Thursday, July 21, 2016


Hello All,

In case anyone's gonna be around these festivals or cons in the fall months, I thought I'd post some tentative (or ironclad) dates. Also will be in L.A. in mid-September, but no readings planned.

September 19 – TORONTO – Bonnie Stern Book Club

September 23 — TORONTO — Nutshell Launch (Ian McEwan): readings hosted by Dave Bidini
September 25 – TORONTO – Word on the Street
September 30 – WINNIPEG – Thin Air Festival
October 6 — 9 — NY — NY Comic Con (as Nick Cutter)
Dates TBC – CALGARY – WordFest

October 15 – 16 – WHISTLER – Whistler Writers Festival

October 19 — EDMONTON — Litfest

October 21 – 23 – VANCOUVER – Vancouver International Writers Festival
November 4 – 6 – WINDSOR – Windsor Writers Festival
November 14 – GRIMSBY – Grimsby Author Series

More dates if and when they present themselves.

All best, Craig.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Precious Cargo — Reader Questions

Hello All,

It's been a bit over a week since the book came out. I've talked to some people about it, and one question—perhaps even a concern, or a mild (or major) disappointment to some is this idea that I don't have contact with those children (now adults) anymore.

Just to set the record straight on that.

Geographically-speaking, I moved away to Toronto the summer after driving the bus. So that put some very real distance between everyone. Secondly, I was 32. Those kids were, well, kids. The bus was in a very real and vital and physical and societal way what facilitated our everyday interaction. I had a job to do. They had school to attend. Wipe those things away and you're left with a 32-year-old man hanging around with children. Which isn't in itself that weird, I never saw it that way, but from a parental perspective it could've been . . . y'know, imagine me showing up at Oliver's house that summer with a ball mitt: "Hey, Missus S, is it cool if Oliver comes out to play catch?" Maybe Missus S would've been fine with it. Maybe Missus S would've had some reservations about her kid's old bus driver wanting to still play and hang out with her 13-year-old. So it wasn't something I ever insisted on or really tried to pursue, honestly. It forecasted to be a bit of an uncomfortable situation, or it held that potential. I mean, would Oliver, as much fun as we had on the bus, really want to hang out with me that summer? What would Joey have thought about that?


I look at that experience as I'm sure a lot of people look at certain times in their lives. I've gone to summer camps. Tree planting. Summer work at at amusement park. The kind of endeavors where people come together and form a union and a unity based on certain factors: they're in the same place, for a common purpose, and spend a lot of time with each other. That forms a fierceness in terms of a bond—or it can. Doesn't always happen that way. But when the summer's over or the trees are all planted, everyone scatters to the four winds. Sometimes you stay in touch, sometimes not. I don't see the people I planted trees with anymore, and haven't for well over a decade; we're not even facebook friends. Same goes for the people I worked with at Marineland. To my mind, however, that doesn't diminish the time we spent together, our experiences, or the memories we all carry forward. Surely everyone reading this has had the same sort of thing in their own lives.


Some readers seem especially dismayed that I'm not in contact with Jake. That is something that I suppose the book's final passages must seem to indicate, based on early reader feedback—if so, that's my fault, because we are still in contact. Via email, other social media. Maybe not as much as we could be, but I don't see the use pushing Jake on that end of things—and in truth I've got a family and obligations, Jake's going to university and continuing to write, so we're busy. Last time I was in his city we went out for dinner. Though it had been years, it was like it ought to be with friends: within minutes those years melted away and it was like old times. The old jokes, the old silliness, the old stories. Jake's doing well. I'm so happy to see that. I plan to hang out with him again the next time I bomb through that town, or if Jake's ever out this way he knows my door's always open.

