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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


OPBA Interview - Truth Through Scandal and Conspiracy

Over at the Open Book website, catch me talking about truth, scandal, and conspiracy.

Here is a taste:

Open Book:

Tell us about your new book and how it came to be.

Craig Terlson:

The impetus of Fall in One Day began with the idea of hidden truths. I have always been fascinated by stories of conspiracy and intrigue, as well as the paranoia that comes out of not knowing who is telling the truth, and what remains unknown. Growing up in the 1970s, I knew that Watergate was a watershed moment not just for the United States, but Canada, and really the whole world. In the novel, I wanted to explore these ideas of hidden truth and subversion in the era of Watergate, but in a more intimate, family situation—because families also can hide the truth.


Is there a question that is central to your book, thematically? And if so, did you know the question when you started writing or did it emerge from the writing process?


Ultimately the question that drove the novel was, “Is it better to know the truth, even if it is painful?” As teenagers navigate adolescence they experience this wondering about truth-telling in a profound way. Other themes emerged as the novel developed, but at the centre of the story was the question of who can be trusted.

I didn't know this when I started writing Fall in One Day. The writing began by following the main characters, and listening to where they were going. I know it sounds a bit odd, or mystical, when writers say that, but I've learned that you can't force a story where it doesn't want to go. Writing under the constraints of theme is a recipe for a novel that becomes an overlong Aesop's Fable.

read the whole interview here:


And stay tuned for new developments here at the blog.


Shhh... writing

Yes, the old woofreakinhoo is taking a bit of a hiatus - I am busy working on a new novel, and I only have so much time to commit. Feel free to poke around. There's 10 years of stuff here!

And yes indeed, Luke Fischer is coming back.




Luke Fischer is Coming Back

Hey, I'm a big fan of Luke Fischer... and I know of some other readers out there who feel the same way.
I've been working away at the follow up to Surf City Acid Drop, and I wanted to share an excerpt.

Stay tuned for updates on Manistique - the next Luke Fischer book.

Here is a taste:

Thick clouds stuck to each other like wet cotton, hanging in the air, full or moisture, but not letting go of their rain. Not yet. Still, the road ahead, the shoulder, the tree line, everywhere I looked hung a mist. Up and down the rollercoaster road we drove. It was smooth enough, probably be hell in winter, slide your car right into the pines, and they’d never find you. Left to freeze to death or be eaten by a moose. I admit, I wasn’t sure if a moose would do that, but I thought the thought anyway.

We drove in silence, I didn’t even feel like asking Sam what the plan was, I wasn’t sure I cared anymore. In the last few days I’d lost my way. Right from the beginning, I had questioned my reasons. I wanted to help out Franko. But how was this helping? Me drifting with a local sheriff from depressed town to sadder town.

The sides of the highway were dotted with mom and pop motels with names like NorthWoods, TimberView, and Iron-everything. The weathered signs were the originals, letters flaked off, and even older than the restaurants they advertised. No one thought to update them. If you were driving along this road you knew where the good places were. Maybe the odd tourist family, the ones too poor to go somewhere where something was, they ended up on this road— them and the fishermen.

Why did I want to help Franko? Sure, I felt for him. You see someone gut shot and just about die in front of you, well, it’s gonna affect a guy. He probably should have died. But it was more than that. I was damn pissed off. I wanted answers and not one person was providing them.

Sam and I weren’t one fucking scrap of dogshit information closer to knowing a goddamn thing. We were doing what this always comes down: chasing money. What was it about money anyway? Why did everything end up there? What were you supposed to do with it anyway? How much crap can you buy? How much could you drink or snort up your nose? For some, a lot I guess. Those old movies, the westerns, they always had the guy that was going to pull one more big job, and then hang it up, get a ranch in Butthole Wyoming and raise llamas. And they never did. They always got shot, or screwed by someone else, or jailed, or all three.

“Pretty deep into it, Luke.”

Sam’s voice bounced off the car ceiling and smacked me in the head.


“You’re wondering what this is all about,” she said.

“You do card tricks too?”

“Come again?”

“Mind reading me.”

She gave a low laugh.

“Well maybe Luke… because I’m wondering myself. Kinda thought you would be too.”

“I figured you got some info from the girl at the desk and we were following that.”

“Not curious?” she asked.

