Douglas Smith's blog

Aurora Award bundle spotlight: Golden Fleece

Golden Fleece coverContinuing my spotlights on the books in the current Aurora Award ebook bundle is Robert J. Sawyer's Golden Fleece.

I couldn't put together an Aurora Award bundle and not include a Robert J. Sawyer title. Rob is arguably Canada's best known SF writer and has won the Aurora fourteen times with another thirty ballot appearances. He is one of only eight writers in history — and the only Canadian — to win all three of the world's top Science Fiction awards for best novel of the year: Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell Memorial Award. In 2013, Rob was also inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association Hall of Fame.

Golden Fleece was Rob's first novel, an SF mystery set on a colony ship as told by the artificial intelligence controlling the ship.

You can check out the bundle here. It runs to July 27.


The Wolf at the End of the World 99 cent ebook sale

Drowning in Amber coverI currently have a promotion running via BookBub for all ebook editions of my urban fantasy shapeshifter novel, The Wolf at the End of the World.

From until July 23, you can pick up the ebook (epub or mobi/Kindle formats) from any of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apple for just $0.99. The offer is valid in Canada, US, UK, India, and Australia.

Find out more about the book on my website here or check out all the buying links here.

Aurora Award bundle spotlight: Drowning in Amber

Drowning in Amber coverNext up in my continuing spotlight series on the books in the current Aurora Award ebook bundle is E. C. Bell's Drowning in Amber, a fast-paced paranormal murder mystery featuring amateur detective Marie Jenner who can talk with ghosts.

I've included several books in series in this bundle, most of which are the first title. Drowning in Amber is the second book of a trilogy, but it and all the books in the series can be fully enjoyed as a stand-alone work. The first title, Seeing the Light, won the BPAA award for Best Speculative Fiction Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Bony Blythe Award for Light Mystery. The third book is Stalking the Dead. So here's another chance the bundle gives you to get introduced to a new series and author.

You can check out the bundle here. It runs to July 27.


Aurora Award bundle spotlight: Destiny's Blood

Destiny's Blood coverOver the next week, I'll be spotlighting each of the books in the current Aurora Award ebook bundle now available at StoryBundle.

Today, I'm starting with Marie Bilodeau's Destiny's Blood. One of several books in this bundle that get you started on a new series, Destiny's Blood won the Foreword Award and was a finalist for the Aurora. Destiny's Fall (also an Aurora finalist) and Destiny's War complete the series.

Marie is a Ottawa-based writer who lights up a room the way her prose lights up a page. If you haven't read her work before, this book is a great introduction.

In Destiny's Blood, Marie Bilodeau delivers action, romance, and mystery in an interstellar SF tale of two sisters fighting to save each other—and all life. And it all begins in a flower shop. Check out the bundle here.

"Spirit Dance" narrated on Far Fetched Fables

Far Fetched Fables logo and link to story The excellent audio fantasy fiction magazine, Far Fetched Fables, has my Aurora Award winning novelette, "Spirit Dance," up on its site now, and you can listen to it right here.

I'm really happy with the treatment FFF gave to the story. Mark Kilfoil, a fellow Canadian, does a wonderful job with his narration, nailing the voices, pronunciations, and rhythm of the prose and story.

Far Fetched Fables is one of several fiction podcast sites under the District of Wonders umbrella, the other sites being Tales to Terrify (horror, in case you couldn't guess) and Starship Sofa (SF, again as you probably guessed).

The Aurora Award ebook bundle #2

Aurora ebook bundle #2 cover montageHow would you like to own, at an incredible bargain, ten books that readers like yourself have already voted to be the best examples of speculative fiction published in Canada? Well, here's your chance. I'm once again curating an Aurora Award ebook bundle for that contains more winners and finalists for Canada's premier speculative fiction award, the Aurora Award. These Aurora bundles will now be an ongoing series on StoryBundle, running twice a year (until we run out of titles!), so they make a great way for you to build your library of the best in Canadian speculative fiction.

The Auroras are awarded annually by the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association (CSFFA) for excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The award started in 1980 as the Casper and was renamed the Aurora for the 1990 awards. I'm honored to have won the Aurora three times and to have been on the final ballot another sixteen.

This Aurora bundle again delivers a great mix of SF and fantasy, adult and YA novels, as well as a selection of short fiction. The books included reflect the long history of the Auroras, with titles spanning a quarter century of Canadian speculative fiction from 1992 to 2016.

This time, the bundle provides a great introduction to several wonderful series, including the first book in four separate series and the second book in a series that can be read as a stand-alone title. It also lets you sample the rich tradition of Canadian short speculative fiction, with two acclaimed collections.

Winter Mysteries ebook bundle

Winter Mysteries bundleWinter Mysteries ebook bundle from BundleRabbit. You get ten novels for $6.99 or five for $3.99, including my novel The Wolf at the End of the World.

The full collection includes the following mysteries:
  • Two sleuths in the North Carolina mountains spend a snowy week in March searching for people who don't want to be found...

