March 14th, 2017
So Much Love is real and available for your reading pleasure in stores, online, and–I believe–in libraries today. You can get a hard copy or digital in myriad formats, and then you can read it and see what I’ve been working on all this time–and even tell me what you think? I fixed my contact page so I’m easy to write to!
This isn’t the celebration I was anticipating for this book–things are challenging for me right now and I haven’t been able to do the obvious thing, go to a bookstore and visit my book out in the world. There have been some reports that it is truly out there, though–even on tables, even actually purchased by actual humans! So I’m semi-satisfied with that, though hopefully I’ll get out there myself soon.
But lots of stuff is upcoming, book-wise–perhaps I will eventually have seen enough of my book, though right now that doesn’t seem possible. A few highlights:
March 22, Book launch in Toronto!! There’s a complete list of events in the right sidebar, so I’ll mainly refrain from mentioning events I’ve talked about previously, but this is the big one, and I’m very excited. If you’re in Toronto and enjoy books, snacks, short readings, and–possibly–me, please consider stopping by.
April 2, 11am, I’ll be on the radio on Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay. This isn’t even book-related–it’s an episode about personal transformation–but I think being on the radio is amazing, so here we are. I hope you can listen!
April 4, Reading for the Toronto Review of Books with Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell, Antanas Sileika, and the one and only Mark Sampson.
April 25, Books and Brunch with Different Drummer Books at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Aldershot, with Trevor Cole and Kyo Maclear.
Before all of that, though, I’m finally going to make it out to a bookstore to celebrate another book, Mitzi Bytes by my dear friend Kerry Clare. In addition to being a very talented writer, Kerry is also the best Enjoyer of Events I have ever encountered, and sharing a book birthday with her has really helped me engage with the spirit of the thing. I also read Mitzi in draft (as Kerry did for SML) and can vouch that it is funny, wise, and surprising–can’t wait to read it in its final form. I will be raising all the glasses on Thursday, and speeding through the book soon after. You should too!
March 6th, 2017
My book is coming out in 8 days! There will be launches and interviews and actual humans reading it. I’m really excited. My life outside of the book is really challenging and sad of late, so I’m more determined than ever to enjoy the good bits of launching So Much Love into the universe. And there are a lot of good bits! I completely understand that some writers don’t enjoy promoting a book, but to me it is a reward. Finally getting to connect with readers and see how the book resonates with them is one of the sweetest plums of the writing life as far as I’m concerned–so much of writing is solitary, it’s thrilling to get to read aloud to real humans, or do an interview or Q&A and be asked insightful questions, or just have pieces online or in print and hear what people are thinking about them. So here’s some fun stuff…
–my Gritlit reading is booked for Thursday April 6, 9:30pm, with Iain Reid
–this sweet blog review at The Candid Cover. I know I shouldn’t google myself, and as often as not it yields something depressing or annoying, but this is a nice ray of sunshine!
–way off in the future, a reading at the Word Feast Festival in Fredericton in September
–a short piece posted at The Litter I See Project (which technically is a glimpse of what my next project might be, fyi)
There’s more stuff that isn’t fully fixed yet, like a reading in May with the fabulous Kerry Clare (whose book is also out in 8 days–preordered yet??) and maybe something cool in Montreal! Stay tuned…
January 22nd, 2017
So Much Love is still 7 weeks and 2 days from being available, but little things are happening and it is all very exciting/unnerving. Like
–if you would like to win a copy, you can enter to do so on Goodreads. There’s 50 (!) copies available and the contest closes on February 16. Good luck!
–if you would like to know more about the writing process/me writing in general, you could read my interview with Koom Kankesan at Open Book. Koom and I went to school together in 1999 (!) and have stayed in touch since, and both published books. It’s been a wild ride!
–if you want to read a list of amazing upcoming books that includes mine, you could read 49th Shelf’s Spring Fiction Preview. There is so much goodness upcoming (my husband Mark Sampson also has a book on the list called The Slip. It is very good!)
December 11th, 2016
This site was down for a few days and no one complained outside of my immediate family–not a great sign. So I’m going to work towards a revamp early in 2017 and also try to step up the posting a bit. I’m not sure if that’s akin to offering bigger portions on nicer plates of a food no one is eating, but it’s actually what I want to do, so let’s just see how it goes.
In other, better news, my wonderful agent Samantha Haywood and her co-agent Agata Żabowska have sold Polish rights to my forthcoming novel So Much Love to PRÓSZYŃSKI, and you’ll be able to read the Polish translation in a year or two (I’ll update you). Here’s the deal announcement. I’m so delighted!
If this isn’t immediate enough–or you don’t read Polish–how about a story in French. My short story How to Keep Your Day Job was translated by Miguelina Kroeh from English into French and published online at K1N Litra. If you’d like to read it, it’s here.
I’m feeling quite jazzed–and quite cosmopolitan–about all this!
October 26th, 2016
Guys, I finished my book. I know, I say that every few months–I finished a draft, I finished a later draft, I finished the draft I sent to my agent, I finished the draft my agent sent on submission…long pause…I finished the draft that was sent to copyedit, I finished all the changes the copyedit entailed, I finished all the changes the proofread entailed…and that was last week. And the ARCs are out and cool people have them, and if you look to the right, you’ll see the gorgeous cover by Rachel Cooper, and if you click on that, you’ll be taken to the M&S page where you can preorder your very own copy if you like.
It’ll be out March 14, 2017, amazingly enough the same day my brilliant friend Kerry Clare‘s novel Mitzi Bytes will be released. I read an early draft of MB–as Kerry read an early draft of SML–and Mitzi really is a wonderful novel, finely crafted and funny, a novel that feels utterly real even though I would never have predicted how the plot works out, full of characters I know I’ve met before.
It’s so nice how these things work out, not that I even realized until Kerry wrote this gorgeous post on her blog about our books and our friendship. The post is on how to get over literary envy and it’s all really good advice, but especially this:
Make sure you’re doing what you like, so that even if nobody else likes it, you’re having a good time.
So I love my book and I mainly loved writing it most of the time. Or, ok, sometimes I hated writing it, but I loved the story enough that it was worth the drudgery of getting it written in order to be able to read it, share it with others.
Kerry’s the real deal of writers, and she has built her career around joy and generosity–joy at writing, joy at reading, joy at sharing what she’s read. I am honoured to be the spark that fired that amazing blog post, but really it is all her voice and her wisdom.
January 26th, 2016
I know, being a writer is supposed to be about writing, and mainly it is–there really isn’t another way, because you just can’t count on the outside world to provide you with ways to feel all writerly without actually doing anything. I know I can count on myself to show up at my desk, and that’s about all I know.
BUT sometimes the random outside world comes through, and then I get to read the fantastic stories Best Canadian Stories, mentioned in the previous post and think, as I read one great piece after another, “Hey, me too, I’m in here too.” And that’s delightful.
Also, this week I finished an incredibly slow read of one my stories in French. A literary translation student chose my story for a project and was kind enough to send it to me when she finished. I’ve been aware of a few other such projects–one student in Mexico was translating a story into Spanish–but for whatever reason they weren’t comfortable sharing the final products. Which is totally fine, but what a gift to see the translation, and in a language I can actually read (very slowly)! I have been so privileged to see my work interpreted by other creative folks in so many interesting ways–a play, a short film, a feature film project that in the end did not work out but was really cool to discuss with the producers. A translation is another way of seeing a creative stranger dance with some of my ideas, and it was a lovely experience.
And finally, I’ll be doing that little reading Thursday night. The time has been MOVED UP–PLEASE TAKE NOTE if you’re coming–it’s doors 6pm, readings 6:30 on Thursday, at the Supermarket at 268 Augusta Street. I’m looking forward to reading to anyone who cares to attend, because that’s fun and maybe they’ll even say something encouraging or challenging to me afterwards, but I know that in the end, all this fun flurry will come to an end and I will have to go back to my desk and right some more. Which is–and has to be–fine too.
January 18th, 2016
Oberon Press sent me a couple copies of the lovely Best Canadian Stories 15, which includes, among other wonderful things, my story “Marriage.” Actually, Oberon sent it a couple weeks ago, but CanPar bafflingly just held on to it, never gave me any delivery notices, and eventually returned the package to whence it came. Grr, CanPar, but yay the kind folks (hi, Nick!) at Oberon who sent it out a second time.
If you get a chance to pick up a copy, you totally should–there’s stories by Alice Petersen, Kathy Page, Adrian Kelly, Kevin Hardcastle and tonnes more awesome people that aren’t so web present. I can’t wait to read it all!!
To temp you, here is a photo of the book, being nuzzled by me for some reason (I took a few versions of this photo–this was the best one, sadly).
December 4th, 2015
I don’t usually go on about my old published work–I figure if anyone wanted to buy my books they could figure out how, and if they wanted to read a particular story they could google it or check my “publications” link above and try to find it. But there’s a few stories that didn’t get into a book and aren’t available, or aren’t easily, on the web.
Grade Nine Flight was my third acceptance ever, and my second publication (because of how speedy online publishing is. It came out in the December 2006 edition of the old version of The Danforth Review, that wonderful online mag but out by Michael Bryson (the new version of The Danforth Review remains wonderful, but does not include the archives of the old one. Rather, those archives are housed at Libraries and Archives Canada, which is a wonderful service but doesn’t appear to be google-search-able. So if you were looking for this story that way you wouldn’t find it, but why would you even be, because who has heard of this story I published nearly 10 years ago?
So here it is–the link above should work, if you’d like to read the story. I read it over lunch, and even though it’s so different than the stuff I’m writing nowadays, I still really like it. Is it bad to admit that? I feel so distant from the person I was when I wrote like that, saying I like it doesn’t even feel like vanity–that writer is another person entirely, I feel.
Yet, I know I wrote it, and I remember why: my brother was travelling abroad for a year, and I missed him. Even though none of the characters are based on anyone I know, the vibe of kids living in a house together is definitely something I am personally familiar with, and some of the games they play and conversations they have and tv shows they watch are things I remember fondly from my childhood.
It’s weird that I’m nostalgic for the person I was when I wrote “Grade Nine Flight,” but that person was nostalgic for a yet earlier period. We never get done longing for things, it seems (though I am very glad my brother lives nearby now).
If you read the story, please let me know what you think!
August 20th, 2015
I’m pleased to say that my short story “Marriage” will soon appear in Best Canadian Stories 2015. In case you haven’t been playing along at home, “Marriage originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of The New Quarterly.
This may sound vaguely familiar because I announced it once before, when I thought it would appear in last year’s edition. I’m not entirely sure why it didn’t, but mine is not to reason why–I’m happy it’ll be coming out soon. Since the last time I mentioned this story on the blog, it has had many adventures–it is the first story in this book that I am STILL writing, and very much a weight-bearing pillar in that structure. I’ll be thrilled to see it making another outing in the world. Coming this November.
October 20th, 2014
Believe it or not, I do work on this blog semi-regularly. I come to the site, open a doc, work away on a post. Then at some point I get either get interrupted or bored, but either way, the piece gets saved in draft form instead of being posted, and I go do something else. Then a few days/weeks later, I come back to the site, but I have this even BETTER idea for a post. I start working on that and…repeat cycle.
This isn’t really a tragedy; you aren’t missing out on any particularly golden words, believe me. But some of them aren’t half bad, and with the amount of work I’ve put in on them, I’d really like to get something posted sometime. Plus, I feel I’m really too old to have become a flibberty-gibbet at this point in my life–I’d like to get the blogging back on the rails if only to prove I can!
Here, at least, is a very short post on some upcoming publications for me–since they are coming soon, the post is time-sensitive, which will force me not to ramble…
First up, coming at the end of the month, is my short story “The Framer” to be published on Little Fiction. I just had the pleasure of doing the edits with the insightful Trevor Corkum, which was fun–always nice to get another viewpoint on the work, as well as some suggestions for making it better.
The story is a piece that got cut from my book currently in progress, so I am very happy to have found it a home on Little Fiction. I think it’s a good story, just didn’t belong in the book (another story in that category is Everyone Likes a Little Guy, which appeared in the Rusty Toque a few years back). I’m also in a weird place in that “The Framer” will be the last story that I publish for a while. Because of the terms of my contract, I can’t submit pieces from the book right now. They may eventually get published singly; just for now that’s not on. So unless I cut more, you won’t be seeing anything from the *So Much Love* world for a year or so. And while I do have other pieces in progress, most date to well before I started on SML (I’ve been pretty single-minded on it for 3 years or so) and have significant problems that I don’t have time to fix right now. So yeah, weird–no more submissions for me for a bit. I’m going to miss it!
On the non-fiction front, I have an article called “How to Learn to Read (If You Don’t Already Know)” coming up soonish in Canadian Notes and Queries. Hilariously, I wrote the blog post Why a Creative Writer Is Not a Journalist very shortly before I started working on this semi-memoir-y, essay-ish piece with a bunch of interviews and quotations in it. Call it what you will. It was really ambitious for me to try this sort of thing, but I don’t think it turned out too badly, due in part to my having married an actual journalist who helped me with it. Anyway, I wouldn’t have tried if I were not a) pretty passionate on the subject and b) egged on Mr. Wells. So I thought it was worth a try–please be gentle.
And that’s what I’ve been doing. Actually, so much for not rambling: this “short” blog post is 600 words. Maybe this is what I should aim for from now on!