Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Glowing review of Town & Train Book Launch at Ottawa International Writers Festival

Alexandra Macklam did a, well, touching - I don't know else to describe it - review of my April 27 book launch of Town & Train at the Ottawa International Writers Festival​. I feel very grateful.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ottawa International Writers Festival Book Launch

I had a great launch last night for my debut horror novel, Town & Train,​ published by Lethe Press​ last November. Fellow journalist and speculative fiction writer Kate Heartfield​ did a superb job hosting and hitting me with some seriously tough questions about the book. I plan to host her debut novel when it comes out as well. Seeing some  audience members come in, I was surprised and delighted. I hadn't seen some of them for eight years. Many I have known for over 20 years.

All in all, the show of support was touching.

And, as always, it never hurts to thank Steve Berman​ for publishing the book, and cheer-leading my choice of excerpts for the reading.

Thank you, Ottawa International Writers Festival​, for inviting me to do the launch. What a night. I am grateful for that, and having an attentive audience of about 25.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book launch tomorrow at the Ottawa Intl Writers Festival

Just a quick reminder – I am excited and grateful to be launching my novel Town & Train (published by Lethe Press​ this fall) at the Ottawa International Writers Festival​ tomorrow (Monday) night. My host is fellow speculative fiction author and Ottawa Citizen journalist, Kate Heartfield. It's a free event.

I hope to see some familiar faces. When I was at the  Cornwall & Area Pop Event - CAPE​ on April 18, I saw several friends that I hadn't talked to in 10 or even 20 years. Some fine moments, those. So I'll take this chance to thank everyone for all their support over the years. In fair times and darker times, your support has meant so much to me.

More details about the reading are here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

CAPE Flies! First Cornwall Area & Pop Event a Huge Hit

What a weekend at the Cornwall & Area Pop Event! Thanks to organizers Randy Sauve and Carol Grant, the whole enchilada was hugely successful. I had a blast talking away with fellow author Benoit Chartier (author of the self-published sci-fi novel, Red Nexus and the sci-fi/fantasy short story collection The Calumnist Malefesto: And Other Improbable Yarns). In addition, I was swept up with meeting and greeting folks, enjoying all the costumes, and selling books (my horror novel, Town & Train), and seeing past and current friends and acquaintances. Somehow, I also managed to make new and exciting connections. There was much fun and silliness as Cornwall's long-neglected geek culture got their game faces and played large. 

To add icing to the cake, I got to chat with Pat Mastroianni, a Canadian actor famous for his role as Joey Jeremiah on the Degrassitelevision series. Particularly, Mastroianni impressed me because, although he had to get to a panel, he was gracious and chatty. He even playfully suggested to my seven-year-old, dressed up as Captain America, that he should instead be dressed up as Captain Canuck. 

As well, I met Comic Book Men stars Ming Chen and Michael Zapcic. Zapcic gently chided me for pronouncing "New Jersey" (where my publisher Lethe Press resides) as "Joy-zee" and made it clear that no one from there pronounces Jersey that way. When I suggested that I might be risking bodily harm with my mis-pronunciation, Zapcic agreed.

It is heartening to know that organizers Randy Suave and Carol Grant successfully tapped into Cornwall's geek culture, from costume players to comic book readers to fans. This is a tremendous achievement.

The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder's Greg Peerenboom covered CAPE in this April 19 story.

* = A note on Degrassi:
While growing up, I watched the acclaimed series that consisted of Kids of Degrassi StreetDegrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and the heart-wrenching series finale, Degrassi: School's Out! Starting out in 1979 as an after-school special, the original Degrassi grew into a regular series that ran from 1982 to 1991. This was breakthrough television that followed the lives of kids growing upon De Grassi Street in Toronto, Ontario, and their trials and tribulations from grade school through high school. Decidedly un-glamorous, realistic and featuring actors who looked like real people, blemishes and all, Degrassi is a Canadian T.V. institution. It tackled real teen issues including (but certainly not limited to) bullying, abortion, drugs, alcohol abuse, and homosexuality. This was a superior show to glossier shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 that tried to dip their toes in the same waters of adolescent agony, using actors who looked like twenty-something models instead of teenagers.

The series has a new incarnation, Degrassi: The Next Generation that has been running since 2001. Now standing at well over 13 seasons, it is simply called Degrassi

To summarize, the 1982-1991 series really reached me as a young kid and then as a teenager. If you ever want to watch a show with well-portrayed teenagers enduring real teen problems, check it out. 

I should also give a nod to Pat Mastroianni for doing such a great job as Joey Jeremiah. Next time I meet him, perhaps I will regale him with my list of favourite Jeremiah episodes. One involves him confronting a bully who has really been diagnosed as HIV positive. Another involves Joey ripping up dollar bills over a bet he won. 
Pat Mastroianni as legendary character, Joey Jeremiah, from the original Degrassi series.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Promoting Town & Train at CAPE

I'm looking forward to going to the Cornwall & Area Pop Event - CAPE - tomorrow from 10am to 6pm at the Benson Centre. Comics, creators and curiosities will abound. Particularly, I hope to talk shop with fellow writer Benoit Chartier and get my comic-book geek on. Oh - and it would be nice to sign and (hopefully) sell copies of my debut horror novel, Town & Train. Thank you, Randy Sauve and Carol Grant for daring to do CAPE!

Here's an image of the postcard I'm bringing as a giveaway, along with candies. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Poem "Loki-doed" published by Bywords

Thank you, Bywords.ca, for publishing my poem, "Loki-doed"! 

The poem is here. If you want tor read it and don't see it, click on "Content" in the upper left corner of the page. It's one of two poems in the April 15 issue.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Speculating Canada interviews me about Town & Train

I had the surreal pleasure of talking to Derek Newman-Stille on trentradio.ca yesterday for his Speculating Canada radio show. For an hour, he interviewed me about my horror novel Town & Train, launching one incisive and insightful question after another. I was impressed with his long view of the novel and its overarching themes, his interpretations of my characters' sense of longing and search for identity and the care he put into his queries. Gave me much to think about, as well as much to be grateful for. My thanks to Derek!

When the interview is archived online, I will post the interview link on the blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gorgeous Review of Town & Train in Speculating Canada

Derek Newman-Stille, at speculatingcanada.ca, which covers Canadian horror, sci-fi and fantasy, has done a thoughtful and insightful review of my debut horror novel, Town & Train. My hearty thanks to Mr. Newman-Stille. 

An excerpt from Derek Newman-Stille's review: 


Town & Train is shaped by an aesthetic of longing, a compounding of desires: the desire to leave the small town of Brandon, Ontario, for better opportunities, the desire for a sense of contact with others, a connection, the desire to keep secrets about the types of connections one is making, the desire to just change something, and the competing desire to just keep things the same and resist changes seen to be dangerous.


You can read the rest of the review here under the heading "Closet Town".