A Novel is a Shapeshifter

  A novel is a shapeshifter – it can be anything. A ravening monster or a demure and innocent child. A brassy concubine or a devoted spouse. A bomb A hedgerow that perfectly conceals the Body of the dead school-teacher, An alien A lover A novel is a shapeshifter. Start shaping. 10 am Feb 23, 2021

Learning to Write by Sculpting - Getting Down To Details

  Life After ADD The problem with proverbs is that they become trite through sheer repetition.  I probably heard the phrase “God is in the details” a dozen times before I really thought about what it means. “The Devil is in the details” is more cautionary and probably does a better job of getting to the point, ie: the details can fuck you up. Lack of attention to detail can condemn your work – your entire oeuvre – to the Devil’s eternal slushpile. I was born before Attention Deficit Disorder was coined, but over the years, I have figured out why the word ‘disorder’ is contained in the description. I used to feel proud that I couldn’t read any given book or see a movie more than once. I convinced myself that my low boredom threshold was a good thing. It kept me looking for the new and unique. My “Imagination above all things” philosophy is almost certainly what drove me to read and write science fiction. The prevalence of ghosts and vampires and werewolves in horror is almost certainl

The Carnivorous Forest is Coming for You

After putting The Human Template to bed in early summer 2020, I thought that finishing book two of the Avenging Glory diptych would be a simply and straightforward task. After all, the book was pretty much complete when I decided to break off the first 45 pages and expand it into a full length free-standing novel. I had plenty of good reasons for that decision – given how hard it is for a previously unpublished novelist to sell a book in excess of a quarter of a million words, and given that my main protagonist didn’t make an appearance until almost halfway in. I needed a character strong enough to carry the book up to that point.  I had deliberately structured the story that way as opposed to doing it through oversight or lack of control.    My objective at the time was to allow Raine to fully mature/develop into the force he would become  after  he became part of the BioGrid. As he became more a part of the computer I wanted the BioGrid to become more human – thus creating a nicely

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

  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

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

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