Archive | May, 2014

Life Hacks for a Sore Throat

24 May

I was really looking forward to this weekend – it’s like, 30-something celcius with the humidex, and I don’t have to sit at a convention or drive a lot, and I have four consecutive days off, which was something I had gotten used to before this term and my greed kicked in.

So naturally, I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat. Rather, I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, and my immediate reaction was, “Oh, not strep again.” Because light sleeper as I am, that’s the only thing that’ll wake me.

It doesn’t appear to be strep, but I immediately started hitting it with every trick I know, and now, I won’t say I’m cured, but I’m feeling a lot better. I mentioned marshmellows on FB, and now, I think I’ll extend my knowledge. This is not paramedicine – if your throat is that sore, please, go see a doctor. I’ve gone to work with Strep and nobody likes you for it. There are also numerous reasons you can have a sore throat – if, for example, you suspect you’re in a change of humidity and you’re suddenly breathing very dry air (such as SCBA because you’re in fire school) and you suspect that it’s causing you a nosebleed or an irritated throat, chew gum while you’re on compressed air, and bring enough for the other guys on your team. Life hacks = awesome.


1) Have a Soda

                Baking soda has great uses, and I used it all the time to clean stains when I was a waitress. When I had strep as a service writer, one of the mechanics told me to gargle with coke. This works, because I don’t like the taste of soda water, and the baking soda in your pop of choice essentially is what’ll loosen the bacteria in your throat. The point is to gargle and spit it out, not drink a soda. If you have baking soda, you can hack this by placing a few tablespoons in warm water, and doing the same thing. Be forewarned though – I once dropped baking soda while cooking, inhaled the resulting cloud, and sneezed baking soda for a week. Everyone else thought it was hilarious.

2) Eat a marshmellow

                This isn’t so much for curing it, but making life bearable in the meantime. Something about marshmellows coats the throat and makes it less irritated. You can still cough up mucus, and my only forewarning is that it’s best to starve a bacteria, feed a virus, because bacteria thrives in warm sugary environments, and I’m pretty sure marshmellows and very sugary. But, that doesn’t matter, because we’re going in for the kill.

3) Tea / Ginger

I like using herbs over pills because it makes me seem wise to everybody else. Truth of the matter, is I stumbled on ginger’s wonderful medicinal qualities by accident. I had indigestion after a round of KFC one night at the Swan River station, and I made ginger tea because that’s what I had in my bag and I like tea. My indigestion cleared up right away, and so I researched what medicinal qualities ginger has. Besides curing nausea (that’s why we were given ginger ale when we were little kids with sore stomachs) it’ll fight an infection and be forewarned, it can sting when it’s going down. The hot tea, particularly with lemon, will also help fight an infection in your throat. Be forewarned: ginger can also increase gallstone attacks in people prone to them, and like all herbs, you can OD, but generally speaking you have to have quite a bit to hurt yourself. Having a pot or two of tea a day, or a few ginger ales when you’re sick, you should be fine.


This doesn’t always work for me – in my job, I can’t have alcohol at least 12 hours prior to operating an ambulance. Now, technically, you’re also supposed to gargle and spit with this one too, but my throat has to be incredibly sore for me to spit out an ounce of liquor, on account that it’s way more expensive. My first choice in doing the gargle method is vodka, but I was using whisky yesterday because it’s what I had handy. I’ve never done it with wine or beer, so I can’t comment on their effectiveness. If I want to sip and let it coat my throat, I like to throw ameretto on the rocks. It stings the least and I feel like I’m not wasting anything.

5) Spice

To me, this is more for clearing my sinuses and my nose will start to run if I go and have something with certain curries or peppers. It’s been theorized that some spices have anti bacterial and parasitic properties and that’s why they’re so prominent in various cultures – if you can’t refridgerate your food and you’re sick of salt, you can add spice to keep it from making you sick. Oh, and gargle with salt – that’ll also help. My choices for spices for a sore throat are are cayanne pepper, cumin, and tumeric.


I’m sure there’s more hacks that’ll help you get through a nasty sore throat and get you feeling better. Sometimes it’s best to let your body get sick and heal, and as always, go see a doctor if you’re that sick, have an underlying medical condition that puts you in jeopardy or are very young/very old, but if you want to enjoy your weekend and feel better in a hurry, try some of these for a bit of relief.


And One More Thing

18 May

My Publisher is having a discount – half price all eBooks all weekend, until the end of tomorrow I think.
They’re redoing the website, so if you go to or whatever you’ll end up at the right place, so go to and you’ll be fine.

Keycon 2014

18 May

It’s May Long, and for once, I got some of the long weekend off. Unfortunately I can’t make it to Keycon today as I’m back at work in Gladstone, but it’s been a busy few weeks and Ron will still be at the Radisson today for the next few hours with some books for sale, so drop by and say hi if you’re so inclined – ask him questions about our publisher or publishing in general, it’ll keep him on his toes. It’s also a great place to check out other local authors and other artists of the science fiction / fantasy variety.

