Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Best Of 2009

From CONFRONT Magazine:

As always I compose my “best of” list based on the albums I’ve reviewed over the course of the year. This means that the albums on this list aren’t necessarily those that placed high on the charts, got praise from critics, or were even relatively well known. Usually, eligibility for this year’s list requires an album rate an 8.5/10 or higher. This year, I had to prune the list even further, restricting entrants to those who got full marks.

There are, therefore, a few albums that, despite how much I enjoyed them, did not qualify for this list. Those runners-up include ‘Octahedron’ by The Mars Volta, ‘This is War’ by 30 Seconds to Mars, ‘Abnormally Attracted to Sin’ by Tori Amos, Adam Lambert’s ‘For Your Entertainment’ among others.

Likewise, you’ll not see the likes of Lady Gaga or the Black Eyed Peas or Taylor Swift or other so-called “essentials” on this list, because I didn’t listen to them and therefore cannot make pronouncement on their worth. There’s a REASON I chose not to listen to them, though: I think their music sucks.

So, here’s what I didn’t think sucked in 2009:

10-God Dethroned: Passiondale

When Metalheads God Dethroned released ‘Passiondale’, a hard-core musical retelling of the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I (, the album immediately blew me away. As a genre, Heavy Metal (and its ridiculous legion of sub-genres) has always been able to rely on the topic of war for thematic material for songs.

But to craft an entire album around war in general let alone a single battle in particular is both ambitious and risky. God Dethroned took a huge gamble and it paid off: ‘Passiondale’ is, arguably, their best album yet.

God Dethroned: Passiondale

Metal Blade

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

09-Russian Circles: Geneva

‘Geneva’ is the third album from Instrumental Metal virtuosos Russian Circles. The lack of vocals on work by Russian Circles is their greatest asset: unhindered by a singer the music is predominant, unhindered by the limitations of a human voice.

The result is nearly a full hour of some of the most spectacular rock music that you’re likely to hear. Russian Circles’ previous two releases ‘Enter’ and ‘Station’ are just as good, and I recommend not only this album but their entire catalogue to you.

Russian Circles: Geneva

Suicide Squeeze

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

08-The Prodigy: Invaders Must Die

The Prodigy helped define Big Beat Electronic music. They continue to redefine the sound while reinventing the genre on ‘Invaders Must Die’, their fifth album since 1992. This one is, like most of The Prodigy’s work, highly addictive and entertaining.

This is vibrant, dynamic music that demands to be played loud, over and over again, relentlessly.

The Prodigy: Invaders Must Die

R. E. D. Distribution

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

07-Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Brimming with vibrant energy and no-holds-barred rock sensibilities, with power riffs and poetic lyrics, ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’, Kasabian’s third album puts lay to the Sophomore Curse that plagued them on ‘Empire’ and recapture and surpass the greatness of their self-titled debut.

These British rockers have finally learned to properly integrate the obligatory Rock ballads that previously hindered their work. Now the album is smooth and seamless, their fast-paced Rock standards now tempered by the down-tempo ballads on the disc.

Kasabian: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Red Ink

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

06-The Black Crowes: Before the Frost…Until the Freeze

The Black Crowes have been putting out amazing Blues-driven Rock for nearly twenty years. Their latest album was released in two parts: ‘Before the Frost’, the physical album available from stores and online retailers, and ‘Until the Freeze’, a free download available (in theory) only to those who purchased the album.

Both sets were recorded in front of a live audience at the Barn, in upstate New York. Typically fun and carefree with intense Blues guitar work and Chris Robinson’s distinctive vocals. The Black Crowes are in fine form on ‘Before the Frost…Until the Freeze’ and the twenty tracks on the two sets are among their best.

The Black Crowes: Before the Frost…Until the Freeze

R. E. D. Distribution

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

05-Our Lady Peace: Burn Burn

Our Lady Peace disappointed with 2005’s ‘Healthy in Paranoid Times’. But their latest album, ‘Burn Burn’ puts them back on top. An unequivocal return to form, ‘Burn Burn’ is lead singer Raine Maida’s love child; it is the first Our Lady Peace album not to feature an outside producer. The songs were all written and produced by Raine Maida, and recorded at Maida’s Los Angeles home studio.

The result is one of Our Lady Peace’s best albums, albeit one with a very short running time. The music here is raw, honest, contemplative and definitive of what made Our Lady Peace the band they are.

Our Lady Peace: Burn Burn


Steve’s Rating: 10/10

04-Alice in Chains: Black Gives Way to Blue

Very few bands can survive both initial breakup and the death of their lead singer, especially after establishing a long musical pedigree. Alice in Chains (unofficially) broke up in 1996, and lost Layne Staley when he succumbed to years of drug abuse, in 2002.

However, the surviving members of Alice in Chains decided to give it a go in 2005, hiring veteran musician and singer William DuVall. ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’, the band’s first album in 14 years was a stunning release. The album received critical acclaim and wowed the fans, selling over 126 000 copies in its first week of release.

A perfect resurrection of an iconic band, ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ is an exceptional album from an indomitable band.

Alice in Chains: Black Gives Way to Blue


Steve’s Rating: 10/10

03-Amazing Baby: Rewild 10/10

The New York music scene has been reinvigorated over the last few years. Innovative, original bands like Interpol, MGMT, The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have breathed fresh life into the Capital of avant-garde American pop music.

