Marvelous Monday: My New Book!

Just a quick surprise post to let you all know that my new short story collection, At The End Of It All: Stories From The Shadows is now available for pre-order from Potter’s Grove Press! I’m super-excited about this collection, which features a foreword written by my friend and writer extraordinaire, Steven Baird from Ordinary Handsome, and if you haven’t read him or follow his blog, you definitely should–he’s the kind of writer I love to read. His work leaves me breathless, every single time.

At The End Of It All has been my heart’s work for the last year; I started writing it not long after Feasting Upon The Bones was published. It contains 27 short stories, some flash fiction, some a little longer and some shorter, and I’m extremely proud of it. And I’m especially thrilled by the cover image that Potters Grove has chosen–they really are the best, and possess a tremendous creative vision that aligns perfectly with my own. As you know, Christmas is coming and what a perfect gift a spooky collection of stories makes! So if you’d like to give the gift of literature, you can pre-order here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BPTQC5DM

A Pointed Stick

After having had a brutal heat wave last week, the weather here turned much cooler, so on Friday morning, I decided to weed the front flower beds. I was having a great time, yanking out wild carrot and crabgrass from between the daylilies when I bent over and (if you’re the slightest bit squeamish, brace yourself) I was stabbed square in the left eyeball by a dead hydrangea branch. I didn’t see it coming and had no chance to close my eye before it stuck me, and I jumped back in both horror and pain, much to the amusement of the construction crew working on the monster house next door. They watched (or at least I think they did because I couldn’t see anything), as I staggered around the yard, my hand over my eye, tears streaming down my face, and yelling profanities. This is the view they get when they cut down the trees next to MY house. At least I wasn’t naked, and a good thing too because who knows where that stick might have ended up otherwise.

I was eventually able to get back to weeding but as the day wore on, the pain increased, and I got worried. I had an old bottle of antibiotic eyedrops and I used them before bed, and that only MADE THINGS SO MUCH WORSE. And to top it all off, this happened:

Ken: So you know how we thought we had a skunk in the backyard under the deck of the shed?
Me: …yeah…?
Ken: it’s pretty small and kind of cute. Atlas thought so too for a minute. And you know how we had that fence up but then I moved it a bit and forgot to put it back?
Me: …YEAH…?
Ken: Atlas got through it. The skunk wasn’t very happy about it.
Atlas (walking into room): Was cat.
Me (sniffs the air and comes to a horrifying realization): That wasn’t the cat, you dummy!!
Ken: In fairness to Atlas, the skunk and Ilana DO kind of look alike–
Me: OH MY GOD, why is he in here with his skunk-sprayed head??!! Stop rubbing your face on the blankets!!

Not a skunk

So on top of everything else, I had one eye watering from being impaled and the other one watering from the stench. I barely got any sleep and woke up the next morning feeling like there was sandpaper in my eye and skunk ass in my nose. Atlas, on the other hand, was in fine form, ready to tackle the morning, and the skunk if he saw it again. We’d set out a live trap with peanut butter, wet dog food, and a few other things, but apparently this skunk is very finicky and didn’t appreciate our smorgasbord efforts. After two days, the top of Atlas’s head is more reminiscent of sesame oil than really cheap marijuana, so things are looking up. I found the recipe for skunk odour remover that we used on our last dog, so here’s hoping the combination of peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent rids us all of it for good. As of right now, my eye is feeling slightly better, and I keep thinking about that Monty Python sketch, “How To Defend Yourself From A Man Armed With A Banana”, where one of the unruly students in the self-defense class keeps asking about pointed sticks. Let me tell you, I’d much rather have been attacked by a banana.

In other news, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a publishing contract with Potters Grove Press for my second short story collection, At The End Of It All: Stories From The Shadows. It might be out by the end of this year, so put it on your Xmas wishlist!

Thursday Surprise: The Recording From My Reading: Feasting Upon The Bones

For anyone who wasn’t able to attend my live reading last night, here’s the recording:

I hope you enjoy it. It didn’t work right away and I had a moment where I thought I would cry, but Kate and Ken were there troubleshooting and it all worked out in the end, with almost 30 people joining in. And there was wine.

Creative Wednesday: Feasting Upon The Bones

I’m really excited to share the news that my first short story collection Feasting Upon The Bones is now available for pre-order! You can find it on the following websites:

Potters Grove Press (Paperback, Kindle, ePUB, PDF)

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca (also available on Amazon UK and others)

The Stories In Between (website of Potters Grove Press editor, River Dixon)

And if you buy it, read it, and like it, I’d love if you could give it a review! And for those of you who’ve voted for me for various things over the last couple of years, you might just find your name in one of the stories as promised!

Creative Wednesdays – Feasting Upon The Bones

I’m not one to ever make New Year’s resolutions but I did a thing on New Year’s Day that kind of counts as one–I submitted the short story collection I’d been working on for over a year to a publisher. Then, last week, like a bolt from the blue, I got an email from the wonderful people at Potter’s Grove Press, telling me they had accepted it and would be publishing Feasting Upon The Bones this year! I was so excited that I started to cry when I showed Ken the email. But the best part is that Potter’s Grove is super-efficient and have already created a cover mock-up which I’m excited to share. And they were also lovely enough to allow my daughter Katelyn’s original cover concept to be used as artwork for one of the section divider pages. So here’s the cover mock-up and the synopsis for my first short story collection–I think it’s gorgeous and I hope you do too. 

“Step into the world of the unexpected, where things aren’t always as they seem. From disturbing jigsaw puzzles and portentous stones to mysterious notebooks and ghostly encounters, Feasting Upon The Bones is a collection of twenty-seven short stories that delve into the themes of love and loss, revenge and retribution, and mortality and immortality. Told with imaginative flair, and the occasional touch of dark humour, this intriguing series of twisted tales has something for everyone. Time’s a-ticking, as Mr. Death would say, so open the cover and wander around.”

Creative Wednesday – The Seventh Devil

I know I mentioned my newest novel, The Seventh Devil, back in October with a couple of cover mock-ups, but last week I finally signed the contract with my publisher, Bookland Press. They had a different idea for the cover, so we agreed to a compromise. The best part is that the book is available for pre-order on Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, and a lot of other places, with a release date of June 15, 2021. I like the new cover, but I really loved the original concept that my daughter had designed, so I’ll be using that one for the short story collection I’m putting together, which is why I haven’t been submitting to any journals lately—they all want first electronic rights and I’m trying to keep the number of previously published pieces to a minimum.

So my new challenge for 2021 is to find a publisher interested in a collection of 30-35 spooky, weird short stories/flash fiction complete with its own cover (see below for the mock-up). I don’t know about ‘twisted tales’, so if you have a better idea, let me know: