Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Literary Launch & Swordfighting Salon

Sunday 18 December, 2pm – 6pm

at Academie Duello School for Swordplay

412 W Hastings, Vancouver BC

This will be an entertaining afternoon of swordfighting and author readings. We have nine local authors lined up to read, including CC Humphreys, JJ Lee, Eileen Kernaghan and Sebastien de Castell

Tea will be served, and there will be a selection of baked goods and afternoon delicacies. There will also be book sales, signings, and a craft fair featuring beautiful gifts by local artisans so you can get your last minute shopping done while being entertained.

Entrance is by donation. Half the proceeds go to supporting the magazine and the other half to Academie Duello’s Youth Outreach program, helping get kids get engaged and active.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

As we move into the holiday gift-giving season,  a friendly reminder that my YA novel The Snow Queen -- a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic story -- is still very much in print after sixteen years.

Winner of the 2001 Aurora Award for Best Long Form Work in English! In this reworking of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, the magical worlds of Saami shamanism and the Kalevala coexist with the polite Victorian society of nineteenth-century Scandinavia. At a time when traditional faith is challenged by modern science, the old pagan gods still haunt the northern forests.

You can find it for $13.58 online at Chapters Indigo 
 Mass Market Paperback
 $13.58 ($14.95 list price (save 9%)

Kobo eBook $9.29

"The Hans Christian Andersen story is mixed with elements from the Kalevala and Saami shamanism in this intelligent, magical young adult fantasy about a Danish girl who ventures into the far north to rescue the boy she loves." (Carolyn Cushman,  Locus).

"In her version of The Snow Queen, Eileen Kernaghan takes us to another time and to a place few of us will ever visit: the far northern reaches of Scandinavia, where the glacial ice is blue, and the northern lights color the sky in rainbow hues and the cold is, for many of us, almost unimaginable... it held me thoroughly spellbound." (Denise Dumars)

"This lovely, slim, small press volume (handsomely packaged with classic cover art by Charles Robinson) ... is a deceptively gentle tale, lyrically written by a long underrated Canadian fantasist." (Terri Windling, Endicott Studio)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I'm honoured to be sharing a Poetic Justice reading on Sunday, September 18, 3 to 5 p.m. with Ottawa poet Henry Beissel. At the age of 87, Beissel is touring western Canada to promote his latest book. www.henrybeissel.com/

Poetic Justice meets on Third Sundays of each month in Boston Pizza's party room, Columbia Square, New Westminster.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Growing Up Weird in Grindrod

(Note: the original version of this article was published in an anniversary issue of the BC Science Fiction and Fantasy Association newsletter,  BCSFAzine)

A confession; long before I had any notion of writing science fiction or fantasy, I was a Fan. Not just a casual reader, but a committed, card-carrying member of International Fandom, represented in North America by the National Fantasy Fan Federation. I learned the secret coded language (BEM- for Bug-Eyed Monster, CON for convention, FEMFEN for female fan) I read subversive magazines like Thrilling Wonder Stories. I received mail from far-off places like Toronto and the East Kootenays, bearing cryptic messages (It is a Proud and Lonely Thing to be a CanFan)

That last sentiment was no mere affectation. There are probably more science fiction writers in Canada in 2016 than there were Canadian readers of SF  in 1950.

To be a fan in Grindrod, BC was more than lonely. It was like living on an asteroid somewhere in deep space.

Grindrod does not appear in Dent’s Canadian School Atlas.  Grimshaw, Alberta is there, and Grimsby, Ontario, and even Grindstone Island, Quebec – but Grindrod BC has somehow been overlooked. It sits at the north end of the North Okanagan Valley, on the banks of the Shuswap River, and you may have driven through it if you were headed for Revelstoke. In 1950 it had a population of about three hundred people, and quite a lot of cows. It was still on a CPR branch line in those days, and if you had a ticket to Grindod the train would hesitate just enough for you to jump off.

