Sunday, October 24, 2021

2021 WMG Publishing Halloween Spectacular

If you like the Halloween season the way I do, you're already anticipating a bit of a let down come November, when it's over for another year.

But what if I told you that you could continue to enjoy the thrill and fun of the Halloween and Harvest season with a handy little


THE HALLOWEEN SPECTACULAR CALENDAR 2021

Get a daily dose of spooky fun delivered straight to your inbox. 

Or. give the literary equivalent of trick-or-treating to yourself or a loved one. A magical virtual harvest hayride of reading pleasures and treats.

For only $15 USD.



Every day, starting on October 25, 2021, and running through November 2, 2021, you will get an original short story sent to you (or the recipient of your choice) via email.

Each seasonally themed tale is accompanied by an introduction by me, the editor of this selection of delightful tales and publishing by WMG Publishing.

You will get each story in ebook format (epub and mobi), so you can read them daily on your own device, anywhere, anytime you choose. Or you can store them up and binge on a weekend.


As an added bonus, all subscribers will receive the Halloween Harvest anthology (cover below), which includes all nine stories, plus two bonus stories! Halloween Harvest will be released just two days after the calendar ends, on November 4.


 

 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Uncanny Tales: Storytime for Adults

I was honored that Chris Humphreys recently read some of my short fiction as part of the Vancouver Public Library's "Uncanny Tales: Storytime for Adults" series.

In a delightful dark and black and white setting, Chris reads my short stories "That Old Silk Hat They Found" and "Browsers."

"That Old Silk Hat They Found" is a tale that appears in my mini short story collection Snowman Shivers: Dark Humor Snowman Tales and is about my perception of what might really happen should a snowman come to life.

"Browsers" is the tale of a bookshop that feeds, like a Venus flytrap for book nerds, and appears in my mini-story collection Active Reader: And Other Cautionary Tales from the Book World.

 


 

You can see the video here.


Chris has, so far, narrated a few of my horror story collections.

Bumps in the Night: Creepy Campfire Tales

 


Night Cries (Nocturnal Screams Volume 1)

 


 Ode to Classics (Nocturnal Screams Volume 2)


 


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Meet The Author: Burlington Public Library

On Aug 31, 2021 Burlington Public Library is hosting an event with me.

 


During the event I'll be sharing my journey through writing and publishing, the inspiration and origin of my "Canadian Werewolf" series, and an excerpt from my most recent novel in that series: Fear and Longing in Los Angeles.

The event is free, but you'll have to register online in order to attend.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Video Review of Canadian Werewolf Books

 I was beyond thrilled to see how much Nichi, the host of Dark Between the Pages, enjoyed my Canadian Werewolf books.

In this video review, part of her Recent Reads video, she shares her thoughts on my character Michael Andrews and the situations he ends up finding himself in in A Canadian Werewolf in New York, Stowe Away, and Fear and Longing in Los Angeles.


The part where she talks about my books starts at about 6:30.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Best Book Ever Podcast: Neil Peart's Traveling Music

I was a guest on a recent episode, Episode 58 of the Best Book Ever Podcast.

Book worm host Julie Strauss and I talked about Neil Peart's memoir Traveling Music: The Soundtrack of my Life and Times.


 This was my second appearance as a guest on the show, and I was honored to learn that I was the first repeat guest that Julie'd had. (I chatted about George R. Stewart's Earth Abides on my previous appearance, which was in Episode 9).

I am, admittedly, a lifelong fan of Neil Peart, and of the rock band Rush. I fell in love with the band first for their meaningful and brilliantly crafted lyrics, which Peart writes. So when he started to write books, I was obviously along for the amazing ride.

It was intriguing to talk to Julie about this book because I loved it, and she had a few issues with it. But when you can have a meaningful and respectful conversation about something you don't agree about, that's when interesting growth and introspection can happen.

And it's always been about growth and introspection when I read Peart's lyrics or his prose.

 




Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Dark Between Pages Live Chat

I had the opportunity to chat with Nichi of Dark Between Pages the other day during an hour long live chat. Okay, we went one hour and eighteen minutes. But that's because the chat was so fun, and the folks watching and commenting during that chat were so lively and entertaining.


We spent quite a bit of time talking about my Canadian Werewolf series . . .

Canadian Werewolf Series

Though we talked about all kinds of other writing things too, including my background helping authors steer clear of the predators and thieves trying to trick authors out of their money using a combination of "smoke and mirrors," false promises, and highly exaggerated "results" from their useless marketing packages.

It was a load of fun. It's always a grand time talking to someone who adores books.


Sunday, June 27, 2021

I Never Thought I Would (Present Margaret Atwood with a Lifetime Achievement Award)

I had a great chat with Jennifer Lieberman on your YouTube show I Never Thought I Would and got to share the great honor of presenting Margaret Atwood with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Booksellers Association. 

This was for Episode 41.



Here's one of the pictures from the night in question. Still one of my greatest honors.



Thursday, June 24, 2021

 

“Fantasy—and all fiction is fantasy of one kind or another—is a mirror. A distorting mirror, to be sure, and a concealing mirror, set at forty-five degrees to reality, but it’s a mirror nonetheless, which we can use to tell ourselves things we might not otherwise see." - Neil Gaiman

The same holds true for Science Fiction, which, like all fiction, is fantasy, but fantasy rooted within scientific principles and rules.
 
I was reading Scott Overton's amazing novel Naïda this morning and had to quote something from it.
 


