World Fantasy Convention and Bakka Phoenix Launch Roundup

I love going to World Fantasy Con. I made a stop in Saratoga Springs, New York as a part of my book tour. The 2008 WFC in Calgary was my first real convention, and it set a pretty damned high bar. This year’s WFC was fun, but different.

My plan was to drive down from Toronto with friends as the convention hotel was hell and gone away from an airport (The ChiZine folks make excellent road trip buddies).

And since I had to go through Toronto to get to Saratoga Springs, I thought why not have a book launch for Too Far Gone there too? I finally got to see Bakka Phoenix’s new store (not new to pretty much everybody but me, by this time) and it’s a great space. Thanks so much Chris Szego and everyone at Bakka for hosting me, and thanks to all the readers who showed up and asked questions and bought books.

I didn’t take in any panels at WFC this year, instead concentrating on catching up with friends and colleagues that I only get to see at WFC or other non-western Canada cons. The only programming I took in other than the book launch parties and awards banquet were a couple of readings. Marie Bilodeau was fun as always. And there was a trio of former Winnipeggers all reading from their fantasies, so as a current ‘Peg fantasy writer, I had to show up and support them (not that they needed it). Great readings by Steve Erikson, David Keck, and Ian C. Esslemont.

I almost mustered the will to try Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon, being sold for the modest price of $55 an ounce (USD), but my Winnipeg cheapskate nature kicked in at the last second, and I tried a lesser, but less expensive, bourbon for the first time.

I haven’t been to the WFC banquet in a while, but I was glad I took in this year’s. It was amazing to be there for my friends Brett Savory and Sandra Kastury winning an award for their work with ChiZine Publications. Excelsior, Brett and Sandra. Excelsior. I was also very happy that I could be there to see Helen Marshall pick up her World Fantasy Award. It was also cool to get to travel back to Toronto in the winning car.

What a blast, what a blast. Of the business-related conversations I had at WFC, it’s too early to say if anything will come of them, but there could be many exciting opportunities in the next couple of years. If you want to know more than that, sorry, nothing I can report yet. WFC 2015 had lots of great conversations, meeting lots new folks who seemed fun. I hope we’ll stay in touch, or see each other next year, or in the future. Not sure I can make next year. It’s scheduled for the same weekend as C4 here in Winnipeg, and WFC 2016 is in Columbus (not a direct flight from Winnipeg, and I was there in 2010) I’m leaning towards staying home. World Fantasy 2017 is in San Antonio. Texas! Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? Might be a fun year to return.

Write on!

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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!

Upcoming Events

Some fun stuff on the horizon:

Central Canada Comic Con!

I’ll be sharing some space with GMB Chomichuk, Samantha Beiko, Ryan Roth Bartel, and assorted other awesome folks in Artist’s Alley. Come on down to Booth 328 and say hi. I’m also debuting a new illustrated Thunder Road ‘verse short story illustrated by Kevin Madison (who did a series of  “Thunder Road Trip” illustrations)! “A Simple Twist of Fate” will be limited to a 200 copy print run, so you know what they say: buy early and buy often.

Other friends of Thunder Road that will be in Artist’s Alley include: AP Fuchs (#829), Burst Books (#823), Donovan Yaciuk (#316), Kari Ann Anderson (#116), Keycon (#910), Lovern Kindzierski (#425), Nyco Rudolph (#532), Scott A. Ford (#621), Scott Henderson (#324), and Sierra Dean (#724).

NaNoWriMo is kicking off November 1st. I won’t be participating in NaNo this year (I know, I know, it was on my goals for the year, but I still have two NaNo novels waiting to be edited and rewritten properly and a contracted book to finish and hand in) but the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Writers’ Collective have asked me and Samantha Beiko and Chris Rutkowski to pop by their NaNoWriMo kickoff and do a reading and give some words of inspiration.

Saturday, Nov. 1st from 6 – 10 p.m.
The Manitoba Writers’ Guild and The Writers’ Collective have combined forces to help you get your novel started off right! November is National Novel Writing month. The guild has offered up their office (218-100 Arthur Street) for writing space, coffee, and inspiration. At 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 authors will read from their fiction and offer words of inspiration!

