Book Signing November 16 in Delta, BC

Children of Ruin Audiobook–free?

My first audiobook just released and I am a little amazed by it. Sean Letourneau is a voice actor who is talented and easy to work with. He worked hard to make the characters in Children of Ruin come to life, and I hope you’ll give it a listen.

If you don’t already have an Audible account, you can get a FREE copy of the audiobook. Just click here!

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Zombie Apocalypse: Saved by Book Characters

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Cristy Watson weighs in on her zombie apocalypse survival plan.

A few days after James McCann asked me if I would like to join several authors in writing a guest blog post…

…for his new website, I was driving to work early in the morning along Highway 10 on a stretch of road between Cloverdale and Langley. As I came over the crest of the hill, I was thrown off guard by the strangest sight. On the road, close to the white line dividing the two lanes going East, was a workman’s glove. Now you may think that isn’t all that strange. However, the glove was HUGE and it was not lying flat on the ground, but rather, it was propped up, and I swear it looked full, as though there was a hand in it and it was reaching for my car! Of course I swerved, and thankfully, avoided causing an accident, but I was unnerved by what I saw. Was I channelling James and my future blog post to his page, or was this something more sinister, something about which I should be worried?

So far, I have not seen any other signs of a future apocalypse.

But what I spotted that day has definitely put me in the right frame of mind to be prepared for the future, and for writing this blog today. So what skills do I possess to help me, if the end of the world is nigh? Well, my best defence would be to somehow get to Calgary where my sister lives. She is the one person who would know how to defend us. She is an expert in all things related to Zombies. In fact, I phoned her for a little research, and her first response was that I should throw my Rupert Holmes album at the approaching horde. I laughed at her reference to Shaun of the Dead and she took that moment to add that she can think of a number of my albums that could be thrown toward the slow-moving masses of grizzled, hanging flesh. She went on to share other ideas that did not include ruining my record collection. However, none of them seemed to be solutions I could manage.

I have to admit it – I would be in trouble. I am fairly inept when it comes to the necessary skills and knowledge required to survive in a world over-run with Zombies. So, I have decided to look at the characters in my books. Would they fare any better than me? Would they be able to protect me?

In Benched, Taz would probably be my go-to character for support.

He is fast, jumpy and impulsive, but also loyal to his friends. He would rise to defend those he cares about and would literally, run circles around the zombies, but that would only be helpful for so long.

Living Rough has a main character who loves Edgar Allan Poe and is in fact, nicknamed, Poe.

On his own he wouldn’t be much of a threat, but if he could get a hold of The Tell-Tale Heart, he could throw it at the Zombies. That might buy him some time.

My next story with Orca Currents, has a secondary character named Toby, who loves to play Plants vs. Zombies on his iPad. If he were able to access plant arsenal, we’d all be saved! Failing that, I would still be in trouble!

In my latest book with Orca (released January 2019) my MC, Roonie, would be all over this epidemic.

She loves to dance HIP HOP and has all the right moves. She could dance her way out of this. Since I have trouble touching my toes, I might still be in trouble!

Of my three books with Lorimer Sidestreets, only one character comes to mind as being able to help me.

As long as we can find a car with gas, Logan loves street-racing. He’s living on the edge and is reckless enough to get us out of town, running over anything that gets in our way. We won’t have enough gas in the tank to get all the way to Calgary, but since the Rockies are a high climb, hopefully the Zombies won’t have reached that far, yet. And then Sis, the rest is up to you!

In my current WIP called A New Dawn, one of my main characters is a leader of the Winged-People.

Even though her wing is damaged and she can’t fly, her comrades can. I think I would fare well on the back of one of her clansmen! Because all my characters are fictional, my final thoughts on my best skill for surviving a Zombie attack – I don’t have one – so I better turn and run!

 

 

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Zombie Apocalypse: Clumsy and Claustrophobic

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Lee Edward Fodi weighs in on his zombie apocalypse survival plan.

What is my best skill in the case of a zombie apocalypse?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and have tried to imagine what I would do if I was dropped into a scenario of such apocalyptic proportions. It made me think of all the adventures I’ve had that might be comparable. Such an exercise made me realize that I’ve explored a lot of places to do with the dead.

