Showing posts from July, 2020

Rediscovering the Excitement

I set out to write a nice light post about the first episode of the new season of Wynonna Earp , the movie The Colour of Space , the first season of HBO’s Perry Mason and the first season of Warrior Nun.  But I ended up in a bit of a diatribe about how the entertainment alternatives that seemed so numerous and satisfying before the pandemic, now seem inadequate to fight off the ennui and despair that continues to undermine us during and in the wake of the first wave of the pandemic. Maybe it’s a stress thing; we find it harder to cut loose and enjoy anything in the lower functioning state most of us have adopted. Sports teams are playing weird, shortened seasons for remote audiences. TV, the music industry and publishing have all stalled out. There’s very little new entertainment coming out and most of us have finished watching, reading, and listening to work we would be naturally inclined to enjoy. We’re panning for gold in places we wouldn’t ordinarily be inclined to look for it.

The Tyger at Twilight

I am a follower of Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files . Who’d have thought a punk musician and former junkie renowned for the darkness and frequent violence of his shows and the visceral intensity of his song lyrics would ultimately become the poet laureate of agony aunts? Anne Landers meets William Butler Yeats? I’m sure many early Nick Cave fans consider this his ruination. And they are certainly welcome to that opinion and justified to the extent that the qualities that attracted them to Cave's work in the first place are gone – or at least mutated beyond recognition. I think Cave’s new public persona is a brilliant demonstration of how much each of us can grow and evolve as individuals. Rehabilitation is not only possible for most people, it’s a natural process. Someone who was a real wild child can turn become an exemplar as an older adult (conversely, someone who was considered a paragon of virtue can turn out to be a scumbag – but that’s a whole different blog post). But I'm not

The Publishing Paradigm Shift is No Longer Coming - It's Here

So, another award-winning Canadian genre publisher goes down. On July 15, 2020, Bundoran Press announced that CoVid 19 was the straw that broke the camel’s back for them. They are not buying any more books and will be closing their doors by Oct 30. Bundoran has a fabulous back catalogue and their books are available at so now is the time to lay your hands on some of their terrific titles while you still have the chance. Even though all rights will be reverting to Bundoran authors, Canadian genre writers feel this loss profoundly following the recent demise of the majority of Canadian small press genre book publishers. Chiarscuro/ChiZine went out with a shot heard round the publishing world (though they continue to exist with an interim publisher and a small stable of writers/books).  Five Rivers , Bundoran , and Double Dragon  (which was apparently sold to a UK company called Fiction4All) have gone out not with a bang, but with a polite and orderly

Don’t Assume That the Only Good Virus is a Dead Virus.

We’re all virused out – sick to death of hearing and talking and dealing with the current pandemic. Which got me thinking – I’ll bet not all viruses are detrimental to human health. So here’s my short layman’s report about a few of… The Good Viruses Virotherapy is an expanding field that may enable us use viruses to treat diseases. More than 9 million people around the world die from cancer every year. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery are successful therapies, but all have significant side effects because they all kill off a significant number of non-cancerous cells during the course of treatment – as well as seeing a fairly high incidence of recurrence after successful treatment.  Over the years research has shown cancer regression in patients suffering from unrelated viral infections. The search for alternative cancer treatments has led to research on those viruses -  from a number of different families. Collectively known as oncolytic viruses, they have the pot

Revising a Novel is Like Renovating a House

Not long ago, I was going on about the importance of endings and how the recognition of the weaknesses in my original ending in The Human Template drove me to rewrite it. All well and good, but it leads into the next topic – on the dangers of rewriting. There are several levels of rewriting.  We're in home renovation mode lately at our house, so it was the metaphor that sprung most easily to mind. If you think of a novel as a house: 1)     There’s the complete teardown and subsequent replacement with a whole new structure. 2)      There’s your regular reno with repainting inside and out, plastering, filling of plot holes, and maybe a bit of roofing or sanding of hardwood. 3)       There’s the room by room remodeling meant to beautify and improve the existing structure that requires moving of furniture and selective repairs. 4)       And then there’s the spruce-up with new door handles, curtains, light fixtures and throw pillows. Laura, as my copy-editor, knew I was antic

Four Topical Haiku

Checked my blog stats and saw that stats for short posts were all much better than those for longer posts. "Perfect time to practice my haiku,"  says I.   In case you believe We’ve evolved past grunts and shouts. Check your long post stats. .   Saying anything Will take longer than we have. verbose as a tweet! .   I follow the rules unless they won’t follow back! Then I throw them out. .   The quarantine life Stay with me barks the dog! the way of all days. A bonus haiku as an acknowledgement: A great haiku blog More expert than this by far The Haiku Experiment Get the scoop on my new novel,  The Human Template  at .