Blog #18: Changing Seasons


I celebrate autumn early, so I figured I should do a farewell summer blog before I get my Halloween decorations up.

Since I’m confined to Ottawa for the forseeable future (not that I’m complaining – there are worse cities to be stuck in), I’ve been taking myself on vacation through stories.

My current projects include a cosmic horror story set at the beach, and a wilderness thriller involving a zipline. (I’m also putting the finishing touches on a sword-and-sorcery epic, which is a different type of escapism). Hoping to put the finishing touches on these soon, so I can dive into some spookier stuff for fall.

Has anyone else been living vicariously through fiction?

New Releases

Dust in the Jail Cell”Author Interview and Blog Post [Transmundane Press]

Transmundane Press recently published my guest post discussing the inspiration for my short story “Dust in the Jail Cell,” featured in their upcoming On Time anthology.

I watched a lot of Tales from the Crypt as a kid, and the Cryptkeeper himself intrigued me more than any of the stories he told. Where did he hear all these twisted tales – and who is he telling them to?

I conceived Phillip Oddworth, the villain in “Dust in the Jail Cell,” as a storyteller figure.

Madison McSweeney, “Stories About Stories

You can also read my author interview, in which I go into more detail about my influences and writing process, here.

Article: Top 20 Greatest Canadian Bands [Ottawa Life]

Earlier this summer, I contributed an article to Ottawa Life magazine, running down my top 20 Canadian bands. I set out to make it an eclectic list, with my personal favourites like Rough Trade, Billy Talent, and Voivod alongside more famous acts like Arcade Fire and the Barenaked Ladies.

That said, I dare anyone to dispute my top 3.

Read it here, and let me know if I’ve missed anyone!

Coming Soon

Last night, I received an acceptance for a gory little story about astrology.

And if you enjoyed my Top 20 Canadian Bands list, wait until you see my Top 20 Canadian Singers feature!

Stay tuned…

A Short Dispatch from the Woods

Earlier this week, I went for a (socially-distanced) evening hike with friends. Nice little adventure that ended beneath the full moon.

Also, I am fairly convinced there was some Blair Witch stuff going on in the woods:

New Music Showcase

Kathleen Edwards – “Ashes to Ashes” [Total Freedom]

I deliberated over which new Kathleen Edwards song to include here – her new album is wonderful from top to bottom – but this one was too beautiful and sad not to share.

Honourable mentions: “Options Open,” “Birds on a Feeder,” “Who Rescued Who?”

Bob Moses – “Ordinary Day” [Desire]

Hypnotic beats and yearning vocals dominate Desire, the latest album from ambient EDM duo Bob Moses. I listened to it for the first time today and am really looking forward to giving it a few more spins – I suspect it’ll make a good writing soundtrack.

Reading Recommendations

Gwendolyn Kiste – “An Elegy for Childhood Monsters” [The Dark]

The monster under the bed is a metaphor for intergenerational trauma in this haunting story by Gwendolyn Kiste. Tonally, and in its portrayal of grief, grudges, and buried secrets, it reminded me a little bit of Pumpkinhead.

Cecilia was two years older than me, so I believed her. I didn’t realize then she only chose the stories with the happy endings.

Gwendolyn Kiste, “An Elegy for Childhood Monsters”

Read it in The Dark Magazine.

Kerry C. Byrne – “The Doors That Do Not Open” [THIS]

I really enjoyed the treatment of [SPOILER] imaginary friends in Kerry C. Byrne’s subtly fantastic story about the pros and cons of having a rich internal life. An elegaic, nuanced depiction of how unreal things can both enrich and limit our real lives.

For a while, around thirteen, I tried tailing him when he left. I was certain that if I could follow him to unthere, I’d prove that I was important enough to stay for. But the way he moved through space wasn’t available to me, and halfway down a street he would be gone and I would be standing alone, absent-minded and disoriented.

Kerry C. Byrne, “The Doors That Do Not Open”

Read it at THIS Magazine.

Thanks for reading!

Also, anyone else getting ready for Halloween this week?

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