Haiti...

My first published story, "The Coin", was set in Cap Haitien, Haiti, where I lived four years ago. Another story, "Kouzen Zaka", set partly in Vancouver, Canada and partly in Haiti, is currently with a publisher. No word yet on its fate. In just over a week I will be travelling to Haiti for the fourth time, to visit friends in Cap Haitien, on the north coast, in a rural community in the mountains near Jacmel in the south, and finally in Port au Prince, the capital. While there I will be doing research for a third, as yet untitled, Haitian story.

I first went to Haiti in 2001, to visit a friend who had been living there for ten years. I have travelled only a little in my life, mostly in Canada and generally on the serious cheap--hitch-hiking away from the parental home at 13 to travel around the western half of the country as far north as the Yukon, trotting back and forth across Canada and jogging down to the States and Baja California in later years, and finally taking a six month circuit around Australia in 1985.

After leaving Australia I stopped off in New Zealand and Fiji. The entire trip was amazing, and changed my life in many ways. But Fiji was greatly set apart from the other countries in that this was the first time I was on my own in a non-European-based country and attempting to make some type of genuine contact with people of a very different culture. (Two cultures, actually--the indigenous Melanesian and the Fijian Indian.)

In the three weeks I was there I forced myself out of my normally shy and (in my estimation) unadventurous mode of living and befriended numerous people, finally taking a wild 14-hour trip in a small, wave-swept boat to a secondary island and going to meet the unsuspecting villagers, with whom I stayed for several days.

I made a lot of mistakes (some mistakes I postponed for later) and when I left the country I did so with a head full of questions and wonder. Strangely, the culture shock I had been warned about happened not when I was staying with the Fijian family I met on that smaller island, but when I returned to the culture I had been raised in, but never
really felt a part of. This raised a lot more questions to mull for a decade or three.

The opportunity to go to Haiti sixteen years later was the next important step in attempting to see the world from a radically different point of view to the ones I grew up surrounded by.

I become slowly aware of the realities of life faced by people who live in ubiquitous poverty on a scale I could not grasp when simply viewing it on tv. I take in gradually the details of their complex and rich and brutal history and situation in the wider world, of nearly complete environmental devastation, of a religious mixture that affects and informs every level of life to a degree previously incomprehensible to me. I contemplate the effects of racism in me and on Haiti, the stubborn invisibility of my own cultural assumptions and prejudices, the degree of laughter and sharing and creativity and cooperation possible in me and the people around me.

I don't know how many times I will return to Haiti, how many stories I will be moved to write, how many lessons I will think I've learned that I will later overturn. But I am shaken alive in a thousand ways by my acquaintance with that land and her people, and I have a feeling I will never stop learning and deepening my love for her, and through her, for us all.

Whenever I write about Haiti, I write slowly and carefully, knowing that my ignorance far outweighs my knowledge, wanting to make of each story a gift not only to us, but to her. So I listen, I watch, I hold my tongue and I question every conclusion I want to jump to. I treasure each dull and painful and happy moment I spend in, or thinking of, Haiti. I can only hope that the following encouraging proverb is true in the case of her and me:

Si ou gen pasyans, ou ka wè trip fomí.
If you have patience,
you can see the guts of an ant.

That's pretty darn teeny. And pretty darn neat.

Be well, all. See you at VCon 31.

the photo above is of the members of DOA/BN, a Haiti-based group that teaches cultural awareness, history, and a host of other things to groups living in and travelling to Haiti.

At DOA/BN, we strive to be a bridge for those who have adventured into Haiti, experienced new sensations, and have been opened up to new realities.

Haiti's deep roots, wrenching history, and compelling truths will offer you gifts of new understandings. Our vision is to connect you with Haiti's people and history, allowing you to capture the community of their shared daily lives through intercultural experiences.

They are some cool folk. Check out their website, Haiti Travels.

PS BLogger makes me crazy. I have tried to correct the font about ten thousand times. I am now going to retire to bed with mouse-wheel tendonitis. Cheers.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Storm Behind the Lull

It's been quite awhile since I posted to this blog. Not a lot announcement-wise. One story accepted by On Spec magazine (After Hours at the Black Hole), and that's it. Truth to tell, I have fallen behind a little on sending stories out, being much more interested in writing than in drumming up markets. But I have not been idle. I continue to attend a weekly writers' workshop, which gets my juices flowing if they weren't already, and have finished about 14 stories in the last two years.

However, I confess that at this moment there are other pursuits that are grabbing my attention more. Preparing to travel is foremost among them. So if I seem neglectful, it is benign neglect. And there is much activity behind the apparent quiet.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tesseracts 9 Recommended

Word from the publisher:


Please pass the word on to anyone you know!

Tesseracts 9 makes the LOCUS Recommended reading list.

Look in the Anthologies section!

Also note also that "Mayfly", by Peter Watts & Derryl Murphy makes it on
to the Short Story list!

Three Cheers to everyone involved!!

Brian Hades, Publisher (
Box 1714, Calgary, AB, T2P 2L7, Canada
403-254-0160 (voice) / 403-254-0456 (fax)
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing now includes Tesseract Books
New Releases:
Eclipse by K. A. Bedford
5.5" x 8.5" - Trade Paperback
$14.95 US - 19.95 CD - 309 Pages

A Game of Perfection by Élisabeth Vonarburg
5.5" x 8.5" - Trade Paperback
$16.95 US - 20.95 CD - 360 Pages

Stealing Magic by Tanya Huff
5.5" x 8.5" - Trade Paperback
$13.95 US - 16.95 CD - 256 Pages

Friday, January 27, 2006

"After Hours at the Black Hole" Accepted

i got the pleasing news today that On Spec has accepted my story "After Hours at the Black Hole". i'll pass on the issue number and so on when that is settled. the scoop so far is that it will be used within the next two years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What's Available, What's Not...Yet

the following postings are the backbone of this blog, so you might want to check them out, besides reading the latest postings. i do add material to these as it comes up--such as when i finish a story. (see "Traversing the Wilderness.")
Currently Available Work
UpCominG PubLIcationS
Works Looking for a Home
Old Stuff I Wrote Back When
Running Mates--Others in the Pack

Potlatch 15

i'll be venturing down to seattle to Potlatch 15 the last weekend of february. i am very much looking forward to it. it is a small con that is oriented toward readers and writers, and serves as a fundraiser for the clarion west writers' workshops. this year the book under discussion is the Avram Davidson Treasury. imagine a con where everybody has read and is talking about the same book...

here is a note i sent a few moments ago, on the book selection:


when i come across something i really like i often do a brief scan of who i think might also enjoy it, and your name has just popped up.

i'm reading the book chosen for discussion at this year's Potlatch (Potlatch 15), which you may or may not know is a small readercon held in seattle in february. it's my first time there and i'm psyched to be going to a con where books are very much of interest. anyway, off track here.

the book is the Avram Davidson Treasury, and although i've read a few of his stories over time--most notable "The Golem", which i liked so much i read it to a couple of friends subsequently--i have never had a concentrated dose of this brilliant man's writing before. brilliant and zany, erudite, often hilarious. i've just finished one where a dentist is kidnapped by aliens and must be saved by colleagues in the american dental association. sounds ridiculous but reads wonderfully. ("Help! I am Dr. Morris Goldpepper")

based on what i've read of your stuff, i think you would really enjoy Avram's stories.



and i bet you would, too, dear reader.

Mike Coney Interview

happily, my interview of Mike Coney, completed shortly before his death on 4 november 2005, has been accepted for publication by Strange Horizons. i will update this notice with the publication date and url when the time comes.