One of the most surprising additions to the pantheon of great New York Scene musicians came in the form of Amazing Baby. Their debut album, ‘Rewild’ dropped at the beginning of summer, just in time for the band to hit the festival circuit. I caught them at Montreal’s Osheaga festival and was blown away, already a fan from having heard the CD earlier in the year.

‘Rewild’ generates a cosmopolitan feel that harkens back to the early days of the New York Scene, when Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground were kings. Yet despite their retro sound, however, Amazing Baby is highly original and very musically relevant. ‘Rewild’ is essential listening.

Amazing Baby: Rewild

Shangri-La Records

Steve’s Rating: 10/10

02-The Slew: 100% 10/10

Combining Blues-driven Acid Rock with Hip-Hop rhythms, sampling and dubbing, DJ Kid Koala unleashed ‘100%’, a masterful, powerful, original album. The album works on multiple levels, from social commentary to just something to grind to.

I feel a certain level of pride knowing that Kid Koala is a Montrealer. His work on ‘100%’ is among his best. The music is dangerously addictive, haunting and entertaining. Even if you aren’t a fan of Hip-Hop, this album is memorable and worthy of praise and ears.

The Slew: 100%

Puget Sound Recordings

Steve’s Rating 11/10

01-The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love 10/10

Beyond any doubt, the Decemberists deserve the laurels for their fifth studio album, ‘The Hazards of Love’. It is an epic story-song cycle, telling the tale of Margaret and her shape-shifting lover, William, his mother the Forest Queen and The Rake, a murderous, lustful demon lord.

Following traditional Celtic Folk-Rock roots and structured into a very old-school Rock Opera format, ‘The Hazards of Love’ presents us with an audible feast of tale-spinning, harkening back to a time when minstrels and bards would travel the countryside, telling tales and singing songs and creating the roots of our common folklore. The language used on the disc is downright Shakespearean, showing the sort of love and respect for the English language that is sorely lacking in modern Pop culture.

‘The Hazards of Love’ is a masterpiece, unquestionably The Decemberists’ best. This album should be turned into a TRUE Rock Opera, either performed as a Broadway-style stage musical or as a musical motion picture. I would only hope for other performers than the Decemberists to lend their vocal talents to this one; having caught ‘The Hazards of Love’ live at Osheaga, I was less than impressed; Colin Meloy and Becky Stark’s idea of stage presence seems to be just being present onstage, and it is, far and away, the absolute best of 2009

The Decemberists: Hazards of Love


Steve’s Rating: 10/10

Friday, December 11, 2009

You MIGHT have slept with Tiger Woods if...

-You wake up naked in a sand trap and $50 in cab fare is under a Titelist

-Right as he's about to cum, the guy fucking you yells "FORE!"

-He asks you to keep your fairway mowed

-His condoms have the "Swoosh" logo printed on them

-His bed is shaped like a golf cart

-His fantasy threesome is with Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couples and has nothing to do with sex

-He calls premature ejaculation "playing through"

-He asks you if you're into "Water hazards"

-In his Craigslist add he describes his penis as "A par-12 with a slight dog-leg to the right"

-He refers to anal sex as "playing the back 9"

Tuesday, December 01, 2009



Ahead of the 2010 launch of the full eBook, I am pleased to offer you the first 6 chapters (and prologue) of Through Darkness and Stars, the exciting followup to The Unearthing!

An ancient Ship completing a millions-year old mission has taken Human passengers and crew on an historic voyage to the heart of an ancient cosmic dynasty.

But despite their extensive training, no one aboard the Shipflight is prepared for what they find, as they search for the Great Races of the lost League of Worlds.

When catastrophe forces Shipflight onward, unable to return to Earth, they set out to discover what happened to those who passed through the cosmos before them.

What awaits them beyond the world that Mankind has always called home is a growing madness aboard the Ship, and a lost enemy, stalking them as they travel through darkness and stars...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Through Darkness and Stars Launches Tomorrow

Watch this space tomorrow for the launch of the free 6 chapter preview of Through Darkness and Stars!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Delayed Releases

So October was supposed to see me launch a couple of things. First, the promised preview of Through Darkness and Stars, the second novel of The Omniverse Series, which was launched when I published The Unearthing, back in 2006.

Second, I had hoped to complete work on my next eBook, Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.

Unfortunately, neither project is ready to launch. Nevermind is taking longer than expected to put together and format, and I was so engrossed in the work on that one that I never got around to compiling the aforementioned Through Darkness and Stars.

Here we are, mid-November and I've decided to put Nevermind back on hold for a while, so I can get Darkness out to you, dear readers, sooner rather than later.

I still hope to launch the Nevermind eBook before the end of the year, and Darkness by mid 2010.

Your patience will be rewarded, I promise!

I'm here to put you back on schedule. sound bite

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Though I am loath to endorse any hyperlink that leads back to the dreadfully awful Montreal Gazette, the following story is both important and uplifting to anyone who believes that all Quebecers should have the same full, and equal, rights under the law. This should encourage anyone who believes in freedom of expression, of multiculturalism, and most of all, of courage in the face of overwhelming (albeit utterly discredited) opposition and even violence.

I reprint it here, without permission, solely to ensure that in the likely event the Gazette caves to pressure from a "special" interest group comprised of a goon squad of separatist racists.

