Craig McLay – update on a new novel

Craig McLay was first featured on Reading Recommendations almost exactly two years ago to the day, in Jan. 2015. He’s back now to tell us about a recently published novel.

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Don’t Tell Me How It Ends
by Craig McLay
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Novel, Humour

The author of the hilarious and award-winning international bestsellers Village Books and The International Cinema Society returns with an uproarious tale of freshman film school mayhem!

Aspiring director Andrew MacLennan has just been accepted into one of the most prestigious film schools in the country. Most of what he’s going to learn – like the finer points of shooting an action scene with a projectile vomiting stuntman, what to do when you find one of your instructors passed out in the bathroom holding a gun, or how to handle an audition with a former adult movie actress who takes method acting to wildly inappropriate new levels – isn’t in the curriculum.

His crew is just as crazy. Edgar Wells is a James Bond-obsessed Englishman who is distressed to discover that the woman he’s dating may also be his second (or possibly third) cousin. Esteban Hernandez is a football-mad Mexican who was officially dead for four minutes after his attempt to jack in to the city power grid went spectacularly wrong. And then there’s Satyajit Bharati, an Indian expatriate who has no problem being in an arranged marriage so long as the private investigator hired by his rich fiancée doesn’t catch him in the act with any of his current girlfriends.

Andrew’s life is further complicated by his developing relationship with up-and-coming comedian Nira Curtis, whose inability to distinguish between her life and her stage act could spell trouble. Andrew is still coming to terms with the death of his brother in a car accident five years ago and isn’t quite ready to premiere his personal demons in front of a blockbuster audience.

Struggling to keep his production from going off the rails, Andrew begins to realize that whether it’s real life or a movie, having final cut is not always a good thing.

For more information about Craig and his books click on:
Craig’s Website

Books available to purchase:
AMAZON US, UK, Canada
KOBO
BARNES & NOBLE
iBooks

Betty Jane Hegerat – an update on a new novel

Betty Jane Hegerat is a Canadian Author who I first met when I was representing her publisher and selling their books to bookstores and libraries throughout Alberta. She has since become a good friend and has also mentored me with my own writing and business development, always offering sage advice on the many ideas I come up with to promote authors and their books. (“Susan, you’ve always had many good promotion ideas, but hiring authors to entertain at adult birthday parties isn’t one of them.”) I’ve featured Betty Jane on Reading Recommendations previously in April 2014 and April 2015 when she received The WGA Golden Pen Award. Betty Jane is preparing for the release of a new novel this spring and wrote the following blog post about her experience of writing and publishing Odd One Out. With Betty Jane’s permission, I am reposting her original blog post, but I encourage you to click on the link and go directly to Betty Jane Hegerat’s blog, subscribe to it, and read some very fine writing from a talented Author!

Betty Jane Hegerat: Canadian author of literary fiction

My UBC Hat Trick

unnamed Now, I am a pitiful specimen of a Canadian, because I do not love hockey; I don’t watch hockey, I know very little about the game or the lexicon thereof, and my interest in the Calgary Flames involves periodically asking the true fan in the house how “our” team is doing. But there’s a hockey term that always makes me smile—“hat trick.” Although I’m sure there is no one out there who needs a definition of hat trick: the scoring of three goals in one hockey game by the same player.

So, I’m calling the publication of my newest book, Odd One Out (Oolichan Books 2016), the completion of my UBC hat trick. I’m borrowing this as a literary term. The game has been a long one beginning with the publication of my MFA thesis, Delivery, a novel, (Oolichan Books 2009) the year after I completed the MFA Creative Writing through UBC’s low residency program. For literary purposes I’m going to say the game has three periods, and can go on for even longer than a cricket match—in my case, for seven years.

In the second period, The Boy (Oolichan Books 2010), a hybrid of investigative journalism, fiction and memoir was published.

This spring, 2016, Odd One Out, a novel for teens, will be out.

Each of these three books owe huge thanks to the exceptional mentors I had access to at UBC. The gracious and talented Catherine Bush was my thesis advisor and guided me through the final draft of Delivery.

The irascible journalist, Terry Glavin, was one of the instructors who drew me to apply to UBC when I was struggling with non-fiction, with writing the story that ultimately became The Boy. Not only did Terry teach me how to “construct literature from the found materials of the known world,” he baptised me in the belief that TRUTH MATTERS.

