Monthly Archives: August 2012

In which I visit the hospital

The sun was out for the first time all day. My boss had just called to see if I could work next week (in my favourite building, no less!). My roommate and I were eating freshly baked cake. I was whiling away the last hour or so before I needed to leave for a pool party. Life was pretty good.

And then—

“Whoa. What’s wrong with my hands?”

Small, flattish red bumps covered the backs of my hands. They seemed to spread as I watched, covering more and more space, though not really venturing past my wrists. I checked my feet, and found a few around my toes.

“Hives,” was Gemma’s diagnosis. In general, she’s not the type to accept much nonsense. As her boyfriend and mother both have epi-pens, she is even less inclined to do so with allergies—especially when you don’t know what’s causing them. And so, I was  quickly dosed up with Benedryl, given copious amounts of water, and, when the hives refused to fade and my throat started tightening, bundled off to the emergency room.

Here’s an effective way of getting attention in a hospital: state, “I have hives, my throat feels tight, and we have no idea what’s causing it.”

We moved quickly through triage (I could only laugh at the question, “Have you travelled outside of North America in the past thirty days?”) and into a curtained-off corner of another room. For the next while, I answered questions, while Gemma provided additional details.

Yes, I thought I might be allergic to wasps, but have never actually had that tested. No, I hadn’t been stung by a wasp. No, I hadn’t used any new detergents or soap. No, I hadn’t gone walking barefoot through any parks. No, I’ve lived in this house for a year. Yes, I had started drinking almond milk instead of regular milk, but I’d been doing it for over a week and hadn’t had any since that morning.

“Well,” one doctor said, observing the new splotches on my feet. “I think you’re having an allergic reaction.”


Apparently at a loss, they decided to give me more Benedryl, this time via an injection into my muscle. Here’s an effective way of getting hospital staff to treat you like you’re six: stare at the giant, pokey needle, clutch your friend’s hand, and stammer, “Will it hurt?”

I still maintain that a fear of needles is perfectly rational.

They left us a while longer while the antihistamines did their work. The spots faded, but all the combined Benedryl took its toll as reality felt increasingly dreamlike and I drowned beneath a wave of drowsiness. I tried to chat with Gemma, but I think my side of the conversation stopped making sense. However, I do remember that we both decided it might be a bad idea to take a picture of myself looking sad in a hospital bed, post it online, and caption it, “In ER. Just got a huge shot. Doctors have no idea what’s wrong with me.”

But, eventually, the doctors decided the hives had calmed enough to let me go. They wrote me a prescription for an epi-pen, gave me instructions to come back immediately if I experienced any facial swelling or throat closing, and sent me on my way.

As soon as we got home, I hit my bed, slept for an hour, woke up for a brief conversation with Gemma, and fell asleep again until just now.

 I’ve been told that hives recur, and since we don’t know what caused them in the first place, they may come back. So, just a general announcement: if you see me with bumpy, angry-looking hands and feet, don’t worry. I probably don’t have the plague.



And My Heart Goes “Thump”

It’s been a busy week.

I’ve been reacquainting myself with my city, catching up with all the various pockets of people in my life, and working to get Hapax-the-Podcast ready for launch. Oh, and thinking about getting myself ready for Dragon*Con.

It’s funny – I spent so much energy focusing on coming home, I almost forgot that I have to leave again.

Now I’ve remembered. And now that I’ve settled into my usual routine, both the podcast and novel seem that much closer. The first, faint tendrils of nervousness are starting to send their feelers out.

When you’re in your living room, sharing a mic with your friends, actually releasing a podcast still seems like a fairly abstract concept. I spent a portion of this week getting in touch with some of the other podcasters out there, to ask if they’ll play the Hapax promo. All have said yes so far, which is hugely exciting. Seriously, I’ve been blushing for days. The sense of community among writers and podcasters is nothing short of amazing.

…but it drives the point home: this is real. I’m really doing this.

I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time. I started with I Should Be Writing when I was sixteen or so – I remember when the tagline was “The podcast for wannabe fiction writers, by a wannabe fiction writer.” I remember the “Double Trouble” Amazon rush (08/08/08!). I’ve watched the voices of the podcast community establish their careers: going from a single show to multiple print novels. Because the podosphere was coming into its own just as I was really deciding that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, it’s had a huge impact on my development as a writer.

That’s why podcasting Hapax seemed like the logical next step.

That’s why the concept of hearing my promo on shows I’ve listened to since high school makes my heart go thump-leap-stop.

That’s why half my brain can run through the checklist of things I need to do, emails I need to send, and things I need to double-and-triple-check…while the other half says, “Hang on – wait, we’re actually doing this?”

Cold feet? No. I’m thrilled, and excited, and ridiculously proud of my cast, and all the rest of it. These are just the  jitters that come with the realization that I’m not standing on the edge of the diving board anymore.

I’ve already jumped.

Homecoming and Overhauling

I’m home.

