Animals of Canada

ONE: I’ve started a podcast for 2017, and I hope you’ll join me over at Animals of Canada for some sweet & savoury & salty stories, straight into your ears.

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TWO: I’m writing articles now-and-again for the Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse, so pop over there from time to time to brush up on your end-of-the-world skills. You’ll find me under codename “Skookum”.

THREE: I have a short story included in Hic Dragones’ upcoming anthology, Nothing, and from the looks of things, it’s going to be a wonderful collection. “Bleak and disturbing tales”… sign me up! ūüôā

FOUR: We’ve been busy over at Fox&Bee filming promotional and educational work for our clients, but the blizzard and power outages gave us a little time to slow down, write by candle light, and check out how well the camera films in low light. We hope you’re having a wonderful and creative winter!

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Unrestrained Book Joy

I stumbled across a copy of Paul Auster’s ‘The New York Trilogy’ in a second-hand book store today, and I was so happy that I squeaked and did a little dance, right there in the aisle. Has any book ever made you dance impulsively?

The portly book seller, sitting silently behind his desk, looked at me over the towering stack of Conan the Barbarian comics that he was sorting. He nodded slowly. He understands book-joy when he sees it.

Monday Methods – Space

I’ve written three essays on writing for FoxSpirit’s Monday Methods, and the first one, ‘Space’, is up!¬†Go have a look, and leave a comment about the things you need to feel comfortable in your own writing space … I’d love to know!

This is not mine, and I don't recall where it came from, but it's so very, very accurate. Three cheers to the artist, whomever you are.

This is not mine, and I don’t recall where it came from, but it’s so very, very accurate. Three cheers to the artist, whomever you are.

Jack Hunter isn’t happy about ‘Clean Reader’

A new app, entitled ‘Clean Reader’, has recently been released. It goes through a book and takes out any profanity, replacing it with more family-friendly language. As a writer, I find that horrifying – I choose the words I use with great care, and I use all types of language to express my ideas. However, as frustrated as I might be by ‘Clean Reader’, Jack Hunter was absolutely infuriated. He’s a character from Bucket of Blood, and true to form, he has a few words to say on the subject, not all of them safe for work. I figured it was best just to let him speak, so Jack Hunter is today’s guest blogger….¬†

Now, let me start by sayin’, I was born in the year of our Lord 1864, and right from the get go, my life weren’t much about book-learnin’. But my momma taught me to say straight how I feel, and when I heard about some fancy contraption that strips out the words from a book and sticks in fancy preacher language, I felt I had to step up and speak my piece. The fact of the matter is, I ain’t a man what likes to be censored. When I say fuck, I mean fuck, god damn it.

I’m sorry if that offends any of ya flashy toffs and fine prissy ladies. If talkin’ nice is the way for you, then I respect that. It’s in your character. It’s who ya are. The words ya choose are the bones of your soul, and how ya say what you gotta say tells folks all about your background and your personality. But when someone strips that out of your vocabulary, making claims that what you’re saying ain’t worthy¬†or valid, then they’ve gone and changed your history and devalued your experience, right there.

And god damn, once you start putting words of your own choosing into the mouths of other people, you’re just reinforcin’ your own ideas, rather than learnin’ from the experience of others. You’re shuttin’ yourself off from broadening your view of the world.

And that’s a god damn fucking shame.

Language lifts us up from the animals. The god-given miracle of speech allows us to share ideas one-to-th’other; y’ain’t gonna find no dog able to tell the other yappers ’bout complex ideas like arithmetic or philosophy or even just chin waggin’ about their maffickin’ the night before. To quote Jeremiah 1:9, “Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put my words in your mouth.’” Speech is precious, and that means all speech, with its endless variations and permutations and levels of divergency.

The very foundation of this contraption rests on the premise that someone¬†chooses what is right and what is wrong for people to read, and I don’t know about you, but that scares the ever-lovin’ shit outta me. Who gets to pick and choose which words are worthy? Who decides how much we’re allowed to share? Who strips away the rich tapestry of jargon, and decrees which scraps are allow to remain? Ain’t no one got the right to place a hierarchy on communication. You don’t need to agree with everything you read, but I figure you got a right to see it and make up yer own god damned mind.

Besides, when someone starts to censor out words, it’s a short hop to realizing it ain’t the words they don’t like, but the ideas they carry. And god damn, as many a yellow-livered fart catcher’s discovered, you can’t suppress¬†a good idea quite so easily, no matter how high and mighty your station.

I may not be real, I may be work of fiction, but I still have a right to express myself fully and completely, using whatever fucking words I choose. ‘Cause at the end of the day, the written word is all I got to tell ya who I am, and if you change my voice, you change me, as well.

Fuck that.

Book Launch in Victoria, BC

AnimalsLast year, my short story “The Rabbit King” was included in an anthology from Nimbus Press, entitled “In the Company of Animals”. Well, I’ll be joining four other Vancouver Island authors at a book launch in Victoria* on Wednesday, February 25, at the Bateman Centre. Admission is free and the event starts at 7:30pm.

Books will be available for sale, and as authors have been encouraged to bring their own works, I’ll have copies of Bucket of Blood, Mark of the Magpie, and The Tattooed Wolf¬†for sale,¬†too.

Hope to see you there!

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*There will also be readings in Port Alberni on the 26th and in Tofino on the 27th, but I’m afraid I can’t make those events due to previous engagements. I’m sure they’ll be lots of fun, too!

Cyber Monday For Book Wolves…. I mean, Worms.

Because¬†nothing says ‘Happy Cyber Monday’ like an impulse purchase of new books (at least in my household, anyway), Hic Dragones is¬†extending Lycanthrovember to this Saturday, 6th December, when they’ll be sharing all things wolfy at the Alternative¬†& Burlesque Fair at New Wakefield Street in Manchester. So until then, no matter where you are in the world, you can still get¬†two werewolves for the price of one: my book The Tattooed Wolf, and the anthology Wolf-Girls.

(1) Follow this link to get yourself your copies.

(2) On the basis of its name alone, I really wish I was closer to Manchester so that I could visit the fair. It sounds amazing!!!!