Awesome Crowdfunding Roundup

I’ve become more than a little addicted to supporting crowdfunding projects. Here’s a few of my more recent trophies. I tend to lean heavily towards books and roleplaying games, to the exact surprise of nobody. Lots of ebook editions that can’t be shown too, although I suppose I could’ve thrown my Kobo in the picture…

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I realized that a few of my friends have projects going on at the same time, and so I thought I’d give them a shout out. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been and will be supporting.

You might remember Scott Henderson from this awesome Thunder Road illustration:

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Scott is trying to fund his epic fantasy graphic novel, The Chronicles of Era.

Book I of The Chronicles of Era: Whispers of Redemption will introduce readers to a world where mankind made for himself a paradise fit for gods. Mankind lived in the City of Heaven for two thousand years before The Adversary destroyed paradise and returned humanity to a harsh and brutal world. The survivors rebuilt their civilization, but their history was reduced to myths and legends. Hundreds of years later, three youths—Seth, Sidrich and Caitleth—are caught between the struggles of a great empire and the scattered rural clans struggling to maintain their way of life.

All the while, secret forces are edging closer to awakening the Gifted Ones and reopen the gates of paradise…

It looks phenomenal.

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Clare C. Marshall is trying to fund her next book: The Silver Spear, a sequel to The Violet Fox.

Clare has written a couple of guest blogs for my site, one on Writing the Bad Guy, and the other on The Creation of Marlenia, the World of the Violet Fox. Clare was recently shortlisted for the inaugural Canadian Self-Publishing Award in the Young Adult category. Go, Clare!

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Cool anthology alert!

My friends Erika Holt and Andrew Romine have stories in this anthology Not Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging, edited by Nayad Monroe. This anthology also has a story by Jennifer Brozek who was the editor of my Steampunk story, “A Taste of the Other Side.” Not Our Kind already has a great ToC, and if it hits its stretch goal, there will be an open call for two more stories to fill out the collection.

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EDGE Publications will be publishing nEvermore if it reaches it’s goal. This is a Poe-inspired anthology edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles. There’s no open reading period on this one, but it looks cool for readers. And October is the perfect time to be thinking of Poe.

I asked some friends what they’re currently supporting, and here’s what I heard:

Perry Grosshans, General Manager for THIN AIR and an editor for Rite Publications recommends: Age of Conan Strategy Game.

My friend Ashley, aka author Sierra Dean, recommends: The Black Glove.

There’s also Patreon, which a few friends have taken to. Patreon is a digital patronage system that allows creators to be paid for their work.

On Spec has been publishing Canadian Speculative Fiction for thirty years. They published my first short story, and recently published a Thunder Road ‘verse story. They’re also really fine folks.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an editor and publisher at Innsmouth Free Press. She’s also a damn fine author. Her debut short story collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was one of my favourite books of 2013.

Bundoran Press is a fine purveyor of Canadian science fiction that has garnered a lot of awards notices in its eight years of publishing. If you like smart, thoughtful SF (and who doesn’t?), they’re definitely worth your time.

What’s getting your backer dollars these days?

Write on!

 

VCon and the Prix Auroras Roundup

Another year of the Prix Auroras have come and gone.

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Very cool to see some of my friends receiving their Aurora nominee pins. Here’s Samantha getting hers.

I didn’t win, nor did ChiSeries Winnipeg, but I knew competition was steep this year. Big Congrats to all the winners! Fellow Winnipeg nominee Samantha Beiko and I got dressed up as fancy as possible (as is our custom at formal affairs) and joined in for the high tea prior to the awards.

Here’s a list of the Prix Aurora winners in all categories:

Best English Novel: A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books
Best English YA Novel: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada
Best English Short Fiction: “Ghost in the Machine” by Ryan McFadden, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
Best English Poem/Song: “Night Journey: West Coast” by Eileen Kernaghan , Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast, EDGE
Best English Graphic Novel: Rock, Paper, Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, webcomic
Best English Related Work: On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Best Artist: Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Best Fan Music: Chris Hadfield for his performance of Space Oddity
Best Fan Organizational: Randy McCharles, Chair and Programming, When Words Collide, Calgary
Best Fan Related Work: Robert Runté, “Why I Read Canadian Speculative Fiction: The Social Dimension of Reading”, Scholar Keynote Address at ACCSFF ’13, Toronto

For those who are interested, here is the breakdown of nomination and voting statistics.

A couple quick thoughts on the stats: It is very clear the two voting bases are in Alberta and Ontario (which I was already aware of in a vague sort of way, but looking at the numbers really hammered that home), but I didn’t know how thin the Manitoban voting pool was. We have a robust con culture here, between Keycon, C4, and other events, so I’m not quite sure why that is. Finally, Tombstone Blues had the most nominations in its category, so I must be doing something right.

Next year, the Aurora nomination ballot will go from three items per category to five. I wonder how/if that will change the shortlist dynamic.

As for VCon, it was my first time at this convention. Also my first time in British Columbia.

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Hello mountains.

I’ve been meaning to go west for a while, some of the first friends I made in the industry when I attended World Fantasy in Calgary were VCon regulars. This year, the combination of Sandra Wickham doing the literary programming, attending the Auroras, and getting to hang out with Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ann Aguirre again was too much of a treat.

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Convening the Illuminaughty.

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The view from my hotel.

Silvia got Ann, Samantha, and I to leave the safety of the hotel and head into the city. Vancouver really is beautiful at night (to be fair, it’s beautiful during the day also), and the waterfront seemed kind of magical. While we were out with met up with Clare C. Marshall for more fun times.

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Blurry waterfront photo brought to you courtesy of hunger/whiskey.

In fact, I was so hungry by the time we found a restaurant, that I’d completely forgotten how we arrived. Silvia’s directions back to the Skytrain had pretty much disappeared. However, I walk with a purpose and was on the way to getting us seriously lost before Ann and Samantha questioned me. A minor train misadventure later (this one wasn’t on me!) and we made it home safely, if very late. That two-hour time change was a bit of a beast, although I handled it a little better this time than I had in Portland for World Horror Con.

My panel on Writing Non-Fiction to Supplement Your Fiction went well. My fellow panelists had interesting things to say, it wasn’t a huge crowd, but it was a bit of a niche subject. The panel of Game Master Tips and Tricks was much better attended. I tried to speak in generalities that could be used across a broad number of games rather than just sharing D&D war stories from my games. It was cool to meet Tarol Hunt of Goblins fame. I made a shout out to the Amber Diceless RPG and got a very enthusiastic “Woohoo!” from a couple of the attending gamers. We chatted a bit after the panel about Amber and its latest scion, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

There was a bit of confusion with my reading on Sunday, mostly due to the fact that I had to ask to change the time at the last minute to ensure I’d make my flight home. That’s on me, I knew I had an afternoon flight, so I should’ve mentioned it to programming as soon as I’d booked it. VCon was very accommodating, but the turnout was pretty thin.

All in all, way too short of a time to spend in such a cool city. I’m sure I’ll be back.

Write on!

 

October Goals

So looking back, I see I didn’t post any goals for either August or September. It’s been so long since a goals blog went live, that the last time I posted, Too Far Gone didn’t even have its final name yet. I couldn’t even remember what I’d said my July goals were. Turns out, they’re much the same as my October Goals.

  • Work on Thunder Road Book 3.

As with July, I find the following statements are still true: I’m satisfied, if not overjoyed, with my progress. I will be overjoyed when it is done.

**There can be no joy until it is done.**

As such, I am modifying that goal.

  • Finish current draft of Too Far Gone.

There, I said it. Now I have to do it. I want this draft done so that I can get it off to my first readers with lots of time to spare to revise it before it goes to my publisher. One of my yearly goals was to participate in NaNoWrimo again, and I definitely have a book that I want to write, but if Too Far Gone isn’t done, that’s not going to happen. Even if that third book is out of my hands, I might spend November polishing and drafting a few short stories I’ve been meaning to get to. After all, that was another goal. As was polishing up another old manuscript.

October has a lot going on. I attended VCon for the Prix Aurora Awards (thank you everyone who nominated Tombstone Blues, and ChiSeries Winnipeg!). I have a wedding to attend in Ontario and C4 Comic Con starts on Halloween Friday (right now I am torn between dressing up like Robocop and Inspector Spacetime). Fortunately, I’ve also got a write-in weekend scheduled with some friends, and I always get a lot of work done at those.

In non-writing goals, I finally own a copy of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October (one of my favourites by him).

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Each chapter is a single day in the month of October, and so I will be rereading one chapter of A Night in the Lonesome October a day through the month. I’ve been tweeting impressions with the #ANightInTheLonesomeOctober hashtag, if anyone is interested in following along. Hat tip to my Fungi editor, Orrin Grey, for giving me the idea for this reread a while back.

Write on!