One woman against the anti-Royal mobBy David Johnston, The Gazette

Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

She was a single lone woman up against a noisy nationalist mob tonight outside of the Black Watch armory on Bleury St., in the hour before Prince Charles arrived with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

As the bright lights of national television created an something of a chilling aura around the 150 slogan-chanting Quebec nationalists, a small determined woman named Suzanne Reny walked up to the front lines of the protest and told them they were all a disgrace.

Speaking in fluent French and English, and carrying a well-known Scottish flag, the Rampant Lion, this petite daughter of a retired Canadian air-force pilot, and husband of a man of Scottish orgin, tore a strip off the protestors in front of a dozen cameras.

She called them ignorant and stupid, and she called them other things that can’t be printed – and the protestors were taken aback at first, until one man pushed her, prompting other protestors to intervene on behalf of her.

“If they are allowed to have their way in public, then I am allowed to have my say in public, too,” said Reny, the daughter of a father from the Beauce region and a mother from Trois-Rivières.

“If they are going to come here as a gang and say ‘We’re the Jeunes Patriotes’ and all that stuff and ‘we represent Quebec,’ well, I’m here to say they don’t represent Quebec,” said Reny.

Royal-family lovers who had come to stand outside the armory in the hope of greeting the royal couple looked on in amazement as Reny took on all comers and stood her ground in the glare of TV lights against the intimidating mob.

“Am I afraid? No way!” said Reny, who grew up in Lachine, LaSalle and Dollard des Ormeaux.

One of the protestors, a red-haired francophone woman named Danielle Fortin who said she was “a quarter” Irish and who was carrying an Irish flag, said to Reny, “Whose the real minority here? Don’t you know your history?”

Reny shot back, “Where did you learn your history? At the University of the St. Jean Baptiste Society?”

The louder Reny shouted the protestors down, the more the protestors in the background craned their necks to get a look at this woman who had come to stand them down. She was a one-woman counter-demonstration, and the royal couple’s and Black Watch’s strongest defender.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coming Soon: A 6 Chapter Preview!

An ancient Ship completing a millions-year old mission has taken Human passengers and crew on an historic voyage to the heart of an ancient cosmic dynasty.
But despite their extensive training, no one aboard the Shipflight is prepared for what they find, as they search for the Great Races of the lost League of Worlds.
When catastrophe forces Shipflight onward, unable to return to Earth, they set out to discover what happened to those who passed through the cosmos before them.
What awaits them beyond the world that Mankind has always called home is a growing madness aboard the Ship, and a lost enemy, stalking them as they travel through darkness and stars...

Through Darkness and Stars
Part Two of Steve Karmazenuk's Omniverse



Friday, October 09, 2009

Back on Track

So I got my computer back on Monday, only to find that the promised backup of all my data that was to have been done before the nitwits at Furture Shop reformatted and reinstalled everything on my computer wasn't done.

What limited bakcups I had did not cover everything I had, and it looked as though I had lost all my photos, two novels and everything I've ever written for CONFRONT Magazine. Needless to say I wasn't impressed.

It took me complaining to two different managers and telling customers coming to the repair counter at Future Shop to take their computers elsewhere - and why - before they agreed to do anything to help me.

Finally after an hour-long pissing contest with the idiots in charge of computer repairs at Future Shop before they finally acquiesced and did a data recovery - for free, and in under two hours - of the files I lost.

I recovered everything, thank God.

So, moving on.

This week I finished writing the seventh chapter of the third book of The Omniverse, 'The Aeons War' and last night I hit a wall while trying to start chapter eight. Well, I hit a couple of walls. I don't like the flow of chapter six (which relates directly to chapter eight) so I'll be going back and giving it a rewrite before going forward with chapter eight.

However, 'Aeons War' has been taking most of my writing attention of late, and I am trying to get another e-book out before the end of the ear, namely 'Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind'. So, I'm going to take a break from one to work on the other. I've discovered I've got a little bit of a rewrite to do on certain chapters of 'Nevermind', and so I'm going to start working on that for a while.

What about 'Through Darkness and Stars', you ask? I know a lot of you have read 'The Unearthing' and are anxious for the follow-up. As I've said, I am waiting on some legal work related to The Omniverse and specifically to 'Darkness' to work through; once it's done, I will be launching 'Darkness'. However, before the end of the month I promise to release a preview chapter or two, which you will be able to link to from the link bar on the left.

That's it for now--right now I've got places to go, things to see and people to do, so I'll post again soon.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Still Being Screwed By Life

The first thing you'll notice is there's no K-rune picture embedded in this post. That's because my computer is currently at Future Shop, where the creme de la creme of Montreal's retail computer technicians have been mucking about and not returning my phone calls for three days. What should have been a simple rootkit removal has turned into a complete electronic sodomization of my computer as they have to reformat and reinstall everything.

Now, owing to the less than stellar customer service they've provided thusfar (in what, 4 days ago, was to have been a 24 hour turnaround) I'm half-expecting to lose all my stored music, images, valuable, valuable pornography, archived emails and other precious electronic resources.

Before you chip-heads bother to mention it: THANK you, I know I should have backed everything up. Didn't happen. I was able to back up my writing files before this cluster-fuck started, but that's it.

Needless to say I've not done much writing work since my last post (the computer went tits-up the day after) and I have rather restricted access to the computer I'm using now.

When and if things ever get back to what apparently passes for normal in my life, and I will let you know.

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Life Continues its Pesky Interruptions

So despite my hopes, I'm not yet back on schedule.

The crap and chaos of the last couple of weeks continues, apparently unabated despite everything being done to prevent it.

Those who follow my Tweets above know that thanks to the psychotic imbecile in the basement apartment--who incessantly hoards junk--the entire building was infested with bedbugs.

We were given two days to prep for the fumigation. Two days, in which we had to wash absolutely every scrap of clothing, bedding, towels and fabric in super-hot water, hot-dry and then then seal everything into plastic bags, move all the furniture away from all the walls.

Not to mention that this damnable fumigation cost me the opportunity to visit with some dear, old friends who were premiering their first film, the documentary Shwatarded at the Toronto International Film Festival. Needless to say the junk-hoarding schizoid in my basement is now at the top of my shit list.

On the day of the fumigation, Angel had to pack off to a hotel for 24 hours, I had to evacuate the cats into the pouring rain then waiting 4 hours before it was safe for me to go back in and put everything back together again.

After the fumigation and a much-needed day of rest, I managed to finish the transcript of my conversation with Will and Simon from Amazing Baby, for CONFRONT Magazine as well as my usual weekly music review. I've had no time to work on the "Nevermind" ebook, or anything else since. I'm hoping to get to the cafe tomorrow, but that will depend on a few other factors.

However, the fumigation story is far from over, as we've just been notified that they have to come back in two weeks to fumigate again, because there are at LEAST two apartments that still have bedbugs, including the bastard in the basement, who apparently had (presumably still has) a considerably large colony of the things living in his soiled mattress.

That vulgar little outrage aside, things have been going great. Once this asinine shit is dealt with, maybe I'll be able to get back to my life.

Either way, I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life Interrupts Again

A chain of avoidable and wholly unforeseen circumstances has seen me having to put all current writing projects on hold.

With a brief respite tomorrow only from the chaos that is currently at the heart of this maelstrom, it looks like things will only begin to return to normal this Friday.

I might try to sneak in some writing tomorrow, but right now I just need some rest and recuperation.

I hope to be back on schedule before the end of next week.

I will keep you posted in any case.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Word verifications go too far

You know those damn word verification jpegs you have to read and write out in order to prove to some message boards you're not a bot? They've gotten really fucking ridiculous now:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Gender Biais in MS Word

So, one of the characters in "The Aeons War" is spoken about in the third person, capitalized--such as in the Bible, when they talk about Jesus, they always refer to Him instead of him, His work instead of his work, etc.

The thing is, according to MS Word you can only write that way about men. Whenever I make reference in the third person, capitalized for the character in question (who happens to be a woman) MS Word returns an error underline; apparently it feels that it is incorrect to ever refer to a woman as Her instead of her, She instead of she.

I've disabled the insipid auto-correct, but the scraggly green line insistently pops up under every instance of a capitalized third person gender feminine word. Most annoying; thought I would share.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Coming Soon...

Monday, August 31, 2009

10 days later...

Just a quick update: I am prepping "Nevermind" for relaunch. Right now I'm prepping the blogger page for the novel, planning ahead for hosting the PDF of the whole novel and rediscovering some of the music and artists I listened to while writing the novel.

It's shocking to think that it's been nearly 20 years since I was at John Abbott College...nearly 20 years since I started hanging out in the Oval Coffee House, listening to the rantings and ravings of drug-addled, burn-out English and Philosophy teachers...20 years since the first slow-sprouting seeds of "Nevermind" were planted in the soil of my imagination.

Whoa, that last line was pretentious...

Anyway, things are moving forward and I expect the ebook launch to take place very soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009


What's new:

It's been two very extensive weeks...dead pets and workplace drama abound...

In writing news:

The Nevermind screenplay appears to be on indefinite hold, therefore the re-edited and formatted will soon appear for the first time anywhere as a complete ebook, before 2010. Look for it here and elsewhere, including its default home at Phyte. After all, they're the ones that hosted it first, etc.

Likewise, when he gets back from vacation I'll be inquiring about re-hosting Crossroads with the original host.

Through Darkness and Stars looks slated for a winter launch; I'm waiting on some legal stuff to clear first. Nevermind might just beat it out the gate.

Other stuff still too nebulous to mention other than to say they are there. The rest of the Omniverse seems intent on birthing itself.

More to come...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Strangeness Abounds...

Apropos of nothing, I received the following text (translated from Japanese into English thanks to the Babelfish) in an email:

Our 们 为. 您 stopping. Offering/accompanying 网. 络 Most 广. 泛 运 Business 强. 势 广. Announcement throwing. 递 clothes. 务! 专. 业 互 联 网 电. Child 广. Announcement trust. 函 无 尘 desk. The room it is pleasant. The sending, it is pleasant. Fast model/imitation. Formula (每 10 days 发. Sending 50,000,000 seal) 标. Associate model/imitation. Formula (每. Month 发. Sending 50,000,000 seal) Before. Period associate. 备 您 Merely. Demand 拟. Fixed contents, 确. Stand 醒 eye 标. 题 Fixed. Manuscript empress stand. Carving/moment 开 it begins, throwing. Releasing, same. Sending. Same. 达. Germany. House 邮. Mark dice. Collection skill. 术 Finishing. All fixed. Direction throwing. 递 Spirit. Associate degree 极. High. 更. Multi 详. Feeling giving amount. 类 价. Case 请 going/participating.
010-5126. - 8243 137.168.98811 2009-08-0711: 10: 07

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sage advice

I'll let the link speak for itself; I agree wholeheartedly with the author.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The New Look (Still under renovation)

I am pleased to introduce the new Kspace Universe website.

