Monday, February 26, 2007

Ad Astra Anticipation

The first time I attended Ad Astra, Toronto's annual science fiction convention, I was a fan still trying to break into the business. Last year, I attended as a published novelist. Finally I was on the other side of the author's table, and it felt great. I spoke on two panels: Delivering on the Promise of Your Novel, and Get That Novel Finished. I rubbed shoulders with the likes of Terry Brooks and Games Alan Gardner, I trashed The Hobbit (not the whole book, just the bit with the dragon), and I sold 25 copies of my first novel, Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters. Not a bad weekend at all.

This weekend, I will return to Ad Astra to launch Section K, my first book for the grown up market. And I can hardly wait! I can't get over the fact that an event at Ad Astra will be all about me! It's exciting, but a little frightning, too. This is my big chance to promote myself and my work. What if I screw it up? What if I read out the book's best jokes and nobody laughs? Okay, I know that makes me sound really insecure, but this is a really big deal for me.

First, I've got to pick a good section from Section K to read. I'm not worried about speaking in public - I've done plenty of spoken word over the last several years, so I can keep my ums and ahhs and duhs to a minimum. My wife, Violet, will be there, as will my publisher (and friend) Monica Bentz, so I'll have all the support I need.

What's more, we'll have buttons! Monica just told me today we'll have about 200 buttons to give away, which means even more promotion for me! Like I said, exciting but a little frightening. I'm not used to all this attention. Will I be able to handle it?

Stay tuned. I'll update this blog next week with news from the convention.

- Timothy Carter

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I would like to start talking about my books, so that readers reading this blog will have an idea what they are in for. I will start with Closets, my first e-book - and the first children's book I ever attempted.

Closets is the story of two kids, Robbie and Sam Portal, who fight back against the monsters that come out of the closet at night. They learn that light destroys monsters, and that monsters can't bite through blankets. That's why kids are always safe when they hide under their blankets, and why there are no monsters to be seen when you turn a light on. I also decided that, since the closets are the point of entry for the monsters, they must have some kind of mystical property. Robbie discovers that when there is no light shining on the back wall of a closet, that wall becomes the entrance to a passageway that connects all the closets in the house. And at the end of that passageway... the gateway to the monsters' dimension. Robbie and Sam arm themselves with flashlights, wrap blankets around themselves for armour, and head into the closet passageways to destroy the monsters and take back their house.

I had the prologue and first chapter already written when I made one of the early mistakes writers make - I told people what I was writing about. I call it a mistake for many reasons, some of which I will cover in another blog entry. With this book, the people I told all had the same reaction.

"A kids' horror novel? That'll never work."

This was in the time before R. L. Stine hit the jackpot with Goosebumps. From this I learned to always write the story I want to tell, and worry about selling it later.

I put Closets on ice for a while, but remembered it while I was taking a correspondence course with the Institute for Children's Literature. For my final assignment I was to write an outline and three chapters of a novel, and I thought the Closets premise would be perfect.

I wrote those three chapters, and got hooked. By the time I heard back from my instructor about those chapters, I'd already completed the first draft. This was back in 1998, and it took me eight years and countless rejections before I finally found a home for it at SynergEbooks. Their editor, Deb Staples, chose to publish Closets as an e-book, and asked me to supply her with a cover. For that I turned to my wife, Violet, who had just finished her first year of Graphic Design. I would post the image here, but currently blogger does not have the technology to display the image. I will post it as soon as I am able.

I can at least provide a link. You can find the book here:

Again, a technology issue. I will provide a propper link as soon as I am able. In the meantime, please paste the above link into your browser to go to the writer online bookstore and view my book.

You can also see it on SynergEbooks main site, here:

Closets was published in August of 2006. My parents bought a copy, and I think my brother and sister did, too. Other than that, sales have been slow to non-existant. Still, I remain optimistic that this blog entry will give it the attention I feel it deserves. In other words, go and check it out! Don't hesitate, hesitation is bad.

And, as always, thank you for reading.

- Timothy Carter