Canadian publishing… WTF?

Hello My Imaginary friends,

Last Thursday I got an email from our wonderful publisher checking in to make sure everyone was okay after, “a tumultuous week for Canadian speculative fiction writers”.

I’m on parental leave and not as involved online as normal, also I’m kinda isolated from the larger writing community outside of events. I had no idea what was going on.

Holy Expletive did I wish I didn’t know after I read up on it. It made me sick and more than a little angry. Here’s a quick clean description from S. M. Carrière:

It began with accusations of non-payment and verbal attacks levelled against ChiZine Publishing by author Ed Kurtz.

Then things exploded.  Stories by others associated with the press, either having “worked” for (I put worked in quotation marks, because payment was not something they often did) or volunteered with them, and other authors expression concerns about behaviour and non-payment.  Some of it was truly sickening; verbal and emotional abuse that I found extraordinarily triggering. […]

Thoughts on a Bloody Mess – S. M. Carrière

If you really want to learn more you can check out this blog post by High Fever Books. It’s comprehensive and is still updating with information.

I’ve had very little dealings with ChiZine… Mostly the reading series that was run in Ottawa. The reading series in Ottawa was run by some fantastic people and I’m extremely happy that they don’t seem implicated in the terribleness.

When I first met the publishers, I thought they were the rockstars of publishing. They had edgy cool books, snarky attitudes, and a slight punk vibe. I pitched my first novel to them and was shocked that they liked the pitch.

Over the next two years, I periodically emailed about my submission, always getting emails about how busy they were. It was a stark contrast from Renaissance Press that actually published the novel. They apologized for taking too long (less then 3 months) and even walked me through what I should do to improve the novel.

I asked Sandra about the submission in person at the next years’ Can-Con and she replied curtly that, they’d get to it when they had a chance. From that moment on, she and Brett pretty much ignored me. I was on a panel at Limestone Expo and Sandra spent most of the time talking over me and interrupting the other panelists. I mostly tried to avoid them after that. I assumed it was me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and can rub some the wrong way.

I don’t know all the details, but there are a lot of people speaking out about WAY worse things that ChiZine has been involved. It’s seriously disturbing how bad some of the stuff being discussed is.

In case it’s not clear. I believe and support those speaking out.

In times like these, I truly appreciate my publisher. Renaissance isn’t the biggest, nor is it the fastest growing, but damn do they take care of their authors. They have a careful, people-oriented approach to publishing that I greatly appreciate.

I have nothing new to add to the conversation, but I do want to repeat two important messages:

  1. Don’t punish the writers for their publisher.
  2. Don’t assume that everyone involved with ChiZine knew what happened or were involved. There are some genuinely lovely people who were involved with the company that might not have been involved in the horrible behaviour.

Be kind, my friends,

Éric

The Main Characters of A Study in Aether

Hello,

Last week my editor asked what I’d like to see on the cover of A Study in Aether. I said I’d love to see the three main characters on the cover. They then asked for actors or pictures that represent the characters I had in mind. Here are the quick descriptions and pictures.

Jackie

An avid reader of all things genre Jackie loves the idea of magic and other worlds. He’s one of the calmest and chillest people you’ll meet.

Physically he is brown skinned and gangly. Just having grown almost a foot before high school he’s still not used to his body.  I always pictured Neil Denis (Tilk’s son from Stargate)

Neil_Denis

Angela

The biggest of science nerds, Angela is absolutely brilliant. Her obsession with knowledge is only matched by her love of fashion. She’s shy and prone to rambling.

Physically she’s native and petite, with long brown hair. Very stylish. I picture her as a young Tanaya Beatty from Arctic Air.
S3Kaitlin2

Elizabeth

Absolutely obsessed with mysteries Elizabeth treats most situations as if they were a puzzle for her to decipher. She’s stubborn to a fault but cares deeply for everyone around her.

Physically she’s average high slightly chubby with curly blonde hair. Sort of a chubbier version of Sasha Pieterse from Geeky Charming.
superthumb
What do you think? Is this a cast you’d want to read more about?

Serial Story

 

Poll Closes tonight at midnight. Get your vote in while you can!

Serial Story 2016 - Last Round

  • Wargrave Island (50%, 3 Votes)
  • The Ruby Child (50%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Wargrave Island

Genre: Murder Mystery
Inspiration: And Then There Were None, Sherlock Holmes

Read the Beginning

[…]

“What happened?” asked Jonathan, drunkenly staggering towards them, trying to get to the boat.

“What’s in there?” asked Zoe, who was followed by the rest of the party guests who must have seen the fire.

Riko tried to keep them back, but Jonathan made it past her and yelled, “Oh shit, there’s a dead body in there!”

The Ruby Child

Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Inspiration: Firefly, Eberron

Read the Beginning

[…]

As he watched, in complete amazement, the ruby transformed into a baby with glowing crimson hair. The infant gave a tiny giggle and opened its eyes. He expected red eyes, but was surprised to see little clones of his own dark green eyes staring back at him.

“Oh Boy,” he repeated.

Éric

Responses and Houses. Yay!

I have a lot of stuff to talk about today so let’s split it up into topics.

House

Let’s start with the good news. My wife and I have bought a house. My in-laws have been a great help throughout the process and I am lucky to have them. We’re moving on the 29th of March, which means I’ll be crazy stupid busy for the next month. I’m trying to fight down the panic right now.

Who thought moving 800+movies and 2300+ books would be so much work?

Writing

On Writing by Stephen King

The last book I wrote came together in amazing and beautiful ways, for me anyways. It was a culmination of three years’ worth of thinking and planning.

This new book isn’t like that. Writing is hard. No seriously, some days I wonder why I bother. I’ve been writing a novel a year for the past three years and I’m now a third of the way through my fifth novel and sometimes I feel like it’s just too much work.

Then I start writing and realize how much joy it brings me. It’s a feeling that I have to hold onto even in my most depressed and insecure moments.

But sometimes it would be nice to get appreciation from someone who doesn’t know me.

Publisher Response

In that vein, I received word from one of the two publishers yesterday. It’s a kinda rejection and possibly the nicest I’ve received. That’s saying something, I’ve been rejected several dozen times (not much compared to most authors but I’m still young and haven’t written enough short stories) and they’ve all be extremely nice about it. I’ve really only received 2 kinds of rejections; the nice ones and the “no response” rejections.

They basically said they liked the story and the characters but that it needed a good rewrite and editing. The word “compelling” was used which I take as a great compliment.

The only part that stung was that they said it read like a first draft. It was my sixth draft and third rewrite. I’ve reached the point with the book were I know I need professional help. (Insert Psychologist joke here!) They did say I could resubmit once I had reedited and rewrote the novel.

It makes sense, they’re a smaller publishing company and my book needs an editor, which is expensive. I’ll wait and see what the other publishing house says and then I’ll have to look for an editor. Unfortunately editors are expensive and we just bought a house.

Anyone know a good editor that won’t cost me more than a used car?

As I said I’m still waiting on one reply for this novel and I’m waiting on a short story anthology. I’m still hopeful.

I would like to thank the publishing house for the sweet things they said… so if you’re reading, thank you.

Silver Stag Entertainment

I’ve really been enjoying being a guest of this podcast for the past few weeks. It’s great to sit around and chat about movies and books with smart and funny people.

I was on the panel this week for The Diamond Throne by David Eddings.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm7qhKtNFlo]

Survey

Tomorrow is the last day to fill in our survey so if you want to win that 10$ gift card this is your chance.

Go do the survey, Only 2 Days left.

contest

Thank you for listening. Tomorrow you’ll get to choose who dies in my newest novel.

Éric