An Embarrassingly Late When Words Collide 2016 Roundup

Sorry for the delay on this roundup, folks!

Another year, another trip to Cowtown!

This trip was a little different. Samantha Beiko and I decided to drive to the con instead of flying. A supposedly fun thing I don’t think I’ll ever do again. Because of my car, not the company.

Roughly two hours into a thirteen hour drive, as Sam was joking about not getting stranded in Brandon again, my battery light came on. Rather than risking the car dying on the road, we pulled into Brandon for repairs. What had initially sounded like a one or two-hour delay became closer to four after waiting for the part to arrive, but new alternator installed, we journeyed on. Despite therapeutic cowch outside of Canadian Tire this development was…so disheartening.

Not gonna lie, the temptation to just give up on the trip then and there was pretty high. But! We were both on programming, both up for Aurora Awards, and, both really excited to visit our friend Clare for her birthday.

So we soldiered on, but that thirteen hour drive ended up being closer to nineteen, door to door.

There is a lot of Saskatchewan to get through. It’s not that the province isn’t pretty, but when you start roughly halfway through Manitoba, and are going halfway into Alberta, crossing the entirety of Saskatchewan just feels like forever. It takes the time it takes, but the perception of that time…that I could’ve done without.

We managed to dodge most of the thunderstorms, and had good weather at least.

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This one only caught us for about thirty seconds, but we were completely blindied by the sun shining through the downpour. Sweet little Bifrost though waving us onward though.

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The skies were amazing. I do love those big damn prairie skies. I am glad I got to see these clouds from a bit of a distance rather than having to drive through them.

Okay on to the con itself:

Calgary has a way of causing me headaches. Whether it’s the altitude, or the pressure changes, or what…I dunno. I’m batting 3 for 8 when it comes to Cowtown visits that give me a headache so bad I vomit (take your whiskey jokes and walk, folks) so I’m always a little bit on edge wondering if it’ll happen again. It’s one of the reasons I program lightly at WWC. No vomiting this time. YAY! But the length of the drive and the stress of car repairs did end up giving me a pretty wicked tension headache (thanks, Jill Flanagan for sorting that out!).

I had no programming on Friday. Which is nice for me. I like to catch up with folks at When Words Collide, and I have a lot of folks to catch up with there! We rolled in early, and helped Clare get her table set up and then got our membership badges.

And then I enjoyed a Basil Hayden’s bourbon, which until recently, I wasn’t able to buy in Manitoba. It’s always a treat when the convention bar has it on the shelf.

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Saturday I participated in a Myth and Folklore panel moderated wonderfully by S.G. Wong (check out her latest, Death Takes the Hindmost when it releases, I got to read an advance copy. Very nice!) and thanks to fellow panelists Rhonda Parrish, and Nancy M. Bell for the lively discussion.

I found some copies of this on the freebie table:

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My friend Chris Smith (an inaugural and long-suffering member of my writing group) has a story in this one. The Crow Maiden. Very cool story. You should read it. I brought a few copies home for him.

Saturday also meant running around to grab things for the Post-Apocalyptic Four party I was co-hosting with friends and fellow Aurora nominees Randy McCharles, Eileen Bell, Ryan McFadden and Billie Milholland. By things I, of course, mean whiskey (and whisky).

The Prix Auroras were handed out. This is no longer news, but I still want to give a shout out to the worthy winners. Neither I nor ChiSeries Winnipeg were awarded in our categories, but there were a lot of great works being celebrated, so that’s okay. Looking at the stats, Too Far Gone came in second in the novel category, so that’s pretty cool too. Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted,and congratulations to all the winners!

  • Best English Novel: A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
  • Best English YA Novel: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet, Scholastic Canada/Clarion Books
  • Best English Short Fiction: “Waters of Versailles” by Kelly Robson, Tor.com
  • Best English Poem/Song: “Origami Crane / Light Defying Spaceship” by Naru Dames Sundar, Liminality, Issue 5 Autumn
  • Best English Graphic Novel: The Lady ParaNorma by Vincent Marcone, ChiZine Publications
  • Best English Related Work: Second Contacts edited by Michael Rimar & Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
  • Best Visual Presentation: Orphan Black, Season 3, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
  • Best Artist: Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications
  • Best Fan Publication: Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille
  • Best Fan Organizational: Randy McCharles, Chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Best Fan Related Work: Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

We went out for supper and cake after the awards to celebrate Clare’s birthday.

