Monsters! Aliens! Short Stories! …& Friends!

A couple months ago, I was asked (along with my frequent collaborator, Ben Van Dongen) to host a writing workshop. I said yes, of course, but truth be told I did have some reservations. You see, I’ve been lucky enough to take part in all sorts of writing and literary events since the release of my first book, The Space Between Houses (which turns 5 this year!), but have never hosted a workshop.

What would we speak about? And, more importantly, would anybody care?? After some discussion with Ben, I can say that at least one of these questions has been answered. We’re going to focus on what we know best: short stories and genre fiction.

We’ve since mapped out a series of sub-topics and writing exercises for those attending. It was while doing this that I had an interesting revelation. If such a workshop as the one I myself was going to be hosting existed five or six years ago, it would have taught me how to avoid a lot of the obstacles which plagued the embryotic days of my writing career. Which then made me realize I need to build a time machine.

The workshop itself will be held at Gertrude’s Writing Room; a cozy space with a ton of charm. Ben and I sat in on the last workshop held there (to see what we were in for) and fell in love.

For anyone that is interested, there is a link to the website to register HERE and one for the Facebook event page HERE.

The workshop, now titled Monsters! Aliens! Short Stories! …& Friends! will be a 3 hour class, and it goes down January 19th. The cost is $50

-Christian

P.S. All those who attend will receive a signed copy of our short story collection, No Light Tomorrow.

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Top 5 of 2018!

It’s that time again. Time to shine a spotlight on my favourite books of the year! I really get a kick out of doing this post at the beginning of each year because, A) I’m a book nerd, and any chance to talk books is a good thing; and B) because I think the books I’m gonna talk about were super rad and deserve your attention. 

*Note: None of these books were actually released in 2018, but were new to me.

Last Days

To kick things off, I’m gonna start with a dynamite book by Adam Nevill. I love me a good cult story, and 51LRqN2hAFLthankfully (just to please me, I assume) Adam Nevill wrote one.

The story follows a documentary crew making a film about a sinister cult which seemingly has been dead and gone for like, forty years. Of course, that turns out to be false, and bad shit starts to happen.

One of the things I really dug about Last Days was that it almost has a ‘found footage’ vibe to it (found footage, another thing I love). The pacing is great and the horror is palpable.

Adam Nevill is quickly becoming ‘must-read’ for me, so I won’t be surprised if he’s back on this list next year.

A Head Full of Ghosts

23019294Speaking of a ‘found footage’ vibe, A head Full of Ghosts is all kinds of that.

Now, I usually like to go into books knowing as little of the plot as possible. I don’t even read the entire back cover synopsis most times. And because of this, I had some very different ideas as to what this book was about before cracking it open. As always, my ignorance paid off, as I was happily surprised by what I read.

Although Tremblay’s writing isn’t as memorable as some of the other authors on this list, his writing is perfectly suited for this type of story. The plot flows at a great pace and the twists were fantastic.

Lost Girls

Speaking of memorable writing lol. Lost Girls, the first novel from Andrew Pyper is a lyrical stroll through 1681118some very dark places.

I’ve read a number of Pyper’s books and I am always left in a somewhat depressed state afterward. As a writer, there is nothing better than reading a book and thinking to yourself, hell, I could do that! Well, that doesn’t happen after reading Pyper. Instead, I’m usually thinking, with writers like Pyper out there, why am I wasting my time.

Besides my own personal issues, Lost Girls is a great descent into small town Ontario. And boy, that writing!

Annihilation

220px-annihilation_by_jeff_vandermeerI know, I know, you’re all saying, “But Christian, this isn’t even a horror novel” And I would look you in the face and say, “I don’t give a crap what Annihilation is classified as, this is a God damn horror novel if ever there was one!”

Bleak. Harrowing. Depressing. Terrifying. All these perfectly describe VanderMeer’s Annihilation.

Now, full discloser, I had seen the (amazing!) movie before reading the book, and that may have tainted my overall opinion. Even if that is the case, I still loved this book. The ever-deepening mystery of Area X kept me flipping pages like crazy. I haven’t read the following books in the trilogy, but I certainly will.

And that brings us to the what I consider the best book I read this year…

N0S4A2

I’ve been a fan of Joe Hill since reading his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, but have always felt like something was missing from his books. That all changed with his horror epic N0S4A2!

This time spanning novel is a masterpiece. As much as I’m sure he hates it, I can’t help but to compare Hill to his dad (a small indie author named…Stephen King!). And if I am going to make comparisons between their work, then I would call N0S4A2 Joe Hill’s It.

There is apparently a television show in the works adapting this fantastic novel, but I would highly recommend reading the book.

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So, that’s what I liked last year, how about you??

-Chrisitan