Tag Archives: Bob Chelmick

Bob Chelmick and The Road Home

Dear Bob Chelmick,

I was listening to your programme, The Road Home, this morning on the internet. As it was coming up to the hour, the show’s theme came on and I suddenly found myself getting all warm and fuzzy … and thinking back to another time in my life when a theme song had this very same effect on me. A time very, very early in my life when my mother turned on the TV to CBC for my younger sister and me so we could watch The Friendly Giant!

Trust me!! I mean this in a complimentary way when I say I then began considering how many ways you and your The Road Home are as similar to, in this my later adulthood, as The Friendly Giant was for me in my youth:

– you both have a theme song that instantly makes me feel calm, relaxed and peaceful
– you both read poetry/stories and talk about reading
– you both play music (and I’ve caught myself more than once singing along …)
– you both have wonderful and calming voices that I could listen to all day long!
– you both have animal sidekicks (you with your dogs, horses and birds, and Friendly with Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe – okay, so they were actually puppets, but at that age I thought they were real animals!!)
– and, last but not least, you’re both named BOB!

Although, Friendly lives in a castle, whereas you live in a cabin in the woods. And Friendly always offered us chairs to curl up in at the beginning of each show, too, come to think of it …

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, Bob Chelmick, for becoming The Friendly Giant of my old(er) age. For continuing to bring good poetry and the written word, as well as beautiful music and interesting stories, into my life. And with the vast improvement in technology since those days in 1958 when the CBC was one of only three Canadian TV stations available to us in Toronto, where I watched The Friendly Giant in our family living room with two cats and my sister, now I can listen to The Road Home anywhere in the world! At the moment, I happen to be sitting on the verandah of my house on the island of Bequia in the Caribbean, listening to the internet broadcast of previous “January” shows, surrounded by three sleeping cats.

And thanks too, Bob, for all you do to promote writing, writers, and their books! I love that I can hear poetry written by friends like Robert Kroetsch, Rosemary Griebel, Robert Hilles and so many other authors I’ve met over the years I lived and worked in Alberta. For me, in many ways, your show really is THE ROAD BACK HOME!

All the best to you, Bob! Thanks for all you do and for now making me realize my life has come full circle!


For those reading this blog post who may not be familiar with The Friendly Giant, it was a long-running children’s TV programme (1958-1985) produced by the CBC and starring Bob Homme and puppeteer Rod Coneybeare. Here’s a video of the opening and closing of one of the shows … “Look waaayyyy up!”

And I’ve just discovered that The Friendly Giant has a Facebook page!!

Bob Chelmick’s programme, The Road Home, can be heard online, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! Just click on this link.

Here’s a terrific video from Bob’s website that will give you a better idea of who he is and where he broadcasts from … in that little cabin in the woods close to a lake called Nakamun.

A challenge to all Readers …

Earlier in the summer, I wrote and posted this to my blog: Why not read books simply because they’re well-written?

Then I asked Chris Graham, aka The Story Reading Ape, to create three memes that promoted three of the ideas I’d covered in this post: Ask for a meme …

For the purpose of this challenge, I want to focus on the suggestion in one of these memes …


Why not, indeed?

I recently began following two Facebook pages that were set up for the benefit of Readers. The gist of both sites was an exchange of reading recommendations and a place where readers could find out what they might want to read next. On the one site, there were a lot of rules posted restricting Indie Authors as to how much they could self-promote. Understandably so. However, authors were also restricted from posting links to our own blogs, and I was reprimanded by admin., even though my blog link in question was a list of the best books I had read this past year and not self-promotion at all. I’d apparently over-stepped the limit of one self-promotion post per week on the site. I’ve removed all my previous posts from that site and have stopped posting there altogether. I know, it is their site and they are allowed to make and administer the rules. But, in the meantime, other site members will never see that list of books by other authors I was recommending they consider reading. Not my own books, mind you, but the books of many other fine authors.

Meanwhile, I continue to read posts by other site members in which they’re asking for reading recommendations – and contributing to discussions surrounding reading books written by the same-old bestselling authors or series or genres that the members have already been reading. And no one is asking for something new, something different, something outside of their comfort zone. An author who is new-to-them who will make the reader stand up and take notice and have that reader recommending the author to every other reader they know.

So, this is my challenge to all readers out there … And this includes all authors, as well, because you’re all also readers, right? (If you answer “No” to that, then SHAME ON YOU! You SHOULD be reading. You can’t write well if you don’t read. But that leads us to another blog post: Writer = Reader. And I digress …)

Here’s what I challenge all Readers to do:

1. Discover a new-to-you author. Look for authors who write a different genre than you usually read.

2. Purchase a copy of their book or borrow from the library. (Preferably purchase. I understand if you can’t afford to buy. However, I give you the inimitable Seumas Gallacher as an example of someone who supports Indie Authors by making a point of purchasing one Indie-Authored book a month. That kind of committment is not going to break the bank.)

3. Read.

4. If you enjoyed what you read, tell your friends and other readers. And if you REALLY enjoyed what you read, become a champion of that author. Read more of their books. Follow them on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, their blog. Write a review if you like to write reviews. Post your recommendation to your own blog or social media sites. Spread the word about this new-to-you author as far as you possibly can. (If you want to write a review and don’t have your own blog or don’t like posting to Amazon, contact me about publishing your review on reading recommendations reviewed or this blog.)

5. Write to the author directly to tell them how much you enjoyed their book. Trust me! We love receiving fan mail!!

6. Repeat #s 1-5. Many times.

Simple, right?

I know you’re probably thinking, “It’s easy for her to say. She’s an author who has connections to lots of other authors and knows where to find new books to read. Where the heck am I going to find these new-to-me authors and their books?”

Well, yes, I am well connected, but I have discovered many of the authors I now enjoy reading by watching for listings on Goodreads, Facebook, and mainly through other bloggers. So here’s a list of places where you might consider looking for suggestions on the next great book you’re going to read so you may become part of my challenge!

My blogs (of course):
Reading Recommendations
reading recommendations reviewed
And specific blog posts:
Best Books Read 2016 – Part 1
Best Books Read 2016 – Part 2

And blogs written by many friends who support their fellow authors:
Seumas Gallacher
Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore
Chris The Story Reading Ape – Authors Hall of Fame
Allan Hudson – South Branch Scribbler
Tricia Drammeh – Authors to Watch
Dylan Hearn – Suffolk Scribblings: Recommended Reads
Anne Logan – I’VE READ THIS
Mary Bailey – 1WriteWay: A Different Kind of Book Review

There are many, many more. I leave it up to you, Readers, to discover the best places for finding your own new-to-you authors. Don’t forget the local library, too! Most libraries have websites, and librarians are always eager to create and post lists of books that will be of interest to their patrons. (And, thanks to Calgary Public Library, my first novel, Island in the Clouds, has been listed on two such lists, their Around the World in 14 Mysteries and Accidental Sleuths and my second novel on the eponymously named One Woman’s Island recommendations!)

One other source for discovering new-to-you authors – especially poets, in this case – and even new-to-you music, as well, is Bob Chelmick’s The Road Home. This is 24-hour streaming of Bob’s radio program’s that have long been featured on CKUA Radio. Give it a listen. It’s addicting!! (I’m listening as I write this and just heard one of my favourite authors, Robert Kroetsch, reading his poetry.)

So, off you go! You’ll find a lot of fun in the discovery, but I hope you find even more enjoyment in the reading!

Ready, set … READ!

(No need to comment here that you’re taking my challenge, unless you do find a new-to-you author you’d like to crow about. I always welcome accolades for authors! And if you already review books and authors on your own blog, please include your link in the comments section below.)

ABC Friday Reads – Robert Kroetsch

One of the most influential Canadian authors, Robert Kroetsch wrote about this place called Alberta, even though he spent much of his life living outside of the province. The number of Alberta authors, in particular, who were mentored, instructed, encouraged, or even just befriended by this man are far too many to list. He touched all of us in different ways – but I can attest that even a slight touch from Kroetsch was enough to make a difference in the way we write and approach this business of publishing. Readers, as well, were introduced to this place called Alberta, a place that Kroetsch’s eastern publishers (and that would be Toronto) thought he must have made up. It couldn’t exist, they told him. (Click here to listen to many archived podcasts of wonderful interviews conducted by Bob Chelmick on his The Road Home programme on CKUA.)

Well, he did make up some of what he wrote, because that’s what all good fiction writers do – they lie. But he was one of the first to actually write about this place we call home, and write about it very well.

We lost Robert Kroetsch in a car accident last year, on my birthday. The entire book community was stunned, shocked, when we realized that this wonderful man was no longer with us. I wrote a blog post about this, and of my experience of having known the man.

In recent years, University of Alberta Press had been working with Robert Kroetsch in reissuing all his earlier works, and they published what turned out to be his last collection of poetry, Too Bad in 2010. Cathie Crooks, Sales and Marketing Manager at UAP, was also creating a dedicated website for Kroetsch and all of his books at the time of his death. This comprehensive site has finally been launched, so to help celebrate, I am recommending the writing of Robert Kroetsch for this week’s Alberta Books Canada Friday Reads selection.

We still miss you fiercely, Robert Kroetsch!