I was recently asked to appear on an episode of Scribes & Songsters. I had a blast talking to host Veronique Mandal (a great writer as well!) about my work. Thanks to all involved and if you do check out the video, make sure to subscribe to the Scribes & Songsters page as they feature tons of fantastic authors and musicians.
Hey! I have some news regarding my first book, The Space Between Houses. The 2nd edition will be available in late winter, early spring of 2020 through Adventure Worlds Press. This title has long been sold out, and I’m excited to get it back on the stands. More details on that soon.
In other news, I’ve been asked to do a spooky reading at Biblioasis on October 30th. You may be familiar with the name (Biblioasis), as beside selling books from a physical location, they also publish a plethora of award winning literary fiction. I will be reading alongside my friend, Ben Van Dongen and fellow horror scribe, David Nickle. I’ve never met David, but have read some of his work. He’s a very talented author. It should be a fun night of thrills and chills.
And lastly, but not leastly (is that a word?), I am about 50K into my second novel. It is coming along nicely. At my current rate, I should be done the first draft by the end of next month and be shopping it around by March/April of next year. As for my first novel, it is currently on sub with a publisher (basically, they’ve asked to read the full novel based off my 25 page submission). This publisher doesn’t traditionally release horror, but I heard they were looking to change that. Hopefully I’ll back from them, but in the meantime, I will be sending it to a few other publishers that fell like a good fit as well to hedge my bets.
Until next time,
So, as is wont to happen in the publishing world, things change.
I announced that my first book, The Space Between Houses, would be getting a second edition through a small press local to where I live. This agreement, done the old-fashioned way—a conversation and a handshake—has, unfortunately, fell through.
The good news is, The Space Between Houses 2nd edition is still going to come out…just not until next year. A lot of you have been asking for this book to go back into print, and as it is my first literary baby, I’m all too keen to make it happen.
More news on this in the coming months, including the brand new (and quite rad, if I do say so myself) cover art.
It’s been a while since I’ve done an update on my projects. So, hey, why not now?
First, I did finally finish* my novel. I need to put an asterisk next to that because It is not actually finished (possibly far from it), but it is more finished than ever before. Basically, I finished it enough to submit it to a publisher. I’ve had really good feedback on the book and think it is quite scary. Hopefully I’ll have some publishing news sooner rather than later to share.
Next up, and I already did a post about this, but what the heck, it’s my site so I can do what I want, is the re-release of The Space Between Houses. I’m crazy excited about getting this book back into print. I went through and cleaned up a few of the things that always bugged me about the book (don’t worry, I didn’t go full George Lucas on it or anything), and was also able to add in three short stories that I had written around the same time (or just after) TSBH but were published elsewhere. This means that between TSBH and No Light Tomorrow, almost every short story I’ve ever written that has been published will be in print. Fear not though, I’m not expecting those who already own the book to buy it again. As I said, the three stories have been published online previously, and can still be found over at Adventure Worlds Press.com (you might have to do some scrolling though). And, like the rest of the stories in the book, I was able to give those three stories some added shine for this upcoming second edition.
There is a tentative release date of the fall for the newest incarnation of The Space Between Houses, but an exact date has not been announced. And it will be coming out through Urban Farmhouse Press. I’ve read a number of UFP books, and they are always quality.
On the subject of short fiction, I have a few NEW short stories I’ve put together recently. One is a leftover for an anthology I was going to submit to last year, but didn’t have the time to finish it before the deadline. Another is for an upcoming anthology, but I won’t know if it makes that book or not until at least October, and the third is a short story for a rainy day. I figure it is good to start stockpiling some short stories in case of unexpected opportunities.
And, lastly, I’ve started a new novel (horror, of course). I won’t tell you what it is about because it is in its embryonic stage, but I can say that it is an idea I had about a year ago (maybe less), and as soon as I did, I knew it was the next book I was going to write.
Besides the above stuff, I’ve been doing a few interviews, and will be teaching a workshop on horror and Sci-Fi writing with Ben Van Dongen (co-author of a couple of my books, as well as full author of a couple of his own) in Sept. And then there’s been PlayStation. That sweet, awful source of endless distraction. While on the subject, if you haven’t played the Resident Evil 2 remake yet, do so. It is amazing!
I was asked recently to be a guest on the brand new podcast All Write in Sin City (along with writing buddy Ben Van Dongen). Normally, I find interviews for radio, TV or internet, to be a bit stuffy, but the folks running the show at All Write know what they were doing and it was a very pleasant experience.
If you want to hear me talk about various topics like: writing horror, attending conventions, and the importance of selling in person, then give it a listen. Oh, and as a bonus, the podcasters (not sure if that is what they are called, but oh well) recorded me doing a reading at Biblioasis (a local bookstore for those not in my neck of the woods).
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.
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
P.S. All those who attend will receive a signed copy of our short story collection, No Light Tomorrow.
So, 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.
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.
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.
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.
I’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).
Next 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.
And 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.
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!
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.
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.
To 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.