And in keeping with the holiday here are some of my favourite supernatural themed music videos.

I Want You, Cabaret Voltaire: Freaky

What's A Girl To Do, Bat For Lashes: Eerie

Weighty Ghost, Wintersleep: Sweet

Eye of The Tiger, Dean Winchester, Supernatural: Funny

Come To Daddy, Aphex Twin: Seriously Disturbing

Night Terror, Laura Marling: Creepy

I'm actually in the middle of a nonfiction book called How To Hunt Ghosts (by Joshua P. Warren). The writer's a ghost hunter himself and mentions that more ghost encounters seem to take place during cold, dry months—the time of year when there's also more static electricity. There's a theory that ghosts use electrical charges to manifest.

This means that in an attempt to maintain a respectful distance from ghosts I will not only avoid living in old houses (or other places where people have died) but that I will keep my living space filled with abundant amounts of moisture. If I come up with any other ghost-avoidance tips I'll pass them on. If you want to achieve the opposite, of course, you can always invert said advice but you'll probably end up with a lot of {ouch} electric shocks.

Happy Halloween
Kelsey put a review of I Know It's Over up on her blog Reading Keeps You Sane yesterday. Today she's posted an interview with me where she asks, amongst other things, about my upcoming books and the story behind the cover. Thanks, Kelsey!

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney SummersIt's no secret that I've been looking forward to reading Courtney Summer's soon to be released YA novel, Cracked Up to Be. The first two chapters, posted on her website, made me tense. And not being able to continue on to chapters three, four, etc. and discover what had gone so terribly wrong in eighteen-year-old Parker's life that all she wants is to be left alone, cranked that tension up another several notches.

But I'm a-okay now. Having been lucky enough to win an advance reader copy, I spent the majority of yesterday on my couch, devouring Cracked Up to Be.

Parker Hadley, with a barbed wisecrack for every occasion, isn't an easy character to like but you'll like her anyway and so does Jake, the new
guy at school, and Chris, her ex. In many ways Parker's keen intelligence makes hiding her pain easier. She's always been a perfectionist—and as such is extremely hard on other people but Parker reserves the harshest judgment for herself. You'll have to wait until near the end of the novel to find out what the worst thing she's ever done is and that state of constant stress and expectation makes for speedy reading. I'm not going to drop any spoilers but I will say that Cracked Up to Be is completely absorbing and believable.

Courtney Summers is an extremely talented writer, determined to explore difficult truths and complex characters and relationships. Her first novel is a pointed reminder that we may not know the heavy things some of those closest to us could be carrying around with them.

Cracked Up to Be is everything I hoped it would be and I think Parker, with her bottomless yearning to be the best, would be very pleased with an ending which refuses to simplify her situation.

I'm very much looking forward to Courtney's second novel.

At ten o'clock this morning the temperature was minus one Celsius in Toronto. Today, of course, is October 22nd. To give you an idea what a seasonal temperature should be, the city's average October temperature is 9.5 degrees. Yesterday, just north of the city, “commuters faced gusts of wind bringing snow and slush-like conditions on Hwy. 400.”

It just ain't right. What happened to fall? What happened to last week's gorgeous weather (below)?

There was some good news for the city yesterday, however. A study on global cities ranked Toronto fourth in the world for culture. London, Paris and New York are the top three, so we're in some damn fine company. Having enjoyed numerous theatrical productions and various festivals around the city this year, I can't say this comes as any kind of shock but Toronto should take a well-deserved bow.

While it gets colder and colder and the trees shed all their leaves and snow piles up on lawns, roadways and sidewalks, I'm going to try to keep my mind on what a wonderful place this is for cuisine, theatre, music, etc—all things that can be enjoyed from the warmth of indoors.
I picked up the rest of the stuff for the One Lonely Degree contest today. The mousepad is so cool that I had to order one for myself.

I'm only eighty-five pages into Boy Toy (by Barry Lyga) and it's already obvious this is a must-read. If you're a fan of contemporary YA and haven't picked it up yet, you really should try to get your hands on a copy. Yep, I'm throwing caution to the wind and recommending it based on a stellar first eighty-five pages.

With the Canadian election finished with, I also want to send out a video to Stephane Dion. If you're in Canada you already know the way the election played out, with the Liberal party losing a hell of a lot of support and Harper back in power with a bulkier minority. So far Liberal leader Stephane Dion hasn't said he'll resign, and I personally don't have a problem with him (and find it unfortunate that many voters can't get past image to look at sincerity and principles), but Canadians have sent him a clear message with their ballots. Sorry, Stephane, but you've been locked out.

“And I've been locked out
And I know we're through
But I can't begin to face up to the truth”

Locked Out, Crowded House

Time to face up to that truth.

There's a new interview with me up at Liv's Book Reviews and she asks a bunch of really interesting, quirky questions. Comment on the post at Liv's blog with your answer to "Rain or Shine" to win a copy of I Know It's Over!

Being Canadian, I'm especially proud to announce that I Know It's Over received a glowing 4 out of 4 star review in the October 10th issue of the Canadian review journal, CM Magazine. The review reveals a fair amount of plot so if you want to dive into the book fresh you might want to wait until afterwards to check it out. But I can tell you, that review has had me smiling to myself all day.

My week is off to a tremendous start as I won a copy of Cracked Up To Be in Courtney Summers' Last Lazy Galley Giveaway! I never win anything and I've been dying to read this since I tore through the first two chapters on her site. Not only do I get an early look at the book—I'll have my very own copy of Cracked Up To Be with the original (now a collector's edition) cover. How cool is that!

In other good news the trailer for I Know It's Over is up at where you can rate it. After the One Lonely Degree advance reader copy contest closes I'll be posting the trailer for One Lonely Degree (which is ready and waiting) on my website too.

I just got through voting voting in the Canadian federal election and if, like me, you're hoping that voters will block Stephen Harper from a majority (indeed, keep him away from the Prime Minister's office entirely!) it's going to be a looooong, suspenseful day.

If you haven't voted yet and are still undecided you should consider what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has to say in his new book Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America.
“The ability to design, build, and export green technologies for producing clean electrons, clean water, clean air, and healthy and abundant food is going to be the currency of power in the Energy-Climate Era – not the only one, but right up there with computers, microchips, information technologies, and planes and tanks.”
Doing nothing to safeguard the environment means being left behind in the dust (and smog). “Some see that now,” Friedman declares. “Others will see it soon. Eventually, it will be obvious to us all.”

The problem is we don't have time for the stragglers to catch up to reality and if enough of them don't get with the program TODAY, they'll be holding the entire nation back. Remember, we have a choice and we're making it for everyone. Vote for the planet. Vote for anyone but Harper. You can enter your postal code at to learn which party in your riding will keep Harper out.

I know this is pretty much what I've been saying every second day lately but the battle's not over until election day on October 14th. Ideologically I disagree with Prime Minister Harper on, oh, pretty much every front but, like a lot of people, my biggest concern these days is the environment. What do we have without it?

Stephen Harper continually says real change will be too costly—but it's not hard to see that refusing to protect our environment will cost us much more in the long run.

At the end of September The Toronto Star printed an article that explained that although Stephen Harper believes Canadians have become more conservative in the past 20 years, evidence doesn't back that view up.

It seems Canadian ideals are as strong as ever and that Canadians list a good quality of life, a strong health care-system and low incidence of child poverty as things they want for the nation. Unfortunately, over the years Canadians “have been convinced that their values will not or cannot find their way into public policy.” We think we can't change what politicians and the media have decided the national agenda should be, which is incredibly sad.

It's hard to have faith when we see the things we believe in continually ignored but resigning ourselves to that fate is giving up on democracy. This is still a free country. We do have a choice and several Canadian artists including K-OS, Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies, Jason Collett of Broken Social Scene, Sarah Harmer, Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent and Adam Gontier of Three Days Grace, have banded together to remind us of that.

Together they've recorded a song they're calling the "Stop Harper" anthem. The song "You Have a Choice" can be downloaded at Avaaz. ca and “hopes to draw attention to an online campaign aimed at persuading Canadians to help the environment by voting for the candidate in their riding most likely to defeat a Conservative opponent.”

One of my favourite lines is the following snarky one that references Harper's early common man sweater campaign commercials. “We can change things/For the better/Not just dressing it up with a sweater.”
And you know you have a choice
If you don't then it's already happened
Only takes one moment, rejoyce
If you don't then it's gone like the wind

—You Have A Choice

Please, vote for the Canada you want on Tuesday. Not the one you think you have to make do with.
One Lonely Degree
I just received a few advance reader copies of One Lonely Degree. Part of me would love to hold on to them all forever but at the same time I'm so excited that I can't resist having another contest! The book's release date isn't until May 26th so this is a real sneak peak.

1 One Lonely Degree prize pack will be randomly awarded. The prize pack includes: a signed advance reader copy of One Lonely Degree, a 12"x18" 1LD poster, a 1LD mousepad and the 2006 greatest hits CD (" A Decade") of main character Finn's favourite band, Our Lady Peace.

To enter email me with your name, the subject line “1LD ARC Contest” and the answer to the following super-easy question by midnight on October 31st.

* Finn considers this guy, “the most beautiful of all the Beautiful Boys and that's not just a physical thing.” Who is the lead singer of Our Lady Peace?

Draw date is November 1st!

Good luck everybody!

Our Lady Peace frontman

1LD jacket photograph © 2009 by Tracy Kahn
Emperor Harper's mind trick powers are failing him. Stephen Harper's approval has continued to drop in the polls, a sure sign his Jedi mind trick power has been failing him as Canadians refuse to believe that there's nothing to worry about as far as the economy's concerned.

If Harper lands back in minority power, as is appearing likely, he'll no doubt blame any failures to counter economic woes on his lack of power. Damn the opposition parties and their wacky concerns about the Canadian economy, food regulations, saving the evironment and the importance of the arts!

However, even if Harper never realizes his dream of a majority and his planned Death Star remains unbuilt; we'll always have the below action figure to remind us of Prime Minister Harper's 2008 election campaign. In one hand he carries the Canadian flag, the other is poised to lull us into a false sense of security as he tries desperately to conjure his waning Jedi mind trick magic.

Election 08 Harper available at toy stores across Canada.

* Election 08 Harper contains lead paint, which could be hazardous to children, and trace amounts of listeria, which may cause stomach and intestinal problems. You may develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, and diarrhea.
Election 08 Darth Harper action figure
Last week I stopped in to visit I Know It's Over in several local bookstores, signing whatever copies they had on hand. It felt kind of like visiting a pet store in that I wanted to scoop all the copies of I Know It's Over up and bring them home with me. They just looked so cute but helpless surrounded by all those other books on the shelves, the copies of I Know It's Over huddled together for warmth and companionship like puppies.

Monday morning FedEx showed up with advance reader copies of One Lonely Degree and again, my instinct was to keep them all here, where I know they'll have a good home. Are you supposed to get this attached to your own books? I mean really...

But just look at the jacket and maybe you'll see what I mean. Not only do I want to keep them all but I want it to be late June again—warm enough for sunscreen, swimming pools and Creamsicles.

One Lonely Degree jacket

Of course I already promised an advance reader copy of One Lonely Degree to the winner of the I Know It's Over contest so I'll be sending that out tomorrow. And since that means I can't keep them all anyway I might as well give another copy away, right?

So I'm going to have the details for a brand new contest up here on Friday and in the meantime I've put the first two chapters of One Lonely Degree up on my website. Hope you like them!
jacket photograph © 2009 by Tracy Kahn
So says the headline of the Toronto Star this morning. The Canadian Press Harris-Decima rolling poll puts the the Tories at 35% support as of yesterday. Here's how the rest of the support breaks down: Liberals - 22%, NDP - 20%, Green Party - 13% and Bloc Quebecois - 9%. Apparently the French and English leadership debates have taken a slight toll on Conservative support. Hmm, I can't think what the debates would've revealed about Tory leader Stephen Harper that isn't already common knowledge. Maybe he would've gotten more mileage from his deadpan expression and abject denial combo if he was wearing one of his trademark sweaters and snuggling a kitten.

Sith Lord Harper, Elizabeth May and Jack Layton  on Thursday's English language leadership debate,

Harris-Decima president Bruce Anderson says the poll also “shows that women in particular are drifting from the Liberal column for the NDP and the Greens.”

With our environment and economy hanging in the balance the stakes are sky high this time around. In the words of Green Party leader Elizabeth May, “Vote with what you believe in, vote with your heart. And demand better of your politicians, because you don't deserve what you've got.”

Jedis Layton and May.
I'm not going to be watching the Biden-Palin debate tonight as the Canadian leadership debate's on at the same time. However, if you have a vote in the American election, here's yet another reason not to vote for the McCain-Palin combo—Palin's support for the practice of shooting wolves from a low flying plane. Hell, that's not even hunting! It's barbaric cruelty.

Have a look at the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund video for more details:

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