Once & Future

Charlotte Ashley – Book seller, collector, writer, editor, historian

March 14, 2017

Sum of Us TOC Announcement!

I have been waiting months to tell you about this one, you guys. Yes, I have another short story coming out in, yes, another nifty anthology. But lest you should think these are becoming routine, let me correct you. There’s is nothing routine about a project like this. I have been fired up about it since Lucas Law asked me to contribute.

Sum of Us is an anthology of stories about the complexities of caregiving, explored through the lens of speculative fiction. That sounds specific, I realize, but it is something that is more fundamental than that: care, connections, community, responsibility for the sum of a people, rather than just the self…. these are things that inform all stories – or should – and I was really invested in exploring it.

I came up with my story immediately, inspired by my father’s attitude towards his own end of life (when it should come, which is hopefully not for ages and ages.) The elders in my life have been curmudgeons and grumps to a man, the sort of people who don’t want to be cared for and who stubbornly intend to raise hell until the moment they (presumably) spontaneously combust, leaving nothing to bury. These are people who, in my opinion, have a lot of energy to harness for grand adventures.

“Orang Tua Adventure Home Academy” is the story of one such curmudgeon who turns up on a beach in Penang, intending to vanish into the jungle, and winds up being pressed into some 17th century hydrodynamic engineering. This story wrote itself. I had so munch fun, and love my characters to pieces.

When I got the final TOC this week, my heart nearly exploded. I am in fantastic company. I genuinely can’t wait to see how this batch of geniuses engage our empathy. Check it out:

Foreword, Lucas K. Law
Introduction, Dominik Parisien
The Dunschemin Retirement Home for Repentant Supervillains, Ian Creasey
Bottleneck, A.M. Dellamonica
Mother Azalea’s Sad Home for Forgotten Adults, James Van Pelt
Things that Creep and Bind, Christie Yant
The Gift, Bev Geddes
The Gatekeeper, Juliet Marillier
The Healer’s Touch, Colleen Anderson
The Crystal Harvester, Brenda Cooper
The Burdens We Bear, Hayden Trenholm
A Mother’s Milk, Heather Osborne
The Mother’s Keepers, Edward Willett
The Oracle and the Warlord, Karina Sumner-Smith
The Beautiful Gears of Dying, Sandra Kasturi
The Gardener, Amanda Sun
Number One Draft Pick, Claire Humphrey
Orang Tua Adventure Home Academy, Charlotte Ashley
Sunshine of Your Love,- Nisi Shawl
Good-bye is that Time between Now and Forever, Matt Moore
Ambassador to the Meek, Alex Shvartsman
Gone Flying, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm
Am I Not a Proud Outlier?, Kate Story
Blinders, Tyler Keevil
Dreams as Fragile as Glass, Caroline M. Yoachim
Afterword, Susan Forest

Anyway, Sum of Us is due out on September 8th, 2017. You can pre-order the book directly from the publisher, Laksa Media. The official launch will be at When Worlds Collide in Calgary, AB in August. I won’t be there (unless someone wants to fly me out there, ha ha ha) but I’ll be at various Ontario launch parties. Watch for it!

March 13, 2017

Event Horizon 2017 – A Free Campbellian Anthology

I blogged earlier this month about the Campbell Award, offering a suggestion or two for who you might want to nominate for it (including me). My list was short n’ sweet, being mostly stellar and very high-profile writers who have shot out into the field like a bundle of fireworks, but it was far from comprehensive. There are dozens of writers who have done some absolutely heartbreaking work in the last two years. Choosing a ballot of 5 is tough work.

But Jake Kerr and Shirtsleeve Press managed to pull of a miracle. Over the course of about a week, they have pulled together Event Horizon 2017: An Anthology of Authors Eligible for the John W. Campbell Award. This free anthology includes the work of over 75 authors eligible for the Campbell award – some 400,000 words of fiction, some of which is being offered for free for the first time.

This includes my short story “A Fine Balance,” which can otherwise only be read on the paper pages of the Nov/Dec 2016 F&SF and the forthcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2017.

Event Horizon will only be available for a limited time. This link will disappear on July 15, 2017. But that is plenty of time to give it a skim and pick your Campbell nominees! You can nominate for the Campbell Award (and the other Hugo Awards) up until March 17th, 2017.