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BIRFDAE! BIRFDAE! BIRFDAE!

After consuming my weight in Indian food and gluten-free vegan chocolate cake, I had to rush back to the hotel for the room party. It’s been four years since I’ve thrown a con party. It’ll probably be at least that many more until the next one. Lots of folks came out for it, but while I enjoy the parties, it’s another matter throwing one. It also means you can’t leave when you want to if you get overwhelmed by the crowd.

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Look at this room.

There was nowhere to put anybody.

Which was awesome and terrifying.

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to drink our whiskey and beer, and hang out and talk writing, or just talk–loud and crowded as it was. You’re all great. I still can’t fucking believe we weren’t shut down within the hour.

Early on Sunday I was on Susan MacGregor’s panel on writing trilogies. Great batch of panelists and questions from Susan. Thanks to Susan, and fellow panelists Gerald Brandt, Samantha Beiko, Barb Galler-Smith and to everyone who came out.

Once again Sandra Wickham presented her “Writing About Fighting” presentation. And I got to be her fight dummy. Another packed room! Sandra does a great job with this so you really should check it out if you’re at a con where she’s presenting it (and not just to see me get kicked in the stomach).

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Photo by S.G. Wong.

(One of these days I’m going to beak off too much on Twitter and Sandra will just straight up murder me in front of her audience)

I skipped the dead dog to hang out with Sam and Clare, decompress, and watched Dragon Heart.

The drive home wasn’t as long as the drive to Calgary, but it was long enough.

Still, a rainbow that crossed the entire sky was a nice welcome home when we pulled over in Brandon to swap out the driver’s seat.

The drive home was especially long the last hour of thunderstormin’. Poor Sam had to drive. What a trooper!

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I tried multiple times to catch a lightning strike. Not easy with a cell phone camera.

I also really wanted an image of a lightning strike behind the Halfway Tree. For reasons.

And once we got fully into the shit, it was dark.

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But, we made it home okay, and you couldn’t ask for a better driving partner than Sam Beiko. 12/10 would road trip with Sam again.

See you again next year, When Words Collide!

Write on!

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Too Far Gone Prix Aurora Finalist For Best Novel

Thrilled to finally be able to announce that Too Far Gone is a finalist for the Prix Aurora Award!

Loki Yeah

Ahem.

Samantha Beiko and myself were also nominated for our work with the Winnipeg arm of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series!

John Oliver FIRE

I’m so happy to be able to share a ballot with so many of my talented friends. Congratulations to everyone, and thank you to everyone who read my work, or attended ChiSeries.

You all rock.

Write on!

The awards will be given out at Canvention 36, hosted by When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta on the weekend of August 1214th.  Full details about CSFFA, the awards and voting can be found at www.prixaurorawards.ca.

 

Best English Novel

 

Cursed: Black Swan by Ryan T. McFadden, Dragon Moon Press

A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books

Drowning in Amber by E.C. Bell, Tyche Books

Much Ado about Macbeth by Randy McCharles, Tyche Books

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Solaris

Too Far Gone by Chadwick Ginther, Ravenstone Books

 

Best English Young Adult Novel

 

The Flame in the Maze by Caitlin Sweet, ChiZine Publications

The Fountain by Suzy Vadori, Evil Alter Ego Press

An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet, Scholastic Canada/Clarion Books US

Mabel the Mafioso Dwarf by Sherry Peters, Dwarvenamazon

Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond by Jayne Barnard, Tyche Books

 

Best English Short Fiction

 

“Cosmobotica” by Costi Gurgu & Tony Pi, Running Press

“Game Not Over” by Ron Friedman, Galaxy’s Edge, January

“La Héron” by Charlotte Ashley, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2015

“Looking for Gordo” by Robert J. Sawyer, Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft

“Super Frenemies” by Stephen Kotowych, Caped: An Anthology of Superhero Tales, Local Hero Press

“Waters of Versailles” by Kelly Robson, Tor.com

 

Best English Poem/Song

 

Elegy for WLC” by David Clink, The Dalhousie Review

Origami Crane / Light Defying Spaceship” by Naru Dames Sundar, Liminality, Issue 5 Autumn

Portrait” by David Clink, On Spec Winter/Spring

Typhon & Echidna: A Love Story” by Sandra Kasturi, Gods, Memes and Monsters: A 21st Century Bestiary

Venice Letting Go” by Sandra Kasturi, If the World were to Stop Spinning (Chapbook)

 

Best English Graphic Novel

 

Bloodsuckers written by J.M. Frey, illustrated by Ryan Cole; Toronto Comics, Vol 2 (ed. Steven Andrews)

Crash and Burn: Prologue by Kate Larking & Finn Lucullan, Astres Press

Infinitum by GMB Chomichuk, ChiZine Publications

The Lady ParaNorma by Vincent Marcone, ChiZine Publications

West of Bathurst: The Complete Collection by Kari Maaren

 

Best English Related Work

 

Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond edited by Madeline Ashby and David Nickle, ChiZine Publications

nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles, EDGE

Playground of Lost Toys edited by Colleen Anderson and Ursula Pflug, Exile Editions

Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places edited by J R Campbell and Charles Prepolec, EDGE

Second Contacts edited by Michael Rimar & Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press

 

Best Visual Presentation

 

Bitten, Season 2, Daegan Fryklind, No Equal/eOne/Hoodwink

Continuum, Season 4, Simon Barry, Reunion Pictures

Dark Matter, Season 1, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Prodigy Pictures

Killjoys, Season 1, Michelle Lovretta, Temple Street Productions

Orphan Black, Season 3, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions

 

Best Artist

 

James Beveridge, covers and poster art

Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications

Jeff Minkevics, covers for Five Rivers Press

Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press

Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, body of work: Robot sculptures made from upcycled metal objects

 

Best Fan Publication

 

Broken Toys edited by Taral Wayne

Ecdysis edited by Jonathan Crowe

The Page of Reviews edited by Adam Shaftoe-Durrant

Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

WARP, issues 90-93 edited by Cathy Palmer-Lister

 

Best Fan Organizational

 

Samantha Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, Chair, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Winnipeg

Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, Executive, Can*Con 2015, Ottawa

Randy McCharles, Chair, When Words Collide, Calgary

Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau and Nicole Lavigne, Co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa

Alana Otis and Paul Roberts, Co-chairs, Ad Astra 34 Convention, Toronto

 

Best Fan Related Work

 

Morva Bowman and Alan Pollard, Halsway Con Concert, Somerset, UK

Keith Braithwaite, The Doctor and his Companion, Montreal Science Fiction & Fantasy Association (WARP)

Steve Fahnestalk, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine

Kari Maaren, Everbody Hates Elves (album), Bandcamp and CD

Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

 

Note: No award will be given out for the Best Music category this year due to insufficient eligible nominees.  Eligible nominees were incorporated into the Best Fan Related Work.

Prix Aurora Award Nominations

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:

  • Too Far Gone, Ravenstone Books, October 2015, eligible in the Novel category.
  • The Last Good Look, The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir, March 2015, eligible in the Short Fiction category.
  • When the Gods Send You Rats, Shared World Volume One, October 2015, eligible in the Short Fiction category.
  • Co-Chair/Artistic Director ChiSeries Winnipeg with Samantha Beiko: “Fan Organizational” category.

Eligibility Lists are here:

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”

Ted New Year's Eve by SM Beiko

She also illustrated this super fun (and super creepy) Jólakötturinn, the Christmas Cat.

Christmas Cat by Samantha Beiko

and she edited and laid out Shared World.

Sam is awesomesauce. Check out her stuff, and her dream book store, Valkyrie Books.

GMB Chomichuk and James Gillespie also wrote a short story for Shared World. “Kaa-Rokaan.”

