Music Monday: “Holiday Song” By The Pixies

Off vacation, and back to the day job.

It didn’t feel like much of a holiday, what with scrambling to get page proofs for Too Far Gone done, and spending the last two days demolishing my old fence and starting to build a new one. Still, managed to have a wee bit of fun in there.

Well sit right down my wicked son
And let me tell you a story
About the boy who fell from glory
And how he was a wicked son

This ain’t no holiday
But it always turns out this way
Here I am with my hand

Write on!

Music Monday: “Lonely Boy” By The Black Keys

Home from another fabulous When Words Collide conference in Calgary. I had a blast, even if my time there was too short. So, along those lines, I offer you this song by The Black Keys. An upbeat tone and downer lyrics serve as a reminder of a fun weekend that won’t come around again for too long.

Oh, oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting
Oh, oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting
I’m a lonely boy
I’m a lonely boy
Oh, oh-oh I got a love that keeps me waiting

November, World Fantasy Convention, and my next dose of full-time writing fun can’t come quickly enough, but in the meantime, I’m working, and I’m waiting…waiting…

Write on!

My When Words Collide Schedule

When Words Collide is my favourite literary conference. I haven’t missed one yet, and every year it gets better and better. The organizers have lined up a great group of guests again for this year:

Daniel Abraham Fantasy
C.J. Carmichael Romance
Diana Gabaldon Historical
M.L.N. Hanover Urban Fantasy
Sally Harding Literary Agent
Faith Hunter Urban Fantasy
Gwen Hunter Thriller
Brandon Mull Young Adult

I’m very happy to be sharing a program book with all of them.

Here’s where you’ll find me:

Saturday 8 PM – Parkland-Bonavista-Willow Park Autograph Session (2 Hours)
Our Festival Guests are joined by 50+ authors Drop by to meet the authors and get your books signed. This session is open to the public, so tell your friends.
Sunday 11 AM – Rundle Setting – More Than Just Window Dressing
Al Onia, Sarah Kades, Chadwick Ginther, Calvin Jim
Setting in fiction can be so much more than a backdrop for the characters. A story’s world can be an integral part of the plot, theme and character. Arrakis in Dune is a main
antagonist. Noir detective tales are defined by their milieu as much as by the hard-boiled
hero. Fantasy would be simple magic without an outré world. Science fiction has matured
as much in depiction of believable universes as much as character realism.
I’m taking it light on the panels this year. For me, When Words Collide is as much about hanging out with friends as it is about promoting my work, and I don’t get to see the Alberta gang nearly as often as I’d like. Also, I needed to keep a large block of time clear for reasons (join me in whispering: SECRETS) that I will hopefully be able to share soon.
Sentry Box has kindly agreed to have copies of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues on hand, and I’ll be bringing some copies of my illustrated Thunder Road-verse short story “A Simple Twist of Fate” and some Too Far Gone teasers if you can’t wait until October and Too Far Gone‘s release for me to scribble on something.
Friday 3 PM – Rundle How to Write a Good Pitch and Query Sally Harding, Jane Ann McLachlan, Marie Powell You can write the greatest novel ever written, but you still need to get it into the hands of a publisher. Our panel tells you how.
I’m still undecided on everything I want to check out as an attendee, but I know for a fact I’m going to these three panels:
Saturday 10 AM – Kananaskis Sirens, Secrets, and Sins (2 hrs) Detective Sweet From street cop, to undercover and drug work, to life as a homicide detective, Calgary Police Service Detective Dave Sweet talks about his life in law enforcement. There will be a Q&A after for an opportunity to ask him your writing questions. *Please be aware there will be explicit visual and audio material used.
Sat 2 PM – Fairview Graphic Novels – ChiZine
“The visual language of the comics medium is a compelling tool for unique storytelling. A deceptively simple final product is a machine of many moving parts. Working in comics is sometimes like writing for prose, television, or theatre, but most of the time those habits make for bad comics. Join award-winning graphic novelist GMB Chomichuk (Infinitum, Cassie and Tonk, The Imagination Manifesto) as he walks through ten things he learned the hard way about the visual language of comics, comic contracts, and comic markets. The first thing on the agenda will be to take a list of need to know questions from the audience to ensure people get the answers they came for.
@gmbchomichuk on Twitter & Instagram”
Saturday 3 PM – Fairview Health and Fitness for Creative People Sandra Wickham Strong in body, stronger in mind! Join fitness professional and author Sandra Wickham for an informative session on how to incorporate health and fitness into your life, how it will benefit your creative endeavours and how to start and stick with your health and fitness goals.
Write on!

