Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New year, new blog, new website!

We're all about newness in 2013! And as of now, I have a new website, at the same address as the old one:

This is also where my blog will be located, and where, in fact, this blog has been moved. So come on over to the new site, where I'll be updating my blog. Thanks!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alberta Magazine Award nomination

I was very pleased today to find out that my story "Good Friday, at the Westward" has been nominated for the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association Showcase Award for Fiction.  Many thanks to The Prairie Journal for the nomination, and for running the story in Issue # 58.

Very nice way to start out the new year! I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be a very good year. So far, so good.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Still in the Punk

For those who haven't seen it, here's a link to Still in the Punk, a documentary made by Sheryl Orr  in 2006 about women in the old school Calgary punk scene, featuring me, Nicole McCreary Cowell and Leanne Betzler. The book I'm talking about is what later became Love Minus Zero. Wow, hard to believe the film was made that long ago.

Tomorrow, I'll be having lunch with members of the Virgins / Strangeloves, and sharing some holiday cheer with them. Have done very little thinking about writing or teaching in the last week, which is excellent.

So all best wishes to all of you in 2013. Here's to a good year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing (Besides the Apocalypse)

My friend and Writing in the Works colleague Susan Calder invited me to participate in this blog tag. Over at Susan's blog, you can read her take on her current work-in-progress. Here is mine:

Q. What is the working title of your book?

My new novel is called After You’ve Gone, which is also the name of a jazz standard first recorded in 1918. Set in Regina and Seattle, it’s the story of two generations of musicians, a jazz grandmother and a punk granddaughter, who each struggle with balancing life, love and art in their respective eras, and discover how much they have in common.  The two women’s stories are told concurrently, until they converge at the end.

Q. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Partly it was just my love of jazz. I knew I’d want to write about a jazz musician at some point. Partly it was inspired by my grandparents, who lived in Regina and were both musically inclined, although neither of them ever played music professionally. My grandmother had a steel-bodied resonator-type guitar – I don’t think it could have been a National, but I’m not sure -- which she played in the 30’s and I which remember seeing in her basement when I was little. Sadly, it was sold at a garage sale after she died. I’ve kind of been haunted by that guitar for a long time, and thinking about it got me writing this novel.

Q. What genre does your book fall under?

Literary fiction.

Q. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

With a lot of interruptions, about three years. I had many more interruptions while my first two books,  Love Minus Zero (Oberon 2008) and Nothing Sacred (Thistledown 2009) were being published, but managed to rewrite and polish it into finished form last year. It’s currently under consideration and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Potentially Last Post Before the Apocalypse

If the Mayans were right, I really am wasting my time doing all this Christmas shopping. On the other hand, I don't want to wake up on Dec. 22 and have to do it all in two days. I'm assuming they were wrong, of course. Because all this stuff is coming up after that.

Such as, starting January 15, Tuesday night Creative Writing classes, Level 1 (January - February) and Level 2 (March - April) at Mount Royal University. Check out what my lovely Fall term students gave me:

Like I said before, we have fun in my classes.

Next up: I'm taking part in a  panel at Calgary Public Library's Writers' Weekend, Saturday, February 2 in the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library. Scroll down to page 27 in the program guide for details on this full day of free writing presentations.

Writing in the Works Spring 2013 is set for April 11 at 7 PM at Memorial Park Library, featuring readings by Ken Cameron, myself, Steve Passey, Roberta Rees and Inge Trueman, and emceed by Susan Calder. Always a good time.

Looking a little further down the road, my residency with the Alexandra Writers Centre Society is slated for May and June 2013. Details will be posted...soon. I'll be doing workshops and (free) manuscript consultations, so come on down and show me your stuff! It's a great opportunity.

Over and out for now. See you on December 22!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Wow, that whole fall just went by in a blur. I guess it's technically still fall, but we've had winter here in the town of cows for a good month now. All that yardwork I put off doing is now covered in snow, although a Chinook the last few days is turning it into ice. Ah, well. Next year.

So Writing in the Works was very awesome. Thanks again to Michael and staff at Owl's Nest Books for hosting us, and to Long & McQuade for the truly awesome P.A., which we needed very much, due to the standing room only crowd that showed up. Very nice. Our next event will be April 11, 2013 at Memorial Park Library with readings from myself, Inge Trueman, Steve Passey, Ken Cameron and Roberta Rees. Should be a great evening!

I've been very busy with Creative Writing Level 1 (x two classes) and Level 2 at MRU this fall. Too busy. But in Winter term I'm teaching one of each level only, so that should help. Check out MRU's fine continuing ed Creative Writing courses -- we do have a good time!

In the meantime, sneaking in writing whenever I can. Huh, maybe I should take a course while I'm at it...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing in the Works Fall 2012 -- Tonight Only!

We at Writing in the Works are so ready for this event! We have our readings down. We have our intros and patter ready. We have gorgeous outfits picked out. We have PA equipment.  We have wine, chocolate and sundry other snacks. And we are most happy to be hosted by our friend Michael and his wonderful staff at Owl's Nest Books, 815A - 49 Ave SW in the Brittania Shopping Plaza in snowy SW Calgary.

Now, all we need is an audience of appreciative readers to show up. I'm sure that will be no problem. After all, this town is Canada's Cultural Capital for 2012, right? AND home to the winner of this year's Giller Prize! Looking forward to an enjoyable evening.