Queers Destroy Horror! is Available for Purchase

And now that we are venturing into Autumn, a few things are kicking off.

The season itself, obviously. And all that comes with it: the crackle of leaves underfoot, blustering winds and whispering boughs, distant lights through nighttime fog, the moon a pale glow behind wisps of cloud, gradually lengthening nights, and the advent of All Hallows’ Eve. For Autumn is as ever the playtime of shadows and spirits, and whispered things in the lonely dark.

And new published whisperings from your truly!

Specifically my essay in the Queers Destroy Horror! issue of Nightmare Magazine, which is available for purchase through this link: Queers Destroy Horror!.

An essay for which huge thanks are owed to both Megan Arkenberg and Chinelo Onwualu for their advice and editing. The essay would not be anywhere near as cohesive as it is without their aid.

The content of the free online half of the issue looks like it starts releasing come October 7th. Though it appears that my own essay, as well as the reprint fiction and a number of other things, are only available through the purchased (expanded) edition. QDH! is a double issue of the magazine, after all.

This seems, then, an excellent reason to both enjoy the free content as it crops up throughout the month, and also acquire the paid edition (in a variety of formats).

Or you could pick it up for brand new stories by Matthew Bright, Alyssa Wong, Lee Thomas, Sunny Moraine, and Chuck Palahniuk, or reprint fiction from Kelley Eskridge, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Poppy Z. Brite. As well as all the poetry. And nonfiction by the editors (Wendy Wagner, Megan Arkenberg, and Robyn Lupo), as well as Lucy A. Snyder, Cory Skerry, Catherine Lundoff, Sigrid Ellis, and Evan J. Peterson, and a roundtable interview!

You know. If the prospect of reading my work isn’t enough to sway you. :p

[ETA: On the first pass I apparently listed only the paid content in the issue when putting together the list of content available in QDH! Ahem. Amended.]

[God damn it. ETA 2: Totally forgot to thank the people responsible for making that essay work in the post. Have fixed that too.]

Posted in Ramble, Publications | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Humanity of Monsters Release Update

Well, technically an update.

Spoke with the publisher and apparently The Humanity of Monsters has gone to the printer, but is delayed a bit. No fixed date for release given that, so I’m assuming it lands somewhere in October.

Whenever there are specifics to be had, I’ll post them.

My apologies that I don’t have more specific information for those of you who have been asking me for same. Hopefully there will be something more concrete soon.

Posted in Status Updates, Ramble, Publications | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Very Full Week – Toronto Arts Council Grant

I’m having a pretty good week.

Actually, the last week or so, not just this calendar week, has been really rather excellent. In that time I managed to finally secure an apartment, got a story longlisted in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year: Volume Seven (see last post), and early (what is now) yesterday morning I got notification that my application for a Level One Toronto Arts Council Grants to Writers grant had been approved!

I’ve already shouted about it on Facebook and Twitter, and after a full day spent running around getting paperwork in order in relation to the grant, writing book reviews, answering e-mails, and working on freelance projects, I’m finally getting around to blogging about this here.

The breakdown of the announcement for the 2015 TAC grant recipients can be found here. (I’ve uploaded a copy since I could only access it through my TAC submission account, It may be available somewhere online, I just couldn’t find it elsewhere earlier when looking.) It includes a list of recipients at both Level One and Level Two (covering both writers and playwrights – the grants for which are judged and awarded separately), as well as judges at both levels.

I suspect part of the reason that there are so many more grants awarded to Level Two applicants (see the results breakdown above) is the restructuring of the Grants to Writers that — If I’m recalling correctly — was just implemented last grant deadline. Specifically, the one that upped the grant amounts (from $2,000 to $4,000 at Level One, and from $8,000 to $10,000 at Level Two), but that more importantly changed the rules so that anyone who had published one or more books was now required to apply for a Level Two grant.

Formerly, regardless of how many books you had published, you could apply for a Level One grant if you wished to. But if you did not have a book out you could only apply for a Level Two grant if you had the requisite number of printed pages of short fiction/poetry/non-fiction. Under the new guidelines you can still apply for a Level Two grant if you’ve not published a book/collection as long as you meet the total number of pages published in short format, prose, poetry, or non-fiction. But restricting the lower tier to newer/short form writers changes the playing field rather radically. Primarily by forcing writers with books published who have in past vied for Level One grants to compete elsewhere.

