Until March 9th, you can get Rise of the One-Eyed King free on Kindle!
Halloween is perhaps my favourite time of year. Partly because it’s an excuse to eat as much candy as I want, but also because I love dressing up as a character. As a writer, I don’t often dress up a someone else’s character, so when I go to parties people have a hard time figuring out who I am supposed to be. “I’m not a character, I’m more of a genre,” I tell them.
I’m not sure who this character is yet, but this was my version of a steampunk-ish zombie hunter. The jacket (detail is completely lost) is Renaissance in style, the shirt pirate, the boots medieval. I found a very cool machete (plastic, but it looked metal) and a toy crossbow that, again, did not look like a toy. For future: black gloves, facial scars and a severed zombie head on my belt would have made this outfit complete.
Friend and cake-maker extraordinaire Carrie also arrived at the party as a zombie hunter (completely unplanned that our costumes would be the same genre). She also arrived with a severed zombie head, which turned out to be a cake.
Halloween Night is now just one more sleep away, so if you’re out and about tomorrow just remember to watch for those dark spaces and howls at the moon. Plus, if you are in the mood for a zombie tale don’t forget that Rise of the One-Eyed King is for sale over at Amazon!
On August 13th I took a drive down to Birch Bay for their 2nd annual Rollback Weekend. This was a flash back to the cars of the past, with music and hot dogs and people dressed up with clothes from the 50s and 60s.
This has become one of my favourite spots to visit, and is the location where my next book will take place. I’ve been spending a lot of time there over the past few weekends, and this particular day was one of my favourites. Here are a few photos of my favourite vehicles.
The Jeep, no surprise, has always been among my favourite vehicles. It’s rugged, tough, and just looks cool. In high school and well into my 20s I drove a *cough*deathtrap*cough* 1977 CJ7 3-speed, and so when I saw this CJ 5 I immediately wandered over to it. I have a lot of fond memories driving around Winnipeg in that CJ 7 with my buddies piled in, the roof off, and the music blaring.
This vehicle obviously gets a lot of second looks on the road. And I bet no one tailgates him.
A big part of my childhood was spent camping in one of these with my uncle. We took trips from Winnipeg to Florida, Winnipeg to Los Angeles, and many, many others. No doubt a big part of why I love the road trip even now as an adult.
This is my second favourite car after the ’72 Cuda.
There’s much to love about Birch Bay if you’re in the area and looking for a fun spot to spend the day. After the car show (and a very questionable hot dog) I hiked up the highway to the Birch Bay Cafe, where I sat and sipped a latte and wrote. And of course, the theme song for this post should have been obvious. Because black cars do look better in the shade…
Took a road trip to Shannon Falls today with a friend of mine, and as we were walking along the trails we came across a sign that warned about the safety of the hike and a caution that you’d best be prepared.
She and I hadn’t discussed what we’d be bringing, but we compared our packs and sure enough we had everything that was required–no doubt this was in due part (for me, anyway) from writing a story about a zombie apocalypse that made me really consider, “Am I prepared for a disaster?”
Prepared or not, Rise of the One-Eyed King paperback edition comes out on Monday, August the 1st. It’s been blurbed by two of the most well-known children’s authors in Canada–which, I have to admit, was a huge relief for me. Up until now, I wasn’t sure that I had written a book worth reading, but now I’m feeling confident and excited.
“Smart and crisply written. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead you’ve found your next read!” –Eric Walters, bestselling author of the Rule of Three series.
“Zombies? Check. Non-stop apocalyptic action? Check! This book will get your heart pumping. Read it with one hand on a machete (just in case).” –Arthur Slade, bestselling author of Dust.
Click on the cover below for the Amazon page.
What I haven’t told very many people until now, is that there is also a special paperback edition that features a font called, Opendyslexic. This is a font that increases the readability for those with dyslexia, and I’m hoping that by creating this edition teens (or adults) with dyslexia may have a book to read that will be less of a struggle so they can concentrate on enjoying the story and not just with the mechanics of reading. (Click on the cover below for the Amazon page for the version with Opendyslexic font.)
I should say that none of my characters in the story have dyslexia (not that’s mentioned, anyway), and that my reasons for making this edition was from working in a bookstore and struggling to find books for teens with dyslexia. I’m planning on releasing this format for another paperback edition of Rancor: Vampyre Hunter, as well. But that’s a future project! For now, give Rise of the One-Eyed King a try!
And for those of you who may have missed the book trailer, here it is again!
During my holidays, on May 30th, I visited (as I do on many an occasion) Terra Nova Rural Park. There are many reasons to love island living (Richmond, BC is only accessible by two bridges or a tunnel) and our nature parks are one of them. Terra Nova is 63 acres wide, has walking trails, historic sites, and a playground that will blow your mind and make you wish you could be a kid again.
Along the way, you can stop in at the Starbucks at Terra Nova Village on Westminster Highway and First Ave. Then, head over to the park and prepare to enjoy your day.
Below is the entrance just meters from the playground. If you’re not going to the playground, this is a quieter section to enter. You’ll find ample parking along the dyke, or if you have come as a cyclist the paths are quite cycle friendly. (Just remember that you are sharing the path, and it is your responsibility as a cyclist to make sure pedestrians know you are approaching by ringing a bell.)
If you are going to the playground, your kids are in for a treat. The structures look like something from a Flintstones cartoon, and it’s billed as an “off-leash” place for kids. The City of Richmond consulted with children before creating this place, and invested 1-million dollars in it. Click here for a better view and more information.
Myself, I venture over to the boardwalk that crosses over a (very small) marsh. There are benches to sit on and it’s normally fairly quiet, with the noise from happy children heard as background from the nearby playground.
One note I will make are the cigarette butts that are seen stashed between the floorboards of the walkway. If you must ruin your health by smoking, maybe you can think of others by taking your trash with you when your cigarette is done. It means we can all enjoy the space, not just you. (And to you smokers who do this already, thank-you.)
There are a few First Nations art installations along the pathways that are worth seeing. Below is a stone bench carved with a Raven, and a little history of the Musqueam peoples. It weighs 3200 lbs, so little chance of it getting stolen. It’s a great place to sit for a spell and take in the sounds and scents around you.
As you wind your way through the paths, you’ll come across a community garden. In a day and age where many people are living n condos, this space not only allows for the growing of fresh vegetables and fruits but also a place where neighbours can meet each other. People here are generally friendly and proud of what they are creating, and more than willing to engage in conversation.
Below are the two objects that made me think of the zombie apocalypse. That bicycle would be great to use to cart stuff around, and that clay oven could either be used for baking bread or disposing of zombies. (Not both.) Ahhhh, the writer brain never rests.
Below is a house that I’m pretty sure was a community building for the gardens, but I wasn’t positive. I may have trespassed that day…
And you will see wildlife in the park. There are several species of birds, below you’ll find the heron and a couple ducks. Usually I see hawks and eagles, but none were out that day.
All in all, this is a great place to visit for a picnic or to let your kids get rid of their energy with the ziplines, slide, and many other cool things in the playground.
Not sure what the Queen song, Princes of the Universe, has to do with the mood of that day except that hikes through the woods sometimes makes me think of the movie Highlander. (There was only one movie–the others never existed. NEVER. EXISTED.) So, I leave this song as the theme for this post.
Bird watching or scoping out the territory during a zombieapocalypse?
This past May long weekend I spent the better part of the morning at George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary with good friends Rob, Sarah, and Brianna.
Reifel is a 3 km square area in Delta, British Columbia that is a designated site of Hemispheric Importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (as taken from Wikipedia). On a quiet day it’s a nice slow walk with many species of birds to spy, and on a busy day it’s an attempt not to trip over small children that are in constant danger of being attacked by geese as their parents take photos moments before doom sets in.
I’m going to be flat out honest and just say that I have no idea what bird is what except that the one below enjoyed flying into Brianna’s hand like a scene from Snow White (but a kick ass one where the poison actually makes Snow stronger and she takes over the kingdom by force with her army of dwarves.) When I attempted to lure the bird to my hand, it refused to come near me and I’m pretty sure it even cackled with laughter. Sometimes at night I can still hear the laughter.
This below is a sparrow. (I think.) It was tiny and carried sticks presumably to build a nest–or it was weight training knowing that the other birds would probably tease him eventually because he’s small and he wanted to make sure he could fight back. I may be projecting.
To the left, that’s a blue bird of some sort. On the right is a wood duck perched on a log.
Below is a bird that seems to be saying, “You lookin’ at me?” in a De Niro voice.
And here are the rest of the photos of the bird sanctuary. I do recommend this as a road trip if you are in the Delta area, especially on a nice day. Rob will warn you that some of the berries are alarmed, thus known as “alarm berries,” to make sure that the foliage is not being tampered with. I’m mostly certain he’s joking…
And there’s my best bud, Sarah and me, enjoying our outing at what I think will be an ideal place to survive a zombie apocalypse should it ever happen.
This is the theme song from the day because Rob and I made a joke about this song and the birds flying. Unfortunately, it took me so long to post this that I have completely forgotten what the comment was. It was funny though. Seriously, really funny.
Came across this article I wrote in 2012 while working on a draft of what would later become Rise of the One-Eyed King.
I live in a little fishing village near Vancouver, and a couple times a week I take a walk past all the ports into the village. There are a couple places that I think would make great zombie apocalypse encampments, though I have had interesting conversations where friends disagree. However, this one by the water seems kind of ideally suited to the cause.
First of all, it’s gated within an open lot. There is nothing inside the lot that zombies could hide behind, and there is enough room that containers could be brought in for gardening. There is also a long parking lot leading to the compound, so zombies (or any other enemy) would have little place to hide. Plus, there’s the bonus of being on the water where a major river meets the ocean. Easy escape if needed, plus access to food/water source.
There is also this lookout on top of two stacked containers. This lookout is weather protected (for mild West Coast weather) and has an antennae for transmitting broadcasts.
What I think really makes this a sound design is that the top container could be transformed into living quarters with the bottom used as cold storage for food supplies. Access to both from inside (ladders that lead from top to bottom) so, if under attack by zombies, there would be no need to leave the shelter until the problem is taken care of.
I found this website for a few ideas of what the top container could be turned into, though one wouldn’t want to use too much glass in case it came under fire from rival colonists. The doors on either side could be made to swing open, so they could be shut quickly if necessary.
What’s your ideal zombie apocalypse shelter idea?