Blog #20: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out (or, Best of 2020)

Arts Coverage, Blog, Film and Television

It’s perhaps an understatement that 2020 has not been a great year for anybody.

Thankfully, it’s been a very good year for movies and music (even though performing artists and theatres are struggling to keep their heads above water). Listed below are a number of this past year’s finest films and albums, to keep you occupied until the lockdown ends:

Top Ten Films of 2020

10. Underwater (dir. William Eubank)

While this deep-sea thriller suffered from some frustratingly blurry visuals (an inevitable casualty of the setting), it benefits from engaging characters and a solid script. Kristen Stewart is a compelling lead as a practical yet sentimental engineer on an underwater drilling site, and the crew has an easy chemistry that adds naturalism and humanity to the high-concept proceedings. Oh, and the film’s towering subterranean monster is the coolest creature of 2020.

9. Bill and Ted Face the Music (dir. Dean Parisot)

This long-awaited conclusion to the Bill and Ted trilogy reunites Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter (as well as co-writers Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson) in a bodacious tale of time-travelling metalheads destined to save the world. Like its predecessors, Face the Music mixes goofy stoner humour with time warp weirdness: tasked (on threat of death) with writing a song to unite humanity, the washed-up Wyld Stallyns journey to the future to steal the track from their older selves, while their daughters head to the past to assemble history’s greatest rock band.

This movie was clearly a passion project for all involved, and as a longtime fan of the series, it’s delightful to see the band back together. The best scene is a reunion with their embittered bassist – Death himself – who’s been kicked out of the group and tied up in litigation.

8. Gretel and Hansel (dir. Osgoode Perkins)

Osgoode Perkins returns with a nightmarish fairy tale. IT star Sophia Lillis brings an earnestness to Gretel’s dreamlike dialogue, playing nicely against Sam Leakey’s naïve Hansel and Alice Krige’s diabolical witch. Perkins’ stylish direction and disturbing visuals bring out the horror in Rob Hayes’ clever script, eschewing a straightforward adaptation in favour of something much more haunting.

7. The Lodge (dir. Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala)

This ominous psychological horror tale strands two grieving siblings at an isolated winter retreat with their hated stepmother – the sole survivor of a doomsday cult. The Lodge plays with your expectations, using misleading camerawork to cast doubt on the villain’s identity as a palpable sense of dread builds. There are gaping plot holes throughout, and the whole thing culminates in an ironic twist ending that really shouldn’t work, but the atmosphere and performances are so effective that you roll with it when you should be rolling your eyes.

6. Porno (dir. Keola Racela)

Teen hormones rage in this demonic sex comedy you didn’t know you needed. Porno’s obscene gore and “unbridled perversity” is complemented by an appealing cast of sheltered movie theatre employees, seduced and scandalized by the succubus inside a cursed projection reel. Robbie Tann steals the show as disgruntled Christian punk “Heavy Metal” Jeff, the subject of the year’s most disgusting cinematic injury. Very NSFW.

5. Possessor (dir. Brandon Cronenberg)

Brandon Cronenberg’s thriller about a corporate assassin who hijacks people’s bodies is as psychological as it is visceral. Possessor’s elegant violence, disorienting twists, and unsettling scenes of transformation are worthy of the ‘Cronenbergian’ label.

4. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (dir. Charlie Kaufman)

A romance fails on an epic scale in this mindbender about identity, aging, and the passage of time. Charlie Kaufman’s latest begins with one of many monologues from poet-physicist Amy, as she reluctantly embarks on a road trip to meet her boyfriend’s parents. Her partner is revealed to be insecure and short-tempered, his family dysfunctional, and as Amy mulls the future of their relationship, the fabric of reality seems to warp around them. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is surreal and beautifully shot, with a smart, dexterous script and an eerie, confounding climax.

3. Zappa (dir. Alex Winter)

Combining clips of its Frank Zappa’s incendiary interviews and live performances with home movies and other rare footage, Alex Winter’s most excellent documentary is a treasure trove of archival content that still leaves you feeling like you’ve only scratched the surface. Zappa’s incredible career – from his lifelong battle against censorship to his advocacy for post-Revolution Czechoslovakia – could fill several documentaries, but Winter was wise to focus so heavily on the music. If you know Frank Zappa mostly as a satirist and iconoclast, you’ll walk out with a greater appreciation of his skill as a composer.

