Archive for March, 2010

TBLP is now available as an ebook!

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

I knew this was happening, but I didn’t think it would be done this fast. I’ve just discovered that TBLP will soon be available as an ebook in any one of the typical formats for smartphones or electronic readers. The McClelland & Stewart website and the Random House website now list TBLP as both a trade paperback, and an ebook. Welcome to reading in 2010. The choices are boundless. The High Road will be available in print or electronic form right out of the gate. So I’m pleased that ebook fans can also read TBLP on the device of their choice. However, while it’s nice to be listed as an ebook, I think it will take some time before all of the online ebook retailers actually list TBLP in their catalogues. So far, I can’t find TBLP in Amazon or KOBO or any of the others. So keep checking back, It’ll be there soon I expect.

Reading at the Elora Writers’ Festival

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

I’m already looking forward to this great event in early June. I’ve been invited to read at the Elora Writers’ Festival along with an amazing line-up of authors. I’m definitely punching above my weight class among these wonderful writers. I’ll be on the program with this year’s Giller winner, Linden MacIntyre, 1999 Giller winner Bonnie Burnard, Ray Robertson, Pasha Malla, and poet Barry Dempster. I’ve really come to like doing these readings and I always enjoy spending time with, and learning from, other, more experienced writers. So why not make the short drive west of Toronto to the picturesque town of Elora and attend the festival on the afternoon of June 6th? Elora has a long history of supporting the arts and I’m very pleased to have been invited.

Here’s the article from the Waterloo Record announcing the this year’s line-up.

Jessica Grant wins Canada Also Reads!

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

A great writer and a great book have won the first Canada Also Reads, organized by the National Post‘s Afterword blog. Jessica Grant and her fantastic novel Come Thou Tortoise won the crown in a walk.  It was wonderful being among the extraordinary list of finalists for Canada Also Reads and it gave me a chance to get reconnected with Andy Maize, the talented co-founder and singer/songwriter of the Skydiggers. Andy defended TBLP in an essay on The Afterword blog as part of the competition and then participated with the rest of the panelists and authors in an online chat. (Andy and I went to McMaster together and he was the lead singer in our band back then.) Then the people spoke. Votes were tallied online and Come Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant was the decisive winner, even though Jessica is not active in the online world. So while we are all plying the Twitter waters for votes and blogging about the competition, Jessica was quietly going about her business writing away on her next novel while her book was racking up the votes.  So you know Come Thou Tortoise is good! You can listen to Jessica on the National Posts Arts Podcast here.

My thanks to Brad Frenette and his colleagues at The Afterword for pulling Canada Also Reads Together. The goal of shining a light on some lesser-known works of Canadian fiction was clearly achieved. I’m also grateful for Andy Maize’s support and for so many of my online friends who voted and helped to spread the word. Thanks one and all.

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy blurbs The High Road

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I’m very fortunate. First, the great and hilarious writer Ian Ferguson blurbed The High Road. Now, my ball hockey teammate, the amazing, Juno-winning, Blue Rodeo-founding, singer/songwriter Jim Cuddy, offers a wonderful THR blurb of his own. As I said, I’m one lucky writer. Both Ian’s and Jim’s contributions will appear somewhere on, or in, The High Road when it’s published in early September, 2010.

Here’s what Jim kindly wrote:

  • “It is a giant talent that can elicit so much fun from the dour world of backroom Canadian politics. Battling egos, smear campaigns, vigilante seniors and a dipsomaniac First Lady make for quite a romp up and down the Hill. MP Professor Angus McLintock, the never bending, free-thinking Scot, is the perfect foil for all that is inflated in the world of policy and polling. Doing battle with the prigs and prats that rule the halls of power has never been more enjoyable since…well, since The Best Laid Plans. Thought provoking and funny, here’s hoping there are more installments to come.”

Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo

And just to pre-empt any doubters that I play ball hockey, let alone with Jim Cuddy backing me up on the blue line, here’s our team photo.
That’s Jim in the back row in the middle. I’m on one knee, probably still gasping for air, to the right of the goalie. The other guy on the left of the goalie, who looks a little like me, okay, a lot like me, is my twin brother Tim.

New author photo for The High Road… uh boy…

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

There seems to be no end of little details to address as the new novel makes its way to publication in September. Today, after procrastinating for weeks, I was finally forced to undergo that often humiliating experience, at least for me, of having my photo taken. I need a new shot for the back of The High Road. Just to put it out there, I take terrible pictures. When I see myself in photographs, the words “Do I actually look like this?” often spring to my lips, in the faint hope that I’ll be told “No, no, no, this doesn’t look like you at all.” Yeah right. Anyway, my twin brother Tim is a great photographer, even when I am the subject. He took the photo that adorns the back of The Best Laid Plans and came over recently with his Canon camera to do the deed. After snapping about 2,300 shots in our backyard (okay, I’m kidding– sort of) and then working his magic in photoshop, we’ve finally decided on the author photo for The High Road. For what it’s worth, here’s the head shot that will appear on the back cover. Don’t ask me if I actually look like this. I really have no idea.

Photo by Tim Fallis

The great Ian Ferguson “blurbs” The High Road

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Ian Ferguson is wonderful writer and a very funny guy. I read his Leacock-winning book, Village of the Small Houses, some years ago, so I was thrilled to meet Ian at last year’s Leacock Luncheon. What a great guy. We’ve maintained contact via email and Facebook ever since. In a cool twist, Ian’s book and TBLP later shared 10th place on the CBC Book Club’s top Ten Books to Make You Laugh list last April.

When it came time to invite prominent Canadians to read the manuscript of The High Road and provide what they call in the publishing biz, “blurbs,” I thought of approaching Ian. He could not have been more gracious and readily agreed.

I was a little nervous when I knew the manuscript was in his hands. But he knocked me for a loop earlier this week when his official “blurb” arrived. Here’s what he wrote:

  • “In a perfect world, the federal government would establish a Ministry of Humour and put Terry Fallis in charge of that department.  THE HIGH ROAD is brilliantly written and hysterically funny.  You are cautioned not to attempt to read it in a public setting, since you will laugh – audibly - to a disturbing degree and many people will find this annoying.  Trust me on this.  And if you, like myself, enjoy reading in bed, be prepared for spousal banishment.  Apparently loud bursts of laughter make it difficult for your bed partner to fall asleep.  Who knew, eh?  Worth it, though.  Terry Fallis manages to top his first novel THE BEST LAID PLANS with this relentlessly enjoyable follow-up.  No small feat, since the original won the Stephen Leacock Medal .  Do yourself a favour and pick up this book, find a quiet place to read it, and enjoy…you will laugh out loud on almost every single page.”
Ian Ferguson author of VILLAGE OF THE SMALL HOUSES
How cool is that? Douglas Gibson and the team at McClelland & Stewart will likely use a portion of it to appear on the back cover of The High Road. The early suggestion is:
  • “In a perfect world, the federal government would establish a Ministry of Humour and put Terry Fallis in charge of that department.  THE HIGH ROAD is brilliantly written and hysterically funny. You will laugh out loud on almost every single page.”

Ian Ferguson author of VILLAGE OF THE SMALL HOUSES

I had to sit down after reading Ian’s kind words. I’m humbled and honoured that he would be so supportive. Here’s a shot of Ian and me at last year’s Leacock Luncheon in Orillia.

Voting for Canada Also Reads opens! So VOTE!

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Vote early and vote often. But seriously, if you have a moment, head over to Canada Also Reads and register your vote. The polls are open until March 12th at 1:00. The winner will be announced on Monday, March 15th. Consider this to be part of your obligation as Canadians! Canlit needs your support!

Enjoyed Toronto Premiere of Robertson Davies Play

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

As I’ve noted several times already in this space, Robertson Davies is one of my literary heroes. His novels were among the first to show me that literary prose, compelling stories, and deeply developed characters could coexist with a heaping helping of humour. John Irving also helped enlighten me on that score. That Robertson Davies and I appear together on the list of Leacock Medal Winners (he in 1955, for Leaven of Malice) still sends a tremor through me when I think of it. In December 1995, shortly after his death, my wife and I attended Robertson Davies’ memorial service in Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto. It was the first time I’d ever laid eyes on Douglas Gibson, Davies’ longtime editor, and miraculously, now mine. Last night, some 14 years later, my wife and I attended Robertson Davies: The Peeled I at the wonderful Hart House Theatre, just across the quadrangle from Convocation Hall. It was a one man show featuring Reed Needles as RD. He bears a striking resemblance to the great writer. We thoroughly enjoyed the play. It only runs for a couple days, so if you’re a Davies fan and are anywhere near Toronto, check it out.

Here’s the photo of Robertson Davies that hangs in our third floor library, supervising my writing. Whenever I hit a dry spell or am struggling with a sentence, I look up at this photo for inspiration. Then I get back at it…

Canada Also Reads TBLP essay by Andy Maize

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The essays in defence of the Canada Also Reads shortlisted books started yesterday. Two essays each day are posted on the National Post‘s Afterword blog. This afternoon, Andy Maize’s defence of The Best Laid Plans appeared. Andy Maize, co-founder and lead singer/songwriter with The Skydiggers has written a wonderful piece in support of TBLP. I love it and I’m grateful for the time, thought and care Andy clearly took in composing his essay. But it’s not over yet. On Monday, March 8th, starting a 1:00 p.m., the National Post and Afterword blog will host an online chat with all of the panelists and authors. Should be fun. Then, Canadians will be able to vote online for the Canada Also Reads winner. Here’s hoping all of you loyal readers of this humble blog will cast your vote for TBLP when the time comes.