Action!

I’ll be at Action! this Sunday (Feb. 18th) from 10 – 5. This is going to be a super fun convention (there are some great guests). I’ll have copies of the new book, All These Crooked Streets, as well as a handful of No Light Tomorrow and The Space Between Houses. If you’ve been waiting to grab one (or all of them), Sunday would be a great opportunity to do so, and you can even get it signed!

For more on Action!, check out their website www.actionwindsor.com

Or you can go to the Facebook page here, and the event page here

See you Sunday!

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Sugar’s Last Dance: Behind the Scenes part 3.

Sorry gang, this took a bit longer than expected (life and all its unforeseen eddies have pulled me off course). But, as promised, the real life person who inspired Ana.

Like last time, don’t worry if you haven’t read the story yet, there will be no spoilers here.

A bit of history first. A few years back, I watched a Spanish horror movie called Blind Alley. This film, which was about vampires, was a rather dull affair. It was a case of great cinematography…and nothing else. Except, there was something else, the lead actress. This woman was quite possibly the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. The kind of beauty that entrances all who witness it.

I quickly added her to the mental list we all carry around. You know, the one that says if we had a chance with so-and-so, we would gladly risk our marriage and or our family to do so.

bapos (1)Flash forward a bit. I was sitting down with the newest Eli Roth flick (his return after a few years away thanks to negative reviews of Hostel 2), Knock Knock. While the movie was laughably bad (mostly thanks to a subpar performance from Keanu Reeves. Seriously, go watch it, he has no fucks to give in that performance), to my great surprise, the lovely actress from Blind Alley was back. And a blonde to boot!

I poured over every one of her scenes. I’m not going to lie, I was in love.

When the time came to write Sugar’s Last Dance, I wanted to make the main character the most beautiful woman ever, which got me thinking. Who do I think that person is? And bam, it came to me. Ana de Armas!

I modeled the protagonist after Miss de Armas, using her appearance in Knock Knock as my inspiration. I even when so far as to call my main character Ana.

ana-de-armas-in-vogue-magazine-russia-october-2017_4To my great delight, Ana de Armas has started getting some bigger roles in Hollywood. She recently appeared—and was amazing—in Blade Runner 2049 as the utterly loveable Joi.

Now, just to be clear, I modeled my Ana off the real thing in physical appearance. I’m not sure, but I doubt that the real Ana de Armas would do some of the things that her namesake gets up to. Or maybe she would.

So there you have it. I almost never model characters in my stories after real life folk, but this time, I couldn’t resist. I felt like this was as close as I would ever come to meeting this lovely woman, so went with it.

-C

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By The River

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Hey! Look what’s out! My first published poetry is hiding inside this gorgeous looking book. Here’s a blurb from the publisher (Urban Farmhouse Press).

‘Exploring new poetry and prose by the working writers that make the area around Windsor, ON Canada home. These are the stories, songs, and voices of those that have come to call the south shore of the Detroit River Narrows theirs. Discover the voices forming the roots of a thriving literary community that is now gaining its due attention in the literary world. Masterfully edited by Windsor poet Laurie Smith this collection showcases the breadth and strength of voices from the place where Ontario begins.

Featuring new work by Marty Gervais, Dorothy Mahoney, Mary Ann Mulhern, Peter Hrastovec, Lenore Langs, Dawn Kresan, Vanessa Shields, Karen Rockwell, Christian Laforet, Ben Van Dongen, Denis Robilliard, Justine Dowsett, Irene Moore Davis, Teejai Travis, Erik Johnson, Dave Rocha, Amina Abudulla, and Rosalind Knight.’

If you’re interested in a copy, you can snag one on Amazon or hit up Urban Farmhouse Press

-C

Sugar’s Last Dance: Behind the Scenes (Part 2)

Alright, so I was going to make this post about the real life inspiration behind Ana, but since I touched on music last time, I figured I would keep that ball rolling.

When I write, I listen to music…instrumental (or electronic) music. That changed a bit with Sugar’s Last Dance. Instead of the ambient sounds I usually work to, I found myself coming back time and time again to an actual band. That band? Crosses (or ttt).

So, who are Crosses and why did I listen to them? Well, let me tell you.

Crosses is a side project from musician Chico Moreno. Chico already has a hugely successful band called the Deftones, but I guess he needed a second outlet. At any rate, being a big fan of the Deftones, I ended up grabbing Crosses on CD one day (I know, I’m an old man, but I like listening to music in my car and CD is the only way that I can do that).

