More praise for "Bouquet of Flowers..."

"Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by van Gogh" is the lead story in my collection, Impossibilia, and like Impossibilia, is also nominated for the 2009 Aurora Awards. Here are some new reviews of "Bouquet":

"the pièce de résistance of the collection and one of the best and most moving novellas I have read in a while. Haunting and evocative... Just astounding. ..." —Liviu Suciu, Fantasy Book Critic, April 2009

"'Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh' is an important story, a story that matters, and I hope that many, many people will read it. … While all three stories [in Impossibilia] showcase admirably Doug's impressive mastery of the short story form, 'Bouquet' stands out as the jewel in the crown … a beautifully written, brilliantly crafted story in which Smith raises the bar even higher than his previous works. Doug's characteristic vivid settings and compelling characters are present, driven, as always, by love, and by a mystery which keeps the pages turning as the reader is drawn ever deeper. 'Bouquet' is a story which begins in tragedy but, ultimately, ends in hope. Don't miss this one!" Rainbow Dragon Recommends, May 2009

"If you’re human at all, you will be moved by ‘Bouquet of Flowers…’." — Jim Dodge Jr., Mass Movement Magazine, May 2009

You can read all the reviews for "Bouquet" here.

Spoken Word and GenreCon in Sarnia

On Saturday, April 25, I was a guest author and panelist at GenreCon, the annual one-day literary genre convention in Sarnia, hosted by the Sarnia Library and organized by Jeff Beeler and Ellen Dark.

This year, Jeff arranged to have some of the GenreCon authors appear on Friday, the night before the con, at Spoken Word, an open microphone event held monthly at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts in downtown Sarnia.

I was joined by mystery writers Vicki Delany (left) and Jean Rae Baxter (pictured here with Jeff and myself). Our hosts were Debbie Okun Hill and Ryan Gibbs.

Spoken Word is "an informal evening of storytelling, poetry readings, sharing and laughter. Anyone may come to read what they have written, share a story or poem by a favorite writer or just be part of the audience."

I had a great time, doing a short reading, signing copies of Impossibilia, and listening to my fellow guests and others do their own readings.

The next day, it was GenreCon, another great time, with fun panels and fun panelists. Hopefully, Jeff, Debbie, and Ryan can continue to make these joint events in future years as well.

Impossibilia: And yet another great review

What can I say? They really seem to like it. Writer Erik Buchanan adds his thoughts about my collection, Impossibilia in his blog. You can find links to all the reviews for Impossibilia here.

Impossibilia: "Highly, highly recommended"

Liviu Suciu at Fantasy Book Critic has added a review of Impossibilia, my 2009 Aurora-nominated short fiction collection. Liviu uses Impossibilia to kick off a new series of mini-reviews "in the spirit of showcasing less well known recent sff works that truly impressed me."

Here's what he had to say about the collection:

"'Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh' is the piece of resistance of the collection and one of the best and most moving novellas I have read in a while. Haunting and evocative... Just astounding. 'Going Down to Lucky Town' [is] a very moving story about a part time gambler, part time con-man who seems to have gotten down luck to a measurable skill. ...Another superb story that made this volume such an unforgettable one for me. If you can get hold of this relatively rare collection you will truly enjoy it. Highly, highly recommended."

—Liviu Suciu, Fantasy Book Critic, Apri 2009

Read reviews of Impossibilia here.

Story review: "Doorways"

I finally came across a review of my story "Doorways," which first appeared in Postscripts 17 in December and is currently nominated for the 2009 Aurora Awards. Here's what Kelly Jensen had to say in her review on SF Crowsnest:

"A couple months ago I was introduced to Douglas Smith by way of his collected short stories (also by PS Publishing), 'PS Showcase #5: Impossibilia'. So I was looking forward to his story 'Doorways' and was not disappointed.

After the death of his superior, Jack is summoned by the powers that be at GenTech to figure out the puzzle of the late Rainer's legacy. His house, which also contains the laboratory for his final and what is rumoured to be his greatest work. The puzzles reveal not only the secrets of Rainer's work, but also some secrets pertinent to Jack's life. This story has a cunningly satisfying conclusion.

I find a good short story falls into two categories: There is the complete story, the novel miniaturised, which is a nearly perfect art form. These are hard to capture but constantly illustrated by such writers as Douglas Smith."

Ad Astra March 27-29

The highly recommended annual Toronto genre convention Ad Astra will be held this upcoming weekend Mar 27-29 at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Don Valley Hotel, 1250 Eglinton Avenue East in Toronto.

Ad Astra is one of the more literary-focused of the genre cons, with an excellent programming stream for readers and writers. My panels and events at the con are as follows:

2009 Aurora Awards: One, Two,...Three!!!

Three?! Really!?! Cool!!! The 2009 Aurora Award nominees have been announced, and this year I have three of my works on the final ballot. Impossibilia, my first collection, is on the ballot under the "Best Long-Form Work in English."

