Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cupid War: Fallon's First Couple

“This is as good a place to find love as any,” Caleb said as he and Ricky Fallon approached the pub and performance house known as the Desert Spring, “but are you sure you wouldn’t rather choose an easier venue?”
“And have you miss out on another night of bad poetry?” Fallon replied. They stepped up to the Desert Spring’s front door and phased through it as if it wasn’t there.
“They weren’t all bad,” Caleb said. “Some, I thought, had quite a bit of talent.”
“Some,” Fallon admitted. “But not all, or even most. Put them on X-Factor, and that British guy would demolish them.”
Fallon and Caleb walked through the pub like ghosts, which wasn’t far off from what they were. No one saw them as they headed for the back, even though both wore bright pink body stockings with red hearts emblazoned on their chests. No one complained or even noticed as they phased through tables, chairs, the drinks, even the people.
Caleb stopped in the middle of a table near the back. A man and a woman sat on either side of him, talking animatedly while enjoying some pub fare. Caleb reached out both hands and slid them into the couple’s chests. There was a flash of pink light from the area around Caleb’s hands, and the two diners paused in their conversation to stare lovingly into each other’s eyes.
“That’s just showing off,” Fallon said when Caleb rejoined him.
“They were already in love,” Caleb replied. “I set them together the last time we were here. All I did was give them a little boost.”
“Well, I also noticed a potential duo last time,” Fallon said, “and today I’m going to make them my first couple.”
“Then do so,” Caleb said. “I shall be listening to the poetry.”
They walked through the door in the far wall and into the back room. It was half as large as the restaurant, packed with small tables and chairs, with a stage at the far end. The stage was well-lit but the rest of the room was dark. A throng of people crowded the area, enjoying drinks and watching the show. A young woman stood on stage, a microphone in her hand, performing a poem.
On the right side beside the door, an attractive twenty-something woman stood behind a small counter. She was Emma Brownridge, one of the performers Fallon was hoping to match up.
Someone came through the back door and approached the counter. Emma asked him for the cover charge, and he paid up. Fallon touched the guy’s heart, just to check; he had no romantic interest in her.
Just as well, Fallon thought. He had another guy in mind for Emma. Provided, of course, he could find him. It occurred to Fallon that his man might not even be here tonight. That would suck, and be somewhat embarrassing.
Fallon turned and made his way through the crowd, looking for the other half of his couple.
On stage, a poet lamented on the state of the world. Fallon ignored him, and so did most of the audience.
“Derrick’s doing another political rant,” said a large twenty-something man in dreadlocks and a beard. “I’m very nearly surprised.”
“Third one tonight, too,” a young woman with flaming orange hair replied. “I’m not sure who I’m supposed to be angry at, anymore.”
“That’s... it!” said the other young guy at the table. He pulled a notebook from the back pocket of his jeans and a pen from brim of his black Fedora, and began to write furiously.
Fallon walked over and stared into the young man’s face. It was Colin Triller, the second half of Fallon’s couple-to-be.
“Gotcha,” he said, even though he’d done no such thing. He still had to match Colin to Emma, an action that would require patience, finesse, and not a little bit of luck.
First, he needed Colin and Emma to look at each other. Then, when one of them was looking at the other, he’d fire Love into their heart.
That was where the patience came in. He could only do one of them at a time, but he had to do both of them to form a couple.
Colin looked up from his notebook, a devious look in his eyes.
“Brody, Raquel,” he said, holding up his notebook, “you are gonna love this!”
