When Words Collide 2016

Aside from going to Keycon every year since I moved to Winnipeg, except this summer, the only big writing do I’ve been to is the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, and that was the last trip anywhere I went on since I started flying.

So, I passed on Keycon this year and decided this year would be the year I attend When Words Collide instead. I’ve got plane tickets booked and hotel room and membership all taken care of on time and I’m set to go months ago, which is good because the last two months I’ve been very much focused on getting my multi engine rating.

I booked vacation a long time ago for this, so I have three weeks off in august, and am looking forward to being able to dick off and indulge in writing related endeavors for a few days in between working on my IFR rating.

It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be the first time since I got my private licence that I’ll be on a commercial flight. I remember the last time I was on a commercial flight and how a felt on takeoff, when I realized I actually really do love flying more than normal people. The flight to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference was a triggering event on the road to me pursuing a pilot’s license, and for that, I thank Rebecca Sky and Erin Latimer for pushing me to come. Especially when I’d at first said no, Lindsay doesn’t do scary things like travel alone.

Lol.

Anyway, I’m going into this convention pretty blind, so if anyone has recommendations, I’m happy to hear if there’s a particular editor who’s open to dieselpunk aviation related novels that I should track down and pitch to, or panels I shouldn’t miss.

Or for that matter, as has happened before, if I have blog followers I have not met, if you see me and recognize me, I’m usually open to people saying hi in the hallway, just be prepared for me to be an Aspie level of socially awkward as I try and figure out if I should know you or not. I’m really just stumbling into this con completely unfamiliar and ready to have a good time with whatever friends I know will be there.

Upcoming: Avians by Timothy Gwyn

I’ve been waiting until I had a little more to link to, but I’m super excited to announce that one of my critique group is getting his novel published!

Timothy Gwyn is the pen name of Tim Armstrong, a pilot who flies out of Kenora – about – well, okay, I’ve never driven to Kenora, but it’s about 45 minutes in a Cessna 172 – east of Winnipeg.

I met Tim at Keycon – he had found my blog fairly close to the beginning of my epic journey into the world of aviation, and he introduced himself to me at my home sci-fi/fantasy convention. I think he was the first pilot I met and got to know that I didn’t meet outside of my flight school. And he was there because he had a novel he was working on.

He offered to take me on a tour of one of the King Airs he flew, and I took him up on it – that was the day I made a kick ass landing in 9G17 straight across the runway in Kenora and naturally no one ever sees when you make a good landing.

Anyway, we had a fun chat about writing and flying, and I was intrigued by his worldbuilding, so we traded novels to give one another feedback. I really enjoyed it – I mean, I’ve said this before about my fellow local writers, but you read a local writers work ready to sift through and find nice things to say, but the local writers I’ve read, I’ve been pleased to find I don’t have to look hard.

The planet his story is set on had an atmosphere so dense that  it’s uninhabitable at sea level, and the human life exists only high on the mountain peaks. Which are mostly volcanoes. Can’t think of anything that could go wrong with that? Neither can I. (/sarcasm)

Society wise, he’s got what would normally be considered an iron age, except that for reasons you’ll have to read the book to find out, there is next to no metal available to the inhabitants of this planet. Their coins, instead of copper and tin, are made of glass.

Between the sparsely situated volcano peaks on the planet, is a trade network of mysterious airships. Communication with the airships is strictly limited to accounting and commodity availability, and the closest the planet’s occupants ever get to these ships is the glider pilots that deliver goods to the ships. Glider pilots like the main characters.

I think I read the original draft in two days – it sucked me in in a way few books do, to be honest. It’s young adult fiction, and that’s definitely something I enjoy, and it was the sort of thing I’d be happy to give to my young cousins or if I had kids myself, to read. I can only imagine it’s gotten better since he’s revised it himself. When my critique group lost a member, we invited him on my recommendation to join our group, and he brought a few scenes in to us. He mentioned in a blog post when my best friend and I went over his opening thirty pages to help him get them ready to present to the editor in time. But we were really just excited to be a part of a novel that we could see was worthy of publication, and we were over the moon to hear a contract was the result.

It’s set for publication in August of 2017, from the sounds of it, and you can be damn sure I’ll remind you all.  So if aviation, and in particular alternate aviation and it’s convergence with science fiction intrigues you as much as it did me, keep your eye on his blog, where he’s posted a blurb to taunt you. He’s got a informatively created planet, with aviation focused exclusively on women pilots, and a story that more than passes the bechdel test. This novel is gonna kick ass, and I will be plugging it in the future closer to the publication date, be prepared!

