Archive for the ‘booklounge’ Category

My weekly literary podcast regimen…

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

In a circuitous and convoluted way, I owe at least some of my writing career to podcasting. How? Well, in early 2006, I bought my first iPod nano and loaded it up with, not music, but podcasts. I trolled through iTunes and discovered a treasure trove of content. I stopped listening to the car radio and never walked a block without my ear buds firmly rooted in their eponymous ports. Back then, I listened almost exclusively to shows about social media and public relations, my day job for the last 23 years. I was amazed at what I was learning while walking to work, or folding laundry, or shovelling snow. I rarely listened to music. Many of the shows to which I subscribed were homemade by fellow PR professionals. And they were good, and most of them still are. Four months later, in April of 2006, a colleague, David Jones, and I, started Inside PR, the first and still only Canadian PR podcast. We learned by doing. Each week we’d record a half-hour show about public relations, upload it to the internet, and field listener comments from all over the world. We did that every week for over four years and more than 200 episodes. It was a year ago that David and I passed the torch to new hosts, my co-founder Joe Thornley in Ottawa, Martin Waxman in Toronto, and Gini Dietrich in Chicago. Inside PR is still going strong, week in and week out, five years after we started it.

So where’s the connection to my writing? Well, it was co-hosting and producing Inside PR that gave me the idea to podcast The Best Laid Plans, chapter-by-chapter back in 2007. Were it not for the very encouraging response from podcast listeners, I may never have actually gone through with self-publishing the novel. So I owe podcasting a debt of gratitude. Since then, my weekly podcast listening has only increased. While I still subscribe to PR podcasts, I also listen to a raft of book-related shows. Every weekend, when I open up my iTunes, a whole new set of podcasts automatically download into my library and then into my trusty iPod Nano, the fourth one I’ve owned. Here are the bookish podcasts I listen to each week when walking to and from the office or riding the subway. All of these are available for free on iTunes:

All of these great shows keep me very well plugged-in to the book scene, with lots of author interviews, book reviews, and news about the publishing world.

On those rare days when I discover half-way to work that I’ve left our house without my iPod, I promptly turn around and walk back home to get it…

20 Writerly Questions with BookLounge

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, Julie Forrest, leading literary blogger, digital maven at Random House, and all-around nice person, passed along a series of 20 questions on behalf of BookLounge, and asked for my responses. I was happy to oblige. If insomnia plagues you, please feel free to check out my not always thoughtful answers. (You can just click on the graphic below to get to the site.)

Doug Gibson conversation on

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

A few weeks ago, my friend and editor/publisher Doug Gibson and I met to record a podcast for Booklounge, a great website that brings together offerings for the book lover from a number of Canadian publishers, including McClelland & Stewart.   Doug is a stellar conversationalist and as I hope you can tell, we had a great time in our little chat.  The only real challenge was sticking to our ten minute target as prescribed by the folks at Booklounge (we came in at 12 minutes!).  Hope you enjoy our wide-ranging conversation about TBLP.

CanLit Roundtable transcript available

Monday, November 10th, 2008

As promoted earlier this morning, I did in fact participate in the National Post‘s first live blogging experiment with a host of prominent authors and publishers today.  It was a little surreal sitting at my desk over the lunch hour typing in my modest contributions and enjoying the insights of my fellow live bloggers.  Towards the end, the floor was opened for visitors to ask questions.  The technology worked well.  Click here or on the photo montage above to review the transcript of the live blogging session.

National Post Canlit LiveBlog today at noon

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Today at noon, I’m thrilled to be participating in a live blogging session with some very big names in Canadian Literature (I’ll be representing the little names in Canlit!).  Also on the panel will be:

We’ll be live blogging and responding to “audience” questions and comments on a range of topics including:

  • New generation of writers in the spotlight
  • Awards submission processes
  • Author of the year
  • New trends in publishing
  • This year’s surprises
  • How to measure the success of your book
  • How awards change the process

I’m looking forward to it.  Here’s the link for this live blogging session.  Come and join the conversation…

TBLP in Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

As Halloween recedes and the dying strains of pumpkin carols fade, yes it’s time to start thinking about… (I know, I can’t believe it either)… the Holiday Season!  In my day job in public relations, our team has been pitching clients’ stories and products to holiday gift guides for several weeks already.

In short, ’tis the season, and the great book-lovers site is already into the holiday spirit…

My first Ottawa International Writers Festival

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

I wrote this blog post for the Insiders’ Blog and thought I might as well cross-post it here.

Appearing at readings and writers’ festivals is still a new and wondrous experience for me, as is bearing the surreal label of “writer.” If you’d have told me six months ago that this past weekend I’d be reading and on a panel, as a “writer”, at the Ottawa International Writers Festival, I’d have suggested reassessing your medication. Yet here I am.

I arrived in Ottawa by train on Saturday and met fellow writer and panelist Stephen Henighan, author of The Afterlife of Culture. Good guy. Smart guy. We checked in at the Delta and then headed over to the National Archives building a couple of blocks away on Wellington Street where the festival has been unfolding all week. We made it in time for a a reading and discussion with prolific writer Bill Gaston, Giller-winning novelist David Bergen, and the much celebrated author Rawi Hage recent recipient of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. What a line-up. These wonderful writers read powerful pages from their new novels. To coin a phrase, “the audience was listening.”

After the session, Stephen and I helped ourselves to some dinner laid on for festival staff and authors. I learned that tofu can actually look exactly like beef bourguignon and I was reminded why I remain an inveterate meat-eater. I’m looking forward to our panel discussion on Sunday afternoon. Stephen Henighan, the aforementioned Bill Gaston and I will each read from our books, and then we’ll be led in discussion by award-winning novelist Sarah Dearing on the current state of Canadian literature. Yikes! I expect I’ll be doing a lot of sage head-nodding punctuated by the odd “agreed” and “exactly.” A friend has also suggested that I consider “steepling” my fingers in a thoughtful pose. Good advice. Stay tuned…