Thanks, Memorial School!

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Pop Seagull had a lovely Christmas-y time this Saturday at Memorial School in Hamilton. We set out our shingle at their very first Christmas bazaar, and it was tons of fun! We sold lots of buttons, and wow, did I meet a lot of interesting Canadian authors. I want to hear back from you guys, seriously!

And did I mention, the school totally fed my love of old architecture? What an amazing building! The auditorium has all of it original moldings, memorializing the 1st world war, and it is just breathtakingly well-preserved. I know where my world takeover headquarters is going to be now.

I’m going to post some pictures of the gorgeous architecture later, but for now, I just wanted to say thank you to Memorial School and the Board of Directors for inviting us to such a lovely event.

As a side note, I had perhaps some of the best popcorn I have ever had while vending at this bazaar. Toffee… dark chocolate drizzle… 75 cents! Too good to be true!

Anthology Updates Correction

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I need to correct an error in yesterday’s post. When I originally listed the Robotica anthology on various sites, I said that the deadline was May. Since it would not be fair to move the deadline back two months from what was originally projected, and May is actually better for us, we will be keeping the deadline at May and reading in May. My apologies for any confusion.

 

Anthology Updates

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As of last week, Love, Time, Space, Magic has been filled. I want to thank everyone again who submitted. I want to hear from all of you again, and just because the story wasn’t accepted this time doesn’t mean it might not have a chance elsewhere. Keep it up! All of our responses should now be sent. If you sent me a story, and didn’t hear back, please query.

I have one other note about Love, Time, Space, Magic that I thought would be good to bring up now. When we began the anthology, our aim was to publish 90% Canadian content. While that was a great goal, we just didn’t get the number of submissions from Canadian authors that we had hoped for. So, while we accepted as many great Canadian stories as we possibly could, we’re sitting at about 50% Canadian content, by page count, for the anthology. However, we’re very proud to say that several non-North American countries are represented in the book, from Japan to England to Argentina.

Because I’m relatively new to all of this, I’m still learning as I go, and one of the things I learned this time around is that our Canadian content goals have to be a collaboration. In other words, I can’t publish what people don’t submit, so keep those submissions coming, my Canadian pals! On my end, I’m also going to make a concerted effort to do even more courting and encouraging of the Canadian authors I meet at conventions, and advertise on more Canadian-targeted sites. We’re going to keep the 90% rule as our ultimate goal, but it’s going to take more work to make it happen.

That’s all for Love, Time, Space, Magic for now, but there will be a lot more announcements and fun features once we really start to get rolling on production.

In the meantime, I want to officially announce that, due to work flow concerns, Robotica submissions will be read and adjudicated in March of 2015, for an expected release date of fall/winter 2015. I have updated the Ralan listing accordingly. However, since the submissions will be read in chronological order, and the first and last places in line are the most rhetorically significant, I would recommend that people still submit now if they have something, and don’t mind the wait.

I apologize to all of the people who have already sent us work for Robotica who weren’t counting on this wait. We’ve had a change-up in staff, and that has affected our timeline somewhat. Rest assured, however, that if you decide to stick it out, your work will be given the time and attention that it deserves during the judging period.

Join us at the Memorial School Christmas Bazaar!

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This year, Pop Seagull is trying something new. We’re going to our first Christmas Bazaar!

On Saturday December 6th, we’re going to be at Memorial City School, selling copies of Distant Early Warning and buttons… tons of buttons!

Want to tell the world that sleep is temporary, but reading is forever? Our slogan buttons are great for all of the readers (or potential readers) on your list. These buttons were a big hit at the TIBF, so don’t miss out! They make amazing stocking stuffers and box toppers.

If you want to come check out our super sweet holiday setup, come to:

Memorial City School

1175 Main Street East Hamilton

Post Book Fair Bits and Bites

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Pop Seagull was at the Toronto International Book Fair this weekend! We invaded the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with hundreds of other book-related professionals, including Anne Rice, Kathy Reichs and Chris Hadfield. It was an overwhelmingly positive weekend, and I had a great time meeting all of the wonderful book lovers who came out.

I must say that this was the best organized big event that I’ve ever been to, and despite the fairly high price tag to attend, I will be going back. TIBF offers a great value for money, both for vendors and attendees. Who can argue with $15 to attend for the weekend? I also had the most wonderful, transcendent fries ever to grace this planet.

Another thing to come out of the book fair experience is a new product for Pop Seagull… buttons! A couple of years ago, I had buttons made as a promotional item that bore our company colours and slogan: “Sleep is temporary, reading is forever”. There were only about six of them to begin with, but after the fair, I’m down to the last one, and we got so many comments! So, starting with our next appearance at the Memorial School Christmas Bazaar on the 6th of December, we’ll be selling slogan buttons in three colours! Show your reader pride, and introduce new people to Pop Seagull at the same time!

I’ll have pics as soon as we get them in. I can’t wait to show them to you all!