2. The Color Out of Space (dir. Richard Stanley)

Richard Stanley’s neon-hued Lovecraft adaptation is a wonderfully weird cosmic horror freak-out. Based on the 1927 story about an alien substance that infects a family farm, The Color Out of Space is a phantasmagorical delight, with kaleidoscopic visuals, oddball dialogue, and quirky humour offsetting the existential dread of the premise. It also boasts an excellent cast, including a virtuosic turn from Nicolas Cage and a haunting performance by Elliot Knight as a surveyor who bears witness to the carnage.

1. Amulet (dir. Romola Garai)

Romola Garai’s debut blends occult and folk horror into a feminist parable about evil. In this slow-burning gothic, a veteran haunted by his sins moves into a decaying house where a young woman tends to her dying mother. Romanian actor Alec Secareanu soulfully channels the duality of his troubled character, who sees a monstrous creature in the attic as his opportunity for redemption. Co-star Carla Juri is appealingly enigmatic, and British actress Imelda Staunton (who Harry Potter fans will recognize as the sadistic Dolores Umbridge) brings a welcome dose of camp as a duplicitous nun. A perfect film.

Honourable Mentions:

Birds of Prey (dir. Cathy Yan) is a fun showcase for Margot Robbie’s inspired performance as D.C. antihero Harley Quinn, populated with colourful fight scenes and scenery-chewing side characters. Come To Daddy (dir. Ant Timpson) is a hyper-violent crime comedy populated with thoroughly unlikeable characters and so many twists your head will spin. Relic (dir. Natalie Erika James) is a terrifying horror film about death and decline, and His House (dir. Remi Weekes) is a grim ghost story about Sudanese refugees haunted by those they left behind.



Top 5 Albums of 2020

5. Pray For It (July Talk)

On their third album, Toronto alt-rockers July Talk dial down their confrontational style in favour of hypnotic and deceptively soothing arrangements. Leah Fay’s siren-like vocals and Peter Dreimanis’s aggressive snarl are more subdued here, though their lyrics still bite. Media satires like “Governess Shadow” and “The News” affect a sickly-sweet perkiness, while mystical bookends “Identical Love” and “Still Sacred” (the album’s finest moment) throb with mystery and menace.

4. High Road (Kesha)

Kesha’s latest record is delightfully eclectic, throwing country-pop, folk-rock, and power ballads into a blender alongside the empowering party anthems that have become her trademark. This is an album where therapy sessions become pop song fodder and reflective acoustic tracks (like the Sturgill Simpson-assisted “Resentment”) feel at home alongside club bangers and caustic frenemy takedowns. The quirky pop star is at the height of her powers here, effortlessly hopping between genres and running the gamut from defiant whimsy to scathing self-awareness.

3. Total Freedom (Kathleen Edwards)

Ottawa’s Kathleen Edwards is one of Canada’s most underrated songwriters, and her latest record sees her at her melancholy best. Edwards’s trademark sly humour is on full display (“I blame it on the weekly flyer / that took me down to Crappy Tire,” she sings on “Options Open”), as are her scathing takedowns of relationships gone wrong (“Everything in his house is afraid / What wouldn’t be under your weight?”). But her distinctive voice shines through just as clearly on meditative tracks like the contented “Bird on a Feeder” and the mournful “Ashes to Ashes,” as well as “Who Rescued Who?”, an affectionate elegy for a beloved pet dog.

2. Reliever (William Prince)

Folk singer William Prince’s second album feels like an intimate conversation between friends. There’s a distinct gospel influence on this record, with gentle acoustic arrangements and Prince’s soothing baritone belying sweeping reflections on life, death, love, and redemption.

1. Ordinary Man – Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy’s latest album might be his most powerful work yet – and it’s certainly his most personal. Combining his trademark gothic grandeur with vulnerable lyrics about addiction and self-hatred, Ordinary Man is a devastating listen. Walloping riffs alongside tolling bells and mournful piano heighten the drama; the record also features cameos by everyone from Slash, Elton John, and Tom Morello to rappers Post Malone and Travis Scott.

Honourable Mentions:

Hayley Williams’ Petals for Armour debuts a new sound for the Paramore frontwoman, with intimate emotions and insecurities revealed against chilly electropop. Hamilton’s Terra Lightfoot put out another great blues-rock record with Consider the Speed, and Arkells’ acoustic Campfire Chords is the singalong we needed in these trying times.

Single of the Year: “Weeping Ghost” (John Carpenter)

This song slaps.


Adventures in Writing: Year in Review

On Friday, March 13th, a crow landed on my office windowsill, which I should have taken as an omen. That turned out to be the day COVID-19 really hit home in Ottawa, plunging us all into months of paranoia and uncertainty.

