I loved Kevin Madison’s take on Ted Callan fighting frost giants, but wait, there’s more! Ted versus Níðhöggur!
I loved Kevin Madison’s take on Ted Callan fighting frost giants, but wait, there’s more! Ted versus Níðhöggur!
I’ve been listening to a lot of Steve Earle again. Steve Earle usually gets me thinking of my Thunder Road series as there’s a lot of Earle songs on my writing playlist. Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing a couple of new Thunder Road short stories, or because Kevin Madison has done a couple new pieces of Thunder Road art, but Ted’s been knocking at my creative door again lately. If I ever write another Thunder Road novel starring Ted Callan, dollars to doughnuts, this is my Chapter One title.
I’m the ramblin’ kind
No matter where I roll everybody stands aside
Lets me rumble down the road aint got a lot of friends
But I’m acquainted with the wind and we’re travelin’ along
Once again, my pal Kevin Madison has come through with a sweet piece of Thunder Road inspired art. This one was done as to celebrate what would have been Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday (note the Kirby Krackle around Ted’s fist) and I love it.
This will pair nicely with the “Ted versus Minnesota” story I’m working on (working title. Most Ted related stories start off as Ted versus until I find the right song to pair with story).
Nominations opened for the Prix Aurora Awards (and a whole mess of other awards too–though it’s the Auroras that are most likely to impact ’round Thunder Road Way) while I had my head down trying to finish my latest novel.
Instruction for how to nominate a story are available on the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association’s site. But why should you vote? Ottawa author Matt Moore wrote an excellent blog post on why we should participate in the Aurora Awards. The more people participate, and the more they care, the more these awards will matter.
If you’re so inclined, here’s what I did in 2015:
I also want to mention the people that helped me create in 2015:
In addition to being my co-conspirator for the Winnipeg arm of ChiSeries, Samantha Beiko steps up every single time I give her a weird ass request, such as: I want to make story cards, or can you draw me a giant, evil cat? Even I want to put a new book together less than a month before Comic Con.
Sam did this great picture of Ted Callan for my story, “New Year’s Eve”
She also illustrated this super fun (and super creepy) Jólakötturinn, the Christmas Cat.
and she edited and laid out Shared World.
GMB Chomichuk and James Gillespie also wrote a short story for Shared World. “Kaa-Rokaan.”
In addtion to being a great writer, Gregory is an amazing artist. His Infinitum was a wonderful, weird read. Time travel noir!
He also illustrated Underworld, written by another Winnipeg comics mainstay, Lovern Kindzierski. Greek mythology in modern Winnipeg.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia wrote my favourite book of 2015, her novel debut, Signal to Noise. Silvia’s knows her Lovecraft, and everyone involved in Shared World was chuffed when she agreed to write us a kickass introduction.
Michael Matheson was my editor for Too Far Gone. Michael was new to editing the series, anddid a bang up job. I’d love to have a chance to work with Michael again. In the meantime, checkout this anthology published by ChiZine Publications:
David Jón Fuller was my copy editor for Too Far Gone (and the entire Thunder Road Trilogy) and kept all my umlauts in the right spots. David is also a damn fine short story writer.
His story “Caged” appeared in Guns and Romances, and “In Open Air” appeared in Accessing the Future.
Scott Henderson did this gorgeous piece inspired by Too Far Gone.
Scott also illustrated Richard Van Camp’s graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies.
Claude Lalumière and David Nickle were my editors for The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir and bought my story, “The Last Good Look.”
This is a killer anthology. I enjoyed reading every story in it.
Sandra Wickham and I are currently writing a novel together. She’s also sort of taken on the Herculean task of getting me back in shape. Her book Health and Fitness for Creative People is a great start.
Kevin Madison has done tons of Thunder Road illustrations for me over the course of the series’ life. Here’s one of his most recent:
Kevin also wrote a comic last year, which was a lot of fun. Different artists illustrating various points in a superhero’s career.
Here’s some other stuff I really dug throughout 2015, heavily weighted towards comics, because that seemed to be the majority of my reading lately.
I helped back Canadian Corps on Kickstarter. Andrew Lorenz’s writing definitely hit me right in the Alpha Flight feels.
Donovan Yaciuk did the colours for Canadian Corps, but he also writes this sweet indie comic:
A space-faring pig. ‘Nuff said.
Justin Shauf is the artist on Spacepig Hamadeus and Canadian Corps. He also drew me this SWEET Dr. Fate.
Rat Queens is written by Kurtis Wiebe, and its one of the highlights of my comic pull list ever time an issue drops.
I adore Fiona Staples’ art on Saga. Another book that’s never disappointed me.
Jim Zub’s Wayward is another great fantasy comic.
No matter how much I read, it still seems like it’s never enough! I feel like I’ve got a lot of cramming to do before I put in my nominations. What have you created or read that I should check out before nominations close?
I posted this story last year as a holiday gift for my readers. I’m reposting today with the promise of a new Thunder Road holiday story tomorrow.
My readers have been very good to me. Some of you Thunder Road fans have had images from my work tattooed on your bodies, some of you have taken my work and made art of your own (Like Kevin Madison’s illustration below). You’ve also emailed or tweeted or messaged me to say you’ve enjoyed the stories I have to tell. This has meant the world to me.
So I hope you’ll enjoy “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks” a second time.
Alberta was a blast, as always.
Edmonton was my first stop on the western leg of my Too Far Gone book tour. I love Edmonton, it feels a lot like Winnipeg to me, which is sort of like saying it feels like home.
My first night in Edmonton I had an event at Audreys Books.
(Photo courtesy of Barb Galler-Smith)
Fuck. I look exhausted. Which…I guess I was. Alberta followed on the heels of C4, an event in Toronto, and World Fantasy Con. I also had one of my worst flights in recent memory: surrounded by screaming toddlers, someone tried to steal my seat, and a flight attendant accidentally (I presume) spat in my eye.
If you weren’t able to make it to my launch at Audreys Books, here’s a bit of my preamble to my reading.
I love coming to Edmonton! One of the things that I always try to do while I’m here is walk across the High Level Bridge—which, Eileen Bell warned me, was the only thing I wasn’t allowed to destroy in Too Far Gone.
You have no idea how nervous it made me to bring the book—and Ted Callan—back to Edmonton. I half wanted to kick off the book here, so I could escape before anyone had read the book, in case I got your city all wrong.
But Edmonton has always been very welcoming to me, and in a way, feels more like home to me than any other city in Canada other than Winnipeg. I loved prowling your streets, and writing in, and about Edmonton.
I read one of my favourite bits of Too Far Gone, which is early in the book, and sets the tone well, I think without spoiling much of the book, or needing to over-explain the previous two novels; the scene where Ted takes in a black metal concert outside of Saskatoon.
Thanks though, to everyone who came out and and asked questions, and joined me for a bite to eat and few drinks afterward. And big thanks to everyone who picked up a book, because you got Too Far Gone to #3 on the Edmonton Journal bestseller list!
I unfortunately don’t have any photos of Eileen Bell’s launch of Drowning in Amber at Variant Edition. Eileen was gracious enough to ask me along to do a reading with her. It was a blast! Definitely Eileen’s crowd, there was only a handful of mutual acquaintances, but I still sold lots of books. Thanks, Eileen’s friends and family! And thanks, Variant Edition! What a cool comic book store. Danica LeBlanc and Brandon Schatz have created something special there, and I’m really looking forward to visiting them again.
One of the things I was told early on in my writing career was not to read the same passage twice in the same city. I usually adhere to this and prepare a couple readings, so that I can also potentially play to the crowd I’ve drawn. I like to have a spooky reading and a funny reading. At Variant Edition, I went with the funny reading, a bit of Ted and Loki banter, as I I didn’t know many people, and figured “if you can make ’em laugh, at least they’ll remember you fondly.”
I also customize my preamble a bit for each event. It keeps things fresh for me, as much as anything, but it also helps when you have multiple events in the same city to keep people who attend each from zoning out before you get to that second reading.
It’s fitting that the end of the Thunder Road trip makes a stop here, in a comic book shop, because without comics, I highly doubt I would’ve become a reader—or at least, not as voracious a reader as I am. Comics were my gateway, not just to reading, but to the fantastic. To tales of high adventure. And they’ve been an influence on everything I’ve created. Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men, John Byrne’s Alpha Flight, later Mike Mignola’s Hellboy…I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m still a comic reader, and Wednesday isn’t hump day for me, it’s New Comic Book Day.
Wednesday was actually a travel day, and I was keenly feeling the fact that I hadn’t picked up my comics back home for two weeks, but it was also Remembrance Day. I’m glad my host required little prodding to bring me to one of the services in Edmonton. It took place in a place nicknamed “The Butterdome” and it was very reminiscent of the services I’ve attended in Winnipeg at the Minto Armory. I was also cautioned to avoid mocking the Butterdome until after I’d left Edmonton.
