Sci-Fi on the Rock 9, here I come! :)

Greetings everyone,

It’s spring time here (at least what passes for it with flurries still in the forecast April 18) and I’m gearing up for my first convention of the year. Last year I missed Sci-Fi on the Rock due to a family illness (he’s doing much better now) but this year I’m all set to go and will be there for 3 full days! (I know you can barely contain your excitement!) .

SFOTR9Logo  I’ll be downstairs in Diagon Alley (Salon F) on Friday from 10am-8pm, Saturday from 9am-6pm, and Sunday from 10am-5pm (with a short break around 1pm). As before I’ll have copies of my Newfoundland Vampire series (two books so far!) comics, some magic cards and of course FREE CANDY! (That always seems to bring people around).

11132199_738291536707_1043323700_o Killer on the Road: A Newfoundland Vampire Story Book II

If you can’t get enough of me (and really who can?) I’ll also be doing a talk Sunday at 1pm called "Adventures with Vampire Fiction and Publishing". I’ll also be having a look around the main floor upstairs, hopefully a friend will be there to watch my table. What can you see upstairs? Great costumes like these:

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Lots of great vendors, information about other conventions like the first Avalon Expo (also here in St. John’s), the 4th Atlanti-Con (in Corner Brook, the west coast of Newfoundland), groups, meet the guests and of course all the fun panels (probably none as good as mine though 😉 It’s always a great convention and I hope you’ll be able to make it. Come see me and I’ll tell you all about my new publisher and when to expect books 3 and 4 of my series. In the meantime have a great weekend and watch the Star Wars 7 trailer (it rules!).

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Florida Trip 2015

Greetings all,

Before a post about the re-release of "The Newfoundland Vampire" (book 1, April 24th from Distinguished Press), I wanted to give my usual thoughts on our holiday down south. I’ve been home about 2 weeks and have had enough to reflect (and take a break from

watching Daredevil, which is really good!). We were in Florida (I won’t say exactly where, just on the Atlantic side and central) about 3.5 weeks. The weather was excellent (it almost always is) with just two cooler days and two afternoons of rain. For the first 4 days it was a very busy house with 8 of us (my wife and I, my parents, my brother and his wife and their two kids). I love my niece and nephew but boy are they noisy! (They’re 4 and 2) I’m just not using to being in a house with small kids for anymore than 5-6 hours but we had some laughs, went out to dinner one night and had some fun times in the pool.

586  Speaking of the pool there’s me in it. One day my Dad decided to add some more water with a hose, forgot to turn it off and the pool was overflowing. It’s not easy to tell from the picture. It the end it wasn’t a big deal (they are on a well and don’t pay for water) but it was different to swim in it being so full. But enough about pools. I have a routine I try to follow, I like to go for a bike ride in the morning, a swim until lunchtime and then do some reading/writing/watching TV/take my wife shopping or get more exercise in the afternoon (there is a punching bag and weights as well). You’d think with all that exercise I’d lose weight but no, the nonstop supply of cheap beer, chips, nuts, pies, chocolate, popcorn and eating out made it just the opposite but spring is almost here in NL and I’m back in a much healthier routine.

One of the cool things I found was a movie theater nearby that served alcohol! I know in other parts of Canada that’s no big deal but we don’t have a theater with alcohol in NL, so I was please. It was Carmike Cinemas, a very nice chain (though getting the reusable bucket of popcorn was a mistake). You can look back at my blog to see all the movies I watched.

TheMeltingPot Staying with the food theme, we went to a lot of restaurants. One of the most interesting ones was called The Melting Pot. It’s a fondue restaurant where you cook almost every park of the meal yourself and do it right at your booth! Quite a unique idea and the different dipping sauces did make for some delicious choices. It did find they gave a little too much food (that seems to often be the case with a lot of restaurants now) and the service was a little slow at the Melbourne location. Overall though a unique dining experience and one I’d recommend if you want to relax with good food and friendly staff.

