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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This and that

I’ve been away for a bit now, and for that, I apologize. To make up for it, I’m dropping an update on my novel along with various other things.

I’m happy to report the novel is oh so very close to completion (within a month or so) and I can’t wait to set it free (and by that, I mean be done with the damned thing). I gave a few chapters to some agents and publishers a month or so back at a literary event and got high praise and excitement. So, fingers crossed.51LRqN2hAFL

When not writing, I’ve been enjoying a few choice reads. I just snagged the newest Junji Ito effort to make its way across the pond, Frankenstein. I’ve also been jiving pretty heavy on anything by Adam Nevill (if you haven’t read this guy’s stuff, you need to remedy that immediately).

And, as always, I’ve been playing way to many video games. I just finished Prey, a fun enough game about aliens taking over a space station. I’m currently (finally) playing Farcry 4, and plan on jumping into the cyberpunk horror game, Observer (staring none other than Rutger Hauer!!) in the very near future. If you’ve played any of these games, let me know what you thought.Far_Cry_4_box_art

I was recently in the fine city of Kitchener, Ont. with my homie Ben Van Dongen for the Tri-City Super Con. It was a fun enough event, but the turnout was lackluster. For Ben’s thought’s, read his blog here.

Otherwise, I’m gonna keep on trucking, and will hopefully have some info soon on the novel.

-C

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

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.

 

Digital Death (Pt. 6)

Level 6: The last Boss!

We’ve made it all the way to present day (approximately). I’m happy to report that there are now more horror games than ever. It’s like everybody finally realized that the horror genre is ripe for the picking when it comes to video games. So…fuck yeah!

Alright, before I get super current, I need to go back a few years for this first one. The game came out on the PS3, but I didn’t play it until just recently on the PS4.

The Last of Us (2013)

I’m about to say something that may cause people to roll their eyes, but I don’t give a squirt. The Last of Us is as good a story, both in acting and content, as any movie I have ever seen. Never, in all my years of gaming, have I been so emotionally involved in the characters I was playing as. Joel and Ellie’s (the above mentioned characters) story is touching, chilling, tragic, loving, and everything in-between. Continue reading

Digital Death (Pt. 5)

Level 5: Where we start at the depths of the ocean, move on to the farthest stars and end in…Twin Peaks???

Hi there! Welcome back to my stroll down memory lane. Last time I was a major downer, this time, high on life (and drugs!) I’m all smiles. So, like I said, the first half of the 2000’s were fairly light on the scary stuff for me, but I finally got my shit together, picked up a Xbox 360, and got my horror on!

Sometime in 2005/06 I started hearing of this next game. I had made some new friends thank to returning to school. What’s that? Oh, I was in animation. Yeah, yeah, it was pretty awesome. Huh? Did I graduate? Um, well you see…don’t judge me!!

Bioshock (2007)

I hadn’t really played much in the way of first person shooters (FPS) since the Doom days. That game messed me up that badly. So when a pal of mine got all excited about this little game called Bioshock, I was somewhat lukewarm. Sure, the gameplay footage looked seven shades of rad, but still, it was a FPS. Continue reading

The Write Stuff

I had a great opportunity come my way this past December. CFTV was putting together a new show called The Write Stuff hosted by Veronique Mandal which would focus on two different writers each episode and they were looking to do a horror themed episode. Guess who got the call? My friend, and fellow horror writer, Mick Ridgewell was also invited to take part.

I was given directions to a small building located in Leamington ON, which, if you’ve been to Leamington, a metropolis it is not. So after cruising down a pitch black Highway 3, in the rain, I was convinced that the whole thing was an evil ploy to get me into the middle of nowhere and kill me. However, since I have no life insurance policy (which eliminates my wife, who, let’s face it, is the only person who probably wants me dead), and not a ton of enemies, I figured I should continue on.

Sure enough the directions turned out to be accurate and I found myself at the CFTV station. A brief introduction to the man in charge and the television crew followed and then I was in the green room (although it wasn’t actually green) and talking to show host Veronique Mandal.

Soon after Mick arrived (fashionably late), and we got down to business.

I’ve done interviews before, but they were always short things on the radio or for newspapers. This was something altogether different. I was going to be talking one-on-one with the host for nearly half of the show’s runtime.

After several mic checks, which was awkward because I was required to talk continuously about random things until they could figure it out, we began. Veronique dove into the questions (which centered on my first book, The Space Between Houses) and away we went.

I felt like I handled myself well, but was not trusting in my own gut (sizeable though it may be) and decided that I would wait until I actually saw the episode before I told anybody about it.

After my segment, I got to sit off to the side as Mick entered the hot seat. It was interesting seeing the show from that angle. The room was completely backed out except for the set and it produced a voyeuristic sensation within me (nothing sexual here, although Mick is a fine looking fellow).

Once the tapping was finished, we took a couple photos, chatted for a bit and were on our way.20151216_193206

Me and mick ended up at a nearby McDonalds for a late night snack, and then returned to our regularly scheduled lives.

Flash forward to last week when the episode finally aired. The Write Stuff was broadcast across Canada…for Bell ExpressVu customers only. Since I don’t have Bell ExpressVu, I missed it. Thankfully, I was sent an email from CFTV and some handy Youtube links to boot.

I was very hesitant to actually watch it. This is because I’ve decided that not only do I sound ridiculous, I also look stupid as well (I believe I described my physical appearance in such things to my wife as, it looks like my fat face is trying to eat my features). And even though I feel this is still true, I don’t appear as awful as I feared so I chalk it up as a win.

Anyway, at the end of the day it was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks to CFTV for giving me the opportunity and hopefully I didn’t cause too big a ratings drop-off…

(The episode  has been broken in two. Mine is up first)

(and Mick’s)