Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Christine W.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group.

They are 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, Christine W.

1. Emily and Forest were up against a tight deadline when disaster struck. Has this ever happened to you and what did you do?

Christine W.: There was a comically tragic moment when I was making a couple of lemon meringue pies for a charity bake sale later the same day. The pies take two to three hours to set after the meringue is cooked and are pretty much liquid when they go into the fridge. The first one made it safely onto a shelf in the fridge; the second pie leapt out of my hands and landed head first on the floor. Fortunately I had enough ingredients to make a third pie and barely made it to the bake sale in time to drop off two, mostly set, pies.

2. What is your favorite public art work?

Christine W.: In general I’m a fan of older architecture and more modern bridges. Edmonton’s new bridge is rather impressive as is the Pantheon in Rome. There is no need to pick a favourite.

3. If you had to explain the meaning behind the Talus Dome to tourists, what would it be?

Christine W.: Well, the city has a poetic description of the Dome relating to the landscape and whatnot. I think it is a pile of shiny metal balls expertly positioned to reflect light in an amusing way. Whether good or bad, people talk about it and it is a memorable feature of Edmonton. Our city used to be known mainly for a mall. Being remembered for having a pile of space poop as art is more fun.

4. If Emily and Forest made you a cake, what would you want on it and why?

Christine W.: This is awkward. I don’t like cake. Icing is good though.

5. Your job of attempting to improve conditions of society sounds really worthwhile. What are the proudest moments you would like to share with the readers?

Christine W.: I’m a scientist by training and basically figure things out for a living. Working to better understand supports required for individuals diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder has been and continues to be a particular passion for me.

Christine W.’s story, “Space Poop”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

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Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Simon MacKintosh

On January 20th, at 10:00am, the authors of ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ will be at the 1975 111st. YMCA selling and signing copies of our new anthology. ‘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, Simon MacKintosh.

  1. I read an earlier draft of your “Uncle Charlie’s Tiger Hunt.” What kinds of things did you do when revising the story?

Simon MacKintosh: Mostly, I tried to tighten up the humour. There are several things that can make a story funny. One is a sequence of events, all commonplace but ridiculous (like sliding down a hill unable to control yourself), that build towards a hilarious climax. I tried for that because the story started as an attempt to do that. Other elements of humour are ordinary things made ridiculous by an unlikely context, or the relationships between people. I worked on those as well.

Apart from that I just polished up the language a bit. My initial copy of anything is little more than a poorly expressed idea. It takes multiple passes of editing to get it to a point where I am near satisfied. I am never completely satisfied.

  1. What do you like about writing humour versus writing science fiction?

Simon MacKintosh: Humour creeps into my science fiction as well. After all, humour is part of life and any story is, in the end, about life. I just thought that if I tried to write a science fiction story without any science, what would be left would be humour. I really have no preference.

  1. Who are your favourite humour writers?

Simon MacKintosh: Tom Sharpe. Filthy, but hilarious. Spike Milligan, his book ‘Puckoon’ includes a textbook example of a sequence of escalating ridiculous events, when a group of people escape from a lunatic asylum during the night in the middle of winter.

And of course Douglas Adams.

  1. What is your science fiction novel about?

Simon MacKintosh: A guy invents a time machine and starts to go back and fore in time, as one does with a time machine. But then his time machine is wrecked and he is stuck on a future Earth where society is slowly decaying. So he escapes into outer space and travels the galaxy before discovering that galactic civilization too is coming to an end. So he goes home, only to realize … but I won’t spoil he story by telling.

  1. What does your own lawn look like in the summer?

Simon MacKintosh: In order to keep Bylaw Enforcement from my door, I will refrain from answering that question.

Simon MacKintosh’s story, “Uncle Charlie’s Tiger Hunt”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

Remember to come by to get your copy at 10:00am on January 20th, at the 1975 111st. YMCA!

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Howard Gibbins

Today, the Edmonton Writers’ Group is proud to announce that authors of our current anthology, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, will be hosting our official book launch and signing event next Sunday, January 7th, from 1:00pm-5:00pm, in the Program Room of the Enterprise Square Branch of the Edmonton Public Library. Come on down for a chance to meet the authors, pick up a copy, and get it signed!

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, Howard Gibbins.

