Friday, December 9, 2011

Best Drummers of All Time

Rolling Stone mag list its 100 Best Guitarists recently. And since I do a bit of drumming of my own, I thought so I thought to come up with my list of Top Drummers.

1. Keith Moon - The Who. Nobody drummed like Keith Moon and nobody has since he died. Literary critic James Wood explains why, better than anyone.

2. Topper Headon - The Clash. Although Stewart Copeland is considered the guy who infused reggae with rock, it was Topper Headon who took a reggae drumming style and fused it completely into punk rock. His drumming is key to the overall sound of the Clash. Topper could keep it simple and straight up, or he could move things around without ruining the sound. All punk rock drummers from 1978 on owe much to Topper.

3. Charlie Watts - The Stones. Mick and Keith are the soul of the Stones while Charlie is the heart. He keeps it simple but there is nothing simple about his playing. Watts, along with Ringo and Mick Avory of the Kinks, come from the school where the role of the drummer is to play what's best for the track, not to overcome it. The reason why Mick's solo career never took off is that he didn't have Charlie behind him.

4. Stewart Copeland - The Police. Although I prefer Topper Headon's style, Stewart Copeland is an amazing drummer. Not only did he bring a newish style to rock in the early days of The Police, his later work with the band is stunning in its minimalism. It seems that he barely plays at all in the latter Police albums but the truth is that he played exactly what was needed, even it was almost nothing. I also like that fact that Copeland was the founder of the band and not only "discovered" Sting, but let him become the centre of the band. It reminds of how Ron Howard didn't fight back when it was obvious the Fonz (Henry Winkler) was becoming the more popular character in Happy Days. To get an inside look at this relationship, I highly recommend you watch Copeland's movie, Everyone Stares.

5. Neal Peart - Rush. Although I'm not a big fan of flashy drummers, I am Canadian and Rush is an underappreciated Canadian bad, at least by the critics. But despite Peart's dramatic and highly technical playing, his drumming does fit into the context of Rush's sound. What Peart plays is perfect for each track. And though I've never been a huge fan of Peart's lyrical expression, his non-fiction books are pretty solid. His second book, Ghost Rider, which chronicles his life after the death of his daughter and wife, is a touching book on grief and recovery.

6. Dave Grohl - Nirvana, Foo Fighters. There's a reason why Nirvana made it big with Nevermind. The drumlines for most of the songs were no different than the ones that former drummer Chad Channing came up with. But it was Grohl intense style that helped make the songs bigger than before, that helped create that mix of metal, punk and melodic pop that was key to Nirvana's popularity. One other reason I like Grohl was his ability to move past Nirvana's success and tragic end to create his own sound with the Foo Fighters.

7. Gravy and Clint Frazier - Shout Out Out Out Out. You've probably never heard of these two guys but both are from my hometown of Edmonton and back up one of our more popular bands, Shout Out Out Out Out. Having two drummers is tough to crack but these guys pull it off. Both drummers are known for playing on other acts as single drummers but when they play together, they are awesome.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Best Books of the 2011

Everywhere in the literary, publishing and book media, there are tons of lists concerning the Best Books of 2011. Not to be left out, I've decided to create my own list. It's a very short list, only one book, but hands-down, it's my Favourite Book of 2011.

"Hey, wait a minute," I hear you say. "That's your own book. You can't pick that as the Best Book of 2011."

Oh yes I can. There is nothing in the rules that say I can't choose my own book as my own Best/Favourite Book of 2011. I recall several years ago Rolling Stone had a massive issue on the Best Albums of All Time. They polled writers and rock stars, etc. and got them to pick their list. One of the Ramones, Joey or Johnny, picked two Ramones albums for their own list. And why not, the Ramones kick ass.

And to be completely honest, my book is my Favorite Book of 2011. It's my book; it's finally got published; and it was published by a major US publisher (Forge) after being rejected by over 15 Canadian publishers. I spent almost seven years of my life waiting for the release of this book. When 2011 began last year, the biggest thing I was looking forward to all year was the release of Fall From Grace on March 28, 2011. After the birth of my kid and my wedding, March 28, 2011 is one of the best days of my life.

