There was a moment during last night’s ChiSeries reading when I realized that it’s been over a year since the last time I was at Maxwell’s for this event. That was also, incidentally, the first time that I attended ChiSeries Ottawa, and had the great fortune of listening to Ian Rogers, Sandra Kasturi, and Alison Sinclair read from their respective books. It was an awesome night, and I decided then that ChiSeries Ottawa, which runs about four times year, would be part of my ongoing experience as a writer.
And then somehow a whole friggin’ year went by. How did that happen? Life, I suppose. I remember missing one because of a conflict, and another because I screwed up the date. I made it to Can Con this past October, which I talked about at length here on the blog. But as much as I know that it really doesn’t matter to anyone else, I feel really bad about how long it’s been since I made it out to a ChiSeries reading. Why? Because they’re awesome.
The ambiance at Maxwell’s is perfect for a spec fic reading. The hosts – Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau and Nicole Lavigne – put fun into the ever-necessary fundraising for these kinds of events, via origin stories for the passed hat and the promise that said hat will be displayed prominently on Mr. Moore’s head if a certain amount of money is reached. That lends the ChiSeries a warm and friendly atmosphere that is essential to a great reading series, and is likely one of the reasons why this particular series has survived while others are apparently waning.
Most importantly, though, ChiSeries Ottawa attracts excellent writers, and last night was no exception. Kate Story’s reading from a yet-to-be-published short story was hilarious in its weirdness and realness (I was going to say vulgarity, but there’s always a negative connotation to that), and the way that she slowly built up the story’s speculative element was phenomenal. James K. Moran’s reading from Town and Train, a novel about a ghostly steam engine that brings terror to a small Ontario town, caught my historian’s interest. And as much as werewolf novels aren’t my thing, the excerpt from Melissa Yuan-Innes’s novel Wolf Ice totally hooked me. Also, her credentials totally put me to shame: she’s a Writers of the Future winner, has been published in Tesseracts twice, and has several books out, all while working as an emergency doctor (probably one of the most taxing jobs I know) and raising two children. Nothing but respect for someone who can do all that, and produce quality fiction.
The next ChiSeries will be on September 22 – same location, same time. And damn if I’m not going to be there!
For more info about the writers mentioned above, please visit the following links:
- Kate Story: http://www.katestory.com/
- James K. Moran: http://jameskmoran.blogspot.ca/
- Michelle Yuan-Innes: http://melissayuaninnes.com/