Archive for the ‘Doug Gibson’ Category

Writing Update: Manuscript Finished!

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011


Six months ago to the day, I started drafting the manuscript for novel #3 (it’s still untitled). Last night, at close to midnight, I actually wrote the words “The End” to complete the draft. It always feels great to bring the story full circle. It comes with a real sense of accomplishment, even though the journey is far from over. The manuscript is just over 91,000 words, which should make the book about 300 pages, I figure.

So what’s next? Well, now I head back to Chapter 1 and start the editing and polishing process. I also do a ‘humour check.’ This can mean toning down or even cutting out some of the funny stuff that may just be trying too hard. Alternatively, I may pump up the laughs in places where I haven’t fully exploited the comic potential. But I’m learning to let the story carry most of the load. It’s nice to have a laugh or two along the way, but it should only support, not supplant, the story. So I’ll spend the next month of weekends and the odd weeknight massaging, rearranging, cutting, and adding to make sure the last six months of writing hangs together as one continuous, seamless, compelling story. Then on December 1st, I’ll send it off to my editor, Douglas Gibson at McClelland & Stewart, as well as to my literary agent, Beverley Slopen. Doug will carefully read the manuscsript more than once, and then add his distinctive, insightful and almost always sound editorial suggestions in pencil in the margins. He’ll pass the manuscript back to me probably by the Christmas holidays. I’ll then work my way through it, making changes where required. Then I imagine I’ll send it back to Doug sometime in January where the more formal publishing process begins. There’ll be copy-editing and cover design, not to mention the gathering of blurbs from interesting folks. Then, if all goes according to plan, the book will miraculously appear on bookstore shelves and in online catalogues in early September 2012.

But the big news today is that the first major hurdle has been surmounted. The story is fully written for the first time. I’m going to bed…

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!

Leacock Medal Shortlist: Thrilled all over again

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Yesterday, in an annual ritual freighted with wonderful memories for me, the five finalists for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour were unveiled in Leacock’s beautiful home on the shores of Brewery Bay in Orillia. At about noon, in between meetings, I discovered via Twitter that The High Road was among the finalists. What an honour, what a thrill. The other authors shortlisted are very talented and very funny. Here’s the list of the 2011 Leacock Medal finalists:

I’ve already read and enjoyed most of the novels Trevor and Todd have written, including Practical Jean and Toby: A Man. I’ve read an earlier book by David Rakoff called Fraud which I thought was great. While I haven’t yet read Red, as it were, I’ve watched his show enough to know that he is one hilarious dude (although I’m not sure anyone has ever called Red Green “dude”). It is truly an honour to be among these accomplished Canadians.

You might think, having been blessed with a Leacock Medal already, (here’s my post from March 27. 2008 when TBLP was shortlisted), that the thrill of being a finalist might be somewhat moderated the second time around. Uhmmmm…, no. Not a chance. While I kept the handsprings to a minimum when in public yesterday, rest assured, my calm exterior belied an internal excitement that still has my ‘insides” vibrating nearly 24 hours later. You see, I truly believe that the Leacock Medal gave me the writer’s life I now have and enjoy. When I’m invited to readings and festivals as “a writer,” when I signed on with Beverley Slopen as my literary agent, when the legendary Doug Gibson at McClelland & Stewart published The Best Laid Plans, and last year The High Road, and when TBLP somehow made it through to be crowned the winner of this year’s Canada Reads, I know that none of it would have happened without the Leacock Medal. It started it all.

I would think that very few authors can pinpoint a date, time, and place, when and where they felt like they’d actually become “a writer.” I can. Wednesday, April 30th, 2008, 12:30 p.m., Swanmore Hall, Orillia, Ontario.

My congratulations to my fellow finalists and I look forward to meeting them at this year’s luncheon on April 28th when the winner will be announced. Still walking on air here…

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…

Nice article from a popular news site in BC

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

On the eve of my departure for the Vancouver International Writers Festival, a popular news site in BC, The Tyee, has run quite an long article on my humble writing odyssey. You can read the piece on The Tyee website here without taxing your eyesight, or by clicking on the article below.

Looking back at the launch of The High Road

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

I’ve been remiss in not writing sooner about the wonderful launch of The High Road back on September 8th at the Dora Keogh pub on the Danforth here in Toronto. I’ve just been so swamped with work and book-related events that I just haven’t had time to reflect on the great night we had at the Dora. As with the launch of The Best Laid Plans nearly three years ago, I was not as organized as I should have been to have a camera clicking away to record the night for posterity, so there seem to be precious few photos. By the time the launch got started around 6:00, the place was packed with over 100 guests. My good friend Guy Skipworth from Mediaco was very helpful in making the room “launch-worthy” with a flat screen monitor, a podium, and a set of Canadian flags. It looked great. The good folks from Book City on the Danforth took care of book sales with both The Best Laid Plans and The High Road available. My literary agent, Beverley Slopen was on hand too.

Mark Leiren-Young, the 2009 winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour was in the house all the way from his home in B.C. and made a perfect Master of Ceremonies. He did a great job and I’m grateful that he made the trek to be here for the launch. My friend and editor/publisher Doug Gibson (Douglas Gibson Books/McClelland & Stewart) also spoke, telling some hilarious stories before handing the podium to me. (Tough act to follow!) I spoke for a few minutes to thank a number of people who have been supporting my writing for a long time, and then I read a short piece from The High Road. After that, it was back to socializing and signing.

I was amazed that so many people came, including a contingent from McClelland & Stewart and Random House. Johanna from Book City reported that we sold over 100 books to boot. It was such a fun event and a worthy lift-off for The High Road.

Here’s a photo Julie Forrest from Random House took and uploaded to Twitter early in the night.

Update: Guy Skipworth kindly provided a few photos he took at the event.

Mark Leiren-Young running the show.

Doug Gibson making them laugh.

Reading from The High Road.

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.

Heading up to Thunder Bay for Sleeping Giant

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

I’ll be on a plane tomorrow afternoon (Friday) for beautiful Thunder Bay for the Sleeping Giant Writers Festival. I’ll be reading with my friend and editor/publisher Doug Gibson, and with the wonderful Miriam Toews on Friday night. Then on Saturday, I’ll be delivering two workshops on how to build and sustain an audience for one’s writing. I’m really looking forward to it.

We’re now less than two weeks away from the official publication of The High Road.

The High Road Toronto Launch: September 8

Monday, July 26th, 2010

If you’re going to be in the Toronto area on September 8th, or even if you’re not, you’re all invited to the launch of The High Road. As we did for the launch of The Best Laid Plans in the fall of 2007, we’ll be gathering at the wonderful Dora Keogh pub on the south side of Danforth Avenue, just east of Broadview. There’ll a couple of brief (I promise) speeches and a short reading, but really the night is more about socializing and having fun. Books will be available for sale and there’ll be plenty to eat and drink too. You can RSVP over on the Facebook event page. H ope you can make it.

Back cover design for The High Road

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Here’s an early peek at the back cover of THR. There may still be some minor tweaks to make, but you get the idea.