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In addtion to being a great writer, Gregory is an amazing artist. His Infinitum was a wonderful, weird read. Time travel noir!

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He also illustrated Underworld, written by another Winnipeg comics mainstay, Lovern Kindzierski. Greek mythology in modern Winnipeg.

Underworld-Cover

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.

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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:

Boy Eating

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.

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Scott also illustrated Richard Van Camp’s graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies.

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.”

New Canadian Noir Cover

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.

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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:

Ted with Ravens

Kevin also wrote a comic last year, which was a lot of fun. Different artists illustrating various points in a superhero’s career.

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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.

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Donovan Yaciuk did the colours for Canadian Corps, but he also writes this sweet indie comic:

Spacepig Hamadeus

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.

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Rat Queens is written by Kurtis Wiebe, and its one of the highlights of my comic pull list ever time an issue drops.

Rat Queens

I adore Fiona Staples’ art on Saga. Another book that’s never disappointed me.

Saga Staples

Jim Zub’s Wayward is another great fantasy comic.

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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?

Write on!

2015 Prix Aurora Award Nominees Announced

I was attending a write off with friends over the weekend when the Prix Aurora nominees were announced, which was kind of cool. Even cooler that one of the nominees was there to share her excitement. I was very happy to see lots of friends made the short lists this year (seeing the novel list, I’m pretty happy that I don’t have a book up against those authors. That’s a pretty strong list). It was nice to see two ChiSeries nominations on the ballot (congrats, Toronto and Ottawa!). I am ecstatic that two of my Winnipeg creative friends received a nomination, so congratulations, GMB Chomichuk and Sherry Peters! And I am beyond thrilled that Kevin Madison’s amazing artwork from his Thunder Road Trip liveblog of reading my books was recognized in one of the fan categories. Good show!

Thunder Road Ted Parkade

(From Thunder Road Trip)

Here are the nominees in all categories:

Best Novel – English

Echopraxia by Peter Watts, Tor Books
The Future Falls by Tanya Huff, DAW Books
My Real Children by Jo Walton, Tor Books
The Peripheral by William Gibson, Penguin Canada
A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books

Best Young Adult Novel – English
Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, Tor Books
Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf by Sherry Peters, Dwarvenamazon
Out of This World by Charles de Lint, Razorbill Canada
Rain by Amanda Sun, Harlequin TEEN
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada
Twist of the Blade by Edward Willett, Coteau Books
The Voices in Between by Charlene Challenger, Tightrope Books

Best Short Fiction – English
Crimson Sky” by Eric Choi, Analog, July/August
Jelly and the D-Machine” by Suzanne Church, Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction, EDGE
Mecha-Jesus” by Derwin Mak, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE
No Sweeter Art” by Tony Pi, Beneath Ceaseless Skies #155, September 4, 2014
Soul-Hungry” by Suzanne Church, Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction, EDGE

Best Poem/Song – English
A Hex, With Bees” by Tony Pi, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE
Aversions” by Helen Marshall, Goblin Fruit, October
The Machine” by David Clink, Wrestling With Gods: Tesseracts Eighteen, EDGE
The New Ways” by Amal El-Mohtar, Uncanny Magazine, November
The Perfect Library” by David Clink, If the World were to Stop Spinning (Chapbook)

Best Graphic Novel – English
Cassie & Tonk by Justin Currie and GMB Chomichuk, Chasing Artwork
It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
Raygun Gothic Vol. 2 by GMB Chomichuk, Alchemical Press
Treadwell by Dominic Bercier, Mirror Comics
Trillium by Jeff Lemire, DC Comics-Vertigo

Best Related Work – English
Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction by Suzanne Church, EDGE
Gifts for the One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall, CZP
Lackington’s speculative prose edited by Ranylt Richildis
Strange Bedfellows
edited by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press

Best Artist
James Beveridge, cover for Tantamount and Out Dweller
Erik Mohr
, cover for The Door in the Mountain and ChiZine Publications
Derek Newman-Stille, cover for Elephants and Omnibuses
Dan O’Driscoll
, covers for Bundoran Press and On Spec magazine
Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk & Steve Fahnestalk, “Walking on the Moon”, cover for On Spec, No. 95 (Vol. 25 No. 4),

Best Fan Publication
Broken Toys edited by Taral Wayne
Ecdysis edited by Jonathan Crowe
Pubnites & Other Events edited by Yvonne Penney
Space Cadet edited by R. Graeme Cameron
Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Music
Brooke Abbey, Weirdness from 2014, Bandcamp
Copy Red Leader, Crossing the Streams CD, The Pond Studio
Debs & Errol (Deborah Linden and Errol Elumir), OVFF Concert (Ohio Valley Filk Fest)
Kari Maaren, YouTube Channel
Stone Dragons, Dream of Flying CD, Stone Dragon Studios

Best Fan Organizational
Sandra Kasturi, Chair, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto
Derek Künsken, Farrell McGovern, Caycee Price and Elizabeth BuchanKimmerly, Executive, Can*Con 2014, Ottawa
Randy McCharles, Chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau and Nicole Lavigne, Co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
Alana Otis-Wood and Paul Roberts, Co-chairs, Ad Astra Convention, Toronto

Best Fan Related Work
R. Graeme Cameron, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine
Steve Fahnestalk, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine
Kevin B. Madison, Thunder Road Trip
Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM
Lloyd Penney, fan writing for fanzines and e-zines

The awards will be given out at Canvention 35, hosted by SFContario 6 in Toronto, Ontario on the weekend of November 20 – 22nd. Full details about CSFFA, the awards and voting can be found at www.prixaurorawards.ca.

Write on!

One Month Left To Nominate For The 2015 Prix Aurora Awards

While I had my head down to finish Too Far Gone, 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).

There is still a month left to nominate, and if you’re so inclined, here’s what I did in 2014:

  • New Year’s Day: Published by Ravenstone, January 2014, eligible in the “Short Fiction” category
  • Runt of the Litter: Published in the Spring 2014 issue of On Spec Magazine, eligible in the “Short Fiction” category
  • A Simple Twist of Fate: Self-published October 2014, eligible in the “Short Fiction” category
  • A Taste of the Other Side: Published in Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls, October 2014, eligible in the “Short Fiction category
  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks: Self-published, December 2014, eligible in the “Short Fiction” category
  • Co-Chair/Artistic Director ChiSeries Winnipeg with Samantha Beiko: “Fan Organizational” category

Eligibility lists are here:

Please also consider the people that helped me create in 2014.

On Spec Magazine is eligible in the “Best Related Work” category.

Spring2014_frontcover_outer

Kevin Madison’s work during his “Thunder Road Trip” art blog read of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues, is eligible for “Best Fan Related” category

Tombstone Blues Thor and the Dead.finished

Thunder Road Einherjar Finished

Runt of the Litter Grim and Loki.finished

Ted and Ravens

Ted Callan

and the cover and interior illustrations he did for “A Simple Twist of Fate” are eligible in the “Artist” category.

TR ASTOF Cover Finished

I’d also like to give a shout out to Scott Henderson in the “Artist” category for his stunning illustration of Tilda as a valkyrie from Tombstone Blues.

TILDA_VALKYRIE_C copy

Scott also has a graphic novel that’s eligible this year: The Chronicles of Era.

Chronicles of Era

Check out the awesome sketch he drew in mine:

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If you’re a member of CSFFA, please add eligible works to their data base, please nominate, please vote. The more involvement there is in the award from folks who care about Canadian speculative fiction, the more meaningful the award is.

Instructions on how to nominate 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 that participate, and the more they care, the more these awards will matter.

I still haven’t put my ballot in, so if you know of something from 2014 that absolutely shouldn’t be missed, drop me a line and I’ll add it to my to-read pile.

Thank you, and write on!

VCon and the Prix Auroras Roundup

Another year of the Prix Auroras have come and gone.

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Very cool to see some of my friends receiving their Aurora nominee pins. Here’s Samantha getting hers.

