July Goals & Half Year Check In


Time for a goals check in. It’s…uh…been a while. I skipped posting about how April went, or setting goals for May or June. But we’re at the halfway point of the year, so I thought I’d take a look back at 2017 so far.

First, how did April go?

  • Send in pitches for two short stories, write at least one of them if accepted
  • Keep working on my next novel

Awful, creatively speaking.

I did send in one of my two short story pitches, but the novel just wasn’t working. Not sure if I outlined it too heavily, and hadn’t left myself sufficient discovery points to want to keep writing, the protagonist wasn’t right, or it was a wrong book, wrong time situation. I still like the kernel of the idea, and will likely come back to it later.

And May:

  • Finish and submit April’s short story.
  • Finish my second short story pitch.
  • Submit my MAC grant application

Not much better. I really need to start following Chuck Wendig’s advice. Motivation has been thin on the ground, and a couple projects fell through that I was excited about. That’s the creative life. I did get my grant application in, so knock wood for me.

July Goals:

  • Finish a reread of an old fallow novel to identify my first round of revisions.
  • Finish a draft of a new short story for an upcoming anthology.
  • Finish another chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey.

There all caught up.

Now…what did I hope to accomplish for 2017?

  • Write, revise, and submit a book within the 2017 calendar year.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Complete first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • 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.
  • Plan out a sequel to Graveyard Mind.

Stretch Goals for 2017:

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo.
  • Write a few comic scripts.

Fair to say that first goal isn’t likely to happen now. Fastest I’ve got a novel into submission shape so far is 11 months.

I’ve been keeping my short fiction on submission, but until I finish some new stories, and the last few I finished sold, many of my unsold stories are out of applicable markets. I’ve finished one of the six old stories I’d hoped to get out the door this year (and it sold, yay!) so there’s lots more work to do to meet that goal, but I’m getting closer on a few of those stories (I’ve also mostly drafted a new one, but it’ll need significant revisions before it’s out the door).

Sandra and I have only added two chapters to An Excuse for Whiskey, but we are getting closer. I’m not sure we’ll have the draft done before When Words Collide, but I’m sure having a chance to hang out in person will spur us on to finish the book. On the plus side, I am pretty sure what the sequel to Graveyard Mind will be. I’ve mostly assembled my playlist, and am close to having my outline soundtrack

Since the book I’d wanted to draft this year wasn’t working, I’ve promoted one of the stretch goals, and have been revising an old fallow draft instead. Ideally, I’d like to have it done before Can-Con in Ottawa. If I meet that deadline, I’ll be free to play in NaNaWriMo again this year.

Write on.

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Prairie Comics Festival

I’m exhibiting at Prairie Comics Festival this weekend! Prairie Comics Festival really snuck up on me this year, but I can’t wait to hang out with some of the amazing local comics talent that Winnipeg has to offer.

pcf2017-nyco-rudolph

I’ll have lots of copies of Mythfits, the comic Samantha Beiko and I created, limited copies of Spacepig Hamadeus and the Captive Planet featuring a story by me and Nyco Rudolph, and of course, the Thunder Road trilogy will be represented as well.

Hope to see you there!

Equus Cover Reveal!

Here’s the cover for Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish and featuring a Thunder Road story by yours truly!

I’m stoked to be sharing this anthology with some excellent writers, and some writers I’ve yet to discover.

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

My story made the back cover copy! You’ll never guess which one is mine.

Write on.

Music Monday: Came Back Haunted by Nine Inch Nails

Edmonton writer S.G. Wong was in town for a reading and workshop with ChiSeries and I had a blast taking her on a haunted tour of Winnipeg’s downtown. She knows I’m not just making up Winnipeg’s haunted nature either, because a street person came up to us before I started my spiel about the old Masonic Temple and spontaneously declared, “That place is haunted.”

Hopefully none of those spectres follow you home.

Ha-ha-haunted
The throat is deep and the mouth is wide
Saw some things on the other side
Made me promise to never tell
But you know me, I can’t help myself

April Goals

How’d I do in March?

  • Finish outlining my next novel and start writing it maybe?
  • Now that I’ve changed my Thunder Road Facebook page to a more general author page, I want to start developing a social media calendar. It won’t likely involve autoposts, I hate those, but I do need some sort of plan.
  • Finish a new chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Get a new short story to my writing group for critique

I finally locked down (more or less) my outline for my next book. I’m not an outliner by nature, so this is a huge leap forward for me, process-wise. (A huger leap forward would be to have more actual writing done.) My initial outline drafts had way too much going on for the length I’m hoping to hit. I want this novel to come in at 60-65K–70K tops–which means if I succeed it will be my shortest novel. There were a couple subplots that I liked that had to be cut, because I knew they’d end up pushing the book to 90K, and better to just not write them than cut them later if I want to finish this book this year. I did start the book too, I have my first chapter roughly in shape, still not sure of the narrator’s voice, but it’s getting there. I’ve got about 5K in total, scattered across various scenes throughout the book that came to me as I outlined. So I guess I’m almost 10% done!

The social media calendar isn’t ready to roll, but I have a few new ideas for recurring posts, and I think I know the shape I want this strategy to take, so hopefully I’ll be ready to go in the summer.

Sent my chapter off to Sandra for An Excuse for Whiskey, left her with a big cliffhanger to figure out. We’re really getting in spitting distance of the end of this draft. Then the real work begins. We figured out how to write together, soon we’ll have to figure out how to edit together.

My writing group didn’t end up meeting in March, but I kept plugging away at the story anyway. I finished another draft of the story I’d wanted to submit, but it’s starting to head into novella territory, which I’m excited about, but also means it’ll take a bit longer to edit. Gonna rethink what I want that one to be. If I finish it, it’ll be the first Thunder Road story that takes place chronologically post-Too Far Gone. We’ll see.

What’s up for April?

  • Send in pitches for two short stories, write at least one of them if accepted
  • Keep working on my next novel

Music Monday: In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company by The Dead South

Had a great but full weekend. Between chatting with writing friends I’ve made across the country online, I played Dungeons & Dragons with my old high school gaming group (we’re still friends, going on thirty years now), and then had some drinks at a whiskey lounge with folks from my university days (still friends going on twenty-five). Three very distinct eras in my life all converging over three days, and all the while getting to share that time with my love.

Regardless of minor setbacks and frustrations, it’s times like this that remind me I’m a lucky dude.

I see my red head, messed bed, tear shed, queen bee
My squeeze
The stage it smells, tells, hell’s bells, miss-spells
Knocks me on my knees
It didn’t hurt, flirt, blood squirt, stuffed shirt
Hang me on a tree
After I count down, three rounds, in hell I’ll be in good company

Write on.

Equus Table of Contents!

The table of contents for Equus is finally live and it’s great to see everyone’s names. I’d sussed out a few other authors because I have a few friends on the list but it’s nice to see everyone all lined up. I’m very curious to read everyone else’s stories (and holy shit, I’m in a book with Jane Yolen)!

Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things by J.G. Formato

Eel and Bloom by Diana Hurlburt

A Complete Mare by Tamsin Showbrook

Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray by M.L.D Curelas

Rue the Day by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Riders in the Sky by VF LeSann

Above the Silver Sky by Daniel Koboldt

A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter by J.J. Roth

Ladies Day by Susan MacGregor

The Boys from Witless Bay by Pat Flewwelling

The Horse Witch by Angela Rega

Eli the Hideous Horse Boy by Michael Leonberger

Different by Sandra Wickham

To Ride a Steel Horse by Stephanie Cain

The Last Ride of Hettie Richter by Cat McDonald

We Us You by Andrew Bourelle

Scatter the Foals to the Wind by Chadwick Ginther

Lightless by K.T. Ivanrest

A Glory of Unicorns by Jane Yolen

Of course, I’m over the moon to be sharing a ToC with my good pal, and writing partner, Sandra Wickham; a first for us. Another first: sharing a ToC with my self-declared nemesis, Cat McDonald. Cat’s wanted to have a readoff to determine which of us will rule the universe for years now, so it looks like she might be getting her wish when Equus launches in July.

Get your Goodreads shelves ready!