Arkady's Case (Story 1) 17:120:00/17:12
John Doe & Company (fantasy-thriller) - 74,000 words
John Doe runs the world's most unsuccessful bookstore, debt-collectors are trying to collect, people are trying to kill him, and his new girlfriend turns out to be a Valkyrie. Life's getting complicated.
Gallows Humour In a Season of Mercy (thriller)- 77,000 words
An act of domestic terrorism pits investigators GEORDIE WHISPERS and former assassin NIALL KELLY against right-wing extremists and the criminal networks that support them. The investigation is perilous: cops have been killed, other police may be involved, and trust is next to impossible. Friends and loved ones are in danger: the ordinary rules no longer apply. It's time to hunt, like the wolves they are.
The Assassin's Guide To Water Colour (thriller)- 76,000 words
The Assassin’s Guide to Water Colour is a story told by three narrators: NIALL KELLY, ANNIE MAGDALEN, and GEORDIE WHISPERS. The young Irish assassin NIALL KELLY is emotionally scarred, and his own worst enemy. He’s looking for a safe place to hide and his interests lead him north to the village of Killarney. ANNIE MAGDALEN is an artist, recently broken up and creatively blocked with deadlines looming – she’s rented a cottage in Killarney village, hoping to get some work done. GEORDIE WHISPERS is a Detective Sergeant, Homicide whose pursuit of a cold case, one of Niall’s first targets, leads Geordie to Killarney village. The lives of all three narrators converge and tangle, leading to a shattering crisis on the shores of Georgian Bay.
18 Lines (humorous crime) - 82,000 words
JACK PARRY used to investigate corrupt cops – now he’s an ex-cop turned songwriter who moved north to Canada to escape the memories of a tragedy that left him shot, his infant daughter dead, and his wife institutionalized. Creatively blocked since that shooting, Jack is living in a trailer park and bartending part-time at The Happy Clam, a mob-owned strip joint in Welland, while he struggles with his writing. Never mind success: right now, all Jack wants is to finish one decent song -- just 18 lines of lyric and melody – to help him get back to his old self.
Jack is dating his neighbour MELODY, who is a dancer at the Clam, and he’s trying to teach a young protégé, STELLA, about the craft of song writing. However, Jack’s world is under threat from every direction: Jack’s ex-wife SHAY has been released from hospital and wants to see him, police are investigating him, old enemies and allies from Jack’s past are coming after him, and mob hostilities threaten both Jack and Melody at The Happy Clam. Coping with all the loose ends of his past and his present, Jack has all he can do to stay out of jail and stay alive, but he still wants Melody, and he’s still trying to finish a song.
Angels In the Woodwork (humorous crime/fantasy) - 81,000 words
RUUD PRYCCK didn’t start out to be a minister. An ex-soldier and veteran homicide detective, Ruud’s life changed instantly when he and his partner CELESTE were shot by a sniper while on duty. Celeste is killed and Ruud is severely wounded. Waking in hospital, Ruud finds himself talking with the dead: Celeste and a laconic old ex-bookie named MAX are both angels, and both on Ruud’s case.
There’s little room on a modern police force for a guy who talks with angels (or ghosts, for that matter, and Celeste is quite sensitive about being called a ghost); Ruud soon finds himself off the force and running a little street mission, tending to a little flock of street people and criminal types, including a very lethal thief named DARCY. But somebody still wants him dead, and those around him are equally at risk: Ruud is dying to find out why he and Celeste were shot, but he doesn’t want to die doing it.
Arkady, So Far (humorous crime) - 73,000 words.
Unemployed songwriter JIMMY TRAVELLER bets his artist girlfriend SAMANTHA that he could sell his own, still non-existent, paintings to a man who has just left Samantha's studio-gallery. Jimmy makes an appointment, borrows supplies, whips up half a dozen ugly and worthless paintings, and flogs them all, under a Russian nom-de-brush, ARKADY, to a room full of large, expensively-suited gentlemen. For lots of cash. Loser of the bet is supposed to buy dinner, but winning raises Jimmy’s stakes considerably – Jimmy rapidly realizes that he's just sold a load of worthless paintings to the Mob, and he’s dug himself a grave-sized hole: they'll want their money back.
Winning this bet gets Jimmy tangled up with local organized crime, dangerous nude models, exotic dancers, foreign assassins and even the Russian and traditional mafia. Samantha's not too happy with him, either. As he moves from the worlds of art and money laundering into the music business and crime, ARKADY SO FAR chronicles Jimmy’s struggle to survive as he does what he always does in the bottom of a hole: he just keeps digging.
- The Guide to Homely Cooking - Notes and stories from Sam and Ella's Diner
- The interviews (1 & 2) with Jimmy Traveller - Lead air guitarist, writer, and vocalist with The F in Barbarians
Short stories (selected):
- "How To Make a BLT", Finalist and Winner, John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award, 2017
- "The Order of Things", Semi-finalist, John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award, 2015
- "Blackberries", Finalist, John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award, 2017
- "Winterkill", Semi-finalist, John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award, 2017
- "A Revolution of Birds" (Toronto Star, 1982) -- Also a musical in progress, based on this story.
Bruce, reading aloud
I just love reading aloud.
I think a story feels like more of a story when you can read it out loud... which I enjoy doing. Not to mention, it helps me make decisions about the writing, when I can hear it as well as read it. Adding a few samples, for now...