Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Hai Doan

Today, the Edmonton Writers’ Group is happy to announce that ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ is now available on Amazon.ca.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Hai Doan.

1. What was your initial inspiration for the story you included in this anthology, and how the story changed from its original conception?

Hai Doan: My goal was to write a story that was based in Edmonton and since I love riding on the LRT, it seemed natural that I would include our transit system. Plenty of people take the LRT, all from different walks of life, so I wanted to share a story from a viewpoint of one of those passengers. I enjoy light hearted comedies so it is surprising that the plot ended up being rather dark but the ideas flowed well and I just went with it.

2. What events in your background led you to want to write?

Hai Doan: When I was a child, I loved to take books out of the library and read them (and I still do). Two of my favorite authors were Roald Dahl and Gordon Korman. I especially enjoyed the books from the “McDonald Hall” series; I found the stories to be hilarious! This made me want to become an author too because then I could try to make people laugh as well.

3. What difficulties did you encounter while writing this story, other than finding the time to do it?

Hai Doan: I think the most difficult thing was probably getting started and putting some writing on the paper (or computer screen to be more accurate). Once I got started, the writing became easier. For this short story, I didn’t plan the plot out as much as I normally do and just wrote down the ideas as they came to me.

4. Are you writer that plots out all the different angles, or are you more free-form. Why do you think you write this way?

Hai Doan: I tend to plan out my stories. Actually, I would say I plan so much that I often don’t complete the story! I like to jot down notes about the plot, daydreaming about what could happen next but I have a hard time putting all these ideas into a completed work. I remember starting a fantasy genre story and I had all the main points of the plot figured out; I even had drawn maps of the world I had built. I never finished the story though. I think this could be due to the fact that I find world building and plot creation so much fun and actually writing the story can be “hard work”. I think I should take the advice of some authors and just write since the first draft is never perfect anyways.

5. What is your typical response to “writers’ block”?

Hai Doan: My response to “writers’ block” is similar to my approach for working on homework assignments. If I find myself wracking my brain for a long time with no success then I would temporary stop working on the task; I would either take a break or work on something else. I find that allowing my mind to focus on something else for awhile that once I do return to the original task that sometimes I somehow “magically” have an epiphany which makes the solution very clear.

Hai Doan’s story, “LRT Ride”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.ca.

-Brad OH Inc.

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Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Brad OH Inc.

Once again, the Edmonton Writers’ Group is proud to present an anthology of stories by it’s members. ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Brad OH Inc.

1. Freedom is important to Jeremy. What do you feel limits your freedom (as a writer or in life) and how do you resolve that?

Brad OH Inc.: The first thing that comes to mind would simply be time. There never does seem to be enough of it, does there? I try to juggle a lot of different projects in my off-time, and it can be tricky to maintain the right balance, but I think I’ve managed alright. This publication was a lot of hard work, but I’m thrilled with how it turned out, and all of the authors should be proud of their contributions.

2.  Was there a time when you were able to see through another person’s eyes like Jeremy wanted to do in your story?

Brad OH Inc.: Through my background in Psychology, I’ve done a lot of work where empathy is certainly important. I hope that I manage to bring that into my daily life as well, I think it’s an important thing to be able to consider the perspectives of others. I imagine the world would be a more pleasant place if everyone made a conscious effort to do so.

3. Jeremy really didn’t like Lucky Lager. What beverage would you recommend to quench one’s thirst or to prepare a person for a writing session?

Brad OH Inc.: That’s a fantastic question! It really depends on how deep into the writing you want to get, but my two recommendations would be Big Rock’s Traditional Ale, or Jameson Whiskey (neat). Happy writing!

4. Is there a time and place where you felt like you had entered a completely new world?

Brad OH Inc.: In my story, “A Good Place for a Miller”, Jeremy is eager to go to “The Gathering of the Juggalos”. I was fortunate enough to attend that event when I was Jeremy’s age, and twice since. Those events definitely feel like another world, and I’ve had many fantastic memories made there.

5. Congratulations on the pending publication of your debut novel, “Edgar’s Worst Sunday”. Can you share a brief synopsis of the book?

Brad OH Inc.: Thanks! I’d be happy to share a brief tease of “Edgar’s Worst Sunday”!

In life, Edgar Vincent always maintained one great passion—himself. A semi-successful composer, his rock star lifestyle suited him well, and his narcissistic outlook ensured he was a man with few concerns. Callous comments, thoughtless promiscuity, binge drinking, and excess sufficient to shame Caligula were standard Saturday night fare.

Sundays for Edgar had always been a painful haze of sickness and regret.

So when Edgar finds himself in the cloudy planes of the afterlife on one particularly bleak Sunday morning, he determines that in order to find peace, he must put aside his ever-present hangover and try to figure out how he got to this point…and where he’s meant to be going now. But as Edgar makes his way through this surreal spiritual realm, he realizes that facing his death is hardly as difficult as facing himself.

Heaven, however, presents Edgar with an unending smorgasbord of hedonistic delights, so he’s in no particular hurry to change his self-serving ways. After all, considering he’s already dead, what more could he possibly stand to lose?

Brad OH Inc.’s story, “A Good Place for a Miller”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.ca. Stay tuned here for interviews with the rest of the authors in the anthology, and information on promotional events.

-Brad OH Inc.

“Edmonton: Unbound- Another Anthology by Edmonton Writers”

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Here at Brad OH Inc., we are thrilled to announce the impending release of another anthology by the Edmonton Writers’ Group. Like our previous anthology, ‘Between the Shelves’, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ features stories from twelve different local writers, this time unified by the theme of their hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Through fourteen short stories, these writers take us to places as wildly different as the writers themselves. Further, all profits from ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ will be donated to support the Edmonton Public Library (EPL), who have been gracious enough to house our humble group for over a decade and a half.

Once again, the book will be available through Amazon as both a paperback and an e-book, and will be sold by contributing members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group at live signings and events—to be announced soon.

So, stay tuned to us here at Brad OH Inc. for all the information you need. The final proofs are currently in our hands, so the full release will be upon us soon. We hope you enjoy reading this book as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it!

-Brad OH Inc.

The Greatest Hits of Brad OH Inc.

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc., we’ve been sharing regular content since late 2012, and over the years we’ve covered countless invaluable topics in great depth. In fact, there are now four distinct categories (Link) on offer for our readers—each with a unique voice and subject matter.

Today, we want to take the opportunity to review and revisit some of the very best articles we’ve put out over the years. Below, you’ll find our own personal Top 10 List, conveniently broken down by category. You can click the banner of each to go directly to that category, or you can click the title of each article to navigate there and read it in full.

 Under the Green Desk Lamp:

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Bourbons by the Fire: A brief, stream of consciousness piece about vision and purpose. In this article, we explore the state of the world, and our individual power to change it.

Bullying in the Supermarket: This piece is an exploration of the culture of bullying, exploring the mixed messages of a world which tells children to be kind, while holding no such expectations for its adults, business leaders, or media.

Profits and Prophets: Over the past decade, many of the greatest disasters, losses, and threats we’ve faced have centered around two specific homonyms: Profits, and Prophets. We explore this notion here.

The Metaphorical Imperative- Part 1, and The Metaphorical Imperative- Part 2: The ‘Metaphorical Imperative’ is one of the most fundamental ideas behind Brad OH Inc., and will soon prove to be among the defining themes in one of our biggest upcoming projects. These two articles take an in-depth look at this essential philosophy.

 Purely Speculation:

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On The Concept of Society: In this article, we establish and explore a basic understanding of society based on human history and contemporary needs. If we are to endeavour to consider changes to society, it is imperative that we first define our terms and understand exactly what we mean by the word.

Saving the World 101: How can we harbour hope for the future when the current situation often seems so dire? In this post, we discuss exactly what hope we may find for the future, and exactly what it would take to get us there.

The Global Scale: In ‘The Global Scale’, we pull our perspective back a bit to educate the reader about how interconnected the world truly is. If the decisions of one nation inevitably effect the rest, then we must take this global perspective into account any time we seek to make changes. Here, we reveal exactly what’s going on behind the scenes on the Global Scale, and exactly what sort of opposition the forces of progress are up against.

