I bought this eBook when Kevin first released it in Jan., and I have read it and thought about it ever since … I won’t lie. This is not an easy read – very difficult in parts to relive this past year, in fact … but it is definitely a very important book. Kevin Brennan is like the Daniel Defoe/ Samuel Pepys of our time, documenting day-by-day the shitshow of a year 2020 that just happened to all of us. But documenting those events on his own personal level and perspective. Like Defoe and Pepys, we get an Everyman account that, while being his own take on the daily news that most of us heard about at the time, is also a look at what Kevin and his wife did in order to keep themselves sane while all else appeared to be falling apart around them. Much as the rest of us were trying to do, to cope with a year like we’ve never known before and will, hopefully, never know again! Thanks, Keven for doing the tough work of remembering for all of us. Let’s hope we really do learn from history this time …
Kids, I’ve gone ahead and done the inevitable. I’ve reduced the price of Infamy: A Journal of Our Darkest Year 2020 to 99 cents.
I’m hoping that this enticing offer will move a few more copies of the book, which languishes in obscurity at the moment. I’ve entered it in the “2021 Best of the Obscure” contest, but the competition is fierce, and the grand prize is just a t-shirt that says “Obscure Is Sexy.”
I’m kidding about all that. There is no “2021 Best of the Obscure” contest.
Anyway. If you haven’t already overpaid for this account of how 2020 evolved and played out, drop me a dollar via Amazon and start reliving the magic right now.
Here’s what happened one year ago today, to prime your reading pump:
Monday, March 9, 2020
Thanks to an overnight crash in oil prices, caused by worldwide…
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New from Authors-Readers International Author Kevin Brennan!
Infamy—A Journal of Our Darkest Year 2020 is now live on Amazon for $2.99.
Step right up and read about the year that never stopped delivering … catastrophes, that is.
WATCH an invisible package of genetic information undermine everything we’ve been building for more than two hundred years.
RECOIL at the willfully incompetent actions of a corrupt president as he tries to preserve his reelection chances … and keep himself out of federal prison.
CRINGE at society’s inability to agree that masks protect against infection. It’s science!
WEEP at the exponential death count.
RAIL at a brazen attempt to overthrow democracy and install a serially bankrupt reality-show host as leader for life.
SIGH at how 2021 is showing signs of walking in 2020’s footsteps.
There’s thrills. There’s spills. There’s a toilet paper shortage. There’s outdoor dining.
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Congratulations to Tim Baker on finishing and publishing a new novel! He’s offering a free download of an earlier novel to celebrate.
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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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!
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.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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!
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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This is Part 1 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!
For this first part, I asked Randy McCharles, the brains and driving force behind the very first WWC held in 2011 to tell us about the Calgary festival. I took part in this conference during its early years in Calgary, providing displays of books by Alberta authors in The Book Room. The conference was always sold-out every year, making for crowds of readers and authors, publishers and promoters, gathering together.
When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers
August 14 to 16, 2020
Since its humble beginnings in 2011 as a regional literary festival set in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, When Words Collide has grown to become the largest festival of its kind in Canada, attracting speakers and attendees from across the country and from around the world. Each year in early August, attendees look forward to three days of presentations, discussions, and workshops celebrating the written word. With almost 200 presenters participating across a dozen concurrent tracks of programming, there is always something of interest each hour of every day. And if you do take a break in the program, there is a book room, an art show, and several areas to engage in social activities. Past speakers have included Tasha Alexander, Kelly Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Rachel Caine, Diana Gabaldon, Guy Gavriel Kay, Faith Hunter, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Robert J. Sawyer, and Jack Whyte. Like many festivals and conventions, due to the coronvirus pandemic, When Words Collide 2020 has been postponed to 2021. In its place, on August 14-16 there will be a free virtual festival consisting of 5 tracks of programming. This festival is open to the public at no charge, and no registration is required. Just drop in and attend any virtual sessions that appeal to you. Also this year as part of our online festival, we are hosting the 2020 Aurora Awards, honouring the best in Canadian speculative fiction. When Words Collide is 100% volunteer run. Organizers, presenters, and helpers all volunteer their time and talents to make this non-profit festival a top-notch networking experience for booklovers. For those considering attending for the first time, past festival programs are available on the web site to offer a feel for what happens. If you are a lover of books and enjoy networking with authors and other readers, maybe When Words Collide is for you.
Attend free from anywhere in the world on the When Words Collide website.
The only aspects missing from this year’s conference will be … the live audiences!
And the book room and vendors market …
Promotional posters from previous years of the
When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers!
And when I set up a special display of my own novel, Island in the Clouds, at the festival, I had the great pleasure of attracting these three similarly tropical-clad gents!
I even met a Klingon at one of the festivals! You just never know who is going to show up at When Words Collide!!
From beetleypete …
With doom and gloom all over the news, and a lot of very worried people unable to get out even to go to work and socialise, I am trying to think of something positive to offer via the platform of blogging. Facebook and Twitter can be a diversion, but they are also sadly also packed with negatives, scams, and sometimes downright meanness and offensive remarks.
So, back to blogging. Here is my offer, which is of course completely free, and has no catches.
(To contact me for any of these, use firstname.lastname@example.org )
If you are writing more than usual and hoping to reach a new community or a wider audience, send me a guest post to be published here.
Under 2000 words please, with a short personal bio, and a link to your site.
Many people may now have more time to read, so if…
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Here’s more information about a new book by Kevin Brennan just released that will be an asset to all writers, both beginner and published.
Of course he says that, you might say. He’s trying to sell some books.
But it’s actually true. My two writer pals and I get deep into the weeds on the process of writing and publishing novels today, but the nice thing about this book is that it’s not like the typical writing manual most of us have binged on. It’s a conversation. And much of the time it’s funny and entertaining as it dishes out the how-to bon mots.
So even if you don’t think you’ll learn anything new, trust me, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the middle of the three-way chat. You’ll agree with us sometimes, disagree sometimes. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry.
And it’ll cost you just 99 cents.
Grab the ebook today. It’s always worthwhile to hear from other writers who are going through the same meat grinder you are!
Have you ever wished you had gotten involved with something big while it was still small?
If so – this is your chance…
First – some background;
My novel Unfinished Business (released in June, 2013) has long been praised as the perfect story line for a TV series, and while I didn’t write it with that in mind – I’ve always known it.
Unfortunately, I’ve never had the time, resources or know-how to get it to that next level.
I was recently asked by a friend, who works in the movie business, why none of my books have been made into movies yet.
The answer, I told her, is simple…in order for somebody to make a movie from a book – they first have to know the book exists. I went on to tell her about Unfinished Business and its potential as a great TV series. I explained…
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For all you aspiring writers out there … and for those active writers who may feel it’s time for a brush-up, here’s author Kevin Brennan (whose work I’ve been promoting for years – because it’s GOOD! Recently on the Authors-Readers International series on this blog) with a lost podcast, fortunately found again, in which he speaks with other authors about the challenges of writing and places novels today in this current publishing market. Only $.99 right now as a Kindle download (slightly higher in Canada).
Well whataya know about that? Today’s launch day for Close to Perfect!
This here novella-length book is a chat between three writers I’ve known for a long time, and we get into everything you need to know as you enter the challenge of writing and publishing novels in this century … and in this market. Or as you decide not enter it, as the case may be.
Much of it’s inspiring. Much of it’s cautionary. But all of it comes from years of experience with fiction writing and the puzzle of what to do once you’ve finished that novel. Sometimes I think it’s not that great to finish a book because that’s when you have to step up to the plate and expose it to the world and all its judgment–or worse, its indifference. Still, we’re writers, man! We can take it.
So, if you’re a writer who likes…
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