I didn’t win, nor did ChiSeries Winnipeg, but I knew competition was steep this year. Big Congrats to all the winners! Fellow Winnipeg nominee Samantha Beiko and I got dressed up as fancy as possible (as is our custom at formal affairs) and joined in for the high tea prior to the awards.

Here’s a list of the Prix Aurora winners in all categories:

Best English Novel: A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books
Best English YA Novel: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada
Best English Short Fiction: “Ghost in the Machine” by Ryan McFadden, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
Best English Poem/Song: “Night Journey: West Coast” by Eileen Kernaghan , Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast, EDGE
Best English Graphic Novel: Rock, Paper, Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, webcomic
Best English Related Work: On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Best Artist: Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Best Fan Music: Chris Hadfield for his performance of Space Oddity
Best Fan Organizational: Randy McCharles, Chair and Programming, When Words Collide, Calgary
Best Fan Related Work: Robert Runté, “Why I Read Canadian Speculative Fiction: The Social Dimension of Reading”, Scholar Keynote Address at ACCSFF ’13, Toronto

For those who are interested, here is the breakdown of nomination and voting statistics.

A couple quick thoughts on the stats: It is very clear the two voting bases are in Alberta and Ontario (which I was already aware of in a vague sort of way, but looking at the numbers really hammered that home), but I didn’t know how thin the Manitoban voting pool was. We have a robust con culture here, between Keycon, C4, and other events, so I’m not quite sure why that is. Finally, Tombstone Blues had the most nominations in its category, so I must be doing something right.

Next year, the Aurora nomination ballot will go from three items per category to five. I wonder how/if that will change the shortlist dynamic.

As for VCon, it was my first time at this convention. Also my first time in British Columbia.

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Hello mountains.

I’ve been meaning to go west for a while, some of the first friends I made in the industry when I attended World Fantasy in Calgary were VCon regulars. This year, the combination of Sandra Wickham doing the literary programming, attending the Auroras, and getting to hang out with Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ann Aguirre again was too much of a treat.

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Convening the Illuminaughty.

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The view from my hotel.

Silvia got Ann, Samantha, and I to leave the safety of the hotel and head into the city. Vancouver really is beautiful at night (to be fair, it’s beautiful during the day also), and the waterfront seemed kind of magical. While we were out with met up with Clare C. Marshall for more fun times.

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Blurry waterfront photo brought to you courtesy of hunger/whiskey.

In fact, I was so hungry by the time we found a restaurant, that I’d completely forgotten how we arrived. Silvia’s directions back to the Skytrain had pretty much disappeared. However, I walk with a purpose and was on the way to getting us seriously lost before Ann and Samantha questioned me. A minor train misadventure later (this one wasn’t on me!) and we made it home safely, if very late. That two-hour time change was a bit of a beast, although I handled it a little better this time than I had in Portland for World Horror Con.

My panel on Writing Non-Fiction to Supplement Your Fiction went well. My fellow panelists had interesting things to say, it wasn’t a huge crowd, but it was a bit of a niche subject. The panel of Game Master Tips and Tricks was much better attended. I tried to speak in generalities that could be used across a broad number of games rather than just sharing D&D war stories from my games. It was cool to meet Tarol Hunt of Goblins fame. I made a shout out to the Amber Diceless RPG and got a very enthusiastic “Woohoo!” from a couple of the attending gamers. We chatted a bit after the panel about Amber and its latest scion, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

There was a bit of confusion with my reading on Sunday, mostly due to the fact that I had to ask to change the time at the last minute to ensure I’d make my flight home. That’s on me, I knew I had an afternoon flight, so I should’ve mentioned it to programming as soon as I’d booked it. VCon was very accommodating, but the turnout was pretty thin.

All in all, way too short of a time to spend in such a cool city. I’m sure I’ll be back.

Write on!

 

My VCon Schedule

I’m heading off to VCon this weekend. VCon is Vancouver’s premier science fiction, fantasy and games convention. I can’t wait for this. I’ve been meaning to get to VCon since my first convention (World Fantasy in Calgary) as I met a bunch of awesome B.C. folks there. I’ve met a few since, some of whom I only get to chat with on Twitter and Facebook, so I hope we’ll get to hang out a bit.
VCon will also be another reconvening of the Illuminaughty, albeit a small one. It’ll be great to see Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Ann Aguirre again. Secret societies are the bomb. (Ssssh. SECRETS.)

