Friday, January 30, 2015

My Poetry Review of Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang's Status Update

My review of Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang's poetry collection, Status Update, is up on the Arc Poetry Magazine website. Tsiang takes Facebook status updates, and turns them into beautiful, unsettling, incisive things.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Newspaper coverage of my horror novel Town & Train

Talk about hometown coverage! The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder interviewed me this week about my first horror novel, Town & Train. The online edition appeared January 20 and the hard copy edition ran on January 21, 2014. You can find the article, with the headline, "Mysterious train focus for first-time novelist", here. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Best Reads of 2014: Comic Books - Justin Hall's No Straight Lines

No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics edited by Justin Hall
Fantagraphics Books, 2012
 
No Straight Lines is no guys-in-tights escapade, but realism writ large. Editor Justin Hall pulls from dozens of sources, both artists and writers, portraying queer life, and the whole spectrum therein. Here readers will find portrayals of everything from gay single men bar-hopping to people enduring the height of the HIV/AIDs crisis of the 1980s to lesbian folk festival-goers experiencing burn-out to transsexuals trying to make the next step. No Straight Lines left me breathless. My only qualm was that Hall could only sample a little of everything. The result is an eclectic buffet of form and style and voice from the past 40 years of queer portrayal in comic books. Sometimes it is not enough of one thing. Nonetheless, Hall proves there is an overwhelming breadth of visions out there that have and continue to portray realism, instead of only escapism, in comics. Please don’t misunderstand methere’s nothing wrong with escapism and super heroics. However, as the man said, the man being Scott McCloud, comic artist and writer (author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics), reading super hero comics is like eating chocolate cake. And you don’t want to eat only chocolate cake your whole life, do you? Better to have a smorgasbord of flavours and foods. And, as it turns out, editor Justin Hall is just the chef to introduce new foods to you.

Best Reads of 2014 Addendum: 'Nathan Burgoine's novel, Light

Light by ‘Nathan Burgoine
Bold Strokes Books, October 2013
Light should have been in my original “Best Reads of 2014” list, so I am adding the mini-review here. This first effort from fellow Ottawa scribe ‘Nathan Burgoine is funny, immersing and interesting. Single gay protagonist Kieran Quinn has always had a super power and has always vacationed during the Ottawa Gay Pride Festival. Throw in a husky leather bear as his love interest, an evangelical villain who also possesses a power, and Kieran’s family dynamic (a straight brother who is perpetually single), and you have a winner. That the hero can read others’ thoughts, including those of dogs (i.e.: ‘Play! Friend? Play?’) adds a great texture to inter-character exchanges. He can tell what the other person is thinking. Burgoine also possesses a super power himself—a whiplash sense of humour. This humour is evidenced by an ongoing contest in which people can vote on the new hero’s moniker (‘Rainbow Man’ and ‘Disco’ are options.). In setting the story in Ottawa’s Pride week, Burgoine gives the narrative a rich, authentic, localized feel. Readers not only get to tag along with endearing characters, but also tour the nation’s capital in the summertime, when the city is actually warm.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Relative review of Town & Train

Look at this adorable review that my cousin posted on social media about my novel, Town & Train:
 
"Finished reading your book Town and Train. There were times when it got so intense that I put it down and did something else before picking it up again. That doesn't happen if a book isn't well crafted and creates an overwhelming mood. Am recommending it to all as a great read!"
 
Thank you for the flattering words, cuz'!
 
For those of you who want to decide for yourselvesthat is, if you like a good, solid story, lots of interesting characters of different ages and sexes, and some good spooky horrorTown & Train is available to buy here for American readers, here for Canadian readers, and here for readers in the United Kingdom.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My review of Ray Bradbury Unbound in print

At last, my review of Jonathan R. Eller's Ray Bradbury Unbound sees printin issue #152 (Jan./Feb.) of Rue Morgue: Horror in Culture & EntertainmentUnbound is the second in a trilogy of biographies about Bradbury. Eller opens with Bradbury's screen adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick in 1953 under the rocky tutelage of director John Huston and ends in 1971, after a thorough chronicling of Bradbury's indefatigable attempts to adapt his writing for cinema.
 
While my review is not listed under the Ninth Circle section in the online table of contents, I read the hard copy this weekend, and, like the chef  in the Prego spaghetti sauce commercial saidit's in there.

And, just below my byline, there is a review of Stephen King's new novel, Revival. My name appears mere centimetres away from Mr. King's. What an odd and wondrous coincidence.