See, when I was a kid I had visions of walking in the footsteps of such intrepid explorers as Indiana Jones, Tintin, or Stryder. I wanted to visit as many tombs, crypts, dungeons, and catacombs as possible.

The good news? I’ve made that happen!

The bad news? Turns out I’m clumsy and claustrophobic. Not exactly the best fit for a world explorer—or survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

There was the time I visited the ancient temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt. Located on the banks of the Nile, it includes a section dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god. There were many crocodile mummies here—so, if you think about it, I’ve actually encountered what is the closest thing to a real zombie. Unfortunately, it was at Kom Ombo where I fell into a giant hole up to my neck.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: If we actually set a trap to capture zombies, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the one who plunges into it.

Another time, I was visiting the ancient temple complex of Tikal in Guatemala. You’d recognize these temples from the very first Star Wars movie ever made—they filmed the exterior of the Rebel Base here. They are also the biggest Mayan ruins in Central America, where different rituals and sacrifices were performed. Surely spirits inhabit this place—but, undaunted, I traipsed up incredibly steep staircases, the kind with narrow ledges and no railings and made it to the top of one of the temples where I watched an incredibly gorgeous sunset over the junglescape. The problem was that on the short trek back to our cabin, I got separated from my companions and became lost in the jungle. Howler monkeys screeched at my shoulders and shadows clutched at the meager path before me. Then a giant jaguarundi bounded out of the foliage, right across my way.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: If we have to hide from zombies in the wilderness then I’m probably not going to make it. The zombies will find me wandering around, alone and disorientated.

The final episode I want to discuss happened during my honeymoon. My wife and I decided to go to the city of love and romance: Paris. There are many romantic sites in Paris, but one of the first things we did was descend into the underground tunnels known as the catacombs. It’s here where you can see countless bones and skulls, testament to the long and often inglorious history of the city.

I could have easily got lost down there, but we had a guide, so I managed to stay with the group. There we were, creeping through the catacombs, absorbing the eerie atmosphere, when suddenly an alarm began to blare from my coat pocket, right in the middle of one of our guide’s spooky stories. Everyone turned and looked at me and I suddenly became that guy who can’t even turn off his cell phone when he’s on an incredibly cool tour a league beneath the crust of the earth.

I should mention here that I don’t even OWN a cellphone. It was my iPod and no one can call or text me through it. It’s just that I had set my alarm for a different time zone, and now it was shrilling.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: It wouldn’t be hard to imagine myself and a group of apocalypse survivors hiding in the root cellar, trying to avoid detection when, at the most inopportune moment, I knock over something or set off some sort of bell to alert the zombies to our location.

. . . So, what is my best skill in case of the zombie apocalypse? I hate to admit it, but probably a decoy. When you think about it, that’s what I do for a living anyway. I tell stories and provide distraction. During the zombie apocalypse, I imagine it would be quite the same.

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Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a professional daydreamer. He is the author of several books for children, including The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar and The Secret of Zoone, which is coming out with HarperCollins in 2019. In his free time, he’s a traveller, adventurer, and maker of dragon eggs. He especially loves to visit exotic places where he can lose himself in tombs, mazes, castles, and crypts. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and unhelpful cat.

Dungeons and Dragons and Creative Writing

Over the next few months, I’ll be running workshops that connect Dungeons and Dragons to writing creatively.

Writing Your Story Dungeons and Dragons-style

Whether you write contemporary tales or fantasy epics, the popular game of Dungeons and Dragons can make you a better writer. See how modern writers have been influenced through creating characters, maps, and collaborative storytelling to work through tough plot points!

At the end of this workshop, you’ll have the tools to say goodbye to writer’s block forever and get that novel written and polished.

What does that mean, exactly?

When I was 14 years old, I ran a weekly D&D game with my friends and had to come up with stories–sometimes on the fly. The purpose of D&D is that you have a storyteller, known as the Dungeon Master, who narrates the story to the players. This includes the setting, plot, and non-essential characters. The players are the ones who tell the Dungeon Master what the essential characters do–and as any writer knows, your characters can often screw up your intentions for the plot.

So now, many years later, I have been playing D&D 5th edition as a player and messing up the well-thought out plot my Dungeon Master has created. For the last month, I have been running my own game at the library as storyteller for a group of teens who continuously challenge me as a writer. There has not been a game where the teens haven’t forced me to rewrite the story and to accept the path the characters (whom they play) want to take.

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The teen D&D game uses apps.

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We also use 3D printed characters!

How does this translate into writing?

To create a story as a Dungeon Master, I had to write and create the following things:

(1) A map of the world where the story takes place.
(2) Maps of all the towns the characters may visit.
(3) Histories of the world and of the towns. Plus, of the spaces the characters may travel between towns.
(4) A plot that would get the characters (acted out by the players) to want to go from Point A to Point Z.
(5) Sub-plots that those characters would experience along the way. (Points B to Y.)
(6) Non-essential characters (played out by me) that would challenge the players. Some are friends, some are foes. Some who are friends, turn out to be foes. Some who are thought to be foes, turn out to be friends (the players had quite a bad turn here when they thought they were rescuing a farmer’s daughter from cultists, only to discover they were freeing an evil werewolf’s daughter from a group of warriors and wizards who could have saved her. Notice the past tense there…)
(7) Constant writing and rewriting of the plot week-to-week, and sometimes during the game, when other ideas surface either through the players or through my own ideas.

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The adults also play D&D at my library!

Those seven steps are essentially what it takes to write a book. And I’ve used this technique to write several books of urban fantasy, apocalypse, and contemporary tales.

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Last of these covers for Rancour and One-Eyed King!

I’ve taught workshops before where we played D&D to inspire our stories. I even created my own “Apocalypse Survival” role-playing game for classrooms, which I did for a few years while the apocalypse still seemed like a far-fetched idea.

How about you? Do you use Dungeons and Dragons (or other role-playing games) to inspire your writing? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Signing at Lougheed Coles in Burnaby

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Last week, I participated in a signing with some pretty fantastic people. The scary part of doing book signings is that you never know if anyone will show up–it has, on occasion, just been myself sitting at a table while passersby avert their gaze and ignore me. A common plight of being an author.

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That was not the case with this signing. From left to right, I was there with Eileen Cook, Dawn Ius, Denise Jaden, myself, and D.R. Graham. And a BIG shout out to Sarah F., who is between Eileen and D.R. Graham, for bringing the event to Coles in Lougheed Mall.

We had plenty of people wander over to our table, ask about our books, and walk away with new reading material. This was a really fun event!

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Of course, it didn’t hurt that I situated myself beside the cookies…

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Rancor: Vampyre Hunter … Free

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Hard to believe the first copy of this book was published by Simply Read Books (published as Rancour) twelve years ago. Harder to believe that when it was first published, it was considered a unique storyline and not a cliched copycat of the now thousands of vampire/werewolf/love triangle books out there.

When it was first published (just a few months before Twilight) reviewers compared it to Underworld and Constantine –only because those movies have something to do with vampires or the supernatural. Then Twilight became popular, and Rancour was only ever compared to it.

I was hired to write three novels and paid an advance for the third (which never made it to print). Vampires seem to be making a resurgence and so I am considering releasing the third, never-before-seen book. We’ll see.

For now, a few reviews:

“Werewolves, vampires, keg parties, murders and love: Terror and suspense rarely let up in this teen thriller” – Pam Withers, author of the popular Xtreme Series

“Vampires, werewolves, and teenage angst — the supernatural has often been worked into teen tales, but rarely in quite the way that Vancouver author James McCann has done in his first novel.” – Quill and Quire, October 2005

“An enthralling read for an action fan or a mythology follower. Reliving the motions of an ancient being, paralleled by a new kid in town. Modern acts speak in an ancient tongue that resonates for longer than anyone can fathom. A treat for all who love a good fictional story.” – Windsor Star, 2007

“The time – the present. The place – Fillmore High and the surrounding town. The cast of characters – Alix, Betty, Kharl, Simon – plus their families, friends and enemies. It all points to a typical teen fiction novel. And that’s where the resemblance ends.” – CM Magazine, 2005 (Pyre)

And here we are. Twelve years later and people are still reading it. It’s no longer available in the Simply Read Books version, but it is available under my imprint:

Plus, the Kindle version is free until the 21st.

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Below is a song that inspired the story. From a movie that inspired the story.