What’s Up is basically what I’ve been up to, mostly writing-wise. I’ve always got something going onto paper.
October 2017 Attended the John Bilsland Literary Award gala and took 1st in the non-fiction category for Lunch Bucket Road which you can read on this site under Quick Reads
September 2017 A very busy month. Teeth of the Cocodrilo book launch was at Jef’s Cafe in Beaumont in September thanks to Louise Gibbs, the owner. Great coffee here. I played mixed slo-pitch with Louise and her now departed husband Jef many years ago. Louise was also a town councilor. A week or so later I was on the CBC Edmonton AM radio show and interviewed, again from Jef’s, along with other Beaumont people for their Mark About Town program. I slipped Mark Connelly a copy of final response and a local guy who is a screenwriter for a Hollywood movie. I told him to read it on the plane back to LA.
July 2017 A lot happening. Gerry’s War is ready in paperback and will be launched at the Seba Beach Farmer’s Market, a summer community on Wabamun Lake area where people love to read. Teeth of the Cocodrilo has also arrived and will be for sale there but not officially launched until September, however it is available at Amazon in E-format and paperback.
I’ve also began another YA/MG novel. Every once in a while I think about my parents and grandparents which leads to my grandfather, the rum-runner in Ontario. So far I have 3 chapters written of The Rum Runner’s Boy a YA story and am thinking of posting my progress here.
May 2017- Teeth of the Cocodrilo is entered in the UK Storyteller Competition. It is now available as an eBook only. Paper back in September. I had some people selected to review it as a whole because my writers group only sees one chapter per month. I have an essay, a fiction short, and a travel story going into a western Canada competition closing at the end of June. I’m trying to get my humorous firefighter stories into a book with a Paramedic woman I used to work with occasionally. She’s written about 40, 000 words.
April 2017 – Back from a long term wintering in Zihautenajo, Mexico and have just completed TEETH OF THE COCODRILO. Not calling it Breakaway any longer. Cocodrilo is crocodile in Spanish. Here is the revamped synopsis:
While planning to grow his Mayan Riviera dive and tour business Aaron Landers falls hard for the alluring Maria Vasquez. He rescues two children from a car accident and is surprised to discover they are the sons of Commandant Luis Gutierrez, head of the Mexican state police. Drawn into the commandant’s sphere, Aaron and Luis collaborate in a scheme for easy money with slick Richard Breve, an oil consultant. Aaron’s obsession with Maria blinds him from her sordid past with Commandant Luis and Hernando, her vengeful, estranged husband. A second, more lucrative scheme presents itself, but this one involves Maria. It’s a high risk, lawless act, with far reaching consequences for everyone. Aaron wants to flee with Maria, Hernando wants her back, and Luis wants to protect her from both men. She is the catalyst. Obsession and love are the fuel. Murder and revenge are the spark.
January 2017– Breakaway my new novel has chapters 28 and 29 with my writers group. I need to write the thrilling climax.
Life in Mexico’s beautiful Mayan Riviera was never meant to be such a dangerous place for Aaron Landers, ex-pat Canadian. He is busy growing his dive tour business near Cancun. His rescue of two boys at a car accident leads him to a fateful encounter with Commandant Luis Gutierrez, the head of the Mexican state police. The two men chance upon an opportunity for easy money with Richard Breve, an oil consultant. The die is cast, escalating to another more lucrative crime involving the alluring Maria Vasquez. Aaron’s obsession with her blinds him to her sordid past with Luis and her vengeful, estranged husband, Hernando. The highly risky scheme has far reaching consequences that will rip their lives apart. Bound together by murder, love, and hate, Aaron must find a way to break away–at any cost.
2016 November – sold out my two firefighter novels at two Xmas craft sales!
2016 June Submitted chapter 22 of Mexican thriller to writers group and just finished chapter 24. I think there’s three or four chapters left. Want to call it Last Dance in Playa or Lobos of Cancun. Also sold an article to GoNomad Travel on Lisbon bullfighting. May and June saw me getting a table at various farmer’s markets and selling books. It’s as good as Chapters book stores. Still submitting young reader novels to publishers. How come kids love these stories but adults won’t take a chance? Also was invited to the Leduc Book club and hung out discussing FINAL RESPONSE. They gave me a nice book store credit for showing up. One more farmers market on Canada Day at the Lacombe market.
2016 March Back from 7 weeks in Portugal. Attended a bull fight at the beautiful Campo Pequeno. GoNOMAD travel site likes my submitted article on it. Have to bump it up to 1200 words. Just surpassed 50,000 words on my Mexican suspense novel!
