Four Years of The Space Between Houses

Distressed cover finalSo, this coming September will mark the four-year anniversary of my first book, The Space Between Houses. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this book, and like having it available in my back catalogue…but, it is currently out of print.

Now, here’s the dilemma. I can get more made under my own press (Adventure Worlds Press), but since I don’t have any of the final files (the original publisher does), I would have to go through the book and literally retype it. This is not a completely bad thing, as there are a few minor things I’d like to change (mostly all grammatical), and this would allow me the chance to do so. The down side is, I’d have to retype the whole fucking thing.

Sigh.

I’m leaning towards doing it, if for no other reason then my next solo book (the long in development novel) will probably not be out for quite some time. I still have No Light Tomorrow and All These Crooked Streets but neither of those are horror, and they are both co-authored.

Double sigh.

I guess I need to think about it some more. I’ll give an update in a week or two once I’ve made up my mind. I just really don’t want to retype the damn thing.

Triple sigh.

Later ‘gators,

Christian

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3 Writers!

I was going to get into some of the music I listen to while writing but decided that I would save that for a later date. Instead, I thought I would shine a spotlight on three authors who inspire me.

12977531I’ll get the obvious one out of the way first. Stephen King. Listen, if you are a horror writer, you have probably been influenced by King’s work (whether you like his stuff or not). The man is synonymous with horror fiction. My first experience with King’s work came through my brother. He was (and still is) and avid reader of Stephen King. Because of that, even though it would be years before I would pick up a horror novel (King’s or otherwise) I was seeing his books lying around our house. Since then I’ve read about twenty or so of his books (with many more in the ‘to-read’ pile). My personal favs are The Shining, Bag of Bones, The Talisman and Desperation. But to be honest, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him (except for The Colorado Kid. That book sucked hard).

219635Next up is one of two Canadians. Michael Slade (AKA John Banks, Jay Clark, Rebecca Clark and Richard Covell). Confused yet? Let me explain. Michael Slade is the pen name of several writers (most of them lawyers), but the biggest contributor, and only one currently writing under the name, is Jay Clark. The Slade books (with only one exception) all follow a division of the RCMP called Special X. Special X are tasked with catching psychopaths who have connections with other countries, requiring the unit to often times work with other law enforcement agencies from around the world. The thing I like the most about Slade’s work is how unapologetic it is. It is vicious, violent, sexy and unfiltered. Although I enjoy all of the early Slade books (some of the later ones aren’t the best), my favs are: Headhunter, Ripper, Bed of Nails and Ghoul. I actually consider Ghoul one of my all-time favourite books.

24497842And that brings me to the second Canadian: Craig Davidson (AKA Nick Cutter). I met Craig a few years ago when I was asked to host The Dark Side Tour on its stop in my hometown. The tour was a cross-North American book tour with Craig Davidson and Andrew Pyper. At the time, I had just taken my first fledgling steps into my writing career and felt immediately out of my depth talking to these two guys. Luckily, they were both awesome and the night went off without a hitch. A perk of playing host was that I was given copies of their new books at that time (The Deep from Craig and The Damned from Pyper), so that I could ask some relevant questions. And although I loved both books, something about Craig’s visceral horror really grabbed me. I went back and read his other offering under the Cutter name (The Troop) and was outright hooked, and have greedily devoured everything since. I’ve been fortunate enough to hang out with Craig a bunch of times over the last couple years, and now consider him a friend. I’ve yet to be disappointed with any of his work, but hands down my favourite is the literary kick to the face called The Acolyte. This book resonates with me on every level. I fucking love it.

So, there you have it. Three authors who have shaped my own writing style and inspire me to keep plugging away. There are many more, of course, but if I started going through them all, we’d be here all day.

-Christian

Update!

I haven’t done one of these in a while, and thought it was time to give you all an update on what the hell I’ve been working on.

The short answer is: the novel. I say “the” novel, because this thing has been my Everest for the past few years. I’ve probably talked about this before, but I can’t be bothered to look back so I’m gonna go over it again. Without getting into all the details, I decided last summer to throw out my debut novel and write it again from scratch. This might seem like a drastic (and extremely foolish) thing to do, but after writing Sugar’s Last Dance for the All These Crooked Streets anthology, I knew it needed to be done.

So, where am I? Well, I am happy to say I am about a month or so away from finishing it. At least, finishing it enough to send to publishers and agents (it’ll need an edit from there). Speaking of agents, I met a few lately and gave them the first bunch of chapters and they really liked it. They even asked me to send it to them when it was finished. This was a nice surprise.

Anyway, after a wrestling match of epic proportions with the second draft, I feel like I’ve ironed things out and it should be (fingers crossed) smooth sailing until the end. I’m not going to lie, I’ve thought long and hard about putting this thing on the shelf and moving on to the next idea (a real dozy I can’t wait to write!), but I refuse to let this thing get the better of me, so I’m going to see it through.

On a completely different note, I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog, so I have made the decision to start posting more often. Every Monday will be a post revolving around what inspires me to write (be it music, movie or book), with updates on Friday. So, come back often and tell your friends!

-Christian

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

AnadeArmas1

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!

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

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

Time for a Sequel

I’ve been thinking recently that it would be fun to go back and write a sequel of sorts to one of the stories in The Space Between Houses. I’m not really sure why I think this is a good idea, it will almost certainly end in disaster.

Anywho, if you’ve read the book, and have always wanted to see a sequel to one of the stories contained within, check out the poll below and let me know which one it is. Whatever story gets the most votes will get a sequel which will available right here for free on this very website. No promises exactly when, but most likely in May.

 

Toronto Bound!

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This coming Wednesday (as in tomorrow), I will be heading to Toronto for a reading. This marks a new achievement for me as I’ve yet to do anything book related in the big city since starting this whole being a writer thing.

The event is put on by publisher ChiZine (I just raved about one of their books, The Acolyte, in one of my previous posts) and is held monthly. I first heard of the event from horror master and all around cool guy, Craig Davidson (AKA Nick Cutter) a few months ago, and almost immediately, Ben and I started making plans to get out for one of them.

As luck would have it, I met one of ChiZine’s head honcho’s at Bookapaloza in Whitby at the very end of last year and basically sealed the deal for attending.

Both Ben and I will be reading from No Light Tomorrow, along with a third guest, and I’m super excited about the whole thing. It’s nice to get out of town and meet new folks.

If you are in area, and what to come out and hear me babble for a bit and then grab a few beers, follow the link to the event page (ChiSeries) for all the details.

-C