I have created a link to The Omniverse, the series launched in 2006 with The Unearthing. From the left-hand column, you will be able to link to the free download site for that book, as well as its forthcoming follow-up novel, Through Darkness and Stars.

The next phase of operations will see the inclusion in the left column of a link list to all the articles I've written for CONFRONT Magazine, as well as other writing that I've done.

When it's ready, you'll also be able to find a link to the forthcoming full ebook of Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind, as well as news on the project to turn that into a movie.

The right column right now features feed links and blog search, and I will shortly be including links to sites, people and things I find interesting. The right column will also have other features, to be added later on.

While this will continue to be my primary writing weblog, I will be devoting The Omniverse blog to writing about that series, so be sure to subscribe to both or check back often.

As to the Chronicles of an Independent Author, well, I have come to realize that this blog is that chronicle, even when I'm not blogging about writing. The Chronicles may not live on in a formalized format, but they are here, in the blog archive, and with every new post I write.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A change is coming...

As you can see, things are beginning to shift...change is coming to this blog...

Thursday, July 02, 2009


I got my Canada Day present a little late:

From Le Soleil. English commentary by Moi.

Une vingtaine de manifestants du Réseau de résistance du Québécois (RRQ) et du Mouvement de libération nationale du Québec (MLNQ) ont présenté leur butin de drapeaux canadiens (150 petits et une dizaine de grands) aux médias mercredi midi, devant le Musée des beaux-arts.

Well, that's a lot less than the 2000 flags that our friends in the RRQ claimed! I assume that they didn't bother to take their shoes and socks off before they started counting.

Ces drapeaux, «pas achetés, pas donnés, mais qui ont été pris», seront retournés au gouvernement fédéral.

Good news for Canada! Not only will they now have two hundred flags to recycle and/or reuse, but as the flags were, by the admission of the RRQ STOLEN.

This means three things:

(1) The Canadian environment will benefit from less pollution as these flags are reintroduced into the Canadian industry, in one form or another.

(2) As they have now admitted to having committed acts of vandalism and theft, these RRQ members are now all guilty of criminal acts! We can therefore file police reports against them, and take legal civil action against them on behalf of the victims of these acts of vandalism and theft. Canada benefits once again, when they are jailed and/or fined for their actions.

(3) The Canadian flag industry will now have that many more orders to fill for Canadian flags. From manufacture to distribution, to wholesale and onto retail, all levels of the Canadian and World economies (given most of our flags are made in China) will now benefit!

Keep it up, brave men and boys of the RRQ! You're doing Canada proud!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summertime News

Well, I've done it again, haven't I? Not updated in a number of weeks, been preoccupied with other matters, forgotten about this blog...

I only have myself to blame for the minimal readership, I suppose, given that I don't keep this blog as faithfully as I used to--nor do I keep it nearly as faithfully as it deserves. Such is life...

Ironically, I've been contemplating updating this blog for about two weeks now...kept putting it off...I blame it all on StumbleUpon: my productivity has plummeted since installing that one. Well, that and highly addictive Flash games...

In any event, this weblog post is the first actual writing-related work of any kind that I've managed to do this past weekend; lately I can't seem to focus much on writing. As I'm on holiday for the next little while, I'm hoping to change that around...hopefully even get out to the cafe a few times more often than normal.

But, onto writing related projects, I've been in touch with my partner for the Nevermind screenplay project, and that is coming along well.

Likewise, I've been checking around, and much to my delight and surprise, there are several new websites distributing The Unearthing, and the downloads now are up around the 10 000 mark from the various points of distribution all combined.

Given the continuing popularity of ebooks, and the number of smartphones, ebook readers and other quaint gadgets coming out almost weekly, it looks like ebooks are gaining in popularity. Despite the elitists who still sneer at the idea of ebooks and epublishing, I've had far more success as an e-novellist than I ever did in print publishing.

To that end, I've decided that the follow-up novel to The Unearthing will be published solely as an ebook. I've got a few things to do before I'm ready to distribute it; some legal, some technical and a whole lot of promotional, but I do intend to release it electronically before the end of the year.

I have a couple of other projects up on deck once more, and there's also my ongoing work with CONFRONT Magazine, and a few other surprises in store.

I promise, I'll update again sooner.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Screenplay Status

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

I promise, I've been busy.

This week I completed work on the first draft of the beat sheet for the Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind screenplay and delivered it to my producer.

As to my other writing projects, I have decided it is best to see how things play out with the screenplay before turning my focus onto anything else. It is a simple, unfortunate truth that between my job, my commitment to CONFRONT Magazine and life, itself, I just don't have time, energy or the capacity to focus very well on multiple projects; at least, not at this juncture.

I'm exploring options that may eventually lead to me being able to write professionally full time, but that is still very, very much up in the air.

I continue to be amazed at this journey. Nothing ever goes as expected, and the things that do happen are wholly surprising. But, I'm beginning to ramble, now, so time to cut it short.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Vault in Limbo

Limbo is neither a graveyard nor a gaol. It is a place of waiting. In Christian myth, Limbo is where the souls of the unbaptized babies go. Tainted by Original Sin, the sin of desiring knowledge of Good and Evil, yet innocent of actual transgression, these creatures are not pure enough to enter God’s presence, nor tainted enough to be exiled in Hell.

Where am I going with this, you may wonder.

I believe Limbo, as described above perfectly describes the condition of all the stories, either lost or incomplete, from all the storytellers, poets, bards, minstrels, writers and dreamers of the world. Each storyteller has a vault there, where we each keep our own lost and abandoned tales.

Throughout our lives we continue to fill this vault. Sometimes, we withdraw stories from within, bring them to life anew or reinvent them. More often than not, we consign stories to this place, and leave them here.

But I don’t believe anyone ever forgets a story that they send here.

Whenever I send a project here, I take the time to go through the inventory of my vault in Limbo. Everything I ever wrote is here. The high flying adventures of Captain Jock Stone and the crew of his best friend’s spaceship; the story of mutated children of a government experiment escaping and evolving into something else; the man who steals a time machine in an attempt to change his destiny; the tortured, unromantic life of street-urchin vampires. They were among the first residents of my vault. They came here in the decade between my thirteenth and twenty-third birthdays, and more and more have joined their ranks in the decade and a half since.

Three and a half years of poor sales have seen my publishers decide to pull “The Unearthing” from production. That means that the other four volumes of the story, “Through Darkness and Stars”, “The Aeons War”, “The Destroyer of Worlds” and “Artifacts of Forgotten Gods” have been shipped there, as well.

I was certain that the “Nevermind” screenplay would soon be counted among the residents of this vault. I was so convinced, in fact, that I had begun my grim tour of its contents. Several weeks had passed, during which time I heard nothing from the filmmaker to whom “Nevermind” was to have been optioned. Like so much of my work since I was laid off from my old job in 2006, I found that the project was running out of steam: self-doubt eclipsed my ability to write; anxiety and worry usurped my imagination. I couldn’t maintain my writing.

Likewise, my work with CONFRONT Magazine and my ongoing work with Anglo rights groups in Quebec began taking up more and more of my free time. I wasn’t sleeping properly (no surprise there) and I was continually exhausted at and by my job.

Since 2006, several projects have gone into my vault: a fiction piece about the events leading up to and the aftermath of a school shooting; a retelling of the Frankenstein’s Monster story; the constantly-promised revival of “Crossroads”, which keeps rolling over and going back into hibernation after every unsuccessful attempt to revive it; a story about a daughter who seduces her father, just to see if she can; a “ghost ship” story set in space; a military coup d’etat in the United States; a spy story about a plot to bankrupt Cuba, and several others that never made it past page One.

Never in my life have I gone through the kind of creative agony that I faced from 2006 to 2008. Five months in, I have to admit that 2009 hasn’t been much easier. I had plans to publish two novels; I was supposed to have had one or both of them ready to go, by now. Unfortunately, “Through Darkness and Stars” is on indefinite hold (though I hope to revive it as an ebook) and “Nevermind” got side-tracked into the aforementioned screenplay project.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

However, this past week I heard back from my filmmaker partner-to-be. We have settled on a draft agreement for the option to produce “Nevermind”, and I am back at work on the project, crafting a beat sheet while continuing to peck away at the screenplay. I’m still keeping a light load with CONFRONT so I can concentrate on the script, and if things go well, I’ll hopefully be done with it before the fall.

I will continue to post my regular, if intermittent, updates to this weblog, Twitter and elsewhere. Best thing would be for you, readers, to subscribe to the RSS feed; that’s your best tool, I think, to keep track of those updates.

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Language War

Please, everyone, take the time to read the vulgar interview on page 7 of today's journal Métro - the free daily.

It is with Michel Brulé, who has written--and published--a hateful book, an anti-English diatribe that is nothing short of hate speech.

By definition, hate speech is anything that incites discrimination or violence against anyone on the basis of their race, gender, sex, sexual orientation or religious or political affiliation.

I believe that definition includes language, culture, history and heritage. These are the things that are now at stake for the anglo communities of Quebec. We must stand united.

His book is the definition of hate speech. It is there, in black and white. We MUST challenge this book, it's author and it's publishers. We must boycott anyone who sells this thing, we must boycott anyone who advertises it or who allocates this swine any license to spread his hate.

He is an avowed "Enemy of English" and he considers himself to be "At WAR" against the English. This man is an obviously deranged and hate-filled individual, and a danger to our community's survival.

This will also test the resolve of the Canadian government. If they let this kind of sewage stand, they are in fact condoning our continued ethnic cleansing by attrition.

War has been declared on us. As they want to spread propaganda and lies akin to the anti-Jewish books, leaflets and beer-hall speeches of Germany in the 1920s, we must use the same media, internet, cable television, print, radio, celebrity, etc to spread the simple truth of our peoples, our histories, our heritage and our plight.

Here is the link to the fucking story:

We must stop this.

We are out of time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A message to the Anglo Community


Right now, I should be doing one of two things.

One, I should be working on a certain screenplay, because I am in negotiations to option it to a producer.

Two, I should be getting some sleep, because I have work in a few scant hours.

Instead, I am doing something out of a sense of civic duty. It is an unwholesome feeling and I cannot recommend against it enough.

There are some among us, including myself, who have recently been banished as fringe elements, from the ranks and privileges of the Facebook group of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Our expulsion was due for many reasons. These included posting the simple facts as seen from the front line on Quebec’s War on Anglos. This underreported and ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing by attrition has continued to be ignored by the Liberal Party. They have ignored us and they have denied us, by silencing the voices raised in dissent of that Official Party Line.

Sit back and contemplate that Machiavellian concept a moment, then we shall continue.