Requisite Things:

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 A Call for Corporate Suffrage: ‘Corporate Suffrage’—what two words could be more heinous and detestable to any sober mind? Unless of course that mind happens to be focussed on the profits of its own Corporation—in that case, Corporate Suffrage seems pretty damn agreeable.

The New Corporate Religion of Brad OH Inc.: Here, we use our trademark Corporate perspective to push the notion of ‘Freedom of Religion’ as currently defined to its most vile extreme—specifically, Corporate Religion.

Gentleman Juggalo:

The Gentleman Juggalo Logo

The Juggalo Gang Designation Essay: Juggalos—the fanatical fans of the Insane Clown Posse—have been labelled an organized, hybrid gang by the FBI. In this article, we take those tools to task—elucidating not only what a miscarriage of justice this action is—but also establishing it as an unforgivable misdirection from federal accountability.

Collectively, these articles cover a fine spread of what we’ve put on offer over the years here at Brad OH Inc., and while it is certainly important to celebrate the past, it must not be taken to mean we don’t look to the future. Therefore, we invite all of you to let us know in the Comments below what your favourite articles have been, which categories you prefer, or if you have any specific topics you’d like to see us cover. After all, here at Brad OH Inc., we live to please!*

*This statement does not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of anyone at Brad OH Inc., and is not to be taken as legally, morally, or even tangentially binding.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Never Uncovers the Ultimate Truth of All Things’

Recently, the myriad authors of the ‘Edmonton Writer’s Group’ (Link) published our second anthology, ‘Between the Shelves’ (Link) . This book was sold in support of the Edmonton Public Library System (Link), and to that end has gone on to raise over $700 in donations!

We here at Brad OH Inc. want to thank everyone for their support. Today, we add our contribution, ‘Neve Uncovers the Ultimate Truth of All Things’ (Link), to our list of ‘Single Serving Stories’ (Link), meaning you can download it now for free over at Smashwords (Link).

Neve Uncovers the Ultimate Truth of All Things- Cover‘Never Uncovers the Ultimate Truth of All Things’- Smashwords

We certainly hope you enjoy this new format for ‘Neve Uncovers the Ultimate Truth of All Things’! But don’t forget, if you haven’t already bought your copy of ‘Between the Shelves’ (Link), you can do so now right here (Link)!

BetweenTheShelvesCover‘Between the Shelves’- Amazon

Remember, there are 10 other stories by local Edmonton authors in the anthology, so click here (Link) to grab your copy now. After all, every dollar earned goes towards the worthy cause of supporting the Edmonton Public Library System (Link)!

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Between the Shelves’ at ‘Words in the Park’ and Interview with Author/ Editor Hal J. Friesen

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgToday, we’re happy to formally announce that the sales of ‘Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries by Edmonton Writers’ have led to the donation of over $700.00 to the Edmonton Public Library System We at Brad OH Inc. think that’s awesome—and we couldn’t have done it without all of you!

Many of the Authors (and both Editors) will also be set up at ‘Words in the Park’ this Saturday, September 26th from 10:00am-4:00pm in the Sherwood Park Community Centre. We’ll be selling and autographing copies of ‘Between the Shelves’!

In celebration of these accomplishments, we have an interview with Editor and Author Hal J. Friesen, who appears in ‘Between the Shelves’, which you can now purchase here in either Kindle ($2.99) or Paperback ($12.50) copies. All proceeds are to be donated to the Edmonton Public Library System.

BetweenTheShelvesCoverThis interview was conducted by a variety of Authors featured in ‘Between the Shelves’ in anticipation of the anthology’s release:

  1. Brian Clark: What is the biggest thing you have learned from this self-publishing experience?

HF: I learned how achievable it is to put out a product of professional quality using readily-available tools. There were some frustrating moments getting the book formatted properly and tweaking cover blurbs, but on the whole it felt great to see a self-published book that could easily have come from a professional publishing house.

