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Anything goes Sunday: Announcing the Megalaunch!

Renaissance, and our friend S.M. Carriere, are organizing a launch for all of our 2015 material, as well as for the novel Human, which is S.M.’s most recent release. The Megalaunch is not the most creative name, but it is very appropriate considering that we are launching three supernatural suspense novels (the aforementioned Human, Caroline Frechette’s Blood Matter from the Family by Choice series, and Evan May’s The King in Darkness), one cozy mystery (Madona Skaff-Koren’s Journey of a Thousand Steps) one non-fiction (Unblocked, Caroline’s guide to defeat writer’s block) and two games (my own A Match Made in Austen, and Caroline’s Extrahumans, companion to the Family by Choice novels). Also, coming up with a clever name that would encompass all of this diverse material is more difficult then one would think. So Megalaunch it is.

The event will take place at the Royal Oak (161 Laurier street in Ottawa), on October 25th at 1PM. More info can be found here.

Also, next Saturday, Oct 3rd, I will be that the Geek Market/Capital Gaming Expo, at the Nepean Sportplex. I will be hosting a game session of A Match Made in Austen in the afternoon, from 2:30 to 6:30, and will be at the Renaissance table for the rest of the day. I have no idea what Capital Gaming Expo is usually like, but I’ve had a good time at the Geek Market since I stated going two years ago, and I don’t see any reason for that to change. Do come and say hi!

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Tuesday: Emmy and Oliver, by Robin Benway

Emmy and Oliver

Resume: Emmy and Oliver live next door to each other, and they are best friends. His parents are divorced, and his father only sees him on the week-ends. One Friday, Oliver goes with his father for a three day week-end. He doesn’t return, not for a decade. Emmy grew up living the consequences of Oliver being kidnapped by his father: the questions from the police and the reporters, her parents becoming much too protective for her taste, her missing her best friend. When Oliver returns, they have to learn to know each other all over again, and deal with the consequences of a ten year absence coming to an end.

Robin Benway is an underrated voice of YA fiction, and that is a gosh-darned shame. I read her previous novel The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June, and I really enjoyed it. (I have not read Wait, Audrey, Wait yet, but I plan to.) And I was especially looking forward to this.

I expected a typical contemporary YA romance, but I got a lovely coming of age story on top of the cute romance. What I loved most about this book is that the romance between Emmy and Oliver developed naturally and without drama. They both had enough drama in their relationship with their parents, and in the general circumstances, so keeping the romance simple and sweet was a great touch.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book Tuesday: Homer’s Oddessey, by Gwen Cooper

homers-odyssey

Resume: Gwen Cooper is 24 years old, she recently broke up with the man she thought she was going to marry, she has temporary living arrangements with a friend she hasn’t known for that long, the salary she pull as a non-profit organization worker will never be enough to allow her to afford a place of her own in South Beach, Florida, and she already has two cats. The last thing she needs is the “special needs” kitten that her vet is talking up to her. She takes him in anyway, calling the eyeless black kitten Homer after the Greek blind poet because Homer (the cat) is going to be the writer of his own story. The book follows Gwen and Homer (and Scarlett and Vashti, the other two cats) for a period of eleven years, through professionals ups and downs, a move to New York in late 2000-early 2001, and meeting the love of Gwen’s love.

As I was reading the book, I frequently turned to the inside cover and read the author bio. The more I was getting attached to crazy little Homer, the more I needed the reminder that the book didn’t end with him dying, that he was still alive at the time of publication. That reassurance was especially useful in the second to last chapter, which recounts a couple of days when Homer got really sick and stopped eating. Considering what my own experience had been with a cat who got sick and stopped eating (Goddamned FIP!) I was especially nervous, and relieved to hear that he recovered and lived to the last chapter. Isn’t it nice, to read a pet biography that doesn’t end with the end of the animal’s life?

But what struck me the most about this book is that, once I finished reading it, almost all I could think about was: “the Montreal sibling should read this.” The Montreal sibling is Gwen Cooper at age 24, more or less, and I know how useful and important it has been for me to recognize myself in book characters. Not because I was looking for a life manual; because it felt so good to know that I’m not alone to struggle with what I struggle with, to know that someone else knows what it feels like to be me. I found a copy in French at the library and got it to my sibling (who doesn’t read in English), and here’s to hoping that this book gives that sibling what other books gave me. I’ve also been told that the sibling is already acquainted with Homer’s story, which I was not when I picked up the book, and is looking forward to having some time to read it.

 

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Anything goes Sunday: a little story, and some exciting news

Let’s start with the story.

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Aurelia. Every morning, Aurelia walked to go to work. There were many very reasonable reasons for her to do so: it’s good exercise, she doesn’t have a car (/there are no convenient bus routes/it’s cheaper then a cab) but the main reason is that approximately seven months out of the year, she really enjoys it. The winter can be really cold, to the point of making the ice-covered streets dangerous to navigate and making her spring for a cab, and the summer is usually much too hot to make the walks pleasant. Spring and fall were the best walking seasons, but Aurelia walked as much as she weather and her own fear of slipping on the ice and being hit by a car would allow her to in the winter, and she walked every day in the summer, no matter how hot and humid, not how much she hated it.

