Welcome

This page is for you, as a reader, and maybe a writer. I'll use it mainly to promote my own writing, but I'll also tell you about interesting books by other authors, and pass on some background on the life of a writer.  

Here are my novels so far.

KL front only cover 4

Kirk's Landing - An undercover cop, with the power to become invisible, gets busted by a biker gang and has to hide out in small northern detachment. He combines his street smarts and some local First Nations knowledge to fight off an evil spirit, solve a murder, and expose the pollution and corruption from a local paper mill.  

Available as a quality paperback online from Chapters and Amazon, on order from your local bookstore, and as an ebook from Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc. 

 

R2KL front cover only November 26 2016 copy

Return to Kirk's Landing - Dave's peaceful new life as police chief in a small town is shattered when ghosts from his past reappear. Suddenly he's confronted with bikers, drugs, treachery, a murder, and the reappearance of an evil spirit.  

 Available as a quality paperback online from Chapters and Amazon, on order from your local bookstore, and as an ebook from Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc. 

  

 

What About a Podcast?

I've already published two of my novels, Kirk's Landing and Return to Kirk's Landing. You can buy print or ebook copies from Amazon, Chapters, Ingram-Spark, Smashwords, iBooks, Kindle, etc. Or perhaps find a copy in your local library.  I've also written over 100 quick little Flash Fiction stories over the years, all up here on my blog. 

I'm thinking of doing a podcast of these - maybe a chapter a week, or a story a week, or both. Free of course. I'm told I have a good 'radio voice' so would do these myself, using my headset mic and Audacity and SoundCloud. Nothing too fancy. If it works out, I'd get better equipment, redo/repackage, and sell as audio books.

Interested? 


Cultural Appropriation as a Writer

We're all familiar with the issue of cultural appropriation, and how inappropriate it is. Usually. Whether it's kids at Halloween in Indian saris, or actors in black-face, or a First Nations mascot, we've learned (hopefully) to avoid it.    

But there have some articles lately discussing this from the point of view of a fiction writer. As we explore our characters lives, their goals, challenges, we explore other cultures, other peoples, other life-styles.  I might imagine my protagonist as a single overweight young black gay trombone player, and yet share very few of those characteristics myself. But by drawing on my relationships with friends, my own experiences, research, and some empathy, I might create a good story and successfully explore some of the issues that person might face. However, by dressing myself up, via my characters, in another culture,  am I showing disrespect for it? If it's a great story, and gets snapped up by a publisher, am I depriving someone else, that might be more like my character, the chance to publish about their own experience? Should I only write from my own life,  as a memoir?

Just asking, folks. Here's one article, from Writer unBoxed, by Keith Cronin, and another, from Vice, by Sarah Hagi.  

 


Writing as Therapy

I read an interesting article today on the therapeutic benefits of writing, especially fiction. The author, Jessica Lourey, writes:

I came to call this healing process “rewriting my life,” as I was taking real events and repurposing them to fit a fictional narrative. The power of this process is transformative. Writing fiction allows you to become a spectator to life’s roughest seas. It gives form to your wandering thoughts, lends empathy to your perspective, allows you to cultivate compassion and wisdom by considering other people’s motivations, and provides us practice in controlling attention, emotion, and outcome. We heal when we transmute the chaos of life into the structure of a novel, when we learn to walk through the world as observers and students rather than wounded, when we make choices about what parts of a story are important and what we can let go of.

And of course, the aim is not to publish this for the world to see - although that might be the path you choose.  It's the process that's important, so you can burn your novel, stuff it in a drawer, shred it, bury it in the backyard - whatever.

Try it, dear reader, and let me know how it goes. 


Return to Kirk's Landing in your library

My second book is now available at the Ottawa Public Library, here.  If you're in Ottawa, I hope you will take it out,  read it, leave a review, and recommend it to your friends. Maybe even buy a copy for you or someone else, via Amazon or Chapters. 

For the rest of the world, if it's not in your own local library, please request that they order a copy. It was published in 2016, by Deux Voiliers Publishing,  ISBN 9781928049470, 314 pages paperback, Fiction - Adult. Don't worry about me losing sales. Being in a library means more readers, and the Canada Council of the Arts has a program that compensates authors for books they have in libraries. 


Selling my books - best way for readers and authors?

Like many authors, I have several ways to get my books into the hands of my adoring fans. Who number in the dozens, I'm sure ;-) 

Libraries and bookstores can order paperback copies wholesale from Ingram Books in the US, or overseas, or from Red Tuque Books here in Canada. Regular customers can order online from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo, or buy a copy direct from me at a book reading or writer's festival. Or if they bump into me on the street or in a pub or cafe, I always have a few copies with me. Of course. Or they can read it via their library. Only the Ottawa one so far, but I'm asking other libraries to order it, and readers can certainly request it on their own. Ditto for finding ebook versions - online, for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc  - with no DRM protection so it can be passed on to others.  Or teh ebook may be in your library too. 

So which is the best way? 

For readers, a face to face purchase means they get a discount, on a signed copy, with a chance to chat with the author. Bookstore or online purchases are more expensive, but more convenient. And the library is both cheap and easy.

For me, the author, online or bookstores are simpler, but - since I have to sell to them wholesale with returns - my profit is much smaller. Face to face, even with a discount, gives me twice the profit, plus a chance to talk to my readers, and remind them to leave a review online somewhere. As for libraries, I get still the small wholesale profit, but the Canada Council of the Arts has a program that compensates authors for having their book in libraries. Plus this increases my readership.

Which is the best for me? Whatever gets my books out there, to be read, reviewed, and recommended to others. 


Some books

It seems a lot of science fiction now is not really that unbelievable.  Kim Stanley Robinson writes  in New York 2140 of a decidedly dampish city. 

"It’s spring in New York City. At Twenty-sixth and Park, the waves shine in the sunlight, and the breeze is briny with seaweed. Morning commuters are boarding a crosstown vaporetto. Out on the canal, finance guys in speedboats weave between the bigger ships. Workers in an inflatable raft are repairing the Flatiron dock; a superintendent, in diving gear, is checking his buildings for leaks. The super-rich live uptown, in a forest of skyscrapers near the Cloisters. The poor live downtown, in Chelsea, which is half-submerged."

If you want something closer to now, you might try Infomocracy by Malka Older.

"Infomocracy is a intellectually stimulating thriller that follows a handful of characters who work for various political parties and election systems. The story hinges on how a voting public receives and interprets information — and how parties manipulate that perception. It’s a book that’s all too relevant in 2016." - the Verge

Or you could always ignore reality and lose yourself in a Lovecraftian murder mystery/satire,  I Am Providence, by Nick Mamatas. 

 


Mapping

Fullsizerender-8We all use maps, paper, online, or mental. Even emotional I suppose. Writers use them for many reasons: to help outline a story, to add to the book as a cool feature, to deal with a bit of ATHD, or just as a way to procrastinate from actual writing.  

Barbara O'Neal has written an interesting article in Writer Unboxed that describes how our minds map to the world around us, using a specific neuron for each location. 

 


About me

    I was born and raised in Kirkland Lake, a small northern mining community with a nearby First Nations reserve.

I grew up with a love of the north, even in the midst of winter, exploring the surrounding woods with my friends, and grandfather. I moved down south in my 20's, to follow a career in quality management, but my real pleasure was still heading outside the city, with canoe and tent. While in Toronto I also developed an interest in back-alley murals, in artistic graffiti, and worked with some police there that saw its potential as a community building exercise.
     I'd always been a voracious reader, so several years into retirement I decided to draw on those high-school years spent hiding in sci-fi and fantasy books and try writing. I haven't stopped since. Kirk's Landing is my first book, released in 2013, and the sequel, Return to Kirk's Landing, was released in December of 2016. While the first two were primarily crime stories, with a bit of supernatural, I have several others waiting to be edited, in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.