Writing Like I Used To: A Guest Post By Julie E. Czerneda

It was my pleasure to host Julie E. Czerneda when she launched her fantasy debut A Turn of Light, and I’m so glad she wanted to come back to talk about her return to science fiction, This Gulf of Time and Stars!

This Gulf of Time and Stars releases November 3, 2015. Learn more about the series and author below, and please welcome Julie E. Czerneda!

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Music Monday: “Daughter Of My Sins” By Chris Hadfield

A reader sent me this song over the weekend, saying that it reminded them of reading Thunder Road, and I’ve been listening to it constantly since.

Now I don’t know if speed can help me
But I’m going fast as a man can
The sun goes down, darkness surround me
Her shadow lies upon this land

I surely hope that you can find me
There when I reach my journey’s end
We’ll talk of love and ties that bind me
And then I’ll end up here again

Pretty cool tune, Xanthe. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Write on.

Central Canada Comic Con & Creative Colleagues

I can’t believe that C4 (Central Canada Comic Con) is only a week away!

It’s definitely going to be a mad dash to that finish line to get everything done I’d like to have done beforehand, and an even madder weekend during the con. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Because I love working with friends. And I’ll have a lot of them at this convention.

First off, Prix Aurora nominated artist (for his work on a live blog of his reading of the Thunder Road Trilogy), and illustrator of my 2014 C4 project, A Simple Twist of Fate, Kevin Madison will be at C4 for the first time in Artist Alley. He surprised me on Thanksgiving with this piece:

Ted with Ravens

Love it! Check out more of his work.

Samantha Beiko is the illustrator of a couple of my other projects that’ll be debuting at C4 in addition to being a top-flight editor and author. Sam’s a triple threat, and the real deal.

Here’s a taste of her work:

Ted New Year's Eve by SM Beiko

Samantha will also be at C4 as her alter-ego: Valkyrie Books, a bookstore that until now, has existed only in her imagination. She’ll be selling the latest speculative fiction goodies, as well as a selection of titles by local authors (including yours truly).

I love having a table around GMB Chomichuk, it’s such a good vibe and good energy. We finally got to work together, putting a little story bindup of Lovecraftian Madness together called Shared World. We each contributed a story and Gregory brought his wicked art sensibilities to the cover and interiors. Gregory talked about how the project came together on his blog last week, and how he blames me, but Samantha Beiko made the craziness possible. Thanks also to Silvia Moreno-Garcia for writing us a kickass introduction.

Our first (hopefully of many) Valkyrie Books Secret Editions: Shared World!

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The third (but definitely not last) of my Scott Henderson commissions just arrived. Scott did a killer Thunder Road illustration after reading the book, and I loved it so much I asked him to do a Tilda drawing to celebrate the publication of Tombstone Blues.

Here’s what he cooked up for Too Far Gone:

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This is just the inks, to see the full colour amazing, you’ll have to come by my or Scott’s tables at C4. I fucking wept to see it. Also, sorry for all the stuff that happens to you in Too Far Gone, Edmonton.

Finally, speaking of creative colleagues, Dave Gross hosted me on his blog’s Creative Colleagues feature! Send him your clicks please.

Write on.

Loki’s Guide To Norse Mythology: The Goat

The Goat

The Goat

A.K.A. Ted’s 1968 GTO.

A 1968 GTO was the first car I remember thinking was cool.

But that’s not the only reason why Ted drives one. Ted is a stand-in for Thor in Thunder Road, he received not only the power inherent in Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, but the Thunder God’s ability to control the weather. I didn’t have to look far for other touchstones that I wanted to make between Ted and Thor. Thor had a chariot pulled by the goats Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstur. And, the GTO is often referred to (and not just by Ted) as “The Greatest of All Time.”

So how could I pass up calling Ted’s chariot The Goat?

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Ted’s car was a dark brown, not black, but I think you can still get an idea of the car from this photo, and why, if I ever get my hands on one, I’ll never, ever let a trickster ride shotgun.

Write on!

I’m In Grimdark Magazine Issue #5!

Grimdark Magazine Issue #5 has gone on sale, which means my Fungi story “First They Came for the Pigs” gets a second kick at the can.

GDM 5 COVER SMALL

That cover looks great, and I’m very excited to be a part of this ToC.

And in an incredibly Winnipeg thing to happen, I have the pleasure of sharing this issue with friend and fellow Winnipeg author, David Annandale. Something about our freezing winters or summer mosquitoes must make grimdark an obvious niche for us.

The fine folks at Grimdark even made a trailer for the issue!

Write on!

 

Loki’s Guide To Norse Mythology: Winnipeg

Winnipeg

One great city (to write about).

It was Winnipeg’s slogan, “Heart of the Continent”, that made me want to use the city as the centre of a return to a world of magic.

When I started writing Thunder Road it was going to be set in Winnipeg (and Manitoba) largely because I live here, so it cut down on my costs for a book I had no idea if someone would want to publish, but that I desperately wanted to write.

But I do love my home, and I think it makes an interesting setting. While it may not quite have the concentration of Icelandic or viking stuff that the town of Gimli does, it’s still here. Laxdal road, and Valhalla apartments (Edmonton has them too, more on that later) among them.

When your book deals with the goddess of the dead coming to town, it’s natural to think of every building that is supposed to be haunted, and pretty much every old building downtown Winnipeg is rumoured to be haunted. So that’s where I got a lot of my set pieces for Tombstone Blues. But there are also a few that have mythological significance. The “secrets” of the Knights Templar were big news at the time of writing Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues, as well as their potential connection to the Freemasons. The Manitoba Legislature is full of Masonic symbols, but there are lots of Greek, Roman and Egyptian references too. Winnipeg’s iconic symbol of The Golden Boy was modeled after a sculpture of the god Mercury.

