Timothy L. Phillips – a new print edition of a travel/memoir

Timothy L. Phillips was previously featured on Reading Recommendations when the eBook version of this book was first published in June, 2016. The print version has just been published. (I’m very proud to have published this book as well as many more through IslandCatEditions. smt)

My Camino Walk: A Way to Healing
by Timothy L. Phillips
Published by IslandCatEditions
Print edition includes photos

Available to purchase here and here

From the back cover:
Timothy Phillips celebrated his sixtieth birthday by hiking Spain’s Camino de Santiago. The almost eight hundred kilometer trek became a month-long test of physical stamina, with weather extremes, a range of fellow pilgrims, and hours of introspection that caused him to question his childhood, his life, and many long-held ideas and beliefs. These challenges shook loose the very foundations of his being. Timothy brings a photographer’s eye to detailed descriptions of the trek that appeal to all the senses and invites the reader to join him on his healing journey.

“The record of a journey through a mythic landscape is a staple of world literature. In My Camino Walk Timothy L. Phillips describes his personal journey across the rugged terrain between France and Spain. Along the trail, he meets an international cast of characters, each drawn with the same precision as his exquisite landscape writing. My Camino Walk is a journey his readers will share and treasure forever.”
~ J. Michael Fay, author of Passion, The Healer and Tenderness

My Camino Walk recently received a favourable review on Kevin Brennan’s blog. (Kevin has been previously featured a number of times on Reading Recommendations.)

For more information about the book and Timothy, or for updates and more photos by the author, please go to his blog, Camino De Tim.


A change is as good as … and all that jazz!

Back in April, 2015, I wrote this post, There’ll Be Some Changes Made …

I find now, 2-1/2-years later, that I must make some further changes as to how I post to this blog and which books and authors I recommend. I’ve been on kind of a hiatus from posting – and not because authors I’ve promoted here previously haven’t been writing and publishing great books! But because I’ve been kind of busy with writing, publishing and reading great books myself, and I actually got out of the habit of posting to this blog and my others on a regular basis. These posts do take a lot of work, too, so I’ve slacked off and redirected my efforts.

Now I’ve just come back to this blog in the past week or so and realized I have many, many posts drafted, and that I’d promised all these authors listed there that I would promote them. So … mea culpa! And I apologize profusely to all who have been waiting to see their recent publications promoted here. I began yesterday with posting for Brian Brennan and I hope to catch up on the rest on my list by year’s end.

Then … I will be changing the format completely as to how I “recommend” books and authors. Either I will make the changes to this blog itself or, more likely, I’ll leave this blog as is (so the authors I’ve already promoted continue to be listed), I’ll also continue to post 3rd-party reviews to reading recommendations reviewed (where I also have a number of posts drafted for publication – I’m really behind in everything!!), and I’ll create a completely new blog altogether, possibly with the title, “What Are You Reading?”. And, as you may have suspected, there’s a post already drafted at my main blog with an explanation as to why I’ve chosen that title. Speaking of the main blog – same situation there … too many post drafts, not enough time to actually write the posts.

So, while it may appear to my readers, and the authors I promote, that I’m not doing much of anything lately, other than scanning through Facebook … which, come to think of it, is partially true … I have done a lot of thinking about what to post and how to develop these blogs of mine so they reflect my true recommendations of books, as well as what I happen to be thinking about verious topics, but I just haven’t got around to actually making it all happen … yet!

“This time for sure, Rocky!”

Brian Brennan – 3 new reprints now available

Brian Brennan has been featured previously on Reading Recommendations five times, and is back now with information on how he’s managing to keep his traditionally published out-of-print books in print.

Don’t Let Your Books Go Out of Print!

By Brian Brennan

That’s the advice I would give to any author who receives a statement from their trade publisher listing their book’s status as “OP.”

I received three such statements from my publisher, Fifth House, in 2014:

One was for Alberta Originals: Stories of Albertans Who Made a Difference, a book of biographical profiles that had sold more than 5,000 copies after it was published in 2001.

The second was for Scoundrels and Scallywags: Characters From Alberta’s Past, which had become the most successful of all my books, with more than 10,000 copies sold after publication in 2002.

The third was for Boondoggles, Bonanzas and Other Alberta Stories, which sold a comparatively modest 3,000 copies after publication in 2003.

I didn’t like the idea of my titles going out of print. I was particularly saddened to see Scoundrels disappear from the catalogues because it had been my favourite. Villains always make for more interesting stories than those who walk the straight and narrow. I decided I would keep all my titles available by self-publishing them as ebooks.

Human Powered Design, an independent Canadian company that specializes in turning manuscripts and print-design files into ebooks, did the EPUB conversions for me. It then sent the titles to Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Apple (iTunes) and OverDrive, the American company that distributes ebooks to libraries across North America. That put the books back into circulation, at least, but left me feeling it was not enough. As much as I enjoy reading books on my iPad – especially while away on vacation – I still like to hold a print book in my hands and savour the tactile enjoyment of leafing through the paper pages. I believe others feel the same way.

Enter CreateSpace the on-demand publishing company owned by Amazon. I sent CreateSpace the press-ready cover and interior PDFs I had asked Human Powered Design to generate for me after it did the EPUB conversions. And for no charge, CreateSpace uploaded the PDF files onto its platform, making them available as print-on-demand books that could be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, indiCo and other retailers.

So how does CreateSpace make money if it doesn’t charge anything upfront for publishing books on its platform? It waits until the paperbacks start selling and then collects a percentage. In most instances, this works out to about 60 per cent of list price for CreateSpace, which leaves 40 per cent for the author. This arrangement suits me just fine. Fifth House used to pay me a royalty of 10 per cent for my paperbacks.

The CreateSpace versions of my three books resemble the Fifth House versions because I have the PDFs of the original designs. Without these, I could still have republished the books because CreateSpace provides do-it-yourself authors with free tools, including a cover creator and interior reviewer. For a fee, I could also have availed of the professional services CreateSpace offers for designing book covers and interiors.

All three of my books focus on the colourful personalities and social history of Alberta. If you’d like to learn more about or purchase any of them, either as paperbacks or ebooks, here are the links:

Alberta Originals
Scoundrels and Scallywags
Boondoggles and Bonanzas

My thanks to Susan for allowing me to take up some of her valuable online space to post this.

Margaret Mackey

Margaret Mackey

What is your latest release and what genre is it? One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography / nonfiction

Quick description: “The miracle of the preserved word, in whatever medium—print, audio text, video recording, digital exchange—means that it may transfer into new times and new places.” — From the Introduction

Margaret Mackey draws together memory, textual criticism, social analysis, and reading theory in an extraordinary act of self-study. In One Child Reading, she makes a singular contribution to our understanding of reading and literacy development. Seeking a deeper sense of what happens when we read, Mackey revisited the texts she read, viewed, listened to, and wrote as she became literate in the 1950s and 1960s in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This tremendous sweep of reading included school texts, knitting patterns, musical scores, and games, as well as hundreds of books. The result is not a memoir, but rather a deftly theorized exploration of how a reader is constructed. One Child Reading is an essential book for librarians, classroom teachers, those involved in literacy development in both scholarly and practical ways, and all serious readers.

Brief biography:
Margaret Mackey is Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. She has published widely on the subject of young people’s reading and their multimedia and digital literacies. A voracious reader, she lives in Edmonton.

Links to buy Margaret’s book:
University of Alberta Press

Margaret’s promo links:
What are you working on now?
University of Alberta Press

What are you working on now?
At this moment (apart from moving house and closing my office), I’m just getting started on a project that has the potential to be very intriguing. In the fall I will be recruiting some undergraduates to create a digital map for me of a place that was very important to their early literacy. It can be a real-life landscape or a fictional one (acknowledging that some urban children don’t spend much time out of doors). I will invite them to annotate their map with any kind of records they can come up with – written comments, photographs, videos, audio, interactive ways to “travel” around the landscape, and anything else they can think of. I’ll interview them about the map: why they chose this landscape, what makes the annotations meaningful to them, what they remember more broadly about their literate lives at the time this map was meaningful to them. Pilot work has established that this method of approach can bring out expanded memories of an important stage in developing literacy; and while it is a tool to help articulate these memories, it also allows for some very eloquent forms of expression in its own right. I’m excited to get going on the full-stage project. The idea arose from the work I did for One Child Reading; I was very surprised to re-discover how important my own landscape had been to me and I began to wonder if it was the same for other readers. The pilot work suggests that the answer is yes.

Margaret’s reading recommendation:
I am very happy to recommend a wonderful book called Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada. It’s by Allan Casey and was published in 2009. Casey talks about the huge significance of lakes to many, many Canadian psyches. He begins with his “own” lake in Saskatchewan and visits at least one lake in every province except PEI. Some of these are working lakes, others are cottage country lakes, and some are just wild. I haven’t been to every lake he mentions but I’ve been to a number of them, and I’ve also driven across Canada three times, which certainly gives anyone a strong sense of what a lake-bound country this is. I don’t think you would need this level of experience to enjoy the book, but it would certainly help a reader if they loved at least one lake, wherever it is.

Eileen Bell – update on the third book in a series

Eileen Bell has been featured previously several times on Reading Recommendations, first in Jan. 2014 as part of The Apocalyptic Four, then with news about the first two books in her Marie Jenner Mystery series, here and here. She’s back now to tell us about the third book in this series, just being released.

Stalking the Dead
by E.C. Bell
Published by Tyche Books
Genre: Paranormal Mystery, 3rd in a series

Marie Jenner is going home.

When Marie’s slightly-more-than-boss, James Lavall, decides it is vital that he speak to her mother, face to face, about Marie and all her secrets, she follows him to Fort McMurray.

What Marie doesn’t realize is that her stalkery ex-boyfriend, Arnie Stillwell, has gone home, too. And he’s managed to get himself killed just about the time James rolled into town, making James “a person of interest” in the Stillwell murder investigation.

Marie’s going to have to figure out who really killed Arnie to get James off. She’s also going to have to figure out a safe way to move Arnie’s spirit on to the next plane of existence, because the last thing she needs is for him to go all stalkery on her now that he’s dead.

Murder can really put a kink in a Jenner family reunion.

Stalking the Dead is an entertaining mash up of a thrilling PI novel with a creepy ghost story set in the rough oil town of Fort McMurray. Genre-bending doesn’t get any better than this.”
Wayne Arthurson, Author of the Fall From Grace and other novels in the Leo Desroches crime series.

Where to purchase Eileen’s novel:
Ebook and Print:
Ebook only:
Tyche Books

Bruce Meyer – update on a new anthology

Bruce Meyer has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations promoting his own book of poetry and with a guest post about writing on my main blog. He’s back now with news of an anthology he has edited for Exile Editions that I believe is an important publication.

CLI-FI: Canadian Tales of Climate Change
The Exile Book of Anthology Series: Number Fourteen

Edited by Bruce Meyer
Published by Exile Editions

With the world facing the greatest global crisis of all time – climate change – personal and political indifference has wrought a series of unfolding complications that are altering our planet, and threatening our very existence. Reacting to the warnings sounded by scientists and thinkers, writers are responding imaginatively to the seriousness of changing ocean conditions, the widening disappearance of species, genetically modified organisms, increasing food shortages, mass migrations of refugees, and the hubris behind our provoking Mother Earth herself. These stories of Climate Fiction (Cli-fi) feature perspectives by culturally diverse Canadian writers of short fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and futurist works, and transcend traditional doomsday stories by inspiring us to overcome the bleak forecasted results of our current indifference.

Authors: George McWhirter, Richard Van Camp, Holly Schofield, Linda Rogers, Sean Virgo, Rati Mehrotra, Geoffrey W. Cole, Phil Dwyer, Kate Story, Leslie Goodreid, Nina Munteanu, Halli Villegas, John Oughton, Frank Westcott, Wendy Bone, Peter Timmerman, Lynn Hutchinson Lee, with an afterword by internationally acclaimed writer and filmmaker, Dan Bloom.

Where to purchase Cli-fi
Independent Bookstores

And if you are in Toronto on May 7th, the book will be launched …

CLI-FI: Canadian Tales of Climate Change
Sunday, May 7, at the SUPERMARKET Restaurant & Bar
268 Augusta Avenue (Kennsington Market) 3:00–5:30
Readings start at 3:30
Featuring: Geoffrey W. Cole, Rati Mehrotra, Peter Timmerman, Leslie Goodreid, Halli Villegas,
John Oughton, Nina Munteanu, Lynn Hutchinson-Lee

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:
Stories of You Books

Michael Kelly – an update on a new anthology

Michael Kelly has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations. He’s back now with news of a new anthology of fiction he has edited and published.

Shadows and Tall Trees
edited by Michael Kelly
Published by Undertow Books
Genre: Anthology of Weird Fiction

The acclaimed literary anthology Shadows & Tall Trees has featured authors short-listed for the Man Booker Award, and World Fantasy Award winners. Several of our stories have been reprinted in “Year’s Best” anthologies and have garnered numerous award nominations. The premiere anthology of weird fiction.

Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award!

Shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award!

Shadows and Tall Trees is a smart, soulful, illuminating investigation of the many forms and tactics available to those writers involved in one of our moment’s most interesting and necessary projects, that of opening up horror literature to every sort of formal interrogation. It is a beautiful and courageous series.”
– Peter Straub

Brian Evenson, Malcolm Devlin, Rebecca Kuder, V.H. Leslie, Robert Levy, Laura Mauro, Manish Melwani, Alison Moore, Harmony Neal, Rosalie Parker, M. Rickert, Nicholas Royle, Robert Shearman, Christopher Slatsky, Simon Strantzas, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael Wehunt, Charles Wilkinson, and Conrad Williams

Michael Kelly is the Series Editor for the Year’s Best Weird Fiction. He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the British Fantasy Society Award. His fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Black Static, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21 & 24, Supernatural Tales, Postscripts, Weird Fiction Review, and has been collected in Scratching the Surface, and Undertow & Other Laments. He owns and runs Undertow Publications. Undertow Publications is home to two acclaimed series’ of anthologies: Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and Shadows & Tall Trees.

Where to purchase:
Undertow Books

Roy Dimond – update on a new novel

Roy Dimond has be featured previously on Reading Recommendations here and here. He’s back now to tell us about a new novel.

I, Bully
by Roy Dimond
Published by Motivational Press

I, Bully addresses the serious issue of cyber bullying. What makes this story unique is that it is told from the perspective of both the bully and the victim.
 The two main characters, the victim, Hannah, and the bully, Eric, learn from each other in ways they could never have imagined.
 Hannah is a typical young girl in grade 8. She’s completely focused on friends and feels her family doesn’t understand. Hannah also feels invisible and her perception is that her older sister gets all the attention. It’s a good, middle-class family, but struggling. 
Eric is also in grade 8, but his family is dysfunctional. Dad drinks and mom is barely keeping it together. Eric is filled with rage and takes it out on everyone.
 Eventually, spirit quests and restorative justice help build relationships that lead to enlightenment and reconciliation.
 Roy Dimond’s exciting new novel I, Bully will empower and touch all who read it.

Where to purchase Roy’s book:
Amazon Canada
Amazon US
Motivational Press

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.