My picks for the ideal Canadian bookshelf

The National Post, one of Canada’s two national newspapers is running a contest … I think. It’s called the ideal Canadian bookshelf. From the link:

Over the next, we’re asking readers to send us a list of five books — non-fiction, poetry, fiction, children’s books — that they think deserve a spot on our national bookshelf. (Note: The authors must be Canadian). We’ll compile the votes, then turn the results over to Mount, whose painting — and the winners — will be revealed next month.

Not sure what the winners will win, I’m hoping it’s a natural gas barbecue.  I doubt the winners will be Canadian sci-fi/fantasy because, well, we don’t do that in national newspapers in Canada.  Here’s my list for what it’s worth.

1) Wake – Robert J. Sawyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Price – Tanya Huff


 

 

 

 

Dime Store Magic – Kelley Armstrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunburst – Phyllis Gotlieb

Stealing Home – Hayden Trenholm

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Donations for Hurricane Sandy Relief


If you haven’t been moved by the images pouring out of New York, New Jersey and all the areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, spend some time looking at the pictures of the devastation. The local Red Cross chapters in the areas affected need your help ASAP. Please click below and give something to help out!

I’m giving away five epub copies of my book POLTERGEEKS to the first five people who donate. Send me an email to info AT sean DASH cummings DOT ca. Okay? Go! (I’m out of print copies for giveaways). AND I’m gonna sweeten the pot. If those donations are more than $100, I’m going to give five signed copies of my book SHADE FRIGHT (print, yay!) and five signed copies of my book FUNERAL PALLOR. (print, double yay!)

Any other authors out there who want to stimulate the donations by giving away some free reads, you can get this widget for your website or blog here.

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Happy Halloween – here’s a treat!

Here’s a clip from a Canadian TV show from 1971 .The program was called “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein”. It was produced in Hamilton, Ontario for CHCH TV and was in syndication on pretty much every English speaking channel in Canada during the 70’s. (Before cable, Canadians had three channels. The English CBC, CTV and the French Radio Canada.)

It featured Vincent Price (who must have been hard up for cash in those days) as a spooky host and a boatload of creepy characters, the bulk of them played by the late, great Billy Van.

This one is the creepiest – The Librarian. Have a watch and feast your eyes on a fabulously spooky setting not to mention some pretty damned convincing make-up effects – a heck of a thing for a show that was on a shoestring budget. If you remember this show,  feel free to comment and share your memories!

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

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I’m looking for Beta readers – know any?

 

Hiya! Well, I’ve finished some changes to something UNBELIEVABLY COOL! (No, it’s not the second POLTERGEEKS book – my editor at Strange Chemistry Books has that one already.)

Annnnnd   I’m looking for three very keen, very observant and very prepared to read something that is so NOT urban fantasy it will make your head spin kinda people.

You? You love to read. You love to read YA. You know how to use MS Word. You know how to put comments in the right margin of the file. You won’t share it with anyone. You won’t lose the file. You are prepared to offer your suggestions and thoughts on an 82,000 word project. Most important – you are objective as hell.

What will you be reading? Something dark, terrifying, violent, scary as hell. (I think.)

If this sounds like you, I’ll put your name in the acknowledgements AND send you a copy of SHADE FRIGHT, FUNERAL PALLOR or UNSEEN WORLD for your trouble. I’ll even sign your copy too!

Interested? Send me an email to info AT sean DASH cummings DOT ca.

 

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Book Review: MOCKINGBIRD by Chuck Wendig

 

I’d posted a review of Chuck Wendig’s game changing book BLACKBIRDS back in March. Well I’m back with a review to the much anticipated follow-up MOCKINGBIRD.

Let’s start with the cover art – BOOM! So unlike everything else that’s out there with an ass-kicking leading lady (even mine for POLTERGEEKS and my cover rocks.). It’s my favorite female train wreck Miriam Black assembled together by a crap load of blackbirds and she’s got a switch blade not to mention “I don’t give two shits” look in her eyes. (Joey HiFi is the artist. This guy is unbelievably talented.)

Our story begins in a supermarket of all places. Dear Miriam has a job (one of many she’s burned through since last we saw her) and her day isn’t going terribly well. There’s a problem lady in line and she and Miriam just don’t see eye-to-eye. Things go south from there because Miriam catches a glimpse of her problem lady’s death (because that is what Miriam does. She touches you, sees your death. Hijinks ensue. Really. Bad. Hijinks.). BOOM! That lady is gonna die along in about three minutes from now and Miriam hasn’t a whole lot of time to respond. God love her though, she does. The gunman is in the checkout line and Miriam is going to once again mess with fate.

Her one-eyed love interest Louis is there. The pair live together in a crummy trailer. All is not well on the romantic front and really, how can it ever be? Miriam Black is the undisputed Queen of damaged goods. But Louis has a chance for her to make some easy coin – there’s a teacher at a girl’s school who wants to to know if she’s dying. No sooner does Miriam set foot on the institution property when she is thrown into a “kill the girls” murder spree waiting to happen. Heads are literally going to roll and Miriam is the only person who can save them – a tough job when you’re failing miserably at saving yourself.

I loved this book. I absolutely LOVED it because if BLACKBIRDS was a game changer for urban/dark fantasy then MOCKINGBIRD is the rule book. And guess what? There are no rules!

Absolutely.

Everything.

Goes.

Wendig has this incredible ability to squeeze every drop of “fucked-upedness” out of every character he creates and leading the pack is Miriam Black. (That should be a slogan. God help us all if she ever runs for public office.) He’s taken pulp fiction and mixed it all up in a big bowl full of dark fantasy with a smattering of horror to boot. This book positively races along because Miriam has to move fast. And by God, you know you’ve hit rock bloody bottom if Miriam Black is saving your ass. The writing is first person here and now. The dialogue is punchy, tough, gripping and absolutely authentic. The background characters come to life though some of them you wish were never born and all through this grubby tale of danger and death we have a protagonist who you know is doomed in the grand scheme of things – it’s like watching Sons of Anarchy – you just know when that show wraps up, it is not going to end well for anyone.

Very simply, there is no book I can think of with a female lead that can touch either BLACKBIRDS or MOCKINGBIRD in its blood spraying, bone splintering, tooth chipping, nose breaking way. This book kicks the living shit out of you with every surprise turn. Its an opportunity for the reader to touch on some dark and seedy imagery that we drive past at fifty miles an hour and rarely ever want to see through the rear view mirror.

If BLACKBIRDS took you for a late night cruise down a dark and twisted road without the benefit of headlights, then MOCKINGBIRD is a big ass blinking warning sign that tells the reader the bridge is washed out and dammit, your brakes just failed.

Hell of a ride. Hell of a book. Don’t miss this one.

 

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