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I honestly didn’t think I would write one of these things this year. It’s not that 2014 wasn’t without its highlights, but more that I wasn’t up to writing it. The year ended on a sad note for me, and it has painted the rest of the holidays in such a way that they haven’t felt like holidays at all. I’m still in recovery mode and I don’t have much energy or enthusiasm for anything right now. But I’m here, writing this now, so we’ll see how it goes. Apologies in advance if I end up rambling.

On New Year’s Day, Kat and I went bowling with her family and friends. It’s a yearly tradition, and because I’m a big movie nerd, it always makes me think of The Big Lebowski. This year I was reminded of the scene where someone asks The Dude how things are going and he responds, “Strikes and gutters, ups and downs.”

That tends to be the way life is for everyone, every year, but this year in particular seems to have been one of extreme highs and lows. I’m not the only one glad to see 2014 in the rear-view mirror. They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and perhaps that’s true on some level, but I’m not feeling particular strong right now. Having said that, I’m not writing this to illicit pity or “hugz” or anything of that nature. It’s just life.

It’s hard to look back on a year that felt about five years long and talk about the good things. But there were good things. I have to remind myself of that. From a writing standpoint, I didn’t have a lot of stories published in 2014, but that’s only because I spent the year writing. Sometimes I’d look around and see other people doing things, publishing stories, novels, etc., and feel like a loser, like I wasn’t doing enough. But unless you’re doing this gig full time, it can be difficult to put out new stuff every year. Everyone works at a different speed, even those who are writing full time. This was the year for me to realize that I don’t have to have something out all the time. I’m not going to produce work just because I’m worried about being forgotten or some such crap. I’m fortunate enough to work in one of the creative arts where I can actually take my time to produce a piece of work.

My lone short fiction sale was a new Felix Renn story, “Eyes Like Poisoned Wells,” to Cemetery Dance’s anthology series Shivers. I’m pretty excited about that one. I’m a big fan of the series and CD in general. It’s also nice to see more Felix tales getting out into the world.

Speaking of Felix, I’ve spent the last few months working hard on the first full-length Felix Renn novel, Sycamore. At the present time I’m about half-finished, and I hope to have it completely done in the next few months. My agent has read the first thirty thousand words or so, and he hasn’t suggested I go to law school, so I guess that means I’m moving in the right direction.

I only published two stories in 2014. One was a new Black Lands tale, “Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law,” which was released by ChiZine Publications as an eShort. The other was a short story called “Train Girl” that appeared in Broken Pencil magazine.

I did a few readings this year, at Canzine in Toronto, at the ChiSeries in Ottawa, Toronto, and Peterborough, and one event that Kat and I organized ourselves here in town, An Evening with the Nice Guys of Horror, with my good friend Craig Davidson. All were well attended, and at ChiSeries Toronto I finally got to meet Glen Hirshberg, one of my favourite authors, who turned out to be as nice in person as I hoped he would be.

The biggest news of the year is that I signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to develop my novelette, “The House on Ashley Avenue,” for television. I was also hired to work as a consultant on the prospective series, which is a pretty big coup, and I’m excited to see where things go. It was pretty wild to see the news reported in the trades, and to see my name up on the IMDb. It was also great to see the news reported in the two big horror magazines, Fangoria and Rue Morgue, in the same month.

As a result of that deal, some doors have opened and I’ve been doing a bit of screenwriting work. Again, I’m not sure where any of it will go – Hollywood is a fickle beast – but it’s been a great learning experience.

2014 ended on a sad note with the death of our cat, Thor. He was sixteen years old and not doing so well. I don’t regret having to put him down, but it’s still been a rough time. Despite some good things in 2014, I’m happy to put the year behind me.

If there’s one thing I learned from 2014 it was about focus and perspective. I feel that my only responsibility as a writer is to produce the best stories I can. Everything else is secondary.

So, 2015 will be the year I put my head down and work harder. I’ve got a lot of books I want to write, and lately I haven’t been enjoying the writing. I want to get back to that place where I wrote to be happy, not because it was something I felt I should be doing.

Hopefully this will be a year with more strikes than gutters, more ups than downs. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

See you on the flip-flop.


What better way to celebrate Halloween than with the publication of a new Black Lands story!

Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law

Jerry Baldwin sells haunted houses for a living.

A dangerous job—but in a world where paranormal has become the norm, someone has to do it. When the daughter of a former client ends up possessed by a supernatural entity, Jerry enlists his friend, private investigator Felix Renn, to help him perform an exorcism. Unfortunately, Jerry is a better salesman than he is an exorcist, and he soon finds himself in over his head, despite the best laid plans of monsters and men.

CZP makes damn fine-looking books and this one is no exception. Big thanks to my editor Sandra Kasturi, proofreader Klaudia Bednarczyk, and Vince Haig for the phenomenal cover art.

I also want to thank Ursula Kehoe, my former elementary school teacher who has become one of my best beta readers.

