Monday, 6 August 2018

Quiche Me, Baby! (My First Published Recipe)

Sometimes you don't know you've always longed for something until you get it. That's the case with my first published recipe.

As a fundraiser for the Bi Arts Festival in Toronto, festival organizers have compiled and released Big Bi Nibble. The vibrantly designed book is available in print and e-edition on Etsy. It includes recipes for many things sweet and savory, from soups to brunch, and mains to desserts. It also includes my own recipe for spinach and feta quiche.



The writing also contains heaping portions of humour, creativity and wit from bi folk and allies around the world. Luckily for me, many of the recipes (but certainly not all, so fear not, omnivores) are vegetarian or vegan.

I encourage everyone to buy the book and make the recipes. You won't regret it, and you'll be helping a great festival.

Speaking of which, I'll be reading (fiction, not recipes) at the second annual Bi Arts Festival on September 22, at Glad Day Bookshop, as part of the Author Showcase, 2 to 4 p.m. If you're around Toronto and want a great afternoon of readings from the bi community, please come listen.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Things I Like Part 1: Comic Arts

I've been wondering how to do some good with my blog instead of only using it to toot my own horn (although I'll keep doing that too, because self-promotion is hugely important for small-press writers, since we don't have a lot of others to lean on that horn for us).

But, I also want to tell you about some of the best things I've recently encountered across the arts and entertainment worlds. Let's start with some of the best comic books, series and collections I've come across over the last year or two. I'm definitely no expert in this field, and really only came to graphic novels a few years ago, but following are some amazing things I think others might enjoy reading, too.

Because being bi keeps me particularly aware that solid LGBTQ2+ representation is still a rarity in nearly all art forms, all content recommended below is either LGBTQ2-themed, -inclusive, or, at the very minimum, -friendly.

If you have your own recommendations, please share them in a comment!

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (NSFW)
Available as an e-comic and graphic novel, primarily black and white with painted, full-colour splash pages
By E.K. Weaver

The staff at Argo Books in Montreal turned me onto this book, and I fell deeply in love, as, not surprisingly, do TJ and Amal.

A cross-US tale of travel, love, discovery, deceit and growth, it's like On The Road, but with a point (don't @ me; you know it's true).

The omnibus edition includes a number of extras, including some fantastic footnotes.

However you read this collection, the comic includes smart dialogue, great bi rep, class commentary, pop culture references up the wazoo, gorgeously rendered scenery, and sex scenes that manage to be sexy and beautiful while also reflecting both characters' deep insecurities.





Monstress 
Graphic novel series and collected editions, colour
By Marjorie Liu and Sana Tanaka

If you can stop ogling the individual artworks that make up this magnificently imagined series on ancient politics, feline poets, and interspecies wars, you will find yourself in a world where no one trusts anyone, and the story's hero certainly cannot trust herself. That's because Maika Halfwolf, a stunning, one-armed warrior, shares her body with the soul of an ancient, demonic monster with its own agenda and a hunger for human flesh.

Be patient through the first several issues' focus on building the series' elaborate world of Arcanics, Monstrums, cats and Cumaeans; it is very worth it to keep going.

This series is beyond brilliant in creating a world where everything is everything, and nothing is what it seems. Also contains excellent disability rep, and powerful women throughout.




Starfighter (NSFW)
Erotic M/M space epic e-comic, also available in print issues, black and white
By HamletMachine

Hot, exciting fun (CW: emotional abuse and domination at the start, however crucial for the plot and characterization). This engaging sci-fi story about space-based fighter pilots in the future battling intergalactic enemies and unknown beings, also delves into the deceptions among the many political layers above and around them.

The black and white art is stark yet nuanced, as, it turns out, are the characters, and improves significantly as the series evolves. An ongoing web series, Starfighter includes intriguing, if not entirely new, ideas about the possible connections between matter, energy, intellect and emotion, as our hero, Abel, learns he can use his more positive emotions in a new and powerful way, even as those in control sink lower and lower as they try to weaponize him.

Above all, this sci-fi adventure mystery is sexy and fun in a Matrix-but-with-plenty-of-gay-sex kind of way. Has some non-binary minor characters, and excellent building of backstories.


Novae: The Necromancer and the Astronomer's Apprentice
Historical M/M fantasy e-comic, colour
By KaiJu

I am a sucker for beauty, and this ongoing e-comic has it in spades, in its characters, its full-colour artwork, and its slow-burn romance.

The historical fantasy connects Raziol, a brilliant, young 17th-century Arab astronomer lauded by his kind mentor but struggling under classism and racism in Paris, with Sulvain, a brilliant necromancer of enormous, unknown age reticent, after loss, to open himself up to love again.

Updated Mondays and Thursdays, the series is just reaching its stride recently, as we learn there may be more to both Sulvain and the streets of Paris than to all the stars in the sky.

Main character bi representation and carefully conveyed emotional subtleties.



Step Aside, Pops
The third collection of Hark! A Vagrant comic strips
By Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant witty, esoteric comic strips have been collected into three books so far. This third continues to combine her deceptively simple drawing style with scathing social, scientific and cultural commentary.

