Anthology News: TWILIGHT WORLDS. Also an AVIANS update.

   

Depicts a person playing violin in a hat and cape, silhouetted against a cloudy sunset.

I have been anthologized! I have a short story in Twilight Worlds, a compilation of best stories from the folks at NewMyths.com.

My contribution is “Far Gone,” the story of a desperate attempt to preserve humanity. It’s a prequel to Avians, set some two hundred years earlier. If you’ve ever wondered about the connection between Earth and Celadon, this will answer some of those questions. And raise others, but that’s part of the fun.

Twilight Worlds features dozens of stories on the theme of doomed worlds and new beginnings, including some award-winners. I can’t wait to receive my copy. This is the first time one of my short stories has appeared in an actual book, so I count that as a happy milestone. Buy it, read it, review it!

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I guess I forgot to announce that Avians is back in print… since late this summer. At first I was waiting for the printer to complete the run before writing a post about it, and then I got wrapped up in doing the print-on-demand stuff for Amazon, and then I ran into a couple of problems at Barnes & Noble, and then I just sort of forgot that it was news I hadn’t shared.

Anyway, the second edition of Avians is available through Amazon in print or kindle format, and also from Kobo as an e-book. Good news: the price is the lowest ever! Here are some links:

Amazon Canada

Amazon USA

Kobo Canada

Kobo USA

NOTE: at the time of this writing, when I was verifying the links above, amazon.com listed the paperback at a stunningly low price of $6.93 US, but with only one copy available. They show it marked down from $35.99, so I believe this must be a first edition, marked down to clear. The US list price for the second edition is $14.99, so if you’re in the USA, this is a bargain!

If you’re elsewhere, search for “Avians Timothy Gwyn” to find the book and price in your country. My name is as close to unique as you could hope for, but throwing in the title cuts down the number of partial matches.

Use the contact tab on this website to get in touch if you would like a signed or personalized copy.

If you’re in Kenora, the second edition is available at my favourite bookstore: Elizabeth Campbell Books is on Main Street, right next door to The Plaza restaurant. Elizabeth still has a few signed first editions, too.

What’s different in the second edition? Mainly the change in publisher: the first edition was from my contract with Five Rivers Publishing, but they have closed. The second edition is under my Binary Planet Books imprint. Minor changes include:

  • enlarging cover artist Ann Crowe’s delightful title page illustration and giving it a whole page as a frontispiece
  • matte finish on her cover instead of gloss
  • white paper instead of bone
  • trimmer margins to reduce the page count, weight and shipping cost
  • a new graphic of the airship Sitka for the chapter headers
  • minor edits and corrections
  • updated acknowledgements and new author’s notes

The audiobook version of the first edition, wonderfully narrated by Grace Hood, is still available from Amazon/Audible.

Prose and Cons

I had a very good weekend at KeyCon in Winnipeg. I can’t say my ship came in, but I would say I found my way to the wharf. I should begin at the beginning.

It would have been easiest to drive from Kenora to Winnipeg on Saturday morning, but I took a vacation day on Friday so that I could do the full weekend. The main reason was that on Friday evening, Chadwick Ginther and S.M. Beiko were doing readings together, and they both got nominated for Aurora Awards this year. Besides, Samantha recently became my freelance editor (just before I found out she was nominated – bonus!) and this would be my first chance to say hi in person since we began working together.

Also on Friday night was a presentation on aero engines by Lindsay Kitson, and I feel a special kinship with her because like me, she is writer and a pilot. Interestingly, if I understand her right, she views her Dieselpunk as being more fantasy than SciFi. Even at a Speculative Fiction event, I sometimes feel like I am the only Science Fiction writer in the room. Unless Rob Sawyer is there. Then I feel like he’s the only Science Fiction writer in the room.

Saturday was a whirlwind.

Chatted to G.M.B. Chomichuk, who was working on a large painting right by the grand staircase.

Said hi to Silvia Moreno-Garcia, who did a ten-minute blue-pencil session with me at last year’s KeyCon that led to some good changes to my book. Told her so.

Went to the art show, looked for potential cover artists. Met one guy, got website info on another.

Bought books from Leia Getty and Clare C. Marshall.

Went to ‘Locally Grown’, an impressively large panel of Winnipeg Speculative Fiction authors and illustrators.

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Jonathan Hatton, Adam Knight, Lenora Rose Patrick, Laurie Smith.

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Samantha Beiko, Gregory Chomichuk, Chadwick Ginther, Lindsay Kitson, Karen Dudley, Leia Getty.

 

Said hi to Karen Dudley because she did a fun reading at Word on the Water in Kenora last fall. Mentioned how happy I was to have Samantha editing for me. Karen asked, ‘Are you the author Sam was raving about on facebook?’ I didn’t know how to answer that; I don’t have a facebook account, and I wasn’t sure what Sam might have said.

Spotted my nephew and his family at lunch, so I actually got to eat with them. Wonderful to have a little grounded time with them, it was a interlude of tranquillity in a day of commotion.

Got Rob Sawyer’s autograph in Wake, told him how much I liked his character Caitlin, who is probably the youngest of his protagonists.

Learned more about teaching from G.M.B. Chomichuk. Specifically, I noticed that not only did he answer a question with bang-on material from his own work that led to a fascinating discussion of a whole new topic, he made sure to conclude that topic by explaining how it answered the question, keeping us all in the relevancy loop.

Went to a panel on Indie/Small Press/Big Press because Silvia, met Lenora Rose Patrick, who wrote a novella, and Adam Knight, a former pro wrestler turned author. ‘It’s all story-telling,’ he said. Decided on the spot to go to more of his panels.