This album, which is very Deftones-esque, was massively influential in the writing of Sugar’s last Dance. I would start each writing session by firing it up on YouTube. This was also helpful in that I would use the length of the album as a guide as to how long I had been writing.

Something about the record just fit so perfectly with what I was trying to achieve that it became a crucial part of the story.

Now, I know that music is objective to a degree, so you may not experience the same thing that I did while listening. And really, that’s the way it should be, but still, this album was a big part of the story.

I’ll leave you with a song from Crosses. If you like it, buy the album (trust me, it’s super rad!)

Next time, I promise to reveal the woman who inspired Ana, I swear!

-C

Sugar’s Last Dance: Behind the Scenes (Part 1)

With All These Crooked Streets having launched on Tuesday (Nov. 21st), I figured now would be an appropriate time to take a behind the scenes look at my story, Sugar’s Last Dance (don’t worry, no spoilers).

The first thing to talk about is the fact that this was not the story I was planning to write at all. I had spent a couple months prior to beginning the actual writing process, plotting out a completely different novella. I won’t get into what that story was about (I still may write it!), but I will say it had a decidedly Die Hard vibe to it.

You may be asking, what kind of work had gone into the plotting of this original story (or maybe not, but too bad, I’m gonna tell you)?  Like most of the stuff that appears in my books, I started with pen and paper. In this instance, I had broken the entire plot down into sections and events, leading all the way to the finale. I really liked what I had come up with, but it just didn’t seem to jive with the rest of the book (compared to Ed and Ben’s stories, mine didn’t feel all that crimey). Which is why at the 11th hour, I scraped it and went with something completely different.

So, I guess that leads to the next obvious question, where the hell did the idea for Sugar’s Last Dance come from? Simple. A song. Let me elaborate.

I used to do this thing where I would pick a random album, listen to it, and come up with a story that was inspired by the songs. One such album was Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children by Mushroomhead. Besides being a pretty rad album, the opening track really spoke to me, and was ultimately the main inspiration for what would eventually become Sugar’s Last Dance. That song was a rocking little ditty called Come On. Oh, by the way, this was back in late 2011!

While jamming to this track, this is what I wrote (just a heads up, it is point form):

The main character is one of the strippers. Her name is Sasha but her stripper name is Ginger. She is a natural red head and so she uses that as her gimmick. She is new to the strip club. She used to work elsewhere but ended up moving because she ripped off some bad guys. Sasha is not really accepted by the other girls.

On the outskirts of town there is a strip club called the Pink Kitty. The club has to be so far away from schools and such so the only logical place is outside of town.

Usually the place is pretty busy but a freak snow storm has caused business to be non-existent. Inside the club the only people there are employees.

There are a dozen people in the club. The bouncer, the bartender, two waitresses, the DJ, the owner and six dancers.

Outside the snow continues to come down in a relentless white-out. Some of the girls are worried about getting home.

One of the girls decides to go out and have a cigarette. In the parking lot having her smoke she sees something. It is hazy at first but as she squints her eyes she can see into the dense white falling snow that a man approaches. As he walks past her he asks if they are open. She says yes and watches as he goes in. She looks again towards where he came from and sees no car. Wherever he came from, he walked.

And that’s it! That’s all I had. I promptly saved it in my ideas folder and moved on with my life.

Flash forward to the end of Dec. 2016, with only weeks before I’m supposed to begin writing my contribution to All These Crooked Streets, and that idea came back to me. Although conceived as being more of a horror story, I quickly realized that the plot could also work quite nicely as a tense little crime thriller.

I had to decide; either use what I had been working on, or go with the stripper story. Throwing caution to the wind, I went with the latter and I think the book is much better for it.

Come back next week to find out who the real life inspiration for Ana, AKA “Sugar” is!

**Book Launch Update**

So, since life happens, the book launch for my newest endeavour, All These Crooked Streets, has been pushed back a couple weeks. The shift in date was unexpected, to say the least, but when you are planning an event that relies on several pieces coming together, it only takes one thing to throw the rest out of whack. After some serious scrambling, a new date was secured, and the launch will now be happening on Nov. 21st.

I’ve been working on this book pretty regularly for almost a year, and I’m more than ready to see it finished.

-C

All These Crooked Streets

Finally, after way too much work, my new book is nearly here. All These Crooked Streets is a collection of three crime novellas written by myself, Ben Van Dongen and Edmond Gagnon, and it officially launches on Nov. 4th!

