Ad Astra 2016

Ad Astra is this weekend! I’m going to be a very busy author the whole weekend through. Six panels, an author meet-and-greet, and a BOOK LAUNCH!!!

Good times. Oh yes.

The programming schedule is still being finalized, but this is a rough look at what I’ll be up to at the con:

Friday

Deadpool: A New Kind of Hero

10 – 11, Markham A

 

Saturday

Do Used Books Help or Hurt Authors and Publishers?

11 – 12, Richmond B

Self-Published Author Meet & Greet

1 – 2, Con Suite

 

The Five Demons You Meet In Hell – Book Launch

3 – 5, Room 1086

Joss Whedon: Feminist?

? – ?, Newmarket

 

Sunday

The Place of Nostalgia in the Stories We Tell

12 – 1, Oakridge

 

The Legacy of Steven Moffatt’s Doctor Who

1 – 2, Markham A

 

Mental Health in Fandom

2 – 3, Richmond B

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5 Demons – Character Interview

Interviewer – Welcome to another lively chat with Timothy Carter’s characters. Today we’re interviewing three of the main characters from The Five Demons You Meet In Hell. Why don’t you all introduce yourselves?

B – I’m Boston Lefebvre, an’ I’m the guy the book’s all about.

C – I’m Charity, a former assassin and current denizen of Hell.

S – My name is Stonmold, and I’m one of the demons who works in Hell’s Spiritual Rehabilitation Centre.

I – Right. Thank you. Now, I understand you’ve all signed non-disclosure agreements with regards to the plot…

B – Yah. The author guy doesn’t want us givin’ away all the good stuff.

S – He said if we did give spoilers, he’d write us into another story and do nasty things to us.

B – Basically what he did to me in the whole damn book! Heh… damn book? Cuz it’s about damned people…

I – Yes, and we’ll get to that. But first, Boston Lefebvre, what is up with that name of yours?

S – It is pretty unusual.

C – Look who’s talking…

B – Well, my dad’s name is Lefebvre, an’ he an’ my mom met in Boston, an’ so I guess they called me Boston cuz the city makes ‘em feel all romantic an’ stuff.

S – I thought that Boston was the city where you were conceived.

B – I don’t think so. I never been to the U.S. so nobody could have driven me in a conceivable  there.

I – Um…

S – …

C – He doesn’t know what conceived means.

B – Whut?

S – Inconceivable!

I – Moving along! Charity, we never do learn your last name in the novel. Care to enlighten us?

C – No.

I – All right, can you tell us about your first name?

C – My parents had three daughters: Faith, Hope and Charity. And the most important daughter was Hope.

I – Really?

B – Ya never told me that!

S – That’s because she’s making it up.

C – Yep.

I – So…

C – I’m bored, and trying to amuse myself. My name? Timothy Carter probably thought it was ironic.

I – Ok then. Stonmold, your name…

S – No idea. It’s a demon name. Don’t ask.

I – Right. So far, so good. Now, bearing in mind we don’t want to spoil anything, what can you three tell me about the story?

B – It’s all about me! I got a character ark where I learn stuff an’ become a better person.

S – He’s a high school bully who dies and goes to Hell.

C – I’m one of many fascinating secondary characters he meets in the Spiritual Rehabilitation Centre.

B – That’s where the demon stuff happens.

C – We each have to face five demons, who present us with our worst sins. I was an assassin, so my being in Hell is pretty self-explanatory.

S – I’m one of the Demons who works in the SRC. When I meet Boston, we don’t immediately get along. But we do become friendlier eventually.

C – I befriend Boston because… you know, I’m still not entirely sure what I was thinking.

B – I helped ya with escape plans, remember?

C – If by helped you mean, you were my comedy sidekick…

B – Whatever. I’m in Hell because I was a bully. But then I find out that there’s somethin’ wrong with the demon system…

S – Spoilers!

B – …an’ I end up bein’ blamed for somebody else’s sins. Someone a lot worse’n me.

S – Definitely a spoiler.

C – Timothy Carter’s gonna kick your ass.

B – No he ain’t. Book’s already done, so there ain’t nuthin’ worse he can do ta me now.

C – You do know he’s writing a sequel, right?

B – Whut?!?

S – Yes, you’re to be a recurring character. Didn’t he tell you?

B – Hey, that’s a spoilsport right there! Now everybuddy knows I don’t die at the end of this book.

C – You die at the end of the first CHAPTER, moron.

S – That’s how you end up getting sent to Hell.

B – Spoilsport!

C – Spoiler, Boston. It’s called a spoiler.

S – And that was just a minor one. Timothy gives it away in the first sentence.

B – Oh.

I – Let’s move on, shall we? I was hoping to interview a larger number of characters from the book…

S – More wanted to come, but there were plot-points attached to them. Having them here would have been awkward.

B – Like this girl I meet in there, an’ I kinda like her, but turns out she’s…

C & S – Spoilers!

B – Oh yeah.

I – I wanted to talk a bit more about you, Boston. A number of Timothy Carter’s characters can be described as intelligent but bad-tempered. And while you have the bad temperament down pat, you are… how shall I put this…?

B – Cooler? Better? Tougher!

I – Dumber.

B – Hey!

C – Come on, Boston. It’s not like you try to hide it.

S – Yes. You are quite amazingly stupid.

B – HEY!! I am NOT!

C – Yes you are.

B – That’s it! Nobody told me this was a character assassin thing! I’m outta here.

C – Come on, Boston, don’t be such a crybaby.

B – I ain’t no crybaby!

(loud door slam)

I – Well, Boston has left the building, so I suppose there’s no point in continuing.

S – What are we? Chopped liver?

C – We haven’t even gotten around to my escape attempts!

S – Spoilers!

I – Thank you all very much for reading.

C – And go get your copy of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, launching April 30 at Ad Astra!

S – Did Timothy Carter pay you to say that?

C – Sort of. He promised me a spot in book 3.

Adventures In Homemade Play-Damn

So I had this idea to make action figures out of Play Doh for the launch of The 5 Demons You Meet In Hell at Ad Astra. My sister loved that plan, and she sent me some recipes for homemade Play Doh. I brewed up a couple of batches of what I shall now call Play Damn, and made some figurines with the stuff.

Some, I sealed in an airtight bag to maintain their moist squishyness. Others I left out to dry, and harden. Both results were promising. Here are some pictures:

Next time, I’m going to make a few in certain poses, like Boston shoving some guy, or Boston splattered on the floor, or Charity twisting Boston’s arm and making him scream like a weenie. Those ones will go on display. Or maybe I’ll sell them as a promotional novelty. I also want a batch of squishy, malleable ones ot use in some kind of game or contest. Make your own Damned, maybe.

I’ll post more results soon!

Ask Boston Lefebvre

To help build buzz for the soon-to-be-released The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, I’ve asked main character Boston Lefebvre to act as a sort of advice column and answer some questions. Some are related to the book, while others are kind of random. He gave the questions a lot of thought and his answers can be found below:

 

Q – Bullying continues to be a national epidemic. What solutions would you put forth to end bullying in schools?

A – Gee, I dunno. Get rid of all the losers, maybe? Then bullies like me’d have nobuddy to pick on!

 

Q – What are the challenges facing today’s youth?

A – …ya mean some kid that just got born today? I dunno, boob shortages, leaky diapers…

 

Q – People say that weed is a gateway drug. Do you agree?

A – Nah, you can smoke that stuff anywhere.

 

Q – Do you think it is ever appropriate for a girl to have an abortion?

A – Only if she’s, y’know, pregnant.

 

Q – Do you agree that a man must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven?

A – Geez, I hope not! First time was prob’ly messy enough. An’ if Heaven thinks I’m climbin’ back inside my Mom… eww! Are ya nuts?

 

Q – You’ve been to the afterlife, or at least half of it. What can you tell us about Hell?

A – It ain’t nuthin’ like anybuddy thought. No flames ‘n stuff, but it sure is no cakewalk. I got hurt. A lot! But it’s all so’s ya become a better guy.

Ya wanna know more? Get the friggin’ book! I ain’t spoilin’ it.

 

Q – Do you think there is life on other planets?

A – What’re you, some kinda Trekkie geek?

Q – But aren’t the demons themselves from another planet?

A – Oh yeah, that’s true. But they’re different. Ain’t no little green demons in spaceships tryin’ to probe yer butt!

Demon butts, though… that’s a weird thing right there. Just don’t ask what they poop, is all I’m saying.

Q – What do they poop?

A – I said don’t ask!

 

Any questions you want Boston Lefebvre to answer? Leave your questions in the comments, or visit the 5 Demons page on Facebook.

The Road To Ad Astra 2016

A very special Ad Astra is coming at the end of the month. Why is it so special? Because Pop Seagull Press and I will be launching The 5 Demons You Meet In Hell! Oh yeah.

As usual, I’ll be on a number of panels, including Mental Health and Fandom. I also hope to be doing a reading. Basically, I’m going to be a very busy author over those three days. More details as they develop!

Can-Con is also on the horizon; they reached out to me last week and asked me to attend. Have I mentioned how awesome it is to be asked? Well, it totally is.

5 Demons: The Beginning

I wrote a post about the origins of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell back when I self-published it in 2014. With the Pop Seagull launch date rushing toward us, I decided to re-publish that post here in this blog:

The idea for The Five Demons You Meet In Hell came about because my then-publisher wasn’t happy with a trend they saw in my work. I’d just submitted a manuscript to them that I was quite pleased with (aren’t I always?) called Young Nostradamus, and they turned it down in fairly short order. “You always write about the bullied kid rising up and beating the odds,” my editor told me. “We like to see our authors grow and try new things.”

I still have plenty to say about the bullied kid, but I saw the merit in my editor’s point of view. What if I mixed things up a little, and wrote from the POV of the bully?

With that thought, Boston Lefebvre was born. Don’t ask me where I got the name from – it just popped into my head fully-formed and seemed right. It’s certainly memorable. Boston was my bully, around which my new story would wrap.

But if anyone had the notion I was going to sympathize with the plight of the high school bully, well… they have another think bloody well coming! I’ll write about a bully, all right… getting what he so richly deserves.

With that in mind, and given my fascination for the metaphysical coupled with my love for demons, it seemed only natural to send my bully Boston Lefebvre to Hell. The title was another inspired bit of brilliance – I just love a good spoof title! Harvard Lampoon has Bored of the Rings, Robert Rankin has Raiders of the Lost Car Park, The Sprouts of Wrath and The Toyminator, and I have a take-off of Mitch Albom’s classic. If you meet five people in Heaven, it seemed likely to me you’d get five demons in the other place!

Also, I originally titled the book The 25 Demons You Meet in Hell, because I wasn’t sure if five demons would cut it. I needn’t have worried; five demons were more than enough to get the job done. Good thing, too – my spoof title works much better as-is!

The story came to me as I wrote it, and it was a joy to put on paper. I’d tell you more, but as one of my favourite fictional characters is fond of saying: “Spoilers!”

PS: I just found out this very second that I’m not alone in spoofing Mitch Albom’s title. There is a book on Amazon called The Five People You Meet In Hell by Rich Pablum! Guess he was faster on the draw. I have not read this work, but I am confident my novel and his are very different. It seems we had more-or-less the same idea on tag lines, however; both of us use the “This is not that book” gag. No worries. There’s plenty of room on the Internet for both of us.

PPS: There’s also a book called The Five Jerks You Meet On Earth by Ray Zardetto. I’m starting to not feel so special about my title now… 😦