It’s an interesting effect to observe, and I’ll be watching how this plays out in years to come with some little interest. The provincial grants structure for the Ontario Arts Council’s Literary grant program has been shifting over the last few years, and the Canada Council for the Arts’ structure is set to see a radical overhaul by 2017 — an overhaul being gradually introduced between now and then.

Getting grants is as much as about luck as everything else you do to vie for them. A set of judges who love the work you are submitting depends entirely on what style/genre you are working in, and on who gets the nod for judging in any given year. It’s an act of confluence. And that’s just for the basic types of grant, nevermind something like the OAC’s Writers’ Reserve grants (which are currently open, by the way, and will be until January 29th, 2016) where you are applying directly to individual recommenders who then recommend you, or not, to the OAC as worthy of receiving funds for a project. The Writers’ Reserve requires you to think very carefully about what publisher/recommender will be interested in what kind of work. Especially since you are not required to submit the same project to every recommender you send an application to.

And even there I think I’ve been lucky.

Over the last three years (2013 through now) I’ve received five literary grants. One OAC Writers’ Works in Progress grant, three OAC Writers’ Reserve grants (one a year over the last three years, and each time the recommendation came from a different publisher/magazine), and now a TAC Grants to Writers grant. The amounts vary, and in every single case those amounts have been astonishingly timely.

I sometimes joke that I make my living through freelancing and grants. But it’s true. The collective amount of those five grants is $20,500. (That includes the funds from the TAC grant that I won’t actually receive until October.) That’s no small sum. And grants are in so many ways, for writers and for publishers, the lifeblood of Canadian publishing.

They keep us going in an industry where advances and royalties can be pitiful. They keep the lights on for various publishers. They can be a bridge between paycheques. And they can provide a modicum of financial stability, even if only for the matter of months over which most grants are meant to tide one while working on the project(s) put forward.

They supplement an industry where money is incredibly unevenly distributed.

And grants are accessible to a wide range of writers.

Now, I will admit that I’m also lucky enough to be writing at the intersection of surrealism, Weird fiction, and realist fiction that appeals to a surprisingly wide range of potential jurors. It doesn’t hurt that one of my strengths as a writer is my prose, the focus on which is also appealing to most Canadian jurors. And that most of my writing is focused on Queer and POC narratives, in Canadian context.

But here’s the thing I do, to the best of my ability, on top of all that, that everyone applying for Canadian grants should be doing: I outline what my work is adding to Canadian storytelling, where it fits in that landscape, and how my work is widening the discussion in Canadian fiction.

Fiction does not exist in isolation — it creates conversation and engages in dialogue with the reader or it fails on a fundamental level. An internally conversant narrative is a perfectly acceptable method of storytelling, but it still has to be externally conversant as well in order to have any impact, lasting or otherwise.

The point of all this is this:

If you’re a Canadian writer, and you meet the eligibility requirements at any level available to you (municipal, provincial, or federal), apply. You may not get the grants on your first go round (it took me two tries each to get the OAC Writers’ Works in Progress and TAC Grants to Writers grants, and I haven’t yet managed to get a Canada Council grant), but it is worth continuing to apply. The TAC and CCA have taken their applications online, making it easier and more cost effective to submit grants. And the OAC may do likewise at some point down the line. Though in the meantime they’re still highly accessible by phone and e-mail for guidance and aid, and I have always found them immensely responsive and decidedly pleasant to deal with. Which makes this entire process so much simpler.

It can be daunting. It can be frustrating. It can be brutal. Especially if you are financially constrained and a grant is the thing that might help you dig out of whatever financial hole you are in.


And keep applying.

Eventually you find your year, and you get better with each application. Each one teaches you how to refine the way you discuss and think about your work. Each year makes you strive to be a better writer. Depending on where you live across the country, you may be able to apply for various personal literary grants multiple times throughout the year (municipal, provincial, and federal granting bodies all have different literary grant deadlines, and each provincial arts council has different grants and guidelines).

In the end, you have to keep writing. And you have to keep applying.

You can’t get a grant if you don’t apply.

And now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to go back to work and let the fact that I just got a very timely grant sink in.

