Monday, August 13, 2018

The Thirteenth of August - Newletter

The hottest days of summer were often spent in a darkened room while an ancient air-conditioner rattled in the window and trickled out a weak freon smelling breeze. The blinds were drawn to keep the heat of the sun out and I grew pale reading a novel or typing away on my computer, maybe working on a story or programming a game.

These were my early teenage years and the summers stretched long with one empty, dull day after the next. Boredom existed as a physical creature stalking my every moment. Even the TV provided no relief. These were pre-Netflix days, pre-cable even, way back when network television gave up in May and didn’t put anything new back on until September. One year I remember watching the movie Mazes and Monsters (an old Tom Hanks flick with all the charm of an after-school special) no less than five times on late night TV because nothing else was on. In those summers, there was a glut of time.

Not anymore. That demon of boredom has been fully exorcized. The older I get and the further those summers recede into the dim past, the more obligations and curveballs life throws. This summer is one of the hottest in memory and it’s speeding past like a station wagon on a shimmering highway. Yet in this heat, I find myself working and growing pale in darkened air-conditioned rooms. Mostly on a computer. Occasionally writing.

Somethings don’t change.

Writing News

A few months ago, those obligations I mentioned got the better of me to the point that writing took a hiatus. Luckily, the workload has begun to lighten. After receiving some good advice about doing a mid-year review of writing goals, I reviewed mine at the end of June and set out what I wanted to accomplish in the remainder of 2018. I call it my aspirational list because I know there’s no way I’ll get it all done. At the top of the list is to spend ten hours a week writing— not checking social media or browsing the web while the word processor is open, but actually butt-in-chair writing. Ten hours might seem of little consequence or it may seem daunting depending on who you are. For myself coming from a dead stop, it’s a mountain I’m climbing inch by inch.

These days I’ve been mainly working on short stories. I have seven stories in various states of completion and countless more that are little more than scratched out notes. I have finished one so far this year, Les Maudits (The Damned), a vampire tale set in historic French Canada. I’m currently trying to find a home for it in print.

Upcoming Events

I will be at Fan Expo Canada August 30 to September 30th. I’ve got a spot at the Horror Writers Association booth in the Horror HQ area. So if you’re in the Toronto area stop by the Metro Convention Centre and say hi.

Book of the Month

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

It’s hard to imagine a novel so suited to the anxiety of our times. Brian Keene calls The Cabin at the End of the World the first Post-Trump horror novel. It tells the story of a family is terrorized by home invaders while the apocalypse may or may not be starting. It’s a tense, emotional, gut-punch that will make you think about its themes long after you’ve finished.

Media of the Month

This is Horror Podcast

I discovered the This Is Horror podcast late last year and it has become a must listen. Hosts David Michael Wilson and Bob Pastorella do long-form interviews with authors that go well beyond talking about their latest book. Each episode is filled with insights into the writers’ lives, careers, as well as the craft of writing. Their roster of guests is amazing. If you’re a horror fan, They’ve definitely spoken with a few of your favorite authors. And being a regular listener introduces you to many great writers you haven’t discovered yet. Also, if you sign up on Patreon, you gain access to Story Unboxed: dissections of popular horror films and short stories to delve into the mechanics of story.

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