Category Archives: Photos By Me

Past Year in Pictures

My best friend Louise got ovarian cancer, and was diagnosed in late 2016. I spent most of my vacation time in 2017 going to see her in my hometown of Halifax. Here we are in the Public Gardens in July 2017, one of her favourite places. There will be a bench dedicated to her there.

I finally went to see SEE ROCK CITY, as every second barn in Tennessee tells you to do, and Lookout Mountain.

My favourite memory from Christmas was decorating a gingerbread house at a friend’s place. Every year they have a big party with scores of people and tons of candy. It was so much fun.

A few days later, on December 22, 2017, Louise died. I got the text from her mother while I was at the ER for intense pain that turned out to be gallbladder attacks (preferable to the heart attack I thought I was having). It was a terrible day.

I had my gallbladder out in January. I had some complications that caused me to develop pancreatitis, and I don’t have very clear memories of the time in the hospital. I recovered reasonably quickly, though, and was basically back to normal by March, just in time for my very first cruise, a short 4-day excursion to the Bahamas (Nassau and Freeport). It was just the restorative vacation I needed. We ate stupidly good food and sat on our balcony and looked at the ocean. I felt very fancy. The best bit was the underwater excursion we did: the divers who went with us had lots of fish food, so the fish swarmed around us, and we got to see some very cool underwater statues. It was beautiful.

I’ve also taken up kayaking, which is wonderful exercise and makes me feel calmer and more balanced. I just love the water and being out in nature.

I spent most of April in Kickstarter hell, but was excited to make the money to be able to pay the contributors to Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good (which I also edited) and Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good (edited by Octavia Cade). I’ve mostly spent the summer working on those, kayaking, and writing postcards to voters. We also took a trip to see our friend Jason in Tacoma, but flew into San Francisco so we could drive through the redwoods and swing through Portland to see a good friend who lives there.

Now that it’s September, I’m concentrating on getting Broad Knowledge out the door and writing postcards to voters for the mid-terms. (Americans reading this, for the love of all that’s holy, vote in this election.)

Goodness it’s a ghost town

Have only just realized it’s been nearly a year since I’ve updated. I’m very active at Facebook, and otherwise my time has been basically completely subsumed by my press Upper Rubber Boot Books (website; FB; Tumblr; Twitter) and hiking. I expect it’ll be awhile before I update again since I only think to do so when I get something published, and I haven’t been writing let alone submitting, because of URB keeping me so busy.

For fun, here are some photos from my life for the past year.


Hard-to-see Canada geese at
Old Stone Fort Archeological State Park, May 2014.


Me with Ben from Said the Whale
at Mercy Lounge, May 2014.


Author Roundtable at Hypericon, June 2014.


Me with my folks, in Eastern Pasage,
Nova Scotia, July 2014.


Baby kangaroo in my arms,
North Georgia Zoo, July 2014.


With my friend Anne in front
of the Step Falls (Little Duck River),
Old Stone Fort Archeological State Park,
November 2014.


White-tailed deer,
Percy Priest Lake,
Long Hunter State Park, November 2014.

Leaves on the Shelby Bottoms Greenway, November 2014.

November leaves on the
Shelby Bottoms Greenway.

How to Live on Other Planets and other news

Since my last update, the whirlwind has continued:

I got to spend an amazing eight days in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, two of them with my sister and four of them at a work conference (one of the doctors I admin assist was President of the national organization holding the conference – nothing at all to do with writing but a fabulous experience nonetheless).


At the Southern Festival of Books this year, I got to see Monica Drake, Chelsea Cain, and (most excitingly for me) Chuck Palahniuk. They gave us beach balls to blow up and glowsticks to insert into them, and then they turned the lights off and played the Bossanova and we all threw balls at each other. Totally what every literary reading needs.


I’m in this! The website hasn’t been updated but the Tennessee volume is out now and contains work by me, Corey Mesler, Jeff Hardin and many others.


Also, I am editing an anthology, How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens; go here for the open call for reprint submissions.


I drove home to Nova Scotia with my housemate Diana last weekend, and we did all. the. things. It’s a three-day drive, if you do it like sane people and stop when you get tired, but we turned it into a two-day drive by sleeping and driving in shifts.

On Monday, we went to Cora’s with friends, then headed down to Seaport Market (which wasn’t there when I worked at the Writers’ Fed, more’s the pity, since it would have been an amazing place to eat lunch regularly) to watch the Parade of Sail, as the Tall Ships left Halifax Harbour (the island in the background is Georges Island):

We spent the afternoon at the Public Gardens, and I had grapenut ice cream (oh, how much do I miss grapenut ice cream!) from Sugah, with some other friends, and then went to The Fireside to meet Kimberly Walsh of the excellent Fierce Ink Press to compare notes about e-publishing. I stayed there for dinner with friends, and had some seafood (which I also miss—Tennessee has some good catfish and tilapia but isn’t otherwise much of a seafood mecca), and actually pretty much had seafood every possible meal the whole time we were there, so if I die of mercury poisoning, you know why. Tuesday we spent the day doing family stuff. But Wednesday we went whale watching! It was (*Archer hands*) a-mazing!