I had no intention of writing for young people until I took a summer session course, Writing for Children, with Glen Huser. As in all writing courses, there is that basic requirement— write! And it was in the ten days in the summer of 2007 that I began to think about a boy named Rufus, to hear his voice in my mind, and to get a sense of what was troubling that poor kid. The kind and generous Glen Huser, in my estimation one of the finest Canadian authors of children’s book as well as an outstanding teacher, read the first draft of Odd One Out and helped me find the right sized boots I needed to write for a teenage audience.

I’ve noticed a recent surge of discussion about the value of the MFA in terms of a writer’s skill and success. I will go on record, as I have many times, in saying, “No! One does not need a university degree to be a good writer.” But what’s troubled me lately is that many of the people who are making that same declaration are doing so with a kind of reverse-snobbery that gets a tad offensive. Don’t apply to graduate programs if you feel they’ll be of no value to you, but please don’t peer down the length of your nose at those who have taken that path for their own personal reasons.

I applied to the UBC MFA Creative Writing Program and was accepted on my second try (this for those of you who are inclined to toss in the towel after first attempts). My motive was simple. There were important things I didn’t know and felt sure I couldn’t accomplish without the help of some wise people who would hold my feet to the fire in my efforts to earn a degree. I didn’t need any more letters to tack onto my name, I didn’t need a new community of writers, although I’ve been ever grateful to have met so many gifted and supportive people. I was at an age when I wasn’t looking to gain extra credibility in order to teach. I wanted to be immersed in that academic world just long enough to find answers to my questions.

Am I glad I made the decision to apply to the MFA program? You bet I am. Would I have continued to write and to publish without the degree? Of course I would have. I am determined, tenacious, and thick-skinned and not particularly humble when it comes to believing I have a gift and a responsibility to use it.

Thank you UBC for helping me tighten the laces on my skates. Hat trick.

Here’s the advance sales listing for Odd One Out in Oolichan Books Spring Catalogue.

Peter Learn

I met Peter Learn in Canmore, AB, back in March 2012 when we were both invited to be part of En Vino Novellus, an annual author promotion that pairs books with a wine selection. This ingenious celebration was organized by Jerry Auld, who has also previously been featured on Reading Recommendations. (And I was accompanied by another Canmore author and friend, Hazel Hutchins, who has also been featured on Reading Recommendations!)

Peter Learn

What is your latest release and what genre is it? I have two releases. The first is Hammer Time. It is a noir detective/black humour/farce. It’s the love child of Mickey Spillane and Stephen Leacock. The second is What Has Changed. Literary fiction/dark humour. Follow-up to Surrender.

Hammertime cover2Quick description: Hammer Time: Its hero is a height-challenged small town dick named Jack Hammer. His beloved Canmore is being torn apart. Is the problem the goddamned bunnies or is it the usual culprit – property developers? Hammer cobbles together a crew including his long-suffering assistant – Moira Pepperleigh, the brilliant Toronto heiress twins with an axe to grind – Bitsy and Stiffy, the town drunk – Timmy, Belle the hound, and the Dependables – a crime fighting crew of senior citizens. The story follows Hammer and his crew as they wander through small-town life tracking down the real villains.

What Has Changed jpegWhat Has Changed: Cam Dunker is back, reborn after his adventures in the circles of Hell. He’s somewhat changed. His wife is spending the summer as a performance artist in Paris. His grade 2 class is doing nothing but making little clay men, while his new kindergarten teacher, Joe the plumber, has begun a work-experience program for the little girls. In the background, the Rapture looms and, as Cam discovers, there is more to it than what Fran explained to him after they had been dating for a year.

Brief biography:
I currently live in Victoria, B.C. with my wife, Paula. Bertie Wooster and Augustus Finknottle, two wire-haired dachshunds, are my erstwhile companions. I have one published print novella, Surrender, and a number of short stories and essays in literary journals. What Has Changed and Hammer Time are recent Kindle releases.

Links to buy Peter’s book:
SurrenderQuattro Books
What Has ChangedAmazon
Hammer TimeAmazon

Peter’s promo links:
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a follow-up to Hammer Time, titled Hammer Two Times. Lurking in the background is a million page alternative reality opus titled Quebec whose redeeming feature is that it will never be completed.

Peter’s reading recommendation:
Arthur John Stewart: The Newpigin Chronicle
David Eso: Where the Nights Are Twice As Long
Susan Toy: That Last Summer

M T McGuire – an update on a new novel

M T McGuire was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in July 2014. She’s back now to update us on a new release!