My favorite restaurant there in terms of food is The Jungle. It’s an organic restaurant with lots of vegetarian options and is different because it has it’s own supermarket (which often stays open late when people are eating). They have the most unique carrot cake (it’s raw) and the best soup I’ve ever had (Butternut Squash). Of course we ate there (like we do every year). They only two things I would change if offer the Butternut soup consistently and be open more evenings (it’s just Friday and Saturday nights).

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I’m a huge animal lover, as such I love to see different animals from NL (and gently interact with them if possible). In FL this year I was lucky enough to spot a turtle crossing the road (sorry don’t have a joke for it). As you can see he was a little shy so I didn’t try to touch him or move him. The frog was very friendly and had much different colors that the ones we have here. The rooster, well I know they can be almost anywhere but in Key West, FL they literally are everywhere. Which leads to the next part of our trip.

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All of the above pics are taken from the Key West part of our trip. I enjoy going to Key West as it’s the most different part of FL, much more Caribbean with no malls (at least in the part we go to), cobblestone streets, older builders, lots of outdoor bars (lots of bars period!), all sorts of local artwork and buskers and is an interesting combination of a place to relax/party town. We stayed at a great spot called Cayo Hueso Resort. The owner, Joyce, was very friendly and accommodating. She had food and beer in the fridge for us, snacks in the house and let us check out a full hour and half later on the day we left. It was in a good location as we were close to main tourist area, Duval Street. Key West has an amazing mix of people, all the way from families, to spring-breakers, to old hippies, to tourists like us and everything in between. Being outside at a restaurant and just watching people is certainly entertaining, especially as guys are loaded drunk by 6pm at night (two men I saw didn’t even have shoes.)  As much as I enjoy Key West, this year I found some drawbacks (I know some are them are just because I’m getting older). There were so many people! I’m not a fan of crowds and there were a couple of times we had to leave places because of people, Mallory square in particular had an incredible amount the night we were there. Almost everything there is very expensive and finding decent food to cook for yourself was difficult (especially since I’m vegetarian). But I don’t want to just dwell on negative, I met some really nice and interesting people, had some great meals (the selection of vegetarian and gluten-free offerings has grown), hung out in some nice bars and pubs and had an enjoyable night at a pub crawl (drinking is cheap in Key West in case you hadn’t guessed.)

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You can see a selection of the drinks we had and the deal for serious drinkers (I don’t know if I’d bother with it now in my late 30s). I enjoyed the pub crawl but due to be being a larger group I would recommend the off-Duval crawl more (which sadly seems to be gone) if you’re an older more low-key guy like me. Key West is known for live music and almost every bar (all day, all night) and it was very enjoyable to have lunch and be able to make requests. My favorite bars would remain Sloppy Joe’s, Capt Tony’s (which has a tree in the middle of it!)  and World of Beers (a much newer one that is a chain).

This year we got there by Key West Express (a boat) and while it’s certainly easier than driving (unless you don’t mind being in gridlock for 1.5+ don’t do it!) I don’t think I’d do it again. Going down is fine, you get on early (around 7:30 or 8am) and you are in Key West by 12:30pm. Going back though the boat doesn’t leave until 6pm, you’re not back in Fort Meyers Beach until almost 10pm and then (at least for us) we drove for over 3 hours to get back to the house. Extremely long day, I’m at the point now where I’ll just pay whatever it costs to fly, whenever we go back that is.

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I guess this post proves I’m a "foodie", I do love to eat out and I try to find interesting and different places to do so. As such I can’t end my discussion of Key West without talking about Better Than Sex. This is a dessert only restaurant and it was delicious. It was a lovely atmosphere inside, dark and the wall was covered with pictures of naked women (tasteful pics, not porn). Each dessert hand a sexual innuendo in the name and the menu was on an iPad (I like gadgets and I have seen several restaurants do this). The food was delicious, relaxing atmosphere and great staff. It was, however, very expensive ($90 for the two of us with just 2 desserts and 3 drinks total) and I found it to be too much food (since we had already eaten supper). That said, I would go back again, just maybe with less food in beforehand.