Posted in Ramble, Status Updates, Writing Advice, Writing Grants | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Jenny of the Long Gauge” Longlisted in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 7

Just popping in between doing other things to share some nice news :)

My story “Jenny of the Long Gauge,” which appeared in Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s Fractured anthology, is included in Ellen Datlow’s Full Recommendation List (the longlist) for Best Horror of the Year: Volume Seven. (That link only gets you the back half. You can find the first half of the list here.)

As I’ve said elsewhere, I think this is awesome because I love that story, and I’m delighted to see it get the nod. Especially after it also got that lovely review from A.C. Wise.

But I also think this news is awesome because it means I’ve had three stories in the Best Horror series longlist over the last two years. (“The Last Summer” and “Weary, Bone Deep” were in the longlist for Best Horror of the Year: Volume Six.)

The company is always exquisite. So many extraordinary writers in that longlist, and with stories included in the the book itself, and/or in the shortlist as well.

I don’t think I’m quite good enough yet to merit inclusion in a Year’s Best volume directly, so longlistings, shortlistings, and honourable mentions are for me an awesome way to track my progress as a writer. And damn but it’s fun to see things like this along the way :D

Posted in Ramble, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Humanity of Monsters Release Day Notes

I had meant to post this much earlier today, given that the day is almost officially over by my clock. But it’s been a very full day (apartment hunting things), so I’m just now getting to this:

Officially, The Humanity of Monsters is released in Canada today, with the non-Canadian release in (as far as I know) January 2016. Amazon.ca doesn’t yet appear to have copies in stock, and is still advising pre-orders. Not sure of the actual copy situation yet and whether the book could, in fact, be acquired in brick and mortar environments today either.

Basically, waiting to hear from various sources about stock and availability. Information which I will then pass along, so people can go out and buy copies. Because I am entirely willing to just basically push books on people as though they were candy.

Although, technically, if this book were candy it would be Hard Candy. Which is I think an accurate allusion.

Ah well, I’m horribly biased. And mostly just want everyone to be able to read the book. So as soon as I hear where The Humanity of Monsters is available for actual, hands-grabbing purchasing, I shall pass that along :)

Posted in Publications, Status Updates | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

September Patreon Post is Live

As it’s September 15th, I’ve posted the September Patreon short story.

According to my alternating B-sides and new work schedule, this month should have been some new work, or an excerpt from something in progress. But between the moving, the apartment hunting, the freelancing, and everything else going on on this end, what there is of projects-in-progress is not remotely polished and needs more connective tissue before it goes out into the world. Even in excerpt form.

So instead I’ve put another B-side while I see about carving out more time to devote to the new writing.

Once again, I’m not going to say specifically what I’ve posted on the Patreon. If you’re interested in finding out what it is, and reading the material I’ve posted these last few months on Patreon as well, head on over and feel free to toss something into the pot in support.

Every donation/patron’s support is one more kick in the ass to get me back to writing the new work. As motivational systems go, this one’s fairly good. Knowing that people are expecting something does force me to sit down and feel like I can take time away from the freelancing to devote to my own writing.

In the meantime, of course, it’s back to work. But with more news and updates to follow as they occur. And maybe even some eventual writing today too :D

Posted in Publications, Ramble | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Humanity of Monsters Can vs. US Release Dates

So, apparently there are two release dates for The Humanity of Monsters?

It appears to be a case of split regional release dates. Of which I was unaware until a couple of days ago.

It was pointed out to me in e-mails asking which release date is correct. Which led to me wondering why there were two. I’ve been digging around, and it does appear to be the case that the Canadian release date for The Humanity of Monsters is still September 15th, and the US/UK release is apparently in January of 2016. I’ve seen the latter release dates listed as January 12th, 14th, or even 16th, so I’m not yet sure which is the official one for January.

In any case, this means that Canadian readers will have access to the anthology sooner than everyone else….

Clearly this is a bid to force US buyers to make impulse purchase trips cross-border up to Canada specifically to come and buy the anthology with your massively overpowered dollar (in comparison to us — the exchange rate is anywhere from 25% to 27% right now). Hey, while you’re here you should load up on other wonderful books. We has them. In profusion.

In all seriousness, yeah, I don’t know what to tell you. Little bit longer of a wait for the non-Canadians among you who would like to buy the anthology. Pre-orders are still an option (pick a site from the CZP page for the book, they’re all good), fulfillment’s just going to be longer than originally anticipated.

Oh, Publishing. Whatever are we to do with you?

Posted in Publications, Ramble, Status Updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment