Douglas Smith's blog

Reading at the eBar in Guelph on June 22

On Wednesday June 22, I'll be reading at the eBar in Guelph, along with friend and fellow writer, Marcy Italiano. The eBar is connected to the bookstore, The Bookshelf, at 41 Quebec Street.

I'll be reading from my collection, Chimerascope, currently a finalist for the 2011 Aurora Awards. The readings run from 8-9pm, and then it's mixing, mingling, and munching. There will be books on hand to buy, and Marcy and I will be signing copies. If you're in the area, please drop by.

My collection IMPOSSIBILIA now available as an eBook!

(November 2012 update:  The PS Publishing ebook version has now been replaced by my new version, in both epub and mobi formats.

I'm very pleased to announce that my first collection, Impossibilia, published in 2008 by the award-winning and most excellent UK press, PS Publishing, is now available in ebook format in both .epub and .mobi (Kindle) formats. You can buy directly from PS Publishing or from Amazon at the following links:

  • PS Publishing ordering link (.epub or .mobi formats)
  • Amazon ordering link (Kindle / .mobi format)

Impossibilia was a finalist for the 2009 Aurora Awards for best long form work. The lead story, "A Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh," was also a finalist for the 2009 Aurora for best short form work. Another story in the collection, "Spirit Dance," won the Aurora in 2001 for best short story.

From the reviews:

"...stories that are so unusual and beautiful that no other name than Impossibilia could possibly describe this collection."

"Impossibilia is a treasure to be savoured, like gourmet chocolates and fine wine...beautifully written and wondrously imagined."

"The writing is superb. Douglas Smith is an artisan and his stories beautifully crafted. ... In my search for the perfect short story, the three in this volume certainly qualify."

"Each tale was rapture and ecstasy, magical and mysterious, perfect and implausible."

"Highly, highly recommended."

"...echoes of Ellison and Bradbury..."

"There is a certain exhilaration that comes from reading the book’s complex and powerfully emotional stories couched in that deft and smooth prose."

"A fun romp that delivered something different......exhilarating, enjoyable..."

"I loved them all from the first word to the last."

"A book that ably demonstrates what Smith is capable of as a writer..."

"Smith [lays] bare the psychological and emotional fragility that motivates his characters."

"A wonderful book...Each [story] is an example of how a master at the art tells a story."

"An amazing little collection."

"[Smith deserves] to be known to by a very wide audience indeed."

"I don’t know what else to say...except READ THIS BOOK!!!"

And of course, you can still order the signed and numbered, limited hardcover edition (cover at left).

Support The Ride to Conquer Cancer and win a personalized ebook!

Just a reminder that on June 11-12, 2011, I'll be participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 2-day major cycling event sponsored by Enbridge and benefiting The Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, one of the top 5 cancer research hospitals in the world.

I'll be cycling over 200 km that weekend, from Toronto to Niagara Falls, with thousands of other riders. All the proceeds will go to The Princess Margaret to support cancer research, treatment, and services.

Edmonton Public Library appearances May 28 & 29

Thanks to an invitation from the nice people at the Edmonton Public Library, I will be in Edmonton this weekend, May 28-29, to do a reading / workshop on Saturday May 28, and a reading on Sunday May 29. The Saturday workshop will be 1:30-4:00pm at the Strathcona Branch (8331 - 104 Street) and will be a joint effort by me and Diane Walton, Managing Editor of the most excellent Canadian speculative fiction magazine, On Spec.

The workshop structure (more of a lecture with Q&A, actually) will follow a finished story from marketing to sale to post-sale, from the perspective of both a writer (me) and editor (yes, you're right, Diane). Here's what Diane and I are planning:

  • Did you know that you never actually "sell" a story?: Licensing rights to fiction, both from a writer's and an editor's perspective
  • So you've written a story. Now what?: How to market short fiction. How to choose markets. How an editor chooses a story. Tips from a writer and an editor.
  • So you've sold a story. What happens next?: Contracts, editing requests, copy edits, getting it noticed, etc.
  • Your story's been published. Is that all there is?: Selling reprints and other rights. Awards. Best of Anthologies. Collections.
  • Ebooks and self-publishing: What this means for the short fiction writer and for a short fiction print publisher.
  • Question and Answer session
  • Reading

