Tombstone Blues and ChiSeries Winnipeg shortlisted for Aurora Awards!

I’m thrilled to be able to finally announce that Tombstone Blues is shortlisted for an Aurora Award in the Best English Novel category.

It was hard to sit on that news for the last couple weeks, I assure you. I’m also nominated in the Best Fan Organization category alongside my pal and co-chair, S.M. Beiko (who is also nominated for her debut YA novel, The Lake and the Library, and the anthology she co-edited, Imaginarium 2013. Go SAM!) for the Winnipeg arm of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series.

It’s great to see so many authors I admire–and so many friends–on this year’s ballot. Once again, I am in some pretty impressive company. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best English Novel

Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
The Tattooed Witch by Susan MacGregor, Five Rivers
Tombstone Blues by Chadwick Ginther, Ravenstone Books
A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books

Best English YA (Young Adult) Novel

The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate by Marty Chan, Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Ink by Amanda Sun, Harlequin Teen
The Lake and the Library by S.M. Beiko, ECW Press
Out of Time by D.G. Ladroute, Five Rivers
Resolve by Neil Godbout, Bundoran Press
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, Doubleday Canada

Best English Short Fiction

“A Bunny Hug for Karl” by Mike Rimar, Masked Mosaic, Canadian Super Stories, Tyche Books
“Angela and Her Three Wishes” by Eileen Bell, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
“The Awakening of Master March” by Randy McCharles, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
“Ghost in the Machine” by Ryan McFadden, The Puzzle Box, EDGE
“The Gift” by Susan Forest, Urban Green Man, EDGE
“Green Man She Restless” by Billie Milholland, Urban Green Man, EDGE
“Living Bargains” by Suzanne Church, When the Hero Comes Home 2, Dragon Moon Press

Best English Poem/Song

“A City of Buried Rivers” by Clink, David, The Literary Review of Canada, vol. 21, no. 9,
November
“Awake” by Peter Storey, Urban Green Man, EDGE
“The Collected Postcards of Billy the Kid” by Helen Marshall, Postscripts to Darkness, Issue 4, October
“Lost” by Amal El-Mohtar, Strange Horizons, February
“Night Journey: West Coast” by Kernaghan, Eileen, Tesseracts Seventeen: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast, EDGE
“Turning the Leaves” by Amal El-Mohtar, Apex Magazine, Issue 55, December

Best English Graphic Novel

Looking for Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza, webcomic
Rock, Paper, Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, webcomic
Weregeek by Alina Pete, webcomic
Wild Game: Sweet Tooth Vol. 6 by Jeff Lemire, Vertigo
Best English Related Work

The Puzzle Box by The Apocalyptic Four, EDGE
Urban Green Man edited by Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine EDGE
On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Suzenyms by Susan MacGregor, blog suzenyms.blogspot.ca
Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing edited by Sandra Kasturi and
Samantha Beiko, ChiZine Publications & Tightrope Books

Best Artist

Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Melissa Mary Duncan, illustrations and cover art
Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press and the SF Aurora banner
Apis Teicher, body of work
Tanya Montini, cover design for The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate

Best Fan Publications

No award will be given out in this category in 2014 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Fan Music

Brooke Abbey for writing and publishing 12 songs
Debs & Errol for CTRL+ALT+DUETS, EP
Chris Hadfield for his performance of Space Oddity
Kari Maaren for Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off, CD
Devin Melanson, Leslie Hudson and, Kari Maaren for Pirate Elves in Space, CD

Best Fan Organizational

Evelyn Baker and Alana Otis-Wood, co-chairs Ad Astra, Toronto
S.M. Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, co-chairs Chiaroscuro Reading Series, ChiSeries Winnipeg
Sandra Kasturi and James Bambury, co-chairs Chiaroscuro Reading Series, ChiSeries Toronto
Randy McCharles, chair When Words Collide, Calgary
Matt Moore, chair Ottawa Chiaroscuro Reading Series, ChiSeries Ottawa
Rose Wilson, Art Show Director, VCON 38, Vancouver

Best Fan Related Work

R. Graeme Cameron, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine
Steve Fahnestalk, weekly column in Amazing Stories Magazine
Robert Runté, ”Why I Read Canadian Speculative Fiction: The Social Dimension of Reading”, Scholar Keynote Address at ACCSFF ’13, Toronto

Prix Aurora Awards Nomination Deadline

Less than two weeks are left to nominate for the Prix Aurora Awards! Once again, I’ll be a last minute voter. I’m still frantically trying to squeeze some reading in before the deadline.