When the book came out, I got interviewed by a bunch of people, including the great Shelagh Rodgers at the CBC. I went on two book tours and the reviews were very solid. Some of them were even fantastic, like this one below.

So that's it, my Favourite Book of 2011. If you want to know what my Favourite Book of 2012 will be, here's a hint. At least I'm being honest.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are You Canadian Enough?

Recently in Canada, there's been a bit of discussion of whether Canadian literature of today is Canadian enough. Here are two bits recently posted about that.

This is typical of Canada, we wonder whether the books written by Canadians are Canadian enough. Some Canadian books are not set in Canada and don't have Canadians in them but they are written by Canadians. In the past some have said these books don't qualify as Canadian enough. I won't get involved in this argument that much save to say that I believe if a book is written by a Canadian, it's Canadian regardless of the plot, setting, characters, etc.

What bothers me about these two posts and some others about this Canadianism is there is too much focus on various Canadian awards, especially the Giller and the GG, aka the Governor-General's Award. The books mostly used in these discussions are those books shortlisted for these awards. And it seems that only these books are used to describe the current state of Canadian fiction. The rest of the books written by other Canadian writers don't seem to count. I won't get much into the fact that most of these awards, especially the Giller, discourage books of a science fiction and crime nature not to enter the contest. Go about halfway down in this post to see:

My point is Canada's publishing and literary community is way too focussed on awards. Awards are nice and I do like them and would like to win some. But it's become such a major part of our literary culture that it seems that only a few books who are shortlisted for awards are the only reflection of Canadian literature. And that's pretty sad.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday, Italian-style

Since I don't have any trips or literary adventures for awhile, I'm staying local for a bit.

Turn the clocks back and get up earlier (yet later) than you expect on a Sunday. So what to do with your extra time? We went to Spinelli's, a cafe next to Edmonton's famous Italian Centre on 95 Street. Spinelli's is awesome, especially the downtown one. You could go to the one on the southside but with the football (not North American but real football) playing on the five screens, the old Italian men holding court and greeting each other with "Buogiorno", and the helpful yet somewhat surly servers, the downtown Spinelli's has a more European feel. The cafe food is awesome, great sweets, plus calzones and drinks. We got a calzone, a cannoli (sp), a chocolate croissant, hot chocolate and two lattes and it cost us less than $15. Go to any Starbucks, Second Cup, or any other cafe and order something equivalent and you'd be paying twice as much.

The other great part of Spinelli's is shopping at the Italian centre afterwards. Some of the best deli meats and cheese in town. There's always free samples. Plus old school grocery service at the till. I used to work at a grocery store in the old days so I know when I receive old school service at a store.

Great start to a nice Sunday.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Festival Island

One of the best parts of the Vancouver International Writers Festival, besides the fact I got to hang with some great writers, is that everything takes place on Granville Island. Located in the middle of the City of Vancouver, Granville Island is a hip and happening place, full of shops, restaurants and wondrous views of Vancouver. Just seeing the lights of the city reflected off the water at night is worth the trip on its own.

But having everything you need within walking distance is fantastic. Instead of jumping in a van to travel to another part of the city for your events, you only have to walk a few minutes. Writer Central of the VIWF is the Granville Island Hotel. On the eastern corner of this triangle shaped island, the Granville Island Hotel is one of those little boutique hotels, only about 3 stories tall, with a brew pub in the middle. The restaurant is called Dockside and as it names suggests, it had a fantastic view of the dockside. There's also a uptown style lounge with the same view. But most of the writers didn't hang out much at these restaurants. Literary festivals always have a hospitality suite with free booze and snacks. Open after 8 pm, it was the place to hang with writers of all kinds. The beer was from the Sea Dog Microbrewery and while the Amber Ale was excellent, I fell in love with the Dark Lager. I'll look for both at my local beer store, which has over 800 varieties of beer.

During the day, there were plenty of other restaurants and lounges, all, as I said, within walking distance of the hotel. We ate a couple of times at Bridges, an upscale place that mostly served seafood. And since this is Vancouver, the seafood was excellent. Bridges also served beer from the Granville Island Brewery. The IPA went perfect with some rock fish. For the rest of the time, we headed to the Public Market. Plenty of food options there from fresh veggies and fruit to hot meal. My fave was Al A Mode, which had pies of all kinds, savoury and sweet; and the salmon burger. Can't visit the Public Market without having the salmon burger.

When I was at events and hanging with writers during the day, my family hung out at the Kids' Market, a open air building full of shops with toys, puppets, clothes, etc. for kids. You can spend loads of money there if you want, but just window shopping is fine. And if you want to get off the island, grab one of the bathtub ferries and either walk downtown or along the seawall. Stanley Park is about a half hour away.

Hope I'm invited back to VIWF cause I had a great time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brunch and Dead Bodies

I had two events at the Vancouver International Writers Festival. The first one, I've talked about, the crime event. The second, the Sunday Brunch, was called the Festival's premiere event by artistic director Hal Lake. I was expecting tough crime talk at my first event and a more genteel atmosphere at the Brunch. I thought my reading of Chapter 1 of Fall From Grace, was going to be creepy read, with talk of a dead body and all.

I was completely wrong. The event opened up with the sweet Gayla Reid reading from her new book, Come From Afar. Set around the Spanish Civil War, her reading was full of powerful images of war and loss, and love. Very strong stuff for brunch. Second up was Nicole Lundrigan. I was big fan of her novel Thaw and was keen to hear her read. She is also a very nice and sweet mother of three. But her reading, about a guy in Newfoundland obsessed with boys, was very creepy, and gave me shivers.

I was third, the only dude in the group, and I walked onstage with a glass of mimosa in hand, trying to perpetuate the hard-nosed crime writer stereotype. I had some fun with it and read Chapter 1. A great response from the crowd (the festival sold out of Fall From Grace) but I was a bit disappointed that my dead body scene wasn't the creepiest bit read that day. Anita Rau Badami read next and her section had more than one dead body in it. Fellow Edmontononian Marina Endicott and Australian Cate Kennedy wrapped up the brunch. I've heard Marina read so much from her new book that I've almost heard the whole thing. And Cate, I just met her the night before and there is just something great about Australian writers; they are just so down to earth people that you feel like you've known them all your life.

Like I said, sold out of books but I was completely surprised that the Sunday Brunch event had more talk about death and dead bodies than the Crime Time one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crime Time and Marauding Vikings

The Crime Time event at the Vancouver International Writers Festival was fantastic. I sat onstage with four great crime writers: Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Stuart MacBride and Denise Mina. Ian, Stuart and Denise are all from Scotland and since my family is partly comes from the Shetland Islands, I wondered out loud in the green room before the event, if I could be considered Scottish. Nope, said the three Scots firmly. "Just a bunch of marauding Vikings," said world-wide bestseller, Ian Rankin.

Onstage, the banter continued as the four of us talked about writing, crime fiction, etc. There were 450 or more people in the audience, and as we were introduced, I felt a bit nervous. As per usual for this size of crowd, we could only see the first three rows. The rest were in darkness but you could feel their presence. So for a moment, I worried I would mess up. But as soon as my turn came to speak first, I slipped into my onstage ex-punk rock drummer, now bigtime writer mode and had fun. Peter Robinson did a fantastic job as the moderator, keeping us on track and asking some fantastic questions. Denise was brilliant and hilarious poking fun at Ian for not reading Tolstoy while also jabbing Stuart for living in Aberdeen. Stuart was also quite funny and erudite jabbing back. Ian was a little more deadpan, but still had a lot to say about the place of crime fiction in the world of the novel. It seems that if Ian Rankin wants to learn about a culture, I mean really learn about a culture, he reads its crime fiction first. Excellent point. Lots of stuff was also said and though I was initially concerned about my place on the panel, I held my own and made a lot of new fans, even including those who shared the stage with me.

Here's a photo of me, Peter and Stuart after the event. No picture of me with Denise or with Ian but they were very busy signing books and talking to fans.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Poking the elephant

How was my appearance at the Crime Time event at the Vancouver International Festival of Authors? According to this blog, I guess I poked an elephant.

Actually, it was a lot of fun, a group of great writers (Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Stuart Macbride, Peter Robinson and myself) talking about writing, crime fiction, some weird UK celebrity named Katy Price and how Ian Rankin hasn't read Anna Karenina. Neither have I for that matter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Opening Act

Sometime in the late 90s, I was the drummer of a punk rock band in Edmonton. We had a decent following and made a bit of a name for ourselves locally. One summer, we were asked to open for the Suicide Machines, a major label punk band from Detroit. This was going to be a huge show locally because the Suicide Machines were touring with the Mad Caddies, a California ska band on Fat Wreck.

I recall there were about 500 people jammed into the venue, The Rev. The temperature outside was around 34 degrees C and it was even hotter inside because the AC was busted. Just standing at the bar was enough to make you sweat, so imagine what it was like behind my drums, underneath all those lights, with the heat of the crowd in front of us. Since I was in my late 30s at the time, I was probably the oldest person in the room. The other two guys in the band, Mark and Stacey, were younger than me but also in their early 30s. I knew there were some in the crowd who didn't like us, who thought we were posers because we were so much older than the average punk. Of course, many didn't realize that because of our age, we had been in punk rock bands for almost 20 years.

But we didn't care. And the heat didn't stop us. Mark hit the guitar intro for our first and then Stacey and I jumped it. We had another guitarist at the time, but he had to work that week out of town and couldn't make it. But no matter, the three of us had been playing together for almost 5 years so we were pretty tight. One of my greatest musical memories was that moment right after our first song. I hit my both my crash cymbals, and a half second later, a huge roar came up from the crowd. I waited for a couple of second, soaking the sound in, and then counted in our next song. The whole 40 minute set was like that. Big cheers after each song.

I tore my drums done pretty quickly to make room for the Caddies and then dashed through the crowd to get some fresh air. Like I said, it was about 34 C outside but it felt so much cooler. A bunch of other folks were out there, cooling off and having a smoke, and they all commented on how great our set was. A couple of folks who had hated us or at least questioned our "punk cred" prior to that show told me later that they changed their minds about our band because of that night. Two years later, Mark and I ran into the guys from the Suicide Machines at the Warped Tour and recognized us from that show. But by then, the band had broken up and we were already onto different things.

I'm writing about that night over a decade ago because in a couple of days, I'll be at the Vancouver Writers Festival. I have two events but the big one is the Crime Time Panel October 21 with Ian Rankin, Stuart McBride and Denise Mina, with Peter Robinson moderating. These are big names in crime fiction, Ian Rankin being the biggest one; he's responsible for more than 10 percent of all crime fiction books sold in the UK. He's also supposed to be a nice guy and like me, is an old punk rock musician. Almost 500 tickets have been sold for our panel. So like that Suicide Machines set long ago, I know most of the people at the Crime Time event this Friday will not be there to see me. Most of them have never heard of me. But like that Suicide Machines show, I won't sit back and let the big bands get all the applause; I'll make sure they won't forget me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is There Too Much Sharing?

When I first became a "Big Time Writer" I was told by many that I should establish a blog and start writing about myself. "Talk about your likes, your dislikes, the things that happen in your life, the good and the bad," I was told. "Discuss your family in detail, introduce them, along with photos to the people who read your blog, share as much as you can about yourself so people, hopefully your fans, can connect with you."

And as I read other blogs and heard some other writers talk about their blogs, I noticed that there was a lot of sharing going on. People had photos of their kids, their pets, their cars. They opened up completely about their lives, their emotions and their mental and physical states. They shared their joys when something great happened, their grief when something bad and everything in between. It seemed there was a lot of sharing going on.

