Archive for January, 2008

Forgive me but…

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I had one of those moments this evening. It felt kind of what I imagine it must feel like for an independent recording artist to be innocently driving to work and then suddenly hearing their own song on the car radio. I took my younger son Ben to a movie and then afterwards, browsed through the massive two story Indigo bookstore next door to the theatre at Yonge and Eglinton here in Toronto. It’s one of my favourite bookstores and I’m in there often. As I usually do, I gravitated towards the “F” section in Fiction. I don’t head there because I expect to find TBLP on the shelves. In fact, the only bookstores that carry my novel are the ones I’ve approached and supplied with copies. But I can’t resist taking a look anyway, often just to see which F authors would be flanking TBLP if it ever made it to their shelves.

Well, when I got to the F’s, my song started up on the car radio. There were ten copies of TBLP (front cover facing out!) right there on the eye-level shelf.


It’s one thing to pop into a bookstore you’ve already supplied with copies of your book and see it there on the shelves. You expect to see it. It’s no real surprise when you do see it, although it is cool. It’s quite another to be browsing in Canada’s major book retailer and with no warning, literally stumble upon your own book sharing the shelves with real F authors. For a moment, I thought I was having a stroke.

I snagged a friendly Indigo employee and asked him to check when these copies arrived, because I certainly had nothing to do with them being in the store. (This is not the same Indigo store location that will be featuring TBLP in February for eight weeks as part of the Publisher’s Choice award.) He checked the system and informed me that they had arrived on January 19th, about a week ago. Who knew! I didn’t.

The Indigo staffer then asked me if I were the author. When I told him I was, he went straight to the F shelf, pulled down all ten copies and headed to the nearest flat surface. He had me autograph them all and then placed “signed by the author” stickers on each one before displaying eight copies of TBLP on the “New in Trade Paperback” table near the front of the Fiction section. He placed the other two copies back in the F’s, still front cover facing out.


My stroke symptoms abated but I confess I was still tingling when Ben and I paid for the two books I was buying (Will in the World, Stephen Greenblatt’s acclaimed Shakespeare biography, and Jonathan Tropper’s new novel How to Talk to a Widower), and floated out of the store. Well, I was floating, Ben was just walking, holding my hand to keep me grounded…

TBLP arrives in Hanoi

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Another country heard from as they say. Friend and fellow PR podcaster in Melbourne, Jon Hoel, recently visited Vietnam and took this shot in a Hanoi market. I must say it is simply surreal to see TBLP against such exotic backdrops. Thanks Jon!


Key political blogger reviews TBLP

Monday, January 14th, 2008

This past December, Jason Cherniak, a prominent political blogger who draws some 12,000 readers each week, reviewed TBLP. It’s a great review and I’m certainly grateful that Jason took the time to read the novel and provide such a thoughtful (and mercifully positive) assessment. Given Jason’s readership (in size and interest), his review likely hit my desired target audience for the book right in the bullseye. Jason was also kind enough to attend the Toronto launch. So don’t forget to check out his blog. If you’re into politics, you’ll be into his blog.

Parliament Hill Chapters displays TBLP

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

logo_chapters.jpg I noted in an earlier post that the great Chapters store (part of the Indigo empire in Canada) just off Parliament Hill in Ottawa is stocking TBLP. Well, I was in the nation’s capital yesterday for a client meeting and slipped over to the store to confirm that my humble novel is in fact available. It was quite a thrill to find 15 copies of TBLP not just available but on display in a prominent space under the banner “The World Needs More Canada.” Very, very cool.

TBLP on display at Indigo in February

Monday, January 7th, 2008

publishers-choice-logo.png One of the great benefits of earning the Publisher’s Choice designation through iUniverse is that TBLP will be showcased on a front table at a at least one Indigo store. I’ve now been given the information so I’m dutifully passing it on to you. Starting on February 19th, for two months, TBLP will be on display (and for sale of course!) at the Indigo store on the southeast corner of at Bay and Bloor, in the heart of Toronto’s shopping district. I’ll keep you posted and perhaps even take a photo when it all goes down later in February.

TBLP, a bullet train, and Mount Fuji…

Sunday, January 6th, 2008


My good friend and fellow podcaster, Jon Hoel, just sent me this shot of TBLP taken from his seat on a Japenese bullet train, with the famous Mount Fuji in the background. Another very exotic locale (at least my Toronto perspective) in which to see the novel. As always, thanks Jon.

Tag, I’m it… eight things about me…

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

My friend and fellow blogger and podcaster Donna Papacosta has tagged me to reveal eight things about myself that you may not know. I never say no to Donna, so here goes:

  1. I have an identical twin brother, Tim, who is eight minutes older than I. In the hustle and bustle of Toronto, where Tim also lives and works, we’re both daily approached by people who have confused one of us for the other. (You get used to it after so many years.) We’re still very close and play and coach hockey together.
  2. Despite my 20 years of public affairs/public relations consulting, I actually hold a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Though I’ve never practiced engineering, I use the methodological approach to problem-solving every day in my work with colleagues and clients.
  3. When I was 15, a friend and I designed and built a full-sized hovercraft. This experience helped push me towards engineering in university.terrys-hovercraft-cropped.jpg
  4. I’m an avid hockey fan (Go Leafs Go!) and still play and coach.
  5. In my university days, I played guitar in a rock ‘n roll band. The only point worth noting is that our lead singer, Andy Maize went on to co-found the still popular Canadian band “The Skydiggers.” I still play guitar and write songs and occasionally perform with my twin brother (piano) and now my older son Calder (bass).
  6. After graduating from McMaster University, where I was bitten by the political bug, I joined the full-time staff of the 1984 Jean Chretien Leadership Campaign (we lost) and then spent the next four years working on Parliament Hill (federal politics for any non-Canadian readers) and Queen’s Park (Ontario politics) as a political staffer for Liberal cabinet ministers.
  7. I’ve been an avid (at times obsessive) chess player for nearly 20 years and still play online as often as time permits.
  8. I published my first novel, The Best Laid Plans this past September combining various experiences and passions including politics, engineering, hovercrafts, and chess. I podcasted the entire novel chapter by chapter in 2007 and it’s available on this blog or through iTunes. You can read more about the novel on this blog.

There you have it. Eight things some of you may not have known about me.