I am extremely thrilled and humbled to share that Quarter Castle Chronicles, Volume One, is now available in print and e-book!
Quarter Castle Chronicles ~ Volume One showcases 13 short stories by 12 Canadian authors. They take place in settings across the country, both in the present and the past. From the rugged coast of Newfoundland to the streets of Vancouver, we are flung to far off places like Romania and Swaffham Prior. The authors spin tales of life, survival, death and the realm beyond.
The Chronicles include the winners and honourable mentions of the 2014 Quarter Castle Short Story contest. My piece, Working Title, was the winning story, which humbles me so greatly I’m sitting on the ground as I write.*
Please, check it out and be still my pride.
*That’s a lie. It’s an office chair. But I’m on the setting closest to the ground. You’ll just have to trust me on that.
I’m happy to share that one of my works has been included in the latest issue of WomenArts Quarterly Journal.
Based out of theUniversity of Missouri-St. Louis, WomenArts Quarterly Journal (WAG) is:
an initiative of Women in the Arts, aspires to nurture, provide support, and challenge women of all cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and abilities in their role in the arts and seeks to heighten the awareness and understanding of the achievements of women creators, by providing audiences with historical and contemporary examples of the work of women writers, composers, and artists.
And thus I am really proud to be included in their ranks.
The piece, “Working Title,” is one that I’ve been kicking around a while. I wrote the first draft of it nearly four years ago. It stemmed from an idea I had that I wanted to write as a screenplay.
The topic of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 had fascinated me (if one can say something so frivolous about such an event) and I wanted to write about it. The more I broke down the story, the more anxiety I felt and the more frustrated I became. This was not my story to tell. How dare I think I could do that?
At the same time, I was a year or so out of film school and was feeling a huge tug-of-war in my mind as to what creative format I wanted to work in: film or prose. Was film enough to really express what I wanted to say?
Anyway, that’s what happened here.
A short story of mine – a slightly awkward New Journalism-inspired piece – is up online at Crab Fat Literary Magazine.
Unmasked! is an expose of the long-since retired superhero as he at long last reveals his true identity to the world.
I’m quite pleased with this piece, but I’ve been sitting on it for a while. It’s such an odd little number that it’s been hard to place with a publication. (Naturally, a magazine called Crab Fat seemed the logical solution.)
The first review came in for Redwing: Speculative Fiction Takes Flight. It is a glowing review from fantasy magazine Black Gate that also includes an enlightening discussion about the increasing visibility of small presses and what that means for niche readers and writers.
“Ticker Tape Kings” by Ashleigh Rajala is next, a time travel story unlike any I’ve read. It plays around with tenses and with conventions — not so much conventions of time travel, but of time travel stories. Elegantly written, it gives the protagonist a difficult character-based choice to make, and follows her as she makes it.
Thank you so much, Black Gate!
Somewhere within that epic of majesty is my piece, Ticker Tape Kings… a strange meditation on time travel and the realities of the past. I hope you enjoy it; I’m rather proud.
My aunt was twenty years old when I – the first in the family of my generation – was born. She was mid-liberal arts degree and wore it on her sleeve. The blue onesie she bought me for my first Christmas quickly became a family joke.
But I always resented the idea that a baby girl in a blue onesie was a thing to laugh about. I despised the mandate that girls had to look pretty while boys wore something you could “get muddy in.”
As I grew older and asserted myself more strongly, I fought against wearing frilly dresses and sought out clothes
my parents Santa had to scour Vancouver comic book stores to find (namely the one-size-fits-all Batman t-shirt I spent ages five to six wearing).
So, with that troubling childhood memory, I would like to share a great Kickstarter launching today: Jack and Jill Kids. This “gender-neutral kids’ clothing company [aims] to inspire the next generation of leaders to think beyond pink and blue.”
Finally! A kids’ clothing company that does away with this pink and blue dichotomy! This makes me want to breed just so I can dress my child in a t-shirt that says “Half of all T.Rexes Were Girls” (I might even try to stick Stinkymuffin in one. No. Of course I won’t. That would be suicidal.)
Forget a child; I want this t-shirt.
There are so many awesome things I could say from here, but founder, Jenn Neilsen, sums it up perfectly:
We all want to make sure that the kids in our lives have as many opportunities as possible, and helping them to see that their options are not color coded will broaden their horizons, and help them to develop their own sense of self, free from outdated ideas and expectations. These kids will run the world one day, and if they pursue their passions, instead of feeling like they don’t belong, we‘ll be better equipped to deal with the challenges that the future will bring.
We need more girls who know that they can solve tough, real world problems and more boys who are interested in collaboration, not just competition. To get there we need to change the messages we’re sending to kids. Giving them more and better clothing options is just the beginning.
I am so grateful for Jenn sharing this positive endeavour with me and I’m so glad to share it with you all!
UPDATE: Okay, so you CAN get an adult version of the Half of All T.Rexes Were Girls if you pledge the Kickstarter! DO IT.
Contrary to the alleged wisdom of Roget’s Super Thesaurus 1995 edition (what deemed it “super” the tome never explained): “poetry” and “prose” are NOT synonyms. Thirteen-year-old me did not realize this. I trusted the almighty power of the printed word. Old notebooks now hold embarrassing hand-lettered titlepages. Of course, by “hand-lettered,” I mean letters cut from Seventeen magazine like a ransom note.
Full disclosure: I don’t write poetry very often.
Any more at least. Between the ages of twelve and seventeen, I filled nearly a dozen hand-written journals with my awkward, adolescent odes. In some of the earlier volumes, I hadn’t even mastered the dexerity required for elegant cursive writing. And I consulted the aforementioned thesaurus far too often, believing this great book to be the key to it all, thus peppering my poems with endless malapropisms.
I don’t think I’ve gotten better with age.
I’ve written a total of about four poems in the last seven years. Two are terrible. Another two, not so bad.
One of those not-so-bad two, Madrid, Before a Recession, appears in Ataraxia Vol. 4, available here.
When I first wrote this poem, nearly six years ago, it was simply titled Madrid.
I sat on it for a while. Years passed.
Looking at it again, it suddenly became something of a time capsule. (Like a thesaurus from 1995.) And a rather accidental one at that.
Thus, the renaming.
In the hallowed halls of Main Street, in the aptly named Cottage Bistro, there shall be a gathering, and this gathering shall be called “The Launch! with PRISM, Event, poetry is dead, and Room Magazine.”
The date of this party shall be the seventeenth of April (a Thursday, methinks), in the year of 2014.
And the time of this event shall be seven in the evening.
And there one Ashleigh of House Rajala shall go forth and read aloud the words issued by her own hand.
Or, in the words of the event organizers:
Please join us as we celebrate our latest issues and the spirit of literary magazines in BC!! With special musical guests ‘Vocal Jazz Jam with Woolysock Band.’ Readers include: Billeh Nickerson, Dina Del Bucchia, Ashleigh Rajala, and Karen Lee. Our MC is Elizabeth Bachinsky!
In other news, I’m running out of creative ways to make simple announcements.
I have a short story in the latest issue of Room, Canada’s oldest literary journal by and about women! This print journal is available at bookstores around Canada (if you’re lucky enough to a.) live in Canada, and b.) frequent bookstores, and c.) be capable of reading things undeliverable via an electronic device).
The piece is called Kings Cross, a short segment I had been working on for a while, and seemed perfectly at home in this issue about Fashion, Trend, and Personal Style 37.1.
Please check it out as there are many other great pieces by other exciting writers, such as the lovely and talented Taryn Hubbard!