They’re Here!

Too Far Gone box

Well, almost. I haven’t received my author copies yet, so I suppose this picture could be a cruel joke and those are old copies of Tombstone Blues with stickers on them and I never really finished Too Far Gone–which I guess would mean I’m in Hel.

So…let’s go with them being real books, shall we? Hope you’ll all love the end of the series!

Write on!

Thunder Road Trip!

My Too Far Gone tour dates are confirmed and I’ll be climbing in the Thunder Van and hitting the road to spread tales of high adventure!

Thunder Road Trip by Samantha Beiko

(Illustration by Samantha Beiko, actual conveyence used on book tour may vary.)

Here’s where you’ll find me this fall:

  • October 1st, McNally Robinson Booksellers, Winnipeg MB, 7 p.m. Winnipeg Launch! (reading and signing)
  • October 8th, Pembina Hills Art Gallery, Morden MB, 6-8 p.m. (reading and signing)
  • October 17th, the Elephant Room in the BUSU building at Brandon University, Brandon MB, 3-4:30 p.m. (reading and signing)
  • October 25th Chapters St. Vital, Winnipeg MB, 12-3 p.m.  (signing)
  • October 30th-November 1st, Central Canada Comic Con, Winnipeg MB
  • November 4th, Bakka Phoenix, Toronto ON, 6:30pm (reading and signing)
  • November 5th-8th, World Fantasy Convention, Saratoga Springs NY
  • November 9th,  Audreys Books,  Edmonton AB, 7-8:30 p.m. (reading and signing)
  • November 10th, Variant Comics, Edmonton AB, 7-9 p.m. (reading and signing with E.C. Bell)
  • November 12th, Owl’s Nest Books, Calgary AB, 7-8:30 p.m. (reading and signing)
  • November 13th, Indigo Signal Hill, Calgary AB, 12-3 p.m (signing)
  • November 14th Cafe Books, Canmore AB, 1-3 p.m. (signing)

Hope to see you there! Too sweeten the pot, I’ll be bringing my “Loki Approved” and “Fucking Magic” stamps…

Write on!

My When Words Collide Schedule

When Words Collide is my favourite literary conference. I haven’t missed one yet, and every year it gets better and better. The organizers have lined up a great group of guests again for this year:

Daniel Abraham Fantasy
C.J. Carmichael Romance
Diana Gabaldon Historical
M.L.N. Hanover Urban Fantasy
Sally Harding Literary Agent
Faith Hunter Urban Fantasy
Gwen Hunter Thriller
Brandon Mull Young Adult

I’m very happy to be sharing a program book with all of them.

Here’s where you’ll find me:

Saturday 8 PM – Parkland-Bonavista-Willow Park Autograph Session (2 Hours)
Our Festival Guests are joined by 50+ authors Drop by to meet the authors and get your books signed. This session is open to the public, so tell your friends.
Sunday 11 AM – Rundle Setting – More Than Just Window Dressing
Al Onia, Sarah Kades, Chadwick Ginther, Calvin Jim
Setting in fiction can be so much more than a backdrop for the characters. A story’s world can be an integral part of the plot, theme and character. Arrakis in Dune is a main
antagonist. Noir detective tales are defined by their milieu as much as by the hard-boiled
hero. Fantasy would be simple magic without an outré world. Science fiction has matured
as much in depiction of believable universes as much as character realism.
I’m taking it light on the panels this year. For me, When Words Collide is as much about hanging out with friends as it is about promoting my work, and I don’t get to see the Alberta gang nearly as often as I’d like. Also, I needed to keep a large block of time clear for reasons (join me in whispering: SECRETS) that I will hopefully be able to share soon.
Sentry Box has kindly agreed to have copies of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues on hand, and I’ll be bringing some copies of my illustrated Thunder Road-verse short story “A Simple Twist of Fate” and some Too Far Gone teasers if you can’t wait until October and Too Far Gone‘s release for me to scribble on something.
Friday 3 PM – Rundle How to Write a Good Pitch and Query Sally Harding, Jane Ann McLachlan, Marie Powell You can write the greatest novel ever written, but you still need to get it into the hands of a publisher. Our panel tells you how.
I’m still undecided on everything I want to check out as an attendee, but I know for a fact I’m going to these three panels:
Saturday 10 AM – Kananaskis Sirens, Secrets, and Sins (2 hrs) Detective Sweet From street cop, to undercover and drug work, to life as a homicide detective, Calgary Police Service Detective Dave Sweet talks about his life in law enforcement. There will be a Q&A after for an opportunity to ask him your writing questions. *Please be aware there will be explicit visual and audio material used.
Sat 2 PM – Fairview Graphic Novels – ChiZine
“The visual language of the comics medium is a compelling tool for unique storytelling. A deceptively simple final product is a machine of many moving parts. Working in comics is sometimes like writing for prose, television, or theatre, but most of the time those habits make for bad comics. Join award-winning graphic novelist GMB Chomichuk (Infinitum, Cassie and Tonk, The Imagination Manifesto) as he walks through ten things he learned the hard way about the visual language of comics, comic contracts, and comic markets. The first thing on the agenda will be to take a list of need to know questions from the audience to ensure people get the answers they came for.
@gmbchomichuk on Twitter & Instagram”
 
Saturday 3 PM – Fairview Health and Fitness for Creative People Sandra Wickham Strong in body, stronger in mind! Join fitness professional and author Sandra Wickham for an informative session on how to incorporate health and fitness into your life, how it will benefit your creative endeavours and how to start and stick with your health and fitness goals.
Write on!

August Goals

How’d I do in July?

  • Work in Progress, keep at it. Lock down four more chapters, which will take me to the last 50 pages of the previous draft, and make a plan for the revisions of those pages.
  • Finish revising and submit one of my fallow short stories.
  • Get all of my unsold short stories back out on submission.

Pretty good, but not perfect. Still small victories, right?

I locked in those four chapters of the Work in Progress, and almost locked a fifth. It needs a couple more run throughs before I’m satisfied to add it to the manuscript. The WiP now stands at 68000 words, and with just under 20000 (very rough) words left to revise and flesh out, I should be able to bring this draft in under 100000 words. After that it will feel like a real book, and I can hone it into submission readiness.

That short story came very close to going out the door, but while it has been revised, I’m still not sure it’s for the better. It’s shorter, and with short stories, shorter usually is better, but it didn’t quite sing on reread. So I’m going to take another run at it.

Had every short story back out the door and into the world in July. Some of them more than once! Collected a new pile of rejections, some personalized, some form letter, and no new sales, but that’s okay. I can’t sell any of the stories I don’t submit.

That was my July. I feel pretty good about the month, considering there was two rounds of substantive editing on Too Far Gone that happened over the span of the month, and copy edits rolled up to say hello on the 31st.

What’s on deck for August? Lots.

  • Copy edits of Too Far Gone.
  • Page proofs of Too Far Gone.
  • A couple of shiny things popped on to my radar, and there’s a couple of anthologies for which I’d like to write a story. I have started noodling with both, they’re at the 1K mark. But both have deadlines of August 31st. I can probably get one, but not both done in the month so I’m seeing which one jazzes me the most.
  • Have a blast at When Words Collide in Calgary. (This is a bit of a soft pitch, but whatever. I’ve got some work to do while I’m there also.)
  • Keep my unsold short stories on submission.
  • Get that unsold short story out the door.
  • WiP: I’d initially hoped to have this ready to go for When Words Collide, but that’s not going to happen now. Hello, World Fantasy Convention deadline! Forward progress is the big thing here. I really want this book out the door and on submission this year.
  • Start writing pre-writing blog posts for Too Far Gone promotional purposes.
  • Write my final report for my last Manitoba Arts Council Grant.
  • Write a travel grant for World Fantasy Convention

This is more than plenty for the goal plate, but I do have a week of holidays coming up in August. So we’ll see how it goes…

Write on!

Too Far Gone Cover Reveal!

So excited to finally be able to share this with you!

TooFarGoneMCK_EPA

I fucking love it!

It’s exactly what I wanted to see.

In other fun news, Too Far Gone was recently named one of The 49th Shelf Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2015! If you’re excited too, (and why wouldn’t you be? It says THRILLING right there on the cover) here’s where you can go preorder:

Amazon

Chapters/Indigo

Indiebound

And remember, personalized copies of my books are always available if you call ahead to McNally Robinson Booksellers or the University of Manitoba Bookstore.

Write on.

