Music Monday: Ballrooms of Mars by T. Rex

I’m back at work after a week off following C4, not that there’s really a week off when you’re a writer. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo again, because I haven’t been working on any long form work this year, and with the pub date of Graveyard Mind moved from October 2018 to July 2018, I thought I’d best start writing so I can potential sneak some more book 2 foreshadowing in during the editorial process.

Here’s a taste of my current playlist:

You talk about day
I’m talking ’bout night time
When the monsters call out
The names of men

Good luck to all NaNoWriMo participants! Write on!

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Upcoming Events

Some fun stuff on the horizon:

Central Canada Comic Con!

I’ll be sharing some space with GMB Chomichuk, Samantha Beiko, Ryan Roth Bartel, and assorted other awesome folks in Artist’s Alley. Come on down to Booth 328 and say hi. I’m also debuting a new illustrated Thunder Road ‘verse short story illustrated by Kevin Madison (who did a series of  “Thunder Road Trip” illustrations)! “A Simple Twist of Fate” will be limited to a 200 copy print run, so you know what they say: buy early and buy often.

Other friends of Thunder Road that will be in Artist’s Alley include: AP Fuchs (#829), Burst Books (#823), Donovan Yaciuk (#316), Kari Ann Anderson (#116), Keycon (#910), Lovern Kindzierski (#425), Nyco Rudolph (#532), Scott A. Ford (#621), Scott Henderson (#324), and Sierra Dean (#724).

NaNoWriMo is kicking off November 1st. I won’t be participating in NaNo this year (I know, I know, it was on my goals for the year, but I still have two NaNo novels waiting to be edited and rewritten properly and a contracted book to finish and hand in) but the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Writers’ Collective have asked me and Samantha Beiko and Chris Rutkowski to pop by their NaNoWriMo kickoff and do a reading and give some words of inspiration.

Saturday, Nov. 1st from 6 – 10 p.m.
The Manitoba Writers’ Guild and The Writers’ Collective have combined forces to help you get your novel started off right! November is National Novel Writing month. The guild has offered up their office (218-100 Arthur Street) for writing space, coffee, and inspiration. At 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 authors will read from their fiction and offer words of inspiration!

6:30 Chris Rutkowski 7:30 Samantha Beiko 8:30 Chadwick Ginther

World Fantasy Convention WFC is one of my favourite traveling cons. I missed it last year, as Brighton just wasn’t in the cards, but Toronto 2012, Columbus 2010, and Calgary 2008 have all ranked among my favourite conventions ever, so I have high hopes for this year. Hope to see you there!

Novel Writing Club: In collaboration with the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, the Winnipeg Public Library will be hosting a novel writing club to offer emerging novelists the opportunity to work with a mentor for a seven month period. At monthly meetings, a facilitator will meet with participants to address their concerns, provide inspiration and advice, and offer ideas and suggestions. The objective is for all participants to complete the first draft of a novel by the last meeting in June.

The program is intended as an opportunity for writers who are prepared to commit to monthly meetings. Applications are open to those who have not participated in WPL’s critique circles during the past year. There is no charge to participants.The novel writing club will be facilitated by Chadwick Ginther (That’s me!).

Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. November, 25, December 16, 2014, and January 13, February 10, March 10, April 7, May 5, and June 9, 2015. A wrap-up event presenting an opportunity for writers to read aloud from their work will be scheduled for June.

Interested writers are encouraged to complete the application and submit it via email to critiquecircle.wpl@gmail.com starting November 1, 2014. Applications will be accepted until November 14, 2014. For more information, please call Millennium Library Reader Services at 204-986-6779

Write on!

December Goals and Year End Check In

So November has come and gone, and it’s taken the frenzy of National Novel Writing Month with it.

How’d I do?

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

  • NaNoWriMo: I decided what I’m going to write and I’m going to put words on the page dammit. It feels like a long time since I’ve had steady, big word count days, and I’m hoping this will kickstart my routine back into shape.

