Category Archives: Shrapnel

Will the real Mona Lisa please stand up?

Is there a secret Mona Lisa hidden away under the painting we all know? New scans show a different woman lurking underneath it. Of course, readers of The Mona Lisa Sacrifice may have a different theory….

It’s a gun world after all

When I wrote The Warhol Gang, I included a couple of “gun culture” scenes — one a corporate team-building event that takes place at a shooting theme park in the mall called Gun World, the other a Rampaging Office Co-Worker emergency drill.

At the time, I thought I was writing a satire or black comedy about American culture, and I worried I was going too far. I never really thought I was forecasting actual American culture. But then I read about things like Gun TV, and I realize I didn’t go far enough….

Don’t even get me started on the livestreaming and viral videos part of The Warhol Gang….

My publisher just won two World Fantasy Awards!

Congrats to my publisher ChiZine Publications for winning not one but two World Fantasy Awards. ChiZine won best collection for Helen Marshall’s Gifts for the One Who Comes After (tying with Angela Slatter’s The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings from Tartarus Press). Publishers Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi also won the Special Award – Professional, for all their achievements.

I went with ChiZine years ago with my Cross books because they’re a fearless, brilliant publisher who are willing to take chances that other publishers can not or will not take. They publish the books that are about vision, not marketing/bookstore niches — and better yet, they back them! If you’re connected with CZ on social media, you’ll see how much everyone there cares about the books they publish. As most writers know, that’s not often the case with publishers. So it’s great to see ChiZine get some love.

Now I’m off to ask them for a deadline extension….

Give the gift of a short story advent calendar this Christmas


I love the idea of a short story advent calendar so much I had to write about it for The Province.

So it was with great delight that I learned of the 2015 Short Story Advent Calendar, a boxed set of 24 individually bound stories by Canadian writers. The set includes works from such bold voices as Zsuzsi Gartner, Pasha Malla and “others.” Creators Michael Hingston and Natalie Olsen don’t want to reveal all the writers involved just yet — it’s an advent calendar, after all.

“The rest of the lineup is a surprise,” says Hingston in an interview with The Province. “The stories are all individually sealed, with no identifying information on the covers aside from what day of the month you’re going to open it on. So each day’s story is a surprise right up until the moment you open it.”

New podcast: I talk to Elisabeth de Mariaffi about her breakout thriller

“I thought I was writing a book about fear.”

That was what Elisabeth de Mariaffi told me when we sat down to record a podcast for the Book Rogues over at The Province. De Mariaffi was talking about her breakout novel, The Devil You Know. She says she didn’t set out to write a thriller, but it’s become one of the most talked about thrillers of the year.

The book is set in the early days of the Paul Bernardo serial killings investigation and follows Evie Jones, a young reporter assigned to the case who is maybe being stalked herself. The novel has resonated with women, with many of them writing to de Mariaffi or coming up to her at readings to talk about their own experiences.

We talked about the response to the book, its possible adaptation for TV and what de Mariaffi is working on now. Check out the article and listen to the podcast at The Province.

The Canadian election as D&D characters


As some of you may now, we are having an election campaign in Canada. What better way to get people to vote than to turn it into a D&D adventure? Click through for the bios of each adventurer. Right now it looks like our next leader may be the bard, but you can’t rule out the cleric or even the berserker yet.

The Province Cares: Help out a family as they grapple with their son’s rare disease


Last week I had the honour of writing a front-page story for The Province about little Nolin, a three-year-old Mission boy who was the first in the world to be diagnosed with NANS deficiency. It’s a devastating disease that has left him unable to talk, lift his head, or even move much on his own. He’s completely dependent on caregivers for everything. Doctors and researchers have already learned a great deal from him and they’re hoping to be able to help other sufferers of the condition. In the meantime, the family is raising funds to try to make Nolin’s life a little better. Help them out if you can!

When will the shootings stop?


Last week, a gunman walked into a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and killed nine people in a horrific, terrifying ordeal. There were some similarities to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that took the lives of 20 children and six adults, insofar as both shooters were socially awkward loners whose mothers were gun enthusiasts. (The fathers were out of the home in both cases and did not seem to share the interest in guns.)

I found myself wondering when it would all stop. If Sandy Hook didn’t change anything, then what could? I decided to use the moment to interview A.J. Somerset about his new book, Arms: The Culture and the Credo of the Gun. Somerset, a former Canadian soldier turned writer, is also a gun enthusiast, but he describes himself as a moderate and takes issue with groups like the NRA.

We had a very interesting discussion, and a somewhat depressing one, as Somerset thinks little will change in the U.S. until the bloodshed becomes so extreme that the majority of Americans finally say enough. That’s not going to happen in my lifetime.

You can listen to our hour-long conversation over at The Province’s Book Rogues podcast. You can also read the article I wrote on the subject, which was one of the paper’s most-read stories all day long.


New podcast: What’s the future of On Spec?

I’ve got a new Book Rogues podcast up over at The Province. This time I talk to Diane Walton, one of the editors over at On Spec. I’ve published in On Spec a few times over the years — in fact, my first professional sale ever was to the magazine. It’s launched the careers of many a Canadian writer, but it’s facing an uncertain future after the Canada Council denied it funding two years in a row. Diane and I talk about the funding issue, how they’re trying to move beyond it, and what On Spec has meant to the Canadian speculative community.


It’s like a book or something….

Staged car accidents? Corrupt cops? This news story may sound familiar to anyone who’s read The Warhol Gang. No word on whether or not it also involved secret clubs in the mall, though.