About those Bears

Is that an awesome poster or what? It just radiates demented testosterone. Crazy stuff. You see it on the internet making the rounds. I don’t know who did it, but it’s cool. The idea has been around for a while. There’s a Gary Larson cartoon about a western saloon with a saddled grizzly bear tethered next to the horsetrough – the implication being that the rider is really tough.

Bear Cavalry.

Yep, I wrote an entire book about Bear Cavalry.

That’s kind of peculiar. Even more peculiar, I really want you to buy it.

But here we are, and I thought, this might be a good subject to use to talk about my process as a writer. So I thought I would dissect The Bear Cavalry, A (Not) True History of the Icelandic Bear and explore how that came about.

I find, as a writer, that I’m kind of nihilistic. I’m not sure that’s exactly the right word, but it will do.

Basically, as a writer, I’m not chasing an audience. I just write what I really want to write about. Simple as that. Does it interest me? Is it fun. I mean, let’s face, it’s not as if anyone in the world is sitting there waiting for my next story or novel. I’m cool with that. If they aren’t, then I’m free, aren’t I? I can just happily do whatever I want! Whenever I want! Yay me!

So what motivated me to write about bears, apart from that very awesome piece of art?

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Whats Up Doctor?

Well, I’ve just watched the best episode of Doctor Who I’ve seen in a couple of years.

So I think this is probably a good time to talk about my relationship to that program. After all, I’m an acknowledged expert on some tiny corner of the Doctor’s Universe.

To start with:  The Doctor is an alien time traveller who wanders through the universe, past present and future, having adventures, getting into situations, rescuing people and writing wrongs. Because he or she is an alien, he/she periodically dies and regenerates into a new body. This is a very convenient trick, since it allows the show to keep replacing the actors who play the Doctor. The Doctor has a particular fondness for Earth, and usually brings along an Earthling, or a succession of Earthlings as travelling companions. The Doctor is a bit of an eccentric, his time machine is stolen and it doesn’t quite work right all the time, and for peculiar reasons, it’s stuck in the shape of an antique English police telephone booth.

And if doesn’t that sound like a pretty dubious premise, I don’t know what is.

What it amounted to where conventionally dressed Brits wandering around a shabby blue box, against painted backdrops and cardboard sets, pretending that the cockney’s accosting them were aliens from the far future.

Yes, it really was that dubious.

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My Terrible Mistake

I published my first story when I was thirteen. I have that in common with Ray Bradbury.

Actually, I published two of them. So take that Bradbury!

That’s probably the only thing I have in common with him. Maybe there’s other things. Maybe we both don’t like pineapples. Stuff like that. But really, as a writer, that’s probably the only thing.

It’s not really anything extraordinary. I was in Junior High School. In Language Arts, we had a teacher named Misses Emery, a red haired, portly matron of very fixed opinions, who made us write stories.

I did this thing called ‘The Monster Race.’ Basically, aliens come to earth, and after a brief friendly first contact, they start reading up on us and discover we are horrible people. But it’s too late, by the time they figure out we’re bad news, we slaughter them, reverse engineer their spaceship, and now we’re out in the Universe, spreading like a virus.

I suspect it wasn’t especially brilliant. It’s the sort of thing a precocious thirteen year old with a cynical streak might write in the early 1970’s, or … the 1930’s. But she was impressed enough by it that she sent it to the local newspaper, the Dalhousie News, and they published it.


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The Jesse Teller Interview…

Back in 2017, when I was promoting The Mermaid’s Tale, I did an interview with Jesse Teller for his web site.  I was looking around, and it’s still a pretty good interview.  Since The Luck is on the way,  I thought I’d post a link.

The Friday 13 with D.G. Valdron

Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?

My earliest memory—that’s earliest memory of ANYTHING—was dragging my little brother in his high chair towards the blackboard, so that I could draw Batman adventures for him. I was telling stories before I could read or write.

My first published stories were when I was 13 in the local newspaper. Off and on, I’ve been writing my entire life. It’s a compulsion. I can’t not write. I quit. But sooner or later, it sneaks back.

I think that humans have a creative impulse. We can’t help ourselves. Prisoners in jail cells draw on their walls, housewives create elaborate gardens or they paint pottery. We have to do these things.

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The Luck – Blurb!!!

She should have killed it the moment she found it.

But she didn’t.  Killing is what orcs are known for. But when a nameless orcs finds an injured gnome in her nest, an impulse towards mercy catapults them both into a desperate odyssey through a multi-racial city.

Wizards and clandestine societies contend, faceless armies clash in the night and races and nations are drawn into the search for a stolen talisman of ultimate power, all at the behest of a mysterious puppet master.

The orc’s trength and savagery are worthless to her in a world of shadows and deception. Instead, she and her new companion must navigate a cryptic landscape of ever changing rules.

In order to save them both, the orc must master the ultimate game and solve the riddle of the magical object known as The Luck.

Do you like it?
That’s my first attempt at a blurb for my upcoming novel, The Luck, from Five River’s Press.

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Giant Monsters Sing Sad Songs – What’s that about?

I’ve been writing about my kaiju novel, my big giant monsters smashing Seoul, project.

Giant Monsters Sing Sad Songs isn’t about that though. The title is confusing, but it’s completely different. This is a collection of short stories.

It’s not especially about giant monsters. There’s a big giant Godzilla-style lizard in one, and there’s a bigfoot in the other, and that’s about it.

But what it’s really about is melancholy horror. Horror is often supposed to be cathartic. A monster comes along, and either you kill it, or it eats you, the end. It gets resolved one way or the other.

But does it. Do we always live happily ever after once the vampire is staked or the giant monster is bombed? What about living with the consequences? What about the aftermath, the survivors, the recovery. Injuries leave scars, and we have to learn to live with those scars.

So I was interested in the sadness and horror.

That’s what this collection is about. Let me run through the stories for you….

Fossils – What do you do with a giant fire breathing monster that can’t be killed? Well, get out of town. I had this idea for a kaiju wandering around an evacuated Tokyo. An entire city emptied out and silent, and just this solitary creature.

There are a lot of giant monsters out there in movies, Toho has an entire cinematic universe. But mainly, they’re one offs. Each monster is unique, its alone, it’s its own species.

That’s kind of poignant when you think of it. To be so powerful and so alone.

So that’s where I started.

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H.P. Lovecraft and Me

Yeah, I know. H.P. Lovecraft’s star is in decline these days, what with his racism and all. Ironically, Edgar Allen Poe was a racist AND a pedophile, but he still seems to be okay.  Everyone and everything we love turns out to be horrible.

Go figure.

There’s room, I think, for a fairly nuanced discussion of both Lovecraft’s racism and the racism of his era. I’ll write about that one of these days.

Like it or not, Lovecraft was an incredibly influential writer. Just out there, his weird scary stories had generations of shy young nerds stumbling around mumbling about tentacles and yog sothoth and whatnot.

I was one of those. I’ve actually written a couple of major Lovecraft stories: Dawn of Cthulhu, and Life, Love and the Necronomicon. Major in that they’re long, and I think, unique. Not that they’re famous or anything. But they’re good stories, so check them out. This blog is about trying to sell you on my work after all.

For me, the Lovecraft story was ‘The Colour Out of Space,’ a story which if you are concerned, has no racist aspects whatsoever as far as I can tell, and can be happily read by the most woke among us.

First I read it.

And then I lived it.

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