Archive for November, 2009

A reading for the party faithful…

Friday, November 27th, 2009

On Monday evening, December 7th, I’ll be travelling to Dundas, Ontario, just outside of Hamilton, to give a talk and reading to a group of Liberals. Hamilton is my old university stomping ground so I’m really looking forward to going back. My friends at the wonderful local bookstore,  Bryan Prince Bookseller, will be on hand to peddle copies of TBLP. My pen will be uncapped and ready to inscribe.

The event is to celebrate the contributions made by members of the Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Federal Liberal Association and I’m delighted to be a part of it. The kind organizers have even put together a flyer to promote the event, featuring a generously overblown description of my political career. In reality, and even through the rose-coloured glasses of hindsight, my formal stint in politics was neither “long” nor “storied.” It was a blast, and certainly shaped my future. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. But I was never really a “player” in the Liberal corridors of power. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled to have been invited. Secure in the knowledge that I’ll be among the party faithful, I may read some of the more partisan sections of TBLP! I’ll report on the event afterwards.

Dundas Liberal event

Bookseller has enlightened digital view

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Mark (Leslie) Lefebvre is a writer, blogger, booklover, and a bigwig at the McMaster University Bookstore. I met him first more than two years ago when he kindly organized a book launch event at the store for TBLP. We’ve stayed in touch ever since. He’s a smart guy with a very enlightened view of the digital revolution in publishing. In his view, and mine, e-books and electronic readers don’t  mean the sky is falling. In fact, he argues that opportunities abound. Check out his thoughtful piece in The Mark. There’s also an nicely put-together audio segment where you can hear some of Mark’s views in his own words and voice (including a generous plug for TBLP!).

Mark Lefebvre piece in Mark

Stephen King and David Cronenberg

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

On Thursday night, I took my younger son to the beautiful Canon Theatre to see a rare public appearance by the prolific Stephen King. (Check out the brief clip someone has loaded up to YouTube.) He was interviewed on stage by David Cronenberg, acclaimed Canadian film director who brought King’s The Dead Zone to the big screen back in 1983. The place was just packed. Ben and I trekked to our seats in the very back row of the uppermost balcony. We were so far away from the stage that I worried about not having our passports with us. More 2,200 King fans filled the theatre, and they were not disappointed.

I’ve only read one of Kings’s fictional works, The Stand. I liked it when I chewed through it in 1979 but I’m not really set up for horror and apocalypse. But I recently read his wonderful memoir called On Writing. I learned of the book from hearing many other writers sing its praises on various author podcasts. I loved it, and found it inspiring.

After George Stroumboulopoulos introduced him, King seemed startled by the enormous crowd. The first words out of his mouth as he stood at centre stage and gaped at the audience, were “Holy Shit!” He claimed it was the largest audience he’d ever addressed at a book event. King started by reading from his new novel, Under the Dome. Then David Cronenberg joined him in easy chairs for an on stage discussion of King’s work and their experiences together. I enjoyed the event and tweeted a few times about it.

Stephen King Twitter comments

Breakfast with the WCDR

Sunday, November 15th, 2009


Quite some time ago, I was invited to address a breakfast meeting of the The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region (WCDR). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed virtually all of the 50 or 60 talks/readings/signings I’ve done since the Leacock shock some 19 months ago, but I particularly look forward to speaking to groups of writers. Yesterday in Whitby with the WCDR was just such an occasion.

Over 120 writers came to breakfast at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. As I said in the opening of my talk, I was feeling quite chuffed at the turnout, but after tasting the amazing croissants served, I quickly recognized what had drawn such a large early morning crowd. It was wonderful to be in the midst of such passionate and dedicated writers. I’m still learning to wear the “writer” label but I certainly felt a kinship with the members of the WCDR. What a rich and supportive community they’ve created. There is so much going on in this group, from poetry circles and writing workshops, to book club readings and a scholarship/grants program. I was blown away by what this organization has achieved.