Some would say that the social evenings are the heart of conventions. When pressed, I make excuses, but the truth is, I have ascetic tendencies. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m a wet blanket when it comes to partying. Or a polite way of saying I’d rather talk to you when you’re sober. Whichever you like, I finished my day at KeyCon at the unfashionably early hour of 1800.

I went for dinner with my wife and an old friend. Donna has a facebook account and a smartphone, so while we were waiting for food, she looked up Samantha Mary Beiko so we could see if her ‘ravings’ were about me. Wow. They were. I don’t think anyone has ever said anything so nice about me behind my back before!

After dinner, in the peace of Donna’s living room, I checked something on my own smartphone. Months ago, I entered a writing contest held by NOWW (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop) because the genre category this year was Speculative Fiction and the judge was Robert J. Sawyer. I figured it would be a chance to get him to read one of my short stories, if I could get it short-listed. The judge, you see, only gets to read the best six entries as selected by a screening panel, but I figured it was worth a shot. I had heard nothing from NOWW except a reminder that the annual meeting (at which the winners would be announced) was the day before KeyCon. I could not swing Thursday off as well as Friday, so I could not make the trip to Thunder Bay. I was checking the website on my smartphone to see who won, and if I got an honourable mention, which might imply I was short-listed.

I won. First place in Speculative Fiction for my story ‘Fermi High’. The first thing that crossed my mind was not that I would get some money, or even that my story would be published in the NOWW newsletter. It was that I had shaken hands with Rob Sawyer just hours ago, and neither of us knew that he liked my story. That is to say, he didn’t know who wrote it, and I didn’t know that he’d read it, much less chosen it for top prize. Apparently, the contest judging is so rigorously anonymous that the only way Rob could have seen who the prizes went to was to look it up on the NOWW website like I did.

With good things happening on both the novel and short story fronts, I went to sleep with a grin on my face.

By Sunday morning, Rob had retweeted my tweet about winning the contest, and a little later he added his personal congratulations. I ambushed him on the way into his reading to thank him personally, and we had a short conversation while people were taking their seats. He said I should send ‘Fermi High’ to Analog or Asimov’s Science Fiction and mention the contest and his name in the cover letter. Then he introduced me to the whole room before starting his reading, which was a cool look at a work in progress.

Went to the market again, bought a nostalgic Andre Norton paperback, one of the ones she wrote under her (rare) Andrew North pseudonym. And an old copy of Fantastic Story magazine, which I picked up because of the cover, but hey, Ray Bradbury and Henry Kuttner.

More readings: Karen Dudley, because she’s always a blast and she’s just releasing her newest. Adam Knight to see what he’s about. He read fearlessly from one of his prologues, and explained why he uses them even though they are unfashionable. Different voice and different perspective were good arguments.

Last, a panel on Marketing & Publicity by Rob and Samantha. Short version: don’t push. Slightly longer version: don’t push your book on people who probably will not like it – you will waste their money and lose their respect, which will build nothing. Rob answered my question about what a big publisher can do that an indie cannot; not in vague terms like ‘placement’ and ‘connections’, but solid examples like transit and newspaper advertising, and book tour support.

On the way out, before leaving, I had a few more words with Lindsay Kitson, who I hope is on the brink of success, and Holly Geely, who is funny and must not quit.

 

 

 

 

C4 Lit Fest

C4 is the Central Canada Comic Convention in Winnipeg. The C4 Lit Fest is a separate, smaller event that focuses on writing. Check out  #C4Litfest on Twitter if you like. People there are really approachable; not just the Winnipeg writers and publishers who form the core of the event, but the visiting guest authors, too. This is my second year and I just got home last night.  The first time, I went because I had finished my book and wanted to know ‘what now?’ Wow. I thought the writing was the bigger part of the job and getting published, although not as much fun, was a chore that had to be completed when you were done. Writing is work, but it can be a labour of love, like cooking for your family. Getting published is a different kind of work, more like catering for a crowd. A hungry but picky crowd who want food now but don’t like your menu and don’t care how busy it is in the kitchen. So I left last year’s event feeling overwhelmed. But I’m a sucker for punishment, and I’m determined to do this, so I went back for more this year.

I entered the short story contest. I already had some other irons in the fire elsewhere but I was intrigued to notice that the rules of this year’s contest called for entries of between 500 and 2000 words. That is short. My stories tend to run 2500 words and up. I set about seeing what I could do in less. To simplify the process, I indulged in ‘licking the spoon’, by using the world-building foundation from my novel and writing a short prequel story, almost like a prologue. I was just getting warmed up when I realized that the line I had just written was hard to follow, because it had more impact than anything I had planned to add. Facing a choice of toning it down and writing on, or ending the story there, I went for the latter, and ended the story at about 525 words. Did it win?  No, it did not, although one of the judges was kind enough to say that it was in her top three.

This year I was more ready to hear what a struggle it is to get published, so I sat and paid attention to the panels. I asked questions. I talked to authors – not only the pros, who were unanimously gracious and generous with their time, but the others like me, in the audience chairs. I think I made some friends, and I know I got to share in a sense of common purpose, which is not available to a writer in the same way it is to, say, a hockey player.

I learned much, not just about writing, but also about writing as a business. I’ve been busy with the opening moves on that front for many of the last twenty-five hours. Most of the remainder were spent corresponding with other writers and exchanging stories. I have a new beta reader for my novel, one who reads tons of SF with a discerning eye. Shoe on other foot department: I’ve been trying to help other writers by critiquing. I am not very experienced at this. It’s easy to be critical; it’s harder to be constructive. A strange benefit of this, because it’s easier to spot someone else’s mistake than your own, even when the mistake is the same, is that it will help me improve my own writing.  Plus it’s nice to read different voices and styles.

In a word, invaluable. In three words, I’ll be back.