I thought about following that route, to be open about everything in my life, but it just didn't seem right. It's not that I'm not open to sharing my emotions and all that, but I'm pretty selective about who I share those things with. I'm not the kind of guy who walks up to a perfect stranger and talk about my most private moments or thoughts. Only a few people get that. At the same time, I'm pretty gregarious to strangers and do like to joke with people and tell stories, especially to an audience of readers. Not to brag, but I've done some interesting things in my life - punk rock drummer, semi-professional clown, journalist, etc., - so it's nice to share those kind of stories. Along with stories of writing, life on the road as a writer, traveling, food, beer, etc.

But there's a boundary between my public persona and my private one. And I do my best not to cross it too much. Personally, I think there is too much sharing going on, too much information about people that I don't really need or want to know. And there are times when it crosses too far for me, when people start sharing almost everything about their family members, especially their kids. Soon, it becomes some version of The Truman Show in which many children nowadays have hugely public lives because of the sharing from their parents, and these kids have no idea it's going on. I know when I was a kid, if my parents did that to me, I'd be mighty pissed off once I got older.

So I've said this before and I'm going to say it again: if you're looking for a lot of personal sharing from me in this blog, you ain't going to get it. I'll talk about things (especially more these days), about my writing, about certain trips I'm planning on taking, certain foods or beers that I enjoy, stuff like that. But that's about it. The rest is off limits

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Traveling to Vancouver, Book Promo tied with family trip

In a week, I'll be jetting off the Vancouver for the International Writers' Festival.

It's going to be a great time cause we'll be staying at the Granville Island Hotel which I've heard is fantastic place from my Edmonton writing friend, Thomas Trofimuk. Maybe I might even get a few travel stories out of the trip.

I'm also scheduled for two great events, both of them already sold out so I'll be out there promoting Fall From Grace in front of some big crowds.

The first event is Friday, Oct. 21 at 10 am. It's a major event called Crime Time. Little ole me will be on a panel with three Scottish writers, Denise Mina, Stuart MacBride and... wait for it... Ian Rankin! Holy cow. Those first two are great writer in their own right but Rankin is the bestselling mystery writer in the UK. A friend who works in a local bookstore has asked me to get Mr. Rankin's signature so it's nice that I'll be able to help a local supporter of books in Edmonton. It even gets better because acting as moderator is Peter Robinson, writer of the bestselling and award-winning Inspector Banks series. I'll do my best to hold my own in this crowd of great writers and hopefully most folks already have books by the other writers and will decide to buy mine.

A couple of days later, I'll be part of another great event, the Sunday Brunch. This may be a more genteel event with a bit a cantaloupe at the end, but it's still going to be a lot of fun. I'm the only male writer in the group so maybe I'll garner some extra book sales from that, who knows. But I'll get to meet Nicole Lundrigan and tell her in person how I loved her book, Thaw. And then buy here new one, Glass Boys and get her to sign it. And I'll also get to share the stage with Marina Endicott, another Edmonton writer who has been shortlisted for the GG for fiction. I like Marina, she's a great writer and a great person.

And even though I'll be hanging with my family for part of the trip, I'll do my best to also hang with writers. Russell Banks will also be there and I remember having drinks with him, and other writers like Garth Nix and Joan London, two nights in a row in Calgary at Wordfest several years ago. I wonder if he'll remember me.

I'll also be updated this blog more because of the festival and will include photos.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I know I should be writing my third Leo Desroches novel, even though my publisher hasn't bought it. But I've had this idea for another mystery novel for several years and have to get it out. It's set in World War 2 in a POW Camp near Lethbridge in southern Alberta. Canada had a bunch of these camps, the biggest ones in southern Alberta, holding over 10,000 German prisoners. In my research I found a photo of the camp with Lethbridge in the distance, and the camp is almost the same size of the city. Incredible. And since the camp was so big, the Canadians let the Germans run it themselves under their own military structure. Anyway, the story is about German prisoners being murdered, mostly for being traitors. One of the POWs, who is head of security in the camp, realizes that some of the victims weren't really traitors and were killed for other reason. So he has to find the killer without pissing off the Nazi leaders of the camp and being branded a traitor himself. Finished Chapter 1 and surprised myself but creating a sidekick. Anyway, I'll be working on that and hope to get at least half of it done before the end of January, when I plan to take a tropical holiday with my family. I work fast.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five years ago today, I headed out to spend three full days and nights in a bookstore to write a novel. There were 11 other writers with me, bookstore staff and a TV production team. We were supposed to do a one or two hour documentary on the Three Day Novel Contest, but there was so much footage, they produced the world's first literary reality show, which was broadcast on across Canada in the Spring of 2007. It was great to be part of something that really promoted the act of writing. One of the best parts of this series is that when some members of my family watched it, they finally realized and understood what I did for a living and why. Here's a sample of the show.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's been a long time since I've blogged and things have changed a bit. I no longer have an agent, having cut my ties with my previous one. I won't go into details because I promised not to. Not sure what I'll do, probably find a new agent. But life has been very good this summer. Spent loads of time with my family, etc. And really enjoyed that. I won't go into details or post photos because that stuff is private to me, not something I share on my blog. I know other folks really like to share that kind of stuff, and I know others like to read it, but for me, there's a separation between my private life and my life as an author.

On the book/publishing side, I just finished copyedits to A Killing Winter, the followup to Fall From Grace. The tentative release date is April 2012. I hope to hit plenty of dates to promote the book, including heading to Sacramento for Left Coast Crime.

Also, I received news that a production company is initially interested in Fall From Grace (and probably other Leo Desroches novels) as a possible TV series. Things are very preliminary, nothing is official yet, heck we haven't even started negotiations on the option, but it's still kind of neat.

That's it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life on a book tour ain't easy. Here's the first installment of my book tour blog update, originally posted on I'll post the other three later on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sorry folks the link feature doesn't seem to be working. Here's the link for the CKUA Radio interview. Again, scroll down to May 8, click to listen and my interview will show up around the 15 minute mark.
This past Sunday I was interviewed by CKUA Radio about Fall From Grace. Click on the link below, scroll down to May 8 and click on the interview. My part starts around the 15 minute mark but feel free to hear the whole thing and learn more about Alberta writers, etc.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I'm back a couple of days from my second Fall From Grace book tour, this time I hit LA, and most of the major cities in Western Canada. I would talk more about it here, but I was offered a chance to write about it for an Edmonton entertainment website: It's a great site, some of the best entertainment writers in the city of Edmonton. So look there in the next couple of days for the info. As a teaser, here are a couple of shots from tour. ONe of me and LA writer Stephen Jay Schwartz enjoying the California sunshine and another, less 24 hours later, out of the Skytrain window in Vancouver.

Also, there was another great review, this time a recommended read in the San Diego Union-Tribune. California really likes me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hey folks. Things are going well. Fall From Grace topped the Edmonton Journal Bestseller List for the second week in a row. It's also the third week it's been on the list and it's never been lower than Number 3. And hopefully it will rise on the bestseller list in Pittsburgh because the Post-Gazette gave it a solid review.

Also, at the end of the week, I'll be heading out for a week long book tour, first hitting Los Angeles for the LA Times Book Fair and then through major centres in Western Canada. I'll post details in a couple of days in case you wanna be like a Deadhead and follow me around.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few days, I did a photo shoot for a local alt-weekly to promote Fall From Grace. Here's the story from that, along with the photo. Take a look at the jeans and the dumpster in the background. While the photog and Gayleen Froese (another Edmonton mystery novelist and the "dead body" in the shot) set things up, I happened to glance in the dumpster and saw the jeans. So I jumped in and dug them out. Freaked out the photog a bit but heck, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here are some photos from my first launch last week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The second local launch went. A good crowd, more books sold and signed.

And today was fun. I spent the morning trying to set a photo shoot with a local alt-weekly, See. We finally got it worked out and we all headed downtown to meet. The plan was for me and another local mystery writer, Gayleen Froese to be part of the shoot. We both have mystery novels out recently. Once we met up (I was late because of the wonderful Edmonton transit system, that is loaded with sarcasm), we found a nice dirty spot in a back alley. It was supposed to be a crime scene, so Gayleen, being a trooper, laid on the dirty cement, allowed the photog to draw a chalk line around here, and then stayed there on the ground (did I say it was dirty. Come on this is Edmonton in the spring, it's pretty disgusting) to be the corpse. While they were setting up, I looked in one of the dumpsters and saw a pair of jeans and a "wife-beater" shirt. Figured they would be perfect for the shot, I dumpster-dived and fished them out. The photog put them next to Gayleen. Then I went down on one knee, grabbed a magnifying glass, and picked up a piece of garbage with a pair of tweezers, and tried to look like a hardened detective. It was fun, but man it was kind of cold. Gayleen must have been freezing because she stayed on the hard concrete for about 15 minutes. Hope the photo turns out and when I get a copy, I'll post it here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today is the second local launch of my novel Fall From Grace. I had a more private launch on Tuesday, April 5, and it was fantastic. I had many friends and family members come to the event, probably about 80 people, many of whom bought books. It was a wonderful touching event. My second launch is a more public event but still there will be friends who couldn't make it to the first event. And having people who don't know me there, who will come because of all the recent local media. Lots of great local coverage lately, including some really solid reviews from local TV and radio. Don't have links because the bits aren't up yet.

Don't know how the book is doing in the US, seems to be doing recently in Kindle and Amazon standings but it's only been the first week of release. Got a Western Canadian tour coming up with some media planned there so that should help Canadian sales.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Because of sketchy internet at my hotel, I wasn't able to update regularly from Left Coast Crime. But I had a great time, met some new friends, writers and fans alike, and let everyone know there's a new writer in town! I had a panel called Many Faces of Violence and I didn't hold back. Neither did the other writers, David Corbett, Charlie Newton, Mark Coggins, J.T. Ellison and Martin Cruz Smith. And based on many comments afterwards, to me and to the others, it was considered one of the best panels of the Con. I know I made some new fans and sold some books. I've included a photo of the panelist, save for Martin Cruz Smith who was signing books.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Phoenix for an event at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore. If you live in the area, come on down.

Also, it's the official release date for Fall From Grace. It's also my agent's birthday so it's gonna to be a good day.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm back. It's been a tough week with the cold/flu in the house again and lots of work to be done before I head out to Santa Fe for the Left Coast Crime and then onto Phoenix and Houston for a couple of readings. I'll be posting more about the trip when I'm on the road.

A couple more reviews came in, both really really nice. Here's a link to one:

Also, Quill and Quire, Canada's magazine for the publishing trade industry gave a glowing review. I can't post a link because it's a pay subscription site but I can give the opening and closing paragraphs. They are pretty awesome
"It's thrilling, for a reader, to discover a new amateur detective
devoid of stock cliches, unique and refreshingly human. To the august
company of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce and Alexander McCall Smith's
Precious Ramotswe we can now add Edmonton writer Wayne Arthurson's Leo

"It looks like Arthurson has future Desroches novels planned.
They've just been added to my 'must read' list."

Just over a week before the book is released and I'm getting pretty excited.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today the National Post published this article in which I pick the book I'm most looking forward to this Spring. At the same time, it calls my book one of the most anticipated books of the season. Win win.

It's late so I don't have time to tell you how this story came about, but later I will. It's a basic lesson in media relations.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hey followers of BigTimeWriter.

There's been a lot of talk about e-books these days, and how writers should forget about traditional publishing and go out on their own. There have been many examples of people who have made a lot of money this way. I like e-books, I think it's a neat way to go, if you have a good book to sell. It's also a good way for writers who have a name to re-release their out of print books. It's something, I'm thinking about. I also like paper books. I like the feel, I also read a lot in the bathtub and there is no way I'm going to bring a reader in there. I don't really have a reader anyway; I get most of my books from the library.