 This excerpt is from a scene shortly after the main character, Michael Hart, and the alien symbiote, Naïda, connect. It's from the alien's perspective.
 
"The symbiote struggles to understand. She has not bonded before....
 
"She now has senses far different from those she has ever known. Distinct, individual senses. Instead of a pervasive awareness of surroundings and accumulating various data about them, she can now choose to collect information through analysis of the wavelengths and other properties of light. Or by vibrations through a medium of gas or liquid that generate interesting resonances and harmonics. Tactile data is not all-encompassing but seems particularly focused into especially sensitive areas of the biped's body, providing a definition that is intriguing. Another sense is designed exclusively for detection of trace molecules in the surrounding air, but is seemingly linked to stored memories rather than being used for strict chemical analysis. And yet another sense is entirely related to the ingestion of solids and liquids used by the biped for fuel. The Controller has defined these senses for her, but comprehending the reality they present is very difficult since the symbiote's own sensory input is much more homogeneous, and measures an almost completely different range of properties.
 
"Most strange of all is that Human responds to collected data from its senses in ways that appear to bypass rational analysis completely and instead trigger autonomic functions with unknown purpose, such as suddenly increased circulatory rate or an equally rapid relaxation of muscles and nerve activity."


I love what this mirror held up to reality says, in a subtle way about the individual way we all process sensory input.
 
It's interesting to consider eating (linked in countless societies to strict cultural conventions, and a major commercial enterprise in western society) as the ingestion of solids and liquids for fuel.
 
Even more interesting to note that humans respond to data collected from our senses in ways that bypass rational analysis.
 
A little confirmation bias thrown into the mix? A combination of new inputs being affected by stored memories? I'm intrigued by the subtle things a passage like this says.
 
Which, I suppose, is why I love how science fiction, fantasy, and fiction in general, can provide plenty of great nuggets of thought to chew on.
 
 
Links of Interest (YouTube Videos)

Friday, June 18, 2021

Scribble Worth's Review of FEAR AND LONGING IN LOS ANGELES

I was thrilled to read this review on the Scribble Worth's blog for my latest novel, FEAR AND LONGING IN LOS ANGELES.

This is a link to the full review

Here are some of the highlights from the review.

How’d your love life be like, if you turned into wolf at night and had to fight crime?

Mark Leslie explores this possibility in a entertaining, smooth and unique way blending romance with fantasy and sprinkling it with a good dose of thriller and action.


Fear and Longing has it all, well-written characters with weight and depth that you fall in love with without effort, a perfect style of narrative for a romance, gripping humor, a solid, reality-like plot that doesn’t go overboard in any aspect, and above all, substance.

 

This book, and author, isn’t just something that you read and let go. No. The book has substance, it has life-changing messages well woven into it, it has reach and grip. The author calls into question many topics of dire need of discussion that people avoid, such as sexism, emotional traumas, appreciation of other’s deeds, authenticity and even homelessness and the social constructs that reinforce them in America.

 

Pros:

  • SENSE OF HUMOR!
  • Cusses!!!! Yes!
  • A narrative that talks to the reader and provokes imagination. Very nice.
  • The writer gives off an explicit insight onto how relationships work and the implications of paying attention.
  • Nice fight scenes.
  • Believability throughout the book, although it has fantasy elements to it, which is hard to come by.
  • Solid plot.
  • GREAT life-changing messages that will provide to be of great help to people going through hard break-ups, or are unable to let go.
  • Good scene suspense build-up fit in the appropriate places.
  • An odd, quirky style of narrative that evoques the personality of characters and brings them to life.

 

Knowing the story, the characters, the world, is resonating with readers is fantastic to see as I continue to work on FRIGHT NIGHTS, BIG CITY, the next one in the series.

 

 

 


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

Do you ever feeling like someone is watching you?

I do.

All the time.


 

But perhaps there's a good reason for it. (Click to see video)

It could just be the more than two dozen skulls in my office.

The side effect of being a horror author I guess.

 


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Why Can't I Do Normal Memes? Boop The Floof

It started off as a normal meme.

That cute little audio clip originally created by Matt Cox (@findmattcox on TikTok) while my phone camera sneaks up on Meredith, our lovely cat.


 But I'm not a normal person.

And our pets aren't normal either.


How could they be with so many skeletons in and out of our closets?

Pets of a horror writer aren't normal pets, are they?




Sunday, May 16, 2021

Toronto Public Library Sets World Record for Digital Downloads

A recent CTV Toronto news update shared that Toronto Public Library (with 100 branches) has broken a world record with 8 million digital downloads in the last year.

“Toronto Public Library for the 8th year in a row is the largest consumer of e-content in the world, so it's quite a large system," said Shawn Mitchell to reporter Pat Foran, in the aforementioned article.

Did you know that you can get virtually ANY of my books from the Toronto Public Library (or your own local libary?)

I have sold plenty of print, eBook, and Audiobooks to libraries around the world. But a quick check of TPL's online listing for eBooks and Audiobooks shows that, while they do have my non-fiction books from Dundurn...

 

...they don't appear to have any of my other eBooks or Audiobooks.

But did you know that you can request virtually any of my eBooks or Audiobooks (or print books for that matter) from Toronto Public Library, or wherever your local library happens to be?

Here's a look at some of the titles of mine available (in eBook and Audiobook format - most of these are also available in Print) via OverDrive.