City of Sand Levels Up

A milestone for City of Sand, the first draft is finished!  Coming in at about 77,500 words and 270 pages, it is the shortest in the series so far.  It will probably get shorter now that it’s at the next level: editing and revising.

I’m searching all the cubbyholes, drawers, and old, chipped mugs for a really dangerous looking red pen.

Oh, and regarding the e-Festival of Words mentioned in an earlier post, City of Masks won in the YA category.  Many thanks to those who voted and to the organizers of the festival.

And last, but not least, VCon is coming up at the end of September.  If I’m chosen for any panels, I will post the information on this site.

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e-Festival of Words Nomination for City of Masks

I only recently discovered that City of Masks is nominated for an award in the YA novel category at a site called the e-Festival of Words.  I confess that I’ve never run across this organization before, but power to them for organizing and running it–and many thanks for the nomination!

If you want to vote for City of Masks, or any other of the nominees, go to this url:

Also, 134 pages done on City of Sand.  I’m almost certain that 100 of those pages will survive revising and editing.  Almost.

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Creative Ink Report

The first three-day Creative Ink Convention is over, and it was brilliant.  I hung out with fellow Tyche writer Pat Flewwelling and met Galen Dara, the amazingly talented artist of my book covers and interior drawings.

Three panels this time around: humour, creating new worlds, and writing about the future.  I think they went well, and the audience didn’t fall asleep, which is always a bonus.  As an observer, the highlight might have been seeing a master and student from the Academy Duello in Vancouver whack at each other with various pieces of ironmongery.

I do recommend going to conventions, even for introverted writers like myself.  You get information you can use and meet people you can celebrate and whine with.  For example, this convention had editing sessions, pitch your story to a publisher sessions, and how to get an agent panels.

Congratulations to the ever-energetic Sandra Wickham for creating this con and running it so well.

Galen Dara, after a presentation of her artistic process (note: I was not part of the process).


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Creative Ink Festival May 6-8th

If you are in the Vancouver area this weekend, consider going to the Creative Ink Festival.  Tickets are still available at the door, and you’ll get to see amazing people like Robert Sawyer and Galen Dara.  Galen is the cover artist for my books, so I’m looking forward to seeing her too.  I’ll be on three panels: Writing the Future, Build an Empire, and Humour–How Do We Do It?  They all sound fun, so drop by.

I understand there will also be sword fighting.

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City of Demons Audiobook Available!

I just downloaded City of Demons (as read by Tony King) from  Even though I hate reading anything I’ve ever published*, I like the way he expresses the characters and communicates the mood.  I recommend this for long walks, boring drives, and cleaning the house.  It will transport you from the humdrum of life to the horror of being attacked by demons, which is still better than washing dishes.


*I re-read my work more than a dozen times in editing and revising, but I can still fix things then.  When it is published, I get a terrible case of “Why did I use that word” or “Arrgg!  I hate that sentence.”  I rarely get upset over my characters or plot, just my writing skills.  It’s probably best to think of it as a work-place related illness.

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Progress on City of Sand

Blechh!!!  I’m now trying a different approach with this book, starting with more action than in my (many) previous attempts.  However, this means I need a lot of flashbacks, which are tricky to handle in terms of flow and tension.  Blech!!! X2.

The only good thing about writing so many things I will never keep for the final version is that I know the south of my imaginary land so well, I could conduct tours.  I’d have to have disclaimers though, for I’ve encountered many dangers in my own journeys.  The latest is the pitkiller, a wolf-sized insect that hides at the bottom of a sand pit and ambushes anything that falls in.  I think it is based on an antlion I saw in China many years ago.  That thing was smaller but still scary.  Well, fellow travellers, if the pitkillers don’t get you, there are still snakes, desert panthers, slavers, and more.  And don’t forget: Vinir, Dorict, and Marick really came down here to look for demons.

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Print Copy of City of Masks Now Available

This past month, Tyche Books brought out the print copy of City of Masks.  It is graced by a beautiful cover and interior illustrations by the award-winning artist, Galen Dara.

In other news, City of Sand is beginning to come together, but needs a lot more work before I can send it to my publisher.

In other, other news, I am going to do Blue Pencil sessions at the Creative Ink Festival in May.  If you are attending, sign up for an editing session with published authors who will look at the beginning of your novel, short story, poem, etc., and give you amazingly useful feedback.

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Scary Stories in Time for Halloween

My story, “The Talking Box,” which involves magical boxes, greed, stupidity, and self-vivisection, is out now in EAB Publishing’s, Midnight Circus: In the Age of Horrors, just in time for Halloween!



You can get it for Kindle as well.  I’ve been told it’s creepy.  I certainly hope so.

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VCON Wrap Up

The last day of VCON went by quickly.  The panels on YA Dystopias and Good Villains were fun, and a friend and I were able to hear C.C. Humphreys and other panelists explain what makes a good science fiction tv show.  The best thing of course is how the nerves subside when you realize you’ve completed your last panel.

On the whole, I think VCON is getting better every year.  It is a shame that Spider Robinson couldn’t attend, but I understand he is rescheduled for next year.  I hope the convention continues to grow in popularity and talent.  It is a great place to network and learn.

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Day One of VCON Panels

Three panels today, all very different.  The first was with Julie McGalliard and Joe Haldeman on killing off characters.  It was fun.  There was a big audience and good questions.  I think we all came down on the side of killing characters only if the story needed it.  Gratuitous assassination was frowned upon.

The second panel was on humour in YA and Middle-Grade fiction.  The other panelists were Danika Dinsmore, Jennifer Ellis, and Jennifer Lott.  The audience was smaller, but seemed interested in a discussion on the differences between age groups and how each appreciated humour.

The third panel was one I had been dreading: The Hugo Awards analysis.  I had been worried that some puppy supporters would make things awkward, but we were preaching to the anti-slate choir in this room.  Co-panelists T.G. Shepherd, Jason Bourget, Dana Korra’ti, and Julie McGalliard all brought up important points about the puppies’ lack of logic.  Dana and I competed for the most over prepared in terms of documents spread out over the desk, but she won.  All in all, it was a big transfer of information but no drama.

Tomorrow’s panels are YA Dystopias and Good Villains.  Report to follow.

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