I’ll be at Can-Con 2018!

It’s getting close to that time when my favourite annual conference happens! I’ll be doing a reading and will sit on two panels this year at The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature, also known as Can-Con. Their 2018 schedule looks really interesting, too!

can-conCan-Con 2018 will be held from October 12-14, 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel, Ottawa, Canada. See Can-Con’s website for more info!

I love Can-Con because I not only get to spend time with author buds who live elsewhere, and it’s like a great big family reunion (that doesn’t suck), but I also get to meet more people. It’s such a great place to learn about writing, publishing, own-voice perspectives, and more. There’s also a pretty awesome vendors room, too, where you can buy books and get them signed. They even have pitch sessions with agents and publishers!

I’ll always hold Can-Con in a special place in my heart because that’s where I met my first book (Life in the ’Cosm) in person for the first time! It made its debut on the Renaissance table that year! And I gave my very first public reading at Can-Con, too! Good times.

Can-Con 2016 was also where I noticed a lot of writers who used mobility devices, and it got me thinking, These are only the disabilities I can see. I bet there are more folks who manage invisible disabilities. And two months later, I launched The Spoonie Authors Network. (It’ll be two years old this November!)

Wanna listen to me or meet me?

I’ll be around most of the conference, but here is where you can listen to me read or talk about stuff on panels:

Always refer to the Can-Con website for the latest schedule!

Friday October 12, 2018—Alice Unbound Readings (5:00-5:50 p.m.)

Join me and authors Geoff GanderKate Heartfield, Elizabeth Hosang, Dominik Parisien, and Andrew A. Sutherland to listen to excerpts of our short stories from the Alice Unbound Beyond Wonderland anthology!

Saturday October 13, 2018—So We Should Talk: Critiquing Without Bloodshed (6:00-6:50 p.m.)

I’ll have my editing hat on and so will my BFF, Talia. With us both on the same panel, what could possibly go wrong? *cough*

Can-Con’s Panel Description:

It might be up there with getting a root canal or sleeping in a room full of spiders, but critiques can be essential to the writing process. A well-delivered critique leads to a much-improved manuscript. This panel explores how to deliver criticism in a constructive way, and how to find people to give you that necessary root canal. Anita DolmanCait GordonTalia C. JohnsonDouglas SmithCosti Gurgu (Moderator).

Sunday October 14, 2018—Frankenstein, an Assemblage of Flesh (12:00-12:30 p.m.)

I’m giddy with excitement as I am such a huge fangirl of Mary Shelley and love Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus to bits. (My short story, The Hilltop Gathering will be in the We Shall Be Monsters anthology, edited by Derek Newman-Stille!)

Can-Con’s Panel Description:

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is celebrating its 200th anniversary. The monster is the ultimate outsider, rejected from humanity at every encounter; it is a sewn together assemblage of flesh, a quilted mosaic of bodies, and this integration of parts allows it to be a figure who is read to be multi-gendered, multi-racial, multi-sexual, and multi-ethnic. Panelists will explore the multiple adaptations and re-imaginings that have made Mary Shelley’s creation so changeable and so continually relevant to our society and the way we think about marginalized people. JF GarrardCait GordonDerek Newman-StilleCaighlan SmithSean Moreland (Moderator)

Hope to see you there!

It’s really such a blast. If you’re coming, I hope we run into each other!


Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Cait has recently submitted the prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Knightly and Vivoxx Tirowen. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake.

 

Crossing My Path

It’s time for September’s flash fiction, as incited by the amazing author, ’Nathan Burgoine. I really didn’t think I’d be able to participate, as I am recovering from neck and shoulder injuries, but I did a thing! Sorta. (Suspense is not my gift.)

Our genre is suspense, the object a money bag, and the location is a border crossing. Read ’Nathan’s original challenge post here.

ebook cover
ID: Canvas bag cloth with stenciled words: Crossing My Path, a suspense flash fiction by Cait Gordon

“Brubacher!”

Immediately after I screamed his name twice more, the blackout engulfed the entire area. Don’t you hate it when you think your words can somehow conjure up shit like this? I didn’t cause the blackout, right? No, that’s silly.

With all the Drumpftastic tweets over the last—How long has Orange Vader been in office? Four, five hundred years?—I’ve come to loathe this job at the US-Canada border crossing. At least I’m on the Canadian side, which is my way of saying I’m grateful to be Canadian. Because reasons. Like the celebration of diversity. And poutine. Maybe also not fearing getting my head blasted off by a toddler with an assault rifle. Lastly, hockey. A Canadian without ice skates is like an American without a hand gun—extremely rare.1

Why am I going off on this tangent? Right, because there’s a blackout, I’ve lost track of my partner’s whereabouts, and I really need to pee. Just before Bru took off on his break—leaving me alone at the only primary inspections booth at this pitifully unused crossing—we received an urgent message. A perp careening into a psychotic break stole some funds from an armoured truck before escaping on foot, just ten kilometres from here.

Where are all the cars tonight? At least headlights would brighten up the place, making it less creepy or prone to visits by unhinged crooks carting money bags. Get it together, Suzanne. You’ve got training, and you’ve a blackbelt. Stop acting like a ’fraidy-cat.

I really hate the dark.

Oh, wait! I feel around the counter for my flashlight. Voilà! I bang it against the counter to switch it on. Nothing. I try again. Franchement?! How the hell can I even do my job without a functioning flashlight? After swearing out loud in both official languages, my fingertips find some new batteries. I unscrew the compartment, remembering to touch where the positive nipple thing is—What? That’s what I call it—so I know how to insert the fresh batteries. There. All done.

I bang my flashlight once again and behold, there is a glow! De-lighted with myself, I look up.

Only to illuminate a pasty, chiseled face with glaring green eyes and a toothy grin.

