"Scream Angel" published in Romanian magazine, Helion

Helion magazine coverMy Aurora-award-winning story, "Scream Angel," has been translated and published in the Romanian magazine, Helion. This is my second translation into Romanian (and for this story, too) and comes with this very cool cover.

If you're able to read Romanian, you can read the translation here.

"Scream Angel" first appeared in the anthology Low Port from Meisha Merlin in 2003, and won the Aurora Award the following year for best speculative short fiction. It remains one of my favourite stories and one a lot of fans cite as their favourite of my SF tales.

"Scream Angel" has been translated into thirteen languages and is the opening story in my collection, Chimerascope. It's also available as a stand-alone ebook.

Two new interviews

A couple of recent interviews are now up and available, if you're interested:

Re-Creative podcast interview — Fellow writers Joe Mahoney and Mark Rayner and I discuss one of my favourite paintings, which has a connection to a favourite writer, on their Re-Creative podcast.

New in Books Interview — New in Books interviews me on my new release, The Crystal Key, and on writing in general.


Nominations now open for the 2023 Aurora Awards!

The Hollow Boys coverThe nomination period is now open for the 2023 Aurora Awards, recognizing the best of Canadian SF & Fantasy published in 2022.

This year, I have two works that are eligible to be nominated:

  • The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1 is eligible under "Best YA Novel"
  • "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" is eligible under "Best Novelette / Novella"

Any Canadian citizen or permanent resident may nominate for the Auroras. If that's you, I'd truly appreciate any consideration you'd give to nominating me.

I explain how to nominate below, but first, let me talk up my two works, because I'm very proud of them, and both have received a lot of critical notice.

The Hollow Boys: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 1

This first book in my new trilogy has received universal praise, sitting at between 4.8 and 5.0 stars on all the major retailers plus garnering great reviews from top book review sites:

"This arresting series kickoff from Smith grips from the start as it introduces its inventive milieu, its flawed but fantastically powered hero, its playful worldbuilding, and a host of tantalizing mysteries. … Takeaway: Thrilling YA fantasy." —BookLife (Editor's Pick)

"An assured, confident novel with strong world-building, sharp dialogue and the perfect balance between action and emotional growth for its main characters. … In short, this is a must-read story for YA fantasy fans." Blueink Review ( Starred review)

"Inventive, engaging, and boundless fun. … I enjoyed The Hollow Boys a great deal, turning pages long after I should have been abed. Smith has produced the best Canadian superhero adventure since James Alan Gardner's Dark vs. Spark novels." The Ottawa Review of Books

If you haven't read The Hollow Boys but would like to, here are some options.

  • You can read the first four chapters for free here.
  • I am also offering a discount from my website store here. Use the coupon code "AURORAS23" at checkout to get the ebook for $0.99 (Regular $4.99 US). Note: this coupon expires when the nomination period ends April 22 and is restricted to the first 100 downloads.

"Gypsy Biker's Coming Home"

The story has also received recent recognition. It's currently a finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards under the "Fiction" category, as I wrote about earlier. So, yeah, it's a good story. Thanks to the same Alberta Magazine Awards, the story is available to read online.

How to Nominate in the Auroras

To nominate, you need to register to be a member of the CSFFA (Canadian SF & Fantasy Association). Go here and click on "Not a Member Yet?" to register for 2023.

Fill out your name, email, and home province, then select a username and password for the site. NOTE: one weirdness with this form—you'll find the first box to enter your password is filled with black dots. To get rid of them, just click in the box, then hold down your "DELETE" key until they all disappear. Then enter your password in that box and in the one below to verify it.

Registration costs $10 CAD, but this allows you to both nominate (this step) and vote on the final ballot. Not much to pay, imo, to support Canadian SF & fantasy.

Once you're logged in, click on the "Pay Membership Fee with PayPal" button at the bottom to be taken to a PayPal screen. Don't use PayPal? You'll have the option to pay by debit or credit.

You'll then be taken back to the Awards site. Click on "Log in" under "You Are A Member?" then enter your brand new username (or email) and password. You'll then be on the Aurora Awards main page. Select "Nominate" from the middle of the screen to access the online nomination form.

You can nominate up to five works in each category, but you don't need to nominate in every category or that many in any category.

To nominate a work, just click on one of the boxes under the category and select the appropriate title of the work you wish to nominate from the dropdown list of eligible works. Click on the "Update nominations" button for the category, then move to your next category.

The Hollow Boys is eligible under "Best YA Novel" and "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" is eligible under "Best Novelette / Novella."

The nomination period closes at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Thanks again for any consideration you give to nominating my writing!

"Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" is an Award Finalist

On Spec #120 coverWell, this is cool. My SF short story, "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home," is a finalist in the Alberta Magazine Awards in the "Fiction" category.

These are annual juried awards, administered by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA), which "honour and celebrate the work of magazine makers – the editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, and other creators" in Alberta. Here's a link to the full 2022/23 ballot.

"Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" first appeared in On Spec, the excellent, long-running Alberta-based Canadian speculative fiction magazine, in their July 2022 issue (cover shown here). On Spec also has another story on the ballot: "Bottom's Dream" by Glenn Clifton. So a big congrats to On Spec (and Glenn).

Even better, you can read all of the stories on the ballot online. The AMPA has made PDFs of the finalists available on their website. You can read "Gypsy Biker's Coming Home" here. For the Canadians out there, this is probably a good time to mention "Gypsy Biker" is eligible to be nominated for the 2023 Aurora Awards.


PS—A big thanks to Diane Walton, Executive Editor, and everyone at On Spec, for publishing "Gypsy Biker." This was my fourth appearance in On Spec. Those four stories have resulted in an Aurora Award winner, an Aurora finalist, and now this. 

And a shout-out to Susan MacGregor, who edited "Gypsy Biker" and also edited another On Spec story of mine, "The Walker of the Shifting Borderland," which won an Aurora. I have another story coming out in On Spec in 2023. Guess who I want to edit that one?

Please share! The Crystal Key has been released!

The Crystal Key coverToday is the day! March 15!

The Crystal Key, book 2 in my new urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga, and the sequel to The Hollow Boys, released today on all major retailers around the world. If you pre-ordered the ebook, it will appear on your reader today.

If you've been waiting until today to purchase, you can buy The Crystal Key on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and many more retailers. Click on the link below, then select your preferred site. You'll be taken to that retailer's store in your home geography:
The book is available in ebook, trade paperback, and hardcover editions from multiple retailers. If you want to support your local bookstore, ask them to order the paperback or hardcover from Ingram (the major book distributor to bookstores).

Barnes & Noble has selected The Crystal Key for their "Top Indie Favorites" list for their spring promotions, under the Teen-YA category, a pick supported by early editorial reviews, as well as reader reviews:

Amazon: 5.0
BookBub: 4.9
Goodreads: 4.8
The release price of $2.99 USD will be increasing soon, so buy now before the price goes up! Still need to be convinced? You can read the first three chapters here before buying.
Also, The Dream Rider Saga is one large mystery, one single story, told over the course of three books, with each book building on what went before. That means if you want to enjoy The Crystal Key, you first need to read The Hollow Boys.
To celebrate the release of The Crystal Key, I'm running a one-day sale, today only, where you can buy The Hollow Boys for only $2.99 (reg. $4.99), from any of Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Apple, or Google Play. Click here and select one of those five. Remember: today (March 15) only. You can read the first four chapters of The Hollow Boys here for free before buying.

I'd appreciate any support you can give to spreading the word about The Crystal Key. Feel free to share this post with your friends and fellow readers.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give with making people aware of the book.

BookLife selects The Hollow Boys as an "Editor's Pick"

The Hollow Boys just received an "Editor's Pick" from BookLife and a glowing review. You can read the whole review here (just scroll down a bit to where the reviews start under the book description), but here are the highlights:

"This arresting series kickoff from Smith (The Wolf at the End of the World) grips from the start as it introduces its inventive milieu, its flawed but fantastically powered hero, its playful worldbuilding, and a host of tantalizing mysteries [in] Smith’s vigorously imaginative scenario. Complicating matters is Will’s agoraphobia … a fascinating flaw, worthy of Marvel comics in the 1960s... Deliciously detestable villains...and other original dangers have a perfectly calibrated creepiness—they’re deadly, and scenes of action and suspense thrum with tension, but the novel’s still always fun.

"Pacing and prose are tight despite the novel’s generous length; the dialogue’s crisp and engaging, and the reversals and revelations are cleverly plotted. Smith takes every advantage of his original dreamworld’s possibilities, building to a satisfying ending with plenty of mystery left to explore. Takeaway: Thrilling YA fantasy." —BookLife (Editor's Pick)

You can find The Hollow Boys at all major retailers, in print, paperback, and hardcover.

Remember, book 2 in the trilogy, The Crystal Key, is available for preorder now for only $2.99 up to its release on March 15.

Early praise for The Crystal Key (The Dream Rider Saga #2)

The Crystal Key coverThe Crystal Key, the second book in my new urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga, will come out March 15, but it's already getting early praise. It just received a starred review in BlueInk Review. Here's an excerpt:

"The engrossing second installment of Douglas Smith’s Dream Rider Saga trilogy… Smith continues to demonstrate an ability to expertly weave multiple complex fantasy elements into a cohesive whole. … With a measure of tension in the romance between Will and Case, the continued deepening mystery about events in the past, and the teens’ growing supernatural abilities, this fast-paced story delivers in a big way—and Smith has all his ducks lined up for an explosive conclusion that readers won’t want to miss."

Blueink Review (★ Starred review)

You can preorder The Crystal Key now before it drops on March 15. If you want, you can also read the first three chapters before buying.

And if you haven't read The Hollow Boys, book 1 in the series that's been called "a must-read story for fans of YA fantasy," you can find it here.


The Crystal Key is available to preorder!

The Crystal Key coverWell, you didn't have to wait long, did you? The Hollow Boys, book 1 in my young adult / adult crossover urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga, came out just this past October.