It’s hard to tell how the book turned out, as I haven’t sat down to read any of those November words yet, but I feel like this was my most successful NaNoWriMo of the three I’ve participated in. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve had this idea for the last two years, and kept meaning to get to it (2009’s idea showed up three days before November and quickly dissolved into a morrass of nonsense), but was worried I was talking about it more than I was writing it or because I managed to type the words without actually re-aggrivating my tennis elbow and pinched nerve (which was 2011’s problem). And I do know it’s not really a book yet. It needs about 25000-30000 more words to finish or flesh out existing scenes, and to create the scenes I didn’t get around to writing. The real win will be when I actually take the scattered mess, rewrite it and hone it and send it out, but this time it feels like that will be easier than my 2009 project (which I’m still revising) or my 2011 project (which I’m still writing).

We shall see.

I didn’t have steady, big word count days. I probably averaged around 1000 words most weekdays, and tried to make up for it on the weekends (which I usually didn’t). Having a book tour in the middle of the month and a week away from home hurt my word count for sure, but I managed some words in airports, and while I was a guest in Edmonton and Saskatoon. Not a lot of words, mind you, but enough that I was able to catch up again on my return. I did notice a shift towards the middle of the month when I was back to work where I was getting closer to my old word count goal of 2000 a day, even if those words were broken up in three tightly focused shorter sprints rather than one long sitting. I even had a near 7000 word Saturday while trying to catch up (I paid for it the next day) which I haven’t done in a long time.

I almost made the same mistake I did in 2009, which was getting distracted by a shiny new idea shortly before NaNoWriMo, but I held firm to what I planned to write this year. But on the plus side, I may already have next year’s project kicking around in my brain.

So that was last month. What’s on deck for this month?

December Goals:

  • Reread the completed Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues novels and make some notes before diving back into Book 3.
  • Reread everything I’ve already written for Book 3 so I’m ready to start drafting again in the new year.
  • Write a story for Tesseracts 18
  • Get a rewrite request on a short story done for On Spec (and maybe get a new story in to them too).
  • Clean my office before all the loose papers and teetering stacks of books come for me in the night and I’m never seen again.

Rereads are definitely required, because I want to make sure I resolve what needs to be resolved and leave some story for readers to imagine, should I decide to return to Ted’s world after the trilogy is done. Also, between edits, production, and promotion of Tombstone Blues, my head hasn’t been in Book 3, and I’d hate to write a scene I’ve already drafted!

This year the theme for Tesseracts is “Wrestling with Gods: Faith in Science Fiction and Fantasy”. I took in the Pure Speculation panel hosted by editors Liana K and Jerome Stueart and it was quite informative as to what they were looking for, and while I don’t know if I started writing my Tesseracts story in that panel, I definitely had an idea for a story. I’m hoping my word count momentum will allow me to draft this story a wee bit faster than is my norm for short fiction and get it revised and out the door.

The last time On Spec was open to submissions, they rejected one of my stories, asked for a rewrite on a second, and bought the third, “Runt of the Litter” (itself a rewrite request from their previous opening and a story set in the Thunder Road ‘verse if such things matter to you.). On Spec is a great magazine, and I’m thrilled that they were my first sale, which is one reason why I keep submitting stories to them (and they seem to like my writing, so that doesn’t hurt). I have three short stories completed that need at least one more round of revisions before being submitted again and of course the rewrite request. I’m not sure I’ll get them all off, but I’m going to try.

No, I will not be posting a picture of my office to show you how cluttered things have become in the last year. Nope, nope, nope.

As for those yearly goals:

  • Finish Tombstone Blues
  • Start writing the as-yet nebulously titled book 3 in the Thunder Road Trilogy (I’m thinking this will be a good year to return to NaNoWriMo).
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Start a new writing project, just for the fun of it.

