October Goals

So looking back, I see I didn’t post any goals for either August or September. It’s been so long since a goals blog went live, that the last time I posted, Too Far Gone didn’t even have its final name yet. I couldn’t even remember what I’d said my July goals were. Turns out, they’re much the same as my October Goals.

  • Work on Thunder Road Book 3.

As with July, I find the following statements are still true: I’m satisfied, if not overjoyed, with my progress. I will be overjoyed when it is done.

**There can be no joy until it is done.**

As such, I am modifying that goal.

  • Finish current draft of Too Far Gone.

There, I said it. Now I have to do it. I want this draft done so that I can get it off to my first readers with lots of time to spare to revise it before it goes to my publisher. One of my yearly goals was to participate in NaNoWrimo again, and I definitely have a book that I want to write, but if Too Far Gone isn’t done, that’s not going to happen. Even if that third book is out of my hands, I might spend November polishing and drafting a few short stories I’ve been meaning to get to. After all, that was another goal. As was polishing up another old manuscript.

October has a lot going on. I attended VCon for the Prix Aurora Awards (thank you everyone who nominated Tombstone Blues, and ChiSeries Winnipeg!). I have a wedding to attend in Ontario and C4 Comic Con starts on Halloween Friday (right now I am torn between dressing up like Robocop and Inspector Spacetime). Fortunately, I’ve also got a write-in weekend scheduled with some friends, and I always get a lot of work done at those.

In non-writing goals, I finally own a copy of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October (one of my favourites by him).

A  Night in the Lonesome October

Each chapter is a single day in the month of October, and so I will be rereading one chapter of A Night in the Lonesome October a day through the month. I’ve been tweeting impressions with the #ANightInTheLonesomeOctober hashtag, if anyone is interested in following along. Hat tip to my Fungi editor, Orrin Grey, for giving me the idea for this reread a while back.

Write on!

Central Canada Comic Con Roundup

This was not my first time attending C4, but it was my first time there as an author.

In the past, I would get a day pass, swing through Artist’s Alley and the back issue bins, drop too much money, and be gone in under an hour or so. Big crowds always have a way of making me want to start throwing elbows. It’s been a number of years since I’ve even attended, as C4 almost always conflicts with World Fantasy Con and WFC is probably my favourite model of conference. Given the amount of editors and agents that attend, more likely to advance my career in the long run than selling a box of books. But WFC was in Brighton, England this year, and unfortunately, just not in the cards.

IMG_0401 My table, tarted up with books and props.

IMG_0402

But I had a great time! In fact, I found C4 far more enjoyable as a vendor than I did as just an attendee. Having a table allowed me to avoid the lines getting in, gave me a place to sit and leave my jacket, toque, and gloves (I mean, it is held in November in Winnipeg, if you feel me), and to have a place to go if the crush of people became too much. Aside from having fun, how’d the con go?

Great!

I sold enough copies of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues to pay for the cost of my table and the crappy pizza and hotdogs that the Winnipeg Convention Centre offered up (I’ll need to sell a lot more books to cover the cost of all the swag I bought). I talked to a lot of people, handed out postcards, magnets, pens, journals, and t-shirts.

DSC_0614

I thought a varied table might help me out, so I brought copies of all the anthologies and magazines containing my short stories. I sold a couple copies of the Fungi anthology. Talked up On Spec, and the forthcoming Tesseracts anthology The reaction the passersby had to Fungi was awesome to see, and allowed me to chat up people who would have otherwise have kept walking. I’ll definitely keep bring the short stories along to play if I do more of these cons.

I was located in a makeshift “Author Alley” row inside of the general Artist’s Alley along side a bunch of my writing pals, Sierra Dean, Samantha Beiko, Clare C. Marshall, and the Burst Books crew of Graeme Brown, L.T. Getty, Ronald Hore, and Cameron D. James.

I tracked down Donovan Yaciuk, creator of Spacepig Hamadeus, and talked a bit about my short comic for his upcoming anthology, introduced him to Samantha, who in addition to being a great writer, is a kick ass artist. One of the big attractions for me of this year’s C4 was picking up a limited print edition of GMB Chomichuk’s Aurora Award nominated comic, Raygun Gothic.

DSC_0616

Once I found the Alchemical Press booth I dropped all of the coin! I picked up some prints, buttons, and of course, that limited print edition which is now customized and rather than 1 of 200, is one of a kind!

