Pam Chamberlain

Chamberlain, Pam head shotPam Chamberlain

What is your latest release and what genre is it? In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters – Nonfiction (memoir), edited by Pam Chamberlain

Quick description: In In the Company of Animals, 37 writers from across Canada tell thought-provoking stories of extraordinary encounters with animals. From tributes to a beloved cat or dog to tales of a chance encounter with a moose or a bear, these stories are sure to entertain and enlighten. The writers — including Farley Mowat, Richard Wagamese, David Weale, Linda Johns, Anny Scoones, and David Adams Richards — are people who spend time in the company of animals, paying close attention to them and the lessons they can teach us.

Animal Book cover

Brief biography:
Pam Chamberlain grew up on a mixed farm in east-central Alberta and studied English at Augustana University College and the University of Alberta. She’s been teaching English literature, composition, and creative writing for twenty years. In 2010, she edited and published published Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada (Nimbus Publishing), a collection of stories about life in rural Canada. She lives in Calgary.

Links to buy Pam’s book:
Nimbus Publishing
McNally Robinson

Pam’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
A book-length memoir about growing up in a small agricultural community

Pam’s reading recommendation:
Richard Wagamese’s For Joshua and One Native Life

Robert Runté

runte2Robert Runté, Ph.D.

What is your latest release and what genre is it? “Estate Planning for Authors” in Writing After Retirement: Tips by Successful Retired Writers, edited by Christine Redman-Waldeyer and Carole Smallwood. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press (Imprint of Rowman & Littlefield) – NonFiction: “How To”

Quick description: My article introduces the topic of estate planning as something writers should be thinking about, since handling one’s literary estate is very different than disposing of more mundane items like a house or car.

The other 26 chapters in the collection are filled with tips on how to write by successful authors from across a variety of genres and communities. Together, they provide a pretty realistic portrayal of the challenges / obstacles aspiring writers face. This collection is aimed at writers starting after retirement, but most of the advice would be applicable to everyone.


Robert also contributed to the anthology, They have to Take You In, already featured on Reading Recommendations.

Brief biography:
Associate professor at University of Lethbridge; Senior Editor Five Rivers Publishing; Freelance editor at Full bio can be found at here.

Links to buy Robert’s book:
Amazon – eBook, paperback, hardcover
Chapters/Indigo – hardcover

Robert’s promo links: provides developmental editing / writing coach site with some helpful articles for writers from an editor’s perspective
Editorial Blog
Five Rivers Publishing where Robert is Senior Editor

What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up some CanLit short stories…and starting on the revisions to my SF novel. As an editor, I know every manuscript has to be revised; as a writer, I don’t want to do it! Fortunately, found a compatible, high quality editor who is at least helping me focus the process in on ‘surgical strikes’ that should cut down somewhat on the collateral damage….

I’m also editing the second volume of John Poulsen’s Shakespeare for Reader’s Theatre, and the latest Dave Duncan novel.

Robert’s reading recommendation:
I would like to recommend Shakespeare for Slackers by Aaron Kite. So funny! I gave a copy to my daughter and her entire IB English class sat around the hallways reading out passages from the original Shakespeare play, and then Aaron’s modern “translation” of the same passages. Shakespeare meets punk rock…

And before I published his promotion, Robert received this wonderful news!

Surprised and delighted to have won an Aurora Award this year [for “Why I Read Canadian Speculative Fiction: The Social Dimension of Reading”, Scholar Keynote Address at ACCSFF ’13, Toronto–published in Recent Perspectives on the Canadian Fantastic: Selected Papers from ACCSFF. Allan Weiss, ed. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland, 2014. (in press)].

With me in the photo is legendary author William Gibson, who was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association Hall of Fame.


Congratulations, Robert!

Ursula Pflug

UrsulaPflug-BioPicUrsula Pflug (editor)

What is your latest release and what genre is it? They Have To Take You In, a cross-genre anthology Ursula has edited.

Quick description: The anthology revolves around the theme of home and family. Family elicits our strongest emotional responses, whether joy and love, or rage and fear. 18 authors and nine poets explore the meaning of family in a variety of genres. Herein they tell the entire grumble of the story, sometimes in memoir, sometimes in fiction, sometimes in a poem, but never in the candy-coated dithyrambs that populate the pages of those ‘chicken soup for the soul’ books. This anthology is filled with serious truth, the kind that goes deep and heals from well within the wound.

Richard Grove at Hidden Brook Press is donating all royalties from sales to the Canadian Mental Health Associations’ The Dana Fund, a no-overhead fund applicants may use to meet pressing needs.

Robert Runté has contributed to this anthology. He is also featured on Reading Recommendations.


Brief biography:
Ursula Pflug is an award-winning author of speculative fiction, who has had her work published in Canada, the U.S and Great Britain. She has also written extensively for film, theatre, and television and lives in Peterborough Country, Canada.

