Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


Shift Happens

A friend sent me this link a few days ago and I've looked at it several times and find myself still shaking my head. The numbers cited are for comparison in the States, and since Canada is roughly one tenth the population of our southern neighbour, the numbers become even more startling.

It's pretty clear the 21st Century will belong to a different group of people. I hope they do a better job.

The moment of truth

I'm sitting here with the latest addition to my novelular family, A Case of You sitting proudly on the desk next to me. This is the moment that I always look forward to with the greatest anticipation -- and also the most dread. Up until now, I'm aware that the book isn't final, nothing is completely written in stone. I can completely change the book if I want. That perfect phrase that just hit me can still be inserted. That badly phrased sentence can be fixed. (Actually, this isn't quite true. The creative process is over the moment the printer hits the "ON" switch.)

I'm one of those writers who will fiddle till the last. My wife once teased me that I'd be there with a chisel and hammer, changing the printing plates as the book is on press if given half a chance.

Brought up short

I had a very disagreeable encounter this afternoon, and while I suppose it's happened to many, many authors, this latest turn of events has made me quite miserable.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't get a lot of pleasure out of being unpleasant to people. I also will often turn the other cheek rather than risk calling someone down. Embarrassing people to get something back at them is not a good way to promote books, either.

So, no matter what goes wrong at a book signing (books not ordered, store forgetting you're coming, nothing set up), I keep a cheerful face and tell them not to worry, we can make it all work somehow. I always have my happy face firmly in place.

Not today.

Second Hand Smoke

I've been casting about all day for what to write about. This steady blog thing for is quickly becoming habit-forming, subject matter being the only problem.

I just went out to the grocery store to pick up a few things and tonight it's cold outside (well, cold for Toronto) and a bit windy and I needed to get out of the house, smell the air.

Now back inside and warming up, I have CBC Radio 2 on, listening to Manteca in a live concert.

(Where the hell is he going with this?)

Toying with plots

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend. In talking about my soon-to-hit-the-bookshelves novel, I was telling him the various ways the story might have gone if I'd let it. One particular direction still holds some interest for me, but I decided against using it since the idea I did decide to go with gave, ultimately, a much stronger story line. His comment was, "Wouldn't it be cool to write the book again using your second idea for the plot?"

Another educational time-waster

I got this link a couple of weeks back and have shared it with a lot of people. What makes this little game way better than computer solitaire is that it's fun, educational, and as far as I have been able to find out, they really do donate rice to the UN World Food Program.

So try your hand and don't feel the least bit guilty -- even if you're at work. Tell your boss you're helping to support their corporate philanthropic programme.

What the Kindle IS good for!

Surprise, surprise! (said in a manner like Gomer Pyle) I'm going to close off my cogitations on electronic readers by saying something really positive about them.

I've thought long and hard on this, and being basically a positive person in outlook, I decided that, since there's a good for every bad out there, electronic readers cannot be an exception. Yin and yang is a universal concept. So here goes...

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.

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