July 05, 2014

July Things

I hope all the Canadians out there had a fantastic Canada Day, and the Americans, a terrific Fourth of July! Paddy and I try to make it out to the local fireworks display every year, and this one was no exception. As you can see from the below photos, it was a perfectly clear summer evening with plenty of Canadian pride on display.

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

Canada Day, Bronte, Oakville, 2014

If I'd had it together (and not been spending so much time watching the World Cup lately!) I would've posted this video of astronaut Chris Hadfield and his brother, Dave singing about Canada on Canada Day. You can read the lyrics and chords here.



While my Goodreads Come See About Me contest concluded earlier this week, and the winners been sent out their books, my summer giveaway continues with the chance to win signed copies of sci-thriller Yesterday AND its sequel Tomorrow. If you haven't read them yet but can imagine something like Looper meets an Inconvenient Truth meets Say Anything but in book form, you'll get a good idea of what the novels are like.

Come See About Me, Yesterday, Tomorrow by C. K. Kelly Martin



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin

Yesterday

by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends August 02, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Because the Netherlands vs Costa Rica match will be starting shortly I have to wrap this entry up! But before I go I want to recommend some fun summer reading for kids ten and up—Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Deborah Kerbel's new book: Bye Bye, Evil Eye.

Here's the blurb:

A summer trip to Greece seems like the perfect chance for thirteen-year-old Dani to spend some time on the beach, help her bookish best friend Cathy get her first kiss, and maybe find some summer romance of her own. But when bad luck begins to strike over and over, and continues to strike when she returns to her home in Toronto, Dani starts to wonder if she is cursed. Literally. Cathy tells of the “evil eye,” and warns that a curse may have been put on Dani by a mysterious girl whose path she crossed in Greece. Dani gets sick, injured, and her family car is vandalized. Is it the “evil eye,” or is someone out to get Dani? And what bizarre lengths will Dani go to as she tries to get the curse lifted?

I finished reading it the other day and am now hoping Deborah's planning a sequel for Dan and Kat! Get a load of the snazzy trailer. It's one of the best I've ever seen.



Now, Go Netherlands!

June 16, 2014

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing Trailer

I'm reluctant to count down to September, because who wants to wish summer away? But it's 77 Days until The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing's release! Voila the newly-finished trailer:

June 03, 2014

Summer Giveaways

While it's technically not summer just yet, it sure feels like the season has arrived. I've already watched a couple of summer blockbusters (and enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past so much that I'm planning to see it again soon, probably just after Edge of Tomorrow). I've also been on several gelato-oriented outings in the past few weeks and on Sunday afternoon dragged my Frankenfeet outside to lounge in the sunny barbecue grounds of our condo along with the rest of me. They may not be up for much lately, but the Frankenfeet appreciate a sunny day as much as anyone, as long as they can sit down while doing it!

Summer Giveaways at Goodreads: Come See About Me, Yesterday, Tomorrow, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. kelly Martin

To celebrate the return of fine weather, and the upcoming release of my brand new book, I'll be holding several Goodreads giveaways over the course of the summer. The first one, for my new adult book, Come See About Me is open now. Draw date = July 1st.

The next giveaway will open at the beginning of July with a draw date of August 1st. Winners will receive signed copies of my YA sci-fi books, Yesterday AND Tomorrow.

Finally, on September 1st I'll be giving away FIVE copies of my brand new contemporary young adult book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing. The giveaway will open at the start of August.

* All contests will be open to residents of Canada and the United States. I wish I could send some lemon custard gelato to the winners too, but I think that might get a little messy.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin

Come See About Me

by C.K. Kelly Martin

Giveaway ends July 01, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

May 21, 2014

Frankenfeet Editing

In restrospect, paying a visit to the Toronto Zoo at the end of March—when my plantar fasciitis was already a chronic problem and my knees even unhappier than my feet—wasn't the brightest idea. But fourth month old Humphrey beckoned. How could I resist?

And he was adorable. Have a look:

Humphrey at four months, Toronto Zoo

Humphrey at four months, Toronto Zoo

Humphrey at four months, Toronto Zoo
If you haven't already, you might want to take a look at Humphrey's video album clips of his early days. Here's one of my favourite videos—Humphrey's first steps:


And here are Humphrey's parents in the water (family friend hanging out on the rocks in the background).

polar bears, Toronto Zoo, March 29

If you've ever been to the Toronto Zoo, you'll know it's huge. 2.87 km² to be exact. Paddy and I didn't walk all of it that day at the end of March, but we didn't exactly take it easy either. Seeing the pandas was another must. I hadn't laid eyes on pandas in person since the last time they were at the Toronto Zoo, way back in 1985.

