I have spent a good amount of time in the past year working on a book called Campus Chills, an anthology of thirteen tales of terror set on campuses across Canada.
Campus Chills contains never before published stories by Kelley Armstrong, Julie E. Czerneda, Kimberly Foottit, James Alan Gardner, Sephera Giron, Michael Kelly, Nancy Kilpatrick, Susie Moloney, Douglas Smith, Brit Trogen, Edo van Belkom, Steve Vernon and Carol Weekes. It is introduced by Robert J. Sawyer.
I had asked each of these fine authors to produce a tale set on a campus anywhere in the world (they all chose Canada) and that tells a chilling story. I wanted the stories to either be traditional ghost stories drawing on history or local campus legends, or perhaps be something born from a discovery in the labs. One caveat was that I did not want any stories that were based on real-life horrors such as what happened at Virginia Tech in 2007 or at McGill in 1989. There were to be no enraged gunmen on campus -- those things were still too close to home for so many -- the horrors in their fiction were to come from some supernatural force or from something happening in a research lab.
And the authors came through beautifully. From experiments gone wrong to ghosts walking the deserted hallways at night, from creatures returning from the dead to eerie spectres forewarning danger, from the fear of a failing grade to the dread of abandonment and isolation, from outraged revenge to a desperate desire to change the past, from supernatural creatures stalking the campus to long hidden and buried passageways and secrets, this anthology covers a broad range of the horror genre from some of Canada's truly finest writers.
The book, which is available from the Espresso Book Machines at McMaster University, University of Waterloo and University of Alberta Bookstores, will be launched next week -- October 22, 2009 in a four city, three province series of events.
Dalhousie University bookstore will host author Steve Vernon for a lunchtime reading/book signing in Halifax, NS.
Then, starting at 7 PM in Hamilton, ON at McMaster, Haunted Hamilton will be offering free custom ghost tours of campus starting and ending at Titles bookstore, while inside, after a demonstration of the printing of the book on the Espresso Book Machine, authors Kelley Armstrong, Kimberly Foottit, Sephera Giron, Michael Kelly and Edo van Belkom do readings and sign copies of Campus Chills as well as their own books.
In Waterloo, ON beginning at 9 PM at the University of Waterloo bookstore, after a demonstration of the printing of Campus Chills on the Espresso Book Machine, authors Julie E. Czerneda, James Alan Gardner and Douglas Smith will be taking customers on a journey from the bookstore to a special secret campus location where everyone will be treated to candlelit ghost stories. (Due to limited space, this free event requires pre-registration, which you can do online)
And finally, the University of Alberta bookstore in Edmonton, AB will be hosting authors Brit Trogen and Susie Moloney, engaging customers in readings, a demonstration of the printing of Campus Chills on the Espresso Book Machine and the previewing of short horror films from local independently produced film-makers.
We were unable to secure a fifth event (Montreal-based) featuring authors Nancy Kilpatrick and Carol Weekes. Otherwise, it would have been a five city, four province series of book launches featuring all contributors. But I'm still delighted that we're able to have scheduled launches across Canada for the same day and featuring 11 of the 13 contributors (okay, 12 of the 15 if you include me, as I'll be hosting the McMaster event, and Rob Sawyer, who wrote the introduction but is unable to attend due to previous commitments)
I will, of course, be talking more and more about the coming events, particularly the one in Hamilton. In the meantime, here's a picture of me reading through an Advance Reader Copy of the book that we're currently spitting out of the Espresso Book Machines . . . this book is so good that I've read it over a dozen times. (I suppose, being the editor, I'd have to read it repeatedly, and yes, I'm a little biased . . . but dammit, these authors have done a tremendous job writing some incredible stories for this anthology . . . it's unputdownable . . .)