July Goals And Half Year Check In

How in the hell is the year half over? I blame Loki. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Draft, revise, and submit an entirely new novel.
  • Complete first draft on An Excuse for Wolves.
  • Revise 2015 WiP for submission to agents and editors.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.

Stretch goals!

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo

So, at first glance, not a lot of progress on the yearly goals, but I still have hope. I have drafted a new novel, so that’s one big one, and while Sandra and I haven’t finished An Excuse for Wolves, we’ve got maybe 20k left to draft. We’re pushing to have the draft done for When Words Collide so we can have a revision talk while we’re both in the same city. And…other than a final proof read, last year’s WiP is done! I just have to get my submission packages ready (YAY! Synopsis time! Yay./sarcasm). So that’s a lot of the big stuff on the list taken care of.

As for revising that new novel, it actually has a due date of November with the publisher, so I’d better take care of that next!

On the short story front, I’ve been good about keeping my stories out on submission, but the year’s only half over, so I can’t cross that one off yet. Still, off to a stronger start than last year. Maintaining that start will be harder, as a number of my older stories are running out of available markets. Which means I really do need to get some new short stories finished. This year has been less kind in that regard. I’ve only finished one of the six I’d hoped to have done. I’ve done revision passes on two more, but they’re not quite ready to submit. It’s almost half way to my goal, but still feels pretty far away from it.

Starting to think those stretch goals aren’t going to happen. If they do, it’ll be NaNoWriMo I try first. Having done revisions on two separate novels, I’ll want to write something new before digging into a third revision of the year (I do wish I enjoyed that part of the process more).

So that’s the big picture, what about June?

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Final edit on my previous WiP to incorporate first reader feedback
  • Edit pass on my Illuminaughty novella
  • Finish my next chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Read a couple of books I’ve been approached to blurb
  • See the goddamned sun, play some tennis, roll some dice (not writing related, but I need to hold enjoying the little things to the same account as my writing

Stretch goal!

  • Work on my agent query package for my next book

Sweet! Another month with the deck cleared! Pretty happy about that.

I finished the final edits on a book while at a creator retreat with some folks I know from C4. Also managed to do an edit pass on my novella. Altered some structural things to the story, and wrote some new scenes, tidied up the prose a bit. Still a lot of work left before I’ll show that story to anyone, but it’s getting there. Also it’s my first novella, so a few learning curves in pacing, but all in all, I like that length. I should write more of them. You know, in my dubious spare time (that I reserve for watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

I wasn’t particularly happy with the chapter I sent Sandra this time out, but it’s done, and the plot moved forward, and the sooner we finish this draft, the sooner we can fix the book.

Both of the books I read with an eye for blurbing were really fun! Don Bassingthwaite’s Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight, and S.G. Wong’s Devil Take the Hindmost. Check them out when they release, you won’t regret it!

I did get outside. Lots of walking. Not enough tennis. Not enough dice rolling. But I’ve started a new D&D game because I miss it and busy as writing keeps me, I think I need to have some creative pursuits that aren’t specifically geared to publication.

And here’s what I hope to accomplish in July:

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Proofread the book I finished editing in June and submit the finished book to agents
  • First edit pass on the manuscript I finished in May
  • Write a chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey

That should keep me busy!

Write on!

Music Monday: “American Hearts” By A.A. Bondy

Happy 4th of July to my friends and family down south! Hope you have a fun and safe long weekend.

We were raised by wolves
And we are still wild
And we howl when the troubled wind blows
And in the TV’s blue light
Oh, assassins will lie
Every wail just a-goin’ down slow

So don’t tread on me
For I am your brother
I was born with an American heart
And don’t tread on her
For she is your sister
She was born with an American heart

Write on!

Mythfits! (A.K.A. Making Comics With Samantha Beiko)

So I’ve mentioned a few times that Samantha Beiko and I are doing a comic together. Looks like things are official! Mythfits will be debuting at the inaugural Prairie Comics Festival. Very cool to see some press about our first issue!

Pictured below is concept art of Veronica, AKA “Ronnie” who plays the role of axe and artillery. Sam is crushing this book. I can’t wait for folks to read it.

Ronnie

Art: Samantha Beiko

Mythfits grew out of C4 2014 when I shared a table with Samantha in artist’s alley and talked about all the things. So I hope GMB Chomichuk (who kept telling us to “Join the fight, make comics!”) is happy. We sure are.

Write on!

Music Monday: “Cabin In The Woods”

I’m freshly home from a writing retreat weekend at a cabin in the woods, and so I naturally had this stuck in my head the entire time.

We’re all jammed in the car
And we’re going really far
Driving deep into the trees
With hot dogs, chips and cheese

To make the week go quicker
We’ve packed a ton of liquor
Rye and Tropicana
We’ll go totally BANANAS!

Apparently what happened at Creators Retreat 2016 has to stay at Creators Retreat 2016, but I’ll share a couple tidbits, because as GMB Chomichuk said, “My favourite ticks are cryptics.”

I’m glad we made it there to begin with, as we left late and it was dark as we were hitting the wilderness…I know, I know, I’ve seen that movie too. We were on track until we weren’t, and losing all cell service in that creepy abandoned bible camp was a fun little jolt of adrenaline. I even wrote a 150 word flash fiction piece called “An Open Letter to the Hungry Ghosts at that Abandoned Bible Camp.”

