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!

 

Level Up!

I suppose I can share this now, as the contract is signed (and I’ve been paid).

Sold my first short story reprint!

Level-Up

Nice!

The story in question is “First They Came for the Pigs” originally included in the Innsmouth Free Press anthology, Fungi, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Orrin Grey, it’ll be appearing in Grimdark Magazine in the near future. Super stoked about this!

I also came home from work to this as a congratulations the day they made the offer:

Mushroom Congrats

(“First They Came for the Pigs” features people-eating mushrooms by-the-by.)

Thanks Silvia and Orrin for choosing the story in the first place (and for commissioning that amazing cover that made me want to write about mushrooms even if I’ll never eat them) and to Grimdark for giving this one another moment in the sun.

Write on!

(I’m In) Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe!

Very excited to finally be able to announce that my story “Midnight Man versus Doctor Death” will be appearing in Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe edited by Claude Lalumière & Mark Shainblum. This will be my second time dinging the Tesseracts bell, and my second time in one of Claude’s anthologies. I love selling to the same market again. It helps one feel like the first time wasn’t a fluke.

This sale also means a lot because superhero comics were my gateway to reading way back when. Between wishing I could draw better and playing various superhero roleplaying games, I have created more superheroes and supervillains than I can easily remember, so it’s a thrill to have one out there in the world officially.

I do hope readers will like Midnight Man (obviously), as the story ties into a couple of my other works-in-progress.

Here’s the complete list of contributors:

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

Write on!

One New Story And Two New Gigs: Three Fun Things Make A New Blog

So a few new things have been happening lately:

I’m leading ACI Manitoba‘s Teen Writing Workshop as part of their 16-19 year old mentorship program. I’ve been a guest speaker at the program twice, once as an author and once as a bookseller and it’s an honour to be taking it over from Anita Daher. I’ll be editing an anthology of their stories, and at the end of the program the students will be doing a public reading of their work. We’ve had one class so far and I’m enjoying it a lot. My students (it’s very weird to think that I have students!) are very keen and I’m looking forward to reading what they produce.

Also on the teaching front, I’ll be leading a fantasy writing workshop in Thompson, Manitoba in March. Details are still being firmed up, but I’ll post them as soon as I have them. I had a great time the last time I visited northern Manitoba (to do research for Thunder Road) and I’m very much looking forward to checking out a different corner of the north. Here’s hoping the weather co-operates!

Finally, my publisher asked for a blog post about Ted Callan’s resolutions for the coming year. Somehow, instead of a blog post, I ended up with a 600 word short story instead. It went live today, and I hope you’ll enjoy New Year’s Eve. (For those concerned about such things, there are maybe a couple small spoilers for Tombstone Blues in this one)

Write on!

August Goals

Checking in on my August goals, I see a number of them are left over from June, let alone July. Sigh. It’s been that kind of summer. I have made some progress on many of them, but between Tombstone Blues editorial and dealing with some bureaucracy and financial planning issues, July was not as productive as I’d hoped it would be.

So, how’d I do:

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3: This time I’m aiming for at least 60000 words in the manuscript by month end.
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Finish drafting the second short story I started. Another one set in the Thunder Road ‘verse. Another one without Ted. I’ve written a story with this character before, and love the voice (Hopefully you’ll all be able to read that one soon!). These first 2000 words feel more like the beginning of a new novel, but I think I can make it work as a short story.
  • Write a short story for the Innsmouth Free Press “Wings” special issue.
  • I haven’t written any “Loki’s Guide to Norse Mythology” blog posts in a while. I have two on deck that I’ve been meaning to get to.
  • Attend the kick ass launch of ChiSeries Winnipeg Wednesday July 17th, at McNally Robinson. I am the co-organizer of this along with the Tiny Godzilla of Winnipeg’s YA scene (AKA the awesome and talented Samantha Beiko) and it’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally there! We’ll have readings from David AnnandaleAndrew Davidson, and Sierra Dean.

While that’s not a lot crossed off, progress was made on all fronts. I did keep working on Tombstone Blues, though I doubt I made it to 60K, I won’t know until I finish transcribing my notebooks, and I’m about 80 handwritten pages behind on that (and not all of it is Tombstone Blues, either). I managed one edit pass on my first short story on the list, but it’s not done yet. I drafted a story for “Wings”, unfortunately, I didn’t get it in shape for the deadline, but I still like the story, and I think I can do something with it. I posted one of the two Loki’s Guide blogs (Jormungandur), and the second (Ymir) should be showing up soon.

So here’s my goals for August (what’s left of it anyway):

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal, this time afraid. I need a win.
  • Catch up transcribing my handwritten notes.
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Polish the short story formerly meant for the Innsmouth Free Press “Wings” special issue.
  • Write my Loki’s Guide to Ymir blog post.
  • Write up a blog post or two about my time at the Icelandic Festival in Gimli.

Write on!

July Goals And A Half-Year Check In On The Big Picture

Here’s my latest monthly goals post:

So, how did I do in June?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road book 3. I’m not going to set a specific word count goal, I just want to keep up the forward progress and keep momentum rumbling. Okay, who am I kidding, I want to hit at least 50000 words in the manuscript by month end (which is not looking promising), which brings me to the next item:
  • Revamp my writing routine. There’s a good reason for this (besides getting my ass off Facebook and Twitter a bit more).
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Finish drafting the second short story I started. Another one set in the Thunder Road ‘verse. I’ve written a story with this character before, and love the voice (Hopefully you’ll all be able to read that one soon! I’m waiting on the contract to make the announcement). These first 2000 words feel more like the beginning of a new novel, but I think I can make it work as a short story.

Not as good as I’d hoped, unfortunately. There are reasons for this. (*cough* EXCUSES! *cough* Ahem) I didn’t write for most of the first week on my new job. I had two book reviews (one for The Winnipeg Review, one for Quill and Quire) and an article for Prairie books NOW all show up close together, and with similar deadlines. My response to paying work is generally to say “yes” and then figure out how I’ll make the time later. For year’s it’s been these reviews and articles that have helped to pay for my out of town conference trips. I made an admirable run at my word count goal for the final book in the trilogy, hitting almost 47000 words, but that’s not 50000, is it? Sadly I didn’t even look at those two short stories. The big goal of revamping my writing has been working however, and while 500-700 words a day on my lunch break and another 300-400 on the bus ride home may not seem like much, that roughly 1000 words a day is considerably more than I was averaging before May.

So what’s on the deck for July?

How about everything left over from June, to start.

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3: This time I’m aiming for at least 60000 words in the manuscript by month end.
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Finish drafting the second short story I started. Another one set in the Thunder Road ‘verse. Another one without Ted. I’ve written a story with this character before, and love the voice (Hopefully you’ll all be able to read that one soon!). These first 2000 words feel more like the beginning of a new novel, but I think I can make it work as a short story.

And on the new side:

  • Write a short story for the Innsmouth Free Press “Wings” special issue.
  • I haven’t written any “Loki’s Guide to Norse Mythology” blog posts in a while. I have two on deck that I’ve been meaning to get to.
  • Attend the kick ass launch of ChiSeries Winnipeg Wednesday July 17th, at McNally Robinson. I am the co-organizer of this along with the Tiny Godzilla of Winnipeg’s YA scene (AKA the awesome and talented Samantha Beiko) and it’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally there! We’ll have readings from David Annandale, Andrew Davidson, and Sierra Dean.

I think I’m already veering into “unrealistic goal territory” as there is editorial work on Tombstone Blues to take into account, so I’m going to leave it there and see what happens in August. But since we’re half way through the year, I thought I’d also check in on those goals for 2013 that I posted back in January:

  • Finish Tombstone Blues
  • Start writing the as-yet nebulously titled book 3 in the Thunder Road Trilogy (I’m thinking this will be a good year to return to NaNoWriMo).
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Start a new writing project, just for the fun of it.

