Tombstone Blues and ChiSeries Winnipeg shortlisted for Aurora Awards!

I’m thrilled to be able to finally announce that Tombstone Blues is shortlisted for an Aurora Award in the Best English Novel category.

It was hard to sit on that news for the last couple weeks, I assure you. I’m also nominated in the Best Fan Organization category alongside my pal and co-chair, S.M. Beiko (who is also nominated for her debut YA novel, The Lake and the Library, and the anthology she co-edited, Imaginarium 2013. Go SAM!) for the Winnipeg arm of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series.

It’s great to see so many authors I admire–and so many friends–on this year’s ballot. Once again, I am in some pretty impressive company. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best English Novel

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
The Tattooed Witch by Susan MacGregor, Five Rivers
Tombstone Blues by Chadwick Ginther, Ravenstone Books
A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books

Best English YA (Young Adult) Novel

The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate by Marty Chan, Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Ink by Amanda Sun, Harlequin Teen
The Lake and the Library by S.M. Beiko, ECW Press
Out of Time by D.G. Ladroute, Five Rivers
Resolve by Neil Godbout, Bundoran Press
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada

Best English Short Fiction

“A Bunny Hug for Karl” by Mike Rimar, Masked Mosaic, Canadian Super Stories, Tyche Books
“Angela and Her Three Wishes” by Eileen Bell, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
“The Awakening of Master March” by Randy McCharles, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
“Ghost in the Machine” by Ryan McFadden, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
“The Gift” by Susan Forest, Urban Green Man, EDGE
“Green Man She Restless” by Billie Milholland, Urban Green Man, EDGE
“Living Bargains” by Suzanne Church, When the Hero Comes Home 2, Dragon Moon Press

Best English Poem/Song

“A City of Buried Rivers” by Clink, David, The Literary Review of Canada, vol. 21, no. 9,
November
“Awake” by Peter Storey, Urban Green Man, EDGE
“The Collected Postcards of Billy the Kid” by Helen Marshall, Postscripts to Darkness, Issue 4, October
“Lost” by Amal El-Mohtar, Strange Horizons, February
“Night Journey: West Coast” by Kernaghan, Eileen, Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast, EDGE
“Turning the Leaves” by Amal El-Mohtar, Apex Magazine, Issue 55, December

Best English Graphic Novel

Looking for Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza, webcomic
Rock, Paper, Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, webcomic
Weregeek by Alina Pete, webcomic
Wild Game: Sweet Tooth Vol. 6 by Jeff Lemire, Vertigo
Best English Related Work

The Puzzle Box by The Apocalyptic Four, EDGE
Urban Green Man edited by Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine EDGE
On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Suzenyms by Susan MacGregor, blog suzenyms.blogspot.ca
Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing edited by Sandra Kasturi and
Samantha Beiko, ChiZine Publications & Tightrope Books

Best Artist

Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Melissa Mary Duncan, illustrations and cover art
Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press and the SF Aurora banner
Apis Teicher, body of work
Tanya Montini, cover design for The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate

Best Fan Publications

No award will be given out in this category in 2014 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Fan Music

Brooke Abbey for writing and publishing 12 songs
Debs & Errol for CTRL+ALT+DUETS, EP
Chris Hadfield for his performance of Space Oddity
Kari Maaren for Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off, CD
Devin Melanson, Leslie Hudson and, Kari Maaren for Pirate Elves in Space, CD

Best Fan Organizational

Evelyn Baker and Alana Otis-Wood, co-chairs Ad Astra, Toronto
S.M. Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, co-chairs Chiaroscuro Reading Series, ChiSeries Winnipeg
Sandra Kasturi and James Bambury, co-chairs Chiaroscuro Reading Series, ChiSeries Toronto
Randy McCharles, chair When Words Collide, Calgary
Matt Moore, chair Ottawa Chiaroscuro Reading Series, ChiSeries Ottawa
Rose Wilson, Art Show Director, VCON 38, Vancouver

