Tag Archives: humor

Collections of Short-Stories

I came to SF by reading the collections of short-stories on my father’s bookshelves. There was the Marabout collection (in French) of 1950s-1960s fantastic, SF and horror that got me acquainted with the genres. Reading a short-story gave me an open window on an author’s style, favorite themes and personal voice. It eventually guided me towards their longer works.

When you do not have a lot of free time, plunging in a 800-page saga that turns out to be disappointing (for any reason outside the author’s talent, like: not to your taste, or your favorite character dies to thicken the plot, or you’re not into space-faring, chocolate-sauce-gurgling vampires etc.)

Hence my own offering of short-story collections. As the number of my published works rises, I started to publish reprints in collections that won’t consume too much reading time, while giving a taste of my brand of science fiction. Most of those books are under 160 pages, their electronic edition easily affordable.

The two books on the ends are my collections in English ; the three others present my numerous French short-stories reunited under themes.

5 Hard and Crunchy SF Tales

Sink your teeth in those crunchy SF tales!

Welcome to the Big Bang Bar, where the playground of the ultra-rich spans whole solar systems. Follow a cyber-butterfly soaring over the scarred Earth, with strings attached! Watch a proud woman stranded in the pitiless Martian desert find her way out — or die trying. Discover why an alien ship must keep eternally shifting its parts. Or would you prefer to jump a few billions years forward to witness the end of our universe?

Five hard and crunchy science-fiction stories, cooked by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise, with the help of translators Sheryl Curtis and N. R. M. Roshak for two of those stories.

  • Thinking inside te Box (2017) Compelling SF 7
  • Ice Monarch (2018) Abyss&Apex 67
  • Closing the Big Bang (2017) Fiction River no 21
  • Women are from Mars, Men are from Venus (2006), Tesseract 10, Edge publ.
  • Cousin Entropy (2020) dans Future SF Digest 7

Get your copy

5 Histoires de SF dure et croquante (French collection)

The French version of 5 Hard and Crunchy SF Tales!

Five hard and crunchy science-fiction stories, cooked by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise.

  • Penser à l’intérieur de la boîte (2015) Géante Rouge 23
  • Monarque des glaces (2010) Solaris 175 – Prix Solaris 2010
  • Fermer le Big Bang (2021) dans Solaris 218
  • Les femmes viennent de Mars et les hommes, de Vénus (2002), Solaris 140
  • La cousine Entropie (2016) Galaxies 40

Pour l’acheter / buy it in French

5 Histoires de SF dystopique (French collection)

What will happen when AIs write better, and faster, than writers? When Montreal freezes under the ice and the budget cuts, will solidarity hold? See humans gifted with eternal life experience a cruel reminder of their mortality. A termite woman whose life in the mines has lost value wants to live her last vacation. And what about the young people trapped in a generation-ship that is falling apart over the light-years?

Five dangerous visions of Sf author Michèle Laframboise.

  • Les âmes gelées (1999) recueil Transes Lucides, Ashem Fiction
  • Quand le dernier écrivain est mort (2014) Solaris 92
  • Petzis (2017) Solaris 203
  • Dernières vacances de la femme termite, Solaris 215
  • Un vœu sur l’Araignée Solaris (2018) Solaris 207

Pour l’acheter / buy it in French

5 Histoires de SF douce et fondante (French collection)

On Mars, an augmented gorilla must protect the cyber-pollinators in his garden… and the morale of his human colleague. Elsewhere, a first contact stumbles on an advanced race that shuns numbers. A lonely biologist wants to discover the secret of migratory trees threatened by a project. The captain of a cargo ship on a diplomatic mission must go out of his way to convince a talkative door to open. Finally, after the climatic catastrophe, what are we ready to pay to make the Moon habitable?

Five science fiction stories that melt on the tongue, by author Michèle Laframboise. A cocktail of science, humour and tenderness. 