August Goals

How’d I do in July?

  • Work in Progress, keep at it. Lock down four more chapters, which will take me to the last 50 pages of the previous draft, and make a plan for the revisions of those pages.
  • Finish revising and submit one of my fallow short stories.
  • Get all of my unsold short stories back out on submission.

Pretty good, but not perfect. Still small victories, right?

I locked in those four chapters of the Work in Progress, and almost locked a fifth. It needs a couple more run throughs before I’m satisfied to add it to the manuscript. The WiP now stands at 68000 words, and with just under 20000 (very rough) words left to revise and flesh out, I should be able to bring this draft in under 100000 words. After that it will feel like a real book, and I can hone it into submission readiness.

That short story came very close to going out the door, but while it has been revised, I’m still not sure it’s for the better. It’s shorter, and with short stories, shorter usually is better, but it didn’t quite sing on reread. So I’m going to take another run at it.

Had every short story back out the door and into the world in July. Some of them more than once! Collected a new pile of rejections, some personalized, some form letter, and no new sales, but that’s okay. I can’t sell any of the stories I don’t submit.

That was my July. I feel pretty good about the month, considering there was two rounds of substantive editing on Too Far Gone that happened over the span of the month, and copy edits rolled up to say hello on the 31st.

What’s on deck for August? Lots.

  • Copy edits of Too Far Gone.
  • Page proofs of Too Far Gone.
  • A couple of shiny things popped on to my radar, and there’s a couple of anthologies for which I’d like to write a story. I have started noodling with both, they’re at the 1K mark. But both have deadlines of August 31st. I can probably get one, but not both done in the month so I’m seeing which one jazzes me the most.
  • Have a blast at When Words Collide in Calgary. (This is a bit of a soft pitch, but whatever. I’ve got some work to do while I’m there also.)
  • Keep my unsold short stories on submission.
  • Get that unsold short story out the door.
  • WiP: I’d initially hoped to have this ready to go for When Words Collide, but that’s not going to happen now. Hello, World Fantasy Convention deadline! Forward progress is the big thing here. I really want this book out the door and on submission this year.
  • Start writing pre-writing blog posts for Too Far Gone promotional purposes.
  • Write my final report for my last Manitoba Arts Council Grant.
  • Write a travel grant for World Fantasy Convention

This is more than plenty for the goal plate, but I do have a week of holidays coming up in August. So we’ll see how it goes…

Write on!

Music Monday: “I Need Some Sleep” By The Eels

Music Monday took a bit of a hiatus, sorry for that folks. Editorial called. But we’re back with a long weekend edition. Hope you had a good weekend. Between copy edits, yard work I’ve ignored for too long, and out-of-province visitors, I was certainly hopping, and there’s lots more to do before I’m done.

The Eels came on to radar thanks to that wonderful 90s magazine, CMJ, which delivered a CD of twenty odd new songs to my mailbox (real mail. I’m old) every month. I came across a lot of my new music that way, and in going back to some of those CDs, I’ve even found some songs that didn’t resonate for me then, but do now. The Eels, however, I’ve been following since first listen.

I’ve never been a good sleeper. Takes me forever to drift off, and it’s almost impossible to stay out when sleep finally arrives. Maybe that’s why I like this song. I’m constantly telling myself those four words: I Need Some Sleep.

I need some sleep
Time to put the old horse down
I’m in too deep
And the wheels keep spinning ’round

Sleep is for the weak

Have a restful one, friends!

Write on.