"All I Wanted To Do Was Take Over The World..."

I've been working on a semi-secret project for a while now and it is finally ready for the world.
(We'll see if the world is ready for it.)

I have started a webcomic, an on-going, online illustrated story about three aspiring supervillains who meet by accident and end up sharing an apartment.

The official launch of Chapter One will be on August 12, 2014, but until then I'll be releasing teasers and behind-the-scene stuff on the comic site.

Please visit http://villainslife.thecomicseries.com/ to subscribe and support this project. I'm very excited about it.



A Writer Reads

After weeks of waiting on my sometimes unwieldy "to-be-read" pile, "How To Curse In Hieroglyphics" by Lesley Livingston & Jonathan Llyr finally made it to the top of the stake, and I was excited.
This morning I finished the book and it turns out the excitement was justified.

Book one of The Wiggins Weird series, "How To Curse In Hieroglyphics" is geared towards the 'tween audience, readers 8-13 years old.  I'm a little bit outside that market and yes, I'll admit that I bought it because Lesley and Jon are friends, but darn it, I really enjoyed this book. It's a fun read.

The story focuses on Cheryl and Tweed, two cousins that have been raised by their grandfater who runs a drive-in movie theatre. Subsequently, B-movies have had a significant influence on both girls and how they view the world. At any moment, they might slip into action mode with their lives becoming scenes from a film, illustrated in the book through movie storyboards drawn by Steven Burley.

I won't give you any spoilers about cursed Egyptian princesses and dastardly carnival Colonels and winking nods to classic films; I'll simply say that an enjoyable adventure ensues and it's presented in a wonderfully creative way.

For me, the most significant and important part of the story is that it demonstrates to its readers (an infinite number of 8-13 year olds and me) how powerful and wonderful and fun one's own imagination can be. That is a fantastic lesson and kudos to Lesley and Jonathan for making it an integral part of the book.

If you can't find this book at your local bookstore, first of all give them a stern look of disapproval, then go to Amazon and order a copy there. You'll be glad you did.

Exciting Times

The next few weeks will see the openings of two, count 'em, two of my plays. In fact, two of my favourite plays.

January 15th is the opening night for the Canadian premiere of "The Accidental Hit-Man Blues" produced by Blackhorse Village Players in Tottenham, Ontario, just northwest of Toronto. They will have ten performances running through February 1st. 

The following week, on February 6th, "A Year In The Death Of Eddie Jester" opens at Mapleton Hall, presented by the Suffield Players, in Suffield, Connecticut, a short drive up I-91 from Hartford (or a short drive down I-91 from Springfield, Massachusetts). They will have eight performances over three weekending, running until February 22.

I am excited about these shows and plan to see both of them. You should too. These companies pour an incredible amount of hard work, dedication, and talent in their productions. Even you don't live nearby, they are worth the drive.

Suffield is about eight hours driving time from where I live. Not gonna stop me. So if your excuse for missing either of these plays is that it's just too far, you'd better be prepared to back up that claim with real geography and a tragic disinterest in being entertained.

Check out the shows. Maybe I'll see you there.


More Auditions

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, November 5th and 6th, Blackhorse Village Players will be holding auditions for "The Accidental Hit-Man Blues." This will be the Canadian premiere of my newest play. 
Blackhorse is located north of Toronto, in the north east corner of Caledon, viewing-distance from Tottenham, at 17272 Mount Wolfe Road, the south side of Highway 9. 
Details can be found here on the Facebook event thingy.


Connecticut Auditions

Hey, what are you doing next Sunday night? How about Monday night? 

Well, if you're an actor and if you're anywhere near Suffield, Connecticut, you should be auditioning for the Suffield Players' production of my play "A Year in the Death of Eddie Jester."

Auditions will be held at Mapleton Hall, 1305 Mapleton Avenue, Suffield, CT, starting at 6:00 pm on November 3 and at 7:00 pm on November 4.


What I'm reading

Earlier this year I was in Elkader, Iowa for the premiere of my play "The Accidental Hit-Man Blues."  The Opera House Players were amazing hosts, not only to me but to the play. After one performance I met a gentleman named Don Harstad. He was introduced to me as "our resident novelist." He had some nice things to say about the show and we discussed various aspects of storytelling.
A few days later, before I left to drive home to Canada, I was given a bag of books, four novels by Donald Harstad. Upon arriving home I added them to the books in my reading pile.
Recently, I finally made enough progress with my reading pile to start on the Harstad books. I am currently about two chapters from the end of his first novel, "Eleven Days" and holy crap is it riveting.
Donald Harstad is the Joseph Wambaugh of the Midwest. He's an ex-cop who seriously knows his stuff, plus he's a gifted and intriguing storyteller.  I am loving this book, as disturbing as parts of it may be. It's crime drama; it's supposed to be disturbing. Harstad finds just the right balance, though. It's not so disturbing that I want to stop reading. I'm drawn into the hunt for the killer, not only for the thrill of the story but, honestly, I will feel better if this guy is caught. I have friends that live near where the story is set.
Yeah, I know. It's fiction. My friends are safe from the fictional killer. But Harstad smoothly mixes his fictional Nation County with real-world Iowa. At a couple of points when reading the book, I've thought, "Hey, I know exactly where that is. I've been there." (I usually only do that with Robert J. Sawyer's books.)

Do yourself a favour. Track down a Donald Harstad novel and read it. You won't be able to put it down.