I had a great time and my talk seemed to go well, even though I yakked over my time limit. My thanks to Ruth Walker and Sue Reynolds for the invitation, not to mention the support of Shelley Macbeth of Blue Heron Books. I’m thrilled to be running a workshop at the Ontario Writers’ Conference in May (an annual event initially organized by WCDR) and look forward to reconnecting then with the many writers I met yesterday. Thanks everyone and keep writing…

Yes, I’m on Twitter too…

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Twitter logo

I’ve been on Twitter now for several months but am not as frequent a “tweeter” as I’d like to be. If you’re on Twitter, and you suffer with insomnia, you’re certainly welcome to follow me (@TerryFallis). I use Twitter to comment on various and sundry topics related to my day job in public relations and my writing life. I tend to tweet more about my writing on evenings and weekends, when I’m more apt to be hunched over the keyboard. During the week, you’re more likely to find my tweets connected to public relations. I also Tweet on the Inside PR twitter account (@Inside_PR), related to our weekly public relations podcast, Inside PR. Twitter is a very cool tool for staying connected with people you’re interested in. I follow several authors including Stephen Fry (along with about a million other followers!) and other book-related Twitter streams like the Globe and Mail books section (@Globebooks). So why not join the Twitterati?

Twitter bird

Thanks Thornbury!

Friday, November 13th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I drove up to Thornbury, Ontario, near Collingwood, to do a Sunday talk and reading at the wonderful Blue Mountains Public Library. It was a glorious autumn day and the drive up was very relaxing. A great crowd turned up and we all had lovely time — at least I did, and I hope those who came enjoyed it too. I did my customary talk, loosely entitled “My Unorthodox Journey to the Published Land,” read a few sections of TBLP, and then fielded questions. The formal part of the program was all over in about an hour. Dennis and Joan Jackal, proprietors of the excellent Jessica’s Book Nook bookstore in downtown Thornbury, organized the event. Dennis was on-site to sell copies of TBLP so I spent some time inscribing copies to those in the audience who purchased them. As I know I’ve said before, speaking to readers is one of the great joys of this odyssey. My thanks to Dennis and Joan, and the staff of the library who made this a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Thornbury Reading 091101

McMaster’s Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Mac logo

I’ve just stumbled upon a fascinating resource for anyone interested in the history of publishing in Canada. Created at McMaster University, my beloved alma mater, Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing is a web-based cornucopia of information, letters, essays, articles, photographs, and audio recordings about publishing in Canada. There are nearly 100 interesting case studies in the following different categories:

It really is a must-visit site if you’re interested in the world of publishing in Canada. My own editor Douglas Gibson figures prominently, and there are even scans of letters he’s sent off to one of his treasured authors, Alice Munro and a letter he received from another of his authors, the late, great Robertson Davies, one of my literary heroes. Doug had mentioned to me that he’d donated his papers to McMaster and clearly they are being put to good use.

In my travels within the site, I even found an article about Helen Humphreys by Kiley Kapuscinski that discusses her travails finding a publisher. Stephen Leacock‘s self-published but very successful 1910 book, Literary Lapses, was cited as an historical example of good works being overlooked by the publishers of the day. Then, I was quite surprised to find that I am actually mentioned in the article as a modern example of a writer who had faced challenges breaking in to the publishing world. I had no idea. Very cool. Here’s the brief excerpt:

McMaster Publishing Study graphic

Manuscript has been submitted…

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

manuscript image

Last weekend, I finished polishing the manuscript of The High Road, the sequel to TBLP. It felt very good to close the document and send it off to my agent Beverley Slopen. My wonderful editor/publisher Douglas Gibson at McClelland & Stewart still has to read the second half of the novel and I’m sure he’ll have some edits and suggestions as he did on the first half. So the process is not yet complete, but we’re getting closer. Provided he has no major issues with how the story unfolds, (and I suppose he might), we’re really in the home stretch now.

Believe it or not, I was actually jotting down notes today for my third novel. I think I’ll be taking a break from Angus and Daniel for the next book. An idea is steeping and fermenting in my head. It needs to rattle around for a while yet but there’s something there. Thinking, thinking, thinking…


…thinking, thinking, thinking…