If you haven’t made your nominations yet, my second novel, Tombstone Blues, is eligible in the Best Novel category and alongside my co-chair Samantha Beiko, I’m eligible for Best Fan Organizational for work in the Winnipeg arm of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series.

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 looking for a couple of last minute things to fill out your ballot, here’s a list of of stories and things I enjoyed in 2013 (Huge thanks to Michael Matheson for maintaining the CanSpec list!):

Novels:

YA Novels:

Short Fiction:

Poetry/Song:

Graphic Novels:

Best Related Work (Magazine/Anthology/Single Author Collection)

Best Artist:

Best Fan Publication:

Fan Organizational:

Best Fan Music:

 

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!

Lord, I Was Born A Traveling Man

August has been busy and it’s not going to let up, it seems.

I’ve started writing up a blog about my trip to Gimli, Manitoba and Islendingadagurrin, and realized that unless I want August to turn into the black hole of broken promises that my trip to Ottawa last summer (still awaiting a blog of its own–probably not going to happen now) has become, I’d better get on writing this trip up. And my trip to brilliant Calgary conference, When Words Collide. And my research trip to the Badlands of Alberta. I will write them. I swear.

But in the meantime, here’s some great news and a quick reminder:

The Winnipeg launch of Tombstone Blues has a time and place! October 15th at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Hope to see you there!

There is also less than one month left to vote for the Prix Aurora Awards, and here is my sole reminder that Thunder Road is short listed in the Best Novel category. Matt Moore has written an excellent blog about the Auroras and why you should vote, even if it’s not for him (or for me), so check it out, and please vote!

Write on!

 

GMB Chomichuk’s Raygun Gothic (Issues 1-5)

With my recent contribution to the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow RPG Kickstarter, I’ve been thinking about Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber. I’ve loved those books since high school. If I am absolutely backed into a corner by persistent inquiry, it’s these novels that I label as my all time favourites (still a bit of a cheat I know, to name a ten books series when someone asks you for your favourite novel singular–if I’m forced to narrow even further, then I pick the second novel in the series, The Guns of Avalon to fill the spot).

What does this have to do with GMB Chomichuk’s serialized comic book, Raygun Gothic? When I first read the first three issues of Chomichuk’s latest work, it reminded me of the vastness of Zelazny’s Amber, and I don’t make that comparison lightly. So what is Raygun Gothic?

Raygun Gothic is: a bombastic science-fantasy tale that spans 14,000 years of  history and the lifespan of one person who is cursed to live that long in protection of humanity.

Raygun Gothic is: knights and dragons and monsters and witches and werewolves.  It is also robots and cyborgs and aliens and starships.

It’s also been serialized on Bleeding Cool and garnered Chomichuk two Prix Aurora Award nominations. GMB Chomichuk and I were guests at Keycon this year, and as I watched him create an original work, I was reminded of how much I loved his art, and also that I wasn’t quite caught up on Raygun Gothic.

So I dived back in, reveling in the slow reveal of an Immortal King who wears his crown from the distant past and into the far future, is called upon again to take an active role in the defense of humanity. Raygun Gothic’s protagonist would be right at home in the intrigues between the Kingdom of Amber and the Courts of Chaos,which puts him right in my wheelhouse of characters to love.

RaygunGothicWalterandtheDragon

Raygun Gothic plays with Greek myths (The King’s space warriors are called Hoplites, and they attempt to breach the walls of Ilium and defeat it’s defender, Ajax). I wish like hell I would have remembered this element when I was asked for science fiction that contained mythological references at my Keycon Myth & Folklore panel! Chomichuk doesn’t merely draw on mythology, there are references to Shakespeare too. An uttering of “Once more unto the breach” or The Immortal King meeting with the Crossroad Witches of Dunsinane, who told him of his rise to power–every word they said coming true.

Chomichuk gives The Immortal King many names, Sir Water the Grim, The Forever Man, The Peerless Warrior, and with his millenia spanning career as an eternal champion, the reader can imagine The King fulfilling the role of any great warrior or monarch from literature or myth. Lancelot, Arthur, Leonidas, and yes, my favourite, Corwin of Amber. When a line like “The game we played had the world as it’s prize,” is uttered, imagined Conner MacLeod battling the Kurgan in Highlander. This wide ranging influence across genre boundaries and media plays in the story’s favour and into one of Chomichuk’s artistic strengths: mixing media with unusual and unique results.

Despite the presence of monolithic space vessels, The Immortal King rides into a space battle on a dragon. Or as Chomichuk refers to it, his genetically engineered warwing. A beast that possessed a ferrous skeleton that allowed it to ride magnetic currents “as sure as any creature took to the air.” The juxtaposition of The King wielding a sword while riding a fantastic beast into battle with robots and rayguns is something that I just love.

RaygunGothicWalterandhisWarwing

The King is empowered by a simple means: Those that would do him harm must risk the same. Whether it is drones, men, cyborgs or dragons that The Immortal King faces, he is up to their challenge, made equal to them by the nature of his gift. As the King battles Ajax he notes, “He had evolved to overcome the science of war. What I did was art.” And what a work of art this comic is! Only five issues in, and so much more to come.

I can’t wait.

RaygunGothicWalteratwar

What are you waiting for? Read Raygun Gothic here: 

Let me know what you think of it, in the meantime, I’m going to reread The Imagination Manifesto.

Thunder Road Shortlisted For Prix Aurora Award For Best Novel

So.

This happened:

Best Novel – English
Destiny’s Fall by Marie Bilodeau, Dragon Moon Press
Food for the Gods by Karen Dudley, Ravenstone Books
Healer’s Sword: Part 7 of the Okal Rel Saga by Lynda Williams, EDGE
The Silvered by Tanya Huff, DAW Books, Inc.
Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, Ravenstone Books
Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada

I received a very welcome phone call a while back to let me know the news. It was a very welcome surprise. And I am in absolutely excellent company in the Best Novel category, and in excellent company in general. Congratulations to all my fellow nominees! I’m privileged to know a great many of you, and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone else.

Voting begins May 6th and remains open until Noon, PDT September 13th. The awards will be presented at Can-Con in Ottawa October 4-6.

Thank you to everyone who nominated Thunder Road, and thank you to everyone who nominated, period. The Auroras have a long history and none of it would be possible without the fans.

Here’s the nominees in all other categories:

Best YA Novel – English
Above by Leah Bobet, Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong, Harper Teen
Dissolve by Neil Godbout, Bundoran Press
Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero by Michell Plested, Five Rivers
Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow, TOR Teen
Under My Skin: Wildlings Series (Book 1) by Charles de Lint, Razorbill Canada

Best Short Fiction – English

Delta Pi” by Matt Moore, Torn Realities, Post Mortem Press
Happily Ever After” by Marie Bilodeau, When the Villain Comes Home, Dragon Moon Press
Knights Exemplar” by Al Onia, On Spec #90, Fall
Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop” by Suzanne Church, Clarkesworld, Issue #68, May
The Walker of the Shifting Borderland” by Douglas Smith, On Spec #90, Fall

Best Poem/Song – English
A sea monster tells his story” by David Clink, The Literary Review of Canada, July/August
The Ghosts of Birds” by Helen Marshall, Phantom Drift 2: Valuable Estrangements, Wordcraft of Oregon
Hold Fast” by Leah Bobet, Strange Horizons, June 11, 2012
Roc” by Sandra Kasturi, Come Late to the Love of Birds, Tightrope Books
Zombie Descartes Writes a Personal Ad” by Carolyn Clink, Tesseracts Sixteen, EDGE

Best Graphic Novel – English
Goblins by Tarol Hunt, webcomic
Looking for Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza, webcomic
Raygun Gothic by GMB Chomichuk, Alchemical Press
Weregeek by Alina Pete, webcomic
West of Bathurst by Kari Maaren, webcomic

