Music Monday: “Fiddler’s Green” By The Tragically Hip

So roughly a third of Canada’s population watched the final concert by The Tragically Hip. I imagine it’ll be talked about for some time yet. Lots has been said about what the band has meant to Canadian identity, I’m still processing what a band I’d largely left behind in my post-university days–but still listened to and enjoyed whenever we crossed paths–means to me. All I know for sure was that I wasn’t emotionally up for watching the concert. A feeling I’ll maybe regret in days down the road, not sharing the night with friends, but I just couldn’t do it.

I did stay up, unable to sleep, imagining the perfect set list, and thinking of them playing “Fiddler’s Green.”

His tiny knotted heart
Well, I guess it never worked to good
The timber tore apart
And the water gorged the wood
You can hear her whispered prayer
For men at masts that always lean
The same wind that moves her hair
Moves her boy through Fiddler’s Green




My When Words Collide Schedule

When Words Collide is always a highlight of my convention schedule, and this year it has the added bonus of hosting the Prix Aurora Awards too. If you’re attending, here’s where to find me in Calgary:

Saturday 11 AM–Bonavista
Myth Adventures (With Apologies to Robert Aspirin!)
Chadwick Ginther, Rhonda Parrish, GMB Chomichuk, Nancy M Bell, S.G. Wong (M)
Myths by any other name…would be stories. This panel will be an exploration with authors and editors of works that use myth (of deities, spirits and creatures—oh my!) woven throughout. Discussion to include how to weave myths into the narrative; how mythologies were chosen for specific works; the myriad aspects of research; how one separates “canonical” myth from rumoured myth; and many more aspects integral to using my
ths successfully within narrative.
Aurora Awards 7PM
Saturday 8PM–Parkland-Bonavista-Willow Park Autograph Session (2 Hours)
Our Festival Guests are joined by 70+ authors. Drop by to meet the authors and get your books signed. This session is open to the public, so tell your friends.
Saturday 10PM (till late)–(Suite 333) The Post-Apocalyptic Four Party
Ryan T. McFadden, E.C. Bell, Randy McCharles, Billie Milholland, Chadwick Ginther
Hang out with the Apocalyptic Four (authors of Women of the Apocalypse,The Puzzle Box, and The 10th Circle Project) & friends (that’s me!). Find out what trouble they’ve been up to lately.
Sunday 1PM–Bonavista Writing Trilogies
Gerald Brandt, Chadwick Ginther, Ryan T. McFadden, Samantha Beiko, Barb Galler-Smith, Susan MacGregor (PM)
Writing a trilogy is the writing equivalent of running a marathon. What are the pros and cons of embarking on such a creative endeavour? Five writers discuss their experiences, focusing on the challenges and benefits from creative, timely, and business perspectives.
Hope to see you there!
Write on!


August Goals

How’d I do 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

Not as great as I’d hoped. A few things came up in August that required more time than I expected. Proofreading went well, I didn’t even find anything major that I wanted to change at the last minute (which is almost scarier than finding I want to make a change). It’s been so long since the last time I queried agents that I basically had to start researching from scratch. I have a top ten list I want to start with and we’ll go from there and see what happens.

We’ll see what happens when I’m done my query letter and synopsis, that is. Both of those have eaten up a lot of my time, because if I can’t nail those, it might not matter how good the manuscript is. Yay, pressure! I feel like I they’re close, but not quite ready to send (and my synopsis is still too long) so no queries went out. I really didn’t want to start editing the next draft until after I’d completely washed my hands of the previous one.

A cool thing I wasn’t expecting: I was asked to mentor a young fantasy writer as a part of ACI Manitoba’s Careers in the Arts Youth Mentorship program. Very exciting! It’s a big commitment, but I would’ve loved to have had access to these programs when I was younger, so I was happy to say yes. This’ll be my second time working with ACI, as I facilitated their teen program a few years ago.

And my goals for August:

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Query agents
  • First edit pass on my new manuscript
  • Prep for my panels at When Words Collide
  • Have fun at When Words Collide, regardless of Prix Aurora results
  • Write a chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Discuss Whiskey edits with Sandra Wickham at WWC

Stretch goals:

  • Finish revising a short story I’ve been noodling with and send it out

It’s going to be a bit tight to get through everything, but I’ve got some holidays. Of course I’ve also got an out of town convention in there and a weekend getaway too.

Write on!

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.


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!