The Liberals have long since become our alleged last best hope. But let us face the truth: neither in the ranks of the Provincial nor the Federal Liberals are there any Anglophone Quebecers to be seen nor heard. If they are there, they are silent, token chair moisteners for the most cynical of reasons. Beyond these harem castratos, we have no voice in government.

Nor have we any true presence of note in Federal or Provincial civil service, though we do come close with a few Ottawa transplants living in the City Formerly Known as Hull.

The death of Hull for the rise of Gatineau is one of the most flagrant examples of the cultural erasure of the Anglophone Communities of Quebec. Our schools, our churches, our temples have been closed. Our municipal services have dried up, and good luck finding much English text at the UQAM Library. Oh, it may be available, but it’s certainly not available to nous, les autres. We would be auslander—I’m sorry, I meant l’etranger, and not in any Bohemian Paris Anais Nin kind of way.

How many of our neighbourhoods have buildings where our parents and grandparents once went to school, where they played, where they grew up and fell in love, buildings that are closed to us and our children? How many of these buildings still retain any benefit to our community? Sun Youth, to be sure, but who else? How many of us have alma maters that no longer exist? How many of our schools have been erased? How many of us didn’t even get to graduate from one school because it was closed and we were shipped off to another school?

After the 1995 referendum, how many of our hospitals were closed in unnecessary reprisal cuts? What is often never said about the goddamn health care crisis in Quebec is that it was Parizeau, Landry, Marois and Harel who created the crisis to begin with, laying off nurses, forcing doctors to retire or move out of province and closing scores of hospitals.

And let us not forget Louise Harel’s language Gestapo, what she turned the Office de la Langue Francaise into, that saw attacks on Greek, Jewish and Chinese businesses in their respective communities. The response from our so called community was pathetic, at best: a bunch of mumbling passive aggressive yuppies banded together to strut and fret their hour for the camera and sound-bites on CJAD.

What we need, ladies and gentlemen, is true leadership. Not the blunt aggressiveness of Howard Galganov, and certainly not the passive aggressive smile-for-the-camera-boys photo op of Alliance Quebec.

What we need is to unite our diverse communities, Black, Jewish, Muslim, Italian, Mohawk, Innu, Greek, Asian, Catholic, Protestant, Irish, Scot, English, Polish, Ukrainian, Hindu, Sikh, and all those I have failed to mention, to get each and every English-speaking natural-born and immigrant citizen of Quebec, starting in Montreal and growing outwards to all our community strongholds, and join together to speak—and vote—with one voice.

We need to do this with plain talk about hard facts. We need to do this by putting truth to the lies told to cover up our ongoing deletion. Oppressed minorities the world over have only ever garnered sympathy or attention when they united, when the cried out with one voice. Even as our heritage, cultures, histories and communities continue to be eroded by the Franco-supremacist laws and attitudes, there are groups who compare the Francophone Quebecer to the Tibetans and the Chechens, even to the Palestinians and Darfur.

Not only is that attitude insulting to the Anglophones of Quebec given the scourging of the last 40 years, but it is extremely offensive to the Tibetan, Palestinian, Chechen and Darfur refugees, and all those who have suffered under such brutal oppression.

In no way can we compare ourselves to these communities, either. However, in no way are we the best-treated minority in the world, as the Separatists like to claim. What outreach to the English-speaking Quebecers have the Francophone communities ever made? What outreach from either successive Liberal or Pequiste governments have we been offered? We have been wholeheartedly rejected by the Power Elite in Quebec.

Likewise, what has been offered us from Canada? What have the Federal Liberals done for us? The last constitutional crisis in Canada was set off by the ineptitude of the Conservatives under the flailing Lyin’ Brian Mulroney. His disastrous and patently absurd Meech Lake accords were the genesis of the Bloc Quebecois, who broke away from the Tories.

It is time we united our communities and did the same. We will offer the hand of friendship to those in Francophone Quebec who offer it. We will likewise do the same for those from the so-called Rest of Canada who do the same. But it is time to rebuke those who have rejected and denied us. It is time to stand up against all those who have failed us in Ottawa and in Quebec City.

We must unite our communities under the banner of our own political party, both Provincial and Federal. We must strive to take enough votes away from the other parties to ensure that no majority government can be formed, and that our so-called “traditional allies” in Parliament and Provincial Assembly cannot hope to form a coalition without us.

Our democratic rights have been stolen from us. We must therefore seize them back, and the best way to return democratic force to our communities is to elect enough representatives to office to ensure our voice is heard and our rights and heritage protected.

All it took to defeat Meech Lake were a handful of no votes. That’s all that kept the separatists from stealing the referendum in 1995. Let us make our voices be heard, again.

But how? Oh, I have read that phrase in all its splendid forms these last several hours, as I read group messages and message board threads, wall posts and weblogs. Thou fools, you cannot see the forest for the trees!

We have Facebook groups. We have weblogs. We have message boards, we have email. We have Google, Wikipedia, we have radio-bloody-phone-in shows, newspapers, spraypaint and blank walls, printers, faxes, stores and shops, schools and churches, and yet you all scratch your heads and wonder how to do it?

We are the voices of our community! Join Montreal Hellenic Society Facebook groups. Join Montreal Jewish Facebook groups. Join the Asian groups, the Black groups, the Queer groups and every other goddamn English-speaking Montreal or Quebec-oriented internetz group you can fucking find! Talk to people who are ready to speak to their communities! Talk to students at McGill, Concordia, at Bishop’s, at Dawson and Marianapolis, at John Abbott; talk to people at the fucking Fairview Mall parking lot if that’s what it takes!

The price of failure to act is nothing short of our erasure from Quebec culture and history. They’ve already taken away most of our topography. How long before Valleyfield is renamed, or Sherbrooke Street overwritten? How long before another school closes, another friend or family member moves west, or south?

Our communities must unite, and take back what is ours. But it starts with us reaching out to one another. It starts with us.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The long awaited update on everything, well almost.

So, this was to have been a very busy weekend for me, originally. Certainly, it was to have been a better one.

CONFRONT Magazine was supposed to have a staff meeting / house party, hosted by Angel and me. I would have gone to the Cafe for a day, as usual, to work on and hopefully finish the second act of the screenplay adaptation of Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind. I was also supposed to finish going over the option agreement and draft up a list of my proposed conditions, and I was supposed to finish transcribing my interview recordings with Empire Isis, for CONFRONT Magazine, as well.

Yeah, none of that happened.

At some point in the last seven days, I got infected with a particularly nasty strain of the flu. Since Thursday I've been sick, with Friday and Saturday being particularly hellish. I'm still sick, still not feeling well, still need at least another day's bedrest, but tomorrow I've got to be back at work, at the paying job.

The problem with the paying job right now, is that I'm STILL the only fucking person there who has full knowledge of the general operations software now running our sales and sales finance departments. For the last three months I've come in no matter what, because there's never been time to train anyone else (Christ knows why no one else was trained when I was--that was a colossal error in judgment). Now in all that time, I've thrown my back out three times and alternately I've been progressively sick, sicker and sickest. Still, I've dragged myself in to work. The one time I tried to show initiative and advance the training myself, I was reprimanded for "acting unilaterally". I stayed home one day the last time I was sick and spent most of the day asleep--except for the two times people had to call me because they couldn't figure anything out despite the detailed instructions I had written months ago, as a precaution.

But, I digress.

I've not managed to get anything done this weekend other than cough, sneeze, blow my noze hack up scary looking shit, freeze, be too warm, sleep fitfully and pop cold tablets that did sweet fuck all. The one time I did manage to try and focus on getting work done, I was in too much pain to maintain.

And tomorrow I'm supposed to go in to work?

I need sleep.

More soon...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Say "Good Morning!"

I will post about the progress with the screenplay this weekend. For now, here is a word from the DAAQ:

Press Release: March 12, 2009

Say Good Morning!

The D.A.A.Q. is encouraging Anglophones province wide, to say "Good Morning!"

Despite the provincial government's continued disregard of Quebec's Anglophone population, and its disposition toward Anglophones as an inconvenience, we will not be saying say "Bonjour" in our communities. It is not our language. Until Quebec society as a whole accepts our equal and inalienable right to not only maintain but to perpetuate our language, our multiple cultures and our shared heritage as part of Quebec, we of the Anglo Community should protest in the most effective way possible: by refusing to use the sole official language of Quebec, except with our own Francophone families, or when professionally necessary. Until we enjoy our full and equal rights under the law we must reject the French-Language Charter. This civil disobedience is the best way to demonstrate our presence, our unity and our demand for our rights.

Despite thirty years of the best efforts of linguistic xenophobia and state-sponsored discrimination, our community will not go quietly into the unending night. Quebec is as much our birthright, our home, as it is our Francophone neighbours. We are as much a part of Quebec society as you. You expect your language, culture and heritage to be respected; respect is a double-edged sword. For generations we have done our utmost to respect you, as our neighbours, as our fellow citizens. It is you who have continually rebuffed us.

As we said, respect is a double-edged sword. We have shown you the utmost respect. You have shown us none. The Anglophone Community must therefore respect ourselves and reject you, until we are accepted as an equal partner in Quebec Society, with all the rights and privileges that the Francophone Community expects for itself.

We have embraced the language of our neighbours, and are overwhelmingly bilingual. In all of Canada, we are the culture with the highest instance of bilingualism. We will not be shamed out of speaking our language. Nor will we be intimidated. We have integrated into Quebec Society, but we will not be assimilated.

We will send our children to English school. We will not allow the government to deny us the right to educate them in the language of their birth. And we will fight, not just for our children, but for the right of all to be educated by the system that will allow them the greatest chance of success.

We will not allow the language we speak to be used to deny us our full rights as citizens of Canada and people of Quebec. Nor will we be made to fear speaking our language publicly. We will defend ourselves against the ethnic cleansing by attrition that has withered our community for far too long. And if Quebec Society refuses to accord us all that is our due as taxpayers and Quebecers, and if the Canadian Government refuses to defend us in the face of such blatant and criminal denial of our rights, then we will shame Quebec, and we will shame Canada to the world; we will denounce our mistreatment before Washington, before the capitals of the European Union, with our trading partners in Asia and the South Pacific. We will expose the bigotry and the state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of Quebec.

To the Nationalist Elite, to the Linguistic Hard-Liners, to our so-called leaders both Provincial and Federal, we will greet you with a happy smile and open heart. But we will greet you by saying “Hello”, or “Good Morning”. We will offer you a “Good Afternoon” and “Good Evening”, but we will not say “Bonjour”. Until now we have shown you all the courtesy you have not shown us. From now until it is reciprocated, we will instead show you all the courtesy that you have shown us. We are open to change, but only once we are met as equals. Until then, “Have a Nice Day.”