Check it out:
(Click on image to enlarge)
Cover art by Joslyn Cain
Cover design by Chris Kent
(Release date: June 15, 2013)
Posted in book launch, Books, coming soon, Dark fantasy/horror, e-book, fiction, independent publisher, independent writer, indie writer, Literature, new literary fiction, New release, new short fiction, short story collection, Surrealism, suspense, writing, tagged Black Dog Press, Books, cover art, Dark fantasy, fiction, independent writing, indie publishing, Literature, new book, New release, short story collection, surreal on May 22, 2013 | 4 Comments »
(Click on image to enlarge)
Cover art by Joslyn Cain
Cover design by Chris Kent
(Release date: June 15, 2013)
Posted in amateur writer, aspring writer, author blog, confession, historical fiction, history, Holocaust, independent writer, indie writer, inspiration, mystery, nostalgia, personal, private detective, Reading, suspense story, writer, writing, writing life, tagged "The World at War", 1970s TV show, CBC Television, childhood writing, first story, first submission, historical skit, Laurence Olivier, Nazis, Pencil Box, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer, World War II, writer's beginnings on May 18, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
When I was around twelve years old, there was a program on CBC Television called “Pencil Box”. The show wasn’t very good (even for kids’ fare) but it did feature one interesting wrinkle: young viewers could send in a skit or playlet and, if it passed muster, a cast of ”professional” actors would stage and perform it.
I watched an episode or two and, as has happened with many writers since time immemorial, decided I could write just as well as some of the material being selected. At the time, I was obsessed with World War II, immersed in William Shirer’s The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich, religiously watching episodes of “The World at War” (narrated by Laurence Olivier) every Sunday afternoon. I decided my piece was going to be an historical mystery and it didn’t take me long to come up with a concept. I scribbled out a draft in a couple of hours, sealed it in an envelope and sent that handwritten version to the show’s producers.
I wish I’d kept a copy.
And I would’ve loved to have seen the look on some poor, underpaid story editor’s face as he scanned the 3-4 page skit.
The plot involved a series of suspicious deaths that seemed connected in some way to a particular field somewhere in central Europe. The inexplicable and unsettling incidents baffle authorities, so they summon a master detective and this Holmes/Dupin type paces about, scrutinizing the ground until he is struck by a notion, does his research and sure enough—
He calls everyone together and announces his brilliant solution. Years before, after the defeat of the Nazis, the area had been used as a dump for some of the waste of war, including (wait for it), numerous canisters of Zyklon-B gas. The canisters were leaking, seaping up through the topsoil, and, voilá, it was those noxious vapors that were sickening and killing the local populace.
Everyone applauds the detective’s extraordinary powers of deductive reasoning, he takes his bows and…Fade Out.
My dramatized detective story wasn’t accepted.
My first submission and my first rejection.
But the note (typed on official “Pencil Box” stationery) was kind, encouraging to send more ideas and stories and perhaps, some day, one of them would make it on to the show. They also enclosed a free pin, which I’ve kept to this day.
Posted in author blog, Books, confession, Death, download story, Dread, edge fiction, Fear, fear of dying, fiction, free fiction, free reading, God, independent publisher, independent writer, indie writing, Literature, mortal dread, new short fiction, new short story, personal, Religion, short story, writing, tagged "1001st Night", creation myth, fiction, magic realism, parable, Scheherazade, short story, spirituality on April 15, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Just posted a new tale, bit of a brain-teaser, over at Scribd.
The story is called “The 1001st Night” and clocks in at around 1450 words. Very odd, but I like it. The way it weaves back and forth, exhibiting multiple points of view and perspectives and yet somehow coalescing into…well, see for yourself.
I’ll be adding it to my “Stories” page here (eventually) but Scribd has racked up some impressive numbers for me since I signed up and I thought I’d give them first dibs.
If you’re a real completist, you should probably subscribe to my Twitter link too because I’ve been known to post little snippets and Twitter-verse there and nowhere else. Just to keep everyone on their toes.
Glad to be offering new work for your perusal.
Hope you enjoy “The 1001st Night”.
Posted in author blog, book launch, Books, Dark fantasy/horror, e-book, edge fiction, fiction, horror fiction, horror story, Literature, Reading, Science fiction, Short Stories, short story collection, stories for e-reader, suspense, Uncategorized, writer, writing, tagged "Invisible Boy", Books, Chris Kent, Exceptions and Deceptions, fiction, Francis Picabia, Iain Banks, Literature, New release, Russian translation, Short Stories, terminal illness, Yury Sabinin on April 8, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
This weekend, I completed final edits on my latest book, a collection of short stories titled Exceptions & Deceptions.
The title is derived from a quote by Francis Picabia: “The unknown is an exception, the known a deception”.
The collection features 19 stories, including a novella titled “Second Sight”, which is previously unpublished. It’s my first book of stories since The Reality Machine (1997) and, needless to say, I’m ecstatic to see these tales finally in print.
I’ve settled on a cover but I’ll keep it under my hat until our mate, Chris Kent, designs a mockup for us to post.
This is going to be a bee-you-tiful book.
Projected publication date of mid-June.
* * * * *
By now you’ve probably heard the rotten news regarding the health of one of the literary greats, Iain Banks.
Fifty-nine years old.
…and suddenly all the little foibles and annoyances in my own life seem pretty feeble.
If you haven’t already, make sure you seek out and read one of his fine books. The Wasp Factory, maybe the best debut novel I’ve read, and two truly magnificent science fiction offerings, Consider Phlebas and Excession.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: it’s an honor sharing a universe with the likes of Iain Banks.
His work is a tribute to the power of imagination, that very human capacity to envision and describe impossible worlds…and make the faraway and exotic come to life.
Thank you, Mr. Banks. For every word you’ve committed to paper, the dreams you’ve willingly shared.
* * * * *
A wonderful surprise in my virtual mailbox this past week. Yury Sabinin, an industrious chap now residing on Canada’s west coast, has taken it upon himself to translate some of my better known works into Russian. It initially started as an exercise for a non-English speaking friend overseas but now Yury has completed a couple of translations, “Apocalypse Beach” and “Invisible Boy”, which I offer for free reading/download.
My gratitude to Yury for granting his permission to reproduce those translations here.
Just click on the links below:
Posted in author blog, Black Dog Press, Book review, Books, independent publisher, independent writer, indie writer, Literary criticism, Literature, New release, Poetry, review, writer, writing, tagged Black Dog Press, Books, Literature, new and selected poems, NYMith, Poetry, Pseudo-Intellectual Reviews, review on April 3, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
The reviewer and I belong to the same LibraryThing group and she mentioned she was picking up a copy but, sheesh, I didn’t expect such a smart and, yes, glowing review.
It’s the first critique of any sort the poems have received. I get general rumblings of praise from the people who’ve read New & Selected Poems but folks seem reluctant to address the subject matter or prominent themes. I worried, in my Afterword, that the collection might be too personal, too intense and I think there might be something to that. If you watch the footage of the book launch, the poems are often received in what I would describe as strained silence. Sherron told me that at one point a woman near her was softly weeping.
What kind of strange zeitgeist has my verse tapped into?
Poems are a hard enough sell these days—apocalyptic, mind-bending excavations on the human spirit may not be what readers are looking for.
Cripes, look at the bestseller list.
Yup, once again, it appears I’ve missed the mark.
Posted in author blog, book launch, independent publisher, independent writer, indie writer, Literature, Live concert, new literary fiction, New release, Poetry, publishing, Reading, spoken word, writer, writing, tagged "Populist Manifesto", art magazine, arts and culture, Battlefords, Feed the Artist, fiction, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, local art scene, magazine launch, photos, Poetry, Saskatchewan culture on March 16, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
I was one of the invited guests at the launch of the second installment of the Battlefords’ only homegrown arts magazine, Feed the Artist. I contributed a brief essay to this latest issue and was impressed by the quality of the work (prose and visuals) I found throughout. It’s quite gorgeous; make sure you check it out.
Congratulations to everyone involved with Feed the Artist, the editors and artists who worked so hard to bring a dedicated arts and culture publication to the citizens of this region.
Here’s what I said to the sixty or so people who assembled at Crandleberry’s to give the magazine a grand send-off.
Thanks to everyone who attended. It was a magical evening.
* * * * *
I think it’s appropriate that we’re launching the new issue of “Feed the Artist” here, in a very public venue as opposed to a more formal setting. While there might be benefits to holding events in clean, well-lighted places, featuring all the latest bells and whistles, there’s also something cold and antiseptic and, let’s face it, increasingly corporate about these fancy-shmancy new galleries and performing arts centers.
Some of you either participated in or were witnesses to the “Tree” piece that was conceived and created around a locale in Battleford. The natural setting became an important element within the performance. I’m also thinking about the “Flash Mobs” that have broken out in this region of late, people congregating in public places and singing and dancing while startled spectators try to take everything in.
All of this is happening outside the rarefied air of institutions and brick and mortar facilities. Because art, after all, is portable, not confined to designated areas and “safe” zones. Why not utilize non-traditional locations to tell stories and highlight the rich history and culture of this region?
Time for artists to escape museums and galleries and theaters and bookstores and re-enter public spaces, remind the citizens of our communities that we have something to say about life, the universe…and the human condition. Something essential, something they need to know if they’re to stay sane in an increasingly frantic and chaotic world.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Populist Manifesto” addressed some of these points nearly forty years ago, so I’ll conclude by reading an excerpt from that work (what’s an arts gathering without a manifesto?).
Poets, come out of your closets, Open your windows, open your doors, You have been holed-up too long in your closed worlds. Come down, come down from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills, your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills, your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses, down from your foothills and mountains, out of your teepees and domes. The trees are still falling and we’ll to the woods no more. No time now for sitting in them As man burns down his own house to roast his pig No more chanting Hare Krishna while Rome burns. San Francisco’s burning, Mayakovsky’s Moscow’s burning the fossil-fuels of life. Night & the Horse approaches eating light, heat & power, and the clouds have trousers. No time now for the artist to hide above, beyond, behind the scenes, indifferent, paring his fingernails, refining himself out of existence. No time now for our little literary games, no time now for our paranoias & hypochondrias, no time now for fear & loathing, time now only for light & love.
-Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Copyright, 1974)
Posted in author blog, Books, free reading, independent publisher, independent writer, indie writer, Literature, Poetry, writer, writing, tagged animals in cities, deer, free poem, Literature, poem for the day, Poetry, seclusion, urban animals, verse, wild animals on March 4, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
passing my upstairs window eight-forty a.m.
balancing a brimming mug of strong over-sugared
coffee surprised & perplexed by the doe in my backyard
calmly nibbling the exposed tips of raspberry
bushes lacking the timid mien one expects
from a creature who like the unfortunate
Odysseus has wandered far from home
wrecking itself upon my snowy shore oblivious
of any hostile scrutiny the resident sorcerer
determined to protect his secluded realm already
brooding up a terrible remedy to cure this thoughtless
trespass restore his enchanted solitude
March 4, 2013
Posted in author blog, Books, free reading, independent publisher, independent writer, indie writer, Literature, Poetry, Reading, Ticonderoga, writer, writing, tagged conformity, education, factories, free poem, MacJobs, poem, Poetry, school, servility, Ticonderoga pencil on March 1, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Thick barreled befitting small clumsy fingers
grimly shaping consecutive rows of letters
extra marks for keeping between the lines
bent studious anticipating lifetime habits
in thrall of shrill supervisors
documenting every shortcoming
critical of the slightest fault
laboring with little hope of reward
succeeding without getting ahead
ancient before their time
March 1, 2013
Posted in author blog, Black Dog Press, Books, fiction, film, free film, free reading, independent writer, indie writer, Literature, Live concert, movie, Poetry, Prose poems, spoken word, writer, writing, tagged author reading, Books, Canadian author, free film, free movie, Literature, live reading, performance, Poetry, spoken word, Stromata on February 25, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
At long last it’s done.
My son Sam completed final edits on the film he shot of my reading back in October, 2012. The official launch of New & Selected Poems (1984-2011) and Stromata: Prose Works (1992-2011).
It was a huge file and he had to combine footage from a couple of cameras, synch sound, touch-up glitches and try to make an author reading as visually interesting as possible. No mean feat. But he’s done a fantastic job. The kid has an amazing eye and even if you don’t think much of the prose (or performer), I think you’ll agree that this effort is striking to look at, cut and trimmed and shaped with precision. All credit to my son, Sam Burns.
Here’s the reading, in its entirety.
Sit back and hit that play button…
Posted in ambient music, electronic music, electronica, free music, iMovie, independent writer, independent writing, indie writer, Literature, movie, Music, Science fiction, space age, space music, writer, writing, tagged "First Contact", abstract, alien planet, cinema, experimental, free download, free movie, many worlds, movie, Science fiction, short film, space, Youtube on January 31, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Taking a break from writing, concocted and edited a new short film.
“Exoplanet”…a love letter to science fiction.
Dedicated to Ian Sales and other bringers of wonder: