Author Archive: islandeditions

Online Writing and Reading Festivals – Part 3: Word on the Street Lethbridge

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series about annually held writing and reading festivals that have moved online this year. The good news is that these festivals are now open to readers and writers all over the world! (Link to Part 1 and Part 2)

I was involved in the very first Lethbridge Word On The Street Festival back in 2011! It was organized by the Lethbridge Public Library (where I had connections!). During the first couple of years, I set up a display table of books written by Alberta Authors and took part in a panel discussion on self-publishing (which I was involved in doing myself at the time, having already self-published my first novel). After that second year I moved away from Calgary and have not attended another Festival, but I’ve kept in touch. Especially as Elisabeth Hegerat, LPL librarian and daughter of Calgary author Betty Jane Hegerat, is now in charge! I’ve asked her to provide us with the details of this year’s Festival, which, out of necessity, has been moved online. All the better though for those of us who aren’t able to attend in person!

Join Lethbridge Public Library Online for The Word On The Street

September is upon us, and the main programming events for Lethbridge Public Library’s annual The Word On The Street Festival are only a short week away! This year we’ll be going online with our lineup, with festival events starting Monday, September 14, leading up to our main events on Friday, September 18 and Saturday, September 19. We’re also excited to share that we’ll be hosting festival events well into September with our Indigenous Artists Series as well as into the fall with our Fall Reading Series.

This year marks the Library’s tenth year hosting its annual award-winning literary event, and while things look a little different than we initially anticipated, we’re happy to bring this annual celebration of literacy, storytelling, and the literary arts to our community. “Though we’ve had to make some adjustments, I’m very glad we’re able to still go ahead with the festival this year,” says Elisabeth Hegerat, festival organizer and Manager: Community & Economic Advancement at Lethbridge Public Library. “It may look and feel a bit different this year, but we have created a festival that represents the diversity of our community, is accessible to all ages, and most importantly is lively and fun!”

Festival activities include:

Sept. 14–Sept. 26: B-93.3 and 95.5 Virtual Escape Room and Global News Lethbridge At-Home Scavenger Hunt.

Sept. 16: Pride Fest presents Drag Story Time for Everyone with special guests Killa Watt and Francheska Dynamites.

Sept. 16 & Sept. 17: Comics Program featuring Teresa Wong, Sam Hester, and Eric Dyck, presented with the support of the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge.

Sept. 18 (morning): CVS Midwest Tapes Kid’s Program featuring Susin Nielsen, Richard Van Camp, Jeremy and Hermoine Tankard, and Eric Walters.

Sept. 18 (afternoon): Lethbridge Herald Teen Program featuring Tom Ryan, Bethany C. Morrow, Nafiza Azad, and Courtney Summers.

Sept. 19: Canadian Heritage Adult Program featuring Virginia Bordeleau and Susan Ouriou, Gil Adamson, Shane Chartrand, Jennifer Cockrall-King, Cheryl Foggo, Robert J. Sawyer, and Danika Stone.

Sept. 20: Canada-wide The Word On The Street Double-Header: First, join us on a regional mystery tour with Alberta author D.K. Stone and St. John’s writer Kevin Major. Then, Carol Rose GoldenEagle and Andrea Gunraj discuss their characters’ journeys through loss, intergenerational trauma, healing, and recovery.

Sept. 22–Sept. 26: Indigenous Artists Series featuring Hali and Faye Heavy Shield, Amber Weasel Head, Jamie John Kehewin, Sheena Potts Mai’stoistowaakii (Crow Pretty Woman), and Richard Van Camp.

All program events will be online via Zoom, and online ordering will be available through the festival bookseller, the University of Lethbridge Bookstore.

“Even though we’re online, the festival is a great chance to meet a favourite author or discover someone new,” says Hegerat. “The heart of the festival stays the same. It is a literary festival celebrating the written and spoken word. There really is something for everyone.”

