Bane of All Things — a Début Novel - theHumm January 2022
Bane of All Things — a Début Novel - theHumm January 2022
By John Pigeau
Growing up, Leo Valiquette was fond of fantastical stories. The Star Wars saga, Tolkien’s Middle Earth books, and classics like Charlotte’s Web — these were the made-up worlds Leo liked to inhabit. Later, in high school, he liked to make up stories and was admittedly “a Dungeon & Dragons nerd.” At some point, he fashioned himself a decent writer, too. Now, many years on, he has realized a lifelong dream and published his first novel, an epic fantasy called Bane of All Things.
It’s an exciting time, he says, but admits it’s all taking some time to sink in — that the book’s been published, and is receiving some notably wonderful reviews.
“It’s all rather surreal, to be honest,” Leo says. “I am the sort of person who is always focused on what’s next. And what’s next is, ‘OK, the book has published, what must I continue to do to drive sales?’ Which is valid, but I need to make myself take time to smell the roses and relish the fact that, yes, I have just published my first novel after having worked toward this life goal for 20-plus years.”
Leo, who lives near Port Elmsley with his wife and son, believes his experience working in a museum, then as a journalist and a newspaper editor, and finally as a corporate business writer, have all helped him become a published author.
His interest in history first drew him to museum work. “But at that time, the mid-90s, career opportunities in the field were a bit scarce, and I looked to return to school. I had always been a strong writer and had been making up stories since my early teens. So I decided to return to school for journalism, because I believed it would give me a strong foundation for any kind of writing career. This has proven to be true.”
Indeed it has. Bane of All Things was published in early December by Inkshares, a small innovative American publisher.
Leo explains the plot of the book, which is the first in a series of four: “Bane of All Things is a story about two young people. Ryn is a soldier sworn to serve the church of the land, haunted by his part in the massacre of a village, who comes into possession of an ancient relic with a will of its own. Josalind is a suspected witch but is really something else entirely who threatens to shake the church to its very core. They must learn to take control of their own fates and not just be the pawns of others, as well as come to terms with the impact their choices hold for the rest of the world.”
But the story doesn’t end there.
“I have it plotted out as a four-book series, titled A Silence of Worlds,” Leo explains. “The stakes will continue to rise, and the reader will continue to learn more with each book about what the stakes really are. The characters themselves will face harder choices, with greater awareness of what impact their choices will have and how they must mature and grow as a consequence.”
Book 2, called The Crucible Tree, is already written. Leo’s in the midst of revisions before he passes it on to his publisher. The release date for that one has yet to be determined.
A cancer survivor, Leo says writing these books has been a sort of therapy during ongoing treatments, but it’s also been a challenge too.
“Sinking into my own created worlds, going right back to being a Dungeons & Dragons nerd in high school, has always been an escape. Living with cancer (metastasized melanoma) for the past two years, it’s definitely been a kind of therapy to be able to focus on my fiction, and on the process with my publisher to get the book out the door. On the other hand, it’s been a definite struggle to continue to write because of the physical toll taken on me by the cancer and by the treatments.”
Leo credits his wife Natalie for helping him further his dream of becoming a career author. He also draws inspiration from his autistic son William, who “everyday teaches me the virtues of kindness and empathy.”
If you’re a fan of gritty epic fantasy books, you’ll be happy to know that Bane of All Things is available to order from Amazon and from Chapters-Indigo (both online and in-store at select locations).
“It can also be ordered for in-store pickup from various independent bookstores,” Leo says. “Some independents are also stocking it in-store, such as Toronto’s Bakka-Phoenix Books — Canada’s oldest science fiction and fantasy bookstore.”
Early reviews of Leo’s gritty fantasy have been exceptional.
“Visceral and vivid, Bane of All Things is a gorgeously imagined ride,” writes Kate Heartfield, author of the Alice Payne series and The Embroidered Book. “I enjoyed getting to know these characters and the world of monsters and magic they inhabit. A terrific read.”
One day in the new year, perhaps, you’ll be able to meet the author and buy Bane of All Things at a book signing or a reading in an Ottawa Valley bookshop. Leo is anxious to do so, but understandably wary as well.
