Connection at Newcombe
Literary Historical Fiction
Published by Latitude 46 Publishing. Due out Autumn 2020.
It's 1920. The Great War is over and the troops are on their way home to reclaim their old lives. But before he can return to his job as a lawyer, Major Callum Bannatyne has one more mission: to ensure The Canadian National Railway builds its newest expansion through his hometown of Newcombe. The only problem? Newcombe's population is too small for it to qualify for a station. And so begins a small town's campaign against time and government to recruit their ringers and guarantee the survival of their community in post-war Northern Ontario.
But not everyone is on board with duping the government and Cal’s plan is undermined at every turn, whether due to the machinations of the local Reverend’s zealous son, or the bullying of belligerent furrier Evershed, the father of Cal’s childhood sweetheart. Even Fergus, Cal’s own father, who suffers from dementia, inadvertently jeopardizes the plan when he attacks the leader of Newcombe’s Ojibway conspirators during one of his fogs. But if living in the Canadian wilderness has taught the people of Newcombe anything, it’s how to be resourceful in the face of adversity.
Connection at Newcombe is a literary historical novel that interprets the fictional hamlet of Newcombe through the eyes of its myriad colourful characters, and explores the lenses through which these characters view each other and the community as a whole. Themes of homecoming, mental illness, gender parity, religion, sexuality, and family bonds are prevalent throughout the book, but the core of the novel deals with the concept of making delusions, lies – fiction – into a communal reality.
Contemporary Humour Fiction
Accolades: Winner 2011 3 Day Novel Contest, short-listed for the Re-Lit Award for Fiction 2013
Music journalist Evan Strocker has almost finished a book about his time with Heidegger Stairwell, an indie-rock legend from small-town Ontario whose members he has known his whole life. But the band thinks he's left a little too much of himself on the page - letting his experiences as a transgender man and his complicated romance with the lead guitarist eclipse the story of the group's dramatic rise and fall. Through notes and marginalia, the musicians argue over their friend's version of the truth and fight to put their own testimony on the record. And, as Strocker's manuscript finally comes together, both band and writer are forced to face a shocking new event that will change their fortunes once again.
In 2017, Motel Pictures released a short film entitled We Forgot To Break Up adapted from Heidegger Stairwell. The short premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. For more information on the production and streaming links, click here.
Works in Progress
Our Extraordinary Treatment of Everyday Things: Volumes I and II
Ecological Magical Realism Multimodal Fiction
The Lightizer family’s lot has always been interwoven with The Bellewood Elder, a clonal cluster of trees their alchemist ancestor buried in a field that grew up to be a city. As happens every hundred years or so, the trees have developed blight. Now the trees are dying and so is an entire generation of Lightizers.
Only one will live to continue the cycle: one tree, one Lightizer. Six characters manifest the Lightizer curse: their efforts to survive, to live under constant threat, to have meaningful deaths, make up the novel.
Harlowe is a geneticist who, after great professional success, throws away their career obsessing over the cull. Prudence, an information broker who can literally hear the subtext of people’s words, spends her time protecting her loved ones, all the while pushing them away. Bean, Prudence’s charismatic brother, an aspiring filmmaker in a bisexual polyamorous triad with people named Alex, falls into an old pattern of self-destruction. Rand, a chef who runs a cosplay restaurant with a time travelling gimmick, learns the cull has begun the same day his wife tells him she’s pregnant. And the youngest, twins Karl and Annabel who can manipulate people through their music, don’t believe a word of it. They will live forever.
The threads of the six narrators interweave, creating a macro-narrative populated with Faustian politicians, time-travelling food trucks, Shakespearean hurricanes, subway-tunnel libertines, mobilized eco-soldiers, a ghost ark, and a miracle tree. Because the Lightizer blight doesn’t just affect the trees: it distresses the city’s entire ecosystem and the community that depends on it.
The story is told through prose with design, illustration, music, lyrics, film, recipes and re-mediated elements.
Note: Completion of this multimodal novel contributed to the award of Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing (Digital) from Bath Spa University. I pursued this degree under the supervision of Professors Kate Pullinger and Naomi Alderman and I am indebted to them for their guidance. Thank you as well to my viva voce examiners Dr. Tracy Brain and Prof. Jon MacGregor, and chairperson, Dr. Alison Lee.
Here are a few examples of design work I created for OETOET Vol. 1. Some are photos taken of the files in the creation software. I used several programs to create the media elements, including Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Clip Studio Paint Garageband