Guests of Honour include author David Weber (Honor Harrington Series; Safehold Series, Dahak Series) http://www.davidweber.net/,  artist David Mattingly (Does Cover Art for David Weber’s Honor Harrington Books) http://www.davidmattingly.com/ and game designer Bruce Heard (Original TSR employee, responsible for the development of much of the BECMI D&D line and it’s campaign world Mystara) http://bruce-heard.blogspot.ca/.

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty stoked about meeting Bruce Heard. Mystara was (and still is) my favourite D&D setting and I backed Bruce’s recent Kickstarter for Calidar in Stranger Skies. It’ll be an honour to share a panel with a game design legend.

This year VCon is also hosting Canvention (Canada’s national and traveling convention) and the Prix Aurora Awards. Me and my ChiSeries Winnipeg partner Samantha Beiko will be there representing Winnipeg (oh, and our books, and the ChiSeries and stuff).

VCon has brought in a few guests specifically for Canvention. Canvention, Tarol Hunt creator of the Goblins webcomic http://goblinscomic.com/ and artist Melissa Mary Duncan http://www.melissaduncan.ca/.

Here’s my schedule:
Friday, October 3
7 pm Selling Your Nonfiction to Subsidize Your Fiction? There’s an abundance of work out there when you’re a talented non-fiction writer. How does that translate into your speculative fiction? How do you balance writing both? Do anthology editors consider an author’s entire portfolio or just the fiction?
Sandra Wickham • Claire Eamer • Melanie Dixon • Chadwick Ginther • Mark Anthonry Brennan
8 pm Aurora Award Pin Ceremony: All attending Aurora award Nominees receive their Nominee Pins from members of the CSFFA (Aurora award admin people) Board of Directors.
Saturday, October 4
2 pm Game Master Tricks: Having problems with your game going off the rails? Time to break out the big guns! Panelists share their favourite tips for putting one over on players, devising devious schemes, or improvising when your carefully laid plans go all to hell.
Paula Johanson • Tarol Hunt • Chadwick Ginther • Bruce Heard • Jeremy Reimer
4 pm Aurora Award Afternoon Tea: This is a catered ticketed affair. Guests will savour finger sandwiches, light pastries, scones, fruit compote, Devonshire cream, etc.
During (or shortly after) the High Tea retired Movie Critic and Journalist Michael Walsh will present several ‘spoof’ Elron Awards in a tradition dating back to the first VCON in 1971. R. Graeme Cameron, presenter of the Elrons since 1989, will unveil the rest of the horrors at a later program event.
4:45 pm Aurora Award Ceremony: Master of Ceremonies Sandra Wickham (well-known author whose stories have appeared in “Evolve”, “Urban Green Man”, and numerous other anthologies and magazines) will preside over the awarding of the Auroras.This is the last year the current Aurora Award design will be handed out – Frank Johnson’s wonderful ‘Maple Leaf Aurora’ design has been used for the past 23 years, each award individually handcrafted by him in his workshop. To put it mildly, CSFFA certainly appreciates Frank’s dedication and hard work. CSFFA is glad to note that Frank will be present at the awards. As part of the ceremony CSFFA Canvention 34 Chair Clint Budd will announce the recipients of the newly created Hall of Fame Honours. This replaces the previous Lifetime Achievement awards, all previous winners of which will now be inducted into the CSFFA Hall of Fame.The past winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award being “transferred” into the Hall of Fame are: A.E. Van Vogt, Susan Wood, Judith Merril, Phyllis Gotlieb, Dennis Mullen, and Robert J. Sawyer. This year’s winners are William Gibson, and Spider & Jeanne Robinson. Bill and Spider will be present to acknowledge their induction, the latter on behalf of and in memory of his co-author and beloved wife of many years, Jeanne Robinson. 

Sunday, October 5
10:00 am Reading with Ann Aguirre
Hope to see you there, and wish me luck at the Auroras.
Write on!