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Making a Living: More Potent than a Toxic Beetle

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Making a Living, by Caroline Fréchette

How am I supposed to resist reading a book that begins with, “When Nathan came to, the dead girl was crying. He was relatively sure she wasn’t supposed to do that.”?

Let me explain the title of this review. Last Thursday while I was taking a walk and about to take a sip of juice, a small beetle flew into my mouth. (Tasted terrible and I got puffy. The little begger is fine. I spit him out.) After a doc confirmed I was only suffering from an inflammatory response to the beetle’s coating, I went home. So, here I was exhausted, swollen, and lying in bed. I picked up Making a Living. Not even suffering from beetle toxin could make me put this book down. I even managed to stay awake through Benadryl!

Omigosh, what a great read this was. I gobbled it up like a burrito.

The first page made me feel like I’d just walked into a room wanting to say, “Oh, um, I think I’m interrupting something.” Because we’re put right into the middle of an uh-oh situation. We meet Nathan, the mistrusting soul who is completely unaware that anything good has ever existed in the world, and Annie, the undead ghoul scientist who still has a brilliantly functioning brain. They live in the time decades after a meteorite hit, which killed many people and turned them into zombies—mostly brain-dead zombies. But Annie is different. She not only has a brain, but a heart. Even though she drains some lifeforce out of Nathan so her body can remain intact, she does so remorsefully. Her goal is not to kill the living, but to make herself alive again.

And Nathan? Dude got some crazy powers. He can talk to electronics. Electricity also revives him, when it would normally kill us. This guy actually can stick his fingers in the sockets. I love how his computer is sentient, and his friend. Oliver also gets ticked off when Nathan forgets to plug him in. Quite a rational pet peeve, really.

The story is about how Nathan and Annie work together towards her goal. But stuff happens. Yeah, stuff. That’s what I have to write so I don’t give anything away.

All I want to say is read it! READ IT! REEEEEEEEEAD IT! The characters and world-building just sucked me right in. So many times I said, “Okay, one more chapter and then I’m going to sleep.” Nope. Usually ended up being three more chapters. Or four. Or five.

Making a Living has a perfect pace, without any lulls. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed it.

Word of warning, though. You might get food cravings. I know I did.

Burritos for all!

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network,  a blog featuring writers with disabilities and/or chronic illness. She also likes cupcakes.

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Life in the ’Cosm and the Aurora Awards

“It’s a pleasure to be nominated.”

That’s supposed to be the go-to line for awards nights, when people don’t win. But you know what? It is super cool to be possibly eligible for a 2017 Prix Aurora Award in the Novel Category. Because I wrote a book! With words in it and everything!

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Life in the ’Cosm is the first novel of a three-book series. A space tale filled with love, adventure, and an unusual amount of dessert.

There are a lot of good books on the Aurora eligibility lists. At this point I sincerely am thrilled to be in such good company. I also want to shout out to my fellow Renaissance peeps for their eligibility, too, because they’re awesome authors:

For those who follow this blog, you know that I manage a disability with severe neuropathy and brain fog. So, being able to complete a manuscript was a triumph in itself. I won a victory as soon as I had something that was submittable. Getting published and seeing the book on my coffee table right now—that’s my trophy. The physical copy of my book is a giant EFF YOU to fibromyalgia.

I also began the Spoonie Authors Network in November 2016, in hopes of gathering other authors and writers who love words and manage disabilities and/or chronic illness. As of today, there are ten contributors, including myself, sharing their life and writing journeys. Each guest blogger’s article is like receiving an award, because I feel so encouraged by these writers’ openness and honesty. Their realness is like receiving an unexpected gift.

But yeah, having navigated the nebula of my chronically-fatigued mind to write a coherent book and have that book picked up by the amazing people at Renaissance was like winning the lottery. Truly. And having readers laugh their heads off or cry in all the right places in the story, well, those reviews are my author awards, too.

Anything else that happens is a bonus.

But it’s awesome to see the Life in the ‘Cosm on the list. I won’t lie.

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.

Am I too old for cosplay?

Spoiler: nope.

Once upon a time, I was not a Child of the Enlightened. Yes, there was a period in my life where I didnae understand cosplay or cosplayers. I didn’t even know it was called cosplay. I refer to my ignorance as The Dark Times.

