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10th Annual BLOOM Art Silent Auction

Grow Out My Roots by Miki DareThe Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby is combining its spring festival with its 10th Annual BLOOM Art Silent Auction. I will be donating art for the silent auction as will other local Japanese artists. Come out and pick up a painting, print or pottery to make your home beautiful and help support the Nikkei Centre. Here are a list of artists taking part so far: Mariko Ando, Miki Dare, Yoriko Gillard, Lori Goldberg, Sleepless Kao, Merry Meredith, Shinsuke Minegishi, Raymond Nakamura, Christopher O’neill, Claire Sower, Jeremy Isao Speier, Takao Tanabe, Sachi Yamabe, Instant Coffee, Yifei Zhang, Yurie Hoyoyon, Justine Miles, Michael Abe, Kathy Shimizu, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Audrey Nishi, Joyce Kamikura, and more. The silent auction is taking place on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Nikkei Centre Spring Festival will also be happening on this same date, so stay awhile and enjoy Japanese food, a tea ceremony, martial arts, dance, music,a bonsai display, and arts and crafts. There will also be a kids zone outside for children to take part in a variety of fun activities. 

You can also check out the Beta Vulgaris: The Sugar Beet Projects in the art gallery. This exhibit, by Kelty Miyoshi McKinnon and Keri Latimer, looks at the connection between Japanese Internment during World War Two and sugar beet farms.  Japanese-Canadian families were told they could stay together if they chose to pick sugar beets in Alberta.  Their forced labour covered about 2/3rds of Alberta’s sugar beet farms in the 1940s. There will also be a free film screening of Facing Injustice. The film looks at the relocation of Japanese-Canadians to Manitoba.

 

 

Audio Interview: Editors Talk About Tesseracts Twenty: Compostela

Check out a recent audio interview by Mark Lefebvre with James Alan Gardner and Spider Robinson. The pair worked together to edit the Tesseracts Twenty: Compostela anthology where my short story “Grounded” is featured.  Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing puts out a Tesseracts anthology each year, and it features work by Canadian science fiction, fantasy and horror authors. Gardner and Robinson talk about the meaning of Compostela, what kind of stories they received, and their decision-making process. The audio is on the Kobo Writing Life Podcast; it’s Episode 097 titled James Alan Gardner and Spider Robinson. They also talk about their editing and writing accomplishments and reflect on the changes over the years.

Kobo Writing Life Podcast – Episode 097 – James Alan Gardner & Spider Robinson

 

Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Reviews

Where the Stars Rise anthology

The release of Where the Stars Rise:Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy came at the end of 2017, and I’m happy to see some of the positive reviews of the book in 2018.

“. . . this collection is essential for anyone interested in the diverse and engaging possibilities of fantasy and science fiction.” — Booklist (American Library Association)

“. . . this fascinating collection addresses issues of immigration, dual cultures, and ethnic issues through genre devices such as ghosts, steampunk robots, and planetary exploration. Sf readers looking to discover new voices will enjoy this volume that reflects the eclecticism of Asian culture.” — Library Journal

“This anthology was good, with the majority of the stories being either good or very good page-turners.” — Tangent

For more details, go to http://laksamedia.com/where-the-stars-rise-an-anthology-for-a-cause/

 

Relaxing at VCON Relaxicon (41½)

 

Come chill out with me at VCON Relaxicon (41½) this month. It’s happening from Saturday, October 28th to Sunday, October 29th at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel in Surrey.

It will be my first time to attend, and this is how VCON is described on its website, “VCON is the oldest general-interest science fiction, fantasy and games convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy culture in Vancouver BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, tabletop games, electronic games, etc.”

Swing by the art show to check out my Geisha Girl Survivor artwork. I’ll have framed and unframed prints for sale. Also pay the Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing booth a visit as I will be hanging out there for a bit too. Edge is out to promote a number of books, including Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty. My short story “Grounded” is in this anthology and it is edited by the fabulous Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardener.

Come out and enjoy the chill vibe and hope to see you there.

Tesseracts 20 Book Launch in Vancouver

I had a fabulous time at the “double the fun” book launch for Issue 16 of Pulp Literature and Tesseracts 20 in Vancouver. My short story “Grounded” is in the latter anthology, and it was my first time to read my published work in public. I was nervous to say the least, but had a blast once I got reading.

Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty

The book launch was on September 18, 2017 at the Cottage Bistro, Vancouver. It was a terrific venue, and I enjoyed meeting fellow writers and readers.  As per Pulp Literature’s website, “attending litterati from Pulp Literature include feature author kc dyer, cover artist Akem, Patrick Bollivar, Erin Kirsh, Magpie Poetry Award judges Renée Sarojini Saklikar and Daniel Cowper along with Magpie runner-up Glenn Pape, JM Landels, and Susan Pieters (who has a story in both books).”  The Tesseracts 20 list included Susan Pieters, paulo da costa, Linda DeMeulemeester, Steve Fahnestalk, Catherine Girczyc, Roxanne Gregory, Matthew Hughes, Guy Immega, and Rhea Rose.

Thanks to the folks at Pulp Literature for organizing such a wonderful event.

Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty

Compostela: Tesseracts TwentyI’m on cloud nine that my story “Grounded”  is in the new anthology Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty which is now available exclusively on Amazon.

Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing puts out a Tesseracts anthology each year, and it features work by Canadian science fiction, fantasy and horror authors. According to Edge’s website, “Some of Canada’s best known fiction writers have been published within the pages of these volumes – including Margaret Atwood, Susan Swan, and Hugo and Nebula award winning authors William Gibson, Spider Robinson, and Robert J. Sawyer.” I am happy to say that in this 20th edition, I share the pages with Robert J. Sawyer. How fabulous!

It’s also wonderful to be in an anthology edited by Spider Robinson because he was my first direct connection to the world of science fiction writers. He was a writer in residence in Vancouver awhile back, and I went in to see him about what he thought about my writing. I basically wrote science fiction as a social hermit, as most of my friends don’t read it. I was ever so nervous, and he was ever so kind.  He said to go on and start sending out stories; and that’s what I did. Here I am now!

Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology Official Release

The official release of Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy is set for October 8, 2017. I am excited to say that my story, A Star is Born is one of the 23 stories selected for this anthology. Within these pages, readers will find imaginative science fiction and fantasy tales with an Asian focus that work towards crushing stereotypes and broadening people’s minds.

To find out more, check out the following links:

Where the Stars Rise page: http://laksamedia.com/where-the-stars-rise-an-anthology-for-a-cause/

Author page: http://laksamedia.com/authors-editors/

Below is the official Table of Contents:

Stars Rise table of contents

 

Feature First Nations, Inuit, and Métis People on Canadian Banknotes

Being an artist, I value and see how powerful images are in society. As a writer, I see how important stories are to how we view ourselves and others. For so long and in so many ways, Indigenous people have been and continue to be marginalized in Canada. Sharing positive images and stories in a meaningful and respectful way, is a small, but symbolic step, to work towards addressing the damage of so many generations of systemic racism. Our view of Canadian history has been sadly skewed and Indigenous perspectives and contributions largely ignored. Having First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people featured prominently on our money would be a way to recognize the importance of Indigenous people in our society. It’s a way to change our media and mental landscapes that are generally bereft of positive Indigenous images. It would be a touchstone to share stories about the important impact Aboriginal people have and continue to have in Canada.

I imagine parents having an instant teachable moment when kids ask who is on their dollar bills.  I imagine visitors from other countries asking the same question, and Canadians proudly sharing stories about Indigenous historial figures and role models. I imagine a future where more Canadians talk about and see our country as starting with Indigenous people versus only when Europeans came here. I would hope this could help spark change in how our government, related agencies and every Canadian thinks about and relates to First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

I started a petition asking the Bank of Canada and the Canadian government to feature First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people on Canadian banknotes. Below is a link to the petition. I am trying to collect as many signatures as possible to make this happen, so please sign and pass it on.

