Friday, December 28, 2012

Still in the Punk

For those who haven't seen it, here's a link to Still in the Punk, a documentary made by Sheryl Orr  in 2006 about women in the old school Calgary punk scene, featuring me, Nicole McCreary Cowell and Leanne Betzler. The book I'm talking about is what later became Love Minus Zero. Wow, hard to believe the film was made that long ago.

Tomorrow, I'll be having lunch with members of the Virgins / Strangeloves, and sharing some holiday cheer with them. Have done very little thinking about writing or teaching in the last week, which is excellent.

So all best wishes to all of you in 2013. Here's to a good year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing (Besides the Apocalypse)

My friend and Writing in the Works colleague Susan Calder invited me to participate in this blog tag. Over at Susan's blog, you can read her take on her current work-in-progress. Here is mine:

Q. What is the working title of your book?

My new novel is called After You’ve Gone, which is also the name of a jazz standard first recorded in 1918. Set in Regina and Seattle, it’s the story of two generations of musicians, a jazz grandmother and a punk granddaughter, who each struggle with balancing life, love and art in their respective eras, and discover how much they have in common.  The two women’s stories are told concurrently, until they converge at the end.

Q. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Partly it was just my love of jazz. I knew I’d want to write about a jazz musician at some point. Partly it was inspired by my grandparents, who lived in Regina and were both musically inclined, although neither of them ever played music professionally. My grandmother had a steel-bodied resonator-type guitar – I don’t think it could have been a National, but I’m not sure -- which she played in the 30’s and I which remember seeing in her basement when I was little. Sadly, it was sold at a garage sale after she died. I’ve kind of been haunted by that guitar for a long time, and thinking about it got me writing this novel.

Q. What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction.

Q. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

With a lot of interruptions, about three years. I had many more interruptions while my first two books,  Love Minus Zero (Oberon 2008) and Nothing Sacred (Thistledown 2009) were being published, but managed to rewrite and polish it into finished form last year. It’s currently under consideration and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Potentially Last Post Before the Apocalypse

If the Mayans were right, I really am wasting my time doing all this Christmas shopping. On the other hand, I don't want to wake up on Dec. 22 and have to do it all in two days. I'm assuming they were wrong, of course. Because all this stuff is coming up after that.

Such as, starting January 15, Tuesday night Creative Writing classes, Level 1 (January - February) and Level 2 (March - April) at Mount Royal University. Check out what my lovely Fall term students gave me:

Like I said before, we have fun in my classes.

Next up: I'm taking part in a  panel at Calgary Public Library's Writers' Weekend, Saturday, February 2 in the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library. Scroll down to page 27 in the program guide for details on this full day of free writing presentations.

Writing in the Works Spring 2013 is set for April 11 at 7 PM at Memorial Park Library, featuring readings by Ken Cameron, myself, Steve Passey, Roberta Rees and Inge Trueman, and emceed by Susan Calder. Always a good time.

Looking a little further down the road, my residency with the Alexandra Writers Centre Society is slated for May and June 2013. Details will be posted...soon. I'll be doing workshops and (free) manuscript consultations, so come on down and show me your stuff! It's a great opportunity.

Over and out for now. See you on December 22!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Wow, that whole fall just went by in a blur. I guess it's technically still fall, but we've had winter here in the town of cows for a good month now. All that yardwork I put off doing is now covered in snow, although a Chinook the last few days is turning it into ice. Ah, well. Next year.

So Writing in the Works was very awesome. Thanks again to Michael and staff at Owl's Nest Books for hosting us, and to Long & McQuade for the truly awesome P.A., which we needed very much, due to the standing room only crowd that showed up. Very nice. Our next event will be April 11, 2013 at Memorial Park Library with readings from myself, Inge Trueman, Steve Passey, Ken Cameron and Roberta Rees. Should be a great evening!

I've been very busy with Creative Writing Level 1 (x two classes) and Level 2 at MRU this fall. Too busy. But in Winter term I'm teaching one of each level only, so that should help. Check out MRU's fine continuing ed Creative Writing courses -- we do have a good time!

In the meantime, sneaking in writing whenever I can. Huh, maybe I should take a course while I'm at it...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing in the Works Fall 2012 -- Tonight Only!

We at Writing in the Works are so ready for this event! We have our readings down. We have our intros and patter ready. We have gorgeous outfits picked out. We have PA equipment.  We have wine, chocolate and sundry other snacks. And we are most happy to be hosted by our friend Michael and his wonderful staff at Owl's Nest Books, 815A - 49 Ave SW in the Brittania Shopping Plaza in snowy SW Calgary.

Now, all we need is an audience of appreciative readers to show up. I'm sure that will be no problem. After all, this town is Canada's Cultural Capital for 2012, right? AND home to the winner of this year's Giller Prize! Looking forward to an enjoyable evening.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Writing in the Works; "Jam"

Thanks to Elaine and Maria for the most excellent poster! Our first foray into fall readings is coming up November 1. Looking forward to a great evening. Come on out and enjoy!

Also, my poem "Jam" is in the Sept. 2012 issue of The Legendary. Click on my name to read it, if you care to.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

We Should Know Each Other

I'm reading at the We Should Know Each Other event on Saturday, Sept. 29th. Here's the description:

Pages is presenting Calgary writers you should know. Poetess goddess Jen Kunlire, followed by the Alexandra Writers Centre's writer-in-residence, Lori Hahnel; the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program writer-in-residence, Deborah Willis; and local visionary, and newly Green Party candidate for Calgary Centre, Chris Turner. We start at 7:30 pm in room 206.

That's at King Edward School, at 1720 30 Ave SW. We Should Know Each Other is a day long event featuring all kinds of people active in the community, from artists to historians. Should be very interesting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Writing in the Works Fall 2012

The Writing in the Works committee has decided this year to add a fall reading to our roster to provide more reading opportunities for local writers. To wit:

Writing in the Works Fall 2012

November 1, 2012, 7 PM
Owl’s Nest Books, Brittania Shopping Centre, 815A – 49 Ave. SW, Calgary

Since 2008, Calgary’s Writing in the Works reading series has been celebrating the
writing process and showcasing works in progress by local writers,
presenting readings from books in progress, books coming out soon, and books on the prowl for publishers. This season’s readers are Dwayne Clayden, Allan Gallant, Shaun Hunter, Sarah Johnson and Elaine Morin, emceed by Lori Hahnel. Join us for an evening of readings and refreshments.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brennan launch; Lewis launch; Perfect Youth

If it's September, it must be time for Brian Brennan to have another launch, right? Right, indeed, and that's just what he'll be doing this Saturday at 2 PM at Memorial Park Library, this time in celebration of the beginning of his tenure as CPL's 2012 writer-in-residence. CPL runs an excellent writer-in-residence program in the fall; you can take advantage of free writing programs led by Brian and submit work to him for a consultation -- and it's all free. Looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Next weekend is the launch of my friend and colleague Naomi K. Lewis's new book of short fiction entitled I Know Who You Remind Me Of. That starts up at 2 PM, Saturday, Sept. 15 at Shelf Life Books, 1302 - 4 St. SW. All the best with your new book, Naomi!

Sam Sutherland's new book on Canada's old school punk scene, Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk, will be released by ECW Press on October 1. Yay! Looking forward to seeing what exactly it was I said to Sam way back when he interviewed me. It looks to be an excellent book.

And Tuesday, it's back to work for me. Sign up for a creative writing class at MRU -- we have a lot of fun!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prairie Journal

Very pleased to get an acceptance today from The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature. My story, "Good Friday, at the Westward" will be appearing in The Prairie Journal's Alberta Muses issue, which I believe is out in September. Yay! They published a story of mine several years ago and it's great to be back on their pages.

Summer is coming to a close. I've been working on more stories, noodling around with a vague idea for a new novel, and getting ready for my creative writing classes at Mount Royal University. And then this year we're going to do two sessions of Writing in the Works -- one on Nov. 1 and one in the spring. Looking forward to a busy fall.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Jam"; Noir; Bowser

My poem "Jam" is set to appear in the August edition of the online journal, The Legendary. Cool! I'll post a link to it when it's up.

Last week's Stampede Noir reading was a super time (as well as being the one and only Stampede-related event that I attended). Excellent readings by Beth Everest, Sarah Johnson, Micheline Maylor, Natalie Meisner and Rea Taryvdas. Looking forward to a launch when the book gets a publisher.

Working on a new story right now and hope to get a reasonable first draft done by the end of this week, because it's time for us to head to Bowser. Looking forward to the ocean. And I guess that means I'd better get to work...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stampede Noir

Next Wednesday at 7 PM Owl's Nest Books is hosting readings from Stampede Noir. Here's the description:

It’s Calgary’s famous party, and it’s definitely the biggest, the wildest. But what about the underbelly?

Beth Everest, Sarah Johnson, Micheline Maylor, Natalie Meisner, and Rea Tarvydas share their noir stylings from this as yet unpublished anthology.

Beer and snacks provided.

Sounds like fun, eh? I will be there enjoying. Owl's Nest is at 815A 49th Ave. SW in the Brittania Shopping Plaza. Should be an excellent evening.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Blood Eagle"; Bloody freezing

My poem "Blood Eagle" appears on page 176 of the Winter / Summer 2012 issue of Poetry Quarterly Magazine. Click on the "Expand" button and navigate to 176 at the bottom. Thanks to the editors at PQ!

So here we are at the end of June, the the big 11 degrees and pouring. Though I understand some of this country is still experiencing a heat wave. They say we're warming up starting tomorrow. I hope so.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thanks, thanks; Yeeehaaaw!

Yes, there I am at last weekend's Writers Guild of Alberta conference at Hotel Arts in Calgary, schmoozing it up and having a lot of fun. Good to see old friends and make new ones, join in some interesting discussions and celebrate writers and writing in Alberta.  Thanks to WGA staff and board members for a memorable weekend.

Thanks also to Susan Toy of Alberta Books Canada for the Friday Reads shout out featuring myself and Anne Sorbie, here. Susan is a dedicated supporter of Alberta books and authors through her business. And we do appreciate the support!

Next up: a reading from the Stampede Noir anthology at Owl's Nest Books on July 11th. More details to follow!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WGA Conference

My Life Into Story workshop went really well on May 26th. We had a good group and some interesting discussions. Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks to Robin with the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society for all your help!

Looking forward to this year's Writers Guild of Alberta Conference, this weekend at Hotel Arts and Memorial Park Library. Looks like there's a great lineup of presenters and events, and of course, the awards gala. Should be an excellent weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life Into Story; WGA Shortlist Readings; Brennan Launch

Coming up on Saturday, May 26 is my one-day workshop at the Alexandra Writers Centre, Life Into Story. Here's the description:

Got a great story idea inspired by real life events but not sure how or where or why to begin writing it? In this workshop we’ll explore characters, plots and settings derived from real life. We’ll also consider how closely fiction should resemble real life, and whether some ideas are better suited to fiction or creative nonfiction.

Sounds great, eh? Contact AWCS for more information.

Tomorrow night at 7 PM I'm attending the Writers Guild of Alberta Literary Awards Shortlist Readings at The Rose & Crown pub on 4th St SW. Looking forward to sharing the excitement!

And then on Thursday I'm going to the launch of Brian Brennan's new book, The Calgary Public Library: Inspiring Life Stories Since 1912. As a former long-time CPL employee, I'm looking forward to reading the book.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

School's out; AWCS residency

Barb Howard's launch for Western Taxidermy last week was a great time. Readings, music, food -- what's not to like? Music and food were also involved in Mark Anthony Jarman's reading Monday night at Shelf Life books. Grand time, as were beers afterwards. Shelf Life has been hosting plenty of great events lately -- check them out if you haven't already!

Last night was the last class of the creative writing courses I've been teaching at Mount Royal University since last September. It's been great -- met a lot of writers, and I hope I had some useful information for at least some of them. The wine and cheese last night was a nice touch -- thanks, Katherine! And thanks, all of you CW 2 Winter 2012 folks for being such dedicated writers. I'm looking forward to doing it all again this coming September.

Finally, I am now able to announce that I am pleased to be serving as 2013 Writer-in-Residence for the Alexandra Writers' Centre Society. This will be happening some time next spring, for a two-month term. The details have yet to be fully worked out, but I am very much looking forward to working for AWCS and to meeting and talking to more writers. Cool!

Now -- back to writing.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Life Into Story; Barb Howard launch; Mark Jarman reading

It may be a snowy day here in Calgary today, but I'm pretty sure the weather will be much better on May 26th, when I'm teaching a one-day workshop Life Into Story at the Alexandra Writers Centre, 922 - 9 Ave. SE in beautiful Inglewood, a mere stone's throw away from ye olde National Hotel. Register now as space is limited!

In the meantime, on Wednesday April 25th Barb Howard launches her new collection of short fiction Western Taxidermy, at Cantos Music Foundation, 134- 11 Ave SE at 7 PM. Should be a great evening!

And a few days after that, on April 30th at 7PM Mark Anthony Jarman is taking part in a reading called Eastern Vagabonds at Shelf Life Books, 1302 - 4 St. SW. Sounds crazy! Looking forward to hearing Mark read again.

Canada's 2012 Cultural Capitol -- there's never a dull moment here!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cowgirls; Spring Break; Western Taxidermy

The Cowgirls event at Shelf Life was a whole lot of fun! Thanks to JoAnn and Shelf Life for hosting; to Betty for getting the whole thing rolling; and to Nerys Parry for the shout out at her blog. Nerys read from her book Man and Other Natural Disasters, Lee Kvern read from her latest novel, The Matter of Sylvie, Betty Jane Hegerat read from The Boy, and Barb Howard read from her brand new book Western Taxidermy, a short story collection. I read from my short story, "She Died With Her Boots On", part of Stampede Noir, a collection of noir fiction by Calgary writers that has a connection with the Calgary Stampede. It's currently seeking a publisher -- contact me if you're interested in more details.

Next up -- writing short stories, teaching, percolating a new novel idea. Waiting, as usual. Spring break for the gents, in which we will hopefully finish most of our new kitchen and have an overnighter in Banff. I am enjoying being on holiday.

The launch for Barb's new Western Taxidermy is set for April 25th at Cantos Music Foundation. More details later. Looking forward!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Writing in the Works 5 Rocks; Cowgirls

Our fifth annual presentation of Writing in the Works was a success once again, as well as being a whole lot of fun! And there's this year's lineup of readers: L - R, Jane Cawthorne, Robin van Eck, myself, Rita Bozi, Rea Tarvydas and our emcee Rona Altrows. Thanks to Elaine, Scott, Inge, Susan, Naomi and Leslie for their hard work, to Memorial Park Library, Owl's Nest Books, and our fantastic audience. I think a splendid time was had by all.

Next up: When Cowgirls Get the Blues at Shelf Life Books, 1302 - 4 St SW, this Thursday, the Ides of March, at 7 PM. Another five reader event featuring me, Betty Jane Hegerat, Barb Howard, Lee Kvern and Nerys Parry. Thinking it's going to be loads of fun. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nothing Sacred review

Many thanks to Andrea Ledding, whose review of Nothing Sacred appears on the Saskatchewan Publishers Group website. A friend of mine commented on how well written the review is, and I agree. So nice -- it's not easy to get press in these times.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Leap Night Open Mic; Groundhog Day; Upcoming

I'm heading out to the special Feb. 29 edition of the Alexandra Writers' Open Mic Night. That starts up at 7 PM at Owl's Nest Books, located in the lovely Brittania Shopping Plaza at 815A 49 Ave. SW. Readings, refreshments, fun, all that sort of thing. And if you're one of those people who like books, it so happens Owl's Nest has those, too. Plus I understand there's some talk of beer involved.

And yeah, Groundhog Day. What's up with that, Lori, you're thinking. Wasn't that like a month ago? It was indeed. I refer to Groundhog Day the movie, wherein the characters are doomed to live out the same day over and over and over again. I feel like my novel-in-waiting is in a bit of a Groundhog Day thing, here. But soon enough, something will have to happen, I suppose.

Up next: Writing in the Works 5, at 1:30 PM Saturday, March 10 at Memorial Park Library, 1221 - 2 St. SW. This year's lineup of readers is Rea Tarvydas, Robin van Eck, myself, Jane Cawthorne and Rita Bozi; hosted by Rona Altrows. Always a good time!

And then another multi-reader event the evening of March 15: When Cowgirls get the Blues, 7 PM at Shelf Life Books, 1302 - 4 St. SW. Readings that night from me, Lee Kvern, Betty Jane Hegerat, Barb Howard and Nerys Parry. There will also be wine and some of Lee's famous and suggestive cupcakes. Yee-haw!

Well, back to work. Hope to see you at an event!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Writing in the Works 5; When Cowgirls Get the Blues

The FreeFall Magazine launch was a most excellent time! Big crowd, big readings, lots of laughs and wine and cheese. Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks also to Owl's Nest for hosting, and Micheline and Lynn for organizing.

Coming up next are a couple of readings I'm taking part in next month. Writing in the Works 5 is Saturday, March 10, 1:30 PM, at Memorial Park Library, 1221 - 2 St SW. Here's the press release:

Back for a fifth year of luscious literary samplings, Writing in the Works, Memorial Park Library, and emcee Rona Altrows are proud to present Calgary writers Rea Tarvydas, Robin van Eck, Lori Hahnel, Jane Cawthorne, and Rita Bozi reading from books in progress, books coming out soon, and books on the prowl for publishers.

Writing in the Works was created by Rona Altrows and Lori Hahnel in 2008 to celebrate the 
writing process and showcase works in progress by local writers.

Right after that is an event I'm doing the evening of March 15th at Shelf Life Books, When Cowgirls Get the Blues, poster below. Cool! Looking forward to both these readings very much.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FreeFall launch; Freezing

I'm going to be reading at the launch of the latest issue of FreeFall (Winter 2012), in which I have a piece of creative nonfiction. Other readers include Juleta Severson-Baker, Barbara Parker and Naomi Lewis. That's 7 PM, Thursday, February 2 at Owl's Nest Books located at 815 49th Ave SW in Britannia Shopping Plaza. Good readings, good company, and wine and cheese! Come on out and enjoy.

Well, I suppose I can't let this ridiculously cold weather pass by without some comment. Especially now that I'm recovered from falling on my head on some ice last week. I mean, the temperature's been hanging around -29 all day. Really. I wish I was back in California. Maybe I'll have to set my next book there.

Over and out for now. Stay warm.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

End of 2011; Here's 2012 already

There's crazy, sleazy, wonderful Hollywood Boulevard on December 30th. Yeah, hard to believe with the snow swirling outside my window, that I was there a mere eleven days ago.  We had a great time in Hollywood, Santa Monica, La Jolla and San Diego, though I have to say it didn't really seem all that much like Xmas. And now it's all beginning to seem like a long time ago.

So 2012 is in full swing already. Tonight it's back at my Creative Writing courses at Mount Royal University. I have non-fiction pieces out in the January / February edition of WestWord and the Winter 2012 edition of FreeFall. I'm looking ahead to a couple of readings in March -- one is Writing in the Works 5 and the other is a multi-author event at Shelf Life Books, more about which later. And I await word on my new novel.

Keeping the fingers crossed, as usual. Here's to a good 2012!