Still some work to do there, I see. I’m not terribly worried.

Tombstone Blues will be finished, I’m not worried about that, but I don’t feel I’m done writing a book until I’ve approved the final page proofs. So until then, I’m leaving it on the list. I’ve probably hit the two-thirds point of my discovery draft of Book 3. There will be lots more work once that’s done, but things are going well, and I’m way ahead of schedule on that project, as I’d only anticipated starting to draft in November.

I’d thought the convention would be an easy one, when I first made that goal, it was my intention to hit World Horror Con in New Orleans. That plan got a bit waylaid when I switched jobs, so I couldn’t make it. I will get to World Horror some day. And I will get to New Orleans too (maybe for the Romantic Times convention next year). I will be going to Can-Con in Ottawa in October. I’ve been to Ottawa, but not  to that convention… I’ll leave it up to readers to decide if I can count that one and strike it off my list.

I’ve revised one of my old manuscripts, it’s still nowhere near submission shape, but it’s probably next on the list once the draft of book three is done. It’ll be good to take a little break and let the draft breathe before I get back to it.

So that leaves starting a project just for the fun of it. Looks like that will be my project for NaNoWrimo this year.

Write on!

June Goals

It’s that time again!

In the interest of keeping me honest, here are my latest monthly goals:

  • Keep writing Tombstone Blues. I’m not going to set a specific word count goal, I just want to keep up the forward progress and keep momentum rumbling. Okay, who am I kidding, I want to hit at least 50000 words in the manuscript by month end (which is not looking promising), which brings me to the next item:
  • Revamp my writing routine. There’s a good reason for this (besides getting my ass off Facebook and Twitter a bit more).
  • Polish the first short story I wrote in May. It’s set in the Thunder Road ‘verse and takes place just after the first book. No Ted in this story. I’m playing around with some minor characters. Who doesn’t like dwarf women kicking ass?
  • Finish drafting the second short story I started. Another one set in the Thunder Road ‘verse. I’ve written a story with this character before, and love the voice (Hopefully you’ll all be able to read that one soon!). These first 2000 words feel more like the beginning of a new novel, but I think I can make it work as a short story.

How did I do last month?

  • Write at least 31000 words on the third book in the Thunder Road trilogy. Why 31000? It works out to 1000 words a day. 1K a day for May. I like the way it sounds. Also, somewhere around 30000 words is when a work in progress starts to actually feel like a book to me. My first drafts are usually in the 60K range (Thunder Road was 68000 in first draft, and Tombstone Blues was 62000 words in first draft), and so this will take me to roughly the halfway point of the novel (though I have a sneaking suspicion that Book 3, will be the longest of the trilogy)
  • Prepare for my Keycon 30 panels. I’ll be interviewing Ann Aguirre and moderating audience questions as a part of the “Hour with an Author” program. I’m also doing a panel on Myth and Folklore with Karen Dudley and Leia Getty, and sharing a reading slot with David Annandale.
  • Draft a new short story (I’m told there will be a post-Keycon write-off with some of my writing chums, and I always get lots of work done at these things, so what the hell, let’s add this to the mix).

Not too shabby! All goals made, despite spending three days at Keycon (and one day recovering from it), getting the vegetable garden in the ground, and a few days lost to a vicious headache.

Write on!

In The Spirit of Christmas, Have A Free Story

A few years ago, I extended a challenge to my writing group for our December meeting: write a 500 word Christmas-themed fantasy story. That meeting was mostly going to be a potluck anyway, so we agreed to read the stories aloud rather than critiquing them. Most of us played along, and it was a lot of fun (if you like stories about Christmas slashers and wishes gone wrong–apparently we had some issues with The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.).

So here is my contribution, which remains the first (and only) piece of flash fiction that I’ve written:

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, he sighed ruefully, can be granted. 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.

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

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.

He often chose to be seen.

“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.”

Fin