Author Archive: islandeditions

Back on Bequia …

It’s all about Bs now for these northern hemisphere winter months:

I’m Back

on Bequia

where I’ll be Baking Bread

and dealing with stacks of Books – reading, writing, promoting myself and my writing as well as other authors and their Books, sorting the Books I have (print and electronic) and making lists of what I need to add to my collection, and compiling a reading list

and my Blogs – writing new posts, reviewing and editing the archives and content, revising how I use the Blogs to promote other authors, reading more Blogs written by friends and authors

Just some of the Books I need to resort, rearrange, and reshelve over the next 6 months …

All By the light of the silvery moon!

And then, when I return to the new house in St. Bride’s, Newfoundland, in April, I’ll be doing the same again, with the added fun of Building Bookshelves!

Half An Hour Later In Newfoundland

When I was growing up in Toronto in the 50s and 60s, we always heard the announcement on the CBC TV news that it would be broadcast at “Ten O’Clock, Half An Hour Later in Newfoundland”, which I thought was rather curious, not knowing anything at the time about time zones throughout the world, let alone in Canada.

But now, at nearly 70-years-old, I’m beginning to live life that half an hour later – but actually half an hour earlier than the rest of Canada and the Caribbean – as we’ve just moved our Canadian residence to St. Bride’s, Newfoundland!

This, for us, was yet another adventure in our lives, much like when we first went to Bequia (1989) and decided to buy land (1992), build a house (94-96), and move there permanently (1996), but we were so much younger then …

This new adventure began as so many great adventures seem to do, when our (almost) lifelong friend, Patricia, who was born and grew up in Newfoundland, and now shares Bequia with us during the winter months, said, “You guys! You need to come to Newfoundland and see the province!” So we did just that in June of this year, along with Sue, another Bequia-Canadian friend, and we fell in love with the place! We had been looking at properties for sale and found a listing that really appealed – the morning we returned to Ontario! It was a hundred-plus-year-old traditional saltbox-style in a small town at the far end of the Cape Shore, one of the very few places, Patricia had not driven to during our tour of the southeastern part of the province. So we put our faith in the real estate agent and made a sight-unseen offer two days later that was accepted by the sellers within 2 hours. What could be wrong with the place? we thought, but at least we knew we were getting 1.8 acres of land along with the house, so we figured that alone was worth what we were paying for the house.

Photo of house in the original real estate listing.

And, as it turned out, NOTHING was wrong with the house! We discovered, after the fact, that there was even an old barn on the property, although it does need some work to bring it back to what it once was. (I’m thinking here it could become a “book barn” … ) And the piece of property is lovely, former farmland, plus there are views of the ocean from the house. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the adventure part of this story … Dennis returned to Bequia and it was left to me to wrap up everything in Ontario, once we closed on the house in Newfoundland at the end of July. I informed Fisherman’s Cove and our friends there that we would be leaving the park at the beginning of September, I listed the trailer for sale – miraculously selling it within a week, receiving what I had really wanted for it! Then the other Bequia Sue, who had stayed on in NL, came to Ontario and the trailer to help me pack the place up. After she left, I shipped a number of boxes out to our new house (mostly books … go figure). Then Dennis arrived in Canada and helped load up our car for the drive to Cape Breton to catch the ferry boat on to Argentia … just a half-hour drive up the coast from our new home.

Best laid plans though, eh?