Fallon touched Colin’s heart, the way he had the last time he and Caleb had been here. As Colin looked at his two friends, Fallon sensed he was a little interested in Raquel but not at all interested in Brody. If only Raquel had been interested in him, Fallon thought; he could match them up now and be done with it. Even if she were, Caleb had already joined Raquel to Brody several months ago, and Fallon wasn’t about to mess with that.
Besides, where was the fun in doing something easy? He had his couple picked out. Now he just had to get them to look at each other.
“Derrik Mont, everyone!” announced the host, a thin young woman with dark purple hair. “And next on the open mic list, a returning favourite from the distant land of Thornhill, Emma Brownridge!”
Fallon’s eyes widened, and he turned to see Emma get up from the till counter and make her way to the stage. He’d counted on at least one of them going up on stage tonight. Now he could zap Colin while he watched Emma perform. And he could do Emma when Colin took the stage. It couldn’t be simpler.
Provided Emma didn’t leave before then...
Emma took the stage and launched into a poem. Fallon put his hand back into Colin’s heart and prepared to fire.
Colin didn’t look up. Instead he kept writing in his notebook with an expression of manic naughtiness on his face.
“Look up,” Fallon said. With his hand in contact with Colin’s heart, he knew he could plant a suggestion into Colin’s mind. It didn’t always work, however, especially if the person’s mind was busy. Colin kept writing, oblivious to all else.
“C’mon, man!” Fallon said, bending over to talk directly into Colin’s ear. “Look up and see the hot chick!”
Colin did not. And, up on stage, Emma finished her poem.
“Aysha, do I have time for one more?” Emma asked the host as the audience applause died down.
“If it’s a short one,” Aysha replied from the side of the stage.
At the same time, Colin stopped writing and put his pen down. Fallon took note, and he leaned in close again.
“LOOK AT HER!” he shouted, and Colin actually jumped. His head snapped up and he saw Emma up on stage. Fallon registered the interest in his heart, and with a burst of pink light he filled Colin’s heart with Love.
Colin gazed at Emma, his eyes wide open and his ears taking in every nuance of her poem. Gotcha, Fallon thought. One down, one to go.
Emma finished her poem and left the stage. Fallon went to her, and tried to direct her over to Colin’s table.
“Turn right, go to the guy with the dorky hat,” he said, his hand in her heart, ready to fire. Emma did turn, but as she did so Brody stood up and obscured her view of Colin.
“No, not that guy!” Fallon said.
Emma frowned, then she resumed walking to the back of the room. Brody took his and Raquel’s empty glasses and headed for the bar. Colin watched Emma as she walked; now you look, Fallon thought.
Another poet began his set. He was very angry, though at what Fallon couldn’t say. He ignored him and headed back to Emma’s side.
“Going well, I hope?”
Fallon looked around and saw Caleb sitting on top of the table closest to the till. Two young men watched the show through Caleb’s back, completely unaware of his presence.
“I got him to like her,” Fallon told his mentor. “Now I just need to get her to like him.”
“Be patient,” Caleb said. “An opportunity will come.”
“I know,” Fallon said. “I have a plan.”
And he did. All he had to do was wait until Colin went up on stage; Emma was sure to look at him then.
“Hey, Em,” said a stout blonde in a short skirt and fishnet stockings. “Wanna go for a smoke?”
“Sure, Marion,” Emma replied. “This guy bugs me, anyway.”
“Wait! Don’t go,” Fallon shouted as Emma and her friend went out the door. Of course they didn’t hear him, but Caleb did.
“What’s so funny?” Fallon snapped at him, but his mentor only chuckled.
Up on stage, the angry poet finished to a smattering of applause. Aysha hopped back onto the stage, and Fallon feared she would announce Colin Triller as the next act.
“And now,” the host said, “put your hands together for Danger Girl!”
A short girl in a goth dress slunk up onto the stage.
“I’m not Danger Girl anymore,” the goth girl said. “Now I’m called Lady Deadly. Get it right.” She then proceeded to read a really terrible poem in a voice barely above a mumble. In response, the audience resumed talking amongst themselves.
Fallon hurried over to Colin’s table and planted his hand back inside Colin’s heart.
“If you want her,” Fallon told him, “you’d better get up and go after her.”
Colin looked at the door for a moment, then he seemed to come to a decision. He stood up and headed for the back door, but when he arrived Aysha intercepted him.
“Two of my readers didn’t show,” the host said. “You’re up next.”
“I... oh. Okay,” Colin replied. The door opened and Brody stepped through with two drinks in his hands. Colin looked out at the restaurant, and could just see Emma and Marion sitting at the bar.
“Do I have time to get a drink?” he asked.
Aysha looked up at the goth girl on stage, then shook her head.
“Probably not, if we’re very lucky.”
Colin couldn’t help but smile at that.
“Okay,” he said.
“No, not okay!” Fallon said. “You’ve got to go talk to Emma!”
Colin hesitated, clearly torn, and Fallon thought he had him.
“Kay, that’s all of my poems, bye,” said the goth chick, and she slunk herself offstage.
“Okay, you’re up,” Aysha told Colin, then she rushed to the stage. Colin hurried back to his table and snatched up his notebook, leaving Fallon standing alone by the till.
“Come on!” he cried. Then he turned and glared at Caleb, who remained sitting on top of the nearby table. “You don’t have to keep laughing, you know.”
“I do apologize, my friend,” Caleb replied. “You are reminding me of my first couple. My troubles were not that dissimilar to yours.”
Up on stage, the host announced Colin Triller as the next act. Colin headed up amid a moderate amount of applause.
“Don’t suppose you have some relevant experience to share, do you?” Fallon asked as he walked through the table to Caleb’s side.
“Just this,” Caleb replied. “I had to ask myself why my two lovers were open to each other in the first place.”
Fallon thought back to the first time he and Caleb had come to the show, when he had discovered that Emma was open to Colin. Emma had been watching from the cash desk while Colin performed on stage. She’d laughed and laughed at Colin’s performance. What was it he’d been reading?
No, not reading...
Fallon hurried over to the stage. It was a small stage, and only a foot off the floor. Fallon had yet to learn how to interface with different levels, however, and his feet vanished into the wood. Luckily, he was still able to reach up and touch Colin’s heart.
Colin was in the middle of the bit he’d been writing only minutes before - a spoof of Derrick Mant’s latest rant. When he reached the end and received his applause, Fallon shouted as loud as he could, “Do the pen song!”
Colin leafed through his notebook. Fallon watched him, and hoped his message had been received.
“You know,” Colin said, “I have something that helps me with my life. It’s long, hard, filled with fluid, and I’ve got it right here in my pants. It’s...” he reached into his trousers and pulled out... “my pen!”
Yes! Fallon thought. He’d gotten through to him!
“I’d like to sing a little song,” Colin went on, “about how wonderful I think my pen is.”
Fallon ran across the cheering audience and through the door to the pub while Colin began the Pen Song.
“Oh, when poetry takes seed, what’s the one thing that I need? My pen is!”
Emma and Marion remained at the bar, chatting. Fallon slid his hand through Emma’s back and into her heart, then whispered in her ear:
“Colin’s doing the pen song.”
Emma’s eyes widened. Then she giggled.
“Gotta go!” she told Marion. “He’s doing that song again!”
“That song... oh, grow up!” Marion called after her.
Fallon was right behind Emma as she quietly re-entered the back room. The song was in full swing, and some in the audience were singing along.
“What makes me feel grand, when it’s lying in my hand? My pen is!”
Emma looked up, saw Colin...
...and Fallon fired Love into her heart. People come together for all kinds of reasons, he thought. Why not over a song filled with thinly-veiled innuendos?
“Well done,” Caleb said when Fallon joined him at his table.
“Thanks for the advice,” Fallon said.
“Thanks for taking it,” Caleb replied.

As the show wound down, Colin and Emma went to the bar for a drink. Then they left together to go get some coffee. Fallon sensed this, even though he and Caleb were long gone.
“I can still feel them, like you said,” Fallon told his mentor as they ambled on down the streets of the club district. “Is it always this, I don’t know... psychic?”
“You’ll get used to it,” Caleb told him, “and then it will be more of a subconscious thing. You will sense automatically when they will need another Love boost.
“And speaking of boosts,” Caleb turned to face a sports bar, “I have a few couples in need of a topping up. And would you look at that?” he pointed through the window at a flat screen TV hanging on the far wall. “It would seem the Argos are playing tonight.”
“How about that, eh?” Fallon said. In life, he’d been an Argos fan.
“To your first couple,” Caleb said, raising a pretend glass in a toast. “May there be many, many more.”
“Oh, there will be,” Fallon said as they walked into the bar. “I’m just getting started.”

Continued in The Cupid War, available from and Flux.

What’s There For Me on Halloween? My Pen Is!

I don’t really have anything scary to post here for your Halloween enjoyment, so I decided I’d go with naughty. The following is a song I wrote during my spoken word days while under the influence of immaturity. I amused many an audience with it; the lyrics more than made up for my lack of singing ability.

And, I am featuring this song (well, parts of it) in the short story I’m posting tomorrow: The Cupid War – Fallon’s First Couple. It is an extremely integral part of the plot.

So now, without further ado…

My Pen Is

I'm a writer, and I have something that helps me whenever I need it. It's long, pointy and filled with fluid, and it's right here in my pants! Can you guess what it is? Yes, it's my pen. I want to tell you how wonderful I think my pen is.

When poetry takes seed
What's the one thing that I need?
My pen is!

When my fingers long to dance
What is right there in my pants?
My pen is!

When other boys were in the field
Playing with their balls,
I'd be in my room
With the greatest gift of all.

What makes me feel grand
When it's lying in my hand?
My pen is!

When life seems much too much
What's the thing I long to touch?
My pen is!

What's the thing I seek
Even when it's got a leak?
My pen is!

I know a lot of people
Don't really understand
The joy that I am feeling
When my pen is in my hand.

What is the one thing
That just makes me want to sing?
My pen is!
My pen is!
My pen is!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cupid War Fans, Don't Forget...

My new short story, The Cupid War: Fallon's First Couple featuring Fallon and Caleb, will be posted here in less than three days! Don't miss this charming expansion of the Cupid War universe, the perfect sweetener for when your Halloween candy runs out. ;)

I'll Be A Panelist @ SFContario!

This month I'll be taking part in a new sci/fi convention - well, new to me that is. I met some of the SFContario people at Can*Con, and before I knew it I was made a panelist at their con!

Cool beans.

I'll be doing a reading from The Cupid War, participating in at least four panels, and taking part in an autograph session, too. I will not have a table, however; fans who want signed copies will have to bring their own. I'll bring some, but only what I can carry.

The con takes place on November 9, 10 & 11. I'll update with more information soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Based on The Truth?

Writers always weave their personal stories in with their fiction. It's one of the things that makes each author different (and bad authors that much easier to spot). Be it a person, a place, a thing or an event, not a single experience in a writer's life is ever wasted - not when it can be used to make their work feel more real.

My recent short story,Walk of Evil, and my upcoming The Cupid War: Fallon's First Couple, are great examples of my fiction combined with my life. My Cupid War short story, due to be released here on November 1, is a fictional retelling of how I met my wife. Not all the details are exactly the same, but Violet and I did meet at a spoken word event hosted by a mutual friend, and we each saw the other perform on stage before we'd been introduced.

Walk of Evil combined a number of things, such as my familiarity with Orillia and my love of Tim Horton's. The reason the story came to be was my chance meeting with a very devout woman at a church service attended by my cousins. This woman gave a talk about some of the things she'd done, including her 'faith walks' around mosques (with the intent of opening Muslim eyes to the Truth), and her efforts to cure gay people. Taking that brief impression and molding it into the character of Meredith (Walk of Evil's antagonist) was as easy as it was rewarding. If I see her again, I should thank her. Maybe. She did, after all, give me so much material to work with.

People often ask me if they're going to end up in a story of mine someday. The answer isn't no, but it's not exactly yes, either. Not all people are as ripe for spoofing as that faith walker was. I get bits of character from all over, and work them in when I need them. When it came to Meredith, the bit I took was bigger than most.

In the end, of course, it's all fiction. There is truth in fiction, however - each author presents the world as they see it in their work. That's what makes fiction feel true, which is important for drawing readers in. And, when you write supernatural fiction as often as I do, you need all the truth you can get!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Free Written Stuff? Not From Me!

The following is a call for submissions I just found:

Good Day,

I am currently seeking submissions for my new book about ghosts and legends in Canada. I am looking for personal stories as well as legends specific to the area you live.

When submitting your story, include the following:
1) As much detail as possible about the story. Is it a personal account or legend? How do you know about the story? What makes it a good fit for this book?
2) A short paragraph about where you are from. Tell us about your town/community. As much as this is a book about ghosts and legends, it also focuses on where these stories come from.

I will contact all people submitting stories personally. Should your story be considered for the book, you will be acknowledged in the book and on my website. I will also add you to my mailing list which will keep you informed on when and where you can purchase the book.

I look forward to reading your submissions.

Location: Canada
Compensation: No monetary compensation

In other words, this guy wants three pieces of written material: a short story about Canadian ghosts & legends; a write-up about the story with "as much detail as possible"; and a short paragraph about the area the writer lives in. All that amounts to a fair bit of a writer's time.

Now let's look at what the guy is offering in exchange for the written work. He offers "no monetary compensation." But that isn't the most insulting part. He says he will tell the writers "when and where you can purchase the book." He's not even offering a stinking free copy to contributors! So what is he offering, exactly? "You will be acknowledged in the book and on my website." That's it.

Woo-hoo, huh?

How many times do we need to say it... YOU HAVE TO PAY WRITERS FOR THEIR WORK!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Expendable - My Struggle With Bullying in School

There’s been a lot of talk on the subject of bullies over the last year. I’ve read about it in blog posts and newspaper articles, heard it from friends and media personalities, even saw a TV special on bullying in school. Much of this talk came as a result of the most recent string of teen suicides. So often it seems that, if you are a teen suffering relentless abuse from your classmates, suicide is the only way to make your suffering worthy of attention. And that simply isn’t acceptable.

Considering that this is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, I figured it was time to throw my own two cents into the discussion. After all, I am something of an expert on the subject. There hasn’t been a phase of my life that didn’t involve a bully or three. They have, for better or for worse, shaped a large part of my life.

I’m going to detail four examples of bullying from my own school experiences (for this post I’m going to stick to high school bullying, and save workplace bullying for another time). I’m not looking for sympathy – it’s way too late for that. And I’m not “being brave,” either. I’m venting, and adding my stories to the pile. I do believe, however, that I can illustrate a crucial factor in why bullying remains a major problem.

In grade five, I was attacked by a much stronger boy because I’d kicked his soccer ball. This boy knew karate, and gave me quite a few good licks before deciding that my offense had been properly dealt with. I ran and told the recess monitor, and she assured me that she’d deal with him.

She didn’t. I watched as she walked toward the stronger kid. Then, for no reason I could discern, she turned and walked off in another direction. I stood there, confused and hurt, wondering what she was doing. Wasn’t she going to go get him? Was she going to come back to him later? Maybe she would punish him for hitting me as soon as she’d dealt with something else? Nope. Perhaps she didn’t know for sure which boy had hit me. If so, why hadn’t she come back to me and asked? She could have done that, but she didn’t. For five minutes I watched as she wandered around in what seemed an aimless fashion, and then the bell rang and it was time to go back inside.

That was my first experience with the uselessness of grownups, at least as far as bullying was concerned. Other useless adults would say things like “you’re being a tattle-tale!” and “you have to sort these things out for yourself.” And, of course, “you’ve just got to develop a thicker skin!”

