Archive for the ‘Canadian politics’ Category

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:

THR excerpt in Canadian Government Executive

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Earlier in the summer, I got an email and then a phone call from Toby Fyfe, Editor-in-Chief of the fine trade magazine, Canadian Government Executive (CGE), to discuss The High Road. He’s a smart guy and a nice guy. He asked permission for the September issue of CGE to carry an exclusive excerpt from The High Road. Given the mag’s readership of senior civil servants, Toby thought if might be a great fit. I was certainly flattered but had to check with the powers that be at McClelland & Stewart as this was the first time I’d encountered such a request. In short order, permission was secured and in the next week or so, the September issue of CGE will be landing on subscribers’ desks complete with an exclusive chunk of The High Road. Here’s hoping it’s well-received. My thanks to Toby for the idea and I hope it doesn’t kill sales of the venerable magazine’s October issue!

How surreal…

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

I’ve been blessed to have many wonderful and utterly unexpected experiences through my writing. I’ve spoken and/or read at nearly 100 events, from bookclubs to writers festivals, public libraries, to conferences. But I’ve never ever had my mug take up space on the front cover of a magazine… until now. I can only describe it as surreal, and hope that the photo doesn’t put readers off their lunches on the off-chance the mag is lying on the table next to theirs.

I’m floored and flattered that the Kitchener Public Library would take such a risk with their publication. This is all part of the amazing regional reading program, One Book, One Community, that chose The Best Laid Plans as their 2010 selection. By the way, my twin brother, Tim, actually took the photo. When I look at it, all I can think of is what a gigantic and still-growing forehead I have! (One mouse click on my head, and you can read the magazine.)

I’m realling looking forward to spending quite a bit of time in the Waterloo Region in late September for all the OBOC festivities. It won’t be long now…

The High Road: Chapter 13

Friday, August 20th, 2010

This week, Chapter 13, courtesy of McClelland & Stewart. In this episode, Angus and Daniel pull out all the stops to determine why the  Alexandra Bridge suddenly fell into the Ottawa River. They meet with the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Canada, and the new Liberal Prime Minister appoints his Cabinet.

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 Podcast: Chapter 12

Friday, August 13th, 2010

This week, Chapter 12, courtesy of McClelland & Stewart. In this episode, Angus and Daniel hover up the frozen Ottawa River to examine the collapsed Alexandra Bridge, while the newly-elected Liberal Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff hatch a plan to keep Angus occupied and out of trouble.

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

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.

Writing Update: Final manuscript submitted

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

My editor, Doug Gibson, dropped by yesterday morning with the final version of the manuscript for The High Road. He’d wanted me to see and approve a couple of dozen or so added commas and other punctuation changes to put the book to bed. It took me less than an hour last night to walk through the entire manuscript, searching for Doug’s modest pencil edits. So it’s really done now. Well, you think it’s finally done, but it’s never really done until it’s sitting on a bookstore shelf. But the final manuscript is now handed over to one of McClelland & Stewart’s skilled copy editors. As Doug describes it, it’s the copy editor’s job to make Doug and me look like idiots by discovering many errors in syntax, grammar, spelling, and continuity that neither Doug nor I caught the first 47 times we’d reviewed the manuscript. And rest assured, additional minor edits will arise as we wend our way towards publication. That’s just how this works. But, it feels good to have reached this stage, and before our deadline too. The manuscript isn’t contractually due to M&S until January 11th.

This copy editing phase apparently should not take too long. Then they’ll format and lay out the book block, as it’s called. This is how the inside of the book will look when it’s finally published. We’ll then print out several copies on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and send them around to literary luminaries who might read it and pass favourable judgement on the novel. Ultimately, we’re looking for endorsements that can be quoted in publicity materials, and even on the book itself. Finally, they’ll move into cover design. Doug Gibson’s idea is that The High Road should look like a companion novel to TBLP. So there will almost certainly be graphic and thematic elements from TBLP’s cover that will be found in the cover design for its sequel. I find the publishing process to be endlessly fascinating, so I’m looking forward to what comes next. Still, we’re at least eight months away from the release of The High Road. That’s just how long it all takes. Sigh.

This has all gotten me thinking about what may come next. So I spent this past Friday mapping out novel #3. (And that’s what it’s called at this stage, Novel #3.) It’s not part of the Angus canon, but is something new. I’m enjoying plotting the story, but it still needs more time just steeping in my head before I’m ready to start the formal outlining and chapter notes, let alone the actual writing. Strange not to have Angus in my head, but I’m sure he’ll return…

PeopleTalkRadio interview posted

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Earlier in December, I did an interview with Nigel Killick, who produces PeopleTalk, a great podcast, out of England. He has a considerable following in North America and in Asia. In our conversation, we talk about my publishing journey, politics and social media. You should check out some of the other interesting interviews posted on the site. Many thanks Nigel.

Literati Lounge – great event, great cause

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Literati Lounge Reading

A week or so ago, I was pleased to participate in a great event at the wonderful Re: Reading bookstore on the Danforth here in Toronto. The reading was organized by a group of students in the PR program at Centennial College and it was in support of Frontier College. Also reading at the authors event was Pasha Malla, who wrote the award-winning short story collection, The Withdrawal Method. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Pasha. I hope our paths cross again. The event was very well organized and the food was great. Frontier College has been doing extraordinary literacy work in this country for over 100 years. I was honoured to support this important institution.

Alexandra Courneya, a talented photographer, was at the event and took some shots. Be sure to vist her site.

Literati Lounge event

Wow… good news from

Friday, December 18th, 2009

While this list changes every hour or so, it seems that TBLP has again risen to number one on the “Political” bestsellers listing at, at least for a few minutes. Perhaps someone in my family is doing their last minute Christmas shopping. However it happened, it’s good news. As I often do in such situations, and never knowing if it will ever happen again, I grabbed a screen shot as evidence. If you click on the graphic below now, TBLP will probably be well back in the pack, but for this one brief shining moment, on a Friday afternoon the week before Christmas…

Amazon number 1 ranking 091218

Still six days of Christmas shopping left…