6:30 Chris Rutkowski 7:30 Samantha Beiko 8:30 Chadwick Ginther

World Fantasy Convention WFC is one of my favourite traveling cons. I missed it last year, as Brighton just wasn’t in the cards, but Toronto 2012, Columbus 2010, and Calgary 2008 have all ranked among my favourite conventions ever, so I have high hopes for this year. Hope to see you there!

Novel Writing Club: In collaboration with the Manitoba Writers’ Guild, the Winnipeg Public Library will be hosting a novel writing club to offer emerging novelists the opportunity to work with a mentor for a seven month period. At monthly meetings, a facilitator will meet with participants to address their concerns, provide inspiration and advice, and offer ideas and suggestions. The objective is for all participants to complete the first draft of a novel by the last meeting in June.

The program is intended as an opportunity for writers who are prepared to commit to monthly meetings. Applications are open to those who have not participated in WPL’s critique circles during the past year. There is no charge to participants.The novel writing club will be facilitated by Chadwick Ginther (That’s me!).

Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. November, 25, December 16, 2014, and January 13, February 10, March 10, April 7, May 5, and June 9, 2015. A wrap-up event presenting an opportunity for writers to read aloud from their work will be scheduled for June.

Interested writers are encouraged to complete the application and submit it via email to critiquecircle.wpl@gmail.com starting November 1, 2014. Applications will be accepted until November 14, 2014. For more information, please call Millennium Library Reader Services at 204-986-6779

Write on!

My World Fantasy Convention Roundup

Another World Fantasy Convention has come and gone, and as my blog readers seem to enjoy these reports (if my site stats are to be believed) here’s the WFC2012 report.

Better late than never, right?

World Fantasy is my favourite convention, hands down. Maybe I imprinted on it somehow, World Fantasy 2008 in Calgary was the first away from home conference I ever attended. I talked comic books with Tad Williams, football with George R.R. Martin and Hemingway with Joe Haldeman. I met tons of people who became good friends. That is bound to make an impression on a guy.

This year’s convention was also held in Canada, so I knew I’d also have a lot of friends to meet up with. It was an early start for me, as I flew off Thursday morning with friend and fellow Turnstone Press author, Karen Dudley. We’d hoped to meet up with another Manitoba writer, Shen Braun, who was arriving at the same time as us, but on a different flight, and split a cab from Pearson airport to the conference hotel (it was quite the jaunt as World Fantasy Toronto was actually in Richmond Hill, or so I kept being told). Unfortunately, Shen didn’t get in on time, but Karen and I did share the plane with Winnipeg writer Gerald Brandt. Even more luck, our mutual friends Eileen Bell and Ryan McFadden were on route to the conference and near the airport, so they swung by to pick us all up. It was a tight squeeze with five writers and their luggage in a Toyota Corolla, but we made it work.

Arriving at the hotel was a homecoming of sorts. Every time I turned around, there was someone else I knew. A great feeling. Over the weekend, I not only connected with friends who are scattered across the continent, but met many new friends.

After ditching our bags, we had to hustle to get through registration and grab our swag bags (the swag at WFC is truly epic, this is only what I could fit in my luggage, I left at least this much behind on the trade table.)

We had to hustle because Thursday night, Turnstone was sponsoring the Ravenstone Books Launch Party for Thunder Road and Food for the Gods. I’m glad the party was Thursday, it meant I didn’t have it hanging over my head for the entire weekend. I know the way I roll, and there was no way I’d have been able to relax and enjoy the convention until the launch was over. Marie Bilodeau from Ottawa served as our host and Bakka Phoenix was there to sell copies of our novels. We managed to get the room set up, and just finish having a bite to eat before it was time to open the doors and the worrying began. What if no one shows up? What if everyone shows up? Fortunately, we had just the right mix, the room was full, but not so packed that we couldn’t move about and mingle. I had a great time, signed a bunch of books, and met a few people I’d only know through Twitter or Facebook. It was over too soon, but it did teach me how stressful organizing an event can be. My hats off to people who do it all the time.