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Escape From B-Movie Hell – First contact in films was never like this!

If you asked Andi Turbot whether she had anything in common with Flash Gordon she’d say no, emphatically. Saving the world is for dynamic, go-ahead, leaders of men and while it would be nice to see a woman getting involved for a change, she believes she could be the least well-equipped being in her galaxy for the job.

Then her best friend, Eric, reveals that he is an extraterrestrial. He’s not just any ET either. He’s Gamalian: seven-foot, lobster-shaped and covered in Marmite-scented goo. Just when Andi’s getting used to that he tells her about the Apocalypse and really ruins her day.

The human race will perish unless Eric’s Gamalian superiors step in. Abducted and trapped on an alien ship, Andi must convince the Gamalians her world is worth saving. Or escape from their clutches and save it herself.

The book is available on all major retail outlets you can find them from my website.

Gary Phillips – update on a new novel

Gary Phillips was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Oct. 2014. He’s back now to tell us about the publication of a new book in which he is involved.

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Beat, Slay, Love: One Chef’s Hunger for Delicious Revenge
by Thalia Filbert
Genre: Thriller, humorous mystery

This hot culinary thriller will burn off a few extra pounds — or so we can hope!

Like your barbeque and your sex extra spicy? Your murders saucy and done to a turn? Plunge into the fascinating and competitive world of food media culture, in this wry, witty crime story where cutting edge takes on a new meaning when celebrity chefs across America start dying.

“An incredibly sly mystery, it has everything you’d want when you bite into a dish: suspense, spice, and a new take on an old classic.”
— New York Times bestseller, Charlaine Harris

About the author: Thalia Filbert was born in a one room lean-to in the Painted Desert, was a Bingo manager on a Seminole reservation, a sommelier at an upscale taxi dancer joint, an MMA underground fighter, and an asphalt highway repair inspector. Or she could be acclaimed veteran crime fiction writers Taffy Cannon, Kate Flora, Lise McClendon, Katy Munger and Gary Phillips.

Book may be purchased from:
Amazon

J.T. Lundy

Gauen 147 - Version 2 J.T. Lundy

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Saving Grapes, a romantic comedy, is being released today, May 5, 2015.

Quick description: Thirty-two-year-old Jason Barnes recently lost his job, and his heart. Now, thanks to a meddling ex-wife and a golf cart fiasco, he has just thirty days to pay a $60,000 fine or go to jail.

Jason was hoping his Aunt Clara would come to his rescue, but she unexpectedly dies, gifting her liquid assets to charity. She does, however, will Jason a picturesque French vineyard–and it’s worth millions. But there’s a catch! If Jason goes to jail, the vineyard will transfer to his unscrupulous stepbrother.

To raise the cash he needs, Jason travels to France with his knucklehead of a best friend to sell the vineyard. Cashing in will not be so simple, though. Formidable nuns farm the vineyard, and he needs their blessing to sell. To persuade the good sisters, Jason attempts a madcap series of dubious schemes, and while doing so falls for what he thinks is the perfect French woman. Amidst this melee of wine, women, nuns, and villains, Jason must unearth his true values in order to save more than just his soul.

Infused with J.T. Lundy’s deliciously skewed sense of humor, and full of flawed but irresistible characters, Saving Grapes is a rollicking, good-hearted Wodehousian comedy that speaks to the hapless romantic in all of us.

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Brief biography:
J.T. Lundy lives in Naperville, Illinois, where he writes novels and screenplays, and attempts to help his wife manage the chaos from raising three growing boys. He likes to read, write, travel, and eat good food. A graduate of Indiana University, he also holds an MFA from Spalding University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He is the author of Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy, a 2014 Thurber Prize for American Humor Semi-Finalist.

Links to buy J.T.’s book:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Powell’s
Books & Books
BookPeople
Booksamillion
The Book Cellar
City Lit Books
Google Play
iTunes/iBooks

J.T.’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up a sequel to my first novel, Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy.

