Monthly Archives: December 2018

BWS 09.01.19: Anubha Mehta

1. Anubha Mehta

Anubha Mehta is a Canadian writer, educator, and artist who was born in India. With a doctorate in Political Science and over two decades of Canadian public service experience, Anubha has been awarded for innovative program planning and working with diverse Canadian communities. Anubha has always balanced academics and public service with art and has been a classical dancer, theatre-actor, painter and poet. Anubha’s publication, The Politics of Nation Building and Art Patronage (2012), was a culmination of years of her research in the late 1990s.

Anubha’s debut novel Peacock in the Snow, was launched by Inanna Publications on September 28, 2018 in Toronto. It was selected for sponsorship by City of Toronto Arts Council- IFOA’s Toronto Lit Up. On October 20, 2018, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, showcased and spotlighted Anubha in a ‘Launch of Launches’ in a packed event to a community of readers, patrons, writers and authors. Peacock in the Snow was declared as one of the most anticipated books to read for Fall 2018 by the 49th Shelf.

As an author-facilitator for the Toronto Public Library System, Anubha regularly teaches free workshops on the process of writing, tips and traps of an author’s world. A Writers Blog on her website engages writers to express and address their present challenges and Tell-Tale is space where people are encouraged to share their real life stories.Visit her website for more information.

Ahead of her appearance on January 9th, Anubha tells us about her debut novel, Peacock in the Snow.

This is a tale of a seamless, adventurous journey of a young woman across continents, cultures, and generations, to find a love that is so improbable and to uncover a secret that sets her free. It is about the tireless capacity of the human spirit to hope, strive and succeed despite impossible obstacles.

This is a story of shy and naïve Maya and how her perfect life with her new husband Veer is thrown into complete disarray when she accidentally stumbles on an ancient family secret. What begins as unwelcome behaviour by Veer’s family soon turns into something sinister. Trapped within the dark walls of her married mansion, the secret begins to haunt Maya and draw a wedge with Veer. To escape the malicious spirits lingering in the house, Maya and Veer migrate to a distant land and start rebuilding their life amongst adventure and hardship. Not knowing that the ghosts of their past have followed them, in a race against time, Maya is put to a final test. Armed with conviction and courage, she sets out to face the dark forces that lie await.

Will Maya ever be free of a dark past? Will she be able to survive so far away from home? Will her marriage stand the test of time, displacement, and hardship in a new country? Watch Anubha’s interview with Tag TV to find out more!

 

Anubha Mehta visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Jim Nason, JF Garrard, Judy Rebick, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

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BWS 09.01.19: JF Garrard

jf_garrard_212

JF Garrard is the founder of Dark Helix Press, Co-President of the Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto Branch, Senior Editor for Ricepaper Magazine and an Assistant Editor for Amazing Stories magazine. She is an editor and writer of speculative fiction (Trump Utopia or Dystopia AnthologyThe Undead Sorceress) and non-fiction. Her contributions to business, diversity and health subjects have been published in Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Moneyish, Monster.com, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan, among others. Her latest stories include The Metamorphosis of Nova in the Blood Is Thicker anthology by Iguana Books and The Perfect Husband in the We Shall Be Monsters Frankenstein anthology by Renaissance Press.

 

One of the most difficult jobs a writer has to do is to world build. No matter what genre of fiction, writers need to introduce enough elements to give readers a sense of understanding about the rules in which the story is operating in. Prior to a seminar on world building, JF Garrard thought about this subject and reflected upon the fact that she was already doing this in real life to hide a death in the family.

World Building on a Road to Hell

As an editor for Dark Helix Press, when submissions roll in, the stories can be from anywhere in the world. We publish speculative fiction, which includes horror, fantasy and science fiction. We’re a pretty open to anything. No matter what genre of story, one thing we work on a lot with a writer is world building. The term “world building” is often applied to stories which have complicated rules and magical elements. However, it is actually something built into every story because the reader needs to be transported into a world which the writer has built.

If you google “world building” you will find tons of articles on how to write from your character’s perspective or planning a magic system. I thought for this article I would use a realistic example to illustrate the concept of world building which I spoke about at a writing seminar in 2017.

Death is the perhaps the most certain and true horror all of us will experience. In the last few years a wave of deaths hit my family. Out of many things I learned from dying was how to world build because some of these deaths were not revealed to my 102 year old grandmother for fear she would die of shock. She might come back as a ghost one day and really give it to us, but until then, the road to hell is paved with good intentions!

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Here are some questions and examples which can help a writer reflect on to help connect the reader to the world a writer has created.

 Is the situation believable?

In Asian cultures, it is a norm to not let the elderly people in on bad news. The fact that I’m stuck in this situation is very believable. In a horror story, if someone is entering a haunted house, why would they do this? Most rational people would not do something unless there is a reason or motive for doing so. Although a story is fictional, there has to be elements of truth in it which will help the reader immerse themselves into the story.

 What is the setting?

The world I am building for my grandmother is in the present, everyone dead is still alive but busy or sick which explains why they can’t see her in person. In a story, the world could be in the past, present or future. If it’s in the past, people could be living in log cabins without water. In the future, a smart home computer could be a character. No long description is required, subtle details of what the character is doing will allow the reader to reach their own conclusion on where the setting is.

What is the normal day to day like?

Grandma is a smart cookie and asks a lot of details about how people are living from day to day. I try to talk vaguely about what the dead are doing and sometimes make up problems they could be facing (eg. shoveling snow was hard on their backs). She sometimes calls up my siblings to confirm stories which makes this extra challenging. In a story, the characters are usually caught in a situation which differs from their normal life. Some details about their normal day will explain why they act a certain way. A cop confronting a monster will most likely know how to use a weapon versus a teenager who works in a fast food restaurant. People kidnapped may think about their family and what they are doing at the same moment. These little things will give some perspective to the reader and help them understand the character more and why they behave a certain way. Most people identify with people that they have empathy with and can understand.

 Are there any conflicts that can break the world?

There is a lot of turmoil within the family as some are tired of world building and others insist on keeping up the facade. For one of the deaths, one member of the family told grandma and she was shattered. World building is very fragile and one little thing can break it. If a character in the story sprained their arm earlier in the story but towards the end was able to pick up a heavy chainsaw and hack a monster, there is a huge inconsistency here. Bad science is another thing to watch out for and a writer should always do their research. If a story talks about a character having Alzheimer’s diagnosed with an ECG versus MRI, PET or CT, this is very farfetched as ECG cannot confirm Alzheimer’s. A reader may or may not look into such details, but it is important to keep everything as cohesive as possible to maintain the world for the duration of the reader’s time with the story.

I hope that by sharing these examples you can draw some ideas on how to make the worlds you create richer for your readers. Writing fiction is a lot more work than most people realize and there are many things to think about when creating a robust world. We are always learning and creating here at Dark Helix Press, drop us a line if you have any questions!

 

JF Garrard visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Jim Nason, Anubha Mehta, Judy Rebick, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

 

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BWS 09.01.19: Jim Nason

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Jim Nason is an author, teacher, publisher, and activist. His sixth poetry collection, Rooster, Dog, Crow was recently released with Frontenac House.  He has also published a short story collection The Girl on the Escalator and his third novel, Spirit of a Hundred Thousand Dead Animals, was recently published by Signature Editions. Jim is a Finalist for the 2018 ReLit Poetry Award.

 

Rooster, Dog, Crow – Jim Nason: A Few Thought-provoking Questions and a Friendly interview

The book depicts a world where upside-down politics dovetails with the carnivalesque, a love triangle unfolds between a belligerent Rooster, a happy-go-lucky meth-addicted Dog, and a gender-fluid Crow. This is my sixth poetry collection and I believe I have pushed myself to the extremes of the creative mind to depict a world that is real and surreal, a place where women, men, and animals shape-shift and trade places, intermingle within each other’s feathers, coats, and skin. Sometimes these characters are the masters of decadence and desire, other times they question the very worlds they’ve invented.  The opening poem, “Rooster Wears Stilts to the Pride Parade,” depicts a self-righteous, party-pooper bird shouting: Lower your banners, swallow your whistles! To hell with this stream of green, blue and youth.

Rooster, Dog, Crow follows the Trump campaign to an apocalyptic finale. In “Flame,” Rooster, high up on stilts, claims that he learned to swallow flames/ by watching Hillary Clinton in a bright red suit deflect Trump’s abuse and lies. Rooster says, Clinton leaned into the gap/ of the next question as if the floor were/ about to part, as if she were about to be/ swallowed – red and burning and whole.

This collection asks the reader to abandon fear and commit to a life that is ecstatic with risk. The poems in this book insist that the only wrong is an unexplored life. I invite one and all to join the parade with its full range of costumed marchers, banal banners, and erogenous, music-thumping floats.