Best Related Work – English
Shanghai Steam edited by Ace Jordyn, Calvin D. Jim, and Renée Bennett, EDGE
Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing edited by Sandra Kasturi and Halli Villegas, ChiZine Publications
Hair Side, Flesh Side byHelen Marshall, ChiZine Publications
Blood and Water edited by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
On Spec published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society

Best Artist
Richard Bartrop, illustrations for fiction on Reality Skimming blog
GMB ChomichukRaygun Gothic, Alchemical Press
Costi Gurgu, cover art for Inner Diverse, (Starfire World Syndicate)
Michelle Milburn, cover art for Gathering Storm and Healer’s Sword, (EDGE)
Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications

Best Fan Publication
BCSFAzine, edited by Felicity Walker
Broken Toys, edited by Taral Wayne
In Places Between: The Robyn Herrington Short Story Contest, edited by Renée Bennett
Reality Skimming blog, content coordinator Michelle Carraway
Space Cadet, edited by R. Graeme Cameron
Speculating Canada blog, edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Filk
Morva Bowman and Alan Pollard, Concert at FilKONtario 22
Debs & Errol (Deborah Linden and Errol Elumir), Songs in the Key of Geek CD
Brooke Lunderville, International Guest of Honour Concert at Consonance
Kari Maaren, Body of Work
Peggi Warner-Lalonde, Concert at NEFilk 22 ConCertino 2012

Best Fan Organizational
Andrew Gurudata, Organizing the Constellation Awards, Toronto
Evelyn Baker, Amy De Ruyte, and Peter Halasz, Executive Committee of WFC Toronto, 2012
Sandra Kasturi, Helen Marshall, and, James Bambury, Co-Chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series, Toronto
Sandra Kasturi and Laura Marshall. Co-Chairs, Toronto SpecFic Colloquium: Beyond the Human
Randy McCharles, Chair and Programming, When Words Collide, Calgary

Best Fan Related Work
Ron Friedman, conception and delivery of the Aurora Awards voter package
Helen Marshall, “The Book is Dead; Long Live the Book!”: Some Thoughts on the Coming of eBooks, lecture at the 2012 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium
Michael Matheson, compilation and maintenance of the Can Spec Fic List
Lloyd Penney, for fanwriting and letter and article writing for fanzines and e-fanzines
Peter Watts, “Hive Minds, Mind Hives” lecture at Toronto SpecFic Colloquium

Good luck, everyone!

Write on!

April Goals

So not only did I not manage to post a list of goals for March, I also didn’t follow up with how I did in February. Time to remedy both of those things.

April Goals:

  • Finish the first draft of my current (and newly untitled–man I hate thinking of titles) urban fantasy Work in Progress.
  • Look at my short fiction not currently on submission and send those stories to new markets.
  • Finish my latest review for Quill and Quire
  • Finish my latest review for The Winnipeg Review
  • Finalize my soundtrack for as-yet-untitled book three of the Thunder Road Trilogy (The soundtrack is the first step of my novel writing process–its essentially my first rudimentary outline).
  • When I finish reading or watching something that I really like, say something about it here on the blog.

Some other things that are up for April, but don’t really count as goals include:

  • Talk to my high school English teacher’s Grade 11 and 12 classes. Mr. Samborski at Morden Collegiate was a huge influence on me when I was in school. He challenged me and encouraged my love of the written word, helping it become a desire to scribble down some of my own. (He’s also the reason why I prefer King Lear to Hamlet)
  • Attend C4 Lit Fest. Other author guests include: Kelley Armstrong, Samantha Beiko, Anita Daher, Sierra Dean, Susan Rocan, and Craig Russell.
  • Attend The Manitoba Book Awards to defend the honour of Thunder Road.
  • Have you nominated your favourite Canadian Speculative Fiction for the Prix Aurora Awards? I still haven’t finalized my lists, but I’ll have to soon, the deadline is April 15th.

Finally, for those without the benefit of long memories, here’s what I had wanted to accomplish back in February:

How’d I do? Not too bad, actually.

Only the Letter Month Challenge didn’t get seen through to completion. I did have fun with it, though, and will probably participate again next year. It was kind of a last minute addition to my activities this year, so I think if I plan ahead a little, I’ll do better next year. It was awesome to get real mail again. I can’t even recall the last time I received a letter in the post before I joined the Letter Month club (and come to think of it, I still owe someone a letter…).

