7 Reasons to Pre-Order Your Flights (from the Rock)

Huzzah and hello, for today is the day I put on my big-girl marketing pants (which don’t fit well and WHY ARE THEY SO ITCHY) to give you 7 Reasons to Pre-Order Flights From the Rock. Flights is a beautiful anthology of speculative flight stories releasing July 14th, 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland (AKA the Rock) to Ireland. A century ago, Alcock and Brown spent June 12th preparing to launch their epic flight. This June 12th, we’re preparing the epic launch of our own flights, and I’m here to give you 7 Reasons to pre-order your Flights from the Rock ebook today:

promo.png1. everyone knows advance tickets, especially for Flights, are best booked and ordered in advance. The more advance the better. In fact, I’m pretty sure the best day to order THIS flight is today.

2.Complimentary pretzels!! And by pretzels I mean a mind-contorting glimpse into my loopy imagination… via my story, Borrowed Wings, found in Flights from the Rock and which may or may not be about the living taxidermy of damaged fairy wings. Twisty. Like pretzels (no regretzels!).

The thing about pretzels is that you’re also going to need something to drink, which brings us to reason #3 why you should pre-order Flights from the Rock today:

3. we’ll let you carry liquids bigger than 100 ml on this flight, bay-bee. Heck, you can read this ebook with a coffee mug/teacup/wine glass the size of your head if that’s your Best Self. You want to soar into the blue beyond on the the wings of your imagination from the comfort of your overflowing bathtub? Go for it.

4.  On Flights from the Rock, there are no economy class seats. Every seat is a first-class trip to Imagination-town.

flights_promo copy.jpg

5. woke up to discover your passport expired/lost/chewed to bits by your imaginary hellhound Cerberus IV? No problem. The Flights from the Rock ebook will be sent to your device on July 14th by Amazon’s magical ‘whispernet’ and promises not to ask for your passport, I.D., or rifle through your luggage (some exceptions may apply if your e-reader has picked up a poltergeist, haunted virus, or is possessed by a demonic librarian).

6. no extra travel insurance needed! Flights from the Rock‘s Armchair Airlines is covered by your existing health insurance/Medicare so you can feel secure no matter how lost you get in our stories.

7. By pre-ordering your e-copy for $2.99 today, June 12th, you will help my squadron of story-eyed pen pilots defeat the algorithm bombers and soar us to the top of Amazon’s Ace-sellers list, making you a hero and all of us victorious over the lows of reality, gravity, and all the other -itys.

eBook.jpg

E-copies will be landing on July 11th, a few days before the official release July 14th, as a thank-you for helping our mission. Pre-orders are available for $2.99 (Canadian funds) by clicking here. Armchair Airlines thanks you for your patronage. And so do I! *hugs you after asking permission*

IWSG and the power of words

Hello and welcome to the May Day edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). On the first Wednesday of every month the IWSG meets to share their goals, insecurities, and writing challenges. If you’d like to join or lurk around to see what’s happening, you can link to the other members here.

iwsg

This month’s optional question is “What was an early experience where you learned that writing had power?” For me it was reading Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl in grade school. I read this book four or five times between grade five and twelve. Here was a girl my age(s), who faced a tragic end in a concentration camp when the words ran out, mentioned only in the forward and the echo of the empty pages before I reached the back cover. When I read her words, I felt her essence flutter in the pages. This handful of stories written by an adolescent girl taught me more about empathy then I could have experienced in my privileged childhood. I spent hours staring at the ceiling, contemplating how many other Anne Franks died in those camps. She wasn’t just a character or a distant historical figure, she was my friend. That is a formidable power for a small book to have.

#

2019-04-30 19.20.02.jpg
beaked hazel says “hooray for spring!”

April’s been good to me. The Frye (literary) Festival is in full swing in my hometown of Moncton, NB, I became a fox-winning poet, had a short story accepted for Kaleidotrope in 2021, and I received my contributor copies of Unlocking the Magic. Check out this gorgeous cover:

IMG_20190427_195544_146.jpg

My favorite short story writer, A. Merc Rustad (now writing as Merc Fenn Wolfmoor), wrote the story directly before mine in the book, and that makes my imposter syndrome get up and start yelling louder than I’d like. But also… WHAT A THRILL OMG.

In a twist, my favorite novelist retweeted me a few days ago, which was… unexpected.