“I am hoping to have formal reading and signing events in the near future, but between my health challenges and the latest twists with the pandemic, I am being cautious about that right now.”
For now, you can learn a lot more about the author and the book — including a nifty detailed map of the world in which the story is set — as well as reading some more very flattering initial reviews of the novel, by visiting his website at leovaliquette.com .
And, of course, you can buy the book too! Bane of All Things just might be the fantastical escape you’ll enjoy in the new year — perhaps as a gift to yourself (you know, the one you didn’t get over the holidays). It sounds like an absolute winner all around.
By Sally Hansen
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Ten years ago I wrote that “Renfrew metal sculptor Jack Stekelenburg enjoys challenging our preconceptions of art. Following in the footsteps of his philosophical and artistic mentors, he creates art as an unconscious, unscripted, wordless act of emotional expression. He also plays and experiments and grows as an artist.”
Sixteen years ago the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau inspired a construction worker from Renfre......
Pop, Pivots & Pirouettes Folkus presents The Pairs & Tragedy Ann,In-Person and Virtually! - theHumm January 2022
By Sandy Irvin
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From the organizers of the Snow Moon Festival: "Unfortunately, after much discussion, we've made the difficult decision to postpone the festival to (February 4) 2023."
One thing is certain in these uncertain times — creativity is alive and flourishing in our area! Local venues have expanded patios, poured out into parking spaces, and even used hula hoops to socially-distance audience members keen to keep on experiencing the joys of live performances. Now that winter is upo......
Internationally acclaimed soprano and Almonte resident Mireille Asselin returned home briefly after performing the role of Amore in the Vancouver Opera’s production of Glück’s Orfeo ed Euridice, before setting off again to perform as a soloist in Handel’s masterpiece Messiah with the Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra. Mireille will be performing with pianist Frédéric Lacroix and violinist/violist Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh on January 16 at the Almonte Old Town Hall, in a ......
By John Pigeau
Growing up, Leo Valiquette was fond of fantastical stories. The Star Wars saga, Tolkien’s Middle Earth books, and classics like Charlotte’s Web — these were the made-up worlds Leo liked to inhabit. Later, in high school, he liked to make up stories and was admittedly “a Dungeon & Dragons nerd.” At some point, he fashioned himself a decent writer, too. Now, many years on, he has realized a lifelong dream and published his first novel, an epic fantasy called Bane ......
After a year-long renovation, the Carleton Place Public Library is open to the public again!
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Almonte Lectures - theHumm January 2022
By Glenda Jones
Resolved: that the winter of 2022 will continue to provide interesting events.
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The winter series will kick off on January 28 with Kris Riendeau’s presentation on the history and value of community theatre. Well-known as the editor of theHumm, Kris has been on the stage at the Almont......
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Ahhh, good old January. Our time-honoured month to make clear, focused goals. It’s very common to do this on a personal basis, wanting to improve our health and wellbeing and initiate or complete projects and plans. But the wider view of this concept includes setting goals for our community: most specifically in this very challenging time, those that address the Climate Crisis.
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Birdhouse Bonanza 2022 - theHumm January 2022
By Glenda Jones and Barb Carroll
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The improvements at High Lonesome will include:
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May 1 - 31 Exhibition: Jeweller Anne-Marie Chagnon
May 2 - Jun 20 Exhibition: Visible Mending
May 16 Teagan McLaren
May 17 Sue Prosser
May 20 Eric Uren
May 21 John Wilberforce
May 21 Spring Makers' Market
May 22 - Sep 5 Head Over Heels
May 23 The Co-conspirators
- Patrick John Mills — An Artist to Look Up To
- Perth’s First AnnualShort Film Festival
- Return of the Rag Bag Cabaret!
- This Year, Next Yearat Studio Theatre
- TNIM PresentsDrinking Habits
- Art in the Attic — Close to Home
- Vintage Market Trunk Sale at MERA
- Summer Fun that’s Good for Your CV
- Classical Concert for Refugee Resettlement
- Catch the Blues Bossat The Cove Inn