SPCS and the Windsor Small Press Book Fair!

This weekend I’ll be pulling double duty (with writing chum Ben Van Dongen) as I head out to a couple of different events.

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Up first is the Windsor Small Press Book Fair. This event showcases various local publishers (including Biblioasis, Palimpsest Press and Mirror World Publishing to name a few) and is a great way to meet both authors and publishers! The event is this Saturday (April 13th). For more info regarding times and location, check out their event page here!

Next up (the very next day. April 14th) is the Sarnia Pop Culture Show. I’ve been a guest at this convention in the past and it is always a great time. If you are in the area, swing by and check it out, there is a ton of awesome stuff, and some great guests. For more about all that, head over to their event page right here!

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I hope to see you at one (or both??) of these great events.

-C

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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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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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

First Reading(s) of the Year!

One of my favourite parts of being an author is when I get the opportunity to do readings. For some, the mere thought of standing before a group of strangers and reading something aloud is terrifying. For me, it’s more a feeling of nervous excitement. It’s somewhat exhilarating when I’m standing before a room full of people, all of whom are there to hear me read something from one of my books.

So with that said, I’m rather excited to be doing not one, but two readings this week.

The first, which is tonight, is being hosted by local publisher Urban Farmhouse Press. Now you’re probably wondering why UFP is having me read when I am not published through them. Good question. You see, UFP are some great folks and have put together a monthly showcase featuring authors from a different local publisher (Windsor has several). And yep, you guessed, tonight is Adventure Worlds Press’ turn at bat.

My AWP partner in crime, Ben Van Dongen, will be reading as well. And since, as of this moment, Ben and I make up 100% of AWP’s authors, we’ve invited a couple friends to fill out the card. First is horror author, Mick Ridgewell. As well as historical fiction writer Dave Rocha.

As usual, besides readings, there will be signings and books for sale. Oh, and snacks, don’t forget the snacks.

More info here.

And if you want to learn more about just what the heck Urban Farmhouse Press is all about, go here.

The second reading, which will be this Saturday, takes place at the Goodwill Bookstore. Both Myself and Ben will be there, and as a special treat, we are going to be accompanied by new adult author, Jessica Gouin. What makes it so special is that it is Jessica’s first public reading (this is your chance hecklers!).

For the deets, click here.

I hope to see some of you at one (or both) events.

-C

Coming Soon!

Hey everybody! So, I’ve been talking to my buddy Ben Van Dongen (see what he’s all about here) and although it pains me to admit it, he was actually right about something…for the first time…ever! I don’t update my site enough. So, with the confidence of a new year before me, you’ll be hearing from me a lot more often.

This brings me to my first hurdle though. What the hell am I going to talk about? Ben’s blog focuses on various events and things from his life, but that’s not really my speed. Not that I think he is wrong to spend time on such topics, it’s more that I personally don’t like writing about that stuff. Because of that, I’m going to keep things as work related as possible around here. Basically, I’ll be giving updates, info on events and books and talking to and or about other authors and their work.

Since this is the first post of the year, and telling everybody your plans for the next 365 days is the cool thing to do, I will spill the beans a bit about what I have coming (fingers crossed) this year. Continue reading

The Pro of Cons

Valentin’s Day 2016. What was I doing? Spending the day with my lovely wife? Nope. Eating chocolates with my two girls? Uh-uh. Hanging with the geeks at the Comic Book Syndicon? Oh yeah!

Although not sure of the long term effects of doing so will have on my marriage, I can say the short term gain was great. Me and my friend-for-life, Ben Van Dongen, sold a whole bunch of copies of our new book No Light Tomorrow. In fact, Ben wrote a blog about his experience right here! https://benwltp.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/the-storm/#more-764

By my count, this was my 7th con as a vendor (although it may be 8…I really feel like I’m forgetting one) with two more in the very near future and I think I’m starting to get a handle on the ins-and-outs of the them.

Here are a few rules that I like to follow.

Get there late (let me explain). Unless you have a crap load of product, or a bunch of tables, there is no reason to get there as early as you’ll invariably be instructed to. If the con starts at 11am, then get there around 10:30am. The only reason to get there early is to get your shopping in before the doors open. That brings me though to my next point…

Don’t buy anything…at least not at first. Unless you’re looking for something specific, wait! The worst thing you can do is spend money before you make any. I’ve been to a few cons where I’ve just made enough to cover my table, if I’d have bought anything, I would have been in the red! Go around before the con opens, scout out what you want, wait until you’ve had some sales then go shopping.

Cosplay girls: Look, don’t touch! Yes, you will see several young ladies wearing almost nothing at all. And yes, you can look. But remember, they are probably younger than you think, and you could wind up in jail.