2019-04-28 20.50.46.png
that explains all those notifications

See, Neil Gaiman answered a tweet I had tagged him in a few months back, which had a turtling effect on me as an introvert. I put the masterclass away for a few weeks until it felt safe to go back. In writing this new tweet, I didn’t tag him, and so felt comfortable tweeting about how the class was inspiring me. Not shown in the above screenshot is the entire thread, where I finish up by calling Neil a modern-day muse which I meant but probably would never have written had I known he would read it (blush, blush). My inner introvert felt safe with no tags and no hashtags, guessing this tweet would get my usual two or three likes. It was up to 551 this morning. Happily, this time around it didn’t have the same turtling effect on me, though I do think if Mr. Gaiman’s going to keep using my tweets to sell his masterclass he should come over and have spaghetti with my family or something *wink*

I hope April was good to you as well, and I have my fingers crossed that May is going to be gangbusters for all of us insecure writers.

Cheers, and happy writing!

 

 

IWSG: magic revealed

Hello and welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, otherwise known as the official meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). The IWSG is a super secret, crazy exclusive group of writers who band together to support each other. If you’d like to get to know the other members, read about their writing adventures, and perhaps sign up yourself, click here to discover everything you need to make that happen.

iwsg

Last week editor Vivian Caethe revealed the cover for the upcoming Unlocking the Magic anthology, designed by Owl Quest Creative. My short story,  The Night Janitor,  is included. Have a look:

2019-02-28 09.26.29.png
cover designed by Owl Quest Creative

It’s a beauty and a thrill. I’m excited to be a part of this project for many reasons. One, because the way mental illness is portrayed in fantasy is problematic and this anthology has set out to upend those tropes. Poor mental health doesn’t make someone magical, it makes them suffer. My protagonist suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. He doesn’t get over these afflictions in the story, but he does discover magic still exists in his world and finds new ways to cope and manage his anxiety.

Secondly, there are some amazing writers here and… me. How did that happen? Thirdly, and related to two, is because A. Merc Rustad (now writing as Merc Fenn Wolfmoor) is one of my favorite living writers and we have stories in the same book! I hope I never get over that thrill.

I never expected to turn my experiences with anxiety into a story, especially my most successful story to date. It wasn’t easy to see it there on the page, or to climb inside my anxiety to write about it, but it felt magical to tug and pull the words down around my protagonist, surrounding him with wonder.

 

 

 

*the Kickstarter for the Unlocking the Magic anthology is complete and pre-orders are now closed. I hope to have a link to the usual bookshops in the future for anyone interested.

 

Toby’s Alicorn Adventure is out and it looks amazing!!

Toby’s Alicorn Adventure, my middle grade fantasy short story about a little girl who finds an alicorn (unicorn’s horn) and uses a magical website to find its lost owner, is out in this month’s issue of Cricket: the Realm of the Imagination!

2018-09-18 14.05.44.jpg

It’s a real thrill to see my name in the table of contents of a magazine I love reading with my eldest daughter. She says it’s exciting for her too but… I might win the excitement award on this one.  *wink*

2018-09-18 14.03.22.jpg

Artist Benjamin Schipper illustrated Toby and he did a marvelous job. I’m so thrilled to see my characters come to life.

IMG_20180918_131238_721.jpg

In the story Toby posts an ad to find the owner of a lost alicorn on a website for magical creatures called the Hag’s List. After posting her ad with directions to her bedroom window to claim the alicorn, a few shady characters turn up.

2018-09-18 14.04.17.jpg

My story was inspired by my partner’s misadventures trying to sell a tractor on a buy-and-sell site popular in our area. If you’ve ever tried to sell something on the internet, you can probably relate to the strange responses Toby gets.

I am happy to admit I squealed with delight when I saw the flying rhinoceros got his own illustration!

2018-09-18 14.05.08.jpg

If you want to read it for yourself or think your kids would enjoy my story, it is available on Cricket’s website, many fine bookstores, and your local library.

Happy writing!

Eeny Meeny Miney Mo!

After a dangerous voyage from the Rivendell wilds of New Zealand, my print copy of the children’s anthology Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Tales for Tired Tykes has finally made it to my mailbox.

IMG_20180914_101318_075.jpg

This is a larger book than I had pictured, much bigger than a typical scribbler (school notebook). The print is a nice size for reading and the full page illustrations preceding the stories pop off the page. All of the illustrations were done by artist Jon Stubbington.

The table of contents is a series of those illustrations rather than words, which works well for the younger end of the 3-7-year-old audience. They select a picture and their readers turn to the page to read the title. This frustrates me a little, I’ll admit, being used to titles in my tables of contents, but my girls love this feature.

20180914_095550-2.jpg

My story contribution, Leif the Story Hunter, sits somewhere in the middle of the book. Of course I flipped there to read it first. It’s about a boy who lives in the woods with his father, hunting for stories which they trap inside blank books and sell to the bookstore in the city. It’s a wonderful life, but when they trap the wrong story Leif’s father is held hostage until Leif can catch a replacement. Lief has never hunted on his own before…

2018-09-14 10.21.30.jpg

This is a fun book, and what’s great about it is that it’s geared to kids, not adults, on every level of its design. If you’d like to grab a copy, you can find them at the Patchwork Raven.

That’s it for now but stay tuned because the September 2018 issue of Cricket: the Realm of Imagination is out and I’m watching my mailbox for it. It takes a little extra time to make it into Canada but it’s going to be worth the wait because my funny fantasy story ‘Toby’s Alicorn Adventure’ is inside! The girls and I love reading Cricket and I am so excited to see my story inside those beloved pages.

Happy writing!

writing news

Good news! My flash story Reflections took third place in the 2018 Parsec Short Story Contest. An earlier incarnation of this story was a finalist in the 2017 Podcastle Flash Fiction Contest where it won this encouraging review:

storysnacksreview

It’s exciting to see this story do well but I have to admit I’d love to see it published soon. The file sends me pouting glances from my computer screen, “Please, Jennifer, I want to be read.” I think of the main character, Meriden, who I’ve tweaked, rewrote, deepened, and edited several billion times, and I would like to see him come alive in someone else’s imagination. He’d do well there. He’d be happy. It’s time to retire him from contests and find him a home.

A non-fiction article I wrote about our local water system is available to read for free at Connecting Albert County. I had fun learning how my community built and hand-laid wooden pipes to feed the village in the early 1900s.

My middle-grade short story, Toby’s Alicorn Adventure, will be published in the September 2018 issue of Cricket. This one’s my first professional sale and it’s going to be exciting to see the illustrations. The story contains dragons, unicorns, witches, fairies, flying hippos, pirates, and Saturn. Whichever the artist chooses to illustrate, it’s bound to be fun and I hope the kids love it.

In the meantime, I’m busy editing a novella and writing a new short story. Summer can be a struggle with young children and heat, but also full of unexpected inspiration.

An old nugget of advice I’ve heard from many sources (most recently from writer Richard Thomas) is wafting through my mind this week and I’d like to share it:

never

See you this Submission Sunday and happy writing in the meantime.

Tired Tykes is a go!

I’m pleased to announce that Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Stories for Tired Tykes has reached its crowdfunding goal and will be sent to the printers! The illustrated bedtime story book (for children aged three to nine-years-old) contains twenty-nine stories from all over the world, including my Leif the Story Hunter.

Leif is a small boy who lives in the forest, hunting wild stories with his dad. It’s a fine life, until one day they trap the wrong story and … well. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next.

Each story comes with an illustration by artist Jon Stubbington. The book is being published by New Zealand’s Patchwork Raven. The ebooks and print books will be for sale on their website as soon as they are available, or you might still be able to sneak in a pre-order before the crowdfunding is finished later tonight. Here’s a link!

It’s been a wild ride since Leif was accepted over a year ago, and I can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands and read it to my girls.

I’ve never taken part of a crowdfunding venture before. Stressful, exhilarating, and frustrating are how I would describe it. I learned a lot about marketing and I finally learned how to market in a way that I’m comfortable with. That’s saying a lot for someone as introverted as I am! These are good skills I am walking away with. If you’re considering submitting to a crowdfunded anthology, learning those skills is a good reason to go for it.

The truth is, we almost didn’t make it. PledgeMe, the New Zealand-based crowdfunding site used, crashed on the last night of the campaign, with a breathtaking thirteen hundred dollars to go. Pixies may have played a role. I suspect there’s a few pixies in this book. PledgeMe granted us a few extra days to make up for the crucial lost time. Enough time for a superhero/fairy godmother to rush in and pledge over a thousand dollars to make our book happen! Twenty-nine writers, one illustrator, one designer, one editor, and countless children owe our fairy godmother, who goes by the mysterious name of “Ruth Craft,” a big thank you and a huge hug.

Because this is happening, folks. The time has come to get excited.

I’m off this weekend to the Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick’s Wordspring Literary Soiree to accept my award for taking first place in the Fog Lit Books For Young People Prize with my short story Dragon Crossing. I’ll be reading a four minute chunk of my story to the writers present (gulp!). Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Happy writing!

publication day!

Issue 68 of Andromeda Spaceways is out today, which is especially exciting because it contains my short story Mrs. Coleman’s Backyard Refugee Camp.  Just look at this gorgeous cover

ascover
artwork by Evgeniia Litovchenko

It is quite a thrill to see my name on there!

The digital issue is available for purchase on Andromeda Spaceways’ website for $4.95 (Australian dollars). I’d love to hear your thoughts if you read it!

On another note, my eldest starts kindergarten tomorrow. Which may mean more time to write, but first … inevitable heartache. *deep breath*