Flickers: The Cover is Here...


Psst. Come closer. I've got something to show you. Something very scary. Just a little bit closer. Closer...

Yep...it's the cover for my eighteenth novel: Flickers. A happy little story about twin girls who travel from innocent Alberta to join the glitzy world of Hollywood in the 1920's. One of them becomes a superstar and the other is not allowed to leave the estate of their guardian, Mr. Cecil. He's a Hollywood producer and director who has some rather nefarious plans for his next movie. Plans that one of the twins is starting to see through...

Wait, didn't I say it was a happy story? Well, it's happy for Mr. Cecil.

And here's the full dust jacket (click on it if you want to see it full size):


And finally, I do have a book page. And on the book page is a special gift for those who order early. And often.

Anyway, that's the cover, folks! Have a good sleep...


Book cover

Book cover

Casting the Modo Movie

With the news of a Modo movie in the works I thought it'd be fun if you and I played casting director. But I will readily admit that I'm ancient and don't know any of the young actors these days. So feel free to add your choices to the comments section and I'll throw them in the mix. MODO

First off there's Modo. Here he is from a few of the covers:

Since he's always wearing a mask or shape-changing (his special ability) he could be any actor. He should be around sixteen years old and exude youth, strength and social awkwardness.


Yes, I know, Nathan Fillion isn't sixteen years old. But Modo does change his shape and so could look like him. And, well, any movie with Nathan Fillion is a good one.

Octavia Milkweed

Young. Feisty. Smart. The ultimate secret agent.


Doctor Hyde

The mad doctor who likes to make metal-plated dogs, powerful elixirs, and giant mechanized war machines. This would be an over-the-top fun role.


Mr. Socrates

The mastermind behind the Permanent Association. An aging intellectual and adventurer. British to the core.



Tough. Intelligent. Dedicated. And kind.


I've only seen The Great Gatsby. But after reading their bios...I must watch more.

Miss Hakkandottir

Okay. Officially the funnest role in the show. One metal arm. One mean sociopathic streak. No remorse. No surrender. Oh, and did I mention ruthless?



There! That's what I've come up with. Any suggestions?


How to Use Cat Videos to Improve your Writing

I have read the first page of thousands of "HOW TO WRITE" books and have spooned and spooled my knowledge into this post. With the information provided you will go from begging the muse to toss a few ideas your way to commanding her to "pick up some java and donuts and be back in five minutes with an fully formed idea for a Hunger-Games-style trilogy." The secret to writing: cats. The Egyptians knew this. Now, thousands of years later, we have figured it out ourselves. Well, to be honest, I have figured it out for you (but I don't want to brag).

You have likely wondered why the felines lord it over us. It turns out they know everything. Everything about writing, that is. And just by watching them you will find your inner inspiration. You will break down that writing block like...like...like a kung fu kitty cat fighter (*this phrase copyright Arthur Slade forever). Reclaw your declawed imagination! Your prose won't ever need neutering: that's how good it will be in the first draft. And your characters will be within a whisker of perfection (because we all know a perfect character is boring--yes I'm looking at you Superman).

Keep reading and you will be writing like this in no time:


Remember. To become a good writer you have to read. I recommend three books a day, whether you need them or not. If three books is not possible then two books and a poem. Since we all know that one poem has the equivalent verbal density of a book and twice as much fibre.


Every novelist struggles with romantic themes and, more importantly, romantic scenes. You need to knock romance right out of the park. Examine this scene to discover the great, great secrets of writing steamy romance.


Now see the debonair grace that is the cat? That is what your writing should capture. The smouldering eyes! The raised paw of nonchalance. The longing that already appears in the woman's glance. She'll be back. Even though he's bad for her.

Are you stuck on an idea? A plot point? Can't figure out how to open your laptop? Well, there will always be moments of self doubt for writers. A cat never has these moments, of course, but being human you likely have experienced them. There is only one answer to that:


There! Remember that next time you hit a writer's block.

Characters are the foundation of stories. Your main character should always make a memorable entrance. Darth Vader didn't just come waltzing in, he burst right through a blown up wall. See below for an entrance-ing example:


Aren't fight scenes hard? Is it left thrust, right thrust, parry and jump? You can inject action into your story and make it real. Life and death. The universe hanging in the balance. See below for inspiration:


Notice the bravery of the cat despite the size of the enemy. And when he's outnumbered he pulls out another lightsaber. That's an important rule of writing. Whenever it seems your hero or heroine is about to be defeated have them pull out the equivalent of a second lightsaber and win the day. Readers eat that up like cat nip.

Oh, and remember: sometimes you have to throw bad ideas away. You can't polish a litter box. Or the stuff inside a litter box. In fact you should always think outside the litter box. Unless you're writing for kids.


Speaking of ideas. Don't use the same ideas over and over again. You'll get nowhere.


I know. I know. You need more inspiration than just one cat gif can give. Can't figure out the next thematic moment in your novel? Not sure why you wrote that 150,000 word book about talking gerbils? Don't worry, just keep digging and you'll find a way out. Or, as they say in the cat world, just hang in there.


Sometime you have to bump off one of your characters. And when it's time to channel your inner George RR Martin then this video will provide the perfect inspiration.


Listen. I am sensing this might be too much awesomeness for just one post. That your brain is a little overstimulated right now. I also know that all those "dog" people are starting to mutter things about how cat-centric this post is.

SO I'll leave you with this:


Your novel is the squirrel. Pursue it. Catch it. Consume it if you have to. And make it a part of you. You have been given the great cat wisdom. Do good with it. Write well. And keep purring.



P.S. If you chuckled...please feel free to share this post. Buttons below.

Steampunk Movie News: The Hunchback Assignments

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.27.37 AM I'm pleased to announce that the movie rights for The Hunchback Assignments have been sold. This deal has been percolating in the background for some time (years, in fact)! The story itself has always been very visual and I'm excited that steps are now being taken to bring that vision to the screen. I've had a glimpse at the script and it looks excellent. Here's the official press release.

Press Release:

Thunderbird & Sandpiper to Develop Modo, a Feature Film Based on The Hunchback Assignments

Vancouver-based Thunderbird is teaming up with Western Australia's Sandpiper Entertainment on the development of a feature film based on the novel The Hunchback Assignments by award-winning Canadian author Arthur Slade.

ScreenWest, the Western Australia government's film and television agency, is funding initial script development with Thunderbird.

The script is being written by Canadian-born, but Perth-based, Paul Barron working with Thunderbird's Vice President of Production, Alex Raffé. Paul's recent credits include creating, writing for and producing Parallax (Nine Network, BBC, ABC), Space Channel's Stormworld and Serangoon Road (a co-production with HBO (Asia) currently screening on Superchannel). Alex's features include Patricia Rozema’s iconic Canadian film, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, and her more recent credits include the series Some Assembly Required (YTV, Netflix), Mr. Young (YTV, DisneyXD) amongst others.

The working title of the film is Modo, taken from the principal character’s name, a shapeshifter who is at the centre of the first novel and its sequels. Alex notes that "Arthur Slade has created a unique world, an action-filled steampunk adventure with compelling young adult characters that will resonate with audiences worldwide. We are delighted that Paul brought Arthur's books to us and are thrilled to be involved in developing a feature film based on such an exciting story."

Arthur Slade is the winner of the Governor General's Award in Canada for Youth Fiction and France's Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire. The Hunchback novels have been published worldwide.

Thunderbird is a rapidly growing Vancouver-based TV and film production company with offices in Los Angeles, Toronto and London. Thunderbird produces award-winning programming for Canadian and International broadcasters. The Thunderbird group of companies includes Vancouver-based Reunion Pictures, Great Pacific Media and Atomic Cartoons, UK-based theatrical distributor Soda Pictures, and a joint venture with Lionsgate, Sea to Sky Entertainment, which is dedicated to creating content for the US and International market.

Sandpiper was established by Paul Barron several years to focus on co-productions. His Producer and/or Executive Producer credits range from contemporary feature films such as Father, Shame and Blackfellas to the long-running children’s/family TV comedy/drama series Ship to Shore to the Australian-Irish primetime mini-series Kings in Grass Castles. His past productions have won over fifty national and international awards, featured the screen debuts of Nicole Kidman and Heath Ledger, and include AFI Best Actor/Actress winners Max von Sydow (Father) and Stephen Dillane (Kings in Grass Castles).


And there you have it! Whew! I'm going to go out and buy a "I'm sitting next to the director" chair.


How Tinnitus has made me a better writer

15433978031_d0a494c95a_z Tinnitus is a perception of noise or a ringing in the ears that affects about 1 in 5 individuals. It has a variety of causes, middle age and genetic hearing loss being somewhere on that list. I am affected by it because of either too much time in tractors when I was younger or too much heavy metal (say it isn't so). At times, sometimes for weeks on end, I hear a high-pitched ringing. It's like when you're trying to tune your radio but you just get feedback. Oh, and that sound I hear? It's not real. I mean the sound seems real, but no one else can hear it. No one. I've asked.

I've decided that this condition has made me a better writer. I now have a much deeper understanding of those Joan of Arc-like characters who hear voices. I empathize with what it would be like to be a twitchy conspiracy theorist who can "hear" the wireless waves of the government in the air. Or, of course, I totally get what drives axe murderers to, well--you axed for it--to go out swinging.

But, of course, this constant ringing hasn't affected my own personality. After all here's proof:

All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy. All work and no play makes Art a dull boy.




P.S. my next post will be titled How My Cold Has Made Me A Better Fantasy Writer. After all, if you've never had a cold, you could never write about those snotty-nosed trolls or really get to the deeper matter of their congested mindset.


Photo credit: ucumari photography via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND