Friday, December 19, 2008

Graphic novels, dreams

Read a fabulous graphic novel yesterday on the recommendation of Dan's teacher. The Left Bank Gang by Norwegian cartoonist (is this the right word? graphic novelist?) Jason is an imaginative tale set in 1920's Paris and featuring some of the most eminent writers of the 20th century rendered as anthropomorphic animals. Beautifully coloured panels, elements of film noir, Kurosawa, Tarantino. Fun! My one complaint: they should have shot Gertrude Stein, too.

Due to guilt and sentiment and other shadowy feelings, I spent more time in school this week than I have all year so far, volunteering Monday and then in for caroling Tuesday and today. Consequently have had a series of dreams that I can only describe as baroque in tone -- very long and detailed and bizarre, but not without their good points. It's best now that it's time for a break, time for that simple sugar (in all its myriad forms) festival we call Xmas.

Well, if I don't have time for another extremely interesting post like this one before 2009 rolls in, best of the season to all of us and here's to a peaceful and inspiring year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Important message: Buy Books Now

Roy Blount has some advice for us: get out and buy books now. No bailouts for the book industry, so we have to get out there and support it. I'm so with him:

Spread the word, eh?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Books Make Swell Gifts!

Oberon Press has updated their webpage. Love Minus Zero is right there under New Titles, and you can order directly from them if you'd like:

Calgary, like much of the country, is a frozen wasteland at the moment. The cold weather moved in Friday, and naturally I had parties to go to both Friday and Saturday nights. But I drove carefully and enjoyed seeing former library colleagues on Friday and former bandmates and miscellaneous other friends Saturday. Lots of book chat and fine food and a little wine as well, which makes for a damn fine evening, if you ask me. Even sold a couple of books on Saturday, gotta like that.

This morning was helping Dan and his fourth grade classmates make cookies. Oh, my. What was I thinking when I said I'd help out? Well, all's well that ends well, and indeed, it was kind of fun at that. I spent most of the afternoon until now labouring away on my holiday playlist. Work, work, work. But I will actually start wrapping things tomorrow.

And now out into the cold to pick up those children. And bore them with stories of how I had to walk to and from school in freezing Regina.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fiddlehead, Nothing Sacred, XMAS!

Just found out that an excerpt from Love Minus Zero has been accepted by The Fiddlehead. Yes! Very pleased to be appearing in their pages again, and pleased about the exposure the book will get from it. Mark Jarman also tells me that CBC radio is interviewing him next week about his Xmas reading and he's going to mention the book there as well. All very good!

In other news, I was interviewed yesterday by Avenue Magazine, who are running a brief piece on Love Minus Zero in their April issue. Looking forward to seeing it.

I also caught up with Thistledown Press about Nothing Sacred, my short story collection they're publishing next fall. They put me in touch with Joy Gugeler, who is editing. She's going to get an initial edit out to me next week, along with some development suggestions for some of the shorter pieces. I plan to read and start digesting this stuff when I get it, let it ferment in my mind over the holidays, and then get to work on it in earnest in the New Year. She figures we'll have plenty of time to do the necessary back and forth before the end of March, my deadline. Until yesterday, I'd been working on a new piece that I thought could possibly be included in the book, but now I can see there's no way I'm going to finish it in time, I don't think.

Because...Xmas! Oh my god! Looming. So this is Xmas, and what have I done? Not much. Um, well, I did get cards and parcels out...most of the shopping is done. Stop panicking, there's lots of time for all that other stuff. Xmas might just be a little simpler this year.

Me, I already got what I wanted. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Plague, The Globe, The Coalition

Awesome, I thought when I arrived home from my tour. Now I can get after some of that not-Writing stuff that I've been neglecting, stuff like unpacking...hanging pictures...oh, and Xmas. Yeah, that. Let's face it, the mother of two pre-teens has a bit to do before Xmas. But then all the gents got some kind of GI bug the weekend after I got back. Which they of course gave to me. And then we were all almost better, and the cold kicked in. And I was almost better, and then the largynitis part hit me Monday. Well, we really are almost better now, except for the nagging cough. I can talk, though I sound like Friar Tuck from Robin Hood.