Of the two stories I submitted, one has already been rejected, but that’s okay. I’m free to send it off somewhere else (as per this month’s goals).

Write on!

Strange Bedfellows

Regular readers here know I’m quite fond of Kickstarter and Indiegogo as a means for creative types to get their projects off the ground.

The current Indiegogo campaign I’m really excited about is for Strange Bedfellows. Author, editor (and now publisher at Bundoran Press) Hayden Trenholm is very close to getting his second anthology of political science fiction tales funded. I’ve chipped in to make this project happen because while I want to sell a story to Hayden, I also really want to read this anthology.

Strange Bedfellows — as in ‘politics makes strange bedfellows’ — will seek short fiction from the best writers in the field: writers who are passionate about the importance of ideology and political action as a source of solutions as well as problems.

As a long-time political analyst and advisor and an award winning SF writer and editor, Hayden Trenholm is perfectly placed to edit this 80,000-word anthology.

Hayden is also a familiar face at KeyCon, Winnipeg’s science fiction and fantasy convention and is planning on attending this year, so if you’re a science fiction writer in Winnipeg, this is the perfect chance to talk to an editor before you write your story and submit.

Below is an interview I did with Hayden about his writing and his then latest novel, Steel Whispers.

CG: Why Calgary? What made that city the perfect home for Frank Steele and the SDU?

HT: I lived in Calgary for over ten years so I knew it pretty well physically. A number of the locales — such as the Garry Theatre and Kaos Jazz bar were places I actually worked in when I was living as an artist. That made writing about it quite easy in the write what you know sense. But Calgary also has this wild west quality — as much imagined as real — and an admiration for corporations and right wing politics that made it perfect as a place that would somehow survive and even, for some at least, thrive in a world gone to hell. They say Calgary has more churches per capita than any city in Canada, but it also has more liquor stores and porn shops. Projecting that sense of anarchy and entitled class inequality — combined with the really fundamental goodness of many of the people who live there — into the future seemed natural.

CG: You make use of the first person point of view for the character of Frank Steele, the quintessential hard-boiled detective, but the remainder of your characters are presented in the third person. Why did you decide to alternate back and forth in this manner?

HT: There were several reasons to do this. First, Frank to work as a noir character had to be in the first person but the story I was writing was bigger than he could encompass by himself. Second, thematically Defining Diana was about the self, Steel Whispers about the family so using multiple points of view allowed me to explore how slippery both those concepts are. A first person narrator is always assumed to be reliable — and Frank is reliable as far as that goes. But he is also biased and sees the world through a very particular lens. By contrasting his views and values with those of other characters I got to show that all narrative — especially our narrative about our selves and our families — is essentially suspect. Third, people kept telling me it couldn’t be done. i can be a little stubborn that way.

CG: The Singularity, the analogy between the breakdown of modern physics near a gravitational singularity and the drastic change in society thought would occur following an intelligence explosion has been a trope of recent science fiction since it was popularized by Vernor Vinge in 1993. You name one of your corporations — a company that has seemingly done the impossible– for it in Steel Whispers. Do you worry that technology will advance beyond our ability to understand it? Is it something you considered in building your world of 2044?

HT: There are huge pieces of technology that most people don’t understand NOW and yet most people muddle along quite well. Take an MRI or any number of other scanning devices. We happily slide into them and let the technicians take their pictures but have no idea what the images actually show. Even the technicians aren’t always sure. Consider for a moment a peasant in rural Nepal or central Africa who has never used a telephone let alone a computer. Hasn’t the Singularity already happened for them? Or how about the 15% of Americans who don’t know that telephones run on electricity? I generally take the view that we, as individuals, learn exactly as much technology as we need to fulfill our desires. My 84-year old mother-in-law uses e-mail and Excel and is on Facebook because it keeps her from being isolated. My boss refuses to learn how to retrieve his cell phone messages because he sees his cell as being for his convenience not that of those who want to call him. Oddly enough, despite the dystopic nature of my novels, I’m generally an optimist — up to a point. The future will be better than the past but the benefits of that future may not benefit everyone equally — unless we make it so.

