Where to Find Me at Central Canada Comic Con and a Fun Announcement!

So another Central Canada Comic Con has come to Winnipeg, and that means I want to have something new on my table.

But what is it?

IT’S BOOKS!

Fine, not really a surprise, but I’m excited.

Announcing Wolf and Wing: A Thunder Road Collection!

Return to the world of the Thunder Road trilogy in this first collection of tales from award-winning author, Chadwick Ginther. 

Two ravens are drawn into solving an unusual murder. A descendant of Loki faces threats from his estranged family. Dodging werewolf hunters brings a wolfish giant an even more implacable foe, and an unexpected ally. In Wolf and Wing, myth and monsters collide with modern-day Winnipeg once more, so gear up and get ready to hit the wilder side of Thunder Road before the road hits back.

Wolf and Wing contains the following stories: “Runt of the Litter,” “Murder Mystery,” and “On the Hunt.” “Runt of the Litter” originally appeared in OnSpec; “Murder Mystery” and “On the Hunt” are original to this collection. And of course, for you trickster fans out there, Wolf and Wing includes a new entry in Loki’s Guide to Norse Mythology.

I had a blast getting this collection ready for print. It also gave me a chance to work with two of my favourite freelancers! Samantha Beiko did the edits on the stories and the book’s interior layout and design while Clare C. Marshall did my cover layout design. I can’t recommend these two highly enough. If you want to make a book, talk to Sam or Clare.

Come and find me in Writer’s Row at Booth A241.

C4 2016 Roundup

Another Central Canada Comic Con has come and gone.

Me and my boothmates! Clare C. Marshall and Samantha Beiko! (Photo by Scott Henderson)

2016 wasn’t my best year at C4, and I’ve been hearing that from a lot of other vendors, despite record attendance, anecdotally speaking, most folks I’ve talked to were down in sales from last year. I imagine those of us in Artist’s Alley were hit the hardest. The last two years, Artist’s Alley was on a separate floor than the Exhibitor Hall, and that worked out great (for me at least) as almost every attendee walked through Artist’s Alley before getting to the Exhibitor’s Hall. This year, not so much.

It was the first year in the newly renovated convention centre, so we’ll have to see. Just as in Saskatoon at Sask Expo, my booth was facing out into a very wide aisle, and there wasn’t much directly across from us, which didn’t help in encouraging people to slow down and linger. A reminder that table placement is always important and unfortunately, not something you can really control. I suppose I could shell out for an endcap booth, but the costs of those are definitely prohibitive for what I’m likely to recoup at one of these events. Maybe if two or three authors pooled to take it on, that would work. Or it might be too many books all in competition in too small of a space.

This year presented me with a lot of variables to think about before next year’s con. C4 wasn’t a disastrous weekend by any stretch, I covered all my costs, made a bit of extra scratch, and got to talk to some returning readers and make some new ones, but it sure didn’t meet expectations.

I hate to be doom and gloom, because I did have a ton of fun. I got to rub elbows with some awesome creative folks I’m fortunate to call friends. On the plus side, I got to share a booth with good friends Clare and Sam, and lots of my convention pals were nearby, even if we were all too busy to hang out much during the show. I was also right beside Shared World colloborators GMB Chomichuk and James Gillespie, who are an amazing font of creativity and energy. Jonathan Ball, the elusive fourth creator in Shared World 2, joined us on Sunday. It’s always nice to have great neighbours.

Also, huge congrats to Scott Henderson for winning a C4 Storyteller Award at C4’s Industry Night celebration!

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(Photo by Scott Henderson)

Scott’s been a huge supporter of my work from pretty much day one of Thunder Road’s life, I’ve commissioned a bunch of artwork from him, and I’m sure to ask him to do more in the future.

Shared World authors put their editor to work numbering the limited edition print copies.

Halloween hats courtesy of Sam’s mom. Thanks, Mrs. B!

We formed Knife Club, which was mostly wearing promotional temporary tattoos for Jonathan Ball’s The Politics of Knives, and pantomime knifing each other when we weren’t jug banding (sans jug).

Also amazing, Sam and I launched Mythfits #1 and people bought it!

So cool to have a comic we created together out in the world! It was birthed a couple of years ago at C4 when Sam and I shared an Artist’s Alley table, so it was cool to launch the book here as well.

Having a booth instead of a table required a different setup than I normally use, and led to more stress and consternation than I would’ve liked on Thursday night, but I thought I had the problem licked, and the table looked good.

By mid-Saturday, I wasn’t happy with it. Despite being a bookseller for more than a decade, I am not a natural “active” seller. I’ve known this for years, that I’m more comfortable selling other people’s work than my own. It’s a different sort of taxing, and being “on” when you’re inviting people into the booth instead of having the separation of the table between you. It’s something I’ll think on for next year, or the next show I do.