I got in around midnight local time, couldn’t sleep, ended up unpacking at five, showered and dressed at six, and staggered into work to say hello to everyone just after lunch. I am glad I went. A combination of jet lag and excitement resulted in a very potent kind of adrenaline…and I did really, really miss everyone. As I stumbled around the village, a huge weight lifted off my chest, even as it was rather firmly suggested that I catch a ride to the subway, rather than navigating the bus half out of my mind with sleep deprivation.

My coworkers are awesome.

But now that I’m home, it’s time to shift gears a little bit. I’m glad I had a week to relax on the beach in Rarotonga, because things are about to start moving.

Cue deep sigh.

First up: Hapax-the-Podcast

It’s pretty much done. I finished editing chapters 2-19 while in New Zealand, which just leaves chapter 1 (there is a method to my madness, don’t worry). My beta listener caught a few technical glitches, but all easy to fix. Now looking at sorting the feed and host, but well on track for the first episode to drop sometime in mid-to-late September. Watch this space for more updates and details as the time nears.


Also on track, forthcoming from Dragon Moon Press this October. Here’s the first official review I’ve seen, from Publisher’s Weekly. Apparently, I’m also on Amazon now: you can sign up to be notified when Hapax becomes available.

Again, watch this space for more details and updates. I’m considering an Amazon rush (everyone buys the book the same day, to drive it up the charts), but there’s a bit of time yet.

Dragon Con

I will be at Dragon Con, though because of flight and hotel availability, I won’t get there until the afternoon of the 31st. Looking forward to meeting lots of people there, so if you’re going, please come say hi. I’ll be the girl with purple glasses and the stunned look.

World Fantasy Con

WFC is in Toronto! Wh00t! I will definitely be there – and since it’s at the beginning of November, we’re hoping for a Hapax launch. Again, looking forward to meeting lots of people!

SFContario (?)

I know, I know, I’m leaving this awfully late, but I’m honestly not 100% decided on whether I’m going. As the first con I ever attended, SFContario is dear to my heart, and it’s easy for me to get to. The problem is funds. After travelling, Dragon Con, and WFC, I’m not sure it’s feasible. I’m also not sure that I could afford to book that weekend off work, when I know I’ll be taking time for WFC.

Otherwise, The Next One is in the deep freeze; I’m just giving myself a bit of space before attacking it with the rewrites. And another fantasy is stirring in the corner – something that feels slick, dark, and vaguely Victorian.

And that’s me, at the moment. I guess I also have to start school soon, as well….

Rested, recharged, and raring to go!


One Last Stop

Just a quick note, thanks to free airport Wifi.

One last stop on the South Pacific Gallivanting Tour – Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands. I hear internet in Raro is expensive, so this will likely be the last post until I get home. There will be a recap of sorts then, but I’ll also be overhauling this blog, shifting the focus from “OMG TRAVEL!!!” to Hapax-the-Podcast, Hapax-the-Novel, and projects yet to come.

For those who have followed: thank you. I appreciate it so much. See you on the other side!



I never thought I’d go to Uluru/Ayer’s Rock.

To start, I thought my chances of making it to Australia were low until quite recently, and even then, I figured I’d be hugging the coast. But a reluctance to tackle Oz on my own landed me on a tour.

Find a map of Australia. Stab your finger right in the middle. That’s about where we went.

After gaping at Uluru from afar, we got to walk around the base. I found myself walking next to a guy named Josef (nicknamed “Swissy,” by our irrepressible guide, to go with “Frenchie,” “Dutchy,” “the British Brigade,” “Big Fella,” and me, “Katie-Kates”). Josef and I are both fairly fast walkers, and we had just enough to talk about to keep the silences from getting awkward, though neither of us minded tramping along with our own thoughts, which kept the conversations from getting awkward, too.

Towards the end, we arrived at a water hole, nestled into the side of the rock. A helpful sign informed us that it was a sacred site, the most consistent water source around, and guarded by a snake spirit that provided the Aboriginal people with water. It also suggested that this was “a good place to listen to country.”

So we did. Gradually, the sounds from the not-too-distant carpark and roaming families fell away, replaced by the wind rustling the reeds and whistling through the stones. The pool was absoutely still.

Until it began to ripple. It sparkled, as though tiny copper beads were being drawn across its surface- slowly at first, then quicker. Very pretty, but slightly unnerving.

See, the water hole was in complete shadow. The sky was cloudless, but that bright Australian sun missed us completely- I’d just done my jacket up again. I was wondering if I was insane when Josef coughed.

“The water, it’s shining. But that is not possible, is it?”

“I don’t know,” I answered.

We watched as the lights faded. And then, before we could exhale, they started again, even more of them. Josef shifted nervously.

“Perhaps it is reflecting the rock face?”

“Maybe.” I looked up. The sun hit a slab of orange rock a few metres above. The colour wasn’t exactly right, and I’m still not sure about angles, but it may have been possible. “I don’t know.”

We spent a few more minutes. It was still so, so quiet, and I think we were both slightly disquieted when we left.

Trick of the light? Spirits? Something else?

I don’t know.

And that’s fine with me.