For the full Festival schedule visit Word On The Street Lethbridge.

 

More Information About the Word On the Street Festivals …

Celebrate Reading and Literacy with the Lethbridge Public Library!

We’re proud to join communities across the country in a national celebration of literacy, storytelling, and the literary arts for the 10th year in a row. This signature event in southern Alberta presents established and emerging authors, storytellers, workshops,and other online activities. It may look and feel a bit different this year, but we still strive to create a festival that represents the diversity of our community, is accessible to all ages, and most importantly, well attended, lively, and fun!

Fool’s Gold Rush is coming – Doomed to Repeat is FREE!!

Congratulations to Tim Baker on finishing and publishing a new novel! He’s offering a free download of an earlier novel to celebrate.

blindoggbooks

Remember me?

It’s been a while, I know.

About five months to be specific.

The last blog post I wrote was entitled “How I Spent My Corona Isolation (so far)” and I posted it on April 18th.

At the time I, like many of you I’m sure, thought this virus thing would be over in a couple of months and life would get back to normal.

So much for that – right?

Here it is, September, and any hope for a return to “normal” is wishful thinking to say the least.

So – what have you been up to? (Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below)

As for me – I tried to put the time to good use.

Aside from doing a little SCUBA diving (there are no viruses under water) I also managed to finish my latest novel.

It has been…

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Keith Black … A Child of the Beach in Toronto Remembers

I did not know a boy named Keith Black when I was growing up in The Beach neighbourhood of Toronto. I had never even heard his name, in fact, until I saw the listing for his new book on the Beach Metro News Facebook page. Then I read his bio in that article and realized that, while Keith is six years older (nearly a lifetime difference when you’re kids!), we had a lot in common, having grown up in the same east-end Toronto neighbourhood at approximately the same time. We are both Boomers, after all!

Keith Black in the 50s.

We were born in the same hospital (East General) and had both attended the same schools (Williamson Road Public and Malvern Collegiate). Plus we did a lot of the same things kids at that time did in The Beach. I was primarily interested though in the fact that Keith had written this book but had not yet published it in print or eBook format.

Keith and his older brother, Rick.

So I contacted him directly to ask about his plans for publication, and we quickly discovered that our families had lived only two blocks away from each other (almost just round the corner, in fact), and we both had older brothers named Rick who were the same age – and were, indeed, friends of one another during the 50s!

So I offered to help Keith get the word out about his book to my blog readers. I know there won’t be a great deal of interest out there in the wide world in a book about a specific neghbourhood in Toronto, let alone one that takes place during the 50s, but I am still in contact with many old friends from that time – some of whom still live in the old ‘hood! I trust they will all find Keith’s stories very nostalgic and a wonderful reminder of days gone by.

Me in the 50s with my older sister Betty and brother Rick.

On a personal note, I have written several short stories set in The Beach based on my time growing up there, which was in the 60s. My need to write about this neighbourhood was very strong, so I understand Keith’s desire to write down his own experiences. It’s amazing though how universal all these stories are, especially to us Boomers!

For the complete story about Keith Black and his book, as well as links to weekly reprints of the book’s chapters, please see the article Former resident’s book looks back on growing up in the Beach in the Fifties by Alan Shakleton that ran in the Beach Metro News on July 14, 2020.

BOOM
A Child of the Beach in Toronto Remembers the 50s
by Keith BlackFrom the book’s back cover:

“Everyone has to grow up sometime and everyone has to grow up
somewhere and I am delighted that I did it in the Fifties and in the Beach.”
Keith Black, who was born in 1947 provides a sparkling narrative about
what it was like to be a child during the 50’s in the Beach area of Toronto
at a time when the streets teemed with children.
As we watch the children play and roam far from home, we also meet
some of the residents, shop in some of the long-forgotten stores, dine in
the restaurants, and remember some surprising events such as a blazing
gun battle on Queen Street and the year everyone received updated
appliances.
Even if you are not familiar with the neighbourhood, there is something
here for you. As Keith says in the Introduction, “if you remember mello
rolls and Murray Westgate, it doesn’t really matter where you lived”. Or
Chum Charts, or The Yummy Man, or Al Boliska, or Nash Metropolitans,
or cap pistols, or The Happy Gang. And the list goes on.
BOOM. A book not just for Baby Boomers, but also for their kids and
grandkids as they try to understand what it was that molded this
fascinating but often peculiar generation.