Over the next few days, I wrote an ominous short story called “Friday, March 13th,” about an office worker who receives a grim warning. That was the only vaguely COVID-19-related story (although the pandemic is never mentioned) that I intended to write, until Owl Hollow Press announced an open call for their virus-themed anthology.

I was incredibly daunted by this theme, wary of being over-pessimistic and not wanting to write something exploitative. I initially set out to write something dark; to my surprise, the story ended up morphing into a very funny social-distancing themed sci-fi romance.

The story was ultimately accepted into Owl Hollow’s When the World Stopped: A Collection of Infectious Stories, which came out this fall.

The rest of my 2020 stories have been largely escapist: a beachside cosmic horror story (inspired by an old poem, a dream, and my bitterness that I had no way to stream The Beach House); a sword-and-sorcery adventure; a dark fairy tale; and a grisly horror story about a ziplining trip gone wrong. I also harkened back to the days of eating indoors with “Eater of Universes,” written for Sliced Up Press’s cake horror anthology Slashertorte.

I finished off the year writing darker fare: a holiday-themed cosmic revenge story in which Santa Claus is apprehended by an interdimensional bounty hunter (written as a Christmas gift to my parents and inspired by my story “Dust in the Jail Cell,” which was released this year in Transmundane’s On Time anthology), and a surreal sci-fi nightmare for an open call (last submission of the year!).

In addition to the aforementioned anthologies, I had stories appear in Night Frights, Excuse Me Mag, and Weird Mask, and online at Back Patio Press, Sci-Fi & Scary, Horror Tree, and Fright Girl Summer. Some of my poems were featured in Twist in Time, Bywords, Hook of a Book, Final Cut Zine, Pink Plastic House, and the Twin Peaks themed anthology These Poems Are Not What They Seem, and I wrote a pair of articles for Ottawa Life showcasing Canada’s greatest bands and singers.

My productivity definitely waxed and waned this year, but I also managed to finish my first-ever novella, a macabre horror-comedy called The Doom That Came to Mellonville.


Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading my 2020 rundown. As we cross our fingers for happier times ahead, I’ll leave you with the song that encapsulates 2020 better than anything else:

Stay safe,

Madison

Living Vicariously Through You

Creative Works, Fiction

Appears in: When the World Stopped: A Collection of Infectious Stories (Owl Hollow Press)

Release Date: October 2020

Summary: Sophie’s quarantine takes an odd turn when she develops a telepathic connection with the sketchy guy loitering near her building. A pseudoscientific rom-com about these weird times.

Buy a copy of When the World Stopped from Owl Hollow Press.

Dust in the Jail Cell

Creative Works, Fiction

Appears in: On Time (Transmundane Press)

Release Date: Sept. 27/2020

Summary: A dimension-hopping war arrives at a downtown police station after a trailer on cinder blocks materializes in the middle of traffic. The young woman in the holding cell has a strange story to tell – if she lives long enough.

Buy a copy of On Time from Transmundane Press.

The Year They Cancelled Halloween

Creative Works, Fiction

Appears in: Night Frights Issue #1 (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)

Release Date: Sept. 13/2020

Summary: Concerned about its influence on students, the teachers at Miskatonic Elementary School decide to cancel Halloween. Deprived of their annual tribute, a cabal of monsters and demons plot their nastiest trick yet.

Buy a copy of Night Frights from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Blog #18: Changing Seasons

Blog

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?

Blog #17: Summer Reading

Blog

Happy August, everybody!

If you’re looking for some reading (and listening) material for this long weekend, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on for some of my latest publications (including a bunch of stories and poems you can read right now for free) as well as recommendations of short fiction, essays, and poems that you can read online. Not to mention, a few songs I’ve been addicted to and a trippy video that’s a horror movie in the making…



Achievement unlocked – Novella written!

Doom3

On June 16th, I completed the first draft of my first-ever novella, a horror comedy called The Doom That Came To Mellonville. 

Doom2

I took this photo off my balcony immediately after typing “The End.”

A quirky horror-comedy in the tradition of Beetlejuice, The ‘Burbs, and The Frighteners, Doom tells the story of a mild-mannered accountant who accidentally curses his small town after putting his late son’s estate up for action.

This story is one I’ve abandoned and resurrected many times over several years, its word count ballooning to around 20,000. Though the process was agonizing at times, I had a fun time writing it (particularly the scene where Lawrence Plank and his dead son argue about folk music). I’m very happy with the final product and I can’t wait to share it with people!