I didn’t answer her. A surfer’s wave of tiredness crashed into me. I let my eyes travel along the landscape as it whipped past. A doe poked her head out of the treeline. Sam slowed, seeing it when I did. The deer took a few timid steps toward the highway and stopped as we passed, spraying mist up at her.

Another rollercoaster hill came up and the rain picked up. The gray clouds became a solid dull mass overhead.

“We looking for more money?” I asked. “Is that what’s going on?”

“Yep. But that’s not the whole of it.”

“It was for Phil. That’s all he saw.”

“Things are getting pretty bleak there Luke. Maybe we should pull in and have plate of eggs and a few PBR’s.” She blew a stream of air trying to get a strand of hair out of her eyes.

“Just tell me this is about more than money.”





Three Things about Book Tours


I keep meaning to post some deep and profound reflections on my recent summer book tour (and announce the upcoming fall one), but it seems like that hamster wheel is spinning faster than ever.

(Shown above is me literally on the road in Qu'appelle, Sask. for a reading at their town library.)

So... I was trying to think of some things that might be useful, or at the least, interesting to those who wonder about such things. I came up with three (ish).

Thing One:
Writers in Bookstores are Scary

I think I've written about this before, but here I go again. I did a number of book store appearances over the summer, and I've got some more bookstores coming up in October and November.
It's an interesting, and yeah, sort of daunting gig.

People who come into bookstores don't expect to see a writer there. What? Shouldn't you be somewhere... writing? Or at least in a library reading and researching? Not sitting behind a table making me all nervous.

Truthfully, not all gave me this vibe. I got some smiles, especially from kids (hey, mom, do they make him sit there?) And I did end up having some great conversations with people. Sometimes about my book, but sometimes about politics, religion, drugs, rock and roll, and of course, books. I am a lover of book stores, and a huge lover of books. When someone took the courage to talk to the guy at the table, they found me friendly, and hey, I'm not even trying to sell them anything. Well, mostly. Sure, I'd love them to buy my book - but really I just want to talk to readers about what they love. It's like an in-store book club. I did find that engagement was key, because more than half the time, if I got into a conversation that person ended up buying a book.

But still, there were periods of quiet and awkwardness, and going to bathroom or buying another coffee - until I discovered thing 2.

Oh, and sometimes old friends come and visit you. Here is a shot of a couple of high school pals that found me lurking in a bookstore.

Thing Two:


With those three words, I give you other book tour people my biggest secret mojo. My son-in-law was the one who told me, "people don't know what to say when they meet a writer. Give them a question."

It's true, awkward questions like, "um, so you wrote a book?" or "do you work here?" don't really go anywhere. I thought I'd give it a shot, just to see. And holy cow. No, I mean, jumpin Jehosophat! (does anyone ever say that anymore?)

My bookstore gig was four hours long. And for a solid four hours I talked, and talked, and laughed, and got into long weird and wonderful conversations. People who normally zoom by the author table were stopped in their tracks. Or the ones that walked by gave a 50s sit-com double take before going deeper into the store. And many of them came back. I sold more books than I ever did. I had people sharing secrets about their lives, one fellow in particular shared with me some very moving history, and was at first annoyed by the question my sign asked. Then pissed off. And then as we talked longer and longer, his countenance changed, and he unloaded some deep emotions. He walked away not buying a book, but I was moved by it too. Staff members (who also bought books) came by to find out what was going on at my table. "This doesn't usually happen." "People have been telling you all sorts of things. Lots of people." "What is your book about?"

So there it is, my mojo, and you can have it (if you can find a simple provocative question).

Oh yeah, my question? This one:

Thing Three

Libraries are cool.

I visited a few libraries on my trip. The reading in my hometown was especially amazing. My sisters were there, as were some people who knew my parents, and me when I was quite a bit younger. A high school teacher was there and recalled when I won an arts scholarship - she said we got our money's worth (that was nice). But the outpouring of support was really quite something. That's the thing about hometowns, or mine anyway, they help you remember where you're from.

Here I am reading in my hometown library.


And here is me and my sisters being all family-like.

Another library was also special - the group I read to was small, but the appreciation and warmth was lovely. I appreciate so much what libraries and librarians do. So much of my childhood and teenage years was spent pouring over the stacks, or hunkered down in a corner reading.


I'll leave it at that for now.

