“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 3

“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 3

John Atkins, our fantastic tour guide, saved Chinatown for our last stop. It just so happened that they were filming while we were there. Vancouver is a major movie and TV production city. Major. I noticed that a huge amount of shows I watch are filmed in British Columbia. For example, the bus in the photo on the right is (I think) supposed to be a Japanese bus used in the terrific original Amazon TV series “Man in the High Castle.” Also, “Fifty Shades Darker,” the sequel to the hit film “Fifty Shades of Grey,” was filming in Gastown, a famous section of Vancouver, while we were there and will continue filming  through July. My buddy Louis, a guitar player in our band Fifty Shades of Sixty, has his car in the “Fifty...

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“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 2

“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 2

Probably the coolest thing on our “tunnel tour” was learning about “prism glass.” Prism glass is a type of building glass used to redirect natural light into underground rooms like basements and “areaways.” In 1895 Frank Lloyd Wright designed and patented 41 different designs. In the picture above my buddy Louis shines a light from his iPhone through a piece of prism glass (held by tour guide John Atkins), while our friend Vicky looks on intently. Below are photos of prism glass encased in a sidewalk. John “moved heaven and earth” and we were given access to a basement area directly beneath a prism glass sidewalk grid so we could see for ourselves  how the natural lighting system really...

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“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 1

“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 1

My next Quantum Detective (Nick Sands) novel, Rules of the Game, is set in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have been fascinated by Vancouver ever since a film company sent me there in the late 80s to re-set my L.A.-based novel (Voices in the Night) in Vancouver. I’ve been there several times since and I’ve enjoyed the city every time. I wanted to see some things I would not see on an ordinary tour and, after some research, I found John Atkins who, among many things, is a Vancouver historian who conducts tours of the city he loves. Besides great insight about the destinations on the tour, John provided interesting details during our 3-hour walk and answered many questions about Vancouver, from its founding to present day. He debunked lots of common...

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Rent Home Page as Secret Vault

Rent Home Page as Secret Vault

Last week, while attending a family gathering, the conversation predictably got around to what each of us was doing. When my turn came I mentioned my website: www.StephenSmoke.com. All eyes looked back at me as though I was speaking in a foreign tongue. No one had heard of my site, let alone visited it. How could friends and family possibly find me hidden behind such a complicated URL? (Later that night when I downloaded Google Analytics and signed in for the first time, it became clear that my relatives were not alone in their ignorance of my site.) One tech-savvy relative un-holstered her iPhone, tapped in my name and announced to the not-too-surprised throng that my site didn’t even come up on Google. I looked at her phone and reminded her that my first name...

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Addiction & Cathedral of the Senses

Addiction & Cathedral of the Senses

I’ve received a lot of feedback on the Cathedral of the Senses novel and how it helps with “addiction issues.” Here is a sample: “I was at my AA meeting the other night and I shared about what Cathedral of the Senses has done for me. Of course I couldn’t really say the title from the podium but people approached me after the meeting and I told them the title and the website.” The book doesn’t deal with “addiction” in terms of a specific program, yet it deals with the root causes of addiction and acknowledge them in ways that people with addiction issues can understand. An example is the lyric from the song “Paradox” (part of a music soundtrack accompanying the book). The song is performed by Nathan Saith and can be heard...

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