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!  

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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.

 

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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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)

New Year, New Updates.

So…2015 happened. It was a pretty crazy year for me. The first full year as an author (The Space Between Houses came out in Oct. 2014). There was a rather surprising amount of ups and downs for a twelve month period. I did a lot of cool writer things, but also was not nearly as productive as I could have been.

But forget all that jazz, it’s 2016 baby! And I got some fun stuff planned.

It’s been awhile since I gave an update on my projects, so now seems like a great time.

First and foremost is No Light Tomorrow. This is a book that has been in the works for quite some time. It is a collaboration with Ben Van Dongen (check him out here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ) of short sci-fi stories, half of which are written by me, half by Ben. They are more Twilight Zone and less Star Wars (although a couple skirt that line). No Light Cover

I love sci-fi! I love watching it, reading it and writing it. But not to fret, I’m a horror writer first and foremost…I just like to moonlight from time to time.

I’m really proud of this book. Some of the stories I’ve written for it, I consider amongst the best I’ve ever produced. It was a ton of work though. Writing, editing, designing and printing a book from scratch is a real challenge. We decided to self-publish this one under Adventure Worlds Press. Something I may use for other fringe projects in the future. 

No Light Tomorrow launches on Jan. 9th and will be available soon after on various platforms.

untitledNext is my novel. It does exist, I swear! It also has a name, I’m just not ready to share it yet (although I did let it slip during an interview I did for a TV show called the Write Stuff). The novel took a hit during the production of No Light, but with that book all wrapped up, I’m back at it. I figure the first draft should be done by mid to late Feb. After that I’ll start cleaning it up. I’m still estimating it to fall in the 70 – 80K range for word count (I’m at about 30K right now).

I’ve had the good fortune to make a couple amazing contacts over the last year that I am really hopeful will result in some interest for the book. Only time will tell I guess.

Beyond that things get foggy. If all goes according to plan, I have another collaboration (this one a novel) with a history expert. Let that bit of info sink in for a moment… 

Besides the above projects, I also have some fun events to attend, including a 3 day horror convention in London in May. Really excited about this one, more on that as the date nears.

Alright, I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with pictures from the No Light Tomorrow launch party!

-Christian