Making Adjustments

To put it mildly, a few things have changed around the world since my last blog post. Let me just say that there is ample reading material, information, misinformation, statistics, and memes concerning the COVID-19 virus across all social media platforms. Since I don’t really have much of anything to add to the discussion, I’m not going to talk about it here.

…well, except as it pertains to my writing classes.

Naturally, when everything else began to shut down, the university followed suit (they were actually ahead of the curve on that front). So as a result, we had to shut down the final session of Crafting the Short Story, and cancel An Introduction to Publishing. If you’re reading this, ladies, as promised we WILL do that final class, whether in person or via Skype or some such.

Further to that: as of this morning I’ve been in discussions with the powers that be regarding classes, and how to handle them moving forward. It looks like we’re going to launch online classes in place of classroom gatherings. I’ll discuss more details as they unfold, but for now it looks like what would have been the April session will begin sometime in May.

What does this mean? Well, it’s an adjustment, no question. I’ve done online lessons via Skype before, so it’s not entirely new for me, although I’m told we’ll be using a different platform here. It also means that suddenly my classes are available to people who don’t happen to live in the immediate area.

Just a short post today, to let you know I’m still plugging away over here. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Talk soon!

-JP

 

Mid-Winter Notes

We’ve got January behind us, which for the optimistic among us means the worst of winter is now behind us. It’s not gone of course, not by any means. But now that we’re half way through February I for one am starting to let myself feel a bit optimistic.

 

We’re back into the swing of things with the winter 202 0 edition of Crafting the Short Story. It’s a fun and creative group that I’m enjoying as we pass the halfway point of our session together. I’ll be following this up with another round of Introduction to Publishing on March 21st, then a short break before diving right back into Crafting the Short Story on April 20th.

 

In case you missed it, here’s the link to my interview with Allan Hudson of the South Branch Scribbler from earlier this month. Allan does a lot to promote the industry and those of us that toil within it. I know he’d appreciate it if you dropped in at the Scribbler’s website and had a look around. Odds are good you’ll discover something there that catches your eye – maybe even a new author to add to your list of favorites.

 

Elsewhere, last summer I cobbled together a collection of my short stories which I submitted to an open call for consideration. Still awaiting word on that. I think it’s a solid collection, so we’ll see how that goes. Additionally my second novel, Seventeen Skulls, has been sent to my publisher. I’ll keep you posted on what’s going on with that as things progress.

 

Speaking of updates and news, if you click here and enter your name and email address you”ll get updates right to your inbox hot off the presses. Feel free to invite your friends to sign up, too. The more the merrier, I say! And who knows, maybe you know someone who would find my stuff is right up their alley.

 

One final note for the day: my usual plea for reviews. I appreciate all the support for Terror in High Water. Lots of you have written or spoken to me about how much you enjoyed it, for which I’m very pleased and grateful. It would really make my day if those of you who did read and enjoy the book could take a few minutes to pop over to Amazon or Goodreads (or both, if you’re feeling motivated) and leave a short review to let others know what you thought of it. It can be as long or as short as you want – they all help increase exposure and get it in front of a wider audience.

 

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!

-JP

Back to Class, and Other Tidbits

It’s been snowing most of the day here. I guess I got a little bit spoiled with all the unseasonably warm weather over the holidays, to the point where I’m mildly offended when it dares to turn cold and snow in January. On the other hand, it’s hard to be too upset about such things while our Australian friends are going through such a terrible, terrifying experience. Perspective.

In any event, it’s a brand new year, the start of the 2020s, and what better way to start the year off than to plunge into writing?

For some, getting started is the toughest road block to overcome. But fear not, I’m here to help. The next installment of Crafting the Short Story launches on January 27th, and it’s a great way to get inspired and get writing. Or for those who already have something written and are looking for the next steps, there’s An Introduction to Publishing on March 21st (one day workshop). Follow the links for more information, or drop me a line with any questions.

There are lots of other great courses offered at the College of Extended Learning. Even if writing isn’t your thing – and perish the thought! – have a look at some of the other stuff they have to offer. Odds are good you’ll find something interesting and informative.

