Music Monday: An Industry of Murder by Graveyard

The band’s name might be a little on the nose, but I found a fantastic new (to me) group for my Graveyard Mind sequel writing soundtrack!

Wherever you go, just follow
In the shadow of your stay.
Where you’re looking like a vulture
Watching every move.
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Giftmas 2018: December 3rd

Edmonton has been good to me. In addition to being full of friends, and one of my favourite cities to visit, the hero of my first novel is from there, and most of my third is set there. And so I was thrilled to donate a story to Rhonda Parrish’s fundraiser in support of the Edmonton Food Bank. This year we’re trying to raise $750, which could translate into 2250 meals.

If you missed S.G. Wong’s story on December 1st, or Alexandra Seidel’s story yesterday, you can read S.G. Wong’s story here, and Alexandra Seidel’s here. You’ll find information about the other Giftmas contributors at the end of this blog.

Please read, and enjoy, and if you can, please donate to our cause. There is also a Rafflecopter giveaway full of prizes. Check them out at Rhonda’s website!

My story, The Gift that Keeps on Giving, started its life as a holiday challenge to my writing group for our December meeting many moons ago. It has since appeared on this website as a gift to my readers, but it’s been a while since I’ve shared it, so here we go again, and happy reading!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Nicholas stepped nimbly over the coals still smoldering within the fireplace. He had years of practice, and nary an ash clung to his polished, gleaming black boot. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? He smiled at the old joke. Practice.

But in all those years, this was something new. It was new, and that bothered him. He pulled the long parchment list from within his heavy coat. Checking it once, he didn’t like what he saw.

He checked it twice.

But there was no disputing it. This house wasn’t on his list. Nicholas shouldn’t have stopped here. There was no longer a reason for him to have stopped here. That poor little girl. He shook his head. There had been nothing he could have done. Not all wishes can be granted. He sighed ruefully. And not all pains can be soothed with toys. It had broken his heart, what she had wished for, but it just wasn’t within his power to grant.

There were no decorations in this house. No tree. No garland. No mistletoe. Framed photographs lined the mantle of the fireplace, but no stockings dangled beneath the images of a once happy family.

Nicholas turned his back on the unhappy dwelling and started back towards the chimney. A creak on the stairs stopped him in his boots. It was a soft noise, followed by the shuffle of fabric over hardwood.

A child’s slippers.

He couldn’t be seen, unless he chose to be. That was the one rule that governed, and protected him. Him, and the magic of Christmas both.

“Santa,” a weak voice rasped from the stairs.

It was a rule he often broke.

“Yes, my child,” Nicholas answered as he turned; ready to flash the hundred watt smile that would bring a rosy cheeked, dimpled grin to the girl’s face. Perhaps the list was mistaken?

The smile died as he saw her, now practically on top of him. She’d crossed the intervening distance between them in a flash. Her breath, coppery and rank, wafted over him, and her grip upon his mittened hand was too firm to shake.

“You didn’t bring me what I asked for last year,” she said petulantly as she pressed her tongue to an oversized canine. A bead of black blood welled up slowly from the small wound. “But someone did.”

Nicholas screamed as she jerked his head down by his snowy white beard. Blood sprayed across the girl’s little face.

His blood.

She lapped at the arterial spray, like an animal. Her face was a vision of ecstasy. His eyes stopped focusing as she whispered in his ear.

“Now every child in the whole world will get my wish.”

*

Later, in every house that still believed in such things—and there were many—children left out plates of homemade cookies, and tumblers of milk, beading with condensation. Wherever they had succumbed to slumber a voice whispered through teeth that glinted like knives, and a stained rusty beard.

“I never drink…milk.”

Art by S.M. Beiko.

The next post can be found on Michael Tager’s site, here.

Check out the rest of the participants, and when to expect them below. If you enjoyed my story and want to support #Giftmas2018 please share this story, and those of my fellow authors.