Ode To A Vegetable Steamer

We used to have a vegetable steamer. I think it was my Dad’s and he never used it so his girlfriend-at-the-time gave it to us. We used it all the time, it made the best vegetables and didn’t cook all the flavour out of them. We loved it. We loved it to death. One day, the timer stopped working, I still steamed the vegetables though, so we kept using it and just used the oven timer to time it. Then the element stopped working, and it didn’t steam anything anymore. It died. It was an ex-vegetable steamer. And I’m a flight student and starving writer, kinda too broke to get a new one.

Technically I’ve been paid for my writing before. It was nanofiction–tweet-length stories–and the transaction fees to claim the payment would have been more than the payment itself. Athena’s Daughters 2 was the first time I was going to be paid more than the price of a cup of coffee for my writing. I was pretty excited. It wasn’t quite pro rates, the original $100 per story the submission guidelines stated, but $100 was good.

But that was an advance against royalties. And the Kickstarter (thanks to all you people) was a smashing success. So when I got my payment from the publisher, the success of the sales pushed it past the $100 and started paying me royalties, bumping it over pro rates. And then some. And then I realized the amount was in U.S. Dollars, and with the current exchange rate, in Canadian dollars it was even more.

I think it was Jim C. Hines that I saw say in a blog post, that first time you make enough money from selling a story to pay a bill is a big deal. I think he might have said that’s the first time you feel like a real writer. There’s lots of landmarks to hit as a writer and this is definitely one of them.

But it’s not just that that floored me. I was expecting one amount, and ended up with three times that amount. It’s not just enough to pay a bill, it covers more than a third of our rent for the month. Or three hours of flight instruction. Or cat food, groceries and the phone and internet billls together.

I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this so that you understand I’m not just being sentimental when I say thank you, and tell you all that you made a difference in my life and did something that matters to me. Because that extra cash was because of all the people who contributed to the kickstarter and bought the anthology, and all the people who shared the word on social media to get more people to back the kickstarter.

So thank you for the cat litter, and the cat food, and the internet bill and the phone bill. And for our new steamer.

You guys all rock.

New Year’s Goals

It’s been a rough year. Between home drama, moving in april, worrying about my husband’s health and him being in and out of the emergency room, I’m not where I had hoped to be this year. But I’ll give myself a break because I’ve worked hard and haven’t given up. Checking over my goals for last year:

– Reading goals: Read a novel eligible for the auroras and vote in them. Read a debut novel. Read an author I haven’t read before. Read another book in at least one series I started. Read a novel by an author I know in person. I think i got all of these, Samantha Beiko’s debut novel The Lake And the Library, and Chad Ginther’s sequel Tombstone Blues both count as novels by authors I know in person; an author I haven’t read before: Chris Wooding’s Retribution Falls, and another book in a series I started: Kinslayer and Endsinger by Jay Kristoff. 

– The usual: Stay happily married and not die. No surprises here. 

– Get my commercial pilot’s license. Did not make this one, but I have made progress, building time and passing my commercial written exam. 

– Get my multi-IFR rating. Commercial license first. 

– Finish Skybound. Got this one. 

– Get a solid start on revising another novel. Started Earthbound, the sequel to Skybound.

So I didn’t do as bad as I thought. I haven’t flown as much because I’ve been under a lot of stress, and that’s not a good way to learn. I got some aerobatics training in, and that was fun. I needed something to challenge me.

Plus, I’ve got a short story coming out in an anthology, and the Chiseries event coming up.

Anyway, my new goals for this year:

– Stay happily married and not die.

– Do my three hundred nautical mile trip requirement for my commercial license.

– Get my commercial licence.

– Get a good ways through revisions on Skybound.

– Write a short story for that idea I came up with inspired by the documentary “Blackfish”.

– Reading: I think I want to get back to reading more female authors again. I also want to get through a bunch of novels I’ve had kicking around on my TBR list – The Name of the Wind being one major one, I need to get to, because people keep raving about it, and we have it and the second book.

It’ll be a busy year. We very well might be moving again at some point, but with Chiseries in a week, and Athena’s Daughters coming out this year, I think 2015 is getting off to a good start.

January Chi Series, Featuring Sherry Peters, E. C. Bell, and Lindsay Kitson

In all the excitement over Athena’s Daughters 2 (which is going strong, and creeping closer to the hardcover stretch goal, so if you want a hardcover, head over and back it) I haven’t gotten to posting about the January Chiseries event.

