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Iconic imagery, delicious, lust filled words transcending us into another frame of mind.  This immediately comes to mind when I try to sum up what The Tyranny of Love is about. The problem is, there is no summing it up.  I have been left wanting more.

Unless you’ve met Nik or heard his radio show, HOWL on CIUT.FM, you won’t know what his voice sounds like. He has a very sexy, sensuous, seasoned rock and roll poets tone.  It was hard to read The Tyranny of Love without reading each piece with Nik’s voice attached to it, adding to the romance of each piece.

When I was first introduced to Nik’s writing, I fell instantaneously in love.  His writing captures the realities of life and love, taking the harshness of it all, crushing it into beautiful, strange colours, creating a paradox on written canvas.  There is a powerful ebb and flow, waves cresting with religious, iconic visions of God, steamy after moments of coital pleasure and pop culture.

There is a new wave of poets and writers that have emerged in the city of Toronto.  I personally call them The Rock and Roll poets.  They are reminiscent of the new wave of poets and writers of the 60’s and 70’s such as Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, or Truman Capote.  Nik Beat is one of these Rock and Roll poets, adding a new and powerful flavour to the literary scene.

Under normal circumstances, I would single out a few poems that were my favourites.  I can’t do that here.  It’s impossible.  Each piece standing out and speaking to me equally.     64 pages of an unending orgasmic, poetic experience. The Tyranny of Love has left me wanting more, needing more of Nik Beat’s words.

Rock and Roll Poet.

There is a new movement, a new style of Poet emerging in the city of Toronto.  A movement I hope goes viral.  Poets who are become the rockstars or our literary scene in every sense of the word.  Brandon Pitts is one of these Poets.  On the page and in performance, he fills the stage with a lyrical presence, oozing a sensual vibration of power in his chosen words.  His voice an instrument.  Pressure to Sing is Brandon Pitts songbook, his album, his concert.  His poetry images of his past, present and future.

Pressure to Sing is a structural masterpiece, with 11 chapters.  Each chapter’s poems defining a story, an emotion and a message. I won’t choose favourites amongst the poems in this book as they all stand out.  However, one particular poem in Pressure to Sing does deserve that little bit of extra attention and accolade.  Lot, a poem that affected me emotionally, leaving me in a breathless state, having me swing hard, between, anger, disgust and empathy for the state of human evolution. A modern expose mixed with religious icons, a society failing at making a better world.  The last line of the poem, a powerful statement, ‘We are defining our times’ rings honesty and truth.  Brandon has a video poem for Lot that is a must see.  (http://brandonpitts.com/Videos.html).  Lot is a powerful, moving piece, that should be read and heard by all.

As a poet and writer, Brandon Pitts is defining our times indeed.  He raises the bar to a level that we haven’t seen in decades. A bar that should inspire other poets and writers to reach for.

Coil is a thing of magic and passion, filled with spirituality, sensuality and intense, raw emotional words that can only come from experiencing life with eyes wide open.   The poems in Coil are a selection of 800 pieces written over the course of several months. Poems that feel as if they were channelled from another world, their vessel being Susan Munro.

I was first introduced to Susan Munro’s poetry at an open mic for The Beautiful and the Damned.  Open mic’s are magical and sometimes strange, never knowing what to expect from the performance.   After hearing Susan read, I knew this beautiful woman’s words were more than just a delicious treat, it felt as if I was put under a spell, her spell.

Thomas Scott’s quote on the back of Coil, sums it up perfectly. “This is a collection of poems that feels like a finely cut stone, with each poem a slightly different facet of the whole. You will find intensity and magic here, clarity and airiness — just on the other side of understanding.”

Coil is a flawless piece of work, as is each poem within the covers.  From the religious flavouring of Marks, to the sensual and sexy piece Love is a Car, Susan Munro’s Coil will leave you with a vibrant visual of words transcending to a higher level of divine.  A muse for our times, Susan Munro is a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul.

Reviewed by Anne. F. Walker

The QWERTY Institute of Cosmetic Typographical Enhancements
Author: Angela Szczepaniak
Publisher:  BookThug 2012
Cost: $25 CDN
Where to buy: http://www.bookthug.ca/proddetail.php?prod=201106&cat=95

The Apothecary
Author: Lisa Robertson
Publisher:  BookThug 2007
Cost: $12 CDN
Where to buy: http://www.bookthug.ca/proddetail.php?prod=361

FIELDNOTES, a forensic
Author: Kate Eichhorn
Publisher:  BookThug 2010
Cost: $18 CDN
Where to buy: http://www.bookthug.ca/proddetail.php?prod=201017

Recently Laura Moriarty, Deputy Director of Small Press Distribution in Berkeley, California, noted that Canadian poets seem to demonstrate an internalized idea that everyday people might read their work, and that this is different from Americans.  I like this idea.  It compliments my sense that Canadian poets as a whole are interested in avant-garde form, and yet remain invested in something tangible, sensual and/or concrete.  Canadian work seems located to me.  Three books which each maintain some of this particular aesthetic are FIELDNOTES, a forensic by Kate Eichhorn (BookThug 2010), The Apothecary by Lisa Robertson (BookThug 2007), and The QWERTY Institute of Cosmetic Typographical Enhancements by Angela Szczepaniak (BookThug 2012).

bpNichol was my first poetry teacher.  I studied with him at York University, and he mentored my poetry before his passing. Once I had asked him what a concrete poem (pond/frog) on his office door meant.  He had me figured out I think.  He said that when one writes in perfect syntax, with correct punctuation, one is working with the established power norms.  He said “fucking with language IS fucking with power.”  I understood.  I began to appreciate why we fuck with language, particularly in ways that invite readers to experience story and song differently.  It is part of a strong Canadian literary tradition, shifting things, exploring shifts.  All of these books work innovatively with form. Two of them open the alphabet into poetry sequences.

In FIELDNOTES, a forensic Kate Eichhorn’s film-script/poetry appears printed inside the cover in gray and black.  The title page on page three of the book is crowded by the prose poetry script that concludes with the lines: “SMASH TO END OF TEASER, ROLL TITLE CREDITS.”  Inside the pages are lyric poems in traditional left-justified form (“skin slippage / gloving / remains in a holding pattern” (16),) prose poems, bits of script. There are words and lines lined out.  A sense of the body and of place, of pattern, seem key.  The decomposition and re-composition we read in the structure appears over and over in the images: “Therapy can include drink.  Complete isolation. Knotted strings around necks. Blood boiled for steam.  Childbirth.  Thrashing.  Counteragents.  Coins” (51). Lists often indicate abundance, overage, too much to examine individually, thus the list.  This known use of the convention of lists in poetry makes heavier this collection’s specific content. FIELDNOTES, a forensic concludes on the inside of the back cover with a transforming list:

DOE, JANE you point and nod
DOE, JANE using a crowbar
DOE, JANE another coroner
DOE, JANE a set of bones
DOE, JANE the examining table
DOE, JANE forensics
label side of DOE, JANE
formalin-fixed DOE, JANE
no traces of Ecstasy DOE, JANE
chloral hydrate DOE, JANE
morphology DOE, JANE
toe tag on table dials skeletal remains
JANE DOE’S RECORDED VOICE
CUE SONG

Lisa Robertson starts out The Apothecary with:

Tersely I find myself beginning with the letters gl instead of grass undeniably to found a presumption of intimacy and station upon myself which would seem to speak not of that scission but of the really normal beauty still floundering between my teeth just as within the wilder dominion urges entertain and puddle seeming to offer proof that weekends once so drowsily couched and now algebraically supplied attach tenderness to symmetrical and embroiled vocabularies.

It’s a train ride that shifts tracks and doubles back.  What first caught me was that Robertson locates herself in language first, finding herself beginning with letters. She assigns emotion to this process, and negotiates how these letters are an “instead of” the very tangible “grass.”    Most of the prose poems use this technique of no periods in the stanza, or poem.  Aligned with bpNichol’s sense of disturbing syntactic norms, this practice pushes my expectation of closure at any given point.  Instead I find a turn replaces a stop. On page thirteen she begins an articulation of “the shimmying throat of an alphabet.”  For nine pages alphabetized titles and short prose poems roam. One italicized lyric poem pulls pages thirty-one and thirty-two, after that poem the prose poems do contain periods internally.  These poems work with the invisible rhythmic turns and twists of the (almost) period-less often-squared double-justified.

The QWERTY Institute of Cosmetic Typographical Enhancements by Angela Szczepaniak invites us into a contextual tone, ironic against the backdrop of this collection, in  “Normal”:

The QWERTY Institute recently put out a citywide call for characters who describe themselves—quite comfortably and without irony—as “normal.” The overwhelming number of candidates who met The Institute’s rigorous normalcy background check were asked a series of identical questions on topics ranging from current events, to art and politics, to the weather. Participants were urged to give their absolutely honest first responses—“the more naked the better” was, in fact, their only instruction. The results of this landmark study remain inconclusive, though its significance can hardly be disputed. The following represents a sampling of the compelling responses that colour the spectrum of “Normal.” The full study may be obtained from The QWERTY Institute for a small processing fee.

This tone is reminiscent to me of the film-script opening of FIELDNOTES, a forensic.  Not in a derivative sense, but in the sense that it instructs the reader on a manner with which to engage with the text.  This is poetry.  It is visual on-the-page.  It is slides, script fragments, large letters, small letters, letters replacing currency and buying bread, “trivia will take the place of paper currency—a loaf of bread will cost roughly 2 scientific facts & an obscure literary quotation” (10), imagined historic journals, comedy sequences, “This is a font comedian. Look at him. Observe him in his natural habitat, the deserted airport bar…” (16), security and passport documents, and and and…

The first eight-six pages are alphabetic concrete and “found” poems.  This pattern resonates with The Apothecary’s nine pages alphabetized prose poems.  It takes the idea in a completely different manner.  The sense, though, of exploring the alphabet through a series of intricately considered parts, is a common element. There is a section “Normal,” that starts on page eight, another on page 28, and on pages 87, 92, 155 and 225.  This is some playful, insane, off the map, narrative-infused, concrete, language poetry.  It forms surprising bridges, between ideas phrased in unexpected forms.  It messes with language in a quite bpNichol-esk tradition.

Already terrified of clowns and big yellow birds, Jeff Cottrill has now added weird green people who live in garbage can’s to my growing list of those to avoid on my journey into the ether-world.  Jeff Cottrill’s one man play, Grouch on a Couch has proven my theory about Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch that one should never judge a Grouch until they have heard their tales of woe.

Revealing life lessons with the help of a Bob Newhartesque therapist, the real Grouch surfaces, putting an end to Hollywood myths about his real image, history and resolve.  Grouch on a Couch reminds us that even when covered with the filth of the world, there is always a deeper, underlying story to be heard.

Written in the edgy, biting, realistic humour of Jeff Cottrill, Grouch on the Couch is a dark, gripping satire that should be both read and seen on a stage. After seeing Jeff perform live many times in the last few years, it’s hard not to love Grouch on a Couch and regain sympathy for the stinky man in the garbage can.

Pick up a copy and when the play is back on a stage near you, check it out.

You can also see Jeff at these upcoming shows:

Upcoming shows are listed on Jeff’s site, http://jeffcottrill.com/
In a nutshell:

Storytelling at Caplansky’s
April 22, 8:00
Caplansky’s, 356 College

Jammin’ on the One
May 11, 7:30
Arts and Letter Club, 14 Elm

Also doing Plasticine again in August.

Lisa Young fills her pages with warmth. There are smells of hyacinth, of mint, of pine that permeate, and surrounding these are phrases filled with truth. Enormous stories finely whittled to stanzas.
Young takes the natural world and holds it alongside the human condition in a way that is both romantic and honest. She travels the reader under hutches, down banisters, plunges them into warm dishwater, once here, she sifts poetic ideas, whispers sadness, remorse, and heated thoughts into ears.

There are some wonderful stranger pieces here as well, Alice and Baby is a tender portrait of madness, “How Do Bowls Sing” has the reader imagining the sound of intellect. “Mix Flour” is an excellent example of the kind of contrast Young brings to her work; her narrator kneads dough while speaking of a horrifying wedding scene. We are up to our elbows if flour when she takes such a turn.

Quattro as found a wonderful new voice in Lisa Young. “When the Earth” is something I’m currently wrapping to put under the tree for someone I love. Even though I have a huge distain for Christmas, I always love to give a good book.

In recent months I’ve read through many poetry collections.  My own personal poetry is set within dark humour, sexual misadventure and horror and am drawn to similar styles of writing. Though brilliantly written, much of what I’ve read of late, hasn’t filled my hunger for the darkness that I feel goes hand in hand with the type of poetry I appreciate. Amphetamine Heart, filled that void.

Liz Worth’s dark, deliberate collection is filled with sexual tension, sensual heat, and an edge of punk rock soul.  This prolific collection brings back memories of one night stands, miscalculated sexual encounters and that uncomfortable moment of waking up and not remembering how you got home.

Two poems that jumped off the page at me where Boozecan, though set on a summers night, reminds me of being 20 and walking home in the bitter cold, at 5 am from the local booze can. A warm buzz of cheap beer and tequila, and an unknown boy staggering behind and the poem M, leading to vivid memories of an obsessive love gone terribly astray.  Although not what the poem itself if about, it triggered many memories.

Part of Guenica’s First Poet’s collection, Amphetamine Heart and Liz Worth should be in every poetry lovers collection and one of the best of 2011.  Liz Worth, should be on everyone’s bookshelf.

the playfulness in Adebe D.A.’s poetry lifts the lyric. at the beginning of the poem “In Other Words” it seems like there is a salsa rhythm under the syntax. she moves back and forth between sounds like steps in a dance:

others and not some speak naturally of difference in
syntax/rhythm,
imagery traveling avenues beyond word/poems
that resist and cannot resist open rooms

later in the same poem the lines “O Plath why did you become another good bitch / who has to die before she gets put in books” seems to depict some to the author’s self-described intent of creating “a collection attuned to the creative process as a phenomenon of the will to move on (ex-) from nihilistic attitudes (nihilo), and in so doing (according to its original Latin etymology) create ‘something out of nothing.’” the poems concludes “I am trying to break away from circumstance, / trying to break down and further down / and eventually / through”

i buy it. i buy that this author is using art as transcendence, using sound tone rhythm as that which moves a person through growth toward possible permanent change. i buy

I pray for the dark and your dream each night
hoping to find your streets decked out
in glorious neons and steam, have dreamed
many times of your body singing me into chaos
and peace

found in “New York, My Future Love.” i buy that this is a new poetic voice moving through the new millennium’s cities and hybridities, singing a “mulatta song” suggested in “Beatrix.”

basically, i buy the book, and enjoy its melody.

Bio – Adebe DeRango-Adem, aka Adebe D. A., recently completed her MA at York University, where she also served as Assistant Editor for the arts and literary journal, Existere.  She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate.  In 2008 she attended the summer writing program at Naropa University, where she mentored with Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

Romy Shiller has done it again and after reading You Never Know, I knew she would.

In general it takes a lot for a book to hold my attention and a series even more so. My passion is fiction and non-fiction tends to leave me disappointed and in many cases the stagnated language used, bored. Romy Shiller on the other hand has a knack for not only drawing in the reader, but keeping them sitting at her dinner table, while she takes them down the path to an amazing journey.

“You Never Know is an inspirational book that everyone should read, as it proves to you, that determination and a will to rise above should never be doubted and Romy Shiller will prove it to you.” quote from my review of You Never Know. As with You Never Know, Who Knew is an inspiration. Romy shows the world that nothing to so terrible that you can’t find love, hope and life and like James Franco’s character in 127 hours, you go against the odds and get yourself out of the crevice.

What ever your situation may be, forgo the self help books. All the inspiration you will need, to figure out how to survive, thrive and live again can be found in You Never Know and Who Knew. It’s the only kick in the pants you will really need. I also strongly suggest you google Romy, check out her websites and read all you can about her.

BIO
Romy Shiller is a pop culture critic and holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Toronto. Her academic areas of concentration include film, gender performance, camp and critical thought. She lives in Montreal where she continues her writing. All books are available online.

Website: http://romyshiller.com/
Twitter: RomyShiller

Growing up, I was the kid who harassed her father to quickly finish reading the latest King novel so I could devour it. I constantly scared myself by watching the goriest horror movies I could get my hands on and by reading King, Lovecraft and Barker. As I was then, I’m still a huge fan of scaring myself and am always looking for new and creative ways to do so. Of late, I’ve been disappointed with much of what has been offered to us in the way of horror, until I started reading Terror Town, the latest release from horror author James Roy Daley.

Twisted, unpredictable and deliciously morbid, Terror Town was exactly what I needed to creep myself out. Terror Town has it all, horrifying creatures, vampires, zombies and likely one of the best written, sadomasochistic serial killer characters, since ‘Buffalo Bill’.

Many writers can’t seem to grasp the true essence of a serial killer, Daley has not only captured that essence, but made Nicolas Nehalem a character that will stay in your nightmares for a very long time. This novel is filled with many insane characters, and terrifying monsters, but Nicolas was by far my favourite.

Terror Town was my first journey into the twisted mind of James Roy Daley and he succeeded in providing me with the scare I needed. I don’t often give a novel a five star review, but Terror Town definitely deserves it. Written with characters and creatures you fear will jump off the page and come after you at any moment, Terror Town is the ultimate scarefest.

Currently Terror Town is only available in e-book form and can be purchased at both amazon.com and smashwords.com. Have no fear, you don’t need a Kindle or a Kobo to read it. You can also view most e-books on your computer, iPhone and Blackberry or any phones that support e-books.

Bio:
James Roy Daley ~ is a writer, editor, and a professional musician. He studied film at the Toronto Film School, music at Humber College, and English at the University of Toronto. In 2007 his first novel, The Dead Parade, was released in 1,100 bookstores across America. In 2009 he founded a book company called Books of the Dead Press, where he enjoyed immediate success working with many of the biggest names in horror. His first two anthologies, Best New Zombie Tales Volume One, and Best New Zombie Tales Volume Two, far exceeded sales predictions, leading many of the top horror writers in the world to view his little company as one worth watching.

If you asked me to pitch Charlie Higson’s young adult horror novel, The Enemy, I’d probably call it Lord of the Flies meets 28 Days Later. And like a good high concept horror-flick, the conceit of the novel can be summarized in a single sentence: everyone over fourteen years of age has gone bananas, leaving all the younguns to fend for themselves in an apocalyptic England. Cue blood, betrayals, mutant zoo animals, and cannibalistic mums and dads.

There’s something to be said about a book that tells old stories in new and unfamiliar ways. In this case, Higson twists the tired apocalyptic zombie narrative by making an intrinsically weak demographic his focus. The strategy pays off: for adult readers unaccustomed to seeing children suffer, The Enemy is a parent’s nightmare, while younger readers will appreciate the ways in which the novel makes literal the often insurmountable chasm between childhood and the adult-world. As the book’s tagline puts it: you thought they would always protect you. In Higson’s England, nothing could be further from the truth.

Part of the fun comes from watching Small Sam, Arran and the rest of Higson’s tweens make adult decisions in a world where doing otherwise means being barbecued alive by Aunt Binny and Uncle Vern. And make no mistake, a surprising number of them do eventually succumb to deliciously gruesome ends. It’s to Higson’s credit that he’s not afraid to kill off his characters to keep his plot rumbling forward and his readers guessing.

By turns macabre and thought-provoking, The Enemy is for any kid — child or grown-up — who’s ever been force-fed vegetables and couldn’t help wondering what other acts of depravity adult life entails.

Hooked is a stunning new collection of seven poems about seven famous or infamous women: Myra Hindley, Unity Mitford, Zelda Fitzgerald, Dora Carrington, Carson McCullers, Jane Bowles, and Elizabeth Smart. Each of these women has a story, or rather obsession that shaped the outcome of their lives. Each poem is a story in itself, spoken in a way that creates an image in ones mind.

These women, who were all born before the end of World War II, defy the norm of society in an attempt to find their role in a society that was generally at the time hostile to females who had intelligence or ambition. The voices in these works are louder than usual as the freedoms we take for granted had not been recognized yet. There were no feminist here, just seven lives that at times are lost.

“Hooked delves into the heart of matter, unveiling and understanding loneliness and resolution in a way that is quite riveting.
Biography

Carolyn Smart was born in England and moved with her family to Ottawa where she grew up within the diplomatic community of Rockcliffe Park. Sent to boarding school on the coast of Sussex, England, at the age of 11, she began writing short stories to escape the loneliness and dislocation she experienced, and found she was truly happy when involved in the creation of fictional lives. Coming back to Canada, she moved to Toronto for high school and began writing poetry when she discovered the poetry of Leonard Cohen and e.e. cummings.

Her first poem was published when she was 17 in an anthology called Vibrations, edited by Gage publishing and intended for study in schools. She continued to publish throughout her years at the University of Toronto where she majored in English Literature and Far Eastern Religion.

Upon graduation, she worked in publishing at Doubleday Canada and then at Macmillan’s of Canada, where she worked with Gwendolyn MacEwen, Don Coles and Tom Wayman on their collections of poetry, and with Hugh MacLennan and Dennis Lee as a publicist.

Moving to Winnipeg for two years, she began work with the provincial government, editing the Manitoba Budget Address and organising interprovincial conferences for the office of the Premier.

Back in Toronto she continued studying poetry with Joe Rosenblatt and Pier Giorgio di Cicco, and gave her first public reading in 1977. She worked at various part-time jobs including selling clothes at the Eaton Centre and freelance copy-editing. Her first Canada Council grant enabled her to begin writing full-time in 1979 and her first collection of poetry was published in 1981.

Moving to the country north of Kingston in 1983 with her husband Kenneth de Kok, she continues to write and teaches both on-line for Writers In Electronic Residence and — since 1989 — as director of Creative Writing at Queen’s University. Kenneth and Carolyn have two sons, travel as much as they can, and have an extensive organic garden.

Zachary C. Bush is young. He’s also a poet, one who isn’t afraid to push the envelope. His collection, Angles of Disorder, is a testament to that willingness. Consider the following line from his poem “DNIWER TXE UE:” Quevedo invited Zufransia in to and Gongora’s ear.” Pardon? Meanwhile, in “THE VORTEX/&MEMORY,” one of Bush’s longer – and more experimental – pieces, he takes a sledgehammer to Ezra Pound and tells ‘New Formalist’ Professors to suck it: “These NObodies / these rats of comfort / these plagiarists of Formalism […] professing / their Program of Literary Politics.” Bush has a gift for blending prose and poetry, stretching the boundaries of both forms. Take “The Retired,” for example, a short narrative that cheerily plods towards its amicable climax: a whiskey-soaked orgy featuring the poem’s speaker, an elderly couple, and the birds they so assiduously watch. Poetry? Prose? Perverse? All of the above.

It’s no surprise, given Bush’s disdain for “Spoon-fed accessibility,” that many of these poems teeter on the brink of inscrutability. This is good. Trust me. Like String Theory or Star Wars-inspired interpretive dance, the more you think about Bush’s poetry, the better it gets.

Private investigator Felix Renn would love to patch things up with this wife Sandra. She may be eager for a divorce, but Felix isn’t crazy about the idea. Having lunch with her at a swanky Toronto restaurant would seem like a good start to putting her in a more favourable state of mind. It doesn’t hurt that famous actor Jimmy Logan was sitting at the table next to them. The problems start when the actor grabs the waiter and bites him on the neck and begin to feed vampire-style. That through a monkey-wrench into any plans of making this a romantic encounter.Of course there is a mad panic, except for our hero who has seen enough vampire movies to know how to react. Grabbing a broken leg of a chair, he plunges it through the actor/vampire’s chest “with a volcanic gush of blood”.

Now Felix Renn is on the case. It seems that Jimmy Logan wasn’t a real vampire, only a temporary one. The cops are trying to decide whether Felix should be charged with murder, which only give the intrepid Felix more incentive. This slim volume follows him through ‘Hollywood North’ as he gets to the bottom of the case.

This chapbook would be a good read for anyone who is eagerly awaiting Season 3 of ‘True Blood’, the next ‘Twilight’ movie, or if you can’t get enough of that TV show ‘The Vampire Diaries’.

reviewed by Cathy Petch

When I love a book, I push these little copper page markers onto lines I want to relish, revisit. Chris Tusa’s “Dirty Little Angels” is a sea of copper. I was so spoiled by the first paragraphs that I had to stop reading when the tone changed. Who could top an opening line like “The baby was a white fist of flesh?” Damn, it’s like gorging on mutton and thousand dollar wine. “That night I dreamed of Mama’s flesh creaking as the doctor unstitched the trapdoor in her stomach.” My cup runneth…

Tusa drags you along with 16-year-old Haley as she and her family slip further into bad news, bad choices and horrific circumstances. Watching her precarious parents fall apart after a miscarriage, she looks for heroes in her bull-headed brother and his ex-preacher friend Moses. She throws herself into situations with the regard of someone who both thinks they will live forever, and someone who wants to die loved. The story is sweet, violent, sad and irresistible.
Tusa finds a heartbreaking voice while slipping easily into the skin of a teenage girl. He brings the reader words that drip molasses onto the senses, and a story that seeps sadness. “That afternoon, the sky was the colour of raw meat.” Stop it Tusa, I’m being ruined for other books,” the sky was the same terrible blue as Jesus’ eyes”, enough already, no literary sky will ever be the same!

There is a beautiful and terrifying magic around Louisiana that Tusa conducts like a voodoo king in his debut novel. Now if only I could take his English course at LSU, maybe my life would be complete.

“But I think we are seeing a resurgence of the graphic ghost story like The Others, Devil’s Backbone and The Sixth Sense. It is a return to more gothic atmospheric ghost storytelling.” ~ Guillermo del Toro

As an avid fan of horror, I’ve read many different types of the genre from the classics, to pulp horror, to the latest Vampire obsession, but nothing holds my interest more than a good ghost tale. I grew up around a group of great story tellers, amongst the tales of naughty childhoods there would always be a story of something supernatural. To this day I wish someone had written down these amazing tales, who knows, maybe one day I will. Fortunately for my own generation of story tellers, Robert J. Wiersema has written his version of a ghost story. The World More Full of Weeping has a wonderful knack for drawing you in and sending that chill up the back of your spine at just the right moments.

Robert J. Wiersema has written a definite classic telling of a spirit from beyond. The tale of a young boys supernatural experience while wandering in nearby woods sounds familiar in many ways. As a youngster growing up in the Bruce Peninsula, many a family outing would take place in the thick back woods of Southern Ontario. The noises and shadows amongst the trees would set anyones imagination running, the perfect setting for a tale of wandering spirits. The forests of British Columbia are full of legendary tales of ghosts and mythical creatures and this novella surely adds to the mystic. In an industry filled with video game styled horror movies were it isn’t even necessary to think about what is going on in the story, we need to return to the original ways of storytelling to really appreciate the things that should be scaring us. The World More Full of Weeping is exactly what the readers of today needs to get their imaginations working again.

BIO
Robert J. Wiersema is a bookseller and reviewer, who contributes regularly to the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and numerous other newspapers. Wiersema is also the event coordinator for Bolen Books. He lives in Victoria, B.C., with his wife, Cori Dusmann, and their son, Xander.

I was at an event when I heard about this book of short stories. If you couldn’t tell from the title, each story is about an older woman with a younger man. Intriguing, right?!?! But once had it in my hands I was completely turned off by the cover. The only word I can come up to describe it is “Corny!” There is a VERY young male laying shirtless with a sunset in the background as a cougar (yes, as in the cat) stands over him. But I still continued to read, and I have to say I’m very happy I did. The category falls somewhere in between that of romance and erotica, but I would never put it in either genre whole-heartedly. When I think erotica I think…hot, raw, passionate, and raunchy! This was nice, romantic, playful, and sexual.

Chapter 2: “Sophisticated Sensuality “was my favourite. I’m not going to give details as these are short stories and it would be too easy to give away too much. Let’s just say it will make woman of any age question their boundaries. I found it very imaginative and very well written.

My overall impression for this collection of short stories was SATISFIED. I was entertained and at points aroused. I love the fact that it takes a deeper look into women’s sex, not as a tool of or for a relationship, but for her ultimate pleasure. The theme of women’s sexual liberations was apparent throughout the collection. And I hope that this inspires younger women to accept and engage in their sexuality without insecurity.

So I do recommend this novel, for as Snoggles states in her dedication “This book is dedicated to anyone – especially older women and younger men, taking a chance on love, lust and going for what you want: not being intimidated…” I fully agree. Just don’t let the cover deter you!

Bio
Cathy Snoggles, born and raised in Montreal, now resides in Toronto, Canada.

A lover of all things artistic and creative from fashion to home décor, she is fairly new to the writing scene. A published author who now proudly boasts two books under her belt – Erotic Tales Sure to Arouse The Senses and Tantalizing Cougar Tales and is currently working on the follow up to the latter.

Mattox Roesch, former indie rocker and skateboard salesman, has penned a welcome addition to the slacker-fiction pantheon. In the weirdly titled Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same, Cesar, a former gang-banger from LA, doesn’t have much in the way of family – his father’s not around and his brother’s in prison for murder, so when his mother decides to pack it up and move to Unalakleet, a small Alaskan fishing village miles away from any significant urban centre, Cesar decides to tag along. Of course, his life in Alaska is only a pitstop on his way back to LA. That’s what he tells his eccentric cousin Go-Boy, anyway, and the two make a bet: if Cesar’s still in Unalakleet in a year’s time, he’ll get a tattoo of Go-Boy’s Eskimo Jesus design.

Even though the novel is filtered through Cesar, his cousin is its real star and, dare I say, the reason the narrative works. A college drop-out and consummate optimist, Go-Boy believes he’s part of an escalating global conspiracy. Its mission? The ascension of a new world, a Good World of transcendent values, beauty, and love. Okay, let’s be honest: you’re a cynic, I’m a cynic, and at first Cesar’s a cynic, too. Preached by any other, Go-Boy’s gospel would be sentimental pap ripe for dismissal. But there’s something unquestionably endearing about Go-Boy, something addictive about his philosophy. Like Cesar, we grow to want to believe, even when Go-Boy himself falters.

Sometimes We’re Always Real Same-Same is less about growing up and more about reinvention, both of oneself and one’s world. It’s about the kind of life where your car can break down in the middle of nowhere and when a good Samaritan asks if you need a hand you hand him a camera to document the hilarity. More than anything, though, the novel is about building community and forging ties in expected places, about how even in the midst of disparate lifestyles and values, we’re “always the real same-same.”

Love Rocks is a children’s book, a story of a little boy who finds “love rocks” one day walking in his neighbourhood. I have to say reviewing a children’s book was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. It required me to strip away all my experience, pain and heart ache, that makes you a functional adult and just think in simple terms. I almost didn’t write this review, as I was watching TV as I was reading it. But then the next day I read it again. And this time I thought of my 3 year old nieces, and how excited they would be to read this book. I threw my cynical attitude out the door and just read it for what it was. And you know what? When I finished reading it this time, I was smiling. For as I read it, I knew which parts I would see the looks of excitement; the moments when they would be in awe and I could hear their giggles as they read it over and over again.

Love does indeed rock, as this short story reminded me of my love of my nieces who live far away. So this weekend I plan to head to Indigo/chapters and pick-up 2 more copies of “Love Rocks” and send them to my nieces so we have a beautiful, sweet, simple story to share. I suggest you pick one up too!
Thank you Ms. Williams!

Bio
Nadine Williams a native of rural Jamaica is an Author and Poet. She currently resides in Brampton ON with her three children, and has written three books to her credit; the title of which are: THE CULMINATION OF MARRIAGE BETWEEN ME AND MY PEN, WITH THIS PEN I DO TELL, AND LOVE ROCKS. Further information can be gathered at nadinewilliams.com!

Reviewed by Carolina Smart

Never judge a book by it’s cover, isn’t that what the old adage says. My question is, why not? I actually believe that covers should represent what is inside a book, how else would you know if you wanted to pick it up off the shelf. Brains vs Coffee The Daily Debate of Urban Undead has that type of cover. The kind that is intriguing and makes the consumer want to pick it up and start reading it. Who wouldn’t want to pick up a book that has a picture of a brain and a cup of coffee on it.

The intro to this book is the best way to describe what you will find inside the covers. “This book is a collection of 100 arguments in my Brains vs Coffee debate, with points awarded to each side accordingly.” Arguments that are not only hilarious, but had me nodding my head in agreement with her statements. Points such as “I can leave my coffee unattended without worrying the dog will run away with it” or “For retro parties, brains can be included in the fondue platter” are not only practical, but very true and you don’t have to have Ghoul Friday’s sense of humour to get them.

Brains vs Coffee The Daily Debate of Urban Undead is the perfect book if you need a quick giggle and at 59 pages, it can be read in under 15 minutes. You will likely read it a few times. I loved this ghoulish little gem so much that it now resides on the back of my toilet with my other horror guides and Zombie Haiku book. If you make it to that pile it’s a big deal, I just hope no one tucks it into their pants and walks away with it.

You can purchase your own copy on Ghoul Friday’s website, http://www.ghoulfriday.com/. I strongly suggest, while you are there you should take a wander around her site. She has an amazing assortment of links on the right side that take you to places such as Canada Creepshows (links to Canadian Hauntings), Horrific how to’s, an amazing link list of like minded ghouls, Art Ghoulry and Halloween Party Planning. The website is just as much fun as her book. I have already checked back on numerous times to read her blog.

Ghoul Friday and Brains vs Coffee The Daily Debate of Urban Undead aren’t just for Halloween. Enjoy them all year long.

Bio: Who is Ghoul Friday?

Picture of a skull-faced smiling girl with pigtails, sitting in a graveyardIt started when my parents let me spray paint a tombstone on the concrete wall of our basement for my Grade 4 Halloween party.

It was my first real Halloween party, and I wanted it to be great. I constructed a haunted house the length of the basement and lead people through dangling, slimy snakes hanging from the ceiling – just one example of the many forms and obstacles waiting for them in the shadow. I hadn’t gotten over my fear of the dark, and I was deathly afraid of being in the basement alone (never mind with the lights off), but to make sure I could see well enough to safely guide each guest one by one through the haunted space, I sat alone in the pitch black basement for 20 minutes before the party goers even started to arrive.

That’s when she was born, the little ghoul in the basement. Since then, she has come back to me every year, usually in late summer, ready to build creatures for Halloween. Sure, she’s there throughout the other months, peeking through my eyes at the newest horror film being released, or tickling my neck so I turn to see the brochure for the Festival of Fear coming to the city.

But it’s in August when she whispers “Is it time to sit in the dark?”

Yes Friday. It’s time. What friends shall we create this year?

{Bio from: http://www.ghoulfriday.com/who_ghoul_friday}

Mary Akers dives in and out of women’s lives. The characters have been pulled into focus and then flung back to situations that are destined to remain unchanged. A good writer can make you feel like a voyeur, and Akers achieves. From PETA activists in public places with only paint for clothing, to women who pull cars off of neglectful husbands, these characters are amazing, intriguing and sometimes even embarrassing to witness. Several times I wanted to climb into the stories, to rescue the protagonist and sit her down for a glass of wine and perspective.

Akers appreciates the inner monologue; the desperation that comes with thinking your situation is unchangeable. The characters crescendo in front of my eyes, frantically trying to figure out how to fly while tumbling down mountains. They become women you see everyday, your friends who would never want to admit they almost drove their children off a cliff, or that they stopped eating in a house full of mirrors. Mary Akers’s “Women Up On Blocks” is something sad and wonderful to witness, a stellar short story collection.

Reviewed by Andrew MacDonald

Horror author Bill Hussey has been called a master of horror and the second coming of Clive Barker. High praise indeed, and while it may be premature to call him the second coming of anything, there’s no question Hussey has chops.

The Absense follows up his successful debut, Through a Glass Darkly, and concerns the troubled Nightingales, a family of three hanging together by a thread. Widower Richard’s alcoholism and grief make him a captain ill-suited to steer the family ship, while his youngest son Bobby, crippled by the suicide of a bullied best friend he abandoned, contemplates taking his own life. Stuck between them is Joe, whose reckless driving cost him the life of his mother, the maudlin, distant Janet Nightingale, a strange woman with a mysterious past of her own.

When the family inherits an old mill from a gnarled woman infamous for burning her little sister alive, Richard, Bobby and Joe must face a creature of absence hungry for their sins.

Like a handful of thumbtacks dropped from an airplane, The Absense becomes most dangerous when it picks up steam; readers with the patience to trudge through a slow exposition are rewarded in the second half of the novel, where an expertly crafted labyrinth of twists and turns makes every page a gut-wrenching, and enlightening, experience.

This isn’t dime store pulp horror; the development of Joe and his family, the slow unveiling of their faults and fears, give the novel the kind of breathtaking verisimilitude at work in the finest horror novels, while Hussey’s sentences announce him as a linguistic technician of the highest order.

But don’t let Hussey’s skillful wordsmithing fool you – The Absense gets mighty freaky. Consider, for example, the most frightening infant on this side of Trainspotting:

“Elsie looked down when the real pain began. Inch by laboured inch, the baby dragged itself back inside her. It wriggled and squirmed until its head filled the dilated cavity.”

And poor Elsie’s just one of many characters forced to suffer for sins passed. Mixing psychological realism and the supernatural, The Absense is a detective novel, a ghost story, and a family epic, from a writer who might just live up to the hype.

Several months ago I reviewed Romy Shiller’s wonderfully inspirational book ‘You Never Know’. ‘You Never Know’, is a biographical story about the traumatic events that changed Romy Shiller’s life. It was beautifully written, sending a powerful message and leaving me to think about my own fate in this world.

When I received ‘Again’ I was just as eager to crack open the cover to see what journey I was about to take next with Romy. Once again I found myself hooked right from the beginning. Using her own experiences and knowledge on the subject, we are taken into the world of Reincarnation. Many books currently on the shelves relating to this subject are hard to understand and very tedious to read for the layperson. Romy Shiller’s approach will have anyone with a curious mind on the subject matter fully engorged and craving for more.

I myself am an avid reader on everything relating to the Occult. This isn’t an Occult based book, rather one that uses Romy’s experiences with Reincarnation to help the reader fully understand not only what it really is, but the spiritual aspects to it. As a reader you will become emotionally attached, as you take yet another wonderful journey with this amazing and intuitive writer.

I strongly suggest for those of you interested in learning about Reincarnation, start with this book before you start reading the complicated texts that most will recommend. However, be prepared to be knocked off your feet with the emotional journey this book takes you on.

Romy Shiller is a force to be reckoned with and I am once again looking forward to her next book.

Reviewed by Andrew MacDonald

Harlot, a collection of poems from Switzerland-based writer Jill Alexander Essbaum, opens with quotes from William Blake, Leonard Cohen, and the Bible. Flip to any page and you’ll see that Essbaum wears her influences on her sleeve, weaving a complex tapestry of kink and confession that cleverly blends the profane and the perverse. In title alone, “The Men We Marry, the Men We Fuck,” speaks to the tension between what’s moral and what’s depraved. “This one wed me in the chapel,” the speaker informs us, before undercutting the institution of marriage with an Edenic nod to the Fall a line later: “That one ate me like an apple.”

Unsurprisingly, Essbaum seems to have disdain for the wholesome, a predilection she puts to good use in the brief poem “The Heart:”

“Four simple chambers.
A thousand complicated doors.
One of them is yours.”

Here Essbaum transforms the heart, an organ famously given from one lover to another, into an insatiable engine of desire.

Some poems, like “Judas Hausfaru” and “Magdalene’s Hymn,” outright claim the bible as their source. Others, like the ode “For the Bruxist,” are secular nods to deliciously fraught, almost masochistic sexual encounters that position the reader on the precipice between destruction and desire. In each case, Essbaum’s mastery of rhyme and rhythm steals the show.

Harlot is a rare beast, a throwback to an almost forgotten era where a poem’s sound mattered. It’s a collection meant to be enjoyed aloud, under the covers or, for the more adventurous, in stirrups.

Sheri Foley is part of a crew, The Kill Crew. Sheri Foley is also trapped in a living nightmare of a world gone wrong and each night the crew leaves the safety of protective walls to try to make it right again.

The world has ceased as mankind once knew it and now all that exists are two groups of beings. The Stoppers and the Commuters. The Commuters are the infected ones and the Stoppers must end the spread of the disease that infects them, by exterminating the Commuters. Kill or be killed. The job description sounds easy enough, it they didn’t have to do it under the cover of darkness and if the Commuters weren’t Zombie like creatures that were nearly impossible to kill.

Joseph D’Lacey scares me and trust me, this is hard to do. I have often wondered how the world will find it’s demise. I don’t think it will be war or a bomb going off, I envision a planet that has decided to revolt against humankind, Mother Nature losing her patience with the creatures that daily try to destroy her. Joseph D’Lacey’s story The Kill Crew is that future nightmare floating around in my head. I don’t have to have nightmares to visualize this, I just have to read one of his novels!

My first taste of Joseph D’Lacey’s work was Garbageman, another terrifying look into the future of our environmentally destroyed world and the possible outcome. A master story teller, this man knows how to get your attention from page one and keep you white knuckling your way right to the end of the ride. As I’ve said in another review, Joseph D’Lacey gives Stephen King a major run for the money.

The Kill Crew was more along the lines of a novella than a full blown novel and just enough of a bite into Sheri Foley’s world to keep you itching for more. I selfishly hope the story continues and we find out where the futuristic nightmare takes us.

Bio

Joseph D’Lacey was born in London and has spent most of his life in the midlands. He is the author of MEAT and Garbage Man.

“My mother warned me never to tell stories that aren’t true. It’s been great fun ignoring her advice.”

By day he runs an acupuncture practice (sticking needles into people and making little dolls scream). Between patients (victims) he writes all manner of disturbingly entertaining fiction.

He lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and daughter.

Transcendence is pivotal to Liz Worth’s Eleven : Eleven. I like Eleven : Eleven best where it telescopes into details such as “It’s these numbered streets where our shadows are build of stained pavement as we walk to trade coins for glass bottles. These glow and grow … It’s these streets where we live like atrocities, learning the cartography of sin. And it’s on these streets where Maxine urns to me and says, It’s only theatre. // It’s only theatre.”

In places like this it has rhythm, music, and vision. These artistic elements elevate the text and allow it to transcend its material, material which includes the occult, emotional volatility, and impulses of self destruction that fall upon the protagonist. The protagonist obsesses, and is infatuated with her own demise. Don’t get me wrong. This bleak emotional landscape is one to which I can intimately relate, and this is why I am deeply relieved where I see it move past itself into art.

The collection is self-described as a creation that “doesn’t blur the lines between fact and fiction – instead it exposes the shades of gray that we all live in.” I like the impulse depicted, and agree. There is always a pull to narrate within the known. And a pull to disturb that sense of knowing. As Audre Lorde wrote: “poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”

Bio – Liz Worth writes about her nightmares. She also writes about punk rock, makes zines, and obsesses over the words of Daniel Jones. She is the author of Treat Me Like Dirt (Bongo Beat Books), which documents the beginnings of the Toronto punk scene. It made her realize she does not want to live in the future.

Heidi Wyss’ Gormglaith, a techno-gothic, speculative lesbian novel, has quietly amassed a small but devoted contingent of followers on the web. Lovers of skin like Gormglaith‘s kinky illustrations and the Sapphic love shared between its characters, while would-be etymologists can delight in the challenging polyphony of Celtic, Norse, Old English, and hacker argot.

The plot, such as it is, orbits around its titular character, the enigmatic Gormglaith, over the five days following her discovery of the circumstances of her birth.

The scope of Wyss’ world building, augmented by an expansive array of notes and a glossary at the book’s end, recalls the work of gender-bending speculative fiction writers Ursula LeGuin and Joanna Russ.  Russ’ The Female Man in particular springs to mind, sharing with Gormglaith a future bereft of the Y chromosome.

There are moments when Wyss the linguist becomes Wyss the poet, deftly splicing disparate tongues to fashion a feast to the ears. Take this bit of dialogue, for example:

“Ok, I thought it was selfish. I told ’em, ‘Twins are cool. I’m eighth

in a string by the wombs but if you tell her, if you lay nettles on her

back, if I ever see you grooming any moppet of ours for Wrathness,

I’m out the door.’ As it happened Enid had said rather much the same

thing to them.”

Here the delivery is pitch perfect, the cadence something like music. When Wyss is on, the results can be explosive.

The novel is not without its challenges, however. At times the novel’s word-play obscures meaning, the linguistic excess complicating a plot that’s already tough to follow.

Still, as a free e-book, Gormglaith is a bargain buy for speculative fiction lovers of all stripes, especially those who like their fiction difficult, imaginative, and transgressive.

I love Parkdale and poetry about it, so when I read titles like “A Parkdale Snowstorm,” “Gentrification,” and “One Stop Before Roncesvalles,” I know I’m in the right place. These ring the geographic notes of Toronto’s south west neighbourhood that was built first of mansions (before the freeway cut it off from the lake) and then changed to one of rooming houses. The affluent left and the Queen Street Mental Health Center’s out-patients rented locally. Across the street the Cee Dee candy factory closed and that strip of Queen became a working girl zone. The factory then became “Candy Factory Lofts” and change just keeps moving forward.

Variety abounds in the collection as in its historic geographic grounding. Some of the poetry in this collection read like spoken word. “VIII” of “A Dozen Red Roses” lists and repeats is a way that suggests writing for the ear. Other poems, such as the first, untitled piece in “A Dozen Red Roses” is designed on the page to address the readers eye. Poems express clear images with trimmed language. The pieces are often to “her.” “Her neighbourhood is so dangerous” “Hers was singular,” “her femininity,” “these twelve orange-brown adorn her doorway.” It creates a particular focus in the collection, a focus with which context can be explored and contained with specificity and music.

My favourite line is from “A Parkdale Snowstorm.” It reads “bar maiden and a 24” TV from the last century.” It just struck me as a lines I have never heard before, and I like that.

This is a good collection of diverse aesthetic impulses. It has focus, detail and attention to sound.

Bio – Dane A. W. Swan is Toronto-based Bermudian writer is predominately known as a spoken-word artist. He has performed spoken word in over a dozen cities throughout North America. Performances of his poetry have also been featured on CDs and vinyls that have been distributed across Canada and the Atlantic.

“Too bad Howard is an alcoholic doofus who’s obsessed with the memory of his ex-wife.”

Howard Plank is an investigator for a special division of the RCMP that investigates the Paranormal. His investigation techniques are a little sloppy and generally happen when he is in a drunken stupor. Howard just isn’t very good at his job.

As with the original Section K, the novel that originates the character of Howard Plank, the hilarity, profanity and crazy adventures of this bumbling drunkard continue. Sent to Toronto on special assignment by the RCMP’s Section K, the hapless drunk stumbles into the Sheppard subway line in an attempt to solve the latest insane and unsolvable mystery!

Everyone knows a Howard Plank and every one wishes to be as hip a writer as Timothy Carter. Timothy Carter is one of those writers that I just keep going back to when in need of a laugh. I have lent out Section K a few times and now have actually lost track of who has my last copy of it. I am afraid Kasefile 42 is going to find the same fate!

Section K, Kasefile 42 – The Demon Subway of North York is 13 pages long and perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time for a novel, yet needs to take a brain break from the chaos of the day.

Bio
Timothy Carter was born in Farnham, England during the week of the final lunar mission, and he turned 13 on Friday the 13th. He is a novelist, screenwriter, movie lover and Transformers fanatic.

Nashira Dernesch has an interesting way of presenting lists with a stiletto echo.  The preface poem “some days she never forgets her own face” carries a list into the fourth line, then the following action is still stark and list-ish, twisting and turning simples words and phases into one another toward the end :

on the bus, in the grocery store, at home
eating cereal alone in the dark
to save on hydro some days she feels
her face as a mask and is startled
by the eves she looks out of and in to.
surprised she isn’t someone else
and wonders whose face she thought
she was wearing.

I like lists, and when they twist and turn into one another.  It reminds me of bpNichol’s work from so long ago.

Dernesch uses that same careful articulation on the physical depiction in “114 King St.”:

Home was the shining iron stove grate
she threw easy as a saucer
at his head, his breadwinner body
hulking in the doorway. At dinner,
she picked up a fork in her elegant hand
and stabbed his thick forearm,
the corner cupboard watching.

Poem after poem in this collection is edgy and exacting and easy on the ear.  It makes sense the first print sold out so quickly and another was immediately produced.

Bio – Nashira Dernesch was raised in St. Jacobs, Ontario, and studied at the University of Toronto before being accepted into York University’s Creative Writing Program. She was co-editor of the literary journal Existere for three years. In 2006, she won the Art Bar Poetry Series’ Annual Discovery Night. Her first published work, It’s No Secret You’ll Feel Better, sold out within the first two days of publication and is now in its second printing. It is reviewed next.

One of my favourite things about chapbooks is they are a quick, easy read. I go through phases of readers ADD and can’t seem to make it through novels. In order to quench mine or anyones thirst for horror the Burning Effigy Horror line is perfect for that or for those who simply love scaring themselves. Every book that this small press puts out seems to get better and scarier. I’ve always been a fan of creeping myself out and Fresh Blood does just that.

Fresh Blood has three things going for it right off the bat. The combination of the authors, the level of horror and quality of writing. Each of the writers styles are completely different, yet compliment each other perfectly.The three stories in Fresh Blood are, Growth Spurts by Dave Alexander, Left for Dead by Kelli Dunlap and Mourn Not The Sleepless Children by Bob Freeman.

With many short story book compilations there is an intertwining theme. In the case of Fresh Blood what connects the three stories in my opinion is children. A teenage boys body going through some horrific changes, a mother’s revenge against the atrocities against her young daughter and a governess led to the possible slaughter. Even evil children shouldn’t mess with a powerful magick man.

Burning Effigy’s Horror collection is growing with every new season. Stop by their website to pick up a copy of Fresh Blood and the other horror titles. They are normally priced at around $8.00 each and well worth every penny.

For more information or bio’s on the three authors of Fresh Blood, check out these links:

http://kellidunlap.com/
http://rue-morgue.com/rmp_rue_crew.php
http://authorbobfreeman.wordpress.com/

These works present as poems of being. They are a series of (mostly short) imagistic vignettes. “Douglas, at 9 or 10” reads:

sneaks off after school to see
Singing in the Rain for a nickel.
He slips hoe to find his father
has stolen the money
mother warned him to hide.
What Douglas earns for the bricks he lays,
stacked like hope upon hope, against him.

The narrative in this is clear and to me reading it is like watching a stone skim, skip and sink. First it appears to be a poem of being, a narrative of time and place, and then when the momentum finally rests the depth is suggested in the final line.

“Ships That Pass In The Night” has a similar shape, first describing the coming home and leaving another in bed, the moving toward the “shimmering / around me” which feels like the poem’s impulse. “The comfort of a stranger’s wrist” plays the same chord. It presents details “from the back seat / of a midnight Greyhound” and move toward the ah-ha that there is longing, suggested in the line “it’s been too long.”

The collection is short, well-bound and pleasant with graceful crafting. They are not poems of scream, but poems of breath.

Bio – Nashira Dernesch was raised in St. Jacobs, Ontario, and studied at the University of Toronto before being accepted into York University’s Creative Writing Program. She was co-editor of the literary journal Existere for three years. In 2006, she won the Art Bar Poetry Series’ Annual Discovery Night. Her first published work, It’s No Secret You’ll Feel Better, sold out within the first two days of publication and is now in its second printing. It is reviewed next.

When a man’s relationship grows more distant and finally ends, inconveniently right before heading off on vacation, his life takes on an unusual twist. Set partly in Hawthorn Hill, Neil Keller’s journey to a cabin in the woods starts to grow eerie quickly. After finding a Hawthorn figure things get even stranger.

Written by the critically acclaimed horror author Richard Gavin, Primeval Woods is another creepy tale not to be read alone or while alone in a cabin. Stories set in the woods always have a dark, shadowy ambiance that adds to the dark mood and Hawthorn Hills is perfectly fitting.

Thirty-five pages long, I was able to finish Primeval Woods in one sitting. In the case of this chapbook, I had to as from beginning to end I was so enraptured by the book, I couldn’t put it down. The super freaky ending ties a fantastic story all together. Richard Gavin is a deft and skillful story teller who knows how to capture a readers attention from the first paragraph.

If you want something that a bit different and an easy read, you won’t want to pass up the chance to read Primeval Woods.

Bio
Richard Gavin is the author of two critically-acclaimed horror collections, Charnel Wine and Omens, as well as dozens of other published tales of the macabre and the occult. A regular contributor to Rue Morgue magazine, Richard lives and dreams darkly in Ontario, Canada, with his beloved wife and their brood.

Rumours of his being born with a forked tongue and vestigial tail remain unsubstantiated.

This twenty-page chapbook starts with “Dios le bendiga,” a stark psychological sketch of a woman who needs her baby cured of syphilis. She blames herself for her rape, for her husband’s infidelity, and through his infidelity for her baby’s sickness. It’s creepy, in that good ‘oou I get it’ kind of way. It is believable and precise with lines that stagger rhythmically like “My uncle came by drunk from a lost cockfight.” The line speaks a 3-3-2 beat to me. This sense of beat and music carries through the collection.

There are some parts that seem a little overly poetic to my ear. Again I look to a line from that first poem, “Blood ran down my leg like prickly pear juice.” It seems, how can I put this, like something that is a little too pretty and perfect (in it’s ugliness). Perhaps it is that the simile rings as the poet would say, but not the I-voice of the tragic figure speaking in the poem. So it leaves me with a reduced sense of authenticity of the tale.

Still I am amazed at the complexity of the narrative comes out as clearly and quickly and specifically as it does, and with the musicality. These traits are consistent through the book, as is the actively attentive movement forward through difficult emotional moments. This is not Hallmark Card poetry.

The collection is definitely worth reading and Jan Steckel’s writing is definitely worth following into the future.

Bio – Jan Steckel is a bisexual activist and a Harvard- and Yale-trained former pediatrician. Over a hundred of her short stories, poems and nonfiction pieces have appeared in print and online publications such as Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Red Rock Review, So to Speak and Redwood Coast Review. Her work has won writing awards and has been widely reprinted and anthologized. Her writing has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize: once for nonfiction and once for poetry. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.

It’s been quite some time since I have been able to say that I’ve read a horror novel that is serious competition for today great author’s of the genre. Being a fan and great lover of all things macabre I thought I had read some of the best and have verbalized my disappointment in any new horror fiction lining bookstore shelves doubting there was anyone out there who could possibly give horror greats such as Stephen King, a run for their money. I’m about to eat my words.

Joseph D’Lacey’s Garbage Man is by far some of the best horror fiction I have read in many moons. He moves the readers seamlessly through several story lines, stories that will eventually bring the characters all to one very disturbing and unsuspected ending.

Once Joseph D’Lacey leads the reader to the first climax he is relentless and doesn’t allow you to catch your breath for the rest of the way through. When the horror begins you will remain on the edge of your seat up till the last word, of the last sentence of the last page. The weak of heart should not pass go but find there way directly to page 345. For the rest of us, savor every moment and prepare yourself, the Garbage Man is out there and he’s hungry!

Bio
Joseph D’Lacey was born in London and has spent most of his life in the midlands. He is the author of MEAT and Garbage Man.

“My mother warned me never to tell stories that aren’t true. It’s been great fun ignoring her advice.”

By day he runs an acupuncture practice (sticking needles into people and making little dolls scream). Between patients (victims) he writes all manner of disturbingly entertaining fiction.

He lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and daughter.

With lines such as “The air was completely still and odorless…” Richard S. Todd seems to be a writer who could just as easily slip into poetry and govern it as seamlessly as he does crime fiction. This is a book I was recommending five chapters in.

The death of Jimmy Raincloud seems to open up old wounds between the native population of Scanlon Creek and the rest of the town. Detective Hank Gillespie steps across borders with the weight of Scanlon’s strange history in his blood. At the root of the tension is a terrible massacre. Reverend Walter Tillman, took the lives of his native parishioners, then escaped while in police custody. When Jimmy becomes the first of many Native murder victims, Hank feels that the spirit of the Reverend is somehow behind the evil that has poisoned his town. Along with his new partner Stephanie Whirlwind, Gillespie tries to quell racial tensions and solve this multilayered crime.

This is not your typical crime novel. Raincloud could easily be appreciated as a new form of noir legend. A book to read in mist, a book to read in a rainstorm, one is easily lost in the haunting small town of Scanlon Creek.

Bio:
A magazine writer and pop composer living near Toronto, Canada, Richard S. Todd is a fervent champion for those fighting to overcome personal struggles and make choices to resist the perpetuation of racial isolation. Raincloud is his debut novel.

His next novel, The Orphans of the Creek, is currently in development. Description: When a small town DJ’s only goal is to satisfy his voracious appetites, he sets himself onto a path of violence and destruction. A book that must be read to be believed, it serves as testimony that not all DJs are just about the music. Based on a true story? You be the judge. Click on the Books tab for a preview!

Richard is also the founder of Sky Lake Entertainment, an organization dedicated to promoting literacy to the Greater Toronto Area.

When was the last time you read a book that moved you? Made you laugh one minute, cry the next, question yourself after reading a passage or had you think hard about your own mortality? The last book that moved me this way was ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold. You Never Know, a biographical story, about the traumatic events that changed Romy Shillers life for ever, is the book that took me on that turbulent roller coaster ride.

As the reader, you are taken along on the journey with Romy. She allows you a glimpse into her life, past, present and hopefully her future. As you ride along you will laugh, cry and clap for this extraordinary woman. Her story makes you think hard about how precious life is and how it can change in a fraction of a second. Many would have crumbled under these circumstances by Romy Shiller raises to the occasion over and over again.

You Never Know is an inspirational book that everyone should read, as it proves to you, that determination and a will to rise above should never be doubted and Romy Shiller will prove it to you.

Bio
Romy Shiller is a pop culture critic and holds a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Toronto. Her academic areas of concentration include film, gender performance, camp and critical thought. She lives in Montreal where she continues her writing.

Watch Romy on CBC News: Sunday at www.cbc.ca.

Naked Lens reads like an encyclopedia of Beatnik Cinema. If you are looking to learn about the crème de la crème of the artists who brought Beatnik Cinema to life, this is a great resource book to have on your shelf.

Author Jack Sargeant is very detailed when discussing such greats as David Cronenberg, William S. Burroughs and John Cassavetes. The book is also full of classic snapshots from many of the movies mentioned, in depth interviews and witty dialogue.

A great resource, Naked Lens shouldn’t be overlooked, but before you pick up a copy be warned, this book isn’t for the average bear, rather, more for the die hard lover of Beatnik or student of Cinema. As I said earlier it does tend to read more like an encyclopedia, but the information inside is brilliantly organized and lends the reader the ability to grasp why the Beatnik movement became so popular.

Biography
Since 1995 Jack Sargeant has written and contributed to numerous books on underground film, including: Deathtripping: The Cinema of Transgression, about Cinema of Transgression filmmakers such as Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, Naked Lens: Beat Cinema, and Cinema Contra Cinema, a collection of essays on alternative film. He is the editor of the journal Suture, and has co-edited two volumes Lost Highways: An Illustrated History of the Road Movie (with Stephanie Watson) and No Focus: Punk on Film (with Chris Barber). In 2007 Deathtripping was republished by Soft Skull Press.

He has contributed to numerous books on subjects ranging from Andy Warhol movies to road rage and car crash songs and his work has been included in collections such as Mikita Brottman’s Car Crash Culture, Mendick & Harper’s Underground USA, Wollen & Kerr’s Autopia, among others.

He has also authored and edited true crime books including Born Bad, Death Cults, Bad Cop Bad Cop, and Guns, Death Terror’. These books have featured contributions from Monte Cazazza, Michael Spann, Andrew Leavold, John Harrison, Simon Whitechapel, Chris Barber, and others.

Jack has written introductions for Joe Coleman’s Book of Joe and photographer Romain Slocombe’s Tokyo Sex Underground.

He has contributed to publications such as Headpress as well as Panik, The Wire, Fortean Times and Bizarre magazine, as well as academic journals such as Senses of Cinema and M/C.

Between 2001-2003 he was film editor at large for Sleazenation. Jack has written cover notes for DVDs by various underground and independent filmmakers, including the British Film Institute’s DVD release of Kirby Dick’s film Sick: The Life And Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.

Jack has appeared in numerous film and TV documentaries on culture and film, as well as having cameos in underground films. He has also appeared on recordings by the experimental group I/O.

He has promoted and organized shows for filmmakers and artists at the Horse Hospital in London and Cinematheque in Brighton, UK, and has also toured film festivals in America, Europe, and Australia, including the New York Underground Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Brisbane International Film Festival, and Sydney Underground Film Festival. In 2002 and 2003 he collaborated with Simon Kane on The Salon, an annual event that has featured performances by David Tibet, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Cotton Ferox.

He is currently curator of the Revelation – Perth International Film Festival 2008.

Enter a masked man. Not your averaged masked man, but a masked man who not only has a mask tattooed on his face but has a mask sewn over top the first mask. Captain Nothing isn’t your typical superhero, no he is psychotic, unconventionally violent, and doesn’t feel the need to jump right in when he sees someone in danger. He waits out the perfect opportunity, like merging into traffic.

Nothing To Lose has a definite 1930‘s Pulp Fiction feel to it as the texture of the dialogue was dark, gritty with a twist of vintage. Pulp fiction as a genre is always very colour in it’s language and it’s use of hero’s. It was most popular during the Depression and WWII, a time when the world needed hero’s the most. Nothing To Lose, uses a similar style of writing that would make Pulp Fiction writers of the lost era proud.

The chap book itself is broken into three stories. “The Glint of Moonlight on Broken Glass,” “Lamprey Fellatio,” and “The Meat Axe of Love.” I found the first two stories fun and intriguing, with both having connecting characters and of the three stories, the first is definitely the best. I was disappointed with the third story as it didn’t have the same momentum as the first two. I was hoping the hero of the story Captain Nothing would have stirred up more violence, but he didn’t and for me was a let down.

Bio:
Born and raised in the woods of Northern Ontario in a little town called Capreol – an old word that roughly translated means “The place where the railroad tracks cross and nothing else happens”. I grew up full of stories, heard from my grandfather and told by the railroad men and fabricated out of whole cloth from the weavings of my snowbound mind. First practical use for storytelling – to escape the bullying of larger tougher kids I wrote plays and cast them in the various roles thus guaranteeing them an easy mark with minimum effort. Survival of the crafty, Darwin probably never dreamed about this.

I moved to Nova Scotia when I was seventeen. Came to visit my mother, Madge Chatelois – the storytelling lady of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Came and stayed, because I fell in love with the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ve been right across Canada since then. Have worked as a factory hand, house painter, field worker, tree planter, roustabout, woodworker, artist’s model, fiddlehead picker, blueberry raker, woodchopper, warehouse strawboss, snow shoveller, garden digger, environmental criminal and anything else that paid a buck. I currently make my living as a professional tarot and palm reader. Come visit me in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Little Mysteries on Barrington Street.

The smartest choice I ever made was marrying Belinda Ferguson, Halifax’s best bellydance instructor and the toughest woman on the planet, (she’s able to put up with me). She’s my light and inspiration and my very best friend. I live in happiness with Connor, my stepson and costar and occasional guest appearances by Sarah Skye Vernon, my daughter and best creation, and Morticia, (Tish for short), a black cat who thinks she’s a dog. Add to that my family of blue jays, Belinda’s clan of crows, and a half dozen stray cats who think that my yew bush is a perfect place to mark their turf, and you will witness a perfectly Feng Shui’d masterpiece of magnificent chaos.

