Mightier than the sword? I wouldn’t use my pen to parry!

Fun article today in the Canada’s National Post.


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Plague is coming… coming… come! To TV!

Plague on the road!

That’s me, not the virus. I’ve just gone across Canada in launch week, and many people have caught the disease. I’ve had to scarify so many buboes I’ve run out of acid. (If you read the book that sentence will make sense)

Vancouver was my first launch in my fave bar, the Fringe Cafe. In Calgary, I sat in the Owl’s Nest (Bookstore). In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan I was second in sales to the memoir: ‘I am Hutterite’ (Can’t beat Hutterites on the Prairies. It’s illegal.) And then in Toronto, well, this:


There have been some fun reviews which I shall post later. Here are some snippets though:

‘Think 48 Hours in the 17th century… Plague is almost an embarrassment of riches… the sort of book you open when you have a spare couple of minutes, and look up from hours later, only after the last paragraph is read.” Robert Wiersma, Vancouver Sun and nationally.

“This novel screams “summer reading.” – Susan Cole, Now Toronto.

“With kings and cripple, rats and rotters, Highwaymen and loose women, you’d never think a lethal virus could be so much fun.” Jon Wise, Sunday Sport UK

Stand by all. Plague is coming… to a city near you!


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Action! Making a movie trailer for my new novel ‘Plague’

“I need … Caravaggio! Give me chiaroscuro. Light the candle! Camera ready? Now… Action!”

OK. So I got a little carried away. But it was my directorial debut, after all.  And the  cameraman –  my friend, the Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker Dan McKinney – just sighed and shot it brilliantly.

I will give you more details of ‘the making’ later. How my vision was shaped. For now, here’s the video. (There’s a very slight difference between the UK and Canadian versions, in the pack shot, so click on whichever is geographically closer.)

See: ‘pack shot’! I’m ready to shoot my first commercial, Ridley!




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‘Scarify that Bubo?’ I wish I hadn’t had to write that!

Contrary to popular belief, I am not an especially gruesome person. When people look at me in horror – like when I describe proper impalement (see novel: ‘Vlad, The Last Confession’) or the actual conditions on a slave galley. (See: ‘The French Executioner‘). I tell them that its just part of the job. Doesn’t put me off my supper.

I have to admit though that my latest novel, PLAGUE (Click on title to learn more. If you dare) did push a few boundaries. Some of the stuff that went on! Having to imagine what it was like to have the plague – bad enough. But then the treatments!

plaguedoctoruImagine you had it. The so-called doctors – there’s one there, if  a century out, same costume though – would arrive and this bird like horror creature would loom over you and inspect your bubo (remember: bubo -nic plague) This often looked like a black tennis ball, a swelling of your lymph glands that would thrust out, especially at armpit or groin. It was stretched skin and flesh, so distended and painful you didn’t want anyone looking at it, let alone touching it. Yet what does our quack do? (You can see where the term comes from with that mask!) He doesn’t just touch it. Oh no. He scarifies it. To draw forth the poisons, he slashes it with a razor, or pours acid on it – the tenderest piece of flesh on your body!

Happily for most the pain didn’t last long. Because the treatment killed you.

So, Thanks, Muse! I now have that in my head. Still, I have one consolation: now you do too!





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So this is weird – did a fundamentalist thief just burgle my house?

I come home and my wife is annoyed. “Something’s wrong with the stove. Look, at the LED. It says ‘sab BATH.’ What the hell is ‘sab BATH’?”

I look. “Uh, that’s ‘sabbath’.”

“Oh.” Pause. “What?” She looks at me. “Did you lock the front door when you left?”

“Of course.”

“Because it felt open when I put the key in.” She points. “Then… ‘sabbath’?”

It comes to me. “Jewish orthodox people can’t use machinery on the sabbath. Maybe it has something to do with that.” I go to my laptop to look it up. “Oh.”

The screen is cracked all over. As of someone picked it up and dropped it.

We find the cooker manual. Indeed there is a setting, a way of bypassing the automatic cutoff that would turn the cooker off after 12 hours. “Orthodox Jews can set it so it doesn’t automatically cut out. So they can preset the cooker so they don’t have to ‘turn it on’ during the sabbath.”

“There’s a sabbath setting?”

“Apparently. You have to press and hold ‘clock’ for five seconds.”

“So you’re saying a Jewish Orthodox thief broke in here, cracked your computer screen and reprogrammed our cooker?”

“Or…” I consider. “Of course, it’s not only the Jews who revere the sabbath. Many Christians do as well. Especially the fundamentalists. And I have given them a hard time in my latest novel. Especially the Fifth Monarchists.”

“Ah. So an angry fundamentalist broke into our home and smashed your computer in vengeance for your portrayal of them in a novel that’s not out yet?”

“It’s out in a month.” I smile uneasily. “It’s the most logical explanation.”

“Logical???” My wife yells at me. “I thought that living with a crazed author couldn’t get weirder. But it just did.”

“Er, perhaps I’ll just call the police.”

(So watch out for those Fifth Monarchists! Especially if you have a Whirlpool stove!)

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Armageddon In Greece: My novel in the birthplace of literature

Always a great moment when a package arrives and I get a foreign edition of one of my novels. In this case, the Greek printing of: A PLACE CALLED ARMAGEDDON

(Click on title for more information)

photoQuite like the art. Says what’s in the tin! Though when I was consulted on the UK and US versions I suggested that Gregoras – presumably the character portrayed and lead in the novel – sported a golden nose. He is ‘rhinometus’ – noseless. (It’s been severed after a false accusation of treason to Constantinople – but you’ll need to read the book to learn more)


Definitely like the Hagia Sophia in the background. One of the most beautiful buildings in the medieval world, still majestic, and a key to the story.

Alas, I speak no Greek. So a little confused as to the spelling of my name at the top. I am ‘C. C.’ and that’s… not! Also it’s a little short, isn’t it? Any Greek readers out there who can help me?

I think its my 4th or 5th book published there. Never ceases to thrill. I mean, the home of Homer. Herodotus. Heraclitus. Humphreys? Nice company!

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A Radio interview: Talking of movies, books, plays – and a sword!

Hello All! Here’s a radio interview I did this morning for the terrific Susan Wingate. Bizarrely she lives about six miles away from my British Columbian island on an American island, San Juan – or as we Brits prefer to call it, our lost colony!

Hope you enjoy it!


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