Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I received the ARC for my forthcoming horror novel I, DEATH the other day.

Cover for I, Death, designed by Bret Taylor

It's quite stunning. And I have to say that working with Ian, the publisher and owner of Atomic Fez, has been an absolute blast. He is an editor who knows what he likes, knows what he dislikes, and he pulls no punches in telling me that something about the story or plot is stupid and needs to be revised. His suggestions, edits and revisions to my novel (hilarious as many of his notes were), helped refine the story into something that I'm quite pleased with.

Front of the ARC - Releasing October 2014

I'll be on a flight to Texas for Romance Writers Association's annual conference soon and will likely be using most of my "air time" to go through the ARC and make some final proofing notes.  It's quite amazing to see this as a printed book after the long history the novel has had. The first half of the novel originally appeared as a "real-time" story told on a blog in 2006; I then sold the expanded novel version to Ian about a year or so later, when he was editing for a UK based publisher.  That particular publishing house didn't survive, but not long after when Ian started his own publishing company, he said he was still interested in the novel; but with only a book or perhaps two coming out per year, it would take a while to see the light of day.  Working with Ian has been very satisfying and was definitely worth the wait.

Back cover of the ARC
There's a wonderful quote from Halifax's the extraordinary storyteller and writer, Steve Vernon which is derived from the Foreword he wrote for the book:

"I, Death is a death rattle coming of age story; it is a song, and it is the world's funniest dirty joke - all rolled into one."
Oh, and, if Steve's quote wasn't warning enough, let me add a note on the content. I, DEATH includes raw horror and pretty nasty and disturbing moments with people doing really bad things to one another. It's not for the faint of heart. To demonstrate Ian's wry humour, check out the PUBLISHER'S NOTE disclaimer on the copyright page which addresses this....

That's right - following the standard "this is a work of fiction....any resemblance to any real places or persons....is purely coincidental" but is then followed by:  "Any scenes involving alcohol, drugs, and / or teen-age sex are not in any way an endorsement of these sorts of behaviour by the publisher or the author. Kids: don't do drugs, stay in school, use a condom. Word, yo." 

I've only met Ian once in person. At a brew pub. Imagine that? We not only share an affinity for twisted and dark humour, but we also share a passion for discovering fine new beers.  I'll be seeing him again when we do the pre-launch for I, DEATH at When Words Collide in Calgary in just a couple of weeks. Though the book officially releases in October, this will be a launch party with a special pre-release edition of the book which won't be available anywhere else.  [Facebook Event Info]

The book is in pre-order now (via all your favourite bookish places), or please request it/order it through your favourite local bookstore. (Only the print version is available for pre-order through retailers - the eBook isn't yet appearing in their catalogs) The story is also unrolling for free on Wattpad, if you want to get a head start on the story. There will likely be a Goodreads giveaway once we get a bit closer to official release time.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Warrior Dash 2014

Another Warrior Dash weekend in Barrie, Ontario has come and gone. It is always a weekend filled with much mirth, hanging out with both old and new friends, and, of course, somewhere in there, some running, too.

Pierre adding dye to Chad's beard

Is it too late to be reading the instructions WHILE dye is being added to my hair?

As always, Pierre and I spent part of the day hanging around the beer gardens enjoying the many free beer tags that were given to us. (One of the benefits of wearing a warrior costume is that people who aren't using their beer ticket give them to you - not that we needed any free beer - the giant "Beeramid" we had created above the fireplace in the condo was doing okay all on its own)

Pierre, Chad, Tricia and me prior to the race

Pierre, Trish and I after the race (Chad must have been at the beer tent already)

As had become tradition, we shaved our heads after the race. We tried dying our hair blond the night before, but starting with black hair (okay, mostly black with a little bit of grey), the hair only lightened a bit. So we then dyed half of our heads black (but it ended up turning a strange blue hue -- hmm, maybe the combination of two different hair dyes in a short time period combined with the chlorine from the swimming pools had something to do with it.

Pointing out each other's beer bellies
Menacing warriors are here to drink all your beer!

One of the funniest moments from the weekend was while walking around the beer gardens and posing for pictures with so many different people. It's fun to ham for the camera; people are always in such a happy and playful mood when you're in a costume. And we had three different people we posed with let us know that we simply HAD to pose with them because they have a picture with us from every year of the Dash.

Pierre and I hanging out with some pals from The Basement Fitness in Sudbury
The post-dash buzz cut is complete - now we're Breaking Marking Bad!

As always, the whole weekend was a really fun time. Somewhere in there we managed to make new friends, annoy old friends, bump into old high school pals, get lots of swimming in with the kids and help the kids discover the joys of fishing, paddle boats and catching frogs from a pond.

Good times.

Previous Warrior Dash Summaries:  2013, 2012, 2011 (This one I actually talk more about the run itself and less about the beer and hanging out in the beer tent)