I did an emergency rebuild of my table on Saturday. I think it helped. It’s hard to say, but I was happier with the result, and sales did appear to tick up from that point on.

After my redesign:

I didn’t have as much time as I’d like to peruse the floor and see what everyone else was doing, but I did still come home with a few gems:

It’s like Jessica at Sweet Adeline cross-stiched this just for me!

My contributor’s copies of Spacepig Hamadeus and the Captive Planet, which in addition to several talented creators, includes my story “The Great Martian Train Robbery”  featuring art by Nyco Rudolph! Collectors take note, this is the first sequential comic work for both of us. We were over the damned moon to finally hold the book.

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Photo by my official-unoffical convention photographer, Andrew Lorenz.

Still getting caught up on Andrew Lorenz’ Legacy but I’m really digging what September17 productions are putting out. Also, can’t wait for Canadian Corps #2!

Once again, C4 fell on the same weekend as the World Fantasy Convention, and as I’ve been to a WFC in Columbus before, I chose the home con to try and make some money rather than spending it. On the plus side, it looks like next year’s conventions will be back to back weekends, not simultaneous, so that’s good (especially since I’ve already bought my membership for World Fantasy in San Antonio)!

Okay, now, for the cosplay photos!

Amazing Deadpool and Wonder Woman!

I am back on a Venture Brothers tear, and the Season Six Blu-Ray was my gift to myself for making it through C4, so it was cool to see The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch representing.

Killer Zatanna and Constantine. Zatanna has always been one of my favourite DC characters, and this duo was great.

Holy shitsnacks, it’s Pam!

There was somebody inside that Tardis, slowly shuffling around the convention floor.

The sons of Lugh were there in force.

This Hawkgirl was amazing. Easily my favourite costume of the year. Her wings could unfurl to probably 15′ across.

Fun Potter family cosplay!

Don’t see a lot of Scientist Princess Bubblegum costumes, and I love that Marceline chose to wear the floppy hat (she was out in the daytime).

R2-D2! I know it’s just a remote controlled giant toy, but it’s still damned hard to resist giving the bucket of bolts a hug.

Lots of Manitoba Ghostbusters out and about this year.

Not as much Thor and Loki cosplay as I’ve seen in previous years, (hopefully I’ll see more when Thor:Ragnarok releases…) but these two were great!

And let’s end the post with a sweet ride, it’s no GTO, but then, my first car was an Impala, so…it’ll do. What a beauty!

Write on!

Central Canada Comic Con This Weekend!

C4 is just around the corner!

I’ll be tabling with Clare Marshall again which should be a blast. We had a lot of fun being side by side at Sask Expo last month.

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(Here we are so you know who to look for! Disclaimer: Authors may not appear exactly as shown)

We went halfsies on a booth instead of getting side-by-side tables, so set up might be a bit different than I’m used to. Samantha Beiko will be hanging around a bunch too, and lucky us, we’re right by GMB Chomichuk and Nyco Rudolph, so that’s awesome!

You can find us at Booth A903. Do stop by and say hello!

I’m debuting four (FOUR!) new things at C4.

First up:

Mythfits!

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The comic that Samantha and I created together. It’s been a long time coming for the first issue, and Sam did wonderful work on the art. This book had its genesis at C4 a couple years ago, so I’m glad this’ll be it’s first foray out into the public. Make sure you ask Sam for a sketch!

Spacepig Hamadeus and the Captive Planet!

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I’m the writer of one of four stories set in Donovan Yaciuk’s Spacepig universe. Nyco Rudolph did the art, and man, it looks fucking amazing. I can’t wait to see the rest of the stories. I’m going to try and have some of these on my table, but your best bet is to track down Donovan at Table A308 at C4. I will happy sign any copies you bring my way.

Shared World 2!

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GMB Chomichuk and James Gillespie and I were crazy enough to try and do another last minute book before C4, just like last year, only this year we brought Jonathan Ball along for the ride. My story takes place in Khyber, the city I’ve explored so far in “When the Gods Send You Rats” (Shared World) and “First They Came for the Pigs” (Fungi). Shared World 2 has cover and interior art by GMB Chomichuk, with an introduction by our editor, Samantha Beiko. As with volume one, this is a limit print run, there’s billions of humans but there will only ever be 100 copies of Shared World 2, so come to C4 and make sure you get yours!

Those Who Make Us!

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Those Who Make Us contains a brand new Thunder Road ‘verse story, “A Door in the Rock” and heads back to Flin Flon where a young dwarf woman must clean up some of the mess that Ted Callan left behind him in Thunder Road (I could probably write an entire book of short stories of other characters cleaning up after Ted). There’s lots of other great stories in this anthology, and I’m super-chuffed to be included.

I’ll also have copies of my novels (of course) and I’m bringing a limited number of copies of most of my other magazine and anthology appearances if you’ve missed a story.

See you in Artist’s Alley!

Write on!

