Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Books Don't Go Bad, They Just Page Away

As a life-long book nerd, I'm pretty pumped to be part of a bundle of novels and stories all focused on books and bookish things.

The BOOKS GONE BAD BUNDLE, from BundleRabbit, is a collection of nearly 260,000 words of 2 novels and 10 stories from 11 authors and is certain to be an excellent 24 hours or so of reading for those who revel in book-themed tales.

Using the catch-phrase "Speculative Tales about a Uniquely Portable Magic" (in reference to the quote from Stephen King), the bundle, which is available at all major eBook retailers, contains:

  • "Clockwork Lives" by Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart (Novel)
  • "Quest for the Three Books" by Dawn Blair (Novel)
  • "These Chains" by Dayle A. Dermatis (Story)
  • "Warning! Do Not Read This Story!" by Robert Jeschonek (Story)
  • "The Page Turners" by DeAnna Knippling (Story)
  • "Active Reader" by Mark Leslie (3 Story Collection)
  • "Guardian of the Grimoire" by Karen McCullough (Novella)
  • "The Story for the Letters" by Kate MacLeod (Story)
  • "Petra and the Blue Goo" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Story)
  • "Invasion of the Book Snatchers" by Ryan M. Williams (Story)
My own collection of three bookish themed stories, Active Reader, is a part of the bundle and was the genesis for the idea for the bundle. I love bookish themed stories and I wanted to see if there was a way to collect a bunch of them together to give other book nerds like me an easy way to read a bunch of book-centric tales of books, booksellers and librarians.

The bundle, as mentioned, is available at all major eBook retailers. You can get to it by following any of the links below:

BundleRabbit Page: With full synopsis of bundle and each individual eBook - and retailer link
Books2Read.com (links to all retailers, including Kindle, Kobo, Apple and Nook)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Inside, Outside, Loving All Around

Earlier this morning I was hit with one of those Facebook pop-ups. A memory from last year.

When I saw the picture I was reminded of an awesome time last year in a picture of Liz and I on our way to the Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando last summer. It was a crazy and fun road trip adventure driving from Ontario to Florida.

This is a great pic of Liz and I, and one of my favorites. Look at those two smiling kids. Fresh air, sunshine, an awesome beer spot. The world belongs to them.

But it was also an interesting reminder that, when I took this picture I was suffering from a nasty bout of food poisoning. The painful side-effects of the food poisoning was hitting me in repeated waves that morning, and just wanted to curl up into a ball and leave the rest of the world behind. I should NOT have eaten those raw oysters the night before. I haven't been able to eat raw oysters since then. Such is the post-effect of food poisoning.

The last thing I wanted to do was be in a car for 10 or 12 more hours, to be heading to a conference where I had to be on stage, on panels, conduct business meetings and Facebook live videos with various folks.

I remember the usual side-effects, combined with sweating profusely (not just the heat, but the fever of my body trying to get rid of the poison inside) that began that morning and lasted for days. But I was committed to this road trip, we had plenty of fun things to do on our way, and, arriving in Orlando, I needed to go on to do my usual work at the annual RWA conference with nobody I hung out with or had business meetings with knowing the internal physical pain I was suffering. 

Fortunately, I was a-okay mentally and emotionally, so was able to apply a "mind over matter" element and make the best of it. But not everybody is so fortunate. And some pain and internal suffering is not something where "mind over matter" works.

Reflecting on this was a reminder to me that perhaps, while we share the "perfect picture life" sometimes on social media, with big grins and a "smiling" exterior, there might be internal turmoils (mental, emotional) that aren't shared so cavalierly.

Maybe the "moral" of me sharing this (and apologies to anyone who thinks that my food poisoning experience is a little TMI) is to pause a moment to consider those you care about and others around you.

Even if they are posting happy and positive things, it never hurts to let them know you are there for them or that they are important to you. They might be experiencing pain that is invisible to the rest of the world. They might be suffering from an unseen anxiety or turmoil that isn't being shared.

Heck, maybe even strangers or others you encounter in your day to day. You know that jackass that pissed you off because they said something or did something in a way you don't agree with? Perhaps they were struggling with something you aren't able to see and perhaps it came out wrong. It might perhaps, be worth a moment or two of pausing to reflect on that and not jumping all over them.

And, even if that person you care about, that friend, or that stranger that rubbed you the wrong way isn't suffering, isn't it a good thing to just take a moment to spread a little bit of kindness, or love, out into the world?

The cost, to you, is virtually nothing. But the worth, to them, could be priceless.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Essential Edits / SFeditor.ca: Interview with Terry Fallis

Quite delighted to see this recent review about my latest Stark Reflections podcast interview.

Essential Edits / SFeditor.ca: Interview with Terry Fallis: Fabulous interview by Mark Leslie Lefebvre with Terry Fallis about going from self-published writer, to Stephen Leacock Medal winner, to b...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Humor Can Be Really Serious Stuff

I recently interviewed my friend Terry Fallis for an episode of the Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing podcast.

Apart from gushing over how much I adored Terry's novels, I had Terry take a journey through his unique publishing path, from self-publishing and podcasting his novel, to winning awards, landing an agent and a publisher, and then winning more awards and having his book The Best Laid Plans made into a musical stage show and a mini-series for CBC Television.

Among the many great things we spoke about, here's a clip of Terry talking about the use of humor to address a serious subject matter (while speaking about his novel Poles Apart)

You can watch the full video interview here.

Or you can listen to the entire audio of Episode 29 of the Stark Reflections Podcast here.

“Terry Fallis has written a delightful book about a young man inspired by feminism to contribute to the cause. . . . Funny and engaging, Poles Apart is a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read.”
Judy Rebick, founding publisher, rabble.ca, and former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Two-Sentence Horror Stories

I recently spotted a few two-sentence horror stories and was enjoying reading them. So I wanted to try writing one of my own.

One of the first that came to me was based on a poem I wrote and had published years ago. I suppose it's okay to re-adapt my own writing into this new form.

So, here's the first two-sentence horror story I came up with:

"She has her daddy's eyes. In a jar up in her room."

This two-sentence horror story is derived from a poem I wrote called "Daddy's Girl" and which was originally published in Everyday Weirdness in 2009. The two first lines of the poem came to me many many years ago as a quick and dark humor punch-line that I later morphed into a poem (below) - but I figured: why not re-adapt it back to those first two sentences?

Daddy's Girl
By Mark Leslie

She has her Daddy’s eyes
In a jar up in her room
It took a while to dig them out
Because she’d used a spoon

She has her Daddy’s hair
And with it his whole scalp
She hacked it off with a dull steak knife
But knew a sharper one might help

She has the rest of her Daddy’s parts
Stored in an air-tight drum
She fancies herself a Daddy’s girl
But she looks more like her Mum

But enough of the original poem and back to the two-sentence horror tale.

Do you have a favorite two-sentence horror story to share?