It's just one of those oversights I guess a writer can be prone to sometimes while writing—I know how it stands between Jake and I nowadays, and perhaps as such didn't get that properly across to the reader. I assumed, for some reason, that it would be clear we're still in contact. That said, I do wish I could see more of Jake. I hope he wishes he could see more of me. Were we closer in a geographical sense, I'd try to make sure that happened. But sometimes something as simple as sheer distance makes it tough to be as close to someone as you once were.

All best,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Whoa! Been a long time since I updated this thing. Apologies---not really, as I don't imagine many people are checking here daily to say, "It's been 6 months, but maybe today---a post!"

Still, sorry. Thought I would make a quick post to tell people that my new book, Precious Cargo, a memoir about a year I spent driving a school bus, will be out in April. If you look around on the interwebs you'll see May 17 as the date, but it's been moved up. So.

Here's the cover:

And here are some illustrations that will accompany the text; there's a book-within-a-book aspect to Precious Cargo, and these are the depictions of those fictional characters. The Seekers.

These were done by Canadian comics artist Adam Gorham, who also provided illustrations for Nick Cutter's upcoming book, Little Heaven. He's excellent. You should go check out his website:

Here are some online links to go preorder Precious Cargo, if'n you please. And if you are an Ontario/Canadian resident, keep an eye out for places I might be reading---there are a couple upcoming events over the next few months, if you're interested!

All best, Craig.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Hello All,

Well, I missed his last show. I knew it was coming, but missed it all the same. I'm old. I'm not up that late anymore. But man, I LOVED David Letterman. Spent today watching all the online clips and tributes and was kind of stunned by just how much nostalgia rushed back to me.

It's been years since I've watched the show religiously. I don't think that's because it's gotten any worse than it was when I WAS a huge watcher—or if so, only naturally so, because David and his staff are only human and, I think, once any of us have accomplished (or surpassed) our own expectations, it's tough to keep pushing yourself to those crazy lengths that got you those accolades in the first place. Dave's 68 years old in a culture that values the Freedom-55 mindset. He's been at it 30-plus years, every weeknight. That's a hell of an output. Sometimes you only notice how monumental something is when you reach the end. It seemed that way to me today.

Years ago, back in 1995 I'll say, me and some buddies went to NY to watch him. Took the Greyhound from Toronto, ended up in Port Authority. It was a miserable ride. We hadn't booked a hotel and we were poor, so a great deal of that morning was spent LOOKING at hotel rooms—like, as if they were apartments we were going to rent. Looking back, I'm stunned the hotel clerks actually indulged us by showing us rooms. You'd think it'd be: take it or F Off!

We found some place off Times Square. There were 4 of us. We didn't want to pay the extra charge for extra guests, so we pooled our $$$ and two of us paid for the room and the other two of us snuck up. Four of us for 2 double beds. We went down to the bodega and bought Zima. They still sold that then; maybe they do now, but I kinda hope not. Then we went down to Times Square and got intimidated by a crazy-eyed hobo who insisted on taking us on "a tour" for 10 bucks each. We gave him ten dollars just to leave us alone.

The next day we lined up for seats. It took forever. We got our assigned seats and wandered around until it was time to be called in for the show. THAT was magnificent. Worth the crummy bus trip, the hotel, the Zima, the fearsome hobo—all of it.

It went by so so quick. A time-warp. One minute we were taking our seats. The next, there was Dave. The next, commercial break. The next, we're all being herded outside for the outdoor Bon Jovi concert, which they'd shut the streets down to stage.

There was a real sense of desolation after it was over. Four poor Canadians stuck in NY. No money. Noplace to go. 4 hours to blow before a trip back to Toronto on the bus. All the prep work—sending away for the tickets, waiting for them to come, booking the bus tickets, waiting, waiting—all of that for what felt like a few fleeting seconds of wonderment.

Oh, it was worth it. Never for a second would I say otherwise.

Later, when I was living in Calgary, I sent a letter to the show asking how you get hired on as a writer. I had no experience. I'd written a few books. I felt myself a bit of a funny fellow.

A few weeks later I got a package from the head writers, the Stengel brothers—well, not FROM them but the boilerplate Xerox had their replicated signatures as I recall. It was an applicated pack, basically. I had to send them 3 Top 10 lists based on their suggested topics, plus various skit ideas.

I probably worked as hard on that application as I did on anything in my life. I seem to remember one of the Top 10s was  "The Top 10 Worst Race Horses in History" or something like that. I think I tried names like 3 Legs and a Broomstick, and Zombie Barbaro (Barbaro was a racehorse who'd died, pretty tragically, around that time. It was probably too soon). Another one was "Top 10 Worst Fast Food Franchises." I honestly forget what I did for that. I suppose I thought it was pretty hilarous, anyway. I tried to track that file down, but it's on an old computer that crashed years ago.

I slid the application into an envelope and mailed it off. There's something delicious about that process. The anticipation. You figure: the mail takes 7 days to arrive. It'd take a few weeks for them to consider it. So that meant I had, like, 3 weeks to fantasize about them saying yes. You're hired! I forecasted, foolishly, what my life might be like in New York. Oh man, that would be wonderful. I was pretty much broke at the time, working part-time at a library. I NEED this, baby!

Time went by. It dawned. I wasn't going to get that call.

Bummer. Ah, well. We've all had letdowns before. I still think what that would have been like. Working in a writer's room. I've always toiled alone as a writer. Passing Dave Letterman in the hall. I might have crashed and burnt. Probably I would have. But still, it would have been a hell of a fun crash and burn.

I'm older now. More settled. Those kind of adventurous forays—apply for the Letterman show! Move to NY and live in a bachelor apartment if I get it!—aren't in the cards anymore. Which again, that's fine. That's life. I wouldn't have wanted to work for anyone except Letterman, anyway, and when I discovered he was retiring a few years ago I put all thoughts of that out of my mind.

But I will always remember those days back in my undergrad years, heading to the Common Room in my dorm room and getting in arguments with the hippy-dippy artsy-fartsists who were watching some Marina Abromovic performance art documentary, hollering: "Turn it off! It's a video! You can watch it later—DAVE'S on soon!" Somedays I'd win and get to watch. Other days the Fartsists would win. But if I won, there I'd be, huddled in the glow of that TV watching my gaptoothed idol do his thing.

I miss those days. I'll miss David Letterman. He's a big part of that time in my life. Weirdly, I forgot how big a part until just today.

All best,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fear Itself

Hello All,

Here's a little piece about conjuring fear in a reader that I wrote for Quill and Quire. Thanks to Steve Beattie for giving me some space to pontificate.


All best, Craig . . . Nick?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Hello All,

I don't know if I ever posted this. If not, shame on me. Last summer I had the great pleasure and honor of interviewing David Adams Richards, one of my favorite writers, when he passed through town touring his book, Crimes Against My Brother (which is typically awesome). So I sat down in the publisher's office with him and we kibbitzed for some time. It was a thrill for me.


All best, Craig.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Hello All,

It's me, Nick!

Yeah, that's me in the Garfield suit, dreaming of schnapps-stuffed lasagna or whatever. So what? Big deal! Wanna fight about it?

Okay, rage-storm passed. Serenity now. If you'd like to read a few things I've either written or spoke about lately, read on.

First off, here's an interview in the Calgary Herald with the always great Eric Volmers, who has been really fabulous about getting in contact with each new book and letting me blither-blather away and then somehow, through magical means, managing to turn that blathering into a really good interview where I don't come off as a total bananahead. He earns every penny of what that paper's paying him, let me tell you.


Also, here's a piece I wrote for Publisher's Weekly about my Top Ten Horror Books You May Not Have Read. Of course, lists like this are fodder for argument/discussion—more and more I feel like that's their sole purpose, other than to hopefully shine a little light on the books mentioned—but I had a good time writing it and, for casual horror readers, there may be a few books on the list you'd like to take a gander at.