Tag Archives: bob stallworthy
This is the second part of a series in which Authors who 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. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)
Pincher Creek, Alberta, is my home since last summer, as I believe you know. The advantage is that Pincher in Iso is quite a bit like Pincher not in Iso. Have to watch my step only at the post office and Co-op. And strictly avoid Walmart. Two hour walks are frequent—to offset my beer consumption.
Working on a film with Tom Radford. Great fun.
I’ve been reasonably busy during the pandemic. My book about the secret lives of taxi drivers has been delayed due to all of this chaos, but this has given me a chance to add pandemic-related material to the manuscript. I also taught an online class on travel writing at Pandemic University, and one on nonfiction for the Alexandra Writers Centre. I landed a short piece about COVID brides-to-be on the CBC Calgary website and had a personal essay published on May 18th in the CBC Books’ “Transmission” series. All the while, I’ve been pitching COVID-related stories to various magazines. I am also working on a profile for a US-based medical cannabis journal, and a feature story about sex work in Calgary.
I have a new short story collection coming out this fall with Enfield & Wizenty. The book is called Vermin: Stories, and expected pub date at this point is Oct. 22. Here’s a link to the publisher’s page.
I also finally got a new headshot! (credit Jodi O Photography)
Lori Hahnel continues to add posts to her blog and is going to be offering a webinar on writing in June. See her blog for details.
I wish I could say I’ve been spending my covid time learning a new language, or taking piano lessons, or bullfighting classes online. I have finished a draft of a novel though, and am adapting to online yoga classes. Though I was self-isolating more before the pandemic, when everyone left the house in the morning. Now all four of us are here all day, every day. So an adjustment. Playing my monthly poker game via Zoom has been an adjustment as well. And perhaps it’s a good thing that this is the coldest spring in memory (it snowed yesterday) as fewer people are tempted to go out. But it would be nice to at least have the back yard as an option. And the snow may be keeping the murder hornets at bay.
Again thanks for doing this for us – it is so incredibly generous of you. As for me I’m editing the next two books in my series – Rebirth and Tesla’s Dream, as you know, and hoping to get that done by the fall. The coronavirus has slowed down the process since I have my daughters and granddaughters at home, and there are lots of interruptions. However I’m finding bits and pieces of time to do my work and am also okay with giving some of it up since this is a unique and precious time to be with my granddaughters (note: granddaughters) that I won’t have again. (One of Felicity’s granddaughters even wrote me a fan letter!)
I haven’t written anything on the virus but in my books I predict pandemics as part of the effects of climate change. There is a typical tension between the needs of businesses to make money and the working poor who facilitate that. It’s never been very different; those with less resources have always been sacrificed on the altars of the rich.
Again, thank you for all you are doing to promote Canadian/Alberta authors. It is a huge amount of work. I do appreciate all you’ve done to promote my books.
What have I been doing during the pandemic?
My book, Impact Statement, has been published and is now available from Alpine Book Peddlers in Canmore as well as the independent bookstores, Pages, ShelfLife and Owl’s Nest in Calgary. I believe it will be available through Amazon and Indigo as well, but I haven’t any idea just when that will happen.
Frontenac House and I are talking about having some kind of internet launch. No date or time as yet. It may be a ZOOM event, but that hasn’t been settled yet either. Will let you know when all is sorted out. Here’s a link to the book on the publisher’s site.
Of course, I am still a full-time care giver for my wife, Marilyn. Things are going as well as they can, but some of the work has to be done carefully.
As well, I am now into the gardening season. Trying to get my yards and flowerbeds into shape.
Like me, Canadian author Darlene Foster was in her winter home (Spain) when the pandemic disrupted the world, and she has also not been able to travel home to Canada for the summer months.
During the very strict lockdown in Spain, I have kept busy reading, writing, blogging, reviewing, critiquing, editing, and supporting other writers on-line. I’ve finally had time to reduce my towering TBR pile and have read some classics I’ve wanted to read for a long time. One of the best books I´ve read during lockdown was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. Here is my review on Goodreads.
I’m helping other writers with short stories and novels they’re working on and helping promote others who are already published. It’s always important as a writing community to support each other, but especially now during the global pandemic and resulting isolation. Thankfully, technology has kept me in touch with my family, friends and writing community. I hosted a ZOOM meeting for 14 English-speaking writers here in Spain last week and meet via ZOOM with my Canadian critique group on a regular basis. I individually chat with writers on Skype and FaceTime so I have not felt lonely at all. In fact, I´m busier than ever and working on Amanda in France, the ninth book in my Amanda Travels series, writing short stories, and even tried my hand at writing poetry. I was delighted to learn that some parents have been using my books as part of homeschooling. Life is whatever we make it and mine is good!
Stay safe and well. We´ve got this!
A bear sat on my deck. No photographic proof of that other than the calling card she left. I wrote a haiku, but it had one too many syllables. So it’s not a haiku at all. I also adopted my 21 year old nephew, who had a liver transplant when he was 16. He’s much safer here than he would be in Calgary, and he wants to apprentice with Dean as a cook. When it’s safe to go back into the kitchen.
I think of you on Bequia so often, knowing you’ve made the best decision for yourself. Traveling home, when you have a home … and a moat, and cats and all your books. I’m glad you’re there, just like I’m glad we’re pocketed away here in Jasper National Park, in the Canadian Rockies. Although, restaurants are re-opening, and guests will be returning soon. To a different experience, but they’re coming, and I’m worried. Of course.
I was worried, at first, that the gravity of a pandemic would pull all creativity to itself and leave me sitting in the dark. About a week in, however, Betty Jane Hegerat (an A-RI-promoted Author), one of my favourite writers and people, posted an offer of Blue Pencil Sessions: up to eight pages, for a handful of writers who might need a fresh look at a work in progress. I gratefully put up my hand and sent her the synopsis of the novel I’m working on. Anyone who knows Betty Jane knows she is the kind of person, writer, teacher who brings out the best in others. She asked for the first chapter after that, and now that she’s reading the sixth, I find myself not only picking up my pace to keep ahead of her (or is it that she’s generating a wave?), but learning to trust myself and the characters I’ve known, now, for so long. I’ve also taken on some web and business writing for a local mountain cabin resort, helping them to communicate with their staff and guests in these far too interesting times.
As well as the bear, I also have four squirrels and a chipmunk who visit my deck, and have been visited by a pair of bluejays (I thought these parts, like where I’ve lived in BC, would only have the blue-black Stellar’s Jays), assorted woodpeckers, thrush, cheeky little nuthatches and chickadees, and a flock of Juncos. Now that the snow is finally gone, my hiking boots have replaced my winter boots, and my camera and I are going out into the park, looking for and finding spring colours. Spring comes later here than I’m used to, but it’s so ridiculously beautiful that it doesn’t really matter.
Bob Stallworthy has been active in the Alberta writing community since he began writing full-time and professionally in 1985. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.
Bob has 4 books of poetry previously published. His poetry has been shortlisted for the City of Calgary, W.O. Mitchell Book Prize twice and the Stephan G. Stephansson Prize for Poetry once.
He is co-recipient of the Calgary Freedom of Expression Award, 2002; a Lifetime member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta,1988; and the recipient of the Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, 2019.
He has been a Patient/Family Advisor with the Kidney Health, Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services since 2016. He is a full-time caregiver for his wife who suffered traumatic kidney failure in 2013.
I’ve known of Bob Stallworthy and his poetry since the early 80s when I was working at Books n Books in Calgary, and he was a regular customer as well as a poet learning his trade. I got to know Bob and his wife Marilyn much better when I began promoting Alberta authors in 2009. He was with me right from the beginning, along with Betty Jane Hegerat and a few other authors you’ll meet later on this blog, and I managed to get Bob a couple of reading gigs at library conferences and in rural libraries. Bob was also our knight in shining armour on one of those road trips when I’d failed to notice, as we were driving through Red Deer on our way home to Calgary, that I was running low on gas … and it was snowing. Thanks, Bob! And, if I remember correctly, this was when we were coming back from a library event where a reader cried when you read one of your poems. That was quite a moving experience for all who were present.
