I am a writer from Whitby, Ontario, Canada.
There is a distinct, private world within each of us, a private world I'll dare to touch with my words. My works explore the complications within us and how events, small and large, affect us in differing and often dramatic ways. Particularly when individual complications clash.
Where to find Peter Hassebroek online
Where to buy in print
by Peter Hassebroek
Published: December 17, 2016
Thylacine is a story of reunion and separation paralleling the beautiful land and difficult history of Tasmania and its native inhabitants.
The Dancer's Spell
by Peter Hassebroek
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Mata Hari casts a spell upon Europe and rouses a dormant one over a childhood friend whose shock at seeing her dance upends his world.
by Peter Hassebroek
A beloved uncle's puzzling death influences a boy's coming of age when clues and dark family secrets emerge to test his growing maturity.
Melange and Other I.T. Stories
by Peter Hassebroek
Published: July 22, 2010
Classic and modern influences blend in this diverse collection centred around the corporate world. It examines the conflicts, foibles, and occasional heroics of modern office life. Essential reading for those working in or with I.T. departments.
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Smashwords book reviews by Peter Hassebroek
on Aug. 12, 2011
Collectively, Inklings (Very short stories and other babies born of ink) by Aparna Warrier, is shorter than a conventional short story. Undoubtedly the shortest book I’ve ever read without pictures.
Despite its brevity, there is variety and something for every mood and taste in the twelve well-crafted pieces. This is the work of a confident author, not a self-conscious one, particularly evidenced by the use of sensory details that subtly complement the stories without calling attention to themselves.
There is clever wordplay too as in the opener, Taking Our Time, which might have seemed incomplete if not for the intentional pronoun confusion that rounds it out. Some stories did seem like fragments, though, while others were really parables. Several, like So What? and the children’s story, Greenie, the longest piece, border on the sentimental. Cheeky, the second longest and most amusing was my favourite; the sentimentality of its ending was appropriate.
Inklings is not without grammatical and proofing flaws, particularly in the aforementioned, Greenie. It’s a minor nuisance but there’s little reason a work of this length can’t be perfect. That factor notwithstanding, I enjoyed Inklings and am confident the author will have much to offer in the future.
on Feb. 25, 2012
Who is Michael Norton writing to and why is he so sensitive to the superficial identities of others, particularly those on Facebook? These questions drive the suspense in Matadors, a one-way epistolary mini-novel by Steve Bauman. Yet the underlying question for the un-cool but likeable protagonist is, where do I fit in this world?
Michael Norton’s emotionally moribund existence gets a jolt when he reunites with an old schoolmate from California, Blake “Bain” Bivins, who has come to Burlington, Vermont on business. Bain has always been larger-than-life and a womanizer whereas Michael has always been an introvert and clumsy with the opposite sex. When they were twenty, charismatic Bain was a source of amusement and even inspiration for Michael. But now, at age forty and corpulent, and moreover filled with an adult’s awareness of such things, Michael finds the gap, which has only widened with the years, disorientating.
As in olden days, Michael allows Bain to lead him out on a night on the town where the Californian befriends Michael’s locals almost instantly. Michael is somewhat turned off—read envious—at Bain’s success; the guy’s still got it. Bain is frustrated with Michael’s reticence and prods him to be more aggressive, which only exacerbates Michael’s tendency to compare how his actual self to how others appear, not surprisingly with unfavourable results.
His inability to ‘get it’ is captured nicely by his experience (and obsession) with Facebook.
Yet I joined Facebook and created a profile under my real name, with personal information that can be viewed by almost anyone. For a while, I felt like I was in control of the situation. I added an application that tracks the movies, music, and books I like, figuring that might allow me to connect with cool people. But it only served to remind me how much out of touch I am with the tastes of my so-called peers. Which I’m fine with, so long as I can reconcile my desire to stop judging others for their awful, awful tastes in everything with being able to easily see, every single day, their awful, awful tastes in everything.
Bain’s presence awkwardly illuminates Michael’s social withdrawal and penchant for taking the safe route. Bain truly becomes the bane of Michael’s existence. His presence instigates the emails (within which all these events with Bane are narrated) to an old love that make up this book. Her name has been X’ed out, which reveals a great deal too. As does the fact Michael doubts she even accesses this particular email account. It’s only within this relatively safe medium that Michael can let loose his self-expression, and possibly gain independence.
Such self-absorbed introspection often signals a dull, plot-less story. Yet Matadors entertains because Michael, through his often uncomfortably candid emails, is on a quest. A quest for his own identity and place in the world and the irony is that he’s not really aware of it. The smooth and unselfconscious writing from an often amusing and self-deprecating voice makes it easy to enjoy Matadors. The emails are generally short streams of self-consciousness and vary enough in mood and subject matter to not get tiresome, as we patiently wait to discover his relationship with the mysterious recipient.
I doubt Matadors could ever get published in the traditional world, which makes it a good example of the value of self-publishing. Unfortunately, the old bugaboos of sloppy proofreading are here too with the predominant culprit missing or transposed words. Fix that up and this story transforms into a fine specimen of independent storytelling and publishing.
on Sep. 23, 2012
Hawker Kingsley is an embittered, philosophizing ex-con who has thought himself into isolation in Springvale, a town west of Sydney, Australia. His past is coloured by a terrible childhood, a career as a bike gang leader, and a murder conviction: a history in stark contrast to his current vocation of raising and selling kittens.
Hawker would be unnoticeable if not for his anti-social behaviour, including his daily routine of shooting the head of an effigy of his ex-wife while playing their old favourite song, by Merle Haggard. His neighbours think he’s a madman but are too scared to complain to the police, opting to steer clear of him. Except for fifteen-year-old Elsie Ashberg who lives next door. Elsie’s a deep thinker too, a writer who, in her own teenage way, feels alone in the world. She senses in Hawker a kindred spirit.
She makes the first move by appearing at his house. Instead of wilting from his gruff reaction, she buys him a CD by her favourite band, Korn, as well as one by Willie Nelson. Her naive thinking behind the latter selection, that he’s a country music fan, rather than that the Merle Haggard song has a singular emotional meaning, is way off the mark. She’s too inexperienced in life to grasp that Hawker is an iceberg of experience and depth; Elsie only glimpses the tip.
Yet her efforts affect Hawker in a positive way and his bemused tolerance gradually develops into a fondness for this girl who’s not afraid of him. Her influence subtly seeps into him just as, in a very parallel way, her juvenile fascination makes her change. His impact on her, however, is not altogether positive. This is a simple story about an unlikely relationship, told with satisfying depth.
The other characters in Springvale—primarily Elsie’s parents and friends—are well, normal. And generally this could be a criticism of a fictional work, but it mostly helps this novella, which sharply focuses on these two outcasts and their impact on each other. They need to be in the background, perhaps slightly blurred, but still distinct. Furthermore, they provide moments of levity in what could otherwise become a too-earnest story.
The writing is engaging with the handling of omniscient and close third-person points of view deftly handled. Its use effectively reveals to the reader the shifts caused by this relationship, while keeping the characters unaware of them until the end.
There are areas for improvement, though. Occasionally, there’s too much narrating (reporting?) of insignificant little action, such as when Elsie buys the CDs and the financial exchange is given in complete detail. Another aspect that concerned me was Elsie’s parents’ lack of protectiveness of their only child once they see her fraternizing with this potentially violent neighbour. It seemed too easy and convenient at times for Elsie and Hawker to get together.
These minor distractions take nothing away from an intensely compelling story. You can’t do much better with a free download by an author who understands people and how to portray them.