Friday, 23 November 2012

Author's note for LUTETIA: Darkness Beneath the City of Light

In his youth, Victor Hugo was a devote Catholic and Royalist, loyal to the Monarchy and even wrote odes praising King Charles X and his family. Suddenly, in 1827, Victor Hugo changed drastically. He became a 'Free Thinker' and started writing plays and poems against the King and the Royal Family. There is no record as to what caused this turnaround in Victor Hugo. Even in his own memoirs, there is no mention of anything of importance in 1827, except for box office receipts from one of his plays.
But something did happen in 1827. Victor Hugo was inspired somehow to write an anonymous short story against capital punishment in 1828, and a stage play that caused a riot in the streets of Paris in 1830 - the same year he started writing 'Les Miserables' (which would take another 17 years to complete). What might have transpired that would alter his perspective so drastically?

“History has its truth, and so has legend. Legendary truth is of
another nature than historical truth. Legendary truth is invention
whose result is reality. Furthermore, history and legend have the same
goal; to depict eternal man beneath momentary man.”
             –Victor Hugo

Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (with bonus materials):

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Prologue - Lutetia: Darkness Beneath the City of Light

About half-way through writing 'Lutetia' for the NaNoWriMo contest, I was suddenly hit with the inspiration for a prologue that I didn't have before. So I'm including it here:


Paris, 1885

The old man knew he had only a few breaths left in him. He was dying. It was only a matter of days before the curtain fell on the final act of his life. For one last encore, he wanted... nay, he needed to see her. If he didn't do this today it would never happen.

There it was again, that strange feeling that he was being watched. It was a sensation he had experienced many times in his long life. He used to think he was going crazy but experience taught him it was often true. Still in the doorway, the old man looked about the expansive warehouse at 25 rue de Chazelles. There were dozens of men working furiously on scaffolds and ladders, removing sections of copper, but none seemed to have taken notice of the old man being wheeled in.

"We shouldn't be here," said his nurse as she pushed his wheelchair over the threshold. He waved her away impatiently. If there was one thing he hated more than this wheelchair, it was having the bothersome nurse arguing with him all the time. She had had a screaming fit when she saw him getting ot of his 'death bed', though she was not likely concerned for his health, but merely hoping he'd just lie back down and die so she could be free of him.

The old man's thoughts were suddenly interrupted as he saw a familiar face. Sunlight streamed from the skylight above, illuminating her like an angel - no - a Roman goddess.

It looks just like her, the old man thought to himself. But how was that possible? It had been almost 40 years since he last saw her in person but her face was never far from his mind. She haunted his sleep and inspired his work during daylight hours. She was his muse.

He had to get out of this cursed wheelchair; it was not proper to meet a lady sitting down. He grasped the wooden armrests of the wheelchair with some difficulty, and pushed himself up.

"What are you doing?" scolded the nurse, trying to push him down again. "You can't do that!"

"Don't tell me what I can do or can't do, you crazy witch!"

"What is the meaning of this?" a young, male voice called out. "This is private property!"

"Forgive the intrusion," the nurse stammered as she let go of the old man, "but he insisted on coming here to see..."

The old man recognized Bartholdi's voice instantly but it was clear that the young, bearded man with long hair didn't recognize him. The old man wondered why. Had he aged so much since he and Bartholdi attended a fundraiser together? The old man's hair was shorter than it used to be, but his white beard was certainly longer.

"I'm sorry," Bartholdi argued, pointing to the large crates that surrounded them, "but we can't afford any interruptions of any kind. We are on a very tight schedule..."

"Monsieur Bartholdi," the old man said, struggling to make his voice loud enough to be heard, "I know I should have scheduled an appointment... but under my current circumstances I feared I would be negligent in keeping any future appointments."

Bartholdi's demeanor changed drastically the instant he recognized him, "Monsieur Hugo, I didn't know it was you! It is an honour to have you here... I thought you were..."

"Dead?" asked the old man. "Soon... very soon. So if you would indulge a dying man's request, I would like to see her before she leaves France forever."

"But of course," Bartholdi replied, then turned and whistled to all the workers. Everyone froze immediately and turned towards them. "Gentlemen, we have an important guest with us today. If it were not for him, She wouldn't be here today. Not only a respected writer but a great statesman. Champion of democracy and liberty. He himself inspired the name..."

