Cynical Sunday: Camping #6 with Realists/Pessimists Tim Reynolds & Matt Innes

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Ask Tim Reynolds, the scribbler of “twisted history, fictional science, and everything in between.” He answered my Facebook request for camping details with this:

Don’t forget all of the discomfort of camping: wet sleeping bags, twigs, burned tongue from roosting marshmallows, crickets that get onto the tent and won’t shut up, the doing of a beaver soaking about at night, sounding like a monster on the shore.

He also noted:

As a kid, my backyard tent was a musty parachute silk draped over a 4-foot tree stump. Improvised, but stinky.

I like this. We romanticize camping partly because we want to “get away from it all.” But if you had to live in a tent 24/7, well, you’d long for your feather duvet pretty darn quick. So you can see why Tim won an Honourable Mention in Writers of the Future. I’m eyeballing his Houdini novella too, No Escaping the Blood. Houdini as a vampire. C’mon.

My husband, Matt Innes, had already put in his two cents:

Overflowing outhouses, uncollected garbage, drunken yahoos–that’s a smell as well as a sound–the howling of feral dogs, rain.

Oh, honey. You still make me swoon.

Our son Max is at a sleepover tonight with two of his friends. He’s the only one in our family who really loves to sleep outside. We’ll see if he makes it all night in the “cabane.” Fingers crossed!

Camping Can Be Criminal#5: Rob Brunet, Ryan Aldred & Steve Steinbock

I chose to publish this today because my EQMM buddy, Steve Steinbock, got his “What I’m Working on Now” column published at Sleuthsayers. Yay, Steve!

We’re heading into the August long weekend in Canada. Perfect camping time, should you choose to do that kind of thing. I don’t, but my friends do.

I’ve already waxed eloquent about Rob Brunet, the up-and-coming mystery writer whose first novel, Stinking Rich, will debut September 8th. His short stories will appear in Ellery Queen, as well as just about every other mystery magazine, and is just an all-around good guy. Bought a round of drinks at Bloody Words 2014, too (I don’t drink much, but I admired his generosity). Check him out:

The smell of a tent is distinct. The vinyl (?) bottoms of the new ones vs. the canvas of old. True dark when the fire burns low. Super bright stars. What’s on the ground? Bare rock, pine needles, well-worn hard-packed earth. Crickets or frogs at night. Birds in the morning. The smell of the fire. Coffee that you wouldn’t touch in the city but sooo good in the bush. God, I miss it.

Ryan Aldred is an interesting guy. I met him at Bloody Words as well, at our banquet table of young, hungry writers, and he was the first person to seriously suggest joining Reddit. He started the Bar on a Beach mystery series, with its inaugural novel, Rum Luck.

Cicadas in the treetops on a hot day. Clothes that smell like wood smoke for days afterward. Three feet of warmth at the top of a Canadian shield lake and the fifty feet of inky cold beneath. Looking up in the sky and seeing hundreds of thousands of stars. The whoosh and sizzle of a marshmallow catching fire. Moths the size of your palm bumping into the globe of a lantern. Haunting loon song as you fall asleep at night. Beads of moisture running down the outside of the tent after a morning dew.

Like what you read? Both Rob and Ryan will read at Noir at the Bar in Toronto on August 20th, along with the always-intriguing Tanis Mallow.

I’m working on today, but I would have liked to see the sold-out Majinx tribute to Houdini at l’Orignal Jail. I might still see if I can sneak by.

You see how I did that? Turning a holiday weekend into a hotbed of criminal writers and performers? You’re welcome.