Can-Con 2018 Schedule

Here’s where to find me in Ottawa during Can-Con:

So This is Your First Con– Never attended a literary SF convention? Well, this isn’t Comic Con. You’re going to meet a bunch of people, hear amazing insights from professionals on panels, and have a chance to sit with pros over coffee or drinks. Learn what Can*Con is and how to get the most out of it! Nicole Lavigne, Ryan T. McFadden, Kelsi Morris, Lisa Toohey, Chadwick Ginther (Moderator) Friday, October 12th, 6pm (Salon D)

Blue Pencil Critique Sessions– Want feedback from a pro writer or editor on your work? Bring 2-3 pages of writing and get real-time, in-person feedback from one of our expert critiquers. Or, sit down for a one-on-one Q&A about the writing industry. Sign-up HERE. Anatoly Belilovsky, Chadwick Ginther, Ira Nayman, Mary Pletsch Saturday, October 13th, 10am (Salon A)

Reading with David Demchuk Saturday, October 13th 6pm (Salon B)

I love this convention, always one of my highlights of the year! Hope to see you there!

Graveyard Mind eBook Release Day!

Today’s the day! Physical copies of Graveyard Mind have been trickling into stores for a little while now, but today is the official release day for the eBook. Please give it a read, and if you’ve already done so, please drop a review!

In Winnipeg’s underworld, every mortician is on the take and every revenant of myth waits to claw their way out of their tombs.

The dead stay in the ground because of Winter Murray, a necromancer of the Compact. A victim of abduction and a criminal herself, Winter stalks Winnipeg’s Graveside, preventing larger, more heinous crimes from spilling over into the lives of the Sunsiders, no matter what laws of gods and men she must break to do so.

Winter is a chimera, sharing the genetic material of her own never-born fraternal twin sister. Her dead twin’s essence provides her a link to the Kingdom – the land of the dead – and a tie to a past she’s run from for thirteen years.

Winter struggles to find a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves. The temptation of dirty deeds is everywhere: An animated skeleton with a penchant for wearing dead men’s clothes wants her on his payroll. Her deceased, but not gone, mentor still pushes her to take the easy way by being hard. A composite man assembled from soldiers who still puts boot to ass when Winter demands. A vampire that wants just a taste. Each pulls at Winter ensuring a normal life remains eternally out of reach, and the easy way is anything but.

Available now!

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Chapters

Indiebound

And for the local folks in Winnipeg, McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns Cover Reveal!

I can finally share the cover for Fire!

Looks great! The cover artist is Ashley Walters (http://ashleywalters.net/), whose work I will definitely be checking out in the future.

Fire contains my story “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame” (which takes place in the same universe as my new novel, Graveyard Mind), I hope you’ll enjoy it, and the rest of the collection.

The official release date for Fire is August 14th, and I can’t wait to read it.

April Goals

How’d I do in March?

  • Separate IP from that work-for-hire project, which means a reread and LOTS of notes to write, and forms to fill out
  • Finish final round of substantive edits for Graveyard Mind (already done!)
  • Finish drafting a new short story
  • Submit a story to On Spec
  • Start arranging book launch and tour details for Graveyard Mind

I got some of my IP work done, but not all. The unwritten pitches are close to being ready to send in to the publisher, but the novel that was actually submitted needs to undergo a full rewrite stripping any of their IP before they’ll sign off on me being able to submit it elsewhere. I hadn’t really planned on revising that book this year, I wanted to finish the sequel to Graveyard Mind first, but I also really want this line item to be off my plate.

After I turned in the final round of substantive edits for Graveyard Mind, the proofreader notes showed up hot on their heels. I don’t know why those minor changes make me sweat more than dealing with the big stuff, but they do. Probably because each step brings me closer to not being able to make any changes. Shortly after those were done, ChiZine had Graveyard Mind laid out, so my page proofs arrived. Got those done too.

While I didn’t finish the new story, I did have one I haven’t submitted to On Spec yet, so I got something in to them, at least. I also booked Graveyard Mind launch dates in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary. More details to come soon, and hopefully more cities to add to the tour!

Over the last couple months I’ve been working on some gaming setting pitches for an open call. I narrowed those down to one I liked best, and sent it off. I also ended up doing a proofread for my story “All and Nothing” and finally getting a chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey to Sandra.

And for April:

  • Finish a new comic script
  • Get Midnight Man Magazine assembled for Prairie Comics Festival in May