We're definitely doing better than The Globe Books section, which Quill & Quire reported yesterday is -- surprise -- being scrapped and tucked into the Focus section somewhere. Oh, yes. Will they be just like all the other newspapers and review two books a week on their own and pick up the rest from syndicates? I'll give it a look, I guess, but it seems likely I'll just cancel my subscription. I certainly don't read the Saturday Globe for any other reason. Sigh.

On the other hand, this coalition thing is lifting my spirits. Get Steve outta there! I'd be very pleased to see my Honourable Member do a Joe Clark! That would make my year.

And, naturally, just when I start to get stuff under control, a story is making me work on it. I usually drop writing in December and concentrate on all that other stuff, but since I haven't actually written anything new in a long time, I want to keep after this before it goes cold. Speaking of which...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We're Number Three!

I was hoping I might make the Calgary bestseller list after the launch, and here it is:

Wow, right between David Suzuki and Joseph Boyden! Excellent!

That does feel good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The tour

So I got back from Edmonton yesterday afternoon. I was happy with the way things went. The crowd was small, but high quality. One was a sweet young punk girl who wants to be a writer, I really enjoyed talking to her. Audrey's invited me back next year to read from the next book. Went for beers after with Joe and Suzanne, some CAA buddies, had fun.

Saskatoon was another story -- nobody came. I felt like a fool, but I learned something -- don't take a first book to a city where you know no one. Talking to other writers, it seems most people have had an experience like that. And I'm taking it all in perspective now. Somehow I had this idea that throngs of people would show up at these out of town things. I don't know why I thought that. I mean, I wrote a BOOK, can you believe it? But the more people I talk to, the more it sounds like this is very typical with out-of-town events. Bob Stallworthy told me he had an identical experience in Saskatoon a few years ago. Joe reminded me that I was the only person to come to his Calgary reading at McNally's a few years ago. Someone else said only a handful came out to the reading a certain Giller-nominated author did at Audrey's a few weeks ago. Another friend has been to read in Camrose three times -- the same eight friends come every time and they go for drinks. Rona tells me only seven showed up for her and Russell Wangersky a couple of years ago. Even the mighty MJ had twelve turn out for his reading last month. So I guess it's more about getting your book in stores, getting to know the store people, and hanging out with friends.

That's good enough for me. Now I can get back to my normal life, which is nice.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Wow -- was last night one of the best nights of my life? I would have to say so. Top five, anyway. Incredible! The launch was a success on all fronts, I think. The turnout was 70, many more than I dared to hope for, and we sold 45 books. Yeah! Great support from everyone who showed up: the old friends / punk rock contingent, neighbours, former library colleagues, writing buds and of course a few relatives. Among the many I hadn't seen in ages was Dusty Kelly, a punk rock mate I hadn't seen since high school and who's lived in Vancouver for many years, changed her business flight to Calgary so she could come. Then a larger group retired to the dear ol' Hop Inn Brew Pub to celebrate. It was a blast. And yes, I have been a bit tired today. But what a night!

Tomorrow I'm putting in an appearance from 11:30 - 12:00 at Owl's Nest's Independents Day celebration, signing only. Then it's off to Saskatoon Monday and Edmonton Thursday. Meanwhile, Pages on Kensington tells me they've put an order in with Oberon and have had several inquiries so far. Cool.

Also, I have been Chapters / Indigoized:

On the other hand, banal reality also beckons. Like I should get offa this thing and make some supper.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Launchmas Eve

The day before the big night. Wrapping stuff up. Finished the last rehearsal -- I think it sounded pretty good. Clocked in at just a shade under fourteen minutes, including my little intro, so I think that should be fine. As long as I can keep it that slow, as long as I don't end up sounding like The Chipmunks, which is possible. We have almost all the stuff -- my copy of the book, the liquor permit, the wine, the glasses, the napkins. I need to get my pens ready -- the right pens, the numinous pens (don't ask). And we need to pick up the cheese platter on the way to the library.

I'm looking forward to the event, but what I'm especially looking forward to is having the reading part of it over. I still cannot help but marvel at the irony of me getting into another form of artistic expression that involves performing in front of an audience. Oh, well, have to do it.
Then there's the Owl's Nest Author's Day event on Saturday, the Saskatoon reading Monday and the Edmonton reading next Thursday. Then I'll be done with that kind of thing for a while. I hope.

Getting plenty of good wishes pouring in, and they do help, folks. Thanks so much. Apparently someone has sent me flowers; got a call that a delivery is on its way. Wonder who? Auntie Marnie would be my guess.


Floral update: Just called my Mom to thank her for the orchids! Wow! I knew if I lived long enough, someone would send me orchids.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Got a Whole Lotta Books

Wow, a whole box of books just arrived here! Cool! That's a very weird feeling, I'll tell you. Good weird, but still weird. I'll send one to Diane, one to my sister, maybe one to Roger. Gotta give my mom one. The rest? Maybe lots of people will be getting them for Xmas, you never know.

Less than one week to lift-off here now. I feel pretty good in general, I have to say. I do feel nervous from time to time, but not bad. Of course it is still a few days off.

Speaking of a few days off, I need to go pick up the gentlemen after school, as they embark on yet another four-day weekend. This is good, though, gives me something to focus on besides launching. The book that is.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

We Meet at Last; Bonding With the Book

Had a great time at Mark Jarman's reading on Friday. He's a wonderful reader; very relaxed and natural, added plenty of interesting asides about the piece he read, "A Nation Plays Chopsticks", from his new collection My White Planet. So far I've only read the first story, "Night March in the Territory", which I also read when it was published in The Malahat Review. I can only say that it's a strong, affecting story, one I felt I couldn't tear myself away from. It was also great to go for a beer afterwards and get a bit of chance to talk to the man in person. He's a nice guy, very interesting. He seems to me to be someone who leads a rich life, reflected in his work. Makes a girl think, or ought to, anyway.

So after toting the book around with me all weekend to show to my writer buds, I'm bonding with the little sucker. Have to say my emotions when I first opened the package Friday were mixed -- I was excited, yeah, but kind of afraid of it, too. This is IT. This is the final form. But I'm feeling better now. I've even got past my aversion to reading it yet AGAIN and am now going through it. Why, I'm not really sure. Maybe to prove to myself that it's not a dream.
Pretty sure now that it isn't.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Nick at Oberon gave me a heads up last night that Purolator would be bringing my book today. I spent an anxious morning thinking things such as, do they have my new address? What if I miss them? What if it gets lost?

But it's here. It's so...I don't know what. Cool. Weird. Unreal.

More later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Independents Day -- November 15th, 2008

According to the Canadian Bookseller's Association, Saturday, November 15th, 2008 is "Independents Day" -- a celebration of independent bookstores, kicking off a year-long campaign called "Independents Matter". Owl's Nest Books has invited me to participate in their celebration, which will feature local authors in the store all day. It sounds like a nice, low-key kind of event, "a party with books", as Judith described it to me. Sounds like my kind of party. So if you can't / won't / are not allowed to come to my launch at Memorial Park Library on the 13th, here's your chance to get your own signed copy of Love Minus Zero and support a fine independent bookseller. Win - win, eh? I'm scheduled to be there at 11:30, and Owl's Nest is located in the Britannia Shopping Plaza, 815A 49th Avenue SW. Here's a link to their page:

Other news: no books yet. I'm now working on the minutae of the launch, things such as test driving false eyelashes. I have determined they are not going to work for this event. I used to wear them for performances in the band days, but now I just feel like a female impersonator when I wear them. That's not how I want to feel! Also, the lipstick I bought this morning is too dark. What's up with that? It looked fine on my arm. But on my lips, it makes me look like a cranky old German lady (specifcally, my great-grandmother). Eek.

Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Increase Your Font Size

Lunched with my pal Rona yesterday and she convinced me to check out the poster for my event on the notice board at Calhoun Library. Wow, there it was, among the posters for M.G. Vassanji and Andrew Nikiforuk. And just like Rona said, my poster had a huge font on it. Whoa, must have been 24 point or something. Cool. Stood right out.

Rona's my main booster. The lady standing and reading the notices was interested and Rona got right in there and told her all about me and my book. I stood there and blushed. "So you wrote that?" she asked. I admitted I did. "Oh, well I'm writing a book right now. Well, that is I have some ideas for one..."

I continue to be astounded by the numbers of people who have ideas for books.