You have nothing to lose! Download the book for a tonne of great reading and an introduction to your next favourite authors. Enjoy!

March 2, 2017

In Which I Am Eligible for the Campbell Award

It’s awards season!

I have been keeping an eye on the award eligibility posts of others in my field, and I think I have the hang of what is expected.  Modesty is the name of the game, fellow Earthlings, and I am nothing if not modest.  Everyone tells me how modest I am. I’m also the most humble. Ask anyone.

I don’t deserve any awards, I’m pretty sure. Personally, I hate my work. Everyone does. The cool people, anyway. Everyone else’s writing is better than mine, probably; if there is even such a thing as quality in art, which there isn’t. Awards are just excuses for fancy parties and circle jerks. Nobody likes those. If I was nominated for any awards, I would refuse them; at first anyway, until you FORCED me to accept them.

On my honour, I have stood impassively in my bubble of authenticity, merely breathing art for its own sake. If any of it happened to make it out into the wider world, I promise that was only an accident, or maybe the unavoidable march of its genius. They published it, not me. I donated my fee to puppies. I never even read it, myself. Oh, you read it? Well, there’s no accounting for taste.

*record scratch*

*struggles not to laugh*

Okay, okay. OKAY.

There is exactly one reason I started writing: because I love my writing. I wanted to read particular stories told in a particular way, so I wrote them myself. I knew just how to craft each character and just how to turn each scene because I needed them to be like that for my own satisfaction, for my own enjoyment. It has been the greatest joy of the last two years to discover that the stories I write resonate not just with me, but with other people – a lot of other people.

My first story to appear in a major publication was “La Héron” in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in early 2015. This story went on to be nominated for both the Aurora Award and the Sunburst Award, and was picked up for podcasting by PodCastle last summer. This was a pretty great start, but 2016 beat that start by a mile.

First, I had my second F&SF appearance with my Quebec Revolution novelette, “More Heat Than Light,” in May 2016.

In June, “La Clochemar” appeared in Clockwork Canada ed. Dominik Parisien, garnering some fantastic reviews.

In August, “La Héron” went up at PodCastle.

In September, Haralambi Markov featured me in his Tor.com column, “Innumerable Voices.”

In October, I undertook a musical collaboration, writing and performing “Distant Skies” with the Junction Trio.

Then, in November, the publication of “A Fine Balance” marked my 3rd appearance in F&SF. Soon after, I placed the story in Rich Horton’s forthcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2017.

In between I sold reprints, did readings, talked at conventions, gave workshops, and joined writer’s groups. I wrote more, sold more, and took on more challenges than ever before. I kicked ass and took names. Not bad for my second year as a professional writer.

My stories are eligible for a variety of awards this year, but what has made me most proud over the last couple of years is not any one story, but the trajectory of my career in general. I decided I wanted to be a writer, and I am doing it. Not only that, I’m doing it well.  I could not be happier with my progress so far, nor could I be more excited about what the future has in store for me.

That’s why the award I am shilling for today is the John W. Campbell Award.

The Campbell Award is a companion of the Hugo Awards, awarded to the ” best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of the two previous years.” I am in my 2nd and last year of eligibility for the Campbell. I would appreciate your nomination.

To nominate for the Campbell (as well as the other Hugos!) you must be a member of the 2016, 2017, or 2018 WorldCon. If you were a supporting member of any of these conventions, you will have received your nomination link! If you join WorldCon 2017 (to be held in Helsinki, Finland) now, you will be eligible to vote for the awards, but not nominate. They will close to nominations on March 18th, 2017.

I hope you will consider me.

And me? Well, okay, *I* am pretty great, but I get to nominate 5 people! Here’s your bonus today – my Campbell ballot. Aside from myself, I will be nominating:

Kelly Robson

Roshani Chokshi

Cassandra Khaw

Tamara Vardomskaya

Cheers, everyone!

November 24, 2016

November, Continued.

I didn’t mean for this to be The Month With Everything. But sometimes, when it rains, it pours, and all I can do is try to keep up with the deluge. So here we go…

“A Fine Balance” in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017!

The headline pretty much says it all! My latest F&SF story, “A Fine Balance,” has been picked up for a Year’s Best! I got this news a mere two weeks ago when I was in dire need of a pick-me up, and I’m still flying.

For the full Table of Contents, check out Black Gate. The book should be published in June 2017 and available in bookstores everywhere. You can even pre-order it soon!

“Eleusinian Mysteries” in You Are Here: Tales of Cartographic Wonders!

You Are Here is the latest anthology put together by the amazing folks of SFFWorld, and I’m pleased to be able to say that it includes my story “Eleusinian Mysteries.” This is the tale of a 17th century engraver who finds a map of the moon.

You Are Here is available as an ebook now! You can get it from:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

This Weekend in Toronto! A Workshop, Some Music, the Distant Skies

The Festival of House Culture wraps up this weekend, but my two events are yet to come. If you find yourself in Toronto this weekend, you can join me at 7:30pm on Friday, November the 25th for Words and Music 1, an evening of writing and music. Bring your work in progress for some workshopping, and enjoy some jazz while you are at it! Entry is PWYC. Check out the Facebook event for more details.

Then, on Saturday at 5pm, the Junction Trio & guests will be mounting our second performance of Distant Skies! This showing will be at CrossFit Lugal on St. Clair (right at Landsdowne) and will be more intimate than the first concert. Bring folding chairs or cushions, if you like, though there will be plenty of gym-equipment seating. You can RSVP for this show also on Facebook.

Hope to see you!

November 17, 2016

SFContario This Weekend!

Never one to let a fresh haircut go to waste, I will be reading at SFContario this weekend! This is traditionally Toronto’s “downtown convention,” but this year the organizers decided to take a bit of a breather and scale the event down. “Fannish Stone Soup” is this year’s theme, meaning it’ll be whatever it is, given the ingredients. Think of it as an extended BarCon!

The ingredients are looking pretty great, though. The Con Suite will open at 5pm Friday night for socializing, with most “special guests” booked for Saturday. Saturday’s line up is as follows:

2:00 PM — Tonya Liburd
3:00 PM — Charlotte Ashley (that’s me)
4:00 PM — Herb Kauderer
5:00 PM — Caitlin Sweet and Peter Watts
6:00 PM — Kari Maaren
7:00 PM — Peggi Warner-Lalonde

Earlier in the day, expect a variety of silly and fun activities, including sugary cereal breakfast in the Con Suite, electrifying pickles, and the David Hartwell Memorial Fancy Tie Contest.

For my part, I will be reading some or all of my latest F&SF story, “A Fine Balance,” and talking about ACTION SCENES! I’ll have copies of my stories on hand for sale, and flyers for the next Distant Skies show. For all SFContario-related info, visit http://www.sfcontario.ca/ or follow them @SFContario on Twitter!

November 7, 2016

Nov/Dec 2016 F&SF Now Available!

It’s here! The November/December 2016 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which includes my story, “A Fine Balance,” is in stores now!

A Fine Balance” by Charlotte Ashley is a twisting and turning political story where the politics are based upon duels… This was well written and quite enjoyable.” – Bob Blough @ Tangent Online

A Fine Balance” has taken all that made “La Héron” exceptional, perfected it, and distilled it.” – Haralambi Markov @ Tor.com

If your local magazine shop doesn’t carry it, you can get paper copies and subscriptions directly from F&SF at: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1611.htm

NEW! You can now get DRM-free issues & subscriptions from Weightless Books!

Amazon sells the Kindle edition, of course.

If you are an SFWA member, you can check out any of F&SF’s stories in the Nebula forums.

WORST CASE? You can buy one from me! I’ll be widely available to the public myself this month.

You can join me at the first performance of “Distant Skies” with the Junction Trio at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, November 16th 2016.

You can come see me read & chat at SFContario 6 66/100 at 3 pm on Saturday, November 19th 2016.

Or maybe you’d like to join me for an evening of writing workshopping and jazz as part of the Festival 0f House Culture at 7:30 pm on Friday, November the 25th 2016.

Or maybe you’d prefer to come to the 2nd performance of “Distant Skies” on Saturday, November 26th, 2016, at CrossFit Lugal.

I will have copies of all my back issues of F&SF at these shows, as well as copies of Clockwork Canada. I’d be pleased to see you anywhere!

October 24, 2016

November!

Okay, DON’T PANIC. It isn’t November yet. We are all still living, physically, in October – scrambling for last-minute Halloween costumes, buying Dollarama Halloween decor for everyday living [mugs and candlesticks AMIRITE] – but my brain has been in November for months now. I’ve got publications, shows, conventions, more shows, and a workshop coming up. The dreary rains of November have never seemed so exciting – for me.

A New Story @ F&SF!

I have a new short story out in a week! “A Fine Balance” is the story of two perfectly-matched legendary duelists who find their rivalry is being meddled with by persons unknown. Chases, escapes, daring duels and miraculous feats! You know, the usual. Over at Tor.com, Haralambi Markov says:

“A Fine Balance” has taken all that made “La Héron” exceptional, perfected it, and distilled it.

The Nov/Dec 2016 issue of F&SF should hit newsstands everywhere on November 1st!

Reading at SFContario 6!

Can’t find a copy of F&SF in time? I will be reading “A Fine Balance” at this year’s “Fannish Stone Soup” iteration of SFContario. I will be there on Saturday, November 19th 2016 as well as, probably, the meet-and-greet on Friday.

In addition to reading, I will be talking a little bit about physicality in SFF literature, exploring how we can use action to talk about broader themes of ableism, militarism, gender roles, bullying, and more. Come on out – this should be an intimate and chatty little gathering. Just some fun.

A New Work – With Music!

I will be debuting a new story, “Distant Skies,” in collaboration with The Junction Trio, on Wednesday, November 16th 2016 at 7:30pm, St. Anne’s Anglican Church (270 Gladstone Ave. Toronto.) I will perform this story live as a dramatic reading and concert, featuring the chamber music of the Junction Trio, a new composition by Ivana Popovic, and a guest theremin player!

Marrit Shaw’s life was promised to others centuries ago. Genetic, heritable contracts called “body promises” haunt every decision she makes. What choices are truly her own, and which were coded into her by her forefathers? Marrit is determined to fight to keep her people free from their genetic obligations, but looming on the horizon is her body promise to a generation ship which has just returned from a 200-year voyage.

Follow the Junction Trio on Facebook for more on them and their work!

And If You Miss The First Show…

We will be performing “Distant Skies” a SECOND TIME! The second performance will be held at CrossFit Lugal (1331 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto) as part of the Festival of House Culture on Saturday, November 26th, 2016 @ 5pm. This performance might just make a little more use of the space, and involve a bit of an acrobatic element. WE WILL SEE. 😉

Writing Workshop + Culture!

And finally… also as part of the Festival of House Culture, I will be running a small writing workshop on Friday, November 25th, 2016 (location TBA.) Here’s the pitch:

Bring your works in progress to this 2h writing workshop hosted by editor, critic, bookseller, and author, Charlotte Ashley!

Your host will read, anonymously, the first 250 words (approximately 1 page) of each manuscript out loud. Participants will then be invited to provide friendly and constructive feedback, led and moderated by the host. Issues of style, craft, and marketability will all be addressed. Come ready to ask questions and share experiences!

We will conclude with a general question and answer session, addressing a writer’s life, from outlining to publication. Writers of all levels, genres, styles, and mediums are encouraged to attend!

The writing workshop will likely be paired with another House Culture performer, so in addition to some writing work & talk, you will get some [probably musical] entertainment as well. I don’t see how this can go wrong!

Phew! Right? Yah, I’m a busy bee. But I like it that way. As ever, I’m always happy to hear from people in the comments or by email. Don’t be shy – I am people people!

July 27, 2016

“La Héron” to be Podcast!

I have a confession about podcasts:

I have never listened to a podcast.

I want to, I really do. I have no objection to the medium. I have so many wonderfully talented friends who have established themselves as serious, successful podcasters and I would love to listen to their art. But my life has become an audio-free zone – I work in a bookstore that is frequently mistaken for a library; quiet and solemn as a monastery. I commute with children and need to be alert and unplugged so as not to lose them. I somehow fell through the technological cracks when radios and CDs went out of style, and I have no way of streaming audio in my home. I have downloaded gigabytes of podcasts onto my (silent, muted) laptop, optimistically filing them away to be listened to “eventually”, but here I am, a 20-year veteran of the internet, and I have never listened to a single one.

That is going to change, because I have just sold the audio rights to “La Héron”.

Yeppers! The ink is fresh on the contract. The story that first appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of F&SF, will soon be produced by PodCastle in audio form! Date and narrator tbd (watch this space) but you had better believe I am going to go out of my way to listen to this one. I will rent the headphones if I have to.

*

Speaking of “La Héron”, the voting period has closed for the Aurora Awards. The final tally will be announced at When Worlds Collide/Canvention 36 in Calgary, AB the weekend of August 12-14th, 2016. Thank you to all of you who nominated me, and even bigger thanks if you voted for me! I am as excited as hell for my pin, to say nothing of any hopes of winning.

In case you missed it, “La Héron” was also selected by the Sunburst Awards jury for the shortlist! No voting involved here: the decision is now in the hands of the judges. The Sunburst winners will be announced September 14th, 2016. Squee!

June 16, 2016

It’s Awards Season in Canada!

It’s heeeeeere! Voting for the Prix Aurora Awards has finally opened, and I get to go make ticky-marks next to some of my best, most favourite people in Canadian SFF. And you could too – actually, AS A MATTER OF FACT – you have now the rare opportunity to put a ticky-mark next to me! My short story, La Héron“, is up for Best Short Story-English.

Between now and midnight EST on July 23rd, 2016, you can download the voter’s packet & vote for the best of Canadian SFF if you are a CSFFA member. Just visit http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/, log in to your account (or, hell, join and make an account) and play along. The awards will be given out at When Worlds Collide in Calgary, Alberta the weekend of August 12-14th, 2016.

Speaking of Canadian awards… “La Héron” has also been longlisted for the Sunburst Award in their new short fiction category! The short list will be announced July 5th, and the winners September 14th. The list is spectacular, including some of the best writers in the world, full-stop. There’s nothing you can do to help my chances here, but thank you for asking. I’ll have my fingers crossed at home.

 

April 20, 2016

In Which I Am Behind On News

It’s funny: I am phenomenally good at reporting trivial news. If a customer buys me a coffee? I come home gibbering to my partner like I won the lottery. I will tell anyone I meet about how my daughter learned to do a handstand. My new kitchen faucet? Don’t get me started. This is a BIG DEAL. It’s CLEAN and SHINY and CHROME. You won’t believe it, this faucet.

Big news? The act of passing it along gives me a kind of performance anxiety. If the faucet’s deserving of the operatic treatment, what is left for a kitchen renovation?

I didn’t renovate my kitchen. But I was nominated for an Aurora Award.

So that’s the first thing. I am incredibly excited, despite my subdued appearance, that “La Héron” will be one of the six finalists for “Best English Short Fiction“. The awards will be given out at Canvention 36, hosted by When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta on the weekend of August 12-14th 2016.

I don’t think I will be there unless a Mysterious Benefactor wants to pony up for a plane ticket, but I will be cheering from a distance. I will also be voting! All CSFFA members are allowed to vote for their favourites in each category. And if you don’t know who to vote for? There will be a voter’s packet released to members by June 15th 2016. “La Héron” will be in the packet; one more way to read the story for free.

So let me tell you about May.

I have two stories coming out on May 1st. The first, “La Clochemar”, is in Clockwork Canada ed. Dominik Parisien. In celebration, I will be attending two – count ’em, TWO – launches in early May. The first will be at Ad Astra on Friday, April 30th, 9pm-11pm, in the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel. All the cool kids will be there, so hopefully you will be too.

The second will be the publisher’s launch on Tuesday, May 10th at the Supermarket Restaurant & Bar in Toronto. Even MORE cool kids will be there. I will be reading from my story at both events.


But wait! There’s more!

My novelette “More Heat Than Light” is out next month in the May/June 2016 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction! Welcome to an alternative Republic of Quebec, where the French Revolution was taken up enthusiastically by the new colony’s many residents. But hostilities against the English continue, and the wilderness is full of very large, very hungry critters who are waiting for this precarious new world order to come crashing down…

The issue should hit newsstands May 1st, at which time you can buy it in stores or in e-format from Amazon.

And finally, a sale. F&SF has also offered to be a home for my newest swashbuckling romp, “A Fine Balance.” This is the tale of two perfectly-matched legendary duellists who find their rivalry is being meddled with by persons unknown. Chases, escapes, daring duels and miracle feats! You know, the usual.

The release date is TBA, but hopefully I will make that announcement more promptly than I have managed to make those above.

Crazy, hey? Thanks for catching up with me!

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