Then in the fall of 2015 at the tender age of 45, I would attend my first con, Ottawa Pop Expo. My friends wanted to dress up as a group, in Doctor Who cosplay. I inwardly groaned and barked, “I refuse to go unless I can be a Fashionista Dalek!” Everyone said, “Okay!” So then I was like, Crap, I need to figure out how to become a fashionista dalek.

I own a craft biz where I make jewellery and handmade cards. I love working with my hands and being artistically creative. When I sat down to work on my dalek costume, I had an epiphany—cosplay was crafting! Once I realised that, I couldn’t get enough of it!

dalek-costume.jpgI raided dollar stores and bought paint, styrofoam balls, a plunger, some black silk gloves, and rhinestones. I grabbed a red dress I never wear. I bought a red construction helmet and hacked an old flashlight. I glue-gunned to my heart’s delight. I used my Cricut mini, too.

It took several days, but for me it was a craft project, and I got really excited over it!

When I was done, I felt proud and had a blast at Ottawa PopExpo. People took my photo and paid me many compliments. Everyone laughed and seemed happy to see me pass by them. I think I might have had a flirtation with an actual dalek. My husband unit didn’t seem to mind. And my friends were glad that I finally got why this is so majorly fun!

The thing is, you never know who you’re going to meet at these cons. As I was leaving, Caro Fréchette, author and director of Renaissance Press, shouted at me, “Hey, I like your custome!” Next thing, we’re talking about my book and you all know by now that Renaissance is my publisher!

Since then, I’ve loved every opportunity to dress up (and Caro is my cosplay buddy, which is awesome). This is us at our book launch in October 2016! Party on, Wayne!wayne-garth

JoyI also loved cosplaying as Joy from Inside Out. Author Amy M. Young thinks Joy is my natural personality. Welp, I guess she’s not wrong. I wore my Joy cosplay when I was selling my crafts at the Creative Ottawa Nerds (CON) holiday craft fair last November. That was a total blast.

Being an extrovert and having people come up to me to chat is like heaven for me. I adore meeting new people and if cosplaying makes people comfortable enough to approach me, then so be it.

AND NOW, THE THING THAT’S HAPPENED. In these last couple of months, I took on a new challenge. Caro loves the comic, Rat Queens, and really wanted someone to cosplay with them. I’d never heard of the comic before but was immediately drawn to Hannah, who I call the magical sweary elf. I said, “I wanna be Hannah!”

Well, I had no idea what a challenge making that costume would be. I’m just grateful to the creators of Rat Queens that they draw women with realistic bodies. At 47, my body is more realistic than it’s ever been.

But wow, so much actual swearing went into this project. I needed to make those hair buns, which was not as easy as I thought they’d be. (No joke, I wrapped the wig’s hair around black fuzzy socks that were rolled into a ball. This was the only way I could figure it out.) Then there was the bra. OH, THAT BRA! I couldnae find a pink bra to save my life. Also, my boobs cannot go strapless. Them girls need straps. I ended up totally life-hacking a white and grey sports bra and stretched pink underpants fabric over it. I ironed on the ribbon and used dimensional fabric paint for all the swirly designs on it (and the rest of the costume).

I fretted over this cosplay but thankfully Caro talked me off the ledge and a kind Twitter word from an actual artist and the creator of the comic didn’t hurt either! When Kurtis Wiebe tweeted me (tweet not shown), I didn’t even know who he was. How majorly embarrassing. Caro squeed for me and then I was like, “OMIGOSH!”

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Owen Gieni retweeted me!

I did take out the first volume of the comic from the library and laughed my butt off. So well written. The characters are truly sassy and badass. Now I want to be Hannah more than ever. And I’m buying the series.

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I plan to wear my Hannah costume at the Ottawa Geek Market (Apr 1) and for Comiccon. I also really want to get my Drunk Cersei cosplay going for Comiccon. Will let you know how that turns out.

So, am I too old to cosplay? I will be the moment I’ve died. Until then, I’m gluing, sewing, painting, maybe swearing, and creating costumes to my heart’s content.

I am, as I said, a Child of the Enlightened now.

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.