Antony Millen

Antony Millen

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Chain – Young Adult dystopian

Quick description: The year is 2043. Empowered by the anti-encryption program, ICALL, and the world-wide wireless Blanket, the Global Domain reigns over all colocation centres with its Connectivist ideology, enforcing mandatory online activity for every eartizen and disabling attempts to secure privacy. The Domain’s slogans are: “Secrecy Threatens Security” and “Privacy Prevents Prosperity and Peace.”

From his death-bed in New Zealand, Fenton Ouvert commissions his sons, Topia and Lukan, to locate a flash drive containing the files of Jeremy Winterton, files stolen thirty years earlier from international surveillance agencies. A former investigative journalist, Ouvert hid the flash drive at the end of a chain of clue-bearers around the world. Contacted by the resistance movement known as Arachne, Ouvert believes the drive contains original plans for the ICALL program and thus, hope for a free world.

Travelling the globe, the Ouvert boys locate the links, but what will their journey reveal about their father and the effects of the Global Domain’s dominance? And what will their quest mean for the world when they reach the end of the chain?

Brief biography:
Antony Millen lives and writes in New Zealand, but is originally from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Since 2013, he has published three novels and seen short stories featured in literary journals and competitions. He blogs regularly at antonymillen.com.

Links to buy Antony’s book:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada

Antony’s promo links:
Website/Blog
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I’m nearing the end of a draft for my fourth novel. It is also intended for young adults, but will not be as complex as The Chain. A simpler story about friendships, co-dependency, dreams and re-assessing our heroes.

Antony’s reading recommendation:
The North Water by Ian McGuire, longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker prize. A faster-paced Moby Dick in a sort of thrilling historical fiction way.

Sharon Butala – update on a new book

Sharon Butala was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Oct. 2015. She’s back now to tell us about a new non-fiction book just being released.

Where I Live Now: A Journey through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope
by Sharon Butala
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada
Genre: Memoir

An intimate and uplifting book about finding renewal and hope through grief and loss.

“It was a terrible life; it was an enchanted life; it was a blessed life. And, of course, one day it ended.” — Sharon Butala

In the tradition of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Diana Athill’s Somewhere Towards the End, and Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal comes a revelatory new book from one of our beloved writers.

When Sharon Butala’s husband, Peter, died unexpectedly, she found herself with no place to call home. Torn by grief and loss, she fled the ranchlands of southwest Saskatchewan and moved to the city, leaving almost everything behind. A lifetime of possessions was reduced to a few boxes of books, clothes, and keepsakes. But a lifetime of experience went with her, and a limitless well of memory—of personal failures, of a marriage that everybody said would not last but did, of the unbreakable bonds of family.

Reinventing herself in an urban landscape was painful, and facing her new life as a widow tested her very being. Yet out of this hard-won new existence comes an astonishingly frank, compassionate and moving memoir that offers not only solace and hope but inspiration to those who endure profound loss.

Often called one of this country’s true visionaries, Sharon Butala shares her insights into the grieving process and reveals the small triumphs and funny moments that kept her going. Where I Live Now is profound in its understanding of the many homes women must build for themselves in a lifetime.

An Evening with Sharon Butala
Tuesday Apr 11 2017 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium
McNally Robinson Booksellers

Where to purchase Sharon’s book:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Amazon Canada
Chapters Indigo
Independent bookstores across Canada
Amazon UK

News from Sharon:
I have been invited to be a keynote speaker at a small conference in Boise, Idaho whose theme is “Wallace Stegner and the Consciousness of Place.” It is hosted by the Idaho Humanities Council, will be held at the Boise State University July 16-21, and is for K-12 teachers. I’m invited because of my connection to Stegner and his family home in Eastend, Saskatchewan, a place about which he wrote Wolf Willow: A History, A Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier. As I too, have written about that world but from a purely Canadian perspective, we share a lot, but we also diverge because he went back to the United States to live out his long life, and because he was a man, and didn’t see the Western world quite as I do. I am truly looking forward to this adventure, and not least because years ago on a writing trip, I spent a night there and did a reading and thought I’d never seen a place in the US I thought prettier or more green or more peaceful. I have always wanted to see it again. And besides, once you begin to age you start to see that the small adventures are often much richer than the big ones, that tends to just knock you for a loop.

Merilyn Simonds

merilyn-simonds_hi-res Merilyn Simonds

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels & the Lasting Impression of Books – Narrative nonfiction

Quick description: eReader in one hand, perfect-bound book in the other, author Merilyn Simonds asks herself: What is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel?

Gutenberg’s Fingerprint trolls the past, present and evolving future for an answer. Part memoir and part historical exploration, the book follows the production of her collection of flash fiction, The Paradise Project, as both a book-arts edition hand-typeset and hand-printed on Hugh Barclay’s antique press, and as a digital eBook designed by her son Erik. Her assumptions about writing and reading and the nature of creativity and change are toppled as she works alongside these two born-again Gutenbergs, one on either side of the digital divide.

A timely and fascinating exploration of the myths, inventions, and consequences of the current shift in how we read, Gutenberg’s Fingerprint is at its heart, the chronicle of one woman’s lifelong love affair with books.

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Brief biography:
Merilyn Simonds is the author of 17 books, including The Convict Lover, a Governor General’s Award finalist; and the novel, The Holding, selected a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her work is published internationally in eight countries. The Founding Artistic Director of Kingston WritersFest, she writes a biweekly books column in the Kingston Whig Standard and teaches creative writing, mentoring emerging writers across the continent. She divides her time between Kingston, Ontario, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Links to buy Merilyn’s book:
Buy this book at your local independent bookseller. Or order from:
Merilyn’s Website
ECW Press
Amazon

Merilyn’s promo links:
Website
Blog: Books Unpacked
Facebook
Twitter

From Quill & Quire: Personal Essay: Merilyn Simonds on digital technology and new immersive literary experiences

What are you working on now?
I have a novel, Refuge, coming out next year with ECW Press. I have just finished the first full draft of another novel, ~then~ , set in Mexico in 1994 in the early days of the Zapatista War and in 2016, shortly after the election of US President Trump.

Merilyn’s reading recommendation:
I am currently reading Mexican women writers. I just finished Here’s to You, Jesusa! by Elena Poniatowska, a brilliant example of “testimonial fiction,” a genre she created and perfected.

Susan Calder

Susan Calder

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Ten Days in Summer, murder mystery

Quick description: While Calgary, Alberta, celebrates its 10-day Stampede festival, insurance adjuster Paula Savard investigates a suspicious building fire that caused the death of a hoarder.

Brief biography:
I am a Calgary writer, who grew up in Montreal. I have published two mystery novels, Deadly Fall (Touchwood Editions) and Ten Days in Summer (Books We Love Ltd.), books 1 & 2 of my series set in Calgary, Alberta. My short stories have won contests and been published in magazines and anthologies. I have taught fiction writing courses and workshops at the Alexandra Writers Centre Society. I’m a member of Crime Writers of Canada and serve on the board of Calgary’s When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. When I’m not occupied with writing, you’ll likely find me travelling or hiking.

Links to buy Susan’s book:
You can purchase Ten Days in Summer online through:
Chapters/Indigo Books
Amazon
In Canada, you can also find the novel at your local bookstore, or place an order for it there.

Susan’s promo links:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook Page Ten Days in Summer
Linkedin

What are you working on now?
Book 3 of the Paula Savard Mystery Series. In the depths of a Calgary winter, Paula investigates a hit and run accident that killed a woman and seriously injured her husband.

Susan’s reading recommendation:
The Bloodline Artifacts: Extraterrestrial Connections by Howie Erickson. I am not a big reader of sci-fi adventure novels, so I was surprised by how much I was drawn into this book. Once I got used to the character and place shifts, I could follow the story easily. I found the characters sympathetic and interesting and loved the varied settings and the historical connection to the first Christian apostles. The story held my interest to the end and left me looking forward to the sequel when it is published. I recommend this book to readers, like me, who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code.

And here’s Susan with “books by two Susans” from July 2012 … Here’s what Susan had to say in her email then: I took the picture at the start of Stampede and was looking for a mix of Island and Calgary Stampede – hence the island shirt and straw cowboy hat, purchased in Mexico. As you had suggested, I included both of our books.

Thanks, Susan!

Stonehouse Publishing

Alberta-based Stonehouse Publishing began operations in 2016 and I promoted their first 5 publications here on Reading Recommendations shortly after a very successful company launch. I thought readers would be interested in hearing more about this new publisher and the direction they are taking their company, so I asked Netta Johnson to provide us with details.

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Stonehouse Publishing
Co-owners, Netta Johnson & Julie Yerex
Intern, Olivia Latta
Design team, Janet King and Anne Brown

Introducing Stonehouse Publishing History and Founding of Stonehouse Publishing

After years of being avid readers, writers, book collectors, and overall literary enthusiasts, friends and colleagues, Julie Yerex and Netta Johnson, took a brave plunge into the publishing world, founding Stonehouse Publishing. Netta brings to the house a work ethic unmatched, a passion for historical literature, and an unabashed entrepreneurial spirit. Julie adds to this with a background in copyediting, a taste for adventure, and a love for the written word that runs deep. Bolstered by the support offered to them from within the industry, and just a touch of naiveté, they have been humbled by the success of the launch of their first 5 titles, released in May 2016.

Stonehouse Publishing Mandate

Stonehouse Publishing is a small press publishing 3-5 titles per season, 5-8 titles per year, specializing in literary, trade, and historical fiction. The Stonehouse mandate is to increase the internationally-themed historical fiction published in Canada. Although historical fiction is the primary passion and focus of the Publishing house, Stonehouse is also committed to bringing budding new Canadian authors into the literary realm. Stonehouse Publishing’s final objective is to broaden the readership of some of the lesser-known classic authors, via their forthcoming Classics line, beginning with one classic title in the start of their second season.

First Year, First Titles, Upcoming Seasons

Stonehouse’s inaugural list is an eclectic selection of European-themed literature (the house’s special interest) and Alberta-themed literature from new authors. The first five Stonehouse books range from European-based fiction set in the 18th Century (Mary Green, League of the Star) to thrillers (Course Correction, Edge of Wild), rounded out by Kalyna, a historical novel dealing with Canada’s policy of interning Ukrainian settlers during the First World War. All 2016 books are authored within Alberta, reflecting both Stonehouse’s commitment to local literature and the inspiring degree of undiscovered talent located in our province. All books have been positively reviewed, and thus far, Mary Green and Kalyna have appeared on the weekly Bestsellers list in Edmonton and Calgary.

Looking ahead to their second season, Stonehouse will be augmenting the Stonehouse Originals list with Stonehouse Classics, designed to breathe new life into the range of classical works available in most bookstores. Spurred by a passion for historical fiction, contemporary and otherwise, Stonehouse is excited to place their favourite classical novels alongside classical sections already well-stocked with Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. The Stonehouse Classics imprint will begin with Evelina, by Fanny Burney. The Stonehouse Originals imprint will continue to release compelling original works, starting with Encountering Riel, by David Orr and Something Unremembered, by Della Dennis in February 2017. In August 2017, Stonehouse will publish two additional titles, including the already announced, Jesus on the Dashboard, by Lisa Murphy-Lamb August.

For more information about Stonehouse Publishing, please view their website.

Here are links to their authors’ promotions already featured on Reading Recommendations.

Pam Clark
N.R. Cruse
Melanie Kerr
Douglas Morrison
Danika Stone

John W. Howell

john-howell-headshot John W. Howell

What is your latest release and what genre is it? I am re-releasing my first book My GRL due to my desire not to re-new my publisher’s contract. It is Thriller Fiction

Quick description: The first book in the John J. Cannon Trilogy where John J. Cannon, successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly-purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

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Brief biography:
John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Links to buy John’s book:
Amazon Author Page
Print edition
Kindle edition

John’s promo links:
Blog: Fiction Favorites
Facebook
Twitter
Authors db
LinkedIn
Google +
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I am currently editing my next book titled Circumstances of Childhood and will be launching it in September of 2017. I have begun a yet unnamed thriller which will available in 2018.

John’s reading recommendation:
I have finished reading Letting Go Into Perfect Love by Gwendolyn Plano. The story of Gwen’s personal challenge is very uplifting.

Myrna Kostash

Myrna Kostash

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Seven Oaks Reader. Nonfiction.

Quick description: The Seven Oaks Reader, forworded by Heather Devine, offers a comprehensive retelling of one of Canada’s most controversial historical periods, the Fur Trade Wars, the Selkirk settlement and the explosive Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. As in the companion volume, The Frog Lake Reader, Kostash incorporates period accounts and journals, histories, memoirs, songs and fictional retellings, from a wide range of sources, to weave a compelling historical narrative.

Brief biography:
Life-long Edmontonian, Myrna Kostash is a fulltime writer, author of the classic All of Baba’s Children, and of the award-winning The Frog Lake Reader and Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium. Her latest book is The Seven Oaks Reader (NeWest Press, 2016). Her essays, articles, and creative nonfiction have been widely anthologized. She is a recipient of the WGA’s Golden Pen Award and the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen award for a Life of Writing. She is a volunteer barista at the Carrot Community Arts Café.

Links to buy Myrna’s book:
NeWest Press
Ebooks: Amazon Kindle ; Apple ; Kobo ; Nook
Distributor: LitDistCo
Overdrive for Libraries

Myrna’s promo links:
Website
Facebook

What are you working on now?
A playscript for the Edmonton Fringe

Myrna’s reading recommendation:
Betsy Warland’s latest book, Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas (Caitlin Press, Vancouver)

Kimmy Beach – update on the release of a new book

Kimmy Beach was featured previously on Reading Recommendations in June 2014, and is back now to tell us about a new publication just released!

Nuala, A Fable
Robert Kroetsch Series
by Kimmy Beach
Published by The University of Alberta Press
Genre: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism

“Shh, my Nuala. I am with you. Today I shall teach you the newness of you.”