It was quiet in Grindrod, but not backward. There was electricity, indoor plumbing and even TV Or to be more precise, there was a TV. It belonged to Art Tomkinson, who ran the general store. Art had also been the first man in Grindrod to own a radio. There was no tv transmitter in the valley, and wouldn’t be for at least ten years, but Art believed in keeping up with technology. Every afternoon he would turn on the set and sit patiently watching the screen. From time to time other people would join him. Eventually, they knew, the Honeymooners would appear. People in Grindrod had spare time, and a touching faith in the future. Personally, I preferred the John Deer Equipment movies at the Farmer’s Hall.

We did have radio, and when conditions were right we could pick up some US signals.This was the golden age of radio theatre. On a good week I could tune into The Adventures of Superman, The Green Hornet, The Shadow, Inner Sanctum (my favourite because of the creaking door) Richard Diamond Detective and Mystery Theatre. 

And then there were the comic books—purchased used, in bulk, at the Enderby secondhand store. Superman, Batman, the Marvel Family, Sheena Queen of the Jungle – all of them still around after nearly 70 years. Best of all when you could get it was Tales from the Crypt. Before I was allowed to read any second-hand comics my mother baked them in the oven to kill the polio germs.At some point I discovered the enormous cache of pulp magazines my uncle had left behind in the empty cottage next door to our farmhouse. There, surrounded by cobwebs and peeling mildewed wallpaper, I worked my way methodically through the piles. First, Weird Tales, dating back to the thirties: Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, all the greats. Then Black Mask Detective. Finally, when there was nothing else left, Ranch Romances.Here was everything Grindrod noticeably lacked: high adventure, distant planets, exotic landscapes. Decadence. My appetite was insatiable. My uncle, who ran the grocery store, fed my addiction with coverless copies of Thrilling Wonder Stories  and Startling Stories. I discovered Jack Vance, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, A.E. Van Vogt.
 This was better than Art Tomkinson’s TV, the Armstrong Fall Fair and the John Deer Equipment movie all combined.

Reading the letters in the back pages of Thrilling Wonder Stories was a revelation, Apparently in other far-flung parts of the world like Texas and California and even Washington State, other people were reading these magazines. I might be peculiar but perhaps not, after all, unique. I studied these letters and composed one of my own, carefully emulating their brash, flippant style. I didn’t ask for pen-pals, just commented on some of the stories. But once my letter was published, mail began to arrive. I heard from a soldier in Houston Texas, a struggling writer in Florida. A mathematics buff in the remoter reaches of the Kootenays. In those days before internet scams and facebook trolls, a soldier in Huston probably was a soldier. And lived in Huston. My correspondent  in the Kootenays asked if I was interested in ellipses. I was twelve and hadn’t quite figured out the decimal system yet, and I thought he was talking about eclipses, which must have puzzled him.

I was also contacted by – and became a somewhat bewildered member of – The National Fantasy Fan Federation. The members of this organization were prodigious letter writers. For months I was bombarded with mail from something called the Welcommittee. (I vaguely recall that Marion Zimmer Bradley was somehow involved) The mind boggles to think what these people would have done with e-mail and social media.

And so I discovered, in that uptight era of the Korean War, and the Cold War, and McCarthy, that somewhere out there was a vast network of open-minded, endlessly curious, interesting people, ranging in age from about 10 to abut 85, all of whom seemed perfectly at home in hyperspace and the fourth dimension. It was a world in which age, sex, nationality , religion and politics were totally irrelevant. Their only standard of judgment was whether you read and enjoyed speculative fiction. And a great many of these people wrote it, or tried to write it – even 12 year old girls from Grindrod.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Resource Links review of Sophie, in Shadow

..."The setting of this novel is excellent and the reader will be easily drawn into the foreign sights, smells and tastes of the India of a hundred years ago. Dialogue is sharp and cleverly advances the plot and character development. A strong message about class inequality runs throughout the novel... the ominous news of WWI battles, the horror of the number of dead, and the personal sadness of losing friends to PTSD (or shell shock at it used to be known) set a sombre anti-war mood and will stir the hearts of junior high readers."   -- Jan Alarshall. Resource Links, October 2014:29
Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly  Web 17 Jan. 2016