My contribution to the collection is a seedy tale called Sugar’s Last Dance. This story, besides being the biggest completed single work I have ever accomplished, will always be near and dear to me because it was while working on it that I finally found my voice as a writer. Until now, I always felt like there was something missing from my stories. The words felt almost alien to me, like they belonged to another person.  

For more info about the book and authors, click here

For the facebook event page for the book launch, click here

-C

Novel Update 07/05/17

So…you’re all probably wondering where my novel is at, right? I mean, I finished the first draft almost a year ago and still, bupkis! Well, let me tell you about it.

My troubles began while working on that first draft. I spent so long developing it, that by the time I reached the end, I was no longer satisfied with the earlier portions of the book. I thought I could fix those sections in subsequent drafts…I was wrong.

With a new project beginning at the start of this year, I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and reassess the novel. During that time off, I started to get a creeping feeling in the back of my brain that the story, as it existed, would never see the light of day. Well I guess you can call me Nostradamus because I was right.

Basically, I could spend a year trying to “fix” all the things I didn’t like about the novel, or spend half that time rewriting it. I’m happy to say that the decision was not as hard as it probably sounds. The truth is, I’m just a plumb better writer now than I was when I produced that first draft.

So what’s that all mean? It means that I’m cruising through the book (about 20K words right now) and that it will be finished by the end of the year. I’m excited (and nervous) for everybody to finally read it, but I think it will exceed you expectations (fingers crossed).

Stay tuned for more updates and in the meantime, you can look forward to my crime novella (that new project I mentioned) called Sugar’s Last Dance, which is coming out in October (way, way more on that very soon).

-C

Shock Stock 2017 & ChiSeries Windsor

About a month ago, I (along with super pal, Ben Van Dongen) was invited to attend the 2017 Shock Stock event in London, ON. Basically a love letter to horror (with a big emphasise on film, hence the name), Shock Stock is my kind of event.

For three days, the freaks and ghouls descended on the Ramada Inn. There were horror movie icons, various artists, fresh coffee and even a few porn stars to keep everybody in line. Needless to say, fun was had by all (except for the comedian who pissed off the porn stars with one of his jokes and got thrown out. He probably did not have fun).

The highlight of the event for me was, like always, meeting people. Lots of cool folks! Also, extra big bonus, our table was right next to the Miss Shock Stock table (shout out to eventual winner, Aly Goo)!!

Normally, I would have only a few crumby cell phone pics to show, but thankfully, one of those cool new friends I made happens to be Allison Knight (she’s a filmmaker, check out her IMDB) and she was snapping pictures with a real camera all weekend. Even better, Allison said I could share them (thanks Allison!), so enjoy.

On to ChiSeries Windsor!

Back in Feb. of this year, Ben and I were invited to do a reading at an event called the ChiSeries. It was in Toronto and was a ton of fun. Anyways, long story short, the organizers asked Ben and I if we wanted to start hosting the Windsor edition of the series. We of course said yes and here we are.

For the kickoff show (a couple weeks ago), we had three great writers lined up. First was bestselling horror author and all around cool dude, Craig Davidson (AKA Nick Cutter). I first met Craig a couple years ago when he stopped in Windsor for a book tour. His books include The Troop, The Deep, Little Heaven and my personal fav, The Acolyte.

Next up, another best seller, we had Michael Rowe. This fine gentleman bought me a beer when I was in Toronto for the Feb. reading. As you all probably know by now, the best way to become my friend is through alcohol! His books include Enter, Night, and the creepy ghost story Wildfell.

Last but certainly not least, we had local writer and publisher, Justine Alley Dowsett. Justine owns Mirror World Publishing (of which Adventure Worlds Press in an imprint of) and has a slew of books she’s written. Her titles include Unintended, Uncharted, Mirror’s Heart series and Neo Central.

In between each reader, we had music from Brendan Scott Friel. Brendan made a bunch of new fans that night. He’s no joke, that guy is talented! Check out his Spotify page.

As an extra cool bonus, the ChiSeries head honchos, Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory came down for the event. Sandra even delivered a great introduction for Ben and myself.

The next reading will be at the end of August. But for now, here are some pics of that awesome night.

-C

Hardcover Radio

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by Hardcover Radio last week (the episode aired on May 1st).

The whole process was very relaxed (not always the case when doing interviews), and felt more like casual conversation with friends than interviewers.

If you are interested in hearing my useless opinion regarding various things, then click the link and let your ears take over.

Episode 105: Empty Airport (Writing Horror with Christian Laforet)

-C