It’s been a while since I’ve been active on ye olde blogge. Sorry about that. Lots of fun stuff has been happening though, I swear!
I attended the Parallel Prairies launch, which was a blast! I wasn’t one of the readers this time around, but I did participate in the mass signing afterward. It was great to see a full house for a book of Manitoba speculative fiction, this is something I’ve wanted to see for a long time.
I attended Can-Con in Ottawa in October, this was my third time there, and second year in a row, and I’m sure I’ll be attending for the foreseeable future. Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau and their team of volunteers put on an amazing convention, and it’s become my favourite event of the year. I moderated a panel on attending your first convention and did a reading from my Parallel Prairies story “Eating of the Tree”.
Shortly after Can-Con, I was off to St. Albert, Alberta to participate in STARFest. I had a great time swapping spooky stories with E.C. Bell, Rhonda Parrish, and S.G. Wong.
Most of us did a signing at the Chapters at Whyte Ave on Sunday, and were joined by Jayne Barnard. Sold some books, bought some books, and talked to some readers. All and all, a fine way to spend a weekend.
New Stories! I sold two new short stories this year.
One that just released: Over the Rainbow Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins edited by Derek Newman-Stille. This anthology contains my story “None of Your Flesh and Blood” which I’m stoked to have out in the world.
The other story I sold in 2018, “Cheating the Devil at Solitaire,” will be appearing in On Spec. I just signed the contract, so I’ll have to let you know when you can read it later, but this marks my third appearance in On Spec! On Spec will always be dear to me because they were both my first short story sale, and my first rejection.
I participated in Rhonda Parrish’s Giftmas campaign by donating my story The Gift That Keeps On Giving, and the campaign was a fantastic success! Here’s a message from Rhonda:
We did it! Our goal was to raise $750 for the Edmonton Food Bank but we blew that goal out of the water and raised $1,127! That is enough for the Edmonton Food Bank to provide 3,381 meals for people who need help.
Thank you so much for all your support. Whether you helped directly by donating, or by signal boosting, or even by reading the stories (authors track our website stats, we see when you visit and we love it), it all added up to one heck of a successful fundraiser. You’re awesome :0)
To thank you all we gathered up all the stories and compiled them into an anthology — one you can download for free!
The free anthology expires on January 1st though, so do check it out if you have a chance.
I think that’s about it for updates. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat. Enjoy some Tom Waits, and a story the song inspired:
New Year’s Eve
A Thunder Road vignette
Outside of the hotel that had become his home, the cold bit into Ted Callan’s lungs with every breath.
What is your resolution for the coming year? Huginn asked.
Why do you fucking care? Ted shot back as he lit a cigarette.
Call it curiosity, the raven said. Everyone else seems to be making one tonight.
Doesn’t matter, they’re all bullshit.
“Cold out tonight,” a woman’s voice slurred from behind Ted.
He turned to see a middle-aged woman, shivering in her dress as she struggled to light a cigarette, and huddled under a borrowed suit jacket for warmth. He was glad that he hadn’t addressed his living raven tattoos aloud.
Ted nodded absently and muttered a yup as he lit her smoke and then went back to his own.
You could do something about this cold. Huginn’s cawing voice echoed shrilly in Ted’s mind.
I’ve done enough, he shot back.
It had been a brutal, miserable fucking winter, and it was a long way from over. The mercury had only cracked -20 twice since he’d beat back Hel’s army of the dead, and both of those times, a blizzard had chased in, nipping the heels of the warmer weather.
“What’s your resolution?” the woman asked, and then without waiting for Ted’s answer, added, “I think I’m going to quit smoking.”
They shared a chuckle, and then took a drag, exhaling plumes of smoke that coalesced in the frigid night air.
Resolutions had to be Ted’s least favourite part of the New Year, aside from his usual—and fierce—hangover. He couldn’t think of a single resolution that he’d ever kept. But at least tomorrow he wouldn’t be passed out, body half in the bathroom and his head pounding with thunder instead of his fist.
Muninn trotted out Ted’s list of past broken promises; it made quite the litany. All had been chosen spur of the moment to fulfill a cultural need, not out of any genuine desire to change, or to better himself.
Take up the guitar again.
Get back in shape.
He took a drag of his cigarette, and exhaled in a long sighing breath. Quit smoking.
That one had definitely been the most common.
“Happy New Year!” the woman yelled, voice thick with drunken cheer, as she butted out her cigarette in the hotel’s sand-filled ashtray. She rushed back inside blowing on her hands as she went through the brass-edged revolving door entrance.
Judging from his chuckles, Muninn was having a grand old time continuing down the list of Ted’s failed promises.
Be more romantic.
Quit the Patch.
Everyone is making a resolution, Huginn pressed, staring pointedly at Muninn. Thinking ahead. Forgetting the past.
Ted didn’t get why the birds were so fucking excited about resolutions, but he supposed making one was the only sure way to shut them the hell up.
“Fine,” he grumbled. “Kill Surtur. How’s that for a fucking resolution?”
Huginn and Muninn exchanged surprised quorks.
“Not good enough? What about: go to my buddy’s wedding without getting everyone killed? Oh, and maybe repair all the goddamned damage that Loki’s done to my godsdamned life.”
Ted took a last drag and mashed his cigarette into the ashtray.
The ravens waited in silence for a moment, and then together said, You would have a better chance quitting smoking.
Art by S.M. Beiko.
Happy New Year!