May Goals

How in the hell are we a third of the way through the year? I’m going to try not to think about that…

Instead, I’ll look back at how I did with April’s goals:

  • Work on my other WiP
  • Revise and submit one of my previously drafted short stories.
  • Get rolling on keeping the rest of my short fiction on submission again (FINALLY)
  • Finish my comic script

Progress on the WiP went very well (okay, there was a lot of swearing). Locked another five chapters, and made preliminary revisions on a few more. I’m at roughly the halfway point of this draft. It’s taking longer than I’d like, but it’s moving again for the first time in forever.

I organized my short fiction and found potential markets for my available short stories. Pretty much everything went out the door, including previously published short stories looking for reprint markets. I only had to hold one thing back, because I ran out of open reprint markets. I spaced the organizational tasks out over the month instead of devoting an entire day to submitting stories, which helped keep the job manageable, but it also highlighted why I need to stay on top of my short stories. Maybe I’ll set aside one day a week to ensure everything is up to date going forward. All told I think it was over ten hours to double check that stories weren’t in fact on submission elsewhere, build a list of available markets for each story, and then make sure those markets were accepting submissions. After that was done, came the tweaking of formatting and submitting. As I was in the middle of doing all that, a couple of rejections for previous submissions rolled in (for a while I thought I’d hit a new record, but 11 months was still a little shy of the longest it’s taken for me to get a response). So the hard part of keeping my short stories on submission is done. I just have to maintain the machine better for the rest of the year and that’s another big goal down.

I got sick again in April, or maybe more accurately, I never got entirely well, which cost me a weekend and lots of energy. I still feel like I’m fighting it. Blergh. That’s all I have to say to this bloody six week and counting cold. The cold definitely did me in on the revising a short story front. Another thing I’ve noticed is that once I hit a good deal of momentum on a novel, I am loathe to set it aside unless I am writing for a contracted deadline.

My comic script required three more drafts before I felt good about turning it in. I probably rewrote every word of that script, even if the bones of the story stayed the same. All of this was done without really imagining who might be drawing the story. But now the editor on this project showed me some sample art by the person they want me paired with, and HOLY SHIT. I really want this to work out. More news when I have news, obviously.

And what’s on the agenda for May:

  • Keycon is on the horizon (10 more days!), so I want to sort out what I’ll be reading during my reading slot. Chances are I will preview some of Too Far Gone, but I have an hour to fill, and will probably read at least one short story in completion (so let me know if there is anything you’ve a hankering to hear) in addition to a TFG teaser.
  • Polish up and practice my presentation for The Writers’ Union of Canada.
  • Keep plugging away at that WiP.

That’s it for May.

Write on!

Too Far Gone Is Off To Ravenstone (And February Goals)

I realized when posted my goals for January and the rest of 2015, I completely forgot to fess up on how I did in December. So…just for those keeping score, how’d I do?

  • Clean my office.
  • Finish another draft of Too Far Gone.
  • Write something for the fun of it over my Christmas holidays (Not sure if this will be my superhero story for Tesseracts 19, or my sekkrit project for the Illuminaughty, or both).
  • Maybe take a run at a couple of those yearly goals that can still feasibly be reached.

Hmm. I wrote a draft of my superhero story, and managed about 10000 words of my Illuminaughty novella. Made good progress on that last draft of Too Far Gone but didn’t quite get it done over my Christmas break. A couple of the chapters that were next in order were much rougher than I’d remembered them. The writing for fun was definitely necessary though. I felt a big recharge of the batteries as I created something new instead of fixing something old. As for cleaning the office…attempts were not even made. The state of organization in my office has degraded to the point that I didn’t think I could tackle it in a full day, and I never seemed to have two days in a row without something else requiring my attention. Maybe tidying can be a reward for handing in Too Far Gone?

Because:

Too Far Gone Finished Manuscript

It is done, and submitted to my publisher. And on that note: cue the music.

(Warning: Author may not appear exactly as pictured.) So, that’s one goal down, how’d I do on the rest?