Here’s more information about one of those talks Bob developed and delivered to librarians. One thing I’d always been told by librarians as to why they seldom if ever bought books of poetry for their collections was that it was difficult to interest readers in actually borrowing and reading poetry. This was Bob’s reply to that problem:
Taking the Ouch out of Poetry
I created the talk because it seemed that everywhere I went people would tell me how much they disliked poetry, especially as a child/student. They were always surprised when I suggested that they used poetry (not necessarily literary poetry, but poetry nonetheless) more often than they thought they did. I would ask them to think of how many times they bought birthday cards, anniversary cards, sympathy cards, etc. As I said, not always “literary poetry”, but still poetry or verse. My hope was simply to suggest that poetry, in all its forms, does have at least one reason to be a part of this world we live in.
I suggested to the audience that I had not always liked poetry. That as a student/child I often wondered why I had to be bothered with poetry. I said that, as with so many things in our world, when I began to write poetry I also began to understand it in a way that had not occurred to me before. I started to write poetry because I failed miserably at writing short stories and novels. When I did start to write more or less full time, the things I wanted to write about and the form in which the words fell onto the page seemed to be poetry. Once I started writing in this form, I discovered how much fun it was, and how hard it was, to work with words.
And Bob Stallworthy has some exciting news to share! His new book, Impact Statement, will be released in April, 2020, by Frontenac House.
Impact Statement is a book of transitions.Transitions that are brought about by a catastrophic health situation. Transitions in life brought on by facing the potential for death and dying to happen at any time; being desperate enough to ask for help from a long ignored faith; the realization that a long time loving relationship has been neglected; understanding that that relationship can be weeded and tended like a garden until it blooms again. This is, in every sense, a book of love poems.
This book has a “story arch” that spans the 5 years 2013 -2018. It was written with the help and guidance of my mentor, friend, and poet, Richard Harrison. Both within the writers’ group he facilitates and outside of the group, Richard gave me the permission and encouragement to return to my writing in very small steps. The Thursday night poetry group gave much in the way of support and patience during this process as well.
Our friends have been phenomenal is the support that they have given us and continue to give us. In fact, the experiences which made this book possible are responsible for teaching me the meaning of REAL friendship. Because of events early in my life, a lesson that has taken 50 years to learn.
Other books by Bob Stallworthy:
Under the Sky Speaking, Snowapple Press, 1998
From a Call Box, Frontenac House, 2001
Optics, Frontenac House, 2004
Things that Matter Now, Frontenac House, 2009.
In Silhouette, an e-book hosted by Frontenac House, 2010
Here’s more information in online articles by and about Bob Stallworthy:
“What Can a Poet Say to a Fiction Writer About Writing?” on the blogsite, Fictorians.
On Being Awarded the Golden Pen by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta in 2019.
Bob Stallworthy was part of the first group of authors I hosted for the Alberta Books Canada Literary Salons in Calgary.
And Bob was also one of the authors who bid me adieu at a farewell luncheon, just before I moved away from Calgary (the last time!) in 2012. l-r: Anne Sorbie, Bob Stallworthy, Betty Jane Hegerat, Susan Toy, Lori Hahnel, Barb Howard.
On Bookstores and Bookselling
The novel resurgence of independent bookstores
On Book Clubs
Book Club Invitations: More Spice Please
She Reads, a national online book club that advocates women’s literacy – wouldn’t it be great if we were to organize a book club like this in Canada? Hmmm …
In defense of purposeless writing
5 Ways To Try A New Writing Style
What Can a Poet Say to a Fiction Writer About Writing? by Calgary poet, Bob Stallworthy
Secrets of popular writers
The Best of the Blogs
Seth Godin: Building your backlist (and living with it forever) – writers and bloggers, please take particular note …
Nathan Bransford: The #ThankAWriter Project – of interest to readers, and this topic is in need of a separate blog. I think this is a great idea!
Writer Unboxed: Give and Get by Kimberley Brock – on She Reads, a national online book club that advocates women’s literacy
Bonnet Rippers: The Rise of the Amish Romance Novel
Yet Another Love Affair from Rachel Small on her love of reading
And a couple of great writers I’d like to give a shout out …
Carrie Mumford‘s published short story, Breath
And Rick Mallery’s blog that I recently discovered. I really enjoy Rick’s writing and have been following his Power Shorts Daily, some of which have been brilliant! I also look forward to reading his novel Becomes the Happy Man that Rick offered as a free download on his blog.
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
Dec. 14, 2011
Jan. 18, 2012 – Current and former Calgary Distinguished Writers’ Program Writers-In-Residence
Mar. 27, 2012 – Self: No longer a four-letter word
June 13, 2012 – New offerings by established authors
Sept. 30, 2012 – Mentors and Mentoring
Nov. 18, 2012 – Working with a publisher’s editor (cosponsored by University of Alberta Press)
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)
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
Betty Jane Hegerat
Faye Reineberg Holt
Shirlee Smith Matheson
T.B. (Tyler) Perry
Susan M. Toy
List of Authors who write for Children, Tweens and Teens
Shirlee Smith Matheson
Up next: Specific Books and a list of Publishers
This week, as part of my Friday Reads promotion of Alberta authors, I am recommending collections by Calgary poets. All three have been faithful supporters of Alberta Books Canada since the beginning, and I thank them for that! But each is also an exceptional writer, and I have no hesitation in suggesting that you pick up copies of their books and sample the writing of all three poets, if you’re looking for a wonderful way to spend your weekend. Enjoy!
I have known Bob Stallworthy for many more years than either of us cares to admit. Bob was beginning his career as a poet while I was working at Books ‘n’ Books on 17th Ave. in Calgary, sadly long-since closed. Bob was publishing his poems in chapbooks and working at learning his craft. He would often drop by the store in those days, because Books n Books promoted local writers, and especially supported poets, such as Robert Hilles, Ken Rivard, Chris Wiseman, Yvonne Trainer, Murdoch Burnett, and many others who later went on to publish and realize success. When I first set up ABC, Bob was among those few Calgary authors who immediately signed on to have his three books displayed at library conferences, and he’s supported my efforts ever since. Thanks, Bob!
Things That Matter Now 978-1-897181-26-3
From A Call Box 978-0-968490-31-0
All published by Frontenac House
Deborah Miller also signed up for promotion at the very beginning. I hadn’t known of her work before that time, but have enjoyed working with her to not only promote her three collections of poetry, but also her children’s book, Grappling with the Grumblies, for which she wrote the text. Deborah gives a great presentation of this book and was awarded the inaugural Steffie Award for it! Her three books of poetry were well-received when first published.
I will Burn Candles 1-896209-16-5
Landing At Night 978-1-896209-94-4
Grandmother’s Radio: Echoes From the Holocaust 1-896209-74-2
All published by Bayeaux Arts and available to purchase from the author.
I knew Rosemary Griebel‘s husband a couple of decades before I actually, and finally, met Rosemary – since he was our friendly, neighbourhood wine merchant! So when Rosemary and I did connect-the-dots at one of her readings and realized we’d both been hearing about each other all those years from her husband, it was as though we did already know each other. Once her first book of poetry, Yes., was released in 2011, Rosemary became an ABC author. And what a debut book this has been, with nominations for three major poetry prizes this year alone! Good luck, Rosemary! And these nominations are well-deserved, too. I believe this is the beginning of a very long and successful career. Click here for a link to a video of Rosemary reading at the launch party held at The Auburn Saloon in May 2011.
Yes. 978-1-897181-49-2, 84
Published by Frontenac House
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…