Tag Archives: Michele Laframboise

A Snowstorm of Publications

A snowstorm of publications happened this month, in both official languages.  I share this good news which, unfortunately, coincides with some not-so-good news in the vast world outside books and writing. (my good news coincides with the invasion of Ukraine, a country that has done nothing wrong, except being prosperous. By the way, yesterday I sent a short story for a collection in support of the Ukrainians.)

  • Publication of my story Moby Dick’s Doors in the 2022 Space Opera Digest anthology HAVE SHIP, WILL TRAVEL, edited by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Le secret de Paloma (Paloma’s Secret) is a finalist for the Alain Thomas Award at the Toronto Book Fair. The show is held in person on March 19-20, 2022. (The award is the former Christine Dumetriu Van-Saanen Award, but we lost Alain, that dedicated worker, in 2020).

  • Publication of Cousin Entropy in the Rosetta Prize Archives (a prize that rewards translations of a text published in another language). Thanks to N.M. Roshak for this beautiful work on La Cousine Entropie. See the Future SF site for more details. A Mandarine translation of Cousin Entropy should also be published.
The Rosetta Archives
  • My illustration for the Salon du livre de Toronto (Toronto Book Fair) illustrating this year’s theme: our legacies. Our legacies, theme of the 29th Toronto Book Fair
  • I just published a novel with Echofictions, Safe Harbor. Read more about it!

    A warning to my faithful fans: this is NOT SF! But an ‘eco-fiction’ with an ecological and human problem at its core, set in a coastal village. A tale of a beautiful friendship between two women who have each lost a loved one. Dedicated to my mother, Thérèse Laframboise née Lorrain, who grew up along the river and loves fishing harbors.
  • Publication of my short story Essential Maintenance in Neo-Opsis 33, a Canadian speculative fiction magazine edited by Karl and Stephanie Johanson.
  • And, to add to the flurry, an email last Thursday announcing a second SF short-story accepted at Analog! It’s a great start to the month, and to Women’s Rights Day, which is really encouraging for a female SF author

TL;DR : Michèle’s new books and SF short-stories publications are out in several venues, in both French and English


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.

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.

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!

Space Travelers StoryBundle cracks open new science fiction books

Discover new frontiers! 

When social medias and distributors force writers to shell out  more and more money to promote their books, the quest for visibility  spurs an unhealthy competition among writers. Getting readers to discover us is a challenge.

So, bundling e-books is a creative, cooperative way for writers to promote each other, and to get good books to SF readers.

SpaceTravelCovers1000

The Space Travelers Story Bundle regroup ten science fiction books, novels and anthologies curated by KK Rusch. This collective promotion effort makes you discover new writers and get a taste of  their work.

I have read stories from, and met in person, half of the authors participating in this bundle. If you are a Star Trek afficionado, you will love Robert Jeschonek! And I have read in KK Rusch’s Retriveal artist series and Dean Wesley Smith’s Seeder’s universe. However, I still have to discover the Grand Theft Starship Anthology!

Yet, there is not only one Laframboise in this bundle, but two! One of my SF stories has been re-published in the Fiction River Presents #9: Space Travelers.

2019_ebookCOVER_CloudsPhoenix150  and FictionRiverPresents09_150

How the StoryBundle works:

All information can be found on the StoryBundle website, but here are three distinct advantages for passionate readers:

  1. YOU choose how much you pay for the bundle, either basic (four novels, befinning at 5$) or extended (beginning at 15$) which makes it advantageous
  2. YOU control the percentage of your price that will go to StoryBundle and to the authors (the default is 30%/70%)
  3. YOU can opt in to give 10% to a charity featured. Able Gamers helps adapt video games for people living with various disabilities (like my son said yesterday, can you imagine a color-blind person playing a game?)

Not only do you help authors, but you can share the Space Travelers Bundle to help others discover new books. Four of those  books are new works, exclusive to this Bundle.

Your three-week mission is to help promote this wonderful summer reading Bundle around you.

Starting now!

42,2 km – Part II

94 MarathonB_Finish.jpg

So this was my first ever marathon, completed in a whopping 5h45min! (See my finish video and some pictures here, the exact personal time is 5h42:52)

I haven’t decided yet if I want run another full one. As you can see I got stiff knees for a few days post-race. But I was fairly better at the Sudbury French bookfair!

However, half-marathons are perfect for me: I completed the first part of the race in a fairly good 2h20!

The training (with a half-marathon group as there was no full training instructor available last January) took long hours from my writing and comics creation. I’d love to run a full 42,2 k under a more favorable weather!

My next race is this Sunday, a 15-km at the Bread and Honey Festival, of Streetsville.

The influence of materials on creation – 2

Here is another page that gave me a lot of work in all the stages! Drawing cluttered interiors is the bane of my art!

AdalouPage14 Lar Dako's kite workshop

This page was finished in greytones with Gimp 2.6 and my trusty Wacom Intuos tablet. The perfectionnist, I even put in a late perspective correction in the last panel!

Read the  rest of this installment in Destination Nexuz3!

The 2011 Mississauga 24-24 challenge

Last October 2nd and 3rd , the Mississauga Bookfest was celebrating the Central Library’s 20thanniversary. As I was among the guests, I attended, meeting with fine local authors : writers, historians, poets… and even a robot (what an occasion for a SF author!)

A robot was even present!

The robot is on the left.

Local Authors signing tables at the Central Library

Even our mayor Hazel visited! The writers were supposed to be outside, but the harsh winds forced the organizers to set our tables inside.

Image Collections table at the Mississauga Bookfest

Local bookshops like Image Collections were present, too. We can see Todd, the manager (long hair) at the table. Next to his was the Celtic Shaman table.

On to the 24-24 at the Image Collections comic shop of Streetsville!

In the evening, I packed my boxes and went to the Image Collections shop, to partake of the 24-24 challenge under way since midday! I goThe artists on Saturday evening, 8 hours into the challenge. t there around 18h.

The artists at 20h Saturday, eating pizza and pondering their stories. Todd always feeds us well! The challenge is to produce 24 comic pages in 24 hours, and is done everywhere in the world on that week-end.

A 18h20, I sat at the table, « for a few minutes  of doodling», telling myself that if I got too tired (after my full day at the Mississauga library), my husband could drive me home from the shop.

I eventually found a story corresponding to the « Species Change » theme, set in my own Science-fiction universe. At ten o’clock, I was confident enough to tell my husband: I stay here for the night!

Then, I worked all night, one page every 50 minutes, with my blue pencils. Had some trouble with the 0.7 mm blue mechanical pencil, always breaking, so I switched for a more classic pencil.

The morning after

The artists at seven the next morning. Tiffany have given herself totally to the challenge… note the superb coloured pages she managed to produce!

Of course, as I was late, this was a 24-18 rather than a 24-24 for me. So I opted out of a fully completed comic, as I did last year. I manage the full night with only two coffees (meaning, a brisk walk to the Tim Horton at 4 am) and one chocolate milk carton.

Todd did play some awful or bizarre music to keep us awake!

A nice pencilled page

Here is one page pencilled in my trusty bleu pencil. In the notebook under it, some rough break-ins and sketches. I am still working my personal manga style.

I made the thumbnails and draw some lay outs of my story, then worked hard to realize a good pencilling of 22 pages, detailed enough to make the inking part easier. I kept an eye to the overall balance, so that the panels flow smoothly. Todd took pictures of all our pages at the end.

Triumphal Trio

The triumph : Sunday Artist, Paul and Carolyn (Tiff had to leave earlier).  Paul is a pure amator who never did a comic before. Carolyn is an accomplished artist who had fun scenarizing her first comic. This is the fun of the 24-24 challenge!

Tiff has a strong talent, and you may glimpse part of her work in last year 24-24. To see my first impressions of the  24-24  in 2009, go here!

A new webcomic coming soon!

I finally took the step and register in Webcomic Nation  for The Jules-Verne Saga

Here is the banner, a composite from two different pictures, one being the header of this blog! Eventually I will put on a fresher picture.

Entête de l'autre Webcomic

Enrolling herself as a navigator on the Jules-Verne Alliance Space Ship, young  Armelle, a shy brittle-boned Martian Belle, discovers life onboard the Jules-Verne, an old cruiser, its irascible and alcoholic commander , and its colored (and quite pissed off) crew mates. Then, there is this mission…

The graphic style will be slightly less realistic than the image suggests, a bit more on the manga style.

Another finished comic page

Do you remember the comic page rough draft in blue pencil shown this spring? Now here is the same page finished, inked, scanned then digitally toned in shades of gray.

Wind mistress page 11

This is an excerpt from my graphic novel Maîtresse des vents published in the issue no 7 of the magazine science fiction and fantasy Nexuz3 (edited by Gérard Lévèque) that just came out. Nexuz3 is available in various bookstores in Quebec.

There aren’t so many SF&F comic fanzines published in French, so this one should get a fair notice in the field.  All the other participant artists are quite talented : their works are well worth your support!

The page you see needed less working of the grey tones, because I did not daddle too long to ink my blacks and whites.  I took several frames off, making the panels “breathe” easier over the page.  The “degraded” filling tool in my Gimp 2.6 software proved useful to give a sense of depth. The ocean in the first page is another  example.

In the second panel, I decided against putting a grey filling in the kite… the speed lines and shadows were enough. I am beginning to get the hang on manga dynamics, but a long way from a mangaka’s nimble hand…

You would be surprised to learn that I used only one layer through the whole process. Managing the layers in Gimp has proved unduly complicated. I rather use the “darken only” option of the paintbrush to lay my greys without erasing the blacks, and the special selection tools for the degraded colors effects.

The more observing among you will remark that I clipped off some of the rock outcropping in the last panel (with the two characters sitting on it). I also moved the kite a bit along.

Wind Mistress  (a working title, I’m not sure how the English version will be titled. “Kite Mistress” sounds good, too), takes place in my space-faring civilization of super-gardeners, several years before the Quest of Chaaas cycle.  And, yes, I will have it completed and translated before the next TCAF, promise!

With all that work, I have missed the Fan Expo 2011 in Toronto. At least, I carry on other works, like my Otaku Ladies webcomic.

A pencilled comic page to celebrate summer

To celebrate the official arrival of summer, here is another pencilled page, with the blue hues darkened after the scan. Yes, it is the sequel of a  low-tech SF story aimed at young adults.

Adalou Page12 pencils

You may note the little black ink trait on the top panel. This was a little accident happening on the last Free comic Book Day. Fortunately, a little post-treatment with Gimp will make this smear disappear.

I kept the horizon line at the same level in the two first panels, to give a sense of continuity. There is still some detail to clear up  on the interior backgrounds in the two last panels. Interiors are the hardest to draw for me.