Tim Isberg – update on a Listening and Reading Recommendation

This is an update of Tim Isberg’s Listening Recommendation, published on my main blog on May 8, 2017. I’m now featuring Tim on Reading Recommendations, because as well as creating new music, he has also contributed to a book that was published since his first appearance on my blog.

Tim Isberg

Brief Biography:
Originally from southern Alberta, Tim Isberg is an accomplished singer-songwriter and multiple ACMA nominee who is emerging in the scene after a lengthy hiatus to serve in the Canadian Army. From Rwanda to Afghanistan, Tim experienced the many life-changing challenges while deployed in different cultures and conflicts, and amid the best and worst humanity has to offer.

As a performer, Tim has entertained audiences in many corners of Europe, Africa, and Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East and Levant. Many of his storyteller songs stem from these life adventures. In his years abroad, Tim was a favourite on folk club circuits and in group performances for deployed military and civilian personnel.

Tim brings an Americana style blend of well-crafted Alt-country, Roots and Contemporary Folk songs to the stage along with an appealing vocal timbre, and a unique and endearing array of life experiences he shares in a way that makes each listener feel connected. Tim is also touring a special multi-media concert entitled 25 years After: Songs & Stories of a Soldier in Rwanda, based on a personal account of Tim’s year deployed there in 1994. With a genuine sincerity and sense of humour carefully woven through stories and songs, it is Tim’s live show – whether solo or with his full band – where he shines most. Tim’s shows are not to be missed!

Tim’s latest album Running on the Edge, also recorded with Grammy nominee and JUNO celebrated producer-engineer Miles Wilkinson at the helm, was released in 2019 and nominated as a Top 5 Best Album of the Year by the ACMA. It is an eclectic mix of original contemporary folk/roots songs, and includes a rousing cover of Bob Seger’s Turn the Page. Prior, an international tour in spring 2016 followed Tim’s album Tears Along The Road released in October 2015 which was also recorded with Wilkinson, was selected by Music Canada in the Top 25 Favourite Albums of 2015.

What Tim is working on now:
Covid 19 has altered plans significantly, so I’m doing some limited live stream ticketed or tip-jar shows on my social media or other media, I’ve produced a live recorded isolation video with my trio for release on my Youtube channel, and a lyric video for the song Baghdad Cafe from my latest record. No shows means no merchandise revenue so I’m also trying to enhance on-line sales.
(From Tim’s Facebook page: Before I knew the world would get a bit weird and hit the pause button… I ordered more merchandise for my shows. A few thousand dollar$ later.. here hundreds of CDs and books sit impatiently awaiting opportunity to be shared. Problem is, no shows means pretty much no merch sales. However, for those so inclined that might like to have some items or gifts sooner than later, you know how to find me… Thanks in advance!)

Tim is also a published author. In October 2017, Simon & Schuster Canada published the book Everyday Heroes which includes a chapter by Tim on one of his many experiences in the line of duty. It is a national best-seller!

Here’s a link to Ted Barris’s website post, A Soldier’s Voice, in which he talks about Tim Isberg’s role in the Canadian military, his music, and writing.

And a link to a video about Tim Isberg and fellow musicians who got together as The Band With No Name in Kabul while they were on a NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan.

Tim’s Listening Recommendations:
I listen to genres from rock to classic country to big band to bluegrass and all other things in between. Too many to list. Go exploring music outside your box!

Where to purchase Tim’s music and the book:
Website
Everyday Heroes published by Simon & Schuster Canada

Michael Tyne

Michael Tyne

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest is The Final Resort. Loosely speaking, it’s a supernatural murder mystery, with a twist of history and a strong dash of humour.

Quick description. Laura Sterling, a hard-working young hotel-worker in a fading English seaside resort, is mourning the death of her best friend, ‘Nell’ Kowalska, who was brutally murdered exactly a year ago. No clues have been found as to the identity of the killer, no motive – nothing: just Nell’s shattered body in a back-alley. Nell’s cousin, Alexandr Janowski, and his buddy, an ineffably shady bar-manager named Chas, have lost faith in the police and are conducting their own investigation into the death.

Then another, exactly similar, murder takes place at the battered old Grand Hotel, Laura’s place of work – and she finds the body. As a brooding horror begins to take over the winter town, Laura, Janowski and a mis-matched bunch of local characters find themselves confronted with a terrifying force from the past; one which threatens to destroy not just them, but everything they hold dear.