My VCon Schedule

I’m heading off to VCon this weekend. VCon is Vancouver’s premier science fiction, fantasy and games convention. I can’t wait for this. I’ve been meaning to get to VCon since my first convention (World Fantasy in Calgary) as I met a bunch of awesome B.C. folks there. I’ve met a few since, some of whom I only get to chat with on Twitter and Facebook, so I hope we’ll get to hang out a bit.
VCon will also be another reconvening of the Illuminaughty, albeit a small one. It’ll be great to see Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ann Aguirre again. Secret societies are the bomb. (Ssssh. SECRETS.)

Guests of Honour include author David Weber (Honor Harrington Series; Safehold Series, Dahak Series) http://www.davidweber.net/,  artist David Mattingly (Does Cover Art for David Weber’s Honor Harrington Books) http://www.davidmattingly.com/ and game designer Bruce Heard (Original TSR employee, responsible for the development of much of the BECMI D&D line and it’s campaign world Mystara) http://bruce-heard.blogspot.ca/.

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty stoked about meeting Bruce Heard. Mystara was (and still is) my favourite D&D setting and I backed Bruce’s recent Kickstarter for Calidar in Stranger Skies. It’ll be an honour to share a panel with a game design legend.

This year VCon is also hosting Canvention (Canada’s national and traveling convention) and the Prix Aurora Awards. Me and my ChiSeries Winnipeg partner Samantha Beiko will be there representing Winnipeg (oh, and our books, and the ChiSeries and stuff).

VCon has brought in a few guests specifically for Canvention. Canvention, Tarol Hunt creator of the Goblins webcomic http://goblinscomic.com/ and artist Melissa Mary Duncan http://www.melissaduncan.ca/.

Here’s my schedule:
Friday, October 3
7 pm Selling Your Nonfiction to Subsidize Your Fiction? There’s an abundance of work out there when you’re a talented non-fiction writer. How does that translate into your speculative fiction? How do you balance writing both? Do anthology editors consider an author’s entire portfolio or just the fiction?
Sandra Wickham • Claire Eamer • Melanie Dixon • Chadwick Ginther • Mark Anthonry Brennan
8 pm Aurora Award Pin Ceremony: All attending Aurora award Nominees receive their Nominee Pins from members of the CSFFA (Aurora award admin people) Board of Directors.
Saturday, October 4
2 pm Game Master Tricks: Having problems with your game going off the rails? Time to break out the big guns! Panelists share their favourite tips for putting one over on players, devising devious schemes, or improvising when your carefully laid plans go all to hell.
Paula Johanson • Tarol Hunt • Chadwick Ginther • Bruce Heard • Jeremy Reimer
4 pm Aurora Award Afternoon Tea: This is a catered ticketed affair. Guests will savour finger sandwiches, light pastries, scones, fruit compote, Devonshire cream, etc.
During (or shortly after) the High Tea retired Movie Critic and Journalist Michael Walsh will present several ‘spoof’ Elron Awards in a tradition dating back to the first VCON in 1971. R. Graeme Cameron, presenter of the Elrons since 1989, will unveil the rest of the horrors at a later program event.
4:45 pm Aurora Award Ceremony: Master of Ceremonies Sandra Wickham (well-known author whose stories have appeared in “Evolve”, “Urban Green Man”, and numerous other anthologies and magazines) will preside over the awarding of the Auroras.This is the last year the current Aurora Award design will be handed out – Frank Johnson’s wonderful ‘Maple Leaf Aurora’ design has been used for the past 23 years, each award individually handcrafted by him in his workshop. To put it mildly, CSFFA certainly appreciates Frank’s dedication and hard work. CSFFA is glad to note that Frank will be present at the awards. As part of the ceremony CSFFA Canvention 34 Chair Clint Budd will announce the recipients of the newly created Hall of Fame Honours. This replaces the previous Lifetime Achievement awards, all previous winners of which will now be inducted into the CSFFA Hall of Fame.The past winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award being “transferred” into the Hall of Fame are: A.E. Van Vogt, Susan Wood, Judith Merril, Phyllis Gotlieb, Dennis Mullen, and Robert J. Sawyer. This year’s winners are William Gibson, and Spider & Jeanne Robinson. Bill and Spider will be present to acknowledge their induction, the latter on behalf of and in memory of his co-author and beloved wife of many years, Jeanne Robinson. 

Sunday, October 5
10:00 am Reading with Ann Aguirre
Hope to see you there, and wish me luck at the Auroras.
Write on!

Some More Pics From My Alberta Research Trip Part Two: Edmonton

I love Edmonton.

