A new Site and New Covers

Have you ever wondered what would happen in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Maybe you fancy yourself a survivor, or you’re just all too aware that you’d be lucky to make it to the end of the first day.

There are many places where you can get information for zombie survival, the CDC for example.

This year I’m releasing an old novel with a new look and title. Rise of the One-Eyed King will be released as Children of Ruin. May 1st the paperback comes out, followed soon by an audio book and a choose your own adventure app for your mobile device!

To celebrate, just for fun, I asked several author friends to take this quiz and use their results as inspiration on what makes them a good (or terrible) candidate for a zombie apocalypse colony. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting their responses.

How would I fair in a zombie apocalypse?

My strengths:

(1) I have some basic martial arts skills.
(2) I can shoot a bow with accuracy.
(3) I can fish and filet a fish.
(4) I have a dog. (Well, okay, a pekingese.)
(5) I can camp. (But I better not wear the rainbow pants that weren’t even cool in 1986 when this photo was taken.)

208631745340

So, I must have done well on the quiz, right? RIGHT? Sigh. Nope.

See below:

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 1.05.16 PM

I suppose “heroic death” is better than “tripped while running” in a zombie apocalypse.

Take the quiz and let me know how you did!

Jeremy Tankard’s Hungry Bird Booklaunch

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing long-time friend Jeremy Tankard launch his newest creation, Hungry Bird, at Vancouver Kidsbooks. As a library tech who does storytimes with preschoolers, I’m familiar with his other books. A favourite with the kids is Grumpy Bird, as you can read the book as an interactive with the kids acting out the animals plus you can discuss how you know when someone is angry and what we can do when we’re angry.

hungry

Along comes Hungry Bird, also a familiar feeling for the young and old. “Who brought me something to eat?” is the theme of this book, and again this will be an amazing picturebook for storytimes and early education. You can buy a copy from any retailer.

Congratulation, Jeremy, on an amazing book!

 

 

tankard

Birch Bay Rollback Weekend

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1975 Jeep CJ 5

 

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Zombie Apocalypse Vehicle

This vehicle obviously gets a lot of second looks on the road. And I bet no one tailgates him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Truck that I’m pretty sure was inspired by Mad Max

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

VW Camper Van

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

’71 Dodge Charger 440 CI Magnum

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…

James in His Jeep Getting Java–The Squamish Edition

13920366_10157174392585394_3528568145550851907_o

 

Last weekend I took a road trip to Shannon Falls near Squamish, BC. This time, pal Marcie asked to come along and I welcomed the company. Of course, as I’ve blogged about before, there is a risk when travelling with someone as opposed to going solo. Solo, I stop where I want, leave when I want, and do whatever I want. In a nutshell, I get to be selfish–and in order to recharge sometimes people need to be selfish. But when you’re travelling with someone, you have to be considerate of the fact that they may not want to see the same sights, or stay as long, or they may get upset with you when, for the millionth time, you’re lost.

Marcie was a terrific travelling companion and I put her to the test. Driving out of Vancouver I got turned around and couldn’t find the road that lead to the highway–she laughed and directed me so we wouldn’t spend the day circling one-way streets. Once on our way, we headed to Shannon Falls!

Just before Shannon Falls, there’s overflow parking to the left. I highly recommend using the overflow, especially if you visit on a busy long weekend like we did. Or, you could do what I did and make another wrong turn while attempting to find the overflow and wind up in the campground next door to it–which was where we took the photo of me beside the jalopy below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Across the highway (there’s a pedestrian crossing with lights from the overflow to Shannon Falls) we found a walkway that lead to the falls. While the park was beautiful and the falls were incredible, there really wasn’t much to do and after twenty minutes we were looking for more trails.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We found two paths–one that sloped down, possibly to a river, and one that lead up (and up and up and up) to the Chief, which is not a hike for beginners or for those with the wrong shoes–such as my Blundstones. At first Marcie thought it might not be so bad, but after a short climb we both agreed that we should see where the other path leads.

We expected to find a river, as that was where it seemed to head. However, it came out of the forest where the new Sea to Sky Gondola was situated. It was still early in the day, and Marcie said she was up for it if I was–so we went inside to see about getting tickets. What we discovered, is that there are two places to buy tickets. Inside where we went, at the info desk, there was no line up. Then, when we went outside to the cable car area, we found another ticket booth and a long line-up of people. (>insert evil chortle<)

There were two types of cable cars, and we took the one on the left (we assumed the one of the right was for supplies).

The view is amazing, and for those who may be scared of heights (like I am) this cable car felt very secure. It was an extremely windy day, but the cable car stayed pretty still.

13920137_10157174392180394_6523804549355365468_o

Photo credit Marcie Nestman.

 

When we got to the top, we discovered that there was a wedding going on. So I took photos, because that’s what one does when one sees a wedding in a public place. In case you want to book your wedding there, here’s the link.

At the top there’s a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, and two smaller food kiosks. There are plenty of picnic tables if you bring your own food (such as what we did), and the walks around the summit are easy and short with amazing views. The suspension bridge was fun to cross.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

13914146_10157174392735394_2890513745586474390_o

Photo credit Marcie Nestman.

13923383_10157174393080394_3794802992089288473_o

Photo credit Marcie Nestman.

When we decided it was time to leave, the line up for the cable car was very, very long. It does move very, very fast though–so no need for stress. We lucked out when an attendant asked if we liked dogs, as there was one in a cable car and no one wanted to ride with him. We said yes, and thus I made a new friend below. (I don’t recall his name, but in my defence he probably doesn’t remember mine either.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Normally, I end the post with a theme song, but today, since Marcie is an accomplished actress, I’m ending with her latest commercial.

Are You Prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse?

It’s August 1st, which makes it paperback book release day! Happy birthday to a story that I spent almost six years writing.

To buy a copy:

Paper back edition.

Paperback edition with Opendyslexic font.

Kindle Edition.

RiseOneEyedKingPoster_web

Dyslexia in the Zombie Apocalypse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

9780993748653

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!

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.40.15 PM

And for those of you who may have missed the book trailer, here it is again!

James in His Jeep Getting Java–the Terra Nova Rural Park Edition

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The slide.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The zipline.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.