A view of the ocean from Brier Island.

An inuksuk somebody built overlooking Seal Cove,
where we went for a walk before getting on the boat.

A calf tail breaching.


On their Facebook page, Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises identified the humpback whales we saw: “After a day ashore, we were able to get back out and enjoy the whales. It was still a bit bumpy but it was enjoyed by all nonetheless! The highlight of the day was Colorado’s calf who tail breached continually next to the boat! Champagne’s calf was entertaining as well, rolling next to us, allowing us to see his white belly and tail. Great opportunity to capture fluke pictures for fiture identification. Also sighted on today’s cruise were Luna, who has separated from Sunburst having been constant companions for about three weeks. We also saw Sockeye, Lagoon, Solo, Shark and Paravane.”

After the whale watching tour, we took the ferry back to Long Island from Brier Island and drove to the Balancing Rock, a basalt column balancing (apparently precariously) over the Atlantic:

Thursday (our last day in town) I visited my grandmother again, and then we went to Conrad’s Beach (where I briefly went swimming, to re-up my Canadianess), followed by Peggy’s Cove (which I figured out for the first time is so named because it is part of St. Margaret’s Bay):

We visited friends in Memphis, TN and Austin, TX.



The Crystal Shrine Grotto in the Memorial Park Cemetery,
a man-made cave of crystals, with dioramas of the life of Christ.

The Pool of Hebron beside the grotto, in front of the Cave of Machpelah.

The Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated
and site of the National Civil Rights Museum (auto-plays music).

Upstairs in former brothel Ernestine & Hazel’s.



Mexic Arte, which had cool street art like this.

Detail: Tony Ortega’s “La Marcha de los Desvalidos.”

Detail: Maria Natividad’s “Menudo Breakfast of Champions.”

Detail: J. Salvador Lopez’s “Swift/Devotion.”

Detail: Santiago Forero’s “Vietnam” (self-portrait from his Action Heroes series).

View from The Oasis, a restaurant overlooking Lake Travis.
When the sun finishes setting, everybody claps.

The Oasis had a lot of gaudily awesome artwork.

So did the downtown.

The coolest thing we saw were the bats, but I couldn’t get any good pictures.
Here are some on flickr: one and two.



Also: here’s our new bunny, Harvey, running around my office.


I’ve decided to publish a new chapbook of speculative poetry and microfiction at the end of February, so they’re available for sale at 2010: A Space Oddity. I plan to do a limited, numbered edition of 100, with a mix of three different covers.

I’m taking advance orders now via PayPal to (or mail a cheque or money order to Joanne Merriam, P.O. Box 41232, Nashville TN 37204 USA). Be sure to include your mailing address in your comments. The chapbook will be selling for US$5.00/Cdn$6.00 (using the SMOASP currency exchange rate) and for advance orders I’m not charging for shipping. (You can request a specific cover or specific number in the series and as long as it’s not already sold out I’ll send that.)


Edgewise will include “The Aviary” (Chiaroscuro, January-March 2008), “The Butterfly Factory” (42 Magazine, Summer 2009), “Deaths on Other Planets” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2008 and Concelebratory Shoehorn Review, 1 February 2009), “Evolution” (Mise En Poem, 22 March 2009), “Last Will and Testament” (Chiaroscuro, January-March 2007), “Ribbons. Lightning.” (On Spec, Spring 2004 and Brain Harvest, 12 September 2009), “Spring in Rutherford County” (Dreams and Nightmares, No. 77), “Stolen Lighters” (PicFic, 17 August 2009), “Thirteen Scifaiku for Blackbirds” (Strange Horizons, 12 October 2009), “The Undead in Hospital” (Alba, January 2007), “Venusian Girls are Better” (Coyote Wild, January 2008), “Werepenguin” (Strange Horizons, 10 March 2008), “Work Requirements” (PicFic, 18 August 2009), and six untitled scifaiku (three from Scifaikuest‘s February 2010 print, February 2009 online and February 2009 print editions respectively, and three from Things Japanese in Tennessee, Duthie Learning. September 2008).

What do you wish?

I wish... exhibit. Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
I wish... exhibit. Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

I didn’t catch the exact name of this exhibit when we visited the museum in January, and I can’t find it on their website, but the idea was, they’d taken wishes from people and printed them, and you could buy a wish ribbon with a small donation, and submit your own wish. They said things like I WISH IT WAS BENIGN and I WISH I COULD TAKE IT BACK and I WISH I COULD TAKE THE MASK OFF.