My problem is that there are a lot of "experts" out there touting the pros and cons of both, saying it's all going to go one way or another. I'm a pretty reasonable guy so I'm wondering why does it have to be black and white? Why can't both co-exist? I don't see traditional publishers going away, changing perhaps but not disappearing. I also see more people releasing e-books on their own. And that will be good too.

I also like that fact that because my next two books will released by a major publisher, I can get reviewed and interviewed by major publications and major personalities like Shelagh Rogers more readily than if my book was self-published. I'm eligible for awards. Also, literary festivals will consider inviting me to their events and those things are amazing. These aren't Cons like Left Coast Crime or Malice Domestic. The difference between literary festivals and cons is that you are invited to a festival, most of your transportation is paid for, you get accommodation at a high end hotel. In Canada, they give you a per diem plus a fee every time you read or talk about your book in front of an audience. And you get to spend a lot of time with a lot of great writers talking about books and writing. I know these things are just perks when compared to selling 10,000 or 25,000 e-books as a self-publisher but I really like them. I know there's a possibility that I can have those perks and still sell that many copies but I'm not always in it for the money. I like the little things that you can't really price out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm back! It's been awhile since I've blogged and the reason why is that many things have happened. Here is one of them:

I've also got some great reviews of my book so far, go here to see one:

Booklist also gave me a great review and here's an excerpt:

Leo Desroches is a reporterfor a Canadian newspaper. He’s also a gambling addict, a thief, and a one-time derelict trying to reform.Nothing raffish about him. One senses that Desroches, like the prose used to create him, exudes wicked energy kept under stern control. He interviews the police about a murdered prostitute and then begins his own inquiries, which are recounted in a series of highly charged, stunningly written set pieces, all the more effective for their understated, almost droning, manner. There’ll be no more spoilers here. Just think of Spillane’s Mike Hammer describing himself: “I was the evil that opposed other evil.” This is a genrebender, its twists all the more startling for being unexpected.

And here's a piece about me.

I was also interviewed by Shelagh Rogers for The Next Chapter, the national book program for CBC Radio. That's a big deal because Shelagh is very well known in Canada. The interview will run on March 21 at 1 pm on CBC Radio 1.

But now that the Canadian distributor of my bigtimenovel is out of business, it's been up to me to book a Western Canadian tour and contact all the media in the cities I'm going to. It ain't been easy but so you know, here's my Canadian tour (with one stop in LA):

May 1st —LA Times Festival of Books

May 2nd—Ardea Books, Vancouver

May 3rd—McNally Robison, Winnipeg

May 4th—McNally Robinson, Saskatoon

May 5thCalgary Public Library

If you live in one of those cities, come on down.

Also, I'm heading out in a couple weeks for a US tour. I'll first be at the Left Coast Crime Convention in Santa Fe New Mexico from March 24-28. And then I'll be in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in March 29 (the actual release date of my bigtimenovel), and then I'll be in Houston, Texas at Murder By the Book on March 30. Since the book is coming out real soon, I'll be updating my blog on a more regular basis from now on. My agent says I got to keep my fans happy. They'll want to know things about me and stuff like that.

So I'll fill you in a bit. If you read this, you'll see that I'm not that open talking about myself on this blog. It's nothing really personal, I just don't like to share too much information about myself with many strangers. I know many writers like to writer about themselves on their blogs but I'm not that kind of guy. You might get a photo of me here and there but you won't get any really personal stuff about me and my family. Like I said, it's nothing personal, just the way I am. And I'll be honest; I'm not a big fan of blogs, I don't read many and there a lot of things I have to do like write and work instead of blogging. If you want to get more up to date info about, go to Facebook, offer to be my friend (tell me who you are first and why we should be friends) and chances are, I'll be your FB friend.

Anyway, I've got to go, maybe I'll read before bed. I got a new book from the library called Once A Spy by Keith Thomson. It's pretty solid, reminds me a bit of the movie Red but the retired spy has Alzhiemer's. Good night.