December 10th, 2017

Lists and one more reading

Lists: I’m a huge fan of inclusive and exhaustive lists like, say 1000 Things We Like (which somehow got away from me this year but is coming BACK in 2018, I swear). I love including, adding, having lots, inviting everyone in. I’m less cool with the actual main function of lists, which is to both include and exclude. Witness those horrible grade 3 lists of “cool girls,” which my having gone to a tiny country school with only two other girls in my grade did not allow me to dodge. Who was on those lists? I do not know; not me.

So I’m slightly uncomfortable with lists, overall. They are as subjective as anything else–one man’s #1 is another man’s #754345–but in a context like reviews, the subjective at least gets limited to the matter at hand. Oh, I don’t know–I’m viewing things rather darkly these days. I keep trying to write a year-end post but crying so I never finish it, so this is what you get instead. Lucky you.

Which is all a rather confusing way of saying, So Much Love made the Globe 100 best books of 2017 list and that’s lovely. It’s actually on the Quill and Quire list as well, though that’s not online at the moment.

I also contributed to a list! The very smart Stacey May Fowles asked contributors to the Open Book Best Books of the Year list to define best however we liked, and I defined it as the tough, wise, and beautiful short stories in Cynthia Flood’s new collection from Biblioasis What Can You Do.

Needless to say, there’s tonnes of other great stuff I had nothing to do with on all three lists and you should read them all and probably pick a bunch of books to read from there. BUT in the meantime, I’m doing my last reading of 2017 tomorrow night, so maybe you should also come to that! It’s The Common Reading Series 8pm December 11 at the Belljar Cafe. I’ll be reading with the lovely and talented Mark Sampson and Cornelia Hoogland.

Following that, I do have a couple other literary irons in the fire that I could work on until the end of the year. I might even finish that year-end post sans weeping. I might just bake things and read. I’ll keep you posted as the situation develops.

October 31st, 2017

Readings this week

Just in case you feel like we don’t spend enough time together, here’s where you can catch me this week…

Wednesday night, 6-8pm, I’ll be an opening reader at Ben McNally Books along with the talented Emily Saso and the also talented Mark Sampson in support of Daniel Griffin‘s exciting new novel Two Roads Home. Can’t wait to hear everyone read and see Daniel’s new book!

Saturday afternoon from 1:30 to 2:50pm Wild Writers Festival in Waterloo as part of their fiction panel hosted by Claire Tacon, along with Lori McNulty, Alicia Elliot and Trevor Corkum. I’ve loved the Wild Writers Festival since it got started, and I’m thrilled to be participating–can’t wait!

October 16th, 2017

An exciting weekend ahead

I had a month off between exciting book-related travels, and I thought I was going to use that time in part to write exciting non-book-related blog posts, but instead I recovered from the previously mentioned sinus infection, re-started trying to write a new book and slept…a lot. Sleep is really great, I recommend it. And now, here we are again, with me about to get back on the road with #somuchlove2017 No complaints here, but it does seem like a bit of a whirlwind! Anyway, here’s what’s coming up!

Saturday October 21, 4-5 pm, I’ll be on the So Much Forward panel at Bookfest Windsor with Eva Crocker and Heidi Jacobs

Sunday October 22, 2-3 pm, I’ll be on the Writing with Emotion panel at Stratford Writers Festival with Jennifer Robson and Deborah Cooke, moderated by Mark Medley. Here’s a short interview I did with the Stratford Fest folks.

Both festivals sound amazing, with tonnes of great readings, panels and other events–my only sadness is that with the two events being back to back, I can’t attend everything at both fests! On the other hand, I will have lots of train time for reading all the books I acquire, so that is a definite upside! Anyway, hope to see an friends in the area at these lovely festivals–can’t wait!

September 29th, 2017

WordFeast Fredericton

Today is PechaKucha Night at Markham Village Library so I’m already on to other things, but I want to flash back to the glorious 3 days I spent in New Brunswick last weekend for WordFeast Fredericton.

It was so great! I had never been a headliner before, so it was a bit terrifying to have three events scheduled in two days, but it was also amazing and exciting to be meeting readers in such a range of ways–a lecture on unlikeable characters Friday night, a workshop on characters and dialogue on Saturday afternoon, and a reading from So Much Love on Saturday night.

There’s a nice account of the Friday night lecture in The Aquinian, which is the student newspaper at St. Thomas University in Fredericton–there were a few other nice articles but unfortunately most of the newspapers in New Brunswick are behind a paywall so I can’t share them. There’s a great photo of me and Riel Nason enjoying a Q&A with Colleen Kitts-Goguen, and another of festival organizer and Fredericton Cultural Laureate and general mastermind Ian LeTourneau.

Everyone I encountered at the fest–reader, volunteer, director, organizer, writer, or just enjoyer of things literary–was so terribly kind and friendly. And Fredericton itself is the sweetest, prettiest little city–and I had the best weather for wandering around trying to get my bearings, going to the farmer’s market, walking on the walking bridge, being toured around by my cousins-in-law, and just generally enjoying every minute.

Sunday night I took the bus down to Moncton to spend the day with my dear friend Art (he is actually one of my husband’s oldest friends, and officiated at our wedding–Art is one of the bonuses I picked up in the marriage!) and his high-school scholars. In Art’s unique classroom, teenagers are meeting their considerable life challenges with literary theory and granola bars, and it was a truly edifying day for me–and hopefully for them. I did my best to make the world of writing and stories and publishing sound possible and interesting to their ears, and sometimes I think I succeeded. Certainly everyone made me feel welcomed and heard, and I tried to return the favour. It was an amazing experience.

And then a very tired me flew home! I’ve talked with other lit folks about what it takes to feel like a “real writer” and it’s different things on different days for different people, but having others take an interest in my work, getting to talk about it and explore it with other engaged readers, is a huge one for me, and this weekend was a great gift.

September 12th, 2017

So Much Love on the road this fall

I’ve been remiss getting my full fall tour dates up, and I still suspect I’ll add or change one or two of these…but here’s the basics. I would really love to see some friends at these events, or some friends of friends if you happen to know people in these cities. I haven’t been doing many readings this summer so I’m feeling a bit nervous since it all starts soon and intensely…I have a book-club dinner next week, which is exciting but nerve-wracking too, and then onward to…

September 22-24: Word Feast Fredericton I’ll be doing a lecture on one my favourite topics, unlikeable characters in Canadian literature and why we sort of like them (official title: Sorry Not Sorry) on the Friday evening, followed by a workshop on character and dialogue on the Saturday afternoon and a reading on the Saturday evenings. Whoo. Then I have Sunday off to frolic with my cousins-in-law who live in Fredericton and head down to Moncton to do some classroom visits on Monday… An intense but hopefully amazing weekend…

September 29: Pecha Kucha Night at the Markham Village Library will find me and my husband, the lovely and talented Mark Sampson presenting on life and love with another writer. There will be a number of other interesting presentations that evening, plus snacks and a bar! I hear tickets are going fast…

October 21: I’ll be presenting/reading at Bookfest Windsor! They don’t have my event on the website yet, but I’m thrilled to be headed back to Windsor, a bookish and surprisingly beautiful city.

October 22: I’m excited to be on a panel at the Stratford Writers Festival at 2pm with Jennifer Robson and Deborah Cooke, moderated by Mark Medley, entitled “Writing with Emotion.” I think I know something about that…I think…

November 4: I’ve been to the Wild Writers Festival in Waterloo, put on by my beloved New Quarterly a number of times as reader, but this will be my first time on stage. I’ll be on the fiction panel with Alicia Elliott, Trevor Corkum, and Lori McNulty. Yay!

November 23: I’ll be back in Markham for a solo reading at the Markham Village Library

And that’s fall…hope to see you out there!

July 31st, 2017

Niceness and fall

My last post might have made it seem like So Much Love is being constantly inundated with reviews and criticism, but heading into its fifth month of life, that’s not really the case. There are still some nice mentions popping up here and there, though, which are fun to read and share, like getting to be on this summer reading list in The Star on Friday or Cathy Thinking Out Loud’s pairing So Much Love with White Sangria. Who knew? I love seeing my book resonating with folks in different ways…

I’m pretty much on hiatus from events until fall. Mark and I did a few things at the end of June/beginning of July while we were technically on vacation in the Maritimes because when else are we there and also, two books in one season in one marriage? Too lovely too resist. But otherwise I’ve largely had the summer off from literary events and will be good and energetized when I get back to them in September. Here’s a few that are scheduled–there’s more on the calendar later in fall but the September ones are a bit firmer and of more immediate concern with regard to your CLEARING YOUR SCHEDULE SO YOU CAN BE THERE. Anyways…

WordFeast Festival in Fredericton will be hosting me for a couple days. I will be giving a lecture on the evening of Friday September 22, following a reading by author Riel Nason. The next day, I’ll be giving a two hour workshop and that evening I’ll be reading from So Much Love as part of an evening of readings and music.

Closer to home, my husband Mark Sampson will be participating in a the PechaKucha Night on September 29 (tickets are free, but you still have to book them–click the link for the EventBrite page). PechaKucha I think means chitchat in Japanese and basically means a night of short, fun presentations on a bunch of interesting topics. Ours will be, natch, on the wonders of being married to a writer.

Somewhere in there I’m also doing a few private events–school visits, a book club–all of which I’m looking forward to! If you are in Markham or Fredericton, I hope you can come to one of these, or else one of the other Fall events, or invite me to something else–I love to go to stuff!

June 19th, 2017

Next we take the Maritimes

My husband, the writer and lovely human Mark Sampson and I drive to the Maritimes every other summer to visit friends and family, and since we both have books out this year, we are combining it with some readings, adding up to an adorably couply little tour. We’re actually a good pairing because my book is pretty dark while his latest novel The Slip is quite funny. So it’s a well-balanced evening of entertainment!

We kick off at Tidewater Books in Sackville, New Brunswick at 7pm, June 26. Invitation here. Followed by June 29, 6:30pm at the Confederation Centre Library in Charlottetown, invitation here. We wind up in Halifax at a booksellers’ conference, but that’s not open to the public so I won’t link it here. There may be one more Nova Scotia event, so please stay tuned…

If none of that works for you, I’ll be back in New Brunswick in the fall to take part in the delightfully named Word Feast Festival in Fredericton September 22-23; I’ll also be doing some school visits in Moncton on the 25th.

If you are an eastern type person, hope to see you at one of these events…

May 11th, 2017

The Slip by Mark Sampson

This is an exciting spring at my house–my book came out in March and now, on May 20, my husband Mark Sampson‘s third novel The Slip will be published by Dundurn Press. All the reviews–and there have already been some great ones in Publishers Weekly, Quill and Quire, and more–agree that it is funny and it really is, a fast and absurd but also somehow realistic take on how fast we can f up our lives in this age of the internet. I *could* be a little biased but with the above reviews on my side, I really don’t think I am. You should read it–in 9 more days!! And then you should come to the launch party on May 31, 6pm at Ben McNally Books, which promises to be a lot of fun!

Also nice, for the first time since we’ve met, Mark and I will have books out in the same season, which makes it a little easier for us to do events together. We’re starting out with Pongapalooza on May 16, where we will each captain ping-pong teams and attempt to lead them to victory in a bitter marital rivalry (this is a fundraiser for First Book Canada, actually). Then I’m taking a little breather from events but when we are out east, ostensibly on summer vacation, we’ll be doing at least one, reading at the Confederation Library in Charlottetown the evening of June 29, with a few more events possibly to come.

But my real point here is, yay Mark!

May 8th, 2017

IFOA with Kerry Clare and Amy Jones on Wednesday

I’m so very excited to be participating in IFOA Weekly this Wednesday May 10 at 7:30pm with Kerry Clare and Amy Jones, hosted by Sheniz Janmohamed. In anticipation, I did this interview for the IFOA blog. Good times! If you’re in Toronto and enjoy high-quality discussion of books, you should really join us Wednesday.

Other news about me/So Much Love in the world? Well, there’s this lovely interview with Joseph Planta on The Commentary, reviews in/on Ultra Violent Lit and a few other mentions thither and yon. I’m starting to think about a few events this summer and even into the fall and I’ve even been invited to a couple bookclubs, all of which I’m excited about.

April 26th, 2017

Authors for Indies, the Winnipeg Review, some fun interviews

For the first time ever, I’ll be participating in Authors for Indies this year. This is a great event that I have always missed due to scheduling, not lack of love. What it is is, authors go to indie bookstores and help out–sell books, chat with customers, create displays, run event tables, whatever the booksellers need. This is a day for authors to give back to the many independently run bookshops that do so much to support us. It is also, from what I hear, a lot of fun.

I’mventuring out of my comfort zone in terms of the city, heading first to Etobicoke and A Novel Spot from 10:30 to 11:30 and then on the Bolton and Forsters Book Garden from 1 to 3. I’m looking forward to seeing these shops, both of which I’ll be seeing for the first time, some new parts of the GTA, and meeting lots of readers. Especially, I’m looking forward to talking about BOOKS, books other than my own. I’ll be recommending lots of great ones like Sex and Death edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs, The Weather Inside by Emily Saso, Mitzi Bytes by Kerry Clare and as many others as I can get people to listen to me for. I’ve also recently realized that I can SHOP while I’m in these stores, which is super-exciting. So it’ll be a very good day, as long as I don’t get lost (well, I’ll probably get lost but I’m leaving extra time–as long as I don’t get VERY lost).

In other news, I still have the Bibliobash tomorrow night, and tonight I will be gluing one of my shoes back together in anticipation–wish me luck. Yesterday was a lovely reading in Aldershot for Different Drummer Books with Kyo Maclear and Trevor Cole that was lots of fun. Yesterday also saw a lovely review of So Much Love by Dana Hansen in the Winnipeg Review, which I thought was so insightful and generous and thoughtful. My IFOA 5 Questions interview got posted, in anticipation of the May 10th event with Kerry Clare and Amy Jones and me! And my very silly answers to the Hamilton Review of Books’ Proust Questionnaire got posted, which is delightful event though I’m pretty embarrassed as to how much I talk about my cat.

I think that’s all the news for now…

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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