Douglas Smith's blog

Interview at the TORONTOIST

Claire Horsnell interviewed me for the Torontoist website a while back, and the interview is up on the site now. The interview is a wide-ranging one, covering early influences, favourite writers, use of myth in fiction, my recently completed first novel, dystopian futures, corporate power, Avatar, the "By Her Hand..." movie, and, of course, Springsteen. And Claire does a great job of making me sound way smarter than I am. Here's an excerpt:

"Most science-fiction, fantasy, and horror fans can point to an early discovery period during which they came to their genre, but for prolific Toronto writer Douglas Smith, author of the recent short story collection Chimerascope, it seems fitting that he had not one, but two significant exploratory phases for his field. 'When I was eight, a friend introduced me to Robert A. Heinlein’s young-adult SF novels,' Smith recalls. 'They were essentially rocket and ray-gun books aimed at young boys. I devoured all of those, but then stopped reading the genre. Then in Grade 11, I had to do a paper in English comparing the works of multiple authors. Amazingly, the teacher actually included a group consisting of Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury, which, of course, was the group I picked. That assignment got me back into reading SF and fantasy.'

Read the full interview on the Torontoist site here.

Fangoria Magazine reviews "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" Movie

By Her Hand movie posterThe September issue of Fangoria Magazine has an article and review of the movie adaptation of my story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down." Here is an extract:

"With vampires currently enjoying their all-media heyday, it remains a challenge for writers and filmmakers to put a new and different spin on the bloodsucker story. Acclaimed Canadian writer Douglas Smith delivered just that, coming up with a unique twist in his short story “By Her Hand, She Draws You Down.”

When producer/writer/director Anthony G. Sumner and producer Alan Rowe Kelly read the tale, they contacted Smith and got his blessing to turn the disquieting story into a short film [with] a final reveal that emerges as quite unexpected, satisfying and sad. ...

BY HER HAND’s acting is superb, and it comes as no surprise that both Murdock and Chlanda took home awards for their efforts at the 2010 Oklahoma Horror Film Festival....

BY HER HAND, SHE DRAWS YOU DOWN is now hitting the festival circuit—and worth seeking out. "

You can read the full review here. I also came across this YouTube review of the movie.

Ever so many new festival appearances for "By Her Hand..." movie

It's hard keeping up with the success that director Anthony Sumner and the cast of "By Her Hand..." are having with the movie. Following right on top of the Best Actor and Best Actress wins for Zoe Daelman Chlanda and Jerry Murdock at the Oklahoma festival, Anthony has announced another slate of festivals where the film has been picked as an official selection:

  • Dark Woods Con Film Festival, Oct 1-3, Lebanon, Kentucky (Official Selection) New!!
  • Queen City Scare Fair, Oct 22-23, Mississippi (Official Selection) New!!
  • Buffalo Screams Horror Festival, Oct 21-24, Buffalo, NY (Official Selection) New!!
  • Vampire Film Festival, Oct 27-31, 2010, New Orleans, LA (Official Selection) New!!
  • Blood Bath Film Festival, Nov 13-14, 2010, Dallas, TX (Official Selection) New!!

And thanks to everyone who voted in the trailer competition. As you can see from the above, you helped get the film accepted in the New Orleans festival! Full information on the movie here as always.

Best Actor and Actress Wins for "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down"

By Her Hand movie posterAt the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival last weekend, Zoe Daelman Chlanda won Best Actress and Jerry Murdock won Best Actor for their roles as Cath and Joe in the film adaptation of my story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down."

Congratulations to both, and a thanks from me for the wonderful jobs they both did in bringing the characters to the screen. Well deserved wins!

Director Anthony Sumner was also nominated for Best Director and Best Editing, and the movie for Best Film, and imo, should have won them all. He did a fantastic job on the film, and I'm very proud to be associated with this movie.

The movie has several more upcoming screenings across the US at various film festivals, including the latest addition – the ninth annual Spooky Movie Film Festival in Washington, DC, Oct 21-25.

I have the complete list of the movie's festival appearances, plus lots of other info on the film on my dedicated "By Her Hand" page. You can help with getting this film into one particular festival.

I mentioned the movie trailer contest for the New Orleans' Vampire Film Fest in an earlier blog post. This festival picks its entries based on the votes that trailers for the candidate movies receive. Check out the link to the trailers in my blog, and if you like the one for "By Her Hand...", please vote for it (you have to sign in to your YouTube or Google account in order to vote). And congratulations again to Zoe and Jerry!

Ideomancer loves CHIMERASCOPE

Chimerascope coverAnd yet another kick-ass review for my latest collection, Chimerascope, this time from the fine online magazine, Ideomancer.

Some excerpts:

"[A] superb collection of Douglas Smith’s previously published speculative fiction, stuffed with Aurora nominees (and one winner) and Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror honorable mentions.

Spanning a wide spectrum of classic sci-fi, stories inspired by mythology, and post-apocalyptic fiction, this is a collection you’ll want to own and re-read. ... It’s a complex mix: one of the many reasons this collection succeeds so powerfully."

You can read the entire review at Ideomancer here.

ChiZine Publications is alive and well, thank you very much!

