The Halloween Phoenix Returns

image of a phoenix tattooRoughly two years ago, I mused about being a phoenix. To quote that post, “Like the mythic phoenix, (remember Fawkes in the Harry Potter books) I have burst into flames, reduced to a pile of ashes.” And, like Fawkes, it was about time for me to do it again. I suppose it’s partly the impending NaNoWriMo that is encouraging me to revisit this blog.

Where the Hell did I Go?!

I’ve been stuck. Lost. Down a rabbit hole. Hiding under blankets. Eating my feelings. All of the above.

Being truthful about mental illness is difficult, especially when I was deep in the dark places. In the fall of 2016, I hit my emotional rock bottom. I withdrew from society, experienced cycles of insomnia and over-sleeping, and ate dump-truck-loads of my feelings. After weeks of crying every day, I took everyone’s advice and visited my doctor who prescribed anti-depressants.

It took weeks to get the dose right, but eventually I found relief. I began to emerge into the world, and perform tasks I’d been too distraught to face. At that point, I could not write, partly because I wasn’t strong enough to face the “truths” that are authorial requirements, and partly because the anti-depressants affected my concentration and short-term memory.

In March, I found the strength to make some tough changes to get my life back on track. I dabbled in a group-therapy endeavor, and I started to count my calories. I scoured YouTube, Stitcher, and experimented with various meditation apps, in search of the most useful guided meditations to help me with my journey.

Since March, I’ve lost roughly thirty pounds. I can’t thank my older son enough for buying me a Fitbit for my birthday, which not only helped with the weight-loss journey, but has also encouraged me to get walking. I love my Fitbit, because it’s the first weight-loss/health-improvement app/device that uses encouragement rather than bullying. This weight-loss has helped me to feel better, physically and emotionally, and has helped my knee to get significantly better. I still drive around with my cane in my car, but I rarely use it.

That’s right. You read that correctly. I RARELY USE MY CANE!

What a journey! Remember, in that last blog post, I wrote, “I’ve come to the emotional conclusion that I will never be ‘better’ in the true sense of the word. The cane will be a permanent accessory.”

Now I can do things for myself again, including mowing my own lawn, shoveling my own driveway, and cleaning my own house. I even bought a snow-blower, something I’ve been afraid of for years.

Two years ago, I also began the process of updating my will. That endeavor ground to a halt when I learned that without a divorce, my will would not be as binding as I wanted. So I abandoned the will upgrade, and focused on moving ahead with the divorce, again!

Taking charge of this huge aspect of my “old life”, combined with the aforementioned changes, helped me to journey to a new, happy, content, calm place. So much so, that I’ve begun the process of reducing (and possibly quitting) my anti-depressants. Suddenly, I have feelings again. And, most importantly, I NEED TO WRITE AGAIN.

The icing on the cake … drumroll … I’m divorced!  This status became official on October 20, 2017. Time to plan a party.

But first, enough blogging. I need to sketch an outline for my NaNoWriMo novel. I know, I left it until the last minute.

Expect posts about my progress throughout November.

It’s Time to Nominate for the Aurora Awards

Hello fans and friends!

Hellmaw: Soul Larcenist is eligible to be nominated for an Aurora Award, an annual Canadian Science Fiction/Fantasy award. The category of eligibility for the book is: “2016 – Best Novel – English”

There are 2 reviews of Hellmaw: Soul Larcenist at the bottom of the book’s Amazon page, just click here and scroll down.

I also published 2 short stories this year which are also eligible to be nominated. Their category of eligibility is: “2016 – Best Short Fiction – English”

The stories are:

“Lost Flesh” which appeared in the anthology Lazarus Risen, Edited by Hayden Trenholm and Michael Rimar, Bundoran Press, Nov 2016.

And

“Dallas’s Booth” which appeared in the anthology Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media Groups Inc., August 2016.

We authors find it difficult to choose a “favourite” story, but if cornered I would suggest “Lost Flesh”. Unfortunately, I am unable to place a free story on my website this year.

I would be honoured if you would take the time to read Hellmaw: Soul Larcenist either through your local library, or: As an ebook or audiobook from Amazon

Or as an ebook from Kobo

The (physical) trade paperback and hardcover copies of the book are much harder to find. I have copies, so if you’re going to be seeing me, remind me to bring along a copy.

Click here for a full list of links to all eligible works in ALL CATEGORIES

Anyone who is either a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen can submit a nomination form for the Aurora Awards. You may select up to 3 nominees in each category. All selections will be given equal weight.

