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  • 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

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Wednesday
Jun072017

The Art of Finishing

 

Seems like the launch of Fall in One Day was already a while ago... even though it wasn't. And there's lot more stuff happening, author visits to Chapters/Indigo, maybe some other local reads, and a bit of hitting the road. (More info on that to come)
But of course, writers gotta write. So what's happening next?... you might ask - hell, I ask myself the same thing!

I've been working on a few different projects, but I will soon be focusing on just one. While I like the idea of a lot of irons in the fire, or ducks in the pond, or doughnuts in the fryer (hmm, I like that one), if I hope to finish something, then I need to eventually focus on one thing.

I've read how John Updike, who was very prolific, had three different desks, each with a unique purpose. One was for writing short stories, one for novels, and one for essays and journalism. I guess he would switch his working area depending on the project – not sure if all three desks were in one room, or even if the story is mythical, but I get it. Here is my theory: The different set-ups helped him finish shit.

If there is one thing that I think separates serious writers from those who simply like the idea of writing (you can call them amateurs, but I think they are more wannabees) and here it is: writers finish shit.
And when you're talking a novel, that is a marathon that is not to be taken lightly. Sure, there is Nanowrimo - where you bang keys for the solid month of November – but I can't say that you have a finished novel at the end of it. Or maybe you do. Whatever floats your boat. The whole point here is in the finishing. Who I am to dis those that commit to a solid butt-in-chair attitude for thirty days?

I've had people tell me, after they find out I have written novels, that they have whole novels in their head, they just have to write them down. Yeah, good luck with that. Don't get me wrong, not trying to get all snarky about it. It's just that statements like that can undermine the difficult challenge of writing 80,000 words into some sort of cohesive narrative.

But not just novels, short stories are their own challenge. One of my writing heroes, George Saunders talks about working on stories for years. But the thing he did, he didn't just work on them, he finished them.

So dear woo-reader, my encouragement to you, if you are beginning to write, is to finish something... anything. And then finish another thing. And so on. It's the best thing you can do.

I didn't actually start this post to talk about that - but it is simply a reminder to myself that I need to shift gears, dig in, put those doughnuts in the fryer (obviously a theme), and get at it.

Next up will most likely one of three things:
Manistique is the follow up to Surf City Acid Drop. Our hero, but still not a detective, Luke Fischer finds himself in Upper Michigan trying to find the trail of a young woman that he watched die in a backroom poker game in Santa Fe.

Bent Highway Part Two. If you read the crazy adventure of M, you know a couple of things - time got weird - and the novella just kinda stopped. I've always meant to continue and finish this story... and I think I am ready to now. A writer friend recently read Part One and really liked it. This reminded me that I liked it too.

UnNamed New novel. This one is in research stage, but I am really loving the premise... which, I can't tell you, because I ascribe deeply to the writing that first draft with the door closed (From Stephen King's On Writing). Just to say, it's going to be cool, and there may be, just may be, some Samurai involved.

Okay - go finish something now. That's what I'm trying to do.

P.S. - A bit of trivia to do with my novel Fall in One Day. Some of my friends know that I am huge fan of the musician Beck - but the protagonist of that novel (Joe Beck) is not named after him. Rather, he is named after the character of Henry Bech... written by John Updike. 

Friday
May262017

Fall in One Day launches

 

Last night is a hard one for me to describe - I used the word "surreal" a lot when people asked me how I felt.

There are so many of you who have walked with me over the years, and seeing you in the crowd last night was overwhelming. I did manage to hold it together... mostly (because those who know me, also know I can get a bit, well, emotional).

I am trying not to make a huge deal out of this - as I know that a writer's career is not based on one book. But as the lovely knows, this novel was the one I had always hoped would launch the career. And last night was a launch of that sort - not just of the book, but of a validation. It was a validation of the work, and a confidence to now continue. I'm quite proud of this novel. I'm delighted that it is being read. But now to write another, and another, and (you get the idea).

Please know that your presence at last night's event - and this goes for all my online friends and those who offered support and congrats, but couldn't be there, as well – has meant so much to me. It has given me the confidence to move forward. And there were days when I was about to quit writing altogether. The last couple of years, there were a lot of those days.

I don't predict that Fall in One Day is going to be a bestseller - but it will be read, the characters that have lived in my head for a decade will now live in a few more heads. I think I owe it to those characters, for them to get out and live a bit.

Above all, I am thankful to my family who have always been there for me. 
Most of all, the lovely, who always believed.

And now, I need to get to work.

Cheers.

 

 

Wednesday
May242017

3...2...1... LAUNCH

Well, the day is upon me - almost. Tomorrow evening, May 25, is the official launch of Fall In One Day at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

It should be a fun evening. I'll do a short reading, and then I'll be interviewed by my friend, colleague, novelist, and English Prof. the amazing Sue Sorensen (follow her on twitter, she's great).

I also have inside information that lemonade and cookies will be served (bring your own gin - and pour me one).

It truthfully all still feels a little surreal that it is happening. And the support and encouragement I've received over the last few months is a bit overwhelming. But I'll do my best to launch this well, smile for pictures, try to be humourous, and not get emotional. (Can't promise anything on the last part, but I'll give it a shot).

See you all tomorrow - stay tuned for some pics.

Tuesday
May162017

Release Day of Fall in One Day

Annnnnnnd we have lift off.

May 16th has been a date in my head for a long time... this bird has flown, Houston we have a novel, release the hounds... I dunno pick a cliché.

Wait, I know the best one: WOOFREAKINHOO! Yeah, that fits.

In a way, it feels like the book has already been out there. I've had many great advance reviews, for which I am deeply grateful for. As well, the book has been in a soft launch mode at the independent bookstore where the launch will be happening on May 25th (McNally Robinson - one of the best independent booksellers anywhere... yes. Any. Where!)

Thank yous will be forthcoming and repeating to all those that helped this book get legs (wheels? Fins?) But for now, I will just enjoy the moment.

Perfect timed is a review an interview that I gave to book blogger extradorinaire Betsy Kipnis. The review contains one of the best synops of the book that I've read (Betsy, can you write my query letters from now on?)
She also asked me to take part in an interview, and asked some great questions.

Here is the start of the interview - if you want to read the rest, hop over to bookisshh.com - and do read her other reviews, she is really quite great. 

And oh yeah, go to one of these places to pick up a copy:
McNally Robinson (Winnipeg)

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Amazon.uk

Chapters/Indigo

More reviews at Goodreads 

 

As synchronicity would have it, I posted a shorthand review which Craig read and sent me a DM via Instagram.  Since the interview we have fun repartee and I’m looking forward to one of his upcoming novels.  Let’s learn a little bit about Craig Terlson.

Betsy:  Something I’ve realized about your book is that as it’s shelved into my mind, relevance keeps pulling it off for further consideration.  Pretty cool effect you’ve got going there.  So what made you write this book?

Craig:  Several ideas floated around for a number of years, and these ideas kept popping up in the short stories I was wrting at the time.  At some point, the memory of Watergate, and what it meant in history, intertwined with the idea of family secrets and somehow the LSD therapies conducted in my home city in the 1950s was thrown into the mix.

Betsy:  There’s a lot of boy types in various states of development in your story.  How did you model these characters?

Craig:  Any writer that tells you their characters don’t have roots in their own beginnings is lying (or has a much better imagination than me).  So sure, these characters were familiar to me at first-but all of them go through what I call the “fiction filter” and they become their own peop;le.  My memory of that era is pretty strong, as it was significant for me.  One of the challenges was to not just take a fifteen year old from our era and plunk them into 1973,  Teenagers are very different now, both culturally, access to information and in some ways maturity wise.

Betsy:  During your story you float the idea of subversion for your readers?  What is it you’d like them to question or challenge?

Craig:  This is a complex question, and does get at the heart of the novel.  There are times when we wonder if we are getting the whole picture of something-we wonder what is underneath, what is hidden?  An extreme example of this would be conspiracy theorists, but all of us experience it on different levels.  Is that politician telling us the truth?  What are drug companies really up to? What are my parents doing when I’m asleep? Can that legal or religious authority be trusted? It’s true that too much focus on subversion can create paranoia, and if you watch movies from the 70s (a prime influence for the novel), that subversion and paranoia is everywhere.  For me, it shows up in a lot of places, even say, in the lyrics of Steely Dan.

Tuesday
May092017

So when did you begin that book? (In the woo-back)

As time draws closer to the release of Fall in One Day (May 16), and the launch at McNally Robinson (May 25),

I thought I'd crank up the woo-back machine - sorry, forgot to turn it on last Friday – and see when I first started blogging about this book.

It looks like about 10 years ago... whoa. I'll pause on that a moment. And I was in the middle of writing class. This is probably the earliest snippet of the novel. And even though it went through a dump truck full of changes, cuts and edits over the years - some of this actually still appears in the finished novel. Kinda cool.
Have a read:

 

 

Fall in One Day

leaves2.jpgI've been working on a new piece for my class. A long one.
Here is an excerpt from "Fall in One Day".

The first week of September is just an extension of summer.School starts and there is an excitement to that, even those who dread the day have to admit it. When the last bell rings, I jump on my bike and the seat burns my ass, which reminds me that last week it was August. Peeling across the soccer field, past the wire cage that surrounds the school, and riding past the pool, it's almost like I could fool myself into thinking that it's still summer, except the pool has been drained and a couple of poplar leaves are stuck on the yellowed bottom.

The wind that pushes me home has the smallest hint of cold, barely there – I sort of think I am imagining it because the calendar tells me its coming. Fall. When we are lucky it last a few weeks, but some years it's a day. It's an amazing windy day where every leaf is torn off every tree and launched into this aerial parade – like soft fireworks echoing the fair that started the summer. I remember watching them with Brian on the bank of the river. How good it felt to lay back on the grass, our shirts dusty and sweaty from a day of riding the Zipper, knocking over bottles with baseballs and breaking our teeth on candied apples. Just like the breeze tells me that fall is coming, and as much as I loved watching those Roman Candles, the fireworks told me that the summer would be over before I knew it.