J.T.’s reading recommendation:
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Geoff Le Pard

SYCT 160514-59Geoff Le Pard

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. It’s an historic (1976) coming-of-age comedy

Quick description: Harry Spittle, nineteen, is home from university, aiming to earn some money to go on holiday and maybe get laid. He expects he will be bored rigid, but the appearance of old family friend, Charlie Jepson, his psychopathic son, Claude, and predatory wife Monica changes that. As his parents’ marriage implodes, Harry’s problems mount; before he knows it he’s in debt up to his ears and dealing in drugs. Things go from bad to worse when he is stabbed. He needs money fast, but now his job is at risk, his sister is in trouble and he has discovered a family secret that could destroy all he holds dear. The only way out appears to require that Harry join forces with the local criminal mastermind. Can Harry survive to see out the summer? Can he save his family? Can he regain some credibility and self-respect? Most importantly will he finally get laid?

Dead flies POD cover

Brief biography:
Lawyer in City of London 1979 to 2008; solicitor with London Olympics 2009 to 2013; writer and odd jobs man since.

Links to buy Geoff’s book:
Amazon UK – eBook and paperback
Amazon – eBook and paperback

Geoff’s promo links:
Website
Twitter

What are you working on now?
A totally different book, God Bothering. It’s about the problems fathers can cause; the absentee father, the doting father and God the father. It is set in America, England and Nicaragua. It has two strong characters whose lives intertwine and unravel and involves the morality of using human embryos in genetic research, misuse of Government monies, corruption in high places as well as

Geoff’s reading recommendation:
Outside Inside by Anne Grange

Clem Martini

Martini_Clem_0592_largeClem Martini

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release, The Ancient Comedians And What They Have To Say To Contemporary Playwrights, is a non-fiction book that explores the evolution of comedic playwriting.

Quick description: The Ancient Comedians explores the strategies used by the innovators who navigated the terrain thousands of years ago and made their mark on the craft.

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Brief biography:
Professor Clem Martini is an award winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter with over thirty plays, and ten books of fiction and nonfiction to his credit, including the Calgary Book Award-winning Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness and his most recent anthology, Martini With A Twist. His texts on playwriting, The Blunt Playwright, and The Greek Playwright, are employed in universities and colleges across the country. He is currently the Chair of the Division of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.

 

Links to buy Clem’s book:
Playwrights Canada Press

Clem’s promo links:
University of Calgary, School of Creative and Performing Arts

What are you working on now?
I am working on a comic play about love and extinction.

Clem’s reading recommendation:
Pseudolus by Plautus

Craig McLay

I discovered Craig McLay’s writing through a free offer of his first novel, Village Books, which was about bookstore clerk – so I just had to read it! This novel was so well-written, and so funny, that I immediately contacted Craig and asked if he’d like to be featured here on Reading Recommendations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Craig McLay

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The International Cinema Society (contemporary / humorous fiction)

Quick description: The International Cinema Society is a movie club that is approaching its tenth anniversary just as its members’ lives are coming off the rails. The president is planning to flee the country, the VP is about to marry a woman with a collection of taxidermied superheroes, the treasurer is involved in what turns out to be an enormous Ponzi scheme, and the secretary just almost fell off the Bloor Viaduct. Unless they can get their respective acts together, this may be the beginning of the end of a beautiful membership.

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Brief biography:
I graduated from journalism at precisely the wrong time. Instead of following the rest of my classmates into a lucrative life of crime, I started writing books. I live in Guelph with my wife, two sons and a cat named after the greatest midfielder in the history of football.

Links to buy Craig’s book:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK

Craig’s promo links:
Website

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m finishing up the final edit on Whitechapel, which will be coming out soon. (Watch this space!)

Craig’s reading recommendation:
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace. His adventures aboard The Nadir are worth the price of admission alone.

Andy Mulberry

Bulldog Andy Mulberry

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is The Demonic Incident in Chinatown the second book in my Skycastle Series for middle grade-aged kids.

Quick description: Fast-paced, action-packed and funny, The Demonic Incident in Chinatown is the second in a series of middle grade books for fearless, adventure loving kids.

Skycastle 2 cover

Brief biography:
Andy Mulberry loves to write books filled with strange adventures, odd characters and mysterious circumstances. She lives in Southern California with her scowling teenager, a chubby blue cat-beast, an imaginary dog and one leaky roof.

Links to buy Andy’s book:
Amazon – eBook, paperback, audio

Andy’s promo links:
My blog – Something smells fishy here…
Twitter

What are you working on now?
The third book in my Skycastle Series, titled The Demonic Kraken Debacle in Hollywood.

Andy’s reading recommendation:
I enjoyed reading The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare, it reads a bit like Harry Potter, which is totally fine by me.