Archive for September, 2011

Word on the Street and a man named Archer

If you’re in the Toronto area this weekend, come on out to the launch of the new Felix Renn novella, “Black-Eyed Kids,” taking place at the Word on the Street book and magazine festival.

I will be signing from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Burning Effigy Press booth (FB18) located at Queen’s Park Crescent East, halfway between St. Joseph’s St. and Wellesley St.

Also, this arrived today…

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, June 1946

The June 1946 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine featured the winners of the mag’s very first short story contest. Consequently it also marked the first appearance of Lew Archer, the private detective created by Ross Macdonald, and the one, along with Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, who provided the primary influence for Felix Renn.

The story in this issue is called “Find the Woman” (it came fourth in the contest), and it’s credited to Kenneth Millar, which is Ross Macdonald’s real name. Millar wouldn’t start calling himself Macdonald until the publication of the first Lew Archer novel, The Moving Target.

Macdonald wrote 18 Lew Archer novels in all. The final one, The Blue Hammer, was published in 1976, the year I was born.

In an amusing twist, Macdonald’s detective actually had a different name for his short story debut in “Find the Woman.”

His name?


“Black-Eyed Kids” cover, synopsis, blurbs

The lead-up to the launch of “Black-Eyed Kids” continues with the cover, synopsis, and a couple of blurbs by a pair of authors who were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules to read an advance copy of Felix Renn’s latest adventure.

The cover of Black-Eyed Kids

Felix Renn is a private investigator in a world that co-exists alongside The Black Lands, a dark dimension filled with  terrifying creatures.

After the woman he’s hired to follow turns up dead, Felix discovers he has drawn the attention of the Black-Eyed Kids – supernatural entities so dark and mysterious that even the government’s elite Paranormal Intelligence Agency knows little about them.

As the bodies continue to pile up, Felix quickly discovers he has no one to turn to, and that it’s only a matter of time before the Black-Eyed Kids come calling on him.

Advance praise for “Black-Eyed Kids”

“Since first encountering Ian Rogers’s private investigator Felix Renn – and his run-ins with the mysterious Black Lands that lie bloody cheek-to-jowl with our own reality – I have been following each of his cases with avid interest. Now, in Black-Eyed Kids, Renn has met his most dangerous challenge yet. Truly, this is one of the most chilling horror stories I’ve read in years. Make that, that I’ve read period. By the time it’s done you’ll be looking over your shoulder for sweet little children with obsidian eyes. And more than that, you’ll be looking over your shoulder in the hopes of seeing the next Renn adventure sneaking up on you.”  – Jeffrey Thomas, author of Punktown

“With Black-Eyed Kids, Ian Rogers continues to raise the stake for his Felix Renn stories. … This time out, Renn finds himself confronted by a pair of sinister children whose power to evoke sheer, unbridled fear is just this side of irresistible. His efforts to understand their connection to a series of gruesome murders without winding up a (horribly mutilated) corpse, himself, form the backbone of this fast-moving, highly entertaining read. Renn’s encounters with supernatural monsters (especially a tree that’s every gardener’s worst nightmare) are as well-handled as ever, but it’s his interactions with monsters of the human variety that give this narrative its kick.”  – John Langan, author of Technicolor and Other Revelations

“Black-Eyed Kids” will debut a week from today, Sunday, September 25th, 2011, at the Word on the Street book and magazine festival in Toronto.

Tattooed female slayers and their supernatural bad-boy boyfriends need not apply

I came home from work today to find an unexpected surprise: a double-header review of “Temporary Monsters” and “The Ash Angels” by Nick Kaufmann, author of the Stoker-nominated General Slocum’s Gold, and the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated Chasing the Dragon.

Here’s my favourite part:

Temporary Monsters dwells in the gray area between horror and fantasy. It is essentially an urban fantasy, or what urban fantasy was for a short time before it became synonymous with tattooed female slayers and their supernatural bad-boy boyfriends.

You can read the rest of the review over at Nick’s blog.

In other news, I sent off the final edits on “Black-Eyed Kids” this morning, and I expect to have the final layout and the cover very soon!

Black Lands Hookers

I like hookers. You know, the opening line of a story, the one designed to “hook” people in and make them keep reading? What kind of hookers did you think I was talking about?

Private detective fiction in particular is known for its hookers. Here’s a few goodies…

From Goldfish, by Raymond Chandler:

I wasn’t doing any work that day, just catching up on my foot-dangling.

From Nightmare in Pink, by John D. MacDonald:

She worked in one of those Park Avenue buildings which tourists feel obligated to photograph.

From Find a Victim, by Ross Macdonald:

He was the ghastliest hitchiker who ever thumbed me.

I’ve tried to do the same with my Felix Renn stories.

From “Temporary Monsters”:

The waiter got killed before he could drop off the bill.

From “The Ash Angels”:

It was 7 P.M. on Christmas Eve and I was just getting into the holiday spirit – a bottle of Glen Breton single malt whiskey.

At events where I’m signing, I’ve even been known to write an original Felix Renn hooker in a random person’s book. It’s all part of the fun.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a few previews of the new Felix Renn chapbook, leading up to its release at the end of the month. I thought what better place to start than with the opening line. So here it is, the hooker from “Black-Eyed Kids”:

I spent the night in my car waiting for Mandy Clarke to commit adultery.

I know it’s not much, one freaking line, but I promise it will be worth the wait. I’m pretty excited about this one. For those of you who enjoyed the first two chapbooks but wanted a longer story, you’ve definitely got one this time around. And you won’t have to wait much longer to read it. “Black-Eyed Kids” will be out from Burning Effigy Press on September 25th!

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What are the Black Lands?

The Black Lands is a dimension filled with supernatural creatures that lies next to our own world. This alternate reality is the setting for a series of stories by Ian Rogers.

To find out more about the Black Lands, read the history.