Black Dog Press has really taken off over the past few years. I’ve managed to put together quite a catalog of books. Most are still in print and available for purchase. I’ve included some writing samples below that should give you a good idea if I’m your kind of author. A diverse body of work, I think you’ll agree.
September, 2012: My two latest releases are companion volumes of the best poetry and short prose (prose poems) I’ve created over the past 25 years. Most of it surreal and disturbing, though often shot through with black humor and pathos.
To read a selection of my poems, skip over to Scribd.
To purchase either or both of these titles, go to my Bookstore…or order them through your favorite bookseller.
New & Selected Poems (1984-2011)
Stromata: Prose Works (1992-2011)
(Click on covers to enlarge)
Frank Seaver is one of the last of a dying breed, a gunfighter and shootist of the first rank. But times are changing and Seaver finds himself on the wrong side of the law, pursued all the way to Livingston, Montana. There he is persuaded to join the hunt for a savage cougar terrorizing the Yellowstone region. As the group makes its way through the stunning, mountainous landscape, personal conflicts and jealousy create dangerous divisions and rivalries, even as they prepare for a final, climactic confrontation with their deadly quarry.
The Last Hunt is a story of violent men in violent times and the strict codes they lived by. It is a thrilling and authentic depiction of a bygone era, a heartfelt tribute to the western genre.
Click here to read an excerpt: LastHunt-excerpt
Order The Last Hunt from your favorite bookseller or get your copy here.
I’ve written a couple of novels set in the fictional city of Ilium, a Great Lake metropolis that’s a cross between Detroit, Buffalo and H.P. Lovecraft’s haunted Arkham. Strange things afoot, dark forces at work.
So Dark the Night is a supernatural mystery, an homage to film noir, cult TV and pulp fiction. Imagine a weird hybrid of Raymond Chandler, the shadow-filled films of Val Lewton and “The X Files”. I’m offering an excerpt from the book (below) and if you like what you read, you might consider ordering the trade paperback (ISBN 978-0-9694853-3-9). You’ll find ordering info here.
Cassandra Zinnea and Evgeny Nightstalk are operatives employed by After Hours Investigations, a detective agency open from dusk ’til dawn. Their odd hours attract a mixed and eccentric clientele and, inevitably, they find themselves involved in cases that have paranormal and occult overtones. Zinnea’s the brains and Nightstalk supplies the brawn and as a team they’re practically unbeatable. Their relationship is fractious, bittersweet, and together they make up the most attractive and likable tandem since Holmes and Watson trod the mean streets of Victorian London.
But this time they might be in over their heads as an evil group of occultists plot to bring about the end of the world. Cover art by Ado Ceric:
Click here to read an excerpt…So Dark-excerpt
We also shot a book trailer and you can view it here.
Of the Night is a shorter effort, a thriller set in the same universe as So Dark the Night, but taking place two years later, with a different cast of characters. I’m offering readers here an excerpt, actually about 30% of the book. If you like what you read, you’re welcome to order the beautiful trade paperback (ISBN 978-0-9694853-4-6) from me…your favorite bookstore or Amazon (Kindle version available too) or download the e-book from some place like Powell’s or Barnes & Noble.
A series of events lead to a breach in the continuum, allowing fearsome creatures to break through and terrorize the citizens of Ilium. Police detective Gus Novak soon realizes that the mutilated bodies popping up all over the city are not the handiwork of your garden variety psychopath and he enlists the aid of fellow denizens of the night in order to thwart a cruel and inhuman foe.
Cover art by Adrian Donoghue.
Click here to get your free excerpt…OftheNight(excerpt)
So Dark the Night took three+ years to write and edit and I firmly believe it is the finest work I’ve accomplished in my career thus far. Regardless of the hell it put me through, I love this book.
Of the Night is a shorter, companion volume. If So Dark the Night is a big budget, “A” picture, Of the Night is a “B” flick, a tight, tense thriller, smaller in stature and scope but a treat in its own right.
Both are fast, smart, stylish reads, filled with pop culture references, in-jokes and scares galore.
Have fun with them.
These novel excerpts are available as PDF documents and can be downloaded under the terms of Creative Commons. They are copyrighted and not to be reproduced or used for commercial purposes.
Now on to the short stories…
Here’s a chance to see for yourself if the boy has a major league fastball. Some of these short stories and prose works have been previously published in books and anthologies that are out of print or next to impossible to find. Others appear here for the first time, available nowhere else in the real or virtual universe. You’ll find quite a diverse mix of material: slipstream, sci fi and even, gasp, a fair amount of mainstream fiction.
That’s part of my problem (if you want to call it that): my writing doesn’t fit comfortably into any niche. I draw hope and inspiration from people like Paul Auster, Steve Erickson, Jonathan Carroll, Nicholas Christopher, Cormac McCarthy and Jonathan Lethem, authors unafraid to cross boundaries, refusing to be limited or constrained by genre conventions. I consider myself a literary writer and anthology appearances with the likes of Graham Swift, A.S. Byatt, Umberto Eco and Louis De Bernieres shows my fiction holds up well with the best authors anywhere. Below is an excellent cross-section of my work, drawn from over two decades of putting pen to paper. Read on…
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“Eyes in the Sky” has an intriguing premise: what if the atom bomb was a bust, the Space Age never happened and both superpowers had to find other, less conventional methods of keeping track of each other? A daring and spooky alternate history, a possible past that might have been. Below, you’ll find an excerpt of the 10,000 word novelette…if you’d like to read the tale in its entirety, you’ll have to seek it out on Amazon, I’m afraid. Or pick up a copy of my next short story collection, which should be out December, 2012. (That is, if the Mayan calendar has it wrong…)
or buy the entire novelette from Amazon
“Bedevilled” was written in April, 2010. Inspired by real-life crimes committed by people who were clearly delusional…as well as the Roland Topor novel (adapted into a brilliant 1977 film by Roman Polanski), THE TENANT. A scary and, I think, authentic depiction of a human being whose brain operates differently from ours’…but that doesn’t make him a monster. Read on and I think you’ll find out what I mean:
“Death Threats” I admit it, I love this story. Non-genre, just a straight ahead work of literary fiction. A real melancholy feel to this one, with a conclusion that will break your heart. Download it…and enjoy.
The “Conrad Dahl” series of stories: four linked narratives centered around one character, following events in his life from the age of 9-20 years. Mainstream, literary fiction, a quartet of tales that will exact an emotional price so…caveat emptor:
“New World Man”–selected by Jonathan Gates (Goldmann Publishing) as one of the 20 All-Time Best Science Fiction Stories. Well, anyway, it’s a good tale and a cautionary look at a near future world. I call it “the last cyberpunk story” and once you finish it, I think you’ll know why. The story is also a big tip o’ the hat to one of my literary heroes, Philip K. Dick. This one is for you, Phil…
Click here to for your free download of “NewWorldMan“
“Also Starring” leads off my Reality Machine collection and earned that coveted position because…well, because it’s a terrific fucking short story. Film buffs will love it and fans of the surreal and macabre will recognize its twisted appeal. “Also Starring” appeared in a number of major anthologies, including The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and City Dreams.
Click here for your free download of “AlsoStarring“
In my opinion, this is my best short story. It originally appeared in Crimewave IV (UK) and was aired on CBC Radio. One of the most terrifying tales you’re ever likely to read…and yet there are no vampires, zombies or werewolves in evidence. These monsters wear human faces. Read on:
“In Dreams, Awake“–another one from my Reality Machine collection and as the jacket copy on this one read: “The end of the world finally happens…but everyone sleeps right through it“. Couldn’t have said it any better than that.
Click here for your free download of InDreams
“Among the Invisibles” A day in the life of Little Po, a street urchin scratching out a meager existence in an unnamed Third World city. A product of automatic writing, my pen moving across the page with no advance planning or preparation. A tale from the perspective of someone barely clinging to existence, his fate all but determined from the moment of his birth. Have a look…
Click here for free download of Invisibles
“Matriarchy” is, to put it simply, the best short story I’ve written in a long while. A mainstream offering of grieving, loss…and revenge. From the summer of 2007. Enjoy…
SEX & OTHER ACTS OF THE IMAGINATION…this is the collection that really got things rolling for me. Published in 1990, it earned sparkling reviews and gained the notice of folks like Timothy Findley. The book contains the best fiction I had published up until that time, tales like “Invisible Boy” and “The Hibakusha”, offerings that took such a personal and intense approach to horror and psychological suspense that people started sitting up and taking notice. I’ve written a new Introduction and updated and revised my favorites.
Invisible Boy invisboy.pdf
Apocalypse Beach apoc.pdf
Final Showing final.pdf
“Adult Children”, another mainstream story, deals with Herman, an essentially decent man, who is forced to act as a kind of surrogate parent for his mentally ill mother. I love this modest, little tale and I hope you will too.
An homage to Andre Breton and the gang. On Spec published this one.
Dedicated to my friend Mark Ziesing, bookseller extraordinaire.
An unpublished short story – too bad, this is a good one.
A coming of age story with an edge (also unpublished).
Originally aired on CBC Radio Gallery, produced by Kelley Jo Burke.
