Interview #61

The sixty-first author interview on TBPL Off the Shelf went live today.  This time I interviewed Peter Panetta about writing his first book, the Underground Gym, and what the Underground Youth think of his story.  You can find the interview here!

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Overwhelmed!!!!

Last weekend was ThunderCon.  It also happened to be a weekend I booked off from work intending to do some writing and other stuff around the house; I booked it off before realizing it was ThunderCon.  It was also the weekend before Halloween, so I went to a few parties over the weekend, too.  By the time Monday rolled around, I was feeling rather overwhelmed by all the things I had intended to do and hadn’t had time for.

So earlier this week, I started trying to tackle what I could so I’d feel a bit less overwhelmed and a bit more in control of everything.  I tackled a whole bunch of emails (I’ll be honest, it was a lot of newsletters that I let pile up, mostly from Pinterest).  Later in the week I sat down and got some Sustainably North stuff organized, which also made me feel a whole lot better.  I edited and posted the blog post for Monday, and I finished editing the column for the December issue of bUneke.  For the bUneke article I had to find some pictures for it, too; I should have everything ready to submit by the end of the weekend.  The editor of bUneke had asked me to send her a few articles based off of Sustainably North blog posts to have as backups; she wants to use one for the January issue, so once I’ve submitted the article for their December issue I can start working on the one for the February issue!  I’m really glad to be a bit ahead on that. 🙂

And now that we’re at the end of the week, I made sure that this weekend is much more low key than last weekend was! Hopefully I’ll be feeling a lot more on top of things by Monday! 🙂

Ooh, and I should mention – the new issue of bUneke Magazine is out and it’s got an article I wrote about homemade gifts in it!  I’m hoping to read over the magazine this weekend. 🙂

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Oct 2018 What Are You Reading?

Oooh, it’s Gate Night; Happy Halloween everyone! Are you going out tomorrow at all?  Are you dressing up?  I’m going to be working, so I’m going to just be wearing a hat of some sort (probably my blue cat ears that I got from Yunalicia last year at ThunderCon)

After reading The Millionaire Teacher last month, I was feeling a bit burnt out of reading nonfiction (although there’s still lots I want to read).  I guess that sort of translated into being a bit burnt out of reading because I only read three books this month:

Nonfiction books:

  • Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall
  • Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Fiction books:

  • Cocktail Time by P.G. Wodehouse

My favourite book this month was definitely Cocktail Time.  My mom recommended I read some Wodehouse because they’re fun and light-hearted reads, which was exactly what I needed after reading Don’t Even Think About It and Seven Fallen Feathers.  My brother brought me both Cocktail Time and Carry On, Jeeves; I opted for Cocktail Time because it’s the one my mom liked more.

So what have you read over the last month?  What was your favourite book?

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ThunderCon 2018

This weekend was ThunderCon! ThunderCon is Thunder Bay’s fan convention that’s been at the Valhalla Inn every fall since its inception in 2015.  Like last year (which I apologize, I totally didn’t blog about last year), I went with Scott of Guilty Pleasures Cinema; he was shooting footage for ThunderCon ads, and I was taking stills.

I haven’t looked at any of my pictures from Day 2 yet, but here are some of my favourite shots from Day 1:

Bilbo and Gandalf on an adventure

We found Bilbo Baggins on a quest with Gandalf!

Darth Jar Jar and Anubis fighting

Anubis fighting Darth Jar Jar.

Predator lounging in a chair

The Predator lounging on a chair.

Klingons and Dr. Stevil sharing a moment

Klingons from the Klingon Assault Group with Dr. Stevil.


For day 2, I knew some friends of mine were dressing up as characters from Final Space, so I decided to dress up as Gary in civilian clothes.

Final Space crew at ThunderCon

Me with friends dressed up as Final Space characters.


me as Gary from Final Space with cookie

Me as Gary from Final Space with a cookie.

doodle of me as Gary from Final Space with cookie

There was a guy doing $1 doodles, so I got him to doodle the cookie pose!


You can find all the pictures I took from 2018 here on Flickr (the album will be updated with the pictures from Day 2!) And since I didn’t post about it last year, here are all the 2017 pictures, too.

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#WriteMonday – Lots of Doubt

Over the last week, I found myself really struggling with doubt when it comes to working on the short story for the Make Your Way anthology.  Specifically, I’ve been doubting myself and my ability to write this piece.

