Updating my bookshelf (belatedly)

Bookshelf 2015Sheesh, I meant to write a post updating my bookshelf at the end of 2015! But life intrudes, and the new year isn’t so new anymore. But: happy 2016 everyone! Hope last year was good to you.
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A bicameral review of Def Leppard’s “Def Leppard”

Def Leppard banner

When it comes to reviewing the latest album by pop-metal maestros Def Leppard, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, at 43 years old, I want to be fairly critical and give an honest opinion. On the other, having seen the band live for the third time this past summer, it’s clear some of their songs will be forever etched in my mind, and as musicians they’re at the top of their game.  So I’ve decided to review the eponymous Def Leppard as my current self and as the audience to whom Def Leppard probably mattered most, 15-year-old me.

43-Year-Old Self: Hello, younger self.

15-Year-Old Self: Hey old self. Hey, do you have flying cars and cool stuff in the future?
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‘Night Class’ out now in Corpus Deluxe


Corpus DeluxeIf you’re looking for a jiu-jitsu-infused vampire tale, you’re in luck: my martial arts urban fantasy story “Night Class” is now available in the new anthology Corpus Deluxe: Undead Tales of Terror, Vol. 1.

“Night Class” is inspired more than a little bit by my years in the dojo, and was first published in the now-defunct Alien Skin Magazine.  I’m very happy to have found it a new home in Corpus Deluxe, edited by Roy C. Booth and Jorge Salgado Reyes, published by Indie Authors Press.
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‘A Deeper Echo’ now live at Far-Fetched Fables

far-fetched-fables-logoA few months ago, I was approached by District of Wonders, publishers of the Far-Fetched Fables podcast, about adapting my Long Hidden story “A Deeper Echo” into an audio version. They’ve produced more than 80 episodes, adapting work by such writers as Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire, and Wendy Wagner (among many others), and recently put out a call for submissions.  I was thrilled to have my work in Episdoe 84, and you can listen to the show free of charge here.
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More Wrestling With Gods: 18 Days of Tesseracts interview

Corey Redekop has undertaken the Herculean feat (like that Greco-Roman mythic metaphor there? I’m so subtle) of interviewing the contributors to Tesseracts 18: Wrestling With Gods as part of the 18 Days of Tesseracts event, on now. I have the honour of being interview number seven.  Here’s a taste of the thought-provoking questions he had, and my best attempts at provoked-thought answers. You can see the entire series as it unfolds at Corey’s site.

What is it about so-called “genre” writing that makes it such an effective avenue for theological discussions?

I think genre stories can tap into what we now call myth. Modern audiences maybe need that little lever to get us out of literalist thinking—as if any fiction, genre or otherwise, is absolutely realistic. I don’t think people treated stories in such a fragmented way in the past; we didn’t have to distinguish between the historical or factual or fantastic to get enjoyment and value out of a story. But since religion and faith necessarily deal with questions of meaning, as I think the really old stories do, and aren’t bounded by what we conceive of as the natural world, I think speculative fiction is aptly suited to tackle similar questions.

Who’s your favourite god?

My favourite is Thor, but I think the best stories in the Norse tales we still have access to are about Loki. If you take them as a whole, you see how problematic but also necessary the Trickster figure is. Loki is at times helpful, indispensable, foolish, spiteful or disastrous. We’re much poorer for all the Norse myths that went unrecorded and were lost.

If you were a god for one day, what would you do?

I’d visit the bottom of the ocean and wrestle with krakens.

You can read the entire interview here.

They Don’t Stand For That: Symbols, Vampires, and Faith

fright-night-1985-w-roddy-mcdowall-and-william-ragsdaleI have a guest post up at the Tesseracts 18 blog on the story seed for my vampire story “The Harsh Light of Morning” in Tesseracts 18: Wrestling With Gods — here’s a brief excerpt. The whole post can be seen here.

It’s funny how an idea can get stuck in your mind and stay there.

For me, the concept of what a symbol is wasn’t something I bothered thinking about until two separate times in my life. One, watching Fright Night in high school. Two, trying to understand what a theatre prof in university meant when he went on a tangent about the difference between a metaphor and a symbol.

But first: some backstory.

Vampires have always creeped me out. I do enjoy the fun recent incarnations (hello Angel, Blade, et. al.) but when you get right down to it, at their core they speak to a certain dread — usually, that people are prey.

But there is always hope — folklore gives us tools to strike back at the monster. The sign of the cross is one of them. A powerful symbol of Christ, and therefore, of good; it can drive back the vampire, an incarnation of evil if there ever was one.

Full post here.