CG: You name drop Robert J. Sawyer — even having Frank Steele reading one of his novels. Sawyer is known in fandom circles not only for his passion for good science fiction but also for his mentorship of other writers. What has Rob meant to your career?

HT: First and foremost, Rob is a great friend. It’s true that he has been very supportive of me and a lot of other writers but he’s also been a friend to many of us in the truest sense of the word — someone whose company you value for its own sake rather than for the help it might be to you. But Rob deserves all the credit and accolades he gets — both for his work and for his mentoring and supporting other writers. And I will say I’ve learned almost everything I know about being a ‘professional writer’ in all senses of the term.

CG: You are a winner of Anvil Press’ 3-Day novel contest. What kind of madness does it take to attempt this, let alone to win?

HT: That was the first long piece of fiction I ever wrote so maybe it requires an absolute lack of knowledge about how impossible a task it is. I wrote A Circle of Birds in 1992, just after i moved to Calgary to become a writer. I had a couple of plays under my belt and a few short stories — none of them really good. I decided to try the contest as a way of kick starting my learning process. I was running a lot those days and actually composed the story during long runs along the Bow River. Big chunks of the story are sort of magic realist interpretations of episodes in my own and my father’s life — plus a big dollop of sex and violence that came out of wherever those things come. So, when I sat down to write it — with nothing more than a two page outline in front of me — the first 10000 words came pretty easy. After that I kept writing until I was finished the chapters I had outlined. I guess it worked.

CG: Do you have a favourite fictional detective?

HT: Lots. I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan (I have a Holmes story in the new Gaslight Grotesque collection coming out from EDGE this fall) but I’m also fond of Poirot and Nick Charles from The Thin Man — though I’m not sure if I like the light hearted film version or the darker literary version better. And lets not forget Phillip Marlowe and Joe Leaphorn.

CG: If you could have any piece of tech from one of your novels, what would it be?

HT: One of the cars owned by the Singh Wannamaker Detective Agency.

CG: You won the Aurora for your short story “Like Water in the Desert“, and Defining Diana was shortlisted for the award as well. How important is it in your mind to celebrate Canadian science fiction and fantasy? What do you think would mean more to you, the Aurora, chosen largely by fans, or the Sunburst, which is a juried prize chosen by your peers?

HT: Can’t I have both? Juried awards have more prestige but it still comes down to the opinion of the people on the jury — a voting block of five. Fans have a special place in SF and F — unlike any other genre — so I think getting an award from them does mean a bit more to me. But I’d still like both.

CG: You have one more novel planned in The Steele Chronicles, after that, what’s next?

HT: As I answer these questions I’m about 15000 words in Stealing Home, so it is hard to think about the next thing. However, I just finished the first draft of a young adult SF novel so I’ll probably go back to that once Stealing Home is done. Then I have this big environmental collapse and recovery book I’ve been making notes on — something set about two hundred years in the future.

Some Prix Aurora Award Recommendations

The Prix Aurora Awards are Canada’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards. They’ve been celebrating Canada’s literature of the fantastic for over thirty years. They are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA). I’ve been behind these things as long as I’ve been aware of them, encouraging people to nominate and vote.

More to the point, the Auroras deserve to be broadly known, as they celebrate the best of Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, and Canada’s practitioners of such are among the best in the world. Best, is of course subjective, but in the case of the Auroras, we’re talking about the books, stories, poems that readers and fans felt were the best.

Here is a list of eligible works. If there’s a story you love that’s Canadian and not on the list, please add it, so that other readers might find it too.

I’m still undecided on my final nominations, I still have a lot of reading to do! But here is a list of works from 2012 that I’ve really enjoyed so far:

Novels:

  • Gethsemane Hall, David Annandale. Dundurn, August 2012
  • Thirteen, Kelley Armstrong. Random House Canada, July 2012
  • Something Secret This Way Comes, Sierra Dean, Samhain, April 2012
  • Blue Magic, A.M. Dellamonica. Tor Books, April 2012
  • Food for the Gods, Karen Dudley. Ravenstone Books, October 2012
  • A Tree of Bones, Gemma Files. CZP, May 2012
  • Queen of Thorns, Dave Gross. Paizo, October 2012
  • Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies, James Marshall. CZP, May 2012
  • Rasputin’s Bastards, David Nickle, CZP, June 2012
  • Husk, Corey Redekop. ECW, October 2012
  • Triggers, Robert J. Sawyer. Penguin, April 2012

