Tag Archives: Readers
After I posted to my blog yesterday, Dear Author … thank you for writing!, with the recommendation that readers take this time of self-isolation to write to their favourite authors, I received the following letter via email:
This was written by Nzarah Trimminham, my young NYC friend as I call her, who visits her grandparents on Bequia every year. Nzarah is a great reader and lover of books and no stranger to my blogs, having appeared in two posts previously … She was the first reader to answer the question “What are you reading?” on my blog of the same name, and Nzarah also appeared as a “guest reader” (swinging in that same hammock, or “hanmik” she mentions in my fan letter!) when I promoted Hazel Hutchins as part of the Authors-Readers International series.
And, as if that wasn’t enough of a connection, Nzarah’s “Granny in Bequia” is my friend and fellow author, Felicity Harley, who I have promoted a number of times on my blogs, and most recently on the Authors-Readers International series, as well!
It was Felicity who sent me Nzarah’s letter, since the entire family is currently self-isolating together OUTSIDE OF New York City where Nzarah usually lives with her mother. I have been sharing various sites and podcasts with them about books and reading so that Nzarah can continue with her studies during this time. As Felicity wrote when she sent the letter:
She was required to write a letter to someone. I suggested her Granny in Mustique, but she picked you and thought it up herself and wrote it. She’s in kindergarten and just learning to read and write – she’s a great reader. So glad you love it – I do too. Isn’t the tiny hammock so sweet!
So THANK YOU, NZARAH!!! My reading buddy, you have made me so very happy with your kind thoughts and words! I like to think you mean I am an amazing reader/writer! (“ridte”) I’ll take that compliment! The rat and cat book – “Strat and Chatto” – will be here for you on Bequia to read again when you next come back to visit. The hammock will still be hanging and, I hope, the cats and I will still be here, too! Until next time, My Friend!
But, in the meantime, I just have to ask … WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Your Bequia Friend,
I receive a monthly newsletter from the website Order of Books that is currated by Graeme McGaw. The newsletters, and the website itself for that matter, are filled with a great deal of information about authors, their books, and reading in general. (I strongly recommend that interested readers begin following the website and sign up for this monthly newsletter.)
But this suggestion of Graeme’s in his April newsletter particularly stood out for me. He says:
One thing I also wanted to suggest during this period of time – take a minute to write to your favourite authors and thank them. Thank them for the books they have written, the adventures they have taken you on, and the worlds they have allowed you to escape into.
That’s something we should all be doing in general. I know when I enjoy a book, I take a minute to write to an author and just thank them. Thanks for pouring months and months of your life into this story. Authors have it rough. Not only is it a lot of work, but they’re also putting themselves out there. Think of all those negative reviews an author receives on a book. That sort of thing can be crushing to an author. I know I personally have always wanted to write a book, but don’t think I could deal with the negative reviews.
I also find I have a 100% response ratio from authors too which is really cool. They’ve always taken the time to reply and let me know they appreciate the e-mails etc. and I love that. So yeah, take the time to write to your authors. It will make their day.
This is an idea I’ve always considered advocating because, as an author myself, I know how much a few lines of recognition and thanks can mean when received from an unknown reader who has been touched in some way by something I’ve written. Yes, it’s terrific to hear from friends and family or people I’ve met during my career in books, but it’s quite different when a stranger makes the time and effort to reach out and compliment me. I’m not talking posted reviews here or public messages on social media or even comments on blog posts, but actual private messages, whether they be sent by email or snail mail, something that is meant for the author’s eyes only. That is very special indeed!
In a way, I’ve kind of been complimenting many authors I admire myself in public for these past 5 months through my current Authors-Readers International series on this blog. But even I am now considering writing to a few other authors whose work has really meant a lot to me, just to let them know they have a reader who appreciates what they do.
So during this time of self-isolation, when I know that so many readers are consoling themselves with, and whiling away their time reading a lot of books – as am I! – why not consider sending the authors of those books a message to let them know how much you are enjoying what they write?
It can even be a message as short as the title of this post: Dear Author … thank you for writing! Whatever you write, I can assure you that any author who receives such a message will be thoroughly grateful for your having taken that time to contact them.
Perhaps this is an idea you can share with any younger readers around your house! It’s never too early for readers to learn to appreciate the work favourite authors put into the books they love to read!
And if you can’t find a particular author’s direct contact information online, you can either write to them via their publisher, or check with me. I might have ideas on how to find them.
If you want to do more than just write a letter to help out an author whose work you appreciate, this earlier blog post of mine, How You Can Invest in Authors and Books, gives you 9 other ways you may show your appreciation!
Yesterday, I published the last promotion in the current round of postings for the Authors-Readers International series that I’ve been running on this blog since Dec. 1, 2019. During that time, I have promoted 50 Authors who have lived in, or been associated with, 26 different countries around the world!
Here’s the complete list of authors so far: Authors-Readers International
I have now amended this list to include information that I had for each Author on the countries in which they were born and/or had spent a significant time during their lives. So Readers will have a good selection indeed of a very INTERNATIONAL and diverse list of Authors! Although, I do admit that the majority of Authors in this first round of promotions come from or live in Canada, but then that’s where I come from, so it’s kind of a given that I would know more Canadian Authors …
What has really pleased me though is the response this series has received, and internationally! Here’s a list of all the countries from which my blog has received hits during this time:
Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Columbia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Granada, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lithuania, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Eremites, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam.
That’s 83 countries! Quite a good response, I would say!
I wish I had a better way of tracking specific Readers’ locations, those who have responded to this series. Many have liked, shared, followed the blog, commented upon, and generally made their presence known to me that way. Otherwise, I’ve been depending upon the daily WordPress stats to be able to come up with the list of countries above.
So, a word to Readers … If you have been following this series and you do not see your country listed above, please leave a comment below with the name of the country and I will add that to this list.
And all of the above is to tell you that I am taking a break from posting promotions to this series. I had already planned on stepping back for a month or so anyway, just because this has been a lot of work to organize and execute, and I needed some time away from my computer and blogging so I could get on with my own writing, and to read more of the fabulous books written by these authors already promoted! But then world events had a way of creeping into everyday life, and I fear the focus and attention have moved elsewhere for the time being. So, for now, I ask that you please GIVE ME A BREAK!
I hope to begin posting promotions again on June 1st. I still have 31 Authors on my list who I will be contacting in mid-May, so hold tight and stay tuned, Everyone!
And, in the meantime, I hope you will take this time to read over the list of Authors already promoted, read the posts for them that you might have missed, and read their great books!
Hello, I’m Tricia Drammeh, author of multicultural fantasy, young adult paranormal, and contemporary fiction. I live in beautiful New Hampshire with my husband, children, and adorable animals. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. Books have always been my life. I read a wide variety of genres, which probably explains why the books I write vary so greatly. My favorites include J.K. Rowling, Anne Rice, Maeve Binchy, Joleene Naylor, Maegan Provan, Amy Metz, Jodi Picoult, and many, many more!
In lieu of more personal information, I decided instead to include this recent post from Tricia Drammeh’s blog:
My husband and I took a walk along a local wooded trail on Saturday. A windstorm earlier in the week had stripped most of the fading autumn leaves from the branches, giving us an almost unencumbered view of the river.
I love walking alongside the river, particularly the portions where the water seems to rush toward clusters of smooth boulders. In various spots along the riverbank, cement benches face areas where the water is smooth and peaceful. Here, couples hold hands
and enjoy and placid scenery.
I prefer the rushing water. There’s something invigorating and exciting about the noise and the motion. How just a few rocks thrown in the path of peaceful waters can create such temporary chaos, before the water inevitably settles down so easily, so calmly once
those obstacles are removed.
So much has been written about rivers and streams, how meandering and rushing waters compare to our moods and our trials and tribulations in life. There’s probably not much more that I could say about the topic that hasn’t been said. Still, I can’t help but contemplate how, in my own life, I long for stillness and peace, yet when it comes to the river, I’m drawn to the motion, the activity – the part when everything that has settled to the bottom of the riverbed is churned about and forced into the flow. Nothing stays at peace for long.
It’s a great metaphor for life, isn’t it? Nothing stays at peace for long. That’s what life is. A series of events and changes. It’s motion, activity, noise, and that isn’t always a bad thing. At some point during my particular journey, I began to associate any type of change with negativity. I wanted everything to stay the same. Anything that wasn’t
static or peaceful was terrifying.
I think I’m ready to start enjoying life a little more. Maybe start making a few small changes, or at least recognizing that change doesn’t have to be bad. Already I’m starting to
put things into perspective.
I have only ever met Tricia Drammeh online, but since we’ve known each other there’s been a mutual respect for our work and an equal effort to promote that work! Tricia is one of those indie authors I’ve been able to count on for advice, information, and help with getting the word out about my own books and blogs, as well as author promotions. And she’s also a very accomplished writer herself. I have enjoyed reading several of her novels, and I own paperback copies of her two most-recent publications. The Novelist definitely spoke to me, as I know it will do for many other writers.
Jacque has always struggled to get his business ideas off the ground. From photography to catering to publishing, his poorly-planned endeavors have put a serious strain on his finances—and his marriage. Despite his difficulties in turning his passions into a paycheck, Jacque has always considered himself to be an intellectual, an artist, and above all, a writer.
Ever-reliable Cindy is always there to pick up the pieces when Jacque’s ventures go awry, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep things afloat. She wants nothing more than for her husband to find his way in the world, and she believes writing is his true path in life—until she reads his novel.
Every marriage has its problems, but when a shocking betrayal leads to vengeance, will their marriage survive?
A very good book! And, also for writers who are considering self-publishing, Tricia Drammeh wrote and published this non-fiction collection of essays – in which she cites ME, and specifically this blog of mine, in her list of resources! Thanks for the shout-out, Tricia!
The Essential Self-Publishing Guide
Are you an aspiring writer who has always dreamt of publishing a book? Or have you already written your book and are confused about your next step? The Essential Self-Publishing Guide will help you explore your publishing options, walk you through the steps of publishing your book, and help you realize your dream of becoming an independent author. If you are a writer on a tight budget, this guide will not only help you determine where to cut costs, but will teach you how to perform many self-publishing tasks on your own. With creativity, determination, and a little bit of patience, you can become a published author!
Here’s what Tricia Drammeh is doing now: “Nowadays, I do more editing than writing, but most of my time is spent being a grandmother. I work part-time in the morning and then babysit my grandson in the afternoons. It is wonderful and I love it! My days are long and between work, editing projects, and my grandson, I don’t have much time for writing; however, I do belong to a local writing group that encourages me to regularly stretch my writing muscles. I’ve written some short stories lately, so who knows where those might end up?”
For more information about Tricia Drammeh, her books and writing, and her editing services, please see her website.
And you may follow Tricia Drammeh’s blog here.
Mike was born in London in 1957, and brought up in Oxford. He was educated expensively up to the age of 14, at which point he was thrown out of boarding school; this was, he says, a good move from everyone’s point of view. He passed through a number of schools and colleges and became a journalist of sorts, and worked in rock music publishing and as a traffic broadcaster. In 1987 he signed on with VSO, the British equivalent of the Peace Corps, and spent two years in the east of Sudan in the wake of the 1984-85 famine. This led to a book, Even the Dead are Coming, which was eventually published in 2009.
He stayed on the road for many years, living in such diverse countries as Ecuador, Bhutan and Syria. His travels inspired another autobiographical book, The Nine Horizons (2014), and a novel, The Lost Baggage of Silvia Guzmán (2014). He is also the author of Crops and Carbon (2011), a scholarly work on climate change, and a book of novellas, Three Seasons. For the last few years he has been working as an editor in New York.
If memory serves, I first learned of Mike Robbins and his books through a listing on Goodreads. I was interested enough to contact him and ask if he’d like to be promoted on Reading Recommendations. Since then I have read most of what Mike has published and have really enjoyed his writing.
When I contacted Mike by email earlier in the week about this promotion, he told me he was reading my novella, That Last Summer, which made me very happy! I explained that the story was based on my own childhood of spending summers at the family cottage, and he said he’d experienced an Ontario cottage with his family who had travelled to Canada together for his father’s work: “We arrived in Canada in August 1968 and the next weekend a colleague’s son drove us out to their family cottage on a lake west of Ottawa. I remember it very clearly; a “cottage” doesn’t mean quite what it does in England, being made of wood, with the insect screens and the canoe drawn up at the water’s edge. I remember hot summer days but also cooler ones at the end of the season, when the sky was grey and a cold breeze rippled the surface of the water. The lakes always seemed huge; it was my introduction to the sheer size of Ontario. Later we took the train to Winnipeg and it took two days, across endless forests and lakes.” So that was another, and kind of cool!, connection that I now have with Mike Robbins. (Mike directed me to this blog post he wrote of his experience travelling to Canada for that year. Very interesting, and great travel writing!)
And I especially enjoyed this novella by Mike Robbins, his most recent publication …
In the summer of 1976 a young Mike Robbins was startled, as was everyone in
Britain, by a TV programme in which a Welsh hypnotist, Arnall Bloxham, regressed three subjects to their past lives. One had served on a ship of the line in the Napoleonic Wars; another remembered being a hunter-gatherer in the prehistoric Balkans; and another recounted fleeing from a pogrom in medieval York. The programme, The Bloxham Tapes, generated some debate in later years as to what it did and did not prove.
No-one under 50 would remember watching The Bloxham Tapes, and it may not now exist. (An Australian university has a VHS tape, apparently; but those tapes do not always survive so well.) However, Robbins never quite forgot the programme. What happened after death? If you were reborn, would it be as a human again, and if not, why not? Forty years later, stuck on a book that was going too slowly, he broke off to write the novella Dog!, the story of an elderly rescue dog who is not quite what
Dog! isn’t religious. It was the dramatic possibilities that Robbins wanted to explore. What if that pug you saw in the park was actually Henry VIII? It’s actually not a new idea, according to Robbins; he cites Rumer Godden’s first book, Chinese Puzzle, which revolved around a similar idea, and the late James Herbert’s Fluke. But Robbins wanted to have a bit of fun with the concept. The dog’s owner is a cheerful slob called Bazza (the English often abbreviate names into Baz, Caz, etc.), a university lecturer in a provincial English city. When not teaching logical positivism or medieval ontology, Bazza chills with a spliff and a beer or browses porn sites. He’s also adopted an old dog, but finds it dour and unaffectionate. Still, the two of them live together happily enough, despite the dog’s contempt for humans and its habit of licking itself in front of guests. Then a Himalayan monk comes to stay for a few
weeks while teaching courses in the city. He senses at once that there is something strange about the dog. He is right. As the book’s blurb says: “Dog! is a powerful story of love and loss, sin, redemption and dog mess. You’ll never see your pet the same way again.”
What Mike Robbins is working on now: “Since 2011 I have been working on a novel set in postwar Britain, but the research and the writing have both been tough. But it’s half-written now, and I hope I’ll finish it in the next year. I have also nearly completed a collection of “think pieces” and book reviews. Also slated for this year is a Spanish translation of The Lost Baggage of Silvia Guzmán (there is already one of Dog!).
Mike has also offered up to readers a few of his own reading recommendations:
Mike says there’s too much to mention! His best-loved novel of all time is J. B. Priestley’s Bright Day. But he also recommends Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain; a long slow read but the ideas in it are more important than ever. He is also a fan of Rumer Godden and recently wrote on his blog about her life in India. Of more recent books, he’s strongly enjoyed a couple of books by Kevin Brennan, who’s also been featured on Reading Recommendations (and is part of this Authors-Readers International series), and also recommends Alison Layland’s new thriller Riverflow. Finally it’s well worth checking out Rebecca Gransden’s strange and compelling novel anemogram. (sic), and her short-story collection, Rusticles.
For more information about Mike Robbins, his writing, books, book reviews, and travels, please see his website.
Katherine Govier was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and was educated at the University of Alberta and York University. She has been made a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Alberta and is one of York University‘s “Famous Fifty” graduates. She has been Chair of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and President of PEN Canada. Govier has published essays in major newspapers and magazines, including Macleans, Saturday Night, The Globe and Mail, Harper’s, Queen, and The Toronto Star.
Govier was shortlisted for the Trillium Award in 1994, and won the City of Toronto Book Award in 1992. In 1997, she was awarded the Marian Engel Award for a woman writer in mid-career. Her novel Creation was a New York Times Notable Book of 2003. Her 2010 novel, The Ghost Brush, focusing on the life of Katsushika Oi, has been published in translation in French as La Femme Hokusai, in Japanese as Hokusai Tu Oi, in Spanish as La Hija del Dibujante, in Romanian as Fiica Lui Hokusai, and in the United States under the title The Printmaker’s Daughter. In 2014, Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagne were nominated for the Governor General’s award for translation 2014 for their translation of The Ghost Brush into French as La Femme Hokusai, published by Quebec-Amerique.
In 2011, Katherine Govier founded The Shoe Project, a writing workshop for immigrant women, with sponsorship from Heather Gardiner and hosting by The Bata Shoe Museum. The group publishes stories on the web, creates ‘snapshot’ exhibits for The Bata Shoe Museum, and offers public performances. It has been the subject of two one-hour documentaries on CBC Ideas: In Their Shoes I (February 27, 2012), and In Their Shoes II (June 10, 2013), and a Toronto Star article.
Katherine Govier has been made a member of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest honours “for contributing to Canada’s literary scene as an acclaimed author, and for supporting refugee and immigrant women.”