I read up on a bunch of locales that I wasn’t familiar with, and then as the story found its shape I settled on using the ones that resonated most with me. The old Masonic Temple (which I remember best as a Mother Tucker’s restaurant, but it’s been a bunch of other things since. It’s also currently vacant, which allowed me to remake it exactly as I wanted) that became the nightclub, Spectres, The Hotel Fort Garry, the Manitoba Legislature and Union Station.

When I was writing in Winnipeg, I tried to choose neighbourhoods that had strong character attached to them, that I felt would come through on the page even for folks who don’t live here. Every city has its own version of Osborne Village, where night clubs, and restaurants, and tattoo shops all meet. Wolseley and its towering elms, old houses, and granola crunch was chosen because of how much it would irritate Ted to live there, as much as the beauty of neighbourhood.

And the city mostly survived Ted’s tenure as guardian.

Mostly.

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Write on.

Music Monday: “Apocalyptic Modified Blues” By Corb Lund

Shortly after the launch of Thunder Road, my Brandon writing colleague, Patrick Johanneson suggested that I check out Corb Lund–in particular this song, but “it’s all good,” he said. And was he ever right.

Corb Lund has a few songs that reference vikings, or mythological things, but this was the first one that made it on to one of my playlists. The thing I love most about Corb Lund’s music is that in addition to being incredibly catchy, so many of his songs tell stories. It was only recently, after rewatching the movie Slither that I realized I had heard Lund’s music–but I doubt I would’ve sought him out to the extent that I have without Patrick’s urging, so thank you, sir!

Gather round me all you sinners, all you gamblers and card sharps
You drinkers and abusers, all you fighters at your hearts
You might pay heed…
Cuz ain’t nothin’ ever walked the earth like this before

Have you made your peace with Odin and with Baal and Aphrodite
Cuz there’s a triple headed serpent here with one hell of a bite
And he knows you…
He knows you and laughs and locks the door

Write on!

Too Far Gone Winnipeg Launch

What a great night!

It’s been a week, and I feel like I’m still coming down from the party.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and for those who couldn’t make it, here’s some photos of the evening.

I like to start with some crowd shots, because these photos of all the awesome Winnipeg folks who came out to support me will definitely help keep me warm when I take Too Far Gone on the road.

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Also, there was cake. Red velvet cake.

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I was introduced once again by McNally Robinson’s John Toews. There is no hyperbole when I say nobody crafts an intro like this man. Many thanks for all your support, good sir!

Tstone pic 5

Nothing says fun, like action shots of someone reading from a book, but here are some of my favourites:

David A pic 1

I wish I knew what I was saying when Gerald Brandt snapped the photo below.

Gerald B pic 1

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Goofing around before the signing portion of the evening started, and mugging for Shen Braun’s camera.

Shen pic 3

Me and Shen, who is one of my oldest friends, and also a very fine writer (for some reason the perspective on this photo makes me look like some sort of Gamma-irradiated Gargantua Chad). Shen was a first reader on Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues, but I finally get to surprise him with the ending.

Shen pic 4

I brought an assortment of pens to make my doodles in each book in addition to a signature, and of course, my “Loki Approved” and “Fucking Magic” stamps.

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A bit of the signing line.

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And finally, the last book signed, I was apple to join friends for a post-launch drink.

Friend, inkslinger, and cocktail crafter extraordinaire, Andrew Penn Romine created a Thunder Road cocktail to help me celebrate the conclusion of the trilogy. It’s called The Thunderbolt, and it is fantastic. A variation on the Black Manhattan, and as dangerous as its namesake.

The Post Launch Thunderbolt

Thanks for another launch memorable, Winnipeg.

Write on!

October Goals

September was busy round the goal department, and even busier outside of it.

  • Blogging, blogging, blogging! I’ve got guest blogs to write, and blogs for round here to promote Too Far Gone, and I probably don’t want to be doing that while I’m actually prepping for events! Great early career advice I received from Dave Gross (Thanks, Dave!)
  • Figure out what I’m going to read at the launch, and work out my intro.
  • Write a chapter of a collaborative novel I’m working on with Sandra Wickham
  • WiP Lock two more chapters, dammit.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • Oh yeah, finish building my damned fence. (not really a writing goal, but it’ll steal writing time until its done)

Okay, that actually went better than expected. Only one box left unticked, and while I did manage another pass on that short story, I’m still not happy with it. I made some pretty significant cuts in a previous draft, and I don’t like the balance I’ve struck in the worldbuilding elements and where they’re revealed.

The Too Far Gone launch was amazing. I’ll post something about that soon. My entire weekend was pretty much recovery time from the awesome.

Wrote a couple of guest blogs that were planned, and knocked off a couple that showed up at the last minute, in addition to pre-writing a few for home base here. I’ve built up a bit of a buffer for myself. Not as much as I’d have liked, or as early as I’d have liked, but time and fences make fools of us all.

But:

FENCE. IS. DONE.

And it’s spectacular.

Finally fought through a couple of tricky chapters in the WiP and ended up satisfied enough with them to add them into the larger draft document. The next two chapters look like they’ll be easier going, now that I’ve sorted those other two. Here’s hoping.

I actually worked ahead and got two chapters done on the collaborative novel I’m working on with Sandra Wickham. Following the outline (Look, Sandra, I can do it!) showed that my next chapter didn’t hinge on what my co-author wrote, so unless she serves me a huge curveball, I’ve got that done. Depending on when the next chapter lands on my desk, I may try to write another one in October.

And for October:

  • Two more chapters locked on the WiP
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • More blogs to write!
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • My annual reread of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October, one chapter a night, for the thirty-one nights of October. I started this personal tradition last year, and it’s a great excuse to revisit an old favourite.

Write on!