Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Alberta Views review; McNally's; 2010

Great review of Nothing Sacred by Nicole Kajander in the Jan. / Feb. 2010 issue of Alberta Views. Nice way to end up what's been a pretty crazy year for me in many ways, good to go out on a good note. And once again, thanks to Alberta Views for doing such a great job spotlighting Alberta authors.

On the other hand, it seems that McNally Robinson Booksellers is going under, as reported in The Globe and Mail. Bad news once again for anyone involved with books in this country. We lost our McNally Robinson store here in Calgary in 2008, which was a real loss for the literary community.

But to close on a positive note, a new year and a new decade approaches, a time of new possibility beckons. Best wishes to all of you, and have a safe and happy new year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmastime is here

And this morning I went carolling at school for the second time this week. I love carolling, as I mentioned before, but frankly am a little tired of the humorous versions of carols favoured by the carolling director at Dan's school. However, I sang, took in the sights, left with that familiar holiday feeling of joy / melancholy / guilt at sitting on my butt for an hour and singing when there's work to be done, dammit! Then I shopped for food, walked the dog, made lunch, made cookies for the better part of the afternoon, and after dinner started in on some cleaning as Mom and Sis (all the way from Burnaby!) are over for dinner tomorrow. Ah, the holidays. Sometimes I do wonder just who they are holidays for.

On the other hand I did doze on the couch by the light of the fireplace channel briefly this afternoon. I feel like I'm fighting something off, actually. No, not sloth; nor any of the other deadly sins, either (well, not right at this moment). A bug of some low grade.

So after the dinner is over tomorrow I have no events planned until the 24th, and I do hope that any news I'll have to report is good. So this will give me ample opportunity to rest and get rid of this thing. And then everything will be groovy again, right?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Guide; Cold; Holidays

Nice to see Love Minus Zero included with other local books in this morning's Calgary Herald Christmas Book Gift Guide. And a really interesting selection of local books it was, too. I'd like to get my hands on a copy of Gig Posters: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century, for instance, since I used to hang around their website a fair bit while I was writing Love Minus Zero. There are a lot of great books around and we really appreciate the promo we get from The Herald -- thanks again!

I did not go carolling. Too damn cold! In fact I went out for lunch with my pal Jan Markley today and that was the first time I'd been outside since Friday morning. Now I'm back in and I may never come out again.

Discussed the preliminary details of a writing workshop that Rona Altrows has agreed to present as part of the second half of my CAA residency. We're aiming for a date in early April; more details will follow. Just have to file a report now and then I'm officially on a break from the residency until January 15th.

Now to warm up by the fireplace channel. Brrr.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wine; Festive Season

Wednesday's Wine and Literary Pairings event was fun, in spite of the weather. We had a good turnout, good wine and got to schmooze with writers and readers from all over Alberta. Fun!

Looks to be another snowy weekend shaping up in Calgary. I'll be wrapping up the first half or my CAA residency this weekend and am looking forward to taking a break and getting into the holiday spirit (i.e., cleaning and cooking. Yay!). Tonight we go out to get a tree, which Nick and Dan are looking forward to. I may be going carolling tomorrow night (the males refuse to join me) if the weather isn't too nasty. I love to sing but hate to freeze, so we'll just see what happens.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Review, Residency, Wine and Literary Pairings

Diane Girard's review of Nothing Sacred has been published on Senior Women Web. Scroll down the page a little way to get to it. A big thank you to Diane for that! Reviews aren't easy to come by these days.

This week is the last week of the first half of my CAA residency, and I have lots to keep me busy. I'll be back at it again come January 15th, though, so if you'd like to send me a manuscript, feel free.

Wednesday is the night of the WGA's big Wine and Literary Pairings event at 100 Wines. I'll be there along with thirty other writers and our books and our wines. Looking forward to being paired with some wine, indeed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wine and Literary Pairings, Dec. 9th

I will be taking part in the Wine And Literary Pairings event, Wed. December 9th from 7 - 10 PM at 100 Wines, 1109 Olympic Way SE, put on by the Writers Guild of Alberta. There will be over thirty local authors on hand selling copies of their books paired with a matching wine. And what more natural pairing, I ask you, than wine and writers? So come out, taste some wine, buy some books, get a start or finish on that holiday shopping.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

CKUA interview; Read, read, read; Happy anniversary

Brenda Finley's interview with me for the CKUA program Bookmark will air next Sunday, November 22, at 12:30. They're at 93.7 FM or at www.ckua.org, where you can also listen to archived episodes at your leisure. This was my first taped interview and I think it went pretty well for the most part, though I have to say a couple of the questions threw me for a bit of a loop. Still, it was great to talk about Nothing Sacred and I look forward to hearing it on the air. I've been listening to CKUA since 1984 and I still think they're the greatest radio station on the planet. And I'm so glad that Bookmark is there to promote Alberta writers -- we need all the help we can get.

Manuscripts continue to roll in for my CAA writer-in-res gig (submission details on the right side of the page). I'm getting close to my limit for the first half of my term, which ends December 13th. But if you have something you'd like me to look at, by all means send it along. If I can't get to it now I'll be more than happy to read it after I resume the residency January 15th until April 15th.

Friday was the first anniversary of the launch of Love Minus Zero. Wow. Was that really only a year ago? It's been an eventful year since then, no doubt. Next year, however, I'd like to get back to doing some writing. I've been so busy with all the other things I've hardly done any in the last year. An early New Year's resolution, maybe?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back in Town; flu; Bookmark

Had a swell time in Edmonton, as I always do. Enjoyed the Audrey's reading very much and also enjoyed having beers at 1905 with my pals Suzanne and Joe after. The next evening I facilitated (as best I could) the writers circle session at the Canadian Authors Association meeting. Really interesting variety of work was discussed, I enjoyed it very much, as well as the presentation by Glen Huser that followed.

Next day it was back to Calgary and Hallowe'en. Trick or treat. Guess what we got in Alberta? No H1N1 shots (unless you're an NHL player), but Dan and I managed to come down with the flu (Nick and Bruce are ok so far). And it sounds like a whole lot of other people have it, too. It's not SO bad. I have definitely been sicker on many occasions. But we're listless, achy, chilly / fevery. Dan has sinus stuff, too. But I'm sure we'll be fine in a few days.

So the other day my publisher told me that Brenda Finley wants to interview me for CKUA Radio's Bookmark program this Thursday. Yeah! Only there's that little flu thing. I'm hoping a phone interview will be acceptable. Apparently the segment will air on Nov. 22; I'll post more information when I know.

Off to drink tea now.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It is nice to see Nothing Sacred on Amazon, I have to say!

Of course, now you know I'm going to be forever checking my Amazon sales rankings. Among the many other time-wasting things I do on the information highway. Oh, well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bestseller again; Edmonton

I was pleased to see Nothing Sacred at number three on the Calgary Herald's bestseller list this morning. Just like its older sibling, Love Minus Zero. You try to be philosophical about this stuff. It doesn't really matter, you tell yourself. Or that's what I was telling myself last week when I didn't see it on last Sunday's list. But it does matter. When you've worked hard for years to get this stuff out into book form, the recognition is important. So it's very good to see.

The reading I did at the Central Library last Wednesday was fun. It was good to catch up with some of the library crowd and it was more than a little strange to be doing a reading in the very spot where the old circulation desk I used to work at once stood. In fact I'm at ye olde library right now, doing my residency office hours, about to do a consult with a writer shortly.

Also fun was Friday's AWCS Blue Pencil Cafe. I like the Alexandra Writers; I think they're people who are sincerely interested in making their writing the best they can and helping others to do the same. I really respect that attitude. Hoping to run my Life Into Story workshop for them again in the spring term.

Next on the agenda is my trip to Edmonton at the end of this week. I'll read from Nothing Sacred at Audrey's Books (10702 Jasper Ave.) on Thurs. the 29th at 7:30. Then the next night I'm facilitating the writers' circle at the Canadian Authors Association meeting, which I look forward to, should be a lot of fun.

And something I really look forward to is coming to the end of this little flurry of readings and public events I've been doing the last couple of months. Like many writers, I'm fairly introverted (in an extroverted kind of way. It's complicated) and I find public events to be real energy zappers. So to take a break from them and go back to being my hermit-like self soon will be a relief. I think.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oct. 21 reading; Bestseller; Blue Pencil Cafe

Just finished my penultimate rehearsal for the reading I'm doing at noon this Wednesday in the New and Notable area of the main floor of the Central Library (616 Macleod Tr. SE), as part of the open house they're holding to celebrate Canadian Library Month. Got some bomber publicity for it in last Thursday's edition of Swerve Magazine (thanks, Swerve!) and I'm hoping a few folks will turn out. Must say it's going to be a little weird doing a reading right where I worked for quite a few years.

Nothing Sacred is currently number two on Pages on Kensington's bestseller list. Yeah! As a friend pointed out, I beat Margaret Atwood. Well.

This Friday from 6 - 9 PM I'm participating in The Alexandra Writers' Blue Pencil Cafe & Open Mic. Come on down, have an instructor look at your work, read for an appreciative audience, have a refreshment. I think it'll be a lot of fun.

The Canadian Authors Association residency is also keeping me busy. Getting to read a lot of interesting work. If you want to send me some, submission details can be found on the right side of this page.

Over and out for now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Launch; office hours; Tofurky

Nothing Sacred's launch on October 8th was a great success, I'm happy to report. The weather was lousy, cold and snowy, but I still had a good turnout and sold lots of books. And I've finally started to get to the stage with readings where I enjoy them to some extent. This is a big improvement over feeling terrified, the way I used to. I guess I've done them enough times now that I'm getting used to them. I even took questions this time. And my boys came -- they had a blast! Dan said yesterday, " I can't stop thinking about your book launch!" Ah, chip off the obsessive old block. After the formalities, a bunch of us headed to the Hop Inn Brew Pub to celebrate -- had a great time! So thanks again to everybody who made the night a success.

Now that that's out of the way, I can concentrate a little more on my writer-in-residence gig. Manuscripts are rolling in at a nice, steady rate. Feel free to send one in if you care to. I'm also keeping office hours at the Central Library, 616 Macleod Tr. SE, in the fourth floor Program Room, Sundays 1 - 4 PM if you want to drop by. Which is where I am right now, as a matter of fact. Nice and quiet, reading manuscripts, drinking coffee.

But, this too shall pass. I need to start thinking about going home so I can get the Tofurky in the oven. Mind you, it's not quite like cooking a turkey. A fair bit less work. But you still have to make all the side dishes.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nothing Sacred launch this Thursday; Readingspalooza

Two more sleeps until the long-awaited Nothing Sacred launch, Thursday at 7 PM, Memorial Park Library, lower level 1221-2 St. SW. I'm looking forward to it, feel pretty good about the whole thing. It's so nice not to be as nervous as I was for the launch of Love Minus Zero last year. It really helps to have done it all before, and I've got the piece I'm reading (the title story, "Nothing Sacred") down. So come on down, join in the fun, have some wine and cheese.

Next is the launch of Jan Markley's Dead Frog on the Porch on Oct. 17 at Monkeyshines Books. Then I have a reading on Oct. 21 at noon in the New and Notable Area of the Central Library, as part of the open house the library is holding to celebrate Canadian Library Month. I'm taking part in the Alexandra Writers' Blue Pencil Cafe on the evening of Oct.23. And the following week, I do two nights in Edmonton: a reading at Audrey's Books on the 29th and then I lead the Writers' Circle at the Canadian Authors Association meeting the next night.

So, hope to see you Thursday and / or at one of the other events I'm doing this month.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teaching, rehearsing, reading

The workshop was fun, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to reassure other people that, yes, all this crazy stuff happens to people who write, it's not just you. I think we all had a great time. And I have a new respect for teachers -- well, not that I didn't have the utmost respect for them before -- but the amount of preparation that a six hour workshop takes. Wow.

So now that that's done I'm concentrating on rehearsing my pieces for the launch next Thursday, and the reading I'm doing at the Central Library's open house at noon on Oct. 21. I'll also be participating in The Alexandra Writers' Blue Pencil Cafe from 6 - 9 on Oct.23 -- bring your work in for a free 20 minute evaluation. Then I head up to Edmonton for a reading at Audrey's on Oct. 29, and will stay over the night of the 30th so I can lead the writers' circle at the Canadian Authors Association meeting that evening.

So another busy month ahead, but once it's over it'll just be back to reading manuscripts as part of my residency (keep sending them in, folks) and planning the program I'm doing, as a solo now, in February as part of Calgary Public Library's Writers' Weekend. Who knows, maybe I'll even get to do some writing myself before the holidays roll around. That would be nice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Here!

My copies of Nothing Sacred arrived here Tuesday afternoon. They look excellent! The folks at Thistledown really do produce a nice-looking book, and I'm looking forward to the launch on October 8th.

Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on the notes for the workshop I'm doing at the Alexandra Writers Centre this Saturday. The workshop is full and I may present it again in the spring if there is a demand. In the meantime, I'm now doing office hours as part of the CAA Writer-in-Residence program. Drop by with manuscripts, questions or just to say hi. I'll be in the fourth floor boardroom at the Central Library, 616 Macleod Tr. SE, Sunday afternoons from 1 - 4 PM.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More events than you can shake a stick at

So, a busy couple of months begins this week for me. Tuesday night I have a book club gig, a first for me. I hear these book club events are lovely -- food, wine, people asking you thoughtful questions about your work. I have to say, while writing Love Minus Zero it never occured to me that I would be speaking to a book club about it. But as I must constantly remind myself, never say never.

Thursday, Sept. 10th, I'll be attending the launch of my friend Betty Jane Hegerat's tenure as Calgary Public Library's writer-in-residence. That's at Memorial Park Library, 1221 - 2 St. SW, at 7 PM. Betty is going to make an excellent writer-in-residence, and the library's lucky to have her. I am honoured to have been invited to present a joint program with her on the writer-in-residence experience for the library in February, details to follow.

Friday, Sept. 11th, I am reading, along with this session's other instructors, at The Alexandra Writers' Centre's Fall Registration Night. That's at the Alexandra Centre, 922 - 9 Ave. SE, at 7:30. Come on down, hear us read, have a refreshment and register in one of our courses or workshops. My Life Into Story workshop runs Saturday, September 26th.

In the meantime, I've already received four manuscript submissions for my writer-in-res gig, and have my first face-to-face consult with a writer on Sept. 13th in the space in the Central Library which CPL has so graciously provided. I'm quite gratified by the response to this program already, which doesn't even officially begin until the 13th.

So, yeah, keeping busy. Which is good, ya know.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hyperlink heaven

Yeah, I love The Kinks, in case anyone was wondering.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Edmonton, In Silhouette, etc.

So my pal Jan Markley over at three dead moths in my mailbox tells me I got links hanging out all over the place and I should clean 'em up. Well. Women my age don't like to hear that kind of thing, ya know? Makes us look old. So here I am hyperlinking up a storm. Ha ha, got you on that last one.

