Bob Van Laerhoven – Stories of Inspiration anthology

Bob Van Laerhoven has been previously featured several times on Reading Recommendations. He’s here now to tell us of him inclusion in a new anthology of mystery writers.

Stories of Inspiration: Mystery Fiction Edition
mystery fiction writers trace their journeys from starting point to finished work

Volume 1
edited by Suzanne Fox
Published by Stories of You Books
Genre: Anthology of non-fiction

Where do works of mystery fiction find their starting points? How are those seeds, sources and inspirations transformed into a well crafted, compelling story? Why is murder such an enduring starting point for fiction? How do elements such as setting, period and milieu help drive and define mystery writers?

Collecting insights from both established authors and new voices and reflecting mystery moods from the cozy to the chilling, Stories of Inspiration: Mystery Fiction Edition charts the often surprising journey from an original point of departure to a finished mystery novel.

Illuminating the writing of exceptional authors, celebrating one of fiction’s most long- and deeply loved genres, and illuminating the nature of the creative process itself, Stories of Inspiration: Mystery Fiction Edition will appeal to readers of literature and fiction, lovers of mystery, and writers seeking inspiration for their own work.

Contributors include:
Diana Bretherick, Frances Brody, Elizabeth Buhmann, Nancy J. Cohen, Christine Goff, Steven Gore, Erin Hart, Linda Hengerer, James Tate Hill. Andrew Hughes, D.E. Ireland, J. Sydney Jones, M.R.C. Kasasian, Jennifer Kincheloe, Mary Lawrence, John Mackie, ​Edith Maxwell, Grant McKenzie, Camille Minichino, Joe Moore & Lynn Sholes, Toby Neal, Chris Nickson, Ann Parker, Eliot Pattison, Michael Ransom, Holly Robinson, Barbara Ross, Joanna Campbell Slan, Maggie Toussaint, Wendy Tyson, Bob van Laerhoven, Tina Whittle, Michael Wiley, Max Wirestone, Michael Zolezzi.

Bob Van Laerhoven says: I’m honored to have been invited to contribute, as the only Belgian author, to this American anthology of essays on writing mysteries, from inspiration to the final result.

Where to purchase:
Amazon
Stories of You Books

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.

Mary Smith – an update on a new book

Mary Smith was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in March 2016. She’s back now to tell us of a non-fiction book, on which she collaborated with photographer Allan Devlin, that’s just been published.

Castle Douglas Through Time
by Mary Smith and Allan Devlin
Published by Amberley Publishing
Genre: Non-fiction, local history, photography

The market town of Castle Douglas, beside Carlingwark Loch in the southern Scottish region of Dumfries and Galloway, is relatively new, though the area has been inhabited from prehistoric times and the Romans had a military base close by. In the fourteenth century, Archibald the Grim, the 3rd Earl of Douglas, built Threave Castle nearby.

The town came into being thanks to fertiliser found in the loch and wealth merchant William Douglas, who laid out the present town in 1792. Though his dream of creating a cotton industry failed, Castle Douglas became a flourishing market town. The opening of the rail line to Dumfries in 1859 improved the town’s connections.

Castle Douglas from Dunmuir Hill. The imposing spire of St George’s Free Church dominates the old picture of the town. Houses have been built along the old railway line and a green space, Burghfield Park, has been created.

Though the railway closed in 1965, the A75 trunk road ensured the town’s survival as a major stopping point for travellers. Today, it is a major tourist destination, with many visitors using it as a base for exploring this beautiful part of Scotland.

All these changes are recorded in this unique and fascinating series of new and old photographs, making this book essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Castle Douglas.

                                                                   Douglas Arms Hotel, King Street. The picture shows the many changes in transport over the years. The hotel was owned for 83 years by the Payne family who offered to send a bus to meet all trains. Charabanc outings to the countryside were popular.

 

 

Background to writing the text: Amberley Publishing approached me about four years ago to ask if I was interested in working on a book, Dumfries Through Time. Of course, I said yes. I teamed up with photographer Allan Devlin who is a stunning landscape photographer and together we began to search for the 90 old images needed. After it was published, Amberley asked if we’d be interested in another book and so we began to work on Castle Douglas Through Time. We both search for old images, Allan takes the photos of the places as they today and I do the research, write the introduction and captions for each pair of images. I loved doing the research but writing the captions is extremely frustrating as there is an 80-word limit. I find it almost impossible to tell the history of some of the images in 80 words!

Where to purchase copies:
The paperback edition of Castle Douglas Through Time is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Amazon CA

Mary and Allan at the book’s launch party.
Photo credit: Keith Kirk

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)

Robin Summerfield – Winnipeg Cooks

Robin Summerfield

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Winnipeg Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City’s Top Chefs – cookbook

Quick description: In Winnipeg Cooks, thirty-four of the city’s finest chefs share stories and recipes from the front lines of an emerging culinary hot spot. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next meal, look no further. Featuring the stunning photography of Ian McCausland and seventy mouth-watering recipes, Winnipeg Cooks will leave you hungry for more.

Brief biography:
Robin is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in newspapers across Canada. She is a former features writer and columnist at the Calgary Herald, and editor of Ciao! magazine. She is food contributor to CBC and writer for Flavours magazine. Robin was also the writer and photographer behind pegcitygrub.com, a culinary tourism website for Tourism Winnipeg. Her stomach and palate have been frequently enlisted to judge culinary competitions.

At home in Winnipeg, she often freestyles in the kitchen, throwing in most any ingredient and leaving out little. This cooking approach has been met with moderate success. It has, however, given her an appreciation for the talent of chefs everywhere, including the remarkable crew assembled here. These days she cooks for a husband who will eat anything and a young son who eats pretty much nothing.

Links to buy Winnipeg Cooks:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo.ca / independent bookstores

Robin’s promo links:
Figure 1 Publishing
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a pop-culture memoir about the death of my husband, and my life as a young widow and only parent. What’s a pop culture memoir? Before his death, my husband wrote a list of his favourite things inside a journal. So now I’m watching and reading, and listening to my husband’s favourite movies, TV shows, books, albums. And I’m travelling to his favourite places around the world.

It’s light and dark, and real and raw. And funny too, I hope.

Robin’s reading recommendation:
Nemo in Slumberland and The Spirit – Both are graphic novels. I am reading Nemo in Slumberland to my six year old son. The Spirit was my one of my husband’s favourite characters. We named our son after the author.

I am a big fan of long-form, creative non-fiction so I tend to read meaty magazine pieces. I love the New Yorker, and New York Times Magazine, for example. Macleans Magazine also does some amazing work. Recently, they published a story about Manitoba’s underground railway. It was incredible, compelling storytelling and journalism.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Montreal Cooks
Ottawa Cooks
Edmonton Cooks

Tina Faiz & Leanne Brown – Edmonton Cooks

Tina Faiz and Leanne Brown

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Edmonton Cooks – cookbook

Quick description: A sumptuous sampling of Edmonton’s thriving food scene from its top chefs and restaurants.

Brief biography:
Tina Faiz loves to ask questions and loves to eat. It’s no wonder this award-winning journalist’s insatiable curiosity (and appetite) helps her unearth stories about food as well as politics, design, art, and culture for newspapers and magazines across the country, including the Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, and Montreal Gazette, among others, and in a regular food column for CBC Radio. She’s Western Living Magazine’s former Edmonton Editor and regularly judges food competitions in the city. When she’s not writing, she is co-owner and strategist at Big Pixel Creative, helping clients use digital communications for social good.

Leanne Brown is a writer and avid home cook born and raised in Edmonton but currently living in New York City. She believes everyone deserves to eat good food every day and that cooking is the key. Most recently she wrote the award-winning, bestselling, Good and Cheap, a cookbook of appealing, beautiful food for very low incomes. She has been delighted by cooking and baking ever since she realized that they were the closest things we have to magic.

Links to buy Edmonton Cooks book:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo.ca / and all major bookstores

Edmonton Cooks‘s promo links:
Figure 1 Publishing
Leanne’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

What are you working on now?
Leanne: My next book! It’s still a secret though.

Leanne’s reading recommendation:
Leanne: I just got back from vacation and read a bunch of random fantasy books, but before that I was loving Lindy West and her first wonderful book, Shrill.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Montreal Cooks
Ottawa Cooks
Winnipeg Cooks

Anne DesBrisay – Ottawa Cooks

unspecified1 Anne DesBrisay

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Ottawa Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Finest Chefs of Canada’s Capital Region – Cookbook

Quick description: Award-winning food writer Anne DesBrisay brings together recipes from forty-one of the Capital region’s most inspiring cooks. From fine restaurants, food trucks, and farmhouse kitchens, here are signature dishes, favourite staff meals, and traditional family recipes from one of the most interesting and diverse food cultures in the country. Beautifully photographed by Christian Lalonde, Ottawa Cooks showcases more than eighty delicious recipes—and the gifted chefs who create them.

