Too Far Gone Shortlisted For Two Manitoba Book Awards!

The awards in question: The Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher, and the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction!

Sadly, I won’t be able to attend the awards gala, as I’m on the program at Ad Astra in Toronto that weekend, but the indomitable Samantha Beiko has agreed to be my acceptee should I be fortunate enough to be honoured.

Congrats to all the nominees, and thank you to the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and Association of Manitoba Publishers for always putting on a great night. Here’s the press release, and full list of all nominees and categories.

Write on!

WINNIPEG, April 7, 2016 – This year we are awarding accolades, some small amount of fame, and over $30 000 to Manitoba writers, illustrators/designers, and publishers through the Manitoba Book Awards.

The writing and publishing industry is thriving sector of the economy in Manitoba and the Manitoba Book Awards strives to acknowledge the wit, the art, and the profound dedication of all of those who fill our pages with “made in Manitoba” literature.

This year’s shortlists exemplify the diverse talent that exists here in Manitoba. We can see in the words and lines of each shortlisted book an illustration of local lives and stories.

Join us in honouring the literary community of Manitoba at this year’s Gala event:

Life Lines | Lignes de Vies

April 30, 7-10pm

The Radisson Hotel Downtown, Ambassador Ballroom

Tickets: $10+agency fees, available at Eventbrite.ca

Une averse printanière de prix sur la littérature manitobaine :

Dévoilement de la liste des candidats aux Prix du livre du Manitoba 2016

Winnipeg, 7 avril 2016 – Grâce aux Prix du livre du Manitoba, nous félicitons des écrivains, des illustrateurs/concepteurs et des éditeurs, nous leur offrons aussi un peu de célébrité et leur octroyons plus de 30 000 $.

Le secteur de l’édition est une part vibrante de l’économie manitobaine et les Prix du livre du Manitoba s’évertuent à faire valoir l’esprit, l’art et le profond dévouement de toutes celles et de tous ceux qui couvrent nos pages d’une littérature typique au Manitoba.

Cette année, la liste des candidats révèle la diversité des talents d’ici. Les mots et les lignes de chacun des livres sélectionnés illustrent les vies et les histoires du Manitoba.

Retrouvez-nous au Gala où nous honorerons la communauté littéraire manitobaine :

Life Lines | Lignes de Vies

Le 30 avril 2016, de 19h à 22h

Hôtel Radisson du centre-ville, salle Ambassador

Billets : 10$ + frais, disponibles à Eventbrite.ca

Manitoba Book Awards | Les Prix du livre du Manitoba

Shortlists | Les Listes de candidats sélectionnés

Lansdowne Prize for Poetry | Prix Lansdowne de poésie

  • Calling Down the Sky by Rosanna Deerchild, published by BookLand Press
  • Monologue Dogs by Méira Cook, published by Brick Books
  • Niche by Basma Kavanagh, published by Frontenac House Poetry

Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Awards

Prix Manuela-Dias de conception graphique et d’illustration en édition

Design Category

  • Exquisite Monsters by K.I. Press, design by Jamis Paulson, published by Turnstone Press
  • The Idea of a Human Rights Museum, edited by Karen Busby, Adam Muller and Andrew Woolford, design by Jess Koroscil, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, edited by Gabrielle L’Hirondelle-Hill and Sophie McCall, cover design by Sébastien Aubin, interior design by Relish New Brand Experience, published by ARP Books

General Illustrated Category

  • A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province by Bartley Kives, design and typography by Relish New Brand Experience, published by Great Plains Publications
  • Warehouse Journal Volume 24, edited and cover design by Amanda Austin and Ainsley Johnston, published by University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture
  • Wish You Were Here: Hand-Tinted Postcards from Winnipeg’s Halcyon Days by Stan Milosevic, design and typography by Relish New Brand Experience, published by Great Plains Publications

Children’s Illustrator Category

  • Alexia Wants to Fly by Talia Pura, illustrated by Wai Tien, published by Lily Star Press
  • Fur Is Only Fur Deep by Julia Schettler, illustrated by Sarah Neville, published by Peasantry Press
  • Misaabe’s Stories: A Story of Honesty by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Irene Kuziw, published by Portage & Main Press

Graphic Novel Category

The Graphic Novel Category will be awarded for the first time in 2017. For the first year (2017) we will accept entries published in 2015 and 2016. In following years entries will only be accepted from the current publishing year.

Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher

Prix Mary-Scorer pour le meilleur livre par un éditeur du Manitoba

  • After Light by Catherine Hunter, cover design by Doowah Design, published by Signature Editions
  • Indigenous Men and Masculinities: Legacies, Identities, Regeneration, edited by Robert Alexander Innes and Kim Anderson, cover photo by Thosh Collins, cover design by Marvin Harder, interior design by Karen Armstrong Graphic Design, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman, edited and with an afterword by Keavy Martin and Julie Rak, with Norma Dunning, cover design by Mike Carroll, interior design by Jess Koroscil, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • The Road to Atlantis by Leo Brent Robillard, cover design by Jamis Paulson, interior design by Sharon Caseburg, published by Turnstone Press
  • Too Far Gone by Chadwick Ginther, cover design by Jamis Paulson, interior design by Sharon Caseburg, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

  • After Light by Catherine Hunter, published by Signature Editions
  • Last Known Whereabouts by Margaret Riddell, published by Margaret Riddell
  • Lessons from a Nude Man by Donna Besel, published by Hagios Press
  • Let Us Be True by Erna Buffie, published by Coteau Books
  • Nightwatching by Méira Cook, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction

Prix Alexander-Kennedy-Isbister pour les études et les essais

  • Decolonizing Employment: Aboriginal Inclusion in Canada’s Labour Market by Shauna MacKinnon, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Letters to Brian: A Year of Living and Remembrance by Martha Brooks, published by Turnstone Press
  • The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada
  • This Benevolent Experiment: Indigenous Boarding Schools, Genocide, and Redress in Canada and the United States by Andrew Woolford, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • We’re Going to Run This City: Winnipeg’s Political Left after the General Strike by Stefan Epp-Koop, published by University of Manitoba Press

Beatrice Mosionier Award for Aboriginal Writer of the Year

Prix Beatrice-Mosionier pour l’écrivain.e autochtone de l’année

  • Chantal Fiola (Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Métis Ancestry and Anishinaabe Spirituality, published by University of Manitoba Press)
  • David Alexander Robertson (Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story,illustrated by Scott B Henderson, published by HighWater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press)
  • Roland Vandal (Off the Ropes: My Story, as told to Carlene Rummery, published by J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing Inc.)

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

Prix littéraire Carol-Shields de la ville de Winnipeg

  • 100 Things Jets Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Jon Waldman, published by Triumph Books
  • After Light by Catherine Hunter, published by Signature Editions
  • The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada
  • We’re Going to Run This City: Winnipeg’s Political Left after the General Strike by Stefan Epp-Koop, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Winnipeg Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City’s Top Chefs by Robin Summerfield, published by Figure 1 Publishing

Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

  • From the Barren Lands: Fur Trade, First Nations and a Life in Northern Canada by Leonard G. Flett, published by Great Plains Publications
  • Let Us Be True by Erna Buffie, published by Coteau Books
  • Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities: Restoring a Dangerous Orderby Shawna Ferris, published by the University of Alberta Press
  • We’re Going to Run This City: Winnipeg’s Political Left after the General Strike by Stefan Epp-Koop, published by University of Manitoba Press

John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

Prix John-Hirsch pour L’écrivain.e manitobain le plus prometteur

  • Donna Besel
  • Jodi Carmichael
  • G.M.B. Chomichuk
  • Joanne Epp
  • Chantal Fiola
  • Alix Sobler

Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction

  • Blue Vengeance by Alison Preston, published Signature Editions
  • Infinitum by G.M.B. Chomichuk, published by ChiGraphic, an imprint of ChiZine Publications
  • Kraken Bake by Karen Dudley, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press
  • Put on the Armour of Light by Catherine Macdonald, published by Dundurn
  • Too Far Gone by Chadwick Ginther, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

McNally Robinson Books for Young People Awards (younger)

  • Alexia Wants to Fly by Talia Pura, illustrated by Wai Tien, published by Lilly Star Press
  • Fur Is Only Fur Deep by Julia Schettler, illustrated by Sarah Neville, published by Peasantry Press
  • InvisiBill by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Dušan Petričić, published by Tundra Books
  • Misaabe’s Stories: A Story of Honesty by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Irene Kuziw, published by Portage & Main Press
  • Nana and Me by Kathy Knowles, illustrated by Edmund Opare, published by Osu Children’s Library Fund