In anticipation of the Brockton Reading Series on January 9th,  I send the following questions that will allow you to begin to understand and engage with me about my new, exciting and controversial, poetry book: Rooster, Dog, Crow.

How many dogs live on the streets of Toronto?

How many Roosters reside in a single Lethbridge Co-op?

On any given morning, just before dawn, how many crows can be seen landing on the moss-covered logs that line the English Bay shoreline?

Can Roosters speak French?

Are all teenage crows gender fluid and all city dogs at risk for opioid addiction?

I will do my best to answer these and the many questions you might have when I see you at the event. In the meantime, I wholeheartedly invite you to read the following interview about the book on rob mclennan’s blogspot.

 

Jim Nason visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, Janurary 9, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside JF Garrard, Anubha Mehta, Judy Rebick, and guest speaker Dorothy Ellen Palmer who brings up the question of “How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

 

 

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Brockton Writers Series 09.01.19

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by

Jim Nason
JF Garrard
Anubha Mehta
Judy Rebick

with special guest speaker

Dorothy Ellen Palmer

Glad Day Bookshop

499 Church Street, Toronto

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books and refreshments are available for sale.

ACCESSIBILITY INFO
The venue is accessible. Please refrain from wearing scents.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

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And to the Canada Council for the Arts for travel funding!

 

GUEST SPEAKER

“How Can We Work Together Towards the Respectful Representation of Marginalized Identities?”

 

Palmer-Dorothy-768x768

Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a disabled senior writer, accessibility consultant, and retired high school Drama teacher and union activist. Her disability memoir, Falling For Myself, will appear with Wolsak and Wynn in Fall 2019. She can always be found tweeting @depalm.

She will the share stories of her experiences as a disability sensitivity reader, exploring the do’s and don’ts, the reach and limitations, the boundaries and ethics, of working collaboratively with abled writers. She will also talk about how disability sensitivity reading has helped her to understand the need for sensitivity readings.

 

READERS

jim nason (1)

Jim Nason is an author, teacher, publisher, and activist. His sixth poetry collection, Rooster, Dog, Crow was recently released with Frontenac House.  He has also published a short story collection The Girl on the Escalator and his third novel, Spirit of a Hundred Thousand Dead Animals, was recently published by Signature Editions. Jim is a Finalist for the 2018 ReLit Poetry Award.

 

 

jf_garrard_212

JF Garrard is the founder of Dark Helix Press, Co-President of the Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto Branch, Senior Editor for Ricepaper Magazine and an Assistant Editor for Amazing Stories magazine. She is an editor and writer of speculative fiction (Trump Utopia or Dystopia AnthologyThe Undead Sorceress) and non-fiction. Her contributions to business, diversity and health subjects have been published in EntrepreneurHuffington PostMoneyishMonster.comWomen’s Health and Cosmopolitan, among others. Her latest stories include The Metamorphosis of Nova in the Blood Is Thicker anthology by Iguana Books and The Perfect Husband in the We Shall Be Monsters Frankenstein anthology by Renaissance Press.

 

1. Anubha Mehta

Anubha Mehta is a Canadian writer, educator, and artist who was born in India. With a doctorate in Political Science and over two decades of Canadian public service experience, Anubha has been awarded for innovative program planning and working with diverse Canadian communities. Anubha has always balanced academics and public service
with art and has been a classical dancer, theatre-actor, painter and poet.
Anubha’s publication, The Politics of Nation Building and Art Patronage (2012), was a culmination of years of her research in the late 1990s.

Anubha’s debut novel Peacock in the Snow, was launched by Inanna Publications on September 28, 2018 in Toronto. It was selected for sponsorship by City of Toronto Arts Council- IFOA’s Toronto Lit Up. On October 20, 2018, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, showcased and spotlighted Anubha in a ‘Launch of Launches’ in a packed event to a community of readers, patrons, writers and authors. Peacock in the Snow was declared as one of the most anticipated books to read for Fall 2018 by the 49th Shelf. Visit her website for more information.

 

JudyRebick

Judy Rebick is a life-long feminist activist, journalist and writer.  She is the founder of rabble.ca, a former President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, a leader of the pro-choice movement and author of six books, most recently a memoir. Heroes in My Head. Follow her on twitter, @judyrebick, for her latest updates.

 

 

 

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