  • Tinkerbelles, Galaxies 61© 2019, Michèle Laframboise,
  • Ceux qui ne comptent pas, Solaris 149 © 2004, Michèle Laframboise
  • Sous réserve, Brins d’éternité 43 © 2016, Michèle Laframboise
  • La récalcitrante du Cachalot, Anthologie Pulp Aventures Sidérantes © 2020 Michèle Laframboise
  • Pitch de vente aux Archétypes, Galaxies 60 © 2020 Michèle Laframboise

Pour l’acheter / buy it in French

5 Hard and Hopeful SF Tales (upcoming)

A stomach technician experiences the pitfalls of living off the land, in the quest for a viable world. On Ganymede, a young girl receives an invasive lifeform for her eleventh birthday… A young heir discovers the exploited inhabitants behind a balmy resort planet. A weary cargo Captain deals with a stubborn door and a infected ship. On a luxury cruise ship, a lonely technician discover an eccentric lady, and an odd friendship blooms.

Five hard but hopeful science-fiction stories, cooked by multi-award winner Michèle Laframboise.

  • Essential Maintenance (2022) NeoOpsis 33
  • Moby Dick’s Doors (2022) in Space Opera Digest 2022 Have Ship, Will Travel
  • Renter’s Report (2022) in Polar Borealis 21
  • October’s Feast (2022) Asimov’s Vol 47 (Jan-Feb issue)
  • Ganymede’s Lamps (2019) in Luna Station Quarterly

Coming in August !

Other collections are in preparation !

Good reading !

It’s been a long time… (since I published a graphic novel)

Feast yer eyes! A mock-up of the book.
I am waiting for my author copies…

I am emerging from a frenzy of art events in Montréal and the complexity of putting up a graphic novel with *Vellum* of all things. Now I can proudly boast my latest publication :  Maîtresse des vents, a 92-page graphic novel in French, from my own SF universe. My cover pic has been put into magnificent colors by my talented colleague Frank Fournier.

It is my first graphic novel published since a few years. I published with my own indie house because I was tired of waiting after various French publishers all hoping for the next popular thing.

I had a blast drawing 16 new pages and sketches to complete the story, and will work to distribute the paperback version in some outlets. Here’s one of those recent additions.

There is a section with various sketches at the end of the book. It will be a small pocket book format. The electronic copies are available on various platforms.

If you are patient, I will get the English version done as soon as possible. After all, the computer technology and Clip Studio make this endeavor less painful.

Useful infos

Title: Maîtresse des vents, Un récit de l’univers des Jardiniers

format: 5.25×8 in
length: 92 pages
B&W interior pages
Price: 14.95 cdn paper, 4.99 cdn eBook

https://books2read.com/vents

Diving into the Writing : Concentration levels

Some details missing like the scuba and palms, but you get how I feel when writing… or reading a good book!

Those who enjoy scuba diving (or who, like me as a kid, had watched Commander Cousteau’s documentaries) know that before going back to the surface, you have to make mandatory decompression stops to allow the molecules of nitrogen/ helium who had taken refuge in your tissus under high pressure to leave your body, via your exhaled air.

Otherwise, the nitrogen can decide to turn back into gas while it is still lodged in your veins and your cells, and it would not be a pretty sight. Decompression sickness is as dangerous as its opposite, the deep nitrogen narcosis which develops sneakily if you spend a too long time at 100 feet deep.

Diving in deep water

For me, writing feels like diving into deep water.

Except that my decompression breaks are in the opposite direction! It takes me a long time to reach the level of concentration deep enought to penetrate a story. Levels of ‘compression’ or concentration…

My first level takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I go over what I wrote the day before to get the story and its atmosphere back inside my head; I check notions, places, etc. If I write 100 words in that period, that’s normal.

At the second level, which takes me about an hour to reach, I am entering the story at 300-400 words per hour.

At the third level, everything becomes magical: my fingers hug the keyboard and the ideas are transmuted into words without my having to stop. I feel like the story is writing itself, and I’m approaching 600-800 words an hour.

If I keep this on without interruption, I reach my fourth level of concentration: the story tumbles like an avalanche in my head, fingers and words roll like marbles on a flat table. It is paradise. I smash through the 1000 words per hour wall. Often, this happens in the evening, when I have a deadline approaching.

