Level Up!

I suppose I can share this now, as the contract is signed (and I’ve been paid).

Sold my first short story reprint!

Level-Up

Nice!

The story in question is “First They Came for the Pigs” originally included in the Innsmouth Free Press anthology, Fungi, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Orrin Grey, it’ll be appearing in Grimdark Magazine in the near future. Super stoked about this!

I also came home from work to this as a congratulations the day they made the offer:

Mushroom Congrats

(“First They Came for the Pigs” features people-eating mushrooms by-the-by.)

Thanks Silvia and Orrin for choosing the story in the first place (and for commissioning that amazing cover that made me want to write about mushrooms even if I’ll never eat them) and to Grimdark for giving this one another moment in the sun.

Write on!

September Goals

First off, how’d I do in August? (I cannot believe it is August.)

  • Copy edits of Too Far Gone.
  • Page proofs of Too Far Gone.
  • A couple of shiny things popped on to my radar, and there’s a couple of anthologies for which I’d like to write a story. I have started noodling with both, they’re at the 1K mark. But both have deadlines of August 31st. I can probably get one, but not both done in the month so I’m seeing which one jazzes me the most.
  • Have a blast at When Words Collide in Calgary. (This is a bit of a soft pitch, but whatever. I’ve got some work to do while I’m there also.)
  • Keep my unsold short stories on submission.
  • Get that unsold short story out the door.
  • WiP: I’d initially hoped to have this ready to go for When Words Collide, but that’s not going to happen now. Hello, World Fantasy Convention deadline! Forward progress is the big thing here. I really want this book out the door and on submission this year.
  • Start writing pre-writing blog posts for Too Far Gone promotional purposes.
  • Write my final report for my last Manitoba Arts Council Grant.
  • Write a travel grant for World Fantasy Convention

Got both of the biggies off the list. Unfortunately, my page proofs landed the first weekend of my holidays. Normally this would be a good thing, but I was counting on having them off the plate and away so that I could concentrate on other stuff. I knew I’d be away from home that weekend and hoped to use some of that time to recharge and regroup to tackle new projects, and finish some lingering hangers on. Alas, not to be. Edits, be they substantive, copy, or proofs, are inevitably time-sensative and always draining for me. An excuse, but whatever. They’re done. I’ve signed off on the text and the cover, which brings me to this item from the Yearly Goals list:

  • Finish Too Far Gone.

BOOM. Another yearly goal bites the dust.

As for the rest, not bad, I guess, but not as good as I was hoping. The other big thing that happened that I wasn’t necessarily expecting to fall during my holidays was replacing my rotten old fence with a new one. (Okay, I was expecting to do it eventually. Dreading might be the more accurate word for how I was feeling.) I lost a solid three days there. And while I managed to scratch away at a few items in the evenings after work had halted, I was mostly too exhausted to think straight. Oh, and the fence isn’t done yet.

Also: surprising no one, I enjoyed demolishing the old fence a lot more than building the new one.

hot fuzz fence

I started drafting stories for both of those anthologies. One made it to a finished draft, but not a polished one. The other one stalled at around 1200 words as I found the legs on the first story.

When Words Colllide was a blast (even a killer headache on Friday couldn’t dampen all my fun), but then I knew it would be. It always is. As for the short fiction: stories went out. Rejected stories came in. Made a sale. Unsold stories went back out again. I’ve managed to stay on track with that goal a lot better lately. Less so, the WiP. I managed a couple more runs at a difficult chapter, and made some notes for future chapter revisions, but sadly, future book got beat up by present book. As did that other short story I wanted to submit.

Speaking of Too Far Gone again: I managed to prewrite a couple of blogs. And arranged for some interviews and guest appearances on blogs and podcasts. Didn’t pre-write as many blogs as I’d have liked, but hey, if the book missed it’s printer date, those blogs would’ve looked pretty silly, amirite?

I did write my final report for my Too Far Gone grant, as well as a proposal for a travel grant. I still have to finish crunching numbers before I turn them in, but looking back at the wording, I’m going to call those lines a win.

What’s on deck for September?

  • Blogging, blogging, blogging! I’ve got guest blogs to write, and blogs for round here to promote Too Far Gone, and I probably don’t want to be doing that while I’m actually prepping for events! Great early career advice I received from Dave Gross (Thanks, Dave!)
  • Figure out what I’m going to read at the launch, and work out my intro.
  • Write a chapter of a collaborative novel I’m working on with Sandra Wickham
  • WiP Lock too more chapters, dammit.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • Oh yeah, finish building my damned fence. (not really a writing goal, but it’ll steal writing time until its done)

Probably too much. But the list never gets smaller nor cares how busy I am at the day job.

Write on!

 

Music Monday: “Holiday Song” By The Pixies

Off vacation, and back to the day job.

It didn’t feel like much of a holiday, what with scrambling to get page proofs for Too Far Gone done, and spending the last two days demolishing my old fence and starting to build a new one. Still, managed to have a wee bit of fun in there.

Well sit right down my wicked son
And let me tell you a story
About the boy who fell from glory
And how he was a wicked son

This ain’t no holiday
But it always turns out this way
Here I am with my hand

Write on!

Music Monday: “Lonely Boy” By The Black Keys

Home from another fabulous When Words Collide conference in Calgary. I had a blast, even if my time there was too short. So, along those lines, I offer you this song by The Black Keys. An upbeat tone and downer lyrics serve as a reminder of a fun weekend that won’t come around again for too long.

Oh, oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting
Oh, oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting
I’m a lonely boy
I’m a lonely boy
Oh, oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting

November, World Fantasy Convention, and my next dose of full-time writing fun can’t come quickly enough, but in the meantime, I’m working, and I’m waiting…waiting…

Write on!

My When Words Collide Schedule

When Words Collide is my favourite literary conference. I haven’t missed one yet, and every year it gets better and better. The organizers have lined up a great group of guests again for this year:

Daniel Abraham Fantasy
C.J. Carmichael Romance
Diana Gabaldon Historical
M.L.N. Hanover Urban Fantasy
Sally Harding Literary Agent
Faith Hunter Urban Fantasy
Gwen Hunter Thriller
Brandon Mull Young Adult

I’m very happy to be sharing a program book with all of them.

Here’s where you’ll find me:

Saturday 8 PM – Parkland-Bonavista-Willow Park Autograph Session (2 Hours)
Our Festival Guests are joined by 50+ authors Drop by to meet the authors and get your books signed. This session is open to the public, so tell your friends.
Sunday 11 AM – Rundle Setting – More Than Just Window Dressing
Al Onia, Sarah Kades, Chadwick Ginther, Calvin Jim
Setting in fiction can be so much more than a backdrop for the characters. A story’s world can be an integral part of the plot, theme and character. Arrakis in Dune is a main
antagonist. Noir detective tales are defined by their milieu as much as by the hard-boiled
hero. Fantasy would be simple magic without an outré world. Science fiction has matured
as much in depiction of believable universes as much as character realism.
I’m taking it light on the panels this year. For me, When Words Collide is as much about hanging out with friends as it is about promoting my work, and I don’t get to see the Alberta gang nearly as often as I’d like. Also, I needed to keep a large block of time clear for reasons (join me in whispering: SECRETS) that I will hopefully be able to share soon.
Sentry Box has kindly agreed to have copies of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues on hand, and I’ll be bringing some copies of my illustrated Thunder Road-verse short story “A Simple Twist of Fate” and some Too Far Gone teasers if you can’t wait until October and Too Far Gone‘s release for me to scribble on something.
Friday 3 PM – Rundle How to Write a Good Pitch and Query Sally Harding, Jane Ann McLachlan, Marie Powell You can write the greatest novel ever written, but you still need to get it into the hands of a publisher. Our panel tells you how.
I’m still undecided on everything I want to check out as an attendee, but I know for a fact I’m going to these three panels:
Saturday 10 AM – Kananaskis Sirens, Secrets, and Sins (2 hrs) Detective Sweet From street cop, to undercover and drug work, to life as a homicide detective, Calgary Police Service Detective Dave Sweet talks about his life in law enforcement. There will be a Q&A after for an opportunity to ask him your writing questions. *Please be aware there will be explicit visual and audio material used.
Sat 2 PM – Fairview Graphic Novels – ChiZine
“The visual language of the comics medium is a compelling tool for unique storytelling. A deceptively simple final product is a machine of many moving parts. Working in comics is sometimes like writing for prose, television, or theatre, but most of the time those habits make for bad comics. Join award-winning graphic novelist GMB Chomichuk (Infinitum, Cassie and Tonk, The Imagination Manifesto) as he walks through ten things he learned the hard way about the visual language of comics, comic contracts, and comic markets. The first thing on the agenda will be to take a list of need to know questions from the audience to ensure people get the answers they came for.
@gmbchomichuk on Twitter & Instagram”
 
