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!

Advertisements

**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

Sarnia Pop Culture Show!

Last year, Ben and I, had a table at the Sarnia Pop Culture Show. It was the first time I’d left town (Windsor) for a show.

The event was a lot of fun (I even got to participate in my first panel) and we sold a ton of books.

Because of that, I made sure to inquire (pester) them about being a guest this year, and it worked! This Sunday, April 9th, I’ll be a guest at the Sarnia Pop Culture Show.

If you’ve never been to the show, it is a riot. Lots of great geek stuff going on.560212_714078462042629_3990009216739900439_n

The Comic Book Syndicon

This Sunday is one of Windsor’s best comic conventions, the Comic Book Synidcon. It isn’t the biggest event, but I can say (I’ve been to them all), it is probably the most fun.

I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest this year (along with that freeloader, Ben) and will be selling and signing copies of my books.

So come by, check out the cosplayers, buy some comics and enjoy the show!  

17352190_1247686322011416_582882830085399072_n

And the Winner is…

Trapped!

It was a close race, with Trapped pulling ahead in the last couple days to take the win (by one vote). Fan favourite story, Summer’s Friend had the lead since the start, and seemed like a lock. In fact, I was so sure that it was going to win, that I had already started coming up with some ideas for the follow-up (Maybe one day, I’ll explore those ideas). But, a final few votes turned the tide, and Trapped came out on top.

Trapped 2 (definitely not going to be called that) will be available for your reading pleasure right here in the early summer.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote!

-C