This time around a wide-eyed little girl in a stroller was peering at the pandas at the same time as we were. I'm not sure how old she was, definitely not more than a year, but her mother informed us that she had a beloved plush toy panda at home and now couldn't believe her eyes. Indeed, awe lit up this little girl's face like a sunny July. Yes, pandas are REAL. There is true magic in the world.

Panda Bear, Toronto Zoo, March 29

Panda Bears, Toronto Zoo, March 29

Magic and beauty like the stunning white lions, and all sorts of intriguing creatures from Australia's Kookaburra to a brand new mountain gorilla baby.

White Lions, Toronto Zoo, March 29

So I'm not the least bit sorry I went to the zoo at the end of March, but I couldn't do it now. For the last six weeks or so twenty minutes of standing/very ginger walking has been my absolute maxium, which meant I had to cut the Dublin trip short. As it was, the majority of my holiday looked much like this, and I've been spending countless hours in the night splint sock since returning to Canada too.

CK in Night Splint sock, Dublin

Yep, I'm pretty much housebound. But I'm very grateful for the time I had visiting with family and friends while in Ireland, and am already looking forward to the next trip. In the meantime I'm continuing to do battle with plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and patellofemoral syndrome. My latest weapon is orthotics. Voila the molds of my Frankenfeet

feet molds

feet molds

which were used to produce some incredibly hard custom insoles designed to correct my specific feet imbalances. Luckily, I can still type and so none of this will interfere with revisions on The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing that I'm expecting later today.

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing

Me and my Frankenfeet will be back online once I'm done editing. Meanwhile, If you happen to visit the Toronto zoo, please give Humphrey my love!

May 19, 2014

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing...coming September 1!

Whoah, my contemporary new YA, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, is now up for pre-order at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo/Chapters, the Book Depository and Barnes and Noble. Release day is only 105 days away...September 1st!

Here's the catalogue copy: Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin — her older brother who disappeared months earlier.

Out September 1st!

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C. K. Kelly Martin
Dancing Cat Books, 2014
1770864113 (ISBN13: 9781770864115)

And cover:


More info coming soon!

Add to goodreads

April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings from our PM

It's that time of year again—the season when sun and warmth return to the land, and when Canadians look forward to receiving Prime Minister Harper's annual Easter card in the mail. As has become tradition, I've scanned in the Prime Minister's Easter card so Canadians who happen to be out of the country or who didn't receive their greeting (possibly due to the phasing out of Canada Post!) before the holiday can have a look.

Maybe it's just me but this year's card seems to contain a certain ennui, perhaps a sense that Stephen's time at the helm is fading. Nonetheless, professional that he is, Steve-o still showed up for the Easter photoshoot. He clearly doesn't want to let Canadians down——except when it comes to human rights, the environment, gun control, job creation, and other, er, trifling matters.

Happy Easter, peasants. Your czar, Stephen Harper
View Easter cards from other years:

April 16, 2014

Frankenstein Feet

Now I know why Frankenstein's monster usually looks so miserable. It's not existential angst or loneliness, not even body image problems. Nope, none of that. What's wrong with Frankenstein's monster is foot pain. Specifically, plantar fasciitis.
Mayo Clinic definition: "pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes."
I can tell by the look in his eyes. This guy is in physical agony.


No doubt all his joints ache. But the soles of his feet, they're in excruciating pain. He feels like gravity is pummelling his soles into the hard ground beneath his feet. If he sits down, for a few minutes of relief, his feet howl at him when he rises again. But staying on his feet for more than a handful of a minutes at a time is a problem too. The pain is more or less constant.

When he's sleeping the stabbing pain wakes him at least once a night, and makes it difficult for him to fall asleep in the first place. Granted, he probably wouldn't sleep like a log anyway, because of the other issues I mentioned, like the existential angst and feelings of alienation. But it's the feet——the plantar fasciitis——which is Frankenstein's monster's numero uno problem.

How do I know this? I recognize that haunted PF look in his eyes because, man, I'm feeling that Frankenstein's monster foot pain big-time. For the first while——and by that I mean, like, the first year——the foot pain didn't interfere with my life very much. My heel hurt a little when I got on my feet after a period of sitting or sleeping and then the pain swiftly disappeared. My doctor suggested I wear supportive shoes at all times, even indoors (staring at this full length photo of the monster, I seriously think he needs to get his hands on some New Balance running shoes!) and I did.


