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.

Ronnie

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!

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Music Monday: “Cabin In The Woods”

I’m freshly home from a writing retreat weekend at a cabin in the woods, and so I naturally had this stuck in my head the entire time.

We’re all jammed in the car
And we’re going really far
Driving deep into the trees
With hot dogs, chips and cheese

To make the week go quicker
We’ve packed a ton of liquor
Rye and Tropicana
We’ll go totally BANANAS!

Apparently what happened at Creators Retreat 2016 has to stay at Creators Retreat 2016, but I’ll share a couple tidbits, because as GMB Chomichuk said, “My favourite ticks are cryptics.”

I’m glad we made it there to begin with, as we left late and it was dark as we were hitting the wilderness…I know, I know, I’ve seen that movie too. We were on track until we weren’t, and losing all cell service in that creepy abandoned bible camp was a fun little jolt of adrenaline. I even wrote a 150 word flash fiction piece called “An Open Letter to the Hungry Ghosts at that Abandoned Bible Camp.”

That wasn’t on my agenda.

What was, however, was novel revisions, and novella revisions. I finished (hopefully) the last round of revisions on a novel. I want to reread it to make sure I’ve caught as many typos as I can, but I think this it! I also did a revision pass on an old novella. It’s still rough, and not quite ready for other eyes, but I think I’ve solved some structural issues.

I even briefly saw the outside (and have the mosquito bites to show for the pleasure). Very much looking forward to the shenanigans we’ll get up to next year, and all the things we’ll create.

Write on!

Thirteen (In A Row)!

Today is my thirteenth anniversary with a very special lady.

Wendy and I met in a bookstore (of course) and made plans for our first date at the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix midnight release party. I was dressed as Professor Snape and she was a mysterious witch in a shiny cloak. We didn’t know it was a date at the time, and many of our friends realized we were a couple before we did. Every day we’ve been together it’s felt like we’ve known each other a thousand years and had just met at the same time. And as we’ve each vowed to turn the other should one of us become a vampire, maybe we’ll get those thousand years yet.spike and drusilla

I don’t talk about her online as much as she deserves, but Wendy’s a private person, not on social media, and remarkably camera shy for such a beautiful person. So, I’ve provided an artistic retrospective of our time together for those who are interested:

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lobsterGirl

chili boots Foxes

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Girl and Squid Homer-Space-Coyote KISS

I love you, Wendy.

June Goals

So May was as busy as April. How’d I do?

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Finish first draft on my new novel project
  • Have a blast reading at the Ottawa ChiSeries
  • Attend Creative Ink Festival
  • Finish my next chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Apply for a travel grant
  • Apply for a creative writing grant
  • Maybe see the sun? If it happens to shine on Winnipeg? ::VIOLENT SHRUGGING::

Wahoo!

John Oliver FIRE

Every goal met for May! It’s been a while since I’ve had a month like that. A good feeling, considering I was on the road for the first 9 days of the month.

Nothing new on the short story front. I keep sending them out though. Looking at my submissions spread sheet, I’m going to have to write some new stories soon, as a few of these are running out of applicable markets. Might be time to trunk the oldest batch. One thing I’ve noticed looking at my submission stats: I tend to do better with anthology open calls then I do with the magazines. The only magazine sales I’ve made have been stories that were originally written for anthologies. Not a bad thing, just an observation. And the last three stories I’ve written specifically for anthologies have been accepted. Still, I’ll keep trying them. It would be great to appear in Lightspeed some day.

I finished the discovery draft of my latest WiP! It came in at 52000 words, spread over 64 separate writing sessions in roughly 9 weeks. Not the fastest first draft I’ve written (that was Tombstone Blues) but close. And pretty good considering this is a first book in a series, where Tombstone Blues played in an existing world. Also the first time I tracked the progress this specifically. Trying to evaluate my writing routine from a variety of angles to streamline things and be able to write (and edit) faster. Lots of work left to do on this book, obviously, but I don’t need to turn it in until November. Hoping to bring the novel up to 80-85K as I fill in the edges in the next pass. Then polish, polish, polish!

So those days I spent on the road in May were pretty great! Two cons, a reading, and a bit of vacation with family. Ottawa ChiSeries is great, well-run, and a lot of fun. I hope I have a chance to get back. Creative Ink Festival was also lots of fun! I hope the timing for their second year works out with my schedule. I’d love to go back there too.

I finished a draft of my chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey on the plane home from Creative Ink. Probably because Sandra was able to threaten me in person (I kid, I kid). I had the bonus fun of leaving her with a ridiculous cliffhanger to solve in her next chapter. Which she did so now it’s my turn again, I guess.

Both of my grant applications made it into the Manitoba Arts Council on time (ie, both on the last day possible, and with the help of someone who works downtown who could actually get them to the office on time). I never know how to feel about grant applications after they’re dropped off. Obviously, I want them to be approved, but I have to temper positive expectations with reality until I hear for sure. As my buddy Michael Van Rooy had his Monty Haaviko character say, “It’s bad luck to gamble with money you haven’t stolen yet.

I did see the sun! It’s a real thing! I managed to get the vegetable garden in the ground this year and some perennials and annuals have been added here and there. I also managed to squeak in a game of D&D with my old high school group, which was a blast, even if it didn’t involve seeing the sun at all. I’ve missed a lot of gaming of late, and as it was my intro to storytelling and creating characters, I’ll always want to play, but the schedule rarely allows these days. My new writing routine is working better and better, so it might be that I’m able to carve out some more time to roll dice.

And for 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

This seems like a lot, but I’m also going on a creative retreat this month with some writing pals, so I hope that dedicated time will make a big difference.