I’ve been there quite a few times in recent years, and it feels a lot like home. Maybe because, like Winnipeg, it’s a river city. Maybe because it still has some old architecture. I can’t explain it.

I took the Red Arrow bus line from Calgary to Edmonton, which is a really nice way to travel. Comfortable seats. WiFi. It’s also not much slower than flying when you factor in time to get through security and the fact that the Edmonton airport may as well be on the moon. The bus station was only a couple blocks from the LRT line. Rapid transit has become a big part of Winnipeg’s current mayoral debate, and every time I go to Alberta, I come back thinking: “The precious. I wantsssss it.”

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Bay/Enterprise Square Station.

It’s so shiny.

In non-book research related research, I tried cedar smoked salmon for the first time my first night in Edmonton. Normally, I hate the sea and everything in it. This meal however, was amazing. It was grilled up with marinade of maple syrup and apples. Big thanks to my Edmonton host, and old bud, Brad Neufeld for the kick ass food, and the place to hang my hat.

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When I travel, I will now be forever reminded of the title of Robert Shearman’s new story collection from ChiZine, They Do the Same Things Different There. Case in point: one can buy bourbon at the Costco in Alberta. This was a very tasty whiskey. A little bird told me that Costco gets their vodka from Grey Goose, so I wonder who supplies their bourbon…

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The exterior of the Edmonton Archives. I spent a few afternoons here, digging through photos and old articles.

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Microfiche!

I haven’t used one of these in years. I may or may not have pretended to be a spy while I loaded the microfilm. Also, I must be cursed, because most of the machines were down, or stopped working shortly after I got started. The archivists were great though.

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Author Billie Milholland snapped this photo of me at the Stanley A. Milner Library while I was rooting through their Heritage Room.

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One of the things I’ve been meaning to see for ages was Fort Edmonton. It’s an interpretive park, with lots of costumed workers explaining the history of the area. There’s a similar place outside of Winnipeg, Lower Fort Garry–which is still on my list of places to go. (I really need an out of town guest to show up doing research for their book, so I can take them to all the local attractions I never get around to seeing!)

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Survival tips for the northern explorer: rum. (Why is the rum gone?)

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An old York Boat.

The thing that is neat about Fort Edmonton is that it isn’t just one time period. You take a train from the gift shop out to the fort and then walk through three different time periods, 1885 street, 1905 street, and 1920 street.

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1885 street!

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It was crazy hot the entire time I was in Edmonton, and sadly, Kelly’s Saloon was not serving beverages.

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A Gatling Gun stashed behind the RCMP (North-West Mounted Police at the time) barracks

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In case of emergency.

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1905 street!

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There was a street car you could hop on! (Street car not shown) I love street cars.

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Unlike Kelly’s Saloon pictured earlier, the Hotel Selkirk on 1920 street does have a working bar.

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The Capitol Theatre. I didn’t have time to catch a movie, as I had to prepare for a reading.

First, though, there was an author dinner with Edmonton friends Janice MacDonald, Randy Willliams, Eileen Bell and new to Edmonton by way of New York ex-pat Winnipegger (and amazing author), the divine Susie Moloney. We went to Edmonton staple Doan’s, which has some great Vietnamese food.

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Randy Williams snapped this shot during my reading at Audreys Books.

I haven’t been back to Audreys since Thunder Road launched, so it was fun to be there again, and read from Tombstone Blues. We had a good turnout. I met a couple Facebook friends for the first time, which I always enjoy. I also found out the section I chose for my reading (The Night Mara’s attack) gave someone in the audience a nightmare. I felt a bit bad about that, but I’m not going to lie, I was also pleased that one of my favourite scary scenes genuinely scared someone.

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I love this view, with Grant MacEwan in the distance. It seems like a great place for some kind of showdown…

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COMICS!

My trip happened to fall so that I missed two New Comic Book Days. (Seriously, who planned this thing. Oh…wait.) What is a visit to another city without a stop at their best known comic store? While I was in Calgary I made another visit to Comic-Kazi (my friend Kevin’s local), the staff and owner there are amazing. Also, Fiona Staples of Saga fame apparently used to work there.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Happy Harbor, and some of my friends have done events with them. It was a very cool store. Larger and more spread out than my local (Mighty Comics, represent!) but it was easy to find what I was looking for.

Between the two stops I found a few issues I’d missed of a couple series I wanted to collect, and had the bonus of two weeks worth of my regular comics waiting for me when I got home!

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Thanks to fellow Ravenstone author, Janice MacDonald, for pointing this place out to me. The Valhalla. Perfect. How can that not turn up in book three?