As well, here is the letter I wrote to the government and Bank of Canada:

I am overjoyed that the Canadian government has made the important and progressive move to feature Viola Desmond on our $10 bill. I am now petitioning the federal government to make a sincere and long-lasting commitment to feature Aboriginal men and women on our future bills. The Bank of Canada has said that its goal is to “promote Canada and Canadians – our values, culture, history, traditions, achievements and/or natural heritage.” There is absolutely nothing more Canadian than the Indigenous people of this land.

It’s shocking and shameful that Aboriginal people are not included on every single bill we have.  They are the heart and soul of this country, and their exclusion on our banknotes sadly reflects how our society has long viewed and treated First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. When we think of “founding fathers,” we automatically think of white male government figures – and that is who we see on our bills. But this is not who “founded” this nation.

Canada has always been home for Aboriginal people, for thousands of years and countless generations. Their culture, knowledge and connection to the land, and their willingness to share this, are what made it possible for Europeans to survive and thrive here. Aboriginal people shared a cure for scurvy with sickly newcomers, helped them travel this great land, and even taught them the sport of lacrosse which is enjoyed across the country today. From the very beginning to this very day, Aboriginal people have made and continue to make important contributions to Canada – that sadly have been and continue to be left largely unrecognized.

The federal government can take action to help right this wrong; it has the power to make an impactful change. Ottawa can send a powerful message that touches all our lives every day, by meaningfully including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people on our banknotes.  Money passes through hands every day and across the nation, and who we see on our bills reflects how we see ourselves and how we see not only our past, but how we shape the present day and envision the future. By making Aboriginal people visible on our currency, this is a step in the right direction to illustrate how our government values and validates their importance in Canadian society.

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people should all be represented, with the goal of having historical heroes and/or present day role models featured prominently on Canadian banknotes. Some examples would be historical figures like Louis Riel and Molly Brant to present day trailblazers like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Rosemarie Kuptana and Senator Murray Sinclair.

This petition calls on the Bank of Canada to commit to featuring First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people on banknotes, to do so as soon as possible, and to remain steadfast to this commitment as future bill series are created. Please add your name to help make this important change happen.

Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

There is a twinkle in my eye!  I am excited to say that my short story “A Star is Born” will be featured in Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories. The Laksa Media Groups Inc. is responsible for this anthology, and I am feeling thrilled to be part of an organization that forward focused.  For example, their mission statement is “to create opportunities to ‘pay forward’ and ‘give back’ through our publishing program. Our tag line is Read for a Cause, Write for a Cause, Help a Cause.” Who doesn’t want to be part of something as awesome as that!

To top it off their website states that a “portion of Laksa Media’s net revenue from this anthology will go directly to support Kids Help Phone.” And Laksa Media says it will donate $500 to Kids Help Phone once this anthology is published.

Browsing around their site, I checked out Laksa Media’s current anthology which is Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts where “nineteen science fiction and fantasy authors tackle the division between mental health and mental illness; how the interplay between our minds’ quirks and the diverse societies and cultures we live in can set us apart, or must be concealed, or become unlikely strengths.”

Realizing that not everyone can afford to buy a book, they have a Library Challenge section on their website. They ask that folks suggest their local library request the anthology so that everyone can have access to entertaining yet socially relevant, important stories. If you are interested in getting this anthology at your library, here is the information you need below, and you can do it online in mere minutes.

Title: Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts
Author: Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law
ISBN: 9780993969607
Publisher: Laksa Media Groups Inc.
Notes/Comments: The anthology (dealing with mental health/mental illness) has been reviewed by Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Quill & Quire, and Foreword Reviews.

Powell Street Festival

psf2016_11x17poster-copyThe Powell Street Festival is celebrating its fortieth year this year in Vancouver, and I am so happy to be taking part in the event.  Come stop by my table for a visit and a chat. I will be selling my paintings, prints and cards. I have always loved the Powell Street Festival and it`s so awesome to be able to participate this time.

It`s Canada’s biggest festival of Japanese arts and culture, and it is great family fun for the last weekend of July. It offers entertainment  from taiko drumming to sumo wrestling. There are crafts and activities for the kids and all sorts of great Japanese arts and crafts to purchase. One of my favourite things to do is to pig out on all the delicious Japanese fair food. This year they are also having an interactive section in the park and a street party on Alexander Street. Hope to see you there!