"Thank you, sir," interrupted the old man, "but you did say you were on a tight schedule, and I don't want to take up too much time with unnecessary odes. Allow me a simple moment to bid her 'good-bye'."

"Of course," said Bartholdi with grace, as he stepped aside.

The nurse went to the back of the wheelchair but the old man waved her away, "Just give me my stick."

With a disapproving glare, she unfastened the walking stick from the wooden wheelchair's backrest, handed it to the old man and whispered, "Let me help you."

He shook his head. Then, using what little strength he had left, he supported his weight on his cane and walked toward her. He could practically feel the workers staring at him, but he didn't care.

The unblinking eyes of the statue greeted the old man as he neared her. He took a moment to catch his breath and stared at her calm, expressionless face. Yes, those eyes. They looked at him the same way she did. In all these years, he could never forget her eyes.

He glanced over to where her large fist clenched a torch with flames made of gold. How he wished he was a younger man and could accompany her to her new home in New York.

Reaching into his waistcoat's pocket, he pulled out a small silver coin. His trembling, wrinkled fingers held up the Denariu, a silver coin from Ancient Rome circa 42 BC. The coin that she gave to him all those years ago. The old man compared the Roman face on the coin to that of the statue in front of him. Their regal profiles showed a strength and femininity that were almost identical.

How many pieces of silver is your soul worth?

The words from his past echoed in his mind. He so wished he could take back those words. He had spent years trying to make up for the sins of his past. Not just his past but also that of his beloved country. He had endured hardships, exile and the loss that no father should experience. He never dared speak of events that took place in that cold winter of 1827, nor could he ever write it down for fear of the truth coming to light.

How many pieces of silver is your soul worth?

The old man wiped away a solitary tear, "I'm so sorry. I was such a fool. Before I die, I must know... Am I forgiven... Lutetia?"
Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (with bonus materials):

Bartholdi's Warehouse - Paris

Friday, 16 November 2012

New Award for My Novel!

Today I found out that my novel, Depth of Deception (A Titanic Murder Mystery)
was awarded "Finalist" in the "Best New E-book: Fiction" category.

The 2012 USA Best Book Awards

The novel is available on Kindle:

Also in various other formats (including print):

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Research Map App

While researching for Lutetia: Darkness Beneath the City of Light, I wondered, 'Wouldn't it be great if you could do a side-by-side comparison of a Paris map from a few hundred years ago to today's map?'  Wait, there's an app for that, which I downloaded into my iPad.

Two things I noted while using this app.  Map making is certainly not the art form it used to be, look at that amazing detail (look at the Notre Dame Cathedral below). And secondly, the first manned hot-air balloon didn't happen until 51 years after this map was made - yet this map is surprisingly accurate in the layout of the Paris landscape and Seine River.

Paris 1734 Map App

NaNoWriMo update as of today (November 14, 2012) I'm just over 20,000 words.

Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (with bonus materials):

Saturday, 10 November 2012

New Synopsis for LUTETIA

The year is 1827. Due to a case of mistaken identity, a young poet named Victor Hugo finds himself running for his life from the police, an assassin and a secret society. With the help of a mysterious gypsy girl, he uncovers a conspiracy that challenges his beliefs and loyalties.

Inspired by historical events that ultimately changed France forever and influenced Victor Hugo's literary works such as 'The Last Day of a Condemned Man', 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'Les Miserables'.

Lutetia Cover - Artwork by Victor Hugo
Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (and revised book cover):

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Update - Historical Research

As of this 6th day of November, I've written about 8,100 words for my next novel, LUTETIA Darkness Beneath the City of Light, with only 41,000 left to go by November 30 when NaNoWriMo ends.

Here's an example of one of the research tools I've been using for historical detail, an old map of Paris downloaded to my iPad. Those who have visited the Louvre will notice a difference in the area. In 1827 (setting of my novel) King Charles X was residing at the Palais des Tuileries, which was connected to the Louvre.

Must get back to writing.
Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (with bonus materials):

Old map of Paris circa 1830

Friday, 2 November 2012

LUTETIA - Chapter 1 (preview)

Chapter I
       A low, ominous tone quavered from the Notre Dame Cathedral and echoed along the Seine River. Before the lonely chime faded away into the Parisian night, it was soon followed by another peal in the same sombre pitch. It was the solitary bell in the south tower, calling to its sister bells to join it in song. But they had been taken down and melted into cannons only a few decades earlier, sacrifices for the French Revolution. The bell known as Emmanuel rang out a third time. Its echo lingered in the air, waiting for a response that would never come.
       Adeline lay quietly in the darkness of her room, counting the chimes from the Notre Dame. Three o'clock in the morning. Hopefully, the baby was sleeping by now. At three months old, the boy had a habit of awakening several times in the night, but presently seemed to be quiet. Adeline strained to listen for any sounds but could only hear her own breath as she gathered her nerve.

Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (with bonus materials - incl new cover):

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Will I Reach My Writing Goal?

Today I commence writing my next novel LUTETIA Darkness Beneath the City of Light. I have registered with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), so I have from today (November 1) to November 30 to complete 50,000 words.
As my work progesses this month, I'll be posting links so you can read the chapters as they are being written. When it's complete, I'll take it down and begin editing, re-writes and polishing.

Below is a photo of some of my research materials:

Research for Lutetia: Darkness Beneath the City of Light

Excerpt of first few chapters available on official website (with bonus materials):

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Behind the Scenes of Book Trailer Shoot

As a follow-up to my blog: My Little Inspiration for the Next Novel

Here is a fun behind-the-scenes photo we took while shooting the trailer.  It was only fitting that my son be a part of it (even if he doesn't actually appear in the trailer).
(Not to mention a clue to yesterday's trivia question)
Behind-the-Scenes photo taken during the book trailer for
'LUTETIA: Darkness Beneath the City of Light' 
Excerpt of first few chapters available & other photos available on official website:

Monday, 29 October 2012

Creating a Book Trailer Before the Book is Written

Sounds crazy!  Well, that's exactly what I did.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I've been inspired to write a historical thriller fiction based on true events. The protagonist of my story is a young writer named Victor Hugo.

I spent the summer researching his life, the events taking place in Paris, and the political climate of France at the time.

Originally I was going to set the novel in 1830, but my notes and outlines were getting too full of key players (characters) who needed to be in the story.  It concerned me became the one common criticism I received from reviewers of my debut novel, Depth of Deception, was that there were too many characters at the beginning of the book (though it seemed to work out as the story unfolded for them).  I try to listen and learn from the feedback of readers. As I continued to research, I noticed that I had jotted  "Flashback to 1827" several times in my outline notes. So I took some time to focus my attention on 1827 and realized that there was enough there to create a trilogy. The story would start in 1827, and then Book II would take place in 1830, and Book III would be set in 1832.  By doing this, certain characters would already be established by the time we introduce the new players.

After four months of researching and creating a very clear outline of the characters, stories and events, I needed to motivate myself to start writing.  It was about this time that a few fellow writers were communicating on Facebook about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) taking place from November 1 to November 30th. For this, writers challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  As I've mentioned before, Depth of Deception evolved from a draft that I wrote for the 3-Day Novel Contest.  So why not try this again? 

So if I succeed, I'll have a first draft completed by November 30.  Then I would deconstruct, edit and polish that into a second draft.  It will be winter by the time it's complete.  I had images in my mind for a book trailer that I would create from scratch, but winter would be inappropriate for my story and too cold to film in the location I wanted. So I did something crazy: I gathered my resources and with the help of some friends, shot some still photos of some of the scenes in my mind that I know will not change drastically. Since I haven't written any dialogue, I didn't want to have any actor saying something that won't be in the book. So using stills would solve that problem and I would photoshop and edit in the style of my short film: First Light (see blog).

Here are some sneak-peak pictures from our photo shoot. 

Check back November 1, when I'll be starting to post updates and links to the chapters as they are being written. 

Illustration of young Victor Hugo (1830) and our actor playing young Victor Hugo in the book trailer for my next novel:
 'LUTETIA: Darkness Beneath the City of Light' (set in 1827).

Saturday, 27 October 2012

My Little Inspiration for the Next Novel

Inspiration hits when you least expect it and sometimes from the most unlikely sources. My next novel was inspired by my 2-year old son.

After writing the first ten chapters of Bloody Mary Kelly, (I previewed the first two chapters at the end of Depth of Deception) I was hit with writer's block as I mentioned in an earlier blog. While I was dealing with this dilemma, my 2-year old son was watching Les Misérables in Concert.  He has watched it many, many times. "Sings" along with Jean Valjean and Gavroche and seems to have a crush on Éponine (or "Ep-Pony" as he calls her).

I can't complain about him enjoying it. There are shows geared for his age-range that drive me crazy. So him liking a classic story told through music is fine with me. It should come as no surprise that I've always loved the classic tales of that era. I've read and loved the swashbuckling works of Alexandre Dumas, epic novels of Victor Hugo and loved Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel.  

Years ago, I had started writing a screenplay based on a historical figure from that era but I had a difficult time condensing his extraordinary life story into a 120-page script. Trimming down the richness and the complexity seemed to cheapen and reduce it to a mere documentary. I needed an angle but I had none that would do him justice so I shelved the idea and went to work on other writing projects.

Fast-forward in time to me struggling with writer's block. I laid down for a nap while my son was watching Les Misérables in Concert - again. As I started to drift to sleep a lyric got stuck in my head... something wasn't right with it. I'm not sure how long my wife had let me sleep, but when I woke up, that lyric was still in my head and it sparked something.  I got up, grabbed my iPhone and cross referenced with a historical event.  I grabbed my copy of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables and found the angle that I had been looking for when I had tried writing that screenplay so many years ago. It became clear that a screenplay format would not suffice as the ending of the story popped into my mind and for the next few months I researched that era of France for the details that will go into my next novel.

It has been invigorating and exciting and would never have happened had my son not been watching Les Misérables in Concert again and again.  So this novel is dedicated to my son.

Now to start writing it... starting November 1st, as I've registered for NaNoWriMo.  
My 2-year old son watching Les Misérables in Concert.

Excerpt of first few chapters available & other photos available on official website:

Monday, 1 October 2012

Show Don't Tell

            One thing many writers struggle with is too much exposition. I can be guilty of doing so, especially while writing a screenplay where, in order to get subtext or background details out, it easily translates to too much tedious dialogue.

            Many years ago (in the early 90's) when I took a screenwriting course at the University of Toronto, I was given an interesting exercise to address this issue. Our teacher challenged us to write several scenes or a short film without using any dialogue. None. Zero words spoken.  Everything had to been 'seen' not 'said'.

            Surprisingly, I enjoyed this challenge. So for my assignment I wrote a vampire love story that took place over the course of 900 years. It was a lot of fun to write and I was able to weave my love for historical settings throughout. I received an excellent mark for it and my instructor wrote, "I can visualize the whole thing as you wrote it. Hope you get to put it on screen some day." That comment inspired me to make it into a short film. The problem was that it would be a costly film to make, with all the exterior locations and the various time periods. So I tried applying for grants and getting some funding for it, but anyone reading the script said the same thing: "Great script but it's too expensive to shoot. It can't be made."

            I then gave up any hope of making my short film, until a couple of years later when I purchased my first digital still camera (Kodak DC290). Digital photography was still in its infancy but I loved the joys of not having to be limited to 36 pictures per roll and previewing and deleting right away. One fine day I was at a Renaissance festival, taking many pictures, when a talented singer named Heather Dale appeared on a nearby stage singing olde fashioned songs.  The combination of her music with the images I had just taken hit me with inspiration. I would make my short film with just stills and music. It had been done in the 60's with a French film called "Le Jette" but I wouldn't be limited by cost of photo development and could do a 20 minute film without repeating a picture. This camera had great manual exposure control for night time shoots and I could use Photoshop to recreate the past.

            So over the next two years I shot over 3000 still photos throughout the streets of downtown Toronto and various other locations. My friend Kirk Teeple composed the music for it to help tell the story and brought in a colleague to do vocals (still no words) and add medieval instruments. Ironically, that colleague was Heather Dale, who, unbeknownst to her, two years earlier helped to inspire the idea.

            When completed it was entitled "First Light" and it screened in festivals all over the world. Won some awards, too.

            Not too bad for a film that I was told couldn't be made.

            It is exactly 10 years since I completed "First Light" and since it's no longer doing the festival circuit I've posted it on YouTube for everyone to enjoy. 

            Here it is: a 900-year-old love story told entirely with still photos and no dialogue or narration.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Featured Author on Polka Dot Banner

I am flattered and honored to be this month's 'Featured Author' on Polka Dot Banner (an author gathering place) site:

PDB: Alexander, please tell us about Depth of Deception, an Award-winning Finalist of the 2012 International Book Awards in the E-Book: Mystery/Thriller/Adventure category.

AG: Depth of Deception is set in 1982 and begins in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean where a young woman is found floating on a wooden deck chair. She is wearing an Edwardian era dress and the only identification she has is a ticket to the RMS Titanic. She has no memory of who she is, but she believes it's 1912. As she recovers in a psychiatric clinic in Manhattan, an elderly Titanic expert and survivor named Edward Hoffman is brought in to disprove her claim, but the plan backfires and stirs up shocking details in her tattered memory—including the fact that Edward may be her son.

The other mystery in Depth of Deception involves Callum Toughill, a British insurance investigator, who is assigned the case of a missing brooch that was stolen during a murder in 1909 Glasgow. He is chosen because it was his own grandfather who botched the original investigation. (This murder is based on a true, unsolved crime.)

PDB: When I visited your website, I liked your explanation of why you set the book in 1982, rather than present day. Please share that with our PDB authors and readers.

(Read More)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Anti-Writer 's Block

Like many of my fellow writers I often find myself in that situation where I sit in front of my flickering computer screen and nothing happens.  I've set aside some time to devote to writing and at that crucial moment my mind is void of ideas. No amount of pacing or reading other writer's blogs help to combat my own writer's block. Not a single drop of an idea. So many times I've lamented that I'm unable to just turn the creativity on like a tap.

But now I have a different dilemma.  I don't seem to have a problem coming up with creative story ideas... I suddenly have too many of them.  A few weeks ago I blogged about working on one novel and getting stronger ideas for another novel. During this time, I wrote a spec script for Murdoch Mysteries, a TV series shooting here in Toronto, and while working on that I got an idea for a different spec script, which in turn evolved into an idea for a brand new TV series. So I start laying down the ground work on that but I still have the ideas for the novel(s) racing around in my head. Just to make me crazy a series idea that I had back in the 1990's comes back.  The latter was deemed "too dark" for mainstream TV at the time.  Since then "too dark" has become the norm and now we have the technology to easily do what I had wanted back them.  Now I'm not sure if I want to pitch it as a TV series, a book series or a blog series.

So now, instead of wringing my brain out for a drop of an idea, a pipe has burst and the ideas are just gushing out all over the place and I'm desperately trying to stay afloat while trying to figure out which story to devote my time and attention to. And if that's not enough, I'm still trying to promote Depth of Deception, which in itself is another full time job.
I'm not sure I'm going to get a lot of sympathy from many writers, and I know I have to focus on one at a time. I just hope that the other ideas don't evaporate in the meantime.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Confronting My Own Demons

Writers are often told: "Write what you know."

So when I decided to write and direct my own spec commercial, I wrestled with what product or service I would be 'selling'.  Since it's a spec commercial, would I create a fake product? 

Write what you know.

Pretty vague advice. I had previously written political PSAs that were topical to current events but have since become dated as it so often happens with the news.  So I decided to get inspiration for a commercial by watching other TV commercials.

With remote in hand, and as strange as it sounds, I channel surfed, looking for commercials.  There were some cute ones, funny ones and some that I couldn't identify what the product was (not sure if that was effective).  Then I saw a familiar one: A Manulife commercial where my 7-year-old daughter plays a dentist. The idea was that our kids, doing grown-up jobs, shouldn't have to take care of us. My daughter wasn't originally supposed to have a line but the director asked her if she could and she willingly took the challenge. I recalled the shoot when I sat watching the monitors with the crew, producers and the advertising client. One of them leaned over to me and whispered, "Your daughter is terrific. She is very professional and has a lot of self-confidence for someone her age."

It was nice to hear, as it was something that my wife and I strive for with both our kids. It was something I felt strongly about because my own upbringing was very different. My daughter has never been told she was 'worthless', 'an idot', 'lazy', 'stupid', 'good for nothing' or 'retarded'.  Never has she heard her parent say, "I wish you had never been born."  These were words that were said to me when I was her age.

Throughout my childhood there were other beatings. I was slapped, punched, thrown down the stairs and attacked with a lit cigarette. I was threatened that, if I called the police, I would end up in the hospital with every bone broken in my body. Several decades later, the physical hits are distant memories, and the scars on my chest from the cigarettes are just small marks, but despite my successes with writing and directing, I can still feel the sting of those words.

Write what you know.

I took those stinging words and put them down on paper. Five mintues later, I had my spec script written. I decided to cast my daughter in the commercial because she had enough stage and screen experience that I knew she would give the performance I was looking for, even if she didn't understand the subject. I asked an actor-friend to record the 'angry parent voice over', and filmed it in one evening.

Post-production took a bit longer (once you watch the commercial, you'll understand why) and I had to take some time off, as my daughter was cast in a Hallmark TV movie for which we flew out to Halifax. She and I had a great time together and every time I see her smiling face, I'm glad she doesn't have my inner scars. Proof that the cycle of abuse can stop.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Free on Friday the 13th

My short thriller is on Kindle and it will be FREE today Friday the 13th of July:
Ethan wakes up in a mysterious prison that forces its inmates to re-live their crimes every day. But Ethan has no memory of committing his crime, and suspects a deeper conspiracy.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Review in A Book Lover's Library

"This is one of the books you have to read for 2012. I more than enjoyed it. I couldn’t stop reading it and completed it in one day. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot done. You have to check this book out. It was wonderful, and if I say anything else I’ll ruin it."

 - Rebecca Graf (A Book Lover's Library)

Read full review:


I couldn't have asked for a better review. As a writer, I often second-guess myself and question, "Is this any good?"

The self-doubt can be overpowering. So when I read a review like this — From someone I've never met — it's a great thrill. The positive response to 'Depth of Deception' has been overwhelming and heartwarming. It's a great motivation to write another book.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Review of Depth of Deception in Game Vortex

"I have been intentionally vague in this review so as not to spoil any surprises. That being said, it's a fun story with a good mystery..."

- Game Vortex review of 'Depth of Deception'

(Read full review...)

Friday, 29 June 2012

What Does My Office Look Like?

As part of the Virtual Book Tour, I'm uest blogging on the AZ Publishing Service Blog. Was asked 'what does my office look like?'

Also includes two excerpts from 'Depth of Deception':

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Depth of Deception in Mississauga News

It’s never a bad idea to go with your strengths, whatever the endeavour.
A few years ago, Alexander Galant did the historical research for the novel Dracula the Un-dead, which became a 2009 New York Times bestseller. So when the Meadowvale resident decided to try his hand at writing a novel himself, he naturally drew on those skills. The result is Depth of Deception, which combines history, mystery and murder.

(Click to read the rest of the article)'s%20on/article/1381312--galant-makes-debut-with-a-titanic-murder-mystery

Monday, 25 June 2012

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Running Around the Writer's Block

 I think anyone who has tried their hand at writing has experienced the Dreaded Writer's Block at one time or another.  It's frustrating and annoying. You want to be productive! You want to finish a chapter but at the end of day you didn't even make it through the first sentence on a new page.  You wish you could turn it on like a tap but not even a single idea drips out. And you really feel like the talent-well has dried up inside you.
There have been many other blogs and sites by other writers offering some practical advice to combat the dreaded writer's block. I think every writer is different. We all have our different styles and what works for one writer may not work for others.
I wanted, instead, to share my recent bout with writer's block because the outcome was not what I expected.
As I published my debut novel, Depth of Deception (A TitanicMurder Mystery), I knew what the next novel was going to be. In fact there is a preview Prologue and first chapter of Bloody Mary Kelly at the end of Depth of Deception.  I have already written the first 12 chapters and the conclusion. This may sound odd but it's a quirk of mine that I always write the last chapter first, then go back to the beginning and work towards that end. Thus, laying down the foreshadowing and plot-twists wherever needed is easier.
Bloody Mary Kelly was going to be set in two time periods: present-day Toronto and Victorian London.  I had amassed a ton of research materials, including detailed maps of Victorian London, copies of Scotland Yard files, etc.   I was recently at the Bloody Words writer's conference in Toronto, where I not only spoke on a panel for Historical Research in mystery novels, but attended other panels by a police detective and a forensic psychologist who answered some questions I had for the new novel. Armed with all of this information I was ready to continue working on Bloody Mary Kelly.
I sat in front of the computer. Read over my notes. Read over the outline. I knew what was supposed come in the next chapter but I couldn't write it. Something didn't ring true. A major character that I was about to introduce didn't seem to work. Did I need to change their profession? Their gender? (I've done that before while writing a story.) Nothing seemed to work. I was really stuck. This major character would be need to be weaved throughout the story, so I couldn't jump ahead, or cut them out entirely. What to do?
This went on for more than a week, and I was getting frustrated.  Not feeling well, I took a nap in the middle of the day, which is something I only do if I'm sick.  You know how they say if you're thinking of a problem as you drift to sleep, the answer will come to you? Well that's exactly what happened. I woke up and I had it.
Unfortunately, the answer wasn't for Bloody Mary Kelly at all. An idea that I had back-burnered five years ago, which didn't have a thought-out plot or conflict, (can't have story without either of those!) suddenly made sense. I woke up from my nap with the plot in my mind. I sat up, reached for my iPhone and began surfing for some historical information right away, to make sure it was going to work within the time period.  Not only did it fit the timeline but I started to find other historical events that gave me the conflict that was missing from the original idea. Suddenly I had the ending of my novel! I went to my computer, wrote the conclusion and from there the opening of the story was clear in my mind. This new story lay itself out for me, needing to be told.
You can't turn it on like a tap, nor can you control it when it erupts like a geyser. I've decided to ride that inspirational wave and put Bloody Mary Kelly on the back burner (for now). Why argue with the creative flow? So I'm starting a different new novel which, ironically, opens with our protagonist suffering from writer's block.

Excerpt of first few chapters of new novel available & bonus material available on official website:

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Featured in Kindle Nation

Here is a preview of the first 12 chapters of DEPTH OF DECEPTION (A Titanic Murder Mystery) featured in today's FREE KINDLE NATION SHORTS Excerpt.
Plus a link to enter our brand new Kindle Fire giveaway sweepstakes!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Virtual Book Tour for Depth of Deception

I will be taking part in a Virtual Book Tour for my novel 'Depth of Deception (A Titanic Murder Mystery)' sponsored by the VBT Cafe Blog. Please join us!

June 25 - Virtual book tour to begin at VBT Cafe' Blog (Click on names to follow link)
June 27 - Reviewed & Interviewed at On Emily's Bookshelf
June 29 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
July 1 - Reviewed & Interviewed at A Book Lover's Library
July 3 - Interviewed at KWOD Radio
July 7 - Reviewed & Guest Blogging at Waiting On Sunday
July 10 - Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
July 11 - Guest Blogging at Celestial Reviews
July 12 - Reviewed at A Word Fitly Spoken
July 15 - Guest Blogging with Cindy Vine
July 16 - Guest Blogging at The Book Hoard
July 17 - Reviewed & Guest Blogging at Words I Write Crazy
July 18 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
July 20 - Reviewed & Guest Blogging at The Lucky Ladybug

There will be autographed e-books and signed paperback giveaways during the Tour.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bloody Words Conference

I'm one of the panalists discussing "The Historical Mindset" for the Bloody
Words 2012 (crime writer's conference) in Toronto on Saturday June 2 at 2:30pm. There will be a book signing with all the authors immediately following each session.
I'm also looking forward to attending some of the other panels by other authors that weekend.

If you love crime and mystery novels. You may want to check it out:

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Buffy - Britney Parody

Although I tend to write dark-themed stories, books and films, my wife Carmen Gillespie has always been the Mistress of Sunshine to my Master of Darkness. In short, she's the comedian - and very talented at it.

One fun example of her talent came about 10 years ago, when we were both religiously watching 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and it was rumored that Britney Spears would guest star in an episode. 

At the time, Britney Spears was at the top of the charts. The song and video of 'Slave 4 U' from her self-titled album was played all the time. Screen captures of her live performance with the snake was all over the internet. The hot, young, blond popstar was a role model as was the young, blond Sarah Michelle Gellar as the strong vampire-slaying Buffy. So Britney appearing on Buffy would be a sure-fire ratings hit.

Carmen, who has a knack for coming up with parodies to popular songs, came up with the idea of "Slay 4 U" to the tune of "Slave 4 U". Using references from the show and even some of Joss Whedon's dialogue, she wrote the lyrics as if Buffy sang like Britney. A friend of ours, Reston Williams recreated the instrumental "Slave 4 U" music and even added the opening of the Buffy Theme into it.

We had hoped to release it and even shoot a music video but we ran out of funds. We even photographed Carmen in a parody of Britney's album cover. (As seen here).

Original CD Cover with Britney & the Parody Cover with Carmen Gillespie

Due to scheduling conflicts, Britney never did make her appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor did we get around to making an accompanying video. Now that there is such a thing as YouTube, and Carmen is posting some comedic stuff for a laugh, she decided to dust this one off and share it with the world.

Here is the song 'Slay 4 U' with the lyrics. Enjoy:

Monday, 7 May 2012

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Depth of Deception by Alexander Galant

Depth of Deception

by Alexander Galant

Giveaway ends May 24, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, 4 May 2012

May the 4th be with you!

It's cheesy but fun.  Here is a my Star Wars spoof that I wrote & directed back in 2008:
"The characters from the original Star Wars trilogy are Forced to endure a group therapy session."

Official Selection for 2009 Atom & Lucas Films Fan Film Competition
Winner "Best Foreign Sci-Fi Short" at the New York International Film Festival - 2010

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Book Give-Away Contest

This week, through Author Buzz, I'm doing a book give away contest.  I'm offering 5 prize packs of a copy of Depth of Deception as well as a commemorative Titanic Centenary coin.  Anyone interested had to e-mail me with the name of a Titanic survivor.

My e-mail inbox has quickly filled up over the last couple of days.  Everyone has mentioned a Titanic survivor and the choices have been interesting. Margaret Brown (later referred to as Molly Brown) has been the most common choice - especially from contestants in Colorado. Second most chosen are Elizabeth Gladys Millvina Dean who was only two months old when she boarded Titanic and Charles Joughin, Titanic's cook who survived the icy waters because of the extraordinary amount of alcohol he had consumed in the ship's final moments.

Others vying for a copy have gone the extra distance, some looking up survivors with their same names or survivors from their home town. One person even shared a beautiful Titanic poem that she had written.
It's been an interesting way to connect with readers.

The contest runs in the newsletter until Sunday. At which time we will put all the names in a bowl and draw five (5) winners.  A video of the draw will be posted on the book's website.

Until then I am grateful for the interest that the book is getting.

Friday, 13 April 2012

My Titanic Novel Sales for Charity this Weekend

For anyone who has not had the chance to buy my thriller novel Depth of Deception (A Titanic Murder Mystery) yet, I wanted to let you know that I have something planned for this Sunday (April 15th 2012), which is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. To honour the memory of those who perished on Titanic, we will donate a portion of the proceeds from that day's purchases of Depth of Deception to the Titanic Heritage Trust, which is a registered international charitable trustdedicated to preserving artifacts and the memory of Titanic.

Depth of Deception can still be purchased at an introductory rate of $0.99 from Amazon at as well as in other e-book formats from Smashwords at  For those who have purchased it, thank-you and keep in mind there is the option of 'gifting' this e-book on both sites. (hint, hint)

Synopsis: Depth of Deception is set in 1982, where a young woman isfound floating on a wooden deck chair in the North Atlantic. She's unconscious,and wearing Edwardian clothing. Her only identification is a ticket for the Titanic. Is it a bizarre case of time-travel or an elaborate hoax?

For more information visit which contains a sample chapter, a synopsis, photos and a Bonus Feature page which includes a special 'Extras' section that can only be accessed if one has read the book and knows the password.

You can also view the Depthof Deception book trailer at

Titanic Heritage Trust

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Book Trailers

I've seen many movie trailers over the years but until recently I did not know of book trailers.  Most simply use stock photographs but they can be very effective.  Using visuals and music to set the tone of a book is a great marketing tool.

With my film-making experience I was able to throw the following together for my novel, Depth of Deception (A Titanic Murder Mystery).

Depth of Deception can now be purchased at an introductory rate of $0.99 from Amazon at as well as in other e-book formats from Smashwords at


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Aging Titanic Newspaper Prop

Currently blogging on DEPTH OF DECEPTION website.

Today's blog has to do with my daughter assisting me in the art of aging props.  This one is for the book's promotional trailer.

My daughter aging the print in coffee.

Depth of Deception can now be purchased at an introductory rate of $0.99 from Amazon at as well as in other e-book formats from Smashwords at

Friday, 24 February 2012

My Novel Website

The website for DEPTH OF DECEPTION (A Titanic Murder Mystery Thriller) is on-line.  Stay tuned for up-dates as we draw near to the April 2, 2012 publication.

Depth of Deception can now be purchased at an introductory rate of $0.99 from Amazon at as well as in other e-book formats from Smashwords at