Not everything in the collection will appeal to all readers, as Beaton narrows in to deliver burns to some very specific recipients, including composers, thinkers, scientists, politicians, explorers, superheroes and more.

But, if you are a person and are interested in, well, anything, you'll find sets of strips here to make you laugh, chortle, roll your eyes and/or holler "Damn right!. You tell him where to go!"



Scooby-Doo
By various writers and illustrators

My kid continues to love Scooby-Doo comics, including Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and Scooby-Doo Team-Up, and I have to admit, even for adults, these are just so much fun.

I'm not linking to these, though, because you should really head out and support your local comic book retailer if you can!

If you can't, don't forget that most libraries already carry, or will appreciate your recommendations to order, a variety of graphic novels and comic books.








More Novel, Graphic Recommendations
If you want to know about other great graphic novels and series more broadly across the genre, or be warned away from some of the lesser or evil, visit my partner James K. Moran's blog, where he reviews comics, films and fiction, and talks about the writing life. You'll find he's quite smart, despite having married a fellow writer.


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Poetry Mini Interview

I recently did a five-question mini-interview with the relatively new Poetry Mini Interviews blog. Posted each Monday over the past five weeks, the final installment is now live. Thank you to Thomas Whyte and the blog for interviewing me.

It was a great opportunity to talk about what I've been working on recently, discuss my writing process, share some thoughts on the long game that is poetry and writing and general, and even make some reading recommendations.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend visiting the blog for its growing list of interviews with contemporary poets.

Recently posted or ongoing interviews include ones with Canadian poets Annick MacAskill, Cassidy McFadzean, Manahil Bandukwala, Cameron Anstee, Sennah Yee, Amanda Earl and rob mclennan, among many others. You can also follow the blog @poetryminiQ.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Motherhood in Precarious Times Now Out!

This fantastic anthology is now out and available for order/purchase/reading. It was delighted to co-edit this collection with esteemed U.S. professors Dannielle Joy Davis and Barbara Schwartz-Bechet.

I was also deeply honoured to work with all of the talented and deeply insightful contributors, and to read and edit their poems, essays and creative non-fiction. 

Motherhood in Precarious Times is an engaging and insightful anthology of poetry, creative non-fiction and essays by diverse authors from Canada, the United States and Palestine, all writing about how precarious times (from war, terror and political upheaval to climate change to biphobia, ableism and racism) affect mothering, who mothers, and even the very decision of whether to mother. 

Please order a copy on the Demeter Press website, or ask your library to stock it.




Saturday, 27 January 2018

My Small Press Writing Day: Fear and Faith in Writing Again

Publisher, editor and highly prolific Ottawa poet and author rob mclennan has kindly posted my contribution to his My (Small Press) Writing Day series on his blog of the same name.

I'm hopeful that my editorial may help some writers and other artists who, like me, find themselves, despite their best intentions, taking unanticipated breaks from making art. That time is still valuable, and the future is rarely written in stone.

Good luck out there, everyone, and, when you can, as Neil Gaiman said, "Make good art."

My office during an unintended writing hiatus.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

New Year, New Poems for Redheads and Canadians

Although the holidays, and my family, gave me time to catch up on some reading, I feel I haven't written anything substantial in many (many) months. I must have managed to do a fair bit, though, up to at least a certain point last year, and everything seems to be coming out now at once.

If you are a redhead, or just a connoisseur, check out this at times funny, at times touching, at times surprisingly thought-provoking collection of poetry, drama and short fiction, Canadian Ginger (Oolichan Books, 2017):


Editors Kim Clark and Dawn Kresan, both gingers themselves, kindly included my poem "Calico," even though it's about my angst at being a blonde in a family of blazing redheads.

Hamilton Arts & Letters, meanwhile, published my way more political poem "Canada" in their latest issue, 10.2. I'll also be reading from Lost Enough in Hamilton in May, at LitLive!



Monday, 20 November 2017

Gratitude

I've had an awful lot to be thankful for this fall, both big and small. Good health prognoses for family and friends, the opportunity to read from Lost Enough throughout Alberta, including in my hometown of Pincher Creek, travel, great coworkers, and the chance to spend time with loved ones.

I particularly want to give thanks to the many people who entered the Goodreads Giveaway for Lost Enough. Congratulations to the three winners. For anyone else who would love to get their hands on a free copy of Lost Enough, please ask your library to order it. I cannot express enough how huge a help that is to authors, not to mention that it's a great way to get to read, and share, writing that speaks to you.

My thanks also to the wonderful owners at Montreal's Argo Bookshop for hosting a small but really wonderful event earlier this month. The weather turned suddenly to winter for my train trip back, but it didn't matter, because I'd not only had a great time reading and answering questions in the tiny but perfect bookstore, but picked up a copy of Edin Robinson's Son of a Trickster, and, thanks to Argo co-owner Moti, was led to the wonderfulness that is E.K. Weaver and her gorgeous graphic novel, The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (note: for mature readers, some portions NSFW).

Up next, I'm reading December 14 at Pivot Reading Series in Toronto.