World Fantasy Convention and Bakka Phoenix Launch Roundup

I love going to World Fantasy Con. I made a stop in Saratoga Springs, New York as a part of my book tour. The 2008 WFC in Calgary was my first real convention, and it set a pretty damned high bar. This year’s WFC was fun, but different.

My plan was to drive down from Toronto with friends as the convention hotel was hell and gone away from an airport (The ChiZine folks make excellent road trip buddies).

And since I had to go through Toronto to get to Saratoga Springs, I thought why not have a book launch for Too Far Gone there too? I finally got to see Bakka Phoenix’s new store (not new to pretty much everybody but me, by this time) and it’s a great space. Thanks so much Chris Szego and everyone at Bakka for hosting me, and thanks to all the readers who showed up and asked questions and bought books.

I didn’t take in any panels at WFC this year, instead concentrating on catching up with friends and colleagues that I only get to see at WFC or other non-western Canada cons. The only programming I took in other than the book launch parties and awards banquet were a couple of readings. Marie Bilodeau was fun as always. And there was a trio of former Winnipeggers all reading from their fantasies, so as a current ‘Peg fantasy writer, I had to show up and support them (not that they needed it). Great readings by Steve Erikson, David Keck, and Ian C. Esslemont.

I almost mustered the will to try Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon, being sold for the modest price of $55 an ounce (USD), but my Winnipeg cheapskate nature kicked in at the last second, and I tried a lesser, but less expensive, bourbon for the first time.

I haven’t been to the WFC banquet in a while, but I was glad I took in this year’s. It was amazing to be there for my friends Brett Savory and Sandra Kastury winning an award for their work with ChiZine Publications. Excelsior, Brett and Sandra. Excelsior. I was also very happy that I could be there to see Helen Marshall pick up her World Fantasy Award. It was also cool to get to travel back to Toronto in the winning car.

What a blast, what a blast. Of the business-related conversations I had at WFC, it’s too early to say if anything will come of them, but there could be many exciting opportunities in the next couple of years. If you want to know more than that, sorry, nothing I can report yet. WFC 2015 had lots of great conversations, meeting lots new folks who seemed fun. I hope we’ll stay in touch, or see each other next year, or in the future. Not sure I can make next year. It’s scheduled for the same weekend as C4 here in Winnipeg, and WFC 2016 is in Columbus (not a direct flight from Winnipeg, and I was there in 2010) I’m leaning towards staying home. World Fantasy 2017 is in San Antonio. Texas! Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? Might be a fun year to return.

Write on!

November Goals

November will be busy. I’m on the road for almost half the month, so things’ll be light around here in the goal department, other than having fun on tour.

  • Have fun on tour. World Fantasy Con is on deck and I always have a blast there, but first I’m doing a reading at Bakka Phoenix! I haven’t seen the new (to me, not so new to everyone else) location yet, and I can’t wait. I’m reading at some other venues for the first time this tour too, so thanks, Bakka Phoenix, Owl’s Nest, and Variant Edition for welcoming me, and thanks as always, Audreys, for your continued support.
  • Finish the current draft of my novel work-in-progress (I am close, and this might be unrealistic with two weeks on the road, but I’m gonna try).
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.

And what about October, you ask?

Here’s how it went:

  • 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.

Nice. Glad I got everything done.

October was pretty intense, but my new writing routine of words before work seems to be working. It was my best month for new words since May. In addition to new words, I managed to lock four chapters, rather than two, in the WiP, which is why I’ve made the big November goal of finishing the current draft of the book. Really starting to get a head of steam up on this one near the end of the draft, so I hope I can maintain that, despite being on the road for two weeks.

It’s a lot easier to keep the short fiction on submission when make it a routine. All my stories that were available to submit in October are back out in the world. AND: I finally added another story to the pile. Godspeed you weird little Mennonite Magical Realism yarn! I also got another short story revised in time to make an anthology deadline. It’s another Thunder Road yarn, pretty much all new characters, but a familiar venue, and a couple nods to book one. I really like the heroine, so I hope readers will too.

I wrote some blogs. I would’ve liked to blog more, but with the fence done various other things around the house chimed in saying: Fix me. Replace me. So…I’m just gonna cross this one off the list, and back away slowly.

Every time I reread A Night in the Lonesome October (pretty much every time I read any Zelazny, really), I find something new, or something I’ve forgotten. I wonder if that’s a nature of taking a leisurely month to reread what is otherwise a short novel. Maybe next year, I’ll glut myself on the book in one day (Halloween, natch) and see how that changes the experience.

Write on!