Summer Housecleaning

It’s been a while since I had much to report on here, but I thought it was high time I checked in. Throw open the curtains, clear away the cobwebs, frown at the layer of dust that’s accumulated since my last visit. I really do need to spend more time in here.

Ahem… anyway, today was spent in the company of some lovely folks, chatting about the writing and publishing biz in my online course, An Introduction to Publishing. If you missed out, don’t worry, the next one runs this December. In the meantime, we’ve got the next Crafting the Short Story and Writing Horror: The Dark Side both running in October.

Due to this scheduling conflict I had to miss out on visiting my friend Allan Hudson at his book signing today at the grand re-opening of Dog Eared Books. Allan, by the way, hosts the South Branch Scribbler blog where he interviews and brings a ton of exposure to many authors, including myself a while back. Lots of good stuff over there, I recommend checking it out.

I’m also pleased to announce a fun interview with my friend James Fisher will be appearing on an upcoming episode of the esteemed Miramichi Reader podcast. This is another fine site that shines a bright light on authors and their work, and is deserving of some recognition as well. There’s a lot to look at there, so feel free to browse around and see the sights.

That’s about all I have for today, aside from a hearty thank you for your continued support, and a reminder that posting reader reviews is a wonderful way to bring much-needed exposure to the authors you enjoy. Feel free to drop back here any time, and for all the latest updates delivered right to your inbox, pop over to my contact page. Until next time, stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

April News and Notes

It’s Easter weekend, so happy Easter for those of you who celebrate! Today’s post is just a quick little update to stay in touch and chat about a few recent highlights.

First, a reminder that Old Bones is now available on most major online platforms in both hard cover and ebook editions. Following the release of two full-length novels, we’ve gathered some of my favorite short stories from over the years into one convenient collection. I’m proud of the stories between these covers, and of the fact it’s the first ever of its kind from World Castle Publishing. That’s a pretty big deal, and I’d love it if those of you that read it could pop over to Amazon, or Goodreads (or both) and leave an honest review. It doesn’t have to be elaborate (though I do enjoy those!), and every one of them makes a world of difference.

Also, for those who live or travel in the area, I’m happy to report that Old Bones and all of my titles are available at Dog Eared Books in Oromocto. There’s just something about walking into a store and seeing your books on their shelves that never gets old, and Dog Eared Books does a lot to support not only local authors but other small businesses as well. As I mentioned, my books are there, as well as Sheryl’s and a host of others from here and around the province. Check them out!

For the writers, new to the craft and a little more experienced alike, a reminder that the summer sessions of Crafting the Short Story (May 14th) and Writing Horror: The Dark Side (May 9th) are starting soon. If you or someone you know is interested in honing your craft in an interactive setting, why not check out the links above and see if one or both might be a good fit for you?

Lastly, thanks to all for your continued support. All the messages, comments, book purchases, ratings and reviews are so important and appreciated. For updates delivered immediately to your inbox, feel free to pop on over to my contact page and sign up. It only takes a few seconds, and the added site hits and traffic make a huge difference.

Stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Spotlight on Short Stories

Winter hasn’t passed us by just yet, but here in my region of the world we’re getting a bit of a reprieve – sort of. There’s been snow and/or freezing rain nearly every night, but daytime temperatures have been on the happy side of freezing for a couple of days and several more just like it in the forecast. It might be a tiny oasis in the middle of the freezin’ season, but at this point we’ll take it!

This week I’m getting back to my roots a little bit with a focus on short stories. A while back I did a sort of miniseries where I took a look behind the scenes of some of the stories in Old Bones, my forthcoming collection. I took a break from doing that to promote Seventeen Skulls, and never got around to picking up where I’d left off. Fast forward to now, which finds me happy to report the edits have been completed and the release date of Old Bones is approaching.

as a reminder, here’s a look at the cover art and blurb:

Gather round, my friends. Get comfortable, dim the lights, and settle in for a terrifying journey where each stop along the way is creepier than the last.

A themed corporate gathering…children with very special, very disturbing powers…a well-meaning criminal who can’t quite manage to stay on the straight and narrow…filmmakers chasing an old legend that’s more than just a story… a spectral visitor returns with stories from the past…

These stories reveal the evils of humanity at its worst, and the nightmarish things that lurk just around the corner from reality. Deceit, jealousy, temptation, danger, evil. Twelve tales of horror that delve into the dark recesses of your worst nightmares and lay them bare upon the page.

I’ll keep you in the loop as the release date draws nearer. As an added bonus I’m very pleased to announce one of the stories from Old Bones will appear in audio form on the Creepy Podcast. I find this pretty cool, as it marks another first for me along my chosen path. I’ve listened to a few horror podcasts, with mixed results. Some, obviously, are better than others. Creepy does a nice job with production, and the actors enhance rather than detract from the story. As with all things, I’ll keep you posted when it’s finished and goes live. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of audio books or are familiar with and enjoy the podcast experience, why don’t you pop on over to Creepy and give them a try.