Only two left to go, one is definitely not going to happen, and the other is very unlikely to happen, but I’m still going to make a run at it. The SF&F convention goal was on my list because I think it’s a good excuse to travel and see some new things and meet some new people, which is not my natural inclination. When I’d added that goal, I was intending on attending World Horror Convention in New Orleans (another goal of mine is to get that city, even if its reality might never live up to the magical place my high school self built it up into. Also, GO SAINTS!), but of course, life happened. I changed jobs and the trip wasn’t feasible anymore.

While I’ve been to Ottawa a few times before, I’ve never been to Can-Con, Ottawa’s SF&F convention. And taking in that convention did what I’d hoped for in New Orleans. I saw some new things and parts of Ottawa that I hadn’t experienced and met some great new people. I also was able to finally meet some people that until October, I’d only known from Twitter or Facebook, and I love when that happens. So the spirit of the goal was achieved, even if the letter of it was not. I won’t have a chance to get to a conference in December, so this one won’t be getting crossed off, but you will see it pop up again in January’s Goals for 2014 post.

You’ll probably see my revision goal there too, if I don’t finish another draft on an old manuscript in December. Currently, I’ll have to rewrite more than a chapter a day to succeed. But for the first time in twelve years, I won’t be dealing with a Christmas in retail. So with apologies to my friends who used to come visit me to see my infamous “Christmas Face”…

This:

Animated Gifs

will be replaced with this:

Write on!

November Goals

Here we are already in November, and for the first time in over a decade, I don’t find myself dreading the spectre of Christmas!

How’d we do in October?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal again. Any forward progress while I’m on tour for Tombstone Blues is going to be considered a win.
  • Finish “A Door in the Rock” and rewrite it based on editorial advice.
  • Try to get “A Door in the Rock” typeset and printed in time to hand out at C4.
  • Post at least one blog per week. (I’d like to do more, but in the pursuance of realism have to be honest).
  • Turn in my story about The Puzzle Box by The Apocalyptic Four for Prairie Books Now.

While I finally finished “A Door in the Rock”, I just finished it, so at this writing it hasn’t gone off to my editor yet, this makes my goal of having it printed for C4 (on…checks watch…Friday) a little unrealistic, but at least it’s done.

I did manage to average more than a blog post a week, but I did not in fact post once per week, and as these posts are supposed to be about accountability, it doesn’t feel right crossing that one off the October list.

And what about November?

  • NaNoWriMo: I decided what I’m going to write and I’m going to put words on the page dammit. It feels like a long time since I’ve had steady, big word count days, and I’m hoping this will kickstart my routine back into shape.

That’s it. What? 50000 words in a month isn’t enough for you? I’m calling it enough for me. Anything else that happens is a bonus.

Write on!

Can-Con 2013 Roundup

My trip to Ottawa and Can-Con 2013 got off to a rocky start. I rushed home from work to change clothes, grab my bags and take a cab to the airport–only the cab that I called never showed. “Soon” according to their dispatcher does not mean the under fifteen minutes that I’d expected. Call me wacky, but I like to arrive early for flights. I like having a chance to read a chapter or so in a book. Pick up a snack, or in Friday’s case, actually have some supper. So with my plane boarding in twenty minutes and me still at home, my skin was turning greener, and my purple pants were a-tearin’. Fortunately, one of my pals saw my Twitter fury, and zoomed to the rescue and got me to the airport three minutes prior to boarding saving an entire cab company from my Gamma-powered vengeance.

By the time I rolled into Ottawa it was after midnight and the ChiZine room party had been shut down by security (in flak jackets, no less, well done, my friends!) so I wandered up to the convention’s Hospitality Suite, but I didn’t recognize anyone. As I had been feeling run down all week, and the stress of almost missing my flight made me just want to collapse, that was what I did.

