Welcome!

"One of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction." —Library Journal

"The man is Sturgeon good. Zelazny good. I don't give those up easy." —Spider Robinson, Hugo & Nebula Awards winner

"A great storyteller with a gifted and individual voice." —Charles de Lint, World Fantasy Award winner

"His stories are a treasure trove of riches that touch your heart while making you think." —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo & Nebula Awards winner

"Stories you can't forget, even years later." —Julie Czerneda, multi-award-winning author and editor


Hi! Thanks for visiting. I'm a multi-award-winning Canadian author of speculative fiction, published in twenty-seven languages and thirty-five countries.

My short fiction has appeared in top professional magazines, including Amazing Stories, InterZone, Black Static (formerly The Third Alternative), Weird Tales, Baen's Universe, Escape Pod, Postscripts, On Spec, and Cicada.

My books include the novel The Wolf at the End of the World, the collections Chimerascope and Impossibilia, and the writer's guide Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction. I'm currently writing book 3 of an urban fantasy series (working title: The Dream Rider Trilogy).

I'm a three-time winner of Canada's Aurora Award and have been a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer (formerly the John W. Campbell Award), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Bookies Award, Canada's juried Sunburst Award, and France's juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane.

You can buy my fiction at all major retailers or directly from me. For free ebooks, store discounts, and more, join my monthly mailing list.

Enjoy the site! Feel free to send me an email or ask me questions on my writing on Goodreads here. Thanks for visiting!

Canadian Authors Association Workshop on Story Craft

I'll be giving a workshop on the craft of short fiction via Zoom to the National Capital Region chapter of the Canadian Authors Association tomorrow, Sunday October 17, from 1:00-2:30pm.

You do not have to be a chapter or CAA member to attend, but you do need to register and there is a suggested non-member fee of $10. All the information on the workshop and registration can be found here.

I'll be focusing on how to make decisions about story structure in your short fiction. Topics covered will include crafting characters, choosing the right point-of-view, pros and cons for POV options, stories with multiple POV characters, use of flashbacks and non-linear plots, handling scene changes, POV and character voice, plotting as character decisions, openings, endings, recommended resources…and more if time allows.

All-Canadian issue of Amazing Stories

Amazing Stories All-Canadian issue coverI recently had my Aurora Award-winning story, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," reprinted in Amazing Stories. The great cover is pictured here. Mountains, forests, red-and-white spaceship with the maple leaf, robot moose...what's not to love?

The venerable genre magazine dates back to 1926 and has been published with some interruptions for over 90 years. It was resurrected a few years ago yet again, first as an online website and then, just before the pandemic, once more as a print magazine.

My first major professional sale was to Amazing back in the late 90's. That was a particular thrill because one of my favourite SF & fantasy writers, the late Roger Zelazny, got his break selling to AS in the sixties, an era that saw Amazing publish the first stories of other writers who, like Zelazny, would go on to become giants in the field: Ursula K. Le Guin, Piers Anthony, and Thomas M. Disch.

This one is an all-Canadian issue, and it's a special treat for me to appear alongside such a great lineup of Canuck authors, so many of whom are friends as well as colleagues.

Sept 12 Zoom Workshop on the Craft of Short Fiction

WCYR logoOn Sunday September 12, from 1:30-4:00 EDT, I'll be giving a virtual (Zoom) workshop on the craft of writing short fiction as part of the annual Open House meeting of the Writers' Community of York Region (WCYR). Details of what I'll be covering and how to register can be found here.

The workshop and the open house are both open to non-members of WCYR. There is no charge to attend, but you do have to register at the above link.

York Region (where I live) is a large community north-east of Toronto. The WCYR is "is a collective of local authors, poets, and industry professionals who endeavour to build a supportive and encouraging framework for writers and their craft."

If you're a writer, I hope you'll check out the workshop. If you're a writer in York Region, I hope you'll consider joining WCYR.

Short fiction seminar for Canadian Authors Association

This Thursday, April 29 at 7:00-8:30pm, I will be giving a webinar on marketing and selling short fiction, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association and SF Canada.

Drawing from my writer's guide, PLAYING THE SHORT GAME: HOW TO MARKET & SELL SHORT FICTION, I'll cover rights and licensing, finding short fiction markets, a strategy for selecting markets, submission advice, key contract clauses, and leveraging second rights for such things like reprints, foreign language rights, audio markets, and publishing a collection.

This webinar is free due to COVID-19’s impact on the writing community, but space is limited to the first 100 attendees. You can register for free here. Hope you'll be able to join me.

