Posts

Not all artifacts were created equal.

 Not all artifacts were created equal. Some have artistic, anthropological or historical significance, but often our most valued artifacts are items that are only important to you. Souvenirs, keepsakes and memorabilia. Souvenirs are markers. There are mass produced souvenirs like tiny pewter Eiffel Towers or spoons with country flags and tiny illustrations and place names on them. There are bigger souvenirs like T-shirts and hats, velvet paintings and hand carved masks and figurines. The most common, personal and valuable souvenirs are often photographs that you took yourself – they’re generally not very original – with loved ones standing in front of historical monuments or graduating, getting married, holding a new baby; or simply doing something that is typical and reminiscent of them. People create scrapbooks, photo albums, and Facebook profiles full of these. Most of our vacation photos are not valuable to anyone but us. If you are a professional or dedicated amateur photo

Psychedelia Noir

Image
  My second short fiction collection will be coming out this spring.  Psychedelia Noir  will contain eight stories, six of which have been previously published in various venues and two that are new and exclusive to this collection. Four by seven inch, 120 page paperback books were not uncommon from the 50s through the 70s, but are seldom seen today. Weighing less than a poor person’s wallet, they can fit into a purse, the back pocket of a pair of jeans or an inside jacket pocket without making you feel like you’re carrying around a manhole cover.   Tiny paperbacks like this Harlan Ellison collection from the mid-60s were once pretty common.   If it goes over well, I hope to publish another similar volume in late 2021 or early 2022. It will contain plenty of horror, especially in the lead-off story, “The Dream Harvesters.” But there’s plenty of humour as well, in the award nominated “Nunavut Thunderfuck,” “Rated ‘L’ for Legacy,” and “The Headmaster’s Closet.” A couple of  Twilight Zone

Social Media as a Book Marketing Tool

Image
I've been hearing for years that blog are dead. I reckon that this here blog is proof that ain't exactly so. It's true that subscribers round these parts are rarer than hen's teeth. After doing this for almost 11 years I haven't managed to round up a single subscriber. Figure it must be my settings. Maybe it's not possible for people to subscribe - or at least impossible unless they too have a "Blogger" site. Then again, no one has ever come to me and said, "I tried to subscribe."   So why do I carry on? It's also true that I do get a fair amount of traffic on the site. Any post that gets fewer than 20 views on the first day is a bit of a flop, and most can be counted on to amass 50 to 100 views over the course of a few days, weeks or months. Some hit 100 or 200 right out of the gate. Even without subscribers. I generally get a minimum of about 10 visitors a day even on bad days, as long as I post regularly.  I was pretty happy with this

Review of David Menear's Swallows Playing Chicken

Image
Swallows Playing Chicken is a vivid metaphor. Swallows are beautiful, graceful, free and fragile – a state humans can only ever really approximate when we are children. The game of chicken – for anyone who doesn’t know, is where two fast moving, human piloted objects approach one another at top speed – on a collision course, until one, both, or neither lose their nerve and veer off course at the last moment Even a near miss can send one or both players careening out of control in random directions with results almost as catastrophic as a head on collision. Swallows are probably the fastest and most agile of songbirds. Their ability to evade one another is mindboggling. But the results of a mid-air collision would be like two bullets meeting, probably resulting in a tangled wreckage of bones and blood and feathers. And if the bird they are challenging is their own reflection in a window, their death is blunt and assured. The impact is always devastating. I, for one, am glad that Dav

Raising the Daemons; Excerpt from The Human Template

The BioGrid is  a vast biological computer housed in the root network of a forest. Following the disaster that wiped out most of humankind, the BioGrid was almost destroyed. In the process of recovery, it forms into factions. One faction calls itself The Free-Thinkers and considers itself humanity's heirs. All of the knowledge and referents including their sense of society and community comes from the civilization that the humans built. They want nothing more than to be human. In the course of their recovery, they discovered and resurrected Raine Naidu, a human (and son of the director of the BioGrid project) whose personality matrix was uploaded before the disaster to help make the BioGrid more relatable to humans. Raine is, in effect, their human template. The largest faction of the BioGrid calls itself The Core. It believes itself to be nothing more than a computer – a tool that humans built for their own use and benefit. While waiting to reconnect with humanity and receive inst

We ARE the Magic

Image
  I’ve made a couple of observations this fall that may point to something real or may be as magical as the subjects of the observations. Observation one: The ranks of conspiracy theorists are burgeoning, growing larger and seemingly more gullible with each day. The website “Livescience.com” claims that 29 per cent of Americans believe in a “Deep State.” More than 50 per cent of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy. This did not come out of nowhere. In fact, it’s human nature. In the early twentieth century, when technology was on the rise and everyone pretended that superstition was a thing of the past, spiritualism was actually making a huge resurgence. The Order of the Golden Dawn was a secret society of British gentlemen, Aleister Crowley was beginning his campaign as the most evil man in the world; belief in ghosts and spirits was so pervasive that it ran rampant through all strata of society. William Lyon McKenzie King, the Prime Minister whose likeness graces the Canad

Ready for the NEXT Shift in the Publishing Paradigm?

Sometimes, it's painful to be right.  On July 17th, in my blog post titled "The Publishing Paradigm Shift is No Longer Coming, It's Here," I was bemoaning the loss of another notable Canadian small publisher. Since that time, I've actually been encouraged by the appearance of a flurry of new small presses and magazine titles. There will always be publishers, although the value of being one of their authors diminishes as companies gets smaller and their professionalism, reach and distribution clout decline. There is no doubt that being published by anyone other than yourself has its perks - ie: someone to do some of the grunt work; a stable of other writers to give you more sense of community; more direct contact with the people who actually do the work of publishing and marketing.  But the subdivision of small publishers into micropublishers comes with an equal number of drawbacks; ie: negligible advances if you're even able to get one, less prestige, limited