Sewn through the pages of this website you’ll find snippets and excerpts from a few of my fifty odd (and I do mean odd) short stories. If you like what you read, check out my check out my novella LONG HORN, BIG SHAGGY, from Black Death Books.

The first chapter of Reproduce and Revolt starts you off with ‘A Brief History of the Reproducible Political Graphic,’ a section explaining to the reader, that “Every single image compiled here is intended to be reprinted and reused by activist, organizers, artists and designers committed to social justice and a radical restructuring of our society.” The entire book, is a how to for the potential or already well versed activist.

The book itself is filled with black and white art, written in both Spanish and English and it’s eleven sections (Social Welfare, Labor/Capitalism, Repression, the Environment, Transportation, Gender/Sexuality, Culture/Media, War/Peace, Solidarity) contain works of artists from several countries including Canada, US, Mexico, South America, and Europe.

One of the important messages of this book is how to make social change and Reproduce and Revolt has a very simple step by step on how to do this, step one being determine your audience and the final step explaining how to distribute your ideas to your audience. Starting a revolution has never been easier.

Determining your audience is definitely something this book has done. It contains a great mix of graphics that anyone can use to get their messages across. A perfect book for true believers and activists alike.

Bios:

Josh MacPhee is a street artist, designer, curator, and activist. A street stenciler and poster maker for over a decade, he also runs a radical art distribution project, justseeds.org, as a way to develop and distribute t-shirts, posters, and stickers with revolutionary content. He organizes the Celebrate People’s History Poster Project, an ongoing poster series in which different artists create posters to document and remember moments in radical history. He also collectively organizes agit-prop cultural actions with ad-hoc groups of artists under various organizational names such as Department of Space and Land Reclamation and Street.Rec. His work has been profiled by publications such as Clamor Magazines, In These Times, Utne Magazine, and many others.

Favianna Rodriguez is an Oakland-based printmaker and institution builder,
Her dynamic political prints and posters tell a history of social justice, capturing the daily sentiments of a people in daily struggle, to document their efforts and celebrate their victories. Favianna’s work attempts to reclaim public space – community centers, streets, billboards – and to redefine that space through art, through youth workshops, and through the establishment of collective cultural spaces. Favianna is co-Founder of the EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA), a third world collective of artists and activists working to empower the Oakland community through art and culture. She is also the co-owner of Tumi’s, a multi-service technology and design firm. Implementing advanced graphic & web technologies with a social consciousness, Tumi’s seeks to use multimedia to engender global communication between oppressed communities and to promote political technology and open forums of expression. In 2003, Favianna co-founded the Taller Tupac Amaru, with the mission of producing and distributing screen printed political poster. With her signature energy and zeal, Favianna travels to share her inspirational work with others abroad. She has lectured numerously in Tokyo and Mexico City about the role of art and culture in community building.

Along the highways of the Southwestern, USA you will find hundreds of crosses signifying shrines for the dead. Occasionally you will see mourners at these shrines trying to contact the dead. The Redemption Roadshow is the average human’s chance at doing just that. After being introduced to the main characters, Dolan Gibb, a lone highway patrolman, Reverend Boscoe, The Long Cool Woman and the Redemption Roadshow’s ragtag fleet, you are quickly emerged in a story of spiritual journeys, regret and redemption.

The characters of the Redemption Roadshow instantly entice you into the smooth flow of the emotionally charged story. You find yourself empathizing with the main character Dolan Gibb’s plight to settle his inner demon’s when he realizes his entire life may have been a waste causing him to stir on the edge of how to fix it.

I read this book in an hour and a half and was left wanting more. I closed the book thinking what a wonderfully written story it, but, I want more, needed more. Of course I mean that in a good way, in a greedy way. I was so entranced with the Long Cool Woman, her legend and her mystery, that I want to know more and hear more stories. The Long Cool Woman is a character that could one day become one those urban legends that always starts from a great story. I am really hoping that the stories do continue as I would love to see where the Redemption Roadshow bus goes.

Bio
Weston is the author of the novels Scarecrow Gods, Recalled to Life, The Golden Thread, Vampire Outlaw of the Milky Way and a slew of short stories and articles that have appeared in comic books, professional writing guides, magazines and anthologies. He won the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in First Novel in 2005 for Scarecrow Gods and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Fiction in 2003. He lives in Southern Arizona with his wife, Yvonne Navarro, and Great Danes, Pester Ghost Palm Eater and Goblin Monster Dog. For entertainment he races tarantula wasps, wrestles rattlesnakes, and watches Border Patrol Death Race 2000.

I embarked on my very first online book with Shawn Parker’s “Night Has Fallen”. Sure I had a copy, but could I find it? No, not until yesterday. Now that my online book cherry has been broken, I look forward to the next.

“Night Has Fallen” is a suspense novel done with a slight nod towards “Deliverance”. Four friends, out for a pre-marriage adventure in the woods, find themselves fighting for survival. Shawn does an excellent job at convincing the reader first of the friendships of the four men, and then later, does even more justice to the unravelling and revealing of how superficial their bond actually is.

However, there is a subplot surrounding one of the characters whose identity is slow to reveal. This becomes cumbersome for most of the book until the latter half, where the imagery is so haunting, it starts to overshadow the main plot line. Two images have stuck with me vividly. First, boys in a mud puddle cheerfully tearing apart a venomous snake. The other image is of the main couple, under netting sleeping side by side with so much repellant piled on their legs to combat bugs and parasites, that they cannot touch each other, lest a layer is lost.

As a result of this subplot, the character it surrounds is poorly developed in the main story and forgettable for most of the book. The final chapter is also confusing and I even wonder if it was meant for the same book, or should it have been listed as an afterword? Or is this one giant blonde moment brought on by reading small print on my I Touch? Since the main story is so strong, I question why Shawn Parker included the other bits at all, it can well stand on it’s own.

Bio

Shawn Parker is an accomplished screenwriter and this is his first novel. He works in Toronto but lives someplace else. He likes the Atlantic ocean, Robert Goulet and tickets to the gun show. He does not like pirate hookers, Ron Burgundy or the letter Q. He is left handed, right brained and was fond of bleaching his hair for a time. It is now graying and that disappoints him. His second novel is coming in 2008 whether you like it or not. He is hoping that you will.

Clarissa is not only a young man’s obsession, but the perfect tragic figure in a short story written by Mike Page.  Mike aptly pulls the writer into the quick pace of the story through easy to follow details and story line.  Using multiple characters and chaos right from the get go, it catches the readers attention immediately with the momentum building right to the end of the story.

Teenagers, crushes, unrequited love, angst and tragedy are all part of the story and normally sounds like the perfect synopsis for a horror movie, and it is all the things that make From Clarissa a defined tale of horror. Most of today’s successful horror movies are cast with teenagers or young adults and Mike Page uses this to his advantage in his short story.

You can check out his story at www.fantastichorror.com, a website dedicated to tales of horror.

Bio
After a few successes and many, many failures, Mike Page’s goals haven’t changed much over the years: to write stuff that makes people say, “Yes! Awesome!” while touching the heart and stimulating the mind and all that crap. Enjoy.

Mostly True, instantly throws the reader into the fascinating world of the life of the boxcar hobo through fascinating newspaper ad, articles, photos of wood carvings and hobo graffiti. As I read deeper into the book I was reminded of footage from the Depression era showing hobo’s living along side of the railway and building communities around barrels of fire. During the 1930’s there was a slew of movies depicting ‘Tramps’ as the folly that kept police constables busy.

Mostly True: The West’s Most Popular Hobo Graffiti Magazine lives up to it’s title, each page is full of interesting stories, interviews, art and photography. Though the book itself is perfect bound (a type of binding technic for books), it reads more like a magazine or zine that may have originally been sold in separate editions. Whether or not it is the case Bill Daniel is expert at keeping the flow of the book fresh and exciting from cover to cover.

Mosty True treats you to many aspects of a Hobo’s life on the rails including documentary style snippets of both historical and modern tales and photo’s. However, the most interesting parts of the book are when you get a taste of the graffiti of graffiti legends Colossus of Roads, and Bozo Texino.

Mostly True is a great read that you will likely re-read a few times. Like a great photo or piece of art you will find something new in the graffiti each time you look at it.

Bio
Texas-born, San Francisco exile, and confirmed tramp, Bill Daniel continues to experiment with survivalism and bricolage in his attempts to record and report on the various social margins he often finds himself in. Working without an art or film school education, he endeavors to make work that connects with an outsider audience. His work began in 1980 as he participated in and photo documented the blossoming punk rock scene in Austin, Texas. Since then his subcultural documentary subjects have included bicycle messengers, radical environmentalists, hobo graffiti artists, swap meet guitar players, rural drag racers, and “water squatters”–outlaw anchored live-aboards. His study and love for documentary photography and filmmaking has given Daniel the charge to create work that communicates across socioeconomic boundaries. Drawing from his backgrounds in studio photography, experimental media and the construction trades, Daniel builds site-specific viewing environments as a method for deploying non-linear documentary material within an allegorical, interactive setting.

Daniel’s work has received awards from Creative Capital, Film Arts Foundation, The Pioneer Fund, Texas Filmmaker Production Fund, the R & B Feder Charitable Foundation, and The Western States Media Alliance. He was a Wattis Foundation artist-in-residence at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where his installation “Souls Harbor” was exhibited in Dec. In 1999 he was in-residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts where he produced several multi-projection 16mm film installations, including “Trespassing Sign” in collaboration with the late Margaret Kilgallen. In 2001 his hobo campfire installation “The Girl on the Train in the Moon” was included in “Widely Unknown” at Deitch Projects in New York. A veteran of the touring scene, Daniel has programmed, booked and exhibited several mobile art shows, including the Lucky Bum Film Tour with partner Vanessa Renwick. In 1997-98 he curated a weekly screening series, Funhouse Cinema, in Austin, that also regularly screened in Houston and San Antonio. Daniel is also recognized for his work as cinematographer and editor for filmmaker Craig Baldwin. Other endeavors include publishing two zines–The Western Roundup, a punk fanzine in 1981-82, and Detour, a situationist journal in 1986. He is also the creator of an experimental sports league, The Texas Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Hockey Association.

A typical saying in Southern Italian culture is that there are no homosexuals south of Rome. It’s a macho statement about who the real men are. Female homosexuality isn’t something discussed past “Aunt Rosa never married”. Coming out in this environment entails the possibility of not only losing one’s family, but also losing one’s culture.

Cristy C. Road’s “Indestructible” follows Road’s high school experience and her sexual awakening within the Miami Cuban community. Cristy lives in a world where men are macho, women are curvy and sexy and that is all. There is little wiggle room to be different, let alone to be a bisexual punk. Her sexuality raises questions in her about being Latin in the queer community and whether her queerness makes her too “white”. Additionally, she bristles when she is referred to as a “dyke” or a “lesbian” since these labels don’t apply to her either. As the book progresses, we see Cristy become less and less hard on herself and more and more accepting of who she is until, through tragedy, she eventually realizes that she needs to let herself be alive.

Written with incredible honesty, wit, and insight, “Indestructible” tells a compelling story about a quest for identity and self-acceptance. While the book concentrates on Cristy’s sexual awakening, it is also a story about finding one’s place in the world when one’s personality doesn’t fit into a nice box. It’s the story of every misfit who is trying to navigate their own feelings while trying to avoid being pigeon-holed and stereotyped.

Bio
Cristy C. Road has been illustrating ideas, people, and places, ever since she learned how to hold a crayon. Blending the inevitable existence of social principles, cultural identity, sexual identity, mental inadequacies, and dirty thoughts- Road thrives to testify the beauty of the imperfect.

Cristy Road, a Cuban- American from Miami, FL, went to Ringling School of Art and Design, wher many arguments on commercialism and the representation of women in Illustration took place. Her endeavors in illustrating and publishing began when writing a punk rock zine, Greenzine, for ten years. While today, Road has moved onto illustrated novels, taking both writing and visual elements a step more seriously, her visual diagram of lifestyles and beliefs stay in tune to the zine’s portrayal of living honestly and unconventionally. In a spread featured in Curve Magazine , Jocelyn Voo notes “At 14, the Florida native started Greenzine, an alternative zine that focused primarily on the politics of punk rock and the honesty of adolescence. Roughly nine years later, Greenzine (and Road too) has evolved to encompass maturing ideas of gender, race, sexual liberation, and cultural identity.” However, Voo enthuses, “Greenzine is far from the only thing on this dynamo’s plate. Road’s illustrations, each one a detailed manifesto, have appeared in various magazines and as contributions to punk rock bands.”

Cristy Road graduated in 2004 with bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Illustration, whether or not the administration at her school irritated her. Roughly two years after that, her repertoire consists of ten years of independent publishing, two graphic novels, and countless illustrations for a broad slew of magazines, record album art, concert posters, and political organizations.

In early 2006, Road released an anomalous illustrated storybook, entitled INDESTRUCTIBLE. It’s a 96-page narrative about her experience as a teenager, where Road tackles the themes of being Latina, class, rebellion, gender, queerness, mental health, and death; all beneath the topical umbrella of being a teenage Floridian punk rocker in the early 90’s. Road has recently completed a Collection of postcards featuring art from 2001-2007, entitled DISTANCE MAKES THE HEART GROW SICK [Microcosm Publishing]. Road just concluded BAD HABITS, a fictional illustrated novel due out in the Fall [Soft Skull Press]. Road toured with SISTER SPIT in 2007, and has been featured in various literary anthologies. With no means to slow down, Road currently draws, paints, writes, obsesses over pop-punk bands, and hibernates in Brooklyn, NY. She is a Gemini.

There are many types of Jazz, ranging from smooth to free style. It’s a style of music that has been around since the late 1800’s that is ever evolving. In order to play Jazz music successfully you need to be well honed and educated in your skill. The same goes for poetry. I’ve read some bad poetry in my time right along side the amazing stuff and Dale Percy definitely fits in the category of amazing.

Jazz and poetry tend to go hand in hand. Both are rhythmic and melodic and should sound beautiful when either spoken or done in a sing song type tone. Many Jazz musicians are poets and many poets have become Jazz musicians. When listening to poetry being read out loud you have often heard the phrase ‘music to my ears’ being used and there is good reason for that. Listen closely, poetry is music. Everyone’s Everyman is definitely poetry to these reviewers’ ears.

Dale Percy’s set opens with the smooth workings of Jazzoetry, quickly moves us to the blues with romantic flows of Loveless Blues and Jennie on the Road and wraps up with Overnight, a poem that I can imagine being read with a strong percussion in the background. Each poem moves seamlessly from one to the other, making you want to continue to move to the next without ever stopping to put the book down, never needing or wanting a break. With each poem I could easily imagine what kind of beat or musician would be playing along with it.

Though Dale Percy doesn’t consider himself a musician, his poetry is as beautifully written as any Miles Davis tune you will find out there. Pick up a copy of Everyone’s Everyman, throw on your favorite jazz tunes and enjoy.

Bio
Dale Percy is a Writer – professionally and personally. Professionally, Dale is a Creative Writer, who has been penning radio commercials, promos and the like for year. This has brought him income, professional satisfaction and even garnered him an industry award. Personally, Dale is a Jazz Poet, letting all his true feelings, thoughts and emotions out on paper, trying to echo the phrasings of Jack Kerouac, Charlie Parker, Langston Hughes, Robert Johnson, Kenneth Rexroth and Miles Davis, to name a few. What does this mean? Nothing. It is all speculation about one man, provided by the author himself. Truthfully, you’ll take away what you want when you read this book, or if you know, hear about or ever meet him. However, for all his quirks, inabilities and strangeness of personality, there is one thing he would like you to remember: Dale Percy is a Writer.

Along the lines of the The Chronicals of Narnia, Anika and the Magic Top is the tale of young twelve year old girl named Anika who goes on a magical adventure after finding a magical portal. In Anika’s case it is a spinning top in her mother’s garden. After spinning the top she is transported off to the land of Animalia. In this magical land where she makes many new friends and one dire enemy. The top is Anika’s only way back to earth and when the evil Opossum King steals it from her, Anika must match wits with him in order to get it back so she can return to earth and her family.

Though Anika and the Magical Top is categorized as a children’s book, adults will enjoy it just the same. It’s refreshing to read books that take children on mythical type journies. We have writers such as C.S. Lewis, Ronald Dahl and J.K. Rowling to thank for inspring writers such as Caroline Blaha-Black to create such wonderful characters as Anika, Cleo, Max and Zarr. There are more children’s books forthcoming from Ms. Blaha-Black and we look forward to reading them.

Bio
Caroline Blaha-Black is a pen for hire and a woman who spends her days writing, travelling, doing karate, bytching, eating artisan breads and playing with her pets. She has written a ton of articles for online and printed publications, topics ranging from environment, how-tos, and spirituality to personal essays, slice-of-life and many other topics. She is also an avid fan of entering writing contests and winning them (well, sometimes). She is currently shopping her two children’s books to publishers and agents. Check out her blog at www.karolinablahablack.blogspot.com.

A good autobiography is candid, smart, insightful and honest. BFF (Brainfag Forever) by Nate Beaty is candid and honest, but doesn’t provide the reader with the type of self-examination that one would expect. Beaty seems to expect that readers — or at least critics — will be disappointed, though, since the copyright notice states, “Thou shalt not steal my comic except little bits to accompany your scathing review”. When you start off like this, where can you go?

BFF quickly shuffles the reader through the years before the publishing of the first issue of Brainfag and then drags the reader along Nate Beaty’s self-deprecating and somewhat obsessive reflections on the eight years after that.

It’s pretty rare that anyone gets a glimpse into what goes on in the mind of an artist, but Beaty does a good job of giving the reader that glimpse. He shows how his work affects those around him (current girlfriends jealous of his depiction of ex-girlfriends, for example) and how those around him affect his work (bad breakups fuel his juices, good relationships dry them up). At times, BFF is almost philosophical: Beaty poignantly describes the frustration of pouring time, energy and soul into a creative piece, only to have it almost universally disliked.

Unfortunately, the mind of an artist can also become obsessive. While it is interesting to see Beaty’s inner dialogue behind his quest for a unique personal style, it drags on at times and becomes tedious, making it difficult to keep reading. The cramped writing, sometimes crude drawings and stream-of-consciousness style is more akin to a writer’s block diary than an autobiography.

The book relies too much on the petty details of day to day life and not enough on thoughtful self-examination to make it a really satisfied read. The narrative can get confusing because of the often cramped writing and disorganized pages. While interesting in starts and spurts, only the most die-hard Ned Beaty/Brainfag fan may really get total enjoyment from BFF.

Bio
BFF: Brainfag Forever! collects nearly a decade of Nate Beaty’s self-published comics. Brainfag is a medical term for “brain fatigue,” culled from a turn-of-the-century Grape-Nuts ad. Nate uses comics to explore self-expression, love and love lost, urban existence versus living off the grid, balancing art and coding on the computer, and generally maintaining sanity in a world gone mad. Featuring extensive new material explaining each issue, including the first 25 years of his life in five pages! Climb inside the head of a cartoonist using comics as cheap therapy.

Invincible Summer: An Anthology II is the next installment to nicole j. georges original and brilliantly written graphic novel Invincible Summer. Both volumes are a complication of her individual zines (volume II includes zine issues nine through fourteen), zine that are representative of nicoles life through art, poems, stories and anecdotes.

Volume II includes stories that take you through the next four years of nicoles life. With each zine we experience her trials and tribulations of life as though we are standing beside her. I found myself (as many will) empathizing with nicoles wanting to get ahead in life, love of all things furry, and trying to maintain a life that makes her happy.

I have many favorite pieces, but the most memorable was in issue 12 called Witchery. Of all her stories this one hit home the most with both emotion and humour. A friendship ended due to deception and when the other party starts having bad things happen to them, you find yourself cheering nicole on for getting revenge with a little help from karma.

As with Volume I, these are books to be cherished by women of all ages. Both speak volumes about how using our voice, whether it be verbal, written or artistic, can make a difference. nicole has a continuous solid message reminding us to be kind to animals and to do what we can to stop unnecessary abuse.

One thing that I wish there was more of in volume two, is the vegan recipes. I enjoyed how they popped up like candies found on a treasure hunt through out Volume One. If nicole does a Volume Three I hope she decides to include more of them.

Bio
Nicole J. George’s captures her adventures and thoughts in unique, heartfelt illustrations & stories. Five years of dog mothering, chicken raising, coffee-shop crushes, drama, low paying jobs, heartbreaking romance, inspiring friendships, Vegan snacks, & more! This exhaustive collection will take the reader on a whirlwind tour through Nicole’s personality, wit, and charm! This second edition collects issues #1-8 of her zine and features 38 new, additional pages! Recently featured on the Sister Spit tour!

Welcome to the world of DIY bike repair. Written by two professional bike repair experts, this book screams at you to ‘get er done’ yourself. No longer will you need to wait days for the return of your thrifty wheels from an over priced shop, rather, the very detailed how to guide gives you all the necessary information, including a very thorough list of all the tools of the trade you will ever need, to repair your own bike.

The authors of this book are not only professional bike repair experts, but artists as well. (This being very obvious throughout the second half of the Chainbreaker bike book). The zines in the book are apparently reprints, as all the originals were lost during hurricane Katrina. You will find stories of New Orleans cleverly weaned through out the pages.

Most DIY repair books tend to be long winded and complicated. Chain Breaker breaks the monotony of such things through sometimes anecdotic explanations of how to’s and what you needs. If you are an avid rider or someone who likes the occasional Sunday ride, this book is something you may want to consider to have on your shelf.


Invincible Summer is a compilation of several of Nicole J. George’s journal entries that were incorporated into zines and are now in the form of this truly wonderful book. Inside you will find the first 8 issues of Nicole J. George’s quirky and emotionally charged autobiographical stories, that are perfect for the punk rock soul or the everyday individual who is searching for their path in life. Coffee, dogs and romance will always be found cleverly knitted into many of the well written and beautifully illustrated tales.

Being a cookbook geek and junkie I thoroughly enjoyed the Vegan recipes intertwined within her stories. Also included amongst her illustrations are photos of the rescued animals she met during her internship at the Animal Sanctuary in California. Nicole’s adventures at the animal sanctuary will definitely pull at your heart strings.

This is a book that is meant to be read on a hot summers evening, on a patio, porch or balcony, with a big mug of coffee in hand. Invincible Summer will sometimes make you giggle out loud, or make you feel anger towards society’s treatment of our four legged friends, but this book will definitely leave you wanting more of her continuing legacy of coffee, dogs and romance.

Nicole also has several other zines that can be found at http://www.microcosmpublishing.com including Invincible Summer II, a book I am looking forward to read.

Bio
Nicole J. George’s captures her adventures and thoughts in unique, heartfelt illustrations & stories. Five years of dog mothering, chicken raising, coffee-shop crushes, drama, low paying jobs, heartbreaking romance, inspiring friendships, Vegan snacks, & more! This exhaustive collection will take the reader on a whirlwind tour through Nicole’s personality, wit, and charm! This second edition collects issues #1-8 of her zines and features 38 new, additional pages! Recently featured on the Sister Spit tour!

It’s no secret that when it comes to depicting teens in comics, they are most likely to be both troubled and confused, both by society’s desire to pigeonhole them into a suitable lifestyle or pattern and their own desire to figure it out on their own. Perhaps that isn’t a totally new topic to deal with, but Liz Baillie’s graphic novel “My Brain Hurts” illustrates this pendulous time perfectly, with echoes of personal struggles ricocheting throughout the story. The main character and her best friend try their best to figure out where they belong not only struggling with sexuality and school bullies but also alcoholism and drug experimentation. What saves this graphic novel from being another angsty piece of self-indulgent fluff and elevates it above most in its genre is that Baillie’s comic style allows the reader not only to voyage with the characters as they journey towards self-enlightenment, but also maintains a humorous edge which is badly needed considering some of the content. She deals with some heavy issues surrounding adolescents and growing up, and she does it with wit and chuckles and a few good one-liners. Cannot wait for volume two.

Bio
Liz Baillie was born and raised in New York City and currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and dog. She holds a BFA in Cartooning from the School of Visual Arts (ooh, fancy!) where she graduated in 2002. Her main hobbies are sleeping, eating, and reading, especially about gender/sexuality theory and LGBT history. Anything to do with martial arts is also a winner.

If you’re interested, there is an hour and a half long podcast interview with Liz at Indie Spinner Rack (issue 82). You can either listen to it right on your computer at that link, or you can get it by searching for “Indie Spinner Rack” in the podcast section of your iTunes.

When one reads the poetry of  Carla Hartsfield you can clearly sense a woman who is in touch with her  Feminine side, the Goddess and the Wolf. The reference to a woman’s period, time of the month or curse, which must have been a term defined by a man, is poetically explained in a way that shows the real side of our monthly cycle, thoughts and feelings regarding a thing that is advertised in a blatant disrespectful way, yet talked about it hush whispers with secret words to explain in a politically correct way.

I particularity associated with “Period” and was immediately brought back to that uncomfortable time when it was all new, and unexplained, the foray into womanhood, the awkward receptacles in the washroom, the cardboard uncomfortable-ness.

my period is me

dot dot dot

A very well written journey to an everyday occurrence in the world of woman. This reviewer highly recommends Blood.

Bio
Carla Hartsfield is a classically trained pianist, singer/songwriter, visual artist, and poet. She has published three major collections with Vehicule Press (Montreal) and Brick Books (London). Her first book, THE INVISIBLE MOON, was short-listed for the League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert prize. More recently, YOUR LAST DAY ON EARTH was long-listed for the BC ReLit Awards. In March 2008 LyricalMyrical books launched BLOOD, a hardcover sequence of poems about the female body, motherhood, abortion, genetics and love. During the next academic year Carla will be a visiting scholar at Queen’s researching and writing a new novel.

reviewed by October Young

This collection of short stories is one of the best examples of what good science fiction should be. Ranging from idyllic social structures to bizzare and slightly off kilter personal relationships, each story speaks to the reader and leaves them slightly unsettled. At first glimpse, the stories appear to be too short to have any real impact upon any sort of audience however the language used and the concepts introduced within each story betray the fact that these are tight stories without any excess words. The author has enough confidence in her ability to tell the exact story she wants to tell that she doesn’t clutter up the clean lines of each tale she spins. A fantastic read and definitely a writer worth watching the shelves for.

Bio:
Jennifer Pelland is a science fiction and horror short story author whose debut collection Unwelcome Bodies was released by Apex Publications on February 29, 2008.  It contains her short story “Captive Girl,” which is a 2007 Nebula Award finalist, and made the 2007 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards short list.

reviewed by Carolina Smart

Apparently that calculus we hated in high school is something you will actually use one day. Not just in baking either. According to Cindy Lu you will be using it in the dating world as well. Brilliantly written, this dating self help book not only has you giggling out loud at some of Cindy’s dating examples, but has you getting pen and paper out to do some romantic math.

When I first started reading the Four Man Plan, I thought, in order to give this book a proper review, I would actually need to try out “The Four Man Plan”. Then I started to do the math. The thought of having to date four men at the time was an exhausting thought on its own. But it’s not just dating, there is work to do, you need to keep a graph, do some quizzes, keep track if the man is a quarter man, half man, whole man, 2 1/4 man or a 3 1/2 man. Yes there is such a thing as a quarter man.

My favorite part of the book, The Break Up Ladder. You have five categories, The Ickies, Drop Out, Squeezed out, “Chuck”ed out, and the ultimate Ineligible. It makes breaking up so much more organized. But it also helps you understand why these relationships aren’t working.

Ok, what this book does is a bunch of really positive things. By dating several men, you build your self esteem, weed out those who don’t fit your criteria and in the end, help YOU understand what you want out of romance. Though all the math references, charts, graphs and ladders may seem a little scary to some, it actually simplifies and helps you make sense of the dating and romance in your life. I only just finished reading the book and I now have a clearer picture of what it is I am looking for. So, go pick up a copy, I’m off to start adding quarter men to my chart.

reviewed by October Young

A twisting tale of darkness and redemption, ‘Words Written Backwards’ manages to do something other than entertain. Blending Native folklore with angelic history, the reader is caught between two distinctly different views on how the angels fell. Drawn into their personal stories, the reader cannot help but feel sorry for Judy, as we sense right at the beginning that she is not what she appears to be. The other main character, Joe, is equally as broken as she is; between talking to the spirits and questioning his own motives he finds himself in a dark place that only Judy can help him out of. The only question is, will she? A utterly fantastic read whose only fault is that it isn’t long enough.

Bio:

Gemma Files was born in 1968 in London, England, the daughter of actors Elva Mai Hoover and Gary Files. Her family relocated to Toronto in 1969, where she resides today. Files graduated Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1991 with a degree in journalism; various freelance assignments eventually led to a continuing position with entertainment periodical eye Weekly (www.eye.net), where she gained local repute as an insightful commentator on the horror genre, independent films and Canadian cinema. She was listed by Cameron Bailey of NOW Magazine as one of the Top 10 Coolest People In Canadian Cinema for 1996. She has also written reviews for www.film.com and for the Canadian horror magazine Rue Morgue. In 2000 her award-winning story “The Emperor’s Old Bones” was reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror Thirteenth Annual Collection (ed. Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow).

Files was married in 2002 to upcoming science-fiction and fantasy author Stephen J. Barringer. They have one son, Callum Jacob, born in September 2004.

Be Good flows like romantic poetry, beautifully intertwining several complicated characters with strategic mastery. If I had to wrap up my review of the Stacey May Fowles novel here I would. But this is a book review so I do need to say at least a few more words.

I can’t say enough good things about Stacey May Fowles debut novel, a story of several twenty somethings attempting to find their footing in life. The story carries you gracefully from one character to the other, keeping you in constant need to continue reading, to find out how they make out at the end of their journey. We get to ride along with the emotional ups and downs of each character, feeling both empathy and sympathy for the trials and tribulations of life and love each must endure.

Reading Be Good made me nostalgic for my twenty something years and I am sure it will do the same for you. Pick up a copy of this amazing novel, I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

About the Author (from www.staceymayfowles.com)

Stacey May Fowles’ written work has been published in various online and print magazines, including Kiss Machine, Girlistic, The Absinthe Literary Review, Hive and subTERRAIN. Her non-fiction has been anthologized in the widely acclaimed Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and First Person Queer. Her first novel, Be Good, was published with Tightrope Books in November 2007. She currently lives in Toronto where she is the publisher of Shameless Magazine.

The world is ending and the RCMP’s top secret branch that is dedicated to investigating the paranormal have been given the the thankless deed of saving the planet. The only problem is those who have been given charge of our destiny are a drunk, a womanizer and their abusive boss. Throw in a sarcstic, administrative assistant, a mysterious receptionist, a lonely old lady and cult that stamps you with a 666 symbol. You have, well, one of the funniest scifi tales out there.

Timothy Carter keeps us entertained from cover to cover with the adventure of Howard Plank and Johnny Tall. Two of the RCMP’s former top cops are sent to the bowels of the RCMP when they screw up time after time. Of course that doesn’t stop them from risking their lives to save man kind.

Timothy Carter was born in Farnham, England during the week of the final lunar mission, and he turned 13 on Friday the 13th. He is a novelist, screenwriter, movie lover and Transformers fanatic.

It’s very hard for anything I read to disturb me. I was raised on Stephen King, John Saul and some of the most terrifying horror movies of all time and my hero is Morticia Addams. See where I am going with this? That all changed when I read Apple Of My Eye. I have to admint, I have never been this disturbed by any horror stories, ever. 13 stories of unique macabre, creepiness and sometimes revenge. Amy has a unique story telling style that draws in the reader, keeps them on the edge of their seats and then takes them through the ultimate dark journey.

Apple of My Eyes stories range from the wicked tale of a Daddy’s girl in Apple of My Eye, to the perfect revenge on a man who regularly abuses women in Prevention to the ultimate disturbing end result of one man’s infidelity in Cold Comfort.

Each one of the 13 stories are equally intriguing, dark and horrifying. Amy Grech quickly moves you into the uncharted territory of fear and what treads behind that unopened door. This book is a must read for all horror story enthusiasts.

Bio
Amy Grech has sold over one hundred stories and three poems to various anthologies and magazines including: Apex Digest, Bare Bone, City Slab Magazine, Flashshot: Year One, Funeral Party 2, Inhuman Magazine, Red Scream Magazine, Shadow Writers – Volume 2, Spider Words, The Book of Dark Wisdom, The Horror Express, The Late Late Show, and many others. Her novel, The Art of Deception, is available at http://amazon.com. Her chapbook Cold Comfort is available from Naked Snake Press http://www.nakedsnakepress.com/CATALOG.html. Two Backed Books http://www.twobackedbooks.com/catalog.asp recently published her collection, Apple of My Eye.

Stories are forthcoming in: Mind Scraps, Space & Time, The Blackest Death III, and The Three-Lobed Burning Eye Annual Vol. III. She is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association who lives in Brooklyn. Amy Grech is also a talented Copywriter/Search Engine Optimization Specialist. Visit her website: http://www.crimsonscreams.com for a good fright.

bio is from http://amygrech.livejournal.com/profile

Are you ready for some excitement! Jeff Cottrill not only knows how to draw his readers in, he knows how to shock them. Gifted at writing clever and smooth tales with twisted endings, he has become a quick favourite of this reviewers. The reader is quickly drawn in by this light and fun story lines than BAM big bloody endings. A man after my own heart!

The continuing series ‘The Fiver’ quickly caught my attention, the favourite thing about the Fiver is the Volume II Eedin-berg. I was reading this story on the subway and started laughing out loud during my train ride. My Grandmother was Scottish so I appreciate the humour around the pronunciation of the city’s name.

The further you read into the chap book the more you realized that Jeff is not only a clever writer, but an intuitive one. In Hemingway’s Lost Chapter, Jeff has a knack for recreating Hemingways run on sentences and repetitive descriptive. A good giggle was had without the beer and pretzels.

All I can say about Guilt Pasta is go to the Burning Effigy webstore and buy it. You won’t be disappointed.

About the Author
Jeff Cottrill is a satirist, fiction writer, and spoken-word performer based in Toronto. His stage act often uses elements of performance poetry, comedy, theatre, storytelling… even the occasional puppet. With a darkly comic flavour, he likes to make audiences laugh, cringe, or (preferably) both.

He has featured in many local literary shows and toured twice with the Perpetual Motion Roadshow, which brought him to such cities as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Montreal and Vancouver. In June 2003, he performed two full sets at the Open Eye Festival in Seaforth, western Ontario. He has also headlined for shows throughout England as well as in Ottawa; Detroit; Windsor, Ontario; Toledo, Ohio; and Rockford, Illinois.

He was the co-host of Strange Tongues, a popular monthly spoken-word series (created by monica s. kuebler) that ran from February 2002 to June 2004. He has also been an occasional guest host of other open stages, including WordJam!, Cryptic Chatter, Coffeehouse Cabaret, Every Buddha Plays and Cafe at the Centre.

Jeff has also written arts reviews, interviews and articles as well as (gasp!) relationship self-help. He is the former Assistant Editor of Divorce Magazine and has appeared in The Detroit News, Canoe.ca, Vu, Exclaim!, The Village Post, OWL, The Richmond Hill Post, Glued, Jagged, Wordsmith, The Independent Weekly and The Varsity.

He has authored two chapbooks of fiction and satirical monologues, Cruelty and Kindness (2002) and Karaoke Dogs (2003), published through Burning Effigy Press. (His third, Guilt Pasta, will be launched in April 2007.) In June 2005, he released his first CD, Cracktastic!, through Moody Loner Records.

Jeff likes movies, travel, and puppies.

Jeff’s bio is quoted from toronto.coffeehouse.ca

About the Press

Burning Effigy Press was founded in 1999 as a way to bring fringe poetry, prose and fiction out from the trenches and onto the pages of chapbooks and anthologies. The driving force of Burning Effigy has always been that we are writers publishing writers. That said, we ain’t in this shit for the bucks, we’re in it because we love books and we love the scene. More so, we love writing that moves, frightens or forces us to think in different ways. We love words that scream and bleed from the pages and demand to be heard.

In March 2007, Burning Effigy relaunched with a new brand new genre focus and many big surprises in store. Timothy Carter’s novel Section K kicks us off with a unconventional sci-fi comedy guaranteed to entertain. To be followed shortly by our brand new line of horror chapbooks. Stay tuned for all the bloodcurdling details.

I want Jennifer McCann to start making my lunches… I’m serious. Jennifer runs a blog called The Vegan Lunch Box (http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/), she makes vegan lunches for her little guy. This kid not only has the coolest lunch box, but the worlds best lunches. I bet his class mates gather around each lunch to see what is inside the blue box! She has just released a cookbook called ‘Vegan Lunch Box’ and you can buy it at the website www.veganlunchbox.com. Sometimes paypal is way too convenient! I now have the book in my possession and can’t wait to start making up some of my own Lunch boxes.

There are tonnes of yummy recipes and lunch box ideas through out the book. There are also glossy full colour photos to compliment said recipes. Whether you are making lunches for you kids or just yourself. This book is well worth it.

Dark, sensual, sexy and hot. These are a few words I would use to describe the first book of poetry by Myna Wallin, but a few are not enough. 75 pages long, and purse size, this book travelled with me on the subway, during my rush hour tours from work to home and back again. I’m glad it was in my purse.

This book is cleverly broken into four chapters. In the Throes, Casting Call, Off Limits and An Ariel View. Each chapter as profound as the one before it.

One of my favourite poems is Screen Vixen. Every little girl dreams of being one and Myna has put into perfect words those hidden emotions. My next favourite is the fantasy of Secret Lives and the very classy Even Diva’s Get the Blues.

Pick up A Thousand Profrane Pieces and put it in your purse or knapsack and have it handy for those long tedious subway rides. It’s a nice escape.


Clever and contraversial, Misogyny takes us through a journey of time, from the beginning of civilization, to the witch hunts, to the suffragette movement and right up to current times. Throughout this journey we are given a history lesson of men’s mistreatment and contempt for women. Jack Holland’s extensive research is very apparent through out the entire book, making it an interesting read and a book that is hard to put down.

When I first picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to think. A book on misogyny written by a man was probably his attempt to justify it. Jack Holland does the exact opposite. Not only does he show, through the ages, just how wrong it really is, he himself is shocked, when people are shocked that he isn’t writing a book trying to justify the wrongs of Misogyny.

Powerfully written and in great detail, this is a must read for all women.

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