In May I will be hosting an event for Canadian Author Association’s Toronto branch to discuss how librarians, authors & poets/performance artists were affected by COVID. Academic librarians from The University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) will discuss the disruptions they have faced and how libraries have responded to the pandemic. Author Dan K Woo and Poet/Performance Artist Johnny D Trinh will share how the pandemic has affected their writing life and what opportunities were missed or gained. These writers will also read from their works.
For April’s NaNoWrimo camp I am writing the second book of my vampire series, The International House of Vampires. I should be writing, but I always seem to find things to distract myself because I am an Olympian at procrastinating! One of the reasons I am taking so long with the second book is because initially I was going to switch main character to a minor character and did write a fair bit, but one of my mentors told me to stick with Tamara, the main character, so I scrapped that version of the second book. The minor character was Latino and while doing research I was told to not write a main character that is non-Asian. Then my dad died and in the second book, a father figure dies, so I had a hard time continuing writing. After my dad died, a lot of things stopped for me and I was feeling like I was recovering when my mom and grandma died. I had written a novel about yokai hunting in San Francisco just before mom died and entered a contest with it (it lost) and am now looking for a literary agent. No one wants it so far and I will keep trying to bug agents and publishers.
In the first vampire book, Tamara lost her husband and in the second book it’s about her trying to find him in the Underworld. The Underworld is described very differently by the Buddhist versus Roman Catholic religions I was raised in. I never thought it was odd to have two religions in the household, my parents were very different people so it made sense while growing up. Anyhow, the Underworld I am creating in this book is a mish mash as well and since it’s the second book, I will have to self-publish since the publishers/agents queried with the first book didn’t want a multicultural vampire book using Taoism concepts to explain magic. Vampires also don’t drink blood, they suck chi energy and they vaccinated themselves against silver. For such old creatures, there should be improvements over time!
Now I am busy looking up my past manuscripts and picking and choosing what I want to use in this book. Nothing is ever wasted even if it’s tossed out because it’s practice for the final version! After I finish this book my family members can stop making fun of me not having a second books!
My initial scope was five books for International House of Vampires (not to be confused with International House of Pancakes apparently), but we will see. I’ve been writing more short fiction since they are easier to sell and less heart breaking than working on a book for five years that no one wants. Back to writing! Tut tut!
Before I started the Artsy Raven podcast, I spoke with a friend who gave me the advice of just being dumb. “Don’t try so hard! Just make videos of yourself falling flat on your face and thousands will watch!” was their sage advice.
I thought about it and considered it for a long time, but I just couldn’t do it. It’s the same situation when I see romance or erotica writers amass huge mailing lists and sell lots of books. The ladies that sell dino erotic made a million in their first year! There was a call for an erotica anthology and I wrote a piece which was rejected perhaps because you can tell my heart wasn’t in it.
Everything has their ups and downs in life, it is foolish to expect one will have good fortune indefinitely. The only thing you can do is build up support so you don’t fall too far too fast.
Some writers warned me not to do other things other than write. So the things I’m doing now, hosting a podcast or design work is frowned upon by the “pure writers.” Since my mother died I haven’t been writing much because it takes up a lot of energy to world build.
Over time I’ve been taking small steps around writing with my podcast and design work because I find them easier to do. All these other non-writing activities are my support because they involve other people and that gives me energy to go on. April NaNoWriMo camp just started and I have written a few thousand words so far, so I’m warming up to return to writing again.
In university I was told by some male students that I was too smart and had to dumb myself down to attract a boyfriend. I didn’t listen to their advice and found someone who appreciated me for who I was.
As much as falling flat on your face or acting dumb is the easier route to some problems, it’s just not worth it sometimes and you may never reach your goal! After a long struggle, you will appreciate your rewards more!
Finally a replacement for Windows Movie Maker! I was had been using Windows Movie Maker on an old PC and when it died, I wanted to install Movie Maker onto the new computer. You can still download it from non-Microsoft sites, but it no longer has support. I have mac access, but I always feel odd using apple computers so I like PCs better.
After doing some research I discovered “Clipchamp” from Microsoft which does the same thing as Movie Maker, but its interface it a bit different. The interface reminds me of Canva and other online graphic programs. Indeed, it’s a very visual way of editing video.
When you open the program there are a variety of templates to choose from or you can start by uploading your videos.
After you choose something, you go into the editing screen. The preview screen is quite large and on the sides are your tools. I found that the audio takes a while to load, so you can go make a cup of tea while that is happening. For video clipping there are scissors and you can just use the delete key to remove parts of the video you no longer want. Audio is editing is similar, everything is drag and drop or remove with scissors.
Right now I’m on the free plan. Paying the monthly subscription gets you more special effects and storage space on a cloud. Since I’m only starting out, I’m just going to stick to the free plan for now.
I downloaded the program versus using on the web because I didn’t want to upload videos all the time. If you do try out this program let me know how things go! Always open to tips and tricks to do better at video editing!
Moni Brar’s works have appeared in PRISM international, Hart House Review, Existere, The Maynard, untethered, Hobart, and other publications. She is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, The League of Canadian Poets, and the editorial board of New Forum Magazine.
She reads “Fault Lines” and tells us what inspired it on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 11. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.
Bianca Weeko Martin is a designer with Filipino, Indonesian, and Chinese ancestry. She was educated at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Canada, where she has been based since immigrating with her family from Jakarta in 2000.
She answers the question “What makes you decide to make a piece of artwork versus writing?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 8. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.
Ed Seaward has written a number of short stories and screenplays, including Mother Daughter Happiness, which was a screenplay finalist at the 2019 Pasadena International Film Festival. His novel, Fair, was published by The Porcupine’s Quill in 2020. Ed shares with us his journey on publishing Fair, his experience writing screenplays and drawings from different experiences to create his stories.
He answers the question “What process do you use for writing novels?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 4. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.
Jing Jing is the Co-Networking Director of It’s Real Magazine, an intersectional feminist and artist. On the Artsy Raven episode 3, JF Garrard discusses the purpose of It’s Real Magazine, why it’s so hard for Asian Americans to obtain mental health care and the differences in mental health outlook within our own Asian families although we were both born in North America. This clip is a preview to the full episode!
For episode 22 of The Artsy Raven podcast, I interviewed ND Jones, a USA Best-selling author who has written multiple African fantasy romance series. It was really inspiring to listen to someone has achieved so much on their own and even got her whole family involved! She’s written over twelve books and even started a company which involves her daughter doing graphic design work and her son creating a RPG game based on her work.
One of the reasons why she started writing was because there was a void in the market with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, so she took on that challenge herself. Her book covers look super awesome with strong females on them and I had a good time talking to her about her projects. Although I don’t write fantasy romance, I would like to write more and complete more projects. I have problems finishing things and would like to be like ND Jones when I grow up!
In the latest podcast episode of the Artsy Raven, I interviewed fifteen year old Rutendo Alyssa-Joy Mushonga. She wrote a book about the bullying she experienced throughout her life, in Zimbabwe and in Alberta, where she currently resides. It was a difficult conversation to have and we did speak longer than planned, because I was so astonished by the trauma and situations she had to go through. Technology is great, but it also leads to cyber bullying which she experienced first hand. With the help of her awesome mother, she published A Farewell to the War Within: A battle with reality this year to share with others what she had experienced and what she has learned.
We are giving away a copy of her ebook and a $10USD Amazon giftcard via a King Sumo raffle Aug 1-14, 2021. Click here to enter.
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