Tag Archives: Julie Czerneda

Report on my Ad Astra 2019

The Ad Astra brings together fans and authors of science fiction & fantastic, both literary and mediatic in the north of Toronto. It’s a very user-friendly conference, which has left me with good memories.

Échofictions at the Ad Astra 2019

My house Échofictions had its vending table, which was successful. When people stop by themselves to look at the books and ask me questions, once in three, they leave with a book. Much better than my score at the big book fairs, where, on average, only 1 in 20 stop by my signing , because few readers come for the SF!

Michèle Laframboise devant son kiosque Échofictions

Michèle poses proudly in front of her stand, full of butterflies!

I launched the English version of my first SF novel, Clouds of Phoenix. Yes, the cover has changed, and the story has gained consistency. It’s the same story, but a little more detailed at 46,000 words! It is also the first full-length novel printed by Echofictions, whose full graphic design I realized.

2019-07-11CloudsPhoenix

Clouds of Phoenix, a novel by SF YA, 214 p.

Activities at Ad Astra

The nice surprises of the Ad Astra congress are the meetings with SF amateurs who did not know my books, and who discovered them. And to find fellow science fiction writers like Robert J. Sawyer, Julie Czerneda and Tania Huff presenting their latest Sf novels.

I have come to love this event; the sale tables are not expensive and the audience generous! I’ve offered a good choice of books translated into English.

Un Cosplay typique du Ad Astra

A typical Cosplay. Don’t ya love’em! I admire the cosplayers’ time and effort to make their costumes. The craftswoman Squid Creations behind the band does not look too scared!

Table de bijoux artisanaux

A craft table.

Mon voisin de kiosque au Ad Astra Zachry Wheeler

My stand neighbor, an independent writer, Zachri Wheeler, very well organized! We exchanged books. Note the announcement of the film in development, it is always useful.

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith (a Toronto-area author) reading an excerpt from his novel The Wolf at the End of the World. I had already bought his book Playing the Short Game, at another Ad Astra

2019-07-13 20.58.26 Allan Weiss Michele

Allan Weiss and Michèle. It’s been 16 years that we know each other! Allan is a specialist and author of SF. Bow ties are cool!

Some Ad Astra panels I attended

My husband and son kept the table while I was there.

2019-07-13 18.29.43RomanPasCher
How to publish without spending too much!

How to publish for not too expensive, led by Beverly Bambury (center, black dress). The gentleman on the right, well organized, rolled his cupboard full of books!

2019-07-13 20.40.30AnimauxFantasy
The animals in fantasy with Avi Silver (left), Catherine Fitzsimmons and Eli Hirst. How to treat the Other, how to show the animal companions of heroes, or when animals are heroes.

2019-07-13MiddleAges
How to make medieval stories fantasy or historical. The mistakes to avoid! With Cathy Hird and L. A. MacLachean.

Book Harvest

Mon mari achète des livres au Ad Astra 2019

My husband buys books, a lot of books. He hides his secret identity well under his glasses…

Two Dark Moons

Two Dark Moons

For my current reading, I discover a new author Avi Silver, who considers himself non-binary.

In Two Dark Moons, we follow a teenager of the Hmuns who live in caves in the altitudes of the Eiji world, because the soil of the jungle is traversed by disturbing reptilian predators. Sohmen falls by accident (his fall broken by many branches). About 200 pages is very short, and enjoyable reading, in addition to staging non-gendered characters.

The Wolf at the End of the World

The Wolf at the End of the World

My colleague Douglas Smith signed his first novel to me, The Wolf at the End of the World, which mixes Native American legends and espionage, not to mention the nature threatened by greed on the part of the rich. Among us are Herokas, magic humans who can change into animals. Obviously, the secret services consider them as threats … But a too-hungry Wendigo and lost loves of the past mix the cards.

Canadian Dreadful

Canadian Dreadful, Anthology by David Tocher

Canadian Dreadful is a fantasy horror anthology inspired by the dark aspects of our beautiful big Canada. Edited by David Tocher, it brings together Canadian authors including Nancy Kilpatrick. I would not have bought it, but two public readings by participating authors convinced me to taste it!

I have not read yet the other books bought by my husband, a staunch supporter of new indie authors!

2019-07-13 AdAstraTable650

The things I learned from Ad Astra:

1- Novels sell better than short books and comics. Clouds of Phoenix was my best seller, almost half of my sales!

2- Participate in the round tables next year. It allows a first contact with the public, rather than “cold calling” behind a sales table.

3- Bring a tablecloth! It was not supplied, so I used a big poster to hide the uneven wood.

4- The month of July was not ideal, with less attendance due to vacations. Daniel, one of the organizers, said that the Ad Astra 2020 would come back in mid-April, at the same time as the Quebec book fair, oops!

5- If you missed the Ad Astra, know that … I will return next year, with new books. In the meantime, have a look at Echofictions’ list of publications!

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Random pics from the last Spec Fic colloquium

The format of the Toronto Spec Fic colloquium, (one day, one track of presentations, then one evening of readings) was perfect for my busy schedule. The setting was very Gothic, at the Hart House, in the center of Toronto.

Inner Court of the Hart house

There, I finally met Peter Watts. I read his fiction via Nimbus, a story he published in a Solaris (issue 143), then later came in contact with his online fiction, which prompted me to buy the books!

Sunday artist with Peter Watts

The Sunday artist meets Peter Watts.
Nooo, don’t look below!

Props!

I used a prop for the photo, but reaching his level of SF writing will take a lot more time and efforts! Peter Watts is a specialist in marine biology, and is not afraid to consult and do extensive research for his novels. And he is also a proud squid overlord! (The squid term now refer to us SF writers, from a rather disparaging comment made about Science Fiction by Margaret Atwood. And I was in the room in 2003 when she uttered a similar comment!)

Julie Czerneda and Michele

Julie Czerneda, another Science-fiction writer who does not forget the science in Science-fiction. We look so nice from my arm’s length (and it did not need  climbing on a chair) !  I came back from the Spec Fic with her cool Trade Pact Universe trilogy.

Tony Burgess and Brett Savory at the Chizine table

Tony Burgess (He gave an ominous talk about raising young children while writing horrible things. We were treated to his recent horror novel trailer ) and to the right, Brett Savory, at the Chizine table. I also met David Nickle, whose dark fiction I discovered this year.

Karl Schroeder, Brett Savory and friends

Karl Schroeder with Brett Savory and friends.

Claude Lalumière gave a challenging speech, on when too much researching and science conformity can deter the creative sparks. Ahem. I myself tend to sink in the research for my SF novels… so as a budding writer, I was sensible to the arguments. But, as a former mad scientist, I like my science to be as up to date as possible in my novels

I bought his Object of Worship collection, and discovered a new and rich voice in the weird and fantastic. (More on my Goodread thread later!)

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I took a few hours to walk at the Tightrope books office to assist to a very useful workshop on writing for children (and young adults), given by Marina Cohen. Her last novel, Ghost ride, is on the shortlist for the Red Maple Award given by the Ontario Library Association. She gave us tips on the craft, and also the business aspects of writing for a younger audience.

Tightrope Books office

Then, I walked back to the Hart House, on this fine autumn afternoon.

Election Boards

Or did I mention “on this fine municipal election day”?

Murale

A nice mural on the way.

Weeping willow

A weeping willow…

cats in their vantage  look out

And cute cats in a window, yaay!! Spying on the passer-by…

The nice hostel where I took the dozen or books from the Spec Fic for the night (as the event lasted until around midnight)! I began reading Maelstrom, by Peter Watts, then Object of Worship.

Pembroke Hostel