Please tweet this! Here's a note from Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory, co-publishers of ChiZine Publications, the wonderful folks who have done such a great job publishing my collection, Chimerascope:

"Recently, Leisure Books, due to financial difficulties, had to cease its sponsorship of There is a note up on explaining the details, but this has no effect on ChiZine Publications. The sponsorship agreement never covered CZP, and CZP never had any business relationship with Leisure—we're not an imprint or subsidiary; we are a privately held company. Rumours we are going out of business or in financial trouble are completely false. If anything, based on advance numbers for our Fall books, we're doing better than ever. Don't miss our October 22nd Toronto Fall launch!" —Brett & Sandra, Co-Publishers

And I will add that you should check out the amazing CZP catalog for an excellent selection of novels and collections from this up-and-coming Toronto small press, a catalog that prompted this response from Publishers Weekly:

"Chizine Press continues to hit the mark. I don't know what's in the water up in Canada, but it's turning out some great writers, and CZP is finding and publishing them with amazing alacrity. If I could subscribe to a publisher like a magazine or a book club—one flat annual fee to get everything they publish—I would subscribe to CZP. I think the only U.S. imprint I would say that about is Orbit, and CZP is just a touch better at hitting the literary-and-deeply-creepy mark that I love so much."

"By Her Hand..." movie gets 5 nominations at Oklahoma Film Fest

image from movieWoo hoo! The film adaptation of "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" received 5 Nominations at the Oklahoma Horror Film Festival, including Best Short Film, Best Director and Best Editing (Anthony Sumner), Best Actress (Zoe Daelman Chlanda), and Best Actor (Jerry Murdock).

Congrats to Anthony, Zoe and Jerry, and everyone involved. You guys did a great job and deserve this. Hope that you win them all! The film festival runs Sep 3-5 in Tulsa.

"By Her Hand..." Movie in Vampire Film Fest in New Orleans

The movie based on my short story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" is competing in the Vampire Film Festival Trailer Contest in New Orleans!

Cool! And you can view the entries and vote! Follow this YouTube link to view the trailer, and if you like it, please click on the "Thumbs Up" icon at the bottom! You'll need to log in to either your Google or YouTube account to vote.

The story is not a pointy-toothed (or sparkly) vampire tale, but it is definitely a take on vampirism. Some selected reviews:

"a haunting variant on the vampire legend with an understated and brutal ending." —Publishers Weekly, Jan 2010

“Highlights among the stories include Douglas Smith's delightfully creepy ‘By Her Hand, She Draws You Down,’ about a young woman who is driven by a mysterious hunger to sketch people and steal their life force as her horrified lover looks on.” —Kristine Huntley, Booklist (the review journal of the American Library Assoc., 2002)

“...examines vampirism from an unusual and genuinely horrifying angle.” —Nick Gevers, SF Site Review, 2001

"I was reminded of the tone of some of Harlan Ellison’s best work, particularly those collected in Deathbird Stories, where many of the protagonists seemed to be the unwitting victims of dark, irrational forces." —Mike Driscoll, The Fix, November 2008

“...a title that rules. ...psychic vampirism, creepy street performers, the horrors of small coastal towns. And Smith took the story somewhere that surprised me. The twist is sustained.” —Jay Lake, Tangent Online, November 2001

Read all the reviews here. Hope that you'll check out the trailer! You can read more about the movie here: here.

Another great review for CHIMERASCOPE

Chimerascope coverAnother nice review for my second collection, Chimerascope, this one in the August issue of Broken Pencil, The Magazine of Zine Culture and the Independent Arts:

"Smith is obviously a gifted writer in the genre of science-fiction. … Smith paints his worlds so well that you are transported within a paragraph or two and remain in transit until the short story ends -- a challenging feat to be sure. Smith takes common science-fiction topics, such as love between alien races, and manages to find a new way to have his tales unfold. … Smith tells them with a flair that breathes life into his characters. … [The] familiar traits that drive human needs and wants -- such as ambition, pride, love, hate and fear -- are what piece these stories together and give them a life of their own."

Read the full review here. Read more about Chimerascope here, including excerpts from all the stories and more reviews, and how to order.

Sixty-five swings (or never give up on a story)

Warrior Wisewoman 3 coverI have a "new" story, entitled "A Bird in the Hand," in the upcoming anthology, Warrior Wisewoman 3, due out this month. See right for the beautiful cover.

I include quotes around "new" because I wrote this story fourteen years ago, the second story that I ever wrote (so if you do track this one down, please be gentle). I'd actually sold this story a couple of times in the past, but those markets both folded before the story was published.

For any short fiction writers out there, there is a lesson here. Despite the mounting pile of rejections and the frustrations of two close calls, I kept the story in the mail (or email), and was finally rewarded with a sale to a respected anthology series. How many times did I keep it in the mail?

Sixty-five. That's right. Sixty-five swings and a miss (not counting the two phantom sales) before it found a real home and saw the light of published day. This is my record for rejections before a sale, breaking my previous high (set last year on a story written the same year as this one) by ten.

If any of you have read my story "Spirit Dance," this is another tale about the Heroka, my race of shape shifters, and the Tainchel, the shadowy covert government op that hunts them. An early review states "a very interesting turn-around story, in which our expectations are upended at the last minute. ...a good read, and sadly, far too relevant to our own present world."


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