Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghostly Bookish Tales for Halloween

This morning I was a guest on CHCH Morning Live, in studio with Annette Hamm, talking about my latest book, Tomes of Terror.

We had the chance to chat about a few stores, including the tale of Lord Combermere's Chair, The Willard Library Ghost Cams, Waterdown Library and the tales of books bound with human flesh.

Annette is always a fantastic host to chat with and the CHCH staff are a great group of people

Here's a link to the video.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Eerie Elevator at Waterdown Public Library

It was a slightly rainy, windy and overcast night at Waterdown Public Library

Last night I did a talk and reading from Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries at Waterdown Public Library. The location is included in a chapter of my book and talks about the eerie elevators there and the fact that, despite being checked for mechanical error, they often have a life of their own, opening for no reason when nobody has pushed the call button and even trapping people between the two floors.

A #horrorselfie in front of the tombstones at WPL

The elevators started acting in this manner shortly after a pair of tombstones from Waterdown founders Alexander Brown and Merren Grierson were found and placed on display at the library.

One of the many signs advertising this talk/reading
I had a blast with the staff of the library, who were all awesome. But I mean, really, how could bookish people not be amazing? The library was decorated with all kinds of great Halloween displays, appropriate spooky-themed reading for adults and kids alike, and they had wonderfully creative signs hung all over the store announcing the event, which took place on the second floor in the children's section.

Barnaby, all set up and ready for the talk and reading

I casually relayed several of the stories from my new book, as well as from Haunted Hamilton, then I read from two short chapters and wrapped up the evening with the tale of "The Legend of Prospero's Ghost" - a story about my own personal experience with this ghost at McMaster University.

The awesome Waterdown Library staff posing in front of the elevators/tomestones

The interesting thing is that, even though the library was closed and all staff and patrons were upstairs listening to me tell my tale, the elevator door to the second floor opened twice on its own. Sara, one of the staff members there, told me this took place during my talk - it's a good thing I didn't notice it myself, otherwise I might have run screaming from the building.

Sara and Kari posing with Barnaby

I am a big chicken, after all . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Events Week of Halloween

For a writer of dark fiction and true ghostly tales, the week leading up to Halloween is often a busy one. Not only do I have a new non-fiction book out - TOMES OF TERROR: Haunted Bookstores & Libraries, but my new novel I, DEATH is also currently making its way into the world.

Here is my schedule for this week.

Tuesday October 28th - 7:30 PM - Waterdown Branch, Hamilton Public Library
(25 Mill Street North, Waterdown, ON)
Reading, talk and book signing, including stories about the haunted elevator at the Waterdown Branch

Tuesday October 28th - 10 PM Eastern - TBR Podcast Interview
Author Mark Leslie Lefebvre joins TBR to talk about scary books. Post apocalyptic fiction, horror, thrillers - anything scary is game! Live listeners, please note we'll be running at 10PM EST this week. Jamie Maltman, Michael La Ronn and Patrick Stemp will see you there!

Wednesday October 29th - 7:00 PM - Terryberry Branch, Hamilton Public Library)
(100 Mohawk Road West, Hamilton, ON)
Reading, talk and book signing, including a couple of stories involving the Terryberry Branch of HPL

Thursday October 30th - Merril Collection, Lillian H. Smith Branch, Toronto Public Library
(239 College Street, Toronto, ON)
Shining a Light on the Dark Side
The Friends of the Merril Collection present a discussion of horror writing and publishing in Canada, featuring members of the Horror Writers Association: Sephera Giron, Mark Leslie, Nancy Kilpatrick, and Richard S. Todd. This event will take place in the Merril Collection reading room on the 3rd floor of the Lillian Smith branch.

Friday October 31st - CHCH Morning Live - Approximately 8 AM
At approximately 8 AM on CHCH Morning Live, Mark and his skeleton mascot Barnaby Bones will be in studio making an appearance on the morning program to share a few creepy tales about haunted bookstores and libraries.

Friday October 31st - Evening
Mark Leslie will be Trick or Treating with his son!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Writer's Block

I often get emails from writers looking for assistance or information regarding either the business or craft of writing, and it's always great to connect and help a fellow writer out.

So I thought that, instead of just responding, I'd take some info from my response and share it here in the hopes that it might be useful to other writers.

This morning's query was about writer's block.

Q: How do you deal with writer's block?

That can be a tough one. I will often jokingly say that if you don't believe in writer's block, it won't believe in you. (ie, don't GIVE it the power over you) - however, that answer often frustrates an author who has already been over-powered and is stuck in their writing.

One technique I use stems from the thought that actually writing is the best cure for writer's block.  There was a quote I remember reading years ago, likely in the pages of Writer's Digest magazine, and it is that writing begets writing.

So if I'm stuck on a scene or particular piece of writing, instead of staying stuck where the writing and the muse seem to have left and abandoned me, I go ahead and write something else - either another piece/story or a different part of the same story by SKIPPING the spot I'm stuck.

I do it with the following two thoughts:

1) Either the writing itself will get me enough back into the flow that, once I'm "running" again with word flow, I can return back to that stuck part and just motor through it. (Part of that "writing begets writing" mantra I mentioned earlier)

2) Perhaps there was something ABOUT that piece I got stuck on that was the culprit - something wrong about it that didn't ring true - which might mean going back and re-doing it a slightly different way - (ie, your tires get stuck in a rut when driving down a dirt road and it has taken you into a 'dead end' spot preventing you from continuing on, and you can't get your tires out of the rut. So, you back up, alter the path slightly and avoid the rut and try a slightly different way to get where you were going)

In any case, here's hoping that these thoughts on writers block help you overcome it should the little monster show itself in your writing life.