Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Date 14 Years In The Making...

In 1992, I was in my third year of college at my Alma Mater, John Abbott College. Abbott was known at the time as a "country club" school. And I guess depending on what kind of program you were in (technical or pre-university) and what your discipline was (sciences, arts, business) it could have been.

I was in Lit & Lang (Often called Clit & Tongue) or Literature and Languages. I started off wanting to be a writer, then I wanted to be a teacher, then I wanted to be a filmmaker. By the time I graduated in May of 1993, I had a great liberal-arts education. I spent the next four years on welfare before finally finding employment.

In 1992, the Grunge Era was in full swing; bands like Nirvanna, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, the Smashing Pumpkins...these were our musical Gods. And surely if these were our gods, than the Titans who came before them were Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Doors, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix.

At the time, Abbott boasted (or quietly downplayed) The Oval Coffee House; a smoking lounge in the basement of the main building. At the time it was a filthy little hole in the wall with white stucco walls (at least they USED to be white), cracked salmon-pink asbestos floor tiles, pipes, ducts and wires dangling from the ceiling and a cloud of smog to make the air over Los Angeles appear positively clear. Compare that with the Oval of today (I refuse to acknowledge that travesty by linking to images of it) and you see what a mystic legacy was lost.

But I digress; Because hard rock was the "pop" music of the era (Boy bands like New Kids on the Block and hip-hop jokes like Milli Vanilli and Technotronic having beed obliterated) those of us into "alternative" music had to look elsewhere; Techno music was still fluctuating between progressive house and video-game soundtracks so it was mainly a bust--and the rave scene in Montreal was still essentially nonexistant. Into the alternative void where 70s rock retro and Grunge dared not tread were talents like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Morressey, King Missile and The Sisters of Mercy.

I like to quantify the Sisters of Mercy as the progenitors of Goth. They were doing weird and spooky shit when Robert Smith was picking up his first guitar. They started performing in the early 1980s and to date have only released five albums: 1985's First And Last And Always, a fantastically creepy first album, 1987's Floodland an under-rated but quintessential and archetypal 1980's post-new-wave Goth album, 1990's Vision Thing an album I quite simply never could get behind, 1992's Some Girls Wander By Mistake, a compilation of their early 12-inch LPs (ask your parents what an LP was kids) and demo tapes and arguably their best work EVER. 1993's A Slight Case of Overbombing was the last thing they released; "volume 1" of their greatest hits; an okay album but not them at their best, IMHO.

Back in 1992 I was friends with a fellow suburban Punk named Jon. He introduced me to the Sisters of Mercy one night while we were hanging out at an abandoned rest stop off the highway in Rigaud, smoking dope. I was hooked from the first few drum-machine beats on Alice, the first track from Some Girls Wander By Mistake. This was music unlike anything I'd listened to before. To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement.

Although years and miles have separated me from Jon's friendship and company, I've never stopped listening to the Sisters of Mercy, and they have forever shaped, warped and perverted my musical tastes.

And in '92, the Sisters of Mercy were at the height of their popularity here in Montreal. We had ourselves a nice little counterculture scene back then; La Nausee and Les Foufounes Electriques were the popular Punk/Goth(Only back then the term "Goth" had yet to be coined) hangouts and the Sisters of Mercy were even known to play a gig or two in our town. Unfortunately, I never got to see them in concert.

And then last week I was leaving through the Montreal Mirror, a weekly tabloid-format newspaper that used to be a lot more underground than the club-listing, trend-tracking rag it is now, and I came across an advertizement that the Sisters of Mercy were going to play a gig at the Metropolis on March 11th.

(Now, it is ironic that the Sisters would be playing at the Metropolis, because back in the day no self-respecting Counterculture Revolutionary would be caught dead on the same side of the street as that place; it was a pretentious little far-off-Crescent-Street nightclub. Now, it's a show venue.)

I could scarcely believe it: The Sisters of Mercy are returning to Montreal! And today, I purchased my ticket; I'm counting down the days until the show; I've not been this excited to see a concert in, well, forever; I'm going to get to experience the Sisters of Mercy LIVE!!!!

Granted I'm not 21 anymore, and I'm sober, married and have a job. I'm not looking to revisit my youth or even stumble into old friends (although it would be neat if I did). I'm just wanting to see the Sisters of Mercy in concert. And I will. I've been wanting this for 14 years; I've missed a few chances to see them perform in those intervening years, but on Saturday the 11th of March, I will at long last fulfil that particular dream.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Okay, seriously...

Dear readers,

I must admit that I'm less than impressed with the lack of response so far to my feedback request.

But the one thing I learned in 20 years of writing is that persistance pays off. However, I WOULD like to make this site more attractive to you. I cannot do that without your input. No writer should alienate his audience, but it would also help if the audience let said writer know what their gripes were. In fact, that was kind of the fucking POINT.

Granted, the decision to go with Publish America was a controversial one; however I believe it will prove more beneficial in the long run than not.

And I also admit that the "How-To" articles have more or less stopped, but I think they were thorough for what they were.

I know I haven't elaborated on my marketing strategy, what I'm doing with the e-book or the audio book, but given that I am devoting a great deal of money that I can't afford (except as the tax write-off) towards these plans I don't want to risk spoiling the strategy ahead of time. Rest assured that there is going to be a print campaign and I will be targeting Canadian colleges and universities; the e-book will launch shortly after the book and the fate of the audiobook depends a great deal on whether I can accomplish what my friend Tom and I have come up with, or not. Beyond any of that I really don't want to let the cat out of the bag.