McNally Robinson Books for Young People Awards (older)

  • Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Scott B Henderson, published by HighWater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press
  • Broken Stone by Gabriele Goldstone, published by Rebelight Publishing Inc.
  • Forever Julia by Jodi Carmichael, published by Great Plains Teen Fiction, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • Ghost Most Foul by Patti Grayson, published by Coteau Books

McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award

  • After Light by Catherine Hunter, published by Signature Editions
  • Calling Down the Sky by Rosanna Deerchild, published by BookLand Press
  • Monologue Dogs by Méira Cook, published by Brick Books
  • The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada Books Inc.
  • We’re Going to Run This City: Winnipeg’s Political Left after the General Strike by Stefan Epp-Koop, published by University of Manitoba Press

 

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.”

SharedWorldposter1

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

infinitum

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.

signal-to-noise-9781781082997_hr

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.

TOOFARGONE

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.

HealthandFitnessCoverblurb

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.

american Eagle2

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.

CC1 Front-Exterior-Cover

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.

Wayward01A-585x900-web

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!

Happy Holidays! Enjoy “Go Tell It On The Mountain” A Thunder Road Story

Well, 2015 was a great, but hectic year for me (more on that later). In the meantime, I hope you’ll all enjoy the continuing (mis)adventures of Yule Lad Sheep Cote Clod.

Continue reading

C4 Roundup

Once again, C4 (Central Canada Comic Con) proved a blast! I would’ve had this up sooner, but C4 was immediately followed by my book tour, including stops in Toronto, Saratoga Springs, NY (World Fantasy Con, woo!) and Alberta; Edmonton, Calgary, and Canmore (I already talked about WFC, but more on the western tour later).

C4 is fast becoming one of my favourite times of year (coinciding with Halloween sure doesn’t hurt). It was great to hang with my friends, and have a chance to talk with some creators that I’ve previously only known via Facebook and Twitter. I love being in Artist’s Alley surrounded by other creators. It has a great vibe. I may have even found a new local tattoo artist!

Here’s my table:

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For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see the finished version of Scott Henderson’s Too Far Gone art, here you go:

TOOFARGONE

Needless to say, I fucking love it.

Here’s Valkyrie Books:

Valkyrie Books C4 2015

I’m so damn proud of all that Samantha Beiko accomplished with her pop-up store (even though I had nothing to do with it other than cheering her on). If her C4 booth looked this amazing, imagine what the real store will look like (someday soon, right, Sam?). Also, big thanks to her for selling copies of my books there too!

Other fun stuff this year: GMB Chomichuk and I made a book! We had lots of help from James Gillespie (one of the fine folks I got to meet this year) who co-wrote a story with Gregory, Silvia Moreno-Garcia who wrote us a kickass introduction, and Samantha Beiko who edited and designed the book, and made sure we got it printed in time for C4.

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C4 was my first chance to hold the finished book in my hand. I always love getting new author copies!

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GMB Chomichuk’s title page art for my Lovecraftian sword and sorcery story, “When the Gods Send You Rats.” Shared World was a blast to put together, so here’s hoping we keep the tradition going, and keep creating fun things together.

I also printed out some of my flash fiction this year. Design and illustrations by Samantha Beiko:

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Some of my swag:

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All art and comics this year. On the comic side, Greg Waller’s Magnitude, Donovan Yaciuk’s Spacepig Hamadeus, and some new to me September 17 books (the fine folks who did Canadian Corps). As for art, I got my signed print of Too Far Gone, and the original art from Scott Henderson, a Doctor Fate sketch by Justin Schauf, and a valkyrie print by Carly Montgomery.

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Justin’s colour paper sketches are such a cool idea. I wonder who I’ll get next year…

It was a good con. In terms of sales, roughly equivalent to last year, maybe a bit better. I sold lots of books, talked to lots of people, and applied some of the lessons learned from the first two years. I still have a ways to go when it comes to being at ease with selling my work directly like this, but progress is being made. Every year, I add new display items to the arsenal, and new work to the table, so I’m really looking forward to next year. I even put my name on the waitlist for a table at the monstrosity that is the Calgary Expo.

And of course, the real reason you’re likely here: some of my favourite costumes from the weekend:

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“OH YEAH.”

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A sweet Loki cosplay. Even better, he’s a Thunder Road reader!

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There was lots of unexpected, but cool cosplay. This Ugly Betty was pretty sweet. I wish I would’ve got pictures of the teen gender-swapped Columbo, and the teen Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. Someone is raising their kids right.

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Wasn’t surprising to see Fury Road costumes, but this one was awesome.

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Another unexpected, but awesome costume! Barf from Spaceballs! Maybe all of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens excitement is bringing attention back to that sweet parody. I’m secretly hoping Mel Brooks brings out Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money the weekend before the new Star Wars film.

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Princess Mononoke!

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This was one of the better Mr. Freeze costumes I’ve ever seen.

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Rock and Roll all night, and every day.

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Zero’s nose lit up!

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More people living (dying?) right.

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So. Good.

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“I am not fast.”

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And now it’s back to the real world, where R2-D2 almost never shows up to say hello.

Write on!

New Year, New Goals 2015 Edition

This is coming a bit late isn’t it? It’s still January, so it still counts.

Here were my goals from last year:

  • Turn in Book 3 of the Thunder Road trilogy to Ravenstone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three four (after NaNoWriMo) drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo again (I’ve already started outlining the new project!).
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • I have at least eight short stories in various stages of readiness to submit, I’d like all of those to be out the door in 2014, and say write and submit at least two more for a total of ten new stories in the mix.
  • Turn in two comic scripts (Sekkrit projects, yo.).

Not going to lie. This wasn’t the best year for hitting goals. It wasn’t that I didn’t accomplish anything, but opportunities kept coming up that weren’t a part of my goals list. They were pretty cool though. I won a Manitoba Arts Council writing grant, and applied for my first Canada Arts Council Grant (still waiting to hear back on that one). I was invited to teach a couple of workshops (which also meant I had to design a couple of workshops): the ACI Teen Writing Workshop at Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, and a Writing Dark Fantasy and Horror workshop for the Thompson Writing Guild (Thanks ACI for having me, and thanks to the city of Thompson and the Manitoba Writers’ Guild for sending me north!). As a part of the teen writing workshop I also edited an anthology of my students’ work (Shine a Light and it’s available at Millennium Library if you want to check it out), there’s some excellent young writers coming up in this province, I assure you.

Okay, so, how bad was last year for actually making my goals:

  • Turn in Book 3 of the Thunder Road trilogy to Ravenstone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three four (after NaNoWriMo) drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo again (I’ve already started outlining the new project!).
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • I have at least eight short stories in various stages of readiness to submit, I’d like all of those to be out the door in 2014, and say write and submit at least two more for a total of ten new stories in the mix.
  • Turn in two comic scripts (Sekkrit projects, yo.).

Pretty bad (this is probably why I never do New Year’s resolutions).

I finally finished a draft of Too Far Gone, and have done a couple revision passes, but it’s not handed in yet. It will be by month’s end, but it’s no longer 2014, is it?

Conventions fared better, I went to more conventions this year than any year prior. In fact, I doubled down on the convention in a new city goal by attending World Horror Con in Portland, Oregan, and World Fantasy Con in Washington, D.C. What I’ve realized for a long time, and still need to find a better way to implement, is how to be more productive while I’m on the road.

Most of my revision energy went into Too Far Gone this year, I made some progress on the first book in a potential new series, but it’s not ready for submission yet. Which is why I bowed out of committing to NaNoWrimo early this year, I’d hoped to have Too Far Gone off to first readers by end of October so that I could NaNo guilt-free, but that didn’t work out, and so I didn’t see the point in dodging one deadline, while adding another first draft to the pile.

I was more diligent with submitting my short fiction at the beginning of the year, I also identified some new markets, and did some research into reprint markets and audio markets, but as the deadline loomed for Too Far Gone that discipline fell away. Which is why I also didn’t finish up a lot of those short story drafts.

On the plus, side, a drafted a bunch of new stories. “New Year’s Eve,” a Thunder Road vignette, was published on the Ravenstone website in January. I sold “The Last Good Look” to The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir (releasing March 1st, 2015!), another has been accepted pending revisions/contract signing (so I won’t say any more for now) and I self-published two stories. The first self-published story “A Simple Twist of Fate” was an experiment. I didn’t have anything new for the Winnipeg Comic Con (C4) this year, so wrote a  new Thunder Road story, hired an illustrator for the cover and interior illustrations and had it printed to look like a comic book. That was a rousing success. I’ll definitely do more of those (thanks Kevin Madison for the art, Samantha Beiko for the book design, and GMB Chomichuk for the idea). The second story I self-published, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” also a Thunder Road story, was published on my website, as a thank you to my readers (because you’ve been awesome to me). I’ve also got two other stories that I drafted that have to be polished for submission, and the first 10000 words of a novella in the can.