Now, book 2 in the series, The Crystal Key, will be released March 15, 2023 (the advantage of writing all three books before releasing any of them). Check out the very cool cover to the right (click on it to see it in its full-size glory).

But you don't have to wait even that long! You can preorder it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play, and many more retailers for just $2.99 USD.

And if you want to sample the book first before buying, you can read the first three chapters here.

That price will be increasing not long after the release date. To preorder at this low price, just click here and select your preferred retailer. You'll be taken to the store for your home country.

The book will also be available in trade paperback and hardcover editions, both online and in bricks and mortar bookstores, but not until the actual release date in March.

Book Description (warning: contains spoilers for book 1, The Hollow Boys):

Will Dreycott is the Dream Rider, the agoraphobic teenage superhero who can walk in our dreams but never in the streets of his city. Case is his girlfriend, a survivor of those streets who hears voices. Fader is her brother, who is very good at disappearing. Together, they defeated a body swapper and a witch to save the world (The Hollow Boys).

Now, Case battles guilt over living sheltered in Will's tower home while her street friends still struggle. Blaming his affliction for Case's sadness, Will searches for a way to live a normal life with the girl he loves—a way to go outside.

But his efforts draw the attention of dark forces. Sinister figures hunt Will in Dream. Intruders scour the vast warehouse of antiquities "acquired" by Will's missing parents. And a masked swordswoman attacks Will, demanding "the Crystal Key" before disappearing into thin air.

Are they all searching for the same thing? Something from Will's parents' shady past? For the swordswoman leaves behind a flowery scent, Will's only memory from the lost expedition eight years ago that gave him powers in Dream but cost him his parents and his freedom.

A trail of dark secrets leads Will, Case, and Fader to a mysterious world. Trapped between warring cults willing to kill for the Crystal Key, the three friends must master strange new powers that grow stronger and wilder the closer they draw to the truth.

This time it's not just the fate of the world at stake…but the multiverse.

Indiana Jones meets Teen Titans in The Dream Rider Saga, a fast-paced urban fantasy trilogy from "one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction" (Library Journal).

Praise for The Hollow Boys, Book 1 in The Dream Rider Saga

"An assured, confident novel... A must-read story for YA fantasy fans." —Blueink Review (★ Starred review)

"Inventive, engaging, and boundless fun." —The Ottawa Review of Books

"A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance." —Kirkus Reviews

The Hollow Boys on sale for $0.99 this week only

BookBub selected my new novel, The Hollow Boys, for one of their coveted "featured deals," which is running now and available here.

The Hollow Boys, the first in The Dream Rider Saga trilogy, is now only $0.99 (regular $5.99) for the ebook edition in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, on all major retailer platforms (Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play).

But don't wait. This deal price lasts only until this Saturday, December 10.

You can check out the glowing reviews for the book here.

Praise for The Hollow Boys

The Hollow Boys coverPraise is starting to flow in for The Hollow Boys, my latest novel and book 1 in my YA urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream Rider Saga. Here's a selection of reviews:

"Smith has created a dramatic, vivid fantasy world … The Hollow Boys is an assured, confident novel with strong world-building, sharp dialogue and the perfect balance between action and emotional growth for its main characters. … In short, this is a must-read story for YA fantasy fans." Blueink Review (★ Starred review)

"The Hollow Boys is inventive, engaging, and boundless fun. Teen zombies, Buddhist monks, SWAT teams, Raiders-of-the-Lost-Arc-style warehouses, corporate raiders, a (nonflying) magic carpet, and astral travel ...  Smith manages to throw all these disparate elements at the story to form a truly cohesive universe ... There are some nice character arcs and a charming YA romance subplot ... I enjoyed The Hollow Boys a great deal, turning pages long after I should have been abed. Smith has produced the best Canadian superhero adventure since James Alan Gardner’s Dark vs. Spark novels." Robert Runté, The Ottawa Review of Books

"A fast-paced and entertaining introduction to a new series. I've always enjoyed Smith's books and the characters in The Hollow Boys are further proof of why. They're rendered in more than three-dimensions, with the 'good guys' having their faults and even the villains having the odd tender spot … I enjoyed The Hollow Boys immensely… [and] was so pleased to have my opinion of Douglas Smith's work confirmed. He's a talented writer, equipped with two of my favourite traits: imagination and pathos. I look forward to continuing The Dream Rider Saga with The Crystal Key." —Kelly Jensen, SFCrowsnest

"An exciting alternative to your superhero entertainment fare … [Smith] is one of those rare authors … who have something new to offer in a world where everything is saturated by commercialism, including our beloved superheroes. … Superhero fans in search of an alternative should check out The Hollow Boys." —Reader's Favorite Reviews (5-star review)

"A multilayered fantasy that pays homage to familiar superhero tropes … while adding a nice dose of magic and mystery to the mix. The story is character-driven and richly developed … A fun supernatural tale with well-developed characters and a touch of romance." —Kirkus Reviews

The book is available at all major retailers in ebook and trade paperback editions, as well as hardcover at Amazon. I hope you'll check it out.


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