News

Posted by XanderRichards at 1 September 2015

Category: News

Hello there my friends, it’s been a long time!

You could blame a lack of diligence on my part, but in fairness I’ve been battling some nasty health issues *and* battling a new book which just didn’t seem to want to escape.  In short, life’s been a little harder than average for the last year or so, but I’m still ticking.

The great news, of course, is that ‘COAST: A Test Of Faith’ was released on August 31st (as planned, but by a whisker) so you can go and grab a copy now.  Early reviews have been vary favourable, so here are a couple.

“Richards grabs the reader by the tail with his action-suspense filled plots and complex characters!” Donna Miller, author of the ‘Help Me I’m Naked’ series

“Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for another mind-blowing chase.  Richards’ writing is like falling into a classic fast-paced, high-speed action thriller!”  – Wes Funk, broadcaster and author

If you want to grab one face-to-face, I’ll be at the Sask Expo on September 19th-20th and the Edmonton Con the following week, Friday 25th to Sunday 27th.  If you’re able to get to either show I’d love to meet you.  In the meantime, that’s all.

TTFN, Xander.

Posted by XanderRichards at 22 August 2014

Category: News

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on the website so it’s high time for an update!  Please forgive me for the looooong silence.

The biggest and most important news, I suppose, is the announcement of the new novel’s title, which will be…

COAST: A Test Of Faith

Obviously I’m not going to give away the significance of the title nor how I arrived at it but when you read the book you’ll see.  Right now I’m a bit more than three quarters of the way through and thoroughly enjoying being back in the ‘COASTverse’ as I call it.  In related news, the amazingly talented Jonathon Earl Bowser is working on the new cover painting and, without giving anything away, I can say that it’s going to be amazing.  I love what Jon brings to the party, not only for his masterful paintings but for the awesome discussions we have about writing and other forms of art.

By way of balance, there is a little bad news.  About 18 months ago I started to have increasing trouble with some health issues that have been bugging me for a long time.  The early part of 2014 was particularly difficult and somewhat delayed the writing process (as alluded to above, I thought I’d be finished by now).  What this means in practical terms is that the book won’t be out in September as I had planned.  However I’m still hoping for this year, ideally before the festive season.  Given the current state of things, this is a reasonable goal, so look out for more announcements soon.

Right now I have to finish the writing (which is just a matter of typing out what’s in my head) and get the narrative edited.  Which point being raised, I’m welcoming a new editor to my ‘team’.  Her name is Ocia Margaret Faye and she’s a writer from down in the US.  She has a tremendous eye for detail and we connect on many levels so I’m sure she’ll be making a very valuable contribution (and telling me off for all the British spellings haha).  At this point, my original editorial consultant may not be able to work on C:ATOF due to the demands on his time, but we’ll see what happens.  After editing there’ll be typesetting and then it’s off to press!  Much as it’s taken longer than it should have, I’m super stoked!  :-)

Just a quick heads-up:  If you happen to be in Saskatchewan on the weekend of September 20th and 21st, come along and say ‘hi’ at the Saskatchewan Comic and Entertainment Expo at Prarieland Park.  There’ll be book signing (of course) and Jon Bowser and I are sharing a booth.  Also there’ll be a professional authors’ panel featuring yours truly and local legend, author and broadcaster Wes ‘Big W’ Funk.  Wes is an amazing fella; a huge advocate / figurehead for local and regional writers, and an awesome dude.  Last year’s event was fantastic and this year’s will be even better!

On a completely unrelated note, please spare a thought for my wife and her family.  Her dad Ray passed on the 14th of this month at the age of 77.  Obviously this hits her and her sisters hard, having lost their mum several years ago.  Ray Deschamps was certified as a journeyman barber in 1964 and enjoyed a successful career.  He was an avid pool player and guitarist, and loved to have a flutter on the ponies.  He will be greatly missed.

That’s all for now my friends.  Roger and out, X.

Posted by XanderRichards at 24 January 2014

Category: News

Brit Foods, Saskatoon, as you probably know, sells ‘COAST: An Act Of Burial’ thanks to the kindness of owner Tony Badger, who has become a good friend of mine.  He’s a really good fella.  He’s been very kind to me in terms of both pushing my spy novel and his generous supply of all kinds of great products.  Now, he’s got himself in the news everywhere.

Marmite, that British delicacy at which Canadians turn up their noses, along with a bunch of other products, has been seized from Brit Foods by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  This means that poor old Tony is likely to lose a shedload of money.  Irn Bru, for example, contains an ingredient which is bad for Canadians.  British folks have been drinking it with impunity for years, of course, but anyone remotely Canadian will instantly drop dead upon glugging down on the famous beverage (“made in Scotland from girders”, the adverts used to say).  At least, that’s how the CFIA seems to see it.

Marmite, of course, is being treated the same way.  Heck guys, it’s only brewer’s yeast, for goodness’ sake!  Whilst pretty much everyone outside the UK and Australia baulks at the idea of eating Marmite, it’s actually pretty good for you, and makes an excellent flavoring in other dishes.  If you’re a vegetarian, but the meaty taste of dead animals is a guilty pleasure, the look no further.  Marmite can be used to make an excellent vegetarian gravy.  But when the CFIA are around, no!  It’s poison!  Vest-scrapings of the evil one himself.

Brit Foods, anyway, has been the venue for a couple of book signings for me—the last one being called ‘Brit Foods and Brit Heroes’—and I’ve had loads of fun.  And, as I said, Tony’s become a good friend, so it really pains me to see him and his store being targeted by the CFIA.  It’s not fair at all.  What’s more, it opens Pandora’s box to some extent.  What about the ethnic aisle in one’s local supermarket?  A lot of those products aren’t even labelled in English (or French, in due deference to the rest of the country), never mind having all the ingredients and nutritional information printed on them.  What’s going to happen there, I ask you.  What about the BRILLIANT ethnic store near the camera shop?  Are they going to get the same treatment?  Where the heck does it stop?

Anyway, rant over.  I promise I’ll get talking about books and writing again soon!  Ciao for now.  :-)

Roger and out, X.

Posted by XanderRichards at 8 November 2013

Category: News

To seek out new worlds and new civilizations… oh wait, that’s ‘Star Trek’.

The mission to which I refer is the continuing creation of another story from nothing.  Not just any story, though.  It needs to be the best it can for both COAST fans and new readers alike.  It needs to be realistic.  It needs to be immersive.  It needs rich enough detail that one can feel oneself in it.  It needs engaging characters both old and new, and desperate situations through which the reader can vicariously experience what those characters do.

In terms of the ‘three act structure’, right now I’m pretty much straddling acts one and two.  The set-up is complete — multiple revisions notwithstanding.  The TDR.12 lads are in the middle of another hellishly tough situation and fighting back.  Me?  I’m thoroughly enjoying playing in the ‘COASTverse’ again.  To be back in my authorial sandbox, watching as my three friends work, fight and play together, is great fun.  But—whilst I love this quotation—I can’t afford to simply be the man in the corner of the room with a camera, as Hitchcock famously said.  I don’t want to be the author who stated “this **** writes itself” because that would mean that one’s output would indeed be ****.

Whilst, in the last few weeks, work has piled up sufficiently as to force a cessation of writing activities, I don’t see it as time lost.  It’s thinking time.  As I wait for the inevitable progress bars of gainful toil, I’m still having some great ideas to nuance the new novel — odd little titbits that add a depth of meaning to the narrative.  So the time isn’t wasted at all and once this current project is out of the way these fingers that itch to dance across the keyboard, forming the new novel one letter at a time, will be back to work.  They’re looking forward to it.

A very wealthy man, someone that I respect (I’m privileged to have two self-made millionaires in my circle of friends) recently said to me that this new story is going to sell like hot cakes because it touches on some very controversial subjects.  We will see.  He also suggested that I write a factual book about terrorism because it would sell in ridiculous numbers, but I’m not interested.  I could do it I suppose; churn out some regurgitated research, sprinkled with a few opinions.  I could take the money and run.  But that’s not the same is it?  And it’s definitely not why I write.

I write because the story is my ongoing mission.  :-)

TTFN, XR.

 

PS:  A very happy Tin anniversary to my amazing wife!!

Posted by XanderRichards at 12 August 2013

Category: News

Hey friends, my friend and fellow author Diane Rapp very kindly gave ‘COAST: An Act Of Burial’ an awesome review when it came out, so please take a few moments to read about Diane’s new novel ‘Murder For Glacier Blue’.

Premise

Genuine Fakes scheduled a special high-profile auction on the Alaskan itinerary of the Constellation Cruise Lines flagship, the Aurora.  Six paintings valued at over one million dollars each will be displayed next to an ‘authorized fake’ that will be auctioned for charity.  There have never been so many valuable paintings at a Genuine Fakes event.  The company has created buzz in the art world and many high bidders plan to sail on the voyage—art thieves also booked tickets.

Emily Schultz, president of CCL, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to host the auction.  She has a crack new security team to guard the pricey artwork, although Kayla and Steven were promised time off for their wedding.  What could possibly go wrong?  An art heist, murder and Steven’s ex-wife might throw a few kinks into the works.  As the ship navigates through icy waters, truth lies hidden from plain view, much like the treacherous underwater portion of a dangerous iceberg.  Greed, jealousy and envy generate potent motives for murder.

Book Description

Painted in 1907, Glacier Blue is an oil painting recently appraised at 2 million pounds.  As a young man Reginald C. Pierpont, the artist who created the stunning masterpiece, studied with the Impressionists in Europe and bold visionaries painting in the Americas.  The sole heir to a family fortune, Reggie used his vast holdings and leisure time to experiment with new techniques and daring ideas to create his art.  Although the masterpiece failed to turn heads during his own time period, Reggie’s secret method triggers larcenous schemes among modern crooks.

Genuine Fakes, an auction company that sells ‘authorized copies’ of famous paintings, arranges to hold six charity auctions of fakes during a voyage to Alaska.  Million-dollar originals will be displayed next to the Genuine Fakes during each auction—six opportunities for international thieves to steal a valuable piece of art.  The president of Constellation Cruise Line, Emily Schultz suddenly needs her new crack security team to guard the paintings.

One of the fakes is stolen from the buyer’s cabin, prompting a discrete search for the missing canvas.  The stakes rise when a crew member finds a body next to the missing fake and the investigation suddenly takes a deadly turn.  As they learn more about the Glacier Blue original, the investigators realize this is no ordinary work of art.  The painting’s special secret already provoked one murder and it only gets easier to kill again.

Although Emily promised Kayla and Steven a free wedding cruise to Alaska, she begs them to work for a few days on this voyage.  They expected a stress-free cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska, filled with glaciers, wildlife, stunning scenery and a dream wedding on Glacier Bay, but the art heist and murder might interrupt their plans.  When Steven’s ex-wife Cynthia shows up on the arm of Steven’s school chum, Kayla feels hate-at-first-sight.  The young couple must entertain future in-laws while trying to outsmart murderous outlaws.  Will Kayla and Steven enjoy their special day on Glacier Bay?

Readers can find the e-book of ‘Murder For Glacier Blue’ exclusively sold on Amazon.  Prime members can even borrow the book for free and the author still gets paid.  Print editions will be offered by many online retailers and the author plans a contest on Goodreads to award free print copies.  Visit Diane Rapp’s website to learn more about other novels and send her an e-mail to sign up for notices about new books.

Murder for Glacier Blue on Amazon   QuickSilver Novels website   QuickSilver Novels Facebook Fan page     Diane Rapp at Goodreads   Twitter

Diane Rapp’s new novel ‘Murder For Glacier Blue’ is available on Amazon

Posted by XanderRichards at 5 May 2013

Category: News

This week, artist Jonathon Earl Bowser and I have been discussing the cover image of the new COAST novel.

Isn’t it a little premature, you ask?  Sure it is, but having a very rough mock-up of the previous cover really helped me get into the right mindset when writing ‘Act Of Burial’.  There are a number of things I find inspiring when I write.  Usually, coming to the wordprocessor fresh from watching an action movie really helps, as does playing scores from those kinds of films.  Having images works in the same way.  When I wrote the first book I made a terrible version of what later became Jon’s amazing cover painting.  It featured a couple of friends and myself in a bad montage with submarine, choppers and so on.  I’m no artist, but at least it gave me a sense of direction, so to speak.

This time round I’ve got Jon involved at an earlier stage.  We’ve been passing ideas back and forth and I for one have been thoroughly enjoying the process.  You see, I have a few ideas and suggestions about what needs to be in there (well, if I hadn’t by now there’d be a heck of a problem, wouldn’t there?) but Jon has this amazing way of clarifying it all.  He takes my rough version—which actually isn’t anywhere near as rough as the first time—and sees all the things I don’t.  He makes sense of it.  He draws out the ideas in a way that both emphasizes the details and shapes the whole to make it communicative.  It’s an impressive skill and I feel very privileged to have him on my ‘team’.  I already have in my greasy grasp a rough pencil sketch which has blown me away, and added more fuel to the fire of my writing.  Awesome!

That’s all for now.  Roger and out, X.

Posted by XanderRichards at 17 April 2013

Category: News

Dear friends, I’m thrilled to announce that ‘COAST: An Act Of Burial’ has been awarded the CBC Bookies Golden Beaver in the category ‘The Page-Turner Award for the Canadian Book You Couldn’t Put Down’.  I am very privileged to be honored with this award, especially when up against other books of such outstanding caliber.  Most importantly, I want to warmly thank everyone who voted for ‘C:AAOB’, in both the nominations and the finals.  I am extremely grateful for your votes and I hope that my writing continues to please you.

It also gives me great pleasure to add my heartfelt congratulations to my good friend Wes Funk, whose book ‘Cherry Blossoms’ was given the Golden Beaver for ‘The Hot and Bothered Award for Steamiest Read’.  I’m sure I speak for us both when I say that we are proud to represent the awesome province of Saskatchewan which is home to so many amazing writers.  Both of us are also honored to stand for independent authors everywhere.

“Contra omnes dissident!”

Roger and out, X.

Posted by XanderRichards at 7 April 2013

Category: News

Hey folks, it’s been a wee while and a lot has happened in that time!

First of all, no-one is more surprised than me that ‘COAST: An Act Of Burial’ got nominated in the CBC Bookies Awards!  Holy cow you should have seen me when news of the nomination came through.  Anyway, a humongous THANK YOU to everyone who’s voted so far, and PLEASE keep those votes coming because the deadline isn’t until April 14th.  At time of writing, C:AAOB is second in the running in the category ‘The Page-Turner Award for the Canadian Book You Couldn’t Put Down’, so let’s see if we can’t improve that!  Also, would you please consider voting for fellow Saskatchewan writers Wes Funk and Candace Savage?  They’re in the ‘Steamiest Read’ and ‘Best Canadian Writer’ category respectively.

To make it easier, here’s a shortened URL:  http://bit.ly/vote4sk

In other news, I’m very pleased to announce that work on the new COAST novel is progressing well.  In contiguous terms I’m a few chapters in, although I never write in order so I’m going to be bold and say I’m about a quarter of the way done.  Of course, there’s still a LOT of writing, tweaking, editing and criticism to go.  But I’m really pleased with the way the new novel is shaping up.  Although I’m not an experienced writer by any means, I really enjoyed the (admittedly rather long) process of plotting out ‘Act Of Burial’ and the same is true of the new book.  There are moments when complex plot points just ‘snap’ into place in one’s imagination and they’re awesome.  It’s like one’s brain is a tumble-polisher with all these rough stones in it.  You close the lid, switch it on and just let stuff rattle away for a bit.  Then, magically, wonderfully, out come little wee polished gems.  I never knew writing could be so much fun.

Thanks to help from my good friend Gary Chappell I’ve managed to get the novel in a couple of Coles bookstores here in town and that’s great, because Saskatchewan people are getting interested in what’s happening with C:AAOB.  So the novel is now for sale at Coles Midtown and Coles Lawson Heights.  Big thanks to their respective managers Bill and Amy, who’ve both been really helpful.  As it goes, Gary and I have booked signings at both stores for this month: Lawson Heights on Saturday 2oth and Midtown a week later, both events running from 1-4PM.  We look forward to seeing you there!

That’s all for now.  Please go vote and keep voting!  Vote for Candace Savage, Wes Funk’s ‘Cherry Blossoms’ and ‘COAST: An Act Of Burial’.  THANK YOU!

Roger and out, X.

Posted by XanderRichards at 18 February 2013

Category: News

Hey folks it’s been a while but there are a whole bunch of developments I need to pass on.  Life is really very busy and all sorts of water has passed and is passing under the bridge.  My work life has been getting crazy, which kinda detracts from writing, but I’ll take some time off soon to stick my nose to the grindstone.  Secondly, a new business venture is starting to get some motion, and that’s very exciting.  But on the other side of the coin we’ve had a couple of rather sad family incidents, which helps remind one that reality delivers up both the rough and the smooth.  It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry, as they say, but let’s get into the news:

  • First of all, work—despite Work haha—continues on the second COAST novel.  I’m not going to give too much away if I can help it, but let’s just say that a lot of the questions raised in ‘Act Of Burial’ will be addressed as well as loads of new clues for the boys to unravel.  It’s going to be different, fun and definitely more creepy.
  • I’ve decided to take on a professional publicist who’s a bit brill.  My main brief to them is to find C:AAOB a certain niche which I can’t really talk about, but more details will, I’m sure, be forthcoming in time.
  • The television interview I did with Wes ‘Big W’ Funk on his ‘Lit Happens’ show is online here.  Massive thanks to Wes for being a hero to all us Saskatchewan writers, and to the awesome lads from Shaw Cable who make the show.
  • Got an AWESOME new review today and you can read it here.  Thanks, MaryAnn!
  • Put the license plate ‘COAST 1‘ on my vehicle, just for fun.  Heck, it’s rude not to.

Right… talking of my publicist, I need to go transact with them, so that’ll do for now.  Catch you later spyfans!

Roger and out, X.

Posted by XanderRichards at 28 January 2013

Category: News

Before I get into explaining the peculiar title, let me just briefly draw your attention to this interview posted on the Every Read Thing website.  Brandon over at ERT is a top fella and I’m not only super-grateful for his interest in my writing, but also to be the very first author interviewed on his site.  By a curious reciprocity, it’s also my first website-based interview.

Artist Stephen Hutchings has been touring Canada with his exhibition ‘Landscapes For The End Of Time’, a series of remarkable paintings created to accompany Messiaen’s famous suite of compositions, ‘Quartet For The End Of Time’.  I was invited to attend the exhibition’s opening concert yesterday by my Russian friend Oxana Ossiptchouk, who would be the violinist.

So Jon and I are sitting there when, how about that?  In walks Yann Martel, the local author behind the rudely successful ‘Life Of Pi’.  I’ve met Yann before so we kinda vaguely know each other.  He sat right next to Jon, from whose other side I said hello and shook hands.  Then the presentation began and we settled down to enjoy it.  Listening to this awesome composition, amazingly performed, I couldn’t help but be struck by the weird symmetry which was going on.  There was an incredible fine-art painter sandwiched between two writers; one an internationally-renowned and successful author, the movie of whose book is playing in 3D right now at a cinema near you, and one who is right at the start of the journey and feels utterly unworthy to even dare think of comparisons.  This bizarre concept of painter meat sandwiched between slices of author bread seemed ridiculously funny at the time and it was hard not to laugh, which indiscretion would have at the very least solicited disapproving glances from the assembled turtle-necks and at worse invoked an invitation to ignominious egress courtesy of the security guard.  And, the context of culinary comparison being thus massively weighted to one side, I’ll say this;  Yann Martel’s got a lot more bread.  :-)

Olivier Messiaen was drafted as a medical auxiliary in the French army and in 1940 interred in a German POW camp.  There he met a cellist, a violinist and a clarinetist (the anarchist in me wants to suffix that list with the phrase “walked into a bar”).  Based on the Biblical book of Revelation, Messiaen composed his well-known suite, inspired by his belief that he was actually going through the apocalypse.  Eventually the four of them performed the work for the camp officers, the guards and about four hundred of their fellow prisoners, on broken instruments in the freezing cold.  The remarkable and oddly happy ending to this tale is that after the concert the camp commandant invited the four musicians to his office, where he told them that no-one who could compose and perform such remarkable music was an enemy of the Third Reich, and that they were free to go.

And that is all for now.  Roger and out, X.