Monthly Archives: October 2013


National Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) begins November 1st and has participants working towards a goal of a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30.


I have never participated in NaNoWriMo. I’ve googled it, though. Some writers come out for (yes, let us push ourselves to new limits!) and some come out against (you can’t rush the muse!)

If you are thinking about participating, a great plus is the sense of community. On the NaNoWriMo website, under their local events tab, you can select your region and scroll through their social calendar. In Toronto, for example, in addition to “write-ins” they have karaoke and a “geeky book swap”. (I might have to crash that one…) They also have letters of encouragement from published authors. The pep talk from Audrey Niffengger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, is a fav of mine as well as Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, who says “When in doubt, just add ninjas. (Ninjas do not need to be actual ninjas.) (But they can be.)”

If you do decide to sign up, I highly recommend Adrian Faulkner’s Fantasy Faction article on how to use NaNoWriMo as your RD department.

If I’m honest, I will probably never participate in NaNoWriMo. I have tried to keep quotas in the past and it just doesn’t work. Not because I freeze up and not because I’m not willing to write badly (boy am I ever!) but because it’s just not my process. I need brainstorming time and daydreaming time. Sometimes I write many words a day, some days I write hardly any. It’s not for me. But I will wish any and all who sign up the very best! Enjoy October while it lasts. Soon you’ll have some serious work to do.

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Dee Tales: Keys Found Keys

57 - Keys Found Keys

Dee Tales are whimsical stories inspired by photographs taken with my i-phone. A tiny story for you, a wee sense of accomplishment for me. Enjoy.

Cupid lost his keys.

Everyone thinks he uses arrows but that’s not true. “A heart,” he says “Is a door with many locks. Vulnerability, trust, friendship, they each have to be unlocked at a certain time.” Each person, therefore, needs many keys.

How he loses so many keys at once I really don’t know. I’ll have to keep a better eye on him.

That, and get him a cell phone.

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Interview: Chris Szego

On Harbord Street just west of Spadina is quite possibly the most awesome bookstore that ever existed. There’s nothing fancy about its design and its not massive in size, but it exclusively houses science fiction and fantasy books. (What?!)

Bakka Phoenix Books opened in 1972 and is Canada’s oldest SF&F bookstore. (The name, Bakka, was taken from Frank Herbert’s Dune, and means ‘the weeper who mourns for all mankind’. Intense!) Be sure to check out their website for new releases and special events.

I contacted Manager Chris Szego who was kind enough to answer a few questions.

Tell us a bit about your gig. How do you go about choosing stock? How do you work with authors?

Since we’re located in Toronto, all the major publishers send reps to talk to me and we go through the catalogues together. As for working with authors, we host events all the time – readings, launches, panel discussions, etc.

Vampires are out. Zombies are in. What do you predict will be the next big trend?

First, I have to report that vampires are not out. They’re never out. Zombies are out (please, let them be out!). As for trends, they’re hard to predict (and even harder to create). But the desire for solid stories and real characters never goes out of style.

Fans of sci-fi/fantasy are very passionate about their favs. Have you or a member of your staff ever been involved in a heated debate? About which book?

We read, write, and talk about books. That’s what we do. We have intense discussions all the time. Generally not in the sense of ‘angry’; more in the sense of ‘involved’.

The store has had some bad luck recently with a flood, a break-in and now working around construction. Is Bakka cursed?

The floods and the construction are linked and seem to have been solved (…did you hear that roof? You’re fixed! No more leaks!). As for the break in, it happens. If you run a business in a major city sooner or later it’s going to happen. Better than when we were still located on Yonge Street. When the Leafs would lose in the playoffs random jackwagons would walk up the street kicking in all the doors.

What new releases are you super excited about?

Republic of Thieves is the 3rd book in Scott Lynch’s ‘Gentlemen Bastards’ series and it has finally arrived! Scott himself will be on hand for our Sorta-Annual-Christmas party on December 14th. You should come too!

I’ll be there!

Bakka Phoenix Books – 84 Harbord Street, Toronto
Monday through Friday: 11AM to 7PM
Saturday: 11AM to 6PM
Sunday: Noon to 5PM

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Thank You!


Today is Canadian Thanksgiving!

…It’s the same as American Thanksgiving. Lots of eating, drinking and napping. It just happens earlier in the year.

So what am I grateful for? I’m grateful for every reader and follower. And in the spirit of thankfulness, I would like to ask you, the reader, the follower, what would YOU like to see on this site? More contests? More writing tips? More Dee Tales? Comment on this article and let me know!

Happy Thanksgiving.

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My Own Bookshelf Porn

Some of you may have been to my links page and clicked on Bookshelf Porn. (If you haven’t, for the love of God do so now!)

There are many, many, wonderful bookstores in Toronto worthy of Bookshelf Porn. Elliot’s is one of them.


Elliot’s is a used bookstore at Yonge and Wellesley. They have three floors of book goodness including a very impressive fantasy/sci-fi section.



Elliot’s… You have made my Bookshelf Porn. Congratulations!


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