The last restaurant of interest was BurgerFi in Key West. It specialized in burgers (obviously) but was not greasy, had delicious fries and onions rings and a good veggie patty. I also liked how you could sit outside and I could even have Gluten-free (in a much different way, a veggie burger wrapped in lettuce!). A lovely place, I’d call it upscale takeout and I would certainly go back (they are a chain).

I didn’t get any new writing done but I did finish almost all of the editing for the re-release of "The Newfoundland Vampire" and I read lots of comics (Afterlife with Archie & Star Wars: Vader ) and relaxed. While I didn’t get to a concert I did get to see Jay Leno. He was really good, not as funny as Seinfeld (the first time I saw him) but worth the trip. It was at the Sunrise Theater (a nice place, though very crowded) in Fort Pierce, about an hour from our FL house.

I like Flea Markets and I went to one twice, aside from cheap food there was a great deal on comics (40 for $20) and played some poker at another place nearby (only broke even after 2 visits). And that sums it up, overall we had a great trip. FL will always be my second home. The next few weeks will focus on Sci-Fi on the Rock and my book re-release but I’m sure I’ll do some movie reviews too. I’m 3/4 of the way through a book as well, so that review will be probably June or July, have a great day everyone and I’ll talk to you soon.

My new publishing home!

Hi everyone,

So I have some good news, I’m with a new publisher! Earlier this week I signed a contract with the great people at Distinguished Press.

This means that book one of my Newfoundland Vampire series will be re-released along with book 2 and later book 3. I’d love to tell you the dates for these momentous occasions but you’ll just have to stay tuned!

At this time I’d like to publicly thank Catrina Taylor for offering me a contract with DP and being super nice and welcoming. Jen Leigh, for being an excellent editor, for her honesty, for recommending me to Catrina and for taking a chance on this paranormal author. And last, but certainly not least, Karyn Pearson. I’ve known Karyn for a few years, she is a talented writer, a great person and a good friend. She was instrumental in my choice of going with DP and putting in a good word with Jen, thank you so much.

thanks-Skullteeth-voodoo-ani.gif~c200  I’ve also made friends with several of the authors at DP and been welcome by everyone, so thanks as well to everyone at DP!

So to my fans (and I know there’s at least a few of you 😉 Please be patient, book 3 is coming and I’ve already go ideas for book 4. Until then, have a great day/evening/morning all and I’ll talk to you soon.

Atlanti-Con 3, my thoughts

Well it’s October, the leaves are turning, it’s getting colder and it will soon be Halloween but for now my thoughts on Atlanti-Con 3 at SWGC in Corner Brook.

I could tell as soon as I started to set up my table that it was going to be a great weekend. I showed up early (setup time was 6pm and I was there before 5). Jeff Keeping was there already (like always), welcomed me and said to come back in a hour. So I came back later as soon as I arrived Angela Street and Katherine Gallant came to offer help with some of my heavier boxes. Their friendliness and desire to help was much appreciated and helped me to shorten my setup time. I should say at this point that all of the volunteers and organizers (who are volunteers too I’m sure) did an excellent job with every aspect of the convention.

I’ve been to conventions where my name tag/table where not even ready when I got there but Alanti-Con was 100% prepared and organized, I also highly admire and appreciate that. My table soon set up I headed off to dinner with my wife Friday night, looking forward to the next day’s festivities.

I haven’t mentioned Fat Apollo (Mike McCluskey), he did the opening and closing ceremonies (and was a guest, along with doing a panel). He is always funny, has a ton of great stories and great to hang out with. After a good time at the opening ceremony I hurried back to my table for what turned out to be a brisk day of sales. I won’t get into numbers but it was one of the best conventions $ wise I’ve had in years. As usual I found that comics and Magic cards do better than my novels (the fact that book 3 isn’t out yet probably hurt sales a little as well). Saturday night I went to Mike’s panel (which was really funny and well done) and went to a movie with Joanne. I’d also like to say here that I appreciated being invited to King Henry’s Pub that night to hang out with Jeff, all the volunteers and guest but I’m a man of my word, I promised that I would take Joanne to a movie and this was the only night for us to go (we saw "The Equalizer" if you’re curious and it was good, I’ll post my review of it soon). Looking back I do regret not talking with Cara, Robert and the other guests but there’s always next year and I did get to hang out and drink with Mike twice (King Henry’s pub is a nice spot).

Corner Brook is a beautiful city, I love the walking trail that starts right at the hotel I stayed at (Glynmill Inn) and I made good use said trail walking to the con (which was held once again at Sir Wilfred Grenfell campus) Saturday and Sunday morning. My hotel was only a 10 minute walk to the con, so it was good exercise and not too far.

I’m lucky as here’s the view I had from my table

012  I forgot my camera so I didn’t take a lot of pictures (these were from my iPad) but as always I loved to just sit and watch as cos-players go by. I got to talk with lots of cool people and had one woman ask to take my picture (which was a nice ego boost). I also had a chance to chat with Scott Bartlett (fellow author) and Matthew Ledrew (author and owner of Engen books) I had one kid (he looked maybe 8 or 9) come back to my table 4 times for comics and other people come back for Magic cards several times.

This year there was plenty of food selections (including sandwiches and delicious cookies and cupcakes) plus the fact that it went to a good cause (Scaredy Cat Rescue) made it twice as good.

Security (both campus and volunteers from the con) did an excellent job and were friendly, I always felt my table’s contents were perfectly safe. Also I loved the constant power point (I assume that’s the program) screens that ran on monitors to give people info about the con (and let them know I was upstairs) and was very pleased with the ad I paid for in the program booklet. Jeff came around several times to make sure everyone was doing well and said he would make an effort to get people upstairs to authors/artist alley.

013   Let’s move along though, as with all the conventions I’ve been to, Sunday is the slower day. That was fine as it gave me the chance to pick up an excellent deal on comics (you can’t do much better than 50 cents each!) and a fat pack from the latest MTG set. Arlene Keeping (Jeff’s wife and the treasurer) came up around 3:40pm to tell us the closing ceremonies had been moved up to 4 (from 5). My last customer showed up a little before then and I was happy to pack up and head downstairs.

015  The left is the one picture I took of someone in costume (as Daenerys Targaryen of course). For a look at lots of other great pics, have a look here.

So it’s getting late here and I’m tired, to wrap up a great con, tons of fun, lots of sales, great people, fun guests, good panels, well-organized and a lovely spot. I have heard that next year will be the Pepsi Center, I’ve never been in the place but I trust Jeff and the gang to pick the best location. So to Jeff (who I’m fairly certain will read this) thanks for a great con, all your hard work continues to pay off and here’s hoping for next year to be bigger and better. Oh and I’m happy to give money so you DON’T dress up as slave Leia, I think that’s something everyone can agree on 😉 Great job everyone, as always a pleasure to be there, I’ll be sure to attend next year and I’m sure that will be a great one as well. Until next time (which will be a movie review)…

There’s gonna be a change of season…

Hi everyone,

It’s been a little while since I did a more personal post. As the title says it seems like time as summer is turning into fall (at least here in Newfoundland, we’ve already had frost and I’m wearing long-sleeve shirts and sweaters). And yeah the line comes from the Robbie Roberston song "What about now?" (really great song if you haven’t heard it). I don’t know about everyone else but summer is by far by favorite time of the year, longer days, warmer weather, quiet days at work (for me anyway) but it’s almost over. So this summer I made a decision, I decided to leave Penumbra Publishing. I won’t get into the reasons, I’ll just say I think it was the right choice for me. We parted on good terms (Pat, my former editor, is amazing at her job and a great person) and I even have a short-story published with them!

AGFL20 Walter Knight invited Penumbra authors (and I hope he’ll continue to invite me now that I’m no longer one) to submit a short-story to him (and he to Pat) and over a year later, here it is! "Robots" is my first short-story published and I’m proud of it. It’s a tale of a dark future with a lot of humor (and some sex) thrown in. It’s certainly not for children. So if you’d like to help out Walt (and read my story) you can purchase it here.

So what’s next for me? Well obviously my third book in "The Newfoundland Vampire" series The Gathering Dark won’t be out for a while. I have submitted a partial manuscript to another publisher (I’ll tell you who once I have something more concrete, plus I’m not sure if that’s bad form to say). I will say, though, that I know one of the editors at this publisher and she was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation. So hopefully that will increase my chances of a contract substantially.

In the meantime I’ll continue to work on a play version of my first book "The Newfoundland Vampire" and of course do one of my favourite things, go to a convention!

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This will be my third year at Alanti-Con and it’s been a lot of fun so far. It’s in great, open and bright area and is very well organized and lots of fun. This year I’m a vendor and aside from making some $, I enjoy catching up with people I only see at cons, maybe attending some panels and of course the always amazing costumes. Jeff Keeping (the man in charge) does an excellent job as does all the other volunteers. He is always open to suggestions and has been making Atlanti-con bigger and better every year. I also have to say Corner Brook has some delicious restaurants and a beautiful walking trail. I’ll be selling copies of book 1 and 2 of my series along with Magic cards and a small collection of comic books. So if you’re in Corner Brook the end of the month I’d love to see you.

Aside from that I’m looking forward to my shows being back on TV (including a bunch of new comic book ones like Flash, Gotham and Constantine) and to a trip Las Vegas/L.A. and Ottawa. (Not having kids has advantages!) I’ll also get to see Fleetwood Mac, a band I’ve loved for years (and yes with Christie McVie). So I’m tired and I don’t want to bore you. Here’s to a great fall and I’ll post one or more movie reviews this week, cheers everyone!

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Flea market this Sunday! (the 13th)

Hi everyone,

It’s summer here and I’m back on the Flea Market circuit (there are several, though usually I only do one to be honest). So if you’re out in about come see me this Sunday (July 13th) at the C.L.B. Sunday Market from 12-4pm. Aside from my books (Newfoundland Vampire book I and II), I’ll be selling Magic cards and comics (some more expensive than others). Have a great summer and I hope to see you there!

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I’m in a New York state of mind (well I was last week :)

Greetings and salutations all!

So I had my first (hopefully of two) summer trips this year (It’s early July as I write this). As some of you may know I’m a huge fan of concerts and usually once a year (sometimes more) we travel somewhere to see one. This year went to NYC to see Billy Joel and of course while we were there did lots of other stuff. So as I’ve done in the past here is a smattering of pictures (a video if I can get it to work) and my comments on them.

Day 1:

Arrived at LGA around 11:30am and got a shuttle to to the hotel. Our hotel was small and had no restaurant (or room service) but was otherwise conveniently located, had friendly staff and was clean and certainly nice enough. I was pleased to see a healthy take-out style restaurant nearby and we soon set off for a comic book store (it’s what geeks do in any city!) Bought 1 comic and headed back to get ready to go out to an off-Broadway show (after we had supper at an ok pub/restaurant down the street, I’ve really gotten into ciders the past couple of years.)

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So as you can see to the left the show was a little unusual. It was called Skivvies. The club was nice (too full to order food but we had a few drinks) and the show itself was okay (they are talented they just did a lot of songs I didn’t like). The best part of the show for me was when Sophie B. Hawkins came on at the end (she wasn’t in her underwear though) and sang one of her hits (I’ll give you  hint, it wasn’t "Damn I wish I was your lover"). It was a song I actually liked and gave the show more credibility.

Day 2:

Off to the John Lennon memorial, Pommes Frites and the Dakota (where Lennon was shot in 1980) and of course the Statue of Liberty. In case you’re wondering Pommes Frites was in an episode of "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee" (really funny if you love Seinfeld). I’m a huge lover of french fries and I have to say they were excellent (though greasy but I guess the best ones usually are). What makes this place unique is they offer over 50 varieties of dipping sauce, so you have plenty of reasons to go back.