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BookBub Deal on THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD

The Wolf At The End Of The World

BookBub is currently offering a great deal on The Wolf at the End of the World, my urban fantasy novel set in my Heroka universe.

Up until March 16, you can pick up the ebook edition of the novel for only $0.99 (or the equivalent in your country).

The deal is available here and is offered in Canada, US, UK, Australia, and India, via Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Google Play.

But it only runs until Tuesday March 16, so don't miss it!

Indie Author Project Expert Session: Playing the Short Game

Indie Author Project Expert SessionI'll be giving a free webinar on marketing and selling short fiction on Thursday, March 25 from 1:00-2:00 pm, as part of the Indie Author Project's "Expert Session" series. You can register for free here.

The Indie Author Project's mandate is to encourage strong relationships between indie authors, local libraries, and readers by partnering with curators and libraries across the U.S. and Canada to find the best indie-published books.

My presentation will be drawn from my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction, and will focus on rights and licensing, finding short fiction markets, a strategy for selecting markets, submission advice, key contract clauses, and all the ways to leverage second rights (reprints) to keep selliing your fiction.

Here's the webinar summary:

Take your first step to becoming a professional short fiction writer, join best-selling author, Douglas Smith, for this Expert Session on how to leverage short fiction in your writing career. In an engaging and conversational style, multi-award-winning author Douglas Smith will share how to market and sell short stories—and much, much more. Even experienced writers will find value here as Smith takes you from your first sale to using your stories to build a writing career.

Again, the webinar is free, so if you're a short story writer or always wanted to be, I hope you'll tune in! You can register here.

Interview: Plotting in Fiction and in "Symphony"

Symphony ebook coverI was recently interviewed via Zoom by Taipei-based writer, Todd Sullivan, about plot development, specifically in my short story, "Symphony," and in my writing in general. The interview is on YouTube here, as part of Todd's "Plotting in Fiction" series.

In his series, Todd uses voice-only interviews then adds supporting visuals. I think he did an amazing job with his selection of images for this one.

I wrote "Symphony" for a science-fiction short story contest the Canadian literary magazine, Prairie Fire, was running at the time. Prairie Fire is based in Manitoba, Canada, and the contest was to commemorate Manitoba-born "Golden Age" SF writer, A. E. Van Vogt. Appropriately enough, Canadian SF writing great, Robert J. Sawyer, was the judge.

"Symphony" took second place in the contest and was also a finalist for the Aurora Award for best short fiction the following year. I read the opening few paragraphs to start the interview, but if you'd like to read the whole story, you can purchase it as an ebook from my online store or from your favourite ebook retailer.

Watch my recent online seminar on short fiction (for free)

I mentioned in last month's newsletter that I would be the guest presenter on September 17 on ProWritingAid's regular free webinar series on the craft and business of writing. ProWritiingAid is the best automated editing tool I've found and is a regular part of my editing routine for all my fiction. And no, I'm not an affiliate nor am I in any way compensated by them. I just love their software. I've tried many grammar checkers and editing tools, and ProWritingAid is by far the best I've used.

My seminar was based on my writer's guide, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction. These sessions are supposed to be 40 minutes (max) of presentation, and 20 minutes of Q&A. That meant I had the challenge of condensing my three two-hour workshops based on the book, which themselves only cover portions of the guide, down to 40 minutes.

To do that, I focused on how a solid understanding of rights and licensing should drive every phase of a short story writer's career: from selecting where to send your stories first to negotiating a fair contract, and, assuming you've protected your rights, being able to leverage your short stories far beyond that first sale—for reprints, selling to foreign language markets, publishing collections, and much more.

If you're a short fiction writer and missed the Sept 17 session, you can still watch it. The webinar is archived and available to watch on Facebook.

"The Red Bird" is lead story in new anthology

The Phantom Games coverMy short story, "The Red Bird," has been reprinted in the just-published anthology, The Phantom Games. I'm thrilled that "The Red Bird" has the coveted spot of lead story.

I'd mentioned this anthology last month. At that point, the book had the working title Excalibur 2020. The re-titled antho features stories about the Olympics or Japan (or both).

Its release originally was to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics (hence the theme), but after the games were cancelled due to the pandemic, the book's release was delayed until the fall.

The anthology is now available as an ebook on Amazon. A print edition will be coming soon. I love how the cover uses five phases of the moon to echo the five Olympic rings.

"The Red Bird" is a martial arts fantasy romance story set in 15th century Japan and was a finalist for the Aurora Award.

 

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