I actually met Katherine Govier’s mother before I knew about Katherine and her writing. And I’m not sure now whether I’ve ever met Katherine in person … The reason I knew Doris Govier was that she organized and ran reading groups in Calgary, and she purchased all copies of each book from Sandpiper Books, where I was working at the time. This was before the advent of book clubs, so what Doris Govier was running was unique at the time, as far as we knew. By that time in the late 80s, Katherine was living in Toronto and had already published several books. One of these, Between Men, we promoted in the store, because her mother was such a good friend and customer and … the book was set in Calgary!
It wasn’t until much later when Katherine Govier was publishing Half for You and Half for Me that I reconnected with her – the book was a tribute to her mother, Doris. “When she was small, Katherine Govier tucked in close to her mother’s side to listen to nursery rhymes. Later she read them to her own children, and now she has returned to reading them with her mother, who can no longer see well enough to read the pages of their nearly hundred-year-old Mother Goose book. Still, her mother can recite the words. What is the magic and what is the meaning of these rhymes that stay in our heads for a lifetime?” Truly a beautiful book, and one that I enjoy reading myself! I also enjoyed the following novel Katherine published in 2016, the story set in a fictional Canmore, Alberta, with the Three Sisters mountains looming in the background …
The Three Sisters Bar and Hotel
Gateway, Alberta, 1911. The coming of the railroad to the Canadian Rockies has brought a parade of newcomers to the heavenly Bow Valley—climbers, coal miners, artists, scientists, runaway aristocrats and remittance men. Among the latter is the poacher Herbie Wishart, who arrived on a one-way ticket and has reinvented himself as a trail guide and teller of tall tales.
Herbie becomes outfitter for a fossil-hunting expedition headed by a prominent Washington, D.C., archaeologist. Rumours say that the findings of the secrecy-shrouded Hodgson expedition, as it comes to be known, could overturn all previous knowledge about early life forms. Brought along to help in the quarry for the summer are Hodgson’s adult children, mopey Humphrey and the captivating Isabel, with whom Herbie strikes up a campside alliance. But when an early snowstorm hits and trailside grudges come to a head, the expedition mysteriously disappears. The tragedy threatens to stain the Rocky Mountain park’s reputation just as its newly elected government overseers begin to sell the pristine Canadian wilderness to the world. Despite all efforts from that year on to solve, or bury, the mystery, the disappearance will haunt Gateway, and define the futures of Herbie Wishart and his stubbornly female descendants.
Katherine Govier has been busy with The Shoe Project, which she founded in 2011. “The Shoe Project recruits women with the desire to lead and coaches them to tell their stories – through a pair of shoes. TSP partners with museums, theatres and arts centres across Canada to create public performances where these brave and moving stories are presented to the public. Led by senior Canadian writers and theatre artists, TSP’s workshops, performances and publications lift the voices of women and refugees into Canada’s national.” Three other Canadian authors I have promoted in this Authors-Readers International series are also involved in The Shoe Project: Barb Howard, Marina Endicott, and Sheree Fitch.
And here’s what Katherine Govier is working on now: “I am in the final rewrites for a new novel about the ghost of Katsushika Oi, The Ghost Brush or The Printmaker’s Daughter, as the book is known in the US and UK, Hokusai tu Oi as it is in Japan.She comes back to try to find out what happened to her work and to be acknowledged for it.”
For more information about Katherine Govier, her books and writing, please see her website.
Born in Golden, BC, Marina Endicott grew up in Nova Scotia and Toronto. She began her career as an actor and director in Ontario and England, where in the gaps in work she began to write fiction. Back from London, she went west to Saskatoon to work in theatre, mostly in new play development as a director and dramaturge, before going farther west to Mayerthorpe, Alberta, for her husband’s first posting with the RCMP. Her first book, Open Arms, was short-listed for the Amazon First Novel Award. Her second, Good to a Fault, a finalist for the 2008 Giller Prize and a CBC Canada Reads choice, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Best Book, Canada/Caribbean). The Little Shadows, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, and longlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize, as was Close to Hugh, one of CBC’s Best Books of 2015. Her new novel, The Difference, the story of a voyage to the South Seas in 1911, will be published by W.W. Norton in the US in June 2020.