Short Fiction:

  • “Spirits Rising”, Krista D. Ball. Amazon Digital Services, January 2012
  • “Mistress of the Pearl Dragon”, Shen Braun, Shanghai Steam, Ace Jordyn, Calvin D. JIm & Rennee Bennett, eds., EDGE, October 2012
  • “Village of Good Fortune”, Shen Braun, On Spec #89, Summer 2012
  • “Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop”, Suzanne Church, Clarkesworld, Issue #68, May 2012
  • “To Go Home to Leal”, Susan Forest, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #94, May 2012
  • “Blink”, Michael Kelly, Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, Mark Leslie ed., EDGE, September 2012
  • “Fingernails”, J.Y.T. Kenneydy, Danse Macabre, Nancy Kilpatrick ed., EDGE, October 2012
  • “Big Guy and Little Guy’s Survivalist Adventure”, Claude Lalumière, Fungi (Hardcover Edition Only), Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Orrin Grey, eds., Innsmouth Free Press, December 2012
  • “Old Soul”, Adria Laycraft, Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, Mark Leslie ed., EDGE, September 2012
  • “The Day the Music Died”, Randy McCharles, Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, Mark Leslie ed., EDGE, September 2012
  • ”Blessed“, Helen Marshall, Hair Side, Flesh Side, CZP, November 2012
  • “Blue-Black Night”, Tim Reynolds, Danse Macabre, Nancy Kilpatrick ed., EDGE, October 2012
  • “Out of the Blue”, Ian Rogers, Fungi, Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Orrin Grey, eds., Innsmouth Free Press, December 2012
  • “Where Dead Men Go to Dream”, A.C. Wise, Fungi, Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Orrin Grey, eds., Innsmouth Free Press, December 2012
  • “The Hill Where Thorvald Slew Ten Skraelings”, Regan WolfromOn Spec #88, Spring 2012

Poetry:

  • “Zombie Descartes Writes a Personal Ad”, Carolyn Clink, Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, Mark Leslie ed., EDGE, September 2012
  • “Zombie Poet”, Carolyn Clink, Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, Mark Leslie ed., EDGE, September 2012
  • “Leda’s Daughter”, Helen MarshallAbyss & Apex, Issue 41, January 2012
  • “Roc”, Sandra Kasturi, Come Late to the Love of Birds, Tightrope Books, November 2012
  • “Svartálfar Rising”, Barry KingIdeomancer Speculative Fiction, 11.3, September 2012

Graphic Novels:

  • Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Volume 1 War of the Monsters, Jeff Lemire & Alberto Ponticelli, DC Comics, June 2012
  • Green Wake Volume 2 Lost Children, Kurtis J. Wiebe & Riley Rossmo, Image Comics, May 2012
  • Peter Panzerfaust Volume 1 The Great Escape, By Kurtis J. Wiebe & Tyler Jenkins, Image Comics, September 2012
  • Raygun Gothic, GMB Chomichuk, Alchemical Press, November 2012

The Best Related Work category is a pretty big catch-all, including (amongst other things) Magazines, Anthologies, Single Author collections and Critical works.

Magazines:

  • ChiZine (Chiaroscuro: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words), Brett Alexander Savory, ed.CZP
  • Ideomancer Speculative FictionLeah Bobet, ed.
  • Innsmouth MagazineSilvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles, eds., Innsmouth Free Press
  • Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Karl Johanson, ed.
  • On Spec, Diane Walton, ed., Copper Pig Writer’s Society
  • Shadows & Tall TreesMichael Kelly, ed., Undertow Publications

Anthologies:

  • Blood and Water, Hayden Trenholm ed., Bundoran Press, August 2012
  • FungiSilvia Moreno-Garcia & Orrin Grey, eds., Innsmouth Free Press, December 2012
  • Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing, Sandra Kasturi & Halli Villegas, eds., CZP, July 2012
  • Shanghai SteamAce Jordyn, Calvin D. Jim & Renee Bennett, eds., EDGE, November 2012
  • Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, Mark Leslie ed., EDGE, September 2012
  • The 3rd Circle – Election: Volume Three of the Tenth Circle Project, Eileen Bell & Ryan T. McFadden, eds., The 10th Circle Project, February 2012
  • The 4th Cricle – Course Correction: Volume Four of the Tenth Circle Project, Eileen Bell & Ryan T. McFadden, eds., The 10th Circle Project, July 2012

