Driving Through Time

By Christian Laforet

Grant hammered the gas pedal. Thankfully, there wasn’t much traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway heading towards Manitoba. The broken yellow line stretched out in front of him like an endless snake—a beast with no head. Aware of the cell phone sitting on the passenger seat, every few seconds he would tap the screen with his finger. The time appeared in bold—7:46 p.m., EST. That was not set in stone though. Soon he would pass into the Central Standard Time Zone and the numbers on his phone would flip back exactly one hour.

The sweat, breaking out along his forehead for the last thirty minutes, felt cold and abrasive on his skin. He wiped it away with his sleeve, but knew it would come back.

Flying past a sign announcing the upcoming border, Grant reminisced again about what his Grandpa told him when he was a kid. Continue reading

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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

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.

12705747_10206753607891575_7431241446484015458_n

Hey, I’m Writing a Novel (pt. 3)

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone”

-Stephen Spielberg

Like my good friend Steve says, cell phones are not always the best thing in the world, and when it comes to writing horror, they are pretty much the worst.

Imagine if you will, what some of our favourite horror stories would look like with the simple addition of a cell phone.

Cujo.

“Hello, animal control? Yeah, this is Donna Trenton calling. So, listen, I’m at the Camber house…yeah, that’s them, and anyways, there’s a big ass dog running around out here. Oh, good! I was worried there for a minute. I’ll just stay in my car until you get here. Thanks.”

Nightmare on Elm St.

Tina: It was so scary, Nancy. He was all burned up and had knives for hands.

Nancy: Cray cray! Let me look that up.

Nancy googles it on her phone.

Nancy: Well, when I put in all that stuff, I got a bunch of newspaper articles about some creepy pedo that used to live around here. It says he disappeared or something when we were just little kids. Hold on, maybe my mom knows something.

Nancy texts her mom.

Ma do you know a guy named freddy kruger????

OMG I haven’t heard that name in years. Me and the other parents killed him 🙂

Thx TTYL

Nancy: Yeah, our parents totally killed him. I guess he found a way into our dreams. Hold on, I’m gonna look up dream therapy.

The Blair Witch Project

“I threw that fucking map into the river!”

“No worries, my phone has GPS.”

That’s just a few. But basically, every classic horror story would be radically different if they had cell phones in them. Part of what makes horror stories great is that nothing is convenient for the protagonist. And if there is one thing that cell phones are, is convenient. The other thing cell phones are, is plentiful. You can’t throw a stone these days without hitting a person talking/texting/surfing/tweeting/snap-chatting/etc. on a cell phone.

While planning my novel, I quickly realized that the story wouldn’t work if there was even one operational cell phone (seriously, the story would end at chapter 2!). Luckily, there was already a plot point in place that could easily explain why the cell phones in the story would be rendered useless.

Still though, this whole cell phone thing had weighed on my mind so much that I even considered (for a short time) changing the time period of the novel to take place in the 80’s. It would be very easy to do and wouldn’t change the overall story that much. But, on the flipside, having it set thirty years ago wouldn’t do anything to serve the novel either (other than not having to deal with modern technology). So, after a bit of consideration, as well as getting the opinion of fellow writer Ben Van Dongen (who is hard a work on his own debut novel. Check out his trials and tribulations here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ) I decided to just deal with the damn things, because the fact is, we can’t put the cellular genie back into the bottle.

Novel: Untitled

Word count: 11400

Chapters: 10

Finders is here! (finally)

Back several months ago, fellow Adventure Worlds writer, Ben Van Dongen, had an idea for a web comic. We talked about it for a bit and eventually came up with Finders. Ben handling most of the scripting, and me, the art.

It took way longer than it should have to actually produce it (my fault), but we did it. Finders 001 first appeared in the Adventure Worlds zine and is now available to all right here: http://adventureworldsblog.com/2014/09/15/finders-001/

So read it and marvel at the fact his this tiny little thing took like four months to make lol.

New Story!

Hopefully if you are a frequent viewer of my blog, then you also take some time to check out Adventure Worlds. If not, don’t worry, you can also start now lol.

There is a new post every Monday and guess what? This Monday was my turn. The story is called Relict. It is a horror/thriller story and, fun fact, was written almost entirely on my phone.

So head over to http://adventureworldsblog.com/2014/08/25/relict/ and give it a read.

Let me know what you think.

 

Summer’s Friend published on DM Du Jour

Way, way, way back in January I submitted a short story (Summer’s Friend) to an online horror magazine, called Danse Macabre. I had all but written off a reply from the magazine, since it had been SEVEN MONTHS!! but to my surprise, I was contacted late last week with an email from the magazine’s editor-in-chief. My story had been accepted and went up on one of their three websites, DM Du Jour, just now.

So without further ado, follow the link to Summer’s Friend on DM Du Jour

http://dmdujour.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/christian-laforet-summers-friend/

007: Updates

When I started this blog all the way back in the very distant past (January of this year) I laid out a list of work that was in the pipeline. I figured, it being about mid-year, now would be a very good time to go back to those things.

I had mentioned four specific projects that I was toiling away on and even went so far to give a few tentative release dates for some of them. Well, as time does its annoying march, some of those projects have hit a snag and others are rolling along nicely.

Let me begin with Adventure Worlds. Not much has changed on this front, except that the site has gotten bigger. It’s because of this growth that I feel myself pulling back a bit from working on it. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m leaving it behind, quite the contrary, I’m more dedicated than ever. What it means though, is that since we are starting to get submissions more often from other writers, there isn’t a huge need for me to always have a story ready for posting. I love the site and will keep pushing it for as long as I can, but it has already somewhat served its purpose and it’s time for me to look ahead at other things.

space coverNext, I spoke about two different projects. The short story collection and the comic mini-series. Since I already talked about the former last month in pretty great detail, I’ll jump right to the comic book. Continue reading

006: The Space Between Houses

Hello loyal readers! We have to do some more time travelling this month. Nothing as extensive as blog post 003 mind you, but still, you might want to bring lunch.

333058_10150487425101892_1669362473_oA few years ago two big things happened to me. One was the birth of my first daughter, Lelaina Blue. The second, very much connected to the first, was starting a blog call The Space Between Houses. The blog was connected to my daughter in that up until that moment, I was too lazy to try and make a career out of writing. Sure I liked it, but my laziness knew no bounds. What this meant was that even though I hated working in a grocery store, I was probably going to be doing so for the rest of my life. But then here was this amazing baby girl. She was everything I ever wanted and more, and I couldn’t stand the thought of her knowing that her dad never strove for anything.

Before I get too much into the Space Between Houses stuff, I have a confession to make. I’m a huge quitter. I quit everything. When I was a kid I quit karate, beaver scouts, saxophone, guitar and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting. This trend continued into adulthood where I quit jobs and even school (although the Tradigital Animation program at St. Clair was a joke so don’t judge too harshly for that one). The truth is, I like to quit. In fact, I would say I’m about as good a quitting as a person can be without being pro.

So here I am, starting a new life as writer and wouldn’t you know it, I want to quit. Writing’s hard. It takes time and patience; these are things I don’t have (those video games weren’t going to play themselves). But once again, here is this little girl who looks at me with huge blue eyes and in them I see the reflection of the person I can be, not the one I am. So, I turn off the x box, mute the television, put down the comic books and get to writing. Continue reading