I was the sales rep for a brand new Calgary literary publisher, Freehand Books, that hit the scene in 2008, and it was my great good fortune to be selling that first list, which included Marina Endicott’s second novel Good to a Fault. Not only were the publisher and author situated in (or nearby) my home base of Calgary, but the book was – and still remains – one of the very best novels I have ever read! And not only I thought this, but so did many other readers, booksellers and librarians across Canada! To say that this book was a pleasure to sell and Marina a wonderfully responsive author to represent is putting it mildly. (I’ve had great pleasure again just now putting together this promo and reminiscing about those heady days of selling this terrific book!) But don’t just take my word for it; look at all the nominations and awards the book garnered and the glowing review in Alberta Views Magazine written by Aritha van Herk (who I promoted earlier as part of this A-RI series):
Short-listed, Scotiabank Giller Prize 2008
Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book, Canada/Caribbean 2009, Canada Reads contender 2009, Dublin IMPAC Prize longlist, Calgary Book Award, Globe & Mail 100 Best Books, 2008
“Most of all, Good to a Fault lays bare the dread cloak of poverty, how it clings, leaving a trace as indelible as ink. The “whole dirty business of being human” is a challenge to all. And rising to the challenge of doing good, not out of selfish need but generosity, is even greater. The incipient tenderness of this novel makes it at times movingly difficult to read, but that tenderness also makes it compelling. In an age of slick and clever writing, substanceless as air, Good to a Fault incites tears. They are tears of pleasure, for a good story and for such good writing.”
— Aritha van Herk, ALBERTA VIEWS
I have been a fan of Marina Endicott’s writing ever since first reading Good to a Fault, and have very much enjoyed all the books she’s written and published before and since. This is what good writing is all about, readers!
Up from underneath came a blue-black swell, rising in a long arc. Kay waited, hovering in the difference between herself and the whale.
Knopf Canada, 2019
W.W. Norton, US, June 2020 (The Voyage of the Morning Light)
On the Morning Light, a three-masted barque from Nova Scotia sailing the trade winds to the South Pacific in 1911, young Kay feels herself not wanted on her sister’s long-postponed honeymoon voyage. But Thea will not abandon her young sister, so Kay too embarks on a life-changing voyage to the other side of the world.
“It’s 1912, and just off the Pacific island of Pulo Anna, a group of men have rowed out to a Nova Scotia merchant ship to trade with the crew. The exchange involves the sale of a young boy by his people to the captain’s wife, Thea – the pivot around which this extraordinary novel turns.”
The adventure of life at sea has distractions and consolations, and as they traverse the globe, stopping at the various ports of call on the way to China, Kay finds herself perplexed by questions: is there a difference between ourselves and other humans? Between human and animal? How can we eradicate that persistent, illusory difference from our deepest and least conscious minds?
Lovely in its graveness, and in its comedy. The cut of the prose is so keen and the happenings are so finely wrought that it contorts where it can’t help but contort, around the places where unanswerable grief comes into our lives.
At the heart of The Difference is a crystallizing moment in Micronesia: forming a sudden bond with a young boy from a remote island, Thea takes him away as her son. The repercussions of this act force Kay, who considers the boy her brother, to examine her own assumptions—increasingly at odds with those of society around her—about what is forgivable, and what is right.
Inspired by the true story of a Yarmouth woman who bought a little boy in the South Seas, The Difference shows us a now-vanished world in all its wonder—and in its darkness, prejudice and difficulty, too. Endicott brilliantly illuminates our present time through young Kay’s contemplation of the idea of “difference” between languages, people, classes, continents, cultures, customs and species. The Difference is a breathtaking novel by a writer with an astonishing ability to bring past worlds vividly to life while revealing the moral complexity of our own.
For more information about Marina Endicott, her books, writing, and editing services, please see her website.
Anna Porter has been one of Canada’s most respected book publishers for 30 years. She was co-founder of Key Porter Books, a leading book publishing house, with a wide-ranging and varied list that includes such authors as: Farley Mowat, Allan Fotheringham, Howard Engel, Joan Barfoot, Fred Bruemmer, Norman Jewison, Hume Cronyn, George Jonas, Margaret Atwood, Jean Chretien, Sylvia Fraser, Modris Eksteins, Dennis Lee, John Keegan, Martin Gilbert, Irving Abella, Harry Bruce, Josef Skvorecky, Italo Calvino, William Trevor, Freeman Patterson, Conrad Black, and many others. She sold her interest in the company in 2004 to H.B. Fenn Limited. Well known in the publishing world, she was a regular at international book fairs.
Through the 1990s she served on the Federal Government-appointed Information Highway Council and, subsequently, on the E-Business Round-Table. She served on the Council of the Association of Canadian Publishers and was, once, president of the Association.
She is an Officer of The Order of Canada and has been awarded the Order of Ontario.
Anna was born in Budapest, Hungary. She was educated in New Zealand (BA and MA at Canterbury University, Christchurch) and began her publishing career as a junior editor at Cassell and Company, London, England. She emigrated to Canada in 1970, and worked at McClelland & Stewart for several years before starting Key Porter Books with Michael de Pencier’s Key Publishers.
She has some honorary degrees. She reads and speaks five languages adequately but not brilliantly.
She is married to Julian Porter, Q.C. and has two daughters and four grandchildren.
Anna Porter has lectured and given speeches throughout Canada and elsewhere. A few of her recent topics: the importance of culture and the arts; the future of the book in an electronic age; freedom of speech and why anyone should care about it; morality in times of war; the Holocaust in Hungary; the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and its aftermath; book publishing in Europe and the United States; stories from the past: those who built the Canlit we know today; how literature informs our lives and how to get published; about Europe 1989-2010; restitution and remembrance: the ghosts of central Europe.
When I first signed on to be a sales rep for Stanton & MacDougall, Key Porter Books was one of the publishers the sales agency sold, so I met Anna Porter at my first sales conference in May 1989. I had long known about Key Porter Books, however, having been a bookseller for many years, and I knew their list of solid bestselling Canadian books by authors who were, or were about to become, household names to everyone across Canada. Those KPB sales conferences were held in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Hall (Classy!!! Just have a look at these photos!) and we always left the conferences with some pretty fabulous books to sell to the booksellers and librarians. I had the opportunity too to meet, and squire around, many of those authors whenever they came to Calgary on promotion tours. One memory that stuck with me from 1994 was when KPB published a new book, A Nation Too Good To Lose by Joe Clark, the former Prime Minister of Canada! At that time, Clark and his wife, Maureen McTeer, were living in Calgary – my sales territory! I was able to arrange with KPB for Clark to speak at a regional meeting of managers from one of the national book store chains, and I accompanied him to that engagement. Now THAT was pretty cool!
But it’s Anna Porter’s most recent non-fiction book she’s published that I really wanted to talk about here. I read the book immediately after it was released and I was immediately immersed back into that time of my life when bookselling and sales repping figured large. So much information, so many personalities, so many books and authors, so many memories! Thanks so much for this book, Anna!
In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time
In Other Words is a lively, charming, gossipy memoir of life in the publishing trenches and how one restlessly curious young woman sparked a creative awakening in a new country she chose to call home.
When Anna Porter arrived in Canada in early 1968 with one battered suitcase, little money and a head full of dreams, she had no idea that this country would become her home for the rest of her life, or that she would play a major role in defining what it means to be Canadian. And where better to become a Canadian than at the dynamic publishing house, McClelland & Stewart, an epicentre of cultural and artistic creation in post-Expo Canada?
Anna Porter’s story takes you behind the scenes into the non-stop world of Jack McClelland, the swashbuckling head of M&S whose celebrated authors — Leonard Cohen, Margaret Laurence, Pierre Berton, Peter C. Newman, Irving Layton, Margaret Atwood — dominated bestseller lists. She offers up first-hand stories of struggling young writers (often women); of prima donnas, such as Roloff Beny and Harold Town, whose excesses threatened to sink the company; of exhausted editors dealing with intemperate writers; of crazy schemes to interest Canadians in buying books. She recalls the thrilling days at the helm of the company she founded in the 1980s, when Canada’s writers were suddenly front-page news. As president of Key Porter Books, she dodged lawsuits, argued with bank managers, and fought to sell Canadian authors around the world. This intriguing memoir brings to life that time in our history when — finally — the voices Canadians craved to hear were our own.
In Other Words is a love letter to Canada’s authors and creative agitators who, against almost impossible odds, have sustained and advanced the nation’s writing culture. Moving effortlessly from the boardrooms of Canada’s elite and the halls of power in Ottawa, to the threadbare offices of idealistic young publishers and, ultimately, to her own painful yet ever-present past in Hungary, Porter offers an unforgettable insider’s account of what is gained—and lost—in a lifetime of championing our stories.
Anna Porter is also the author of four other non-fiction books, including Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy, The Ghosts of Europe, winner of the Shaughnessey Cohen Prize for Political Writing, Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust, winner of the 2007 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Award and of the Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the The Storyteller: A Memoir of Secrets, Magic and Lies. She has also written four novels: The Appraisal, Hidden Agenda, Mortal Sins, and Bookfair Murders — Bookfair Murders was made into a feature film. Ms Porter’s books have been published internationally and in several languages.
Anna Porter is interviewed about her book, In Other Words, on TVO’s The Agenda.
For more information about Anna Porter and her books, please see her website.
I have enjoyed a nomadic existence living in eight countries including Sri Lanka, Malta, South Africa, USA and Spain, before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.
