Third Person Press and Grey Area

Grey Area_smThe small press in which I’m a partner, Third Person Press, launched its first Indiegogo fundraising campaign yesterday. It’s been a busy few weeks getting everything set, and a busy few months in the larger planning stages. It’s quite amazing just how much time you can spend thinking about and planning your perks, changing your mind, tweaking, adding, subtracting and rearranging,  to say nothing of creating prototypes and mockups of rewards, writing website copy, and writing emails.

Then the campaign launches, and the real work begins!

Our project for this campaign is Grey Area: 13 Ghost Stories. It’s a collection of ghost stories (obviously), all by authors from Cape Breton or with a substantial connection to Cape Breton. Of course, one doesn’ t have to be from here to appreciate the stories; most of them are not even set here geographically. There’s a wide mix of tales, from scary to spooky to funny. And everyone loves a good ghost story, right?

So, you might be wondering, if the stories have little, if anything, to actually do with Cape Breton, why do we make a point of noting the connection of the authors?

Partly it’s because of our mandate at Third Person Press: we strive to provide a voice and venue for regional fiction and authors in the speculative fiction genres. You may not know it, but there’s a bit of a stereotype that Cape Breton authors (indeed, maybe even Atlantic Canadian authors) all write about farming and fishing and coal mining, with a little bit of historical fiction thrown in for good measure. And while there’s not a thing wrong with those stories, they’re certainly not representative of the whole of our regional fiction!

If you’re familiar with our other titles, you’ll know that we like a broad range of types of stories, and Grey Area is no different. We think they’ll have wide appeal, so if you’re even slightly interested, please check out the campaign and consider supporting us and this project.

Interview with Kayelle Press ~ “Tomorrow” Anthology

TomorrowI’m very pleased today to be hosting an interview with Karen Henderson of Kayelle Press, to talk about the new anthology, Tomorrow. This post is part of the virtual book tour for this newest publication from Kayelle Press. Karen and I have been Internet friends and colleagues in writing for many years, despite being separated by about half the Earth! So while I couldn’t actually sit down with her for this interview, I think you’ll find our conversation interesting. And be sure to read to the end to find out how you can win a copy of the Tomorrow ebook!

Sherry: What sparked the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology?

Karen: I’ve had a fascination for ‘the end times’ for many years. Couple this with a need to escape reality and I found myself reading books that took me to other worlds. But it was always the books that started in our world and then changed to something else that thrilled me the most. If the theme was realistic, there was more chance that it could actually happen.  And because I was desperate for something to change, I was easily swept away.

When that desperation disappeared and the need for change ceased, my view changed entirely but I found I still enjoyed the books. However, I was no longer looking for something and I realised that the worlds I believed would save me, would in fact be extremely difficult to live in.

As an avid gamer, my favourite PS3 game is “Resident Evil” (I have the entire set), I developed an obsession for killing zombies in post-apocalyptic worlds. This carried over to my reading and those imaginary worlds I used to get lost in became zombie infested instead.

The romantic notions I held dear were replaced with dark, foreboding civilisations where all we take for granted is gone—no electricity, no running water, no communication providers (phone or internet), no shopping centres; everything that makes life easy, gone. The thought is actually disturbing. Throw in reasons for the changes—human error or neglect, pandemics, natural disaster—and we could very easily find ourselves in a harsh new existence. That sparked my imagination and the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology was born.

Sherry: What were you looking for, in particular, in the stories for the book?

Karen: When I put the call out for submissions I didn’t have a definite list of ‘must haves’. The one thing I wanted was a variety of ‘predictions’—zombies, biohazard, space travel. Action and entertainment is always high on my list. Connecting with the characters is always good too. Other than that I let the author and the story do their thing. I’ve always loved surprises!

Often, the stories I enjoy the most are the ones that reach out and grab me. It can be something I can relate to or something that speaks directly to a memory or a feeling or a thought in my mind. It’s wonderful when it happens. It allows me to become totally engrossed in the characters and the plot.  Strangely, the author may never know that a simple sentence they have written changed the entire reading experience for me. Of course, it can easily work in reverse too.

Sherry: Was there anything that surprised you in the submissions you received?

Karen: I guess the biggest surprise was to discover that I’m not alone in my obsession. Over 200 submissions proved that there are a lot of people out there who think like me. That shouldn’t surprise me really, but it did.

It was interesting to read other people’s predictions. The manuscripts proved how vast an imagination can be. When I think about how much thought had gone into developing some of the storylines I read, I was amazed. The authors had me convinced that what they had written could come true.

Sherry: One of the questions you’ve asked in talking about the book is “How do you think you would fare in an apocalypse?” So I thought I’d ask you: How would you do?

Karen: Terrible! Honestly, I couldn’t light a fire without a match or a lighter. I’d be doomed unless I could connect with people who could help me.

After initiating the “Tomorrow” anthology, I spotted a book on wilderness survival in an opportunity shop. I purchased it and now have a few tips for finding water and making shelter, but feel quite sure that getting enough friction between two sticks to spark a fire is totally out of my range of capabilities.

And when it comes to food … I really don’t want to think about it, let alone experience the hunger I’d feel due to my lack of skills. Killing an animal would be difficult. Hunger would force me to do it, but skinning and gutting it would be beyond me. And how would I cook it? Yes, I’m back at the fire making problem … again.

I could become a vegetarian and that would solve some of the issues I would be having. However, it would be just my luck that the first root or berry I ate would be poisonous!

I have a question for your readers: How would you fare in a post-apocalyptic situation?

Sherry: What’s next for Kayelle Press? Do you have a project waiting in the wings?

Karen: There’s a few actually. The first of our “Awesome Aussie Tales” books is due for release later in the year. “The Obelisk Trap” by Margaret Pearce is a fantasy story for younger readers. It will make a brilliant addition to our list.

Submissions are also open for Volume 2 of the “Hope” anthology series. These books contain speculative fiction short stories by various authors from around the world. The second volume will focus on a theme of “courage”.  Also included in the book are small factual snippets on suicide awareness. The profits are donated to Beyondblue, a leading suicide awareness advocate in Australia.

Finally, the third instalment of The Land of Miu series is due for release in 2014. “The Lion Kings” by Karen Lee Field will conclude the fantasy trilogy for younger readers.


This interview is part of the “Tomorrow” Virtual Book Tour starting on 6 July 2013. To find out more about the stories, the authors and the publication go to the virtual book tour schedule page at

I am offering Sherry’s readers a chance to win a copy to the “Tomorrow” ebook (in the format of the winner’s choice). Just leave a comment on this post and your name will be in the draw. One name will be randomly drawn and the winner will be announced in the comments section, in a couple of days.

Before I go, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Sherry for hosting this stop on the book tour. Please take a few minutes to look around.

About Karen Henderson

Karen Henderson is an editor at Kayelle Press, a small independent publisher of speculative fiction in Australia. Their latest release is “Tomorrow”, a post-apocalyptic anthology exploring the possible outcomes of plagues, biohazards, human error, natural disasters and intergalactic travel. The book is available in paperback and various digital formats from their website and from most online bookstores. Visit the website ( to find out more.


Thanks, Karen, and continued good luck with Kayelle Press!

“One’s Aspect to the Sun” Progresses

file000497275563Hmmm, I see it’s been a while since I wrote an actual blog post around here. However, that doesn’t mean nothing’s been happening! My novel, One’s Aspect to the Sun, is on track for a November release from Tyche Books. I’ve seen the cover art (amazing!) and just finished proofing the layout (grueling!), so it’s all chugging merrily along. I’ll share the cover here when it’s ready! I’m also working on a new website to support the novel, so there’ll be a few goodies over there as the release date gets closer. Stay tuned.

In other news, Third Person Press is hoping for a fall release for our new ghost story anthology, Grey Area. More on that soon, too!

Photo credit: blueprint,

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to an Outline…

mapSo, I had tapped this writing year to be a year of finishing things. Unfinished stories, unfinished novels; they were going to be my focus. Some of that focus has been distracted by other happenings, but that’s still The Plan.

I’ve been reading Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, which got me thinking about my partially-written 2011 NaNoWriMo novel, “Survival Skillz” (because zombies beget more zombies, ya know?). So I hauled out the manuscript and started reading it earlier this week. I discovered, to my surprise, that it’s in much better shape than I remembered. Likely because when I left it, I did so because, well–I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was stuck. So it left a sort of bitter taste in my mouth.

That’s a not-uncommon problem for us discovery writers (aka “pantsers”). I’ve discovered, over time, that the problem is much less likely to crop up if I’ve thought a storyline through enough before I start writing, but depending on the year and circumstances in the rest of my life, that’s not always possible for NaNoWriMo. That’s what happened with Skillz: I loved the general idea and the characters, but I ran out of plot fuel along the way and the story got bogged down.

Well, it seemed to me that the sensible way to tackle the problem now was to have a think about the story (with the benefit of time and distance for clarity) and come up with an outline for the rest of the novel before attempting to write it. You have no idea what terror this strikes in my heart, because I do not have a very…successful…relationship with outlines. In this case, though, it seemed like I should be all sensible and do one.