Bloodied and battered and dusted the matadore pushes on
2016 Feb.1 Chapter 18 of WILD CARD sent in to my writers group for critique
Dec. 14 Final Response entered into Alberta Writers Guild competition
November 28 Arthur Ellis Crime Award entry Voodoo Bully sent off to Arthur Ellis Crime Awards
November 10th WriterPalooza at the Beaumont Library Meet The Author Night. FINAL RESPONSE local book launch. I’ll have all my books there for sale and signing, along with 8 local authors.
November Beth did post a review for VOODOO BULLY on Amazon. Unfortunately, she only ordered one copy of THE BLOB IN MY SHOES so I assume she photocopied it for the class to read. Probably a copyright violation but I’m not returning to give out any more bookmarks and any more school readings better order more books as I invested a lot of time there for one sold book. YUCATAN WILD CARD is progressing well with 13 chapters written
October Landsdowne School, Edmonton. Read chapter two of The Blob…In My Shoes to 95 students in Grade 5. They loved it, like all the kids do of my books, even though there are no dragons and magic wands. The teacher, Beth McCormick said she’d post some reviews up on Amazon.
September Sherwood Park/Strathcona County Words-In-The-Park was a low attendance affair. I sold a few books but nothing spectacular. Five EFRS retired firefighters came out.
August 2015 FINAL RESPONSE in Calgary went well at two Chapters stores. Poor at Edmonton. Only one retired FF came out and Alex the Russian paramedic. Calgary Signal Hill store has copies of my book.
August 2015 Final Response book signings kicked off in Saskatoon Chapters Indigo and McNally Robinson. Krista @ Chapters will stock Final Response and all of my young readers and she wants the other two FF novels..
July 2015 Excellent reviews for Final Response on Amazon and Goodreads. Bookkus Publishing is setting me up for book signings beginning in Saskatoon with two dates at Chapters July 31st and McNally Robinson Aug. 1. Calgary is at Chapters stores Aug. 15 and 16 McCleod Trail and Signalhill stores. Edmonton Chapters on Aug. 30th at the west end store. I have bookmarks made and am presently getting a banner made up to place beside my table in the store.
My Mexican suspense story is coming along well with an ex-firefighter as a protagonist.
May 2015 All 6 of my juvenile/MG stories are now available in paperback via Amazon.com.This includes Voodoo Bully something I really enjoyed writing. Four of them Ransom, Out On A Limb, Archie’s Gold, and The Far Bank are set in Welland, Ontario and based on my childhood.
Next on the agenda is the release of Final Response via Bookkus Publishing which should be in June. Bookkus is trying to set up a book launch in Toronto in mid-June.
Also got some good news. Sold another short story to Summit Studios for whenever the publisher can ut together an anthology. The same outfit previously bought two of my other stories.
April 2015 Final Response now available through Amazon as a pre-order eBook. VooDoo Bully has a tentative cover. While the early spring is still cool I’m getting into Createspace and putting all my juvie eBooks into paperback.
January 2015 I’ve embarked on a new novel Tequila and Coca-Cola set in Mexico where I occasionally visit for a few months. I’ve got 4 chapters done and haven’t decided who the bad guys are yet but I think I’ll make the characters quirky and some very flawed. Two chapters are with my writers group so I’ll hear what they say in a few weeks.
November 2014 – Car wash Kitty has been published as Binkie’s Day Out in Mob Hit On My Grandmother’s Dog. I’ll be trying to get some local press for it. Saw it already n a Calgary bookstore. Ransom will be in paperback on Amazon by the end of November. Madhouse in the Firehouse has 16 chapters, 91 pages, and 32,700 words and will be an ongoing project. Voodoo Bully is looking for a home and sitting at five literary agencies. My typing has been slowed by a hand operation here in November. Booked for Mexico again to kill a chunk of winter. I’m trying to get away from firefighter novels this time and have three chapters written for Tequila and Coca-Cola set in Mexico with a Canuck firefighter, a Mexican State police commandant, and a cast of unsavory characters. I’d like it to be like a Cal Hiassen story with a few yucks in there, too. So far, so good, I’m having fun. My writers group has three new members who are all writing well. I may give up trying to publish using IngramSparks as their cover specs are baffling. With Amazon it’s 1-2-3 done, you got a cover. Spoke with the publisher at Bookkus and he says they may put Final Response out in Feb. 2015
October 2014 – Spent two weeks in Toronto with my son’s family and his two kids, Bronwyn and the new guy one year old Finley. Stayed overnight in the Falls and reconnected with my older sister and an old Welland buddy. It was fun.
June – 2014 My youngest son’s Korean wife caught her first fish in June up at Slave Lake. Great tasting fish and beautiful warm camping days.
May 2014 – Archie’s Gold and The Far Bank are both in paperback and should be available for ordering at Chapters Indigo and Amazon. So far I’ve written about 14 chapters of Madhouse in the Firehouse a collection of true short stories throughout my career from firefighter pranks to med calls and 620 pound men to the academy. My writer’s group has a new member and she is writing a romance. I’m awaiting a response from a small Calgary publisher regarding my juveniles. And awaiting Summit Studios check for Car Wash Kitty in their anthology coming out this year. I queried the Edmonton Journal regarding more travel articles and they will not accept articles from locals unless the destination has a direct link with Alberta. Too bad because the articles they’re gleaning from AP and QMI are mostly dialed in and boring.
Feb/March 2014 – Having a blast touring California in our 5th wheel
December 2013 – Archie’s Gold is now in paperback available at Borders/ Barnes & Noble in the USA, Amazon.ca on Dec. 19th Amazon.com, and soon Indigo Books in Canada. This is the story Tundra Books in Toronto loved but ultimately one cannot trust publishers as it was cut from their fiction list and the cowards wouldn’t admit it to me for over a year. YAHOO! Final Response received enough good reviews that Bookkus will take it on as well as my two other firefighter books. We’ll see what marketing can do to boost sales
November 2013 – Final Response is being discussed in a forum at Bookkus publishing and it’s getting 4-5 star reviews. Voodoo Bully is completed after shortened the ending from 5 pages to 2. As soon as FR is taken off, VB goes on for reviews, I’ve begun Madhouse at the Firehouse an anthology of humorous tales from my firefighter days. So far the writers group seems to like it, but we’ll see. I purged the water lines from our 5th wheel and we’re making plans to take it south sometime this winter.
October 2013 – Gloria and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary and are going to Las Vegas in November, I think. My son, William and his Korean wife Yeonsil are back in Canada, living with us for a time until they get settled.
August 2013 – Gloria and I are in Toronto to see our new grandson Finly. VooDoo Bully is in its final chapter being critiqued in the writers group and I’ll get it back at the Sept. meeting. Final Response is being discussed at Bookus Publishing’s open forum. I’ve been addressing every critique and making the changes. It seems I have to elaborate more on certain background stuff, making me believe the readers have read too fast. Binkie’s Day Out will be delayed in print until 2014 due to some co-publishing thing with Summit Studios. I don’t care as I’ll still get paid. I’m also putting together some ideas on my firefighter stories during my career, mostly humorous ones.
June 2013 Voodoo Bully is being critiqued (chapter six) in my writers group. The Blob…In My Shoes and Final Response are still being read by reviewers at Bookkus. Since the weather here in June has been up and down I dream of my month in Mexico and the perfect heat there. My wife and I hauled our 5th wheel trailer to Sask. for the May long weekend. While there we went to a drive-in theater and when we left the northern lights were aglow. I am slowly getting my head into an anthology, short stories of my career. I occasionally tell these stories to people and they keep telling me to write them down. That’ll be a winter project.
Mar. 2/2013 Doing a lot of reading and reviewing for Bookus Publishing as some of the samples I’ve read are now in 2nd stage and needing another review with a view to the full story. There’s a committment I’ve entered into and will see it through.
Jan. 29/2013 It’s a new year and The Far Bank is now available at almost all eBook sites. VooDoo Boy is now VooDoo Bully and has two chapters being critiqued in my writers group. I sold a short story Car Wash Kitty to Summit Studios for their anthology later this year. Thinking about some tropical time.
Dec. 18/2012 Diligently editing The Far Bank with a planned mid-January release. Check out my juvenile/children’s writing section for a taste.
Nov. 11/2012 Finished Voodoo Boy!!!! It’s through my 2nd draft and I loved writing it. Synopses will be posted under my juvenile stories
Oct.19/2012 So far on Bookkus I’ve garnered 2 – 3 star reviews and 1 – 4 star review for Final Response My Beaumont Writers Group has gained two new members lately, Emily and Michael! They are working on chapter 12 of The Blob…In My Shoes Only two more chapters to go (done by Xmas) and then they’ll start on VooDoo Boy. Check out my juvenile/children writing tab for the synopses. I’m going to submit 3 sample chapters of the Blob to Bookkus and see what happens. It made the top 250 at the annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award two years ago and has since been reworked. I also submitted a travel article on the tiny town of Cabarete in the Dominican Republic where my wife and spent last February. It’s a great wind-surfing, kite-boarding, wave surfing place due to the constant tradewinds that blow almost every day. Sept. 15/2012 Submitted Final Response to Bookus Publishing hoping to get some readers to review it. It’ll be exciting to see how their new marketing process pans out.
July/2012 VooDoo Boy has 6 chapters now and I’m really liking it. I posted the 1st chapter below. It’s difficult to write when the weather is so good.
The Blob…In My Shoes has made it through 8 chapters in my writers group. May31/2012 Great weather is here and I’m busy doing yard work with Gloria since we returned from Toronto where we helped my son build a fancy fence. Every post hole was a killer as the property was a one-time brick yard. We’ve been extending our paving stone walk and have a few low spots to work out. Full moon is almost here and the fish await. I’ve really neglected my writing as of late. I only managed to get down one chapter of VooDoo Boy and do some editing on The Blob…In My Shoes for submission to my writer’s group. Still waiting for my busy son in Toronto to do the cover art for Final Response. My youngest son in Sth. Korea is starting up Bookkus Publishing a marketing company for eBook writers. Final Response will be my initial foray there in September.
March 28/2012 – My present project is finalizing Final Response, which was Fire and Ice then Too Late For Spring. I should have it finished by summer. Fire And Ice has truckload of books with that name, many of them romance and fantasy books. Too Late For Spring sounds liken a gardening book. I’m liking the story one more and more. VooDoo Boy, a juvenile, after 3 chapters is simmering in my brain waiting for more inspiration. Most days I’m sifting through my projects, tweaking, and readying them for specific formatting demanded by eBook retailers. Also working on VooDoo Boy (below) and seeking opinions. The Red Army Doc. Alex T. was a colleague I worked with a few times in Edmonton. My wish is for him to get it together and seriously consider writing his memoirs–a non-fiction project I can really sink my teeth into. Alex T. was a Red Army doctor in Afghanistan circa 1980’s. He signed up for a two year tour and claims he never got paid because the USSR was going down the drain at the time of his discharge. He’s got some killer tales waiting to be unleashed. I’ve almost got the intro written without the soldiers and Russians and Afghans (that’ll never sell). I think his story might garner huge interest as a print project, too. Maybe a monster advance. Then again, with eBook sales skyrocketing, hard copy books are taking a beating.
Jan. 29 2012 – Out On A Limb is here! The cover art is vibrant and I think, intriguing. est of all it’s .99 cents!
Jan. 2012 – Happy New Year. I’m awaiting some cover art for Out On A Limb a new juvenile adventure. When my son sends it to me I’ll put it on line for 2.99 and promote it by offering Ransom for 99 cents. Two of the characters are the same.
2011 updates June 2011 update – The Edmonton Journal travel section published a feature article (June 22/11) about Gloria’s and my recent trip, winging it through South-East Asia. Gloria and I visited Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Beijing, and Seoul, and in the process, cut a large chunk off last winter. On thew same day the Edmonton Sun did a feature, author profile on me and Old Flames.
July 2011 update – Alex isn’t ready to put anything down on paper regarding his Red Army memoirs. Too bad. He says “I don’t want to write about Afghanistan, because for Americans Russians are idiots and drunks. For Russians Afghanistan is still big pain, because almost 15 000 were killed, around 100 000 were wounded, way more with traumatic stress disorder, lots of drug users and psychs. To write truth, it is going to be very negative and depressing. I don’t want to ruin what is still sacred in the hearts of soldiers who were there.” Maybe some day he’ll come around and pick up a pen.
Dec. 2011 update – A Young Adult story is bubbling, demanding to get out of my head. Thomas, Your Friendly Neighborhood Terrorist sounds like a decent title to me. My 1st page lead-off will go something like this:
*”Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
U.S. president b.1858 – d.1919
Planning to go up against the bully at school, who was also the biggest person in town, was actually terrifying just to think about. Actually putting my plan into action jacked up fears that had me bolting upright in bed in the middle of the night. I know my father would’ve been proud of me for my cleverness and problem-solving skills. Even though he was dead, in a way, I suppose he’s the reason I was doing this; somehow to prove myself to him. So why would I even dare to control the bully? Controlling the bully was the only way to avenge the death of my dog Scraps. You see, I know the man who poisoned him.