Write on!

Ad Astra, Ottawa, Creative Ink Fest

Ad Astra was fun!

There are so many folks that I want to see and hang out with, have a beer with, or talk fantasy/gaming/movies with that I can’t possibly fit it all in over a single weekend. That’s a good problem for a convention to have.

I finally got to meet Robert Wiersema! We’ve only been corresponding online since…well it feels like forever, and I’m glad we made the time to enjoy a drink and talk books and writing. Cheers, Robert! Here’s hoping we cross paths again soon.

Of course I also had to have my now annual curry dinner with Angela & Matthew Keeley and Derek Newman-Stille. This year we were also joined by Don Bassingthwaite, Kate Story, and Dominik Parisien. Lots of fun! I also lugged my old tuxedo to Ad Astra, because Angela promised to wear it. I don’t think she believed me when I said she could keep it, but I sure as shit didn’t want to find the room in my luggage again.

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I think she rocked the look, even if the suit was ginormous on her. I wanted her run rods through the shoulders and turn it into a Talking Heads performance piece, but alas.

The first two panels I was on had smallish turnouts, but I did have fun conversations about visual storytelling and the pros and cons of hybrid publishing, so there’s that. Superhero Universe launched and I met co-editor, Mark Shainblum. My reading from “Midnight Man versus Doctor Death” was well received, which is great, because I really enjoy reading that story aloud. My final bit of programming was a shared reading slot with Sarah WaterRaven, Leah Bobet, and Vanessa Ricci-ThodeI. I read from Too Far Gone, and was pleased with the turnout, and the crowd’s reaction to the reading. Between the four of us we drew over twenty people early on a Sunday morning. I’ll take it.

Of course, I had to spend time in the ToroLUG Lego room.

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And thank you, as always to Bakka-Phoenix books for their support. I signed all the stock they brought, so if you missed connecting with me in Toronto, check them out for signed copies.

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The last thing I did before leaving Ad Astra was join an informal meeting of the Sessorium of Creatives from The Ed Greenwood Group over lunch before hitting the road to Ottawa for some family time and a reading before heading west to Creative Ink Festival. I also met Dave Robison, who talks in Onder Radio voice all the time, and was a really cool guy. I met Ed Greenwood very briefly at GenCon in (I think) 1992 and for some reason in my brain he looked identical now and then. Maybe he really is an Archmage.

ChiSeries Ottawa was a blast. (Shakes fist at Derek Künsken for joke-booing ChiSeries Winnipeg when Matt Moore talked about the Auroras) It was all in good fun though, and the spirit of friendly competition, so if you see Derek out and about, give him a high five from me.

I was glad I lugged a few books along, because I sold a bunch. Almost sold out in fact. I had one lonely copy of Thunder Road left to take to Creative Ink.

I stayed with family while in Ottawa, and got to do a bunch of sightseeing.

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The city was pretty chill about this giant spider menacing a church.

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The Museum of Civilization (now the Museum of History) was the first touristy thing I ever did in Ottawa over 25 years ago, so I wanted to check it out again. Lots of amazing sights there. It was the art and artifacts of Canada’s west coast that really stuck with me though.

There were a few special exhibitions on as well. One on the B.C. gold rush, and another on “Horsepower” that featured sleighs and carriages. The gold rush exhibit had lots of great writing material. Can you believe I missed a viking exhibit by a matter of weeks? Bloody hell.

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Oh look! I am worth something.

I checked out some fun restaurants and pubs, and had a visit with the Curator of the House of Commons. So grateful she was able to fit me in. I got to go in through the “Parliamentary Business” door. Insane.

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I DID A BUSINESS.

Ottawa’s Haunted Walk was a lot of fun! I still haven’t done the one in Winnipeg, but I’ve read a lot of the stories behind it, and so it was neat to get to hear all new Ottawa specific stories. I didn’t see a ghost, but I did see some cool old buildings and got some fresh air. I’ll take it.

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Off to Creative Ink.

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Goddamn I love seeing the mountains from the air. I don’t want to be in them. If Dungeons & Dragons has taught me anything, it’s that mountains are full of monsters.

When you’re used to doing Winnipeg-Toronto or Winnipeg-Calgary, Toronto to Vancouver is a long-ass goddamned flight. Even in an aisle seat. Even when the plane is half empty, and you get a row to yourself. I realize there are a lot longer (and much worse) flights I could’ve had though. Also, I didn’t load enough movies onto my tablet. The More You Know.

Creative Ink was incredibly well run for a first year con, so kudos to Sandra and her team of volunteers! The programming was excellent, and while the con was on the smaller side (to be expected for its first full year) the percentage of attendees actually at panels was very high. Creative Ink had great turnouts for readings, panels, and workshops. Lots of my friends from Calgary were there, so it was fun to see them outside of When Words Collide.

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My schedule.

Does Sandra Wickham know me too well, or did she just want me to embarrass the hell out of myself at the “Guilty Pleasures” panel?

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I snuck out of the convention on Saturday for a bit, because my cousin invited me to a whisky tasting fundraiser, and I got to see her pipe in the mayor of the District of North Vancouver. Great night!

I was so happy to meet Carrie Vaughn, and even happy that she turned out to be such a nice person. I interviewed her years ago. She’s super smart, and funny, and great to panel with.

Galen Dara was sweet and is such a talented artist! I loved seeing her step by step run through of creating this cover for Uncanny Magazine:

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I had to leave too soon. My early flight caused me to miss most of Sunday (other than a quick breakfast and getting to say goodbye to a few early risers, but I’ll be back if I can swing it!

Write on!