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

 

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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.

20151101_153443

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!

Three Awesome Things To End The Year

There’s been lots of good news during the last week round Thunder Road Way. As excited as I am to get rolling with 2016’s projects, it’s still sweet to end this year with a high note. Or in this case: three of them.

Too Far Gone got a nod in the Winnipeg Free Press as one of their best books of 2015!

IMG_1200(1)

I even had my cover on the front page alongside Wab Kinew’s The Reason You Walk and Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk.

Here’s the blurb. Thanks, Chris Rutkowski, for reading.

IMG_1201

The finale of the Thunder Road Trilogy also made McNally Robinson’s Manitoba Bestsellers of 2015 list, coming in at #3 in the fiction category. I’m very proud to be on that list with some excellent writers. Congratulations on a good year, everyone.

McNally Manitoba Bestsellers List 2015

Finally, I sold a new short story. More on that one later after all the Is and Ts are dotted and crossed, but I think you’ll like it.

Write on!

Western Canadian Tour Roundup

Alberta was a blast, as always.

Edmonton was my first stop on the western leg of my Too Far Gone book tour. I love Edmonton, it feels a lot like Winnipeg to me, which is sort of like saying it feels like home.

My first night in Edmonton I had an event at Audreys Books.

Audreys 1 BGS

(Photo courtesy of Barb Galler-Smith)

Fuck. I look exhausted. Which…I guess I was. Alberta followed on the heels of C4, an event in Toronto, and World Fantasy Con. I also had one of my worst flights in recent memory: surrounded by screaming toddlers, someone tried to steal my seat, and a flight attendant accidentally (I presume) spat in my eye.

If you weren’t able to make it to my launch at Audreys Books, here’s a bit of my preamble to my reading.

I love coming to Edmonton! One of the things that I always try to do while I’m here is walk across the High Level Bridge—which, Eileen Bell warned me, was the only thing I wasn’t allowed to destroy in Too Far Gone.

You have no idea how nervous it made me to bring the book—and Ted Callan—back to Edmonton. I half wanted to kick off the book here, so I could escape before anyone had read the book, in case I got your city all wrong.

But Edmonton has always been very welcoming to me, and in a way, feels more like home to me than any other city in Canada other than Winnipeg. I loved prowling your streets, and writing in, and about Edmonton.

I read one of my favourite bits of Too Far Gone, which is early in the book, and sets the tone well, I think without spoiling much of the book, or needing to over-explain the previous two novels; the scene where Ted takes in a black metal concert outside of Saskatoon.

Thanks though, to everyone who came out and and asked questions, and joined me for a bite to eat and few drinks afterward. And big thanks to everyone who picked up a book, because you got Too Far Gone to #3 on the Edmonton Journal bestseller list!

Edmonton Journal Bestseller

I unfortunately don’t have any photos of Eileen Bell’s launch of Drowning in Amber at Variant Edition. Eileen was gracious enough to ask me along to do a reading with her. It was a blast! Definitely Eileen’s crowd, there was only a handful of mutual acquaintances, but I still sold lots of books. Thanks, Eileen’s friends and family! And thanks, Variant Edition! What a cool comic book store. Danica LeBlanc and Brandon Schatz have created something special there, and I’m really looking forward to visiting them again.

One of the things I was told early on in my writing career was not to read the same passage twice in the same city. I usually adhere to this and prepare a couple readings, so that I can also potentially play to the crowd I’ve drawn. I like to have a spooky reading and a funny reading. At Variant Edition, I went with the funny reading, a bit of Ted and Loki banter, as I I didn’t know many people, and figured “if you can make ’em laugh, at least they’ll remember you fondly.”

I also customize my preamble a bit for each event. It keeps things fresh for me, as much as anything, but it also helps when you have multiple events in the same city to keep people who attend each from zoning out before you get to that second reading.

It’s fitting that the end of the Thunder Road trip makes a stop here, in a comic book shop, because without comics, I highly doubt I would’ve become a reader—or at least, not as voracious a reader as I am. Comics were my gateway, not just to reading, but to the fantastic. To tales of high adventure. And they’ve been an influence on everything I’ve created. Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men, John Byrne’s Alpha Flight, later Mike Mignola’s Hellboy…I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m still a comic reader, and Wednesday isn’t hump day for me, it’s New Comic Book Day.

Wednesday was actually a travel day, and I was keenly feeling the fact that I hadn’t picked up my comics back home for two weeks, but it was also Remembrance Day. I’m glad my host required little prodding to bring me to one of the services in Edmonton. It took place in a place nicknamed “The Butterdome” and it was very reminiscent of the services I’ve attended in Winnipeg at the Minto Armory. I was also cautioned to avoid mocking the Butterdome until after I’d left Edmonton.

After a minor scare due to getting caught up in Whyte Avenue, I made it to my bus with minutes to spare, and headed south to Calgary.

My launch at Owl’s Nest Books was a blast. Great crowd. Great questions. Great store.

imagejpeg_3

(Photo courtesy of Jean Cichon)

In a huge surprise, Professor Michael Cichon who’d invited me to speak to his class in 2013 (and introduced me to Loki beer from Paddock Wood) at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan happened to be in Calgary, so I was glad we had a chance to catch up a bit. It was great to see so many of my friends from When Words Collide as well. Owl’s Nest is a great store, and I’m looking forward to going back some day with another book.