DSC_0617 (1)

Also, it can pay to be a Secret Society (TM) member, and there are some cool things coming up that I can’t talk about yet.

But what you really want to see is the costumes, isn’t it?

“Aww, Ice King!”

IMG_0392

How do you spell the repulsor noise?

IMG_0393

Enchantress and Red Sonja!

IMG_0404

Sweet classic Loki costume!

IMG_0396

Another great Loki. IMG_0395

Not pictured: the mini donuts this Loki has tucked behind her back.

IMG_0411

One of many Thors. I wish I could have caught them all (like Pokemon).

IMG_0415

My lovely assistant was having some fun while I was gadding about.

IMG_0436

Probably the best Ash costume I’ve ever seen. This guy rocked it. Groovy.

IMG_0413

Unless these guys are about to reenact an “Acts of Vengence” storyline, I find it very dubious that Magneto and The Red Skull would be so buddy-buddy.

IMG_0423

Captain America might need to separate those two…

1383408032322

Batman knew what we wanted to see.

IMG_0424

One of my favourites! Castle and Beckett. The guy in the Castle costume made the vests.

IMG_0452

TONS of Adventure Time cosplay, and lots of Marceline the Vampire Queen. This Marceline traveled with Marshall Lee the Vampire King.

IMG_0456

I don’t know who these guys are, so it must be a video game thing, but awesome costumes.IMG_0457

Ghost Rider knows who you are and what you’ve done (especially you, Nicholas Cage).

IMG_0459

Write on!

October Goals

September has come and gone. I made some promises, but did I keep them?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal again. Any forward progress while I’m prepping for the launch and tour of Tombstone Blues is going to be considered a win.
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Start pre-writing blog posts for my website and guest blogs for during the Tombstone Blues tour.
  • Submit a review to The Winnipeg Review.
  • Actually get my next goals post up a little earlier than middle of October.

Why yes, yes I did–mostly. Nice to see for a change. September was a busy month for me at the dayjob and with back to school and fuller buses means it’s a little harder to get work done on my to and from work. At times I could have spent my entire lunch break just trying to find space to write, let alone actually putting words down. I may have to reevaluate my writing routine again. I’ll wait out October and see how I feel once things have settled down.

I didn’t do any writing sprints on my lunch in September with the pals that normally play along but I did get some writing done. I wrote a second epilogue for the final book in the Thunder Road Trilogy (No, both won’t appear in the final book). I’ve been waffling on the final grace note of the series (although I know what the last two words have to be (and no, not: “The End”, thank you very much)), and I think I might release the unused one as an e-short after the series is done if anyone is interested in reading it.

The long-suffering short story now has a name: “A Door in the Rock”. I really wanted this story done, but while it went through a few more polishes, I just don’t feel it’s ready for readers yet. Just because I want to give it away at Comic Con, doesn’t mean I want to give away something half-baked. I’ll still try to have it ready for C4, but if it’s not done, maybe I’ll do something with it for Christmas instead. You’ll read it eventually, never fear.

I’ve written up the first few “Loki’s Guide to Mythology” posts from Tombstone Blues and outlined a few other posts, that might end up on this site or as guest posts elsewhere. I turned in my review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s This Strange Way of Dying (short version, awesome and you have to read it!) long version coming soon from The Winnipeg Review.

And here we are in a new month, and not already halfway through it. So what’s up for October?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal again. Any forward progress while I’m on tour for Tombstone Blues is going to be considered a win.
  • Finish “A Door in the Rock” and rewrite it based on editorial advice.
  • Try to get “A Door in the Rock” typeset and printed in time to hand out at C4.
  • Post at least one blog per week. (I’d like to do more, but in the pursuance of realism have to be honest).
  • Turn in my story about The Puzzle Box by The Apocalyptic Four for Prairie Books Now.

Not enough? I’ll be doing events in Ottawa, Toronto, Kenora, and yes, even a couple in Winnipeg, so I’m trying to be realistic (and I’m probably not being realistic). Also? I’ve had an idea. Actually a collision of a couple of ideas that I think together have the legs to be not just a book, but a new series. Which means I’ll be diving into National Novel Writing Month again to try to get it drafted. Plotting has begun, much to my surprise. I’m not normally an advance plotter, but the last time I tried pantsing my way through NaNoWriMo I almost lost my mind and three years on I’m STILL trying to fix that manuscript.

So. Yearly goals. What do you know?