Links to buy Ursula’s book:
Amazon – paperback

Ursula’s promo links:
Hidden Books Press
Ursula’s website

What are you working on now?
The UK’s PS Publishing has just released Harvesting the Moon, a collection of Ursula’s own stories.

Glenna Jenkins

I’m very pleased to recommend Glenna Jenkins’s writing to you, because we “met” while taking an online writing course many years ago through the Humber School of Creative Writing. Glenna and I became part of a group of women who stuck together via email after the programme ended and have remained each others’ best cheerleaders ever since as a number of us have gone on to see our manuscripts published.

DSC_0207Glenna Jenkins

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Rescue at Dirty River, a short story published in Riptides: New Island Fiction, edited by Richard Lemm. This book was runner up for Best Atlantic Canadian Book of 2012.

Quick description: Riptides: New Island Fiction is a collection of the best new Prince Edward Island fiction by the Island’s best contemporary writers. These short stories offer a kaleidoscopic range of fiction, from historical to contemporary, from representations of small-town angst to the aftermath of Chernobyl, from working in the Australian outback to dealing with the heart-rending consequences of the death of a child. Glenna Jenkins’ short story Rescue at Dirty River calls back to the hardships of living on a farm during the depths of the Great Depression. In it, she shows how neighbours put themselves at risk to help each other out and that the outcome of such acts of kindness and mercy are not always what we hope them to be. Rescue at Dirty River is taken from her upcoming novel, Somewhere I Belong, which will be published by Acorn Press Canada and distributed internationally by Orca Books later this year.


Brief biography: Glenna Jenkins is a writer and editor whose Prince Edward Island roots date back to the early 1800s. The characters and events in her stories are gleaned from real-life family events that took place both on the Island and in New England. Her short stories have appeared in Jilted Angels: A Collection of Stories and Riptides: New Island Fiction. Somewhere I Belong is her first novel. Glenna lives and writes in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, with her husband, four children and two dogs.

Links to buy Glenna’s book:
Acorn Press
Amazon Canada – paperback
Chapters/Indigo – paperback

Betty Jane Hegerat

Jan 2014 #2 Betty Jane Hegerat

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest publication is an essay in the brave and wonderful anthology, a family by any other name; Exploring Queer Relationships (Touchwood Editions 2014) Bruce Gillespie, the editor of this anthology, was previously featured on Reading Recommendations

Quick description: The book explores what family means to people today and includes a wide range of perspectives on queer relationships and families. My essay, Finding My Grace, deals with my coming to terms, both emotionally and spiritually, with my daughter’s coming out.


Brief biography:
In a previous life, I had a career as a social worker, but twenty years ago I decided to put my storytelling talent to the test. I took some writing courses, wrote and wrote and wrote, and finally enrolled in UBC’s optional residency MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve taught creative writing in various places. As well as numerous stories in literary magazines and some in other anthologies, I have four books: Running Toward Home (a novel, NeWest Press 2006), A Crack in the Wall (a collection of short stories, Oolichan Books 2008) Delivery (a novel, Oolichan Books 2009) and The Boy (a hybrid of non-fiction, fiction, and memoir, Oolichan Books 2011).

Links to buy Betty Jane’s book:
The link for a family by any other name: Touchwood Editions
Links to the publishers of my books are on my website.

Betty Jane’s promo links:
My Website
Goodreads link to a family by any other name

What are you working on now?
Primarily short pieces of non-fiction that I hope I’ll be inspired to expand into essays some day. I am also looking forward to the publication of my first YA novel which is tentatively scheduled for release in fall 2014.

Betty Jane’s reading recommendation:
I always have a pile of short story collections on the bedside table, and another next to my “reading chair”. I’ve recently revisited Alice Munroe’s earliest books, and one of my favourite more recent collections is Western Taxidermy by Barb Howard. Barb is a friend and colleague but I recommend her book without bias. A novel which held me in its thrall for reasons I have never been able to pin down and is at the top of pile of “re-read” is David Guterson’s The Other, published in 2008. (Barb Howard was a featured author previously on Reading Recommendations.)

Here are a few photos (taken by Robert Hegerat) from the very successful Calgary launch of a family by any other name!



Bruce Gillespie

I’d like to make a personal comment about today’s Reading Recommendation. I have not yet had the opportunity to read this book, but I believe it is a very important publication. A Family by Any Other Name first came to my attention when my good friend, Calgary-author Betty Jane Hegerat, told me her essay had been accepted for inclusion in the anthology. Ever since that day, I have been doing my best to help spread the word about the book, and since it was officially published on April 8th, I am very proud to now be able to include it’s editor, Bruce Gillespie, as my Reading Recommendation for today. smt


Bruce Gillespie

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest book is A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships, an anthology of personal essays, published by TouchWood Editions.