 

A Shockingly Timely Sask Expo 2016 Roundup

This was my first year exhibiting at Sask Expo. I’ve heard great things about the show from Winnipeg comic creator, Andrew Lorenz of September17 Productions, and since Saskatoon is a reasonable drive for a weekend show (turns out it’s not as reasonable as I thought, more on that later), I thought it was worth giving a try. Andrew and a bunch of other Manitoba creators like GMB Chomichuk and Nyco Rudolph were going, so I knew I didn’t want to miss it.

Also, there’s lots of cool folks in ‘Toon town that I don’t get to see nearly often enough, so the show also had that going for it. Another bonus, it’s roughly the same distance for me to get there as it is for my pal Clare Marshall, so we tabled up side by side. (Clare writes amazing roundups of her convention experiences, so do check hers out too!)

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It’s hard to get time off from the dayjob in September. It’s busy as hell, and I’m usually at low ebb energy wise, which was my only hesitation about heading west for the expo. And, in my brain I thought Saskatoon was 7 hours from Winnipeg. Turns out, it’s actually 9. I’ve driven the Yellowhead many times in the past, but never made just the Winnipeg to Saskatoon leg, I always stopped a little short of Saskatoon, or carried on to Edmonton. That, and forgetting about the damned time difference meant I had to beg, borrow, and steal a second day off work so I wouldn’t still be on the road at 3am after a busy con and needing to go into work almost as soon as I got home.

So…was the con worth it?

Mostly.

We shared a row with September17 and Justin Schauf who I know from C4 and other events. I really dug September17’s Canadian Corps, and Justin was the artist on that book.

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He also did a great Doctor Fate sketch for me a while back.

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Sask Expo announced they had over 15000 people attend over the weekend. I had it my head that there would be more. Maybe because Carrie Fisher was there, or perhaps I’d misheard last year’s attendance. The Expo did seem well organized. It was one of the easiest load ins I’ve ever had, and the volunteers were easy to spot, and ubiquitous, my problems finding a water fountain in the building aside (something nobody seemed able to direct me to, despite being certain there was one). On Sunday, volunteers came around to all the exhibitors to provide bottled water, which was very helpful.

Clare and I had our tables set up across from the Creator Guest aisle, which is cool, but unfortunately the spacing in the aisle was so broad, it was very hard to get any concentration of foot traffic. I heard other vendors had a different issue in cramped aisles nearer to the entrance but the same problem. Once you’re moving in a cramped aisle, it’s hard to stop to look at a table even if you’re interested as the press of people behind you keep you going. Once people hit our aisle it was being used as a superhighway to get from one end of the expo to the other, with brisk walkers not wanting to browse. Pretty much every vendor in our aisle was saying they had the same issue.

I met my minimum sales threshold to consider returning to Sask Expo. That doesn’t sound great, but the Saturday was really slow for me, and I wasn’t happy with my table build, so I tore it down Sunday morning and I think it came out stronger. Sales certainly were.

I kept seeing folks cosplaying vikings, but few were swinging by, so I bought a replica Mjolnir and thudded it down on the table.

WORTHY.

I was talking to Clare about sales and the foot traffic patterns, and she said “what’s your brand?” well right now it’s Thunder Road, sure I tagged my banner “Mythic Fiction” because that is what I do. While I have other stuff on my table, it’s the Thunder Road trilogy that sells best, reminding me of the old bookselling adage: Sell more of what is selling.

Clare knows this stuff. it’s her job. Con sales are a sideline for me, a bit of supplemental income to direct towards travel or shiny projects, but it’s a big part of her business plan. So I listen when she suggests something. It’s also cool getting to watch her work, and how she engages her customers, both returning and potential.

How’d that advice turn out?

If you rebuild it they will come.

I made the books way more prominent, and that hammer paid for itself within the hour. I sold two complete trilogies to folks who recognized it, and their wondering why it was on my table gave me the opportunity to pitch the books to them.

I handed out lots of postcards and business cards over the weekend, so that’s good. Hopefully that will lead to some future sales, or requests from the library. Hard to say what the results will be. I know that there’s a lot of folks who seem to buy the second or third time you do a show, because they keep seeing you around, and I guess they no longer assume you’re a fly-by-night operation. I also noticed a significant uptick in web traffic, and lots of those views came via Sask Expo’s exhibtor page, before, during and after the show.

I was also surprised by the number of folks who stopped by to say they’d read and enjoyed the series, as I’ve not made much inroads into Saskatchewan sales wise, and my last event there was almost three years ago.

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One young woman who’d read the first book and told me she’d enjoyed it came back later to get it signed and returned again on Sunday to purchase the rest of the trilogy.

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Thunder Road is also currently on adoption for Professor Michael Cichon’s “Beowulf and Tales of the Northern Heroes” course at U of S, and some of the students popped by to get their books signed. Pretty cool when they’re forced to buy it, and they still want it inscribed. It’s moments like that which really push you through the dead times in Artist’s Alley.

