Archive for May, 2011

I’m thrilled to sign on with M&S for novel #3

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

I’m very happy to announce that last week, my wonderful literary agent, Beverley Slopen, and I agreed to a publishing deal with McClelland & Stewart, under the Douglas Gibson Books imprint, for my third novel. I could not be more thrilled to be staying with M&S, the only publishing home I’ve ever known. I’m grateful to M&S Publisher, Doug Pepper, and my editor Doug Gibson for their faith in me as I write my as yet unnamed novel #3. If all goes well, it will be on book store shelves in September, 2012. Here’s the official announcement straight from M&S. Now back to my writing!

The High Road on CBC’s The National

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Courtesy of a Tweet from Halifax on Friday night, I learned that The High Road snuck into a story on CBC’s The National about young people and their reading habits. It was a great piece that talked about a new enthusiasm for reading among young Canadians. One very articulate young boy mentioned that he was reading The High Road on the advice of his mother and her book club. The reporter held up the book to the camera for some full frontal… umm exposure. Here’s the story:

Still space open in my U of T evening course…

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

I’ll be teaching a five week course on Wednesday nights starting June 1st for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies as part of their Creative Writing program. The course is less about writing than it is about how to build an audience for your work. We’ll be exploring various ways to elevate the profile of your writing including blogging, podcasting, Twitter, speaking gigs, readings, and even awards. So if you’ve written the great Canadian novel but can’t get anyone to read it, you just might learn a thing or two to help you get noticed. I developed the course and this will be the first time I’ve actually taught it, although “taught” seems too formal a word. So spread the news or sign up yourself. I think we’ll have some laughs along the way.

A fun trip out west to Calgary and Banff

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I spent last weekend in Calgary and Banff on a brief book-related trip. I flew out Friday morning and made it to the beautiful Indigo store in the CrossIron Mills mall in Calgary for a signing. Gillian Rushbrook and her staff were wonderful and had everything set up. I gratefully signed the store’s stock (of my own books that is — I thought it would be out of line to sign other authors’ titles) and spoke with several customers before hitting the road for Banff. I took this shot with my BlackBerry before they dropped the rope and the swarms of fans spilled into the store. (Okay, I’m kidding about the swarms, but we had fun anyway!)

The drive to Banff, particularly on a sunny day, is spectacular. I took a few shots through the windshield but spend most of the drive ooohhing and aaaahhing as I rounded each bend and drove deeper into the mountains. It was a wonderful drive.

I arrived at the amazing Banff Centre late afternoon on Friday and met the good folks from the English Language Arts Council who had invited me up to speak to them. These is a seriously well-organized group. They had actually booked me back in 2009, more than two years ago. When I first read the email, I responded saying I’d be pleased to speak at their conference but surely they meant 2010, not 2011. Nope, 2011 it was. There were over 200 English teachers (primary and secondary levels) gathered to stay on the leading edge of english education. I attended a few of the sessions when I wasn’t preparing for my own talk, and was uniformly impressed with the presenters and those attending. And what a place for a conference! The Banff Centre is nestled in the mountains surrounded by snow-covered peaks. It is a very inspiring place, which is why writers and other artists have been flocking there since its founding in 1933. Now, with state of the art facilities, it is perfect for writing residencies, conferences, and all manner of arts-related events.

I gave my talk in the Max Bell Auditorium, a high-tech curved and tiered room that made me feel like I was addressing the General Assemblyof the United Nations. My address seemed to go over well as they let me go on for an hour (or perhaps they had nodded off). Spending time with enthusiastic teachers who care about books and writing was a pleasure. To top it all off, on Sunday, I bumped into and chatted with Canlit heavyweight, Michael Crummey (Galore). It was great to speak with him. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend.

THR joins TBLP on the bestseller list…

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

I had a quick look at BookManager the other day and clicked on the Canadian Fiction bestseller list that they compile through their dealings with book retailers across the country. I use BookManager to get a barometric reading on whether my novels are heading up or down the charts. The Best Laid Plans has been number one on BookManager for quite some time now. But for the first time, down at number 14, is The High Road. It had been steadily moving up the list, dragged along by TBLP, but THR has now broken onto the list. What a thrill to see them both there. Again, thank you Canada Reads!