So, news and events, eh? Okay -- date is finalized for my reading from Nothing Sacred at Audrey's in Edmonton: October 29th. The following night I will be leading the Canadian Authors Association's writers' circle before returning to Calgary the next day.

I was invited to contribute my biography to Frontenac House's e-book In Silhouette: Profiles of Alberta Writers. Click on me to read the entry.

On Saturday I received my first manuscript submission for the fall session of my CAA residency. Yeah! So keep those cards and letters coming! I do look forward to reading your work.

Whew! All this hyperlinking is giving me tennis elbow. Best get on out of here and make dinner.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dead Frog on the Porch

Check out Three dead moths in my mailbox, the blog of my pal Jan Markley, who's launching her first book, Dead Frog on the Porch, this fall. She chronicles the long, lonely, crazy-making journey of her book here:


Looking forward to the big day, Jan!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Writer-in-Residence info

My residency with Alberta Branch Canadian Authors Association runs Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2009 and again from Jan. 15 - Apr. 15, 2010. If you or someone you know would like a free manuscript consultation, you can send up to 25 pages of prose or three poems to:

Lori Hahnel
CAA Writer in Residence
PO Box 36084, Lakeview PO
Calgary, AB
T3E 7C6

or via e-mail at cwir@canauthorsalberta.ca

Look forward to reading your stuff!

Open Book Toronto interview

We're back from our Island time, which was fun and crazy: 40 degree temps, a round of Norovirus and insane ferry wait times were the low points. But we also had a lot of fun swimming, canoeing, hanging out on the beaches, poking around in museums, second hand stores, bookshops. And even though we just got back yesterday, it already seems like a long time ago. Sigh. Back to work.

So while we were away, Open Book Toronto posted this interview with me:


Fun stuff.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Calgarian Reunion Party

Sadly I will be on the Island and miss this event, but as a public service I am passing on word that there will be a Calgarian Reunion Party at the Number One Legion on 7th Ave SE, this Friday, July 31 from 7:00 -- 11:00 PM. Hope ya'll can stay up that late! I am assured on several fronts that people will be having pairs of draft for me. And I do hope (kind of) that someone will take pictures!

I miss all the good stuff.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Canadian Authors Association Residency; Calgary Public Library Literary Awards

This has been one of those newsy weeks. So last night I was offered (and was very happy to accept) the position of Calgary writer-in-residence for The Canadian Authors Association. This is the first time the program has been run in Calgary and if it works out well will hopefully become an annual thing. Right now I'm working on finding a location for doing manuscript consultations in (have a few possibilities up my sleeve). The program will run mid-September to mid-December and mid-January to mid-April. I'll post details later on where you can send a manuscript. Very exciting! Here's some info about the program:


And this morning I got word that Love Minus Zero is a semi-finalist in the first annual Calgary Public Library Foundation Literary Awards in the adult fiction category. Finalists will be announced the week of September 7th. Details on the award can be found here:


Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Hmm. Looks like I'm going to be kind of busy this fall.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fiddlehead summer fiction issue excerpt excerpt

Got my contributor copies of The Fiddlehead 240 today, the summer fiction issue. My piece is an excerpt from Love Minus Zero, and they've linked to an excerpt from the excerpt on their website, here:


Looking forward to sitting down and checking it out later, looks to have some awesome work in it.

So that's it for my forthcoming stuff. I'd better get busy and write something one of these days.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Crescent told me to say that. Don't I sound young and hip?

It's been a busy week. Got the proofs off to Thistledown this week, which feels fabulous. Also got to see the complete coverspread for the first time, which was exciting. Well, maybe other people don't find this kind of thing exciting, but I do.

Wrapped up the draft of the story Diane looked over for me and sent it off. I did some work on another that I had abandoned before the book stuff started, but this one is going to need some major surgery. Don't know if I can do much to it right now. I need to prepare for this workshop, get some grant applications going, set up some out of town readings. Um, and we're going to the Island the first two weeks of August-ish. To relax, yeah.

Also got my tech support to update ye olde website. But I got him to show me how to do it (you know, the give a man a fish thing). And here was the test: I updated one of the links myself just now. And it worked! I am so up-to-the-minute. I am like FPS or something. Right, Crescent?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Proofs; Beer; July in the town of cows

Nothing Sacred galley proofs arrived from Thistledown late this afternoon. Good stuff. I'd just wrapped up a draft of a new story yesterday and sent it off to Diane Girard, my beloved first reader, so the timing is great. Sure I won't need all seven (7) days to read them, but I do want to take my time, be careful. And then that will be that. All done. Cool.

Had a beer with Rona tonight. Good to get out and talk in person to a grownup over an alcoholic beverage. As I entered the bar I called unto mind that it was Stampede, but this didn't seem to be a problem as far as getting a table and so forth went. Stampede seems rather subdued this year, we agreed. Is it the weather, the economy, who knows? But that's fine with me.

Speaking of cool -- whoa, it's freezing out there. Had to turn the heat on in the Westfalia on the way home. Dude! But that's Calgary for you. Now I have two sweaters on and am drinking herb chai. Yeeeeeehaw.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Punk rocker turned author at it again

Brief mention of me and Love Minus Zero in a piece by Eric Volmers on novels set in Calgary in today's Calgary Herald, here:


Eric has been doing a great job of spotlighting local authors and their books, and I really appreciate it. It's tough to compete with the big publishers and their big money. So thanks, Eric!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cool; Cool; Cool

What made me think of this again? I don't know, but last winter when I was doing research for a story I was writing, I came across this information about the phonautograph. You can hear a recording (admittedly quite hard to make out) of the inventor singing "Au Clair de la Lune" that was made in 1860, the earliest known recording of the human voice. And it hadn't even been heard before until last year! You can read about it here:


Also cool -- I wrote this afternoon. For almost three hours. Wow, almost forgot what that was like. I'll have to do it again sometime.

And the final cool thing: my new phone. Well, not really the phone. It's not very fancy by modern standards (though it does have a camera in it). But the ringtone! Oh, I went crazy and bought a ringtone: an MP3 of Miles Davis playing "Summertime". That is definitely cool.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Life Into Story workshop

Got word on Saturday that the Alexandra Writers want to include the one-day workshop I am developing in their fall calendar. Life Into Story: Transforming Experiences Into Fiction will run 10 -- 3:30 on Saturday, September 26 at the Alexandra Centre, 922 - 9 Ave. SE. Which incidentally was the scene of a punk show held so long ago that CBC sent out a camera crew and my friends and I were on the news the next night. And no, I have no idea who played at it. But there you go, full circle, dramatic irony and all that jazz.

Anyway, the fall calendar is not up yet, but here is a link to the Alexandra Writers Centre. I will post details later in case anyone wants to register:


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stairway to Gilligan's Island

Had this baby on vinyl many years ago. Very happy to hear it again:


Apparently, Little Roger and The Goosebumps were sued by Page and Plant for this one. Dudes, lighten up!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer begins

School ended on Thursday, which also happened to be my 46th birthday. School often ends on my birthday; when I was a child I regarded this as a mark of favour from the gods. Now I see it for the curse that it really is. It just adds insult to injury, is all. Oh, well. This year's end was marked by Dan's traumatic and tear-filled goodbye to his beloved teacher. It was a pretty teary event all around, actually. Anyway, it's over now and he is soothing his soul with a new electric guitar. Sweet, eh? As for me, I'm still 46. That's the age my father was when he died and it's kind of freaky to think about that. Of course, perhaps I should just not spend so much time thinking. Or I should think about things that actually have a point more often.

Submitted an outline for a one-day workshop to the Alexandra Writers Centre yesterday, and hope they'll be interested in me giving it in the fall.

Now that the boys are a little older and tend to spend a lot of time on bikes with their buds, summer is not such a fallow time for me anymore. Which is good, because I have things I need to do, like get after setting up some readings. Finish those two stories I have apparently been working on the last few weeks and get them out there. And then get rewriting that novel. I'm thinking proofs should show up here before too long, as well. And then I guess we'll head out for some Island time at some point, though that's up in the air because of renos we're having done this summer. So summer looks a little chaotic at this point, but it's good to keep busy. Keeps you from thinking too much.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Strange things happen in June

Had you told me even a couple of months ago that I would be submitting an illustrated sonnet to an actual magazine, like I did just now, I would have laughed. But the older I get the more I have to just shrug and remember: Never say never. I actually did have a couple of poems published in a tiny, long-dead journal back in the mid-nineties, so I suppose it isn't entirely impossible that someone might want to publish more of my poetry. Which I seldom write, but now and again the urge seizes me. Even less frequently do I have an urge to share this stuff, but this is what happens when you spend a lot of time alone. Now we will see what they say. If anything.

That out of my system, I plan to work on a couple of stories I abandoned when I started the edits on Love Minus Zero, back in early 2008 (doesn't that seem like a long time ago?). I'm also looking into teaching creative writing and to that end am submitting a workshop outline to the Alexandra Writers Centre by the end of June as well as taking a one-day course at Mount Royal College later this month, Principles of Adult Learning.

That's the theory, at least. Of course, there are a lot of attractive diversions out there. And the weather is beautiful; it's not even snowing. This is how kids feel at the end of the school year. Restless. Distracted. Unfocused. Preoccupied. Oh, well. That's June for you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fictionistas in my future?

It looks that way, judging by Thistledown's new fall catalogue. The info about Nothing Sacred is here, on page five:


So I'm thinking that "Western Canadian co-author tour" mentioned in the Publicity and Marketing section would be a trip with the Fictionistas program. A number of Western Canadian publishers send women authors with new books on a series of joint readings. Sounds good to me. As I was telling my sister last night, I found doing out of town readings last fall was kind of a lonely experience. I could understand why Dylan Thomas had those eighteen straight whiskies that night. But yes, having a group would be fun. We'll see what happens.

Looking forward to lunching tomorrow with my friend Jan Markley, whose first middle grade novel, Dead Frog on the Porch, is forthcoming from Gumboot Books this fall. Yeah! Will we have eighteen straight whiskies? I doubt it, since I don't think they serve whiskey at Boca Loca. Besides, whiskey seems to have a narcotic effect on me; history has shown that it's not good for me to drink it.

Ahem. Okay. All for now.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Edmonton; Preorder

Although I did not win this year's CAA Exporting Alberta Award (that honour went to Karen Bass' young adult novel Run Like Jager) I had a swell time reading and schmoozing with the Alberta branch crowd, as I always do. The readings were excellent and I'm sure the judges had a tough time picking a winner. Also fun was our morning at West Edmonton Mall. That is one big mall, no joke.

Here's Nothing Sacred's debut in the Chapters Indigo catalogue. ISBNs and everything -- I didn't just dream it:


Lovely. Now you can preorder as many copies as you wish.

Off to check out Lillian Gish and a young Ronald Colman in 1923's The White Sister. What's this, you say, a silent movie? Where is Bruce, then? Off at a conference in Colorado. Yes, a chance for me to indulge my bizarre cinematic tastes. Which reminds me, it so happens that Errol Flynn's 100th birthday falls on the weekend of Cub-o-Rama later this month. Really must work out some kind of event for that. Hmmm.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alberta Views review

I was very pleased to see Candace Fertile's review of Love Minus Zero in the new (June 2009) issue of Alberta Views. Mostly a very good review, too -- even better. I don't think they usually put their reviews online and they've not yet got the June issue up on their site, but what the hell, here's a link to them, anyway:


Even if they hadn't reviewed my book, I'd have to say I love them. I've been a subscriber for close to ten years. They are one of the few voices on the other side of the political spectrum in Alberta -- as publisher Jackie Flanagan put it at a conference a few years ago, they are "Alberta Retort". You gotta like that.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Revisions, Edmonton

Wrapped up revisions to Nothing Sacred and handed them in today. That do feel good. I guess the next step in the process will be proofs and getting the promo wheels turning, but those things are a little ways off yet. The next thing I want to do is write a short story -- a new one. Perhaps all new. I have a couple of embryonic ones that were abandoned at early stages for various reasons, so I'll have a look at those, but I may just write something new. After working the last couple of years on things that I wrote as long as nine years ago, I'm looking forward to doing something new. It's a little scary, actually, but scary in a good way.

In the meantime, getting ready to go up to Edmonton Friday to read at the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award presentation. I have no idea who else is reading, but looking forward to hanging out with my Alberta CAA friends again. After a visit to WEM the next day, we dash back to the town of cows so that Bruce can fly to Colorado Sunday for a conference.

Listening to a new CD I got -- The Verdix Live at The Black Bull Lounge, March 31 / 79. Thirty years on, I'm amazed at how good it sounds. I'd forgotten how tight and high-energy they were. Apparently there's going to be a launch party for the disc here in August sometime. It might be good to go to that. Or it might be distressing to see how old all those people have grown.

In the meantime, out to take the dog to the vet for a shot. Don't let anybody tell you the writing life is not glamorous.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rebel with an orthotic

Yep, that's me. My long and varied career in retail / public service has provided me with all kinds of things: an aversion to crowds, fodder for my fiction and the biggest heel spur my podiatrist has seen in thirty years of practise. Yeah! We're number one! So I had my feet casted today (not as bad as it sounds, as I am kind of foot fascinated. A little bit of artistic license and it was kind of fun. Ahem). And then I pick up my orthotics in a week or two. What next? Bifocals? Support hose? Christ.

In other news, I am nearing the end of revisions for Nothing Sacred. I'm beginning to fantasize about doing some freefall writing when I'm done. Which is my default mode of creation and something I felt I was doing wrong until I went to a freefall workshop and realized that's what I've always done. Is there another way?

Okay, next project: freefalling on foot casting. I'll tell you, that next book is going to be a doozy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Blue Lake"

I was very pleased today to get my contributor copies of the new issue of The Antigonish Review (Number 157, Spring 2009). My piece, "Blue Lake", is one I read at this year's Writing in the Works event and as I told the audience that night, has had kind of a crazy history. First sent it out into the big world in July of 2004. After seven rejections it shortlisted in PRISM's 2005 fiction contest. Four more rejections and then it was at long last accepted by The Antigonish Review last summer. And they're a market I've been trying to crack for a good eight years or so. So I have to say, it's quite satisfying to me that the little sucker is finally seeing the light of day.

I'm also in the excellent company of Dave Margoshes, Rosemary Griebel, Robyn Sarah, Travis Lane and many others. Looking forward to digging in later.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fellini's Emoticon

I just like the sound of that. What would Fellini's Emoticon look like? ::#, perhaps?

Anyway, am currently catching up on a few more revisions to Nothing Sacred, to be done by the end of May. I'm happy with the way it's going so far.

Speaking of the end of May, I'm heading up to Edmonton on the 29th to read from Love Minus Zero at the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award readings and award presentation. Wish me luck!

Should be seeing the new issue of The Antigonish Review out any time now, which will include my story, "Blue Lake" (which will also appear in Nothing Sacred).

Er, speaking of which, back to work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nothing Sacred launch October 8 / 09

So the launch for Nothing Sacred will take place at 7 PM on Thursday, October 8th at Memorial Park Library, lower level 1221 - 2 St. SW, featuring me reading, refreshments and of course, book sales. Looking forward to it, though it does seem a bit far off at this point. Guess I don't need to start rehearsing quite yet.

In other news, I got an e-mail this morning from a guy in Germany with the same surname as me, from a city near Dresden (which is where my Hahnels are from). Probably some kind of kin. He's a 40 year old ex-punk who wants my book. We're going to do a trade: my book for one about the "punkrockszene" in his area. Sounds very cool!

Looking forward to schmoozing at the Alexandra Centre tonight. That's Rona Altrows' Writer in Residence launch, 7:30, at 922 - 9 Ave. SE.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pub date, pub date, launch

Found out today that September 15th is the pub date for Nothing Sacred. This is good; now I can schedule a launch for early October and start looking into places outside of Calgary to read. Although for now that may just end up being Edmonton. Also got to see the cover art for the first time, which I like very much, another striking image. And it's nice to feel like things are progressing with the book -- all good, I say.

Also had a pub date last night with my fellow Writing in the Works workers. Lots of fun there, opportunties to goss...er, discuss literary affairs. Yes, indeed, plenty of that kind of thing to discuss between the seven of us.

And tomorrow night I head over to the Alexandra Centre for the launch of Rona Altrows' term as writer-in-residence for the Alexandra Writers. Reading, schmoozing, more discussion of literary affairs. Always fun.

So it goes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Writing in the Works Worked; Plans; Pysanky

Writing in the Works 2 was a successful and fun event. Though if we do it again next year, I think we'll try not to schedule it in the middle of the Spoken Word Festival, which was going on all last week. Still, in spite of competing against two poetry events, Oliver Jones and Nickelback, we had a solid audience of 40 turn out, sold some books and repaired to the Hop Inn Brew Pub for a drop afterward. Splendid time.

It's nice to have it out of the way, though, and to have the edits for Nothing Sacred handed in to Thistledown. There may yet be some editorial stuff forthcoming, but I think we're pretty much done with it. Right now I'm taking a little time off writing, thinking about what I'm going to do between now and the fall, when I'll need to get back on the book promoting / grant writing merry-go-round. I'm thinking first finish a short story or two that have been on the back burner a little too long, then start tackling the revisions on novel 2. I also am looking into taking a course or two on educating adults, since I'd like to get into teaching creative writing. To that end, I need to come up with a workshop outline I want to pitch in June.

Right now, though, I'm going to school to help the fourth grade make Pysanky. Apparently. I'm not convinced this project is going to be entirely successful, despite my 1/4 Ukrainian background. But I'm sure it will be fun. Messy, anyway.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Writing in the Works 2 -- April 2

It's hard to believe it's actually spring, almost April, but it is. And that means that Writing in the Works 2 is this Thursday, April 2nd, 7 PM at Memorial Park Library, 1221 - 2 St. SW. This free event features readings from me, Elaine Morin, Naomi K. Lewis, Inge Trueman and Susan Calder Arnold, and emceeing by our own Rona Altrows. Plus refreshments! And book sales!

I ask you, what better way to spend a Thursday evening?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Globe and Mail review

Just returned from a relaxing five days on Vancouver Island to discover that Jim Bartley reviewed Love Minus Zero in today's Globe and Mail, here:


Wow! Cool!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Herald interiew

Eric Volmers' interview with me ran in today's Calgary Herald. Wow, big honkin' article with photos and I made the banner on the front page! Here 'tis:


Thursday, March 12, 2009

What happened to February?

The pace has been a little frantic lately. Coming to the end of edits on Nothing Sacred, hope to be all done with that by the end of next week as we leave on the 22nd for a week in Bowser. Have started to get into things like back jacket copy -- thanks, Taylor! -- blurbs, etc. Also preparing my piece and working out some housekeeping details for the Writing in the Works event at Memorial Park Library on the evening of April 2.

Had an interview with Eric Volmers of The Calgary Herald on Tuesday; the piece is slated to run in Sundays Books section. I was very impressed at the amount of homework he'd done before we talked; he'd not only read the book, he'd also researched the Calgary punk scene and Oberon, and wanted to talk about Nothing Sacred (I keep typing 'scared') and my second novel which awaits a rewrite. Very nice experience, look forward to seeing the piece. Will post the link when I get it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's a small, sick world

Went to an all-day professional development workshop put on by The Writers' Union of Canada yesterday, with presentations by Genni Gunn, Wayne Grady and Deborah Windsor. It was nice to have a break from edits and meet some new people, get some new insights, talk about the process and so on. Very interesting indeed. It's always surprising to me what a small world the publishing world really is.

I am at this moment supposed to be at City Hall with Dan's Grade Four class, but Dan is ill today. He was very disappointed to have to stay home. But when he threw up in his breakfast, I had to put my foot down. What can you do?