I also need to mention how pleasantly surprised I was at the scope and variety of stories submitted to the anthology. I thought I had a pretty good idea what I was going to get from the EWG group members, but they surprised me in a very good way.

  1. Vivian Zenari: What is your educational background, and how has that influenced your writing?

HF: I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Science from UNBC with a Joint Major in Chemistry and Physics, and a Minor in Mathematics. Basically for my undergraduate degree I was trying to refuse specialization, which in hindsight might not have been a good approach in terms of employability. I had knowledge in many fields but was missing snippets from each to prevent me from being completely proficient. My Master’s Degree in Science, focusing on Plasmas and Photonics, helped me tune my abilities and knowledge toward more practical applications – as ridiculous as that might sound after working on laser fusion experiments.

The breadth of theoretical and experimental science experience I’ve gleaned through the years helps me to appreciate how certain science fiction ideas might be implemented, the realities both pleasant and unpleasant of logistics that really help make a fantastical proposition seem real. When I wrote in high school I was thinking of sci-fi notions in a more detached and academic way. After academia, ironically, I think about them more in terms of what’s happening on the ground, what’s happening to the little guy who has to pull the levers, which helps make science fiction more meaningful to readers.

  1. Brad OH Inc.: Hal, your story is about a man (Albert Einstein), gaining great knowledge from libraries, but also experiencing stunning existential terror. Do you consider libraries to be places of hidden danger, or is learning in general a threat to our sense of being?

HF: I used to read these time machine choose-your-own-adventure books, and they were like puzzles where you got stuck in time loops until you figured out the correct sequence of events to escape a grisly fate. There was one particular instance where I was trying to avoid being guillotined, but kept getting sent back over and over again, being chased, being caught, having the blade fall – to the extent that I fell asleep and had nightmares about it. Libraries taught me to be utterly terrified of the Spanish Inquisition.

I think in our age of ubiquitous fear-mongering, it’s important to recognize libraries and their potential role in contributing to the general fright that fits so well in a terror-state. In this story I wanted to show that even a brilliant Einstein can’t escape the spine-tingling horror of a nameless source of danger. His existential cataclysm in a place of learning draws close parallels to the dread during the discovery of a newly-christened terrorist cell, or the announcement of the construction of yet another totally-necessary prison. I felt that the role of books and libraries in general has been undervalued in terms of their capacity to inspire totally irrational fear, and wanted to emphasize how deeply they can touch our being versus other forms of media.

  1. Brad OH Inc.: Why did you choose Einstein as your character? Do you have some arcane knowledge of his life the rest of us aren’t privy to? Is there any biographical truth to this tale?

HF: I have a copy of Einstein’s original manuscript on Special Relativity, and if you go to the trouble of reading it you find very strange references in the margins, almost as if he was placating some unseen observer. With extensive and advanced calligraphic decoding I was able to parse some of the scribbles he had tried to hide after the fact, after whatever it was had stopped peering over him threateningly. It was clear he had communion with a library spirit, or as he named it, Wilfred, though exactly which library was unclear – I used artistic liberty in that aspect.

It’s amazing how much you can discover when you read the source material rather than just taking secondary sources at face value.

  1. Brad OH Inc.: Your passion for libraries is clear in this story. Share with us some of your most formative memories of being in the library. Is there any encounter in particular that stands out as a moment where knowledge was so startlingly thrust upon you?

HF:  Guillotines were startlingly thrust upon my unsuspecting neck in that traumatizing time machine book…

When I was a child, there were summer reading challenges where you got to move your pawn along footsteps lining the library walls, taking a step for every book you read. The path took a circuitous route around the two-story Prince George Public Library, and I would take out piles of books in order to get to the end. And I did.

My prize? PTSD from an impossible and horrific Spanish Inquisition time machine loop. And a ribbon.

The library used to have person-shaped chairs in bright colors, and I would sit near the large windows and browse through Goosebumps books, Tintin comics, and fantasy books. I would sway back and forth in the S-shaped chairs, knocking them flat onto the back, or upright again with a satisfying thunk. The trips to the library were a fairly regular occasion – my mother would tiptoe off to the romance section, and my brothers and I would spin the carousels housing adventure and horror novels.

Getting my first library card was actually one of my happiest childhood experiences, because I felt like I had graduated from this semi-weekly family ritual and had become an adult. It was a lot better than any actual graduation, that’s for sure.

  1. Brad OH Inc.: Your writing has historically been focused on some pretty heavy scientific concepts. What do you consider to be one of the most interesting unanswered questions in modern science? Do you have any possible ‘dream scenario’ solution to this quandary that strikes you as the most appealing?

HF: Not to avoid the question, but I guess the more interesting questions are ones we haven’t thought of yet. The untapped potential and dark corners of our understanding are very exciting places, which is why I enjoy good hard science fiction so much. One recent discovery was that the brain might have a lymphatic system, which opens the door to all sorts of medical progress and better development of humanity.

The unanswered question of life beyond Earth is a continually fascinating one for me, and my dream scenario is that I live long enough to see contact happen. That would be a great privilege.

The unification of gravity and the other fundamental forces is another issue that fascinates me. I remember the exact place where I first read Maxwell’s derivation of electromagnetism and the intimate relationship between them. I literally got up and wanted to run around (but couldn’t in my cramped dorm-room) because I was so excited by the beauty of something so connected and intertwined. Connectedness, for lack of a better term, is something I explore a lot in my writing, and it interests me equally in the natural world.

Similarly, the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity – the small with the very large – is also quite an interesting unanswered question. I’ve read a proposal that suggests the answer might be in our interpretation of time itself, which sent my head spinning in beautiful pirouettes.

I think some of the deeper philosophical-physics questions might go unanswered for a long time, but can make you experience some of the same existential schism Einstein does in the story. Questions like: what exactly is charge? What exactly is mass? We have equations that describe what they do but that’s different from knowing what something is. There’s a joke that if you want to drive a physicist crazy, ask him what charge is. Try it sometime.

  1. Brad OH Inc.: As a follow-up to the former question, of the myriad scientific discoveries throughout history, which would you most like to have been a part of, and why?

HF: I’ve developed an unlikely fondness for light and optics, so I think I would have loved to have been a part of Maxwell’s discoveries unifying electricity and magnetism. Any of the so-called Maxwell’s equations. Ampere, Gauss – to have been around any of those guys would have been gnarly and radical, and I’m sure my language wouldn’t drive them crazy. Gauss was a genius.

I would say quantum mechanics, but the results aren’t as easy to put your hands on or see with the eye. The laser would have been pretty amazing to discover. I got the chance to hear Charles Townes, one of the co-inventors of the laser, speak, and it was surreal to see him use a laser pointer to point at a slide of his original laser conception. He made lasers originally for astronomical purposes, and at the time of his talk (age over 90) he was still doing that. There’s a raw enthusiasm and electricity some scientists exude and I think to have been around any of those remarkable individuals would have been illuminating and inspiring outside of the discoveries themselves.

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Remember to catch the authors of ‘Between the Shelves’ at ‘Words in the Park’ this Saturday, September 26th from 10:00am-4:00pm in the Sherwood Park Community Centre!

Finally, be sure to visit Hal J. Friesen at his blog right here, and check out his story “Reading After Hours” in ‘Between the Shelves’. You can purchase it now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘The Election’ Published on GonzoToday

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc., we’re happy to announce that our Single Serving StoryThe Election’ is now available for reading on GonzoToday.

A direct link can be found right here.

Further, the downloadable version of ‘The Election’ over at Smashwords is very fast approaching the 100 Downloads mark. That’s even more reason to celebrate! Click on the image below to access a free, downloadable copy of ‘The Election’ on Smashwords.

theelectioncoverWe want to take this occasion to thank everyone who’s downloaded it for your support—we truly appreciate it, and hope you enjoyed the read. For those of you who haven’t yet read ‘The Election’, now is as good a time as any. So click here, or on the image above, and check it out absolutely free in any e-reader format that suits you! Alternatively, you can view it (along with many other fantastic articles) in-browser over at our friends ‘GonzoToday‘ by clicking right here.

-Brad OH Inc.