I scream.

Boisterous laughter fills my booth as the door opens. I dash out, pushing aside the man I vow to despise for the rest of my life.

“Where you going, Suze?” shouts Bru.

“Toilet. Then back straight away to rip off your nuts with my bare hands.”

“I love it when you talk dirty!”

*

Ahhh. There’s nothing like a pee that feels like it’s draining right from your kidneys, is there? I must admit, I take a certain amount of pride in my pelvic floor muscles. That spook from Bru should have covered me in my own urine.

I wash and dry my hands, then dart out the door, only to trip on an object right in my path. Down I go, blocking most of the impact with my palms, but not without a good crack at my knee. It hurts, but I’ll live. I manage to turn myself on my butt and catch a glimpse of the thing that knocked me down. A canvas bag, with writing on it: Currency. If found, please return to

The lights go out a second time.

What the fuck?

I’m not alone. I can hear someone breathing heavily. As if they’ve been running … for about 10km.

Many people can adapt to the dark quickly. Me, not so much. I’ve night blindness. Something about a Vitamin A deficiency. This is specifically why I never take the night shift, but Lewis was sick and they were short-staffed. Besides, I had Brubacher for backup. “Brubackup,” he’d called it. Knob.

This can’t be Bru beside me, as he wouldn’t have left our booth unmanned. Or unguarded. Why I can’t remember to use gender-neutral terms is beyond me. I’m a feminist, for frig’s sake. Patriarchal or masculine terms are only going to—um, I’m going off on another tangent, aren’t I?

“Who’s there?” Is that the smartest question to ask? I mean, does anyone really want to know the answer?

No reply. There’s no reply at all. Great. Phil Colins is now inside my head. Focus, Suzanne, dammit!

I hear movement. I think he’s crouching, because his breath sounds closer to my ears. Another scream wants to burst out of my vocal chords, but I manage to keep it in. His breath is shockingly fresh, like he swallowed a tub of Canada Mints. He’s really close to me. I can feel the air from his lungs brushing my cheek.

“Watch, it buddy. I know karate!”

A laugh, but only through the nose. More breath snorts against my skin.

I inhale and will myself to hurl a punch in the direction of the perp, but it’s a useless swing. I lose my balance and fall over. Not onto him, which is odd, because I was close enough to have landed right on him. I prop myself up again. My knee’s throbbing.

The lights come on.

I’m alone in the hall.

No man. No money bag.

Again, what the fuck?

*

I limp out of the door of the main building and jump at the sound of impatient horns. There’s a lineup of three whole cars at the booth I share with Bru. Only, he’s not there. It’s empty.

With a wince, I step inside. My heart races as I breathe in spearmint. On the seat is a canvas bag, with writing on it. I try to find some saliva to swallow as I watch trembling fingers wrestle with the binding.

HONK!

I leap in fright. Leaning over the mic, I bark, “One second, please!”

The bag is filled with little green candies. There’s a crisp twenty sitting on the top with a message for me:

Sorry to leave you in the dark. Found a new partner who’s worth a mint.

I call for actual backup.


Crossing My Path © 2018 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.1I can’t remember if I heard that joke somewhere in the mid-90s or I made it up. Sorry, if it’s someone else’s joke. I’d credit you!


Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Cait has recently submitted the prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Knightly and Vivoxx Tirowen. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake.

WIP Wars: I have made a decision!

Okay, so I now have a writing schedule that totally makes sense to me. I realized this week that I’ll be much better equipped to continue writing Iris and the Crew Tear Space a New One in late 2019 or early 2020. I have a really exciting new collaboration that we hope to announce in late September, which will take up a lot of my headspace for a super cool reason.

This means I will complete the first draft of Life in Another ’Cosm first, making it my NaNoWriMo 2018 project. I feel really good about my choice and think Iris and the Crew will get the attention they deserve next year. I’m kind of in love with Iris and the crew of the S.S. Sp00nZ and think it’s going to be a really fun ride. But my other manuscript is calling, and I love those characters, too.

Just as a refresher, Life in Another ’Cosm: Jinny from the Blog is the first sequel to Life in the ’Cosm. I’ve affectionately nicknamed the book The ’Cosm Breakfast Club. My books can be like times capsules for me, and I’m calling on my love for the 80s movies I watched as a teen for this novel—keeping the tropes I liked but discarding the ones that don’t fit with how I see things today. This story has adolescent aliens and a wise tree with an attitude who issues an oracle. Although there are many new characters, Virj, Noola, Xax, and Viv are back, too:

book cover
Book cover concept: Space background with baby bottle flying like a rocket.

Jinny’s parents are so in love, it’s really gross. Thankfully, her warrior grandpops are epic. Malley High is ugh, Jayke is ughier, but Selma’s pretty okay for someone donned in 50 shades of black. To cope with all the meh, Jinny spends her free time blogging about her microcosm. Her pointless existence goes snoozily along until the morning she meets a four-armed musician on the bus flight to school. She wants to get to know them but realizes she’s forgotten her Geology homework. Skipping first class to scrounge around a quarry, Jinny finds a solid specimen inside an abandoned vessel. The only problem is, this rock poops.

(This is the draft blurb and cover concept.)

I’m looking forward to reuniting with my teens, who have been patiently waiting for me to come back to their story. But seeing as how I’ve taken time away from them to write The Stealth Lovers, they forgive me. Because they think Xax and Viv are awesome.

So, yay! I have a plan of attack. Let’s see if it flies!

And thanks to all of you who have told me on social media that you have bounced around with deciding on what WIP to tackle next. It helps knowing I’m not alone.


Cait GordonCait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Cait has recently submitted the prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Knightly and Vivoxx Tirowen. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake.