Owl and the Japanese Circus Review is Live

My review of Kristi Charish’s Owl and the Japanese Circus just went live over at The Winnipeg Review.

Owl-cover

It was a really fun book! I was excited to read this one, because Kristi’s story “Canadian Blood Diamonds” was my favourite piece in the excellent superhero anthology Masked Mosaic. Read the review, but more importantly, read the book!

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September Goals

This post is a little late, I realize. But then I’ve also noticed these posts have been getting progressively later. Have I started dreading them as more and more goals pile up, unfulfilled?

So here’s my goals for August, how’d I do?

  • 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.

Not too bad, not as good as I’d hoped. But all things considered, with all the travel I did in August, I’m okay with that.

So, what’s up for September?

  • Keep writing Thunder Road Book 3. No word count goal again. Any forward progress while I’m prepping for the launch and tour of Tombstone Blues is going to be considered a win.
  • 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?
  • Start pre-writing blog posts for my website and guest blogs for during the Tombstone Blues tour.
  • Submit a review to The Winnipeg Review.
  • Actually get my next goals post up a little earlier than middle of October.

I’ve decided to drop the second short story from the list until I finally put that first one to bed. If all goes well, it’ll make a triumphant return to my October Goals post. Oh, and in the goals for the year category, another one bites the dust!

  • 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.

The pages have been proofed, the dedication and acknowledgements have been written, and I have put in the last words on Tombstone Blues. For good or ill, it’s off to the printer. I hope you’ll all love it.

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!

April Goals

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

April Goals:

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

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

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

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

How’d I do? Not too bad, actually.

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

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

Write on!

New Month, New Goals

So these were my goals for January:

  • Finish my submission for Sword and Mythos. I helped fund this anthology on IndieGogo, so I damn well better send them something.
  • Send at least one short story to On Spec.
  • Write a blog post at least once a week.

Now that it’s February, how did I do?

  • Finish my submission for Sword and Mythos. I helped fund this anthology on IndieGogo, so I damn well better send them something.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I have finished drafting the story, but it still needs a lot of polish before I’m willing to let anyone (let alone an editor) see it.

  •  Send at least one short story to On Spec.

I managed to send in three stories to On Spec for this submission period. Two of those stories are ones they offered to take a second look at if I made some revisions and the third, while not a new new story, is new to them, as they were closed to submissions when I first finished it. Fingers crossed, knock wood, not mentioning that “Scottish play” and all that.

  • Write a blog post at least once a week.

I’m actually not sure what to say about this one…I wrote five blog posts in January, as well as had a guest blog from Clare Marshall. By the numbers I guess I hit my goal, but if I lawyer up on my wording, I failed. In one of those January weeks I didn’t actually write a blog, I only published Clare’s guest post. A technical win, I suppose?

Yeah, I’m going to call that a win too. It’s my blog, I can change the rules.

  • Write a blog post at least once a week.

So what’s up for February? February actually has some paying deadlines so it’s going to be a little crazy.

I think that’s ambitious enough for now.

Write on!