Guest on the Seangeek Podcast

I was recently a return guest on the Seangeek Podcast, this time talking soundtracks and music (and of course gaming). This marks the second time I’ve been on the podcast and once again had a fabulous time.

The conversation ended up being split into two episodes because we enjoy geeking out together.

Part One

Part Two

Also check out my previous appearance on the Seangeek podcast and Sean’s review of Graveyard Mind.

Thanks for having me Sean and Todd!

New Year, New Goals, 2021 Edition

What a dumpster fire 2020 was, eh, friends? I’ll say mine was better than some people’s and worse than other’s and leave it at that.

Here’s what I’d hoped to accomplish last year:

  • Decide what to do with Graveyard Mind and Graveyard Mind 2 and implement those plans.
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish short stories I’ve started but not completed. As before, I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year, but this year I’d also like to write one of those stories for submission to the online pro markets rather than for open call themed anthologies, as is my usual way.
  • Finish revising my WIP novel and get it out on submission.
  • Restart the agent hunt.
  • Read more.

How unrealistic was that in hindsight? I even had a stretch goal!

  • If I get my WIP out on submission, and Sandra and I finish An Excuse for Whiskey by November, I’ll take a run at NaNoWriMo again.

Nothing much has changed since my July 2020 update in regards to Graveyard Mind plans, or An Excuse for Whiskey. I’m still hopeful that I’ll find Graveyard Mind a home with a new publisher, but there’s nothing to report yet. Until I find Graveyard Mind a new home, or choose to self publish a new edition, its in-progress sequel will remain lying fallow. My Excuse for Whiskey co-writer Sandra has her new fitness website and YouTube channel, and is doing the pandemic single-mom thing, so she’s got her hands full. (You should totally check out Sandra’s fitness programs, she really knows what she’s doing, and has offered me plenty of advice in the last couple years as I became more serious about losing some weight and getting into better shape.) I actually blew past my realistic goal and then past my unrealistic goal. I’m back to my twenty-one year old weight which I wouldn’t have believed possible even a short while ago.

As I said in an interview with Derek Newman-Stille, I gave up on the revisions I’d been working on in favour of trying to draft a new book in this strange pandemic moment. Currently, that book is stalled at 41000 words, which means probably about halfway to a finished discovery draft; 30000 words is when a draft usually starts to feel like a book to me, but this one isn’t quite to that feeling yet. I think I’ve figured out what I want the finale to be, but I’m uncertain of the best steps to get through the soggy middle to get there. I didn’t get the draft done by the end of the summer as hoped, due to a lot of factors. I hope I’ll get back to it in 2021 when things settle down a bit more.

I did finish one more short story I’d previously started before the year ended–and it sold! Still, I was far short of what I’d hoped to accomplish. I only finished and submitted one novelette and one short story, but that novelette was not for an anthology, which was at least another short story subgoal hit. I got close to a finished draft on a third story, but you know the thing about close (horseshoes, hand grenades, that old chestnut). I’m still waiting on the revision notes from the editor and the contract to be signed, so I won’t say anymore about that last short story sale now. I also sold a reprint of my short story “Red” to the anthology Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy, my story “Cheating the Devil at Solitaire” was longlisted for the Sunburst Award, “All Cats Go to Valhalla” released in Swashbuckling Cats: Nine Lives on the Seven Seas, and “Golden Goose” released in Air: Sylphs, Spirits, & Swan Maidens.

About the only goal I consistently hit in 2020 was to read more, which is a good way of refilling the creative well, so hopefully that will bode well for 2021’s creative pursuits. I’ve been tracking my reading every month here on the blog, but I’ll write a reading roundup blog at a later date.

I’ve changed up a few process things that I used as motivators in the past. I used to keep all of my unfinished projects on a list near my desk, partly as motivation to finish, and partly to shame me into finishing, but that tactic stopped being useful. Last year I tried keeping only the five or so projects in various categories (novel, short story, novella) on the list, but new things kept creeping onto the list. Still, the two stories I did finish in 2020 had been on the to-do list for a long time, and I’m thrilled to have finally crossed them off. I’m limiting the category lists to three items this year. Obviously, it’s unlikely I’ll finish my three novels novels this year, but all three of those novels in progress are different goals, such as finish a first draft, edit a first draft, and revise and submit a final draft.

Looking forward at 2021 it’s hard to get excited for a new year when you know that it’s going to start off the same way the last one ended. Much of my early 2021 is likely to be filled with some of the uncertainty of 2020, so it’s unlikely I’ll get back to novel writing for many reasons. I’ll reassess my goals in July at my half year check in. That said, here’s what I hope to accomplish for 2021:

  • Finish short stories I’ve started but not completed: I’m only aiming for three new stories out the door this year, but again, I’d like to write one of those stories for submission to the online pro markets rather than for open call themed anthologies, as is my usual way.
  • Draft and submit a novella.
  • Read more in general.
  • Read more short stories.

Happy New Year, and write on!

Half-Year Check In

So here’s what I planned to accomplish for 2020 back in January:

  • Decide what to do with Graveyard Mind and Graveyard Mind 2 and implement those plans.
  • Revise An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish short stories I’ve started but not completed. As before, I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year, but this year I’d also like to write one of those stories for submission to the online pro markets rather than for open call themed anthologies, as is my usual way.
  • Finish revising my WIP novel and get it out on submission.
  • Restart the agent hunt.
  • Read more.

Stretch goal!

  • If I get my WIP out on submission, and Sandra and I finish An Excuse for Whiskey by November, I’ll take a run at NaNoWriMo again.

Holy shit. That list seems ridiculously optimistic looking back with hindsight. I’m still hopeful that I’ll find Graveyard Mind a home with a new publisher, but there’s nothing to report yet. I have received my final royalty statement from CZP, with (hopefully) my final royalty payment arriving imminently. It’ll be nice for that chapter of the novel’s story to be finally closed. Unfortunately, until I find Graveyard Mind a new home, or choose to self publish a new edition, its sequel will remain lying fallow.

Sandra Wickham and I have agreed to put An Excuse for Whiskey on hold for the time being. She’s launching her new fitness website and doing the pandemic single-mom thing, so she’s got her hands full. (You should totally check out Sandra’s fitness programs, she really knows what she’s doing, and has offered me plenty of advice in the last year and a half as I became more serious about losing some weight and getting into better shape.) Lately, revisions haven’t been my bag, so…someday I hope we’ll get back to it. We’re both still really proud of what we’ve accomplished so far with our first attempt at co-writing. Sandra’s one hell of a writing and critique partner, so I’m looking forward to when we’re both able to get this project done and on submission.

Short stories have been going a bit better. I’ve finished one novelette of my six new story challenge and am closing in on another short story. Both stories are for general submission not a specific anthology, which I haven’t done in ages. The novelette is roughly 13000 words, and the short story is currently around 7000, so I’m tempted to count them as three (or four) of my six stories, as the novelette felt like four times the work to edit. I’ll wait and see on that. It’s not really in the spirit of the challenge, is it? In other short story news, my story “Cheating the Devil at Solitaire” was longlisted for the Sunburst Award, my story “All Cats Go to Valhalla” released in Swashbuckling Cats: Nine Lives on the Seven Seas, and my story “Golden Goose” sold to Air: Sylphs, Spirits, & Swan Maidens, due to be released in August! Golden Goose is my fifth sale to Rhonda Parrish, which is awesome, and also makes me three for three (so far) on her Elemental anthology series. If I sell a story to the eventual Water anthology it’ll be like getting a rare Enlightenment Victory in my old Legend of the Five Rings card playing days.

As I said in an interview with Derek Newman-Stille, I gave up on the revisions I’d been working on in favour of trying to draft a new book in this strange pandemic moment. This is the book that I’ve kept promising myself I would start “when I’d crossed a few more items off the old list” but I never got there. This was the book that was going to be my NaNoWriMo stretch goal for the year. I’ve been working on the worldbuilding and history of this secondary world for ages now, but wouldn’t allow myself to actually do any drafting or prose. Now seemed like the perfect time to dive in. Currently, I’m at 41000 words, which means probably about halfway to a finished discovery draft; 30000 words is when a draft usually starts to feel like a book to me, but this one isn’t quite to that feeling yet. I think I’ve figured out what I want the finale to be, but I’m uncertain of the best steps to get through the soggy middle to get there. Nevertheless, I’m hoping to have a draft done by the end of the summer. We’ll see.

I can’t really start the agent hunt until I have a finished book, so that item is on hold for now, but I am updating my wish list of agents to submit to a bit at a time, so that when I’m ready, I am ready. I’ve also been working on a grant proposal project for Manitoba Arts Council and possibly the Canada Arts Council. My sample materials are done, and I have an idea of what I’m going to say, I just have to finish the actual application parts. MAC’s applications changed in recent years, so I’m building a new template from scratch.

As for my reading goals, I must say I’m enjoying tracking this a little bit more. So far I’ve read twenty-seven books, a combination of novels, non-fiction, graphic novels, and roleplaying games (check out my reading list so far here). When I started writing these mini reviews, I first just grabbed whatever was handy and seemed shiny. Since then, I’ve decided to be a little more systematic about my reading plans. Now I’m pulling out an actual to-read pile to stack on the nightstand. I’m limiting the stack to five books, which seems doable for the month, even though odds are I won’t get through them all each month. Occasionally comics and graphic novels or roleplaying games might jump the queue, but I’m trying to get through the pile in order I stack them. The first time I did this, I basically grabbed the first five shinys to catch my eye, but for my next stack, I plan on adding some criteria to diversify my reading a bit. My intention is for each to-read pile to contain at least one book by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author, one book by a woman, one non-fiction book, and one book by an author I know personally (I’ve accumulated a lot of these over the years, and I’ve been a bit slower to get to many of them than I’d like. Sorry, friends!). For now, especially due to COVID-19, and having hoarded some of these books for so long, I’m still trying to pull most of these titles from my existing shelves, rather than going out an buying more. I’ve been trying to stick to a finish two books I’ve already purchased before buying any new books plan since I moved last summer anyway.

Regardless of how my other 2020 goals shake down, I’m going to pass on NaNoWriMo this year, and I think, every year going forward. Starting a new book and just writing at my own pace has been really enjoyable, and since my last few NaNo attempts have led to one book that took me forever to revise to my satisfaction, another that I still haven’t revised to my satisfaction, and a third that’s on hold until I find a home for Graveyard Mind, it’s just creatively not for me. Also, the last couple times I’ve participated it’s been more of a “holy shit, I haven’t written as many words as I’d hoped for this year, quick, lets get some points on the board before the year’s over” and those words haven’t proven to be terribly productive, let alone any fun.

A few things have changed since I spoke to Derek, but I’m still trying to write, and take care of myself, and stay in touch with my friends as I can. I was also recently a guest on the Seangeek Podcast, where we talked about writing, tabletop gaming, and comics. Sean was also kind enough to review Graveyard Mind previously on the podcast.

That’s it for the first half of my 2020. I hope you’re all staying as well as can be.

 

Graveyard Mind Nominated for Prix Aurora Best Novel!

Farnsworth_Good News

Graveyard Mind has been nominated for an Aurora Award in the Best Novel category!

It took me a little while to announce this good news here on the blog as the official announcement dropped while I was in the middle of a gaming marathon for a friend’s birthday, and then I was dealing with a move to a new home.

I am thrilled to be sharing a ballot with so many friends and writers whose work I admire. Thanks to all my readers for choosing to nominate my work, this is my fourth Aurora nomination in the novel category and it never gets old.

If you’re not a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, here’s how you can participate and decide who receives this year’s awards. It’s worth joining just to receive the voters package (15 novels for 10 bucks, c’mon!).

From the Aurora Award website.

Membership in the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association costs $10 for one year. Memberships are active from January 1 – December 31.

Members are allowed to make recommendations to the eligibility lists from works published in the past year, nominate eligible works for the Aurora Awards and vote on the final award ballot. To become a CSFFA member, please fill out the following form which will register you for the site and take you to a PayPal gateway to pay for your membership.

The voters package will be available for CSFFA members to download later this month.
Voting for the awards will begin on August 3, 2019.
Both the voters package and the ballot close at 11:59 pm EDT on September 14, 2019.
The awards ceremony will be held at Can-Con 2019, October 18-20, 2019, in Ottawa, (can-con.org).

The nominees in all categories:

Best Novel
Armed in Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield, ChiZine Publications
Graveyard Mind by Chadwick Ginther, ChiZine Publications
One of Us by Craig DiLouie, Orbit
They Promised Me The Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner, Tor
The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken, Solaris Books and Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Witchmark by C. L. Polk, Tor.com Publications

Best Young Adult Novel
Children of the Bloodlands: The Realms of Ancient, Book 2 by S.M. Beiko, ECW Press
Cross Fire: An Exo Novel by Fonda Lee, Scholastic Press
The Emerald Cloth by Clare C Marshall, Faery Ink Press
Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks by ‘Nathan Burgoine, Bold Strokes Books
Finding Atlantis by J.M. Dover, Evil Alter Ego Press
Legacy of Light by Sarah Raughley, Simon Pulse
The Sign of Faust by Éric Desmarais, Renaissance Press
Timefall by Alison Lohans, Five Rivers Publishing

Best Short Fiction
A Hold Full of Truffles by Julie E. Czerneda, Tales from Plexis, DAW Books
Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield, Tor.com Publications
Critical Mass by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, Laksa Media
For A Rich Man to Enter by Susan Forest, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Issue 62
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson, Tor.com Publications

Best Graphic Novel
Crash and Burn by Finn Lucullan and Kate Larking, Astres Press
FUTILITY: Orange Planet Horror by Rick Overwater and Cam Hayden, Coffin Hop Press
It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
Krampus Is My Boyfriend! by S.M. Beiko, Webcomic
Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal, Drawn and Quarterly

Best Poem/Song
Echos by Shannon Allen, By the Light of Camelot, EDGE
How My Life Will End by Vanessa Cardui, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, Laksa Media
Osiris by Leah Bobet, Uncanny Magazine
Trips to Impossible Cities by Sandra Kasturi, Amazing Stories Magazine, issue #2, Winter 2018
Ursula Le Guin in the Underworld by Sarah Tolmie, On Spec issue 107 vol 28.4

Best Related Work
By the Light of Camelot edited by J. R. Campbell and Shannon Allen, EDGE
Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Uncanny Magazine
Gaslight Gothic: Strange Tales of Sherlock Holmes edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, EDGE
Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
We Shall Be Monsters: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 200 years on edited by Derek Newman-Stille, Renaissance Press

Best Visual Presentation
Bao, written and directed by Domee Shi , Pixar Animation Studios
Deadpool 2, written and produced by Ryan Reynolds, Twentieth Century Fox
Murdoch Mysteries, 2018 episodes, Peter Mitchell and Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury Films
Travelers, Season 3, Brad Wright, Carrie Mudd, John G. Lenic, and Eric McCormack, Peacock Alley Entertainment
Wynonna Earp, Season 3, Emily Andras, Seven24 Films Calgary

Best Artist
Lily Author, cover art for Polar Borealis Magazine #8, Dragon Lab
Samantha M. Beiko, covers for Laksa Media
James F. Beveridge, cover art for Tyche books
Roger Czerneda, cover for Tales from Plexis, DAW Books
Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press
Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, cartoons for Amazing Stories Magazine

Best Fan Writing and Publications
Adios Cowboy, Adam Shaftoe
Books and Tea, Christina Vasilevski
Constructing the Future, Derek Newman-Stille, Uncanny Magazine
Mars vs. Titan, Ron S. Friedman, Quora
She Wrote It But…Revisiting Joanna Russ’ “How to Suppress Women’s Writing” 35 Years Later, Krista D. Ball
Travelling TARDIS, Jen Desmarais, JenEric Designs

Best Fan Organizational
Sandra Kasturi, chair Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto
Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, co-chairs, Can*Con, Ottawa
Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work
S.M. Beiko and Clare C. Marshall, Business BFFs (Podcast)
Kari Maaren, ChiSeries Toronto, monthly musical performances
Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada
Joshua Pantalleresco, Just Joshing (Podcast)
Edward Willett, The Worldshapers (Podcast)

Voting for the 2018 Aurora Awards opens August 3, 2019.

Voting will close September 14, 2019.

I guess I’ve got some reading to do!

 

Music Monday: “Cabin In The Woods”

I’m freshly home from a writing retreat weekend at a cabin in the woods, and so I naturally had this stuck in my head the entire time.

We’re all jammed in the car
And we’re going really far
Driving deep into the trees
With hot dogs, chips and cheese

To make the week go quicker
We’ve packed a ton of liquor
Rye and Tropicana
We’ll go totally BANANAS!

Apparently what happened at Creators Retreat 2016 has to stay at Creators Retreat 2016, but I’ll share a couple tidbits, because as GMB Chomichuk said, “My favourite ticks are cryptics.”

I’m glad we made it there to begin with, as we left late and it was dark as we were hitting the wilderness…I know, I know, I’ve seen that movie too. We were on track until we weren’t, and losing all cell service in that creepy abandoned bible camp was a fun little jolt of adrenaline. I even wrote a 150 word flash fiction piece called “An Open Letter to the Hungry Ghosts at that Abandoned Bible Camp.”

That wasn’t on my agenda.

What was, however, was novel revisions, and novella revisions. I finished (hopefully) the last round of revisions on a novel. I want to reread it to make sure I’ve caught as many typos as I can, but I think this it! I also did a revision pass on an old novella. It’s still rough, and not quite ready for other eyes, but I think I’ve solved some structural issues.

I even briefly saw the outside (and have the mosquito bites to show for the pleasure). Very much looking forward to the shenanigans we’ll get up to next year, and all the things we’ll create.

Write on!

Guest Blogging At Inkpunks And Having Conversations Between Authors!

Hey folks, I’ve got a guest blog up over on The Inkpunks website about writing in a city where you don’t live, and Minerva Zimmerman is hosting me on the “Conversations Between Authors” feature on her website, so please send them your clicks!

Over the years that I’ve been traveling to conventions, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the Inkpunks crew, and am happy to call a bunch of them friends. There’s always a great articles to be read there, and I’m stoked to have one of mine among them. Not only are the blogs interesting, but the Inkpunks are a talented group of writers, artists, and editors, so after you check out their website, check out their work. Thanks, Sandra Wickham for asking me if I wanted to send them something.

Minerva and I “met” for the first time on Twitter, around the time that I sold my story “A Taste of the Other Side” to Jennifer Brozek’s anthology Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls. Minerva had sold a story to Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed (also edited by Jennifer Brozek). I can’t remember who followed who first, but I do remember having some fun conversations. It was also great to finally meet Minerva at World Horror Con 2014 in Portland. Here’s hoping we cross paths at another convention soon.

In the meantime, Minerva has got a book birthday of her own coming up soon, so check out her debut novel, Take on Me!

Thanks for the great conversation, Minerva!

Write on!

My Ad Astra 2015 Schedule

Ad Astra is fast approaching. If you’re attending, here’s where you’ll find me:

Friday, April 10th

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Readings: Chadwick Ginther & Arlene F. Marks 

Room: Whitchurch

Saturday, April 11th

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Funding Your Grocery Bill: Writing Grants and Writing for Grants 

Room: Markham B

Panellists: Amanda Sun, Karina Sumner-Smith, Robert Boyczuk, Sandra Kasturi

Grant writing is hard – we can’t teach you how to write the perfect grant – But! We can discuss the good, the bad and the necessary fundamentals of grant writing. Gain some insight from our pros who have been there, written the grant and lived to see the benefits.

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM When the Gods Run Amok: Ancient, New and Urban Mythology

Room: Markham B

Panellists: Doug Smith, Kelley Armstrong, Marie Bilodeau

Urban fantasy gives us the chance to play around with our archetypal fairy tales and mythology. We can bring the gods down to our level and we get to bring magic into the everyday. Why is this so compelling?

That’s it for my programming, although I may, should inspiration strike, join Michael Matheson’s Late Night Slash Readings panel.

See you in Toronto!

Write on!

March Goals

Another month come and gone.

How’d I do?

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

Two solid months in a row! I knew that last goal would be a tricky one to complete–believe me, it was down to the wire. I’m just glad I didn’t say I was going to re-organize my office. It needs that too, but I’ll settle for being able to walk around again. To give you an idea of the state of things, I found a birthday card from seven years ago, and an anniversary card from ten years ago.

Evidently, I’m a pack rat.

::cough:: Hoarder ::cough::

Okay, we’re not quite at hoarder levels at Thunder Road HQ. Yet. Never fear, steps are being taken.

I always, always forget that February only has 28 days (yes, I’m aware of leap years). You’d think after so many trips around the sun, that fact would stick, but every time I set a deadline in February, the 26th rolls around and I’m like, “Lots of time to finish.” ::sees calendar:: “NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. SHIT.”

This year wasn’t as bad as many previous when it came to February’s surprise ending, but a variety of non-writing factors still kicked my butt for most of the month. I’d reached the point where I wasn’t sure I would get anything accomplished. So I feel pretty good about what got done.

Looking at my handy new words per day tracking sheet, I drafted just under 15000 words for the month, way down from January, but I was expecting that. I usually have a bit of a comedown after submitting a large project. Two short stories out on submission in two months; one brand new, one a revision of an old story I’d only submitted once. A new story nearly nearly ready to go out the door (I finished my revisions, but I had an idea after the fact, thanks to my writing group, that would cut 1000 more words and I want to mull the notion over before I hit send). I finished a draft on another new story, but I was ear-marking it for a specific anthology and I’ve since heard that the editor has pulled the anthology from the publisher. I was sorry to hear that, but at the same time, I’m not sure I’d have been able to get this piece ready in time for the deadline. I was aiming for an existential horror tone, but so far it comes across as a bad faux-literary wankfest. I’m going to try again and add monsters. Which is a good plan for any occasion really.

So that was February. What’s on deck for March?

  • Reread one of my novel WiPs to refamiliarize myself with a work that I’ve been mostly ignoring since the summer.
  • Finish a comic script I’ve been noodling on.
  • Finish drafting that novella I’ve been noodling on.

That should keep me busy. What are you up to?

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!