From my Calgary preamble:

I love coming to Calgary. I’ve made some great friends here, and your conference When Words Collide is one of the highlights of my year every August. Calgary also hosted the first SF&F convention I ever attended, and if it wasn’t for the great friends I’ve made along the way since, I probably wouldn’t have thought to make Ted Albertan. Now I just hope you’ll forgive me for making him from Edmonton.

I snuck in a signing at Indigo Signal Hill on Friday thanks to Stacey Kondla (another great WWC person) and it went well. Signal Hill is a huge store with a great SF&F and Graphic Novel collection.

Indigo Signal Hill SK

(Photo courtesy of Stacey Kondla)

I’ve admired the work Kevin Madison has done for his Prix Aurora nominated “Thunder Road Trip” art blog of his reading of my trilogy for ages. It’s one of the reasons I specifically commissioned art from him for “A Simple Twist of Fate” and while I was in Calgary, I got to witness him starting up the next leg of the blog after the launch:

Ted's Back KBM

So cool.

Canmore! I’ve never been to Canmore, or right in the mountains like this.

Mountains and Snow

Too bad it was cloudy and snowy so that I couldn’t see to the tops of those mountains, but it was still amazing. After a lunch at a Mexican restaurant, I headed down to Cafe Books to do my thing.

Cafe Books 2 JC

(Photo courtesy of Jean Cichon)

Cafe Books is a wonderful store. I talked to lots of people, and signed a bunch of books. Cafe Books is labyrinthine, and seems to keep going and going. It feels like you could find anything there. I hope to return someday.

That was my tour! Thanks to Ravenstone for putting me out on the road, and the folks who put me up (and put up with me) along the way.

Write on!

Central Canada Comic Con & Creative Colleagues

I can’t believe that C4 (Central Canada Comic Con) is only a week away!

It’s definitely going to be a mad dash to that finish line to get everything done I’d like to have done beforehand, and an even madder weekend during the con. But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Because I love working with friends. And I’ll have a lot of them at this convention.

First off, Prix Aurora nominated artist (for his work on a live blog of his reading of the Thunder Road Trilogy), and illustrator of my 2014 C4 project, A Simple Twist of Fate, Kevin Madison will be at C4 for the first time in Artist Alley. He surprised me on Thanksgiving with this piece:

Ted with Ravens

Love it! Check out more of his work.

Samantha Beiko is the illustrator of a couple of my other projects that’ll be debuting at C4 in addition to being a top-flight editor and author. Sam’s a triple threat, and the real deal.

Here’s a taste of her work:

Ted New Year's Eve by SM Beiko

Samantha will also be at C4 as her alter-ego: Valkyrie Books, a bookstore that until now, has existed only in her imagination. She’ll be selling the latest speculative fiction goodies, as well as a selection of titles by local authors (including yours truly).

I love having a table around GMB Chomichuk, it’s such a good vibe and good energy. We finally got to work together, putting a little story bindup of Lovecraftian Madness together called Shared World. We each contributed a story and Gregory brought his wicked art sensibilities to the cover and interiors. Gregory talked about how the project came together on his blog last week, and how he blames me, but Samantha Beiko made the craziness possible. Thanks also to Silvia Moreno-Garcia for writing us a kickass introduction.

Our first (hopefully of many) Valkyrie Books Secret Editions: Shared World!

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The third (but definitely not last) of my Scott Henderson commissions just arrived. Scott did a killer Thunder Road illustration after reading the book, and I loved it so much I asked him to do a Tilda drawing to celebrate the publication of Tombstone Blues.

Here’s what he cooked up for Too Far Gone:

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This is just the inks, to see the full colour amazing, you’ll have to come by my or Scott’s tables at C4. I fucking wept to see it. Also, sorry for all the stuff that happens to you in Too Far Gone, Edmonton.

Finally, speaking of creative colleagues, Dave Gross hosted me on his blog’s Creative Colleagues feature! Send him your clicks please.

Write on.

Music Monday: “Apocalyptic Modified Blues” By Corb Lund

Shortly after the launch of Thunder Road, my Brandon writing colleague, Patrick Johanneson suggested that I check out Corb Lund–in particular this song, but “it’s all good,” he said. And was he ever right.

Corb Lund has a few songs that reference vikings, or mythological things, but this was the first one that made it on to one of my playlists. The thing I love most about Corb Lund’s music is that in addition to being incredibly catchy, so many of his songs tell stories. It was only recently, after rewatching the movie Slither that I realized I had heard Lund’s music–but I doubt I would’ve sought him out to the extent that I have without Patrick’s urging, so thank you, sir!

Gather round me all you sinners, all you gamblers and card sharps
You drinkers and abusers, all you fighters at your hearts
You might pay heed…
Cuz ain’t nothin’ ever walked the earth like this before

Have you made your peace with Odin and with Baal and Aphrodite
Cuz there’s a triple headed serpent here with one hell of a bite
And he knows you…
He knows you and laughs and locks the door

Write on!