Archive for December, 2010

Fours years later…

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Yes, it’s time for that annual ritual of looking back across the last twleve months as a way of steeling oneself for the onslaught of the upcoming year. I’ve done this for the last four years on this blog, starting in December 2007, one year after I decided, as a last resort, to self-publish The Best Laid Plans, and then in December 2008 and again in December 2009. So here we are reminiscing about 2010.

If you had told me a year ago what 2010 would hold for me and my writerly life, I never would have believed you. I still can’t fathom my good fortune (and I know some will be getting tired of me saying that but…). Here’s a quick summary of my authorial blessings in 2010:

See what I mean about feeling blessed? It was a truly wonderful year for which I am just so thankful.

When I can draw my eyes away from the bright light that was 2010, the coming year looks inviting, even exciting. I have a raft of readings and appearances from Pelham to Banff, Grimsby to Ottawa, and Brantford to Hamilton. You name the town, and I’ll probably be there. As well, I’ve nearly finished the outline for the as yet to be named novel #3 (the working title is Making Space but it’s a long way from final). The outline is a big deal in my so-called “process.” When it’s done (in the next week or so I hope), the actual writing of the manuscript should take about eight months of weekends. I’m eager to get back in the writing mode.

So farewell 2010, and thanks, it was amazing.

Hello 2011…

My interview with the amazing Shelagh Rogers

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Long time listener, first time caller. I’ve been a Shelagh Rogers fan for more years than I care to remember – right back to her early days on Peter Gzowski’s Morningside. I’ve always loved the tone she strikes and the chemistry she unerringly finds with her guests. (And I can confirm, the Shelagh you hear on the air, is the same Shelagh you get when the “ON AIR” light is extinguished.)  I actually met her at the very first Podcasters Across Borders gathering in Kingston back in 2006. I’m sure she remembers the giddy fan she’d just met as he struggled to find something pseudo-intelligent to say. Instead I think I just gushed “I’m a big fan!” etc. etc. How embarrassing. But I’ll always be grateful for her commitment to Canadian literature and her desire to keep the CBC engaged and leading in literary programming. So I’m a charter subscriber to The Next Chapter podcast and listen every week.

Needless to say, it was a thrill to join her on this week’s The Next Chapter to talk about The Best Laid Plans and Canada Reads (click on the graphic above to listen). I was nervous at the start, but seemed to survive. Thank you, Shelagh, for making what was a big deal for me, feel as comfortable as a conversation in a gorcery store checkout-line.

My Canada Reads Gift Guide

Friday, December 24th, 2010

CBC asked all of the Canada Reads finalists to answer a kind of holiday gift guide questionnaire. Today was my turn. (Excuse the crazed photo. It’s not CBC’s fault. It’s tough to get a good shot of me. Tell me I don’t always look like this…)

Thanks Canada Reads – TBLP now a #6 bestseller

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Wow, the list moves fast. Having just posted about TBLP hitting #13 on the BookManager National Canadian Fiction Bestsellers List, I was surprised to see that this afternoon, it’s actually moved up to the #6 position. Unbelievable. My friend and fellow Canada Reads finalist, Ami McKay, is still shooting up the charts with The Birth House now sitting at #4. Looking at the other amazing authors on the list, I’m humbled by the company I’m suddenly keeping. What an honour. At the risk of repeating myself to the point of annoying, thank you all…

Unveiling TBLP as a Canada Reads Finalist

Monday, December 20th, 2010

CBC has just posted the video clip from the November 24th “big reveal” of the five 2011 Canada Reads finalists and their staunch defenders. It was an amazing day that I’ll not soon forget. Here’s the segment when Jian Ghomeshi introduced Ali Velshi (what a pro!)  and then me (it went downhill from there).

You can watch all of the Canada Reads authors and defenders on the CBC Book Club YouTube channel.

TBLP cracks the National Bestseller list at #13

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

I’ve been told by a number of folks in the publishing biz that Canada Reads really does move books in this country. The Canada Reads books sell. Well, I certainly believe it. The impact of being a Canada Reads finalist has been swift and significant for my novel. BookManager, a supplier of software and data solutions for the publishing industry, releases a national bestsellers list weekly. The Best Laid Plans has never come close to appearing on the list, until now. On a whim, I checked out the Canadian Fiction Bestseller list and was bowled over to see TBLP at lucky number 13. Another Canada Reads finalist, Ami McKay, is well up near the top at number five! I’m not surprised. The Birth House is a great read.

This is just another reminder of how lucky we are to be on the Canada Reads list…

Jim Cuddy and Ali Velshi plug THR on CBC’s P&P

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

What a thrill it was to watch Jim Cuddy and Ali Velshi square off against NDP MP Pat Martin on Evan Solomon’s show Power & Politics on CBC News Network. You can watch it here (fast forward to start at 1:19:09 into the show). The sometimes heated discussion revolved around my second novel, The High Road. Jim and Ali were very supportive while Pat Martin wasn’t such a big fan. The debate went on for a good 15 minutes or so and actually included a reading from THR by the very Scottish National Post columnist, John Ivison. In the end, I think fair-minded viewers would feel encouraged to pick up the book on the basis of Jim and Ali’s positive reviews. I confess it was a little surreal to watch my second novel being discussed on television by such high fliers who had obviously read the book. Yes, it was quite a thrill…

Canada Reads moves the sales needle

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

I was trolling through Amazon tonight and happened upon the Top 100 Bestseller list for Literature and Fiction. Clearly, the hoopla surrounding Canada Reads has been having its impact. It seems that The Best Laid Plans is moving up the list. I was actually surprised to see that it has actually been on the Top 100 list for 50 days. Who knew?

A belated thank-you for the Ottawa THR launch

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, my wonderful colleagues in our Ottawa office organized a fantastic launch event for The High Road. It was held in the all too appropriately named Parliament Pub on Sparks Street, just steps from the Hill. We were raising money for the Jaimie Anderson Parliamentary Internship, a very worth cause. My friend, Rob Oliphant, MP for Don Valley West, acted as Master of Ceremonies, and as expected, he did a fine job. On a side note, Rob Oliphant, who is also an ordained United Church minister, married my wife Nancy and me 23 years ago in Nova Scotia. That’s how far back Rob and I go! We tried to keep the speeches to a minimum to maximize the socializing so I read a short section and got off the stage. There must have been 75 or 80 guests including colleagues, former clients, friends, and a number of politicians and political staff from Parliament Hill. It was a fantastic event. I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make it such a memorable night.

Here’s a less than stellar cellphone shot capturing my brief reading…