Best Fan Related Work

R. Graeme Cameron, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine
Steve Fahnestalk, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine
Robert Runté, ”Why I Read Canadian Speculative Fiction: The Social Dimension of Reading”, Scholar Keynote Address at ACCSFF ’13, Toronto

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2013 Manitoba Book Awards

I was absolutely thrilled to attend the 2013 Manitoba Book Awards gala and for Thunder Road to be the recipient of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction (the award is presented every two years). Michael Van Rooy was a good friend as well as a mentor, so this award means the world to me. To be able to share the ballot with my friends Karen Dudley and David Annandale who were also close with Michael made the nomination even more special.

Michael Van Rooy Award

(Photo by Angeline Schellenberg, I’m pictured with THIN AIR director, Charlene Diehl who presented the award)

Yes, I had to pretend to be one of the Sand People so that I didn’t break down in tears (and even then, it was a very near thing by the end of my acceptance speech).

Congratulations to all the award winners, and to all of the nominees for a great slate of books. Thank you, THIN AIR the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Prairie Fire magazine, and The Writers’ Collective for sponsoring the Genre Fiction Award. And thank you to the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers for putting on a great event.

This year’s award winners in thirteen categories are:

 
Lansdowne Prize for Poetry
Prix Lansdowne de poésie

  • Tether by Laurelyn Whitt, published by Seraphim Editions


Best Illustrated Book of the Year
Meilleur livre illustré de l’année

  • 300 Years of Beer: An Illustrated History of Brewing in Manitoba by Bill Wright & Dave Craig, published by Great Plains Publications, design by Relish New Brand Experience Inc.


Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year
Prix Manuela-Dias de conception graphique en édition

  • 100 Masters: Only in Canada by Stephen Borys and Andrew Kear, published by the Winnipeg Art Gallery, design by Frank Reimer


Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

  • Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One, by Aimée Craft, published by Purich Publishing Ltd.


Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction

  • Thunder Road, by Chadwick Ginther published by Ravenstone (an imprint of Turnstone Press)

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award
Prix littéraire Carol-Shields de la ville de Winnipeg

  • Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, photographs by Bryan Scott, text by Bartley Kives, published by Great Plains Publications.


Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

  • The Insistent Garden by Rosie Chard, published by NeWest Press

 
Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction
Prix Alexander-Kennedy-Isbister pour les études et essais

  • “Indians Wear Red”: Colonialism, Resistance and Aboriginal Street Gangs by Elizabeth Comack, Lawrence Deane, Larry Morrissette & Jim Silver, published by Fernwood Publishing

 
John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer
Prix John-Hirsch pour l’écrivain manitobain le plus prometteur

  • Jonathan Ball

 
Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
Prix Mary-Scorer pour le meilleur livre par un éditeur du Manitoba

  • Manitoba Butterflies: A Field Guide by Simone Hébert Allard, published by Turnstone Press


McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award

YOUNGER CATEGORY:

  • Powwow Counting in Cree, by Penny M. Thomas, published by HighWater Press (an imprint of Portage & Main Press)

OLDER CATEGORY:

  • The Fall, by Colleen Nelson, published by Great Plains Teen Fiction

 
McNally Robinson Book of the Year

  • Kisiskatchewan:The Great River Road, by Barbara Huck, published by Heartland Associates Inc.

The full list of nominees can be viewed here: http://www.mbwriter.mb.ca/

 

An Hour of Writing A Day: March

The Hour of Writing a Day challenge wasn’t a part of my monthly goals for March, but I still wanted to try and keep building on the momentum of new words that I’d created in February. That…did not go as planned.

  1. 1162 words, on a second world short story.
  2. 626 words, on a second world short story.
  3. 550 words, noodling longhand on a new POV voice.
  4. 520 words, noodling longhand on a new POV voice.
  5. 650 words, noodling longhand (on the bus! Thanks for the delay, Blizzard #5013 of the winter) on a new POV voice.
  6. 770 words, noodling longhand on a new POV voice.
  7. 650 words, noodling longhand on a new POV voice.
  8. 450 words, noodling longhand on a new POV voice (waiting for and then riding the bus) + 150 words, on a Thunder Road ‘verse short story starring Ted.
  9. 500 words, (longhand) on a Thunder Road ‘verse short story starring Ted.
  10. Nada. Zip. Zilch. 
  11. 450 words, noodling longhand on a different new POV voice (waiting for and then riding the bus)
  12. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
  13. 450 words, longhand, on Thunder Road book 3.
  14. 850 words, longhand, on Thunder Road book 3.
  15. 1100 words, longhand (on my two bus trips to, and from work), on Thunder Road book 3.
  16. Sick Day, no words.
  17. Sick Day, no words.
  18. Sick Day, no words.
  19. Sick Day, no words.
  20. Sick Day, no words
  21. Nada
  22. Zilch
  23. Zip
  24. Nada
  25. Zilch
  26. Zip
  27. Nada
  28. Zip
  29. Zilch
  30. Nada
  31. 250 words, on Thunder Road book 3, whilst on the bus. Not much, but at this point, I was ready to take anything.

Only 8678 words, scattered between a few projects.

Damned time change definitely sucked my will to get up early and try and write before work, which had been the plan (until I was reminded of March’s unwelcome DST buddy). This meme was making the rounds, and sums up my feeling quite nicely:

Daylight Savings Time

No sooner than I stopped working on a new POV voice last month because I was pretty sure it wanted to be a novel, another one reared its head. This time, it was a reimagining of something I wanted to pitch as a comic to Marvel all the way back in university (Kevin Madison, you know the one). Unfortunately, note taking was spotty back then, so I’m mostly working from scratch. I still like the idea. But it’s too early to say if it will be anything.

Building workshops took priority this month over new writing. I was doing okay until I spent an entire week sick. It’s rare for me to catch colds, but when I do, they are brutes. The week of illness also put me behind on editing the anthology of my students’ work, and on workshop planning for my ACI class and for my trip to Thompson. I don’t think that I’ll be fully back on track with putting down new words until April is over.

I am definitely a creature of momentum and inertia. Once my streak was broken, I didn’t really get back into the game. On the plus side, those words wouldn’t have existed at all without this attempt to write every day, so there’s that.

Write on!

Ad Astra 2014 Roundup

2014 was the first time I’ve attended Ad Astra, Toronto’s premiere science fiction and fantasy fan convention.  All in all, it was a great weekend. Guests included: authors Patricia Briggs and Steven Erikson, as well as editor Anne Groell. My only regret is that I wasn’t feeling well. I rarely get sick, rarely get con crud, but I rolled in sick this time, and had to make the best of it. If any of you Toronto folks caught my cold, my apologies.

I took it easy on the Friday, my throat was sore and I was already running a sleep debt from various deadlines leading up Ad Astra. Definitely not the best way to get started, I know. On the plus side, Ad Astra was held in the same hotel that hosted the World Fantasy Convention in 2012, so I at least I already knew the venue. Granted, the hotel is technically in Markham, so it’s hell and gone away from the airport (and I hate traveling on public transit with luggage) but it is a nice venue.

My immediate thought about the con was how quickly it felt like a “home convention.” Keycon feels this way, obviously. So does When Words Collide in Calgary. As I went to grab dinner in the restaurant, Robert J. Sawyer was sitting with Steven Erikson, and introduced me. Steve used to live in Winnipeg, though that time predated my writing career. Also in the restaurant were a gang of rogues that I’ve met in my previous travels, including Matt Moore, Derek , and Michael Matheson.

One of my favourite things about conventions is when I finally get to meet people that I’ve been interacting with on Twitter or Facebook. This time I met writer and podcaster, Adam Shaftoe and Blue Magic author, Alyx Dellamonica (who I interviewed ages ago).

After having my gear stowed and registration picked up, I had my first panel of the convention. Normally, I like to attend a con at least once before I do any programming, but that’s not always going to be an option, and as I’d asked excellent indie bookseller, Bakka Phoenix to bring stock of my books to the con (Thanks, Team Bakka!), it seemed a good idea to get out there and be seen.

Panels are fun, but it’s a fun that’s also wholly dependent on who you share them with and what kind of crowd you draw. There’s lots of advice I’ve heard about doing panels well which is easily said, but harder to implement. I try to be fun, have fun, as well as be informative. And I do my best to not bring up my books. I hate sharing panels with the “Mybookmybookmybook” author. If you’ve ever been to a convention, you probably know the one, they have nothing to say unless it directly relates to something they’ve written or they try to twist everything back around to their writing.

I take my cue for panel participation from Edmonton author, Minister Faust. I saw Minister on a large panel of authors once, and he was the only person not to bring up his books, or his writing. What he did was have thoughtful and interesting things to say. Full stop. He didn’t need to sell me on his books, I was hooked on him as someone who had something to say. Guess whose book I bought when I was next in the dealer’s room? (He’s a great writer too! Loved From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain!)

My first panel, “Myth Information in Fantasy”, which had my friend Marie Bilodeau on board, as well as Jen Frankel, Katrina Guy and Stephen B. Pearl, was a blast. There was a great turnout, almost a full room, and I think the panel went well, I did receive some compliments on it after the fact. It was also nice to see Derek Newman-Stille from Speculating Canada in the audience. (Also, terrrifying. I’ve been interviewed by Derek before, and he always asks great questions, but they’re also hard questions.)

Myth Information Panel

The Myth-Information Panel: Photo by Matt Moore. (Marie Bilodeau is challenging Derek ‘s assertion that fantasy cannot be political. Or rather, trying to raise up a mob to challenge Derek on her behalf.)

I bowed out of the parties quite early Friday night, I even had to skip the Romulan Ale, Blue Milk, and Slurm (it’s highly addictive!) replicas that the restaurant was offering (among other SF&F drinks) during Klingon Kareoke. Evidently, Klingons really like Alannah Myles. Who knew?

AdAstra Klingon Kareoke

Me and Marie Bilodeau. Photo by Derek Newman-Stille.

Lots of good fun on Saturday. I enjoyed meals with friends before getting to the mass author signing. Not a lot of signatures to be had, that’s the nature of the game though, It’s hard to begrudge Patricia Briggs and Steven Erikson their fans because they’re awesome folks (and at least no one actually pointed out that the GoHs had a longer signing line than me. Yes, that’s happened). I sat close to Suzanne Church and Julie E. Czerneda so I had some fun folks to talk to. Julie was even gracious enough to give me an opinion of the titles I’m considering for Thunder Road book 3. Thanks, Julie!

1396723054338

One cool thing I got to do was sign a copy of Michael Rowe’s stellar book, Wild Fell, for collector Mike Cramer. Mike likes to have signatures from everyone involved in the book, and Michael was kind enough to thank me in the acknowledgements of Wild Fell (You’re very welcome, Michael!).

After the signings, Derek Newman-Stille caught up to me and we did a sit down interview for Speculating Canada that will air on Trent Radio. I’ll post a link or announcement about the date as soon as I have one.

Also, there were Daleks.

Derek & Dalek

Derek Newman-Stille, photo by yours truly.

It tried to exterminate me. Perhaps because of an offhand comment about that big blue public toilet it was hanging around…

My final bit of programming (I went light this year, and good thing I did, as my voice always felt just this side of collapse) was the panel “Comics as Literature”, ably moderated by James Bambury. We were joined by Michael J. Martineck and Sarah WaterRaven. I think that one went very well too. Good questions from Derek Newman-Stille as always, and from new con pal, Angela Keely.

After supper at Host, a local Indian restaurant, (their butter chicken was good, but I always feel I’m cheating on hometown fav, East India Company, but EIC is still winner and champeen of the curry universe as far as I’ve experienced) we headed up to the party rooms and books launches.

In one room Bundoran Press was launching Strange Bedfellows, edited by Hayden Trenholm (I contributed to the Indiegogo to support this one), and Alison Sinclair’s Breakpoint: Nereis. Robin Riopelle joined them, launching her debut from Nightshade Books, Dead Roads (and I’m so happy her books made it! She was having customs and FedEx issues and at least her launch had a happier ending than my Canada Post-foiled Edmonton launch of Tombstone Blues). In the other party room, Suzanne Church and Michael J. Martineck were launching their books from EDGE Publications: Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction and Milkman: A Freeworld Novel.

Michael Matheson had a reading scheduled for 10:30pm, and since Fun Things would be happening opposite the slot and there was nothing happening after, his reading morphed into a boozy sharing of Pacific Rim/Star Wars fan fic. Good Times. Probably the highlight of the con, in fact. Angela Keely brought down the house with her reading of the first four chapters of legendary (and legendarily bad) Harry Potter fan fic, My Immortal. There is talk of this becoming a thing for next year’s Ad Astra. I hope it does.

From the readings we meandered our way back upstairs. After roughly 4:00 in the morning, I realized my words were no longer working and went to bed. I did manage a bit of sleep and thank Thor for late checkouts.

A few other cool things about Ad Astra:

Check out the LEGO room!

1396756738564

SPACESHIP!

1396756759913

Seeing this loose tumble of multicoloured bricks really is a thing of beauty.

DSC_0813

Very cool Batman cover replica!

DSC_0829

And….my swag: Golden Age Flash T-Shirt for the Win! And always, books, books, books!

I spent the remainder of Sunday afternoon and evening in Toronto proper with one of my oldest friends. We rewatched Zombieland and then watched This is the End for the first time. All in all, a wonderful trip. Ad Astra was a great con experience and I’ll definitely be back.

Write on!

 

April Goals

I’m home from a fantastic time at Ad Astra in Toronto, look for a roundup post on my time at the convention soon.

My goals for April will look a little familiar if you’ve been reading along…

In any case, here they are:

  • Reread Tombstone Blues and make notes relevant to Book 3. Start writing.
  • Transcribe my notebook (which has gotten well out of hand)
  • Edit and submit one of my recently drafted short stories.
  • Edit and submit one of my previously drafted short stories.

How did I do in March?

  • Finish prepping for my workshop in Thompson.
  • Reread Tombstone Blues and make notes relevant to Book 3.
  • Transcribe my notes.
  • Edit and submit one of my recently drafted short stories.
  • Edit and submit one of my previously drafted short stories.

Not bad. Not great.

A week of sickness right as I was hitting the crunch of prepping for a workshop and editing an anthology of my students’ work was not timed the best. However, every now and then your body just shuts down to remind you that you are not an invincible robot gladiator (yet).

I’d really been hoping to get my new fantasy noir story out, but sadly it was not to be. In my illness I also misremembered a deadline for submissions and so one of the markets I’d hoped to submit the story to has closed. But there are, and always will be, other markets.

I also did an “unofficial” hour of writing a day run in March, I’ll also be posting about that soon.

Write on!

My Ad Astra Schedule

I will be making my first visit to Ad Astra this weekend, and it looks like a great literary-streamed convention. Guests include: David Weber, Steven Erikson, Anne Groell, Patricia Briggs and Donato Giancola. As well, some of the convention’s past guests of honour will be returning, so Julie E. Czerneda, Ed Greenwood, and Robert J. Sawyer will also be in attendance!

I’m also excited to get to see a bunch of my Ontario writing friends, and to share panels with James Bambury and Marie Bilodeau.