On Sunday May 29, I will be doing a reading at the EPL's monthly Writers' Corner at the Stanley A. Milner Library (Downtown). Audrey's Bookstore will be on hand at both events if you'd like to pick up a signed copy of either of my collections, Chimerascope (now nominated for the 2011 Aurora Award) or Impossibilia (a 2009 Aurora Finalist). If you're in Edmonton, it would be great if you could drop by either (or both!) of these events. Hope to see you there. EPL's Writer-in-Residence, Marty Chan, also did an interview with me around the upcoming readings.

Blog Talk Radio interview now available

Fellow writers Susan Wingate and Joshua Miller recently interviewed me on their "Between the Lines" show on Blog Talk Radio about Chimerascope, short fiction, ebooks, foreign markets, and more. You can listen to the archived podcast of the interview here. My interview starts about 9.5 minutes into the show.


CHIMERASCOPE makes the 2011 Aurora Award final ballot

The finalists for the 2011 Aurora Awards have been announced, and my collection Chimerascope is on the ballot, under the category, "Best English Related Work."

The full ballot is shown below. Congratulations and best of luck to all the finalists.


Best English Novel

  • Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell, Great Plains Publications
  • Destiny's Blood by Marie Bilodeau, Dragon Moon Press
  • Stealing Home by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
  • Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
  • Watch by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada

Best English Short Story

  • "The Burden of Fire" by Hayden Trenholm, Neo-Opsis #19
  • "Destiny Lives in the Tattoo's Needle" by Suzanne Church, Tesseracts Fourteen, EDGE
  • "The Envoy" by Al Onia, Warrior Wisewoman 3, Norilana Books
  • "Touch the Sky, They Say" by Matt Moore, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, November
  • "Your Beating Heart" by M. G. Gillett, Rigor Amortis, Absolute Xpress

Best English Related Work

  • Chimerascope, Douglas Smith (collection), ChiZine Publications
  • The Dragon and the Stars, edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, DAW
  • Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick, EDGE
  • On Spec, edited by Diane Walton, Copper Pig Writers Society
  • Tesseracts Fourteen, edited by John Robert Colombo and Brett Alexander Savory, EDGE

Best English Poem / Song

  • "The ABCs of the End of the World" by Carolyn Clink, A Verdant Green, The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box
  • "Let the Night In" by Sandra Kasturi, Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, EDGE
  • "Of the Corn: Kore's Innocence" by Colleen Anderson, Witches & Pagans #21
  • "The Transformed Man" by Robert J. Sawyer, Tesseracts Fourteen, EDGE
  • "Waiting for the Harrowing" by Helen Marshall, ChiZine 45

Best English Graphic Novel

  • Goblins, by Tarol Hunt,
  • Looking For Group, Vol. 3, by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza
  • Stargazer, Volume 1, by Von Allan, Von Allan Studio
  • Tomboy Tara, Emily Ragozzino,

Best Artist (Professional and Amateur) (An example of each artist’s work is listed below but they are to be judged on the body of work they have produced in the award year)

  • Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, "Brekky" cover art, On Spec Fall
  • Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
  • Christina Molendyk, Girls of Geekdom Calendar for Argent Dawn Photography
  • Dan O'Driscoll, cover art for Stealing Home
  • Aaron Paquette, "A New Season" cover art, On Spec Spring


Best Fan Publications No award will be given out in this category due insufficient eligible nominees

Best Fan Filk

  • Dave Clement and Tom Jeffers of Dandelion Wine for "Face on Mars"
  • CD Karen Linsley; concert as SFContario Guest of Honour
  • Phil Mills, for “Time Traveller” (song writing)

Best Fan Organizational

  • Andrew Gurudata, organizing the Constellation Awards
  • Brent M. Jans, chair of Pure Speculation (Edmonton)
  • Liana Kerzner, chair of Futurecon (Toronto)
  • Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi, chairs of Toronto SpecFic Colloquium (Toronto)
  • Alex Von Thorn, chair of SFContario (Toronto)

Best Fan Other

  • Tom Jeffers, Fundraising, FilKONtario
  • John and Linda Ross Mansfield, Conception of the Aurora Nominee pins
  • Lloyd Penney, Articles, columns and letters of comment - fanzines

Best of luck to everyone!