In grade 7 I started attending a private school. They had a very strict policy on fighting – the one who started the fight would be suspended or expelled. Unfortunately, that rule only applied if punches were thrown. All other forms of physical harassment were deemed okay. You could be shoved, picked up from behind by your underwear, grabbed in a headlock or choke hold or wresting move, or even have your arms or fingers twisted or bent almost to the breaking point, all with the blessing of the school. And why not? It was just boys being boys. The headmaster himself once told me, “Timmy, ya gotta toughen up."

That’s why a boy whom I’d thought was a friend was allowed to scrape a sharp rock across my face while his two friends held me in place. He wanted to know if the rock was sharp enough to cut skin, and I was handy. Sadly, from his point of view, the rock wasn’t sharp enough to draw blood. He shrugged, tossed away the rock and walked away, and his two friends released me and followed. None of them spared me a backward glance. I didn’t bother reporting it: no punches had been thrown, so no punishment would be forthcoming. All I could do was try to “toughen up.”

I liked to draw comic book stories back then. I was no artist, but the crude drawings I was capable of by the time I got to Grade 10 were good enough for me. I was (and remain) a big fan of Transformers, so they were the characters I drew the most. So pleased was I with my budding ability that I actually went and drew one of the robots on one of the school’s blackboards. This was five minutes before the start of my French class, so I wasn’t interrupting anything. I took my seat and gazed up proudly at my handiwork.

When my classmates arrived, they laughed and made fun of me. I’d expected that, and didn’t let it bother me. The teasing evolved into horsing around, and when the teacher arrived he wasn’t happy in the least. He saw my drawing, and saw the way the class was acting, and somehow in his mind he put two and two together. His response? He ordered me to write lines. I had to write out ‘I will not draw on the blackboard’ twenty times and bring it in for him the next day. I was so upset by this that I actually developed a tiny bit of backbone. At the end of the class, I approached him and asked why my punishment was necessary.

First, he yelled at me to ”just do it!” Then he calmed, and explained that the students had been acting out at the beginning of the class as a direct result of my blackboard drawing. Therefore, I needed to be punished for causing the behaviour of the other boys.

Looking back on this incident, I’ve been able to put myself in that teacher’s shoes. What, for him, would have been the path of least resistance? Punishing half the boys in the class, or punish the meek little boy who’d ‘started it’?

The last example I wish to share occurred in Grade 11, when I’d left the private school and spent my remaining high school years in a public one. I’m not going to discuss how I was repeatedly picked on in Phys Ed (in front of the teacher), to the point where I had to quit the class. I won’t talk about the group of boys who relentlessly taunted and intimidated me in the hallways. I could talk about the creative bully who drew mocking pictures of me on the classroom blackboard every day for an entire semester, but I won’t. No, this final story tops them all.

I’d been on the private school’s cross country ski team during grades 9 and 10, so I decided to join the public school team. One of the coaches couldn’t walk properly due to a physical disability, and the other coach was a big guy who liked to shout. On many occasions they shouted at me, expressed irritation in my lack of ability, and on one occasion called me stupid to my face. I stuck it out because I believed that quitting – or giving up – was a bad thing.

Training started long before the snow arrived; we did a lot of running and weight lifting. On one occasion, the disabled coach brought in his wife to lead us in an aerobic workout. I wasn’t as strong or as fit as the others, and before long I was exhausted. I was determined to soldier on and give it my best – remember, giving up was bad - but I just couldn’t keep up. My arms flopped and my shoulders sagged and my breath came in gasps – basically, I looked absolutely hilarious to anyone who might have been watching. I know this for a fact, because some people were watching. I looked up at one point and saw two guys pointing in my direction and laughing like they’d seen the funniest thing ever. Did the coaches step in and put a stop to the ridicule? No, they did not.

Because the two guys laughing at me were the coaches. The two people responsible for making the team the best that it could be were openly laughing at me in front of the others. Proof, if any be needed, that my best simply wasn’t good enough.

As I said, one of the coaches was disabled. He couldn’t have done that workout any better than I did. You’d think he’d be more understanding and compassionate, but you’d be wrong.