Another vote of support for Impossibilia comes in the form of having its lead story, "Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by van Gogh" making it onto the ballot as well under "Best Short-Form Work in English," a position it shares with my third nomination, my story "Doorways," which appeared in Postscripts #17.

I've posted all the information on how to vote for the 2009 Auroras as well as links to reviews and excerpts of my stories (including two new long-g-g-g excerpts for "Bouquet..." and "Doorways") on this page.

As always, faithful fans, any consideration for my stories when you're voting for the Auroras would be much appreciated. And if you've never voted for the Auroras before, consider making this your first year. Support Canadian speculative fiction. Voting is easy to do and can be done online (soon). A complete ballot with all of the nominees is available here.

"Impossibilia": Photos from the BakkaPhoenix launch

I wrote earlier about the launch for my collection Impossibilia hosted by BakkaPhoenix in Toronto back in February. The launch was a great success with a great turnout. Thanks to Chris Szego and the staff at Bakka for their support. Here's a slide show of photos from the launch.

"By Her Hand...": The Movie Companion Book

I wrote earlier how fellow writer, Mark Leslie, aka Mark Lefebvre, was kind enough to host a launch for my collection Impossibilia at Titles Bookstore on the McMaster University campus on March 4. Mark did a great job of promoting and hosting the launch, and it was a very enjoyable outing for me.

One of the coolest things that came out of the launch was the result of a promotion idea that Mark came up with. The Titles store at McMaster has one of only three Espresso Book Machines in Canada. These are print-on-demand machines that lets Mark produce course work, text books, out of print books etc., on an on-demand basis, thus reducing ordering, shipping and inventory costs for the store.

Mark suggested that we print a "little chap book" as a promotional item to give away during the launch. The "little chap book" became a full-blown 116-page "Official Movie Companion Book" to the upcoming indie horror film "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" (see my earlier blog entries about the movie here, here, and here). Mark writes about the launch and the book on his blog here.

The movie companion book is way cool, with the movie poster for the cover (see right) and the following table of contents:

1. “By Her Hand, She Draws You Down”: The Original Story

2. Writing the Story: Where Ideas Come From (and Where They Go)

3. Making the Movie: Notes from the Director, Producer, and Cast

4. From Story to Movie: The Storyboard Script

5. On the Set: Photos from the Shoot

6. Pictures from a Picture: Cath’s Sketches

7. People from a Picture: The Movie Credits

8. Talking to a Writer: An Interview with Douglas Smith

9. Who We Are: Biographies

If you're interested, you can order your own copy of both Impossibilia and the "By Her Hand..." Movie Companion book from my store.

"By Her Hand..." Movie: Photos from the Shoot

Here are some shots from the filming of the indie horror film "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down," directed by Anthony G. Sumner, which is based on my short story of that name. For earlier posts, see here and here.

The film was shot at various locations along the New Jersey coast. Here's how producer Alan Rowe Kelly describes the selection of the locations and the shooting:

"I wanted to capture that particular look of loneliness and desolation that was indigenous to New Jersey seashore towns during the ‘off-season’. And there was no better place to start than at Sandy Hook, a 7-mile barrier island lined with miles of desolate sandy beaches, jetties, lighthouses and abandoned bungalows.

From there, we proceeded to film in Atlantic Highlands, Keansburg, the closed down boardwalks of Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant, and finally in historic Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, where the center of the story evolves.

Asbury Park, once hailed as ‘the place’ for all summer vacationers, and the home to The Miss America Pageant, Bruce Springsteen and the still popular Stone Pony, is now a haunted abandoned shell of amusements, arcades and decaying grand architecture. Sad, but what a great place to shoot an eerie supernatural thriller!

I knew the settings were now perfect for this spooky and compelling tale. Only blocks away from the boardwalks of Ocean Grove, the cast and crew spent the week in a cozy summer bungalow. Once principle shooting began, we soon discovered we were also sharing film space with Ellen Burstyn and Hillary Duff, who were shooting the film ‘Greta’ that same week on the opposite end of the pier.

The locals couldn’t have been kinder or more accommodating as we shot along the local streets. Being the middle of November and only blocks from the ocean, it was a very cold shoot. Our cast roughed it through hours of shooting and set ups in minimal clothing and a lot of trips back and forth to our heated R.V.

Many of the locales we shot around have been seen in many great films such as Woody Allen’s ‘Broadway Danny Rose’, Darren Aronofsky’s ‘The Wrestler’, and Michael Caton-Jones’ ‘City By The Sea’. 'By Her Hand, She Draws You Down' completed shooting in six days.

Filmed by Anthony G. Sumner and Bart Mastronardi (“The Blood Shed,” “Vindication”), it will be hitting the festival circuits in 2009 and be featured as one of four tales of terror in the upcoming GALLERY OF FEAR horror anthology DVD to be released later in 2009."

Pages

Subscribe to DOUGLAS SMITH  |  Writing the Fantastic RSS