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Not related to the writing side of my trip, but I also found a bunch of the issues I need to recreate my run of the 90s version of New Warriors! Woo!

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Mike was also kind enough to host me and Clare while we were in Saskatoon, and we had a great time, so I’m very grateful for the hospitality, fine food and drink, and excellent conversation.

I don’t know a ton of people from Saskatchewan, but many of them stopped by for a visit, so it was great to see Arthur Slade, Kurtis Wiebe, , Ed Willett, and Ian Goodwillie again.

Okay! On to the real reason folks come by my comic convention roundups: COSPLAY.

I’d probably have more (and better) photos to share, but Wendy was able to make the trip with me to track down shots of folks I couldn’t catch at the table. Sorry, folks!

JOUST.

When I asked for his picture, this Lemongrab screamed “ACCEPTABLE.”

I didn’t see many Lokis and no Thors this time around, but this young lady was great, and very excited to hear that Loki was a character in my books.

FOUND YOU BOTH.

Jeff Burton, creator of Auroraman, dressed up as his character.

The Saskatchewan Ghostbusters were out in force.

Can’t wait to see what the Manitoba Ghostbusters cook up for C4!

An awesome Betty and Violet from Rat Queens.

AKU!

This Hawkwoman was bloody amazing.

Okay, that was Sask Expo 2016!

Write on!

An Embarrassingly Late When Words Collide 2016 Roundup

Sorry for the delay on this roundup, folks!

Another year, another trip to Cowtown!

This trip was a little different. Samantha Beiko and I decided to drive to the con instead of flying. A supposedly fun thing I don’t think I’ll ever do again. Because of my car, not the company.

Roughly two hours into a thirteen hour drive, as Sam was joking about not getting stranded in Brandon again, my battery light came on. Rather than risking the car dying on the road, we pulled into Brandon for repairs. What had initially sounded like a one or two-hour delay became closer to four after waiting for the part to arrive, but new alternator installed, we journeyed on. Despite therapeutic cowch outside of Canadian Tire this development was…so disheartening.

Not gonna lie, the temptation to just give up on the trip then and there was pretty high. But! We were both on programming, both up for Aurora Awards, and, both really excited to visit our friend Clare for her birthday.

So we soldiered on, but that thirteen hour drive ended up being closer to nineteen, door to door.

There is a lot of Saskatchewan to get through. It’s not that the province isn’t pretty, but when you start roughly halfway through Manitoba, and are going halfway into Alberta, crossing the entirety of Saskatchewan just feels like forever. It takes the time it takes, but the perception of that time…that I could’ve done without.

We managed to dodge most of the thunderstorms, and had good weather at least.

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This one only caught us for about thirty seconds, but we were completely blindied by the sun shining through the downpour. Sweet little Bifrost though waving us onward though.

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The skies were amazing. I do love those big damn prairie skies. I am glad I got to see these clouds from a bit of a distance rather than having to drive through them.

Okay on to the con itself:

Calgary has a way of causing me headaches. Whether it’s the altitude, or the pressure changes, or what…I dunno. I’m batting 3 for 8 when it comes to Cowtown visits that give me a headache so bad I vomit (take your whiskey jokes and walk, folks) so I’m always a little bit on edge wondering if it’ll happen again. It’s one of the reasons I program lightly at WWC. No vomiting this time. YAY! But the length of the drive and the stress of car repairs did end up giving me a pretty wicked tension headache (thanks, Jill Flanagan for sorting that out!).

I had no programming on Friday. Which is nice for me. I like to catch up with folks at When Words Collide, and I have a lot of folks to catch up with there! We rolled in early, and helped Clare get her table set up and then got our membership badges.

And then I enjoyed a Basil Hayden’s bourbon, which until recently, I wasn’t able to buy in Manitoba. It’s always a treat when the convention bar has it on the shelf.

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Saturday I participated in a Myth and Folklore panel moderated wonderfully by S.G. Wong (check out her latest, Death Takes the Hindmost when it releases, I got to read an advance copy. Very nice!) and thanks to fellow panelists Rhonda Parrish, and Nancy M. Bell for the lively discussion.

I found some copies of this on the freebie table:

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My friend Chris Smith (an inaugural and long-suffering member of my writing group) has a story in this one. The Crow Maiden. Very cool story. You should read it. I brought a few copies home for him.

Saturday also meant running around to grab things for the Post-Apocalyptic Four party I was co-hosting with friends and fellow Aurora nominees Randy McCharles, Eileen Bell, Ryan McFadden and Billie Milholland. By things I, of course, mean whiskey (and whisky).

The Prix Auroras were handed out. This is no longer news, but I still want to give a shout out to the worthy winners. Neither I nor ChiSeries Winnipeg were awarded in our categories, but there were a lot of great works being celebrated, so that’s okay. Looking at the stats, Too Far Gone came in second in the novel category, so that’s pretty cool too. Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted,and congratulations to all the winners!