But that didn't help. Instead the pain got worse. Then my knees started to hurt too. Not a lot and not often. But enough for me to return to the doctor, who diagnosed patellofemoral syndrome (runner's knee) on top of my plantar fasciitis. She prescribed physiotherapy, and off I went, happy to hear from my physiotherapist that I should begin to feel better in 2 - 3 weeks and be back to my old self in 8 - 10. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and instead my condition got exponentially worse. After 5 weeks I was advised to drop the physio, and now, about a month afterwards, I'm at a place where the last two weeks have been the worst yet.

The arches of my feet are in severe pain. They're most comfortable when I'm lying down, but even then they feel stiff and achy, like someone else's feet have been roughly attached to my body. Sometimes darting pains wake me up at night. During the day, I can't be on my feet for more than a handful of minutes at a time before the pain becomes unbearable. Sometimes the pain is so bad I'm driven to tears and chills. My knees can't handle stairs and feel like they're being sliced into if I squat or bend at the knee at all, or even sometimes if I don't. My calves are so tight that they feel as though they're about to snap and my IT band is a mess too. My normal gait doesn't exist anymore. I limp and wince.

Just yesterday I began seeing a sports doctor who says my severe case of plantar fasciitis gave rise to patellofemoral syndrome in both my knees and has affected my whole kinetic chain, hence the pain in my legs, thighs, calves and, well, just about everywhere from the waist down. I was also diagnosed with this mouthful of a condition: Flexor Hallucis Longus tendinopathy. Lovely, huh? Now I'm going to be trying a number of things she's suggested——some of which will have to wait until I get back from my upcoming trip to Ireland (during which I will be spending more time sitting down than anything!) because orthotics and night splints need to be broken in gradually.

But these ongoing health issues have been crowding my life since December/January and are some of the reasons that I haven't been online often. I'm almost as tired and beleaguered as Frankenstein's monster looks in the top photo! So once I kick this thing I'm determined to search out the poor monster, share my weapons of choice against planter fasciitis and finally, finally bring him some much needed peace.


Additional reading on the condition:

Everything you need to know about Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis article at Sports Injury Clinic.net
Plantar Fasciitis -- the most maddening injury in sports
Plantar Fasciitis overview at Patient.co.uk
Plantar Fasciitis Prevention and Treatment
No Consensus on a Common Cause of Foot Pain

April 01, 2014

Canadians: Don't Let Harper Sabotage Our Public Health Care

I've just come from a rather long appointment with my GP. Cost to me: FREE. Then follow-up blood-work. Cost to me: FREE. Next, multiple X-rays at the local hospital. Cost to me: FREE. When I can get an appointment with the sports doctor I've been referred to that will also be FREE.
All thanks to Canadian socialized medicine!

Meanwhile Stephen Harper's Conservative government is trying to sabotage "the Health Accord that protects equal care for all Canadians" by quietly "cutting $36 billion over 10 years and breaking the pact that all Canadians should get equal care, no matter what province they live in."

"By pulling out of the agreement, cutting billions in transfers, and letting standards fall across the country, Prime Minister Harper will undermine our public health system.

If he succeeds, cash-starved provinces will face intense pressure to let America’s titanic for-profit companies buy into our system and give us worse care for higher prices."

You can begin the fight for our health care system by emailing your Member of Parliament, Prime Minister Harper and and Health Minister Rona Ambrose via Lead Now.

Don't Let Harper sabotage your health care

Then please pass this message on to everyone across the country. A whopping 94% of Canadians "support public —not private, for-profit— solutions to making the country's healthcare system stronger." We can't let Harper gut our treasured healthcare system.

February 25, 2014

February Made Me Shiver

Yes, February made me shiver. This winter has been unusually brutal, extremely cold and snowy with very few breaks. And I can't believe we lost Philip Seymour Hoffman and Harold Ramis before their times. Such sad news.

This month I also started going to physio for knee and arch woes (ouch!). My dad's furnace broke down and had to be replaced and my mom was in her third snow-related car accident (thankfully she's fine but her car was totalled) within six weeks. So February hasn't been the best of times, but neither has it been the worst of times and I wanted to blog about some of the good things that happened this month before it gets away from me.

Things like Paddy having Valentine's Day off which allowed us to spend the day together. We spent part of it tromping around Oakville in the snow. Indeed the laneways were such a wintery white that the town nearly appeared like someplace else.

