New Year, New Goals 2020 Edition

Wow, 2019 was like a decade of its own, wasn’t it?

Let’s look back at what I intended to get done:

    • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
    • Revise 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
    • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out.
    • Be ready to write that new book by November for NaNoWriMo
    • Read more

Not a lot crossed off the old list last year, I’m afraid.

I took Graveyard Mind 2 from roughly 50K to 75K. I know all the story now, and have a few scenes left to write and a number of chapters to flesh out to get a full draft up to length. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons I’ll get to later, I pulled the pin on working on this book. Had I stuck with it, I would’ve likely had a completed (finally) draft, but it would’ve still needed substantial revisions before I submitted it to be published.

Sandra and I talked about an Excuse for Whiskey at Can-Con in Ottawa, and at the end of the year we did make a strategic plan to move forward, after reacquainting ourselves with the material. I think there’s a lot of strong writing there, and we should be able to go forward on this book strong in 2020.

I submitted four new stories this year, not the six I’d aimed for. Three of those stories were accepted to the markets they were written for, and the fourth I just snuck in at the end of year (on the last day of submissions, with fifteen minutes to spare to catch my bus to my New Year’s Eve celebrations) so I won’t know if it sold for a while yet. Pretty happy that I pushed through on that last piece, despite not hitting my six story goal. I also realize my approach in finishing stories has not been remotely systematic any of the last few years. I just grabbed whatever stubs of writing and unfinished stories seemed to fit various open calls or invitations and honed them down and built them up until I had something to send off. I mean, I guess it’s a system…Of the four stories I submitted this year, three were stubs of old material that I fleshed out, and one was pretty much all new material. Two were set in the Graveyard Mind/Midnight Man ‘verse, and two were part of the Thunder Road ‘verse. I also subbed one older story that suited another open call and had two stories (“Cheating the Devil at Solitaire” in On Spec and “The Enforcer” in Earth: Giants, Golems, & Gargoyles) published. Not a bad year for short fiction for me.

When I abandoned Graveyard Mind 2, it was already mid-November, so too late to start writing a new book for NaNoWrimo, and I knew how my Decembers usually go, so starting a new book from scratch didn’t seem like something that I was in the head space for, so I prioritized that last story instead. But I did also have that completed book written for a work-for-hire project that didn’t work out. I think one of the reasons this task sat as long as it did was I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to replace the magic system/gods and religion that were part of the old IP, and the story I told didn’t really suit being placed in any of my existing writing worlds. Over the course of 2019, I figured out what I wanted to do with it and spent the tail end of the year finishing a draft. I stripped out the old company’s IP and replaced it with my own worldbuilding. There’s still a lot of layering to happen, and definitely another draft or two in its future, but it did cross one relatively big thing off my to-do list. I also think I want to add another POV character in the next draft, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited to get it done.

I read more in 2019 than I did in 2018, but it still didn’t feel like enough. Maybe because most of what I read was actually rereads or familiar series. As I got ready to move, I found I didn’t have the energy to concentrate on new books, so I stuck with series I’d already started, or rereading old favourites. Oh, and gaming books–so many gaming books. I started and finished Sam Sykes’ Bring Down Heaven trilogy, read a few Seanan McGuire novels in the InCryptid and October Daye series, and reacquainted myself with R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf and Icewind Dale trilogies, David Eddings’ Elenium and Tamuli, and fell waaaaaaay behind on my comic reading (Criminal was a stand out for me though) and checked out a bunch of new roleplaying games (City of Mist, Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, Forbidden Lands, Invisible Sun, Legend of the Five Rings 5e, Monster of the Week, Pathfinder 2e, Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, Tiny Supers).

I wrote about 80000 new words in 2019, which is up from 2018, but still well below what I’d like. I think for next year, I’m going to stop tracking my daily word count in the same way as I’ve been doing for the last five years or so. It’s had diminishing returns the last few years, and I spent time fiddling with the spreadsheet that I could’ve spent writing. Maybe I’ll just take one year off from obsessively tracking word count, or maybe not. Maybe I’ll only note the word count that goes out on submission this year. We’ll see how the writing goes.

So…

Why did I abandon work on Graveyard Mind 2?

A lot of shit was going on with ChiZine Publications that I should’ve noticed sooner, but there are some pretty good run downs available if you want to know more. Each new story of misdeeds by ChiZine that emerged was gutting, and I believe those who came forward, and appreciate their bravery in sharing. I’m also sorry I didn’t see what you were experiencing sooner. I’ll learn from this, and I’ll try to do better. While my time publishing with ChiZine was not as bad as others have described, I could not continue to have a professional or personal relationship with them. I asked for and received a reversion of rights to Graveyard Mind, so it will soon be out of print and unavailable. I do have some copies for sale at conventions for the time being. If you’d like to read it and can’t find it, please drop me a line and I’ll try to hook you up. I’m still deciding what I want to do with the book and series. Ideally, I’m hoping to find a new publisher for the series, but I’m also considering self-publishing a new edition of Graveyard Mind and possibly the rest of the series. What I choose to do will likely depend on the 2020 agent hunt. I’ll keep you posted.

While the year didn’t end the way I’d hoped, at the same time, I felt a renewed drive to create coming out of November. I had a great time at Can-Con hanging out with writer pals I see too rarely. So many people reached out to me during mid-November to check on how I was doing in the wake of the ChiZine news (thanks so much! Your support meant the world to me). I completed a new draft on an old book and finished one more short story before the bell tolled on 2019, so I’m feeling good about 2020’s creative prospects.

What’s up for 2020?

  • Decide what to do with Graveyard Mind and Graveyard Mind 2 and implement those plans.
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish short stories I’ve started but not completed. As before, I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year, but this year I’d also like to write one of those stories for submission to the online pro markets rather than for open call themed anthologies, as is my usual way.
  • Finish revising my WIP novel and get it out on submission.
  • Restart the agent hunt.
  • Read more.

Stretch goal!

  • If I get my WIP out on submission, and Sandra and I finish An Excuse for Whiskey by November, I’ll take a run at NaNoWriMo again.

Write on, folks!

Mother of All Dragons Christmas Craft Show

Farnsworth_Good News

With the demise of C4, Kari-Ann Anderson’s Mother of All Dragons Christmas Craft Show looks like a great opportunity to get some nerdy gifts for people on your holiday list if you’re in or around Winnipeg. And I’ll be there selling books! I’ll also some art prints and short story greeting cards perfect for Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

From the organizer:

​Mother of All Dragons Christmas Crafts Show is a unique event forthe Holidays. It is a Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Steampunk and Pop Culture themed Craft Show right here in Winnipeg. This year there is 60 tables of crafters, vendors, artists and so much more!!! I do hope you will come out and join us for a fun filled Saturday. Please stop by again as we will be updating from now till the show. We will be showcasing all of our wonderful crafters, vendors and artists. Also check out the website https://mofdxmascraftshow.weebly.com

Hope to see you there, Saturday November 2nd from 11am- 3pm at the Winakwa Community Centre, 980 Winakwa Road! Admission is free.

modpage_orig

Half-Year Check-in

So, here’s what I had up for 2019.

  • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
  • Revise 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
  • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out.
  • Be ready to write that new book by November for NaNoWriMo
  • Read more

And how are we doing? Not especially great, nothing is crossed off the list, but early days yet, and I’m hoping now that my move is done, things will start turning the corner, creatively speaking.

State of Writing: I’ve only added about 15K to the Graveyard Mind 2 manuscript, but I know the shape of what the book will be, and how I want it to influence what will come later in the series. Between a few real life things, it’s been tricky for Sandra and I to sit down and hammer out the revision task list for An Excuse for Whiskey, but I am confident that we’ll get there. I’ve got two new stories out the door so far, and both sold! One will be appearing in Earth: Giants, Golems, & Garygoles, and another I can’t talk about yet. I have one more story that is almost drafted and is due by month’s end. It’s not an old piece of unfinished writing, but I’m still going to count it as getting me half way to my six story goal for the year.

Earth-Lg

I haven’t done any work separating out that IP. I’m largely considering just writing off that work entirely. I wasted a creative year on that book, but for now, it doesn’t seem worth the bother to revisit, just a waste of further time. I have, however, been happily worldbuilding and outlining (sort of) the next thing I want to write. If I’ve crossed GM2 off the list, or at least finished the draft by then, I think I’ll be ready to start writing the mystery project in November.

State of Reading: So this was a non-writing related goal, but still a very important part of the writing. You know, such as remembering why I got into writing in the first place, and that’s because I love to read. Mostly have been rereading as I prepped for the move, but I finished a couple more Seanan McGuire books in the series I’ve been following, and finished off Sam Sykes’ Bring Down Heaven trilogy. I also reread my way through the Moonshae trilogy by Douglas Niles, and R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf trilogy and Icewind Dale trilogy. Sam Sykes definitely got the old D&D nostalgia vibes going, but comfort reads were what was going to happen, so it was fun to revisit some of the books I read so long ago. I’ve also been doing a bunch of gaming reading as I try to digest some new game systems I’ve recently purchased and want to get to the table, such as Invisible Sun, Mecha Hack, RuneQuest, and Tiny Supers.

State of Gaming: I’ve tried a few new games. Gaming is another big reason why I became a writer, and so while it’s usually the first thing that gets cut when the deadlines roll in, I’ve been missing it. I participated in Dungeon Musings’ game marathon, where we played Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I started playing in a Forbidden Lands campaign one of my buddies is running. The 5e D&D game I’m in with my high school group resumed after a moving hiatus and I hosted the first game in my new place. A new game just started up with the gang I played all the way through 3rd/3.5 D&D with, this time using 5th edition, and set in Greyhawk. I should be returning to the GM side of the table with a Marvel Superheroes game set in the MCU set post-Civil War and running a couple of Pacific Rim inspired one-shots and short games using Tiny Fontiers: Mecha and Monsters and Mecha Hack.

State of the Writer Himself: I’ve dropped thirty pounds since Christmas, largely due to a bunch of small changes accumulating to bigger results than I’d expected. Derek Künsken started #7300 Club on Twitter on New Year’s Day, a challenge to do 20 push ups a day for the year. When I saw the challenge, I snarked that I couldn’t promise to try, but I’d try to try, and when I did, I got mad at how much more difficult the exercise was than I remembered, so I kept going. My pal and co-writer Sandra Wickham who knows a shit-ton about this kind of stuff, suggested I vary my exercises and take a rest day, so I’ve been doing that and gradually ramping up my sets and repetitions of all the exercises. It’s all just body resistance stuff at the moment. Most of the weight loss likely came from my decision to quit eating so much garbage at work. So long, Tim Hortons sausage biscuit breakfast, hello banana. Cutting the junk food at work however meant I didn’t need to do much about my other meals to see results. It feels good. The last time I’d been under 200 pounds was after a bout of food poisoning that coincided with having to build a fence in thirty degree heat (I do not recomment this method for a variety of reasons). I’m back to the weight I was in my mid-twenties, and good thing I’m a pack rat, because some of the concert t-shirts I bought back then fit me again. The other exciting part of getting into better shape (you know, other than just plain feeling better) is that the words have been coming more regularly than they did all of last year.

The other big thing: I moved.

This has been a long time coming, we’ve been talking about it for a while now, and it’s finally happened. Sold our house and bought a condo. I’m hoping the lower maintenance will free up more time for writing, and maybe allow my sweetie to travel with me a bit more.

Most of the late winter and early spring was spent getting the house ready to sell, and the rest of spring until now was dealing with the move and unpacking. But I have a functional office again (mostly), so this, combined with just feeling better in general, leads me to believe the backend of 2019 will be better creatively. Any way, that’s me for now.

Write on!

Graveyard Mind Nominated for Prix Aurora Best Novel!

Farnsworth_Good News

Graveyard Mind has been nominated for an Aurora Award in the Best Novel category!

It took me a little while to announce this good news here on the blog as the official announcement dropped while I was in the middle of a gaming marathon for a friend’s birthday, and then I was dealing with a move to a new home.

I am thrilled to be sharing a ballot with so many friends and writers whose work I admire. Thanks to all my readers for choosing to nominate my work, this is my fourth Aurora nomination in the novel category and it never gets old.

If you’re not a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, here’s how you can participate and decide who receives this year’s awards. It’s worth joining just to receive the voters package (15 novels for 10 bucks, c’mon!).

From the Aurora Award website.

Membership in the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association costs $10 for one year. Memberships are active from January 1 – December 31.

Members are allowed to make recommendations to the eligibility lists from works published in the past year, nominate eligible works for the Aurora Awards and vote on the final award ballot. To become a CSFFA member, please fill out the following form which will register you for the site and take you to a PayPal gateway to pay for your membership.

The voters package will be available for CSFFA members to download later this month.
Voting for the awards will begin on August 3, 2019.
Both the voters package and the ballot close at 11:59 pm EDT on September 14, 2019.
The awards ceremony will be held at Can-Con 2019, October 18-20, 2019, in Ottawa, (can-con.org).

The nominees in all categories:

Best Novel
Armed in Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield, ChiZine Publications
Graveyard Mind by Chadwick Ginther, ChiZine Publications
One of Us by Craig DiLouie, Orbit
They Promised Me The Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner, Tor
The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken, Solaris Books and Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Witchmark by C. L. Polk, Tor.com Publications

Best Young Adult Novel
Children of the Bloodlands: The Realms of Ancient, Book 2 by S.M. Beiko, ECW Press
Cross Fire: An Exo Novel by Fonda Lee, Scholastic Press
The Emerald Cloth by Clare C Marshall, Faery Ink Press
Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks by ‘Nathan Burgoine, Bold Strokes Books
Finding Atlantis by J.M. Dover, Evil Alter Ego Press
Legacy of Light by Sarah Raughley, Simon Pulse
The Sign of Faust by Éric Desmarais, Renaissance Press
Timefall by Alison Lohans, Five Rivers Publishing

Best Short Fiction
A Hold Full of Truffles by Julie E. Czerneda, Tales from Plexis, DAW Books
Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield, Tor.com Publications
Critical Mass by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, Laksa Media
For A Rich Man to Enter by Susan Forest, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Issue 62
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson, Tor.com Publications

Best Graphic Novel
Crash and Burn by Finn Lucullan and Kate Larking, Astres Press
FUTILITY: Orange Planet Horror by Rick Overwater and Cam Hayden, Coffin Hop Press
It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
Krampus Is My Boyfriend! by S.M. Beiko, Webcomic
Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal, Drawn and Quarterly

Best Poem/Song
Echos by Shannon Allen, By the Light of Camelot, EDGE
How My Life Will End by Vanessa Cardui, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, Laksa Media
Osiris by Leah Bobet, Uncanny Magazine
Trips to Impossible Cities by Sandra Kasturi, Amazing Stories Magazine, issue #2, Winter 2018
Ursula Le Guin in the Underworld by Sarah Tolmie, On Spec issue 107 vol 28.4

Best Related Work
By the Light of Camelot edited by J. R. Campbell and Shannon Allen, EDGE
Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Uncanny Magazine
Gaslight Gothic: Strange Tales of Sherlock Holmes edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, EDGE
Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
We Shall Be Monsters: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 200 years on edited by Derek Newman-Stille, Renaissance Press

Best Visual Presentation
Bao, written and directed by Domee Shi , Pixar Animation Studios
Deadpool 2, written and produced by Ryan Reynolds, Twentieth Century Fox
Murdoch Mysteries, 2018 episodes, Peter Mitchell and Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury Films
Travelers, Season 3, Brad Wright, Carrie Mudd, John G. Lenic, and Eric McCormack, Peacock Alley Entertainment
Wynonna Earp, Season 3, Emily Andras, Seven24 Films Calgary

Best Artist
Lily Author, cover art for Polar Borealis Magazine #8, Dragon Lab
Samantha M. Beiko, covers for Laksa Media
James F. Beveridge, cover art for Tyche books
Roger Czerneda, cover for Tales from Plexis, DAW Books
Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press
Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, cartoons for Amazing Stories Magazine

Best Fan Writing and Publications
Adios Cowboy, Adam Shaftoe
Books and Tea, Christina Vasilevski
Constructing the Future, Derek Newman-Stille, Uncanny Magazine
Mars vs. Titan, Ron S. Friedman, Quora
She Wrote It But…Revisiting Joanna Russ’ “How to Suppress Women’s Writing” 35 Years Later, Krista D. Ball
Travelling TARDIS, Jen Desmarais, JenEric Designs

Best Fan Organizational
Sandra Kasturi, chair Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto
Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, co-chairs, Can*Con, Ottawa
Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work
S.M. Beiko and Clare C. Marshall, Business BFFs (Podcast)
Kari Maaren, ChiSeries Toronto, monthly musical performances
Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada
Joshua Pantalleresco, Just Joshing (Podcast)
Edward Willett, The Worldshapers (Podcast)

Voting for the 2018 Aurora Awards opens August 3, 2019.

Voting will close September 14, 2019.

I guess I’ve got some reading to do!

 

Awards Eligible Works from 2018

Here’s what I did in 2018. It was a pretty good year for publications, a new novel kicking off a brand new series, and four short stories (a personal best!). If you’re planning on voting in any of the major SF&F awards, such as the Hugos, Nebulas, or Auroras, and you’d like to read anything I’ve written, let me know (@chadwickginther on Twitter, or justonewick [at] gmail.com), and I’ll make sure you have a copy of any of my stories you want to read, or an excerpt of Graveyard Mind.