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Brief biography: Anne DesBrisay is an award-winning food writer and the author of Capital Dining, the most trusted guidebook to the best places to eat in Ottawa. The region’s leading culinary voice for more than twenty years, she is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine, a senior editor for Taste & Travel, and a judge for Ottawa Gold Medal Plates and the Canadian Culinary Championships. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Links to buy Ottawa Cooks:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo / Restaurants featured in the book

Anne’s promo links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

What are you working on now?
Working on my regular food columns for Ottawa Magazine and Taste & Travel Magazine, on a cookbook project with a chef, and judging culinary competitions. Helped judge a terrific one last night – The Poor Chefs Competition, in support of Operation Come Home’s efforts to end homelessness in Ottawa. Each chef given $3.15 to work with, and three common items from the Food Bank. Remarkable results!

Anne’s reading recommendation:
Currently enjoying Olive Odyssey, Searching for the Secrets of The Fruit that Seduced the World, by Julie Angus.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Edmonton Cooks
Montreal Cooks
Winnipeg Cooks

Jonathan Cheung – Montreal Cooks

unspecified3 Jonathan Cheung

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Montreal Cooks: A Tasting Menu from the City’s Leading Chefs by Jonathan Cheung and Tays Spencer – cookbook

Quick description: Montreal has evolved into a city of unparalleled culinary excellence, arguably one of the finest culinary centres in the world. Montreal Cooks celebrates this excellence, presenting eighty recipes from forty of Montreal’s most talented and unique chefs. Written with the home cook in mind, this cookbook is designed to make recipes from fan-favorite restaurants achievable for everyone.

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Brief biography:
Jonathan Cheung is originally from Vancouver, BC, but currently calls Montreal home. He is the owner and chef of Appetite for Books, Montreal’s premier cookbook shop and cooking school. From a very young age, Jonathan was surrounded by food, whether it was hanging out in his grandmother’s kitchen or eating through a number of his family’s restaurants in Vancouver and Hong Kong. With more than fifteen years of professional cooking experience, Jonathan has been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover, Eat St., and CTV Montreal, and in the Montreal Gazette and on local radio. He is also a regular presenter on Breakfast Television Montreal.

Links to buy Montreal Cooks:
Figure 1 Publishing
Amazon.ca / Chapters/Indigo / The restaurants featured in the book.

Jonathan’s promo links:
Appetite for Books
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

What are you working on now?
I am still running my bookstore, Appetite for Books, and teaching the cooking classes that we have. I have a couple of projects that are brewing but nothing to report officially. Once our plans are more confirmed we will for sure blast it out to bring our customers and readers into the loop.

Jonathan’s reading recommendation:
I cook from over a hundred different cookbooks a year. I have come across favorites for sure. It’s hard to name one book to recommend because I own a cookbook store, I am surrounded by shelves and shelves of cookbooks that are specialized in different cuisines that I reach for depending on what I am in the mood for that day, but if I really think about it the one that I tend to keep going back to repeatedly when I cook private dinners or am cooking for my family at home is Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, published in 2009 and it still rings true to today’s cooking trends. Fail-proof recipes that are packed with flavor and excellent go-to for seasonal cooking. It is also a great read and inspires me to always focus on using seasonal ingredients in all my meals. A book that definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Other titles in this series from Figure 1 Publishing:
Calgary Cooks
Toronto Cooks
Edmonton Cooks
Ottawa Cooks
Winnipeg Cooks

Linda Granfield – release of a new book

Linda Granfield has visited Reading Recommendations previously, here and here. She returns now to tell us about a new book on a little-known story from WWI.

www-scholastic-ca

The Vimy Oaks
by Linda Granfield, illustrated by Brian Deines
Published by Scholastic Canada
Genre: History, Ages 7-12

A soldier, a handful of acorns — and a hundred-year legacy of hope, remembrance and renewal.

“I am writing seated at the foot of a large oak,” wrote Leslie Miller in his diary in 1916, while war raged around him. Little could this Canadian soldier have imagined how future generations would come to enjoy the majestic oak trees he grew after his return to Canada.

Standing amidst the devastation of war, Leslie picked up a handful of acorns and mailed them home, where they were nurtured. This small but amazingly hopeful act continues to be felt just as powerfully today, one hundred years after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The living legacy of Leslie Miller’s “Vimy Oaks” inspires hope as the world remembers and honours the soldiers who served in the First World War.

Également disponible en édition française

Where to purchase Linda’s book:
Scholastic Canada
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

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