After a minor scare due to getting caught up in Whyte Avenue, I made it to my bus with minutes to spare, and headed south to Calgary.
My launch at Owl’s Nest Books was a blast. Great crowd. Great questions. Great store.
(Photo courtesy of Jean Cichon)
In a huge surprise, Professor Michael Cichon who’d invited me to speak to his class in 2013 (and introduced me to Loki beer from Paddock Wood) at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan happened to be in Calgary, so I was glad we had a chance to catch up a bit. It was great to see so many of my friends from When Words Collide as well. Owl’s Nest is a great store, and I’m looking forward to going back some day with another book.
From my Calgary preamble:
I love coming to Calgary. I’ve made some great friends here, and your conference When Words Collide is one of the highlights of my year every August. Calgary also hosted the first SF&F convention I ever attended, and if it wasn’t for the great friends I’ve made along the way since, I probably wouldn’t have thought to make Ted Albertan. Now I just hope you’ll forgive me for making him from Edmonton.
I snuck in a signing at Indigo Signal Hill on Friday thanks to Stacey Kondla (another great WWC person) and it went well. Signal Hill is a huge store with a great SF&F and Graphic Novel collection.
(Photo courtesy of Stacey Kondla)
I’ve admired the work Kevin Madison has done for his Prix Aurora nominated “Thunder Road Trip” art blog of his reading of my trilogy for ages. It’s one of the reasons I specifically commissioned art from him for “A Simple Twist of Fate” and while I was in Calgary, I got to witness him starting up the next leg of the blog after the launch:
Canmore! I’ve never been to Canmore, or right in the mountains like this.
Too bad it was cloudy and snowy so that I couldn’t see to the tops of those mountains, but it was still amazing. After a lunch at a Mexican restaurant, I headed down to Cafe Books to do my thing.
(Photo courtesy of Jean Cichon)
Cafe Books is a wonderful store. I talked to lots of people, and signed a bunch of books. Cafe Books is labyrinthine, and seems to keep going and going. It feels like you could find anything there. I hope to return someday.
That was my tour! Thanks to Ravenstone for putting me out on the road, and the folks who put me up (and put up with me) along the way.
I can’t believe that C4 (Central Canada Comic Con) is only a week away!
It’s definitely going to be a mad dash to that finish line to get everything done I’d like to have done beforehand, and an even madder weekend during the con. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Because I love working with friends. And I’ll have a lot of them at this convention.
First off, Prix Aurora nominated artist (for his work on a live blog of his reading of the Thunder Road Trilogy), and illustrator of my 2014 C4 project, A Simple Twist of Fate, Kevin Madison will be at C4 for the first time in Artist Alley. He surprised me on Thanksgiving with this piece:
Love it! Check out more of his work.
Samantha Beiko is the illustrator of a couple of my other projects that’ll be debuting at C4 in addition to being a top-flight editor and author. Sam’s a triple threat, and the real deal.
Here’s a taste of her work:
Samantha will also be at C4 as her alter-ego: Valkyrie Books, a bookstore that until now, has existed only in her imagination. She’ll be selling the latest speculative fiction goodies, as well as a selection of titles by local authors (including yours truly).
I love having a table around GMB Chomichuk, it’s such a good vibe and good energy. We finally got to work together, putting a little story bindup of Lovecraftian Madness together called Shared World. We each contributed a story and Gregory brought his wicked art sensibilities to the cover and interiors. Gregory talked about how the project came together on his blog last week, and how he blames me, but Samantha Beiko made the craziness possible. Thanks also to Silvia Moreno-Garcia for writing us a kickass introduction.
Our first (hopefully of many) Valkyrie Books Secret Editions: Shared World!
The third (but definitely not last) of my Scott Henderson commissions just arrived. Scott did a killer Thunder Road illustration after reading the book, and I loved it so much I asked him to do a Tilda drawing to celebrate the publication of Tombstone Blues.
Here’s what he cooked up for Too Far Gone:
This is just the inks, to see the full colour amazing, you’ll have to come by my or Scott’s tables at C4. I fucking wept to see it. Also, sorry for all the stuff that happens to you in Too Far Gone, Edmonton.
Finally, speaking of creative colleagues, Dave Gross hosted me on his blog’s Creative Colleagues feature! Send him your clicks please.