1. You have been with the Edmonton Writers Group for many years. How has the Edmonton Writers Group helped you as a writer?

Howard Gibbins: Being a member of the group has helped me to focus on my writing, as well as share ideas with other members such as developing a plot, characterization (i.e., what makes a memorable character). I’ve also found that the experiences of the various members has given me ideas for things to research when writing some of my work.

2. What was your greatest challenge in writing each of the two stories in the anthology?

Howard Gibbins: “A Night to Remember” developed out of a writing challenge, and in its first iteration was pretty poor to say the least. I then began working on rather large novel, and found out that I had to either explain way to much in the novel itself, or I could use this story with just a bit of rewriting to explain a lot of the backstory. As for “Tools of the Trade”, I work in the palaeontology department at the University of Alberta, and the tools mentioned in the story are actually in our collection. When I first saw them, I got the idea for the story and it quickly developed into the final product. Not to give too much away, I guess the biggest challenge to this would be the setting of the house as it had to have certain physical characteristics which meant I had to sour Google Maps® to find a suitable location.

3. You include time travel in your stories. What is it about time travel that interests you and makes you want to write about it?

Howard Gibbins: Actual time travel is actually only featured in “A Night to Remember” but I guess what interests me is that there are numerous hypothesis dealing with temporal travel, but virtually the only one you ever hear about is a linear progression which is what is dealt with in the “Grandfather paradox” i.e., if you go back in time and kill your grandfather, how do you get born? I’m well aware that time travel isn’t possible with our current understanding of physics, but then again the other stories in this world all revolve around a scientist who has discovered/developed a new physics. In “Tools of the Trade” the main character visits an alternate in a dream-like state, so this is kind of cheating on the time travel idea, but hopefully it works for the reader.

4. Which writers do you admire, and why?

Howard Gibbins: I read a lot of books. As far as fiction writers are concerned Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov were some of the first ones that I read when I was young. This was followed by James P. Hogan, Robert Sawyer and Chris Bunch. These are all Science Fiction writers but I try and add an element of mystery into my writing as well so authors such as Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, and other have also influenced me. As for non-fiction, I tend to read authors that have a science background themselves as they are aware that research is required to be able to write science books.

5. What part of writing do you like the most? What part of writing do you like the least?

Howard Gibbins: The part I like the best is seeing the story develop, especially when it takes off on a tangent, and I have to try and figure out how to explain what happened (assuming I keep it in – and I usually do). As for what I like the least, I guess that would have to be all the self-promotion that one has to do now-a-days to get your stories out there.

Howard Gibbins’ stories, “A Night to Remember” and “Tools of the Trade”, are featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

Have a Happy New Year, and remember to come on down to the Enterprise Square Branch of the EPL to get your copy, and meet the authors on Jan. 7th, from 1:00pm-5:00pm!

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author A. Merlyn

The Edmonton Writers’ Group’s new anthology, ‘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, A. Merlyn.

1. Your story features Edmonton’s ‘Talus Dome’. Why did you decide to write about the Talus Dome?

Merlyn: It is one of the most well known and indeed most controversial pieces of public art in Edmonton. It also had some very unique properties that I felt a story was just waiting to exploit, namely a large number of reflective surfaces as well as a hefty reputation.

2. Why do you think your protagonist Ant has lost his way in life?

Merlyn: Ant is a young man, and I think a lot of young people (older ones too) have a difficult time figuring out the path they should take in life. I don’t think he is so much lost as changing and temporarily waylaid. Following through on a dream is difficult, and we all get discouraged. I have three mostly adult children and all of them have gone through and continue to go through periods of change, and time when they don’t know what their future will hold or how to get there.

3. How different is the story in its current form from its first draft?

Merlyn: This is one story that stayed very close to the same from the first draft to finish. It was always about choices and changes. The biggest change was that in my original idea the dome has something to do with Fairies. In fact Ant’s last name is Teg, short for Tylwyth Teg, the Welsh name for Fairies.

4. Your story uses fantasy elements in a story that is mostly realist. Why do you like to use fantasy elements in your fiction?

Merlyn: I tend to believe that the world is not quite as realistic and concrete as we seem to think it is. I find that there are a lot of things in life that are just a little bit on the fantastic side. I don’t believe that things like what happens in this story really happens, but it might, might it not?

