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.


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

Merilyn’s promo links:
Blog: Books Unpacked

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.

Lynette Loeppky

Lynette_Photo2 Lynette Loeppky

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Cease, a Memoir of Love, Loss and Desire
Genre: Creative Non-fiction

Quick description: Shadowed by secrets and desire, Cease unfolds as a brilliant and devastating memoir of how two women face the unpredictable forces of love and death. Compelling, terrifying, and unforgettable, this portrait will seize every reader’s heart and the head in equal measure. Lynette’s unflinching gaze at the cataclysm of loss is vivid and intense, a coruscation of outrageously candid resilience. Cease is unique, transfixing, and beautifully written. ~ Aritha van Herk

Cease, the tough-and-tender debut memoir from Alberta writer Lynette Loeppky tells the story of a young woman who has decided to leave an eight-year relationship. As Lyn begins to plan her exit, her partner Cecile suddenly falls ill. In a tumultuous drop towards a complicated end, the young woman is forced to become sole caregiver to the woman she had been planning to leave. Cease illuminates the delicate, and sometimes damaging, power imbalances in relationship and explores the complexities of how we love and why we stay.

Lynette cover

Brief biography:
Lynette Loeppky was born and raised on the Manitoba prairie by Mennonite parents. She began writing after receiving a BA in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Calgary. She now lives in Calgary with her dogs, Noddy and Charlie, who do an excellent job of getting her away from her computer and out into the elements on a daily basis. Cease is her first book.

Links to buy Lynette’s book:
AMAZON.CA – Paperback and Kindle editions
AMAZON.COM – Paperback and Kindle editions
CHAPTERS/INDIGO – Paperback and Kobo editions
McNALLY ROBINSON – Paperback Edition

Lynette’s promo links:

Globe and Mail Review
CBC Interview, Daybreak Alberta

What are you working on now?
I’m currently exploring several different ideas and am waiting to see which one of them takes hold as a piece that I can’t let go of. Don’t know yet. I prefer to work on a large canvas so I expect it will be another book.

Lynette’s reading recommendation:
Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut

Teresa Karlinski

IMG_0919Teresa Karlinski

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The latest release includes two non-fiction stories in the anthology, Slices of Life.

Written by 17 writers, these stories span from childhood to old-age, some humorous, others challenging.

Quick description: The Entrepreneur – a young girl learns through setting up a lemonade stand, and Bibliotherapy, examines a women’s book club.


Brief biography:
Teresa Karlinski lives with her cat, Lady Gaga, in Ontario, Canada. She is a grandmother and a student of life. Although retired, she hasn’t enough time to read her overwhelming collection of books. Days consist of reading, writing and blogging. Her stories appear in various magazines and anthologies.

Links to buy Teresa’s book:
Amazon (available in print copy only)

Teresa’s promo links:
Blog: How the cookie crumbles

E-mail: cookiecrumbles2012 (at) & TeresaKarlinski (at)

What are you working on now?
Editing short stories for publication, the current one involves a lonely retiree and her cat.

Teresa’s reading recommendation:
The Fishers of Paradise by Canadian author Rachael Preston. The story is set in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1930 and deals with the consequences of choices. Riveting.

Laura Bradbury

DSC_2953 (2)Laura Bradbury

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My Grape Village (Travel / Living abroad memoir)

Quick description: Five years after My Grape Escape, Laura and Franck are back in Burgundy to tackle their newest project, a derelict 16th century winemaker’s cottage located behind Franck’s family home. Not only is this a daunting rebuild from the ground up, Laura and Franck now have two preschoolers adjusting to the foreign customs of a French school. Navigating the different rules for raising children and managing a family in a small French village prove every bit as challenging for Laura as learning to drive a stick shift through narrow streets, or arguing with the Architect of French Monuments over permissible paint colors (spoiler alert: any color as long as it’s gray). Come along on this evocative and honest journey where love, coupled with good French food and local wine, pave the way to la belle vie.


Brief biography: Laura Bradbury, her french husband Franck, and their three Franco-Canadian daughters share their time between Victoria, Canada, and Burgundy, France, where they own and manage four vacation rentals in the vineyards, including a 16th century restored winemaker’s cottage and a 13th century wine cellar under the streets of Beaune.

Links to buy Laura’s book:
Amazon – eBook & paperback

Laura’s promo links:
You can learn more at Laura’s website. Laura wastes too much time on Facebook and goofs around with her fellow writers on Twitter. You can see (and rent!) their vacation rentals at Grape Rentals.

What are you working on now?
The third book in the Grape series about how Laura and Franck met during her first year in Burgundy as an exchange student, entitled My Grape Year.

Laura’s reading recommendation:
Georgette Heyer The Grand Sophy

Brian Brennan – update on a republication

Brian Brennan was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013 and is back now to tell us about the re-publication, in eBook only, of a book that was previously published in 2002 by Fifth House.

Scoundrels cover-1

Scoundrels and Scallywags (E-book edition)
Smashwords, 2014

Alberta has a reputation for attracting and producing characters with little respect for the law and less for public opinion. In this collection of biographies, Brian Brennan profiles some of the flamboyant, eccentric and downright bizarre people who established this tradition.

Adventurers, criminals, eccentrics, rogue politicians and other scandalous types all come to life in the pages of Scoundrels and Scallywags.

Meet Bill Peyto (pictured on the cover), the legendary mountain man who once let a lynx loose in a saloon to see how quickly the drunks could escape. Or Calgary’s notorious prostitute Pearl Miller, who left such an impression with Canadian soldiers in the Second World War that they responded to the American sign “Remember Pearl Harbor” with “To hell with Pearl Harbour, remember Pearl Miller.” Or Elizabeth “Sweaty Betty” Abbott, an Edmonton slum landlord known for punching out abusive husbands and taking care of their battered wives. Or the reluctant Lord, Fred Perceval, who inherited the title Earl of Egmont but decided after living in his English castle for a few years that he really wanted to be a rancher after all.

They come from all corners of the province and they’re a wild and unruly bunch, but Alberta couldn’t be prouder of them. Scoundrels and Scallywags is a salute to those who have lived within Alberta’s borders – but outside the boundaries of convention.

“A collection of riveting tales about the adventurers, eccentrics and outlaws who dared to be different, and who definitely would not tolerate being ignored.” – Western Living Magazine

“Here is Alberta history in bite-sized, easily digested portions, a lively and entertaining romp through the years.” – Calgary Herald

Here’s where to purchase Scoundrels and Scallywags:

Indigo – Kobo
Also available from the iTunes Store

Peter Midgley

It gives me great pleasure to be recommending a new book written by a very accomplished editor, author, and storyteller. I met Peter Midgley when I was the Alberta sales rep for University of Alberta Press where he continues to work as Acquisitions Editor. A few years ago, Peter asked me to read a portion of the manuscript that has gone on to become his latest release, Counting Teeth. I knew then, from reading just that small portion of text, that this book would be an important one when it was published, and from that moment I also wanted to have a hand in promoting the book and its author. So I am very happy to feature Peter Midgley as today’s Reading Recommendation!

2009e26_-_Peter_Midgley (Charles Earle)Peter Midgley

What is your latest release and what genre is it?
Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story – Travel/Memoir

Quick description: Counting Teeth recounts a trip my daughter and I took through Namibia, exploring the country, its history and my connection to it. We follow the trail of the wars that led to independence for this African nation and consider the significance of returning the indigenous skulls that were taken to Germany during the first genocide of the twentieth century.

CT Cover

Brief biography:
Peter Midgley is an author, editor and playwright based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a storyteller and author of three children’s books. His plays have been performed in Namibia and South Africa. Born in Namibia and raised there and in South Africa, he came to Canada in 1999 with his family to pursue his studies and found himself staying, though he questions the wisdom of that decision every winter. His daughter, Sinead, is a regular travel companion when he returns to the African continent.

Peter is so humble he failed to mention in his bio that he was recently named the 2013 recipient of the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence by the Editors Association of Canada for editing a book of poetry written by Kimmy Beach – another Reading Recommendations author! Oh, yes … and he’s also President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

Links to buy Peter’s book:
Wolsak & Wynn

Peter’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
I work on several projects at once until one of them takes on a life of its own and forces itself to conclusion. Right now, that is a book of poetry. On the boiler are a novel, another nonfiction project, a third collection of poetry and some children’s picture books.

Peter’s reading recommendation:
I’ve been on an Afrikaans writers binge lately—Karel Schoeman, Etienne Leroux, Etienne van Heerden, and Eben Venter, among others. It’s hard to choose a favourite among them.

Melanie Neale

Melanie McLendon by Megan Clark 1 Melanie Neale

What is your latest release and what genre is it?
Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love & Fiberglass – memoir

Quick description: Boat Girl is a memoir of what it’s like to grow up aboard a sailboat.

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, Melanie’s family lived aboard a 47-foot sailboat, spending their summers along the US East Coast and their winters in the Bahamas. But the cruising life was not all fun in the sun. The family had to work hard to pay for their way of life. They dodged hurricanes, overzealous federal agents and bullying land-kids. And they endured a boatload of family drama. As her father published articles about how living on a boat brings families together, Melanie secretly struggled with an eating disorder, the alienation of being a boat kid, and confusion over her developing sexuality. As an adult, she lived aboard her own 28-foot sailboat and had several relationships trying to find someone who wasn’t intimidated by her stubborn independence and free-spirited lifestyle. Boat Girl weaves all this together into a story about a girl who, once all is said and done, simply wants her own boat and her own life.

Melanie paints a vivid picture of the trials and tribulations of family life aboard a sailboat without drowning the reader in the technical details of sailing. Boat Girl strikes a perfect balance between a coming of age story and a sea tale, enjoyable for boaters and land-lovers alike.


Brief biography:
Melanie Neale grew up living aboard a 47′ sailboat with her parents and her sister. The family traveled the US East Coast and the Bahamas from the mid 1980’s to the end of the 1990’s, and both daughters were home-schooled until they went to college. Melanie began writing poetry and short stories when she was a young child, and she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Eckerd College in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Florida International University in 2006. She lived aboard her own 28′ sailboat while in graduate school in Miami. She has taught college, captained and crewed on boats, detailed boats, worked in a bait shop, worked in marketing, and currently works as the Director of Career Services for a private art college in northern Florida, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Melanie has published fiction, poetry and nonfiction in many literary journals and magazines, including Soundings, Seaworthy, Southwinds, GulfStream, Latitudes & Attitudes, The Miami Herald’s Tropical Life Magazine, Balancing the Tides, The Georgetown Review, and Florida Humanities. She is also a recipient of several awards for her writing. Her “Short Story” column appeared bimonthly in Cruising World Magazine from 2006 to 2009. Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass is her first book.

Links to buy Melanie’s book:
Amazon Worldwide – eBook & print
Amazon Audio
Barnes & Noble – print
Smashwords – eBook

Melanie’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
I’m working on another memoir. It’s a follow-up to Boat Girl, but will be about the downfall of one of the last great live-aboard marinas in the Miami area (and about life as a single twenty-something adventure-seeking academic female living among boat bums at the same marina). I’m passionate about it, attached to it, and dedicated, but between my day job and my family it’s a struggle to find time.

Melanie’s reading recommendation:
Cecilia M. Fernandez’s Leaving Little Havana

Jo Dibblee

FB Image index Jo Dibblee

What is your latest release and what genre is it?
Frock Off: Living Undisguised – Memoirs, Family Relationships

Quick description:
Frock Off is a memoir about the power of blind optimism in the face of adversity, abject poverty, tragedy, neglect, rejection, assault and betrayal.

“With parents tormented by secrets, guilt, and shame, Jo Dibblee quickly learned to protect herself. Faced with her parents’ alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression, along with the sexual assault and stalking of an “upstanding” foster parent, Jo began, early in life, to use a coping strategy she now calls frocking.

With humor and hope, Jo shares the harrowing rollercoaster of her life story and gives the low-down on frocking—how she learned it and used it to survive, how she found it holding her back and what she had to do to, once and for all – Frock Off.

Despite harsh truths, brushes with death and agonizing betrayals, Jo’s heart shines through these pages, offering promise, wisdom and inspiration to any reader who has learned to hide and longs to be free.

Frock Off Cover

Brief biography:
Jo Dibbee was born in Fort Saint John BC, Canada. She is an internationally-acclaimed speaker, facilitator, bestselling author and entrepreneur.

She currently resides in Calgary with her husband, bonus son, Bella her puppy and Tequila her challenging cat. She is also the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of two adorable grandsons.

She spent the first few months of life sleeping in a cereal box in a one bedroom home shared with nine other family members. Her life could best be described as nomadic.

With good reason, she was a key witness for the RCMP in a murder investigation. She quickly became a frock-wearing, card-carrying, disguise expert for thirty five plus years.

Links to buy Jo’s book:
Amazon Canada
Amazon US
In Calgary: Self Connection Books

Jo’s promo links:
Facebook Page: Frock Off: Living Undisguised

What are you working on now?
Currently we are working on a frock-alicious life series, supporting guides and future events

Jo’s reading recommendation:
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Brian Brennan

BrianB-03E square web Brian Brennan

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Leaving Dublin: Writing My Way from Ireland to Canada (RMB, 2011) My autobiography. Creative nonfiction, which means I made some of it up. Think David Sedaris without the sardonic wit.

Quick description: The story of my coming to Canada from Ireland in the 1960s, first touring the country as a singing pianist, then working for a Prince George radio station as a newsie, and finally embarking on a 30-year career as a print journalist and author.


Brief biography:
I worked as a staff writer at the Calgary Herald for 25 years before turning my hand to writing narrative nonfiction books about the social history and colourful characters of Western Canada’s past. I’ve now published 10 titles with no end in sight.

Links to buy Brian’s book:
All the relevant bookseller links for Leaving Dublin are on the RMB publisher’s author page here:
Overdrive – for libraries

Brian’s promo links:
Brian’s Blog
Brian Brennan’s Life Stories – Facebook Page

What are you working on now? A sequel to Scoundrels and Scallywags: Characters from Alberta’s Past (Fifth House, 2002), which has sold more than 10,000 copies to date. I’m also contributing feature pieces to

Brian’s reading recommendation: Wayne Grady’s Emancipation Day (Doubleday, 2013) Grady was all set to write this book as a nonfiction history of his own family after a surprising discovery about his racial origins. But after working on it for more than 20 years, he decided it would work better as a novel. It does.