Anyway, on to other news from me (Writing-wise):

So while waiting for the pre-production end of things to be done over at the publishers, I'm still working on other projects: one is completely non-genre related, set in and around my alma mater John Abbott College, during the years from 1991 to 1994. A grunge-era novel, basically, so it's got a lot of sex, drugs and the Seattle Sound thrown in.

It should be ready just in time for the inevitable (and always tacky) "retro" phase that pop-culture fashion-slave teens go through. Thank God the whole 80s "retro" was more of a flash in the pan than anything else. Who knows? Maybe the "retro Grunge" era to come will last longer than the 4 years that the Grunge Era did...

Sorry...crotchety old man bitching about the Good Old Days...

I also plan on soon re-visiting Crossroads, a novel I wrote and e-published several years ago. The story's about a man who commits suicide and then must undo the damage he has done to his friends and family, or face being consigned to oblivion.

Another novel I'm working on is a bit more on the Q-T for now; I go back into Sci-Fi with it and explore what happens when people who muck about with alien technology they know little or nothing about are suddenly stranded when all that superior hardware simply stops working as it should. Tentatively, that one's titled The Darkness and the Stars.

As an added treat, you'll very soon (Hopefully by the end of this weekend) be able to download the first four chapters of The Unearthing for free from this website--without having to go through the plodding dinosaur of slowness that is OurMedia.

That's about all the writing-related stuff I have to report this time out. In future weblog entries I'll be talking about more personal, non-writing stuff; like the fact that the grandfathers of Goth, The Sisters of Mercy are going to be playing a show here in Montreal. I'll not discuss things like my pregnant kitty cat or the new dishes my wife and I bought, but I have been told by a couple of people that more personal blogging is warranted. And so it shall be.

That's it for now. I'm off to bed.

Stay tuned--or for that matter please, tune the fuck in--K Space is about to re-launch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Kontinuing Kronicles of K Space

Well you'll be noticing several changes to my weblog shortly. As they've generated ZERO revenue, I'm removing the Google Ads at the top and bottom of my blog. The Google Search Bar will remain, though. The PayPal donation box is going and I'll probably be changing the template as well.

Why? Well, despite the underwhelming response to my previous blog entry, I have gotten the message that something here isn't working. So I'm going to play around with the content and the layout and the topics discussed here.

(Paul, BTW, I'll PM you @ FWF; you're the only person to take the time to reply to my post and I think that deserves something.)

Among other changes is the addition of a link to my new MySpace account.

On my trip up to Toronto over the weekend, to visit my friends Kevin and Tammie, Kevin introduced me to MySpace. The goal of the MySpace account is to increase my online visibility and hopefully generate a little pre-sale buzz about my book. It's also a chance to network with other people with similar interests and hopefully generate a little more traffic here, to this site.

Obviously these changes will be ongoing; I'd still like your input and suggestions to improve this site, as well as the sub-dimensions of K-Space, namely the Book Reviews and Movie Reviews sections. As much as this site is to promote myself and my work, I'm also (hopefully) providing something entertaining and informative for you, my readers. So come on guys!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Message from K-Space

One of the problems of being a one-topic weblog is that it means that every so often we enter into these lull-periods in which I don't know what to say, so I have nothing to add. This creates a vicious cycle in which there are no updates, so readers don't check it out. And when readers do come, they come less frequently because the updates are less frequent.

So, here's what I'd like: I'd like a chance to touch base with my readers. I'd like to know what you would like in terms of features; IE, if I'm not updating often enough, what writing-related topics could I post about in order to have a more regular update? What features/links would you like me to add/remove from the links section? What can I do for YOU?

Now in order to make this worth YOUR while, I'm going to offer the only thing I can: A signed first-edition copy of The Unearthing. I'll even pay shipping and handling.

Now obviously, I cannot afford to give each and every one of you a free copy as much as I'd love to. So instead I'll draw five names from every one who replies to this post to offer me advice on how to improve the site. The people whose names I draw will recieve the following gifts:

One person will recieve both a signed first edition copy of The Unearthing and a PDF version of The Unearthing on CD.

One person will recieve a signed first edition copy of The Unearthing, and three people will recieve The Unearthing in PDF format, on CD.

I'm going to assume you're over 18 and don't need anyone's permission to visit this site.

The draw will not be supervised, notarised, photographed, authenticated, commemorated, mimeographed or televised. I assume no liability for lost, damaged or stolen merchandize. Once it's mailed, your beef is with the post office. Although the book will have a cover price, this is not a contest and therefore has no cash value and you cannot ask for cash instead. This is me giving you a free copy of my book, entirely at my expense and without any obligation to you other than taking the time to answer the above questions. You only have to supply your email address; if I draw your email, I will contact you to tell you you're getting one of the gifts. Once you get it you can do what you want with it. Sell it on ebay if you're that hard up for cash.

The draw will not happen until after I have recieved my first shipment of books. Therefore this is, for now, open-ended. When I have more details about when the book is going to press I'll revise the deadline accordingly.

If you don't want to reply to this post with your email but would still like to offer your suggestions and have a chance of getting a present, email me. My contact info's around here, somewhere.

Thanks, guys. Your help is going to make this site a better place.

Steve Karmazenuk,

The Keeper of ){-Space