Half-Year Check-in

So, here’s what I had up for 2019.

  • Finish drafting and revising Graveyard Mind 2
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year
  • Separating my IP from a work-for-hire project that didn’t pan out.
  • Be ready to write that new book by November for NaNoWriMo
  • Read more

And how are we doing? Not especially great, nothing is crossed off the list, but early days yet, and I’m hoping now that my move is done, things will start turning the corner, creatively speaking.

State of Writing: I’ve only added about 15K to the Graveyard Mind 2 manuscript, but I know the shape of what the book will be, and how I want it to influence what will come later in the series. Between a few real life things, it’s been tricky for Sandra and I to sit down and hammer out the revision task list for An Excuse for Whiskey, but I am confident that we’ll get there. I’ve got two new stories out the door so far, and both sold! One will be appearing in Earth: Giants, Golems, & Garygoles, and another I can’t talk about yet. I have one more story that is almost drafted and is due by month’s end. It’s not an old piece of unfinished writing, but I’m still going to count it as getting me half way to my six story goal for the year.

Earth-Lg

I haven’t done any work separating out that IP. I’m largely considering just writing off that work entirely. I wasted a creative year on that book, but for now, it doesn’t seem worth the bother to revisit, just a waste of further time. I have, however, been happily worldbuilding and outlining (sort of) the next thing I want to write. If I’ve crossed GM2 off the list, or at least finished the draft by then, I think I’ll be ready to start writing the mystery project in November.

State of Reading: So this was a non-writing related goal, but still a very important part of the writing. You know, such as remembering why I got into writing in the first place, and that’s because I love to read. Mostly have been rereading as I prepped for the move, but I finished a couple more Seanan McGuire books in the series I’ve been following, and finished off Sam Sykes’ Bring Down Heaven trilogy. I also reread my way through the Moonshae trilogy by Douglas Niles, and R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf trilogy and Icewind Dale trilogy. Sam Sykes definitely got the old D&D nostalgia vibes going, but comfort reads were what was going to happen, so it was fun to revisit some of the books I read so long ago. I’ve also been doing a bunch of gaming reading as I try to digest some new game systems I’ve recently purchased and want to get to the table, such as Invisible Sun, Mecha Hack, RuneQuest, and Tiny Supers.

State of Gaming: I’ve tried a few new games. Gaming is another big reason why I became a writer, and so while it’s usually the first thing that gets cut when the deadlines roll in, I’ve been missing it. I participated in Dungeon Musings’ game marathon, where we played Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I started playing in a Forbidden Lands campaign one of my buddies is running. The 5e D&D game I’m in with my high school group resumed after a moving hiatus and I hosted the first game in my new place. A new game just started up with the gang I played all the way through 3rd/3.5 D&D with, this time using 5th edition, and set in Greyhawk. I should be returning to the GM side of the table with a Marvel Superheroes game set in the MCU set post-Civil War and running a couple of Pacific Rim inspired one-shots and short games using Tiny Fontiers: Mecha and Monsters and Mecha Hack.

State of the Writer Himself: I’ve dropped thirty pounds since Christmas, largely due to a bunch of small changes accumulating to bigger results than I’d expected. Derek Künsken started #7300 Club on Twitter on New Year’s Day, a challenge to do 20 push ups a day for the year. When I saw the challenge, I snarked that I couldn’t promise to try, but I’d try to try, and when I did, I got mad at how much more difficult the exercise was than I remembered, so I kept going. My pal and co-writer Sandra Wickham who knows a shit-ton about this kind of stuff, suggested I vary my exercises and take a rest day, so I’ve been doing that and gradually ramping up my sets and repetitions of all the exercises. It’s all just body resistance stuff at the moment. Most of the weight loss likely came from my decision to quit eating so much garbage at work. So long, Tim Hortons sausage biscuit breakfast, hello banana. Cutting the junk food at work however meant I didn’t need to do much about my other meals to see results. It feels good. The last time I’d been under 200 pounds was after a bout of food poisoning that coincided with having to build a fence in thirty degree heat (I do not recomment this method for a variety of reasons). I’m back to the weight I was in my mid-twenties, and good thing I’m a pack rat, because some of the concert t-shirts I bought back then fit me again. The other exciting part of getting into better shape (you know, other than just plain feeling better) is that the words have been coming more regularly than they did all of last year.

The other big thing: I moved.

This has been a long time coming, we’ve been talking about it for a while now, and it’s finally happened. Sold our house and bought a condo. I’m hoping the lower maintenance will free up more time for writing, and maybe allow my sweetie to travel with me a bit more.

