ECW Press

ECW Press

ECW is Entertainment. ECW is Culture. ECW is Writing.

Publishers Weekly recognized ECW Press as one of the most diversified independent publishers in North America. ECW Press has published close to 1,000 books that are distributed throughout the English-speaking world and translated into dozens of languages. In the next year, we’ll release 50+ new titles and will continue to support and promote a vibrant backlist that includes poetry and fiction, pop-culture and political analysis, sports books, biography, and travel guides. Books by writers whose names you know and love — and by those who we’re very pleased to introduce for the first time.

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Who are we? After three decades, we still get asked about our name, those three little letters: ECW.

At first the acronym was self-descriptive: Essays on Canadian Writing (the name of the journal of literary criticism we started in 1974). But as the company grew and changed, our name, in our minds, also changed. We’ve heard the company called Essential Canadian Writing, Excellent Contemporary Writing, or, more recently, Extreme Cutting-Edge Writing. And these names have been, and still are, appropriate. But now we realize that each of those letters represents a particular strain of ECW Press’s diverse passions — Entertainment, Culture, Writing.

No matter how our name has been interpreted, however, there has always been one constant: our pursuit of excellent writing. We recognize that it’s our authors who make us what we are, who establish our reputation. And because of this we’re committed to bringing you the best writers and the best writing we know — in every genre. In the next decade, ECW will continue to grow and change.

Today, we’re publishing a heady mix of commercial and literary works that strive for a uniform standard of excellence: the best writing; the most exciting, controversial, and insightful takes on the hottest subject matter; ground-breaking design; and high production values.
Our goal is to support every ECW Press title with the kind of innovative marketing and promotion that give our books and authors the recognition they deserve.

Welcome to ECW.

ECW Press
665 Gerrard Street East
Toronto, ON M4M 1Y2
416-694-3348
info@ecwpress.com

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Ford AbomiNation
Excerpt

 

Chapter Five: The Dirty Stuff

 

Back when Doug Ford was growing up, things were simple.

 

There were boys, and there were girls. And there were some fancy boys who always tried out for the lead in the high school musical, and some of the girls showed a strange affinity for auto shop. But on the whole, the boy-girl dynamic was pretty straightforward. She might say no, but you knew, in her heart, she meant yes. It was great if your dad had a station wagon. And if you pulled out in time, she wouldn’t get pregnant.

 

And there was no #metoo movement back then. Well, there was, but it was more like this:

 

“Who wants a beer?”

 

“I do!”

 

“Me, too!”

 

Nobody knew anything about all the various sub-categories of sexual identity. No one had a clue about people who were bi-coastal or trans-atlantic or if you were a Jane trapped in the body of a Jim or whatever.[1] And you could pinch a girl’s ass without it becoming an issue involving an intervention by a UN peacekeeping team.

 

If you didn’t have to worry about all those things then, well, why do you have to worry about them now? And if you’re Doug Ford, you have to ask yourself this question: “If we didn’t know about all this stuff, then how did we turn out to be so well-adjusted?”

 

Exactly.

 

Which is why, when the Ford administration took over, just about the first thing it did was take a look at the sex education curriculum in the province’s high schools. There was a lot in the teaching guidelines from the previous Liberal government that was cause for concern. Things like gender identity. Consent. Social media bullying. And there a unit on sexting, whatever the hell that is.

 

The Ford administration wants to be the primary source of information and guidance when it comes to shaping young Ontario students’ attitudes toward sex, and sees no reason why it can’t be successful in this regard, so long as you don’t consider the fact that there are more than a quarter billion porn sites, that roughly 30 per cent of the Internet is dedicated to pornography, and that million of people subscribe to all sorts of streaming services, like HBO, which shows Game of Thrones, where you can see, especially in the earlier seasons, people going at it like those White Walkers are going to be coming through the gates of Winterfell at any moment. 

 

So, once the Conservative MPPs took office, they immediately embarked on revisions to the sex ed program to make it more traditional and acceptable to the general population. And the Ford government had no problem with spending a little money to set things right.

 

Among the initiatives:

 

* $3 million for back alleys: Those dark, narrow, trash-strewn alleyways are where a great many of us learned about the birds and bees. We huddled with friends, perched on the tops of garbage cans, smoking cigarettes we’d stolen from our mom’s purse, and shared stories about things we’d heard. There would always be one guy – let’s call him Bert – who was only thirteen but said he had already gotten to second base, and he had an older brother who’d gone all the way, so he knew EVERYTHING. We suspected he was full of shit, but it didn’t matter, because Bert was a great story teller.

 

But we digress.

 

It was in back alleys, away from the prying eyes of parents, that valuable information could be imparted to the next generation. The Ford government understands that many of the suburbs surrounding Toronto do not have traditional back alleys, so they will be erected[2] in several key locations in the 905 area. In more outlying, rural areas, where building back alleys is problematic, funds will be directed to the construction of tree houses, another key location where young Ontarians can not only learn about sex, but see their parents coming from a mile away.

 

* $1.3 million for old periodicals: The education ministry is searching used bookstores and eBay for copies of men’s magazines from the 1960s and 1970s. As any male over the age of 50 can tell you, everything one learned about sex was from the pages of these magazines. Hugh Hefner’s iconic publication, Playboy, is the periodical most eagerly sought[3] but if not enough copies of that magazine can be obtained, then such titles as Swank, Gallery and Penthouse will be considered, just so long as not too many of the the pages are stuck together.

 

One of the side benefits of securing old Playboy magazines is they can also be used in the event that schools run out of Where’s Waldo or the Richard Scarry picture books where you had to find Goldbug. Kids of all ages will love trying to find the Playboy bunny logo, which appeared on the cover of every issue, often very cleverly hidden, nudge nudge, wink wink.  

 

Considering that there are slightly more than two million students in Ontario, that’s a lot of old magazines to be found. There’s a concern that when students take them home overnight to complete assignments, they might not be be returned.[4]  That’s why the government has a backup plan of reissuing the Eaton’s and Simpsons-Sears catalogues, or at least those pages featuring women’s underwear.

 

* $100,000 for old paperback copies of The Godfather: One of the most memorable scenes in the Mario Puzo novel, where Sonny Corleone has sex with the bridesmaid, is told in such graphic detail that no accompanying pictures are necessary. 

 

* $430,000 for VCRs: The adult film industry really took off with the invention of the video cassette recorder in the 1980s. Before this, if you wanted to see a movie where sex was the primary theme, you had to go to some seedy, icky place filled with lowlifes (no, not Queen’s Park) and go into a seedier, ickier booth. Or, maybe you knew someone with a reel-to-reel projector who could show these things at home, but that was pretty rare. The movies made for VCRs were tamer than the kind of material being shot today, and probably more palatable for today’s concerned parents.

 

Also, there’s a strong moral component to the Ford administration’s sex education curriculum, particularly where it relates to the viewing of such material on a VCR. Students will be reminded of one guiding principle:

 

BE KIND. REWIND.

 

 

[1] Known collectively, more or less by the Ford government, as the BLT people.

 

[2] Sorry, we just giggled a little there.

 

[3] In particular, the February 1974 issue, with the Girls of Skiing pictorial. Whoosh!

 

[4] Especially if dad discovers them.

 

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Fire Trap

Fire Trap

A T.J. Peterson Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
Excerpt

 

Peterson unlocked the steel door and entered. The room was pitch black. He opened his senses to explore the darkness. The stink of incense. The hurried sound of small scuttling feet. A low unnerving hum.

 

He snapped on the Maglite and played it around the room. There was a narrow, red painted door directly across from him, and it opened into another room that was like a cavern, which, excluding the small outer room extended to the entire footprint of the building. Steel girders ran the length of it. The walls had been painted black, except for one wall, which had two wide horizontal red stripes. At the room’s center were two video cameras similar in size to those he had seen in a television news studio.

 

Against one wall was a long table with a computer and multi-channel audio mixer. This was the source of the hum. There were speakers at either end of the table. Standing upright on the far wall was a strange looking contraption with a series of ropes and pulleys. Dangling from the ends of four of the ropes were high quality handcuffs.

 

He examined the contraption. Tugged on a couple of ropes and saw the centerboards pull apart in opposite directions, vertically and horizontally. He recognized it as a rack on which a person’s body would be stretched.

 

The same wall had been fitted with six black painted hooks. Each held whips of various lengths and of various styles: leather snake whips, braided floggers with multiple strands and knots on the tips. One of the snake whips had a metal barb at the tip. Another was studded the entire length with two inch thorns.

 

A shelf on the same wall contained a plastic cylinder of multi-coloured zip ties. Beside it was a loaded Smith & Wesson .38. There were three ringbolts in the wall with the horizontal red stripes. Leather straps hung from each.

 

He untied one of the straps and chafed a finger over the rough leather. Thinking. He looked at the whips then retied the strap on the ringbolt.  

 

He played the Maglite over the ceiling and saw a small lighting grid directly over the wall with the ringbolts. The black floor sloped to a drain at the center of the room. He knelt and examined one of several discoloured streaks that ran to the drain from each of the ringbolts.

 

He followed two video cables from the cameras to the computer and saw a feed from the computer into the audio board, and into the speakers. He hit the space bar. On the screen appeared the still frame of a naked young woman curled on the floor beneath one of the ringbolts. She had long brown hair. Her eyes were wide open, terrified. Her mouth stretched into a silent scream.

 

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Call Down the Thunder
Excerpt

 

Sonny Myers narrowed his eyes against the gust, felt the rush of cold, the air crackling: static electricity churning and hellfire flashing inside the mass of black looming high over the flat land. The yard turning to a frenzy of whipping sand and debris. Felt like the end of times coming. Through the boiling wall of sand Sonny made out two sets of headlights coming on the county road. Could be coming for shelter from the duster, but something told him no. Reaching inside the door, he took for the shotgun and stepped off the porch.

 

Coming to the door, Clara asked what was going on.

 

“Just a blow.” He told her to get inside.

 

“What you gonna do, shoot it?”

 

His eyes slits, Sonny stepped into the yard, forcing his steps, having to lean into it, going toward the headlights.

 

Looked like two pick-ups stopped down by the mailbox, lights dim against the blasting sand. Doors opened and men got out. Nobody he knew. Best he could tell there were six of them, pulling hoods on. Two going to the bed of the first truck, pulling out a long cross wrapped in burlap. It had been soaked in kerosene and oil, Sonny smelling it from where he stood, halfway to the house. A couple of them moved to his left, heading for the side of the house, flanking him.

 

Sonny fired in the air, the only warning they’d get, popping in another shell. Leaving the two with the cross and the others by the trucks, Sonny went after the pair going wide around the house. Couldn’t see twenty feet ahead as the duster bore down. Hurrying around the side, his eyes searched for them somewhere ahead of him. One hand against the boards, he made his way around the back, staying low. Expecting an ambush. Ready to shoot if he had to. Getting to the far side before he smelled the smoke. Thinking it was the cross. Then he caught figures moving ahead of him.

 

“Halt,” he called, wondering what kind of thing was that to yell. Couldn’t shoot, knowing Clara wouldn’t stay inside like he told her. No point in shooting his wife. Catching sight of the flames, the cross burning down by the mailbox, the sound of car doors shutting, taillights pulling away.

 

Then Clara screamed from the porch, stumbling down the steps, hand on the porch rail, she moved along and found him, pointing to the barn. Sonny catching the flicker, another man running from it and crossing the open ground, heading for the trucks. Putting the stock to his shoulder, Sonny fired, pretty sure he winged the son of a bitch, reaching in his pocket for another shell that wasn’t there. The man chased after trucks and disappeared.

 

The dry boards caught fast, flames flicked to the roof beams and spread, the straw floor alight and swirling around. Bats flew around the rafters, chickens getting out of there. The mule screaming.

 

Handing Clara the shotgun, Sonny jumped down along the west side, swatting and kicking at the burning straw with his shoe. The heat like a wall, pushing him back. Slapping at the cuff of his overalls as it caught. No way to get to the back. The heat was too much. Couldn’t get to the screaming mule, and pull her from the stall. The inferno pushing him back. Taking Clara, he turned her for the door.

 

Driven out, both of them choking from the smoke, blinded by the sand. The flames shooting from the roof, long fingers reaching across to the house. The triangle clanging like mad from the porch post. Wrapping his arms around her, Sonny got her across the yard. A picket struck his back and knocked him down. Clara tugged him to his feet. Getting to the porch. The sand blasting so hard, they could barely see the barn, both getting inside the house. Praying it wouldn’t catch fire too.

 

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