150 Canadian Authors to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday!

As my own personal celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday this year,
I offer a list of 150 Canadian Authors!

These are authors whose books are on my shelves, or who have been promoted on my blog, Reading Recommendations. Many of them I’ve met in person at one time or another (some have even driven with me in my car!), either when I was a bookseller, publishers’ sales rep, or Author Impresario in my business, Alberta Books Canada. Some have also become close personal friends over the years, and for that I am extremely grateful!

All are terrific writers! So I urge you – whether you are a Canadian reader or a reader living anywhere else in the world – to check out any or … ALL of these authors I’ve listed below in alphabetical order. I have included initial links to the authors who have been promoted previously on my blog.

Read and enjoy! Oh, and HAPPY 150TH BIRTHDAY, CANADA, eh!

Margaret Atwood
Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Jerry Auld
Joann Bannatyne-Cugnet
Pamela Banting
Nick Bantock
Joan Barfoot
Karen Bass
Arjun Basu
Kimmy Beach
Eileen Bell
Frank Beltrano
Rick Bergh
Christian Bok
Gail Bowen
Stephen Bown
Brian Brennan
Maureen Bush
Sharon Butala
Paul Butler
Susan Calder
Pam Chamberlain
Marty Chan
Weyman Chan
Pam Clark
Sharon Clark
Leonard Cohen
Matt Cohen
Gordon Cope
Bill Corbett
Joan Crate
Lesley Crewe
N.R. Cruse
Robertson Davies
Della Dennis
Marcello Di Cintio
Roy Dimond
Glenn Dixon
Marina Endicott
Bill Engleson
Mandy Eve-Barnett
J. Michael Fay
Sheree Fitch
Cheryl Foggo
Darlene Foster
Demetra Angelis Foustanellas
Hugh Garner
Don Gillmor
Sheryl Gordon
Katherine Govier
Wayne Grady
Linda Granfield
Blaine Greenwood
Rosemary Griebel
Jacqueline Guest
Lori Hahnel
Richard Harrison
Elizabeth Hay
Betty Jane Hegerat
Robert Hilles
Jack Hodgins
Darcie Friesen Hossack
Barb Howard
Allan Hudson
Bruce Hunter
Shaun Hunter
Hazel Hutchins
Ann Ireland
Mark Anthony Jarman
Glenna Jenkins
Teresa Karlinski
Detlef Karthaus
J.F. Kauffmann
Michael Kelly
Melanie Kerr
Fran Kimmel
Thomas King
Myrna Kostash
Robert Kroetsch
Lee Kvern
Margaret Laurence
Peter Learn
Pearl Luke
Margaret Mackey
Hugh MacLennan
Alistair MacLeod
Alice Major
Carin Makuz
Dave Margoshes
Andy Marshall
Mike Martin
Clem Martini
Sid Marty
Shirlee Smith Matheson
R. Matthias
Steven Mayoff
Matt Mayr
Randy McCharles
Kim McCullough
Pamela McDowell
Ken McGoogan
J.P. McLean
Dan McNeil
Bruce Meyer
Peter Midgley
Kirk Miles
Antony Millen
W.O. Mitchell
L.M. Montgomery
Brian Moore
Douglas Morrison
Alice Munro
Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Michael Ondaatje
Peter Oliva
Ursula Pflug
Timothy L. Phillips
David A. Poulsen
Marie Powell
Paul Quarrington
Bill Richardson
Mordecai Richler
Leo Brent Robilliard
Stuart Ross
Gabrielle Roy
Robert Runte
Candace Savage
Merilyn Simonds
Ron Smith
Bob Stallworthy
Kristina Stanley
Fred Stenson
Richard William Stevenson
Eugene Stickland
Danika Stone
David Suzuki
Geo Takach
Lee D. Thompson
Aritha van Herk
Cristy Watson
Tom Wayman
Alison Wearing
Thomas Wharton
Rudy Wiebe
Nicole Winters
Chris Wiseman
Caroline Woodward
L.B. Wright
Tim Wynne-Jones
Lockard Young

And #151 … Susan M. Toy

beetleypete’s A-Z Film Challenge … The List: A-L

During the Merrie Month of May, I discovered (through friend Felicity Harley’s reblogging of it) a series of posts by a new-to-me UK blogger, beetleypete, titled A-Z Film Challenge. I was late coming into the challenge with my own suggestions (I didn’t begin commenting until around the “L” post, I think), but I was pleased to see that Pete’s series had already attracted a great deal of attention and further recommendations from his blog’s readers that it seemed as though a real online “party” was going on! I also discovered in short time that Pete has an extensive knowledge of World Cinema (which I particularly enjoy) and had many of the same experiences of seeing films for the first time when he was growing up in England as I had growing up in Canada. Turns out we’re just about the same age. While Pete and I mainly agreed on his daily alphabetical choices, I found it fun to search my own memory banks and remember those other films that had meant a lot to me over the decades. I also discovered a few new pals in the comments section who brought even more movie titles and experience to the table. When Pete’s series came to an end, I know I wasn’t the only movie-lover sad to lose this daily reminiscence we’d come to anticipate and enjoy. I asked Pete if he had kept track of all the suggestions made – he hadn’t – and offered to go back over the posts and compile as complete a list as I could. While I haven’t included links to every movie listed (I will leave that to YOU to look them up at IMDB), I have linked back to Pete’s blog posts for each of the Letters, so you have a chance to see Pete’s personal favourite selection and watch the accompanying video he included for each. I’ve divided the complete list into two, just because the number of titles was becoming unwieldy. As well, it has taken me just about a month to compile this first blog post for A-L … so I will post M-Z and Numbers whenever I can get the rest done.

Thanks to Pete Johnson for the original idea of this series, and for his stick-to-it-iveness that kept it going. Also, thanks to Pete’s readers for all their great suggestions!


About a Boy
The Abyss
Ace in the Hole
Aces High
Across 110th Street
Across The Universe
The African Queen
The Age of Innocence
Aguirre The Wrath of God
Alien (series)
All About Eve
All About My Mother
Almost Famous
American Beauty
American Graffiti
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Assult on Precinct 13
Avengers Assemble
The Aviator


Babette’s Feast
Bad Boy Bubby
Bad Day at Black Rock
Bad Lieutenant
Bagdad Cafe
Barton Fink
Basic Instinct
Battle of Algiers
Batman (series)
Be Kind Rewind
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Beguiled
Being There
Betty Blue
The Big Chill
Big Fish
The Big Lebowski
The Birds
Black Cat White Cat
Black Narcissus
Black Swan
Blade Runner
Blazing Saddles
Blue Velvet
The Blues Brothers
Body Heat
Bonnie and Clyde
Das Boot
Bringing Up Baby


Cape Fear
Captain Alatriste
Captain America-Civil War
Captain Fantastic
Carlito’s Way
The Carpetbaggers
Cat Ballou
Cat People
The Cell
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Chimes At Midnight
Cincinnati Kid
Citizen Kane
City of God
City of Lost Children
A Clockwork Orange
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Conspiracy Theory
Cool Hand Luke
Come and See
Corpse Bride
The Craft
Crimes of Passion
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


Damien: Omen II
Dances With Wolves
Dangerous Beauty
Dark City
Dark Star
Darker Than Amber
Das Boot
Days of Heaven
Dead Man
Dead Poets’ Society
Death Becomes Her
Death in Venice
Deep Red
The Deer Hunter
Dersu Uzala
The Descent
The Devil’s Advocate
District 9
Do the Right Thing
Doctor Zhivago
Donnie Darko
Down By Law
Dr. Strangelove
Draughtsman’s Contract
The Dressmaker
Dressed to Kill
Duck Soup
The Duellists


The Eagle Has Landed
East of Eden
Eastern Promises
Easy Rider
Edge of Heaven
Educating Rita
An Education
Edward Scissorhands
Eight Legged Freaks
Electra Glide in Blue
Elephant Man
Elite Squad
Ella Enchanted
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Emmanuelle – series
Empire of the Sun
Enemy at the Gates
Enemy Mine
The Enigma
Enter the Dragon
Enter the Void
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Event Horizon
Everlasting Moments
Everything is Illuminated
Evil Dead
Ex Machina
The Exorcist
Eyes Wide Shut


The Fallen Idol
Falling Down
The Fantastic Four (2005)
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Voyage
Farewell My Concubine
Fatal Attraction
Female Agents
Femme Fatale
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Fifth Element
Finding Dory
Finding Nemo
A Fist Full of Dollars
Five Easy Pieces
Flesh & Blood
The Flight of the Phoenix
The Fly
For a Few Dollars More
For Your Eyes Only
Forbidden Planet
Foreign Correspondent
The Fountain
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Fox and the Hound
The French Connection
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
From Hell
From Here to Eternity
The Front Page
The Fugitive
Full Metal Jacket
The Full Monty
Funny Games
Funny Face
Funny Girl


Galaxy Quest
The Gambler
The Game
Gangs of New York
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Get Carter
Get Shorty
The Getaway
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Ghost World
Girl With a Pearl Earring
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Glengarry Glen Ross
Gone With the Wind
Good Morning Vietnam
Good Will Hunting
The Graduate
Gran Torino
The Grand Budapest Hotel
La Grande Illusion
The Great Beauty
The Great Escape
The Grey Zone
The Godfather (series)
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Golden Eye
Good Day to Die Hard
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Goodbye Lenin
Goya’s Ghost
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grifters
Groundhog Day
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?


La Haine
The Hairdresser’s Husband
Hallowe’en (series)
The Hangover
Hannibal Brooks
Hard Candy
A Hard Day’s Night
Hard Eight
Harry and Tonto
Harry Potter (series)
Hart’s War
The Haunting
Hacksaw Ridge
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Head On
Heavenly Creatures
Heaven’s Gate
Hell’s Angels
The Help
High Anxiety
High Fidelity
High Noon
His Girl Friday
Histoire d’O
A History of Violence
The Hobbit
Hollow Man
The Horseman
The Hot Spot
Hotel Rwanda
House of Games
The House of Mirth
House of the Flying Daggers
House of Wax
How the West Was Won
How to Marry a Millionaire
Hurt Locker
Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Hyde Park on Hudson


I Am Dina
I Am Sam
I, Robot
Ice Cold in Alex
The Ice Harvest
If …
I’m Not Scared
Imitation of Life
The Impossible
In Bruges
In Cold Blood
In the Heat of the Night
In The Mood For Love
The Incredible Hulk
Independence Day
Inglorious Bastards
Indiana Jones
Innocent Blood
The Innocents
Inside Llewyn Davis
Interview With The Vampire
Intolerable Cruelty
The Intouchables
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Iron Man
It Came From Outer Space
It Follows
It Happened One Night
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s Alive!
I’ve Loved You For So Long


Jackie Brown
Jacob’s Ladder
Jagged Edge
Jane Eyre (1943)
Jason and the Argonauts
Jean de Florette
Jeepers Creepers
Jeremiah Johnson
Jesus Christ Superstar
Joan of Arc
John Carter
Johnny Mad Dog
Johnny Suede
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Joy Ride
Ju Dou
Julie and Julia
Jupiter Ascending
Jurassic Park


Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior
Kansas City
The Karate Kid
Katalin Varga
Keetje Tippel
Key Largo
Keys to the Kingdom
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kill Bill
The Kill List
Killer Joe
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
The Killers
The Killing of Sister George
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The King and I
King Arthur
King Kong
The King of Comedy
King of Hearts
The Kingdom
The King’s Speech
Kingsmen: The Secret Service
Kiss Me Deadly
Kiss Me Kate
Kong Island


L.A. Confidential
La La Land
The Lady from Shanghai
Lady Killer
Lady Vengeance
Laser Mission
The Last Detail
The Last of Sheila
The Last Samurai
Law Abiding Citizen
Lawrence of Arabia
Leave Her to Heaven
Les Miserables
Let the Right One In
Let’s Make Love
Liar, Liar
The Libertine
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Life is a Miracle
Life of Brian
The Life of Pi
Like Water for Chocolate
The Limey
Little Big Man
The Little Devil
Local Hero
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Logan’s Run
The Long Good Friday
The Longest Day
The Longest Yard
Look Both Ways
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Losers
The Lost Honour of Katerina Blum
Lost in Translation
Love, Actually
Love and Anarchy
Love and Death
Love Letter
Love Me or Leave Me
Love Seranade
The Lovers (1958)
The Lunchbox

Got LIVE if you want it!

Hooray!! An occasion to really celebrate! Kevin Brennan has published a new book! Read all about it here …


Guess what? In No Particular Order is now live on Amazon!

Here’s the blurb:

It’s true that life is linear, but the living of it is all over the map. In this memoir-in-vignettes, novelist Kevin Brennan (Parts Unknown, Yesterday Road) examines his life the way memories occur in the wild: in no particular order. Whether it’s recalling high school humiliations, ups and downs in love and romance, or unique interactions with the human race at home and abroad, Brennan both entertains and moves the reader with moments of unexpected poignancy and full-tilt humor. In No Particular Order is a deconstructed memoir, like no other because it looks at life as it really is — a kaleidoscope of individual moments.

Snatch a copy today for just 99 cents, but be sure to tell your buds about it, because I suspect I won’t be able to promote this title…

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How valued Readers can become valued Reviewers!!

If you have read Island in the Clouds or One Woman’s Island or That Last Summer (or all three!) and enjoyed reading them – but you haven’t yet posted any reviews online, I would appreciate you doing so now, on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, your library’s website, or your own blog. I’m hoping to build up awareness for my writing in general to create a solid fan base in place to do the heavy-lifting of informing and, hopefully, exciting different and new-to-me readers about any future publications. If you have already posted something to do with me or my writing on your own blog I have likely added that link to this page, this page, or this one. If your interview or review are not listed there, please let me know so I can include you.

Now, I know some readers are shy and don’t want their thoughts and opinions posted in public, and especially not online. I appreciate and understand that feeling! If you have read my books though and enjoyed them enough to want to tell me about that enjoyment, then please send me an email (susanmtoy (at) gmail.com). Your review can be as brief as you’d like to make it. And I promise never to divulge your name if you want to remain anonymous, but do let me know if I may post and quote your comments on my blog – without your name attached! – so potential readers have a chance to see what “someone” thinks of my books and my writing. Whatever you decide, please do write and tell me whatever it is that you think. The best way for any author to improve is to listen to comments made by their readers. After all, it’s you we’re writing for in the first place!

What I hope to achieve by all this, of course, is a build-up of word-of-mouth promotion. You who are already satisfied readers will become, I hope, the foot soldiers in my campaign to promote my books. If you DO want me to quote you in future publicity then let me know I may use your name. A review with a real name has so much more credibility, and I’ll be using the best of those as bullets (not real gun bullets, of course!) and endorsements.

The other way for you to become involved in this promotion campaign of mine is by personally telling your friends about my books, and encouraging them to read what I’ve already published. Then, if they like what they read, they will anticipate my future publications. A readership is something we authors build one reader at a time … and by writing books readers enjoy reading.

So thanks to everyone for reading through my post, and for any help you may be able to offer.

And remember … I am but one author out here who is writing and publishing. There are many, many others who can also use a hand in the promotion of their books. Never discount the effect your personal recommendation has on any book you read and enjoy. Please don’t keep that enjoyment to yourself – tell others about it! An author’s success may just depend on your initial recommendation! (I feel so strongly about this concept that I created the Reading Recommendations blog.) And for those of you who would like to take this a step or two further, here are 99 Ways to Spread the Word About a Book You Love.

Thanks for reading – and commenting and reviewing! I could never have come this far without all of you loyal readers, and I appreciate every single one of you!


Tim Isberg – a listening recommendation

Tim Isberg

What is your latest release and what type of music is it? Latest record is full length album released Oct 2015 Tears Along The Road, produced by JUNO winner Miles Wilkinson. It is an Alt-Country blend of Americana and contemporary Folk. The CD was selected by Music Canada in their top 25 favourite albums (all genres) produced in Canada in 2015.

Quick description of the songs: Tears Along The Road is a first fully produced CD, following a 2005 underground CD Coming Home. Live shows are an occasion to personally engage the audience with genuine stories and original songs of a ‘singer-songwriter-soldier’, and sometimes an eclectic mix of covers spanning rock, blues and roots and even celtic genres. Too many influences to mention, but songs are in stylings of Rodney Crowell, Lennie Gallant, Ryan Adams, Blue Rodeo and JJ Cale.

Brief biography:
Originally from southern Alberta, veteran soldier Tim Isberg is an accomplished singer-songwriter who is emerging in the performance scene after a lengthy hiatus from music to serve in the Canadian Army.

From Rwanda to Afghanistan, Tim experienced the challenges of living and working in different cultures and conflicts, and amid the best and worst humanity has to offer. As a performer, he has entertained audiences in many corners of the world, including a recent 10-concert international tour in 2016.

Tim is a story-teller who brings well crafted songs to the stage and a unique and endearing array of life experiences he shares in a way that makes each listener feel connected.

Nominated for 2016 ACMA Male Artist of the Year, Tim’s album Tears Along The Road was released in October 2015 and recorded with celebrated JUNO award-winning producer-engineer Miles Wilkinson and selected by Music Canada as one of the Top 25 Favourite Albums of 2015.

Tim performs solo, duo, and often with his full band consisting of Blaine Doherty on guitar, Dean Pierno on percussion, Kim Lesaca on bass, and additional guests on pedal steel or violin.

Links for People to Buy It:
Tim’s website

Tim’s promo links:
Tim’s website

What are you working on now?
Working toward another recording project for fall 2017, and writing … always. Also, writing a chapter for a book to be published by Simon & Schuster in summer 2017, Everyday Heroes: Inspirational Stories from Men and Women in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Tim’s listening recommendation:
Lynne Hanson, Lindi Ortega, Badfinger! (Tommy Evans was a close pal of my best friend).

Book Reviewers Wanted!

I’m hoping that readers of this blog will take my request seriously and consider reading to write reviews for the more than 150 Authors I’ve promoted on my blog, Reading Recommendations. I posted to that blog today and addressed all the authors there, Reading Recommendations … Spring Cleaning, telling them I’ve cleaned up the lists a bit. I immediately received messages from several of those authors, offering me reciprocal promotion for my own writing, and one also requesting titles he could review.

So I thought I would open this up to everyone, readers included – those who don’t happen to also be authors themselves. I ask that you look through the lists on that blog and consider writing a review of books you may have already read, or let me know if you have written a favourable review of any that I may then repost on the reading recommendations reviewed blog. Or, if you discover an author you’d like to interview or review, let me know and I will help you contact them.

Thanks for any help with this. All we authors need reviews, but most important of all is that we find readers who are interested in reading what we write! If you find some new-to-you authors through this blog of mine then I am very happy indeed!

But if you then tell your friends about this great author and their books, that will be pure magic!!

How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

From Sally Cronin … an idea to encourage readers to also become reviewers.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I am very keen to make reviews a prominent feature of the book promotions and encourage readers to review the books that they buy and enjoy, or not as the case may be.

Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool that anyone who is selling a product benefits from. Authors are no different, and our books tend to be judged by the number and quality that they have received.

Part of the problem is that those who are not writers of books or blogs are uncomfortable in offering reviews and feel that what they have to say is not important. Many who do review a book, leave just one line after their star rating, simply saying that the reader enjoyed or disliked a book, but they do not elaborate.

That is obviously very welcome. But whilst a potential reader does not want to read three pages filled…

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Time for a rethink?

I recently read two blog posts that resonated with me, primarily because I have been giving the entire write/publish/sell-lots-of-copies notion a rethink and am wondering how I might change the way I approach my own writing and finding new readers for it.

This article is from Ninja Writer, Shaunta Grimes, and this one, Misbelief, is from the most-brilliant Seth Godin.

Please go and read both – I’ll wait …

Now, I’m not suggesting we all completely revamp our marketing plans and incorporate something as unusual as what Shaunta has created on her blog. Nor should we declare it all to be simply “snake oil sales” and write off marketing completely.

We do … or, at least, I do, need to start replacing my misbelief in marketing my writing with a better belief in my writing (and the writing of authors in general) overall – as Seth declares – and think even further outside the box – as Shaunta outlines she is doing.

Those who know me know that I’m not short on BIG ideas! I’ve posted a number of these ideas here on my blog (links are on this dedicated page) and several of these ideas came to me after reading posts and books written by Seth Godin. (If you are not subscribed to his daily blog posts, I suggest you sign up immediately. He really gets the creative juices flowing! Most Read vs. Best Sold – my purple cow is a case in point.) And I always like to think outside the box anyway … generally about the next-town-over from that box, in fact. I learned long ago that:

So, off I go to think differently, again, and revise, revamp, rejig the way I promote and find readers for my own books and for those written by author-friends. I don’t know what those changes will entail, but watch for something new on this blog and on my others, as well as in my use of social media. A change is as good as a rest, right? And that goes not just for me but for my readers and followers and fellow authors, too. In the meantime, I’m off to think and to read and to write. I do hope I can come up with some ideas that will be of use to everyone and of benefit specifically to readers out there. Maybe not quite like one of my childhood heroes …

… but you get the idea.

April is Poetry Month!

Since this is the month to celebrate poetry and poets, I thought I would provide you with a list of the poets I have previously featured on my other blog, Reading Recommendations. All links will take you to each poet’s promotion.

Kimmy Beach

Frank Beltrano

Jane Dougherty

Agnes Mae Graham

Blaine Greenwood

Felicity Harley

Bruce Hunter

Alice Major

Dave Margoshes

rob mclennan

Bruce Meyer

Peter Midgley

Kirk Miles

Ken Rivard

Hendrik Slegtenhorst

Ron Smith

Sorry, temporarily closed due to Chikungunya Brain …

As my friend, Betty Jane Hegerat has said previously, this is the virus that just keeps on giving … and giving, and giving, it seems. I don’t know if it’s because the weather suddenly turned hot again over the past couple of days, but I had begun to notice that same pain in my shoulder again, which was where the virus began for me in Aug. 2014, and that I was tired, generally achy and headachachy, yet was a total insomniac last night. Then today, I’m scattered (hence the “Chikungunya Brain” in the title) and my eyes are sore and tired.

And it’s not just me! I’ve spoken with 3 others who also had the virus in 2014 who say they’ve noticed symptoms returning lately. Never as bad as when we first had it, but still not pleasant to experience any of this again. Dennis was the one who suggested the return of hot weather may have triggered the symptoms to start up again. He could be right.

While I’m dealing with Chikungunya Brain, I’ll be stepping away from the computer a bit – which may, in fact, be a good thing. I’ve started sorting and packing for my trip back to Canada in April, so I certainly have enough to do otherwise with my time and concentration.

And for those of you who are reading this and saying, “Chikun-what??” here’s a link to the first blog post I wrote about this nasty virus, Chikungunya – you cannot begin to imagine. You’ll find links to the other 11 blog posts I wrote about ChikV here. I had queued up a 13th post with the title, Chikungunya and Zika, they just keep on ticking … way back in early Feb. of this year, but never got around to actually posting that. So here’s the article about Zika that was going to be about.

Finally, I’m sorry to report that I STILL have people finding my blog by using search terms like, “pain and numbness in hands from Chikungunya” and “how long will pain from Chikungunya last?” I find this particularly sad as there’s really no cure for this virus and, as I and my friends are discovering, ChikV will continue to keep on giving, and ticking, and will likely come back to wreak havoc with my shoulder, my muscles, my eyes and my brain for a very long time to come. Urgh!!