One last shot of my traveling partner, the one known as "the lovely" (and if you ever wondered who Fall in One Day was dedicated to).


Coming up for me and Fall in One Day are few dates in Ontario, and then one (so far in BC.)


October 14: Chapters Bayview - Toronto - Noon

October 15: Indigo Yonge and Eglinton - Toronto -  Noon - 4:00

October 21: Stratford Writers Fest - 9:00 AM

October 21: Chapters Kitchener - Noon - 4:00

October 22: Stratford Writers Fest (with Ron Sexsmith and Terry Fallis) - 3:30 PM


British Columbia

November 18: Indigo Park Royal Vancouver - Noon - 3:00

November 19: TBA Vancouver


I hope to see you there - or somewhere!





Cities of Men

Twitter's cool. There I said it, and we got that out of the way.

One of the many ways it is cool is the writers that I run into (and often befriend). Once such writer is William Jensen. Can't recall how we started chatting, but possibly because we both had our debut novels come out this May. We swapped novels, and to be honest it took me a while to get to reading his book. This was mostly an overbusy life, and a night table absolutely groaning under the weight of the "to-be-read" pile.

When I finally cracked it, two pages in I knew I was going to love it. True, we both had some pretty similar influences. Though, a big difference is that William is from Texas and I'm from the land of maple syrup and poutine. I also think that if I really didn't like the book, I wouldn't have finished it. And if I didn't like it, I might not review it on a public forum. Maybe, I'd send out a nervously friendly email saying, uh, yeah, it wasn't really for me.

But here is the thing - I goddamn loved it! It hit home for me in so many places. There were some funny coincidences and parallels with my novel that popped up for me. We both had teenage boy protags (12 and 15). We both were writing about different eras (70s and 80s). And strangely we both started the books with quotes from Tennyson (that was ultra-weird.)

So yes, I did end up putting the review on goodreads and Amazon. And now I am shouting about it at woofreakinhoo. 

Here it is:

Cities of Men by William Jensen

This is a novel that will stay with me a long time - and I don't say that lightly.

The characterizations and tight prose in Cities of Men reminded me of early Richard Ford, especially his novel Wildlife—in fact the novel read like a classic, with echoes of Carver, and maybe even Sherwood Anderson or Updike. But Jensen's book is more than a homage to these past greats. The story is electrifying in a way that I don't see much anymore. The charge is an emotional one, the human condition spilled out in the pain and confusion of a teenager who can't understand why the world has dealt him such a raw deal.

The deal here is Cooper (Coop) a twelve-year-old growing up in the southwest has lost his mother. Her disappearance is what drives the narrative — and it drives it like the Charger beautifully illustrated by Kevin Tong on the cover. Coop's father is a Vietnam vet with PTSD and a deep streak of violence and anger, buried within a tight skin of trying to do the right thing, seemingly ambivalent, but still ready to burst at any moment. Coop and his dad attempt in various ways to track down the wayward wife and mother, but the reader is somehow never sure how much the father wants to find her. It's a difficult emotional situation to describe, and I don't want to give away anything. But throughout the ordeal Coop goes deeper into his own pain, and his own violence emerges. I am left wondering what this book, set in the 80s, is saying about our culture of violence today, and the broken families that create it.

Especially poignant, and at times hard to read, is the relationship between Coop and his friend Donald. Jensen nails the conflicting emotions that run through adolescence, and even more so for those put under extreme duress like Coop, and those on the outside like Donald.

The novel captures the era beautifully, and characters like the father's friend Sebastian are a reminder that the druggy 70s and counter-culture 60s were not that long ago. It's an era I recall well, but in a totally different geography, still the touchstones and pop culture references enliven the narrative rather than feel forced. Maybe this is what makes it feel like it was written a while ago.

But I don't want to make this review sound like this novel doesn't have a modern sensibility. The reason why this book will stay with me is the way it describes the loneliness and confusion of growing up. Calling it "coming-of-age" gives it short shrift. Because the loneliness that it talks about affects us all. The mother wants something more of her life, Coop's father tries to make a life out of what he's been dealt, and Coop most of all exhibits the deep pain of abandonment, and raging against an unjust world. Damn right he wants to smash things.

This is a novel to read and consider. And one with a resonance that will not be easily be dismissed from the reader's memory.

5 Stars

Pick it up here.