If things are going badly, bail! I don’t say this lightly. But the fact is, sometimes, you’re going to be at a con or fair or expo and it’s going to be very obvious that it is dead in the water. If there is still an hour left, and you’ve sold one book all day, cut your losses and leave.

Make contacts! This is a big one, and one I’m guilty of ignoring. You are in a room with a whole bunch of other people in your field. Walk around, talk, and exchange business cards. You will gain all sorts of future opportunities this way.

Deals! At the Syndicon, we had the luxury of having two books for sale, The Space Between Houses and No Light Tomorrow. This meant that we could do a package deal of 2 for $15 (they are normally $10 each). If somebody is already willing to drop $10 on one book, they will almost certainly be willing to throw in another $5 for the second one.

Now, with that stuff out of the way, I’m going to switch to the supplies I usually bring. Think of these as the con survival pack

Tylenol! If I bring nothing else, I better bring these. I get some wicked bad headaches at these things (readings and signings included). There’s nothing worse than trying to sell people on your work when your head is about to explode.

Water. At least one bottle. I usually bring something else like a bottle of Coke, or a Monster, but you need to have that back-up water for later in the day.

Pen and Paper. The first thing is rather obvious if you’re an author. You’re going to need a pen for signing. But the paper is almost as equally important. The amount of times that I had to write a person’s name on a separate piece of paper before actually scrawling it in their copy of my book, to make sure I got the spelling correct, is a lot.

Hand sanitizer. This is a new one for me. It’s not that I enjoy germs, it’s just not something I usually have. However it turns out that Ben has my back as he recently gave me a small bottle of sanitizer. You shake a lot of hands at cons and if you’ve ever seen the movie Mallrats, you’ll know that some people go out of their way to make their hands nasty.

Food. Cons all have one thing in common: over-priced food! Also, you want to have control over what you eat. Bacon Cheeseburger with extra onions? Not a great idea. A small, non-offensive sandwich you bring from home? Yep! I remember being at a con where I had gone for the former (minus the onions) and totally regretted it. Nothing worse than hastily pushing a messy burger aside, wiping ketchup from your hands and signing a book.

Gum. This kinda follows the above. You’re going to be talking to people all day. Make sure you have some gum.

Tape. You just never know when you’re going to need to MacGyver some stuff up.

Alright, I’ve laid down all kinds of stuff above, but the only thing you need to know…I mean really, the only thing you have to do at a con is talk. You have to talk to every. Single. Person. That walks by your table. Don’t be pushy, but if you don’t give people a reason to stop walking, and actually listen to your spiel, you ain’t gonna sell shit.

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No Light Tomorrow Cover Reveal!

I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’ve been working on this book for the better part of the year, and despite most of the process being trying (to say the least), I’m excited and proud of the final product.

Without further ado, I present No Light Tomorrow!


 

No Light Cover

Some things are so accepted as to be taken for granted. While the far future is shrouded in uncertainty, there are expectations often considered assured that are overlooked. There is only one you, threats are usually empty, ghosts are not real, life is finite, science can solve the most daunting challenges, and beliefs are assured when society takes matters in their own hands. When unexpected events transpire, we are left in the dark.

Authors Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen present six science fiction stories that explore improbability and show you what happens when expectations are subverted.

 

 

Big Things!

No Light Tomorrow is coming soon (even sooner than I thought) and we’ve started sitting down (Ben and myself) to work out a promotional schedule for its release.

I’ve managed to do pretty well with my first book, The Space Between Houses, by making lots of connections and hitting up various events, and, most importantly, being available for any opportunity presented to me. It wasn’t easy though. Keeping motivated, doing research on events and staying prominent in the community becomes exhaustive. If it were just me pushing this next book, I would probably be looking at the same amount of success, but I’m not alone. Having a second person involved, who has as much interest in the book as I have, is going to pay off greatly.

The first thing up (for the public anyway) is the launch. Some of the ideas we’ve been throwing around lately have me super excited. I’ve been to a few book launches in the past few months and they have been…lacking. Some have been so poorly attended that once you removed the author’s family from the equation, there was only a few people there. Others had more people in attendance, but the launch itself was so painfully long and boring that the bulk of the crowd high-tailed it as soon as all the speeches and back-patting were over, blowing right past the table of books along the way. Now, it is still a bit early to reveal exactly what we have in store, but I can say that our launch is going to be a hell of a party, with some innovative ideas.

And that’s just the beginning!

We have an aggressive marketing campaign, lots of appearances and a book tour or two scheduled over the next six months.

Plus, besides all that, because of recent developments, we (again me and Ben) have finally decided to do something that we’d talked about for quite some time. This new endeavor will open doors for both us, as well as other talents in the community, and pave the way for any fringe work we produce in the future.

Like the title says, Big Things are on the horizon, so stay tuned!