Blog Talk Radio interview today!

A little short notice, but I'm being interviewed today by writers Susan Wingate and Joshua Graham on Blog Talk Radio. Hope that you can tune in!


By Her Hand movie review: "A new variation on the vampire genre"

By Her Hand movie posterMichael Baron Craze at the Rogue Cinema site recently blogged about last fall's Terror Film Festival in Philadelphia and included a review of "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down."

Here's an extract from his review:

"This film comes from author Douglas Smith’s story of the same name and breathes in Anthony Sumner’s screenplay, transforming into a new variation on the vampire genre. Anthony’s creation contains an incredible haunting feeling, [that] escapes the screen like a hypnotic trance, assisted from Gene Hodsdon eerie music and filming in November at the desolate beachside locations in the historic New Jersey shore. … [A] tale of love, commitment and survival."

You can read Michael's full blog post on the film festival and the full review of "By Her Hand..." here.

A "Pick Six" interview with me at Heidi Ruby Miller's blog

Writer Heidi Ruby Miller recently invited me to take part in her recurring "Pick Six" interview series on her blog. Heidi has a fun and unusual approach to these interviews (which is not surprising, since Heidi's background also seems fun and unusual, including a stint at archaelogy, working at both a Frank Lloyd Wright house and Disney World, and an appearance on Who Wants to be a Millionaire).

Anyway, for the Pick Six interviews, she gives the author a list of 15 questions and asks them to pick any six to answer. Here was my list:

1. Which of your characters is your favorite? 2. Tell me about your travels. 3. Coffee, tea, or milk? 4. What else can you do besides write? 5. Who are you reading right now? 6. Pop culture or academia? 7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote? 8. Where do you find your inspirations to write? 9. Food you could eat everyday. 10. Are you into sports or other physical activities? 11. What kind of music speaks to you? 12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride? 13. Celebrity crush. 14. Who are the biggest influences on your work? 15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Can you guess which ones I went for? You can check out the entire interview below or on Heidi's site. Here's the full interview:


Blood and Vegetables interview: Spirit in the Night

Claire Horsnell at Blood and Vegetables ("Horror lit with a side of vegetables") recently interviewed me about my Springsteen stories, small presses in general and ChiZine publication in particular, the By Her Hand movie, Chimerascope and the CBC bookies, and other writing projects. The text of her interview is below.

Although author Douglas Smith is adamant that his own stories aren’t written with political motives, the tales in his first collection, Chimerascope, frequently envision a future of corporate totalitarianism, in which everyday people are at the mercy of forces they can’t control and are faced with the prospect of sacrifice and compromise in order to survive.

It’s a theme that also runs through the work of one of Smith’s inspirations, Bruce Springsteen—and Smith has written a number of stories with titles inspired by Springsteen’s work.

“Springsteen is an astounding storyteller,” says Smith. “His strongest songs are ballads, stories told through real characters, everyday people struggling with whatever life has thrown at them. And there is generally such an attitude of defiance and hope despite the odds against them. So many of his songs just speak to me of the bigger stories behind the ones that he just gets to hint at in just a few lines.” The Boss’s music is an ongoing source of inspiration for Smith. “I have more stories that I want to write based on or inspired by his songs, and someday I’d love to put out a collection of all my Springsteen-inspired stories,” he says. “My dream would be to get his endorsement, include some lyrics of the songs to intro each story, and have all the proceeds go to his favourite charity. It’ll probably never happen, but I’ll keep writing the stories—because I’d do that anyway.”

Chimerascope was published last year by ChiZine Publications and was not only both widely and well reviewed, but was also nominated for the brand new CBC Book Club awards, voted on by readers . “I had quite a few interviews over the year about the book, and it was fun and gratifying to see such a positive response to the collection,” he says. “But having it show up last month on the final ballot for the inaugural ‘Bookies’ took me by surprise. I didn’t even know it was on the ballot until a friend pointed it out. Chimerascope didn’t win, but it was very cool to be on a ballot with names like Stieg Larsson and William Gibson.”

The collection is also eligible for nomination for the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association’s Aurora Awards; nominations are open until midnight on April 30.

Last year also saw the premiere of By Her Hand, She Draws You Down, an independent short film based on Smith’s story of the same name (which appears in Chimerascope). The film has screened at festivals worldwide, and the plan is ultimately to include it on a DVD anthology of horror shorts. “I’m a huge movie fan,” says Smith, “so this whole experience was a lot of fun, even viewed from a distance, to see one of my tales transformed into another medium. Anthony Sumner of TinyCore Pictures did a great job on the script and directing, and Zoe Daelman Chlanda and Jerry Murdoch were amazing in the two lead roles.”

And Smith is still working hard: his stories have been translated into French for another collection to be published in France later this year (with an introduction by one of his own favourite fantasy writers, Charles de Lint); he’s putting out all his short stories and novelettes in e-reader format; his first novel is with publishers in New York; and not only is he working on his second, he’s planning a graphic novel based on one of his earlier pieces. Quite the schedule.

Smith is also appearing at this weekend’s Ad Astra science fiction conference, in Toronto, on two panels, the first intriguingly title “It’s the Best/Worst Time to Be a Writer.” “Ad Astra is probably my favourite annual convention,” he says. “ It’s fairly small, but it has a strong literature focus compared to many of the genre cons, which tend to have more of a media bent … I imagine that [the panel] will focus on the impact of ebooks on the publishing industry and the options that this presents to writers, being able to self-publish and increase their earnings in a way that has never been available to this degree as it is now. That’s on the ‘best’ side of the coin. On the ‘worst’ side, NYC publishers are proceeding at an even more glacial pace than usual in making buying decisions, and the deals that I’m hearing about involve much lower advances and more aggressive demands regarding rights.” In the light of the current controversy over Dorchester–Leisure’s treatment of their authors, it’s good to be reminded that authors still have options.

The second panel on which Smith will speak covers the small press scene in Canada. “I’ve had two collections now, both with small presses: PS Publishing in the UK (Impossibilia) and ChiZine Publications in Toronto (Chimerascope),” he says. “In both cases, I have nothing but good things to say. PS did a beautiful job with Impossibilia, and I would have gone with them for the second collection, except that I wanted to find a publisher with retail distribution in place. PS wasn’t into retail bookstores, so to get Impossibilia, you had to order from PS (or Amazon) and have it shipped. They also only do limited print runs.” This was about the time that critically acclaimed press ChiZine was getting into gear, run by husband and wife team Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi.

“I knew and respected both the publishers,” says Smith. “They had distribution deals in Canada, the US, and the UK, and their model was a limited edition signed hardcover with a print run based solely on pre-orders, followed by a trade paperback edition for the retail stores. They have since added ebook editions. Everything with both PS and CZP has been great: lots of input into the cover design, the manuscript TOC, the editing, the quality of the book, the promotion, etc. etc.”

Smith also points to ChiZine as one of the most exciting outfits in the country on the genre scene. “I was absolutely amazed at the visibility that Chimerascope received coming from a small press,” he says. “It was reviewed everywhere. I think Publishers Weekly stated in the Chimerascope review that if they could get a subscription to a publisher the way you could to a magazine, they’d subscribe to CZP to make sure that they never missed a title. Check out any of the other CZP authors: David Nickle, Gemma Files, Bob Boyczuk, Claude Lalumiere, Brent Hayward, to name just a few.”

He cites ChiZine’s Napier’s Bones, by Derryl Murphy as one title to look out for. “I had the opportunity to read an early draft of this one, and it’s just so great to see it out in print,” he says.

And what other upcoming books is he excited about? “I’m looking forward to a new YA urban fantasy series from Charles de Lint,” he says. “One of my all time favourite authors.”



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