Posts Tagged 'chizine'

2011 Year in Review

2011 was not my greatest year as a fiction writer.

Out of 44 submissions, I made a single sale: “Ascension” to AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. While thrilled, some of the rejections were to markets I really wanted to be a part of, namely Mike Kelly’s Chilling Tales II and Blood Bound Books’ Night Terrors II.

Perhaps that’s because this year was mostly a year of revisions. I didn’t turn out as many original stories as I would like, instead going back to older stories and revising them, using skills I have sharpened to fix mistakes I hadn’t realized I’d made. In retrospect, this was not the best strategy. Some of these stories are too long to be marketable, and others are still not at a level I am happy with.

But, this will be my 59th blog post of the year, so at least I am blogging. I have also jumped on Google+ and created a Facebook page.

My career, however, gathered a lot of momentum.

In January, I was thrilled to hear Cast Macabre‘s version of my short story “While Gabriel Slept” (sold in 2010) after a number of other audio markets said they loved it, but didn’t know how to make it work. This rendition chilled me… and I wrote the story! (Download the MP3). Later in the year, Cast Macabre also accepted my ghost story “The Weak Son” (first published in Tesseracts Thirteen), but the site seems to be on hiatus and I don’t know when things will get rolling again.

In mid-2011, I learned “Touch the Sky, They Say,” published on AE, had been nominated for a Aurora Award. While I ultimately lost to my friend Hayden Trenholm, it was a great honour and great experience, especially the support D.F. McCourt from AE gave me. And my friends from ChiZine Publications Erik Mohr, Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi won Auroras for their work.

I also made a good friend in Adam Shaftoe, editor of the Page of Reviews site, who interviewed me twice for his podcast and ran reviews of my stories “Full Moon Hill,” “Touch the Sky, They Say” and “Ascension.” He also name-checked me in reviewing Contagion, using my thoughts on what makes a horror story (which was inspired by Gemma Files) to try to define the film.

Speaking of naming checking, Helen Michaud, non-fiction editor over at AE, called me out in her essay “Over the Transom: A Rose Without a Name is Not as Cool a Companion.” Her premise is that characters should be named. Trying to use nameless “he” and “I” and “you” in order to add a certain mystery to the story often falls flat. However, she used “Touch the Sky, They Say” and “Ascension” as exceptions that prove the rule.

In non-fiction news, editorials I wrote ran on AE (about “dark SF”) and The Page of Reviews (about whether we still need to vigoursly defend genre distinctions). Another editorial on the decline of science fiction and rise of fantasy, which I co-wrote with Adam, will appear in On Spec.

I attended Ad Astra, the World Horror Convention and SFCOntario, sitting on panels, catching up with friends and making new ones. Since attending Ad Astra 2008 as a nobody, I find myself run off my feet at these conventions, knowing so many people and often leaving with regrets I didn’t get a chance to talk to this person or that.

I am looking forward to 2012. I have learned a lot over this past year and hope to apply it in the year to come. My goal is to “bring the awesome” (as I am calling it). Not just writing what comes to mind, but telling chilling horror stories and thought provoking sci-fi.

In closing, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who made me feel welcome, appreciated and a part of the wonderful speculative fiction community. I’m looking forward to spending more time with you in 2012.

The ChiZine Connection: Brett Savory, Sandra Kasturi, Helen Marshall, Laura Marshall, Sam Beiko, Brent Hayward, Bob Boyczuk, David Nickle, Gemma Files, Nick Kaufmann, Claude Lalumière, Derryl Murphy, Mike Rowe, Doug Smith, Paul Tremblay, Erik Mohr, Barry King, Kevin Nunn, Tristan Joseph, Rio Youers, Ryan McFadden, Corey Beep

Authors & Editors: Mike Kelly, Madeline Ashby, Suzanne Church, Matt Johnson, D.F. McCourt, Helen Michaud, Diane Walton, Adam Shaftoe, Julie Czerneda

The East Block Irregulars: Derek Kunsken, Peter Atwood, Marie Bilodeau, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Geoff Gander, Agnes Cadieux

See you all next year!

Guest Blogger on Speculations

My article on using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to understand and define tension in a story has been re-posted on ChiZine’s Speculations blog:

http://chiseries.blogspot.com/2010/06/maslows-horror-archy-of-tension.html

Ad Astra ’10

Had a great, but exhausting, time at Ad Astra this weekend.

Friday

Arrived around 5:30 and got settled in, wandering the lobby and meeting friends I’d not seen since WorldCon in August or Ad Astra ’09.

I kicked off the con at 8, moderating the “Critiquing Groups” panel with old friends David Nickle and Suzanne Church and new friends Megan Crewe and Lorne Kates. This group was a lot of fun, with each panellists bringing a slightly different take on and experience with critiquing groups.

At 10, I moderated the “Grassroots on Virtual Soil” panel about using online tools to market yourself and make connections as a writer with Justine Lewkowicz, Cathy Palmer-Lister and CZP author Douglas Smith. Though it started a little slow (thankfully, I had an agenda to keep us going), we quickly picked up steam, covering different tools and tactics one can use online, and we ran about 10 minutes long—thankfully we were the last panel so no one came to kick us out.

I then retired to the Green Room, where a good chunk of the CZP family had taken over part of the room and stayed up to much too late.

Saturday

The 11 o’clock ChiZine Publications Panel felt a lot earlier than it was, but it was the first time CZP staff and authors have come together in such a large group. Representing CZP was:

  • Brett Alexander Savory
  • Sandra Kasturi
  • Gemma Files
  • David Nickle
  • Claude Lalumière
  • Douglas Smith
  • Helen Marshall
  • Laura Marshall
  • Erik Mohr
  • And yours truly

With Bob Boyczuk out in the audience.

After lunch with friends, I went for a swim with my wife and was then off to the 3 o’clock panel for The East Block Irregulars (Hayden Trenholm, Derek Kunsken, Elizabeth Westbrook-Trenholm, Marie Bilodeau, Peter Atwood and me). It felt a bit self-indulgent, but the EBI has been a strong and effective critiquing group and I think the audience learned a lot from how we’ve run ourselves.

After flaking out for a bit and supper with Doug Smith, the CZP Launch Party started at 7 with readings from David Nickle, Claude Lalumière, Gemma Files and Douglas Smith. I went up to the bar to grab a drink, but ran into the East Block Irregulars and stayed with them for a bit before heading back up to the Green Room, where again I stayed later than I should. But, I got to talk to some people I hadn’t had the chance to like Michael Rowe, Gemma Files and Michael Kelly.

Sunday

I passed the morning in the dealer’s room with Brett Savory, making rude jokes and talking about next steps for CZP (which are not mutually exclusive topics!). At noon, I moderated the “Writing & Time Management” panel with Suzanne Church, Sephera Giron, Eileen Bell and Michael Rowe. This panel, which I had pictured as being about “trying writing while waiting for the laundry to finish in the dryer” or “Set deadlines and stick to them” quickly evolved to something else: The idea that writers do have the time, but the internal critic tells them “This is a waste” and “You’re no good.” It’s hard to capture, but the panellist really got at the heart of what it means to be a writer. You have to want it and be willing to sacrifice other things. If you can do that, writers will find the time. Otherwise, if you don’t truly want to be a writer, you will keep making excuses.

The “Publicity – The Good, The Bad and the Bonkers” panel with Kelley Armstrong, Peter Watts and Carolyn Clink was a bit more upbeat, trading amusing stories of publicity gone wrong and publicity gone right.

When that panel wrapped up, I said some quick good-byes and was back on the road to Ottawa, where I managed to get some much-needed rest.


Read My Book

TOUCH THE SKY,
EMBRACE THE DARK

A ghost tries to solve the mystery of his death. The zombie apocalypse is the gateway to higher consciousness. A mercenary must kill the savior of mankind.

Includes the Aurora Award-nominated stories "Touch the Sky, They Say" and "Delta Pi".

Table of contents and reviews.

Available on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords

Recent Publications

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Taking some time off for the next little while...

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The Chiaroscuro Reading Series

I chair the Chiaroscuro Reading Series in Ottawa, Ontario.
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My latest Instagram pics

Kind of ironic. Took off my sweatshirt and found I'd been wearing this shirt all day. For @thatkevinsmith: An Inuit statuette from Canada showing a man who is half-walrus doing a one-handed handstand. #WalrusMaybe

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