Upcoming Public Readings

I confess: I’m one of those writers who loves to read her stuff out loud. Preferably when other people are around to listen, absorb, critique, discuss.

That’s why I’m very fortunate to have three opportunities to read excerpts of my short stories in the next few months.

On September 5, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., thanks to the Toronto Writers’ Cooperative, I get to read an excerpt of my short story Where Pigeons Roost at a literary event starring award-winning Canadian author Terry Fallis.

Then, on September 15, 2013, at 1:45 p.m., the Toronto Writers’ Cooperative is once again providing a reading opportunity, thanks to the launch of its Voices 2013 anthology, a perfect-bound anthology of co-op members’ work, in a range of genres.

Both events are held at the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium on the first floor of the Toronto Reference Library, and are free.

Finally, on October 3, 2013, at 7:30 p.m., another conglomerate of writers will gather to share a range of work – from short fiction to creative non-fiction to poetry – under the theme Who You Calling Crazy? While this event, held at the Free Times Café in Toronto, is free of charge, donations to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will be gladly accepted.

I’ve been practicing and timing (and even editing) the excerpts I plan to read, and am excited about these opportunities to share my writing live. If you happen to be in town, come on by and let me know what you think of my performance.

Writers Unite

Having met new fellow authors on Twitter this month, I was inspired by the UnknownJim Writers Unite challenge to « write what you REALLY want to write about. »

This month, while I couldn’t choose between concentrating on my English writing or on my French writing, I’ve not quite finished either piece, but I can still share an excerpt. Here is the opening of my short story Ms. Perceval’s Lover:

 

Ms. Perceval had long considered Owain Montblanc her type, but accepting the position of vice-principal last year impeded matters slightly. Now his superior, she could no longer express interest – not that she ever would have, anyway – lest it be misconstrued as sexual harassment by an authority figure. Hardly the way to begin her management career.

So, when Owain collapsed while teaching history class, Ms. Perceval at first hesitated to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation. She could hear the students’ nervous whispers behind her as she kneeled next to her prone colleague with another second’s hesitation. Then, she went to work. Ms. Perceval thought she heard a shocked, stifled giggle and considered withdrawing, but the prospect of Owain expiring on her watch was more than she could bear. She took a breath and bent down, pressing her lips against his, in their first, unlikely kiss.

She had imagined this moment – well, not this moment, the moment when she’d kiss Owain – many times before. She made up romantic, clichéd scenarios: a beach at sunset, the Eiffel Tower under a light rainfall, by Victoria Falls… She didn’t waste time figuring out how she and Owain would end up in these places – she simply inserted herself there, and in her lover’s arms.

Ms. Perceval blushed. She felt the students’ intent gazes pierce the nape of her neck. Could they guess what she had in mind?

While I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, it will be to concentrate on my short stories, so I hope to be further along with this and other stories by the end of the year.

Writers Unite!

A bit of « A Treat » for the International Day of the Girl

Today, we celebrate girls and young women everywhere; their resilience, their determination, and the hope they represent.

Therefore, I post here an excerpt of my short story « A Treat », starring 7-year-old Naya:

… A passer-by got too close to Naya and shoved her onto her hands and knees, the purse she had omitted to secure shut spilling its contents onto the well-traveled pavement. Tears sprang into Naya’s eyes, less for the pain of the tiny stones that lodged themselves into her right knee than for the lost money she desperately tried to gather up between people’s feet.

“Oh, you’re such a klutz,” Naya heard from up behind her, both relieved and terribly disappointed to hear her sister’s voice.

She picked up the last stray dime she spotted and began counting her coins again.

“Tie your shoe,” Midge commanded.

Used to obeying her big sister, Naya tossed her money back into her purse, made sure it was fastened, and bent over to knot the shoelace that never managed to stay tied. She then wiped her hands on her shorts and stood up, ready to surprise Midge with her offer of ice cream.

“Ok, let’s go,” snapped Midge, indelicately grabbing Naya by the arm.

“But…” spluttered Naya. “Ice cream…”

“Forget it. I’m not standing in a stupid line to get you ice cream. I don’t care what dad said. The deal was, if I take you to the aquarium, I can go to Colin’s cottage with his family next weekend.”

Naya’s shoulders sank. She hadn’t heard of any “deal”. She suspected her father hadn’t meant her to find out, either.

“I wanted to buy you ice cream…” she replied, barely audibly over the swarm of happy families around them.

“You want to buy me ice cream? Yeah, right,” Midge laughed, readily dismissing her sister’s generosity before reconsidering. “Do you have enough money?”

“I have four dollars and forty-two cents. I lost one of my pennies.”

“Great. I’ll have a butterscotch sundae.”

Naya grinned, pleased her big sister was allowing her to treat her. They headed for the ice cream stand, Midge as usual bulldozing her way there, leaving Naya to scamper after her. As they stood in line, Naya clutched her purse in anticipation at being the one to hand the clerk the payment. …

« A Treat » is part of a short story collection on which I am currently working.

To read a short story about another powerful girl, click to read Son of Sun.