5. What is your favourite piece of public art in Edmonton? Why?

Merlyn: Probably my favourite piece of public art in city is the Talus Dome. I like the look of it and It always seems to me to be a very personal piece of art, one that is neither easily defined nor easily, forgotten.

Merlyn’s story, “Myriad”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

The authors of ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ will be selling copies and doing signings in person at the Enterprise Square Branch of the EPL on January 7th, starting at 1:00pm. Come on down to meet the authors, and get your copy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

-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.

Dear Microsoft

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgOh Microsoft, what can we here at Brad OH Inc. ever say to express our deep respect and admiration for you? You are an inspiration to say the least—and every fledgling Corporation with their shiny little ambitions of world domination should look up to you! This sentiment is never far from our minds, but today seemed like as good a day as any to publicly declare our undying regard for the innovation you show in dealing with your customers.

Earlier you see, one of our lowly employees reported turning on his computer to find a pop-up encouraging him to ‘upgrade’ to Windows 10. Some quick experimentation followed by a bit of research (fear not, his wages have been docked for this time) revealed that this little prompt is unavoidable, and will appear with relentless disregard for any efforts put into ignoring it.

Like a Trojan virus (and many other Viruses for that matter), it just keeps popping up, reminding all users of the insatiable hold you have over them. Honestly…our jaws hit the floor when we took the time to consider the brilliance of this move. Despite our moderate personal frustrations (the Virus has infected the computers of even the highest Corporate climbers here at Brad OH Inc.), we couldn’t help but stand back and take in the big picture—revelling in the twisted ingenuity of it all.

You offer someone a product…that much we’ve been doing for years. But when people choose not to access the posts provided here by the kindness of our hearts, that used to be the end of it. Well no more! With your help, we could use this coding to have our articles popping up on their computers non-stop—lambasting them with passive-aggressive reminders to accept what they had clearly tried refused:

-“Don’t Forget to read about ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’”

-“Click here to read our ‘Dear Jeremy’ Article!”

-“You haven’t read about ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’ in a while… do it… Now! You Idiot!”

Wow! We hardly know what to say. Only the geniuses at Microsoft could take the hideous ideology of ‘Rape Culture’, and turn it into a marketing strategy!

But you don’t stop there—tenacious tyrants that you are. Even as we sat humbly at our desks and endeavoured to pour are little black hearts out to you, we faced a barrage of reminders as to your grandeur. For instance, we tried to cut and paste something a moment ago—from one place in the article to another—which one would imagine being a relatively simple procedure. After all, it’s named after two of the first skills taught to Kindergarteners. But, as we quickly learned, this is not the case. As soon as I hit the ‘Paste’ command, I was dismayed to find that Word had deigned to change the font, size, and formatting of the text into incoherent nonsense.

Stunning work! What a skillfully subtle way to remind your customers just who the fuck is in charge! If only we here at Brad OH Inc. took such an approach, our number of registered viewers would surely crack the lauded 120 mark!

Of course, we know that you must be terribly busy up there in your (presumably) Onyx towers, likely cooking up some crafty means of erasing people’s data on a monthly basis in order to sell them insurance for just such an event. So we won’t take up too much of your time. And honestly, we don’t mean to gush. It’s just that we have so very much to learn from you! So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you Microsoft! Truly, you are a monolith among greedy, callous corporations, and that’s something everyone here at Brad OH Inc. admires!

Your Dearest Friends (Please don’t wipe our hard-drives!),

-Brad OH Inc.

The Disgraceful Suicide ‘Old’ Media

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampI still buy CD’s sometimes. I know, I know, it’s something of a strange quirk—an antiquated habit I’m not yet fully ready to see pass into memory. Like treasured photos of sun-stained childhood days outside, or discoloured and wrinkled love-letters at the bottom of a shoebox somewhere, I continue to tread this old ground hoping some new joy may be gleaned from it. Alas, as is to be expected of such concessions, my efforts are met primarily with pain and rejection.

DVD’s are a less common indulgence (or is that affliction?), but I won’t deny that I occasionally buy them as well. However, such purchases have become an increasingly embarrassing habit over the years, as the friends who will judge and ridicule me for my naivety grow ever in number.

