February 13th, 2017

Book launch

Guys, I’m having a book launch–like really, actually, getting celebrate my book in the flesh with people who supported me to get to this point, plus anyone else who is interested in the book or some free cheese. Please come!

The above is in Toronto, since that is where I live, but I’ll also be hitting the road at least a little bit to promote the book and connect with readers in other regions. It’ll be fun!

Here’s the schedule, if you are curious. Please note that the starred events aren’t public ones, and that this plan is still a work in progress–new events will be added, so if you are sad I’m not doing an event close to you, please let me know! I can’t promise it’ll work out, but knowing people will come to an event is definitely a deciding factor in the event existing or not, so it’s worth getting in touch!

March 22: Book launch!
*March 24: Guest Lecture at Laurentian University at Georgian College in Barrie
March 29: Incite reading series in Vancouver with Lori McNulty and Janet Rogers
*April 3: Guest Lecture at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo
April 6-9: GritLit Festival in Hamilton
April 19: Pivot at the Steady in Toronto
April 22: Toronto launch of Making Room with Amy Jones and Ayelet Tsabari (technically, this isn’t an SML date, as I’ll be reading from an older story included in their anthology. But I’m including it anyway!)
April 27: Bibliobash in support of the Toronto Public Libary

October 6th, 2016

Stuff going on

It has been so long since I had multiple things going on, writing life-wise, I can’t even remember. Years, probably. But this is good stuff, guys, so it was worth the wait:

Emily Saso’s fascinating new novel The Weather Inside came out in September, and is blurbed by me (and Bradley Somer). If you click on the book link you can even find me being quoted down near the bottom of the page, calling the novel “heartbreaking and hilarious.” So you should probably buy it!
–my short story “How to Keep Your Day Job” (aka the most successful thing I ever wrote) is being included in Room magazine’s 40th anniversary anthology, which is a lovely honour from a lovely magazine, and a thrill to be included with so many other brilliant women (if you click the link you see a partial list). Maybe you should buy that one too?
–I did a short interview with Danila Botha, author of the For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I’ve Known, which you should buy (there may be a theme here. Anyway, the interview was part of Danila’s tenure as writer in residence at Open Book, and I was thrilled to be included. This also constitutes the first press my book has gotten since its deal announcement back in 2014, and it’s really really really exciting and scary. If you’d like to read the interview, it is posted here.

See, I told you–excitement!

January 26th, 2016

Thursday reading (NEW TIME), other nice things

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 7th, 2016

A reading!

I know, right–I haven’t done a reading since November 2014–over a year!–and it was starting to seem like I might never do one again. But friend and correspondent Jeff Bursey is coming to town to read from his new novel Mirrors on Which Dust Has Fallen and he kindly invited me, Mark Sampson, and S. D. Chrostowska to join in the fun. We’re all reading together at Supermarket on January 28, doors 7pm, readings 7:15 (I think there’s a band after, is why). Here’s the BlogTO notice for it and here’s the Facebook invite in case you want to respond or see our bios or whatever. If you are free that night, I hope you consider coming out!

Honestly, this event is mainly to celebrate Mirrors but I can’t help but be a little excited to read for an audience again. And the good thing about my long hiatus is that I have a wealth of new material to choose from…whatever shall I read…

November 3rd, 2014

Still going…

A few more irons in the fire…my story The Framer is now out at Little Fiction, along with lots of other great stories–please read if you happen to have the time/interest.

As well, I’ll be doing a read in a few weeks–I don’t do all that many of those lately, and those I have been doing have had some constraints on what I could read. I’m very excited to read something pretty new, something I’ve never read in public before, from the new project. I’m also pretty chuffed to have finally wormed my way into a poetry reading series–the dream of prose-y folks like myself everywhere. Should be a hoot. I’m also reading with some very talented others, including my one and only husband… See below and I hope you can make it out:

PLASTICINE POETRY SERIES

FEATURING:
Phlip Arima
Yvonne Blomer
Rebecca Rosenblum
Mark Sampson

+ Open Mic

hosted by Nicki Ward

@ Pauper’s Pub (2nd Fl)
539 Bloor St. W.,
www.plasticinepoetry.com
Sunday, November 16, 2014
@ 6:00pm Free

September 29th, 2014

Mark Sampson’s Sad Peninsula

As you may know, I am married to the novelist (among other things) Mark Sampson. As you may also know, his second novel, Sad Peninsula, is out in the world and the official Toronto launch is tomorrow night. Here’s the official details:

What: Sad Peninsula Launch
When: 6-8pm, Tuesday September 30th
Where: Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street (just south of Queen on the west side of Bay)
Why: Because it’s a great book according to not only me but Quill and Quire and many people on Goodreads, plus other reviews I know exist but can’t seem to track down at the moment. Also, we bought a lot of snacks and wine and someone’s got to consume them.

If for some crazy reason you aren’t free tomorrow night or don’t actually live in or near Toronto, fear not–there will be other events. Mark has the full list of upcoming readings on his blog, with more being added as they get booked.

And if you’re not a readings kind of person or tragically the tour isn’t coming to your town, you could always just get the book from your local bookstore, library, or online.

So exciting!!!

September 22nd, 2014

How to support a book

I get this question a lot about my own work–how can we help, how can we support your work? It’s awkward, because there are definite things I’d love for people to do to help me out, but I don’t want to put pressure on anyone if those aren’t really what they wanted to do. And it’s pretty squicky to be giving instructions for how to make my own work more famous.

However, my husband’s brilliant novel Sad Peninsula is launching next week and the topic is on my mind, so I thought I’d share here, in a “if you wanted to know” sort of format. Keep in mind that this is all optional–just a list of suggestions on how you might like to help out. If nothing below is your jam, feel free to ignore the whole thing.

1. Come to readings and events. Even for a pro, it’s scary to step in front of live, potentially judgmental, potentially drunk humans and read aloud something that has lived only in your own brain for years. It is so so so encouraging to see a friendly face beaming up at you, you have no idea. And if you laugh audibly at the jokes, oh my god, I owe you forever.

Everyone knows that literary events can be awkward to attend–out-of-the-way locations, late start times, weeknights. Completely understandable if you can’t make it, but that’s what makes it so awesome if you do. Really, it does.

A word about Facebook invitations and eVites: Though we all receive these through personal accounts, please keep in mind that they are marketing tools of a sort, not personal communications. If you can’t make it and want to write something on the wall, keep it about the event–“Wishing you well, sure it’ll be amazing, sorry I can’t be there.” If you honestly feel the event organizer needs to know why you’re not coming, drop them a personal message and let them know. Why? Because it is so discouraging for a potential attendee to go to an event page to see if maybe she’d like to go, and see a wall full of what others prefer to do that night instead. Seriously, I’ve seen everything from “there’s no parking around there” to “I’m planning on procrastinating all my work until that evening.” It’s really alientating to those who were on the fence about attending. Please don’t do this.

2. Buy the book. Books are usually between $20 and $30, and no one would suggest purchasing is required. If you can swing it, though, know that it’s appreciated. Sales make a difference, especially in physical stores where there’s limited shelf space and books get returned awfully fast if they aren’t selling. Online purchases certainly count towards sales numbers, though, though, and so do ebooks. Please note that if you don’t wish to buy a book, the library is another good way to go–authors receive payments through the Public Lending Right and so we are certainly fans of the libraries.
If you can’t find the book, one way to go the extra mile is to ask your local bookstore or library to order it. They might do it simply because you asked, or they might note it and if they get a critical mass of other requests, then order it. Either way, it helps!

3. Read the book and talk about it with the author. This is completely separate from #2–many people who have proudly shown me their copies of my books on their shelves have never mentioned the contents. And many who couldn’t afford to buy it borrowed it from friends or the library and chatted about it with me enthusiastically. Both are fine ways to go about things, believe me. Authors really value when you bring up their work and have an opinion on it. Most of us would never bring it up ourselves (“What did you think of page 43?”) because it seems showboaty and also risks embarrassing us both if you hated it. If you did hate 100% of the book, feel free to never bring it up, but if you have one nice thing to say, or even a question, bring it. Reviews are getting scarcer and scarcer in this country, and authors really value feedback, a sign their work is getting through to someone, at least a little.
If you don’t want to read it, please don’t mention it. I swear, I’ll never ask–it’s no one’s job to read my books. It’s just that there are no reasons for not reading my book that will not make me sad. (“I hate fiction.” “I actually don’t read anything ever.” “I only like vampire books.”)  I completely respect your decision, it’s just an awkward conversation.

4. Recommend the book and talk about it with friends. The easiest way to do this is some online reviewing–on Goodreads, on the sites of online retailers, your blog. These are wonderful, Google-able ways of offering support and do a lot to improve search results and automated recommendations from online sales sites.  But social media shares, which go to everyone, aren’t as awesome as the personal recommendation. A lot of stuff that pops up on social media I miss or ignore or assume isn’t relevant to me, but if a friend grabs my arm and says, “I was reading this book I think you would love,” I usually listen.

That’s it–all I can think of, anyway. If you have more suggestions for how to support a book, please do share in the comments. And then go read a book you love!

October 2nd, 2013

How to Keep Your Day Job on the road again

I’m pleased to let you know that the film version of How to Keep Your Day Job is going to be screened at the St. John’s Women’s Film Festival on the evening of October 25. That link is the full schedule; scroll down to see the short-film evening on that Friday and all the films listed! Please share the link, either to the fest or the film itself with anyone you think might enjoy it.

The film also recently screened at Cinefest in Sudbury–lucky Sudburians!

May 14th, 2013

Busy!

2013 has been quiet so far on the readings and publications fronts–up until last week, I’d done neither at all this year–it’s all been working and writing and editing and being stressed, the sort of thing that doesn’t do well on stage or in print. I think last week’s Windsor Review would’ve been sufficient to bolster me for a while, but of course it never rains but it pours. After 5 months of silence, two stories in the world within a week is weird, but not undelightful.

My story “Love-Story Story” is just out in the May/June issue of This Magazine, which I’m so pleased about. That story was a long time in process, and longer looking for the right home so I’m grateful to Dani Couture for giving it such an estimable one. To celebrate, I think I’ll read an excerpt from the story at Racket at the Rocket on Friday night.

The Racket is a new east-side reading series. Their website hasn’t been update, but here’s the details if you think you might like to join me and Mark Sampson, among other stellar writers, for an evening of literature and cookies (the Red Rocket cafe, which hosts, has nice baked items in addition to beer, wine, and caffeinated things). I’ve stolen these details from Mark…
When: Friday, May 17, 2013. 7:30 p.m.
Where: Red Rocket Coffee – 1364 Danforth Ave (near Greenwood Subway Station), Toronto.

And of course, this comes on the heels of another reading/panel discussion, which I did earlier yesterday–no readings for 6 months, then two in a week. Go figure. Anyway, it was fun and credit should be given to my lovely co-panellists–Christine Gilbert, Monica S. Kuebler, and Claire Horsnell.

 

 

January 21st, 2013

What I’ve Been Doing

Despite the overwhelming tidal wave of job-related work I’ve been doing, there’s been some writing-related stuff going on too. Here’s some highlights if you’ve missed me:

–my story, “Anxiety Attack” is in the current issue of Freefall Magazine, which is delightful news. My contributer’s copy is currently winging its way towards me but if you spot a copy in the wild I’d love to know how it looks–awesome, I bet.

–an article I wrote, “When Your Culture Is Counter-culture” is now live on the website Offbeat Bride. A new year’s resolution I don’t think I’ve mentioned here yet is to do more of this sort of lifestyle writing and service journalism, and actually try to get it published in places other than on this blog, where it doesn’t really belong. Literary journalism and criticism, as you know, give me hives, and even when I manage, through much struggle and editing, to make something decent, I’m still miserable. The above article, an advice-y chatty piece about my wedding and what others might learn from it, filled me with delight while writing it and I’m so happy reading the few comments its garnered so far. Next to fiction, this sort of thing is my favourite to read and write, so I think I should pursue it. If you know a website I should be submitting to, please let me know!

–I’ll be reading at Racket at the Rocket, organized by Open Minds Toronto on May 17, sharing the stage with my beloved husband. Yes, we’re just that cute.

–And finally, my story “Love-Story Story” will be published in the next issue of This Magazine. If you’ve not read my fiction, or only my second book, this won’t mean anything to you, but LSS is an Isobel story–a character that appeared in 2 stories in Once as well as “I Have Never Loved You Less” in Road Trips, and half a dozen other stories in various places. I’m always happy to see her and write about her–I do hope you enjoy the story.

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