I was only on one panel this year – the locally grown panel, though I went to two – one on women in spec fic, the other regarding big/small/indie presses. It’s nice to see that the issue is being raised, and that there is continued support for independent authors. Winnipeg is special though – we have a supportive arts community for a variety of different mediums, and it’s nice to see that it’s acknowledged. I’m not going to say it’s all cookies and cream though – it’s a rough industry, and up until recently, science-fiction and fantasy have been looked down on in most literary circles, but needless to say we don’t run into that same issue at a convention all about that.

Ah well – if I wanted to be popular and stuff in high school I would have focused more on sports and doing my hair.

Here’s a list of some of the people you can find at Keycon:

Ingrid Glaw, the artist who did my tattoo (removable, mum) was at our table selling prints and stickers, so if you’re so inclined, check out her art, as well as the other fabulous artists in the room and at the art show.

Prelaunch Flight – a prequel Webseries, brought to you by Farmgirl in the City Productions. They’re trying to get funding for a tv series and it’s garnered some interest, so check out this free webseries on youtube. I haven’t seen anything and my internet is shall we say, slow, so I can’t vouch for anything other then that it’s shot locally with local actors/editors/crew.

Samantha Beiko – Aurora Nominated for her book The Lake and the Library, she’s also the cochair of the Winnipeg Branch of the ChiSeries.

GMB Chomichuk – graphic novel artist and writer, multiple award-winning author and painter.

Karen Dudley – I got her novel Kraken Bake hot off the press yesterday. She was nominated for an Aurora for the first book in the series, Food for the Gods. If you see her, ask her about some sort of pastry found on page 128. Trust me, it’s fun.

Chadwick Ginther – author of Ravenstone’s Thunder Road Trilogy, he other conchair of the Wpg branch of Chiseries and overall nice guy. The second book in the series is nominated for an Aurora again this year.

Jonathan Hatton – cartoonist and kendo practitioner, probably current which I am not in regards to the kendo.

Sherry Peters – local small press author, her novel, Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf, will be out soon (August, methinks).

Adam Knight – Local science fiction author of Cowboy Ending, first book in the planned Overdrive Series.

Lenora Rose Patrick – author of fantasy novella the Illusion of Steel.

Laurie Smith – lead colorist with many comics this day, she used to work for Digital Chameleon, which is cool because I job-shadowed there when I was fourteen for a day.

Robert J. Sawyer – he’s around but I don’t think I saw him – Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Author. Has won multiple aurora awards.

Tanya Huff – Science Fictiona and Fantasy Author. Won last year’s Aurora for best Long Fiction. Our Author GOH.

David Herrold – science fiction writer with numerous books and wrote the Star Trek Episode the Trouble with Trebbles. He had trebbles for sale at the table next to ours – let’s just say it was fun to smack it and set them off when I was walking by. Our other Writer GOH.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia – our Editor GOH. I met her last year, didn’t have a chance to speak to her much this year, but both of the panels I went to she was on: Women in Spec Fic and Big, Small and Indie Press.

Lauren Eli – Our Fan GOH; I saw her walking around in her hobbit outfit!

Ian Sokolowski – Our Artist GOH; didn’t see him, but go check out his illustrations and photography.

I’m sorry if I missed you – please, comment about yourself and what you do below. I’m a believer in trying to help other artists out when I can.

As for where I’m going next – planning on ComicCon in Wpg again this fall, but that’s in like six months. I’d really like to do when Words Collide and Thin Air, but as for now, I’m bidding on work. If I go down to casual, I don’t really have an excuse, but I’m doing my best to get permed up so I can know exactly what I’m doing – I’m also really wanting to feed my travel bug, but we’ll see what the next few months entails.

FanExpo Regina / I like Unicorns

5 May


That’s all the pictures you get in this post, sorry. One of yours truly taken by her awesome sister, who came with her last minute for the five and a half-hour drive. I’m a medic so I’m used to long drives, but she was a trooper. My publisher had to pull out but she said I could still use the table if I so chose, so I so chose and a huge thank-you to R.J. Hore who loaned me the Burst Sign and his merchandise so I didn’t look like a one-trick pony.


Had a really good time – met Peter S. Beagle, and got a signed copy of his graphic novel adaptation of The Last Unicorn – they are doing a movie screening tonight at Silver City St. Vital at 7 pm tonight, after which the author and his team will be there, he’ll answer questions and sign books. Alas, I am prebooked with Kayaking Roll lessons so I can’t be there. He looks like he’s been busy touring – check out his facebook page if you want to see if he’ll be near you.

Never did a fan expo or even a convention outside of Winnipeg before, but if we hadn’t done C4’s Comic Con, LitFest and Keycon I would have been way over my head. The people of Regina are very nice and welcoming, and let’s just say we made it almost the entire weekend before the football rivalry sparked up, but we have an NHL team so it was all friendly-rivalry from where I was standing. From my perspective, FanExpo was well-organized but my publisher made all the arrangements, I just had to show up and tell people why my book is way more awesome-sauce then say, any of Ron’s but if people were interested I told them a little bit about Champagne/Burst/Carnal Passions. Thank you to everyone I met over the weekend – I had a great trip and I hope that those of you who picked up a copy of Tower of Obsidian are enjoying it.

I got a tired puppy to deal with and some groceries before I go pick up some kayaks, and I think I left all my jeans in Southport, so thankfully it’ll stay a nice day and I can wear my shorts until I get back home tonight. Until next time~