A-R International: Antony Millen

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Antony Millen
Authors-Readers International

Antony Millen is a Nova Scotian living and writing in New Zealand.

Originally from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada, he moved to New Zealand with his wife and two children in 1997. He has lived in Taumarunui since then, working at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School and, more recently, as the head of the English department at Taumarunui High School.

During his early years in New Zealand, he wrote sporadically, but with a dream to write novels as a major part of his life-style if not as a career. In 2013, he launched his first novel, Redeeming Brother Murrihy. He followed this in 2014 with Te Kauhanga: A Tale of Space(s). The Chain is his first novel for young adults.

He has since seen several short stories and articles published in literary journals. He is currently stalled, but chipping away on the draft of…

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A-R International: Joan Barfoot

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Joan Barfoot
Authors-Readers International

Photo credit: Ken Wightman

Joan Barfoot was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, and graduated with a degree in English from the University of Western Ontario in 1969. She worked as a reporter and editor for various newspapers in Ontario including the Windsor Star, the Toronto Sun and the London Free Press. As a child, while she and her mother watched a squirrel in their back yard from their kitchen, her mother told Barfoot to tell her the squirrel’s story and she’d write it down. Barfoot doesn’t remember the story but remembers her delight when her mother read the story back to her and the power of creating it. Barfoot was also encouraged to write by a teacher who told Barfoot she wrote well and to consider some word-related career. In addition to writing Barfoot occasionally teaches creative writing classes though she believes writing ought…

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A-R International: Steve Boone

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Steve Boone
Authors-Readers International

I never gave much thought about becoming a professional musician. I always loved music and admired my older brother Skip and his bands, and playing at beach parties and with the Kingsmen was totally cool. Once I found out I was 4F and ineligible for military service though I did not know what would come next!

In December 1964, Peter Davey and I had just come home from spending 4 months riding around Europe on motorcycles. We had a blast of a time, met some great new friends and went places most tourists never go!
Starting in January 1965 I was enrolled in the Spring semester at the new Southampton College in the hills overlooking Shinnecock Bay on the south fork of Long Island. In our trip around Europe, Peter and I came across an incredible adventure where we got to see up close and personal…

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A-R International: Eugene Stickland

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Eugene Stickland
Authors-Readers International

I arrived in Calgary in 1994 when I began a ten year residency at Alberta Theatre Projects, establishing a reputation as one of western Canada’s most prominent playwrights. All in all, I have written twenty plays, some of which have been produced many times across North America and beyond. My play Queen Lear, for example, had a two year run in Istanbul in Turkish translation and is currently running in Russia in Russian translation. While still at ATP, I began writing a feature column for the Calgary Herald’s Saturday Entertainment Section which allowed me to write about theatre and any other arts-related topics I chose for a potential weekly audience of up to half a million people. At the same time, I have always had a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring the next generation. I have taught or held residencies at…

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A-R International: Steven Biggs

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Steven Biggs
Authors-Readers International

I help people grow food
MY PASSION is incorporating edible crops into the landscape to create beautiful, edible landscapes with a long and varied harvest. I was recognized by Garden Making Magazine as one of the “green gang” of Canadians making a difference in horticulture.
My yard includes a driveway straw-bale garden, rooftop kitchen garden, wicking beds, an edible-themed front yard, and fruit plantings.
My gig is communications. I work as a horticulturist, college instructor, broadcaster, speaker, and author. The common thread is that I share ideas about how to creatively use edible plants in the landscape. And I make it fun.
I have worked in horticulture and agriculture for more than 25 years.
After getting a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, I worked in greenhouse and nursery production, plant propagation, biological controls, horticultural supplies, and farm marketing.

• Children…

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A-R International: Lawrence Schwartzwald

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Lawrence Schwartzwald
Authors-Readers International

Self-portrait on Madison ave. Exclusive Photos by Lawrence Schwartzwald

Born in New York in 1953, Lawrence Schwartzwald studied literature at New York University. He worked as a freelance photographer for the New York Post for nearly two decades and in 1997 New York Magazine dubbed him the Post’s “king of the streets.” Books and literature have shaped several of his photo series including “Reading New York” and “Famous Poets,” both self-published in 2017. Schwartzwald lives and works in Manhattan.

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I first learned of Lawrence Schwartzwald’s photography through Canadian poet Frank Beltrano (who has previously been promoted on Authors-Readers International and Reading Recommendations as well as being a great personal pal). Frank had suggested I’d find Lawrence’s photos very interesting. I became Facebook friends with Lawrence, enjoyed viewing all his photography, and was very pleased when he announced the publication of this collection of photographs…

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A-R International: Jerry Auld

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Jerry Auld
Authors-Readers International

Born and raised in Calgary, Jerry has called Canmore home since 1996, after traveling the world only to find the Bow Valley the best place to settle.

He worked two seasons for the park trail crews, climbing, trail running, and skiing avidly before, during, and since among the Rockies. During this time, Jerry learned of the legend of Hooker and Brown, and was astonished to find himself so ignorant of his own history.

Jerry lives with his wife, a fourteenth generation Quebecoise, and their two daughters in the Rocky Mountains.

He has published Hooker & Brown (a novel) – 2009, Short Peaks (short stories) – 2012, A Jazz Guide to Banff (a novel with Mike Lauchlan) – 2015.
He has a story in the latest Rockies Annual.

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I can’t remember where or when exactly I first met Jerry Auld, but I did promote his…

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A-R International: J. F. Kaufmann

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

J. F. Kaufmann
Authors-Readers Internaional

Not unlike my characters, I lead a double life: by day I’m an employee in a public library, mother of two teenage boys, a friend, a colleague, and the Queen of my kitchen. When the moon arises, however, I shift into my other self and, as Queen of the Night, reign in the magical world of Langaer.

As long as I can remember, my life has been centered around books, reading and writing. I studied linguistics and literature; I worked as a magazine and newspaper editor, literary fiction editor and teacher. For the last eighteen years I’ve been working for Calgary Public Library, in different capacities, surrounded by books and people who love to read.

Currently, J. F. Kaufmann works for the Calgary Public Library as a reference assistant and cataloguer, helping readers discover great books and creating book lists of recommended reads.

She is the author of two novels of…

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Tim Isberg – update on a Listening and Reading Recommendation

This is an update of Tim Isberg’s Listening Recommendation, published on my main blog on May 8, 2017. I’m now featuring Tim on Reading Recommendations, because as well as creating new music, he has also contributed to a book that was published since his first appearance on my blog.

Tim Isberg

Brief Biography:
Originally from southern Alberta, Tim Isberg is an accomplished singer-songwriter and multiple ACMA nominee who is emerging in the scene after a lengthy hiatus to serve in the Canadian Army. From Rwanda to Afghanistan, Tim experienced the many life-changing challenges while deployed in different cultures and conflicts, and amid the best and worst humanity has to offer.

As a performer, Tim has entertained audiences in many corners of Europe, Africa, and Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East and Levant. Many of his storyteller songs stem from these life adventures. In his years abroad, Tim was a favourite on folk club circuits and in group performances for deployed military and civilian personnel.

Tim brings an Americana style blend of well-crafted Alt-country, Roots and Contemporary Folk songs to the stage along with an appealing vocal timbre, and a unique and endearing array of life experiences he shares in a way that makes each listener feel connected. Tim is also touring a special multi-media concert entitled 25 years After: Songs & Stories of a Soldier in Rwanda, based on a personal account of Tim’s year deployed there in 1994. With a genuine sincerity and sense of humour carefully woven through stories and songs, it is Tim’s live show – whether solo or with his full band – where he shines most. Tim’s shows are not to be missed!

Tim’s latest album Running on the Edge, also recorded with Grammy nominee and JUNO celebrated producer-engineer Miles Wilkinson at the helm, was released in 2019 and nominated as a Top 5 Best Album of the Year by the ACMA. It is an eclectic mix of original contemporary folk/roots songs, and includes a rousing cover of Bob Seger’s Turn the Page. Prior, an international tour in spring 2016 followed Tim’s album Tears Along The Road released in October 2015 which was also recorded with Wilkinson, was selected by Music Canada in the Top 25 Favourite Albums of 2015.

What Tim is working on now:
Covid 19 has altered plans significantly, so I’m doing some limited live stream ticketed or tip-jar shows on my social media or other media, I’ve produced a live recorded isolation video with my trio for release on my Youtube channel, and a lyric video for the song Baghdad Cafe from my latest record. No shows means no merchandise revenue so I’m also trying to enhance on-line sales.
(From Tim’s Facebook page: Before I knew the world would get a bit weird and hit the pause button… I ordered more merchandise for my shows. A few thousand dollar$ later.. here hundreds of CDs and books sit impatiently awaiting opportunity to be shared. Problem is, no shows means pretty much no merch sales. However, for those so inclined that might like to have some items or gifts sooner than later, you know how to find me… Thanks in advance!)

Tim is also a published author. In October 2017, Simon & Schuster Canada published the book Everyday Heroes which includes a chapter by Tim on one of his many experiences in the line of duty. It is a national best-seller!

Here’s a link to Ted Barris’s website post, A Soldier’s Voice, in which he talks about Tim Isberg’s role in the Canadian military, his music, and writing.

And a link to a video about Tim Isberg and fellow musicians who got together as The Band With No Name in Kabul while they were on a NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan.

Tim’s Listening Recommendations:
I listen to genres from rock to classic country to big band to bluegrass and all other things in between. Too many to list. Go exploring music outside your box!

Where to purchase Tim’s music and the book:
Website
Everyday Heroes published by Simon & Schuster Canada

Michael Tyne

Michael Tyne

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest is The Final Resort. Loosely speaking, it’s a supernatural murder mystery, with a twist of history and a strong dash of humour.

Quick description. Laura Sterling, a hard-working young hotel-worker in a fading English seaside resort, is mourning the death of her best friend, ‘Nell’ Kowalska, who was brutally murdered exactly a year ago. No clues have been found as to the identity of the killer, no motive – nothing: just Nell’s shattered body in a back-alley. Nell’s cousin, Alexandr Janowski, and his buddy, an ineffably shady bar-manager named Chas, have lost faith in the police and are conducting their own investigation into the death.

Then another, exactly similar, murder takes place at the battered old Grand Hotel, Laura’s place of work – and she finds the body. As a brooding horror begins to take over the winter town, Laura, Janowski and a mis-matched bunch of local characters find themselves confronted with a terrifying force from the past; one which threatens to destroy not just them, but everything they hold dear.

At the heart of it all is the old Grand Hotel, its dark history the key to everything…

 Brief biography:
I was born near Manchester, England, in 1964, and I’ve been praying for a quiet life ever since. I’ve worked as a stock market analyst, a van-driver, a labourer, a head waiter and a charity mugger, and I’m now employed as an accountant for a car rental company – all of which has mitigated against the ambition mentioned above. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and, after a brief and disastrous flirtation with Young Adult fiction in the early 2010’s, returned to my first love, urban fantasy, in 2014. I’ve now published six novels in this genre, including my best-seller, Sharkey, which was recently featured on BBC Radio. I’ve lived, in the past, in London, Norfolk and Bermuda, but have now settled in a small town on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, where I’m very happy. I’m engaged (second time around) and have a 23-year-old son from my first marriage.

Links to buy Michael’s book:
Mybook.to/finalresort should take you to your local Amazon sale page for both print and eBook formats

Michael’s promo links:
My webthing
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I’m working on an ambitious urban fantasy entitled Osaka. It takes place over fifty years and deals with the possibility of an evolutionary shift in humanity. I’ve been working on it for almost exactly a year, and I’m about 20,000 words from the end.

Michael’s reading recommendation:
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Alison Weir, who is an English historian. She writes about the Tudor period and has a knack of bringing to life the characters and lives of the kings and queens about whom she writes, making them feel very human. She’s a splendid writer, with a warm and elegant style.

In fiction, I’ve been a Terry Pratchett (RIP) fan for about thirty years. Unfailingly clever, compassionate and very, very funny. He’s as close as I have to a literary hero.