Tag Archives: barb howard

A-R International … Self-Isolating Authors Edition: Part 3

This is the third part of a series in which Authors I’ve promoted in the Authors-Readers International series tell Readers what they’ve been doing during these past few months of self-isolating … See the introduction to Part 1 for a further explanation. Here is the link to Part 2. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)

Aritha van Herk

From an email sent in April: What a change since you were here in Calgary. The city has now virtually ground to a halt, the university is closed (even the library), and everyone is holding their breath about when the COVID-19 cases will go through the roof. So I am teaching on line, and trying to develop my skill with ZOOM. The students are distressed, but the university is doing all we can to get them through their year. But these last months will be tough. However, ZOOM brings all the students on line together, and all I have to do is be sure that I am twice as prepared as usual.

However, other constraints. No more travelling inside or outside of Canada until September, decrees the university, so all my trips are cancelled. I must say, Air Canada has been fantastic, even though they are taking an economic killing.

Trying to finish a book!

Aritha van Herk published an opinion piece in The Calgary Herald on April 9: COVID-19: The future is here, now we must be resilient, nimble and smart

Tim Baker

Tim Baker has been working from home in Flagler Beach, Florida, since self-isolating began, and posts photos regularly of this new “office” and comments on the hijinx of all his co-workers …


Working from home – one of my co-workers is posting…




Working from home – it’s bring your child to work day.






Tim also wrote a blog post titled How I Spent My Corona Virus Isolation about finishing and editing his next novel.

And since his weekly Friday night radio show on Surf 97.3 had been on hiatus due to the virus lockdown, it was with great excitement that he and his co-DJ, Fizz Ed, returned to broadcasting again a couple of weeks ago, with the addition of in-studio video via Facebook! Well, there was great excitement here on our verandah on Bequia, at least, as we enjoy listening in every week. Dennis even managed to stay awake for most of the show … You can check out their Facebook page for past videos here, The Friday Night Music Extravaganza feat: Fizz Ed & Tim Baker, and tune in to listen to the station online here at Surf 97.3 every Friday evening from 7-10 ET.

Sheree Fitch

Sheree Fitch has been busy doing a lot of readings of her books online. She created a video for the Halifax Public Library and a series of podcasts created for VoicEd Radio. (Scroll down that page for the complete list of podcasts.)
It was just announced that Sheree Fitch’s book, Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street, is among the finalits for the 2020 Atlantic Book Awards!

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Sheree had to keep her bookstore, Mable Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery, closed for the time being. Here’s her explanation of that decision from Facebook:

Gulp. Gulp. Gulp-able purple news from us to you.
(But only temporary! So smiling … onwards. Not sad, just joy–delayed. Gilles and I will cherish this unexpected gift of time and our summer together!) Here goes:
I’ve put this one off—hoping, waiting, but knowing, really, what had to be done. We said we would let people know by the first week in May. The thing is, Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery, for the past three magical years, has been a gathering place – a people place: in the shop, under the fairy tree, huddled around the animals, sitting at picnic tables, in school desks, and cuddled in booknooks. This is a place we are elbow to elbow and cheek to cheek, and we HUG. A lot. (You’ve let me hold and squeeze your babies and kids.) I joked that every time that screen door squeaked open, seemed like Love walked in the door. Corny, maybe, but t-r-u-e. And you’ve bought books. Good ones. Canadian books and others. Over nine weeks every year since 2017 thousands of people, hundreds a day, have come to this little book shop on a dirt road in the village of River John. Which is SOOO good except for this summer? Maybe not so much. Among other events and festivals, Wordplay and Read By the Sea is cancelled and we know tourism will be down.
We are more of a “social” enterprise” than regular business and so for us, “social” distancing will not work here. Not in any way that to me would make sense and be safe this summer. Mabel Murple’s is not an online business taking orders for mailing or delivering books.
It’s all about coming here to enjoy the purple world we’ve created. Community.
I cannot imagine us saying, “no touching books and then putting them back on shelves” – that is what “browsing” for books means.
I cannot imagine not hugging and squeezing babies and no kids on my knees.
It is not who we are.
Truthfully, we don’t want to change the spirit of our place. And yes, honestly, too, we just could not afford to open and not have people coming as freely as they did in our little spaces.
So , it’s official, Mabel Murple’s will not be opening this season BUT .. YES YES YES WE WILL OPEN NEXT YEAR, ( all will be okay by then, we hope) so gear up for a super summer time in 2021.
What you can do ! Read BOOKS and please plan your vacation to come next year!
Purple on, our wonderful book-loving storytelling purple people pals. And yep, Love one another.

Bob Van Laerhovn

(translated from Flemish)

Sometimes it takes years before a man some aspect of themselves begins to understand. And sometimes you need someone else to put you on the right track. In my very personal story The Flower-Woman Eating & Me, which appeared on page 50 of the May issue of Electric Press – Literary Insights Magazine reveals how confrontational it can be.

You can read a free digital version of the magazine through this link at ISSUU. Please be patient. Note: It does not load that fast.

(I asked Bob to send me photos of his horses to add to this update and here’s what he had to say about that …)

In attachment, you’ll find some pictures of the horses (beautiful) and me (ugly) J. The lockdown didn’t change much for Caroline and me. As you probably know, Caroline is an equitherapist, and I am the stable boy/groomer/dung remover/meal preparer. J

Although the corona quarantine only allowed one patient per day, we were very busy with repairs and upgrades of our summer and winter stables, paddocks, race-track, etc.

We used the extra time to bond even more with our four darlings: Bruja, aka The Queen, Tina aka The Red Rooster, Archimeda aka The Lady, and Amani, aka Prince of the Desert.

Now, things are slowly getting back to normal, over here in Belgium.

The pictures were confronting for me: it was very sunny, so I squint a lot. I’ve become a grey old man ravaged by bacterial arthritis. I haven’t been able to work out for more than two months now – all fitness centres are closed – and it is surprising – and frightening – to see how quickly one declines.

Or maybe, my ego is just too big, and I can’t accept that I will be 67 over two months J J J (You’re still oungr than I am, Bob, by almost a month!!)

I hope everything is alright in your “bubble.” (What a word they invented for all this social distancing).

And let’s pray for a better future.

All the very best,
Bob Van Laerhoven – Belgium / Flanders

Barb Howard

Thanks for all you’re doing – especially in a pandemic! Hope you continue to stay healthy and safe in Bequia. I didn’t think I was getting much accomplished during these last few months but your note prompted me to reflect and, turns out, I got some stuff done. Granted, not the stuff that needs to be done like cleaning the closet in my office, but some other stuff. I don’t have any links to the info below…sorry…not very interactive, yet.

I’ve been a lucky person during these initial months of the pandemic because my main job is to stay home. No essential work being done by me! My work with Calgary Arts Development and other boards ramped up because many artists and arts organizations have been hard hit by the measures put in place to keep us safe from Covid19. I haven’t started any big new projects of my own, but I did successfully work on a few older stalled-out projects. I finished an essay about my piano playing, perhaps because I have been playing the piano more during this time. I’m now reworking an older essay about a unicycle. And I finished the edits for a story that will come out through Calgary’s Loft 112’s Long Lunch Quick Read series next month. I have a book review of Truth Be Told by retired SCC Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin coming out in the July/August issue of Alberta Views Magazine. Best of all, I signed a contract with University of Calgary Press (Brave and Brilliant imprint) for my new novella. I think it will be coming out in 2021 or 2022.

And, okay, the real highlight of my last few months is that a teeny story of mine will be printed on some Blindman Brewing beer cans this summer. Cheers!

A-R International: Barb Howard

Barb Howard
Authors-Readers International

Barb Howard has been President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, Writer-in-Residence for the Calgary Public Library, and editor of FreeFall Magazine. Before she took up writing full time, she was a lawyer, a probation officer, a cafeteria worker, a canoeing instructor, a camp counsellor and a chambermaid (all of which figure in her fiction and nonfiction). She currently works as the Calgary writing mentor for The Shoe Project — a literacy and performance workshop for immigrant women, and is on the Board of Directors of Calgary Arts Development.

Barb’s short story collection Western Taxidermy won the Canadian Authors’ Association 2012 Exporting Alberta Award and was a finalist at the International 2013 High Plains Book Awards. Her work has been shortlisted 4 times for Alberta Literary Awards, including twice in 2012, and she won the 2009 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story. Barb’s fiction and nonfiction has been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies across Canada including Grain, The New Quarterly, The Dalhousie Review, Room, Alberta Views and Canadian Lawyer.

In addition to Western Taxidermy, Barb’s book-length works of fiction include Notes For Monday, Whipstock and The Dewpoint Show. She is co-editor of, and contributor to, the 2012 nonfiction anthology Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge.

As with a number of other Calgary-based authors I’ve come to know, I met Barb Howard through Betty Jane Hegaret. Barb came on board from the beginning when I first set up author promotions through Alberta Books Canada, and during that time she took part in two of the literary salons I organized in Calgary, even hosting one of these at her home. Her quick wit and laughter definitely come through in her writing, which is a pleasure to read. Aside from being a an active and essential member of the Alberta writing scene through her mentoring, teaching, editing, and support of fellow writers, Barb Howard has also become involved in The Shoe Project, as she briefly mentions in her bio above. If you have not heard of this initiative, I urge you to look at and read through their website. (And I see 3 other authors in their list of mentors who I had planned to promote on this blog!)

About Western Taxidermy

Western Taxidermy is a 2012 short story collection that was a best seller when it came out and has climbed back onto the list several times since then — most recently on the Calgary Best Seller list in May 2019. Five of the stories in this collection have won awards or been finalists in competitions, including “Breaking the Mould” which was one of three finalists for the 2012 Writers’ Guild of Alberta Howard O’Hagan Award for short story. “Mrs. Goodfellow’s Dog”, also in this collection, won the 2009 Howard O’Hagan Award for short story.

Alberta Views Magazine, January/February 2013. “…It is this mix of satire and poignancy that makes Howard’s collection so attractive. These stories are funny, sardonic, smart and often reach for the grotesque. They are also compassionate and moving. Howard makes fun of human folly and commiserates with it too — and she best makes fun, perhaps, of our pretensions and delusions …The language appears effortless — you devour these stories and feel sorry when they end…[Barb Howard] is a comic voice like that of Atwood or Bill Gaston or Lynn Coady — making us laugh, and cringe, at the world and ourselves.”

What Barb is up to lately …

I have a new story coming out with the Loft 112 Long Lunch Quick Reads series in June 2020. In nonfiction, I am writing more about law and justice items these days. I’m especially happy with an essay in The Green Bag — “an entertaining journal of law” out of Washington, DC.

I’m happy to have a new 3-minute story in the short story dispenser at the Calgary Central Library. If you can’t get to the dispenser but want to read the story you can find a link to it at my website. I was at the amazing new Calgary Central Library and had a chai latte at Lukes while reading a “dispensed” 3-minute poem by Robert Frost…and I thought about how Robert Frost surely couldn’t have foreseen any of it.

For more information about Barb Howard, her books and writing, please see her website.

Barb Howard was also a guest on my Reading Recommendations blog on Feb. 18, 2014.

Traditionally Published Authors on Reading Recommendations

I recently reblogged a post by Dylan Hearn in which he pledged to support his fellow self-published Authors and “Pay It Forward” by buying, reading and reviewing their books. In that blog post, I listed eight self-published Authors who had been promoted on Reading Recommendations – Authors whose writing had impressed me.

I also said I’d be back with a list of traditionally published Authors I have featured on my blog … again, those whose writing has impressed me, or whose books I’ve read and enjoyed immensely. (I am only listing Authors here if I’ve actually read one of their books. I still have many books yet to read, so I will no doubt be adding to this list at a later date.)

So, in alphabetical order, here is my list of traditionally published Authors! (All links take you to their promo page on Reading Recommendations.)

Brian Brennan
Katherine Govier
Linda Granfield
Jacqueline Guest
Betty Jane Hegerat
Rebecca Heishman
Barb Howard
Dave Margoshes (While I have not yet read this book nor the latest being published in Sept., I do know that Dave is a fine writer!)
David A. Poulsen

Now that I look back over this list, I realize most of these Authors have been writing and publishing for many years (a few of them for many, many years!) and I know most of them personally, having met all but one during my career as a bookseller and sales rep. In fact, I was a sales rep for four of these authors! So many good memories, and I’m pleased that all are still writing and publishing.

I highly recommend the books by all of these traditionally published Authors!

Reading Recommendations – 56 Authors promoted!

On my other blog, Reading Recommendations, I have been posting promotion for my fellow authors, recommending their books to readers, and offering the authors’ suggestions on good books to read. Since Nov. 18, 2013, I have posted information about 56 Authors! Thanks to everyone participating and sharing these blog posts, the number of readers visiting this site and now following has increased by leaps and bounds. I still have many more authors scheduled to promote over the coming weeks, so please continue to check out the new blog posts I publish, discover some interesting reading suggestions, reconnect with favourite authors, and learn what they all have to tell us about themselves and their writing as well as their own reading recommendations.

So far, I have published two recaps of the first 16 authors and the next 20. Here then are the most recent 20 Authors who have been featured on Reading Recommendations!

For those who read according to an author’s nationality …

Canadian authors: Lise Guyanne Pomerleau, Barb Howard, Sagan Jeffries (Ed Lukowich), David A. Poulsen, Collin Paulson, K.L. Silver, Janice Blaine, Linda Granfield

US Authors: Ben Ditmars, Michael J. Martineck, Rebecca Heishman, Mary Cunningham, Kevin A. Ranson, Terri Reid, John W. Evans, Donna Glee Williams, Kevin Brennan, N. Jane Quackenbush

UK Authors: Andrew Peters, Carole Gill

And here is a list of genres …

Lise Guyanne Pomerleau (Historical)
Barb Howard (Short Story Collection)
Sagan Jeffries (Ed Lukowich) (Futuristic Science Fiction)
David A. Poulsen (Crossover Novel – Teen/Adult)
K.L. Silver (Romantic Erotica)
Janice Blaine (Short Story Collection – Fantasy)
Michael J. Martineck (Science Fiction)
Rebecca Heishman (Humor, Family Fiction)
Kevin A. Ranson (Vampire Mystery Horror Thriller)
Terri Reid (Paranormal Mystery)
Donna Glee Williams (Fantasy Novel)
Kevin Brennan (Literary, Humor)
Andrew Peters (Crime Novel)
Carole Gill (Gothic Horror and Romance)

Ben Ditmars (Poetry Collection)

Linda Granfield (Fact-based Picture Book for Young Readers and Adults)
John W. Evans (Memoir)

Children’s and Teens:
Linda Granfield (Fact-based Picture Book for Young Readers and Adults)
David A. Poulsen (Crossover Novel – Teen/Adult)
Collin Paulson (Young Adult Fantasy Novel)
Rebecca Heishman (Humor, Family Fiction)
Mary Cunningham (Adventure Fiction for Middle-Grade)
N. Jane Quackenbush (Children’s Picture Book)

And a list of the authors/books each featured author has recommended …
Candace Savage’s book, A Geography of Blood
Dominant Traits by Eric Freeze
Contact by Carl Sagan
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
Poets Vincent Moore and Baron James Ashanti
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927
Vacen Taylor’s fantasy series, Star Child
Suzanne Church’s Elements
The Cynthia’s Attic Series by Mary Cunningham
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Linda Mooney
Ann Charles
NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
The Good Son by Craig Nova
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
The Tenth Saint by D.J. Niko
Gumshoe by Paul D Brazill
Ann Rice

If you are a published author (self or traditional, in print or eBook format) and would like to be featured on the Reading Recommendations site in 2014, please read the About Page on the site and contact me.

And if you are a Reader or an Author and have not yet subscribed to Reading Recommendations – what are you waiting for???

2012 – A Year of Alberta Books Canada Literary Salons

Since Nov. 2011, Alberta Books Canada hosted a series of literary salons in Calgary that brought together readers with Alberta authors in the intimate setting of a private home for readings and discussions about books and writing. Now that this series has come to an end, I wanted to recap all the salons and share with everyone a list of the authors who took part.

What made these salons different from the usual readings in bookstores and libraries, besides being held in private homes, is that they were based on the model of music house parties where the audience is charged an admission fee and all money collected is paid to the artists. My intention in setting up the salons in this way was so the authors would receive payment for having entertained us, and the audience would realize they should not expect authors to perform for free. After all, the amount any author receives from the royalties of book sales is a mere pittance. We need to show our appreciation for their work in more ways than just by buying a copy of their book – although that does help. As one author said when asked how much she made from each book: “I’m lucky to see a dollar, if that.” And we all know that a book published in Canada these days is considered as selling well if it passes 500 copies. 200 copies for poetry.

We experimented with Skype at a couple of these salons, with audience members able to attend and participate from a distance. Pearl Luke of Book Club Buddy took an active part during one discussion while still in her Thailand home. I also read from, and sold (through the cooperation of Monkeyshines), my new eBook that was not yet available in print at that time. At one salon, two of the authors showed videos they had created. And we invited two musicians to join the authors at two other salons and play some of their own music.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in this series. To Sue Hill of Monkeyshines Children’s Books for selling books at each of the salons, and to all the hosts who graciously opened their homes to us so we could enjoy these get-togethers in the true fashion of a traditional European artistic salon.

But a special thanks to Anne Sorbie for creating and publishing limited edition chapbooks that offered a commemorative collection of writing by the authors involved in each of the salons.

And a huge THANK YOU to our very dedicated audience (some of you attended every salon we offered!!) for being so attentive, for buying the books, and for reading! And, as well, to all the authors who participated. We could not have done any of this without your fine writing and generosity in sharing that writing with us!

Nov. 29, 2011

Betty Jane Hegerat
Lori Hahnel
Rosemary Griebel
Bob Stallworthy

Dec. 14, 2011

Aritha van Herk
Anne Sorbie
Gordon Sombrowski
Tom Phillips, singer/songwriter

Jan. 18, 2012 – Current and former Calgary Distinguished Writers’ Program Writers-In-Residence

Jeramy Dodds
Rosemary Nixon
Marcello Di Cintio
Richard Harrison

Mar. 27, 2012Self: No longer a four-letter word

Claudette Brown
Derek Donais
Collin Paulson
Susan M. Toy
Andrew Riches, musician

June 13, 2012 – New offerings by established authors

Barb Howard
Maureen Bush
Steve Owad
Weyman Chan

Sept. 30, 2012 – Mentors and Mentoring

Barb Howard and Sudhir Jain
Betty Jane Hegerat and Ali Bryan
Discussion led by Robyn Read and Pearl Luke (via Skype)

Nov. 18, 2012 – Working with a publisher’s editor (cosponsored by University of Alberta Press)

Alice Major
Kath MacLean
Geo Takach
Peter Midgley


From our final salon, Back L-R – Peter Midgley, Kath MacLean, Susan Toy, Geo Takach; Front L-R – Sue Hill (Monkeyshines), Alice Major, Cathie Crooks (UofA Press)

All you need for gift-giving are books by Alberta Authors!

Alberta Books Canada is getting in on the Holiday gift-giving suggestion lists by offering up Part 1 of our recommendations on some GREAT books written by Alberta authors, published by Alberta publishers, or of interest to readers in Alberta. Books written by the following Authors will suit every reader on your list, all ages and interests. So please check out their links and buy these books!

Or … buy a membership to the local library for everyone on your list so they may borrow any of these books themselves!

Several of the Authors listed here also have books published, or that will soon be available, in eBook formats. These will be supported by every type of eReader.

So, no matter how you do it, whether you buy new books as print or in eBook format, or borrow books or eBooks from your library, please consider making this a Reading Holiday for everyone!

List of Authors who write for Adults

Jerry Auld
Wade Bell
Joan Crate
Susan Forest
Rosemary Griebel
Lori Hahnel
Betty Jane Hegerat
dee Hobsbawn-Smith
Faye Reineberg Holt
Barb Howard
Bruce Hunter
Fran Kimmel
Peter Learn
Alice Major
Dave Margoshes
Shirlee Smith Matheson
Cathy Ostlere
Steven Owad
T.B. (Tyler) Perry
Kirk Ramdath
Gordon Sombrowski
Anne Sorbie
Bob Stallworthy
Richard Stevenson
Susan M. Toy

List of Authors who write for Children, Tweens and Teens

Derek Donais
Carolyn Fisher
Janet Gurtler
Barb Howard
Hazel Hutchins
Aaron Lehman
Dianne Linden
Jan Markley
Shirlee Smith Matheson
Shenaaz Nanji
Cathy Ostlere
Collin Paulson
Richard Stevenson
Thomas Wharton

Up next: Specific Books and a list of Publishers

ABC Friday Reads – Embedded On The Home Front

UPDATE! Read great review of this book in The Calgary Herald

Recently released by Heritage House Publishing Co., Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge, a collection of personal essays written by and about the Canadian families and friends of soldiers serving in the Canadian military, and stories of ex-soldiers now coping with life “back home.” Each is a very moving piece of writing that describes what life is like for those who remain in Canada, supporting and waiting for their loved ones who serve, and how ex-soldiers have coped with blending into a civilian life that can never be the same as what they left when they entered military life.

From the publisher’s website: Editors Barb Howard and Joan Dixon have compiled insightful essays and reflections from 14 writers, including Melanie Murray, Scott Waters, Ryan Flavelle and Chris Turner. All have found themselves, at one time or another, embedded on the home front. And even though each experience is unique and comes from a single perspective, common motifs surface: family, fate, death and memory. This anthology captures triumphs, incredible fortitude and humour, often in the face of grief, as well as the complicated logic, fears, anger and other everyday realities that are part of home-front life.

Both Howard and Dixon are Alberta authors and some of the 14 contributors are from Alberta, as well, but the rest represent other parts of Canada. However, this is not a book just intended for a Canadian audience. Its universal theme will ring true for anyone, anywhere, who has or has had family members serving in military operations at anytime throughout the world. Or anyone who has themselves served in the military.

This is an important book, especially to be read and considered leading up to November 11th when we observe Remembrance Day in Canada and Veteran’s Day in the United States.

Embedded on the Home Front: Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge
Edited by Joan Dixon & Barb Howard
CDN$ 19.95 9781927051573

Alberta Books Canada Literary Salon – Sept. 30, 2012

Alberta Books Canada is pleased to present

Mentors and Mentoring

an afternoon of readings and discussion as part of The Alberta Books Canada Literary Salon Series

Join us on Sunday, Sept. 30th, 1-4 p.m.

Featuring readings by:

Barb Howard and Sudhir Jain, Betty Jane Hegerat and Ali Bryan
Followed by a discussion of the mentoring process with Robyn Read and Pearl Luke (via Skype)

Books published by the authors will be available to purchase thanks to Sue Hill of Monkeyshines Children’s Books

Admission fee – $10 per person (In keeping with our belief that authors should be compensated for their participation, ALL monies collected will be paid directly to the authors)

Light refreshments will be served

If you are interested in attending please send an email to susanmtoy(at)gmail.com, subject line: ABC Salon – You will receive confirmation and the exact address by return email.

A limited number of tickets will be available, so please send your request soon.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Alberta Books Canada Literary Salon!

Mennonites Don’t Dance – successful Alberta tour!

We made it through an entire week together, the Early Bird and the Nighthawk, and managed to accomplish exactly what we set out to do – raise awareness of Darcie Friesen Hossack, and of her newly published book,Mennonites Don’t Dance, and we even sold a good number of books along the way.

Now, book sales are how everyone else in this business gauges success of a promotional campaign; I’m trying to convince the traditionals that getting the name of the author out there, encouraging readers to discover a new author’s work, and making sure the author meets all of the most important people who will then talk up her book, will lead to book sales – but none of this can happen overnight. If you don’t tell readers about a new book and its author, how will they know to buy, borrow and read it, and then recommend it to their friends? What I’m trying to do as Writer Wrangler (my sister’s new title for this job I’ve created – manager just never seemed exact) is raise the profile of authors, and all their work, not just their most recent publication – but I am not trying to duplicate what publishers are already contracted to do for these authors, by way of promotion and publicity. I’m also helping authors develop other areas where they might be active, or creative – as journalists, speakers, teachers – trying to find them paid gigs, and introducing them to specific groups of readers, especially those who never set foot in a bookstore or a library, and who may not otherwise have been aware of these authors or bought/borrowed their books.

Darcie has been a food columnist for her local Kelowna and area print newspapers for six years. Her column now also appears in The Calgary Beacon, online. These past few months, Darcie has appeared online in an informal blog tour, which is soon to be ramped up towards December. Mennonites Don’t Dance is now listed on Book Club Buddy, and book clubs across North America can read an interview with Darcie, reviews of the book, and consider adopting it for discussion. (Thanks, Pearl Luke!) We’ve planted the seeds for a much more comprehensive tour of the Prairies during Spring 2011, and hope to promote several other Mennonite authors at the same time. People may have come for the cream cookies served at several readings in Calgary and Lethbridge last week, but they also enjoyed what they heard, and bought many copies of Darcie’s book.

Finally, I introduced Darcie to as many booksellers, librarians, friends and readers as I could during the week. This is word-of-mouth promotion, folks, and it still works better than any other kind there is. I have no doubt that readers will now “discover” this new writer over the coming weeks, months, and that Mennonites Don’t Dance will sell through, steadily, into the spring when we will be organized to do this all over again, and further afield, spreading the word about this great author and her book.

Please note, as Writer Wrangler I will not take on any author for promotion unless I truly believe in them, and their work – and in their ability to help themselves by working hard to promote, in a positive, unagressive way. As a reader, I endorse the writing of all the Alberta Books Canada authors: Betty Jane Hegerat, Bob Stallworthy, Deborah Miller, Barb Howard and Susan Calder, and of my former Humber classmate, Darcie Friesen Hossack, who has done exactly as we all expected… was the first in our class to be published, and has written a book that I am now very proud to help her to promote.

So, I’m very pleased to be able to say, “I’m with the author!” After all, if it weren’t for great authors like these, we wouldn’t have books to sell, buy, borrow, read, and enjoy.

Here’s Darcie’s take on the week of Oct. 17th – 22nd:
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day one
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day two
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day three
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day four
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day 5
mennonites don’t dance on the road – day 6

And then, we get to taste the fresh fruits of our labours! Makes it all worth while…