As the Engine breathes life into Nuala, her gaze falls on Teacher-Servant, the chosen one. He alone will be able to hear her thoughts and interpret her emotions. But soon Teacher-Servant starts to worry that Nuala will be able to give away her thoughts freely. Set in an atypical dystopian world, Nuala is startlingly original and inventive, echoing the work of Margaret Atwood, José Saramago, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Beach’s dark, fearless imagination has created a time and space that are at once remote and strange, but absorbing and deeply credible. Nuala leaves the reader with much to consider about the nature of love, possessiveness, jealousy, envy, and autonomy.

Where to purchase Kimmy’s Book:
The University of Alberta Press
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo
Independent Bookstores

Allan Hudson recommends Jason Lawson

jasonlawson-1 Book title and author: The Fix by Jason Lawson

What genre is it? Mystery/thriller

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Quick description: Retired horse trainer Marshall Reid has seen more than his share of trouble. Years ago, after a battle with a mob boss who was fixing horse races, his daughter went missing. Now his granddaughter needs a kidney. Marshall is a perfect match, the problem is he’s only got one. Marshall decides to make the ultimate sacrifice, his life for hers. But before he can pull the trigger, his old mob adversary re-enters his life, with a secret to reveal. A secret that could save Marshall’s family, or destroy them all…

Why I recommend this book:
I enjoy Jason’s stories. There is always an interesting twist to them, they’re witty and I like his style of writing.

Links for people to buy it:
Amazon

10708715_333062263542378_3265859759989942335_o Guest reviewer’s latest title or project: My second novel in the Drake Alexander series is titled Wall of War and will soon be available for publication in the later spring/early summer of 2017. An international action/adventure story.

You may read more about Allan Hudson and his writing here. Allan is also a valued member of the Reading Recommendations Revisited as well as an All-Star Author!

Felicity Harley – update on a new novel

Felicity Harley is a fellow Bequian author who has been featured previously on Reading Recommendations here and on my main blog, here and here. I had the great privilege to offer to beta-read and polish-edit this manuscript for Felicity, and am very pleased now to announce the publication of her new novel on a very important subject that should be of interest – and concern – to everyone!

burningyears-510

The Burning Years
Until This Last Quartet: Book 1
by Felicity Harley
Published by Double Dragon Publishing
Genre: Literary Science Fiction

In the year, 2060, Sophie, a top female scientist, dismantles the government weather modification program and steals the male and female trans-humans who hold the promise of extended life.

While the remaining inhabitants of Earth are forced to design new underground habitats in order to survive a harsh, overheated world, Captain Rachel Chen, takes the worldship Persephone to Proxima Centauri, hoping this new star system will provide a refuge for the survivors of the human race.

Advance Reviews
“I LOVED this book. Even more than my just “loving it,” though, I feel very strongly that it critically bridges and transcends audiences and the timing is beyond perfect. I believe what you’ve written is incredibly important.

“Your science, both current and future, is sound and far-reaching. You tap into so many levels of what’s going on, and what can possibly go on (travel beyond our planet). I really like the “voice” throughout the book, regardless of which scenario you’ve dropped the reader into. All are equally engaging and the character development is even and (almost) clinically objective. I think this will really (also) appeal to a sci-fi audience, which is awesome and very “in line” with today’s readers.

“Additionally, I have to admit that I was haunted by your descriptions of the plutocracy and their reckless disregard for the vast majority of living things on Earth. What OTHER possible explanation can there even BE than yours (that they consider everyone but themselves to be “takers”)? Your descriptions of the political elite align perfectly with real-time scenes playing out across America right now.

“The mix and “balance” of gloom and despair vs. incredible scientific achievements removed what might have become an almost claustrophobic effect. Example: The US population goes from 318 million to 10 million VS Rachel’s living, breathing personal space on Persephone which made me think of the vividness and aching beauty of the forests in the movie, “Avatar.” Very hard to achieve this effect.

“[Side bar: VERY nice weaving of string theory, parallel universes, quantum entanglement, Maslow, and the heliosphere’s foam zone in the book! Also, excellent timing with “Stranger Things” making the US Department of Energy out to potentially be devastating in the future– and you’ve got DARPA. Perfect!]

“After I finished the book, I again visited your website for The Burning Years. As I scrolled down to the pictures at the bottom, seeing them for the first time, it was SO NEAT. I advise anyone who reads the book to do the same thing.

“Here’s a fiction that’s not afraid to tackle some of the biggest topics of our time.”

Bill McKibben, author, The End of Nature and numerous environmental books, and founder of 350.org

“… the journey through a different way of inhabiting our solar system based on the latest technologies, developments, and beliefs about who we are and our relationship to living, life, and space … It’s wonderful―”

Rachel Armstrong, TED Senior Fellow, Professor and Pioneer of “Living Architecture”

To read an excerpt of the novel, please click here and scroll down.

The Burning Years Website
And for more information about Climate Change, please read this article, We Asked Sci-Fi Writers About The Future Of Climate Change

Where to purchase Felicity’s book:
Double Dragon Publishing