The CSFFA charges a membership fee ($10) to nominate OR to vote. Everyone who becomes a member will be emailed a packet of the five finalists in each category, (once they’re chosen) so you’re essentially getting many books for $10!
Click here for more information, and/or to nominate

The top five works in each category with the most nominations will be placed on the final ballot.

All nominations, on-line or mail-in, must be received by 11:59PM ET May 6th, 2017.

Thank you for your consideration…Suzanne

Suzanne’s ConFusion 2017 Schedule

It’s been a while since my last post! But I’m back, just in time for the beginning of the 2017 convention season.

ConFusion takes place at the Sheraton in Novi, Michigan from January 19-22, 2017. Click here for the full ConFusion Schedule

Friday, January 20
5:00PM – 6:00PM Haven’t We Been Here Before?  Why is New England such an attractive setting for the horrific? Panelists: Michael Cieslak, Suzanne Church, Lesley Conner, Joe Hill, and Mallory O’Meara [Keweenaw]
8:00PM – 9:00PM All Things Onder and the Ed Greenwood Group (TEGG)   Panelists: Suzanne Church (M), Gregory A. Wilson, Elizabeth Shack, Deanna Laver, and Brandon Draga [Petoskey].

Saturday, January 21
4:00PM – 5:00PM Autograph Session   Come and get your books signed! [St. Clair]
6:00PM – 7:00PM Readings  Suzanne will be reading from her Hellmaw fiction. Panelists: Suzanne Church, Sarah Gailey, and Gregory A. Wilson. [Keweenaw]

Sunday, January 22
12:00PM – 1:00PM Here’s What They Did to My Baby!   Authors tell the tale of the publishing process from their perspective. Panelists: Patrick S. Tomlinson (M), Cameron McClure, Suzanne Church, Jim C. Hines [St. Clair]
1:00PM – 2:00PM Romantic Leads   What makes a good romantic lead? Panelists: Courtney Schafer (M), Sara Dobie Bauer, Suzanne Church, Seleste deLaney / Julie Particka, Amal El-Mohtar, Gail Carriger [Leelanau]

I hope to see you at the con!

My Report on Limestone Genre Expo

On July 23rd and 24th, I visited the beautiful city of Kingston, Ontario for Limestone Genre Expo. (@limestonegenre on Twitter)

The first iteration happened last year, as a one-day event. This year, the organizers doubled down, making it a two-day event.

I hunkered down in the Dealers’ Room for most of the event, so I can’t say that I caught all the panel action, but here’s what the schedule had to offer:

Packed rooms of enthusiastic attendees listened and participated in topics from “Queering the Fantastic” to the Evolution of the Young Adult Market to “The Feminist Journey in Genre Fiction”.

Robert Runte from Five Rivers Publishing generously offered an hour for authors to pitch their works — a highlight of the event for many.

Readings were scheduled on both days, featuring Guests of Honour David Nickle and Vicki Delany, as well as authors Nancy Baker, Rob Brunet, Alyssa Cooper, Kit Daven, Janet Kellough, Tara Wyatt, and OnderLibrum author Marie Bilodeau.

The following workshops offered varied seminars on the craft of writing:

Guest of Honour Nina Munteanu taught The Ecology of World Building
Derek Newman-Stille taught Writing the Senses
Rob Brunet taught Setting as Character
Mary Sullivan and Ann Lethbridge taught How to Write Romance Novels and Find Your Market

I intend to keep this convention on my radar from now on, especially considering my newly-formed Kingston connection.

Issue #1 of ONDER Magazine

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ONDER Magazine is another great way to stay informed about everything going on with The Ed Greenwood Group.

Issue #1 includes:
Articles by Arlene Marks, Gabrielle Harbowy, and Suzanne Church
Artist Tips from Eric Belisle
Fiction by Dileep S. Rangan, Richard Lee Byers, and Chris A. Jackson
Gamers’ Table content from Kelby Barker and James Silverstein
Comics by Lyric Goins and Denise Lhamon
Reviews by Sarah Celiann and Kaushik Karforma
Documentary Fiction by David Wendt and Samantha Murphy
and of course plenty of content from The Archmage himself, Ed Greenwood

Follow this link to learn how to score a copy of ONDER Magazine!

HELLMAW 4: SOUL LARCENIST is now available!

 

Suzanne’s first published novel, is now available as an ebook.

Soul Larcenist  is the 4th Hellmaw book released from The Ed Greenwood Group (TEGG).

Soul Larcenist  will soon be available in trade paperback and Hardcover. Watch this space for details.