Those comic scripts are almost there…One has finished art, and me and the artist just need to get together and sign off that we’re both happy and we can send it to the editor. The other script just needs one or two more passes, and I’ll send it in to the editor so he can find me an artist.

And for this year:

  • Finish Too Far Gone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three four (after NaNoWriMo) drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • Get those old stories polished and out the door (which I think will also help the goal above from getting lost in the shuffle)
  • Write and submit at least two new short stories.
  • Write a script for a secret comic project with Samantha Beiko.
  • Say no to more “author” stuff and yes to more “writing” stuff.
  • Keep better track of my daily word count output.

I’m not planning to make a run at NaNo this year. If Too Far Gone releases when I think it will in the fall, then I’ll probably be touring in November. I played that game in 2013 and it was a wee bit stressful. I’ve been keeping track of my daily word count since I saw this post by Jamie Todd Rubin, and it’s definitely helping to motivate me. At times it didn’t feel like I was writing very much, since a lot of my time was spent revising, but after only twelve days, I see that all the those new words I sneak in while I rewrite are adding up to a page or two of new material a day. Seeing that I’ve got a few hundred words down, makes me want to add to them. I’ve never actually tracked my words for a full year, so I’m curious how it’ll shake down.

Finally, my goals for the month of January:

  • Finish Too Far Gone  (I have to, that’s my deadline)
  • Turn in a review of Owl and the Japanese Circus for The Winnipeg Review
  • Submit a story to Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe

Write on!

Central Canada Comic Con 2014 Roundup

Well…that went well.

Another C4 is in the bag, and I feel like it was an unqualified success. Artist’s Alley was moved away from the main exhibition hall this year. I was worried that being away from the bigger vendors and the celebrity guests would hurt the artists, a worry made more serious by a slow Friday, but it really didn’t. I’ll admit to being concerned about that, given that I’d printed up a book just for the con, but Saturday and Sunday more than made up for that. Artist’s Alley was packed most of the weekend. We also had better lighting, a brighter, more cheerful space, and (and I can’t stress this enough) carpeted floor. That carpet made a huge difference with all the standing I had to do over the weekend.

I’d brought my tablet to do some writing, as there had been slow times last year where I could really dive in and get some words, but that wasn’t the case this year. There was always someone to talk to so not a lot of writing got done, other than a few messily scrawled notes to self in my notebook.

I shared a booth with Samantha Beiko, GMB Chomichuk, Ryan Roth Bartel, and Jeff Martin and had a blast. There were a bunch of other awesome folks in Artist’s Alley this year, Lovern Kindzierski, Scott Henderson, Nyco Rudolph, Scott A. Ford, Sierra Dean, and the Burst Books crew (Ron Hore and Leia Getty).

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Sam ended up doing a Tilda sketch in her Valkyrie Books Dream Book. Which was pretty awesome.

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Okay, this couple was just to perfect not to take a picture. I was wearing a Thor shirt of my own, and Sam is a huge She-Hulk fan. They were kind enough to pose with our books.

I talked to lots of folks, and it was surprising how many people stopped by who had actually read my books. Sales aside, the convention was totally worth it for the young man who stopped dead when he saw Thunder Road and realized that I was the author. His enthusiasm for my work certainly helped keep me energized over the 13 hours I was in Artist’s Alley on Saturday.

My limited print run Thunder Road short story “A Simple Twist of Fate” was a success also. I didn’t sell out, but I sold a lot of copies. It was also great to have something new for the people who bought Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues last year. Credit where credit is due, I got the idea from GMB Chomichuk and his Raygun Gothic limited print runs and Kevin Madison knocked it out of the park with the art, as did Samantha Beiko with the book’s design.

A Simple Twist of Fate

Too Far Gone releases next fall, so there will be a new novel in time for next year’s Central Canada Comic Con, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility of having another new convention exclusive short to debut at C4 2015. We’ll see, no promises on that front yet. Too Far Gone needs to come first.