After a career in customer facing roles in the hospitality, retail, advertising and telecommunications industry, I wrote and published my first book in 1999 called Size Matters, about my weight loss journey, losing 150lbs in 18 months. This was followed by 11 further fiction and non-fiction books, including a number of short story collections.
My first book release resulted in a radio interview in Spain that led to four years as a nutritional consultant for an English language station, and this was followed by four years with my own health show and Sunday morning show on local radio station in the UK and then as station director, newsreader and presenter for an online television station.
As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books and from 2002 I have been working with authors on their book launches and publicity. At that time it was very much physical book launches and press coverage locally to stimulate national interest.. Today it is very different with a global market via the worldwide web.
As important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others within our community. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog, linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.
I first met Sally Cronin online, because of the offer she extended (above) to help other authors with their promotion. Over the years, Sally has been very generous with that promotion – to me and to so, so many other authors located worldwide, and I just can’t thank her enough for her unending work in this field. But Sally is also a good writer in her own right, and I’ve had the great pleasure of promoting her work as well and in reading her books … this one in particular I enjoyed! (Read below to see what Sally is working on next concerning this book.)
Sally Cronin has also been supporting this series of author promotion, Authors-Readers International, by reblogging several on her own blog and sharing and reTweeting almost all of my posts! Thanks, Sally, for all you do to promote authors and their books, and for continuing to write and publish yourself!
Life’s Rich Tapestry
Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.
Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.
This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.
What Sally Cronin is working on now: “I have two books in process at the moment. One is a sequel to my 2004 Just an Odd Job Girl which follows Imogen as she begins a house-sitting service along with her husband … with some adventures along the way.
The second is a departure for me into the murder mystery genre set in the mid 1970s onwards to the present day.
The current promotions for authors and bloggers are doing well, but based on the popularity of the Christmas book fair in 2019, I will also be putting on a Summer Book Fair with guest posts from authors, as well as promotion for every author on the shelves.
For more information about Sally Cronin’s books, writing, and promotions, please visit her website.
Lee Kvern is an award-winning author of short stories and novels. Her stories in 7 Ways To Sunday have garnered the national CBC Literary Award, Western Magazine Award, Hazel Hilles Memorial Short Fiction Prize, and the Howard ‘O’ Hagan Award. Afterall was selected for Canada Reads (Regional), and nominated for Alberta Books Awards. The Matter of Sylvie was nominated for Alberta Book Awards and the Ottawa Relit Award. Lush Triumphant was a finalist for 2018, and nominated for Best of the Net 2018. Her work has been produced for CBC Radio, published in Grain, Event, Descant, Air Canada enRoute, Tishman Review, Globe&Mail, subTerrain. On-line her work has been published in Joyland.ca, Foundpress.com, LittleFiction.com.
Lee Kvern is the past Alberta Writer’s Guild Mentor 2014 and former Writer-in-Residence for the Canadian Authors Association 2013.
Lee Kvern was one of the authors I met after I moved back to Calgary in 2008. She was a friend of Betty Jane Hegerat, Barb Howard, Lori Hahnel (all three have been promoted here on A-RI) along with many other Calgary-area authors I was promoting at the time. Lee’s novel, The Matter of Sylvie, was published then, and Lee was taking part in blue pencil cafes as an instructor, as well. I signed up for her help with one of my short stories and really appreciated the insight she gave that reading of my work.
Lee was also asked to take part, along with Barb Howard, in a launch of Bruce Hunter‘s reboot of Country Music Country (published by IslandCatEditions!) in Calgary in May, 2019. (Bruce has also been promoted as part of this series.) Here’s a photo from that evening …
7 Ways to Sunday
Lee Kvern’s collection contains stories which revolve around humanity in all its flawed glory: an artist’s girlfriend dies by mistake; a mother holds surveillance on her son’s foray into drugs; a sibling’s jealousy toward her sickly brother; a father’s death; a mother’s fear for her unbridled, grade-two son; a woman with a hijab in the modern world of Save-on groceries. An arborist, his wife and a Shar-Pei are in need of an attitude adjustment; a dying senior looks back over her life, her children, her lost love; RCMP and prostitutes come for tea on a Wednesday afternoon.
People can connect with Lee Kvern via Facebook/Instagram/Twitter @LeeKvern
What Lee is doing now: “I’m currently teaching short story writing at Alexandra Writers Centre Society in Calgary, also working on short stories in-between learning to paint over the last three years. Find my art work on Instagram #leekvern.
Lee Kvern was previously promoted on Reading Recommendations in March 2015.