  • A haunted author must spend the winter battling his addictions, and worse...

  • A shapeshifter battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder...

  • A desperate man gets a phone call that pulls him back into a world of violence and mystery that he tried to leave behind...

  • An accidental death, a train wreck and dark secrets in a deadly northern winter places a police chief and her niece in jeopardy...

  • A crime committed decades ago refuses to lie dormant under the black waters of a lake...

  • The daughter of the Prince of Polka travels to the polka heartland of New Krakow, Pennsylvania, to solve the mystery of her father's murder...

  • A nature-loving woman and a mysterious photographer stand up to a shadowy lumber company that threatens their beloved swans at Turtle Pond...

  • Two retired detectives search for a friend near a remote Idaho lake, a search that could lead to the most dangerous serial killer in Las Vegas history...

  • Two brothers must unravel the weird and dangerous secrets of Salmon Run, Alaska: a place of wild animals, wild lands, and wild inhabitants...

Special, limited-time offer: Pay a minimum of $6.99 and receive all 10 mystery novels. Pay a minimum of $3.99 and receive the small version of the bundle with 5 books.

Buy here from BundleRabbit

Humber School for Writers workshop

Playing the Short Game coverI'm teaching a three-week workshop at the Humber School for Writers on how to market and sell short fiction. The course will be based on my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game, and runs on three consecutive Tuesday evenings starting on March 28, 2017. Each workshop session will be three hours, running from 6:30-9:30pm. The classes will be held at Humber's Lakeshore campus at 3199 Lake Shore Blvd West.

You can register here for the workhop via the Humber School for Writers site.

Here's an outline of what I'll cover in the workshop:

Week 1

Chapters 1-2: Introduction to the course / Why are you writing? / The benefits of short fiction to a writing career.

Chapter 3: Understanding rights and licensing for short fiction

Chapters 4-6: How to judge when is a story ready to submit to a market / A strategy for selecting your target markets / How to find short fiction markets

Week 2

Chapters 7-8: Selecting the right market / How to submit short fiction to a market

Chapters 9-13: What not to do when submitting / What to do after you've submitted a story / How an editor selects (or rejects) a story / Dealing with rejections / When to stop submitting a story

Week 3

Chapters 14-15: What to look (out) for in short fiction contracts / Working with an editor

Chapters 16-17, 19: What your first sale really means / Dealing with reviews

Chapter 20-22: A writer's magic bakery / Selling reprints / Selling foreign language rights / Selling audio rights

If you're interested, please register here.


Skyping with a Grade 8 class

Chimerascope coverI was approached via Twitter recently by Chris Byron, who teaches grade 8 in the Westmount Charter School in Calgary, Alberta. Chris tweeted that he'd enjoyed my collection Chimerascope (pictured here) and was using some of the stories, such as "Scream Angel" and "Jigsaw" to teach creative writing to his students ("Jigsaw" was written for the anthology Odyssey (Wonder Zone #4), which was aimed at grade 7-8 students with all stories based on the Ontario curriculum for those grades).

That in itself was cool enough, but after chatting via Twitter and email, Chris invited me to meet with his students via Skype and answer some questions about my life as a writer. We did the Skype call this week, and it was much fun. Well, for me at least. Hopefully, the kids enjoyed it as well. Here's a summary of some of the questions (italics) and my best recollection of what my answers were, many of which can be found in more detail in my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game.

  • Q: I like your hockey analogy for how writing professionally takes time. When did you feel you were ready for the Show?

As a writer, you don't know if you can sell professionally until you actually do. I started writing short fiction and recommend it for new writers, because short stories are a great way to learn how to write prose, even if you plan to eventually move to novels. Plus short stories let me find out early if I could actually sell anything I wrote. I was writing stories for about a year and sending them out before I got my first sale.

  • Q: As a writer, what does your day entail? Is it ritualized to heighten productivity?

Workshop reminder: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction

Library workshop flyerJust a reminder of my upcoming workshop for anyone in the Greater Toronto Area. This will be of interest to any short fiction writers who follow me here. I'll be giving a 2-hour workshop on how to market and sell short fiction at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library on Thursday, January 26,2017 from 7-9pm. The workshop will be an introduction to some of the material covered in my book Playing the Short Game: How to Market and Sell Short Fiction.

During the two hours, I will give you critical advice and answer your questions on how to sell your short stories to professional markets and to build a career as a short fiction writer. Topics I'll be teaching in the workshop include:

  • rights and licensing for short fiction;
  • a strategy for selecting your target markets;
  • finding short fiction markets;
  • selecting the right market;
  • submitting short fiction to a market; and,
  • what not to do when submitting.

$25 includes the workshop and a copy of my book. Registration is required by January 24. You can register online at or by calling the library:

Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library
2 Park Drive
Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario L4A 4K1 | (905) 642-7323

If you're in the GTA region, I hope to see you there!


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