Kevin Madison, the artist of “A Simple Twist of Fate” was in town to surprise his mother with a visit, and he had time to run by the con, which was awesome. He even happened to be there when someone was buying the story, and got to do a signing and sketchfor her.

Chad & Kev ASTOF

Just when I thought I was about to lose my voice, it was time to sit down with Dan Vadeboncouer and Kenton Larsen for the Media Nerds Podcast. We talked a bit about my books and writing, but dove quickly into geeking out about movies and television, and discussing Star Wars (as happens from time to time). At the end, I gave a big shoutout to Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.

Met Edmonton artist and writer Jeff Martin. Jeff’s done lots of cons and had some cool tips that I’ll try to incorporate into future ventures. There’s still a few things I need to take care of if I want to start doing more of these types of cons. Better signage for one. Maybe some ancillary things like buttons or magnets for sale. Again, we’ll see. I also don’t want to lose sight of the fact I’m there to sell books.

I usually end up leaving C4 with all kinds of swag and 2014 was no different.  I thought I wasn’t going to buy any more art, as I still haven’t hung up everything from last year, but the heart wants what it wants. I got it in my head to get a Dr. Fate and Zatanna original sketch, but I couldn’t find the artist I was hoping to do it, so instead I may have commissioned a (modified) Dr. Fate helmet from Rampant Design. Clearly I cannot be left alone at my own table. I will turn all of my profits into swag.

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Picked up a copy of Scott Henderson’s new graphic novel, Chronicles of Era.

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And got a pretty sweet sketch inside too.

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Jeff Martin and I traded books. I sent him home with a copy of Thunder Road and now I’ve got a book about Space Wrestlers to read.

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In a happy surprise, I found that I’m an entry in the Manitoba Authors colouring book fundraiser being done by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild.

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My book came with Black, Grey, and Orange crayons. I might also draw some hair sticking out the sides of that hat…

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I didn’t find the entire Beau Smith/Mitch Byrd Guy Gardner Warrior run, but this was a good start. One of my favourite issues, illustrated by Phil Jimenez, and Supermullet Superman? Gold.

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Nyco Rudolph bills his work as “Art for people who are classy as fuck” so I’m pretty chuffed to be putting this “Viking as Fuck” print up on my wall.

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Fantastic old school print by Donovan Yaciuk, creator of Spacepig Hamadeus.

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Talked to Hope Nicholson, who Kickstarted the return of Canada’s first superheroine, Nelvana of the Northern Lights, and scored a couple of sweet prints. Wished I would have remembered to bring my Nelvana collection with me though, it would be nice to have it signed.

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A while back I commissioned an original Tilda drawing from Scott Henderson that was inspired by Tombstone Blues. Man did he deliver. Pictured here are a signed print, and the original inked page. You can still see the pencil marks in places. I love it.

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Just look at it. God. I can’t wait to see what he cooks up for Too Far Gone.

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STAY VIGILANT!

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Finally got my hands on volume 2 of Raygun Gothic!

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And a sketch of Ghost Doctor 13 (And his sidekick, the brain of Neils Bohr)!

Who is Ghost Doctor 13?

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Time to read and find out.

COSTUMES!

I’m not much of a cosplayer myself. I can barely find the energy to dress up for Halloween these days (I went as Darkest Timeline Chadwick this year). But I love seeing the folks who go all out. And comic conventions are full of the highest concentration of balls out great costumes you’re likely to find anywhere.

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These vikings were awesome.

There were a lot of Poison Ivys this year (I suppose as costumes go, that one is evergreen. Bah dum bum), and lots of Harley Quinns. There always are. Fewer Adventure Time costumes than last year, to my disappointment. Newly popular were the Winter Soldiers, Quicksilvers, and Rocket Raccoons and Groots–not surprised by that at all given how sweet they were in their various movies.

Jessica Quicksilver

My favourite Quicksilver of the weekend.

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I’m always on the lookout for good Thor and Loki cosplay, and these were two of my favourites of the weekend.

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YES.

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Sweet Baroness.

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One of my favourite clever costumes. Not picture: Bat Sandals and Spider Sandals.

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Props to this guy, who needed two helpers to maneuver him through the crowd.

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“Pizza for I.C. Weiner? Awww, crud.”

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If I could’ve found a knit brain slug to stick on my head, I totally would’ve bought one.

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Boba Fett sucks, but this costume does not.

Another great year!

Write on!