Manitoba Book Awards Shortlists

The Shortlists for the 2013 Manitoba Book Awards were released yesterday and I was (and remain) absolutely gobsmacked to see Thunder Road show up three times. I am trying to be realistic about my chances. I mean, I share the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction shortlist with three former Book of the Year winners and two of this year’s Book of the Year nominees.

I’d like to give big congratulations to my pal Karen Dudley and my editor Wayne Tefs on their nominations, as well as to Jamis Paulson and Sharon Caseburg for making Thunder Road look as good as it did. It is also great to see so many of my fellow Turnstone Press authors nominated for their excellent work.

Finally, congrats to all the nominees, I am honoured to be in your excellent company, and thank you to the jurors, it’s not an easy job having to choose who makes up those shortlists.

If you’re reading this, I hope you can attend the awards. I’d love to share a drink of commiseration/celebration with you.

For Immediate Release – March 14, 2013

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – The Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers are pleased to announce the Manitoba Book Awards shortlists. The awards will be presented at the Manitoba Book Awards gala, on Sunday April 28th at the West End Cultural Centre and hosted by Ismaila Alfa.  Doors open at 7:15 p.m., with the ceremony beginning at 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The shortlists and recipients are selected by a variety of juries, comprised of writers, publishers and other book industry personnel from across Canada.

And the nominees are…

McNally Robinson Book of the Year

  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by Harper Collins Canada
  • Dating by Dave Williamson, published by Turnstone Press
  • The House on Sugarbush Road by Méira Cook, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History through the Photographs of L.B. Foote, by Esyllt W. Jones, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Monstrance by Sarah Klassen, published by Turnstone Press
  • Whitetail Shooting Gallery by Annette Lapointe, published by Anvil Press

Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction

  • Creation and Transformation: Defining Movements in Inuit Art by Darlene Coward Wight, published by Douglas and MacIntyre and the Winnipeg Art Gallery
  • Dams of Contention by Bill Redekop, published by Heartland Associates    
  • On the Fly: A Hockey Fan’s View from the ‘Peg by Wayne Tefs, published by Turnstone Press    
  • Racialized Policing by Elizabeth Comack, published by Fernwood Publishing

Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry/Prix Lansdowne de poésie

  • Marchand d’intensité by Laurent Poliquin, published by L’Harmattan
  • Monstrance by Sarah Klassen, published by Turnstone Press
  • The Politics of Knives by Jonathan Ballpublished by Coach House Books

Best Illustrated Book of the Year

  • 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga by David Alexander Robertson, illustrations by Scott B. Henderson, design by Relish New Brand Experience, published by Highwater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press.
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History through the Photographs of L.B. Foote, by Esyllt W. Jones, design by Doowah Design, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Mike Grandmaison’s Prairie and Beyond, photographs by Mike Grandmaison, design by Jamis Paulson, published by Turnstone Press
  • Romulus + Remus: Issue 1 written, illustrated, and published by Scott Ford

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by Harper Collins
  • Dating: A Novel by Dave Williamson, published by Turnstone Press
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History Through the Photographs of L. B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • What You Get at Home by Dora Dueck, published by Turnstone Press

Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

  • All Things Considered by Joan-Dianne Smith, published by Goldfish Publishing
  • Sonar by Kristian Enright, published by Turnstone Press
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

  • Kristian Enright
  • Kevin Marc Fournier
  • Katherena Vermette

Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year

  • Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, design by Lisa Friesen (Winnipeg Art Gallery), calligraphy by Nicole Coulson, published by ARP Books
  • I Know Who You Remind Me Of, stories by Naomi K. Lewis, design by Relish New Brand Experience, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • The Marsh Keepers Journey: the Story of Ducks Unlimited Canada by Bruce Batt, design by Jeope Wolfe, published by Ducks Unlimited Canada.
  • Warehouse Journal Vol.21 co-edited by Nicole Hunt and Brandon Bergem, designed and published by the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture

The Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by Harper Collins Canada
  • Eleven Pipers Piping by C.C. Benison, published by Doubleday Canada
  • The House on Sugarbush Road by Méira Cook, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • The Only Man in the World by Faith Johnston, published by Turnstone Press
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press
  • What You Get at Home by Dora Dueck, published by Turnstone Press

Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher

  • Dams of Contention: The Rafferty-Alameda Story and the Birth of Canadian Environmental Law by Bill Redekop, design by Dawn Huck, published by Heartland Associates
  • Food for the Gods: An Epikurean Epic by Karen Dudley, cover design by Doowah Design, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History Through the Photographs of L.B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones, design by Doowah Design, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Mike Grandmaison’s Prairie and Beyond, photographs by Mike Grandmaison, text by Jan Volney, design by Jamis Paulson, published by Turnstone Press
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, cover design by Jamis Paulson, interior design by Sharon Caseburg, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award – Older Category

  • 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga by David Alexander Robertson, published by Highwater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press
  • The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City by Kevin Marc Fournier, published by Great Plains Teen Fiction
  • The Last Song by Eva Wiseman, published by Tundra Books

Le Prix littéraire Rue-Deschambault

  • Les enfants de Tantale par Lise Gaboury-Diallo, publié par  Les Éditions du Blé
  • Poème Pierre Prière par J.R. Léveillé, publié par Les Éditions du Blé
  • La Révolution Tranquille par Raymond M. Hebert, publié par Les Éditions du Blé
  • Li Rvinant par Rhéal Cenerini, publié par Les Éditions du Blé

The administrators of the Manitoba Book Awards gratefully acknowledge the support of the following Book Awards partners: Aqua Books, the Canada Council for the Arts, Friesens, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Manitoba Foundation for the Arts, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, McNally Robinson Booksellers, the Winnipeg Arts Council, and The Winnipeg Foundation.

The full shortlist will also be available at:http://www.manitobawritersguild.com

For more information please contact:

Natasha Peterson

(204)-944-8013

natasha@mbwriter.mb.ca

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My World Fantasy Convention Roundup

Another World Fantasy Convention has come and gone, and as my blog readers seem to enjoy these reports (if my site stats are to be believed) here’s the WFC2012 report.

Better late than never, right?

World Fantasy is my favourite convention, hands down. Maybe I imprinted on it somehow, World Fantasy 2008 in Calgary was the first away from home conference I ever attended. I talked comic books with Tad Williams, football with George R.R. Martin and Hemingway with Joe Haldeman. I met tons of people who became good friends. That is bound to make an impression on a guy.

This year’s convention was also held in Canada, so I knew I’d also have a lot of friends to meet up with. It was an early start for me, as I flew off Thursday morning with friend and fellow Turnstone Press author, Karen Dudley. We’d hoped to meet up with another Manitoba writer, Shen Braun, who was arriving at the same time as us, but on a different flight, and split a cab from Pearson airport to the conference hotel (it was quite the jaunt as World Fantasy Toronto was actually in Richmond Hill, or so I kept being told). Unfortunately, Shen didn’t get in on time, but Karen and I did share the plane with Winnipeg writer Gerald Brandt. Even more luck, our mutual friends Eileen Bell and Ryan McFadden were on route to the conference and near the airport, so they swung by to pick us all up. It was a tight squeeze with five writers and their luggage in a Toyota Corolla, but we made it work.

Arriving at the hotel was a homecoming of sorts. Every time I turned around, there was someone else I knew. A great feeling. Over the weekend, I not only connected with friends who are scattered across the continent, but met many new friends.

After ditching our bags, we had to hustle to get through registration and grab our swag bags (the swag at WFC is truly epic, this is only what I could fit in my luggage, I left at least this much behind on the trade table.)

We had to hustle because Thursday night, Turnstone was sponsoring the Ravenstone Books Launch Party for Thunder Road and Food for the Gods. I’m glad the party was Thursday, it meant I didn’t have it hanging over my head for the entire weekend. I know the way I roll, and there was no way I’d have been able to relax and enjoy the convention until the launch was over. Marie Bilodeau from Ottawa served as our host and Bakka Phoenix was there to sell copies of our novels. We managed to get the room set up, and just finish having a bite to eat before it was time to open the doors and the worrying began. What if no one shows up? What if everyone shows up? Fortunately, we had just the right mix, the room was full, but not so packed that we couldn’t move about and mingle. I had a great time, signed a bunch of books, and met a few people I’d only know through Twitter or Facebook. It was over too soon, but it did teach me how stressful organizing an event can be. My hats off to people who do it all the time.

Friday:

I took in Julie Czerneda’s reading from her forthcoming fantasy novel, A Turn of Light. I’ve been curious about this one for a long time, as I’ve always had my feet deeper in fantasy than in science fiction, looking forward to reading the whole book. The samples Julie read were enough to entice me to read the book when it releases.

At my very first World Fantasy Con, I met Chandra Rooney. She was on a panel about writing tie-in fiction. I read her Tarot Cafe novel, The Wild Hunt, and interviewed her here. It was great to be able to chat for a bit after her reading. The samples Chandra read are unpublished right now, but you’re in for a treat when they do see the inside of bookstores.

I think the only panel I took in this year was Sandra Kasturi’s interviewing World Fantasy special guest, Tanya Huff. Sandra’s a riot and Tanya is also funny as hell, and a consummate pro to boot. She shared some great stories from her career with a packed and eager room. Good times.

Every World Fantasy Convention also includes a mass signing, putting every author in one big banquet room for two hours, and lets the signature hounds go wild. It was a better experience than I was expecting. I did actually sign some copies of Thunder Road, despite Fantasy giants like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss being in the same room. I handed out a bunch of my temporary tattoos and had fun chatting with Neil Godbout from Prince George (who’s debut YA novel, Disintegrate, is well worth checking out) and Robert Sawyer.

After the signing had concluded I made my way up to the hospitality suites and flitted between the EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Fall launch, the Tor Books party and the Con Suite. I happened to be around when it was announced that James A. Moore had wrote a story about Dr. Doom and Barbie. There was a bet of some kind involved, I never did suss out all the details, something about 55$ and popcorn. James joked it was the best per word rate he’d received to date. Christopher Golden read the story aloud to a dozen or more listeners. The story, about 1200 words, complete with a beginning, middle, and end, was evidently written in about 45 minutes. It was amazing. James promised to put it up on his blog at some point. As soon as it surfaces, I’ll link to it, because it’s too good not to read.

I picked up a copy of Shanghai Steam (complete with an awesome story by my bud, Shen) and read the first five minutes of “Back in Black” from Tesseracts 16, joined by fellow contributors Michael Kelly, Sandra Kasturi, Adria Laycraft and Randy McCharles.

Saturday was mostly spent taking in readings:

James L. Sutter, author of Death’s Heretic and fiction editor at Paizo did a short reading, and then led a fun Q&A about writing and gaming with his audience. I’m still holding out hope that Paizo will let him write a novel set in his Distant Worlds Pathfinder Campaign setting. It’s may be a bit of a fringe product, but it was one of the coolest game accessories I’ve seen in years, and it was obvious James had a real passion for it.

Another Paizo author, Dave Gross, had the room next. Dave read from Queen of Thorns. It was a saucy reading for 9:30 in the morning. Man, I love the character of Radovan! I picked up Dave’s previous book, Master of Devils after Dave’s reading at When Words Collide 2011 in Calgary, and have been looking forward to his next book ever since.

Suzanne Church won the Aurora Award for her short story “The Needle’s Eye” so I wanted to check out her reading (also, she promised candy). Suzanne read snippets from a few different stories (bought her issue of Clarkesworld while I was picking up my “rejected by Clarkesworld card), all very different, but all excellent.

I had to run to make Helen Marshall’s reading from her new collection, Hair Side, Flesh Side, but it was worth it. A very intriguing story, and perfect delivery in the reading.

I made it back from supper in time for the epic ChiZine party. I’ve met so many of the ChiZine authors, and they’re all awesome people in addition to being great writers, but the gravitational pull of that much awesome in one room made for a very crowded party. So I wandered the halls roaming between the consuite party, ChiZine party, and the hotel bar.

It sounds bad, but I mostly behaved (mostly). I had to be up at 5 to get ready for my flight home.

I survived the weekend on two hours of sleep a night and managed not to pick up any con crud despite seemingly being surrounded by coughers and flu carriers (Looking at you, Mrs. Dudley). It was also quite the change of gears to go from drinking bourbon with friends for four days and being on no one’s schedule but my own to plunging back to the incessant ringing of telephones and vague requests for “that blue book, you know the one.”

Next week the western leg of the tour starts! Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, I am coming for you…

Write on.

The Next Big Thing Week 11

Thank you, Rhiannon Held, for tagging me in The Next Big Thing. The Next Big Thing is a weekly blog post where the tagged authors talk about a work in progress.

What is the working title of your book?