The printed form of the book is now in stock at Great Escape Books on Kingston Road, and the stock has been re-supplied at City Books on Queen St. and on the Danforth. A copy can also be ordered directly from the author at kandjomemee (at) gmail.com.

Authors-Readers International: Phase 3

On Nov. 29, 2019, I posted this to my blog about a new promotion series, Authors-Readers International, I was planning to begin writing …

Since Dec. 1, I have promoted a total of 72 authors in this series. You may see the complete list of names, with links to their promotions, here at Authors-Readers International … List of Authors. I’ve also included the country where they were born and where they are living now. You’ll see that this list of Authors is definitely international in scope!

After taking a second break from posting, I am now ready to begin adding more Authors’ names to this list!

I have sent out an email to another 33 authors with whom I have either worked or met (in person and online) over the years, and plan to begin posting new promotions once again beginning later in the fall.

Just to bring everyone up to date though, I’ve also been keeping track (since Dec. 1) of the countries where people are located who have been clicking on my blog. Of course, the majority of clicks are coming from Canada, the US and the UK – and there are a great many of those! But it has blown me away to see all these other countries on the list. Here’s the complete list (so far) of all the countries from which my blog has received hits during this time:

American Samoa, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Granada, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Eremites, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia.

That’s 109 countries!

I know that the Authors who have already been promoted through this series have appreciated the exposure it has given them – they tell me all the time! I just hope this is reaching a large number of Readers out there, as well. The original purpose of this project was to increase awareness among Readers who might not have otherwise heard about these fine writers. The best way to reach even more Readers, of course, is to share these posts I am offering to you – with your friends, families, book clubs, bookstores, libraries, and other Readers. My hope is that with added circulation this Authors-Readers International series will eventually reach all 195 countries in the world!

Thanks for reading, Everyone, and thanks especially to all the Authors for writing!

A-R International: Sid Marty

Sid Marty
Authors-Readers International

Cowboy poet and musician Sid Marty
Photo Credit: Western Folklife Center – 27th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Thursday, January 27, 2011. (Photograph by Jessica Brandi Lifland)

Sid Marty’s writing is strongly associated with the Rocky Mountains,
where he previously worked as a park warden in the mountain national
parks. Since l978, he has earned his living as a freelancer, writing
about natural and human history for national magazines. Sid Marty is
also known as a poet and musician and as the author of five
nonfiction titles and four collections of poetry, as well as two CDs
of original songs. His poems have appeared in a long list of school
textbooks, literary magazines and poetry anthologies such as The
Oxford Book of Canadian Verse and Colombo’s Poets of Canada. As a
musician and singer, Sid performs on guitar, mandolin and harmonica.

The Edmonton Journal, responding to Switchbacks (l999) calls him
“… a magnificent storyteller. Like a bush-camp cook, he throws
everything into the pot–high adventure-comedy, tragedy, even the
lyric adjective…” Sid Marty’s third prose title, Switchbacks
(l999) was on the National Post bestseller list for 47 weeks while
Leaning on the Wind (l995) and The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek
(2008) another bestseller, were both short-listed for the Governor
General’s Award in Nonfiction. His award-winning book Men for the
Mountains (l978) has been cited by the National and Provincial Parks
Association as one of the influential books in the Canadian
environmental movement. Sid and Myrna Marty live in southwestern
Alberta at the foot of the Livingstone Range. He is currently at work
on a long MS of new and collected poems tentatively entitled Bull
Pine Courage.

~

I was a newly minted Calgary bookseller in 1978, the year Sid Marty published his award-winning book, Men for the Mountains. I’m sure he came by the store to do a signing. I didn’t really get to know Sid though until much later when we were both involved with the Fernie Writers’ Conference. He led a workshop on non-fiction writing. One memorable evening during the conference, in a local Fernie watering hole, we all gathered around to witness a “poetry duel” between Sid Marty and poet/publisher Ron Smith. The challenge was that a poem was read by one of the men, then the other had to respond with one of his own poems that echoed the final line of the first poem. And on it went, for quite a while that evening, too! A lot of hilarity for the audience as well as for the two poets! I believe they agreed on a truce by the end of it all. At library conferences, I also displayed a couple of reprints of Sid Marty’s poetry books that had been re-released by Frontenac House.

While I was never a sales rep directly for any of Sid Marty’s books, I remembered just now while writing this promotion for him that I did rep for Red Deer College Press when they published the anthology, Riding the Northern Range: Poems from the Last Best West, edited by Ted Stone. Four of Sid’s poems are included in this book and he was among the contributors to read at a launch of the book held at The Longhorn Saloon in Calgary.

It wasn’t until well after that book was published that I noticed this mention on the copyright page: The publisher gratefully acknowledges … Special thanks to Patricia Roy and Susan Toy for their assistance in the preparation of this book. Unbeknownst to the two of us, Pat (now Couture) and I had been badgering Dennis Johnson to publish a book of cowboy poetry, because we knew it was hot at that time! Pat told me later that Dennis said something like this to her: “You and Susan Toy! You’re both driving me crazy about this need to publish cowboy poetry!” That was actually the extent of our “assistance” though – badgering! But it did feel good to eventually prove to Dennis Johnson we were correct about something! The book sold well!

~

The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek

Many citizens of Banff, Alberta, valued living in a place where wildlife grazed on the front lawn; others saw wild bears as a mere roadside attraction. None were expecting the bear attacks that summer, which led to one man’s death. During the massive hunt that followed, Banff was portrayed in the international media as a town under siege by a killer bear, and the tourists stayed away. The pressure was on to find and destroy the Whiskey Creek mauler, but he evaded park wardens and struck again and again. When the fight was over, the hard lessons learned led to changes that would save the lives of both bears and people in the coming years.

Sid Marty’s The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek is an evocative and gripping story that speaks to our complex and increasingly combative relationship with the wilderness and its inhabitants.

About Sid Marty’s music: Sid Marty began playing folk music and original songs in Calgary long before there was a Calgary Folk Music Club or an Edmonton Folk Festival. People in those days were indifferent to local songwriters, to put it mildly. Sid is a fourth generation Albertan and a former park warden who worked in the mountain national parks for many years. The songs on his second album, entitled Elsewhere, range from laments for third world child soldiers to a celebration of Alberta’s vanishing ranching culture to passionate love songs and up-tempo celebrations of Rocky Mountain days and nights

 

For more information about Sid Marty, his books and his music, please visit his website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A-R International: Clem Martini

Clem Martini
Authors-Readers International


Clem Martini is an award winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter.

Martini has over thirty plays, and ten books of fiction and nonfiction to his credit, including the Calgary Book Award-winning Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness and the internationally acclaimed young adult trilogy, The Crow Chronicles. He has served on the boards of numerous writing organizations including the Alberta Playwrights Network (Vice President), the Playwrights Guild of Canada (President), and the Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (founding President). His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright, The Greek Playwright, and The Ancient Comedians are employed in universities and colleges across the country. In addition to writing, he is the Former Chair, now Professor, of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.

From the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia:

Playwright, screenwriter, and fiction writer, born in Calgary, Alberta, Clem Martini has written over thirty plays, many of which have been produced nationally and internationally, including: Afterlife (Lunchbox Theatre 2005, directed by Johanne Deleeuw); The Secret Life of the Octopus (Quest Theatre 2005, dir. Duval Lang); The Replacement (Lunchbox Theatre 2004, dir. John Cooper); Turnaround, co-written with Cheryl Foggo (Lunchbox Theatre 1999, dir. Duval Lang); Selling Mr. Rushdie (Workshop West Theatre 1997, dir. David Mann); Bite Me (Lunchbox Theatre 1997, dir. Bartley Bard); Borrow Me (Lunchbox Theatre 1997, dir. John Cooper); Exit Othello (Workshop West 1996, dir. Mann); Illegal Entry (Alberta Theatre Projects 1995, dir. Daniel Libman); Up On The Roof (Lunchbox 1995, dir. Bartley Bard).

The Devil We Know, co-created with Cheryl Foggo (Blyth Festival 2012, dir. Eric Coates) is set on the edge of Regina in 1944, the home of a small group of African-Canadians determined to live with dignity despite hard times. When teenage twins, Vivian and Verna are left home alone for the weekend, they share stories of their hardships and romances, and tales of murder and hidden treasure right in their own neighborhood.
Then evil comes calling on them.

Martini’s plays exhibit a strong social conscience, and a quirky sense of humour, often focusing on the lives of troubled teens. They also have a fine sense of the absurd, expressing the world as unconventional and fantastical. Selling Mr. Rushdie (published in The Alberta Advantage, Playwrights Press, 2008) explores Western culture’s obsession with fame and wealth. Three teens from a residential school for young offenders, working in a seedy bar, kidnap a man who claims to be Salman Rushdie. They stash him in a barn and attempt to figure out how they will claim the million dollar fatwa reward, even though the man now denies that he is Rushdie; however, he proves to be a formidable opponent. The play challenges the notion of freedom of speech – whether it can go too far, or whether it is ineffective compared to violent action. The director of the Rogues Theatre production (Calgary 2004) compared the characters’ patter to the dialogue of Quentin Tarantino and of playwright-filmmaker David Mamet.

Martini is a three-time winner of the Alberta Writers Guild Drama Prize, and a Governor General’s Award nominee for his anthology, A Three Martini Lunch (Red Deer Press, 2000). Martini With a Twist: 5 Plays by Clem Martini was published by NeWest Press in 2012.

Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness (Freehand Books 2010) recounts his two brothers’ 30-year struggle with schizophrenia and with the health system. His novel, The Comedian (U of Calgary Press, 2018), an imaginative interpretation of the life of the Roman playwright, Titus Maccius Plautus as he tries against all odds to mount a play, was nominated for an Alberta Literary Award in 2019.

Martini is a professor in the Division of Drama at the University of Calgary, where he teaches Playwriting, Screenwriting and Theatre for Young Audiences. He works with troubled youth as a drama consultant through the charitable organization Woods Homes. He is a past President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and author with Kathleen Foreman of an “unauthorized” oral history of Theatresports, Something Like a Drug (Red Deer Press, 1995); and of the playwriting texts The Blunt Playwright (Playwrights Press, 2006) and The Greek Playwright (Playwrights Press, 2009).

He lives in Calgary with his wife, Cheryl Foggo.

~

I was a sales rep for the new Calgary publisher, Freehand Books, when Clem Martini and his brother, Olivier Martini, published their collaborative Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness. They have since released a second book with Freehand, The Unravelling: How Our Caregiving Safety Net Came Unstrung and We Were Left Grasping at Threads, Struggling to Plait a New One. I have read both books and thought them to be excellent! I displayed the first at library conferences and conferences. (I was also a sales rep for The University of Calgary Press, which has since published his novel, The Comedian, and for Red Deer Press and Kids Can Press that have also published books by Clem Martini.) I had known of Clem Martini prior to this, of course, as he was (and still is!) teaching at the University of Calgary. But I also came to better know him when I began promoting his wife, Cheryl Foggo, who is also part of this Authors-Readers International series.

~

The Comedian
Published by The University of Calgary Press

edited by Aritha Van Herk (also an A-RI author!)

Titus Maccius Plautus’ career is on the decline. Once renounced for bringing Greek comedies to the Roman world, now he struggles to stage a single play. Unlucky with money and unlucky in love, Plautus faces the world with wry dignity. This could be the performance that brings back fame and fortune, or the one that ends it all.

Engaging, thoughtful, and funny, The Comedian dives into the rough and tumble world of arts in its infancy. Clem Martini draws on his talent and experience to bring to life the signs and sounds of a world where playwrights suffered and succeeded–but mostly suffered.

What Clem Martini is working on now: I’m presently working on a theatrical adaptation of The Unravelling.

 

Blogger’s Books: Susan M. Toy

Thanks so much to beetleypete – UK blogger Pete Johnson – for featuring me and my books on his blog today! There’s also a mention of the Authors-Readers International series I have been running here since Dec. 2019!

beetleypete

Today I bring you not only a book by Susan, but also a complete list of the many authors featured on her website. Susan is a writer, a former publisher’s representative, and blogger. Originally from Canada, she is now based on the idyllic island of Bequia, in The Grenadines. She has more than one blog, and is incredibly supportive in her efforts to promote fellow writers and bloggers.

This is one of her books, part of a series she has written based on life on her island.

Here is the short verson of her own bio.

I have been a bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and a promoter of fellow authors and their books through my company, Alberta Books Canada. I am also an author and publisher, under my imprints, IslandCatEditions and IslandShorts. Through Alberta Books Canada, I represented authors directly, helping them find promotion for…

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A-R International: Cheryl Foggo

Cheryl Foggo
Authors-Readers International

Photo credit: Mike Tan

Cheryl Foggo is a multiple award winning author, playwright and filmmaker, whose work over the last 30 years has focused on the lives of Western Canadians of African descent. The 30th anniversary edition of her book Pourin’ Down Rain: A Black Woman Claims Her Place in the Canadian West, has just been updated and released by Brush Education Press. It is also available as an audiobook read by acclaimed Canadian actor Karen Robinson through ECW Press. Cheryl’s other books include two young adult novels, One Thing That’s True, (1997, Kids Can Press) and I Have Been in Danger (2002, Coteau Books) as well as a children’s picture book, Dear Baobab (2011, Second Story Press).

She has also been published in dozens of anthologies, most recently The Black Prairie Archive: An Anthology (2020, WLU Press, edited by Karina Vernon) and Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers (2018, Rocky Mountain Books, edited by Shaun Hunter).

She recently directed the short film Kicking Up a Fuss: The Charles Daniels Story. Her full length National Film Board documentary John Ware Reclaimed will be released this fall.

Cheryl Foggo’s play, John Ware Reimagined, won the 2015 Writers Guild of Alberta Award for Drama and was produced most recently at Workshop West Theatre Company in November, 2017. Also in 2017 she was recognized by the YWCA as one of 150 outstanding Calgary women. She is a past recipient of the Sondra Kelly Screenplay Award from the Writers Guild of Canada. In 2014 she co-produced Alberta’s first Black Canadian Theatre Series with Ellipsis Tree Collective Theatre Company.

Cheryl Foggo lives in Calgary with her husband Clem Martini (also listed in this Authors-Readers International series).

~

I first met Cheyl Foggo in Calgary when she published her children’s picture book, Dear Baobab, with Second Story Press, which I had been representing. I displayed this book for her at library conferences through my promotion business Alberta Books Canada. I love Dear Baobab! Here’s a promotional trailer from the publisher:

~

The 30th anniversary edition of Cheryl Foggo’s landmark work
about growing up Black on the Canadian prairies

Published by Brush Education Inc.

Cheryl Foggo came of age during the 1960s in Calgary, a time when a Black family walking down the street still drew stares from everyone they passed. She grew up in the warm embrace of a community of extended family and friends, with roots in the Black migration of 1910 across the western provinces. But as an adolescent, Cheryl struggled against the negative attitudes towards Blackness she and her family encountered. She struggled against the many ways she was made to feel an outsider in the only place she ever knew as home.

As Cheryl explores her ancestry, what comes to light gives her the confidence to claim her place in the Canadian west as a proud Black woman. In this beautiful, moving work, she celebrates the Black experience and Black resiliency on the prairies.

What Cheryl Foggo is working on now: Cheryl is working on a book mapping Calgary’s Black history and communities from 1880-1960 and a new book about John Ware that will conclude her trilogy of works (play, film, book) on his life and legacy.

For more information about Cheryl Foggo, please see her Facebook author page.

 

A-R International: Randy McCharles

Randy McCharles
Authors-Readers International

RANDY MCCHARLES, is active in Calgary, Alberta’s writing community. An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, usually of the wickedly humorous variety, his short stories and novellas are available from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Tyche Books, House of Anansi, and Reality Skimming Press. He is the recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction). In 2013, his short story Ghost-B-Gone Incorporated won the House of Anansi 7-day Ghost Story Contest.

In addition to writing, Randy chairs the award-winning When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers as well as organizing various reading and craft events for writers.

His most recent publications include the Peter Galloway detective series, and Aurora Award finalist Much Ado about Macbeth.

~

I met Randy McCharles through the Calgary writing community where he has always been very active in organizing writing retreats and the annual festival, When Words Collide. During the first two festivals I set up display tables of books by Alberta authors and attended a number of the sessions and panel discussions. These were always extremely informative. But what I commend Randy for the most is that he has created a very cohesive community of readers, writers, publishers, promoters that caused an electricity in the air I have never felt at any other conference I’ve attended. And it was SOLD OUT EARLY EVERY YEAR!! This year, due to the pandemic, When Words Collide has moved online, but will now attract a worldwide audience. Randy was quick to reply when I asked for information about the online version for a 3-part blog series I was planning on writing. Here’s a link to Part 1 of Online Writing and Reading Festivals.

Randy McCharles, along with J. F. Kaufmann (another Authors-Readers International author), also took part with me in a well-attended talk and discussion held at the Calgary Public Library, The 12-Step Programme to Successful Self-Publication – Talk and panel discussion at CPL

~

A Connecticut Gumshoe in King Arthur’s Court

Sam Sparrow is a lousy cop and a worse private eye. But when the magician Merlin magicks him away from Hartford Connecticut to work cases in King Arthur’s Court, it may be just what Sam needs to address his trust issues, while at the same time proving himself worthy of his elusive idol, Sam Spade.

The Maltese Falcon meets A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court in this rollicking hard-boiled detective satire.

Stay tuned for A Connecticut Gumshoe in Sherwood Forest. (Expected release in 2021)

Much Ado About Macbeth

When drama teacher Paul Samson decides to put on a High School production of Macbeth, he forgets that it isn’t just The Scottish Play, it is The Cursed Play. And Paul soon learns just how cursed. After grappling with his principal, the PTA, his family, and his students, he must contend with witches, ghosts, and skeletons from his past. The show is destined from the outset to end badly, but no matter how desperate or dangerous circumstances become, Paul cannot cancel the play. Theatre has but one rule and one rule only: the show must go on.

The Peter Galloway Detective Series

What Randy McCharles is working on now: Preparing for the 2020 When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers.

For more information about Randy McCharles, his writing, publishing, and events, please see his website.

Randy McCharles has previously been a guest twice on Reading Recommendations:
Aug. 2014, Aug. 2015.

 

 

 

Online Writing and Reading Festivals – Part 2: Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival

This is Part 2 in a 3-part series about annually held writing and reading festivals that have moved online this year. The good news is that these festivals are now open to readers and writers all over the world! (Link to Part 1 and Part 3)

Authors JP McLean and Bill Engleson have both been promoted on Authors-Readers International and both live on Denman Island. They were also both involved in this year’s Denman Island Readers and Writers Virtual Mini-Fest, so when I asked JP McLean about including information on this festival as part of my series, she asked Stewart Goodings (the co-chair of the DIRWF) to contribute to the post. While the date of this year’s festival has come and gone, ALL direct video links are still available to view and enjoy, for anyone – around thee world!

From Jo-Anne McLean … Thanks again for the opportunity to have the DIRWF covered on your blog. You’re always thinking in creative ways to help support authors, and it’s much appreciated. The festival committee was excited to hear of your support and I’ll be sending them your link as soon as it goes live.

 

Denman’s Summer Literary Festival Launches a Virtual Mini-Fest

By Stewart Goodings and Jo-Anne McLean

The Denman Island Readers’ and Writers’ Festival (DIRWF), like many other literary festivals in this age of COVID-19, has gone online. The authors who would have headlined the 2020 festival have instead represented their work in video format.

There is an active writing culture on Denman Island, inspired by the novels and memoirs of Des Kennedy, and the published works of Howard Stewart, Jo-Anne McLean, and Bill Engleson. The DIRWF has a long history of including local writers in the annual festival and is happy to include local authors’ videos this year as well.

In an effort to support these authors, the DIRWF is offering the festival’s videos free of charge. Please enjoy and share the videos, explore the festival website, and support these authors by purchasing their books at your local community bookshop.

Access the festival from the comfort of your favourite recliner or that patio deck chair
right here on the website.
Enjoy!

HEADLINERS:

Caroline Adderson reminding readers of her debt to Anton Chekhov as she launches her new novel A Russian Sister. Caroline’s website.

Michael Christie talking about his fictional family saga, which culminates in the near future when old-growth trees have become a rarity. (Interview on CBC)

Libby Davies expounding on her life of political activism and social justice.

Mark Jaccard spelling out his prescriptions for a more sustainable world in the wake of the Covid-19 virus. (Video on YouTube)

Kate Harris sharing her amazing cycling adventure along Asia’s fabled Silk Road. (Interview on YouTube)

Anosh Irani telling stories about his own Indo/Canadian life and those of his fictional characters.

Jónína Kirton reading and giving background for her poetry and her Icelandic/Indigenous ancestry.

Brian Goldman commenting on his life and experiences as an ER physician, national radio host and recent book on kindness. (Video on YouTube)

Peggy Herring taking us to the 18th century Olympic peninsula for her researched story of a shipwrecked Russian woman’s life among the native people.

Tetsuro Shigematsu opening his world of theatrical mysteries and storytelling performance. (Video on YouTube)

LOCAL DENMAN ISLAND WRITERS:

Lucy Dabbs reading her memoir, Senior Year, inspired by her senior year at an international school in Japan.

Bill Engleson reading his short story, The Beans.

Stewart Goodings reading his short story, Love in the Cold War.

Graham Hayman reading his short story, The Cap at Kits Beach (or Yellow is My Favourite Colour).

Lorraine Martinuik reading a collection of her poems inspired by “sheltering in place” and reflects her home on Taystayic (Denman Island).

Jo-Anne McLean discussing how she convinces readers to suspend their disbelief when reading books with supernatural elements using examples from Secret Sky, the first of seven books in The Gift Legacy series.

Carolyne Montgomery reading from her short story, The Ginkgo Tree.

Howard Stewart reading a segment from his memoir, A Moment in Outer Mongolia.

This mini-fest will stay up on the DIRWF website for 2020, so you can view the videos more than once and at any time. We hope you enjoy the videos and perhaps you will be able to join us in 2021—provided we can get Dr. Bonnie Henry’s approval!