 

soul larcenist

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Soul Larcenist

Book 1 in The Dagger of Sacrados trilogy

Hellmaw book 4

Published by The Ed Greenwood Group
Now available From Amazon.com
On the OnderLibrum site
From Amazon.ca
From Barnes and Noble
From Kobo



Continue reading

THE PLAN – AKA 2016 Writing Resolutions

At the beginning of 2015 my writing resolutions were:

1. Create a writing plan, and execute the plan to meet my word goals for the 3XN novels.

I have been focusing on this task, first and foremost. Hellmaw: Your World is Doomed launched on October 31, 2015 from Onder Librum and I can now talk freely about this project. I’m writing a trilogy in Hellmaw, called The Dagger of Sacrados  Trilogy. The first book, Soul Larcenist  will be released this month, in late January 2016. I’m just over 50K into the first draft of the second book, Soul Poison  and aim to have the book out to Beta readers by February 1st. The third book, Almost Soulless  will be finished by August 1st. In between I’ll write a standalone YA novel for another Onder Librum book in the Pony Island universe and complete the main draft by April 1st.

2. Edit and submit to market ALL of the new short stories from 2014.

A summary of the state of my 2014 short stories:
“Black is the Source of Her Smithing” – has 4 more rejections, bringing the total to 6 and is out at a market right now.
“Beneath a Cloak of Fear” – has 2 rejections. Since it’s not genre, I haven’t been as aggressively marketing this one.
“Papa and the Steam Rifle” – I sent this story to its intended market. They asked for edits but I didn’t have the time for them. So my Stop-Watch Gang colleague, Stephen Kotowych made the edits and it’s now being marketed as a collaboration. So far, mostly thanks to Steve’s enthusiasm, it has 10 rejections and is out at a market right now.
“Mr. Ice” – I changed the name of this one, sent it to its intended market, and it was rejected. I’m not much of a superhero author, so this one likely will never be submitted again.

3. Write, edit, and submit to market at least 1 ADDITIONAL short story, adding to the requirement as I’m invited to anthologies.

Done! I wrote “Slaughter-Greedy” for an invitation anthology.
I wrote about half of “Proof of Love” for another invitation anthology, and hope I can squeeze the time to complete it in early 2016.

4. Pursue grants in the spring and fall.

Epic fail. I did not submit any grant proposals in 2015.

5. Aim for the sub-a-week challenge with my existing inventory, but allow for a low goal of 30 submissions when the 3XN work takes priority.

Done! I made 56 submissions in 2015, including delivering Soul Larcenist  as well as submitting the galley proofs.

6. Use National Novel Writing Month to sprint for the final 3XN goals of the year.

Done! This year, I spent most of November behind the goal line, but hit 50,000 words with one day to spare. I now have about 35,000 words to go on Soul Poison. I posted a very math-intensive summary of NaNoWriMo activities year-by-year.

7. Write a minimum of 300 NEW words every day.

Epic fail. I fell off this bandwagon after my knee surgery in April and never climbed back on.

8. Do my best to get ELEMENTS on ballots during award season.

Done! Elements: A Collection of Speculative Fiction  was nominated in the Best Related Work category of the Aurora Awards and two of its stories, “Soul-Hungry” and “Jelly and the D-Machine” were nominated in the Best Short Fiction category. Although I didn’t win, “Jelly and the D-Machine” was included in 2 best-of anthologies:

Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2014  from Twelfth Planet Press and
Imaginarium 4  from ChiZine Publications.

This year I sold one new short story, The Patent Bagger to AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Issue #20, Fall 2015.

I sold 3 reprints – the two sales of Jelly to the best-of anthos above, plus “Free Range” to the brand new magazine The Singularity.

What else happened in 2015?

I had knee surgery at the end of April. The surgeon repaired two meniscal tears, one below the kneecap and one above. He also “cleaned up” the underside of the kneecap. I didn’t get back to “normal” — I still use my cane to walk, but the pain is better than before the surgery and I’ve made a conscious decision to not return to physiotherapy. I posted more details about the knee on my Phoenix post.

That leads me to my writing resolutions for 2016:

1. Accomplish THE PLAN:

THE PLAN

2. Finish “Proof of Love” and submit, if time permits.
3. Pursue grants in the spring or fall.
4. Aim for the sub-a-week challenge with my existing inventory, but allow for a low goal of 30 submissions considering the tight deadlines of THE PLAN.
5. Treat every month like it’s NaNoWriMo, especially JAN, FEB, MAR, MAY, and JUN.

I’ve spent enough time on these resolutions. It’s time to start writing…