Tombstone Blues Book Two in the Thunder Road Trilogy is my current work in progress. Book One launches on Thursday, September 6th and Tombstone Blues will release Fall 2013.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Tombstone Blues happened organically from events leading up to the climax of Thunder Road. I’d sketched out a rough outline for this story to write someday, not intending it to be next, but as soon as I wrote: “Hel is jealous and strong. She will not be pleased.” I also knew this book had to be next.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban Fantasy, with heavy Norse mythological influences.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I would have said Brett Favre for Ted (at least before all that texting business…), but as I’ve only seen him play himself in Something About Mary, I’m not sure he really counts as an actor. Instead, I’m going to say Ray Stevenson. Perfect height for Ted, and he has a gift for onscreen profanity and violence. Tilda would be Adrianne Palicki. Again, she’s the perfect height. I liked her in Supernatural, and she seems drawn to superheroic/fantasy roles. Loki is a shapeshifter, so he could be (and should be) played by multiple actors (and actresses). It feels like a cheat to say Tom Hiddleston, but I liked him so much in Thor and The Avengers. He might play his Loki a little more sinister than I wrote mine. Hel would be Tilda Swinton, because she does layered madness very, very well. Finally, Thor would be Liam Neeson. He’s big. He punches wolves, and he’s played gods before. What more can you ask for?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Hel’s army invades Winnipeg trying to reclaim Thor’s hammer from its new wielder.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book will be published by Ravenstone Books, an Imprint of Turnstone Press. Currently, I am not represented by an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A little less than three months for the first draft, but as I wrote it immediately after finishing Thunder Road, it sat after its first round of revisions until I sold the first book (a strategy I am somewhat regretting at the moment as my delivery deadline creeps closer).

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

J.A. Pitts’ excellent Black Blade Blues mixes Norse Myth with the locales of his home state. And while I hesitate to mention Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which has won every award and is simply a breathtaking book, it also has strong mythological elements–particularly Norse Myth.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I said above, the broad events of Tombstone Blues grew out of Thunder Road, but the biggest inspiration for the book was my home city of Winnipeg. It’s history geography and folklore make the book what it is. I just hope Winnipeg forgives me for all the damage my characters are doing to it!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I write an appendix of handy-dandy explanations about the gods and creatures of Norse Mythology, all done in Loki’s best snarky voice.

Tag! You’re it!

David Annandale

GMB Chomichuk

Karen Dudley

Erika Holt

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rules:

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) ***
Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. It’s that simple.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Loki’s Guide to Norse Mythology: Loki

 

Tricksters are hard to write.

You have to ride that fine line between keeping them chaotic enough to push your protagonist, create conflict (and help solve it) and at the same time keep them charming enough that your audience doesn’t wonder why your hero isn’t pushing back hard (your hero can hate the trickster plenty, in fact that’s encouraged).

There’s been a few trickster figures in fantasy that as a reader I’ve felt have been exceptionally handled: Coyote in Christopher Moore’s Coyote Blue, Matrim Cauthon in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time (starting in The Dragon Reborn and onward; he irritated the hell out of me in books one and two), and Karen Dudley’s Hermes in the forthcoming Food for the Gods, among them. I hope Thunder Road readers will feel that way about my take on Loki.

As soon as I decided to write a book with a Norse myth focus, I knew it had to have Loki. So I thought about who would be most irritated and uncomfortable about having to share a mystical quest with a shapeshifting and gender swapping wise ass. My Alberta oil worker protagonist, Ted Callan, was in essence created and driven by Loki even before the story started.

What’s not to like about Loki?

Everything good or bad in Norse myth happens because of him. How did Thor get his hammer? Loki. How did Odin get his spear? Loki. Who was ultimately responsible for the god Baldur’s death? Loki. Who also ensured that Hel would not release Baldur from the underworld? That was Loki too. Loki’s children Fenrir and Jormungandur are responsible for the deaths of Odin and Thor. Loki and Norse watchman Heimdall died at each others hands at Ragnarök like a viking Holmes and Moriarty.

