Archive for the ‘political novels’ Category

Invitation to the Virtual Launch of Operation Angus

Monday, August 9th, 2021

You’re all invited to the virtual launch of Operation Angus, my eighth novel that heralds the return of the accidental MP, Angus McLintock, his trusty sidekick, Daniel Addison, and the rest of the cast of characters from my first two novels, The Best Laid Plans, and The High Road.

So mark Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in your calendar for this virtual event. Click here or on the graphic below to register.

Launch event Invite

As is traditional, my identical twin brother Tim will be hosting the event (so don’t be confused when you see him on screen), and then my wonderful publisher, Jared Bland, and I will have a conversation about the new novel. I’ll say some thank yous, read a short bit from the novel just to give you a taste of it, and then we’ll open the virtual floor for audience questions. Hope you can make it to help celebrate the launch of Operation Angus. Many thanks for all the support.

Invited to the Ontario Legislature

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Some of you will know that very early in my career I spent two years or so as the Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, the Ontario Treasurer (now called the Finance Minister). I was in my mid-twenties then and had the time of my life on his political staff during the reign of the David Peterson Liberal Government. Leaping ahead to this past October, the current Speaker of the Legislature, the Honourable Ted Arnott, approached me at the Eden Mills Writers Festival. He and his wife have apparently enjoyed my humble novels and he kindly invited me to come back to the Ontario Legislature for a visit nearly thirty years after I first worked there. What an honour.

I arrived on a Wednesday morning in November and spent twenty minutes or so in the Speakers official boardroom, chatting with him. What a lovely guy with a clear-eyed view of politics and serving the public interest. I was then given a guided tour of the Legislature before heading to the chamber itself. I sat in the House in the Speakers Gallery and was introduced to the Assembly by the Speaker. I watched Question Period (QP) just as I used to do in 1985, but this time, just as an interested observer. Following QP there was a wonderful reception held in the Legislature where MPPs, political staffers, and civil servants alike arrived with books of mind in hand to be inscribed and signed. What a thrill. Finally, Mr. Speaker and I had lunch in the Legislative dining room. I’m grateful for the invitation and was reminded of how important the work of our elected and unelected public servants are. Deep thanks to the Honourable Ted Arnott and his staff (thanks Debi!) for organizing it all.

TF and Leg Speaker 2019

The Best Laid Plans: A Musical

Thursday, September 17th, 2015


It’s been four years in the making, but opening night is just two days away. This is the novel that keeps on giving. After the CBC Television miniseries, I never dreamed I’d be flying with my family to Vancouver for the premiere of The Best Laid Plans: A Musical. But we leave tomorrow morning. We’ll attend the preview Friday night, and then the official premiere on Saturday night. I’m giving a talk before the Sunday matinee and I’ll probably stay and watch it a third time.

I really must thank Peter Jorgensen, Katrina Dunn, Vern Thiessen, Ben ElliotAnton Lipovetsky, and the rest of the cast and crew for taking The Best Laid Plans from page to stage. I cannot wait to see the show that these talented theatre pros have mounted. Once again, I note how lucky and blessed I’ve been with my first novel that I never thought would ever see the light of day in print, let alone on television and now on stage. (That sound you hear is me counting my blessings.)

Here are some shots from an actual performance.




Here a shot taken last fall at the Vancouver International Writers Festival with Vern, Anton, and Ben.


TBLP makes Samara/Writers’ Trust Shortlist

Friday, July 1st, 2011

What a thrill. The Samara Foundation and the Writers’ Trust of Canada have joined forces to find the “Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years.” Over the last couple of months, nominations were sought from Canadians and nearly 200 books were submitted. Yesterday, a shortlist of 12 finalists was unveiled. Canadians are now invited to read the twelve books and vote for our favourite. Early in August, the winning book will be announced. Somehow, The Best Laid Plans made the cut and stands as the only novel among the twelve finalists. There are some terrific reads on the list including my friend John Duffy’s award winning book Fights of our Lives. I don’t know whether being the only work of fiction in a collection of wonderful nonficition books about politics works in TBLP’s favour, but I can tell you that it is a singular honour to be anywhere near the shortlist, let alone on it.

So, veering dangerously close to “pimping mode,” you can vote for the book of your choice here, or click on the graphic below. As always, my thanks for your support…

My CBC Book Club Podcast episode

Friday, October 1st, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from one of the literary producers at CBC Radio about coming in to record a segment of their great CBC Book Club Podcast (longtime listener, first time… guest!). So in I went to the CBC Broadcast Centre, slapped on the headphones, and answered a series of questions I’d been sent earlier in the week. It was kind of fun. Anyway, it was produced and posted today. Check it out if you like…

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!

TBLP quoted in organization’s Annual Report

Monday, May 31st, 2010

I received an email this afternoon from a good friend who had just perused a copy of the Annual Report of the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy. Much to my surprise and delight, on the inside back cover of the annual report is the following quotation from The Best Laid Plans:

“The engineer’s critical and methodical approach to problem solving is well suited to realms beyond the scientific. What are the knowns? What are the unknowns? What are the constants? What governing laws are at play? It’s the scientific method brought to life in a different setting.”

Terry Fallis, The Best Laid Plans

It took me a while to place the passage but I eventually found it. It’s part of Angus McLintock’s diary entry that closes Chapter 13. I had no idea that it had found its way into the Annual Report of CEPP but I’m thrilled just the same.


Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

It took a little longer than with the Kindle store and the Sony Reader bookstore, but TBLP has just landed on KOBO, the Canadian ebook retailer. I’ve really enjoyed reading novels on my Sony Pocket Reader and I think many others do too. I’m glad that readers can get TBLP, and soon, The High Road too, as ebooks. Reading is reading, paper or screen.

Books & Brunch event in Uxbridge tomorrow

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I’ll be in Uxbridge tomorrow for brunch and a reading oragnized by Shelley Macbeth and her wonderful Blue Heron Books store. Apparently, more than 100 tickets have been sold for the event so I can feel my abdominal butterflies assembling. I have some family and friends kindly attending the brunch so there’ll be a few familiar faces in the crowd. I truly enjoy meeting readers of TBLP and my publisher is encouraging me to keep up the events with The High Road due to hit book store shelves in September. I believe there are still tickets available so if you’re in the neighbourhood, I’d love to see you. You can score tickets by calling 905-852-4282.

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…