Starting to rehearse my reading for the Writing in the Works 2 event at Memorial Park Library on April 2. By that time, I will have handed in my manuscript -- to someone, still not sure at this point if it will be my editor or the publisher. It seems far away at this point, but soon enough.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Writing in the Works 2

Last spring's Writing in the Works event was such a success we decided to give it another go. Our mandate is to feature works in progress and this year our slate of readers includes myself, Susan Calder Arnold, Inge Trueman, Naomi K. Lewis and Elaine Morin. We'll be reading at Memorial Park Library, lower level 1221 - 2 St. SW, at 7 PM on April 2nd. I haven't decided what I'm going to read at this point, probably one of the short stories from Nothing Sacred.

In other news, I continue to make progress on the edits for Nothing Sacred. We're just coming off of a six-day break from school (argh!) and when I get back to work tomorrow I'll have a look at the additional stories I just got back from my editor. She thinks we should go with three of the four that I sent her, which is fine with me.

Got a royalty statement -- and cheque -- from Oberon last week. Wow, wasn't expecting that. I didn't think I'd even make back my advance, particularly considering that the statement only covered up to the end of November and Love Minus Zero was only published end of October. That was heartening.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Carry on edits; reading, drinking, etc.

The editorial process on this new book is, so far, a much different experience than on Love Minus Zero. For one thing, I was working from a paper manuscript on that one. Just that felt quite different. However, things are coming along. I am nearing the end of the manuscript now with the first round of edits and await feedback on some additional material I sent the editor and for some development suggestions for some of the shorter pieces. Hope to get all this finished up before spring break, when we are in Bowser for a few days. Looking forward to that.

I was awed and humbled and inspired to hear Roberta Rees and Rona Altrows read at The Women's Centre on Tuesday. Their work is very different from each other's, nice contrast in style. The discussion afterwards was interesting, too, but sadly I had to leave to pick up the gents in the middle of things. Story of my life.

For some time my pals Inge, Susan, Leslie, Rona and I have been talking about reliving the glory of last spring's Writing in the Works event, a joint reading we all participated in. We are getting together for beers and wings (well, I don't eat wings, but I'll have a beer) to hash out our plans. I think it would be nice to have it before the spring books start coming out, around April, but I don't know how soon we can procure a venue and do promotion. Details will follow as we get them worked out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Edits, etc.

So I'm in the thick of edits on Nothing Sacred (which title we're sticking with, I think). My editor is sending me some development suggestions for some of the shorter pieces soon and right now I'm working on the marked up manuscript she sent. I also decided I'd like to replace a couple of the weaker pieces with some newer ones written since I submitted the manuscript to Thistledown in 2006. Some of these stories are close to ten years old and I'm relieved to see that my style has improved in the last ten years, so some of the older pieces I'm not so sure about. Anyway, I'm waiting for her opinion on that.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to see Rona Altrows and Roberta Rees read at a fundraiser at The Women's Centre. Haven't been to a reading in a while. It'll be nice.

Well, back to work.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here we go again

Have started now on edits for Nothing Sacred. It looks as though I have some work ahead of me, but nothing I can't get easily done by the end of March. Of course, it helps having done this last year, too; I have a better idea what's going to happen, and when. As much as you can in this business, anyway.

One mistake I made last year which I won't be repeating was sequestering myself from reality a little too much while I did the edits for Love Minus Zero. It was me and the manuscript, all alone and going crazy during the day, for those three dark winter months or so. This time, I'm keeping up my mending gig at the school library and have taken on a weekly reading project in Dan's class as well (some people could talk me into anything). Also making sure I get out for lunch / coffee dates at least once per week for the duration of this project. I have two lined up this week. It's all good, this getting out stuff.

Of course, tomorrow after spending the morning at school, I will tune in to the inauguration stuff on TV, at least for a little while. That'll be something to see.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 speeds past already!

Plunging headlong into this New Year, seems like it's going to be another crazy one. The holidays were spent doing the usual holiday things -- eating, drinking, visiting. It was very cold most of the time. We watched a lot of movies. My very talented friend Dallas gave me a framed photo she took in ye olden days of the National Hotel's neon sign. I love it! It's hanging in my office over my drawing table, which I have sworn to actually use this year (see below).

I'm rereading The Sun Also Rises right now, first read it when I was about seventeen. It's so good. I don't want it to end. Read lots of graphic stuff over the holidays, have The Best American Comics 2008 anthology which I'll get back to when I'm done Hemingway. Reading all these graphics made me wonder about reframing the second novel as a graphic. My drawing skills are very rusty, but my sister thinks I could get them up to speed. It's an idea I've been toying with a long time, years. Maybe I'm afraid to try, I don't know. I figure once I'm done the edits on the short story collection I can look into that.

Speaking of which, I have not yet started on the edits. But yesterday I got word that I have been conditionally approved for an Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant for my travel expenses for my tour. They're even giving me exactly what I asked for. Yay! I have to write up a report for them which is due February 1 and I need to get in touch with the writing program person at the AFA for some advice on what to include in this report. So that's going to keep me occupied for the next little while. I'll send my new editor an e-mail pretty soon, though, so we can get the ball rolling with edits.

Got back into the school library and did some mends this morning. That was good. I need to get out more, spend more time doing worthwhile stuff.

And right now I should get back to work.