Quick description: At no other time in history have lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) relationships and families been more visible or numerous. A Family by Any Other Name recognizes and celebrates this advance by exploring what “family” means to people today. The anthology includes a wide range of perspectives on queer relationships and families—there are stories on coming out, same-sex marriage, adopting, having biological kids, polyamorous relationships, families without kids, divorce, and dealing with the death of a spouse, as well as essays by straight writers about having a gay parent or child. These personal essays are by turns funny, provocative, and intelligent, but all are moving and honest. Including writers from across North America, this collection offers honest and moving real-life stories about relationships and creating families in the twenty-first century.


Brief biography:
Bruce Gillespie is an award-winning Canadian writer and editor and an assistant professor in the digital media and journalism program at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus. He is also the editor-in-chief of, a hub for news, analysis, and commentary about Canadian journalism. Bruce, with Lynne Van Luven, was the co-editor of two previous anthologies of personal essays: Somebody’s Child: Stories About Adoption and Nobody’s Father: Life Without Kids.

Links to buy A Family by Any Other Name: – Canada – eBook and print – US – eBook and print – print
Kobo – eBook

Bruce’s promo links:
A Family by Any Other Name Facebook group
A Family by Any Other Name: TouchWood Editions
An interview on Metro Morning, CBC Radio Toronto
Report on the Toronto launch

What are you working on now?
With A Family by Any Other Name now hitting bookshelves, I’m in between projects at the moment, but I have a few ideas in mind that I intend to start working on just as soon as I catch my breath.

Bruce’s reading recommendation:
As you might guess from my publishing history, I’m a big fan of personal essays. So, I was delighted when one of my favourite novelists, Ann Patchett, released a collection of essays recently called This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Her nonfiction is every bit as good as her fiction, and it’s the sort of book you want to read as slowly as possible, to enjoy each and every word and make it last as long as possible. (I absolutely agree with Bruce’s recommendation. I recently read the book and thought it to be an excellent collection of essays. smt)

Betty Jane Hegerat and ‘Nathan Burgoine, two of the contributors to A Family by Any Other Name have been featured on Reading Recommendations.

Janice Blaine

Janice_photo_formatted Janice Blaine

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Urban Green Man Anthology (co-editor/illustrator/designer)
Genre: Urban Fantasy Anthology from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Quick description: The Urban Green Man is a collection of 31 short stories and poems from an international cast of authors that explore the myth of the Green Man in contemporary society. Edited by Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine. Introduction by Charles de Lint.


Brief biography:
Janice Blaine is an Aurora nominated artist working out of Calgary, Alberta. Throughout her career, she has worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from pre-production animation to design and illustration of children’s books. She is co-editor and illustrator of The Urban Green Man Anthology, and her illustrations have appeared on the covers of numerous books and magazines. Her most recent illustrated book, The Funny Farm written by Gordon R. Perry, won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Book in the Children’s Interest category. She currently works as the Production Manager of EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Links to buy Janice’s book:
Urban Green Man website
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing catalogue

Janice’s promo links:
Painter’s Block Studio website
Urban Green Man Anthology website

What are you working on now?
I’m currently illustrating several self-published children’s books which are due to be released later this year. I also have ongoing personal paintings that I post in progress on my website at the following link:

Janice’s reading recommendation:
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Janice’s co-editor on The Green Man Anthology, Adria Laycraft, was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.

Jennifer Brozek

JennBrozek1 Jennifer Brozek

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Coins of Chaos anthology – Shared world horror from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Quick description: 17 stories about cursed Depression Era art called hobo nickels. Each coin carries with it pain, suffering, and death. Each story tells the tale of how a victim either escaped or succumbed to the coin’s curse. The anthology is a shared world anthology and spans decades.


Brief biography:
Jennifer Brozek is an award-winning editor, game designer, and author. She has been writing role-playing games and professionally publishing fiction since 2004. With the number of edited anthologies, fiction sales, RPG books, and non-fiction books under her belt, Jennifer is often considered a Renaissance woman, but she prefers to be known as a wordslinger and optimist. Read more about her at her website.

Links to buy Jennifer’s book:
Amazon Worldwide – eBook and paperback
Barnes & Noble – paperback
EDGE SFF Publishing

Jennifer’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
I just turned in a Shadowrun novella called Doc Wagon 19 and my Battletech YA webseries, The Nellus Academy Incident, has been packaged up as a novel. Finally, Keystones, the third book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles will be coming out in April 2014. On the anthology side of things, I’m finishing up Bless Your Mechanical Heart anthology for Evil Girlfriend Media and I’ve turned in Shattered Shields anthology for Baen Books, co-edited with Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Jennifer’s reading recommendation:
I very much enjoyed American Elsewhere by Robert J. Bennett, The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire, and Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey