Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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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Online Writing and Reading Festivals – Part 1: When Words Collide – Calgary

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!

(Link to Part 2 and Part 3)

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!!

 

Self-Isolated Blogging: An offer

From beetleypete …

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 petejohnson50@yahoo.com )

Guest Posts.
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.

Book Promotions.
Many people may now have more time to read, so if…

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There’s something for every writer in this little volume

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.

WHAT THE HELL

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!

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Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Here’s a follow-up blog post from Tim Baker (who I have promoted on my Authors-Readers International series here on this blog) to his earlier post with exciting news about his novel “Unfinished Buriness”!

blindoggbooks

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.

Until now.

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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Live on KDP: Close to Perfect–How to Write and Publish Your Novel

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).

WHAT THE HELL

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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Keeping the Grass Green; making sure the sun shines on beautiful books

Thank you to Betty Jane Hegerat for her very generous and kind words!

this is not a review: this is a list of unexpected literary connections having to do with escape, rum, and well-intentioned budinskis

Thanks to Carin Makuz for this outstanding not-a-review of my novel, “One Woman’s Island”!

Matilda Magtree

Somewhere in the process of my December reading it occurs to me that three very different and unlikely books share a series of similar elements.

Don’t you just love it when that happens, when you think… rum, again?? And it all begins to feel like a kind of reading serendipity is happening.

It begins with The Book of Eve, by Constance Beresford-Howe. Written in 1973… it remains the classic, in my opinion, running away story. Woman fed up with boorish husband, chooses instead to live in a damp bare bones Montreal basement apartment, with a feral cat outside a window that’s impossible to open and a slightly mad, slightly inspiring Hungarian living upstairs. Hard to see as uplifting but of course it is. She is free, not of life’s yins and yangs, but free of those yins and yangs where the source is boorishness and which grate as intolerable…

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