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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!”

Owen Gieni Rat Queens
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.

Hannah

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.

 

Are you genre non-binary?

That’s not a typo in the title of this post. This term is the ingenious brainchild of my best friend, educator and activist for transgender rights, Talia C. Johnson. (Btw, her blog is brilliant, so follow it!)

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my third and final short story for the winter-spring anthology season. After re-reading what I’d written, I felt I faced a dilemma. Because I constantly straddle the comedy and sci-fi genres, I told Talia I didn’t know whether to submit to an anthology for comedy writers or science fiction writers. This was our Facebook chat:

Me> I can’t figure out whether I should send it to the humour anthology or the sci-fi anthology about optimism.

Talia> Short story?

Me> Yeah. The sci-fi people might think it’s not sci-fi enough and the humour people might say it’s too sci-fi.

Talia> Damn it! It’s genre non-binary!

Me> IT IS!

Talia> Genrefluid.

Me> OMIGOSH! This is a thing!

You must understand that Talia and I discuss gender topics almost daily, and she is my prime consultant for vetting gender-amazing characters and content in my writing. I’ll send her scenes from my book or short stories in a panic and say, “Is it OKAY???” (Yes, I’m that cishet person who is terrified of offending.  Don’t worry; I’m growing.) My fear of screwing up gender-fabulous peeps never comes to fruition as Talia says, “It’s fine. It’s fine. Just have fun with it. It’s sci-fi. You’re not an asshat.”

But yesterday when she said my work was genrefluid, I nearly died of laughter. It’s probably the best way to describe a writer who isn’t fully immersed in one genre. My space opera, Life in the ‘Cosm, can fall into humour, romance, and sci-fi categories. No, it’s not ‘hard sci-fi’, as some put it, but to those who don’t read that genre, it feels sci-fi to them. One person saw the cover and said, “I don’t like sci-fi, and when I explained some of the content, they got all excited. (It also doesn’t hurt that the book also has a lot of cake in it. Desserts are the universal language of love.)

I’m not surprised that I’m fluid in this way. In my life I’m never really strapped to one thing. I’m not exclusively a writer. I’m also a musician and have been for decades. I’m mad about crafting and this has recently ventured into designing costumes for cosplay. I’m a techno geek and web developer. My friends are also diverse as all out. My Google playlist ranges from awesome to don’t judge me. My gender expression can be interpreted as fluid. And I don’t even have a favourite colour. All the colours are my favourite. I think colour, period, is my favourite.

nonbinaryblogI happen to like writing life experiences through aliens instead of humans. It ties into my personal theory that if life exists on other planets, there’s gotta be some poor slob who hates his job. With space opera, I can be serious and hilarious at the same time. I also get to create different races and choose their skin or fur or scales and colour them in like in a colouring book in my mind. I can have them fall in love or be clumsy in relationships. I don’t believe every ‘alien’ is a technology wiz or a military hero. Sometimes he’s a shy chubby guy who really likes cupcakes.

Being genrefluid might turn other authors’ noses up at me, or they might turn toward me in solidarity. Whatever others might think, I like writing what comes to my imagination and going on a journey with my characters. I don’t want to feel any constraints with genre. I want to have a blast.

So far this genre non-binary writing is my jam. Coincidentally it also includes gender non-binary peeps, because the spectrum of gender is a real thing, too, and I love going beyond the cisgender scope.

Anyway, if you’re fluid between genres, too, you have a fellow author who gets you, and will probably want to read your stuff. Writing to me is like cooking; it’s more appetising when you don’t follow the recipe.

Although I still can’t get my mind around the pineapple pizza thing. I mean, I truly can’t.

/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.