I should mention that “Possession” is not a full-length novel, but rather an eShort, clocking in at approximately 10,000 words. There are no plans at this time to produce a print version, so this is the only way to read the story until it pops up in my next Black Lands collection.

You can pick it up in the following formats:

If you order it today (October 31st) from ChiZine, you’ll get it for 50% off, which comes out to a whopping $2.00.

One final shout-out to those of you who continue to support my work, especially the Black Lands stories. It really means a lot to me. I shall reward you all with a Felix Renn novel someday soon. I promise.


I think it’s fair to say that if you work in the horror industry, be it in film, television, publishing, etc., one of the coolest things that can happen in your career is to be featured in Fangoria.

For years, Fango has been the mag of all things horror. When I was a kid I used to race to the local convenience store every month to scour the magazine racks for the latest issue.

So it goes without saying that I am beyond excited to have a mini-feature in the October issue discussing the option of my novelette “The House on Ashley Avenue” by Universal Cable Productions.

I’m equally proud and excited to also be featured in the October issue of Rue Morgue. While it would be easy to say that Rue Morgue is simply the Canadian Fangoria, the fact is both magazines bring something unique and special to the horror field.


     

Both issues should be on newsstands soon, if they aren’t already, and they’re also available for purchase online.


I’m very excited to announce that my new Black Lands story, “Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law,” will be released this fall as a mini-eBook, called an eShort, by ChiZine Publications.

“Possession” features Jerry Baldwin, the huckster of haunted real estate from my Felix Renn novella “The Brick,” as he attempts to help a couple whose daughter has been taken over by a creature from the Black Lands. Jerry employs his friend, Toronto PI Felix Renn, to assist him. Hilarity, and horror, ensues.

Not only is this my first story to focus on Jerry Baldwin, but it’s also the first story to show Felix from a perspective other than first person. It made for a very unique writing experience, and I enjoyed seeing Felix from the point of view of other people.

I’ve read an excerpt from “Possession” at both the Toronto and Ottawa ChiSeries, as well as a reading in Peterborough where I live, and the reception has been very strong. I really think people are going to dig this one when it comes out this fall.


UNIVERSAL CABLE PRODUCTIONS AND ROY LEE EYE “THE HOUSE ON ASHLEY AVENUE” FOR TV TREATMENT

Universal Cable Productions and producer Roy Lee (THE RING, THE GRUDGE, THE DEPARTED, BATES MOTEL, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, et al) have optioned TV rights to Ian Rogers’ novelette, “The House on Ashley Avenue,” from his debut collection EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED.

The story, published in late 2012 by Toronto’s ChiZine Publications, follows the exploits of the Mereville Group, an insurance company that secretly investigates the supernatural. The Group has in its possession a collection of haunted buildings that are so dangerous that their existence must be kept from the public. These properties are known as The Eight.

“The House on Ashley Avenue” was nominated for the prestigious Shirley Jackson Award, and was reprinted in Ellen Datlow’s THE BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR, VOLUME 5. The collection won Canada’s ReLit Award in the short fiction category.

Lee will supervise development and executive produce, while Rogers has signed on as a consultant for the show.

EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED received a strong blurb from Andrew Pyper, whose novel THE DEMONOLOGIST was optioned by Robert Zemeckis and Universal for feature film treatment: “Ian Rogers’ stories are old-fashioned in the very best sense: classic chillers in the spirit of Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson. EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED is full of well-crafted, satisfying twists, a fine companion for any reader of literate horror.”

Rogers’ and ChiZine Publications’ TV/film rights are repped by Jeff Alpern at The Alpern Group (jalpern@alperngroup.com), and Rogers’ literary rights are repped by Ron Eckel of Cooke International (REckel@cookeinternational.com).


I’m very excited to announce my return to the Toronto ChiSeries on July 16th. I will be reading along with Charlene Challenger, Glen Hirshberg, and Sally McBride. There will also be musical performances by Kari Maaren and Peter Chiykowski.

I will be reading from my new Black Lands story, “Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law.” If you make it out, I plan to reveal the exciting news about where this story will be published. And there might be some other groovy news to report, as well. Yes, I’m very vague, and I’m sorry about that.

The ChiSeries takes place at The Round Venue located at 152A Augusta Avenue, starting at 8:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!


Save the date! And check out the Facebook event page!

An Evening with the Nice Guys of Horror


This past Tuesday I travelled to Ottawa to take part in the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, along with Sandra Kasturi and Alison Sinclair. The reading went very well, easily one of my best, and the audience seemed to really dig my story, which was a new Black Lands tale featuring Jerry Baldwin called “Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law.”

Geek Inked Magazine was there to film the event, and they’ve posted videos of my reading, as well as a very favourable write-up.

While “Possession” makes the rounds in search of a home, I’m back working on the Felix Renn novel, Sycamore, as well as a couple of shorter Felix stories for some anthologies. There’s some other cool stuff coming down the pipe that I can’t quite talk about yet, but it’s been a while since I posted an update and I wanted to let y’all know what I’ve been up to lately.


Random Writing Quote

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."
Cicero

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