Single Author collections:

  • Sandra Kasturi, Come Late to the Love of Birds, Tightrope Books, November 2012
  • Helen Marshall, Hair Side, Flesh Side, CZP, November 2012
  • Ian Rogers, Every House is Haunted, CZP, October 2012

Artists:

  • GMB Chomichuk, Raygun Gothic
  • Erik Mohr, Cover Art, Chizine Publications

I’d like to give a big shout out in the Fan Organizational category to Peter Halasz for an amazing World Fantasy Convention, and to Randy McCharles for the continuing excellence of When Words Collide. Both Derek Newman-Stille’s Speculating Canada blog (Best Fan Publication) and Michael Matheson’s, compilation and maintenance of the Can Spec Fiction List (Best Fan Related) made huge contributions to Canadian speculative fiction in 2012.

And if you’ve read this far, and are so inclined to keep reading, here’s a post about my eligible works from 2012.

For Your Consideration: AKA The Inevitable January Awards Eligibility Post

I have totally snurched the body of this post from writing pal Karen Dudley (with her permission, of course).

January 1st marked the start of the Aurora Awards nominations and the Hugo Award nominations. The Nebula Award nominations are already underway (for members of SFWA) as are the World Fantasy Award nominations. If you are one of those nominating or thinking about nominating works for science fiction/fantasy-related awards, I ask you to consider the following for Best Novel:

Thunder Road, Ravenstone, September 2012

Some reviews:

“Ginther handles both the mythic and human aspects of Thunder Road with considerable skill… Thunder Road is a fast-paced, thoughtful novel, and news that it’s the first in a trilogy is welcome indeed.” – Quill and Quire

“…delivers fast-paced action and witty dialogue as our heroic trio battle unnatural and vulgar forces.” – Winnipeg Free Press:

“Unique and brilliantly crafted, Thunder Road leaves the reader salivating for the next book in this trilogy…” – The Winnipeg Review:

“In Thunder Road, Chadwick Ginther opens a doorway to the mythical in the modern world, letting his reader almost believe that at the edges of our reality, in the most mundane of places, there lurks the remnants and lingering presence of the Otherworld….” – Speculating Canada

You can read the prologue of Thunder Road on the excerpts page of my website.

I also published two short stories in 2012:

“First They Came for the Pigs,” FungiInnsmouth Free Press, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Orrin Grey, editors. December 2012

“Back in Black,” Tesseracts 16: Parnassus UnboundEDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy, Mark Leslie, editor. September 2012

So, who can nominate a work?

Well, for the Aurora Awards, you must be a member of CSFFA in order nominate. To be a member of CSFFA there is now a $10 membership fee. Memberships are good for the calendar year no matter when they are purchased. Nominations must be submitted by April 15, 2013. Look here for more information on the Auroras:  http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/Membership//  And do read Michael Matheson’s (of the Friends of the Merrill Library Short Story Contest) blog post, he has some interesting words on the “no award” option of the Aurora ballot.

For the World Fantasy Award, all registered members of the 2011 World Fantasy Convention in California, the 2012 World Fantasy Convention in Toronto and the 2013 event in Brighton are eligible to vote before the deadline (which is May 31, 2013).  For more information, go to http://www.wfc2013.org/wfballot01.html

For the Hugo Award, any person who was or is a member of the 2012, 2013, or 2014 Worldcons as of January 31, 2013, is eligible to nominate for the 2013 Hugo Awards. If you are not a member of any of those conventions, you can join LoneStarCon 3 or Loncon 3, the 2014 Worldcon, before January 31, 2013 to become eligible. You can find more information at http://www.thehugoawards.org/

For the Nebula Award, you must be a member of the SFWA, and you must nominate the work before February 15, 2013. Check out http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/how-to-vote/ for more information

Coming soon, a post full of works I’ve read and loved over the last year, so this site isn’t all about me (for once).

Write on!