Ran into an old library supervisor of mine at Safeway this morning. She hadn't heard the news yet, so it was fun to fill her in. Yes, this is the kind of excitement my days are filled with.

However, things should become more exciting soon. Nick at Oberon tells me they hope to have me a book by Hallowe'en. Also the same day Mark Jarman reads from My White Planet. Sounds like an action-packed day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good to a Fault Very Good; Waiting...

I am totally blown away by Marina Endicott's Good to a Fault. It's one of those rare books you don't want to put down, one that I find myself reading till way past bedtime. Compelling, believable and written in spare, elegant prose. Wow. Many times I'm not that impressed by big award nominations. I've read (or started to read) dull books that have won big prizes, and I've read wonderful books that were shunned by the award thing entirely. It really restores my faith to see such a good book being shortlisted for a big prize like the Giller, even if it is published by a small press.

Speaking of small press books, things seem to be falling into place for Love Minus Zero's world tour. The bookstores concerned all have their orders in. I checked, after the Adrienne Gruber fiasco; her books didn't make it to her reading in Calgary! I have wine glasses and napkins, hotel and air reservations all set. Now I just need some books. Last Friday Nick at Oberon told me they were "printing on the night shift in Toronto RIGHT NOW!" (I think he senses my anxiety), and that they should be shipping very soon. It's hard at this point not to bug him several times a day. When are they shipping? Are they shipping now? Now? Now?

Uh, now?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Frankie Venom; Good to a Fault; Rehearsals

I was stunned to read of the death of Frankie Venom, lead singer of Teenage Head, at age 51 from throat cancer. I still have hearing damage from seeing them at the Stampeder Inn here in the town of cows in the early '80s. They were probably the highest energy act I ever saw (well, maybe Iggy Pop gave them a run for their money) and they were working up to the very end. Wow. He'll be missed, no question.

In happier news, my signed copy of Marina Endicott's Giller short-listed novel Good to a Fault arrived here today. I had the good fortune to win it in a contest Freehand Books put on. Editor Melanie Little and her colleagues did an amazing job with their inaugural lineup --congratulations to all of you, and good luck with the Giller!

And in my own personal not-that-exciting news, I've begun rehearsing my reading for the Memorial Park Library launch on November 13th. I'm using the tiny hand held recorder that I bought this summer, and it's quite helpful to go back and listen for mumbling, strange inflections, etc. Hope I can polish it up a bit before the big night.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh, my blog

Had coffee yesterday with a writer I met at the CAA conference in the summer. One of the many things we talked about was blogs. The thing about having a blog to do with your writing, we concluded, is that there generally aren't that many exciting events going on, or ones that warrant blogging about, in my opinion. Thus it is here, I'm afraid. It's not that I haven't wanted to say something, it's just what to say. Oh, that.

Okay, so tonight I'm going to the Betty Jane Hegerat / Adrienne Gruber reading at Pages. Adrienne Gruber is a poet who has a book out with Thistledown Press, so it should be an interesting mix. I'm also dressing in black, as today is Black for the Arts Day, apparently. I'm thinking, yeah, not a stretch for a lot of artsy types to wear black. Often do it anyway. Now, if they'd called it Ill-Fitting Cheap Sky Blue Sweater Vest for the Arts Day, that'd be something.

Latest on the book: I hear the covers are printed. The insides are printed. They just need to be glued together. I suppose they'll be gluing them together soon, and then I guess I will see them. The little darlings.

Well, time to drag the dog to school to pick up the gentlemen. Happy Thanksgiving all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Maggie, MJ, something else that starts with 'M'

Came across this piece by Margaret Atwood that ran in Wednesday's Globe and Mail about Harper and the arts. I think she hits it right on the head:

Mark Jarman has asked me to spread the word that he is reading at Pages on Kensington on October 31. I get a break from my candy girl duties for a change! Looking forward to getting a personalized copy of My White Planet.

Things on the domestic front are settling down. The house is gradually taking shape as it should; the piles are slowly migrating to the most obvious places for them. Dan and I are enjoying our Monday night karate classes. He was going to just sign up for it, and then I found one that we could both go to. Since he was agreeable I thought I'd better take advantage, since it won't be long before he won't want to be seen with me in public. KI-YA!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nice work!

