• Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    by Craig Terlson

    A collection of short stories where the humour runs dark and the slipstream bubbles up.


    ...imagine if Raymond Carver called up George Saunders and Joe Lansdale, and they all went drinking with Neil Gaiman.

  • Correction Line
    Correction Line
    by Craig Terlson

    “… it's clear that Terlson is way ahead of the curve in terms of crafting an engaging premise that reaches for elevated territory and reinvents enduring archetypes of action and suspense.”  J. Schoenfelder

    "Sometimes brutal, often demanding and always complex, this novel will repay the reader who likes their assumptions challenged and is happy to walk away from a book with minor questions unanswered but the big ones definitely dealt with! It’s likely to satisfy those who enjoy Hammet and/or Philip K Dick and who like their fiction very noir indeed."   Kay Sexton


    "I love a novel that you can't put down, and this is one of them."  L. Cihlar


So what's up next...

As I get closer to having an actual paper copy of Surf City Acid Drop, I am planning my next projects. One of them being that treadmill that I love hate but mostly hate - why isn't there an exercise pill? We can put people on the moon and freeze dry just about anything, but we can't make a pill that gives you the benefit of running?
(Available in handy 2, 4, and 8 mile dosages.)

I digress.


Of course there is going to be another Luke Fischer in the works - and if you pick up the paperback of Surf City, you will find a nifty surprise about that in the back of the book.

The next big big project though is a reworking of a novel I've been working on a long time. I finally undid the chain on my wallet and hired a freelance editor to help me restructure, rework, re-imagine (really anything with a re- ) this novel.

There's no 70's neo noir detectives in this one, nor even one surf board - but there is that 70's vibe. I've talked about it at the blog before, and it's got a bit of Watergate, Acid (the LSD kind), and a thirteen-year-old at the centre. It does take place in 1973 (hence the Watergate bit), and there is still music, always music. My novels usually have a soundtrack, if only in my mind, and this one is all about Steely Dan. At one point in the drafting and editing (the first couple of rounds), I designated each chapter with a different Steely Dan tune.

OK, kinda geeky, but there you have it. 

So stay tuned for news on the Surf City paperback. I am viewing proofs this week. And be sure to follow me on twitter (cterlson) for other news and random things that spring from my brain.

Do brains have springs?

Digressing again.


A look at the final jacket


So wait - is designing a cover supposed to be this fun... hmmm... yes, I think so.

Almost done.


The cover - Part Deux

Thanks everyone for all the responses - I really appreciate the group think on this. For round two, I've moved away from the handwritten bruch font. As someone said, they like it, but it might suggest something too light, or too youthful.

Sometimes when you come back to a design after a while, you see things fresh - and that happened with the brush font. Just not quite right I think (though please disagree if that was your fave.)

As for the orangish-one from before - I just wasn't digging the OC meets Nicholas Sparks (!!!) vibe of that one. Though. I do really like the heat of the orange. I've reimagined that one a bit, still using that Mexican sun, but not so much Hallmark, as the beach in The Last Goodbye.

Once again, have at it!




A book with pages and everything...


As said before, Surf City Acid Drop is in the process of becoming a book – as in one you could hold in your hand, and read all those chapters without even one click.

I decided this time around to use CreateSpace to make some actual paperbacks. For me, this fits the vibe of this book. And it reminds me of those hours, as a teen, spent in libraries, book stores, and even convenience stores, scanning through those paperback racks looking for my next read.

For those who have read it, you may have picked up on the neo-noir 70's tone that runs through Surf City. As a book is often judged by its cover, I wanted the cover art to reflect that. The images I have used on the blog are not owned by me, so I had to get some actual rights, or permission-free images. Also, while surfing is important as a metaphor in this novel, I didn't really want a surfer on the cover. It's more about the mood.


What do you think of these three? Two are using the same background image, with slightly different type treatments. Let me know which you like, which you hate (even if it is all of them). I am still tweaking the type, and if these fall flat with you readers, then I might just go back to the drawing board. But it is a start. 

Dive in. Let me know.






Where are you going, where have you been... Luke?

With apologies to the powerful short story by Joyce Carol Oates, I've been thinking about where we are at in Surf City Acid Drop. So maybe grab a Pacfico and some salsa and settle in.

First off, I guess the we is me the writer, and you, the reader... whomever you are. It's tough to know who reads Surf City - I do know some friends are currently reading, and my analytics will tell me which countries, and sometimes cities, where the readers are coming from. Don't worry, I am not secretly gathering some list so I can send you Luke Fischer swag (beer cozies maybe? Genuine Mostly Harold Lizard Boots? Actually, that would be kinda cool.) Analytics just let me know that people are reading - and for this I am very grateful.

Each of you play a part in encouraging me, not just to tell this story, but the other ones I am currently working on - this is huge. And yes, that does include the next Luke Fischer novel.

So here is the thing: We write in the dark. 

Now, if you are a writer, you probably are nodding along here. I am guessing that even those bestselling authors find themselves in a place where they really don't know who is reading, or what they think of the book. Sure, there are reviews, and those can be thrilling, helpful, and downright eviscerating. (I've had some of each over the years).

So far, to be honest, not a lot has been said about Surf City - one notable review from someone over at webfictionguide had me riding high for awhile – but mostly my readers have been sorta quiet. I do run into them from time to time, online, and even in person (hey, I'm reading that detective story of yours! Uh, thanks, but Luke is not really a detective. Okay, I never ever say that. Mostly, I just beam.)

Back to that review – here's the thing: the reviewer pointed out a few flaws. I have to tell you, I said, yes, yes, yes! Honesty is the best. I really want to know how a reader truly responds to the work. Saying, oh yeah, that was fine, doesn't really do much for me. I want to hear how it grabbed you, and how it failed you, or bored you, or whatever.

Anyway, the main purpose of this post is to tell you that there are about 12 Chapters left in the story - depending on how I break it down. As mentioned before, I am editing each chapter as I go, before I release it. And the beauty of online fiction, I can correct the mistakes (which are pointed out by one close reader, who I should really be sending 12 packs of Pacifico on a regular basis.)

The other point of this grand experiment was to see if Luke could capture an audience. The comments I receive, and my analytics, tell me that he has. It is not a huge following by any means - but it is enough to keep me going. True, a writer should just write - and not worry about the audience, or more so, if there even is an audience. And when I write, I do just write. But the idea of what I call manifestation has always been important to me. To finish the artistic act, the art (song, painting, sculpture, play, story, novel) must be manifested in a form that can be viewed (heard, etc.) by another human. In simpler words, Luke has been in my head a long time, I'd like to put him into other people's head, and see if he can walk, and talk... and think. It's a bit of my own Frankenstein model.

Luke has become a friend of mine, someone I like to hang out with, drink beers, and tell each other stories. If that is all that ever happens with this guy, well, maybe that's enough.

So I will close by posting that review I loved so much - and to once again thank all my readers, known, and unknown - you are really part of this. Stay tuned for the next 12 - including one tomorrow!

Surf City Acid Drop Review

From webfictionguide.com

Sep 4, 2015: Surf City Acid Drop leans on the breezy coastal atmosphere and standard crime tropes pretty hard, but honestly? That’s half the fun.

This is a tale of coastal crime, pure and simple. Terlson keeps everything light because it’s supposed to be light. There’s a flurry of details which allow you to really see Mexico the way that Luke is seeing it. The emphasis isn’t on the action—though there are some fun fight scenes—nor is it on the characters, who are a little on the thin side.

The emphasis is on the atmosphere. As the cliche goes, Mexico’s a character in and of itself here, and boy is it beautifully portrayed. One of my favorite bits is in the very first chapter, when Luke describes the bar he’s sitting in, El Rayo Verde, where all sorts of tequila bottles are lined up, catching the Mexican sun. The character doesn’t stay in Mexico for the duration of the serial, but it’s fun while it lasts. And even the other parts of the world are well-described by Terlson.

Sometimes the attempt at surf noir prose get a little purple, one of the many examples being when Luke says, “Any moment, I expected the girl from Ipanema to stroll right up and buy me a shot.” In and of itself it’s not a bad line, but they tend to add up pretty quickly.

Still, for all the purple prose, some of the lines really do sing. One bit that comes to mind involves Luke mixing up the sound of a wailing trumpet with the sound of a police siren. It’s a perfect noir detail—one which I can imagine getting filmed in black-and-white (or perhaps in that hazy 70s style, since this is really a neo-noir).

So: if you’re looking for surf noir, I’d recommend this. If you want to feel like you’re a white guy drinking beers in Mexico, I’d recommend this.

But honestly? It’s a beach read. Don’t expect grand revelations, or deep characters. Just expect to read a lot about a guy drinking at bars and punching people. (Also a bit of macho posturing, due to the guys continually punching each other. YMMV.)

It’s fun, it zips by, and that’s all it needs to do.

NOTE: Though the serial currently has 23 chapters up, I’m only on 14. I’m going to keep reading this, but wanted to get this review up while the serial was still ongoing. It was apparently written as a novel, not a serial, so if you want to read along while it’s posted, you better come fast!