I don’t have exact figures but I’m almost certain “Strays” is my most-rejected story of all time. It was written as an homage to my hero Cormac McCarthy, taking the piss out of the old boy. This is a Western, of sorts, and a satire. Peter Watts, fine fellow and superb writer, gives a very funny account of the reception “Strays” received when it was submitted to ON SPEC magazine and the origins of the Cliff Burns Memorial Veto Bomb. I’ve provided a link to his site–so have a look and then come back and read the story to see what all the fuss was about.
“Harold Stensrud Watches the Olympics”
Another mainstream offering, a modest little piece that appeared in The Dalhousie Review a few years back.
Drama & Radio Plays
“The Break: 10 The Hard Way”—ten dramatic monologues on the theme of breaking up. Written a number of years back; performed at the Refinery Theatre in Saskatoon with Josh Beaudry starring. Portions were also aired on CBC Radio’s “Sound XChange”, produced by Kelley Jo Burke.
Click here for your free PDF copy of The Break
“The Innocent Moon”—the best unproduced radio play you’ll ever read. A celebration of the trip to the moon, space, science fiction…and wonder. Here’s the text to it; sci fi geeks and film/trivia buffs will love the references and assorted “samples” from movies, songs and archive news broadcasts. I love radio drama, it’s one of my favorite mediums and I think it shows. Read on…
Click here for your free PDF copy of Innocent Moon
And yet MORE radio drama:
Here’s the extended version of my radio play “The First Room”, which aired nationally on CBC Radio’s OutFront program back in February. A highly personal look at “one writer’s beginnings” (with apologies to Eudora Welty).
Intense, confessional, cathartic…and I hope this short drama will offer some insights into why I write like I do…and a quick glance behind the Wizard’s concealing curtain.
Click here for your free PDF copy of First Room
Poetry & Prose Poems
While suffering through a lengthy writer’s block, I came across the surrealist notion of “automatic writing”, just putting your pen to paper without pre-planning, bypassing the critical part of the mind and plugging directly into the un/subconscious. What happened next was astonishing and somewhat unnerving. Words, sentences, stanzas erupted out of nowhere. This chapbook was originally published by a tiny Canadian press (Greensleeve Editions) back in 1992. I’ve done a few touchups but this version is almost identical to the original. Take a look:
Click here to get your free PDF copy…Wound-Bearing Layer
Originally published by a small U.S. press in 1993. The title is derived from a review I read that used just those words to describe Neil Young’s guitar playing technique. Zang! Perfect! The prose bits in Primitive tend to be longer than those in Wound-Bearing Layer, still highly personal, intense, surreal. Short, sharp shocks. There’s humor but it’s dark–have to admit reading these two early chapbooks is troubling, even for their author. At times, it’s hard not to avert my eyes. There’s a lot of me in these prose poems and often I don’t like what I see. Some of these offerings are twenty years old now so, obviously, I’m not the same person. But I’m still prone to some of the fears and insecurities so starkly presented here. I regret that this format doesn’t allow me to reprint the collage-style illustrations Sherron created for the book. But at least you’ll have a reproduction of her original cover. Working with her is always a delight; she’s artful and intuitive, the best possible collaborator you could ask for.
Click here to get your free PDF copy…Primitive
Voiceworks: Monologues and Spoken Words, 1987-2006
A selection of some of the short prose pieces and monologues I assembled from 20 years’ worth of material. There’s quite a diversity of voices represented here, characters from all ages and backgrounds. Some of the snippets are adapted from older work and the subject matter veers from the ridiculous to the chilling.
Click here to get your free PDF copy…VoiceWorks
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I’m not a great poet or even a good one…but I’m pretty good and that will have to suffice. Apocalyptic, filled with dread and fury and yearning, my poetry is the most personal of all my writings. I rarely submit it for publication and when I do, the responses I receive range from indifference to bafflement. The editor of one major Canadian litmag wrote that “while the writing is very good, I didn’t understand your poetry”. Yet another reason why I think most editors and publishers should be fed, feet-first, into a wood-chipper.
violins in the void is my first poetry collection, originally published through my Black Dog Press imprint back in 1996. I limited the print run to 200 and was astonished at how quickly copies were snapped up. Ten years worth of verse, distilled down to about seventy pages. The concluding section features some of my favorite prose poems. Most of these works were composed while we were living on Baffin Island, in the Canadian Arctic. I was a new father, living in one of the ugliest, most barren locales imaginable. The mood was bleak…and it shows.
Click here to get your free PDF copy…Violins in the Void
Redbook (Vol. I) was compiled in the ten years that followed–the atmosphere isn’t as grim and a spiritual component has been introduced. Still, an underlying sense of menace but satire leavens some of the heaviness of the material. We’ve added a neat background so it takes some extra time to download. Be patient, it’s worth the wait:
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