I set about researching various ways of creating outlines, and even tapped a writer friend who is wise in the ways of outlines to blog about her methods. I tried to get in the correct frame of mind by updating my work-in-progress outline for the story as far as it went (I do this in Storylines, concurrently with writing a first draft because it really simplifies things in the later revision process). I fleshed out some background data on the existing story. I looked at some other outline-creating software (and decided I still liked Storylines best).

And…yesterday I realized what had to happen next in the story. I realized the probable fate of one of the characters. Today I wrote a whole new next chapter.

I still don’t have an outline. I’ll probably still try to write one, so that maybe I won’t get stuck again. But I guess I’ve remembered that even just sitting down and immersing myself in the story can get me a little further along the path to The End. And however I get there, as long as I get there, that’s what matters.

Photo credit: ariadna

Novel News: One’s Aspect to the Sun

So far, 2013 is turning out to be quite a rollercoaster of a year, which is why my blog has been conspicuously quiet. It’s been a mix of good news/bad news so far, and it’s only the end of March. For the bad news, I will just say that my mom was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease–currently she’s having treatment and getting along well, so while the future is uncertain, the day-to-day right now is on an even keel.

The good news is the exhilarating part of the rollercoaster ride–my science fiction novel, One’s Aspect to the Sun, will be published by Tyche Books, with a tentative release date this fall. The official announcement from their news blog is here. Excitement!

Thus far, Tyche has been a dream to deal with; great communication and response times, a fair and reasonable contract, professional and friendly. Would that all publishers were like this!


The Resolution (It Took A While)

books-CRW_5724Resolutions, goals, plans–whatever you like to call them, I do like to make at least one for the new year. My best goal planning usually comes in September, but that’s because my life still largely revolves around the school year. But, yes, January is a good planning time, too.

But I wasn’t sure what to say about that…how to get specific…seems like I’ve made lots of plans and goals (particularly to do with writing) before. Some pan out, some don’t, some get shoved aside by other things and some get forgotten. I didn’t really want to repeat myself, so I’ve been pondering the matter (when this rewrite I’m immersed in gives me time to ponder, which isn’t often).

And then I remembered. I do have one plan for this year. I’m going to publish a novel.

It might be via the traditional route, it might be a Kindle serial, it might be completely self-published, or it might be some weird hybrid that I can’t put a name on right now.

But it’s coming before the end of 2013…so stay tuned.

Influences – L.M. Montgomery

I could hardly come to Prince Edward Island on vacation without taking a few moments to reflect on Lucy Maud Montgomery and her influence on me as a writer, and as a reader.

I grew up reading Montgomery. The big bookshelf at my grandparents’ house, which offered an absolute cornucopia of reading bliss, was well-stocked with Lucy Maud’s books–not only the ubiquitious Anne, but also the Emily books and others. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Anne well enough and read her series quite thoroughly; but it’s the later Anne books I particularly enjoyed, and I think Anne of Windy Poplars is probably my favorite of them.

It was always Montgomery’s lesser-known works that were my favorites overall, though. The Emily series–Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily’s Quest–they spoke to me far more than Anne did. (And before you ask, no, it’s no coincidence that my daughter’s name is Emily.) Emily is the creative one–the writer, in fact, and probably my very first introduction to the notion of the long, slow path of a writer’s life. I think having that understanding has been a great help in finding my own way as a writer.

The Story Girl was another perennial favorite (and its sequel, The Golden Road), as was Pat of Silver Bush, and A Tangled Web.

Looking back, I think the appeal of the books to me as a younger reader and teenager was Montgomery’s deft hand at characterization. These were not thrilling adventure books with complicated plots (although A Tangled Web has a beautifully complex and interwoven storyline), but the characters came to life on the page with vibrancy and color, and their problems, big and little, mattered to the reader as well. They were, overall, “happy ending” stories, but not syrupy–Anne and Emily are both orphans, to start with, and the stories in all the books reflect both the lighter and darker sides of life in the time periods in which they are set. While the Anne books are more romanticized, many of the other titles explore more realistic themes and aspects of life. They are probably, as a whole, the most re-read books for me.

It saddens me somewhat that these stories have gone out of fashion for young readers with the passage of time. But I guess that kind of sentiment makes me sound old and crotchety, so I’ll just end by saying–thanks, Lucy Maud. You made my reading life much richer, and my writing life easier to navigate.

Book Juggling and Summer Reading

I’ve always been a voracious reader. When I was younger (say, in my teens and university) reading was really my first experience with multitasking (see my previous post!). I read while I was getting dressed. I read while I dried my hair. I read while I ate (whenever I could get away with it). I read before going to sleep. I’d have a book on the go in my bedroom, one in the bathroom, one downstairs, and one in my bag. People often commented on this, wondering how I could keep all the stories straight. I wondered how one couldn’t keep all the stories straight. I mean, they were all different stories, right?

If you pop over to my Goodreads “currently reading” page, you’ll see that I’m still the same book juggler. It’s a bit misleading, really–there are more books on that list than I’m actively reading at any given moment. That’s because when I start a book and then don’t really get into it or get distracted from it, I still leave it on the list until I’m quite certain I’m not going to finish it. I have less tolerance now for books that don’t keep me interested–but I don’t like moving them into the “shelved” category until I’m sure. That means my list can get pretty long at times.

My habits have changed in one regard; I still might have four books actively on the go, but it’s likely that no more than two are physical, print books. Another will be on my Kobo, and another will be an audiobook I’m listening to. I like this; it’s tidier, for one thing, and these days, tidy is like a lovely, usually-unattainable dream. I’ve come to love audiobooks–they appeal to the corner of my soul that loves multi-tasking because I can listen to them while I do so many other things. Cleaning. Sewing. Making jewelry. Driving. Gardening. When I got serious about writing, the time I could devote to reading suffered somewhat. Audiobooks have changed that. I might even attain my long-wished-for goal of reading more than 52 books in a year. Well, I know I have done that when I was younger, but not since I became a “grown-up.” I’d like to get there again.

All this is on my mind of late because summer is still my reading season. I read all year, of course, but there’s something about summertime reading that sets it apart for me. It’s easier to allow myself to take a whole afternoon off and just read. Or stay up late into the wee hours with a book I just can’t put down, knowing I don’t have to wake up early and get kids off to school. Summer is my time to read freely, in some sense. There are some books I save for summer reading, because I know the experience will have an extra fillip of enjoyment.

My Goodreads page and my reviews on this site will tell you what I’ve read lately…what else is still on my summer reading list? Stay tuned and I’ll tell you…

Things to do on Goodreads When You’re Bored

Wait, let me clarify that. I am never bored. There are far too many things I want to do and enjoy doing to ever really be bored. The title of this post should really read, “Things To Do On Goodreads When You’re Procrastinating That Editing You’re Really Supposed To Be Doing But You Can’t Get Your Brain In Gear,” but that doesn’t scan as well, nor does it cleverly mimic any movie titles.

Anyway. I love Goodreads. I really like keeping track of my reading there, posting ratings and reviews, and seeing what other folks are reading. The other night, however, I went poking around to see what else you could do for fun over there. Turns out there are quite a few things, and here are just a few:

Compare Books
You can compare books with any of your friends to see how similar (or dissimilar) your reading tastes are. I discovered that one of my sisters and I have read 30 of the same books, and our tastes are 86% similar for those books. Then I looked at some other friends and acquaintances, and tried to predict how similar our tastes would be before I did the comparison. I was surprisingly good at that.

Take A Quiz
There are loads of quizzes available to take, but my favorite is the Never-Ending Book Quiz. Not because it is easy–oh, no. (I’m running about 73% correct answers at the moment.) I like the variety of the questions that pop up. I like the fact that sometimes I know more than I expected to know. And I like the fact that it’s never-ending. You could sit there for hours and hours and not get to the end. Not, you know, that I would. But I like knowing that I could. And you can add questions of your own, if you’d like.

Join A Group
Whatever your literary interests, there’s probably a group for that at Goodreads. Groups for books, groups for genres, groups for authors, groups for regions–browse your interests and find like-minded folks to talk books with.

Find An Author
Find your favorite author on Goodreads, and you might find interviews (written or video), blog posts, news about new projects–you never know. You can follow them to see what they’re reading, too.

Enter a Giveaway
Authors and publishers can run giveaways through Goodreads for new titles, or those that are less than six months old. It’s completely free to enter these giveaways, so it’s worth looking them over to see if there’s anything you might be interested in. Who knows, you might even win!

Read Creative Writing By Other Members
Members post sample chapters, excerpts, poetry and more, for fun and feedback. You can too, if you’d like. Or just while away some time browsing writing in areas that interest you.

Become a Librarian
So you’ve always secretly longed to be one of those quiet but sexy and intriguing librarian types? Apply to be a Goodreads librarian and make that dream come true. You can be one of the select few overseeing the wonderful world of books on Goodreads. Oh, the power! (I’m just being facetious…being a GR librarian sounds like fun!)

Oh! And surf over to Scroll down to find some cool bookmarks you can print out!

Goodreads is a lively, interactive, fun place for bibliophiles and casual readers alike to hang out. If you’re not a member…what are you waiting for?

Oh, and you can always leave ratings and reviews for your favorite authors, as well…