  • Best English Novel: A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
  • Best English YA Novel: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet, Scholastic Canada/Clarion Books
  • Best English Short Fiction: “Waters of Versailles” by Kelly Robson, Tor.com
  • Best English Poem/Song: “Origami Crane / Light Defying Spaceship” by Naru Dames Sundar, Liminality, Issue 5 Autumn
  • Best English Graphic Novel: The Lady ParaNorma by Vincent Marcone, ChiZine Publications
  • Best English Related Work: Second Contacts edited by Michael Rimar & Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
  • Best Visual Presentation: Orphan Black, Season 3, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
  • Best Artist: Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications
  • Best Fan Publication: Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille
  • Best Fan Organizational: Randy McCharles, Chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Best Fan Related Work: Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

We went out for supper and cake after the awards to celebrate Clare’s birthday.

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BIRFDAE! BIRFDAE! BIRFDAE!

After consuming my weight in Indian food and gluten-free vegan chocolate cake, I had to rush back to the hotel for the room party. It’s been four years since I’ve thrown a con party. It’ll probably be at least that many more until the next one. Lots of folks came out for it, but while I enjoy the parties, it’s another matter throwing one. It also means you can’t leave when you want to if you get overwhelmed by the crowd.

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Look at this room.

There was nowhere to put anybody.

Which was awesome and terrifying.

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to drink our whiskey and beer, and hang out and talk writing, or just talk–loud and crowded as it was. You’re all great. I still can’t fucking believe we weren’t shut down within the hour.

Early on Sunday I was on Susan MacGregor’s panel on writing trilogies. Great batch of panelists and questions from Susan. Thanks to Susan, and fellow panelists Gerald Brandt, Samantha Beiko, Barb Galler-Smith and to everyone who came out.

Once again Sandra Wickham presented her “Writing About Fighting” presentation. And I got to be her fight dummy. Another packed room! Sandra does a great job with this so you really should check it out if you’re at a con where she’s presenting it (and not just to see me get kicked in the stomach).

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Photo by S.G. Wong.

(One of these days I’m going to beak off too much on Twitter and Sandra will just straight up murder me in front of her audience)

I skipped the dead dog to hang out with Sam and Clare, decompress, and watched Dragon Heart.

The drive home wasn’t as long as the drive to Calgary, but it was long enough.

Still, a rainbow that crossed the entire sky was a nice welcome home when we pulled over in Brandon to swap out the driver’s seat.

The drive home was especially long the last hour of thunderstormin’. Poor Sam had to drive. What a trooper!

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I tried multiple times to catch a lightning strike. Not easy with a cell phone camera.

I also really wanted an image of a lightning strike behind the Halfway Tree. For reasons.

And once we got fully into the shit, it was dark.

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But, we made it home okay, and you couldn’t ask for a better driving partner than Sam Beiko. 12/10 would road trip with Sam again.

See you again next year, When Words Collide!

Write on!

Appearing At Sask Expo!

I’ll be driving out to Saskatoon (should that be running back to Saskatoon?) Friday to set up for my first Sask Expo. There’s lots of cool folks to meet there: Carrie Fisher, James Marsters, Shannon Purser, and Tom Felton on the media side,  Tom Grummett, Karl Kerschl, Kurtis Wiebe, and Steve Niles on the comic side, among many talented others.

Those of you who’ve read Too Far Gone know that the outskrits of Saskatoon play a bit of a role. That chapter is one of my favourites in the novel, and the one I usually read at events. So if you’re at Sask Expo, come by my table and ask me about Secret Saskatchewan Lore. I’ll tell you about how that chapter came to be, and give you a little bit of swag (while supplies last).

You can find me at Booth #1318 in Artist’s Alley, side by side with my pal Clare C. Marshall of Faery Ink Press! A bunch of my C4 friends look to be there too, so I think this’ll be a good time.

Write on!

 

Music Monday: Witch Of The Westmoreland By Stan Rogers

It’s been a while since I posted for Music Monday, kept meaning to, but a lot of the songs that were sticking around my head were ones I’ve already posted. Maybe it’s time to build a new writing soundtrack for my work in progress.

But!

I had a house guest a while back, and my pal Clare usually gets me thinking of Stan Rogers (for a lot of reasons, but mostly because he’s playing on her laptop whenever she’s out). In fact, I had a long rambling blog post about “Barrett’s Privateers” which I deleted, because I’ve already used that song! I suppose it would’ve been funny (and I often feel like a broken man on a Halifax pier) but it did get me digging a bit deeper into Stan Rogers’ catalogue than The Very Best Of…

This song is hardly new, but it was new to me, and I really dig it, and it’s definitely going to find its way onto one writing soundtrack or another.