Here’s where you can find me if you happen to be in Toronto this weekend:

Myth-Information in Modern Fantasy

Speakers: Chadwick GintherJen FrankelMarie BilodeauStephen B. PearlKatrina Guy
Scheduled At: April 4, 2014, 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Hall: [Markham A]
Track: Telling the Story
Type: Panel

How do authors incorporate traditional lore and myths into their modern-day fantasy settings? Is it possible to make a witch burning pertinent in the twenty-first century? Discuss these, and other inflammatory questions, in this panel.

GoH and Author Signings

Speakers: A.M. DellamonicaAlyx HarveyAmanda SunAnne GroellChadwick GintherDavid WeberDerwin MakDouglas SmithEdith ChartierEric ChoiErik BuchananGabrielle HarbowyIan Donald KeelingJames Alan GardnerJaz AshtonJulie CzernedaKaren DalesLeah PetersenLinda PoitevinMarie BilodeauNina MunteanuPatricia BriggsRob St-MartinSarah TolmieStephanie Bedwell-GrimeSteven EriksonSuzanne ChurchTimothy Carter
Scheduled At: April 5, 2014, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Hall: [Richmond A]
Track: Convention Related
Type: Event

A mass autograph session.

Comics as Literature

Speakers: Chadwick GintherJames BamburyMichael MartineckSarah WaterRaven
Scheduled At: April 5, 2014, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Hall: [Markham A]
Track: Telling the Story
Type: Panel

This age-old (well, okay, decades-old) question is the focus of a panel set to discuss the merits of making room on the big-kid bookshelf for comics, the potential pretentiousness of the term ”graphic novel”, and which comics benefit best from a literary reading.

I would also feel remiss in not mentioning Michael Matheson’s reading Saturday at 10:30 pm in the Oakridge room, which has morphed into a Star Wars/Pacific Rim fanfiction affair guest starring Derek

Michael Matheson reading Attend

Speakers: Michael Matheson
Scheduled At: April 5, 2014, 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Hall:[Oakridges]
Track: Story Time
Type: Reading – See more at: http://ad-astra.shdlr.com/grid#sthash.LLMryqst.dpuf

Michael Matheson reading Attend

Speakers: Michael Matheson
Scheduled At: April 5, 2014, 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Hall:[Oakridges]
Track: Story Time
Type: Reading – See more at: http://ad-astra.shdlr.com/grid#sthash.LLMryqst.dpuf

Michael Matheson reading Attend

Speakers: Michael Matheson
Scheduled At: April 5, 2014, 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Hall:[Oakridges]
Track: Story Time
Type: Reading – See more at: http://ad-astra.shdlr.com/grid#sthash.LLMryqst.dpuf

If you can’t find me at any of these places, you may want to check the bar. That is where writers are said to congregate…

Write on.

Prix Aurora Awards Nomination Deadline

Less than two weeks are left to nominate for the Prix Aurora Awards! Once again, I’ll be a last minute voter. I’m still frantically trying to squeeze some reading in before the deadline.

If you haven’t made your nominations yet, my second novel, Tombstone Blues, is eligible in the Best Novel category and alongside my co-chair Samantha Beiko, I’m eligible for Best Fan Organizational for work in the Winnipeg arm of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series.

Instruction for how to nominate a story are available on the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association’s site. But why should you vote? Ottawa author Matt Moore wrote an excellent blog post on why we should participate in the Aurora Awards. The more people participate, and the more they care, the more these awards will matter.

If you’re looking for a couple of last minute things to fill out your ballot, here’s a list of of stories and things I enjoyed in 2013 (Huge thanks to Michael Matheson for maintaining the CanSpec list!):

Novels:

YA Novels:

Short Fiction:

Poetry/Song:

Graphic Novels:

Best Related Work (Magazine/Anthology/Single Author Collection)

Best Artist:

Best Fan Publication:

Fan Organizational:

Best Fan Music: