Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

rblechta's blog

In praise of Dan Brown

My predecessor, Corey Redekop, took a run at this author in his last posting and it's rankled with me a bit ever since. This certainly won't be a flame, Corey, but I think it was a cheap shot on your part: say something controversial and then run for the door.

I don't think Dan Brown is a great author; I don't think he's a poor author, but he certainly isn't -- how did you put it? -- "a horrible, horrible author". What is that pronouncement based on? His prose is reasonably polished, sentence construction not bad, he makes his thoughts understood. A lot of published authors (and critically praised, too) don't do as well.

The Comfort Zone

With the Writers Guild strike about to come to an end, I'm wondering what new and fabulous scripts are soon going to be dropping like bricks off the end of the Hollywood Conveyor belt again.

I'm referring to those movie remakes of old TV shows that have been appearing regularly on celluloid. Who can forget "The Brady Bunch", "Beverly Hillbillies" and "Scooby-Doo"? All provided wonderful cinematic moments for the entire family to cherish...not. (This list could be much, much longer.)

Any angle you can get

With a book being released in three weeks, I've been reviving up the promotional machinery. Like most lower echelon writers, this means doing a lot of the work myself. Since I've been doing large numbers of signings for each of my past two releases, I've come to know a lot of booksellers, so it's probably easier for me to arrange signings than for someone else to do it.

Still, you have to think out of the box. Book signings alone won't do it, so every opportunity for promotion has to be sought out -- even ones that on the surface seem rather bizarre.

I'm also a firm believer in helping people -- especially friends.

Retro Chic

Since the first of my blog entries here dealt with new technology, I think it's only appropriate to give equal time to old technology.

I've already admitted to being a bit of techno-weenie, but I also have a secret side that loves older things, too. I enjoy having nice books, not the ones that are cranked out by the hundred thousand, but the tomes that an actual craftsman has worked over by hand.

Being a relatively unknown author, I don't have the big bucks to spend on these pieces of art, but I do have a few. They're what I turn to when I've had a really bad day and feel the need to baby myself a bit. They also call to me when I'm sick. Many have been ready countless times.

But my deep, dark, non techno-weenie secret is my love of fountain pens.

Here's an educational time waster

A friend sent me this, and if you're trying to avoid work like I am this morning, I can certainly recommend this as a way to spend the time usefully:

Try it and see how you do. I tried the version for Canada, but bombed out on Quebec.

Let us know how you did!

The other side of the coin

Yesterday was spent completely in that other sphere in my life: music. This doesn't happen often anymore, and my life is probably poorer for it. After all, I've been a musician far longer than I've been an author.

I taught in Toronto schools and at the Royal Conservatory of Music for 23 years. Now, maybe once or twice a year, I get asked to teach. Yesterday was one of those days.

Glad you stopped by.

Excuse me while I light the fire and get comfortable in my seat. Sorry the room is a little chilly this morning. At least we're not outside in this awful weather, right? I have a couple of great single malts if you'd like something to warm you up.

Being an "official" writer-in-residence is a somewhat intimidating thing to contemplate. Even after six published novels (with a seventh underway), numerous articles and essays, and well over a year on a crime writing blog I share with four other authors, I often feel like my writing skills themselves are still very much a work in progress. Now, I'm being set up as sort of an expert on the matter.

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