What strange days indeed.
Two thoughts to share:
1. I'd like to wish you all the best as you navigate the COVID-19 crisis, and I know you're doing your best to stay safe and healthy.
2. Everyone is or will be feeling the financial pinch from COVID-19, and writers are no different. If you haven't already done so, would you consider ordering one (or more, for self-isolation gifts) of my books? First, it supports me as a writer, but it also sends a message to publishers and booksellers that books are still good investments. (Pre-ordering BOY and NOTHING BUT LIFE, in particular, boosts all-important pre-release numbers, which helps sales after publication, too.)
Click on the links below to order.
BOY: a novel
NOTHING BUT LIFE: a novel
SAINTS, UNEXPECTED: a novel
Thanks for your support, and stay strong!
Two bits of news today:
1. As you can see, I have a cover for NOTHING BUT LIFE! This was another fantastic project by one of Dundurn Press's in-house designers, the excellent Sophie Paas-Lang (follow her on instagram and twitter).
2. Preorders are now live for NOTHING BUT LIFE: click on the buttons below.
Thanks, everyone! Your orders and support are much, much, much appreciated.
I'll be sending out proper invites closer to the event, but I'm excited to share that I've booked The Staircase for the Hamilton launch of BOY, my novel being released in the spring!
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2020: 6:30-9:00pm, at The Staircase, 27 Dundurn Street North, Hamilton.
The Staircase is an absolute gem, a mixed arts and theatre space with amazing ambiance, great food and drink, and a stellar pedigree for Hamilton arts events. Watch this space for more updates!
I'm so excited to be working with the fabulous team at Dundurn Press on my novel BOY! On Thursday, the novel's cover landed in my inbox, and I couldn't have been more pleased: the design (by the incredible Sophie Paas-Lang) perfectly captures the spirit of the novel. Intense. Fraught. Unsettled. Magical. And with an ounce of hope.
I can't wait to share it with you all—watch this space (and all my social) for the big cover reveal this Thursday, July 25! For now, I've included a little teaser image to the left. So. Excited.
Mark your calendars! Dundurn Press has set the following release dates:
BOY: A NOVEL — May 30, 2020
NOTHING BUT LIFE: A NOVEL — October 31, 2020
I'm so pleased (and stunned, in the best way) to share that Dundurn Press, who recently picked up my novel BOY (to be published April 11, 2020), will also be publishing NOTHING BUT LIFE, a YA novel, later in 2020!
Who's spinning? This guy.
Here's a little bit about NOTHING BUT LIFE: A NOVEL:
How quiet the bells of heaven must be, cold
with stars who cannot rhyme their brilliance
to our weapons. What rouses our lives each moment?
Nothing but life dares dying.
~ from "26," a poem by Rachel Eliza Griffiths (used with permission)
Dills and his mom have moved back to Hamilton, her hometown, looking to start again. He can’t talk about the day his stepdad Jesse came into the Wilkson Middle School library and opened fire. The memories are simply too raw. Plus, it’s hard to think about how many lives Jesse stole and the families he tore apart. Yet Dills doesn’t think he's a monster. Before Jesse became the Wilkson Shooter, he was just a Hero Stepdad, a haunted combat vet who loved his family as fiercely as he fought his demons.
And Dills still loves him.
Months after the move, Dills starts hearing Jesse telling him to come home. But Jesse tried to kill himself after the shooting and is wasting away in a Wilkson hospital bed, so Dills knows that the voice is probably just a product of his own bruised psyche. But what if it isn’t? What if Jesse is somehow reaching out to the only person who could possibly listen? Dills has go back. He owes it to Jesse. To himself. Even if there are no answers to be found.
Watch this space for more details.
I'm so, so pleased to report that my short story "Bayfront" and my lyric memoir "Gone Supernova" have been picked up for publication by The New Quarterly, which has featured my work in the past and remains my ab-fab Canadian literary journal. "Bayfront" will appear later this year, and "Gone Supernova" will be published sometime in 2019.
Soms shouts-out are in order here: first and foremost, thanks again to Pamela and Susan at TNQ for believing in and supporting my work; second, to authors extraordinaire Michael Christie and Madeleine Thien for lending me a few of their words in "Gone Supernova"; and third, to my UBC fiction peeps, who workshopped "Bayfront" even though it was way too long.
FYI, Michael Christie's If I Fall, If I Die is an amazing novel—get a copy, and be changed. Madeleine Thien's sublime Do Not Say We Have Nothing is fiction to aspire to, and well worth a read.
Writing is a solitary sport, with days and weeks and months often spent toiling away in blissful, heartbreaking, and mostly unacknowledged solitude, often staring at blanks screens and pages.
But not this week. This week has been a corker.
1. I received news that my novel SAINTS, UNEXPECTED has been shortlisted for a Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award. Winners will be announced on Nov. 27, so fingers crossed.
2. My essay "You'll See the Sky" was given an honourable mention for a 2017 Short Works Prize.
3. My short story "Drift, maybe fall" has won subTerrain's 2017 Lush Triumphant Literary Award (best prize name ever!), which nets me a nice cash prize and publication in one of Canada's coolest magazines.
4. I received my contributor copies of the sublime 2017 Short Story Advent Calendar (which is still available for yourself or the story-lover in your life—order by Nov. 15 to ensure delivery by Dec. 1!), got paid for two stories, have been asked to present an award, and am participating in a 6-Minute Memoir event.
It's amazing to have some recognition and a little extra cash to throw at the mortgage, but more importantly, this week I get to call myself a working writer, for which I'm humbled and grateful.
Thanks for the support, everyone.