It’s been a productive week, for sure. Additionally, the winter session of Crafting the Short Story is in full swing with a a fun and creative group of writers. As I posted this link I was reminded of a short promotional video we put together, which now appears at the bottom of the registration page. I believe they’re planning to add more of these by other instructors but for now mine is, as far as I know, the only one. Just a little something fun for those who might be considering one of my classes. It looks like it’s on the page for Writing Horror: The Dark Side too.

That’s all for now. As always, thanks for reading and dropping by. Feel free to pop over to my contact page to sign up for updates sent directly to your inbox. Leave reviews for authors you enjoy, help spread the word and shine light on books that deserve to be noticed. Not just mine, but anyone whose work you’ve read and enjoyed. It makes a difference, I guarantee it!

Be safe, talk soon!

-JP

Picking Up Where We Left Off

“Where the hell have you been, Joe? We haven’t heard from you in months!”

Oh, how the time does fly by. It’s been a long and harsh winter here on the east coast, and it’s really only getting started. To pass the time until spring arrives I’ve been holed up here, doing my level best to stay warm as well as clear of the Omicron-riddled masses. Imagine my surprise, then, when I noticed just how long it had been since I last posted anything here! Far too long, my friends. So today, we take the first step toward righting the ship and getting back out there.

First things first: it’s that time of year again, we’re back in the classroom! Well, not really. I’m in the office down the hall and you’re in your homes, but we’ll be together again nonetheless. Crafting the Short Story and Writing Horror: The Dark Side both kick off the 2022 winter sessions next week, and as luck would have it there’s still room in both classes for a few more last-minute additions to the roster.

Speaking of writing tips and advice, I received a nice shout out from my friend (and Crafting the Short Story alumnus) on her blog. She’s just finished her first novel, in fact – I’m so proud! – and has a lot of fun and cool stuff on her author page. You can check out her entry which features some of our conversation here, but feel free to browse around the rest of the site, too!

On the book front, I’m happy to report that quite a lot of people picked up copies of Seventeen Skulls and, to a lesser extent, Terror in High Water over the holidays. I’m grateful for that, and would like to take a moment to remind those of you who have read either or both that leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both) only takes a few minutes and really helps a lot. So if you can, please take the time to leave a review – not just for me, but for any other authors whose books you’ve read and enjoyed. It means the world to them, I promise.

As always, feel free to pop over to my contact page and sign up to have updates sent directly to your inbox, hot off the presses, the moment they’re published here. Until next time,

Stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Seventeen Skulls Virtual Book Tour, Day 27

Just a quick post today, with no tour stops until Monday and a couple of needed days off to recharge for the final push. Seventeen Skulls is still forging ahead and holding strong, and there’s actually been a bit of an uptick in interest in Terror in High Water, too.

In other news, Crafting the Short Story and Writing Horror: The Dark Side are both set to kick off for the fall semester. Hope to see some of you there.

The Nixies of McGillivray Lake, the debut novel from Sheryl Doiron-Powers, is available on Amazon and many other quality outlets. It’s also up on Booksprout, for any of you who have a membership and might be interested in checking out a high quality YA dark fantasy novel. As an aside, Seventeen Skulls is available there as well.

Enjoy your Saturday, thanks for dropping by to visit . It’s appreciated as always. Don’t forget to head on over to my contact page and subscribe to have these posts sent directly to your inbox. Until next time, stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Seventeen Skulls Virtual Book Tour, Day 26

It’s Friday, the end of another long week and the beginning of the last week of this virtual book tour. As a reminder, there aren’t any tour stops again until Monday, at which point we’re doing double stops each day until the end. I’ll have posts over the weekend with other stuff, though.

Today’s tour date brings us to the home of the Midnight Book Reader, where we’ve got a feature spot and an update on the giveaway counter – over 2,400 today, heading into the home stretch. Thanks to our gracious hosts today, as every day. I appreciate the interest and the time taken.

A reminder that Crafting the Short Story and Writing Horror: The Dark Side kick off in the near future. Click the links for details. It’s not too late to sign up if you or someone you know has an interest in writing and needs a little nudge in the right direction.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. I’ll have posts here tomorrow and Sunday, before we launch into the last leg of this mammoth tour. Thanks as always for stopping by, feel free to pop over to my contact page and subscribe to have news and updates delivered right to your inbox. Until next time, stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Seventeen Skulls Virtual Book Tour, Day 23

It’s been a long and eventful road along this virtual book tour, but we’re finally into the final ten-day stretch. Technically, there are just eight tour days left since we’re taking the last weekend to catch our collective breath before the home stretch. So, one stop per day for the rest of this week, a short pause on Saturday and Sunday, then double-headers every day down to the final guns.

Today’s stop along the tour takes us to Bedazzled by Books. They feature a ton of books over there, including yours truly today. Big thanks to our gracious hosts for the feature spot.

In other news, we’ve got less than two weeks until the start of this semester’s Writing Horror: The Dark Side. It runs on Mondays starting September 27th. Then on Thursdays starting October 7th we’ve got Crafting the Short Story. Both are entertaining and informative courses, in case you or someone you know is interested in exploring the basics and nuances of fiction writing.

That’s all for today. Thanks as always for following along with the tour here, your support is greatly appreciated. For news and updates delivered right to your inbox, head on over to my contact page and subscribe. Until next time, stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Seventeen Skulls Virtual Book Tour, Day 21

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon here. I’ve got a sleeping cat curled up on a pillow to my left, a ‘weary from a long walk’ dog sprawled on her bed to my right, and my better half luxuriating in a hot bath at the far end of the house. Here I sit, flipping through Shudder looking for something interesting while storm clouds loom large just on the horizon at the edge of my sight line. I feel like there’s rain in our future.

As for the tour, we’ve taken another day with no stops to report. It’s back to business tomorrow, but even book tour hosts need a day off here and there. So for now, it’s just me and my laid-back household, stopping by to say hi to those of you who like to drop in here and keep up on what’s new and exciting. Oh, I will mention that as of yesterday Seventeen Skulls was flirting with one of Amazon’s various sub-category top 100 best sellers lists (it has since slid back a bit, but is still going strong!). Big thanks to those of you who have picked up a copy, I’m very pleased with how many have shown their support. If you have read the book and enjoyed it, you might also like my first novel, Terror in High Water. And for the short story fan, my collection, Old Bones, is still on the horizon as something to look forward to.

Just a quick post today – I won’t take up too much of your time on this lazy Sunday. Thanks as always for following along here. If you haven’t already, or if you have and know someone who might also enjoy what we do here, you can always visit my contact page and subscribe to have news and updates sent directly to your inbox. The more the merrier, I say. There’s always room for new visitors here!

We’re back to the regularly scheduled tour again tomorrow. Until next time, stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Seventeen Skulls Virtual Book Tour, Day 20

It’s Saturday evening here on the east coast, but regardless of your time zone I hope you’re having a great day! We’ve arrived on day twenty of the book tour, and even though we don’t have any scheduled stops on the itinerary today I thought I’d mention some other business while I keep the streak alive.

First, a reminder that fall sessions of Crafting the Short Story (Thursdays starting October 7th) and Writing Horror: The Dark Side (Mondays starting September 27th) will be kicking off shortly. These classes are always fun and informative and provide that extra bit of motivation needed to put pen to paper (literally or figuratively) and start churning out works of fiction.

Next, I wanted to mention to any of you who use Booksprout, Seventeen Skulls can be found there. For those who might be unfamiliar, Booksprout is a site for readers to download an advance readers copy (ARC) in exchange for posting a review. As I’ve mentioned before, reviews are the lifeblood of all authors, new or established. Ratings and reviews on sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, or whichever platform you acquire a book from play a huge role in others discovering and checking out things they might not have otherwise. It’s always greatly appreciated, believe me!

Lastly, be sure to visit my contact page and subscribe for emailed news and updates sent directly to your inbox. Thank you as always for dropping by and following along here. We’re back tomorrow for another book tour update, but until then, stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Inside Old Bones: Creature Comforts

Just before we dive into today’s post I want to take a second to plug Crafting the Short Story, which kicks off this Thursday. There are still spots left if you or someone you know is interested in this fun and informative writing course.

As we continue to wend our way through the table of contents of my forthcoming short story collection, Old Bones, we come to a fun little tale called Creature Comforts. Nine-year-old Paulina is having trouble with bullies at her school. Her grandfather gets wind of this and gives her his old teddy bear for protection. But this toy brings more to the table than just moral support, to Paulina’s great delight.

I wrote this story, or most of the bones of it at least, in my little studio space. Years ago I shared a studio with several other artists on the top floor of an old building in the downtown core. It ultimately wasn’t the most productive creative space during the year-plus I spent there, although a few ideas did come from my time there. One, which I’ll talk about at length in a future post, was the earliest stages of what would become my second novel, Seventeen Skulls. Another was Creature Comforts.

There are monsters everywhere, if you look hard enough. Sometimes you don’t have to look all that hard. This is a story about monsters, but more than that it’s about family. How far would you go in order to protect the ones you love? What sort of evil would you be willing to unleash, knowing the potential consequences? These are some of the themes I wanted to explore, knowing as I do the answers will vary from person to person. Paulina isn’t based on a real person exactly, nor is her grandfather, but I tried to get into the heads of both characters to determine how each would react to the situation I put them in. I wasn’t exactly sure how things would turn out, and I was pleasantly surprised.

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to experiment with writing from different points of view that aren’t exactly like mine. While I’m not, nor have I ever been, a nine-year-old girl, I did have access to one for a while a number of years ago. I drew on my observations and experiences to try and add realism to my character. Hopefully I came close. As for the grandfather, I can identify with him a little more closely. I know the lengths I would go to but also my limitations in such a scenario. I wanted to give him an interesting way to protect his granddaughter, and I think I did that.

The title has a double meaning, as my titles so often do: everyone knows what creature comforts are, but in Paulina’s case she takes comfort in the presence of an actual “creature” – grandpa’s stuffed bear. As always it’s tricky to go into detail without giving too much away. Hopefully when the book comes out you’ll read these stories and realize why these posts have intentionally been a little vague.

Thanks as always for reading along and continuing to come back to this space. Feel free to subscribe for updates directly to your inbox.

Stay safe, talk soon!

-JP