Friday:

I took in Julie Czerneda’s reading from her forthcoming fantasy novel, A Turn of Light. I’ve been curious about this one for a long time, as I’ve always had my feet deeper in fantasy than in science fiction, looking forward to reading the whole book. The samples Julie read were enough to entice me to read the book when it releases.

At my very first World Fantasy Con, I met Chandra Rooney. She was on a panel about writing tie-in fiction. I read her Tarot Cafe novel, The Wild Hunt, and interviewed her here. It was great to be able to chat for a bit after her reading. The samples Chandra read are unpublished right now, but you’re in for a treat when they do see the inside of bookstores.

I think the only panel I took in this year was Sandra Kasturi’s interviewing World Fantasy special guest, Tanya Huff. Sandra’s a riot and Tanya is also funny as hell, and a consummate pro to boot. She shared some great stories from her career with a packed and eager room. Good times.

Every World Fantasy Convention also includes a mass signing, putting every author in one big banquet room for two hours, and lets the signature hounds go wild. It was a better experience than I was expecting. I did actually sign some copies of Thunder Road, despite Fantasy giants like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss being in the same room. I handed out a bunch of my temporary tattoos and had fun chatting with Neil Godbout from Prince George (who’s debut YA novel, Disintegrate, is well worth checking out) and Robert Sawyer.

After the signing had concluded I made my way up to the hospitality suites and flitted between the EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Fall launch, the Tor Books party and the Con Suite. I happened to be around when it was announced that James A. Moore had wrote a story about Dr. Doom and Barbie. There was a bet of some kind involved, I never did suss out all the details, something about 55$ and popcorn. James joked it was the best per word rate he’d received to date. Christopher Golden read the story aloud to a dozen or more listeners. The story, about 1200 words, complete with a beginning, middle, and end, was evidently written in about 45 minutes. It was amazing. James promised to put it up on his blog at some point. As soon as it surfaces, I’ll link to it, because it’s too good not to read.

I picked up a copy of Shanghai Steam (complete with an awesome story by my bud, Shen) and read the first five minutes of “Back in Black” from Tesseracts 16, joined by fellow contributors Michael Kelly, Sandra Kasturi, Adria Laycraft and Randy McCharles.

Saturday was mostly spent taking in readings:

James L. Sutter, author of Death’s Heretic and fiction editor at Paizo did a short reading, and then led a fun Q&A about writing and gaming with his audience. I’m still holding out hope that Paizo will let him write a novel set in his Distant Worlds Pathfinder Campaign setting. It’s may be a bit of a fringe product, but it was one of the coolest game accessories I’ve seen in years, and it was obvious James had a real passion for it.

Another Paizo author, Dave Gross, had the room next. Dave read from Queen of Thorns. It was a saucy reading for 9:30 in the morning. Man, I love the character of Radovan! I picked up Dave’s previous book, Master of Devils after Dave’s reading at When Words Collide 2011 in Calgary, and have been looking forward to his next book ever since.

Suzanne Church won the Aurora Award for her short story “The Needle’s Eye” so I wanted to check out her reading (also, she promised candy). Suzanne read snippets from a few different stories (bought her issue of Clarkesworld while I was picking up my “rejected by Clarkesworld card), all very different, but all excellent.

I had to run to make Helen Marshall’s reading from her new collection, Hair Side, Flesh Side, but it was worth it. A very intriguing story, and perfect delivery in the reading.

I made it back from supper in time for the epic ChiZine party. I’ve met so many of the ChiZine authors, and they’re all awesome people in addition to being great writers, but the gravitational pull of that much awesome in one room made for a very crowded party. So I wandered the halls roaming between the consuite party, ChiZine party, and the hotel bar.

It sounds bad, but I mostly behaved (mostly). I had to be up at 5 to get ready for my flight home.

I survived the weekend on two hours of sleep a night and managed not to pick up any con crud despite seemingly being surrounded by coughers and flu carriers (Looking at you, Mrs. Dudley). It was also quite the change of gears to go from drinking bourbon with friends for four days and being on no one’s schedule but my own to plunging back to the incessant ringing of telephones and vague requests for “that blue book, you know the one.”

Next week the western leg of the tour starts! Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, I am coming for you…

Write on.