One week, as she was walking to work one morning, she realized: “Hey! It’s getting a little chilly. I should probably wear a jacket or a coat tomorrow morning.” The afternoon walk was very comfortable, and a jacket would have made her too hot, but Aurelia always carried a big purse to work, one where she would have no problem stuffing a jacket on the way back. So the next day, she wore a jacket, and was just at the right temperature to walk to work. As she walked, she noticed that some of the trees had started to turn a little yellow, and one was even getting really orange. She thought: “That’s it! Fall is here, at last!”

But the week-end brought a heat wave. The Canadian Weather Services issued warnings. The temperature rose up to 30 degrees Celcius, sometimes more, the Humidex to 40 degrees, and at nighttime it remained above 20 degrees. Over the next week, the temperatures kept decreasing slowly, giving Aurelia hope that her favorite season (she prefers the coming of fall after summer to that of spring after winter) was finally arriving, and once again her hopes were dashed by another heat wave.

The question here is not so much “How will the story end?” because the weather will eventually cool and fall will come. (Climate change can’t possibly be that bad yet. I’m pretty sure human life will go extinct long before we see the end of winter on the North American continent.) The question is when. When will fall come?! I know the official date isn’t for another two weeks and maybe it’s too soon to start complaining (as I’ve been told by those who enjoy risking dehydration and skin cancer, aka “Summer people”*) but it’s been so close, those last couple of weeks. There were days when it was there, when I could taste it! It’s not fair!

Anyway, on to better news: the AMMIA cards arrived this week! I was hoping to get my personal deck today, but it didn’t work out that way. I’ll get it Saturday at the latest (more on that in a minute).

This is it! A Match Made in Austen, a game that I made up in my head in December 2013 over a period of about 48 hours, after 20 months of work and rework and wishes and hopes, is a thing that exists, that I can touch and hold in my hand. It’s a game that I can play, one that other people can buy (preorder now over at Renaissance), in fact one that other people have already bought! Thank you to the Kickstarter backers! Thank you to Cécilia, for the amazing art! Thank you to Caroline and Kyle at Renaissance for all of your hard work in making this real.

Final note: I am going to be at Creative Ottawa Nerds, or CON, this Saturday between 10 and 5 at St Richard’s church in Ottawa. With me will also be Caroline Frechette, fellow Renaissance Press author, and along with the Press catalog of books, Caro and I will also have have our games. Caroline, declaring herself inspired by me, created a co-op card game based on her popular series Family by Choice. It will be the first time that the games will be available for sale at an event, and I am excited, if a little anxious, to see how it all turns out.

*Summer people, we may on occasion be bound by blood or by friendship, and those bonds I shall always respect, but you are not my people.

eta: Damn it! I thought I set that to publish yesterday evening. Sorry everyone, and happy Labor Day!

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Tuesday: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf, by Molly Harper

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf

Resume: Mo Weinstein moves to Grundy, Alaska, because she needs space from her family, and being from the American south, you can’t get much further then Alaska, short of getting a different citizenship. She gets along well with most of the town, though some of them are well-guarded around the “outsider” who thinks she can make it out up north. Among those well-guarded neighbors is Cooper Graham, whom Mo finds very attractive, so to bad he’s such a jerk to her. And then, one fine evening, Cooper shows up on Mo’s doorstep, naked, with his foot trapped in a bear trap, begging her not to call 911 and not to freak out, and then passes out.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Tuesday: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, by Joanne Fluke

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Resume: Hannah Swensen is the owner and head baker of The Cookie Jar, in the ficitional small town of Lake Eden. Her life is complicated enough by her interesting family dynamics, and it becomes even more so when she stumbles onto a dead body. The victim was a well-liked former football star and delivery person, there were no witnesses, and no trace of the weapon. Hannah has no idea what she gets herself into when she agrees to help her brother-in-law, first officer on the scene, to solve the case so he can get a big promotion.

I’ve been in a cozy mystery mood recently, and I decide to try this book, which had been given to me as part of a gigantic ebook bundle. (5000 books gigantic, and no I didn’t keep them all, and I haven’t read all the ones I’ve kept yet. It was one of the best gifts of my life.) I was reasonable confidant I would like it, because my mom had recommended this series to me once. A solid love of cozies is one of the things we have in common, and since our reading tastes are pretty similar, I figured I might like it.

I did, too, so kudos mom! I really enjoyed this story. There was a lot of repetition, and the characterization could probably have been more solid, but there was a lot of humor, and the mystery was well built and well-paced: I began to suspect who the killer was a few pages before the big reveal, in other words: at exactly the right time.

I was a little confused about the pacing at one point, because my ereader can’t tell the difference between what is actually the novel and what is the short story that came attached to this edition of the novel. (Excerpt from my inner monologue: “If that the reveal of the killer, or another red herring? It’s the reveal?! But we’re only 80% through the book, how … Oh. Now I get it.”) The short story, a Christmas mystery where the plot revolves not around murder but discovering the identity of a teen-aged runaway, was also funny and well paced, and adorable to boot.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Anything goes Sunday: A Match Made In Austen update

Lots of exciting things happened this week.

On Wednesday,  the game boxes arrived.

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On Thursday,  the designer sent me the final version of the cards, snd once I approved them, Renaissance placed the order, and we should get them in two to three weeks.

And then, we already have the dice and the rulebook.

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So that is it! We will have physical copies of the game ready to show off, to send to the Kickstarter backers and to local independent game stores. The thing that I made up in my mind in December two years ago will be real!

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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