BUT… I do not descend to this 4th level often.

Ah, if only my concentration levels were simple steps! (Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com)

Interruptions!

On the other hand, to go up to the surface, there is no need for decompression stops. Any distraction can yank me up in a jiffy. The phone, someone calling me, or the family member.

As soon as my enthusiastic husband comes to tell me about a techno gadget he saw on the Internet or heard about on the radio, poof! immediate surfacing.

If the conversation is less than a minute or two, and if I don’t have to think to answer any complex questions, I can dive back in and get through my ‘focus’ levels pretty quickly.

Alas, this is rarely the case.

Another condition favors my rapid return to the depths: the certainty that I will NOT be disturbed again in the next few minutes!

So, after 5 or 10 minutes that ate my concentration. And, when the interruption ends, I have to dive back in and redo my stops. And, often, barely submerged, of course, it’s already supper time…

Confession of an unfocused writer

I created this article from a recent writing mishap.

Here I was, happily tapping on a wonderful science fiction story set in Antarctica, pom-pom-pom… when all of a sudden, a flawed scientific detail jumps out at me. Have I correctly calculated the position of the sun below the horizon during the southern polar night? Have I checked the right calendar for the current polar night?

Rising to the surface, opening the Internet, checking the info, then letting yourself drift on the Wikipedia sites, drift farther on the Scott-Amundsen station site, watching the web cam (it’s cold here, but not as cold as in the South Pole)… And, I came to my senses with the crucial realization of having wasted my time. It internally annoys me.

On the heels of that realization came another torment: should I change an explanatory paragraph to place it closer to the opening of the short-story? My words are so tightly knit together that moving one paragraph or one word requires rewriting several others, before and after. And so, I paddled on the surface to juggle these paragraphs.

Finally, after trying to dive back, I decided to go for a walk outside to clear my mind, and come back at another time. I told myself that it’s still warmer here (in Canada, Ontario) than at the South Pole…

TL;DR: Writing is like diving, but with the “concentration” stops going down instead of up.


Michèle Laframboise is a Canadian SF writer, with more than 60 stories published. Her most recent story, October’s Feast, is available in the Asimov’s SF Magazine. She is a fair low-level athlete runner, a lousy gardener, and avid birder. More on her official website here.

Building a House of Cards

My plotting process

Fragile as a house of cards

Any strong, researched plot I build looks as fragile as a house of cards in my mind. This is how I feel when writing a novel, a short-story, anything, in any genre including romance and science fiction.

And this happens to me even when I plan my stories in advance. The carefully-laid plan goes by the window after a certain point in the writing. And for my very first writing endeavour, I had bought into the “not writing a line before the plan is perfect” and followed by “show your work-in-progress to everyone (and get their advice)” to “rewrite ad nauseam until its polished and smooth.”

I found out that I am closer to a pulp writer than a once-every-ten-years literary author. So I write mostly by the seat of my skirt those days, going back if a nifty details grabs my attention.

My scientific self vs my story-telling self

And it doesn’t help that I am a SF writer who likes baking hard and crunchy SF stories. Sometimes I even overcooked them, making them so hard nobody could access its softer heart!

My scientific upbringing and formation in geography and engineering (even if I didn’t make a career in those fields) had left me with a reflex to check my premises and promise to my readers. I’m a nit-picker. I like flying off on the wings of pure fancy, but at a point my basic knowledge of sciences trips me.

Of course, I could stay in the fancy realm and ignore the science and call my story science-fantasy, where the ships engine screech like mad demons in the vaccuum of space.

Moreover, at any point in time, even the most concrete-hard SF story will be caught up by real science advances (e.g. lab-grown meat or gravity waves). The most I can do about a nagging detail is making a check in my paper books and on the web. If I have to research for more than one hour, without finding anything regarding this devilish detail, I leave it in the story.

Ta. Catch me if you can!

Melting chocolate fudge or rock-hard cocoa?

For me, some details are almost impossible to ignore. Like when you read a contemporary police procedural novel and your detective picks up various things around a body, with his bare hands! Unless it is set in a past era, everyone knows about prints, and now DNA! The same goes for your cat burglar who handles art items without gloves.

Some basics in science fiction are difficult to ignore, like the sound of ships in vacuum. I believe in making as much research as necessary for the story to hold together and not crumble, but if you are not a NASA rocket specialist, or a military strategist, it’s no biggie. Keep the very basic and improvise (ahem, build up) from there. I did read some hard-candied fiction by authors who have a professionnal background, but I do not expect to imitate them!

As one writer told me, you make your science as palatable as you like, whether soft, chocolate fudge that melts in the mouth, or hard 80% cocoa chocolate bar that defies the teeth! Telling stories should feel fun, not like dragging a chain and 100-kg ball behind oneself.

And you have all kind of readers from wide-eyed children to glazed adults, and the whole spectrum between. Some might prefer the melting in the mouth parts. The characters of the story will bear the weight of the plot, and the emotional/personal impact of the situation at hand (or at tentacle) will nab your reader.

Writing is not a straight line

Do I go back and change things? You bet!

And generally, many of those details are about the characters interacting with their environment. I tend to follow the rule of three mentions, adding at least two instances of the details, so it sticks in the reader’s mind. For instance, in my novel Paloma’s Secret, one of the teenagers had a favorite and fun catchphrase, that I only found out about in the last chapters. So I went back and change the dialogue to add the catchphrase in the first chapters.

Do I write in order from word one and not stopping to the end? Nope. I have novels that begun with one impressive scene, plus the prequel and consequences woven out of the strong scene. Or a novel is a tiny seed that grows and grows.

Yes, my first efforts looked like a very convoluted garden hose.

As for my recent efforts at story-telling, you might get to see one very soon in the next issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.

Just in Time for Groundhog Day!

2018 WhiteValentine_EbookCOVER_250

My latest opus, White Valentine, a foray into the sweet Romance realm, comes in time for Groundhog Day.

A big fantasy geek summons his courage for a blind date, only to be fooled by his GPS and locked out of his snowed in car. Being no elfin warrior, Nick plods on in the rapidly piling snow.

Delilah gazes at the snowstorm raging outside her window, not a princess either with the scar marring her face, her hopes wilting. Then she must leave her post to rescue her nice landlady from an ambitious nephew.

Will this snowfall doom their Valentine date?

A funny short-story dedicated to my author and mentor Kris Kathryn Rusch, who taught me how writing in various genres can be son fun! I met her at the recent Master Business Workshop in Oregon.

And yes, this is my first romance  short story, in the spirit of the eponymous romantic movie Groundhog Day, so close to Valentine Day!  But don’t take 12,395 days (Phil reliving Groundhog Day estimations according to movie buffs) to appreciate those who live near you! 

Order it in advance on the usual suspects (Kobo, Amazon, D2D…) or go directly to the universal link here!

Launch on… Groundhog Day.

 

 

Fiction River 21

Couverture du Fiction River no 21 Avec mon nom sur la couverture!

Cover of the Fiction River 21, this issue edited by Kerrie L. Hugues, with my funny SF story  Closing the Big Bang.  The Fiction River collection is directed by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Still basking in the thrill of reading my name on the cover and the warm and glowing introduction that Kristine wrote for the story.

Get your copy on Amazon.com, Amazon Canada or Kobo!

 

What is Trendy Today…

99modesbenglish

 

What is trendy today… will have cooled down tomorrow! Don’t lose time chasing the latest fads!

As for the publishing delays, the new realities of the writing world have reduced them. Nevertheless, that advice stays: better write/draw what you love!

 

 

It’s Raining…

 

ContractsRaining

Contracts!

That I am working on, hence the delay in getting new gags uploaded on this blog. A few writing and illustration contracts landed in the same week, a rare event.

Connecting in the Bushes

.

the author trying to optimize her Wi-Fi signal!

The two events occurred… in separate instances.  Even on vacation, the author tries to optimize her WiFi signal!

 

I Should Be Writing…

I should be writing, but I can't resist the call of the garden

 

I can’t resist the call of the garden…

There’s a spring rivality between the two activities. So the next novel will wait a little!