Can*Con 2017 Schedule

I’m thrilled to be returning to Can*Con, one of my favourite (and one of the best) Canadian conventions. If you’re in Ottawa and have a chance, I highly recommend coming out. If you do, here’s where you’ll find me:

Saturday October 14th

Dealer’s Room — Signing 11:00-11:30 with Linda Poitevin

Salon B — Reading 13:00-13:15 Chadwick Ginther, 13:15-13:30 Leah Bobet, 13:30-13:45 Curtis C. Chen

Salon F — On Spec Magazine 25 Years of Canadian SFF 17:00-17:50 Leah Bobet, Brandon Crilly, Susan Forest, Chadwick Ginther, Diane Walton, Hayden Trenholm (moderator)

Salon F — Stories of the Northmen 19:00-19:50 Chadwick Ginther, Kris Ramsey, Kari Sperring, Una Verdandi, Kate Heartfield (moderator)

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When Words Collide 2015 Roundup

When Words Collide is the only convention that I can say I have attended every year. And I certainly have no intention of breaking that streak. Having been there since the beginning, it’s been cool to watch it grow. The organizers have a great record of bringing in top notch guests and 2015 was no different. This was the first year I think WWC has grown to the size where I’m no longer guaranteed I’ll get to see everyone I want to, or at least not for as long as I’d like. So if we missed a chance to chat, hey, I’ll be back next year!

Day one of When Words Collide was mostly a wash, no fault of the convention though. I arrived in Calgary on Thursday, as is my custom, so that I could hang out with old chum, and Aurora-nominated Thunder Road Trip artist, Kevin Madison. We had a great time catching up, but a change in the local air pressure gave me a headache that absolutely floored me.

I was in too much pain to manage to caffeinate Friday morning, which didn’t help matters either. My headache made me nauseous much of the day. Still, I rallied enough to make it to the con hotel and register (this happened largely because my shared room was in my name, and I didn’t want to leave my roommate in the lurch).

By supper time I’d eaten roughly five spoonfuls of soup and three pieces of cheese–which I knew given the Absinthe and Whisky tasting social that Tyche Books was hosting, wasn’t going to do the job of keeping me upright.

The other big downside to feeling crappy on Friday was it meant no Sentry Box visit! Granted, Sentry Box has a table at When Words Collide every year, (and they were kind enough to stock my books. W00T!), but it’s not the same as being able to bask in all the gaming book glory. I usually leave with some out of print treasure from days past when I get to Calgary, and was disappointed not to have a chance to browse this time around. I’ll have to make time when Too Far Gone book tour takes me back in November.

Winnipeg comics author Andrew Lorenz introduced me to Joshua Pantalleresco over Twitter and then I met Joshua pretty much the moment I walked into the Dealer’s Room. I love the first tour through the Dealer’s Room, because it’s my first concentrated dose of all my con friends. Everyone at a con eventually passes through the Dealer’s Room. Clare C. Marshall had a table there, as did ChiZine Publications, which was great, because Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi are always fun to hang with. Sadly their managing editor, and my glamourous ChiSeries Winnipeg co-chair, Samantha Beiko wasn’t able to make the trip due to illness. I also caught up with On Spec, and Bundoran Press.

I grabbed supper with Renee Bennet and Celeste and Bill Peters. It’s not quite a WWC tradition to dine with Renee and Celeste, but I think we’re at either 2 for 5 or 3 for 5 when it comes to sharing a meal while I’m in Calgary, so it may as well be. Celeste and Bill used to live in Winnipeg, so I got to catch them up on some of our new stuff.

Recently I learned that one of my Calgary writing pals is moving home to Winnipeg, and so I had to try not to gloat that we’ll be stealing Dave Fortier away from Cowtown. It sounds like the Calgary crew is definitely going to miss him. They did extort a promise from me to take good care of him, and I have no doubt there will be stories shared, dice rolled, and whiskey poured in the near future.

I couldn’t bear the idea of attending the Guest of Honour Keynote Speeches–nothing against any of the speakers, but the idea of being in a large gathering was just too much with my lingering headache. Fortunately, I felt better as the evening went on (big thanks to the expertise of Jill Flanagan!) and had a great time chatting with Jill, Brett, Sandra, Gregory, and Clare, but I called it an early night after the whiskey social.

Saturday: Up and at them! What a world of difference the day made. No lingering effects of my Friday headache, and enjoyed breakfast with roomie, and fellow Manitoba author Craig Russell.

One of the big things on the agenda for Saturday was to meet up with Sandra Wickham because we’re co-writing a novel together. It’s totally a thing. We’ve been talking about it for months, and When Words Collide was our chance to pull all of our ideas together and break the plot. And it’ll be awesome. Or at the very least, since she’s a total plotter and I’m a total pantser, an excuse for whiskey. I went to her panel on health and fitness for creative people, because I blurbed her book on the topic and I’ve been her audience participation dummy before. SHE MADE ME EXERCISE. I think getting beat up last year was more fun, to be honest.

I talked to some other fine Calgary booksellers in attendance, and got to know some folks from Owl’s Nest (who will be hosting me for a reading in November) and Indigo Signal Hill (who will be having me in for a signing) a little better.

The mass autographing was on Saturday night. I actually signed a few books too, which is always nice, but I think I signed more books just happening upon people throughout the conference. Still, it’s always nice to hear a reader is excited for the next book, or excited to start the series and watching people queue up for Diana Gabaldon does give one something to aspire to, doesn’t it?

Sunday was my only panel of the weekend. It was on setting. A topic I do enjoy. I shared the panel with Calvin Jim, Sarah Kades, and Al Onia, and I think we had a good discussion. We all approach writing setting slightly differently, and so I think everyone had at least one observation that got the others thinking.

After the panel, it was basically time for me to go home. I did a quick stop in the dealer’s room to grab a bite to eat, and say my goodbyes. I also finally got to meet Kristi Charish. We’ve chatted on Twitter and Facebook, and I loved her story in Masked Mosaic, as well as her debut novel, Owl & the Japanese Circus. You should really check out both.

It’s never easy, and I hate leaving a con early. Normally I stay an extra day–especially at When Words Collide–so that I can attend its Dead Dog party, but that wasn’t in the cards this year, unfortunately. By the time I was done saying goodbye, I realized I was getting to the airport later than I’d have liked. Nearly missed my flight home as a result. The line to get through security was INSANE. Just when I thought I was safe, I got pulled over for the extra rummage through your bag in public check. Still, I got home, another great WWC in the books, and I’m already excited for next year.

Write on!

 

My When Words Collide Schedule

When Words Collide is my favourite literary conference. I haven’t missed one yet, and every year it gets better and better. The organizers have lined up a great group of guests again for this year:

Daniel Abraham Fantasy
C.J. Carmichael Romance
Diana Gabaldon Historical
M.L.N. Hanover Urban Fantasy
Sally Harding Literary Agent
Faith Hunter Urban Fantasy
Gwen Hunter Thriller
Brandon Mull Young Adult

I’m very happy to be sharing a program book with all of them.

Here’s where you’ll find me:

Saturday 8 PM – Parkland-Bonavista-Willow Park Autograph Session (2 Hours)
Our Festival Guests are joined by 50+ authors Drop by to meet the authors and get your books signed. This session is open to the public, so tell your friends.
Sunday 11 AM – Rundle Setting – More Than Just Window Dressing
Al Onia, Sarah Kades, Chadwick Ginther, Calvin Jim
Setting in fiction can be so much more than a backdrop for the characters. A story’s world can be an integral part of the plot, theme and character. Arrakis in Dune is a main
antagonist. Noir detective tales are defined by their milieu as much as by the hard-boiled
hero. Fantasy would be simple magic without an outré world. Science fiction has matured
as much in depiction of believable universes as much as character realism.
I’m taking it light on the panels this year. For me, When Words Collide is as much about hanging out with friends as it is about promoting my work, and I don’t get to see the Alberta gang nearly as often as I’d like. Also, I needed to keep a large block of time clear for reasons (join me in whispering: SECRETS) that I will hopefully be able to share soon.
Sentry Box has kindly agreed to have copies of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues on hand, and I’ll be bringing some copies of my illustrated Thunder Road-verse short story “A Simple Twist of Fate” and some Too Far Gone teasers if you can’t wait until October and Too Far Gone‘s release for me to scribble on something.
Friday 3 PM – Rundle How to Write a Good Pitch and Query Sally Harding, Jane Ann McLachlan, Marie Powell You can write the greatest novel ever written, but you still need to get it into the hands of a publisher. Our panel tells you how.
I’m still undecided on everything I want to check out as an attendee, but I know for a fact I’m going to these three panels:
Saturday 10 AM – Kananaskis Sirens, Secrets, and Sins (2 hrs) Detective Sweet From street cop, to undercover and drug work, to life as a homicide detective, Calgary Police Service Detective Dave Sweet talks about his life in law enforcement. There will be a Q&A after for an opportunity to ask him your writing questions. *Please be aware there will be explicit visual and audio material used.
Sat 2 PM – Fairview Graphic Novels – ChiZine
“The visual language of the comics medium is a compelling tool for unique storytelling. A deceptively simple final product is a machine of many moving parts. Working in comics is sometimes like writing for prose, television, or theatre, but most of the time those habits make for bad comics. Join award-winning graphic novelist GMB Chomichuk (Infinitum, Cassie and Tonk, The Imagination Manifesto) as he walks through ten things he learned the hard way about the visual language of comics, comic contracts, and comic markets. The first thing on the agenda will be to take a list of need to know questions from the audience to ensure people get the answers they came for.
@gmbchomichuk on Twitter & Instagram”
 
Saturday 3 PM – Fairview Health and Fitness for Creative People Sandra Wickham Strong in body, stronger in mind! Join fitness professional and author Sandra Wickham for an informative session on how to incorporate health and fitness into your life, how it will benefit your creative endeavours and how to start and stick with your health and fitness goals.
Write on!

My Preliminary Keycon 32 Schedule

I just received my schedule for Keycon 32. Obviously, it’s early days and the con is a few weeks out, so this is subject to change, but here is where you will find me if you’re attending:

  • Friday, 9 pm – Reading
  • Saturday, 2 pm – Blue Pencil Sessions
  • Saturday, 3 pm – Autograph Session 2
  • Saturday, 4 pm – Establishing Setting

Keycon will be held May 15-17. Hope to see you there!

Write on!

Ad Astra 2015 Roundup

This was my second year in a row attending Ad Astra. It’s neat to get to do multiple runs at a convention. Not only do I get to hang out with my writer pals, and meet some new folks, going back to a con means you get to chat with some of the fans who checked out your panels the year before and came back for more. That’s pretty sweet.

What wasn’t sweet was my landing at Pearson. Most of my flight into Toronto felt like the plane was getting slapped around like a hockey puck (when it didn’t feel as if it was plummeting out of the sky). Fun stuff. I didn’t know my aislemate well enough to make any Buddy Holly references though.

After arriving at the hotel (thanks Ryan McFadden for meeting me at the airport!), I had a quick and spicy dinner and then prepped for my shared reading slot with Arlene F. Marks. Arlene read from her humourous fantasy novel, The Accidental God, and I read an excerpt from “The Last Good Look” (The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir), “A Taste of the Other Side” (Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls), and “A Simple Twist of Fate”, my illustrated Thunder Road short story that I had printed for C4.

Despite arriving pre-exhausted and recovering for a seemingly endless cold, I made it through. Our reading slot was sparsely attended, but attendees outnumbered readers, so that is always good, even better, it was an interested crowd.

This is the sort of Champion Author breakfast that allowed me to face the public:

Ad Astra Breakfast

Photo by Leah Bobet.

I also want to thank Leah for this amazing coupon, which I am hanging onto, and will be willing to drop on someone at a moment’s notice.

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I met a bunch of new folks this year. Some completely new, and others that I only knew from Twitter or Facebook, or because we’d shared an anthology ToC. Seeing these people in person is always one of my favourite parts of going to cons, and so I was happy to meet Kelly Robson and Dale L. Sproule for the first time, both fellow contributors to The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir (Dale is the author of “Nunavut Thunderfuck”, great title, or best title ever? I loved Kelly’s “Good for Grapes” story also.) as well as Amal El-Mohtar. I’ve read and enjoyed a bunch of her blog posts, but haven’t read much of her other writing, I’ll have to remedy that.

I didn’t take in a lot of programming or readings, and I did a limited amount of programming myself–only two panels besides my reading. I was mostly trying to catch up with friends. I got to have great conversations with Alyx Dellamonica and Annette Mocek, who I don’t see nearly enough of. I do think both of my panels went well, good turnouts, and lively Q&A. Thanks fellow panelists Amanda Sun, Karina Sumner-Smith, Robert Boyczuk, and Sandra Kasturi on the Grant writing panel and Doug Smith, Kelley Armstrong, and Marie Bilodeau on the Gods Run Amok, Mythology and Urban Fantasy panel.

I spent a lot of time browsing at the Bakka-Phoenix table in the dealer’s room looking for a new read for my flight home. Bakka is one of the best places for book lovers on the planet. And Chris Szego and all the staff at Bakka have been pretty good to me, so it’s nice to have a chance to say hi, and to buy some books from their table (and they have some signed copies of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues, just sayin’).

I missed some of the mass signing as it coincided with one of my panels, I sat with Suzanne Church for the last hour, and talked up “A Simple Twist of Fate” and wonderful artists, Kevin Madison and Scott Henderson whose work graces much of my promotional material.

In what is becoming a Saturday night Ad Astra tradition, I went out for Indian food on Saturday, with Derek Newman-Stille, Angela Keely and whoever is available to join us.

The late night Bad Slash/Fiction Readings returned, this time spread out over two nights. Skin Head Hamlet was performed by several attending authors. Michael Matheson read a unique noir take on Pacman/Ms. Pacman. David L. Blackwood’s Alien romances Predator story was the perfect mix of appealing and appalling (his accent maybe? I’m not sure. My ears are still bleeding). And as is tradition, Angela Keely read from My Immortal-the best/worst Harry Potter fan-fic out there.

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Saturday night was also the ChiZine Publications room party! If you ever have a chance to go, do it. It was loud and hot (as always) but lots of fun (as always). It was shut down too early, this year (evidently having fun is loud) but thems the breaks. Also, if you happen to turn up at a ChiZine party, buy a book while you’re there, yeah?

On Sunday I attended Geoff Gander and Marie Bilodeau’s shared readings which was a good time. Since my WiP is starting to amount to something, I also took in the panel on finding an agent. It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a query for a new project, and it was informative. After that, it was pretty much time for me to head home. Big thanks to Annette Mocek for getting me to the airport on time for my flight!

And I’ll end off the roundup with one of my favourite sights of Ad Astra, the Lego Room! Thanks ToroLUG (Toronto Lego User Group)!

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See you again next year, Ad Astra.

Write on!

My Ad Astra 2015 Schedule

Ad Astra is fast approaching. If you’re attending, here’s where you’ll find me:

Friday, April 10th

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Readings: Chadwick Ginther & Arlene F. Marks 

Room: Whitchurch

Saturday, April 11th

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Funding Your Grocery Bill: Writing Grants and Writing for Grants 

Room: Markham B

Panellists: Amanda Sun, Karina Sumner-Smith, Robert Boyczuk, Sandra Kasturi

Grant writing is hard – we can’t teach you how to write the perfect grant – But! We can discuss the good, the bad and the necessary fundamentals of grant writing. Gain some insight from our pros who have been there, written the grant and lived to see the benefits.

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM When the Gods Run Amok: Ancient, New and Urban Mythology

Room: Markham B

Panellists: Doug Smith, Kelley Armstrong, Marie Bilodeau

Urban fantasy gives us the chance to play around with our archetypal fairy tales and mythology. We can bring the gods down to our level and we get to bring magic into the everyday. Why is this so compelling?

That’s it for my programming, although I may, should inspiration strike, join Michael Matheson’s Late Night Slash Readings panel.

See you in Toronto!

Write on!