I was a little worried about what cover image Love Minus Zero would end up with, but Oberon has once again exceeded my expectations and come up with what I think is a really striking cover. The image is a detail from Toulouse Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge and I think it works really well. I was afraid they might find a punk rocker with a foot-high mohawk, but this is striking, timeless and a little disturbing, somehow. Perfect!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Edmonton reading Nov. 20th

I'm now set to read from Love Minus Zero at Audrey's Books in Edmonton on Thursday, November 20th. This is great because it means I'll have my launch / mini-tour wrapped up within a week. On the other hand, the Victoria leg of the tour has definitely shrivelled up and dropped off. Betty Jane Hegerat even tried to market us as a pair of emerging prairie writers, to no avail. She could not drum up any interest either. Oh, well. Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton are good enough for me. It's going to be a blast!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Love Minus Zero Saskatoon reading Nov. 17 / 08

The good people at McNally Robinson's Saskatoon store are hosting a reading for me on Monday, Nov. 17th (Calgary launch is Thursday, Nov. 13th at Memorial Park Library). They're doing a bang-up job of publicity for the event, too, which I really appreciate. And which makes me rue the loss of the Calgary store even more, but never mind. Here's the event listing from their site:

In other news, the move is progressing. Every time we move we have more stuff, and more stuff to get rid of. It makes me want to dump it all and live in a cave. Or just have someone else move it for me anyway. We should be all moved in by Sunday.

But I'll be taking a break from the drudgery of moving to go to Freehand Books' first Calgary launch on Friday night at Pages. Editor Melanie Little should be proud of her lineup this season, it looks great!

Makes me think I ought to try writing something again sometime.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dispatch from among the moving boxes

Proofs arrived from Oberon on Sunday and I sent back my corrections last night. Oy, I am picky. Oh, well. So, things roll on with that. It looks good!

Attended the launch of WordFest with Rona yesterday morning and did some schmoozing. As much schmoozing as I'm capable of at 10 AM, which I'm afraid ain't much. Oh, well.

Had a photo session with the talented Jenn Tzanakos on Sunday and now I'm set up with some authorly-looking photos. Thanks so much, Jenn.

And the house is sold! That's a relief. And they get it on the 15th! Things are just insanely busy at the moment, but hopefully once we get over there it will all start to come together. Or perhaps it will just come apart. That's possible, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Room; Rooms

Just about to tuck into one of my copies of Room 31.2, which arrived in the mail today. As well as my story "Close to the Bone", it features work by Ingrid Ruthig, Aislinn Hunter and many others. Looking forward to a good, long read.

But who's had time to read lately? Finally have a firm offer on the house here, conditional to the prepurchase inspection they're having tomorrow, which I anticipate will go well. We take possession of the new house on Friday and they take possession of this one September 15th. Which gives us a couple of weeks to move in there. A good thing, too. We're going to need it, I'm sure.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Good times, bad times

Okay, not so much bad as...annoying?...stressful? We had an open house today and had 15 -- 20 groups of people through, and two offers. Both of which fell flat. Ended up getting kicked out of the house three times today. Which is why I'm drinking this very fine organic Paddywhack IPA from Nelson, BC, courtesy of our dear friend Mark.

Of course I'm also celebrating an acceptance from none other than The Antigonish Review. Ah, yes, another market I've been trying to crack for about seven years. The story is "Blue Lake", one that's very near and dear to my heart, that's been almost accepted too many times, that shortlisted in the PRISM contest. It's finally being published!

All that and I made a Superstore run today. That's enough excitement for anyone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I'm not actually overwhelmed, not yet. But. Let's just say there's a lot going on. Mostly just the same stuff that was going on before -- house showings, moving preparations. Trying to get a grant application together to be in Edmonton by September 1. A photo shoot is now set for Aug. 31, outside or near the National Hotel, if we can swing it.

Our time on the Island was fabulous, by the way, even if it is starting to seem like a long time ago. I'd almost forgotten about it, actually. The take-away from the trip? Think fast, hippie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Catalogued, world tour, etc.

As an ex-library staff person, I have to say it was a pretty big thrill to look myself up in Calgary Public Library's catalogue the other day. On order. Cool. My chum Jan even put a hold on the book, doncha know, so it really looks official now. Yep, things are really rolling along here -- we got a price (two, actually -- $39.95 hardcover, $19.99 paper). We got ISBNs. My son Nick asked me if I'd memorized them. No. Not yet.

In between house showings, I spent the last week trying to set up the big tour I'm going on after my Calgary launch on November 13th. I'm booked in at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon and am trying to get a date at Audrey's in Edmonton. I had initially hoped to hit Victoria as well, but it seems not so easy to set up a reading there as I'd hoped. So for now I may just leave it at Edmonton and Saskatoon.

As of Wednesday, we're on vacation until mid-August and all looking forward to some Island time. This summer has been absolutely nutty so far and it will be great to get away for a while. Maybe we won't want to come back.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mein goodness!

This morning my contract arrived from Thistledown for Nothing Sacred, my short fiction collection which will be out next fall. Contract, and much more handbook, publicity and promotion information, author questionnaire, contacts sheet. It's great. Lots of the information will be useful for Love Minus Zero, too.

Yesterday, the collections librarian (another former supervisor of mine) from CPL got in touch to find out how they can order Love Minus Zero. They want to start with six copies, she said. Cool!

House is still for sale. Agent is on his way over to discuss pricing strategy.

You know, with all that's going on, I'm really looking forward to our vacation. Twelve more sleeps.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ray Davies

I had the very great pleasure of seeing Ray Davies perform at the Jack Singer last night. He put on a fantastic show; better, I think, than the time I saw The Kinks play in Vancouver in 1981. I was really expecting him to stay away from the older Kinks songs, but he and his accompanist played a whole whack of my very favourites along with material from his new CD (which is very good): "Well-Respected Man", "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", "Tired of Waiting", "Set Me Free", "I'm Not Like Everybody Else", "Sunny Afternoon", as well as the obvious ones you would expect like "All Day and All of the Night" and "Lola", which he saved for the very end just like in 1981, after teasing the audience with the opening chords several times. He insisted on audience participation, so we all sang and had a great time. It was like an evening with an old friend -- he seemed to be enjoying himself as much as we did, and he played for a good hour and a half. Probably the best live concert I've ever been to.

Thanks, Ray!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


My website is finally up -- a big thanks to my sister Cathie of Hahnel Studios for her fabulous web design, and to Bruce, for his fabulous technical stuff. Check it out here:

Enjoy your visit!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ebb and flow

Things do keep happening, good and bad. I enjoyed the CAA conference very much: good sessions, good to meet with old friends and make new ones. The food was excellent. Ian Ferguson almost gave me a rupture -- one funny guy. Returning to Calgary yesterday meant housecleaning, as our real estate agent came over in the evening to take pictures in preparation for listing our house tomorrow. Today I had a chance to review and sign my contract from Oberon, and it's ready to go.

That was all the good stuff. On Friday, a family friend died -- a 43 year-old mother of a 13 year-old girl and ten year-old twin boys who'd been diagnosed with brain cancer only twenty-eight days earlier. It's very sad. Going to the funeral tomorrow.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Everything happens all at once

I've also noticed that nothing seems to happen all at once, but at this moment it is the everything phase. A few of the exciting things happening: my forty-fifth birthday, buying a new house in a better location in our neigbourhood and getting ready to put our current one up for sale on Monday.

And the arrival of my contract (and cheque!) for Love Minus Zero from Oberon Press. Yay! Naturally it would arrive as I'm about to go out the door to the CanWrite conference here in Edmonton. However, I'll have a good look at it when I get home on Sunday. It feels good, though. There are still times when I think I just imagined all of this. Thistledown Press also sent me a heads up that my contract is on its way for my short story collection, Nothing Sacred, out in Fall 2009.

And I won a pair of tickets to The Vinyl Cafe Xmas Show thanks to my contribution to the 100 Years, 100 Stories Project on the CPL site. Cool.