At the heart of it all is the old Grand Hotel, its dark history the key to everything…

 Brief biography:
I was born near Manchester, England, in 1964, and I’ve been praying for a quiet life ever since. I’ve worked as a stock market analyst, a van-driver, a labourer, a head waiter and a charity mugger, and I’m now employed as an accountant for a car rental company – all of which has mitigated against the ambition mentioned above. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and, after a brief and disastrous flirtation with Young Adult fiction in the early 2010’s, returned to my first love, urban fantasy, in 2014. I’ve now published six novels in this genre, including my best-seller, Sharkey, which was recently featured on BBC Radio. I’ve lived, in the past, in London, Norfolk and Bermuda, but have now settled in a small town on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, where I’m very happy. I’m engaged (second time around) and have a 23-year-old son from my first marriage.

Links to buy Michael’s book:
Mybook.to/finalresort should take you to your local Amazon sale page for both print and eBook formats

Michael’s promo links:
My webthing
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I’m working on an ambitious urban fantasy entitled Osaka. It takes place over fifty years and deals with the possibility of an evolutionary shift in humanity. I’ve been working on it for almost exactly a year, and I’m about 20,000 words from the end.

Michael’s reading recommendation:
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Alison Weir, who is an English historian. She writes about the Tudor period and has a knack of bringing to life the characters and lives of the kings and queens about whom she writes, making them feel very human. She’s a splendid writer, with a warm and elegant style.

In fiction, I’ve been a Terry Pratchett (RIP) fan for about thirty years. Unfailingly clever, compassionate and very, very funny. He’s as close as I have to a literary hero.

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.

Lawrence Schwartzwald – update on a new collection of photographs

Lawrence Schwartzwald is a professional photographer who was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2016 when he released his book, The Art of Reading. He’s back now to tell us about a limited edition Zine he has recently published.

cover of Zine, Reading New York by Lawrence Schwartzwald

Reading New York
by Lawrence Schwartzwald

READING NEW YORK, 2017, a Zine, 32pp. edition of 160, avail at DASHWOOD (store and web), McNally Jackson, Plus 81 Gallery (Chintown), ArtBook Bookstore, PS 1 MoMA, Queens, NY

back cover – Reading New York

Lawrence’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Instagram: lawrenceschwartzwald

I was very pleased to receive a copy of this new Zine directly from Lawrence and decided to take my own “reading” photo – with Reading Recommendations-promoted Poet, Frank Beltrano. It was through Frank I originally learned of Lawrence and his photography, so this particular photo is very fitting.

Kevin Brennan – update on a new collection of essays

Kevin Brennan has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations a number of times, as well as being an All-Star Author and on the list of
Reading Recommendations Revisited.

I don’t make any bones about it – Kevin Brennan is one of my very favourite authors writing today! So it’s always a pleasure to promote any new books he happens to publish, like this one right here …

In No Particular Order: A Memoir
by Kevin Brennan

It’s true that life is linear, but the living of it is all over the map. In this memoir-in-vignettes, novelist Kevin Brennan (Parts Unknown, Yesterday Road) examines his life the way memories occur in the wild: in no particular order. Whether it’s recalling high school humiliations, ups and downs in love and romance, or unique interactions with the human race at home and abroad, Brennan both entertains and moves the reader with moments of unexpected poignancy and full-tilt humor. In No Particular Order is a deconstructed memoir, like no other because it looks at life as it really is — a kaleidoscope of individual moments.

For more information about Kevin and his publications, as well as more about this new eBook, check out his blog, What the Hell.

Purchase a copy from:
Amazon

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
Amazon

Margaret’s promo links:
Website
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:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Ebook only:
Kobo
Tyche Books

Mike Robbins – update on a timely essay

Mike Robbins has visited Reading Recommendations a couple of times previously, here and here. He’s back now to tell us about a very timely essay he has just published. (Mike also answered my recent call for book reviewers, for which I am extremely grateful!)

Such Little Accident: British Democracy and its Enemies
by Mike Robbins
Published by Third Rail
Genre: Non-Fiction Essay

“When the people shall have nothing more to eat,” said Rousseau, “they will eat the rich.” But the rich are rather good at getting the poor to eat each other instead. In this provocative novella-length essay, Mike Robbins looks at how the British electoral system, social media, bullying by business, and a growing gap between rich and poor have led to deep fissures in British society. These have been exploited by those with an agenda of their own. As a result, democracy is now fragile. To repair it, we must look hard at the way information cycles through our society, and how our opinions are formed.

Cover picture: J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16th October, 1834 (Detail)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Where to purchase copies:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
(also available on the other Amazons)
Google Play
Barnes & Noble
Scribd
Kobo