“Give me the impossible city, the perfect Paris,
its people wearing shoes made of saltwater,
its streets full of whipped cream and opera,
its fire-breathing street vendors selling
both balloons and bourbon bottles.
Give me books written on illuminated
garlic skin by domesticated foxes;
the cloud-breaking Eiffel Tower
afloat on the buttery backs of croissants.”
(Photo is of me in a gallery in Paris, many ages ago. Long before I’d dreamed up Cross and The Mona Lisa Sacrifice!)
My calendar reminds me it’s been three years since the publication of The Mona Lisa Sacrifice, the first in my Cross series of supernatural thrillers. I wasn’t sure where the tale of Cross and his angel enemies and mythical friends would lead me, but it turned into a wild and unpredictable journey. Shakespearean spirits and faerie intrigue! Strange, magical libraries! Undead Atlanteans, literary vampires and crazed angels! The difficulties of being a single parent to a ghost child! The horrors of monstrous royal families! The complications of love among immortal beings! And a host of characters that seem to have been born more from their own imaginations than mine – including, of course, Alice.
I think as a writer the thing you hope for most is to create a world that hasn’t been done before – and that wouldn’t have been made up by anyone else. Something that is a unique creation, a world that other people want to visit for a time and return to at different points in their lives, be it for discovery, nostalgia, comfort or joy. Those are the books that live on in my imagination. Hopefully Cross and his friends are creating such a world for some of you.
Also, I have recently finished the first draft of the fourth book in the Cross series. With any luck, you’ll have a chance to spend more time with Cross and his friends – and enemies – in the near future. Which, with Cross, always means a trip into our secret pasts….
Happy Canada Day! It’s been 150 years since our ancestors were banished from the Elder Lands and exiled to Canada, where they built the Great Tomb of Parliament to imprison the Sleeping Horror, which awakens once every, you guessed it, 150 years. And you thought those screams were from the fireworks.
Anyway, my publisher ChiZine is offering all its Canadian-authored books for free or pay what you can today, because there will be no tomorrow. Get them while you still can.
Tired of misplacing your Cross books during arcane rituals? Can’t remember the order of the Cross series ever since that angel melted your mind in the movie theatre because someone texted you? Interested in new Cross tales to give you some hope or at least distraction during these dark times? Then you may want to check out the new Cross omnibus.
The omnibus features the first three Cross books — The Mona Lisa Sacrifice (No. 1 Amazon.ca Fantasy and Historical Fiction bestseller), The Dead Hamlets, and The Apocalypse Ark — plus two new Cross stories never before published! In “The World Will Drown in Tears,” Cross stumbles into a strange battle in a frozen wasteland that some history scholars will recognize. And “A Different Kind of Wolf” puts Cross at the centre of a very famous fairy tale, but with a few diabolical twists all of his own.
The omnibus is ebook only, because to put it in print form would be to risk breaking the eighth seal. It’s available at fine online book emporiums everywhere, except for where it’s not. Buy it now, before the world ends! (It will also be available after the end of the world.)
Plus, there are hidden tentacles on the cover!
Praise for the Cross series:
- “If you liked Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, you’ll love The Mona Lisa Sacrifice”: CBC
- “The Mona Lisa Sacrifice is a deliriously unhinged roller coaster of a novel, blending fantasy, history, horror and humour with the aplomb of an overfull blender, but all of it smarter than it, truly, has any right — or need — to be”: National Post
- “Never lets the reader pause for breath . . . fans of the genre will find one of its ultimate expressions here”: Publishers Weekly
- “Sweeps you up with its gallows humour, whether you’re revelling in the pleasures of two-fisted, angel-punching action or the cleverly rendered language.”: Quill & Quire
- “Takes urban fantasy to a different level”: Library Journal
- “A pulp novel with genuine depth and wisdom, insight and consummate skill”: Regina Leader-Post
- “There are few writers, in this country at any rate, quite as unhinged and skilled, simultaneously, regardless of genre”: Saskatoon StarPhoenix
- “A fun, and whip-smart, read” – Vancouver Sun
- “A Rewarding, Witty, Hot Mess of Angel-Pummeling, Action and Noir Detective Fiction” – Pop Bop on Goodreads
- “Resembles something written by Neil Gaiman at times with its somewhat mystical imagery and at other times it reads as a full-blown work of bizarro fiction.” – Minneapolis Books Examiner
- “A spiritual relative to Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim and Lavie Tidhar’s Bookman series, meaning that anyone (and anything) in the literary universe is fair game. Mythological beasts, Lovecraftian allusions, pirates, and characters from Moby Dick and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea all fuse together to form a vastly entertaining, fantastical, breakneck hodgepodge quest novel” – Publishers Weekly
- “One of Canada’s finest literary writers” – CBC
- “If you like your literature with a nitro fueling, you’ll love these” – CBC
- “One of the strongest, and strangest, literary creations this country has ever seen” – The Vancouver Sun
- “Is he still making up those crazy stories? When is he going to get a real job?” – Mom
I’m happy to announce that ChiZine, the publisher of my Cross series, will be publishing an omnibus edition of the first three Cross books this coming spring. Which is really just an excuse to show off another supernaturally good cover by Erik Mohr. Bonus content will be one or two Cross short stories, depending on their length when I’ve finished editing them.
The omnibus will be ebook only, because print is dead and we learned our lesson after people reading The Apocalypse Ark in bookstores raised all those ghouls in that hidden graveyard under the Barnes & Noble.
It’s the very first time I’ve seen all my Cross books together in a bookstore! Thanks, Chapters!
Well, that’s the Sixth Seal broken. On to the next one.
The Apocalypse Ark, the third book in the Cross series, has set sail! Well, it just published in Canada, anyway. It’s coming soon to other parts of the world. If we don’t all drown in a rain of fire and blood first, that is. We have it coming, after all. Don’t ask why — you know what you did.
Here’s what some of the early reviews have had to say:
- “A vastly entertaining, fantastical, breakneck hodgepodge quest novel” – Publishers Weekly
- “A spiritual relative to Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim and Lavie Tidhar’s Bookman series” – Publishers Weekly
- “One of the strongest, and strangest, literary creations this country has ever seen” – Vancouver Sun
- “If you like your literature with a nitro fueling, you’ll love these” – CBC’s All Points West
- “One of the most entertaining series in recent years” – Examiner.com
- “Roman (a pseudonym for Vancouver Province journalist Peter Darbyshire) writes with the unfettered delight of a gluttonous reader trapped in a library in his own mind, drawing promiscuously from myth, folk tale, religious texts and apocrypha, literature, music and philosophy — seemingly anything that catches his attention” – The Vancouver Sun
If you’re new to the Cross series, here’s the basic premise: Our poor narrator, Cross, woke thousands of years ago to find himself in the body of Christ after Christ shuffled off this mortal coil. He has all the powers of Christ but none of his sensibilities — Cross is a drunk, thief, mercenary and all-around rogue. He’s about as fallen as you can get, the type of person who usually winds up dead in a back alley somewhere. Cross does end up dead a lot, but every time he dies his body resurrects him. There’s a catch, though: he needs the heavenly grace of angels to fuel his powers, and the only way to get that is to kill them. Needless to say, he’s not very popular among the angels left behind on Earth.
The first book, The Mona Lisa Sacrifice, follows Cross’s attempts to track down his old nemesis Judas, a trickster god dedicated to destroying humanity — and who is responsible for the deaths of Cross’s one true love throughout the ages, Penelope, and their unborn daughter, Amelia. It spans the centuries and the globe and leads Cross into the middle of a war between the angels. It was an Amazon.ca No. 1 fantasy bestseller and did all right in other parts of the world, too.
The second book, The Dead Hamlets, sees Cross caught in the middle of a murder mystery, as a mysterious ghost with ties to Shakespeare is killing off members of the faerie court, who live in secrecy among the humans. The next victim may just be Amelia, Cross’s dead daughter that the faerie queen stole from the grave and birthed to torment Cross (they have a history). Cross must discover the ghost’s secret to stop the murders, but what he finds may mean even his end.
In the third book, The Apocalypse Ark, Cross faces his most dangerous enemy yet: Noah. For ages Noah has sailed the seas, seeking out all of God’s mistakes and imprisoning them on his ark. Noah is not humanity’s saviour but is instead God’s jailer. But he has grown increasingly mad over the centuries, and now he is determined to end the world by raising the mysterious Sunken City. Only one person can stop him: Cross.
I’ll be posting more about The Apocalypse Ark and its origins in the days to come. In the meantime, I’ll just leave these links here in case you’re interested….
Buy The Apocalypse Ark (paperback)
Buy The Apocalypse Ark (ebook)
(Yes, I know the photo shows a giant squid attacking the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, not an ark. Trust me — there’s a connection between 20,000 Leagues and The Apocalypse Ark.)
Whenever I finish a draft of a new book, I generally want nothing to do with it for a while. When you spend months immersed in a world, sometimes you want to go holiday somewhere else. I haven’t been doing a whole lot of writing since I handed in the manuscript for the third Cross book, The Apocalypse Ark. I’ve done a bit of work on another project, but I can’t really talk about that yet, so never mind.
While I’ve been waiting for the edits to The Apocalypse Ark, though, I’ve still been thinking about Cross and his crazy friends. I’ve been making some notes for the fourth book, and I think I know how it’s going to take shape. (I’ve known what it’s going to be about for a while, but knowing that and knowing how you’re going to write it are two different things.) I’ve also written a Cross short story, which is a first for that series.