When there is talk of Loki’s family (and this comes up surprisingly often in my circles), it’s almost always about his monstrous children with the jötunn, Angrboða: Fenrir, Jormungandur, and Hel, goddess of the dead. But Loki had a family among the Aesir gods too. Once Loki was bound by the gods, his wife Sigyn spent the rest of her days catching the poison that dripped over Loki’s face. Was it simply blind devotion to the institution of marriage? I don’t think so. To me, there had to be something lovable about Loki. One of their children is transformed into a wolf and tears apart the other, whose guts are then used to bind her husband, and still she tried to ease his suffering?  I felt that act had to be honoured. Somehow.

The question is: will that lovable something be enough to keep Loki alive this time around?

A Bunch of Little Things Make a Big Blog Post.

I was in Ottawa over Canada Day, and while I was hoping to have my recap of that trip up and posted, a bunch of things have got in the way. So instead, here’s a few minor tidbits that have crossed the desk since then:

The Sunburst Awards Shortlists Announced:

Adult fiction:

  •  Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, David Nickle (ChiZine Publications)
  • Technicolor Ultra Mall, Ryan Oakley (Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publications)
  • Enter, Night, Michael Rowe (ChiZine)
  • Paradise Tales, Geoff Ryman (Small Beer Press)
  • The Pattern Scars, Caitlin Sweet (ChiZine)
  • Blackdog, K.V. Johansen (Pyr Books)

Young Adult fiction:

  • Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson (Lerner Publishing Group)
  • All Good Children, Catherine Austen (Orca Book Publishers)
  • The Summer of Permanent Wants, Jamieson Findlay (Doubleday Canada)
  • The Dead Kid Detective Agency, Evan Munday (ECW Press)
  • Blood Red Road, Moira Young (Doubleday Canada)

Another great year for my pals at ChiZine, and the second year in a row where the Sunbursts and the Prix Auroras have had a surprising amount of commonality. My recollection (I suppose I could actually research this, but that defeats the purpose of a quick blog post, doesn’t it?) is that the two awards, one juried, one fan-voted, have never shared a winner.

On the Same Page (aka Manitoba Reads before CBC started an actual Manitoba Reads program) shortlist announced:

  • A Thousand Farewells, Nahlah Ayed (Viking Canada)
  • Queen of Hearts, Martha Brooks (Groundwood Books Ltd.)
  • Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings From the Land of Water, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair and Warren Cariou, editors (Highwater Press)
  • A Large Harmonium, Sue Sorenson (Coteau Books)

Local awards like On the Same Page are always hard for me to come out in support of a particular title. I think it stems from getting to know many of the authors at my bookselling day job. It feels a little like playing favourites. I know I have a few colleagues who refuse to be on any of the Manitoba Book Awards juries for this reason. But this is my blog and I’ll play favourites if I want to. I think it’s going to be hard to top Manitowapow this year. The book has had an amazing response so far, and with its multiple contributors I think it’ll have the most promotional oomph.

There are no genre titles in the running this year. I nominated Sierra Dean’s debut urban fantasy Something Secret This Way Comes, (mostly because it’s an awesome and fun read, but partly because I know the customers who buy whole hog into On the Same Page, and thinking of them reading a book about a half-werewolf, half-vampire bounty hunter really made me smile) because if I don’t support Winnipeg’s fantasy writing community, who will?

Speaking of Winnipeg’s fantasy writing community:

Fellow Turnstone author, critique partner, maker of holiday peanut brittle and all around good egg, Karen Dudley, has booked the Winnipeg launch for her fantasy debut, Food for the Gods. Be there. It’ll be awesome. I fully intend on drinking a full amphora of wine and telling embarrassing stories about the early days of this novel. If that doesn’t float your boat, Karen is one of the best readers I’ve encountered, and trust me, I’ve worked in a book store for over ten years, I’ve heard a lot of readings (many of which I’d pay money to unhear).

Oh, and this happened:
Chadwick Ginther Puts The Magic Back In Manitoba
A great shout out from my home team at McNally Robinson. Thanks especially to Steven Benstead who wrote the article and has been a tireless supporter of my writing from day one. Steve is also a damn fine writer himself, and as much as I poke fun at Can-Lit, when his current novel finds a home, it’ll knock your socks off.

Finally, the Innsmouth Free Press anthology Fungi (containing my story “First They Came for the Pigs“) has a website now and I think it looks beautiful. I love everything about this project, so kudos to editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Orrin Grey. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s stories. And if I’m playing favourites, of all the stories I’ve written, my contribution to Fungi is currently my most loved.

That’s all the news fit for print, as the saying goes.

Write on!