Most of the late winter and early spring was spent getting the house ready to sell, and the rest of spring until now was dealing with the move and unpacking. But I have a functional office again (mostly), so this, combined with just feeling better in general, leads me to believe the backend of 2019 will be better creatively. Any way, that’s me for now.

Write on!

Cover Reveal for Earth: Giants, Golems, & Gargoyles!

Glad I can finally show this off!

The cover of Earth, Giants, Golems, & Gargoyles, illustrated by Ashley Walters.

Earth-Lg

This looks fucking amazing!

My contribution to the anthology is “The Enforcer” a Graveyard Mind story featuring Frank and Woj.

The release date for the anthology is August 13th. I’ll post a preorder link as soon as I have one.

Here’s the Table of Contents (no big deal, I’m just following Jane fucking Yolen):

Grin of Stone: A Political Rant – Jane Yolen
The Enforcer – Chadwick Ginther
Wings of Stone – Kevin Cockle
Soil, Native and Otherwise – Damascus Mincemeyer
Land Girl – Laura VanArendonk Baugh
The Stone Alphabet – Catherine MacLeod
Winner Takes All – Mara Malins
Kiln Fired – Steve Toase
Goblin Harvest – Suzanne J. Willis
The Poacher and the Priestess – Blake Jessop
Mike’s Massive Penis – Buzz Dixon
Where Green Things Grew – David L. Craddock
Troll Seal – Rose Strickman
The Giants – Gregory L. Norris
A Golem’s Progress – Tamsin Showbrook
Maggie of the Moss – Sarah Van Goethem
Children of the Colossus – Tim Ford
Earthbound – V.F. LeSann

My story “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame” was previously featured in Rhonda’s Fire: Demons, Dragons & Djinns anthology, which means I’m half way to achieving my goal of elemental domination!

Onwards to Air and Water!

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Awards Eligible Works from 2018

Here’s what I did in 2018. It was a pretty good year for publications, a new novel kicking off a brand new series, and four short stories (a personal best!). If you’re planning on voting in any of the major SF&F awards, such as the Hugos, Nebulas, or Auroras, and you’d like to read anything I’ve written, let me know (@chadwickginther on Twitter, or justonewick [at] gmail.com), and I’ll make sure you have a copy of any of my stories you want to read, or an excerpt of Graveyard Mind.

Novels:

  • Graveyard Mind (ChiZine Publications). I hope you’ve had a chance to read it, I think this book is my best work to date. Please also think of Erik Mohr who did my kick ass cover, and Samantha Beiko, my editor, who honed this book into the best shape it could have.

Short Stories:

  • All and Nothing,” Abyss and Apex, April 2018
  • “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame,” Fire: Elemental Anthologies #1, Tyche Books, Rhonda Parrish, editor, August 2018
  • “Eating of the Tree,” Parallel Prairies, Adam Petrash and Darren Ridgley, editors, October 2018
  • “None of Your Flesh and Blood,” Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins, Exile Editions, Derek Newman-Stille, editor,  December 2018

I’m proud of all of these stories, but I think “All and Nothing” is my strongest work among them, and hey, you can read it online, so please check it out.

If you’re a comic reader, I also self-published Midnight Man Magazine #1 which includes the following short comics I wrote:

  • Midnight Man versus The Ghoul Gourmet (Art by Justin Shauf)
  • Midnight Man versus Corpse King (Art by GMB Chomichuk)

Cover art by Justin Shauf; colours by Donovan Yaciuk.

Thanks, and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Catching Up On New Year’s Eve

Howdy!

It’s been a while since I’ve been active on ye olde blogge. Sorry about that. Lots of fun stuff has been happening though, I swear!

I attended the Parallel Prairies launch, which was a blast! I wasn’t one of the readers this time around, but I did participate in the mass signing afterward. It was great to see a full house for a book of Manitoba speculative fiction, this is something I’ve wanted to see for a long time.

I attended Can-Con in Ottawa in October, this was my third time there, and second year in a row, and I’m sure I’ll be attending for the foreseeable future. Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau and their team of volunteers put on an amazing convention, and it’s become my favourite event of the year. I moderated a panel on attending your first convention and did a reading from my Parallel Prairies story “Eating of the Tree”.

Shortly after Can-Con, I was off to St. Albert, Alberta to participate in STARFest. I had a great time swapping spooky stories with E.C. Bell, Rhonda Parrish, and S.G. Wong.

Most of us did a signing at the Chapters at Whyte Ave on Sunday, and were joined by Jayne Barnard. Sold some books, bought some books, and talked to some readers. All and all, a fine way to spend a weekend.

New Stories! I sold two new short stories this year.

One that just released: Over the Rainbow Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins edited by Derek Newman-Stille. This anthology contains my story “None of Your Flesh and Blood” which I’m stoked to have out in the world.

The other story I sold in 2018, “Cheating the Devil at Solitaire,” will be appearing in On Spec. I just signed the contract, so I’ll have to let you know when you can read it later, but this marks my third appearance in On Spec! On Spec will always be dear to me because they were both my first short story sale, and my first rejection.

Interviews! I did the Lucky Seven interview series for Open Book. Also interviewed on Books and Tea about Graveyard Mind. Also cool, I was interviewed for a feature in Quill and Quire!

I participated in Rhonda Parrish’s Giftmas campaign by donating my story The Gift That Keeps On Giving, and the campaign was a fantastic success! Here’s a message from Rhonda:

We did it! Our goal was to raise $750 for the Edmonton Food Bank but we blew that goal out of the water and raised $1,127! That is enough for the Edmonton Food Bank to provide 3,381 meals for people who need help.

Yay!

Thank you so much for all your support. Whether you helped directly by donating, or by signal boosting, or even by reading the stories (authors track our website stats, we see when you visit and we love it), it all added up to one heck of a successful fundraiser. You’re awesome :0)

To thank you all we gathered up all the stories and compiled them into an anthology — one you can download for free!

Click here to download it now for free!

The free anthology expires on January 1st though, so do check it out if you have a chance.

I think that’s about it for updates. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat. Enjoy some Tom Waits, and a story the song inspired:

New Year’s Eve

A Thunder Road vignette

Outside of the hotel that had become his home, the cold bit into Ted Callan’s lungs with every breath.

What is your resolution for the coming year? Huginn asked.

Why do you fucking care? Ted shot back as he lit a cigarette.

Call it curiosity, the raven said. Everyone else seems to be making one tonight.

Doesn’t matter, they’re all bullshit.

“Cold out tonight,” a woman’s voice slurred from behind Ted.

He turned to see a middle-aged woman, shivering in her dress as she struggled to light a cigarette, and huddled under a borrowed suit jacket for warmth. He was glad that he hadn’t addressed his living raven tattoos aloud.

Ted nodded absently and muttered a yup as he lit her smoke and then went back to his own.

You could do something about this cold. Huginn’s cawing voice echoed shrilly in Ted’s mind.

I’ve done enough, he shot back.

It had been a brutal, miserable fucking winter, and it was a long way from over. The mercury had only cracked -20 twice since he’d beat back Hel’s army of the dead, and both of those times, a blizzard had chased in, nipping the heels of the warmer weather.

“What’s your resolution?” the woman asked, and then without waiting for Ted’s answer, added, “I think I’m going to quit smoking.”

They shared a chuckle, and then took a drag, exhaling plumes of smoke that coalesced in the frigid night air.

Resolutions had to be Ted’s least favourite part of the New Year, aside from his usual—and fierce—hangover. He couldn’t think of a single resolution that he’d ever kept. But at least tomorrow he wouldn’t be passed out, body half in the bathroom and his head pounding with thunder instead of his fist.

Muninn trotted out Ted’s list of past broken promises; it made quite the litany. All had been chosen spur of the moment to fulfill a cultural need, not out of any genuine desire to change, or to better himself.

Quit smoking

Take up the guitar again.

Get back in shape.

Quit smoking.

Eat better.

Eat less.

He took a drag of his cigarette, and exhaled in a long sighing breath. Quit smoking.

That one had definitely been the most common.

“Happy New Year!” the woman yelled, voice thick with drunken cheer, as she butted out her cigarette in the hotel’s sand-filled ashtray. She rushed back inside blowing on her hands as she went through the brass-edged revolving door entrance.

Judging from his chuckles, Muninn was having a grand old time continuing down the list of Ted’s failed promises.

Be more romantic.

Quit the Patch.

Travel.

Everyone is making a resolution, Huginn pressed, staring pointedly at Muninn. Thinking ahead. Forgetting the past.

Ted didn’t get why the birds were so fucking excited about resolutions, but he supposed making one was the only sure way to shut them the hell up.

“Fine,” he grumbled. “Kill Surtur. How’s that for a fucking resolution?”

Huginn and Muninn exchanged surprised quorks.

“Not good enough? What about: go to my buddy’s wedding without getting everyone killed? Oh, and maybe repair all the goddamned damage that Loki’s done to my godsdamned life.”

Ted took a last drag and mashed his cigarette into the ashtray.

The ravens waited in silence for a moment, and then together said, You would have a better chance quitting smoking.

Art by S.M. Beiko.

Happy New Year!

Giftmas 2018: December 3rd

Edmonton has been good to me. In addition to being full of friends, and one of my favourite cities to visit, the hero of my first novel is from there, and most of my third is set there. And so I was thrilled to donate a story to Rhonda Parrish’s fundraiser in support of the Edmonton Food Bank. This year we’re trying to raise $750, which could translate into 2250 meals.

If you missed S.G. Wong’s story on December 1st, or Alexandra Seidel’s story yesterday, you can read S.G. Wong’s story here, and Alexandra Seidel’s here. You’ll find information about the other Giftmas contributors at the end of this blog.

Please read, and enjoy, and if you can, please donate to our cause. There is also a Rafflecopter giveaway full of prizes. Check them out at Rhonda’s website!

My story, The Gift that Keeps on Giving, started its life as a holiday challenge to my writing group for our December meeting many moons ago. It has since appeared on this website as a gift to my readers, but it’s been a while since I’ve shared it, so here we go again, and happy reading!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Nicholas stepped nimbly over the coals still smoldering within the fireplace. He had years of practice, and nary an ash clung to his polished, gleaming black boot. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? He smiled at the old joke. Practice.

But in all those years, this was something new. It was new, and that bothered him. He pulled the long parchment list from within his heavy coat. Checking it once, he didn’t like what he saw.

He checked it twice.

But there was no disputing it. This house wasn’t on his list. Nicholas shouldn’t have stopped here. There was no longer a reason for him to have stopped here. That poor little girl. He shook his head. There had been nothing he could have done. Not all wishes can be granted. He sighed ruefully. And not all pains can be soothed with toys. It had broken his heart, what she had wished for, but it just wasn’t within his power to grant.

There were no decorations in this house. No tree. No garland. No mistletoe. Framed photographs lined the mantle of the fireplace, but no stockings dangled beneath the images of a once happy family.

Nicholas turned his back on the unhappy dwelling and started back towards the chimney. A creak on the stairs stopped him in his boots. It was a soft noise, followed by the shuffle of fabric over hardwood.

A child’s slippers.

He couldn’t be seen, unless he chose to be. That was the one rule that governed, and protected him. Him, and the magic of Christmas both.

“Santa,” a weak voice rasped from the stairs.

It was a rule he often broke.

“Yes, my child,” Nicholas answered as he turned; ready to flash the hundred watt smile that would bring a rosy cheeked, dimpled grin to the girl’s face. Perhaps the list was mistaken?

The smile died as he saw her, now practically on top of him. She’d crossed the intervening distance between them in a flash. Her breath, coppery and rank, wafted over him, and her grip upon his mittened hand was too firm to shake.

“You didn’t bring me what I asked for last year,” she said petulantly as she pressed her tongue to an oversized canine. A bead of black blood welled up slowly from the small wound. “But someone did.”

Nicholas screamed as she jerked his head down by his snowy white beard. Blood sprayed across the girl’s little face.

His blood.

She lapped at the arterial spray, like an animal. Her face was a vision of ecstasy. His eyes stopped focusing as she whispered in his ear.

“Now every child in the whole world will get my wish.”

*

Later, in every house that still believed in such things—and there were many—children left out plates of homemade cookies, and tumblers of milk, beading with condensation. Wherever they had succumbed to slumber a voice whispered through teeth that glinted like knives, and a stained rusty beard.

“I never drink…milk.”

Art by S.M. Beiko.

The next post can be found on Michael Tager’s site, here.

Check out the rest of the participants, and when to expect them below. If you enjoyed my story and want to support #Giftmas2018 please share this story, and those of my fellow authors.

Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns Cover Reveal!

I can finally share the cover for Fire!

Looks great! The cover artist is Ashley Walters (http://ashleywalters.net/), whose work I will definitely be checking out in the future.

Fire contains my story “Midnight Man versus Frankie Flame” (which takes place in the same universe as my new novel, Graveyard Mind), I hope you’ll enjoy it, and the rest of the collection.

The official release date for Fire is August 14th, and I can’t wait to read it.

Midnight Man Will Return!

Announcement time!

Midnight Man first appeared in Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe, and he’s one of my favourite characters to write.

So if you like pulp superheroes

and you like fire

you’re in luck!

I am thrilled to place another story with Rhonda Parrish and to work with Tyche Books for the first time. I had a blast working with Rhonda on Equus, and getting the chance to launch that anthology at When Words Collide in Calgary. Looking forward to doing another launch. I’ve been kicking myself for not submitting to Tyche’s Masked Mosaic anthology ever since I had a chance to read it, so this is a great feeling.

Also, as if it were a present for selling the story (pretty sure it was a happy coincidence, unless Kevin knew something I didn’t), this appeared:

Huge thanks to Kevin Madison for this cover to a Midnight Man story I guess I’d better write. I love it! Hopefully, you’ll be reading lots more Midnight Man stories in the future, as prose, and as comics!