Blog #4: Nightmares Before Christmas


Greetings, friends, and happy holidays!

I hope everyone is getting into the festive spirit this month (although because my house is like a Dollarama, we’ve been decked out since November 1st.)

As today is Christmas Eve, I imagine you all have something better to do than be reading this. Nonetheless, I wanted to provide well wishes and a quick update.

Read on for a collage of my favourite Ottawa Christmas trees, a link to my latest controversial blog post, some publication updates, and a series of photos from Parliament Hill. Make sure to read til the end for a picture of my cat.

Happy reading!

Ottawa’s Best Christmas Trees, 2018

Top, left to right: our tree; Rideau Centre; Parliament Hill

Bottom, left to right: Glen Cairn community Christmas tree; World Exchange Plaza (aka the only place you can see whales floating above a Christmas tree)

Forget It’s a Wonderful Life. Watch Bad Santa instead.

Yesterday I published a blog about why the raunchy, incredibly grim Bad Santa is far more heartwarming than It’s a Wonderful Life:

“A Christmas Carol (and its spiritual successor, How the Grinch Stole Christmas) are films about redemption. It’s a Wonderful Life is the stroking of one man’s ego.

Enter Bad Santa.

…To be sure, there’s no Grinch-on-Christmas-morning moment here; Willie’s moment of clarity comes when he beats up a bunch of pre-teens. Redemption can come in the unlikeliest of places.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Because I like to hear myself talk, I’ve also included the following of my strongly-held Christmas movie opinions:

  • Don’t believe the haters – Love, Actually is delightful;
  • Bing Crosby fans: Instead of White Christmas, watch Holiday Inn this year;
  • There are only two acceptable Scrooge movies.

Let me know what you think in the comments!


Song of the Week (Christmas Edition):

Bruce Cockburn – “Mary Had a Baby:”

Ghosts of Christmas Lit

It’s been festive at the McSweeney household – however, there’s still some spooky business going on.

My creepy drabble “The First Bauble on the Tree” is scheduled to appear in Horror Tree‘s holiday edition of Trembling With Fear. You should be able to read it here tomorrow. 

In other news, several of my dark stories and poems have appeared online and in print this past month…

Short Story: “The Offer”

The Wild Hunt Mag released their first theme issue on Dec. 17th, with six short stories built around the question, “What is on the very edge of the wood?”


You can read my contribution, a dark fairy tale called “The Offer,” here.

Short Story: “Dreams of Gold”



My short story “Dreams of Gold” is the opening piece in I.E. Kneverday’s Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy.

You can order it here.







Poem: “The Last Outpost”



The first issue of Rhythm & Bones Lit‘s poetry offshoot, Dark Marrow, came out on December 11th.

The issue features lots of beautifully dark poetry, including my poem “The Last Outpost.” As you can expect from a Rhythm & Bones publication, the cover art is also gorgeous.

Set in a cyberpunk dystopia, my poem describes a loner dying on the street while a bus drives by, “the interior filled with embalming fluid and the commuters…sealed in ember.

You can download the PDF for free here.

Farewell, Centre Block!

On December 14th, I visited Parliament Hill to take a stroll through Centre Block before it closes for 10+ years of renovations.

Below are some photos from my tour:


I will miss walking these Gothic halls – and seeing their beautiful Christmas displays.

Merry Christmas!

I’d like to wish everyone reading this a very merry Christmas, joyous times with friends and family, and a happy and prosperous New Year.

As always, thanks for reading!



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