Deep down I know this doubt is silly.  I’ve worked on similar projects in the past, most notably Holdfast.  Holdfast is a game book that was developed by Black Chicken Studios.  For Holdfast, I worked on two separate story lines.  I developed the characters, and had to write out a branching story (rather like a Choose Your Own Adventure story) complete with a couple of RPG choices.  And I did it all within a week.  This experience is exactly what I need to call on for the Make Your Way anthology.

Perhaps part of the problem is that this specific experience happened five years ago.  Yes I have done it, but I haven’t done anything quite like this recently.  And in truth, this project is a little more intense than Holdfast was (even though all the work I did for Holdfast happened within one week, which is a very tight turnaround time); where in Holdfast I was just writing the story stuff, this time around I’m designing the RPG system, editing everything, and having to randomize the sections at the end, too.  So it’s possible that this stuff is intimidating me a little bit, too.

Another thing that I’m worried about is the story ballooning out of control.  Being a choose your own adventure style story, having multiple paths increases the replayability.  But it also means the story becomes physically much bigger.  While Make Your Way didn’t have any word length specifics, they do remind you that whatever you submit is just one part of a bigger book, not a standalone book on its own. How do I keep the word count down while making sure the piece is fun?  Should I sacrifice replayability by making it a super linear story?  I don’t really want to, but it might be the only way forward.

While grappling with all of these doubts, I have made a bit of progress.  I have the main characters figured out.  And I’ve brainstormed a lot of individual story elements (including a possible bad ending!)  I think at this point I really just need to sit down, start writing, and see where things go, even with all the doubts.  So wish me luck as I do that this week! 🙂

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#WriteMonday – Mostly Worldbuilding

So this weekend I managed to actually work a bit on the story I started for the Make Your Way anthology.  I had a really hard time sitting down with it for some reason, but last night I finally started thinking through the characters a little bit.  I guess the problem was that I knew I needed to do some worldbuilding in order to properly think through my characters.  But once I started I ended up on a roll!

One oversight that I made with City of the Dead was that I failed to come up with naming conventions for the world.  I’ve got rough naming conventions for pretty much all the other worlds I’ve come up with because I want to make sure characters from different settings don’t have too similar-sounding names.  So last night I sat down and thought through that; from there I moved on to thinking about the individual characters a little more.  Thinking through everything also made me realize that lands and titles in City of the Dead move through matrilinear lines.  This is a little thing, but it is pretty obvious because City of the Dead is ruled primarily by the Queen (she has a King, but he is in charge of security and military matters while she is the one who does the actual ruling).

I came up with my character motivations as well.  I think I’ve figured out how they think (and why things unfold the way they do).  Last night I was thinking they were an aristocratic family, but after sleeping on it I’m thinking they are not.  While I liked the idea of them being aristocrats (especially because it explains where the family’s father is), I’d then have to figure out either why they don’t have servants or why the servants saw and heard nothing.  Plus having servants in the picture may pose a problem for keeping the character count down (which I want to do because this is going to be a short story).  If they aren’t an aristocratic family, and so don’t have servants, all of these problems become nonexistent.

Most of the work I did was yesterday, but I did find names for the characters today.  I’m planning on doing some more work on things tomorrow afternoon, too.  After that I’ll probably have to turn my attention back to Sustainably North and getting a blog post ready for next week.  Thinking of Sustainably North, today I talked about drinking straws, if you’re interested in reading it. 🙂

I hope everyone has a good and productive week.  🙂

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!  So sorry that I missed posting anything on Monday.  I had a really busy long weekend: I worked on Saturday, went picture taking and out for lunch with my dad (pictures still forthcoming on Flickr), went to see the Transformers cartoon movie from the 80’s with a friend, then had dinner. How was your weekend?  Were you celebrating Thanksgiving too (or are your celebrations happening in November?)

I know I said I was going to work on the Make Your Way story I started a few weeks ago, but that didn’t happen either.  What did happen was more work on Sustainably North. I finished reading Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, which I’ll be reviewing on there soon.  And I finished working on my four part blog series about Thunder Bay’s Transit (here’s a link to the final part if you’re interested). This week I wrote up a post about bUneke Magazine for Sustainably North but I’m not quite sure when to post it; I’m considering starting to post on every second Friday as well as every Monday, but I’m not quite sure if that’s a good idea or not (what do you think? I’m not sure if I can keep up with two posts on there every week right now or not). So while I consider that, I wrote up an article about plastic drinking straws that is scheduled for Oct 15.

So now that I’ve got a handle on Sustainably North for the immediate future, I will be working on the Make Your Way story over the next few days.  I hope you have a good weekend. 🙂

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