Cheating the Devil at Solitaire Makes the Sunburst Longlist!

Holy shit, my story “Cheating the Devil at Solitaire” published in On Spec Magazine made the Sunburst Award longlist! There’s so many great writers on that list whose work I admire. I’m absolutely thrilled to be named among them, and am looking forward to reading the authors whose work I wasn’t familiar with.

From the Sunburst Award Website:

We are proud to announce the longlists for the 2020 SUNBURST AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CANADIAN LITERATURE OF THE FANTASTIC

Toronto, Ontario (June 8, 2020): The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce the 2020 longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. This year’s lists are comprised of a mixture of established authors, talented newcomers and several past nominees.

Below are the works longlisted by the juries, with links to their publishers, books and stories (where possible).

ADULT FICTION:

YOUNG ADULT FICTION:

SHORT STORY:

The Sunburst official Short list will be announced in July. Sunburst winners will be announced in September.

Jurors for the 2020 Award are: Peter Darbyshire , Kristyn Dunnion, Omar El Akkad, Michelle Butler Hallett,  John Jantunen, Michael Johnstone, Ursula Pflug,  and Sarah Tolmie.

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian Speculative Fiction. Past winners of the Sunburst Award include Andromeda Romano-Lax, Rachel Hartman, Senaa Ahmad, David Demchuk, Cherie Dimaline, Cory Doctorow, Charles De Lint, Nalo Hopkinson and Thomas King.

For additional information about the Sunburst Award, the nominees, juries, as well as previous awards, eligibility, and the selection process, please visit the official website of the Sunburst Award.

Swashbuckling Cats Launches Today!

Are you ready for Nine Lives on the Seven Seas?

I hope so, because Swashbuckling Cats launches today! To celebrate, I thought I’d write a bit about my story “All Cats Go to Valhalla” and give you some of the tale’s secret origin.

SwashbucklingCats-lg

Confession the first: I am not a cat person. I used to be. Before I had to live with one. I loved cats until I had a roommate with one. Then things changed. Now I guess you could say I admire the little jerks as impressive murder machines I’m glad I don’t have to share my home with.

Why the hell would I write a cat story then? Well, I happened to be on Twitter when Rhonda and her publisher at Tyche Books started joking about this anthology (this is neither a huge surprise or coincidence, I am…often on Twitter), and so I joined in the fun, tweeting silly cat GIFs, not really thinking an actual open call would happen. But when it did, since I’d been egging it on, I offered up my metaphorical axe.

Viking Cat

(Also, I also happened to have made a whiskey bet with a writing friend about which of us would sell five stories to Rhonda first. (This became story number four for me.))

The first thing that came to me for “All Cats Go to Valhalla” was my protagonist’s name. I’d had a note about a character called Kills-the-Sky in my miscellaneous writing folder for ages, but hadn’t found the right personality to attach it to, or the right story to use it in. (Fun side note: Kills-the-Sky is also the name of my Tabaxi Ranger in an online game of Curse of Strahd with some writing pals.) I couldn’t shake the image of that axe-wielding viking kitty though, so I knew I’d make the story Norse mythology based, and if I was writing a Norse myths story, why not make it a part of my Thunder Road universe?

The next part of the story to arrive was the title, which was unusual for two reasons. First, I don’t typically care for pun titles. Second, the final title is usually the last thing I type in a story, watching the end of submission window growing closer while I mutter, “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.” It was kind of refreshing to have it locked from the near the start of writing.

The plot came from a line in one of the Thunder Road books about vikings coming to North America to bury their nightmares, which had been my attempt to tie stories of Newfoundland Old Hag sleep paralysis to the myths of maras. Having the first spur of the plot, I took some historical elements, such as an article I’d read about vikings travelling with cats on their ships, and I went for it, figuring if I tried to plan too much that the cats would just have their way, anyway.

I decided not to make my viking cats anthropomorphic because I figured real cats, stuck at sea, would have its own tension even before I started throwing monsters and gods at them, and, as an added bonus, I’d be able to fit the story more neatly into my Thunder Road ‘verse. Years and years ago, I’d really enjoyed Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams, so that probably influenced me too. Finally, I pulled up lots of images of Norwegian forest cats to cast my characters, and started following Black Metal Cats on Twitter for inspiration. This story ended up a bit darker than I thought Rhonda might want, but it was the story in my head, and anyway, there’s some humour in there. And, obviously, things worked out. Rhonda liked “All Cats Go to Valhalla” enough to buy it for the anthology.

I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Viking Cat 2

Swashbuckling Cats!

The cover and Table of Contents for Swashbuckling Cats: Nine Lives on the Seven Seas just dropped. Thrilled to have my story “All Cats go to Valhalla” in this anthology from Tyche Books and Rhonda Parrish. This ToC contains some folks I know, some I don’t, but it sure looks like fun. I hope you’ll check it out!

SwashbucklingCats-lg

Table of Contents:

Krista D. Ball — “The Perfect Kibble”
Rebecca Brae — “The Motley Crew”
Beth Cato — “A Royal Saber’s Work Is Never Done”
Lizz Donnelly — “The Growing of the Green”
Megan Fennell — “The Pride”
Chadwick Ginther — “All Cats go to Valhalla”
Joseph Halden — “The Furgeldt Collector”
Blake Liddell — “The Cat and the Cook”
Frances Pauli — “Pirates Only Love Treasure”
JB Riley — “Buccaneer’s Revenge”
Rose Strickman — “Cat at the Helm”
Leslie Van Zwol — “Cat Out of Hell”
SG Wong — “The Comeback Kitty”

 

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.

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!

Equus Cover Reveal!

Here’s the cover for Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish and featuring a Thunder Road story by yours truly!

I’m stoked to be sharing this anthology with some excellent writers, and some writers I’ve yet to discover.

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

Featuring nineteen fantastic stories of equines both real and imagined by J.G. Formato, Diana Hurlburt, Tamsin Showbrook, M.L.D Curelas, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, VF LeSann, Dan Koboldt, J.J. Roth, Susan MacGregor, Pat Flewwelling, Angela Rega, Michael Leonberger, Sandra Wickham, Stephanie A. Cain, Cat McDonald, Andrew Bourelle, Chadwick Ginther, K.T. Ivanrest, and Jane Yolen.

My story made the back cover copy! You’ll never guess which one is mine.

Write on.

Equus Table of Contents!

The table of contents for Equus is finally live and it’s great to see everyone’s names. I’d sussed out a few other authors because I have a few friends on the list but it’s nice to see everyone all lined up. I’m very curious to read everyone else’s stories (and holy shit, I’m in a book with Jane Yolen)!

Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things by J.G. Formato

Eel and Bloom by Diana Hurlburt

A Complete Mare by Tamsin Showbrook

Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray by M.L.D Curelas

Rue the Day by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Riders in the Sky by VF LeSann

Above the Silver Sky by Daniel Koboldt

A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter by J.J. Roth

Ladies Day by Susan MacGregor

The Boys from Witless Bay by Pat Flewwelling

The Horse Witch by Angela Rega

Eli the Hideous Horse Boy by Michael Leonberger

Different by Sandra Wickham

To Ride a Steel Horse by Stephanie Cain

The Last Ride of Hettie Richter by Cat McDonald

We Us You by Andrew Bourelle

Scatter the Foals to the Wind by Chadwick Ginther

Lightless by K.T. Ivanrest

A Glory of Unicorns by Jane Yolen

Of course, I’m over the moon to be sharing a ToC with my good pal, and writing partner, Sandra Wickham; a first for us. Another first: sharing a ToC with my self-declared nemesis, Cat McDonald. Cat’s wanted to have a readoff to determine which of us will rule the universe for years now, so it looks like she might be getting her wish when Equus launches in July.

Get your Goodreads shelves ready!

 

 

Short Story Sale!

Sold my first story of 2017!

The contract is signed, and I’ve seen other folks announcing their success as well, so here goes:

You’ll find my story, “Scatter the Foals to the Wind” in Equus, edited by Rhonda Parrish!

equus-submissions-banner

This is another Thunder Road ‘verse story, but I don’t want to say much more than that at the moment, other than my story is fantasy and involves horses. Let the speculation begin!

Write on!

Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe!

For me Wednesday is “New Comic Book Day.” Comics are a big reason why I am a reader, and so they’re a big reason why I’m a writer. That’s why I’m super-stoked to have a story in Superhero Universe: Tesseracts Nineteen.

At some point while I was away on book tour, the anthology got a cover. And it is a sweet cover–bristling with energy (and Kirby Krackle!) This is my second time ringing the Tesseracts bell, and second time I’ve landed in one of Claude Lalumière’s anthologies. Always nice to be welcomed back.

“Midnight Man versus Doctor Death,” an ode to pulp heroes like The Shadow, will be called into action Spring 2016. It’s great to share a TOC with Corey Redekop and Alex C. Renwick again. And particularly cool to join A.C. Wise and Michael Matheson, whose writing I admire, in a book at long last. Looking forward to reading everyone’s stories soon!

Write on!


From the Amazon.ca description:

Superhero Universe: Tesseracts Nineteen

Superheroes!
Supervillains!
Superpowered antiheroes.
Mad scientists.
Adventurers into the unknown.
Detectives of the dark night.
Costumed crimefighters.
Steampunk armoured avengers.
Brave and bold supergroups.
Crusading aliens in a strange land.
Secret histories.
Pulp action.

Tesseracts Nineteen features all of these permutations of the superhero genre and many others besides!

Featuring stories by: Patrick T. Goddard, D.K. Latta, Alex C. Renwick, Mary Pletsch & Dylan Blacquiere, Geoff Hart, Marcelle Dubé, Kevin Cockle, John Bell, Evelyn Deshane, A.C. Wise, Jennifer Rahn, Bevan Thoma, Bernard E. Mireault, Sacha A. Howells, Kim Goldberg, Luke Murphy, Corey Redekop, Brent Nichols, Jason Sharp, Arun Jiwa, Chadwick Ginther, Leigh Wallace, David Perlmutter, P.E. Bolivar, Michael Matheson.

The Tesseracts anthology series is Canada’s longest running anthology. It was first edited by the late Judith Merril in 1985, and has published more than 529 original Canadian speculative fiction (Science fiction, fantasy and horror) stories and poems by 315 Canadian authors, editors, translators and special guests. Some of Canada’s best known writers have been published within the pages of these volumes — including Margaret Atwood, William Gibson, Robert J. Sawyer, and Spider Robinson (to name a few).

I’m In Grimdark Magazine Issue #5!

Grimdark Magazine Issue #5 has gone on sale, which means my Fungi story “First They Came for the Pigs” gets a second kick at the can.

GDM 5 COVER SMALL

That cover looks great, and I’m very excited to be a part of this ToC.

And in an incredibly Winnipeg thing to happen, I have the pleasure of sharing this issue with friend and fellow Winnipeg author, David Annandale. Something about our freezing winters or summer mosquitoes must make grimdark an obvious niche for us.

The fine folks at Grimdark even made a trailer for the issue!

Write on!