Saturday 3 PM – Fairview Health and Fitness for Creative People Sandra Wickham Strong in body, stronger in mind! Join fitness professional and author Sandra Wickham for an informative session on how to incorporate health and fitness into your life, how it will benefit your creative endeavours and how to start and stick with your health and fitness goals.
Write on!

August Goals

How’d I do in July?

  • Work in Progress, keep at it. Lock down four more chapters, which will take me to the last 50 pages of the previous draft, and make a plan for the revisions of those pages.
  • Finish revising and submit one of my fallow short stories.
  • Get all of my unsold short stories back out on submission.

Pretty good, but not perfect. Still small victories, right?

I locked in those four chapters of the Work in Progress, and almost locked a fifth. It needs a couple more run throughs before I’m satisfied to add it to the manuscript. The WiP now stands at 68000 words, and with just under 20000 (very rough) words left to revise and flesh out, I should be able to bring this draft in under 100000 words. After that it will feel like a real book, and I can hone it into submission readiness.

That short story came very close to going out the door, but while it has been revised, I’m still not sure it’s for the better. It’s shorter, and with short stories, shorter usually is better, but it didn’t quite sing on reread. So I’m going to take another run at it.

Had every short story back out the door and into the world in July. Some of them more than once! Collected a new pile of rejections, some personalized, some form letter, and no new sales, but that’s okay. I can’t sell any of the stories I don’t submit.

That was my July. I feel pretty good about the month, considering there was two rounds of substantive editing on Too Far Gone that happened over the span of the month, and copy edits rolled up to say hello on the 31st.

What’s on deck for August? Lots.

  • Copy edits of Too Far Gone.
  • Page proofs of Too Far Gone.
  • A couple of shiny things popped on to my radar, and there’s a couple of anthologies for which I’d like to write a story. I have started noodling with both, they’re at the 1K mark. But both have deadlines of August 31st. I can probably get one, but not both done in the month so I’m seeing which one jazzes me the most.
  • Have a blast at When Words Collide in Calgary. (This is a bit of a soft pitch, but whatever. I’ve got some work to do while I’m there also.)
  • Keep my unsold short stories on submission.
  • Get that unsold short story out the door.
  • WiP: I’d initially hoped to have this ready to go for When Words Collide, but that’s not going to happen now. Hello, World Fantasy Convention deadline! Forward progress is the big thing here. I really want this book out the door and on submission this year.
  • Start writing pre-writing blog posts for Too Far Gone promotional purposes.
  • Write my final report for my last Manitoba Arts Council Grant.
  • Write a travel grant for World Fantasy Convention

This is more than plenty for the goal plate, but I do have a week of holidays coming up in August. So we’ll see how it goes…

Write on!