Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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.

Is this the end?

Yup. My tenure as January's Writer-in-Residence has come to its inevitable conclusion. A friend suggested that I end on something controversial to get people talking, but that's not me. I have my opinions, but this is not the venue. Oh, but if you ever meet me in person, I have some doozies to get off my chest.

Okay, one quick rant.

The breathless anticipation of Dan Brown's next piece of hackneyed plotting to save the slumping publishing industry makes me weep uncontrollably. He's a horrible, horrible author truly undeserving of his fame. Seriously.

There, I said it. Let the hate mail commence!

Rather reluctantly, the conclusion to The Jedi's Revenge

Despite my promise to finish reprinting my first-ever novel The Jedi's Revenge (written by Corey Redekop, age eleven), I find myself somewhat reticent. My problem can be explained thusly:

The damn thing is no damn good.

I'm not being modest. I thought this would be fun, to revisit my storytelling roots, but this is just sad. The child me has no talent in plotting or characterization. Or even continuity. This is supposed to be the sequel to The Empire Strikes Back, and not once do I mention that Darth Vader is Luke's father? What, did I forget that niggling little plot point?

Star Wars 3, part II

And now, the continuation of eleven-year-old Corey Redekop's sci-fi masterpiece The Jedi's Revenge. It's just like Return of the Jedi, but shorter, and with no ewoks!

Again, all errors are kept intact for posterity's sake.


Boba Fett brought Solo to Jabba the Hut.

“How can I ever thank you for brining Solo to me alive?” Jabba asked.

“Oh, nothing,” replied Fett, “but I think I’ll stick around.”

“Suit yourself,” said Jabba as he marched Han down the street. When they got to his cell, Jabba undid Han’s handcuffs and pushed him in.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” said Jabba as he locked Han’s cell.

“Yeah,” said Solo gloomily.


Random notes from the road - like Kerouac, but less incisive

A few random notes from my nine-hour bus trip back to the northern climes:

A) Nine hours on a bus is a great time to catch up on reading. I both started and completed an ARC of Peter Carey's newest novel His Illegal Self. Quite frankly brilliant. Carey's writing is unobtrusive yet seamlessly challenging, effortlessly screaming this is how you use language!

B) Nine hours on a bus is, well, nine hours on a bus. You simply cannot ever be comfortable. Ever. Ever ever ever. Did I mention ever? Ever.

C) Boy but do I eat badly when I'm on the road. Would it kill me to order a salad, or a V8?

Tommorow's post: The Jedi's Revenge, Part II

So tired

A real quick one, as I've just returned from an exhausting three-day book tour. I think I should talk about stamina, but I'm too tired. Simply put: eat well, pace yourself, get plenty of rest.

Thanks to Katherine and Curiousity House Books for a great time. I love your bookstore, and was deeply pleased at the invitation.

And for others who may be in the Creemore area, Paul Quarrington may be stopping by Katherine's booktique in the near future, so keep your ears open.

My first unsolicited fan recognition

I guess it's a milestone of sorts...I was recognized! In Toronto! And not at the reading I was doing, but well beforehand, at a completely different bookstore!

Now I know how George Clooney must feel. I mean pre-ER Clooney, of course - Facts of Life Clooney, not Ocean's Eleven Clooney.

But pretty cool nonetheless. It's deeply strange to have someone come up to you out of context to what you're doing and ask, "Are you (insert your name here)?" But immensely flattering. I highly recommend the experience.

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