It’s a group that organizes readings by local authors. They’ve invited me to read at the January event on the 7th at Mcnally Robinson book store at Grant Park. I sent out invites like nuts on facebook, but it’s a free event, open to the public, so if you’re in Winnipeg on January 7th, come by at 7pm to hear me and my fellow writers Sherry Peters and E. C. Bell do readings. I’m really excited about it, so I hope to see lots of people there!

Athena’s Daughters 2 is Live!

And as of this writing, already funded. I want to thank everyone who’s backed the kickstarter so far, and also everyone who’s shared it on social media to help spread the word. You’ve all been a part of the success of the anthology.

We are barreling past stretch goals – the first stretch author, JY Yang has already been added, at $5000. At the $6000 mark, my story, “The Maelstrom At The End Of The World” gets added.

It’s a steampunk story about an airship captain and a pair of skywhales in a dying world. And because you all clearly need more enticement, here’s a short excerpt:

#

Out in the fading light, Kelle thought she saw something drifting through the clouds. A faint glow, and a violet coloured wake behind it.

“You see that out there?”

Weston squinted. “Is that a skywhale?”

“You’re seein’ what I’m seein’.”

“Got to be the last one.” Weston stood with his mouth open as Kelle turned the tiller towards the great beast arcing through the sky.

If they could catch it, it would feed the hundred evacuees on their ship for weeks.

“Get the harpoon ready,” Kelle told Weston.

Weston hesitated. Kelle understood why. Skywhales were beautiful creatures, and the sky had been empty of them for so long. Skysailors had told stories ever since the first airhsips, of skywhales guiding them to safe harbour when they were lost in a storm. To see one again was a symbol of hope.

To kill it would break Kelle’s heart as much as it would Weston’s. But his little one’s needed food, and there was none. And this skywhale was headed into the Maelstrom anyway.

The crew around her readied the main harpoon. It was a heavy thing, bolted down to the outer deck. An older model—this wasn’t a whaling vessel, never had been. The harpoon had been added on when things started getting bad, and they needed to take down the whales for food whenever they could. Still, until now, Kelle had never been able to bring herself to do it. If she were alone, or just with the crew, she might still have claimed the whale was too far away, or too close to the Maelstrom.

But for Weston’s little ones she would do it.

“Weston, tell them evacuees in the hold they might be in for a bumpy ride in a bit, but with any luck we’ll have dinner tonight.”

The Skywhale loomed closer. Kelle wondered aloud to Weston, “I never understood, after all the time humans have been hunting and killing them suckers, they’ve never learned to fear us.”

“My father always said they’re wise beyond our comprehension,” Weston replied.

The skywhale disappeared into a rose coloured cloud of aether fleas, opening it’s gaping jaws to suck in a mouthful. When it came cresting out, they were close enough to see clearly. The creature’s skin glowed white and shimmered with colours in the faded light of the sun. It was a cow—a she-whale—and her fins spread out as long as her body, filmy and glistening like the wings of a giant dragonfly. She didn’t flap—no one knew what kept a skywhale afloat, but the fins were merely rudders, the tail much like the front fins.

And she wasn’t alone.

Sailing next to it’s mother’s dorsal fin was her calf. Both glowed against the cloud, and a white and violet shimmer reflected over their bodies as they moved.

“We taking the baby too?” Weston asked, appearing beside her again.

#

So. Yeah. Not even twenty four hours and we’re only about $500 from this story being included in the anthology. I’m really excited to see my work in print, and thank you again for all your support!

Keep your wings level.

Update: And I woke up this morning to see we’re at $6060 – this story will officially be included in the anthology! There are five more stretch author’s though, so if you haven’t backed the Kickstarter yet, we want to get all of them in! Click here to back the Kickstarter and help my fellow writers get included in the anthology: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/athenas-daughters-volume-2/description

Athena’s Daughters II

Last Dec/Jan, Silence In The Library Publishing did a Kickstarter for their anthology of women authors writing women main characters called Athena’s Daughters. It was the most successful literary anthology ever done on Kickstarter.

This December, they’re Kickstarting Athena’s Daughters II. Why I’m excited about this: I’ve posted this on facebook already, but when the kickstarter goes live, one of the stretch goals will be the inclusion of a story by yours truly.

How stretch goals work: for those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowdfunding service. People put forward a proposal, state  how much they need to do what they’re proposing, and offer rewards in return for donations. Stretch goals are for when they pass the amount they are asking for, at which point they can afford to do extra things. Like include more stories. Like mine.

I’ll put out reminders and updates closer to when the Kickstarter goes live, but if you want another fantasy and science fiction anthology full of awesome stories about women, with a story from me about an airship, a skywhale, and the end of the world, here’s your head’s up.