"Don't be here in ten years." – The Factory Line

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First Bouchercon From the Top of My Head

First Bouchercon From the Top of My Head.

I’ve slept about 12 hours in three days and met a LOT of great people. Please don’T feel left out if I don’t mention you here.

 

  • – –

New-Orleans is way too warm for the average Canadian.

Apparently, New-Orleans is way to warm for New-Orleans because they blast that AC pretty fucking hard.

Bouchercon is actually really fun.

Eric Campbell could be one of the nicest person on the surface of this earth.

Eric Campbell could end up being the most important publisher of quality authors in the next 3 to 5 years.

Somehow ended up riding along on a lunch with Gary Phillips.

Gary Phillips has the most amazing voice you’ve ever heard.

I could listen to Gary Phillips talk for hours on end. You should as well…

Terrence McCauley was so nice, I was wondering if Terrence McCauley was a closet Canadian.

I might make the “closet-Canadian” a thing… will try it next year see if it sticks.

I don’t know if there’s one single Molecule of evil dark matter in Kate Pilarcik. If it’s in there, it’s gonna take the hubble telescope to find it.

Continuous conversations was really fun. I hope they expand on the concept next year.

Some of the bigger authors did feel douchy on the pannels.

I may ask James Ray Tuck to tattoo FTW on my hands some day.

Christa Faust, however, did not feel douchy at all.

Christa Faust so fucking intimidating to me…turned out to be SUPER welcoming.

I did not know who Christa Faust was when I met her. She didn’t care AT ALL.

In fact I didn’t know who anyone was in the mystery scene. That didn’t seem to matter at all.

Joe Clifford has the charisma of a superstar.

I want to write a movie where Joe Clifford is the lead role.

Maria alexander is just a totally weird and likeable person who knows japanese sword techniques.

The Mystery scene is probably the best place for any grown up punk to land his sorry ass.

Met John McFetridge in real life.

John McFetridge is much taller than expected.

On the other hand, Eric Campbell is much shorter than expected. (sorry!)

Met at least three other Canadians… Why haven’t we heard about them/us in any way, shape or form… yeah we know why, right?

Montreal doesn’t really have a mystery scene. People really seem to dig that shit. We need to work on that.

Benoit Lelievre really needs to go to the next one and I’m fucking serious.

 

 

 

 

First Bouchercon From the Top of My Head.

First Bouchercon From the Top of My Head.

I’ve slept about 12 hours in three days and met a LOT of great people. Please don’t feel left out if I don’t mention you here.

  • – –

New-Orleans is way too warm for the average Canadian.

Apparently, New-Orleans is way to warm for New-Orleans because they blast that AC pretty fucking hard.

Bouchercon is actually really fun.

Eric Campbell could be one of the nicest person on the surface of this earth.

Eric Campbell could end up being the most important publisher of quality authors in the next 3 to 5 years.

Somehow ended up riding along on a lunch with Gary Phillips.

Gary Phillips has the most amazing voice you’ve ever heard.

I could listen to Gary Phillips talk for hours on end. You should as well…

Terrence McCauley was nice.

Terrence McCauley was so nice, I was wondering if Terrence McCauley was a closet Canadian.

I might make the “closet-Canadian” a thing… will try it next year see if it sticks.

I don’t know if there’s one single Molecule of evil DARK matter in Kate Pilarcik. If it’s in there, it’s gonna take the hubble telescope to find it.

Continuous conversations was really fun. I hope they expand on the concept next year.

Some of the bigger authors did feel douchy on the pannels.

I may ask James Ray Tuck to tattoo FTW on my hands some day.

Christa Faust, however, did not feel douchy at all.

I did not know who Christa Faust was when I met her. She didn’t care AT ALL.

In fact I didn’t know who anyone was in the mystery scene. That didn’t seem to matter at all.

Joe Clifford has the charisma of a superstar.

I want to write a movie where Joe Clifford is the lead role.

The Mystery scene is probably the best place for any grown up punk to land his sorry ass.

Met John McFetridge in real life.

John McFetridge is much taller than expected.

On the other hand, Eric Campbell is much shorter than expected. (sorry!)

Met at least three other Canadians… Why haven’t we heard about them/us in any way, shape or form… yeah we know why, right?

Montreal doesn’t really have a mystery scene. People really seem to dig that shit. We need to work on that.

Benoit Lelievre really needs to go to the next one and I’m fucking serious.

First Trip From the Top of My head.

So, I’m headed home after my first trip. First travel, first airplane, etc… Went to Bouchercon in NOLA for about 40 hours and heading back home.

Some thoughts :

First flight was in a small, tiny 40 seats airplane. I could barely stand in it (I’m 6’1) and it really felt like a bus with wings. I FUCKING LOVED IT… Couldn’t stop smiling.

Tiny airplane was still roomier than the Montreal Metro in the morning.

There’s a place that sells a dish called “the Buddhist bowl” in Charlotte airport. I will be thankful for this nutritious meal forever.

Food in the USA is generally pretty bad… WAY too much fat and sugar. Hard to find healthy, veggie or vegan food. Even the “farmers’ market” was all meat… It was hard not to notice the obesity problem (sorry!)

Say the gulf of Mexico from the air.

Did manage to find a selection of AMAZING vegetarian food in or around downtown NOLA.

Did find one bottle of real orange juice in the bottom right corner of a seven-fridge wall full of coke and pepsi.

Wallgreens is Pharmaprix. It has to be. I will google this to confirm.

You can sleep on wide couches in NOLA airport. I don’t know if this is true of other airports, but I would not have been worried about rest had I known. Turned out to be adequately comfortable.

Inequality is absolutely blatant. I took the city bus out of the Airport and across Metarie and NOLA… the haves and the haves not, it’s hard not to see it…

Americans are generally nicer than expected. The bad international press does feel legitimate, but most people were nice.Please be kind and fix your problems, will ya?!

Saw the Mississippi river. It’s brown.

Traveling is sexy. It’s a big, rich-ass privilege but it’s sexy! At least acknowledge of your privilege and be grateful.

It hooked me up. I don’t think I’ll ever “not smile” on a plane.

Say tiny windfarms. They probably weren’t so tiny on the ground, but they were tiny alright!

Headed home.

I miss my girls.

 

Pick a line. Stick to it. Don’t fuck up. (Being Canadian Also Helps)

I used to be a very negative man. I used to believe no one was going nowhere and why not get it over with sooner rather than lather.

This week of first : first day of graduate school, first time I buy a home and fist time I take a plane.

I was never in “absolute poverty.” I am well aware of that. I was never in a war nor had I ever lived in a bombed out country. I was simply working class in an era that has very poor prospects for the working class. Factories are closing, warehouses are closing. The kinds of jobs I used to know how to do aren’t in demand anymore.

I had to make a change and it was going to take work. That what the moral of my first novel, The Factory Line : “Don’t be here in ten years.”

It actually took a decade to get out of it.

These past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a good woman, we had children together and worked tirelessly to make ends meet, keep jobs (with very mixed results) and get ahead in life.

I have eaten my “yellow cans of beans” for years to save every buck I could…(for those who are not from Canada, there is  such a thing as “the yellow brand” here that is the cheapest version of anything in a yellow can with the simple name of the item written on it, very “Dharma initiative”.

I am also well aware that I am lucky enough to be Canadian, where healthcare is free (I’ll take a waiting list over a 15k bill any day!) and education is cheap.

I can now say that all those years of patience and sacrifice have paid off… Yesterday I’ve started my MBA. That’s correct. A Diploma that costs tens of thousands of dollars in most of the developed world (especially in the US) will cost me about 7000$ CDN total, and half of that will be subsidized by the provincial government one way or the other because I am statistically poor. (I do feel very rich even with my income and the possessions I have… most people ask for too much, that’s for sure.)

I am a working class kid doing an MBA at Concordia. I had my first day yesterday and it was amazing. Concordia is amazing. We had discussions about the influence of “structures” over “individual behaviour” and how such or such system allows liberty or how others favoured “deviant behaviours” and so on…

I now have a chance to make a dent in the bullshit I know still exists.

I was confirmed in my belief that this was no small achievement when I say statistics in La Presse about the “state of things in Montreal”… Most people on this city are still very poor. Only about 22% are owners of their own homes, much less in the parts of town me and my family are from (Tetreaultville to Centre-Sud), the whole lower-East end of the city.

It’s still poor. Numbers aren’t that good. Wages go from half the Canadian average to 2 thirds at the very best. Lots of unemployment, welfare and single moms.

I feel luck and proud to have made it that far. Once I’m done with grad school, I need to find a way to help out in whatever ways I can.

Today I can’t say I’m still working class. I still work a warehouse until I get a better job, but my livelihood is no longer solely resting on my hands for labour.

I’ve become the owner of my own apartment as well yesterday. Went to the notary and signed papers right there. It wasn’t such a huge moment in of itself. Perhaps the significance of it will be felt when we actually move in a few weeks.

It was hard to move out of “rentals” as the prices keep going up and wages are stagnant, it’s very difficult to “make it.” have the minimum deposits and clear the bank’s. I was lucky enough to have my parents help me. It took absolutely everything we had, me, my wife and my parents, for me to get a loan. I had saved up 10000 dollars (at a rate of about 1200 a year) and my parents chipped in the last 3000. We have a very simple two bedroom condo that will cost us about 900 a month with all taxes and fees included.

The way rents are going, we landed exactly where we needed to land.

This week I will take the plane for the first time as well. I will fly for two days to New-Orleans for a book convention.

Years of work are coming together on this. I self-published out of college, managed to meet a few good people with that. Kept writing and putting out books, working the indy scene in Montreal until I won an Indy prize for a novel.

I stopped my instincts of self-publishing again and looked at the market. There were a few new publishing houses doing this completely differently than the “old” publishing system. I was lucky enough to know a guy who knew a guy and got onboard one of those publishing houses at they were on the rise. That was about two years ago.

The publishing house was Down and Out books and they’re turning five in a big way with releases every month and a Bouchercon anthology coming up with many of their authors on shortlists for awards.

I will go to Bouchercon this week thanks to them.

I am very grateful.

 

If you’ve read all of this, maybe you wonder what words of advice I could have. I wrote them a while ago in Northern Gothic, I believe :

“Pick a line, stick to it, don’t fuck up.”

Being Canadian also helps, seriously. (Nearly) Free education is a fucking bliss.

Take care,

 

Ian

 

 

 

 

Interview in The Big Thrill – The Magazine of the International Thriller Writers.

Here’s an interview I did with The Big Thrill – The Magazine of the International Thriller Writers. It came out yesterday.

Thank you to Terri Nolan for giving me so much of her time, do visit her website here : http://terrinolan.com/

The Interview was summarized here :

http://www.thebigthrill.org/2016/08/grand-trunk-and-shearer-by-ian-truman/

 

Take care,

 

Ian

 

News Update – Attending Bouchercon 2016 in New-Orleans.

I could have confirmed this way earlier, but was short on time with the family, moving and Back to School.

 

But I have a few hours now, so here it is :

 

I will be at Bouchercon 2016 in New-Orleans for two days, Sept 15 and 16, 2016.

It will be both my very first Bouchercon and my first real trip outside of Montreal. (Going to Ottawa doesn’t count.

If you are in New-Orleans, the good people at Down and Out books have asked me to read at their fifth anniversary party @Cosmios in the French Quarter.

For more info : https://www.facebook.com/events/1240279356003868/

Si non, on se voit à la convention, bonne journée :

http://www.bouchercon2016.com/

An Introvert’s Ramblings on Being Introverted, Working In General and Living In a Big City

I am an introvert. Always have been for as long as I figured out what an introvert was. Mind you I grew up in a pre-internet era. I was the first kid in my town to have a computer and the internet (this was 95 ish)… I was slapped in a class with all the other geeks the school council could find and gave us computer to study as part of a pilot project… we were along in the universe. Fast forward twenty years and computers are used daily by everyone everywhere.That’s irrelevant.
But I was the guy watching anime from other people’s bootlegged tapes during lunch hours at school. I was terrified of the cafeteria and to this day, you won’t find me eating in public for any longer than it is necessary for me to chew properly and finish my plate. Rarely do I ever extend a meal or go to a restaurant. Mostly with wife and family. I rarely ever see anyone else, even people I respect and actually like. I’m just not that guy. Sometimes I’m fed up listening to my music, but I keep my earbuds in my ear so people won’t talk to me. I’ve put on white noise at work for significant portions of time and actually enjoyed it.

I know.
I used to think I was fucked up growing up. I had no social media to stumble upon something like an introvert meme that could tell me, as a kid, that the way I was living didn’t make me fucked up, it just made me an introvert. I really would have liked that.
Flash forward twenty years and I life in a pretty dense part of town in a pretty large city, Montreal. I absolutely adore it.
Mind you I still dread the looks of people eating and drinking at all the terraces throughout the city. I still keep my head straight and walk with a sense of purpose so none of them would dare stop me and talk to me.I still dread the fuck out of that. It’s not going anywhere soon. But the thing about a dense city, is that you can hide in plain sight. Everyone’s so busy, you just put on headphones and go about your business. Boundaries are in your heard rather than physical. You can be seated right next to someone in a coffee shop and still not feel the social obligation of talking to them. It’s amazing.
There’s also, perhaps, a higher percentage of “weirdos” and creatives out there. As other introverts probably know, we do need some level of socialization, but only very little. It used to happen at the videostore for me, you’d just walk in there and come across another video geek and trade a few ideas about cinema and that filled up that little social bar you need to keep in the green.
Videostores are dead but I’ve substituted that with the occasional art exibition and/or happening. There’s also more work and opportunities to set up events, hide in HUGE book stores (hello Indigo!!!).
As I got older, I realized that introverts can be perfectly functional in groups so long as there is a “purpose” to the presence there. Setting up a schedule for a festival, addressing logistics of said event. Personally, I can speak in public. I can address a crowd of a hundred or more. I’m fine with that… I usually have the hardest time in parties…in crowds of twenty people.
I can’t do it. I’ve literally walked out of parties so often I just don’t go anymore. I’ve had a music jam with new people once that stopped being about music and they just started talking about themselves and what they liked… Those were people I knew, but I swear to god, I’ve literally put my guitar in the case, looked them straight in the face and only said, “I need to go.” and bolted out of there.
I’m still weird, but as long as there’s a reason for my presence in a room, I manage it. The very moment that purpose is done with, I feel the absolute urge to get out of there.
What’s nice about a city is that you’re “alone together” very easily. The moment you walk out of that event or meeting, you turn a corner, put on your headphones and you’re one your own.
I stop “feeling” other people’s “weight” on me incredibly faster in a city. When I need to go to a suburb or when I go out in the country, there can be a fucking hundred meters between me and the meeting or a fucking mile in the woods. It’s like people are still there. There’s still only a limited number of options to get out of that place and that weights in on me. It’s probably not cool, that’s just how it is.
In the city, everything is so connected and moves so fast, you can disappear much, much more easily when you need too. Plus there’s a bookstore or a wifi café withing walking distance of almost anywhere you can be.
And I like to walk a lot. I really do.
I’m rambling now.
Take care,
Ian