Monday, 4 January 2021

Ottawa 1986: Blade Runner

 When I was 18 I moved to Ottawa from Iroquois, Ontario to go to school. My childhood home was on an acre of land across the road from the St. Lawrence River. Behind the house were cornfields then the highway then more fields then the railway tracks. The nearest town had a population of 1,200. It had some beautiful views and some fascinating people. It also had no traffic lights, no record store, no bookstore, no movie theatre. And these were pre-Internet days.

I sat in my room as a teenager and wrote poems and listened to music and read books and had no idea what my life could possibly be like as an adult. Sometimes I drove to Ottawa to see my favourite bands and buy what I thought were cool clothes and get my hair done. Sometimes I took the train to Toronto or Montreal to see friends and family and see bands. But mostly I sat in my bedroom.

Ottawa is not a big city by most standards but for me it was a major positive jolt of change. I remember walking up Bay Street to Wellington with a friend at night when I first moved here. All the office towers were empty and very few people were around. My friend, a Torontonian, said something about how dead it was. I looked at all those buildings lit up like lanterns and said: You don't understand. For me, this is like Blade Runner. 

This interview with Chaudière Books is part of the Six Questions about Ottawa series. It brought back some powerful memories about what it was like to come here when I was 18 and so angry and stupid and hopeful and romantic. All the lovely people who were patient with me. Thirty-five motherf*cking years ago! This life. 

Grateful to rob mclennan who seems to never stop working to promote and encourage Ottawa writers.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Ottawa Book Award Nominee 2020!

 Bad Ideas is nominated for an Ottawa Book Award! Things are a little different this year. The ceremony on October 21st will be a video call instead of a party (though I will do my best to make it into one) and instead of reading at the ceremony, nominees were asked to make videos. A really nice person from the City of Ottawa came downtown and recorded me standing in the park near my house, reading. There were kids playing, people milling around, trucks driving by, and one persistent wasp. Buzzing around my head and then crawling all over my hand while I read. And the nice person stood six feet away with a video camera, smiling behind his mask. Bless him.

Here is the result! Pretty good, all things considered.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Together We Read!

I am delighted that Bad Ideas has been selected for Together We Read Canada. What does that mean? Together We Read is a digital book club. Participating libraries across the country are offering the e-book and audiobook with no wait-lists from September 3rd to 17th. That way, communities can read a book at the same time and talk about it. Online, these days. 

Bonus: the audiobook for Bad Ideas is read by Aurora Browne of the Baroness von Sketch Show! 

You can find out more about Together We Read by following the link below. You will also find an author letter from me and a self-recorded video interview, featuring my living room and my snoring dogs.

I also wanted express some gratitude for some excellent CanLit sites that provided me with some space to talk about my book over the last year. Some examples are here:

Happy reading, everybody. Take care of yourselves and others. To the best of your ability. Sending love to all.


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Beautiful Miramichi!

A lovely first review of Bad Ideas in the Miramichi Reader. Absolutely perfect that the reviewer saw the Hell Riders in Kingston as a kid.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Book launch on May 5th!

Thrilled to be launching my new novel, Bad Ideas, as part of the Plan 99 series at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. If you are in Ottawa, please join us on May 5th at the Manx Pub at 5pm. It is going to be a beautiful night!

Monday, 24 September 2018

Hey, good looking!

Here it is! New book coming in April 2019 and available for pre-order now, if the spirit moves you. Very grateful to the wonderful people at ECW Press for bringing it to life and making it look so lovely!

You can order it in all these ways:

- direct from the publisher:

- from your favourite independent bookseller:

- from Indigo:

- from amazon: