Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Goodness

Happy Memorial Day to all of my US friends.

I would like to redirect you to three blogs in particular that honour and celebrate Memorial Day. Anthony Venutolo at Bukowski's Basement and Michele Emrath at Southern City Mysteries both present excellent tributes to fallen soldiers of the past.

Cathy Olliffe at Life on the Muskoka River is celebrating Memorial Day (Yes, even though she's Canadian) with the kick-off of her 'All-American' weeks featuring a number of US writers. Rumour has it she has a shocking and bizarre photo posted with her opening feature. Guaranteed you won't want to miss that...

Please take a moment to check out these talented writers and bloggers. Especially if you are American. Remember...Uncle AlanSam wants you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mysterious Creature?

I present a link to this story because I always strive to give everyone fodder for future horror stories. Don't say I never give ya anything...

The Vancouver Sun is only one of many publications that ran a story the past few weeks about a furry 'gargoyle-like' creature dragged ashore from a northern Ontario lake by a dog. This occurred on the First Nations Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug reserve, located much closer to Hudson Bay than to Thunder Bay. For those of you unfamiliar with Ontario geography that's waaaayyyy up north.

Commentors on the article speculate the creature is a decomposed otter or perhaps a marten or fisher. The Kitchenuhmaykoosib website notes that "No one knows what it is, but our ancestors used to call it the Ugly One...Rarely seen, but when seen, it's a bad omen. Something bad will happen, according to our ancestors."

We used to have a small fish pond in our last house in Ontario. One day I found an odd creature floating in the water. It appeared to be a bloated squirrel with the fur mostly skinned from it's body. Needless to say, it didn't look very squirrelish any more....and I certainly didn't want to delve into why it was missing it's fur...

I don't know if the creature was sent off for testing by biologists or veterinarians or whatever, but something inside me says that some mysteries are best left vague and murky. Perhaps the story should be tucked away in the Loch Ness or Sasquatch files.

Speaking of mysterious and the nether-regions of Ontario...I have heard from a reliable source that the enthusiastic and talented Cathy Olliffe will be starting her 'American week' tomorrow at Life on the Muskoka River. I must admit that I figured that she wouldn't get enough Americans submitting stories. I even submitted an essay for her to use during the week but was turned down flat. I'll stop now before I begin to sound bitter [sulks silently in corner...]

However, the same un-named yet moderately reliable source noted that Ms. Olliffe will kick off her American week with a special guest. I shall be breaking out the Bud (it's a long weekend down there, right?) and wrapping myself up in the 'stars and stripes' for the duration of the week. Drop in to her blog for a little bit of Americana...I know I will.
And speaking of big events...I am still seeking submissions to the Land's Edge flash fiction contest. Entries must be submitted by Sunday, June 20th (yes, this year!). Click on the link for all the facts.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Odd Deaths as a Stall Tactic

As many of you are aware I am prone to referring to weird stories that I have stumbled upon in the news. This is mainly because I have nothing to post about. However, I think I have found a strange story that may be considered both educational and funny (in a macabre way). The full story was an article called Stupid Ways to Die by Alan Parker (yes, the same guy who did last weeks' story about the last public execution in Canada). It appeared in the Toronto Sun last year and you can link to the full story here. For those of you who don't wish to peruse the full list, I will give you the highlights below...

1751- Prince Frederick, eldest son of Britain's George II and heir to the throne, was killed when hit in the chest by a cricket ball and died of a lung abscess. As a result Frederick's son became George III (the guy who lost half of North America in the Revolutionary War).

1760- Nine years after his son suffered death by cricket ball, George II died of injuries sustained when he fell off the toilet.

1814- Nine people died in the Great London Beer Flood when 1.5 million litres of beer burst out of a Merx & Company Brewery storage facility (I fully believe that the Canadians reading this are nodding their heads sagely muttering, "but what a way to go, dude.")

1912- Paris tailor Franz Reichelt wanted to test his "coat parachute" from the top of the Eiffel Tower (I think you see where this is going...). Authorities approved his test--with a dummy--but once at the top Reichelt impulsively decided to test his invention himself. It didn't work.

1926- Englishman Bobby Leach, who was the second person to survive going over Niagara Falls in 1911, died when he slipped on an orange peel. Gangrene set in after Leach broke his leg and the limb was amputated--but he died anyway.

1983- Playwright Tennessee Williams choked to death when he swallowed the cap to an eye drop bottle.

1993- Toronto lawyer Garry Hoy was demonstrating at a party how strong the windows on the TD Centre were. He ran at the window once...and then again, at which point the window gave away and Hoy fell 24 floors to his death (pity he wasn't wearing a Reichelt coat parachute).

There were a couple of deaths that involved horses and in particular involved a "Mr. Hands". You'll have to link to the article for the gory details as I'm trying to keep this a PG rating.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Contest Prizes

I had a nice couple of days visiting my parents outside of the city. I'm convinced that it's best to commune with nature once in a while...even if it kills me. I will now add to Saturday's post where I announced the Land's Edge flash fiction contest. See previous blog for submission rules/information. I think the best way to handle the giving out of books is to present the facts here and let first place get first pick, second the next pick and third place gets the residuals. Note that I shall cover the postage to wherever you live. The next 5 or so stories get 'honourable mention' status with accompanying bragging rights. All other entries receive my eternal thanks for participating (yeah, I hear you all now...big whoop!). The available prizes of Newfoundland and Labrador literature are:

Livyers World by Robin McGrath. Tuckamore Books, 2007. Trade Paperback, 128 pages.

Livyers World* is a YA science fiction tale set in a future Newfoundland. I came across a great review of this book by Newfoundland writer Trudy Morgan-Cole. She does a much better job of describing this book than I ever could. You can link to her full blog posting here. *Note: according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, a livyer is a permanent inhabitant or settler along the Newfoundland Coast.

Catherine Snow by Nellie P. Strowbridge. Flanker Press, 2009. Trade Paperback (signed by author), 353 pages.

Catherine Snow is a novel based on the true story of the last woman hanged in Newfoundland in 1834. Here is a link to more information at the Flanker Press web site.

"The balance between fiction and reality provide the reader with an opportunity to empathize with Catherine and her family while obtaining an account of what is known historically."~Atlantic Books Today.

The Custodian of Paradise by Wayne Johnstone. Knopf Canada, 2006. Hardback, 510 pages.

Wayne Johnstone, considered by many to be Newfoundland's finest writer, paints a wonderful portrait of Sheilagh Fielding...renowned wit and eccentric. The novel opens in the final days of World War II with Fielding, tormented by demons from her childhood, moving to a seemingly deserted island off the southern coast of Newfoundland. You can link to a full synopsis here at Mr. Johnstone's website.

I wish to reitterate the non-spitting on judges rule. Also...hate mail is OK, but if you are going to make abusive ph0ne calls to the judges, please don't call collect. And start at Laurita's place first. Thank you, and please pass on news of the contest to your 'writerly' friends.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Holiday Contest

The Victoria Day Weekend, Memorial Day in the USA, marks the first anniversary of this blog. Conversations From Land’s Edge was created to better connect me with other emerging writers. I have not taken a writing class in a while but those who attend this blog have proven to be wonderful teachers, entertainers and friends of the highest order.

I had intended to start naming off folks who encouraged me in those first days but the list would make this posting far too long. Thank you all (and you know who you are) for taking time to comment on my posts when, often, there was little substance or conversation. The circle of friends has grown wider and exposed me to a wider range of writers including the talented #Fridayflash contributors. Each of you have taught me, or advised me or made me laugh at your blog content or your comments here. I toast you all!

To help celebrate both this long weekend and my blog anniversary I am pleased to announce the first Land's Edge flash fiction contest. The contest starts today and deadline for submissions is Sunday, June 20th. Please send forth your best short stories or essays with a holiday theme. I leave the word 'holiday' wide open to your interpretation. Any holiday, festival, gala or fete will do. Some examples...New Year's Day, Labour Day, Anzac Day, Guy Fawkes Night or even the Running of the Chihuahuas in Sonora. Suffice it to say that it can be a holiday or celebration of historic or fictional proportions. The contest is open to anybody, anywhere (yes, even Scotland!) .Though the farther away the winners the cheaper the form of transportation for the prizes (read-fishing trawler on a slow return to Europe or Pony Express to the boonies of Tennessee...)

After consulting the Minister of Finance I have been permitted to dip into the residuals from last month's hockey pool winnings. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place contestants. The winners and five honourable mentions (more or less) will all be published on this blog after the winners are announced on Saturday, July 3 between the Canada Day and Independence Day holidays. The contest rules are as follows:
  1. Stories of any genre, 750 words or less

  2. Please...send only previously unpublished stories

  3. Send entries to with Contest Submission and the title in the subject line of your email

  4. Put your story in the body of the attachments please

  5. No spitting on the Land's Edge judges

The submissions will be judged by myself and 'blind judged' by Laurita Miller of Brain Droppings and one other Land's Edge staff member. No pandering to the judges, please, as we are impervious to such things unless it's a twenty in an unmarked envelope. This is a Newfoundland contest being judged by Islanders so the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entries will have bragging rights and will each receive a gift of Newfoundland & Labrador Literature mailed to anywhere their heart desires. This post is getting a bit long, so I'll post the specifics on the novels on Monday. I hope all of that was clear (I am only now consuming my first coffee of the day). If not, email me with questions at the above address. Have a great weekend all...please tell others about the contest...and start writing.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sunshine, Executions...and a Contest

We have been spoiled here on The Rock. That's now two glorious, sun shining mornings in a row. It's 10 deg. C at the moment (50F) but going up to a balmy 16 (62F) [provocative music plays as Al flops to floor and wriggles out of sweaty snowsuit]. I just won't talk about all the rain that will fall with the warmer temps. All of the sun and rain is causing the grass to grow at an alarming rate and it will soon need cutting. The boy will have to scoop up the land mines (dog poo) ahead of time. Such an enjoyable way for the lad to spend this Victoria Day weekend...

I notice that my neighbour across the street has birds nesting in an opening in the gable of his house where he removed the chimney last fall. Nothing like communing with the wildlife up here in Canada. We once had squirrels nesting in the rafters above our deck in our last house back in London. I came home after work one day to discover my wife up on a stepladder, wearing a set of rubber gloves, trying to extricate the babies from their nest with a set of BBQ tongs.

Last years dead clematis vine, its skeletal remains woven throughout and hanging from a wrought iron frame on the side of the shed, is showing signs of new life and will flower soon. That was a blatant segue to a blog posting at the Toronto Sun website the other day by journalist Alan Parker. Here is a link to the story where Mr. Parker presents a few facts and figures about crime and punishment in Canada...and just in case you don't want to read the story, I'll present the accompanying photo below at the scene of the last public hanging in Canada in 1902.

The whole public hanging business is, or course, another skillful segue to remind you all of my upcoming contest to be announced here Saturday morning. One of the prizes to be offered up is a copy of the novel Catherine Snow, a story about the last woman to be hanged in Newfoundland (what did you expect, I write horror stories...).

The contest is to celebrate the first anniversary of this humble blog. There was some discussion after my last post about the availability of cake at this celebration. In my experience I have discovered that both cake and fish products do not fare well in the Canadian or US postal systems. My solution will be to purchase one of those nasty Christmas fruit cakes. You know the kind...the big heavy ones that folks mail back and forth to one another for decades. Each time one of you visits me here in Newfoundland I will break out the Sawzall and carve you off a hunk (to be washed down with a glass of rum, of course). So sharpen you pencils, or whatever your writing implement of choice, and check back on Saturday for details.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Silence, Leading to Retro

Kind of an odd post title, don't you think?

That's because it's Tuesday and I haven't posted anything since last Friday. Even then, the post wasn't a conversational thing, but a #fridayflash story. I find myself at a loss for words. I know! Who would have thought that Al would have nothing to bizarre is that?

Since there are no conversations happening here today I may have to change the name of the blog to just Land's Edge. Or perhaps Island of the Mute. Or maybe Lobsters and Silence in the North Atlantic...OK, now I'm rambling. Let me know if you've got ideas for a new blog title for me.

The 'one year' anniversary of my blog is fast approaching this weekend. I'm toying with a contest idea that I will announce at that time. Maybe. It must first be cleared by the Minister of Finance.

Wow! A year has passed already? I think retro is the way to go. I refer you to my third posting of May 2009 when I rambled on about urban legends that were discussed on the radio and how they could be fodder for stories. It's very short. I had nothing to say back then either. You can link to that any urban legends from your part of the world? Tell me, please, because I've got nothing else to talk about!Please share them with the fine readers of this humble blog. I leave you with a photo of some disco guy from the '70's. No he is not me, nor anyone I know. Trying a bit too hard to be like Dan Ackroyd's character from SNL, methinks...

Friday, May 14, 2010


Day of Reckoning

Maggie Reinhart, city pound dispatcher, marched down the tiled hallway. Her heels kept metronomic rhythm as she made her way towards the staff room. Troy Dixon was just leaving the room when she reached the door. “You’re late. The others are out on the road. Here’s your first call of the day,” she said. He glanced at the yellow sticky note she passed to him.

DAL –Beagle-King & Sutton. “Go gettum, cowboy,” she said and winked at him. As he wandered off he could hear the continuous drone of barking beyond the cinder block walls of the dog kennel.

Maggie shouted after him, “And Supervisor Mitchell left a memo on my desk saying I should remind you to get your shot this week.” He gave her a dismissive wave as he shouldered open the back door to the parking lot.

Dixon discovered, of course, that the only van left was the oldest vehicle the pound owned. He opened the creaky door to his tin can and was blasted by a wave of heat from its interior. The young man rolled down the window, started up the van and switched on its air conditioning. After a couple of minutes he still felt only warm air. A quick inspection of the cargo area revealed all the usual gear was accounted for: first aid kit, metal cages, plastic carriers, gloves, blanket and Ketch-all pole. The oppressive heat in the back enhanced the stench of disinfectant and urine and made his eyes water.

He sped to the Sutton Road area, but 20 minutes had elapsed since the call was logged and he doubted the dog would still be running at large. To his surprise he spotted the beagle peeing on the rear tire of a parked Toyota. The dog finished and trotted along the sidewalk. It glanced back, noticed the van, and began to run. At the next street the beagle dashed across the brown lawn of a bungalow and disappeared into the dense shrubs to the right of its front door. Dixon locked his vehicle and walked up the narrow driveway. He rapped on the front door, causing flakes of loose paint to fall to the concrete porch.

At that moment the elusive beagle leapt from the shrubbery and snapped at the back of Dixon’s pant leg, chomping onto a mouthful of polyester. He spun, pulling the material from the dog’s teeth and aimed a kick at his hindquarters. The dog was too quick, though, and retreated back to the greenery. When Dixon looked to the door he discovered a muscular, shirtless man filling the doorway.

“It tried to bit me,” Dixon shrugged, running his fingers through his short, blonde hair.

“That sucks, man. Looks to me like you deserved it.”

“I tried to kick him after he bit at me.”

“Get lost, ya’ rent-a-cop.”

Dixon stared at the man for a moment, trying to avoid glancing at the big, red hearts tattooed around each of his nipples. “Listen. Your dog was running at large out on Sutton. I’m supposed to ticket you, but I’ll just give you a verbal warning this time.”

“Bite me you Nazi,” he said, and saluted Dixon with a middle finger. “I’d beat the crap out of you, but I’ll just give you a verbal warning this time. Now get off my freakin’ property!” he shouted and slammed the door.

When Dixon returned to his van he heard Maggie’s voice over the radio. “A-17, A-17 what’s your twenty?” He ignored her for a moment as he jotted down some notes about the beagle incident. “Where are you, Dixon? We’ve got a possible rabid cat and I can’t track down the other officers.”

Dixon fumbled for the transmit button on the microphone. “I’m done here at Sutton, where’s this cat?”

“See the constable in front of 810 Simcoe Road.”

“10-4 base,” Dixon replied. He proceeded as fast as he dared through the maze of narrow east end streets until he arrived at the Simcoe address.

A grey-haired policeman leaned against his vehicle. Dixon smiled as he approached the officer and glanced at the man’s name tag. “I hear you might have a rabid cat, Constable Connelly,” he said.

“Yep, he seems a bit wild. Your name and date of birth?”

“Dixon, Troy George. March 15, 1977.”

The constable nodded while he jotted in his leather book. “The cat’s there,” he said, pointing under the vehicle with the chewed-up end of his plastic pen.

“Really?” Nat said and grabbed the hot metal of the door handle as he squatted and peeked under the car. A grey, long-haired cat hissed a greeting. Even in the shadows Dixon noticed the weeping sore above its left eye.

“Nasty looking bugger,” Dixon said.

“It’s all yours. Guess that’s why you guys make the big bucks, eh?”

Dixon opened the back of his van, acknowledging the officer’s cliché with a weak laugh. He unlatched the door to one of the metal cages and grabbed the blanket and pair of leather gauntlets. He returned to the cruiser and placed the blanket on the asphalt next to the vehicle, trying to ignore the gathering spectators. He knew that he needed to work quickly.

He stuffed his hands into the gloves and lay on his side. He weighed his options about how to approach the cat as the heat from the asphalt radiated through the thick blanket. Sweat dripped from his right eyebrow and mingled with the oil-stained pavement.

The rancid cat made his decision for him. It exposed its fangs and pushed off with its hind legs towards Dixon. He held out his left hand in self-defense and the cat wrapped its body around his gloved fist, sinking its teeth into the leather.

Dixon wriggled his torso back until he was fully clear of the cruiser. The crowd applauded as he got to his feet and placed his right hand over the back of the cat, mindful to avoid the large sore he saw through the filthy, patchy fur. He quickly walked to the back of his van and the constable opened the back door. Dixon was about to drop the cat into the metal cage when it sunk its teeth through the glove into his left thumb.

“Dammit!” he shouted, and tossed the cat and gauntlet into the metal prison and latched the door. The creature immediately threw itself, without hesitation, at the walls of the cage. Its eyes bulged as it chewed the thin, stainless steel bars with its front teeth.

“She sure likes you,” the constable noted.

“Yeah, I suppose so,” Dixon responded humourlessly. The skin around the puncture wound was not bleeding but it had already started to swell.

“I know you animal control guys are covered with that rabies shot, but you’d better get that looked at by a doctor.”

“I’ll do that after I get the cat back to the office.”

“Have your supervisor send us a copy of the report.”


“Yeah, from the Ministry. After they test the thing for rabies.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Thanks for your help,” the constable said and climbed into his cruiser.

Dixon returned to his van and began to feel chilled, despite the heat of the day. His hand trembled as he reached for his notepad and he felt nauseous at the thought of not having got his preventative rabies vaccination yet. Mitchell had nagged him for several weeks about getting it but he kept putting it off because of his phobic fear of needles.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Referral and Remembrance

I would like to link you in the direction of Michael J. Solender's blog Not From Here, Are You? There you will find my mild rant humourous/serious essay entitled 'Canada and America: The Great Divide'. Also at the NOT you will find Cathy Olliffe's fanciful tale 'The Power and the Glory'. The photo of her in her Canada-esque spring attire is very nice too...please check out the stories, an 'All Canadian Week' duet you won't want to miss.

On a more serious tone...I've never dedicated anything to anyone before, but I'd like to dedicate the Canada/America essay to an old co-worker back in Ontario. I received word yesterday afternoon that he had passed away 2 weeks ago. RW and I had worked together for about 14 years until he was forced to retire due to health reasons. That story seems appropriate as his mother's family were Quakers who moved to the Kitchener area from Pennsylvania in the 1800's. His father's side were English royalists and he was a proud Canadian who lived life on his own terms, even to the detriment of his health. RW had no family: his parents were long dead, his brother, who did not have children, had passed away last year. He had never married or had children either and died alone. I felt compelled to mention him today. He won't be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


What's the most embarrassing thing that you've done recently? Walked out of bathroom with toilet paper stuck to the underside of your shoe, fell off your chair at work, sent a scathing email to a co-worker about the boss only to find that you accidentally sent it to the boss! That kind of stuff.

I went shopping for the groceries on Sunday (that's after cooking the brunch and prior to cooking the dinner). Yes, it was Mother's Day, but I usually do the grocery shopping anyway. Part of the divvying up of work about the house. Something I don't mind doing...anyway...I was walking out of the store with my cart laden with schtuff. The sun was shining, I was wearing my shades, the wind blew gently through my newly coiffed, steel grey hair (OK, I made up all that stuff). Anyway, the 10lb bag of potatoes had to go on the bottom rack. Somehow, between the check out and the van, the bag slipped between the rack and the front bar of the cart and dragged all the way through the parking lot. Poor potatoes with a bad case of gravel rash.

Would it have killed someone to tell me about it? Let the silly git unfortunate man know that the bag had slipped off the rack. Perhaps they were too embarrassed to shout, "Hey, mister. Pick up your bag. Your potatoes are dragging on the asphalt." On second thought...maybe I didn't need to hear that anyway.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Double Pimpage

First order of business...Happy Mother's Day to all of you ladies who fit into the category. I hope the day meets your vision of perfection. flash story Thor's Hammer is up today at 52 Stitches. Umm...yes, it's a horror story and sadly no mother's appear in the story (perhaps that's a good thing). If it's any consolation, one is mentioned. Please check it out at some point this week.

Thirdly...Over at Not From Here, Are You? Michael J. Solender is kicking off his Canadian week starting tomorrow and running through Thursday. Carolyn 'Breeze' Parsons, follower of this blog will be appearing tomorrow and I will be sharing the stage on Wednesday with the talented Cathy Olliffe. My contribution to Canada week is a short essay Canada and America: The Great Divide about the relationship between us and our neighbours (yes, I spelled it correctly) to the south. He, he, he...and I apologise to my fine American friends in advance...

Finally, a link to a cool video on YouTube that was sent to me this week. The 10.4 million views indicates that it went viral, but just incase you missed it it's throws out a lot of facts and figures about the explosion of Infromation Technology in the past few years. Compelling stuff.

Again, Mother's Day greetings to you motherly types and I hope you get all of the...[select one]

  • doughnuts

  • bacon and eggs

  • flowers and chocolates

  • embroidered pillows

  • peace and quiet

...that you deserve!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Being Connected

I don't have much substance in this post. It's one of those "Have a look at what this person's up to" linking sort of posts. There are some people I follow that post nearly daily and, once in a while, convey great pieces of information that gets you thinking (more so than usual).

Aaron Polson's post from yesterday, Giant's Robes on a Dwarfish Thief, is about using your blog as a connection tool rather than a networking or promoting tool. "Just talk" is a strong theme in his heartfelt post. That's something I've come to admire about Aaron this past year. Aside from the fact he's a man of many talents: school teacher, writer, ezine publisher...he is also a man of strong character who works hard at his craft and is always quick to visit your blog with a kind or helpful word. One of the good guys out in cyberspace. If his blog is for talking, I think people are definitely listening. I'll share a true story of networking taking care of itself...

The other day I received a copy of The Devil's Food anthology from Aaron in the mail. I won it in a contest he held recently at his blog (which was really cool, because I've never won literature before). Anyhow, the book was unwrapped and lay upon the dining room table. My son came home for lunch with one of his school friends in tow. Sean spotted the book on the table and began leafing through the ToC. I was downstairs at work in my office and heard him exclaim, "Cool! Aaron Polson's in this book!" The power of networking really boggles the mind. Aaron has one story (Spider and I) in the book and Sean quickly found it (note: the book also contains stories by Natalie Sin and Jameson Caine, both readers of this blog). Sean happened to remember Aaron's name from reading his story 'The Distillery' in the last issue of Necrotic Tissue I had received in the mail. Who would have thought that a writer of horror from Kansas would be getting talked about by 14 year old boys on an island reaching into the Atlantic (umm...I'm not sure if that came out right. I mean talked about in a good way).

"Just talk" seems to be sound advice, because the networking is taking care of itself. I've talked enough...take a few minutes, though, to check out that posting from yesterday. If for no other reason, he provides a link to the ''Wussy Boy Manifesto," a hilarious rant by Big Poppa E on YouTube.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Read This...

A quick update on the writing front. No WIP...but I'm thinkin' about it! (remember, it's the thought that counts--I'm going to use that one on my mother this Sunday for Mother's Day).

My flash horror story 'Unbidden' is up at Laurita Miller's blog Brain Droppings as an honourable mention in her recent Seaside Fiction contest. You can also catch the stories of Barry Northern, Jodi MacArthur, Linda Simoni-Wastila and Lou Freshwater. Congratulations again to winner Lily Mulholland and runners-up Michael Solender and Cathy Oliffe.

Just in case some of you may not have tribute/roasting of Anton Gully was posted a couple of days ago. The assembling of the story was a bit involved, so I saved it as a draft and continued the next day. What I didn't know is that when you post something like that it has the date of when you initially saved the post. When the post hit the blogosphere it was already labeled 'one day old' and may have gotten past some of you. Apologies on that. You can just scroll on back to the story or link to it here.

I think that I am safe from physical retribution meted out by his thugs, Patrick Fitzgerald and Gerald Fitzpatrick, as the giant ash cloud from Iceland is grounding flights out of Ireland.

Many thanks to those of you (you know who you are) who used the 'evil Twitter' technology to get the message out to the #Fridayflash people who are familiar with Mr. Gully.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Anton Gully: Man of Mystery

In almost a year of blogging I have encountered a lot of interesting characters, but none with a more mysterious aura than Anton Gully, Esq. I began following his Urban Fantasy Experiment in May of 2009 and continue to read his fiction at The Black Dogs Reading Room and always learn useful, interesting, water-cooler worthy insights something from the information he imparts at Flash B*stard.

Anton’s warm generosity and gentle, dare I say even Mother Theresa like, approach to his art and his fans led me to conclude that it was high time to recognize Anton in some fashion for his heady accomplishments. We at Land’s Edge first considered throwing a belated Bar Mitzvah or perhaps a debutante’s ball in his honour. However our Canadian sensibilities and our wallet kicked in, realizing that he would throw a hissy fit and sic his lawyers on us be extremely embarrassed by all of the attention. So we settled on sending him a slightly used greeting card, some stale gum we found in the bottom of a desk drawer and honouring the man with a tribute befitting his god like status in the webosphere-- this simple blog posting.

Our attempts to interview Mr. Gully in Belfast by telephone have been fruitless. So, after conducting my own exhaustive research and enlisting the aid of others who purport to know Mr. Gully well, (those few who are not currently traveling with Cirque du Soleil or the World Midget Mud Wrestling Federation), I decided to make up any stuff that I couldn’t verify. My intrepid staff of thousands hundreds three, cast our nets far and wide to question writers and readers in our respective circles of friends (Note to friends: please don’t feel left out if you did not receive a call as we had thousands hundreds twenty four people to interview.) And after months of poking and prodding, here, with as much confidence in its veracity as a man of mystery like Anton is likely to be profiled, my Land’s Edge staff and myself wish to present to you, our friends, the six things we have discovered about Anton Gully…

1. Anton is a man of the people. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. According to our sources he has had a varied career including: chicken plucker, dog walker, pastry chef, sword swallower, and when he was younger, both a fluffer for the porn industry and Wee Willy Wilson’s stand in body double.

2. The way in which Mr. Gully currently whiles away the hours when he’s not drinking or writing, or writing while drinking is still a mystery. Various sources gave us conflicting information. So is Anton a rich man or a poor man; a jet setting financial wizard or a scullery maid at the Moonlite BunnyRanch in Nevada? Land’s Edge staff contacted five of Anton’s intimates. Each swore for a fact that they knew him to be:

  • A Chinchilla Farmer

  • Man servant to Michael Caine

  • A chicken sexer, i.e. he who sorts through baby chicks to determine gender

  • Obituary writer for the Belfast Telegram

  • Personal Assistant to Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman)--Anton started out as his driver, worked his way up to dresser, and eventually became Mr. Reuben's right-hand man.

3. In a drunken stupor, Anton recently telephoned me here in Newfoundland after one of his famous Friday night outings to the finer pubs and nudie bars in Belfast. During a profanity-filled rant about the state of the geriatric health care system in his country, he let slip that the surname ‘Gully’ was in fact his real name, not a pseudonym as he always claims. It is a close kept family secret that his great-great-great-grandfather had been a prominent Member of Parliament. Those of you who have followed me for a while may recall that I am something of a genealogist. It did not require much effort on my part to dig up information on John Gully (1783-1863): former British MP, pub owner and champion bare-fist boxer.

4. The only living relative of Anton’s we could locate was his cousin Pablo Gully in Galway, Ireland whom Anton once described to me as the ‘black sheep’ of the family. Long time readers of this blog may recall Pablo’s comments regarding the viral rumours blazing across the Internet trumpeting Mr. Gully’s death by bovine in January, 2010. You can link to his comments here from my previous blog posting.

Pablo’s hat, dark sunglasses and moustache can’t hide the Gully family resemblance. Land’s Edge researchers who in a completely unrelated matter recently threatened Pablo with deportation, spoke with Pablo. Once confronted with the family’s trademark pasty skin, beaky noses and pointed chins Pablo tearfully confessed that both he and Anton were the love children of actor Klaus Kinski. The lovely Nastassja Kinski is therefore their half-sister!
This writer fully understands and respects Ms. Kinski’s reluctance to have that little known fact publicized. As a matter of fact Ms. Kinski’s lawyers contacted this writer before publication and asked that this information not be released to the public, but they didn’t offer enough money I felt I was honour bound to report the revelation.

5. When looking into Anton’s jet setting reputation and his oft alluded to “trips to france”, an unnamed American source reported to us that Anton Gully keeps a mistress at an undisclosed location. The young beauty stated, “I hear Anton’s a very wealthy man. He flies to America twice monthly and goes south for sex.” Anton himself has bragged about his, how shall we say, manly endowments. You can link to that bragging here in the comments of a blog he once followed.

6. And finally, when contacted in Dublin, a bitter Guinness spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous told me that Anton Gully is in fact the Dos Equis beer guy (shown right) as seen in the popular television commercials.

Strangely enough, Gully (shown left) looks like a cross between Nick Nolte and Land’s Edge own Alan Davidson…but Mr. Gully notably lacks Alan’s roguish good looks, sparkling blue eyes and of course his trademark shamrock tattoo on his left butt cheek (the right butt cheek has the lion rampant).

We hope that you have enjoyed this little glimpse into man of mystery, Anton Gully. And if anyone has 100% proof positive photographic evidence of Anton’s current occupation that they’d like to share with this humble blogger, let me just say that I still have some gum left in the bottom of the drawer. And I can be very generous with it if needs be. [nudge nudge wink wink] I'd like to thank the Land's Edge staff for working tirelessly this past May Day weekend, missing the maypole and Morris dancing festivities. Also, special thanks to Karen Schindler, for no particular reason.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


It was an interesting May 1st about here. I think the old saying goes "April showers bring May flowers." Coincidentally we have had unseasonably warm weather the past few weeks allowing quite a crop flowers to pop up in the garden. Unfortunately we woke up to 3 or 4cm of snow this morning. Hope that it doesn't have too much effect on the blooms. I'm somewhat jealous of my friends back in Ontario who reached 23 or 24 degrees C today. Our 4 degrees C really pales in comparison.

My son has had some boys come home with him a few lunches and after school this week. They usually take refuge in our basement where there is a TV, PlayStation and small pool table. Three or four of them together down there really causes a flurry of excitement (and noise). I tried to ignore them when they passed my office headed to the back yard carrying two pairs of boxing gloves. Fortunately there was no blood on any of their clothes when they came back in. If any of you has a WIP that involves 14 year old boys, let me assure you that a group of them playing sounds exactly like a group of 14 year old girls. At one point there was so much shrieking and giggling coming from the basement that I had thought that they had ingest too much sugar and caffeine and were speaking in tongues.

Yet again I did not submit a #Fridayflash story. Instead, I assembled the Land's Edge research team to assist me in drinking Mai Tai's and eating Twinkies putting together information for my next posting. The team worked diligently for three days three hours to put together a top-notch story of a regular #Fridayflash contributor and long-time follower of this blog. The time dedicated to this story rivals that of my Kelley Armstrong interview from last November. I am pleased to announce the upcoming expose and roasting of Anton Gully. Please feel free to invite your friends and bring along popcorn and brewskis, but please leave your small children at home because this one will have a PG-13 rating, boys and girls.