Novels:

  • Graveyard Mind (ChiZine Publications). I hope you’ve had a chance to read it, I think this book is my best work to date. Please also think of Erik Mohr who did my kick ass cover, and Samantha Beiko, my editor, who honed this book into the best shape it could have.

Short Stories:

  • All and Nothing,” Abyss and Apex, April 2018
  • “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame,” Fire: Elemental Anthologies #1, Tyche Books, Rhonda Parrish, editor, August 2018
  • “Eating of the Tree,” Parallel Prairies, Adam Petrash and Darren Ridgley, editors, October 2018
  • “None of Your Flesh and Blood,” Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins, Exile Editions, Derek Newman-Stille, editor,  December 2018

I’m proud of all of these stories, but I think “All and Nothing” is my strongest work among them, and hey, you can read it online, so please check it out.

If you’re a comic reader, I also self-published Midnight Man Magazine #1 which includes the following short comics I wrote:

  • Midnight Man versus The Ghoul Gourmet (Art by Justin Shauf)
  • Midnight Man versus Corpse King (Art by GMB Chomichuk)

Cover art by Justin Shauf; colours by Donovan Yaciuk.

Thanks, and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Graveyard Mind eBook Release Day!

Today’s the day! Physical copies of Graveyard Mind have been trickling into stores for a little while now, but today is the official release day for the eBook. Please give it a read, and if you’ve already done so, please drop a review!

In Winnipeg’s underworld, every mortician is on the take and every revenant of myth waits to claw their way out of their tombs.

The dead stay in the ground because of Winter Murray, a necromancer of the Compact. A victim of abduction and a criminal herself, Winter stalks Winnipeg’s Graveside, preventing larger, more heinous crimes from spilling over into the lives of the Sunsiders, no matter what laws of gods and men she must break to do so.

Winter is a chimera, sharing the genetic material of her own never-born fraternal twin sister. Her dead twin’s essence provides her a link to the Kingdom – the land of the dead – and a tie to a past she’s run from for thirteen years.

Winter struggles to find a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves. The temptation of dirty deeds is everywhere: An animated skeleton with a penchant for wearing dead men’s clothes wants her on his payroll. Her deceased, but not gone, mentor still pushes her to take the easy way by being hard. A composite man assembled from soldiers who still puts boot to ass when Winter demands. A vampire that wants just a taste. Each pulls at Winter ensuring a normal life remains eternally out of reach, and the easy way is anything but.

Available now!

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Chapters

Indiebound

And for the local folks in Winnipeg, McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Graveyard Mind Available For Preorder!

Graveyard Mind is available for preorder!

Order from Amazon, Chapters, Indiebound, and for the local folks, McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Check out this fucking wild cover by Erik Mohr! I love it!

This is my first book with ChiZine Publications, and one I hope will be the opener of an ongoing series. Only one way to ensure that: make it worth ChiZine’s while to publish more! And that means the book needs to find readers.

To sweeten the deal, I am offering a present for all you early adopters! I’ve written a short comic set in the world of Graveyard Mind which is being drawn now, and have commissioned an artist to do an illustration from the book! Email me at justonewick [AT] gmail.com and say I’ve pre-ordered Graveyard Mind! When the comic and illustration are done, I’ll email you a copy. Easy peasy.

What is Graveyard Mind about? Check it out:

In Winnipeg’s underworld, every mortician is on the take and every revenant of myth waits to claw their way out of their tombs.

 

The dead stay in the ground because of Winter Murray, a necromancer of the Compact. A victim of abduction and a criminal herself, Winter stalks Winnipeg’s Graveside, preventing larger, more heinous crimes from spilling over into the lives of the Sunsiders, no matter what laws of gods and men she must break to do so.

 

Winter is a chimera, sharing the genetic material of her own never-born fraternal twin sister. Her dead twin’s essence provides her a link to the Kingdom – the land of the dead – and a tie to a past she’s run from for thirteen years.

 

Winter struggles to find a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves. The temptation of dirty deeds is everywhere: An animated skeleton with a penchant for wearing dead men’s clothes wants her on his payroll. Her deceased, but not gone, mentor still pushes her to take the easy way by being hard. A composite man assembled from soldiers who still puts boot to ass when Winter demands. A vampire that wants just a taste. Each pulls at Winter ensuring a normal life remains eternally out of reach, and the easy way is anything but.