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….
Can’t view the ancient parchments? Read it below:
and to all a good night
once a year the elves rouse him from the long winter of sleep
with their screams, their burning bodies dancing through his nightmares
he wakes to their ancient bones scattered around the workshop
white as the snow and ice that bury the ruins in silent, eternal night
the same elves that had found him under the world tree
as dead as all the other world trees
and had unwrapped him from the bonds of his frozen grave
root and chain and stone and bone
lost there for so many nights
he no longer remembered
they gave him gifts of warm clothes
hot food and drink
until he burned inside
like a furnace
they took him into their workshops
and showed him impossible things
wonders made real
what some would call science
what others would call magic
what they called wishes
but all the wishes of the elves couldn’t save them
from the fire that burned out of control
and the ice and cold
of his soul
and so he sleeps forgotten again
in the ruins of the workshop
waking only once a year
on that anniversary
when their screams drive him out
into the snow and ice and long night
in search of other sleepers
so he can whisper in their dreams
the secrets of the elves
of impossible things
of the end
so he can free himself from the burden
of their gifts that could never be
and slumber for another year
his mind frozen hard
as a shard of coal
Originally published in On Spec No. 102 (Fall 2015)
I woke up this morning to Facebook reminding me of the Facebook Live I did a year ago to talk to the Vancouver Writers Festival about my new book, Has the World Ended Yet? A lot has happened since that time — the Great Bot Uprising, the alien ghost infestation, the angel viruses, and of course that whole Sunken City episode — but the Writers Fest FB Live still remains one of my favourite experiences in this dark timeline. So I’ve reproduced my original post here, to remind us of the time the sun still existed.
I had a great time at the Vancouver Writers Festival this year – it’s always such a treat to meet smart, creative readers and talk writing and books with gifted people like Lydia Kwa and Sean Cranbury.
I’m not sure what I’m saying in this screen grab – I think maybe: “The road to salvation is that way, not with this tawdry, earthly book down here.”
Do our apocalyptic times have you feeling down? Maybe you need a little miracle to take your mind off things. From now until the end times, aka the end of summer, Wolsak & Wynn is sharing for free my story “Casual Miracles” from my latest collection, Has the World Ended Yet? Free! (Batteries not included. Some sanity checks may be required.)
One of my favourite events from last year was the Vancouver Writers Festival (check out the Facebook Live I did), where I appeared with Lydia Kwa and Sean Cranbury to read from my new book, Has the World Ended Yet? Great festival, fascinating writers and thoughtful audiences!
Just because the festival is over doesn’t mean it has to end, though! Alli Vail is currently reading all the books from the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival and posting thoughts about them at Reading Writers Fest. Of course, I am partial to the entry on my book.
This is wacky and weird and I kind of loved it. The answer to the question: Has the World Ended Yet (great question, aside from being the title of the book), is yes. We probably just haven’t figured it out. The ending is just out of sight, until it’s not.
It was a busy weekend of writing in old Apocalypse HQ! I finished the rough draft of a new Cross short story, and it was a fun ride. I’ve now got around 35,000 words in Cross stories – maybe the next book will be a story collection!
I also finished the rough draft of a new stand-alone holiday story. I’ll let you know more about that when it finds a home.
In other news, Google’s Arts and Culture app thinks I look like former president Gerald Ford. Which is interesting because I just listened to the Radiolab podcast about Oliver Sipple, who saved the life of Ford in an attempted assassination only to have his life ruined by his act of heroism.
Probably a story in there somewhere….
Reading some of the stories, etc. I mentioned in my last On the Bookshelf post reminded me of a couple of Neil Gaiman short stories that are among my favourite tales of all time. So I went back and gave them a re-read this weekend. Check them out if you haven’t read them already:
- “I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9′ S, Longitude 126° 43′ W)?” – It’s pretty much what the title says it is.
- “A Study in Emerald” – If you like the creepy, supernatural Royal Family in my Cross books, you’re going to like this. It may also appeal to Sherlock Holmes fans and other troubled sorts.
This seems like a good time to point out I have a Cthulhu story in Has the World Ended Yet?, my latest book. There are also a couple of demon investigator stories featuring Molox, a demonic processing clerk, and Malachi, his impetuous imp companion. I’d kind of like to turn those stories into a book at some point, but more Cross stories are calling first.
I’ve received a lot of compliments for the cover of my new book, Has the World Ended Yet?, which I’ve graciously accepted even though I had nothing to do with it. The beautiful cover was all the doing of artist Michel Vrana, working on what my editor, Paul Vermeersch, had told him about the book.
Writers actually have very little control over their covers – the art is usually ran past us for approval but that’s more of a courtesy than a requirement. Publishers know what covers sell, after all – except for when they don’t. It’s a tricky business to be in sometimes.
While I’ve heard many horror stories from writers about their covers, I’ve been lucky enough – blessed even! – to always have covers I have absolutely loved. The artists don’t always get the credit they deserve, so I thought I’d give them a shoutout here because book art is the best art of all!
If you need a cover for your new book, now you know where to start!
I’m delighted to see my new book, Has the World Ended Yet?, included in Corey Redekop’s list of books that he done got through in 2017. Some mighty fine company there – I’ve added some new books to my own reading list!
If you like my work, I think you’ll love Corey’s books. I’d suggest starting with Husk, a darkly comic zombie novel. That one is still messing with my head….