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Now I have to say NYC was VERY hot (I’m Canadian and in the north after all, it very rarely gets to 85F, it was over 100 there for 3 days!). So as such I didn’t get to explore central park as much as I wanted to and our trip to the Statue of Liberty consisted of getting a ferry there, taking some pictures, getting back on said ferry and heading back. We also went to the Museum of Natural History (very cool and interesting place), I’d highly recommend it. They even have an app so you can have a self-guided tour.

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Day 2 was also the Billy Joel concert (you’re not supposed to take pictures or video, so in any case anyone checks I won’t post anything here). He was excellent! Funny, friendly, played lots of his hits. Madison Square Garden is a great building that is well organized and had reasonable prices for beer and snacks (any merchandise is always overpriced wherever you go). My only complaint is I wanted more, Bill played almost 2 hours but I won’t have loved 2.5 or even 3, so really not a complaint at all. I have loved Billy Joel’s music over 20 years and I had tickets to see him in Toronto (the show was canceled due to the SARS outbreak), so it was a great moment for me. Like a lot of things in life when you build it up in your mind it never quite lives up to your expectations but still, a great time, wonderful music and great memories.

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Day 3:

I wanted to get pictures for my third book ("The Gathering Dark" currently in the editing process!), one of the chapters takes place in NYC, so I had to get pictures of a statue by central park. We also went to the Discovery Museum and two exhibits. To be honest I thought the Marvel one sucked. It was mainly video games, half of them didn’t work or didn’t work properly. The only good one had a line so long that moved so slow I gave up, maybe I’m just too old for it but I felt $60 was a rip off. We also went to this one which showed dissected people and a horse (I’ll spare you the pictures, it was gross). That one was certainly educational and interesting, just hard to look at (well kind of like a car crash, you didn’t want to look but had to kind of deal.) We should have went to the Lego one, I did get to take one picture of a bored Lego man.

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We also went to a nice restaurant called Serendipity. They are known for their frozen hot chocolate dessert (which we had and was yummy) and $1000 sundae! (Not kidding, we didn’t get that). Nice food and after a long wait (over an hour) we had very good service including two free drinks.

Day 4:

This was the 4th of July and after I went to another comic book store (Forbidden Planet which was another cool place with friendly staff) We also went on a TMZ bus tour (the guide was funny and nice but too much celebrity crap for my liking, that was my wife’s choice). We also went to the Stardust Diner for some good singing, friendly service but not so good food (I guess that’s what to expect), obviously went the singing it can be quite loud in there as well.

173 You’re all wondering about the fireworks (well some of you) and yes of course we went. Amazing show that lasted almost 30 minutes, police were there and it was well lit (in the park area we went to) so I never felt unsafe. I should say here for a big city NYC is a very safe place (from what I saw). There are lots of homeless people but I guess that’s just a sad reality. We took a taxi down to the fireworks and should have gotten one back…instead we came back on the subway, that was a mistake.

The subway was INSANE coming back. The police had to stop too many people from coming though, it was hot down there (even at 10pm at night) and once we finally got on subway care it was super-crowded. Two men almost got in a fight and being a little claustrophobic I was very uncomfortable for a good 10 minutes. So if you’re in NYC (or any big city with a subway) DO NOT take the subway back, it’s not worth saving the money.

Day 5:

Didn’t get to much today as we were heading back and the shuttle service picked us up super-early. I tried to get a shave but the place was closed (Spiff if you’re curious and I did get a nice e-mail back from them a few days later). In their defense I should have called first since the day before was a holiday but I had a nice walk and a final look around the city.

So final thoughts, NYC is a great place. Everyone was friendly (except this one woman who hated TMZ and yelled at the tour guy, what a bitch!), zero crime that I saw, lots to do, good food, great shows but super-hot and sometimes very crowded (at least while we were there) but maybe those things don’t bother you. I would certainly love to go back sometime, just not in July.