In other news, James Fisher at the Miramichi Reader did a review of Terror in High Water this past week. You can check that out here. Many thanks for the exposure and kind words. Incidentally, if you’re thinking of buying a copy you can click the Amazon link at the bottom of his review, for which he receives a small commission at no cost to you.

In the coming weeks, look for an interview I did with Allan Hudson at the South Branch Scribbler. Allan’s a great interviewer who likes to dig below the surface a little bit, and it was a fun and thought-provoking process that I really enjoyed. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

I try not to ramble on about High Water too often, so the regular reader doesn’t tune out. I did want to say that it has gotten a few more reviews lately, which is awesome. If you’ve read it and wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to leave a review, just know that it’s greatly appreciated. Just follow these links to Amazon, Goodreads or both. Every little bit helps spread the word and get more copies into the eager hands of new readers.

Want to receive updates and all the latest musings directly to your inbox? Go to my contact page here, enter your name and email, and add something to the comment box so the system knows you’re not a robot, and bada-boom, you’re the first to know when a new blog post is published.

More news and notes as they unfold. As always, thanks for reading.

-JP

 

 

The Year That Was

The year is winding down rapidly – time for one last post before we roll over into the 2020s. As a sort of recap I thought I’d take a look back at 2019 as it unfolded from my perspective. As it turns out there’s quite a lot to review!

The biggest news, for me at least, was the release of Terror in High Water. I can’t say enough how pleased I am with how it turned out, and the kind words and support I’ve received. It’s widely available on numerous platforms in paperback and ebook.

My story, The Grand Finale, appeared in the Deadly Bargain anthology. It too was well received, and I’m proud of my inclusion in its pages.

The Canadian Dreadful anthology was next. This was a learning experience that contains a version of my story, The Sound of Passing Traffic.

Speaking of learning experiences, this fall saw the debut of my new course, An Introduction to Publishing. It’s a one-day seminar that’s a sort of companion piece to my Crafting the Short Story course. Both are offered through UNB’s College of Extended Learning and will continue into 2020 and beyond.

High Water has drawn interest locally in a few ways. A signed copy was included as part of a prize package offered by Fred-E-Scene, which is a showcase of local news, business, arts and leisure, and more. It’s a great resource that I highly recommend for anyone in or around the area.

I recently did an interview with Allan Hudson, founder and driving force behind the South Branch Scribbler. It was a cool experience in which we discussed a variety of topics. You’ll be able to check out in the coming weeks – I’ll keep you posted there.

Another “I’ll keep you posted” item is my first foray into children’s horror. Mother Ghost’s Grimm is a multi-part series focused on horror (age appropriate, obviously) for young children. Volume One, which includes a number of my friends, released earlier this month. I’ve got a story called The Little Ones in the forthcoming Volume Two, in which I’ll share pages with many other friends and my better half, Sheryl. She’s got a new release as well, an all-Canadian anthology called Creatures in Canada. It’s got a great author list and lots of cool stories. Worth a look!

Lastly, even though it won’t see the light of day until well into the new year: I’ve sent my second novel, Seventeen Skulls, to my publisher just before Christmas. It’s far too early in the process to divulge any more than that, but as with everything else on the horizon, I’ll keep you posted.

Have a safe and Happy New Year. Thank you for your support and all the cool experiences. See you on the other side!

-JP

Holiday Spotlight

Fred-E-Scene is an excellent showcase for, as they put it, “everything Fredericton”. They’ve got all kinds of stuff regarding the greater Fredericton area, with their fingers on the pulse of the arts, music, shopping, and other pursuits. It’s a pretty great site that boasted over 1.5 million views this year. Go have a look, you never know what might interest you over there.

One of the cool things they do on this site is their annual Holiday Wishbook. It’s a great way to showcase local vendors and businesses, and get seen by an awful lot of eyes. They put a lot of emphasis on supporting local business – which I fully endorse and agree with – and this year, I’m thrilled to say that I will be included!

It goes live tomorrow, I’m told. I’ve skimmed through, and am pleased to report an impressive list of things to browse. My little corner will feature my latest novel, as well as the writing courses I offer through the College of Extended Learning at UNB. I’ll update with a link and pics and such when it goes live. But for now…

…Here’s an early, sneak-peek look at the wishbook. I encourage you to visit early and often. Hopefully you’ll find something in there that jumps off the page at you. I must say, there’s a pretty nice list of contributors this year. Hat’s off to the good folks at Fred-E-Scene for putting this together and helping to shine a well-deserved light on the local business community!

-JP

All the New Things

It’s been a very good couple of days here, and I wanted to share some of what’s been going on with you.

A quick update, hot on the heels of the excitement of my novel’s debut: Terror in High Water is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Only in Kindle for now, but it will be available in paperback.

In the spirit of back to school week, the fall session of Crafting the Short Story kicks off on September 23rd – coincidentally, launch day for Terror in High Water. A busy day ahead!

In addition, beginning this fall we’re test-driving a new course. It’s sort of a companion piece to the short story class but can also stand alone. It’s called An Introduction to Publishing, and the name says it all – this is a crash course on some of the basics involved with the publishing industry. This is largely being offered due to feedback and suggestions from those who have taken the short story classes. It’s a single session course where we’ll get together on a Saturday afternoon and have a discussion about publishing.

Last but not least, this week I spread my wings a little bit and expanded into… children’s books? Yes, as unlikely as it sounds, I’ve written a story that will appear in an anthology for kids. Details to follow, but for now (and for the second time this week) here’s a sneak peek at the cover art:

 

Mother Ghost's Grimm

Fun stuff! I’m pretty happy about the idea of writing for kids, even if it turns out to be just a one-off event. The coolest part, at least for me, is the fact that I will be joined in this collection by my wife, Sheryl. For those who don’t know, Sheryl is my de facto in-house editor, and quite a talented writer to boot. Sharing pages with her is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. This winter (hopefully in time for Christmas!), we’ll get to do that.

I know, a lot to process and take in for one day. I’ll leave it there for now, and bombard you with more interesting tidbits as they unfold.

– JP

Reviews, Interviews, and a New Course

This week I learned that Canadian Dreadful will be reviewed by the excellent Kendall Reviews. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this. For those who aren’t familiar with the site, it’s a great resource for horror writers and readers alike. Books are reviewed, authors are interviewed, and horror is promoted and advanced to the delight and general betterment of all. I’ll post links to the review and my interview here when they go live.

In other news, I’ll be adding another course to the repertoire. Beginning this fall, “An Introduction to Publishing” will be offered once per semester (or more, if the demand is high). What’s this all about, you may ask. Well, in “Crafting the Short Story” we cover a lot of the basics of actual writing – character development, scene writing, plot, good writing habits, and so on. All the tools you need to start (or continue) writing in one convenient stop.

But over the years many have expressed a desire to learn more about the publishing side of things. “You’ve taught us to write,” they’ve said, “but now what? What do we do with the things we’ve written?” An excellent question. I attempt to touch on some of the basics in my course, but time constraints don’t allow for much more than a quick overview that doesn’t really do it justice. I feel like there are a lot of pitfalls to navigate along the way, many of which are avoidable. I took these concerns to the powers that be, and we agreed that such a course could be beneficial.

I’m no expert, and there are plenty of things I don’t know. What I can offer are the things I do know: all the little tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, from speaking with other authors to having gone through the publishing process myself. How to locate and identify potential markets for your work. What red flags to watch for in a publishing contract. Whether a given publisher is a good fit for you. The scams that pervade our industry. These are things that are far less pleasant to learn the hard way, and I’m happy to share what insights I have into these and other topics.

This course can be viewed as a companion to Crafting the Short Story, a sort of extension. It can also, however, stand alone as a very informative session even for those who haven’t taken the first course.

I’ll update and share links when all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. Speaking of which, the next session of Crafting the Short Story kicks off on September 23rd. I realize that’s over a month away but fear not, I will post ample reminders between now and then!

– JP