  • Finish Too Far Gone  (I have to, that’s my deadline)
  • Turn in a review of Owl and the Japanese Circus for The Winnipeg Review
  • Submit a story to Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe

Everything made it off the desk! That feels good, let me tell you. I tracked my fiction words every day in January using that fancy spread sheet I built inspired by Jamie Todd Rubin. I wrote every day in the month of January, totally 37151 words. Most of those words were rewrites in Too Far Gone, but I also noodled around on a novella and a short story when I needed a creative recharge. It’s still too early to do much analysis on the month, and I’m curious how the numbers will look when I’m primarily drafting and not revising. Author Jonathan Ball wrote a blog about tracking his writing that was interesting. I like the idea of tracking revised words/drafted words separately, and to separate out specific projects, as well as having a column for “other” writing, like blog posts and articles. I’d already started my tracking, so I thought I’d keep it consistent for 2015, but I might adopt elements of his plan in 2016. What’s the plan for February? In the spirit of actually attending to a couple of my yearly goals before November/December, specifically the short fiction ones here goes:

  • Revise an old story to submit to Swords v. Cthulhu
  • Finish revising a previously drafted story
  • Draft a new short story.
  • Clean my office

That’s all for now! Write on!

New Year, New Goals 2015 Edition

This is coming a bit late isn’t it? It’s still January, so it still counts.

Here were my goals from last year:

  • Turn in Book 3 of the Thunder Road trilogy to Ravenstone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three four (after NaNoWriMo) drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo again (I’ve already started outlining the new project!).
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • I have at least eight short stories in various stages of readiness to submit, I’d like all of those to be out the door in 2014, and say write and submit at least two more for a total of ten new stories in the mix.
  • Turn in two comic scripts (Sekkrit projects, yo.).

Not going to lie. This wasn’t the best year for hitting goals. It wasn’t that I didn’t accomplish anything, but opportunities kept coming up that weren’t a part of my goals list. They were pretty cool though. I won a Manitoba Arts Council writing grant, and applied for my first Canada Arts Council Grant (still waiting to hear back on that one). I was invited to teach a couple of workshops (which also meant I had to design a couple of workshops): the ACI Teen Writing Workshop at Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, and a Writing Dark Fantasy and Horror workshop for the Thompson Writing Guild (Thanks ACI for having me, and thanks to the city of Thompson and the Manitoba Writers’ Guild for sending me north!). As a part of the teen writing workshop I also edited an anthology of my students’ work (Shine a Light and it’s available at Millennium Library if you want to check it out), there’s some excellent young writers coming up in this province, I assure you.

Okay, so, how bad was last year for actually making my goals:

  • Turn in Book 3 of the Thunder Road trilogy to Ravenstone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three four (after NaNoWriMo) drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo again (I’ve already started outlining the new project!).
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • I have at least eight short stories in various stages of readiness to submit, I’d like all of those to be out the door in 2014, and say write and submit at least two more for a total of ten new stories in the mix.
  • Turn in two comic scripts (Sekkrit projects, yo.).

Pretty bad (this is probably why I never do New Year’s resolutions).

I finally finished a draft of Too Far Gone, and have done a couple revision passes, but it’s not handed in yet. It will be by month’s end, but it’s no longer 2014, is it?

Conventions fared better, I went to more conventions this year than any year prior. In fact, I doubled down on the convention in a new city goal by attending World Horror Con in Portland, Oregan, and World Fantasy Con in Washington, D.C. What I’ve realized for a long time, and still need to find a better way to implement, is how to be more productive while I’m on the road.

Most of my revision energy went into Too Far Gone this year, I made some progress on the first book in a potential new series, but it’s not ready for submission yet. Which is why I bowed out of committing to NaNoWrimo early this year, I’d hoped to have Too Far Gone off to first readers by end of October so that I could NaNo guilt-free, but that didn’t work out, and so I didn’t see the point in dodging one deadline, while adding another first draft to the pile.

I was more diligent with submitting my short fiction at the beginning of the year, I also identified some new markets, and did some research into reprint markets and audio markets, but as the deadline loomed for Too Far Gone that discipline fell away. Which is why I also didn’t finish up a lot of those short story drafts.

On the plus, side, a drafted a bunch of new stories. “New Year’s Eve,” a Thunder Road vignette, was published on the Ravenstone website in January. I sold “The Last Good Look” to The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir (releasing March 1st, 2015!), another has been accepted pending revisions/contract signing (so I won’t say any more for now) and I self-published two stories. The first self-published story “A Simple Twist of Fate” was an experiment. I didn’t have anything new for the Winnipeg Comic Con (C4) this year, so wrote a  new Thunder Road story, hired an illustrator for the cover and interior illustrations and had it printed to look like a comic book. That was a rousing success. I’ll definitely do more of those (thanks Kevin Madison for the art, Samantha Beiko for the book design, and GMB Chomichuk for the idea). The second story I self-published, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” also a Thunder Road story, was published on my website, as a thank you to my readers (because you’ve been awesome to me). I’ve also got two other stories that I drafted that have to be polished for submission, and the first 10000 words of a novella in the can.

Those comic scripts are almost there…One has finished art, and me and the artist just need to get together and sign off that we’re both happy and we can send it to the editor. The other script just needs one or two more passes, and I’ll send it in to the editor so he can find me an artist.

And for this year:

  • Finish Too Far Gone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the three four (after NaNoWriMo) drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • Get those old stories polished and out the door (which I think will also help the goal above from getting lost in the shuffle)
  • Write and submit at least two new short stories.
  • Write a script for a secret comic project with Samantha Beiko.
  • Say no to more “author” stuff and yes to more “writing” stuff.
  • Keep better track of my daily word count output.

I’m not planning to make a run at NaNo this year. If Too Far Gone releases when I think it will in the fall, then I’ll probably be touring in November. I played that game in 2013 and it was a wee bit stressful. I’ve been keeping track of my daily word count since I saw this post by Jamie Todd Rubin, and it’s definitely helping to motivate me. At times it didn’t feel like I was writing very much, since a lot of my time was spent revising, but after only twelve days, I see that all the those new words I sneak in while I rewrite are adding up to a page or two of new material a day. Seeing that I’ve got a few hundred words down, makes me want to add to them. I’ve never actually tracked my words for a full year, so I’m curious how it’ll shake down.

Finally, my goals for the month of January:

  • Finish Too Far Gone  (I have to, that’s my deadline)
  • Turn in a review of Owl and the Japanese Circus for The Winnipeg Review
  • Submit a story to Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe

Write on!

December Goals

For the last couple months, I only had one thing on my to do list.

  • Finish current draft of Too Far Gone.

Well? How’d I do?

The End of Too Far Gone

  • Finish current draft of Too Far Gone.

YEAH. That finally happened.

Finally.

And while I currently feel like this:

Walrus-o

and this:

Loki Yeah

I also know there is a ton of work left to do before deadline. I made some rather major changes in what I thought the narrative would be in this draft–ended up cutting over 30000 words in addition to the 15000 or so I added to the manuscript. It was a hard cut, but I think the book will be better for it. And… for the first time since I started working on Too Far Gone, it actually feels like a book and not a loose collection of scenes. I almost didn’t make the deadline. It was down to the last day, but I wrote about 4000 words on the 30th to finish off the last two chapters and type “THE END”.

New month, new goals:

  • Clean my office.
  • Finish another draft of Too Far Gone.
  • Write something for the fun of it over my Christmas holidays (Not sure if this will be my superhero story for Tesseracts 19, or my sekkrit project for the Illuminaughty, or both).
  • Maybe take a run at a couple of those yearly goals that can still feasibly be reached.

Write on!

November Goals

I’d meant to get this post live well before I left for the World Fantasy Convention, but with preparation, and a ticket snafu, and getting ready for C4 the week earlier, it just didn’t happen. So a bit late, but here we are.

Last month, I only had one thing on my to do list.

  • Finish current draft of Too Far Gone.

Well? How’d I do?

Not great. Too Far Gone isn’t done. I am closer to the end of this draft, and I made it through some chapters that were giving me a hard time, so it should be smoother sailing from here on out (at least until I start editing this draft). As it turns out, a month where I had two conventions and an out of province wedding to attend was not the best time to make this goal.

I still have a hard time with working on the road. I managed some, but obviously not enough. I’m just glad for the write-off I attended with some friends near the end of October. That weekend saw 7000 new words of connective tissue added, 2000 superfluous words cut, and three chapters completed or I’d be a lot further behind. There is still time, but my window is closing. Every day it feels like my time to write is getting shorter (because it is) and that I’m trapped in this draft the way Indiana Jones was trapped in the Temple of Doom.

Indiana Jones We are going to die.

No, not really.

(But maybe?)

Last week I made another play at working while traveling, while en route to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, D.C. This time things went significantly better than they did on my previous two trips. I listened to some advice from Ottawa writer Derek

Okay, November Goals…second verse, same as the first.

  • Finish current draft of Too Far Gone.

Now that I’m home, and there’s no more travel on the horizon predicted until April 2015, I should be able to concentrate a lot harder on this draft (and the next–and probably the one after that, too). Hope everyone else’s goals are being met! I’ll try to have a roundup of my time at WFC posted soon too.

Write on!