That wasn’t on my agenda.

What was, however, was novel revisions, and novella revisions. I finished (hopefully) the last round of revisions on a novel. I want to reread it to make sure I’ve caught as many typos as I can, but I think this it! I also did a revision pass on an old novella. It’s still rough, and not quite ready for other eyes, but I think I’ve solved some structural issues.

I even briefly saw the outside (and have the mosquito bites to show for the pleasure). Very much looking forward to the shenanigans we’ll get up to next year, and all the things we’ll create.

Write on!

Thirteen (In A Row)!

Today is my thirteenth anniversary with a very special lady.

Wendy and I met in a bookstore (of course) and made plans for our first date at the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix midnight release party. I was dressed as Professor Snape and she was a mysterious witch in a shiny cloak. We didn’t know it was a date at the time, and many of our friends realized we were a couple before we did. Every day we’ve been together it’s felt like we’ve known each other a thousand years and had just met at the same time. And as we’ve each vowed to turn the other should one of us become a vampire, maybe we’ll get those thousand years yet.spike and drusilla

I don’t talk about her online as much as she deserves, but Wendy’s a private person, not on social media, and remarkably camera shy for such a beautiful person. So, I’ve provided an artistic retrospective of our time together for those who are interested:

archer-5.05

lobsterGirl

chili boots Foxes

SPONGEBOBSQUAREPANTS01

Girl and Squid Homer-Space-Coyote KISS

I love you, Wendy.

June Goals

So May was as busy as April. How’d I do?

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Finish first draft on my new novel project
  • Have a blast reading at the Ottawa ChiSeries
  • Attend Creative Ink Festival
  • Finish my next chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Apply for a travel grant
  • Apply for a creative writing grant
  • Maybe see the sun? If it happens to shine on Winnipeg? ::VIOLENT SHRUGGING::

Wahoo!

John Oliver FIRE

Every goal met for May! It’s been a while since I’ve had a month like that. A good feeling, considering I was on the road for the first 9 days of the month.

Nothing new on the short story front. I keep sending them out though. Looking at my submissions spread sheet, I’m going to have to write some new stories soon, as a few of these are running out of applicable markets. Might be time to trunk the oldest batch. One thing I’ve noticed looking at my submission stats: I tend to do better with anthology open calls then I do with the magazines. The only magazine sales I’ve made have been stories that were originally written for anthologies. Not a bad thing, just an observation. And the last three stories I’ve written specifically for anthologies have been accepted. Still, I’ll keep trying them. It would be great to appear in Lightspeed some day.

I finished the discovery draft of my latest WiP! It came in at 52000 words, spread over 64 separate writing sessions in roughly 9 weeks. Not the fastest first draft I’ve written (that was Tombstone Blues) but close. And pretty good considering this is a first book in a series, where Tombstone Blues played in an existing world. Also the first time I tracked the progress this specifically. Trying to evaluate my writing routine from a variety of angles to streamline things and be able to write (and edit) faster. Lots of work left to do on this book, obviously, but I don’t need to turn it in until November. Hoping to bring the novel up to 80-85K as I fill in the edges in the next pass. Then polish, polish, polish!

So those days I spent on the road in May were pretty great! Two cons, a reading, and a bit of vacation with family. Ottawa ChiSeries is great, well-run, and a lot of fun. I hope I have a chance to get back. Creative Ink Festival was also lots of fun! I hope the timing for their second year works out with my schedule. I’d love to go back there too.

I finished a draft of my chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey on the plane home from Creative Ink. Probably because Sandra was able to threaten me in person (I kid, I kid). I had the bonus fun of leaving her with a ridiculous cliffhanger to solve in her next chapter. Which she did so now it’s my turn again, I guess.

Both of my grant applications made it into the Manitoba Arts Council on time (ie, both on the last day possible, and with the help of someone who works downtown who could actually get them to the office on time). I never know how to feel about grant applications after they’re dropped off. Obviously, I want them to be approved, but I have to temper positive expectations with reality until I hear for sure. As my buddy Michael Van Rooy had his Monty Haaviko character say, “It’s bad luck to gamble with money you haven’t stolen yet.

I did see the sun! It’s a real thing! I managed to get the vegetable garden in the ground this year and some perennials and annuals have been added here and there. I also managed to squeak in a game of D&D with my old high school group, which was a blast, even if it didn’t involve seeing the sun at all. I’ve missed a lot of gaming of late, and as it was my intro to storytelling and creating characters, I’ll always want to play, but the schedule rarely allows these days. My new writing routine is working better and better, so it might be that I’m able to carve out some more time to roll dice.

And for June?

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Final edit on my previous WiP to incorporate first reader feedback
  • Edit pass on my Illuminaughty novella
  • Finish my next chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Read a couple of books I’ve been approached to blurb
  • See the goddamned sun, play some tennis, roll some dice (not writing related, but I need to hold enjoying the little things to the same account as my writing

Stretch goal!

  • Work on my agent query package for my next book

This seems like a lot, but I’m also going on a creative retreat this month with some writing pals, so I hope that dedicated time will make a big difference.

Write on!