Miskatonic Review on “The Song Inside the Star”

Grateful to of the Miskatonic Review for this great write-up of my Lovecraftian short story “The Song Inside the Star,” about a teen pop star who summons the Goat with 1000 Young.

“By writing in a way that contemporary readers are used to digesting information, she helps sink you into the world of her story that bends this new reality around yours.  It may have you questioning yourself the next time you buy a ticket to a concert by the next-big-thing. When it’s safe to go to concerts again, maybe, just maybe, it won’t be.”

You can read the full review here, or check out the full story online here.

 



New Releases


Short Story: “Folk Horror” [#FrightGirlSummer]

FGS

I started writing this one in the “Notes” section of my phone during the opening act of an Arkells concert.

This band used to do a lot of free outdoor shows in Ottawa, including several campus events when I was in university; this was my first time seeing them headline an arena, and it almost felt like the end of an era. Still an amazing show, but there was definitely some cognitive dissonance at play.

The opening act that evening was American folk-rock band Lord Huron, whose slightly eerie set (combined with the weird head-space I was already in) inspired this story of rock-n-roll and ritual sacrifice.

I was very excited to present this tale as part of #FrightGirlSummer. You can read it here.


Poem: “Welcome Mat” [Pink Plastic House]

Doormat

Photo credit: Kristin Garth

A little poem about apartment living:

“Leave me alone, I don’t have pests

is something someone with bugs would insist

Come in, I guess…

Many thanks to editor Kristin Garth for finding a home for this in the Pink Plastic House! She also took this cute photo to illustrate it.

You can read the full poem below at the Pink Plastic House Instagram:


Poem: “Insect-toothed woman” [Cauldron Anthology, Issue 11]

witch

A macabre poem for this witchcraft-themed issue:

“…she haggles at the stalls;
trades bronze coins for leg of lamb
takes stained glass for widow’s root
wanders off mumbling ‘fore the fishmonger
calls her back; “just for you, two-for-one.”
two dead-eyed trout.

she takes what is holy…”

With startling re-interpretations of witch figures of myth, including a feminist retelling of the King Arthur legend and a post-apocalyptic take on Baba Yaga, the whole issue is a very good read.

Check it out at Cauldron Anthology.


Short Story: “In the Death House” [Weird Mask, Issue 24]

Weird Mask

Two globetrotting academics, one British, one American, get stranded in a storm. As the rains fall and the sky darkens, they find refuge in a mountain shack, realizing too late that they’ve sought shelter…

“In the Death House”

“There were two occupants in the house that we could see: an old woman, her hair a shocking red, and a little girl, sucking contentedly on the black hair of a homemade doll. Over the groan and crackle of the fire, I thought I could hear the desolate lamentations of a great many men on an upper floor. I immediately understood: this was a house where the dying were tended to.”

Weird Mask Issue 24 features occult horror, conspiracy thrillers, dystopian sci-fi, mystical fantasies, and a few stories I could see being featured in a text-only issue of Heavy Metal Magazine.

You can order it here.


Poems: “Looking Out Windows,” “Cronenberg,” “U.F.O. Ridge,” and “My Monster” [M Zine, Issue 2]

Happy to have four of my favourite poems appear in Issue 2 of M Zine. Science fiction-inspired but intimate; regret-laden odes to aliens and body horror and all that fun stuff.

You can order the zine here.



Coming Soon

Recently received a couple of acceptances I’m very excited about.

virus

My social distancing telepathy rom-com “Living Vicariously Through You” will appear in Owl Hollow Press’s upcoming anthology tentatively titled The Year of the Virus.

I’ve worked with this editorial team twice before, and I have no doubt they’ll select stories that address this strange era with sensitivity and insight.

“Living Vicariously” is also my first rom-com, which I’m pretty excited about. (That said, it’s also a science fiction story, and I couldn’t resist adding in some unnerving sequences).

Additionally, while I can’t provide details yet, I also received some good news about a story I’ve long been trying to find a home for. It’s a nasty little revenge story that draws from children’s literature and splatter horror.



New Music Showcase


“We Are Chaos” by Marilyn Manson

To be perfectly honest, I’m still trying to wrap my head around this new Manson single. It definitely doesn’t sound like anything he’s done before; at the same time, it evokes the poppier moments of records like Mechanical Animals.

In any case, I’m looking forward to hearing this in the context of an album. If you ask me, “We Are Chaos” has a cinematic feel that would work as the denouement of a concept album – here’s hoping!


“Identical Love” by July Talk [Pray for It]

I’ve been really enjoying this new July Talk album – it’s a slow-burn, but very hypnotic. Feels almost like floating in the ocean.

