Sad to see Taddle Creek ending its run as it’s one of my favourite reads. I’ve discovered many a great writer there and I’m deeply grateful to have published a few of my own stories in the journal.
Taddle Creek will be including one of those stories in the Taddle Creek Book, a keepsake anthology of some of the works it has published over the years. But which one of my stories will make the cut? Will it be The Code, an account of misadventures in a fetish club? Or Neighbours, an odd voyeurism misadventure? Or Starseed, a tale of a mad spider-man scientist and the superhero he is determined to uncover as being a secret villain? Or If You Lived Here, a chronicle of a break and enter gone wrong?
Head on over to the fundraiser today to find out! $39 CAD plus shipping gets you a 352-page hardcover book, including 32 pages of colour comics, with 70 creative pieces inside!
I’m thrilled to announce I’ve published another tale of the angel gunslinger Azrael over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies! Azrael and his dead horse are back in the weird western “The Angel Azrael Encounters the Revelation Pilgrims and Other Curiosities.” Ride with them for a time as Azrael attempts to take a dead woman’s bible through the badlands to her kin, only to encounter a curious collection of pilgrims, a murderous gang of half angels and one very strange… well, that would be giving it away.
I’m deeply grateful to the guidance of BCS editor Scott Andrews not only for publishing my Azrael stories but for helping me to more fully realize the character of Azrael and his world. When I wrote the first Azrael story, “The Angel Azrael Rode Into the Town of Burnt Church on a Dead Horse,” I didn’t really have more in mind than a one-off weird west story in between my other projects. But Azrael kept on riding into my imagination after that first story, and BCS kept publishing his tales, and now I’m finishing my first Azrael novel. I don’t think any of that would have been possible without BCS and Scott’s insightful editing.
And, of course, the angel Azrael tales wouldn’t have been possible without readers such as yourself. Thanks for journeying along with Azrael and me on these wanderings. I hope you’ll continue to ride with us for a time.
If you’re new to the Azrael stories, you can read them for free at Beneath Ceaseless Skies:
Bonus feature: Check out the audio version of “The Angel Azrael Delivers Small Mercies” with a new introduction I recorded for the story!
(Make sure you also read Patty Templeton’s “A Nickel for the Burlap Man,” which is in the same issue as “The Angel Azrael Encounters the Revelation Pilgrims and Other Curiosities.” It’s a hell of a tale.)
Writers all across Canada are celebrating the arrival of PLR payments — and I’m one of those writers.
Being a writer can be challenging at times, as most writers typically earn poverty wages from years of creative effort. Thankfully there are programs like the Public Lending Right Program, which sends yearly payments to creators whose works can be found in public libraries across Canada. The formula used to calculate payments varies a little, but let’s just say it’s a lifeline for Canadian authors.
The PLR payments are important for a few reasons. They a crucial form of compensation for authors to receive payment for books they’ve already written and others get to enjoy for free, courtesy of our great library system. So it’s a win-win scenario – the public gets free library books AND the authors get compensated.
But the PLR payments are more than just compensation. They are also an investment. Those cheques that get sent out every February help writers across the country keep writing — they’re both a boost to the bank account and a boost to morale. As such, they’re part of an ecosystem of cultural support that includes other funding programs — Canada Council awards, regional funding programs, Access Copyright and so on. All these critical supports help pay the bills so writers can keep doing what they do best — write. And they remind writers they are in fact valued creators and people want to see their next creations.
I’m one of those creators, for I’m not sure I would have published six books to date without such support — that’s my most recent book, Has the World Ended Yet?, in the photo. The arrival of another PLR payment in the mail helps me pay some bills, and that’s great. But more important than that, it makes me want to sit back down at my desk and do one thing: write.
Thank you to all those at PLR and the other cultural programs — and a very special thanks to all the readers across this wonderful country. You are what this is all about.
I did a Six Questions interview with rob mclennan for Chaudiere Books about how Ottawa influenced my writing career. I only lived in Ottawa for a couple of years, but it’s still one of my favourite places in the world, and I think it’s still affecting my literary life in quiet ways.
I should point out the interview took place before all the recent excitement in Ottawa, which introduced a whole new set of characters to the city….
It’s D20 Day! This seems like a good time to remind people of the time I talked to DM and fellow writer James McCann about how Dungeons & Dragons is one of the reasons I became a writer.
Bonus feature: The Beholder ranch idea we talk about in the interview later became the adventure I’m currently playing with James, Arthur Slade, KC Dyer, Adrienne Kress, Kevin Sylvester and other writers!
I haven’t had much to post of late because I’ve been busy writing. I’ve finished a number of stories and a new novel, and I’m partway through another novel. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to read some of them soon. In the meantime, I’d thought a post a few things from the archives. Here’s a Halloween interview I did with Open Book a while back for my collection Has the World Ended Yet? (it’s looking increasingly likely).
I realized early on that the stories I was writing were all kind of apocalyptic but in very different ways. I came up with a few ideas to link them but they all felt kind of forced, so I let them go. The book now has a chaotic, crazed feel to it — “Wait, how does this demon investigator story go with the retired superheroes battling angels?” But I really like the way that the structure of the book reflects its subject matter. We’re all mad here, right?
So the stories are both linked and not linked. The book is like a broken mirror. That said, there are a few easter eggs in the book where stories speak to each other, if people are willing to look for them.
Angel apocalypses, casual miracles, travelling deity salesmen, elder god placement agencies, aging superheroes and more — this collection has all the Halloween treats you can imagine! Buy a box today to give out to the kids in your neighbourhood! (Just remember to lock the doors and turn out the lights when the mob of angry parents shows up.)
In honour of that strange time before the pandemic when we used to get out and socialize more, here’s a story from the archives about spying on my neighbours. It’s from my first book, Please, which really is from a different time.
The Broadsword Bandits are back for more sessions of Dungeons and Dragons! Join myself and writers James McCann, Arthur Slade, Adrienne Kress, KC Dyer, Kevin Sylvester and guest star Susan Juby as we try to return a wayward Beholder to its retirement ranch. Of course, it’s never that easy when Beholders are involved. Or writers….
As we head into the season of endless night, it’s important to make sure you have enough reading material to keep your mind occupied so you don’t notice what the shadows are doing. Here’s a friendly reminder that my latest book, Has the World Ended Yet?, is available in ebook format so you can download it and immediately start reading its tales of travelling deity salesman, Craigslist miracles, angel invasions, elder god job placement agencies and more.
And if you’ve read Has the World Ended Yet? and liked it, please leave a review in your preferred Book of Judgement (Goodreads | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com). If enough people demand it, we may be able to release the Has the World Ended Yet? expansion pack: My Pandemic Superpower Is….
(Image taken from Has the World Ended Yet?, which has many retrofuturish images for your nightmarish pleasure.)