Win some. Lose some.

Two 4 One took home honours at the Victoria Film Festival last weekend. Maureen Bradley (writer, director, editor), Daniel Hogg (producer), and Amy Belling (director of cinematography) were on stage for Q & A sessions after the two sold-out shows. Audience response was spectacular and the film won Best Canadian Feature Length Film! Congrats to all. For my part I wish to add that the cast and crew worked tirelessly through the adversity of a super-tight shooting schedule and some pretty wicked weather to get the job done. The group came together as a cohesive whole and I will long remember the experience as invigorating and uplifting. Thank you Maureen. If you missed it, Two 4 One will be showing at Cinecenta on March 24 and 25. Hope to see you there.
On a more sombre note, I did not win the 2014 3-Day Novel contest. It is a credit to the quality of A Decent Calling that I thought the book had a chance. Given my success at the contest last year, I know what it takes to win and I put my all into the most recent submission. Perhaps I’ll release excerpts of it here. It’s a solid novella and perhaps only the fourth fictional account of life in law school released in the past forty years (The Paper Chase, Legally Blonde, The Faculty Club).

Two 4 One premiere at the Victoria Film Festival

Buy at ticket- hell, buy two- it’s Valentines Day!
Two 4 One is premiering February 14 at 6:30 pm at the Odeon Downtown for the Victoria Film Festival.
The film introduces the previously infamous 1970 Ducati Scrambler (on the eve of Ducati releasing the new for 2015 retro Scrambler!) and features cameo appearances by Zoe, Cruiser, Nigel and me (as the paperboy!). I’m credited with Grip and Electrics and Key Grip for the second unit and get special mention for driving the big truck and taking it home at night. My neighbours have been comp’ed tickets!
More importantly, it’s a terrific film by accomplished Victoria filmmaker Maureen Bradley, features a wonderful cast including Gavin Crawford (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and the fabulous Naomi Snieckus and Gabrielle Rose.
It’s fun, important, and burning up the critics’ notepads!
Hope to see you there.

Literary Agency/Impotence (Hint: They’re antonyms)

I can write. I’ve written two novels, two novellas, three plays, a short graphic novel, half a thousand reasoned legal decisions, and the words being circulated in official documents by three levels of government. I’ve won awards, been published, and been produced.
Here’s the thing: I want to write fiction. More novels. More novellas. And in order to write, I have to earn a living by writing. But without an agent, I have to spend time selling my stuff. I can’t write and sell stuff at the same time.
Guess how many literary agents there are in Canada who work with literary fiction? Maybe a dozen. And how many prospective writers? Yeah. They’re busy. Try to get their attention.
A glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, sailing and living aboard the most beautiful sailing yacht in the world- a deeply flawed yacht that tries to kill her crew- a yacht sailed by eight professional sailors and a middle-aged accountant who’s afraid of the water. Come aboard and experience the joy of sailing. Come aboard for the ride of your life. Come aboard and succumb to your deepest darkest fears.
But wait! You can’t come. You won’t share the legendary burnt offerings of Dhara, ship’s chef and onboard siren. Or P-2 the Aussie enforcer who fends off all comers in the bar in Faial. Or Luciano the child-like prodigy who is suffering from existential angst. Or the Newfie Olympian that nobody can understand. You can’t come because you can’t buy this book. You can’t buy it because I don’t have an agent who can find this story a home at a publishing house of some repute.
A book that can sell itself. A sailing book for people who like to read, people who drop the hook and scan their meager sea-going bookshelves for the same-old-same-old, people who would deep-six their brass monkeys for a good sea-going tale. You know how many sailors there are in this country? Divide that number by six and you have the number of readers per decent contemporary seafaring adventure story. Know a literary agent? Mention this information. And don’t forget to ask for a finder’s fee! Money in the bank. Money in the bank. The line starts from the right.

Fear or Favour: A new webseries being shot this month

Once again, I’m teaming up with Maureen Bradley, Daniel Hogg, and Dan Carrothers- and the 2014 version of WRIT420 At UVIC do put together a production in short order, with limited budget, and to a high standard! The production team is a good one, emotions are high, and things are going gangbusters with the script almost locked, the locations under control, and final auditions being carried on as I write. Follow FEAR OR FAVOUR on Facebook or check out the website. I’ll drop some links when I get a moment.

Write a novel in 3 more days- the sequel

On Labour Day of 2013 I competed in the International 3-day novel contest. I wrote 33,000 words in 72 hours, abused my body and my mind, and was shortlisted by the generous literary adjudicators for the big prize. Top ten! But I didn’t win.
On Labour Day last -2014, it strikes me as I slowly regain functional synapses- I did it again. This time I put 40,000 words (or 200 standard novel-esque pages for those not inclined to do the math) in the books for the weekend. Not a bad haul.
I am pretty sure I’ve not done permanent damage to myself or the English language, and so I’m calling it a success. Whether I win or not, well, I’ve already won, haven’t I?
Some people ask me why I do this? I respect those people. Others just say I’m nuts. I can’t deny their insight.
Writers write because we can. Because we think we have something to say.
Novelists write because we have lots to say.
3-day novelists write because we have lots to say quickly.
I’ll concede that the logic is not water-tight. But I learned many things from this year’s contest.
1- It takes a community to support a writer.
2- There’s no substitute for a thoughtful looking dog.
3- Thinking still takes more time than typing (a repeat realization).
4- If I could sing and dance and tell jokes, I’d be talented.
5- There is a reason that some old jokes are still around.
6- For most people, writing a novel is a bad idea. For the rest of us, writing a novel in 3 days is a bad idea. For those who write a novel in 3 days notwithstanding that it is a bad idea, there is little hope of redemption.
I did it. I’m glad I did. I hope I win.
Check out the website and maybe try it yourself next year. And watch for announcements. You know, just in case…