Archive for September, 2010

Registration open for U of T course I’m teaching

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

In November, I’ll be teaching a four session night school course through the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. The course is for writers, published or not, who are looking to build an audience for their writing. We’ll be covering a range of  emerging techniques including blogging, podcasting, YouTube, Twitter, readings etc., etc. Registration is now open for the course so if you know anyone who might be interested, pass the link along. Enrollment is limited, so don’t wait too long to check it out and sign up.

Winnipeg Free Press reviews THR (Wow!)

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Reading reviews is often a heart-wrenching, stomach-turning exercise that can leave you elated, enraged, or any point in between. I’m happy to report that I’m squarely in the “elated” category after reading the Winnipeg Free Press review of The High Road that ran this past weekend. One line in particular is already etched in stone in my memory:

“In The Best Laid Plans, the Toronto-based former Liberal Party strategist introduced us to a new brand of political satire– the most irreverent, sophisticated, and engaging CanLit has seen since Stephen Leacock.”

Wow. I’m bowled over and grateful. Here’s the review:

The High Road: Chapter 18

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

This week, Chapter 18, courtesy of McClelland & Stewart. In this episode, Angus takes his case to the Liberal Caucus, then the Governor General reads the Speech from the Throne.

The music that opens each episode of the podcast is Game Day, by Jon Schmidt, and is available at Music Alley. The voiceover at the beginning belongs to my friend, Roger Dey.

The High Road: Chapter 17

Friday, September 17th, 2010

This week Chapter 17, courtesy of McClelland & Stewart as Angus and Daniel host the most powerful couple in the world. Things don’t quite unfold exactly as planned… but what else is new?

The music that opens each episode is Game Day, by Jon Schmidt, and is available through Music Alley. The voiceover at the beginning is my friend, Roger Dey.

I work with wonderful people…

Friday, September 17th, 2010

When I arrived in the office this morning, I had a sense something was up. Eventually, I was summoned to our lunch area and was greeted with the sight of the most amazing cake I have ever seen. A reproduction of the cover of my new novel in cake form. I have no idea how Caralin, the cake creator and fiancee to former colleague and good friend Dave Fleet, managed to pull off this culinary miracle. I’m awestruck at the creativity and deeply grateful for the wonderful people I spend my days with in the Toronto office of Thornley Fallis. Thanks for a wonderful morning surprise. Digging into my own chocolate cake was a great way to start my Friday, although it seemed a crime to bring a knife anywhere near this masterpiece.

A great time in Thunder Bay

Monday, September 13th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Thunder Bay to participate in the Sleeping Giant Writers Festival. I did a reading (from The High Road!) on the Friday night along with my editor/publisher Doug Gibson, who read from his soon to be published memoir of sorts, and with Canlit superstar, Miriam Toews who read from The Flying Troutmans. There was a big crowd and they laughed in all the right places. It was wonderful to hear Doug and Miriam read. We then signed books and chatted with the audience of book lovers.

The next morning, the other writers piled into an aging black limousine, complete with a D.H. Lawrence book for a hood ornament, for the drive out to the Fort William Historical Park. Jackson Stone (a great literary name isn’t it?) was our chaufeur and a fine tour guide too. I ran a two hour workshop in the morning and the same one again in the afternoon. My topic was shameless self promotion and I covered a range of topics including blogging, podcasting, Twitter, YouTube, blurbs and readings. I had very attentive and interested writers in both sessions. It was exhausting but inspiring and energizing at the same time. I even had a Governor General’s Award winning children’s illustrator in the session. At least one writer in our session has started a blog to chronicle his journey writing a novel.

After a great dinner, the other three writers read. Jeanette Lynes, David Carpenter, and Richard Scrimger entranced the crowd, yours truly included. They are all very talented writers. I had to get up early to catch a 8:00 flight back to Toronto but left with very fond memories of the Sleeping Giant Writers Festival.

Here I am (from left to right) with Jeanette Lynes, Dorothy Colby (head of the festival), Richard Scrimger, Miriam Toews, David Carpenter, and Douglas Gibson.

The High Road: Chapter 16

Friday, September 10th, 2010

This week, Chapter 16, courtesy of McClelland & Stewart. In this episode, Daniel and Angus inflame the Prime Minister’s Office and get ready to go it alone with their bridge report. And Daniel skates his way into a confrontation with the Secret Service.

The music that opens each episode of this podcast is Game Day, by Jon Schmidt, and is available at Music Alley. The voiceover at the beginning belongs to my friend, Roger Dey.

Let’s prove the theory that a podcast sells books!

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

I was thrilled and grateful when McClelland & Stewart allowed me to podcast The High Road, in its entirety, chapter-by-chapter, for free. The wonderful digital team at M&S made a strong case for the podcast, and it worked. I’m very thankful. But giving it away for free as a podcast is a difficult notion for some. I believe strongly in the theory that listeners who really enjoy the podcast will want to purchase the book. It makes sense to me and it seemed to work with my first novel, The Best Laid Plans, which I also podcast. But let’s be clear, it’s still just a theory, and The High Road podcast is the experiment that I hope will prove it. But that’s really up to all of you who have been listening to, and I hope enjoying, the podcast. And now is the time to step up and justify McClelland & Stewart’s decision to podcast the novel for free, so that I might be allowed to follow the same path with novel number three, whenever it’s finished.

So while I have always preached that social media is not really an appropriate platform for hardcore selling, I’m going to cross the line this once, but I think all for a good cause. If you want to have a hand in reshaping the approach traditional publishers like McClelland & Stewart have historically adopted, please take a second to buy The High Road. Here are Amazon and Indigo links, and you’ll also find links in the left hand side bar.

If we can show that the podcast helped to drive early sales, M&S will be more likely to consider podasting to be an effective way to promote new titles. As always, thanks for all the support. The High Road hits bookstores today (September 7th), so now is the perfect time to place that order. Besides, the holiday season is just around the corner. Thank you all, I’m grateful…

Update: It seems I’m not the only one with this idea. Check out this wonderful post by Mark Leslie, the writer and forward-looking bookseller at Titles, McMaster University‘s great bookstore.

Guelph Mercury Reviews THR

Monday, September 6th, 2010

When we dropped off my older son for his first year at University of Guelph this past Saturday, we picked up the local paper, the Guelph Mercury. I was delighted to see that the very positive review of The High Road that ran in the Kitchener Waterloo Record, also ran in the Mercury. It’s wonderful to have positive reviews, although I expect they won’t all be like this one!

The High Road: Chapter 15

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

This week, Chapter 15, courtesy of McClelland & Stewart. In this episode, Angus and Daniel put the finishing touches on their bridge report, and spend some time with the U.S. Secret Service. Sounds like fun.

The music that opens each episode is Game Day, by Jon Schmidt, and is available at Music Alley. The voiceover at the beginning belongs to my friend, Roger Dey.