 

Love, Time, Space, Magic is Officially Closed to Submissions

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I just wanted to put out a quick announcement to update status on Love, Time, Space, Magic for those who have submitted.

We have officially closed to submissions, but not all acceptances have been sent yet. We’re just reading through the last of the submissions, so if you have sent us something and not heard back, rest assured that we will get back to you with an answer. There are still a few slots left and everyone will get a fair shot!

If you have been accepted and are waiting for your contract, those are on the way too. The Distant Early Warning launch took up all the time for a couple of weeks, but things are back on track now and hopefully soon we’ll be heading into the editing phase.

I want to thank everyone who submitted. I didn’t know what to expect in the way of interest when I put out the call, and I was overwhelmed in a very positive way by all of the support that has been expressed for my anthology. I appreciate your time, and the faith you have placed in my company, and I really hope that you decide to stick around and see the final product no matter what.

I also wanted to take a moment and update on the Robotica anthology. We’re currently going full-tilt on LTSM, and will be for a while, so we’re considering changing formats slightly with the submissions and reading them all at once, in March. This would enable us to make a better decision with regards to curation and looking at the works as a whole, and avoid bottlenecks in the production process. The only drawback is that it would mean a longer wait time for people who have submitted. If we decide to go this way, I hope people decide to sit tight (and we do allow simultaneous submissions, so why not), but of course, if it will be a problem for you, please email me and let me know. This idea is not set in stone yet, though. I will be making a concrete announcement in the next few days about what’s happening.

Thanks, everyone! It’s been so much fun reading all of your work, and the quality was really good overall. Feel proud, people! You’re doing great.

I’ve only just recovered from the fun at #GenreCon…

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Seriously, just this minute. I’ve been re-charging my batteries for like, three days.

Wow, what a fun time, guys! Thank you all so much for showing up, and live-tweeting, and putting stuff up on social media all over the place. We have the best friends and fans (and fan friends) ever! Pop Seagull owes this amazing weekend and all our success to you, and the great people at GenreCon that made this happen. I genuinely enjoyed getting to know all the GenreCon folks even better this year, and I’m looking forward to helping any way I can with the event. (Spoiler alert: Next year might involve a non-stop party room.)

Now it’s time to wrap up some loose ends. Unfortunately, because I had a packed schedule throughout the weekend and was short-staffed, the dog name contest never got adjudicated. I will be referring to an impartial judge (my husband and illustrator, who knows exactly none of y’all for the most part) and getting the results out by Monday. Depending on who wins, we’ll figure out how to get the prize to you.

And to my awesome panel peeps, thanks for making my weekend full of conversation and chances to talk about the obscure stuff that makes my world go round. You rock.

3 Good Reasons to Party With Us at #GenreCon

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We’re now less than a week away from our big launch party weekend at GenreCon, at the Guelph Holiday Inn, so I thought I’d pop online in the midst of all the check-listing and last-minute prep to provide a few more incentives to come see us this coming weekend, for all the fence-sitters out there.

1) This may seem obvious, but we’ve got food! And prizes! We’re giving away a free, signed copy of Distant Early Warning, and we’re going to have an abundance of tasty, trail food inspired snacks. You won’t believe what I’ve gone and done with jerky… seriously!

2) Coming to the launch party is a great way to make new friends, and it’s also a great way to check out the book before you buy. I’ll be doing a reading, and we’ll have excerpts from the book playing all through the party on the con suite TV. If you’re of a more professional turn of mind, it’s also a great way to meet other authors and editors, who may or may not be currently reading for anthologies, wink wink.

3) And finally, the biggest reason to attend the launch party is that we’re offering a one-time unique experience that no Pop Seagull fan is going to want to miss out on… an exclusive screening of the leica reel for the upcoming, animated Distant Early Warning trailer! For those of you not familiar with animation terminology, a leica reel is an edited-together version of the storyboards for a piece of animation, with a preliminary soundtrack patched in. It is used to give the production crew (and in this case, our fans) an idea of what the finished film will look like. This reel is not going to be released to the internet, it is not going to be shown publicly again, and it offers an exciting sneak peek into what we’re working on, and what the book holds in store for readers.

We’d love to share all this with you on Friday, October 17th, from 7-9 pm, but you’ve got to come out to experience it! Taking the party door-to-door is a bit complicated for us right now, seeing as Pop Seagull hasn’t quite landed that party bus. Give it time, though…

Interview: Felicia Dennigan

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As a writer, it is my pleasure to bring the reading public opportunities to experience things that they would never have been able to access otherwise. In that ‘spirit’, our guest here today is just one of the unique interviewees that you’ll find here, and only here, on the Pop Seagull Blog. I reached across time and space to talk to the one, the only, Felicia “Denny” Dennigan, star of the upcoming book, Distant Early Warning. Denny is quite the elusive character, since she hails from, well, the future. I think I’ll let her take it from here.

Elizabeth Hirst: So, Denny, you’ve come a long way to be here. Tell me about what it’s like to live in your time and place.

Denny: Honestly? It’s total crap a lot of the time. There’s way too much water and rain everywhere, and a lot of stuff is broken down and badly maintained. I remember a time before the super storms, and the flooding, when people had way more tech and everybody drove cars… but that was when I was really little, and even then, I think we knew it couldn’t last. I’m from a place along the border called St. Catharines. Liz, I think you grew up there too, didn’t you?

EH: Yep. It’s got… character.

D: Well, you complain about it now, but try living in my time. We’ve got refugees, beggars everywhere, and only a select few people ever get the kinds of jobs that they want. I was lucky enough to have a teaching job for a while, but I had to give that up after some… major life upheavals. The Screamers threw things badly out of whack for a lot of people.

EH: Tell me about the Screamers. I don’t think anybody from our time and place has ever experienced anything like one, barring a really bad drug experience.

D: There’s still a lot of fear and disbelief surrounding the Screamers here too… but they’re no legend. Society lost our special effects capabilities a long time ago. I don’t know if anything I say can really fully capture them, but I’ll give it a shot. Picture an animated corpse. Let your imagination run wild with the gruesomeness of the injury, and the state of decay. Now picture it on fire… but it’s not normal fire either. It can be green, or blue, or red… any colour you can think of, and blinding. Sometimes they have smoke, or ribbons of mist reaching out from them. Now that you’ve got the visuals in your head, picture the harshest, most dissonant heavy metal song you’ve ever heard in your life, so loud that you can’t tune it out, and mixed with a bit of brake squeal, earthquake and dog whistle. These things come out all night up North. It’s no wonder people were going crazy and doing awful things. I feel sorry for the people up there. They had no choice but to come down south, and there was nothing to support them when they got there. My friend, Mrs. Mandrake, who lived in my old backyard…

EH: Whoa, hold on a second. You weren’t kidding about it being a different world out there! I think you’ve set the scene pretty vividly for our readers, so maybe we should get a little more personal at this point and talk about your Dad. What kind of relationship did you guys have?

D: Wow… you’d think this would get easier to talk about over time, but it’s still pretty fresh for me. My Dad was my world. For the longest time, I felt like we had each other, and we didn’t really need anybody else. I’m pretty sure nobody would understand him like I did anyway. We were our own brand of crazy, he and I, a legacy that I carry forward proudly. (Laughs) I think if the Dennigan family had a crest, it would have a big ol’ cracked pot in the middle of it, front and centre!

EH: Like all of us, he had a darker side, though, didn’t he?

D: Dad didn’t have an easy life. There was tension in his home as a kid, and he had to make some pretty hard choices at a young age. He didn’t always make the right ones. He did all right, though, until my step-sister Kendall died in a car accident while he was driving. After that, he just kind of fell apart. He had PTSD, and he found it hard to stay in one place for very long. People he met in his travels just saw a shabby guy, a bum with mental problems, but nobody who really knew him could think that. He was sweet, and funny, and always supported me when he could. That’s why, when he went missing, and his dog, Geoff, showed up at my house alone, I knew I had to do whatever it took to bring him back. Even after I saw him on TV as a Screamer, and I knew he was dead… I just couldn’t let him suffer like that after everything he’d been through.

EH: So you risked everything. You packed up, and took off, and ran after him to try and solve not only the mystery of his death, but the mystery of the Screamers themselves. How did that make you feel?

D: I was equal parts terrified, determined, and certain that he would have done the same for me, if he’d been able. There was also this weird lawless feeling, like I’d just cast off all the moorings of the civilized world, and I didn’t know any of the rules anymore. I think just about everybody has a map of where they think their life should go, and mine kind of got blown away in a gale of supernatural disaster. I’m still making it up as I go along at this point, but I’ll never regret making that first leap into the unknown.

EH: What do you hope people will get out of reading your story?

D: I know it sounds corny, but a lot of my story is about coming to terms with yourself. I think, looking back, that the most important thing I learned through everything that happened is that you can’t run from the parts of yourself that you don’t like, or that scare you. They’re still a part of you, and will follow you wherever you go. Repressed memories and personality traits are the real ghosts, because they never really die. I also learned that you can’t run away from other people forever, either. People need other people. We need help, and somebody to open up to. I mean, Geoff is a great guy, but I’ve learned that we all need people as well as pets around us to really thrive.

EH: What do you say to the people who think this interview is a book spoiler because we’ve just proven you don’t die at the end?

D: Give me a break. Having a viewpoint protagonist die at the end is so pretentious.

Thanks, Denny! And, if you’d like to read the rest of her harrowing tale of survival, we’re now accepting pre-orders on iBooks and Kobo.

Pre-orders… seriously this time! I have links!

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As you may remember, a couple of days ago, pre-orders were delayed in a rather sucky manner. Well, no more! We are now officially open for pre-orders on Kobo store and iBooks. Here are the direct links.

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/distant-early-warning

https://itunes.apple.com/no/book/distant-early-warning/id923066990?mt=11

Everyone who contacted me about pre-order corrections has already been personally contacted, as promised.

 

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