If you dug this song, also check out “Life of the Party,” “Pay for It,” and “The News.”


“Quitting You” by Arkells

An acoustic love song by Arkells! Exactly what we need in these trying times!

(And yes, this is the band that kind-of sort-of inspired “Folk Horror.” One of my favourite groups.)



Reading Recommendations


“My Obsession” by William Gibson [Wired]

wg

William Gibson can make the act of scrolling through a website feel like a disorienting journey through time and space. So it’s no surprise I had a great time reading his non-fiction collection Distrust That Particular Flavour, which sees the cyberpunk author reflecting on film-making, internet culture, history, science fiction and Steely Dan.

Chronicling his brief foray into eBay addition and vintage watch collecting, Gibson’s 1999 essay “My Obsession” is both funny and insightful. He perceives the online auction site as a sort of discombobulated rummage sale, allowing you to browse the contents of “the world’s attic” in search of anachronistic treasures:


“Most of our toys, unlike the wood and pot-metal of yore, were extrusion-molded ephemera, fragile styrene simulacra, highly unlikely to survive the random insults of time. A great deal of the boomer’s remembered world has been melted down, or crushed into unreadable fragments in forgotten strata of landfill. What remains, particularly if it’s “mint in box,” becomes increasingly rarefied.”


Read it at Wired.


“Heat Pump” by Tabatha Wood [#FrightGirlSummer]

blog9

Having suffered through a sweltering July, I could relate to the protagonist’s frustrations in this summery horror story by Tabatha Wood:

 

​“You’ve not been here long then?”

I shrugged.

“Living on your own?” he pressed.

I wasn’t about to answer that.

“I see a lot of girls like you, in my job. Not many of them as pretty as you though, eh? I always tell them the same thing. Living alone, it’s not a great idea…”

Read it over at Fright Girl Summer.


“violet / the end” by vanessa maki [Rising Phoenix Review]

I’ve been a huge Hole fan since high school, and Courtney Love’s lyricism was a big influence on my own writing. So I really enjoyed this mystical yet frank poem by vanessa maki, which draws from their signature song “Violet.”

Read it at Rising Phoenix Review.


“Ready or Not” by Cassie Daley [#FrightGirlSummer]

Ready Or Not

This short story by Cassie Daley is both a fresh take on a classic tale and a masterful bit of sleight-of-hand. Daley weaves a disturbing tale of abuse and exploitation, leading to a grim twist that’s almost comforting by comparison:

“‘Who are you?’ In the passenger seat, I glance out of the windshield and don’t recognize anything. I don’t feel as worried as I think I should. We drive silently through residential streets with names I’ve never heard of, lined with houses that are just a little bit… off. At first I can’t pinpoint why the houses look strange, but the longer I stare the more obvious it becomes.”

Read it over at Fright Girl Summer.


“Run Away With Me” by Kendall A. Bell [Pink Plastic House]

Another music-based poem! Inspired by the works of Carly Rae Jepsen, this summery poem by Kendall A. Bell captures the carefree (yet consequential) vibe of a great pop song.

Read it at the Pink Plastic House Instagram below:


Serial“Squatchin'” by Jennifer Lee Rossman [Serial Magazine]

I love a good Bigfoot story (and I’ve written a few bad ones, myself!), so I had a lot of fun reading this Sasquatch-hunting meet-cute by Jennifer Lee Rossman:

“But something lived in these woods. Possibly in woods all across the continent. That many people couldn’t mistake a bear for an ape, they couldn’t all be hoaxes. Certainly the creature she had seen as a teen hadn’t been a bear or a man in a suit, though she kept that sighting quiet for fear of ridicule.”

Read it over at her blog.



Current Projects

It has been hot here in Ottawa, interspersed with intermittent bursts of rain. In other words, plenty of opportunities to stay in and get some writing done in front of an oscillating fan.

In addition to the long-gestating novel, I’m currently working on a surreal horror-fantasy with mild Phantasm vibes, and a seaside cosmic horror story that I’m fairly sure was inspired by this wonderful clip:


So, how is this bizarre summer treating everyone?


 

In the Death House

Creative Works, Fiction, Free to Read

Appears in: Weird Mask (Issue 24)

Release Date: May/2020

Summary: Two globetrotting academics, one British, one American, get stranded in a storm. As the rains fall and the sky darkens, they find shelter in a mountain shack, realizing too late that this sanctuary may be more dangerous than the wilderness they sought refuge from.

Buy a copy of Weird Mask, or keep reading below.