  • Finish Tombstone Blues
  • Start writing the as-yet nebulously titled book 3 in the Thunder Road Trilogy (I’m thinking this will be a good year to return to NaNoWriMo).
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Start a new writing project, just for the fun of it.

Another one bites the dust.

Write on!

A Collection of Wonderful Things

Friday was a pretty awesome day for me.

The swag I ordered for C4 (Central Canada Comic Con) arrived days early.

DSC_0553

I bumped into Scott Henderson at Scott Ford’s Romulus + Remus launch and he showed me this Thunder Road inspired drawing that he did:

Thunder Road by Scott Henderson

I absolutely LOVE this. Do check out more of Scott’s art!

And then, when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, I went to the final Mainstage night at THIN AIR and was unexpectedly presented with this:

Tombstone Blues Author Copies

Tombstone Blues is a real book! I wasn’t certain if I’d actually see a copy before I left for Can-Con in Ottawa. Turnstone did another beautiful job putting this one together. I can’t wait for you all to read it.

What a great way to start the weekend!

Write on!

Join The Fight, Make Comics!

The first Saturday in May is fast approaching, and that means: Free Comic Book Day!

I love comics. I have for as long as I can remember. Comic books were a huge part of my developing and maintaining a love of reading as a young boy. And while I haven’t made an effort at it since I’ve been concentrating on writing prose, I have always wanted to create my own comics. Unfortunately, I’ve been hamstrung by one very unfortunate fact:

I can’t draw.

Okay, that’s not the whole truth. I’ve done a fair amount of illustration in my time, and I can do passable, posed versions of my D&D characters or superheroes. Passable, but not great. And I never bothered to learn how to draw anything else. This is a bit of a problem. Regardless of whether you’re telling your story in our world, or one of your own creation, it needs to be populated by more than people posed heroically (and stiffly) on an otherwise blank page.

Which brings me to something I forgot to mention in my C4 Lit Fest Roundup. I promised GMB Chomichuk (author of Aurora Award nominated Imagination Manifesto and Raygun Gothic graphic novels) that I would “Join the fight, make comics!” after attending his “Words to Page” workshop about turning your novel into a comic book. It’s his workshop, so I won’t go into too much detail, other than to say that it was awesome. He’s a great teacher and really knows how to engage with his audience and students.

What I will reveal about the workshop is his Step #1 for turning your novel into a comic:

Don’t Do It.

That was kind of a relief, actually. It followed my instinct that comic book adaptations of novels tend to, and I’m being generous here (and also not naming names), suck. I’ve been told by more than a few people that there are comic book elements to Thunder Road, and that it would make a great graphic novel. I take this as a compliment. I’ve read so many superhero comics that it is completely unsurprising that it has bled into my fiction. But I don’t think I would be the right person to turn my book into a comic. I like it as a book. It was designed to be a book. But mostly because comics are collaborative, and Thunder Road is mine.

Not to say that I wouldn’t be open to telling new stories in that world with characters that were co-created with an artist, but what I really want is to tell a story that needs to be a comic, whether it’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse or not. I have tons of stories that I want to tell someday (there is always that nebulous someday). I just need to find the right story and the right artist (and to learn how to actually script a comic).

I know how important that pairing of writer and artist can be. While I will read books just for the art, or just for the writing, there is something magical in just the right mixture of art and words that makes comics so perfect for telling stories. Pairings like Matt Fraction and David Aja on HawkeyeBrian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples on Saga, Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener on Atomic RoboEd Brubaker and Sean Phillips on Fatale (and stretching back a great ways, to my formative years, Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s epic run on Uncanny X-Men) are current standouts for me. After reading the preview pages, I’m also anxiously awaiting the September release of Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe Meg Dejmal, and John “Roc” Upchurch.

Lately, I’ve cut down my comic pull list to just those sorts of books, the ones that speak to me on both levels. It means I have had to bail from a lot of my Marvel and DC books, as long, character defining runs seem to no longer exist in the corporate comic book world. The usual best case scenario is getting one trade paperback collection of a pairing you really like these days. I think that by sticking only with the books that I love, I’ll find the comic story that I would love to tell.

I’ll be attending C4 Comic Con this year, hanging out in Artist’s Alley selling my books (Tombstone Blues will be out by then, yay!), but I’m also hoping to meet some fine folks and talk comics, and hopefully, talk about making comics. See you there.

Write on!