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I love the High Level Bridge. One of my favourite things to do in Edmonton is walk across that bad boy.

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I took a drive out refinery way, by Fort Saskatchewan, not too far outside of Edmonton. These plants are huge. And from what I’m told, are completely dwarfed by the sites up north near Fort MacMurray.

It was a great trip. I love my visits to Alberta and can’t wait to get back there.

Write on!

Join Me For Novel Writing Club At The Millennium Library!

With thanks to the Manitoba Writers’ Guild for asking me, and the Winnipeg Public Library for hosting, I’m very excited to say I’ll be chairing a novel writing club starting in November!

From the Manitoba Writers’ Guild newsletter:

NOVEL WRITING CLUB: CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS
In collaboration with the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, Winnipeg Public Library will be hosting a novel writing club to offer emerging novelists the opportunity to work with a mentor for a seven month period. At monthly meetings, a facilitator will meet with participants to address their concerns, provide inspiration and advice, and offer ideas and suggestions. The objective is for all participants to complete the first draft of a novel by the last meeting in June.

The program is intended as an opportunity for writers who are prepared to commit to monthly meetings. Applications are open to those who have not participated in WPL’s critique circles during the past year. There is no charge to participants.
The Novel Writing Club will be facilitated by Chadwick Ginther.

Chadwick Ginther is the author of Thunder Road (Ravenstone Books), a fantasy in which the larger-than-life personalities and monsters of Norse mythology lurk hidden in Manitoba. His short stories have appeared in On Spec, Tesseracts and the Fungi anthology from Innsmouth Free Press. His reviews and interviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, The Winnipeg Review, and Prairie Books NOW.
Meetings will take place at Millennium Library, Carol Shields Auditorium on Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m.

November 25, December 16, 2014 and January 13, February 10, March 10, April 7, May 5, and June 9, 2015. A wrap-up event presenting an opportunity for writers to read aloud from their work will be scheduled for June.

Interested writers are encouraged to complete the application and submit it via email to critiquecircle.wpl@gmail.com starting November 1, 2014. Applications will be accepted until November 14, 2014.

*Applicants must be available for all scheduled meetings.
Participants will be selected based on factors including:

  • strength of the submission

  • a two sentence idea pitch

  • timeliness of the application

Questions? Please call Millennium Library Reader Services at 204-986-6779.

Some Pics From My Alberta Research Trip Part One: Badlands and Stephansson House

So, it was no secret that I was going to Alberta for research for Too Far Gone (the Winnipeg Free Press reported on it before my third book even had a name). These pictures are from the first part of my trip. Also, I will take any excuse to hike through the Alberta Badlands.

I regret that my photographs aren’t as good as Paul Weimer’s (seriously, check out his stuff. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful photos), I’d blame it on the fact I didn’t bring a proper camera and was taking pictures with my phone, but that would be a lie. I’m just not a skilled photographer.

These are from my hike in Horseshoe Canyon.

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Unlike my last trip to the Badlands, I actually had proper hiking shoes instead of on-their-last-laces tennis shoes. I also went hiking before I’d spent an entire weekend dehydrating myself with hotel air and Irish whiskey.

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It involved a bit of doing to stay dry in some parts of the canyon. Which I didn’t manage. Not that I was going to return those new hiking shoes.

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There were a couple scrambles that reminded me that I was out of shape. And that I was one good tumble away from feeding the coyotes.

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There is an “inuksuk graveyard” in Horseshoe Canyon, where hikers build cairns of stone.

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This one was one of my favourites.

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Seriously, how can you not love this place?

Heading further north, and near to Red Deer, and down an assortment of back roads, I found Stephansson House. (Thanks to Johanna Brierley’s mother Marcia for the suggestion–and for the loan of one of Stephansson’s books of poetry!). Stephansson was an early settler in the area, and a noted poet.

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One of the things, besides scenery, that I was looking for on this trip was Icelandic ties to Alberta. Those ties paid off creatively for me in writing Thunder Road and there was some neat stuff to be found here. You’ll have to read and find out about that, I think.

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But I did meet this awesome dog.

The staff at the museum didn’t know the dog. She must’ve just wandered into area looking for shade. She was quite friendly.

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Stephansson House is a beautiful house. I also felt like a giant inside it. Which was good to know. Also interesting to learn, Stephansson’s son was struck by lightning. The boy died, but afterwards, the house’s roof sported numerous lightning rods.

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Some of which you can see in the photo above.

That’s part one! Big thanks to Kevin Madison for driving me around Calgary and environs.

Write on!