Snowy Oakville Street, February 14, 2014

Below you can see Oakville's " Homecoming Trail" looking ever so pretty in the snow. If you gaze closely enough you'll see the pier jutting off to the left. Even years after writing Come See About Me the location always make me think of Leah and Liam!

The Homecoming Trail,. Oakville, February 14, 2014

I felt a bit sorry for this reindeer buried under layers of snow in a Christmas arrangement outside a local business. Surely with the holiday long behind us the reindeer should be off duty by now and allowed to go on its merry way?

Buried Reindeer, outside an Oakville business, February 14, 2014

Wonderful Canadian author Monica Kulling (who penned the Mister Dash books and the Great Ideas series) very kindly sent me a copy of her beautiful new picture book, The Tweedles Go Electric this month. Thanks so much, Monica! The Tweedles have already garnered a glimmering star from Kirkus which described the book as, "A fine joke, well-delivered, and as clever as it is timely."

And here's what I had to say on Goodreads:

"The clever Tweedle family are bound to attract a slew of young fans with this infectiously fun and visually fetching tale. I wanted to jump into the book the way Mary Poppins and her young charges did with chalk drawings, and stay there awhile."

The Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling

Don't you just love the Tweedles' spiffy green electric automobile? Every time I look at the cover I like to pretend I'm the woman on the Penny Farthing bicycle.

I couldn't possibly talk about February without mentioning the fantastic Blue Rodeo gig Paddy and I caught at Massey Hall on the 20th. If you live in the GTA you'll remember that day as the one we caught unexpected late afternoon/rush hour snow which turned to evening rain. But what better way to spend a rainy night than watching Blue Rodeo play most of the tracks from their new album, In Our Nature, as well as old favourites like Rose Coloured Glasses and 5 Days in May? You can take a look at the entire setlist here.

We were fortunate to have fourth row centre tickets and from my seat I had a good view of one of the security folks singing along with Head Over Heels (he knew all the words) in the centre aisle.

Below are a handful of concert shots I took on the night, and to hope that the rest of the month will be as much fun as the Blue Rodeo show would be wildly unrealistic, but at least I have The Tweedles and their world to keep me company. There's no snow where the Tweedles live, I've noticed, and no chilly temperatures. No need for snow tires or outerwear any heavier than a blazer!

Blue Rodeo, Massey Hall, February 20, 2014

Blue Rodeo, Massey Hall, February 20, 2014

Blue Rodeo, Massey Hall, February 20, 2014

Blue Rodeo, Massey Hall, February 20, 2014

Blue Rodeo, Massey Hall, February 20, 2014

February 10, 2014

The Science & Tech Behind Yesterday and Tomorrow

Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin and Tomorrow by C.K. Kelly MartinI'm currently awaiting a revision letter for my new contemporary young adult book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, and getting ready to leave the future behind me, at least for now (science fiction is far too captivating for me to make the goodbye permanent!). As you can see, I made a few cosmetic changes to the website to reflect the return to contemporary fiction. But before I completely leave 2063 and the U.N.A. in my wake, I wanted to discuss some of the science behind Yesterday and Tomorrow. Many of the forces that define the North America of 2063 in Yesterday and Tomorrow — global warming, nano-medicine, the ubiquitous presence of full immersion virtual reality, and the widespread replacing of human workers with robots or other technologies — are highly possible given where we stand today. As the rate of technological change and climate change increases, we're in for a wild ride.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, by the twenty-first century I expected many changes that haven't come to pass — flying cars, much more extensive space exploration than humanity has actually accomplished, sophisticated robots (or should I say Replicants?), and cures for countless deadly diseases that still plague us. Meanwhile things I never expected have either greatly impacted our daily lives or loom large just around the corner. I'm chiefly talking about two things — how intertwined our "real" lives have become with the Internet and other technologies, and the enormous threat climate change presents to most living things on our planet. Bizarrely, even now that the threat is well recognized, we've barely begun to respond to the problem, and procrastination will only make our future direr.

Still waiting for a Jetsons car in 2014

CLIMATE CHANGE

In March the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a report on global warming. A draft of that report was leaked in November 2013 and stated that, "Many of the ills of the modern world - starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war and disease - are likely to worsen as the world warms."

"Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth and poverty reduction, further erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger. Climate change will exacerbate poverty in low- and lower-middle income countries and create new poverty pockets in upper-middle to high-income countries with increasing inequality."

A recent University of Hawaii study projects that world temperatures will be off the charts hot come 2047, with various cities reaching the boiling point much sooner. Kingston Jamaica will be likely be permanently off-the-charts hot in just a decade with Singapore following in 2028, Mexico City in 2031, Cairo in 2036, Phoenix and Honolulu in 2043, San Diego and Orlando, Florida in 2046 and New York and Washington in 2047.

According to study author Camilo Mora, "the 2047 date for the whole world is based on continually increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gases. If the world manages to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases, that would be pushed to as late as 2069. But for now, the world is rushing toward the 2047 date."

ROBOTS

We could call it the next industrial revolution and it's already under way. You can see it in stores and airports in the form of self-check-in/out terminals, in Amazon's Kiva warehouse robots, machine driven commuter transport like Vancouver's Skytrain, and the imminent closing of most London tube system ticket offices in favour of direct payment via contactless bank cards. Google has "just purchased Boston Dynamics, a company known for building walking robots for the military" and says "it wants to build a robotic army for the manufacturing sector."

Replicant Roy Batty

Google and numerous car manufacturing companies have been working on self-drive car technology. "Rice University computer science professor Moshe Vardi says that in 25 years "driving by people will look quaint; it will look like a horse and buggy. So there go many of the approximately 4 million driving jobs out there. Same for sanitation, and those are just a couple examples of how physical jobs will be replaced."

A recent report from the Oxford Martin School's Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology concludes that 45% of American jobs are at high risk of being taken by computers within the next two decades. The authors of the study "believe this takeover will happen in two stages. First, computers will start replacing people in especially vulnerable fields like transportation/logistics, production labor, and administrative support. Jobs in services, sales, and construction may also be lost in this first stage. Then, the rate of replacement will slow down due to bottlenecks in harder-to-automate fields such as engineering. This 'technological plateau' will be followed by a second wave of computerization, dependent upon the development of good artificial intelligence. This could next put jobs in management, science and engineering, and the arts at risk."


VIRTUAL REALITY

Most of us already spend quite a bit of time in an alternate reality known as the Internet, or immersed in increasingly realistic videogames.

According to eMarketer's estimate of media consumption among U.S. adults, average time spent with digital media per day was set to surpass TV viewing time for the first time in 2013. "The average adult will spend over 5 hours per day online, on nonvoice mobile activities or with other digital media this year, eMarketer estimates, compared to 4 hours and 31 minutes watching television."

Because eMarketer estimates all time spent within each medium (for example if someone spends an hour watching TV while also multitasking on a tablet, the time would be counted as spending an hour with TV AND an additional hour on mobile) the overall figures are sky high. U.S. adults spent an average of 11 hours and 49 minutes with media each day in 2012, and were forecast to spend 12 hours and 5 minutes with media in 2013.

In terms of gaming, full-body virtual reality has arrived with Virtuix Omni and virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Palmer Luckey, Oculus' founder, says, "I think in a few years, maybe a few decades depending on how lucky we are, we'll be able to get Matrix level virtual."


Given the above info, inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil's belief that, "by the early 2020s we will be routinely working and playing with each other in full immersion visual-auditory virtual environments. By the 2030s, we will add the tactile sense to full immersion virtual reality" doesn't sound at all far-fetched.

Kurzweil posits that, "There will be limited ways of adding the tactile sense to virtual and augmented reality by the early 2020s, but full immersion virtual tactile experiences will require tapping directly into the nervous system. We'll be able to do that in the 2030s with nanobots traveling noninvasively into the brain through the capillaries and augmenting the signals coming from our real senses."

NANO-MEDICINE

Kurzweil also says, "in 30 or 40 years, we'll have microscopic machines traveling through our bodies, repairing damaged cells and organs, effectively wiping out diseases. The nanotechnology will also be used to back up our memories and personalities...The full realization of nanobots will basically eliminate biological disease and aging."

We have a ways to go before reaching that Star Trek level of healing but clear progress is being made. "Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed nanoparticles to target artery walls around the heart and release small quantities of drugs on a timed basis decided upon by a doctor beforehand."

"South Korean scientists are developing a new treatment for cancer that will be more efficient and less harmful than chemotherapy. A team at Chonnam National University has developed nanorobots that can detect and treat cancer cells in a way that avoids the harmful side-effects of modern drugs." Imagine, no more chemotherapy!


So if you were ever curious about where my ideas for 2063 U.N.A. society came from — here are the roots of the Bio-Net, gushi, robots workers creating mass human unemployment, and climate chaos rendering areas of North America almost uninhabitable. Roots that are firmly planted in the world of today.

 
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