Ivy vs Elm: The 6th 7C Story, F-I-N-A-L-L-Y published!

Yes, this one has been a long time coming, and I don’t even have an interesting excuse or anything. But here it is!

ivyWhen a fairy enforcer challenges him at an arcade game, Nick anticipates an easy win. He doesn’t expect to end up inside the game himself, running for his life from carnivorous vines and wooden thugs. There’s also a dragon who bears him a grudge for some reason, a guy who wants to prove he’s the Alpha of the neighbourhood, and a question everyone seems to want the answer to: “What happened to Catalogue Number 519?” It’s all a bit much for a part-time wolf to take.

Available at: Amazon | Kobo

It’s Going to Be a Trilogy

My debut novel, From All False Doctrine, was conceived as a standalone book, but by the time it was published last year, I was at work on a sequel. Neither Have I Wings is set twenty years later and follows a minor character from the first book, who seemed to deserve a story of his own. Early in the writing of this one, I decided that it would conclude with some loose ends dangling that would call for a third book. So, God willing, it will be a trilogy!

I wish I could confidently announce a publication date for the third book, but at this point it’s still far from being written, so that would be unwise. In any case, if you have enjoyed the first two, I hope you will want to revisit the characters and places in the third.

Neither Have I Wings is available now in ebook and paper form. Find out more here.

Launch Party: Neither Have I Wings

Launch Poster


I hope you’ll be able to join me at the party for the launch of my second novel, Neither Have I Wings. The party will take place on Thursday, October 22, at 8:00 in the parish hall at St. Thomas’s Church (383 Huron St., Toronto).

Even if you can’t make it, you can pre-order the ebook now on Amazon or Kobo, or get the paperback at all online retailers (or order it from your favourite local bookseller) after October 22.

I hope you like it!

Out Now and Coming Soon

New Releases

The Tenants of 7C (Heaven & Earth, Episodes 1–3)
“The Silver Bullet Gambit” (Heaven & Earth, Episode 4)
“Over the Viaduct, Under the Hill” (Heaven & Earth, Episode 5)

And Coming Soon …

On Oct. 22: Neither Have I Wings (a sequel to From All False Doctrine)

On Nov. 20: “Ivy vs. Elm” (Heaven & Earth, Episode 6)

On Dec. 1: the second 7C compilation (Episodes 4–6 in ebook and print)

New Book: The Tenants of 7C

proof copyRight next to my computer keyboard on my shiny red desk is a small stack of books: only two books, but both of them have my name on the cover. One of them is big and serious-looking, and the other is small and cute. It’s the small, cute one I want to tell you about today.

I started writing the Heaven & Earth stories back when the years still had two zeros in the middle, and the first three were published, as individual ebooks, last year. I’ve finally collected them into a single volume, with a snazzy cover created for me by the lovely Kerry Dickson.

Whereas From All False Doctrine was hyped pretty big in my little social circle (if that’s enough of an oxymoron for you), I feel like The Tenants of 7C has almost snuck up on me. I was a bit surprised by how delighted I was when the first proof copy arrived in the mail. It didn’t even feel like it should have been a big deal—but somehow it was.

So here, for those of you who haven’t read the stories yet, is the scoop. This one is a little bit different from False Doctrine. For one thing, it contains about 100% less liturgy.

Tenants CoverOn a back alley in Toronto’s Kensington Market, above the Heaven & Earth Bakery, there’s an apartment with a room for rent. The rent is negotiable. The location varies. Humans need not apply.

For Nick, who calls 7C home, real life can be a lot weirder than his friends’ role-playing games. Between regular stints at his job delivering bread and cinnamon buns to the otherworldly population of the city, these days he finds himself dodging attacks from vampire-hunting tourists, possessed pigeons, and his boss’s unborn child.

Welcome to a world of obnoxious fairies and bored vampires, satyrs who love ’80s music and demons who play video games. Welcome to 7C. Good luck finding the bathroom.

Available at: Amazon | Indigo | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | and anywhere else you can order books!

If you’ve already started following the adventures of Nick and Tacky and their friends (and enemies), then I have something new for you too! Episode Four, “The Silver Bullet Gambit,” is out in ebook form. I hope you like it.

silverbulletThe first time the employees of Stake Inc. tangled with the tenants of 7C, it almost put the urban vampire-hunting company out of business. Now they’re rebranding. Clare was the one who got them into trouble that time, but she’s been offered a second chance. She just has to decide whether or not it’s worth the risk to take it. In the meantime, she has the question of her possible fairy heritage to sort out … and then there’s this scavenger hunt …

Available at: Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords

What Are You Working on These Days?

My dear friend Victoria Goddard tagged me in a Work-in-Progress Blog Tour, which offers me an excuse to talk about what I’m currently writing. But first, you should read the tantalizing first chapter of Victoria’s latest, posted on her blog, The Rose and Phoenix Inn. Victoria is an amazing prose stylist and builder of wondrous fantasy worlds—or, to be more accurate, fantasy world, because one of the remarkable things about Victoria’s stories is that they all take place in the same vast, meticulously imagined, many-faceted setting. Her dedication to her world sometimes makes me feel like a dilettante. 🙂

One of the unexpected effects of publishing my first novel and inviting my wider social circle to the launch party has been that suddenly a lot more people whom I see on a regular basis know that I write books, and they ask me about it in polite conversation. “So are you working on another book?” they say. “How’s the new book coming?” I can’t even overstate how amazing this is. It’s as if I went around for years concealing the fact that I have a fish tail, and now all of a sudden people want to make small talk about the ocean. Or something.

Anyway, the answer to the question, “Are you working on another book?” is “Yes!” In fact, I have a finished draft with my editor at the moment. Woo hoo!

To comply with the blog tour “rules,” I’m sharing three small snippets below: the opening sentences of each of the first three chapters of the new book.


Chapter 1: An Interesting Life

There was a shaded spot outside the officers’ barracks where somebody had set out a couple of chairs, and you could sit there and look away from the grey hangars and the whitewashed barracks and the runways, out over the North York moors, green and brown in the afternoon sunlight. Charlie stood in the doorway, looking at the chairs and considering the possibility of sitting in one. He had an errand to run, and work to do after he got back, and on the whole he didn’t really have time.

Chapter 2: The Awful Decline

Evvie closed the file drawer and looked out the window. The view was depressing. In late summer, when the heather bloomed, it covered the landscape in a delicate purple fuzz that was quite pretty. Now, though, in March, the plants were a carpet of brown lumps, giving the moors a mangy, desolate appearance. And it was cold. So cold. Cold indoors, in the draughty old house with its rattling windows and big rooms and tiled floors, cold outside, where the wind scoured across the upland. Evvie wore thick socks inside her sturdy shoes, and a wooly cardigan over her plain grey dress, and kept a cup of hot tea on her desk when she worked in the office, partly to drink, partly to cradle in her hands to warm them. In the evenings she remembered with homesickness the sun dropping golden into the Aegean, its last warm light gleaming on whitewashed walls as the bells rang for Vespers.

Chapter 3: Fear Not

Charlie pulled the car to the side of the road and turned off the engine. He looked over his shoulder at the slack, still figure curled up on the back seat. The blue sky, the moors, the road, the car itself all seemed unreal. The only real thing was what was lying there: the still, pale form of it, mutilated but beautiful …

Use the word, he told himself sternly. It’s not as if you don’t believe in it.


So there you have it. Evvie is a new character, but Charlie is the acolyte from False Doctrine, which makes this book a sequel. The setting is Yorkshire in 1945. And the word Charlie is trying to convince himself to use … Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Oh, I forgot to mention the title of the book, which is Neither Have I Wings.

Next on the tour, I’m tagging my friend John Meadows. John is the talented photographer who took my author photos, which I love. But he’s also a Renaissance man with lots of different projects in the works. I don’t know which he will share, but I look forward to it!

The Quest for the Holy Grail

As part of the Lenten programming at my church, I will be giving three talks on the next three Sundays about the Holy Grail. I want to make these as spiritually relevant as possible, so my plan is to focus on some of the Grail questers in the medieval texts and why they succeed or fail. I’m sure I will end up talking quite a lot about the textual history of the Grail stories, though, as I find this stuff so interesting (and it’s also monstrously complex).

The dates are March 8, 15, and 22, the time is 12:45 (for lunch, with the study following), and the place is St. Thomas’s Church, 383 Huron St., Toronto.

[caption id="attachment_839" align="aligncenter" width="612"]Holy Grail Ad No, that is not a photograph of the Holy Grail. It is a late-twelfth-century French chalice.[/caption]


How to Write a Convincing Medieval Setting

UPDATE: The course has been rescheduled to April 20. You can still sign up now!

Over at Savvy Authors, I’m bringing together two of my favourite things, to teach a four-week workshop on writing fiction in a medieval setting. If you’re interested in writing a novel set in the Middle Ages, or medieval-inflected fantasy, come join me! The course begins on Monday, but registration remains open until Wednesday (Jan. 28), and you won’t miss a thing.

Oh, and even if you’re not up for a whole course, you might want to take a look at the post I wrote over there on life in a medieval castle.

[caption id="attachment_821" align="alignnone" width="293"]Vittore Carpaccio, The Dream of St. Ursula, 1495–1500 Vittore Carpaccio, The Dream of St. Ursula, 1495–1500[/caption]

Twelve Somethings Somethinging

Happy Epiphany, Twelfth Day of Christmas, and Happy New Year while we’re at it!

I’m sneaking this one in under the wire at the last appropriate moment (yeah, not even) to share with you a Christmas-themed mini-story in the 7C series, titled “The Present.” It takes place before the rest of the series, but makes sense to read after “7C Goes Down.”

While we’re at it, here are links to the whole series so far:

Have you read them all yet?

Oh, you have, and you want to know what happens next??? Ack! Sorry!



How to Hold a Book Launch Without Any Books

[caption id="attachment_740" align="alignleft" width="200"]I did have one copy to read from I did have one copy to read from[/caption]

So I wouldn’t recommend this as a deliberate strategy, but if you do find yourself in the position of having to host a book launch without any books to offer people, here’s how to make it work.

The secret is to have an amazing group of friends and well-wishers who will treat the lack of books as a minor inconvenience, make sympathetic jokes about it, and enjoy the event anyway. It also helps to have delicious food provided by a wonderful caterer working tirelessly in the kitchen while everyone else mingles, and awesome friends and family to help set things up, provide champagne, take book orders, and be generally splendid. I’m so lucky!


Oh, and four days later, the books arrived. And they’re lovely!

In all seriousness, I wouldn’t wish a book-free launch on anyone, because as the days beforehand rolled by and I realized that the books were not going to come in time, I was pretty miserable. I debated postponing, but by then it seemed too late, and I knew some people had already rearranged their schedules in order to attend. I opted to go ahead with it, and I’m so glad I did.

So if something like this does happen to you, here’s my advice: Try to keep a sense of humour about it. It’s not the end of the world, even if it’s your debut novel (as this is mine). And try to surround yourself with sympathetic people. I know that’s sometimes easier said than done, but if you know, for example, any bookstore owners or other authors who can share their own tales of things that have gone awry with book launches, it can’t help but lift your spirits. For instance, I may not have had any books to sell, but at least I didn’t have a car crash through the window during the launch party …