I didn’t sleep well, I rarely do the first night in a new place, but I also really need to stop starting a convention weekend already feeling run down and exhausted! Saturday morning I woke up feeling hungover. I hadn’t even had a drink, which is wholly damned unfair, but maybe you can get a rage hangover? Not sure. Headache aside, I wanted to have fun, and needed to feel human before my first panel (luckily not until noon). Derek Newman-Stille of Speculating Canada asked me to join him for breakfast and we had a great conversation. This was my first time meeting Derek in person, but he’s interviewed me before on his Aurora nominated (and now Aurora winning) blog. I have to give credit to Derek for that interview, because his questions really forced me to interrogate my own writing (his words) and in thinking of the answers to his questions, and thinking about my writing, it became easier for me to discuss my work.

Shortly after breakfast, I bumped into my good friend (and Guest of Honour at Can-Con this year), Robert J. Sawyer, who presented me with my Aurora Award nominee pin!

Chadwick Aurora

My Saturday panels included the Business of Writing, where I was joined by moderator Suzanne Church, Karen Dudley, and Jean-Louis Trudel. I had a lot of fun on this one, Suzanne is dynamic and energetic and kept the energy level up. I think we had good conversation, and good questions.

After the Business panel, I met up with my fellow panelists for the National Novel Writing Month! Aspiring Writers: Do it! Commit! Commit! Nicole Lavigne, Geoff Gander, and Maaja Wentz, we were joined by Barry King, and Rebecca Simkin, and hashed out how we wanted the panel to go and I think it went well. I’m planning on doing NaNoWriMo again this year, so hopefully we’ll all buddy up in November and keep each other motivated (and honest).

It was a small dealer’s room at Can-Con, but it was full of books. I left with Joey Comeau’s The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved, because it looks awesome (and because it came with a free barf bag–that’s some good marketing, ChiZine Publications!) I also had this button made by one half of the Victoria Dunn writing duo who authored Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies.

Enjoy Zombie Chadwick!

Zombie Chadwick

After the NaNoWriMo panel, it was time for supper with Team CZP, and we had a great meal at a Som Tom Thai. Fantastic food. Fantastic company. Also, hijinks ensued (as they usually do with CZP) thanks to Brett Savory and Matt “Photobomb” Moore.

Photobomb

And this was not photoshopped, it happened live, I assure you. Photo credit: Brett “Authentic” Savory.

Bellies full of spicy goodness we rambled up to the Bundoran Press room party–which was also promptly shut down by security in flak jackets. Are creative types really that dangerous to Ottawa? No, wait, don’t answer that. Not to worry though, we found our own fun. I cut out (relatively) early, knowing I had a 10:00 am panel on Creativity in Fandom. Still woke up with a headache, but I mostly managed to chase it away with judicious applications of fresh fruit and Gatorade before me and my blue tongue were joined by Errol Elumir and Debs Linden (AKA Filk duo, Debs & Errol, Aurora nominated for their CD, Songs in the Key of Geek).

So, the Aurora Awards…

I did not win the Aurora for Best Novel, but I’m over the moon for Tanya Huff, who truly deserves this recognition for her excellent book, The Silvered. I was also incredibly happy for Robert Sawyer, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award this year at the Auroras (he’s put his acceptance speech up on his website, and it’s good one). This year’s ballot in all categories was packed with friends and people whose work I love and admire, so I am honoured to have been counted among them this year.

Here’s all the winners:

Novel: The SilveredTanya Huff

YA Fiction: Under my Skin, The WildlingsCharles de Lint

Short Fiction: The Walker of the Shifting Borderland – Douglas Smith

Poem / Song: A Sea Monster Tells His Story – David Clink

Graphic Novel: WeregeekAlina Pete

Related Work: Hayden TrenholmBlood and Water

Artist: Erik Mohr – Cover Art for ChiZine Publications

Fan Publication: Speculating Canada Blog – Derek Newman-Stille

Fan Filk: Kari MaarenBody of Work

Fan Organizational: Randy McCharlesWhen Worlds Collide

Fan Related Work: Ron Friedman – Aurora Awards Voter Package

It was also announced that Canvention, the Canadian national SF&F convention (which presents the Prix Aurora Awards) will be hosted in 2014 by V-Con in Vancouver! This is really exciting news, as I was already planning to attend V-Con next year. Double the pleasure!