Want to know how I felt when I saw my coaches laughing at me? I mean, besides humiliation and anger and self-worthlessness? I felt EXPENDABLE. To my mind, school officials are supposed to build students up, make them believe they can achieve great things. That should apply doubly for coaches and phys-ed teachers – their job is to have students leave school in better physical shape than when they went in. When two coaches go so far as to laugh at a student who is having trouble reaching this goal, the message it sends is as follows:
You’re not worth the trouble. You’re hopeless, and deserve to be mocked. We might worry about the self-esteem of your peers, but you? Who the hell cares? You’re a loser, one we’re more than happy to let fall through the cracks. You’re an acceptable loss. You have so little value to the team, your efforts are truly laughable. If you kill yourself, we’ll pop a beer and say, “Finally! What took him so long?”

This post has had many stops and starts, writes and rewrites, over the last year. I was afraid my stories might seem too self-pitying. Perhaps they are. Perhaps I simply need to “get over it,” and “move on” or “stop feeling sorry for yourself!” Nevertheless, I hope the point of these stories has been made clear.

If not, let me spell it out: school officials need to stop being part of the problem. They need to stop enabling the bullies and ignoring/punishing/belittling the victims. When students report bullying, they need to be taken seriously. Schools need to show students, and especially bullies, that something is actually being done. And not just the easy stuff, either. That’s been done. It didn’t work.

No school student should ever feel expendable.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cupid War - First Love!

I am tremendously grateful to my editors at Flux for helping me make my books the best they could be. A perfect example of their help came during the revisions of The Cupid War, when they suggested I flesh out the details regarding the first couple Fallon had created. Originally, I had simply mentioned at the beginning of Chapter 9 that Fallon had successfully brought two people together. Flux thought I could do better, and I did; I came up with the idea that Fallon had united two writer/performers at a spoken word event. Thanks to those extra details, I not only had a stronger scene in the novel, I also had the seeds for a short story!

The Cupid War: Fallon's First Couple is an even-more-fleshed-out version of that scene. It features both Fallon and his mentor Caleb, and includes a certain naughty song that I wrote during my own spoken word days. I plan to release this story here, on this blog, in just under a month's time. If you liked The Cupid War, don't miss this sequel... no, it's not a sequel. Or a prequel. It's more of an... inthemiddleofquel. You'll see what I mean when you read the story. And you can do so on November 1st.

Mark your calendars, cancel your appointments and practice your call-in-sick voices! You won't be sorry.

Don't forget to check out this blog's other short story, Walk of Evil. And please post some comments - I love feedback!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Occupations

My Ottawa vacation is over, and October has begun. My search for employment continues; I could really use a good job that lasts a few months. Maybe even a year. Or two. I'd hoped to come back to such a job - I'd been chasing a data entry position before my holiday, but unfortunately that whole thing fell apart. A real shame, as it would have had good pay and benefits and everything.

I've finished the first draft of my latest novel, currently titled I'm So Goddamn Sick of Vampires. My next project is called Zombie Jesus Day, and I've already got a good start on it. I don't know if I've ever jumped so easily from one novel to another, at least not without a month of downtime in-between. ZJD is a concept I've been punting around in my mind for several months now, and I can't wait to tell it.

Apart from those projects, I still have several completed first drafts that need revisions and rewrites before they'll be ready for public consumption. I've also got I, Suicide and Evil 2 to return to, when I'm ready for them. I'm contractually bound to offer any sequel or spin-off of The Cupid War(such as I, Suicide) to Flux before any other publisher. Unless some kind of miracle happens and The Cupid War becomes a best-seller, Flux will not want to publish it.

Evil 2, however, is another story - all the unsold rights for Evil have reverted to me. No reason I can't pick up where I left off with that book, provided the story stands well enough on its own.

For now, though, I'm sticking with Zombie Jesus Day. It looks to be a very fun write. I'll need that kind of a project to help me through the job-searching days ahead. Fingers crossed I get some decent employment soon!