The conference looks like it's going to be excellent. The opening reception at the U of A Bookstore was fun, and the sessions look great. It's very hot here in Edmonton, especially so in my dorm room here in Lister Hall, but I got the last fan at the front desk and it's helping. More later.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

CanWrite 2008

While I await the arrival of proofs, I'm gearing up for the 87th annual Canadian Authors Association national conference, taking place July 3 - 6 in Edmonton. Looks like there's going to be a great slate of presenters and workshops. Looking forward to schmoozing and mingling, and catching up with the great CAA folks in Edmonton. Here's a link to the proceedings:

Did I mention I'll miss the first weekend of the Stampede while I'm there? Aw.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More on the library and me

Calgary Public Library is celebrating the centenary of city council's orginal decision to build a library, with a grant from Andrew Carnegie, and they are asking Calgarians why the library is important to them. They used my story, here:

Actually, I have lots of library stories, but that one will do for now.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Love Minus Zero launch Nov. 13 / 08

It's official -- the launch for my novel Love Minus Zero will take place on Thursday, November 13th at 7:00 PM at Memorial Park Library (lower level), 1221 - 2nd St. SW, Calgary.

Very exciting! Here's something I didn't know I'd have to do -- get a liquor license. Huh. It's going to be just like a wedding. Only no cake. And no gifts. So come, bring a friend, have a glass of wine and some cheese on me. It's going to be a blast!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mommy, where do jacket blurbs come from?

Maybe you never wondered about that kind of thing, but I do. Did, that is. I don't mean the blurbs that are quotes from your hopefully famous friends, talking about how wonderful your work is -- Oberon doesn't seem to use those (which is fine by me). I mean the thing that's the enticing little description of your book that goes on the back so people know what the thing is supposedly about. Oberon is at the stage of composing mine -- they already had some material from Mark Jarman, but asked if I could provide a little more. That threw me a little at first. I mean, it's so final. It's going to be right there in black and white on the back of the book -- what to say? I sent them the hook paragraph from my cover letter about it, and the little elevator speech that's gradually evolved. It will be very interesting to see what the final blurb looks like. I assume it will be in the proofs, maybe?

I'm supposed to be getting right after setting up that launch at the library. But I need to pick the right day, have to check social engagements, moon charts, all that stuff. Then there's this story that keeps slithering out of my grasp. And another that I was trying to revise that just seems to get worse and worse. And the website, which Bruce is almost done with, so he tells me. All this means things are rolling along as usual, I guess.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The plan so far

I was in touch with Nick at Oberon yesterday and now have a rough idea of what will be going on the next few months. Contract is forthcoming shortly, and the proofs will be along sometime later (that will be weird). The books should be back from the printers by mid-October, but he warned me that it's best not to plan a launch until November in case of a backlog with the printer. Having a launch with no books would be a very bad thing, so November it is.

Now I guess the next step is to get in touch with the manager at Memorial Park library (I worked for her years ago, as it happens) and find a date in November that works for us. Then I can get Owl's Nest on board. Exciting, but it does still seem quite far off at this point.

Nick also said I should take a holiday after doing all that revision. Good idea, I think I will.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


While the James Muretich Rock 'n' Roll Circus event that took place Sunday night at Old Flames Central doesn't really have anything to do with either of my books, directly, it was a good promo event. And an opportunity to catch up with some of the punk gang from ye olden days. Holy. Saw The Smokin' 45s, Blacktop Five and Forbidden Dimension but took a miss on The Von Zippers. I'm afraid it was too loud, my throat was getting sore from having to yell and I was tired. And I've seen The Von Zippers before anyway.

Entertainment between the musical acts was provided by the Kabuki Guns Burlesque Troupe. Crescent, ex-Virgins drummer, remarked on the fact that the female involvement in the show was limited to stripping. I'd thought the very same thing all week. She and I talked about how things haven't changed for the better in the last thirty years as far as women in rock music (and many other endeavors) go.

Ah, well, no use getting all preachy. We had a good time for the most part, even if we are all old.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Just got back from Express Posting a hard copy of Love Minus Zero to Oberon Press. That feels good. It occured to me while I was printing it that I will probably never have to print it again. That also feels good, because I've printed that sucker and shipped it off quite a few times. I like the idea of not having to do it again.

Next steps: once they receive the hard copy, they tell me we will talk contract and money. I like the sound of that. I'd also like to know what the official pub date will be (imagine that will be in the contract). Once I know that, I can get a launch set up, probably at Memorial Park library, and I can get in touch with a bookseller for the event, probably Owl's Nest books, an indie who've been selling books here in Calgary for the last thirty years.

Hopefully all these details will be worked out soon. Stay tuned.