Pale was the wounded knight, that bore the rowan shield
Loud and cruel were the raven’s cries that feasted on the field
Saying “Beck water cold and clear will never clean your wound
There’s none but the witch of the Westmoreland can make thee hale and soond”

Write on!

Awesome Crowdfunding Roundup

I’ve become more than a little addicted to supporting crowdfunding projects. Here’s a few of my more recent trophies. I tend to lean heavily towards books and roleplaying games, to the exact surprise of nobody. Lots of ebook editions that can’t be shown too, although I suppose I could’ve thrown my Kobo in the picture…

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I realized that a few of my friends have projects going on at the same time, and so I thought I’d give them a shout out. Here’s a peek at what I’ve been and will be supporting.

You might remember Scott Henderson from this awesome Thunder Road illustration:

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Scott is trying to fund his epic fantasy graphic novel, The Chronicles of Era.

Book I of The Chronicles of Era: Whispers of Redemption will introduce readers to a world where mankind made for himself a paradise fit for gods. Mankind lived in the City of Heaven for two thousand years before The Adversary destroyed paradise and returned humanity to a harsh and brutal world. The survivors rebuilt their civilization, but their history was reduced to myths and legends. Hundreds of years later, three youths—Seth, Sidrich and Caitleth—are caught between the struggles of a great empire and the scattered rural clans struggling to maintain their way of life.

All the while, secret forces are edging closer to awakening the Gifted Ones and reopen the gates of paradise…

It looks phenomenal.

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Clare C. Marshall is trying to fund her next book: The Silver Spear, a sequel to The Violet Fox.

Clare has written a couple of guest blogs for my site, one on Writing the Bad Guy, and the other on The Creation of Marlenia, the World of the Violet Fox. Clare was recently shortlisted for the inaugural Canadian Self-Publishing Award in the Young Adult category. Go, Clare!

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Cool anthology alert!

My friends Erika Holt and Andrew Romine have stories in this anthology Not Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging, edited by Nayad Monroe. This anthology also has a story by Jennifer Brozek who was the editor of my Steampunk story, “A Taste of the Other Side.” Not Our Kind already has a great ToC, and if it hits its stretch goal, there will be an open call for two more stories to fill out the collection.

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EDGE Publications will be publishing nEvermore if it reaches it’s goal. This is a Poe-inspired anthology edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles. There’s no open reading period on this one, but it looks cool for readers. And October is the perfect time to be thinking of Poe.

I asked some friends what they’re currently supporting, and here’s what I heard:

Perry Grosshans, General Manager for THIN AIR and an editor for Rite Publications recommends: Age of Conan Strategy Game.

My friend Ashley, aka author Sierra Dean, recommends: The Black Glove.

There’s also Patreon, which a few friends have taken to. Patreon is a digital patronage system that allows creators to be paid for their work.

On Spec has been publishing Canadian Speculative Fiction for thirty years. They published my first short story, and recently published a Thunder Road ‘verse story. They’re also really fine folks.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is an editor and publisher at Innsmouth Free Press. She’s also a damn fine author. Her debut short story collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was one of my favourite books of 2013.

Bundoran Press is a fine purveyor of Canadian science fiction that has garnered a lot of awards notices in its eight years of publishing. If you like smart, thoughtful SF (and who doesn’t?), they’re definitely worth your time.

What’s getting your backer dollars these days?

Write on!

 

VCon and the Prix Auroras Roundup

Another year of the Prix Auroras have come and gone.

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Very cool to see some of my friends receiving their Aurora nominee pins. Here’s Samantha getting hers.

I didn’t win, nor did ChiSeries Winnipeg, but I knew competition was steep this year. Big Congrats to all the winners! Fellow Winnipeg nominee Samantha Beiko and I got dressed up as fancy as possible (as is our custom at formal affairs) and joined in for the high tea prior to the awards.

Here’s a list of the Prix Aurora winners in all categories:

Best English Novel: A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books
Best English YA Novel: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada
Best English Short Fiction: “Ghost in the Machine” by Ryan McFadden, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
Best English Poem/Song: “Night Journey: West Coast” by Eileen Kernaghan , Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast, EDGE
Best English Graphic Novel: Rock, Paper, Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, webcomic
Best English Related Work: On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Best Artist: Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Best Fan Music: Chris Hadfield for his performance of Space Oddity
Best Fan Organizational: Randy McCharles, Chair and Programming, When Words Collide, Calgary
Best Fan Related Work: Robert Runté, “Why I Read Canadian Speculative Fiction: The Social Dimension of Reading”, Scholar Keynote Address at ACCSFF ’13, Toronto

For those who are interested, here is the breakdown of nomination and voting statistics.

A couple quick thoughts on the stats: It is very clear the two voting bases are in Alberta and Ontario (which I was already aware of in a vague sort of way, but looking at the numbers really hammered that home), but I didn’t know how thin the Manitoban voting pool was. We have a robust con culture here, between Keycon, C4, and other events, so I’m not quite sure why that is. Finally, Tombstone Blues had the most nominations in its category, so I must be doing something right.

Next year, the Aurora nomination ballot will go from three items per category to five. I wonder how/if that will change the shortlist dynamic.

As for VCon, it was my first time at this convention. Also my first time in British Columbia.

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Hello mountains.

I’ve been meaning to go west for a while, some of the first friends I made in the industry when I attended World Fantasy in Calgary were VCon regulars. This year, the combination of Sandra Wickham doing the literary programming, attending the Auroras, and getting to hang out with Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ann Aguirre again was too much of a treat.

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Convening the Illuminaughty.

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The view from my hotel.

Silvia got Ann, Samantha, and I to leave the safety of the hotel and head into the city. Vancouver really is beautiful at night (to be fair, it’s beautiful during the day also), and the waterfront seemed kind of magical. While we were out with met up with Clare C. Marshall for more fun times.

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Blurry waterfront photo brought to you courtesy of hunger/whiskey.

In fact, I was so hungry by the time we found a restaurant, that I’d completely forgotten how we arrived. Silvia’s directions back to the Skytrain had pretty much disappeared. However, I walk with a purpose and was on the way to getting us seriously lost before Ann and Samantha questioned me. A minor train misadventure later (this one wasn’t on me!) and we made it home safely, if very late. That two-hour time change was a bit of a beast, although I handled it a little better this time than I had in Portland for World Horror Con.

My panel on Writing Non-Fiction to Supplement Your Fiction went well. My fellow panelists had interesting things to say, it wasn’t a huge crowd, but it was a bit of a niche subject. The panel of Game Master Tips and Tricks was much better attended. I tried to speak in generalities that could be used across a broad number of games rather than just sharing D&D war stories from my games. It was cool to meet Tarol Hunt of Goblins fame. I made a shout out to the Amber Diceless RPG and got a very enthusiastic “Woohoo!” from a couple of the attending gamers. We chatted a bit after the panel about Amber and its latest scion, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

There was a bit of confusion with my reading on Sunday, mostly due to the fact that I had to ask to change the time at the last minute to ensure I’d make my flight home. That’s on me, I knew I had an afternoon flight, so I should’ve mentioned it to programming as soon as I’d booked it. VCon was very accommodating, but the turnout was pretty thin.

All in all, way too short of a time to spend in such a cool city. I’m sure I’ll be back.

Write on!

 

When Words Collide 2014 Roundup

Another When Words Collide Festival has come and gone. I’m a little bit late getting to this roundup (although not nearly so late as I was with World Horror Con and Keycon!). This year my WWC festival was wrapped up in a research trip to Alberta for Too Far Gone, so I hope you’ll forgive the delay. I’ll try to document the research side of the trip (and my reading at Audreys Books in Edmonton) soon. (Yeah, right.)

This Calgary festival for readers and writers has in its four years of existence become one of my favourite events of the year. It’s always well run, the programming excellent, and the guests of honour are top notch. This year’s guests included Jacqueline Guest, Mark Leslie (director of Publishing Services at Kobo–and my editor for “Back in Black” in Tesseracts Sixteen), D.J. McIntosh, Brandon Sanderson, and Jack Whyte (filling in for Diana Gabaldon, who unfortunately had to cancel).

I did a bit more programming this year than last, no readings though. Unfortunately, readings (except for the guests of honour) have gone by the wayside for programming which will actually fill up the rooms. I understand this, and fair enough, even if it is a little disappointing. I love doing readings, and like to attend them. WWC offered folks the opportunity to book one of the social rooms to host launch parties, etc. but with no new book out, or on the horizon, it didn’t seem worth the expense for me this year. Maybe next year, although it’s doubtful Too Far Gone will be out by August, I might have some advance reading copies, or do a teaser reading.

My programming included:

  • Saturday 1 PM RPG Storytelling: [panel discussion with Brandon Sanderson, Chadwick Ginther, Ron Bender, Dave Gross] RPGs or Role-Playing Games make up a huge chunk of the gaming industry. Part of what makes them so popular is the rich storytelling that players experience as they solve problems and learn secrets through the game. Our panel of RPG storytellers and players discuss what draws them to the gaming life.
  • Saturday 2 PM Why Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Is So Popular: [panel discussion with Margarita Gakis, Melodie Campbell, Aspen deLainey, Sandra Wickham, Chadwick Ginther] Urban Fantasy has grown large enough to be its own major genre. Indeed, many publishers have created imprints just for Paranormal or Urban Fantasy. What is it about these subgenres that are so attractive to today’s psyche?
  • Saturday 8 PM Autographs: Festival Guests are joined by 50+ authors
    Drop by between 8 PM – 9 PM to meet the authors and get your books signed. This session is open to the public, so tell your friends.
  • Sunday 4 PM On (Writing) Vacation [panel discussion with Randy McCharlesPatrick Swenson, James Van Pelt, Chadwick Ginther] Writing retreats, with their focused time and space, can inspire and rejuvenate authors and are as accessible as you want them to be. Panelists discuss their experiences and the rewards reaped from attending writing retreats.

I thought the RPG Storytelling panel was excellent. Brandon Sanderson moderated and did a great job. It was clear that the packed room was primarily there to see him (except for the one person who asked him who he was, drawing a good laugh from the audience–Brandon had been making notes on his name card, like a good moderator) but he was very generous with sharing the panel and including everyone. There were some great points from my fellow panelists Dave Gross and Ron Bender and I had a lot of fun.

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The Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance panel went well. The only person I knew on it was Sandra Wickham, and I think she did a great job of moderating. I won points from someone in the audience for giving a shoutout to Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series (which is a blast, check it out).

I had a lot of fun with the autograph session. I hung out with Edmonton friends, Janice MacDonald, Randy Williams, and S.G. Wong, and we were joined by the force behind Faery Ink Press, Clare C. Marshall. I stamped a few people with my new “Loki Approved” stamp.

Oh, and Brandon Sanderson’s signing line was ridiculously long.

My last panel was about writing vacations. I haven’t been on a focused group retreat, like the Rainforest Writers, that Patrick Swenson hosts, but I did start writing Thunder Road while I was housesitting for my parents which was a sort of writing retreat. I also go to a lot of local “write ins” at friends’ houses, (Gerald Brandt and Sherry Peters, thanks for hosting!) so I talked a bit about that, and using microfocus Twitter sprints as my contributions to the discussion. Everyone else on the panel is a regular at Rainforest so there was a bit of a dynamic that I wasn’t a part of, but rather than making me feel alienated, it made me really want to sign up for the retreat (next year’s already full, but I’m going to put my name on the waiting list).

There was also a lot of unscheduled fun (there always is) that took place.

This year was my pal Laurel’s very first convention. I’m so proud of her for heading out to Calgary and pitching her work and I hope she had a lot of fun and will be back again next year.

When the official party rooms, didn’t suffice, a new space was created (thanks to one David J. “Fort” Fortier.

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It’s hard to tell from this picture, but there were at least sixteen folks in there. Also: whiskey (and whisky).

Here’s something you don’t get to do every convention: Get beat up by a pregnant Ninja:

When Sandra Wickham was worried about whether someone would come to her writing about fighting presentation, I made a joke suggesting she’d be less nervous if I was there to heckle her. This led to me volunteering to be her test dummy for a few moves.

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For the record: Arm bars hurt.

I also spent a lot of Friday telling people they had to be at the panel if they wanted to see me get up by a pregnant woman. And evidently they did. Sandra had a packed house!

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Seriously though, she gave a great presentation, so if you have a chance to check out one of her panels (whether I’m getting beat up or not), do so. She’s a great writer too. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

I also got to hang out with a couple other alums from Patricia Briggs’ character workshop last year (I wasn’t actually able to go, but I still made some cool friends because of being signed up and doing the critiques). Kate Larking and Jill C. Flanagan, it was a pleasure.

When I wasn’t doing my own programming, I hung out with Clare at the Faery Ink Press table, because Clare is awesome, and I don’t get to see her nearly enough. I even managed to get some writing done

Somewhere along the way, On Spec editor and unofficial Sheriff of Edmonton, Cat McDonald declared we were rivals and needed to have a Read Off. Our goal is to end up in the same anthology so that we can make this happen (I WILL DESTROY YOU. Ahem.). Cat is also doing a Kickstarter for a new RPG, which you should check out and back.

Sentry Box was also in the Dealer’s Room selling books, and they sold out of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues! That was great news! I also spent some of those future royalties at their table.

One of the cool things WWC did this year was have an evening where people could play Magic the Gathering with Brandon (who is an avid gamer, and has had a roleplaying game created from the world of his Mistborn novels) Sanderson. I didn’t play. It’s been forever since I’ve played Magic, but listening to Brandon explain the rules to the folks who’d signed up made me very glad I didn’t have to play him for money.

I stayed an extra night so that I could attend the Dead Dog Party. It’s always fun, and even though everyone is exhausted, it’s a good chance to catch up with folks (like the con organizers) who are way too busy during the convention proper.

I’ve already purchased my membership for When Words Collide 2015. Check out the guests!

Daniel Abraham Fantasy
C.J. Carmichael Romance
James S.A. Corey Science Fiction
M.L.N. Hanover Urban Fantasy
Sally Harding Literary Agent
Faith Hunter Urban Fantasy
Gwen Hunter Thriller
Brandon Mull Young Adult

I know I’ll have a blast. Hope to see you there!

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from Jack Whyte, who when he was asked in his writing about battles workshop: “How much fighting is too much? How much whisky is too much? There are signs.

Write on.