We had organized our trip so we could stop and visit friends along the way (most of whom had either been to Bequia to visit us or owned a house there) with the intention of arriving in North Sydney the night before our 5:30 p.m. departure on the ferry the next day. Dennis had booked a spot for our car and a berth for us (that ferry is a 14-hour trip to Argentia), but the day before we were to leave our friends’ house in Nova Scotia, we received an email telling us that ferry crossing had been cancelled, due to mechanical problems, and we needed to rebook. Dennis got on the phone and managed to secure a spot on the Wed. evening ferry for our car and a berth for us. So we reserved a room in a North Sydney B&B (with a view of the ferry wharves, as it turned out) to stay for three nights. We were bidding our friends adieu and preparing to leave their house on the Sunday morning when we received another email. That second ferry had also been cancelled! In fact all ferries to Argentia had been cancelled, likely for the rest of the month. Dennis got on the phone again and managed to find the last spot available for our car on the Monday midnight ferry to … Port Aux Basques! This is the 7-hour ferry that runs year-round, but docks at the far-western part of the island – meaning we had a full 900 km./2-day drive to get to where we had bought our new house, in the south-eastern part of the province! We also couldn’t get a berth for the overnight trip, as they were all taken, so we made do with the “lounge” where, fortunately everyone else was also sleeping the trip away. But because our car was one of the first to be loaded on the ferry (the value of driving a smaller vehicle!), we were almost the first off the next morning.

From our seats in the ferry lounge, we’d watched the sun rising – Beautiful! – so we were driving in full light by the time we left the ferry wharf and began the next part of our journey on the Trans Canada Highway. As Dennis said, we were entering Terra Incognita (a term used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented) for us, and we were overwhelmed with the scenery and the beauty of this new-to-us province! We likened it to scenery along a combination of highways we’d driven in British Columbia and Northern Ontario, but with a lot less traffic and places to stop for gas … we had filled up the tank on our way to boarding the ferry. I had booked a hotel room in Gander in advance, which proved to be the perfect place to stop for the night. We continued driving the next morning and, when we reached Clarenville, we began to recognize places, as we’d driven that far earlier in the summer with Patricia. Our next stop was the gas station at Whitbourne to finally meet our real estate agent and pick up the keys for the house. Then we headed down this road …

… arriving at St. Bride’s and our new home only two days later than we had initially planned.

And speaking of travelling, Dennis has already returned to Bequia. I will be following at the end of October, but I’ve already booked a return flight to Canada in April after Easter, travelling straight through from Bequia to Barbados-Toronto and St. John’s this time. I have a space booked close to the airport in St. John’s where I will store the car for the winter. In theory, I’ll arrive in April at 2 p.m., take a taxi to the storage place, pick up my car, shop for groceries, and drive 2 hours to St. Bride’s and the house. A neighbour has agreed to look after the place for us over the winter and will have it ready for my return in the spring.

I now have the car registered in Newfoundland with a new plate, I’ve just received my driver’s licence, and am hoping to get a new health card before I leave. We’ve been working hard at changing over our address, but still have a few more of those to complete.

As for the time spent travelling here in Sept., when most of the “adventure” took place … aside from cancelled ferries, a 2-day wait for the rebooking that entailed a surprise-extra 900 km drive, plus the threat of Hurricane Fiona within a week-and-a-half of us having moved into the new house … getting here and setting up the place was a piece of cake! (We got off lightly with that hurricane. Friends who we visited along the way were not so fortunate, and the town of Port Aux Basques where we had driven off the ferry just two weeks before was devastated by the storm!)

Anyway, all-in-all it was a good adventure, the best kind of adventure (feeling like Bilbo Baggins a bit here, although no dragons were involved during our adventure) as we ended up at HOME in the end. I managed to get one of the new plates for my car with the slogan “Come Home” and I really do feel as though that’s exactly what we’ve done! The people in this town, and throughout the province, are so welcoming, and we truly feel as though we’re part of the community already. (“Oh, so you’re the people from Ontario who bought Old [or “Long” as some call him, to differentiate from “Short” Willie who used to own the house across the road from ours …] Willie’s house!”) Plus the St. Bride’s Public Library is just next to our property, down by one corner of it. I could walk there across the field, but my neighbour warned me, “That’s a marshy bit down there. You don’t want to be walking through that field!” So I have to take the longer route along the road for now, which means an extra 5 minutes! I have never in my life lived this close to a library! The librarian is related to one of my other neighbours (this place is like Bequia where everyone seems to be related!) and constantly invites me in for a chat. Plus that relative of hers delivered a complete turkey dinner for Thanksgiving that his wife had sent down the road to me. Knocked the socks right off of me! We’ve also received fresh-caught cod and fresh-dug blue potatoes (that our neighbour has been growing on our property … we told him to carry on and grow cabbages next year, too!), and free-range chicken eggs from another neighbour.

So as you can tell, this is the best move we ever could have made! No scary surprises in this house (everyone tells us, “You got a good solid house there! It was always well-kept!”) … other than the amount of furniture that came with it. And the barn we didn’t know we had also purchased along with the 1.8 acres of land. The barn needs work, but we do not need it for living in right now, so we’re good.

We’ve been taking lots of photos and videos during the time we’ve lived here! Here’s a link to my YouTube channel where you may view some of the videos.

I’ve even seen two green flashes at sunset here – something I had to explain to my neighbours who thought I was making up this phenomenon. As one said, I’ve lived here all my life and have never heard of this before! Then he told me about a man, he’s dead now, who used to tell stories that no one could ever figure out whether they were true or what he’d made up. Maybe I too will eventually become one of the “characters” here in St. Bride’s … That writer-lady who thinks she sees green when the sun sets. No green flash in this sunset photo, but this is what I see from my kitchen window most afternoons.

And here’s a photo of the house I particularly like, one showing the sun rising.

Ignorance is Far More Expensive Than Education

From Tim Baker …

blindoggbooks

True story:

About two months into my senior year of high school I was in my Architectural Drafting class reviewing one of my drawings with the teacher. After we finished, he asked me what my plans were for after graduation.

I didn’t think it was necessary to tell him that my plan was to buy a Harley Davidson and tour the country, so I told him I didn’t have any.

He suggested I go to the guidance office (it’s probably called something like the “career center” these days) and speak to my guidance counsellor about college. Specifically, one in Boston called Wentworth.

That night I came home from school and announced to my mother that I was going to college.

I will never forget the look on her face when she said “Who the hell is going to pay for it?”

Ahh…memories.

I couldn’t really blame her. After all –…

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MarySmith’sPlace ~ The Celebration

My thoughts are with the family and legions of friends around the world of author Mary Smith who died on Dec.25, 2021. It was my great pleasure over the years to read Mary’s books and promote them on my blogs. Mary Smith will always have a place on the Authors-Readers International list. She will be sorely missed.
https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/a-r-international-mary-smith/

Mary Smith's Place

We will be celebrating Marys life.

The public memorial celebration for Mary will be held at the Ernespie House Hotel, Castle Douglas on January 14th 2022 at 1.30pm, following a short private cremation.

Kindly email us at maryscelebration@stewartry.co.uk as soon as possible if you are able attend to help us ensure a safe event. On Mary’s request, there is no formal dress code.

We hope you will be able join us for a celebration of Marys life, in person or watch the live stream online at: https://www.stewartry.co.uk/mmc.html

Jon and David

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22 Days in the Life of The Beatles

From Tim Baker … I’ve added my own thoughts about this to the comments section of his original post.

blindoggbooks

The recently-released documentary “The Beatles – Get Back” is all the rage these days.

As a lifelong Beatles fan I couldn’t wait to see it. Now that I have, I’d like to offer some thoughts on it.

*SPOILER ALERT* The band breaks up…

First things first – I said in a Facebook post the other day that people who know how much of a Beatles fan I am might be surprised at what I have to say. If you saw that post and came here expecting me to say that my love of the Beatles has been misplaced and I’ve suddenly come to the realization that they aren’t all that – you may as well stop reading now because that just ain’t happening.

The Beatles are still the greatest band that ever was and ever will be. Did I need 7+ hours of behind-the-scenes footage to reinforce that…

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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!

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, 2019, 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, 2019) 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, Curaçao, 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, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, 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, U.S. Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia.

That’s 113 countries and protectorates!

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.

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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.

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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.