From Train Wreck to Train Rides – My 2017 Retrospective.

Time to write my retrospective

2017 was…something

Winter was an absolute wreck

The year started off as absolute shit. My marriage fell apart and I dropped out of that MBA I had just started to try to salvage whatever was left of my life.

(I feel I owe a SINCERE apology to Prof. Steven AppelBaum for swearing so much…I don’t know! He probably doesn’t care! But SORRY!)

Then a few months of just grunting…couldn’t even cry, I just grunted, yip. For months at night. And while, yes, my ego was crushed and I wanted revenge, I can honestly say the hardest part was not having the kids around every other week. I had been a full time, dedicated father for eight year. How do you go from that to part-time dad? I’m still having a hard time with that.

I did NOT drink a SINGLE drop during that time and I think that demonstrates my ongoing belief in a sober lifestyle. NOT A SINGLE DROP. I don’t know how I did it, well, actually, I know. I Lifted a ridiculous amounts of weights to get out of that phase and wrote a lot of poetry that Is actually probably good poetry, but mostly weights. Lots and LOTS of weights…it wasn’t cool now that I think of it.

Spring really is a time for change.

And then things started to get better. I managed to sleep, stopped feeling the need to stack twelve to fourteen plates on a leg-press machine anymore just to get the pain out. (Though I do have to say that phase left me with an AMAZING body, especially for a 35 year old dad…That’s right, I said it!)

I salvaged my writing career and shelled out what is probably my best work so far. And that fucker, I wrote out of absolute will power alone, trust me. Every fucking page was a testament to my resilience and refusal to quit.

I have had insanely bad sex and then insanely good sex (and I mean it, I mean, absolutely stellar sex…)

And then not much sex at all.

I don’t know. I didn’t get that “need” people get to fuck everything that moves just to get past a failed relationship. I’m not judging, I just don’t get it.


Summer to stabilize things

I’ve managed (so far) to save my home (the market exploding the way it, I fucking NEED to) with no small amount of help from my family who I absolutely love and I can only hope to be as present for my children in the future.

I made new friends and reconnected with older ones I couldn’t manage to see as my marriage was falling apart. Having a social life is difficult but feels good.

I have visited New-York city with about 50 bucks to spend for a weekend and somehow made it.

I have visited Toronto and loved it. I have actually slept in a very plush boutique hotel, and for a guy who can (and has) sleep straight on hardwood floors, that says a LOT!


Fall to figure things out.

I have had plenty of time to decide what I wanted to do with myself now that I’m no longer “just” a father and a husband.

My raging need for insane workouts made way for a different kind of physical challenge. I have reconnected with something I had loved in the past: climbing, and found renewed passion for the sport. It just fits with the challenging-yet-balanced person that I was before all this clusterfuck happened and that I feel I am once again.

Climbing is a lot like writing. You have to work at it, go all in, you have to get hellbent out of shape to make it work and you’ll get a few strains and bruises and fall and stay there, catching your breath for a while. But then you’ll get on your hands and knees, take a deep, long breath and wait. You’ll stretch your limbs and stop yourself from rushing back in and look at what’s going on. You find a way or an angle and a line, sometimes the ONLY line, that can make it work. It’s the only way to climb and it’s also the only way to write.

And you get to it again, always working to make it better, one lane after the other, one book after the other, always more challenging but isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?

And now 2018

This year was a train wreck that I’ve somehow managed to get back on tracks (or at least A track). I’ve had help from friends and family, I’ve ASKED for help from friends and family and I’ve worked hard and I can’t imagine 2018 going bad.

I am confident in my writing, now probably more than ever.

I am confident in my art, now probably more than ever as well.

I really do love punk, now probably more than ever, and hip hop from around 98 to 2004 maybe…

I’ve learned I love trains. I really, thoroughly LOVED my first (real) train ride. I was invited to Philly next November, will totally ride the Adirondak and then see from there. I love trains.

I’ve re-validated my life choices of a vegetarian diet and sober lifestyle. I am in the best shape of my life, by any standard, the absolute best shape of my life and I love it.

I am aware of my worth (workwise) and have (finally) dared to ask for more or move elsewhere. If you know me, you’ll know how much of a breakthrough that really is.

And most of all, I am not so angry anymore. I was the most pissed individual you had ever seen and I think I’ve depleted all of my anger in 2017, all of it in the spring. It’s hard to explain, I don’t feel it anymore. It’s like an emotion I used to know that I don’t feel anymore, like a certain pitch your ear doesn’t register anymore.

And I mean, I’m still moody, I’m still snappy, sure, but that DEEP SEARING ANGER that defined me for years…that beast is not there anymore. It’s just…gone.

I’m still not sure how I’ll work that out in the writing.

But we’ll find out in 2018.


A Long Overdue Site Revamp

Hi there,


After years of inertia, I finally switched a few things around on this website here.


I’m a three-trick-pony (which is better than a one-trick pony) so more of the same aesthetics but organized muuuuuuuuch better.

That’s it for now.


Take care, Ian.

I’ve decided to retire two of my early works.

Hi there,

It’s long overdue, but I’ve decided to retire my frist two books, The Factory Line and Low Down.

While I believe The Factory Line deserves a re-write and maybe a “don’t be here in ten years edition,” for its tenth anniversary, LowDown will go forever in the “out of print” pile.

These formative works have been important to me as an aspiring writer but I no longer feel they are appropriate depictions of my talent as a novelist. My indie years are behind me now and I feel blessed to be able to work with very talented editors, copy editors and publishers.

Sometimes you need to clear out some room on a shelf in order to grow.

This is one of these times.

Take care,




Book Announcement and Cover Reveal – Down with the Underdogs (Down and Out Books)

Fall is a busy literary season so I want to get the news out ahead of the few events I’ll be attending in the coming weeks because I expect to be swamped with work,

I am really happy to present to the world the cover for Down with the Underdogs, a D’Arcy Kennedy mystery.

Ian Truman - Down with the Underdogs web

The follow-up to 2016’s Grand Trunk and Shearer is set to be released Mid 2018 (for now) on indie powerhouse Down and Out books. The novel is currently at the editing stage in the insanely capable hands of underground legends John McFetridge and Peter Rozovsky.

I would like to take a moment to thank Eric Campbell for believing in my work enough to support the expansion of the D’Arcy Kennedy world into an ongoing series I can be proud to write. Thank you.

Until then, you can always get Grand Trunk and Shearer HERE or meet me at the Brooklyn Book Festival, table 301 on Sept 17.

Thanks and take care.

Ian Truman.


Cover design : Collective Narcolepsy

Cover photo : shutterstock_133007795 – Marc Bruxelle

Texture : iStock-607616372 – natthanim

Standard licenses acquired.


Brooklyn Book Festival and Bouchercon 2017.

Some quick updates,

I will be at table 301 a few hours for the Brooklyn Book Festival with the Down and Out rooster. 10 to noon and another shift from 4 to 6. Come by and say hi. I also expect to be poking around the Akashic table to help get the word out about the Montreal Noir anthology.

I’ll be roaming at the Bouchercon festival in Toronto (Oct. 13-14-15). Will post the exact room and date of my panel as soon as I’m absolutely certain of it.

There’s a book lunch planned for early NOV for the Montreal Noir Anthology but I’m still short on details.

Down with the Underdogs is in the capable hands of two underground legends as editors and that’s all I’m gonna say about THAT right now. (I know, I know!)

Thanks and take care,



I Will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival in Sept.

Hi there,

I will be attending the Brooklyn Book Festival in Sept. I’ll be at the Down and Out table at least on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th.

I’ll confirm specifics and/or events as soon as possible but will be around for certain.

See you there?

A Letter to my 20s. (Sound Advice For Aspiring Writers)

A letter to my 20’s.

So, you’ve got guts and you’ve got a drive that no one in the world but you can understand. You have found your voice and wrote about what you knew then wrote about what you didn’t know shit about and then wrote some more and then again.
Amazing! Congratulations. You’re on the fast track to take over the literary world and shake things up, smash the walls, to hell with conventions and all hail the great (Canadian) writer.

Now that was cute, it is. The right word is…cute. So let me give you some advice while I can.

Because I’m 35 now and, well, here are three truths you could have learned at an earlier age and save yourself some pain of learning them later and then admitting to yourself in a very public post just how wrong you were back in the days.

You will need an editor.

You’re not that good. You’re not that bad either, but you’re definitely not that good. Sure you can fool yourself into thinking no one has ever written prose the way you handle it, and maybe you did find a voice that was sorta, kinda, maybe unique to you.

You still suck enough to need an editor. Not that you don’t write well, but there’s bullshit up in there, there’s filler and god forbid you EVER make a typo, right?

You will need an editor. Not just any editor, someone whom you respect and will call you on your crap. And you will send them your book thinking, “this is soooooo close to finished,” and when the manuscript will come back, you’re gonna want to quit the life altogether.

“That’s it,” you’ll think. “I’m done with this shit. Never again. Why did I bother in the first place?” You’ll mope around, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for a few days. Some of these pages weren’t as good as you thought they were.

And then you’ll get back to work, and maybe 90% of editorial comments will make it into your book, making it a much, much better book.

At one point you’ll learn to appreciate this process. You’ll do a lot more editing yourself and when you’re done with it, you’ll happily send it to someone you respect and tell them, “go ahead, massacre me.”

That’s how a book makes it from good to great (Thank BEN!)

You will follow the rules.

I know. I know. You’re still punk in your heart and following the rules is for suckers. But punk only really has three chords and maybe five songs when you really think about it, so what the fuck are you complaining about with rules.

So you will diligently use he said, she said. You will avoid adverbs at all costs and you will structure you writing.

Sure, that free verse poetry is fine and all. It’s cute. You’ll probably never write a Petrarchan Sonnet. But 90000 words don’t come so easy as some spur of the moment snowflake in a beautiful winter storm.

You want that shit to make sense, you better structure it. And guess what, people much smarter than you and much older than you already had figured it out hundreds of years before you walked this earth.

Of course the rebel in you will cringe at this, but let me tell you, and you’ll hate me for this, but the time you’re 35, you’ll be writing a five tome series where each book will be a cog in the Shakespearean five act tragedy structure (boring, right?) and each book is individually organized as a three act structure so that the reader will want to keep reading your shit. (Don’t worry you’ll still get to swear as much as you want.)

You will want a publishing deal.

Finally, you’re gonna want a publishing deal.

I know. You wrote against ANY PUBLISHING DEAL and about how the publishing industry was BULLSHIT and DEAD, so FUCKING DEAD. That was so very punk of you. You wrote that so many years ago in a VERY ANGRY post that managed to land on Huffington post that one time (so un-punk) but thankfully in French, and now every time you google yourself (you’ll do that too) it’s one of the first links up there and you just want to shoot yourself in the face. Or not.

This one’s not ENTIRELY black or white. One thing is for sure: don’t EVER sign a non-compete clause. Those are just bullshit and should belong to the past or a ditch somewhere north of Mont-Laurier.

You see, publishing houses are like people. Some are nice, some are assholes, indies can be both and majors, well, maybe. I don’t fucking know. But you’ve met great indies that offered super fair deals and shitty indies that could go fuck themselves and go bankrupt.


A nice one, from a good indie that cares about their writer and you’ve luckily met at least three of them in your short career, so keep hope.

Because you can’t do everything yourself. You really can’t. You’re terrible at selling your own shit. No one single person can properly handle the writing, the editing, the cover, the distribution, getting you to conventions or book fairs and handle publicity on your shit.

You’ll do a lot of that, don’t get me wrong, you’ll do a lot of everything. But you need help, especially you, my twenty-something me.

Besides, you’ll realize soon enough that even assholes aren’t always assholes. Work in this industry long enough, you’ll realize the margins are so thin and the risks are so great, it’s actually hard for anyone to make money in this business.

That’s it. For now at least.

Keep cursing like a sailor, some people actually seem to enjoy that.

Take care,

Your mid 30’s self.

P.S. You will unknowingly fall asleep ten feet away from Harlan Coben on a mezzanine seat of the Orpheum theatre in New-Orleans during your very first convention because you couldn’t afford a second night in a hotel room. Tell you all about THAT some other time.