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 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

Online Summer Writing Classes

Summer is rapidly approaching, which means it’s time for the next round of summer classes! Crafting the Short Story and Writing Horror: The Dark Side are both offered as online courses via Zoom.

Crafting the Short Story:

Short story creation is an art form that is often neglected and overlooked. Related to – but entirely separate from – novel writing, short story creation can be a tricky art to master but also fun and rewarding. It has been suggested that writing short stories can even be more difficult than novels. Impossible? Take this course and judge for yourself!

Here’s an opportunity to focus on writing effective short stories, covering many of the basics of short story writing. You’ll learn how to set the scene, create and develop believable characters, avoid common pitfalls, and much more.

With an emphasis on developing the craft through good writing practices and habits, the course offers tips and advice on discovering the joys of short speculative fiction.

The summer session of Crafting the Short Story begins Thursday, June 17th.

Writing Horror: The Dark Side:

Horror is hack and slash, blood and guts. It’s creepy ghosts and haunted houses. It’s psychological thrillers, gothic tales, atmospheric tension, human drama, and of course, monsters. It spans generations and appeals to a wide audience – from Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe to Neil Gaiman and R.L. Stine, horror brings joy (and scares) to kids and adults alike.

In this course, we’ll dispel some of the myths surrounding horror, and explore the key elements including, what turns an ordinary story into a spooky tale, how to build and maintain suspense, developing strong characters (human and otherwise), how to write an ending with maximum impact, and more.

This course shares some basic elements with Crafting the Short Story, and emphasizes developing the craft through good writing practices and habits.

The summer session of Writing Horror: The Dark Side begins Monday, June 14th.

Get in touch with me or contact the CEL office directly with any questions or for more information. Hope to see you there!

-JP

Back to Class

Just a quick update today to remind you that spring is here, which means it’s time for the next round of online writing classes. Time is ticking, but there’s still time to register for Writing Horror: The Dark Side and Crafting the Short Story. Dark Side kicks off this Monday, April 12th, with Short Story a few days later, starting Thursday, April 15th.

What are these classes all about, you ask? From UNB’s registration site:

“Short story creation is an art form that is often neglected and overlooked. Related to – but entirely separate from – novel writing, short story creation can be a tricky art to master but also fun and rewarding. It has been suggested that writing short stories can even be more difficult than novels. Impossible? Take this course and judge for yourself!

Here’s an opportunity to focus on writing effective short stories, covering many of the basics of short story writing. You’ll learn how to set the scene, create and develop believable characters, avoid common pitfalls, and much more.

With an emphasis on developing the craft through good writing practices and habits, the course offers tips and advice on discovering the joys of short speculative fiction.

The course also covers important topics such as editing and preparing your work for publication. There is a segment that focuses on submitting for publication, publishing contracts, identifying and avoiding scams, and more, to help avoid the worst of the potential pitfalls in the publishing world.”

As for Horror: the Dark Side:

“The word “horror” often conjures images of masked, machete-wielding monsters doing unspeakable things to innocent teenagers. That’s definitely part of it, but there’s a lot more to the story.

Horror is a genre unlike no other. Its purpose is to unsettle, to elicit a strong emotional response from the reader through “safe scares”. It’s also perhaps the most misunderstood genre of all.

Horror is hack and slash, blood and guts. It’s creepy ghosts and haunted houses. It’s psychological thrillers, gothic tales, atmospheric tension, human drama, and of course, monsters. It spans generations and appeals to a wide audience – from Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe to Neil Gaiman and R.L. Stine, horror brings joy (and scares) to kids and adults alike.

In this course, we’ll dispel some of the myths surrounding horror, and explore the key elements including, what turns an ordinary story into a spooky tale, how to build and maintain suspense, developing strong characters (human and otherwise), how to write an ending with maximum impact, and more.

This course shares some basic elements with Crafting the Short Story, and emphasizes developing the craft through good writing practices and habits.”

Just a few days left to register, but there are still spots in both classes. Just follow the links above. If you or someone you know has an interest in learning the basics of creative fiction writing, or a specific peek into the world of creating scary stories, I’d love to have you come along with me this spring.

-JP

Horror in the Books

Just a few notes to bring everyone up to date on what’s new in my little corner of the world. We’re mere weeks away from the first day of spring! If you’re in a part of the world that’s still clinging to the daylight savings thing, it happens this weekend.

The inaugural offering of Writing Horror: The Dark Side concluded tonight. I have to say, it went extremely well, even as I worked out the kinks and smoothed out the syllabus. What are the key elements to writing horror? How do you write for maximum emotional impact? At the same time, as with Crafting the Short Story, my emphasis is always on good writing habits and practices. So the challenge is to fit everything in, cover some of the basics while keeping it fresh for those who have already taken the short story course. I was thrilled and very proud as I watched my students, some of whom hadn’t written anything in years, churn out some chilling and creepy stuff. I’m already looking forward to the next session, which kicks off April 12th.

Seventeen Skulls and Old Bones are on the horizon, still working their way through the arduous process of becoming books. Next on the docket: the first draft of the next novel is done, now the process has begun to repair all the fissures and cracks and transform it into something that resembles a finished product. This one’s still several steps down the road before it sees the light of day, but it’s never too early to throw out a teaser!

Finally, thanks to everyone who read my post about the Donnelly massacre last month. It garnered a lot of interest and generated lots of positive feedback. It’s a subject of great interest to me, and a story I always enjoy recounting to anyone who isn’t familiar with the history. I suspect there may be more such entries in this space along the way.

That’s all for now. As always, thanks for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to sign up for updates via email through my contact page. Until next time,

Stay safe, talk soon!

-JP