No bother, I never did mind things like that. It is, however, the hammer of logic that really concerns me, and as it crashes down again and again on my old ways, I’ve found myself asking with increasingly routine—‘just what are you doing anyway?’

In the past, answers to that question have come readily. ‘I’m supporting my favourite band’, ‘I’m trying to be honest by paying for what I use’…you know, the sort of mealy-mouthed, moralistic arguments taken by people doing something for the right reasons, and not the smart ones. The truth is, it’s been a long while since buying physical media made any sense, and with each passing day it only gets worse.

CD’s, DVD’s, ‘Old Media’ in general have been in the process of committing a sorrowful—but very intentional—suicide, and perhaps it’s time that I remove the tourniquets of my empathy and finally let them bleed out as they so desire.

It’s a morbid analogy to be sure, but it has in turn been a vile and loathsome decent for this once proud industry. So how did it get to this point? Perhaps the better question is how did I get to this point? I used to love CD’s (and other forms of physical media) with a fiery passion. Now, they are like the old elementary school friend who you can’t yet fully ignore in passing, but loathe every second wasted in their cloying presence. Ultimately, it comes down to one simple fact, and once I came to realize this, I knew I was finally ready to cut the cord. That fact is, simply, that when you buy physical media, you are willingly choosing to pay for a product which can be obtained—and, it is crucial to point out, in a superior version—entirely for free.

It was only a few weeks ago I made this familiar mistake. Coming home with a new DVD, I prepared a meal to eat as I watched it, and happily removed the plastic wrap. Then I peeled away the little sticker which prevents the (wrapped) case from opening (I guess?). The sticker left a residue of glue on my case, which wryly threatened to contaminate the rest of my collection if left unaddressed.

So, after washing the gluey mess away, I popped the DVD into my player, and sat down with my now cooling meal to enjoy my chosen movie.

The meal was finished before the anti-piracy ads built into the disc—unskippable, immutable, and omnipresent with every repeated watch. What sick depravity is that? A warning not to steal the product you just bought? It’s been a while since I was at a car-dealership, but I certainly don’t remember being investigated for grand theft auto after signing on the dotted line!

I placed my dishes in the sink, and sat back down for another 10 minutes of unskippable trailers, ads, and other promotional rubbish. That’s about when the revelation hit me, and I finally saw the light. Promptly ejecting the DVD and hurling it from my window, I strolled over to my computer, found a torrent of the movie, and started downloading. The rest of the night went on without any significant incident.

But I was left with a rueful distaste in my mouth. I could have downloaded the movie from the start—or better yet, simply streamed it. It would have taken up zero space in my small apartment, and it would have had no built in advertisements or tacit threats. It would have been, in every conceivable way, a better product—for none of the cost.

Unless of course, we are still inclined to take the moral objection. And those few who know me will also know that such is my wont. So let’s do that, shall we?

I do object to stealing. I do object to dishonesty. Further, I am strongly opposed to the rule of idiocy by virtue of greed. When the product you can readily get for free is better and more versatile than the one you’re being asked to pay for, something very suspicious is going on. Yet this is exactly what such studios are asking of us. Like a mosquito with its proboscis stuck, drinking up all the foul blood it can get before it finally explodes and fades from memory—a disgusting mess in the footnotes of irrelevant history. Such are these discs of plastic and spite which are forced on us at any moment we let down our shields of consumer logic and moral apathy.

Now, it may be said this argument is about a decade too late, but it must be noted that this trend, while nothing new, is not old either. It continues daily in fact, malignant to its core. Everywhere you look, we see industries trying to give their customers less and less in order to ensure their profits remain steady. The serpent has gotten hold of its tail, and is not like to let go until its eaten its fill and dies bloated yet ill-content.

You can see the approach everywhere—from ‘Always Online’ DRM protocols in video games, to player restrictions on purchases from I-Tunes—companies continue to slaughter their sheep to ward off the wolves.

And so the moral issue resonates somewhat less with me these days. If the crimes of the thief are to be paid for by the honest man, there is little reason not to hoist the black flag, grab your flagon of rum, and join the party. Steal! Pirate! Avast…all that. Do what you will to these gutless cowards of companies…for they will do it to you all the quicker.

Just don’t steal books…you’ll actually go to hell for that.

-Brad OH Inc.