Tonight I launch Tombstone Blues at Books on Beechwood, 6pm, then Wednesday I’m in Toronto reading for ChiSeries with Chantal Guertin and Evan Munday! We’ll be joined by Aurora winner Kari Maaren and her ukulele.

Big thanks to my friends and family in Ottawa and Toronto for chauffeuring me around and putting me up after the conference, and to Ravenstone Books for sending me out here!

Write on!

October Goals

September has come and gone. I made some promises, but did I keep them?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal again. Any forward progress while I’m prepping for the launch and tour of Tombstone Blues is going to be considered a win.
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Start pre-writing blog posts for my website and guest blogs for during the Tombstone Blues tour.
  • Submit a review to The Winnipeg Review.
  • Actually get my next goals post up a little earlier than middle of October.

Why yes, yes I did–mostly. Nice to see for a change. September was a busy month for me at the dayjob and with back to school and fuller buses means it’s a little harder to get work done on my to and from work. At times I could have spent my entire lunch break just trying to find space to write, let alone actually putting words down. I may have to reevaluate my writing routine again. I’ll wait out October and see how I feel once things have settled down.

I didn’t do any writing sprints on my lunch in September with the pals that normally play along but I did get some writing done. I wrote a second epilogue for the final book in the Thunder Road Trilogy (No, both won’t appear in the final book). I’ve been waffling on the final grace note of the series (although I know what the last two words have to be (and no, not: “The End”, thank you very much)), and I think I might release the unused one as an e-short after the series is done if anyone is interested in reading it.

The long-suffering short story now has a name: “A Door in the Rock”. I really wanted this story done, but while it went through a few more polishes, I just don’t feel it’s ready for readers yet. Just because I want to give it away at Comic Con, doesn’t mean I want to give away something half-baked. I’ll still try to have it ready for C4, but if it’s not done, maybe I’ll do something with it for Christmas instead. You’ll read it eventually, never fear.

I’ve written up the first few “Loki’s Guide to Mythology” posts from Tombstone Blues and outlined a few other posts, that might end up on this site or as guest posts elsewhere. I turned in my review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s This Strange Way of Dying (short version, awesome and you have to read it!) long version coming soon from The Winnipeg Review.

And here we are in a new month, and not already halfway through it. So what’s up for October?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal again. Any forward progress while I’m on tour for Tombstone Blues is going to be considered a win.
  • Finish “A Door in the Rock” and rewrite it based on editorial advice.
  • Try to get “A Door in the Rock” typeset and printed in time to hand out at C4.
  • Post at least one blog per week. (I’d like to do more, but in the pursuance of realism have to be honest).
  • Turn in my story about The Puzzle Box by The Apocalyptic Four for Prairie Books Now.

Not enough? I’ll be doing events in Ottawa, Toronto, Kenora, and yes, even a couple in Winnipeg, so I’m trying to be realistic (and I’m probably not being realistic). Also? I’ve had an idea. Actually a collision of a couple of ideas that I think together have the legs to be not just a book, but a new series. Which means I’ll be diving into National Novel Writing Month again to try to get it drafted. Plotting has begun, much to my surprise. I’m not normally an advance plotter, but the last time I tried pantsing my way through NaNoWriMo I almost lost my mind and three years on I’m STILL trying to fix that manuscript.

So. Yearly goals. What do you know?

  • Finish Tombstone Blues
  • Start writing the as-yet nebulously titled book 3 in the Thunder Road Trilogy (I’m thinking this will be a good year to return to NaNoWriMo).
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Start a new writing project, just for the fun of it.

Another one bites the dust.

Write on!