Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Being Canadian, when I use the word "headshot" I realize most people think I'm talking about hockey. Since we have no hockey this year (I am a self-described cultural hockey, that's not an oxymoron), the "headshot" in this case is the photograph taken for promotional purposes.

Hopefully not to appear on wanted or missing posters.

My lovely friend and second reader, Lizz Sisson (of Studio Starling), flew up from Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with us this weekend past. We drove an hour or so south of Ottawa to celebrate with an overnight at a friend's farm summer camp. It wasn't a farm, because then Lizz would have had a hard time with customs. There are no animals at the camp -- just wild garlic. Okay, customs-man?

It's not easy getting photographs done. Lizz is really, really good, but she says that it's hard to take photos of your friends, because you know what they look like.

So it only took about seven hundred shots to get a usable four. Once the photoshopping is done (no, no, no, not so I look thinner or younger, but rather to make sure my neck doesn't just become part of my head, like Beaker on Sesame Street (see above), I'll send them to Night Shade Books and let them decide which one best represents the book.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Word on the Street

It's hard to wear more than one hat, yet sometimes that's what it takes.

Yesterday, at Toronto's Word on the Street, my hat just happened to be a kitchen colander with a rat tied to each handle. Oh, yes, and I was painted green.

This was in my Little Witch Press personae, a.k.a. Sandi Witch (and illustrator Elizabeth Todd Doyle), and I was at the book fair to perform. I was also there to sell books, but I never worry all that much about selling books at events like this -- they tend to sell themselves when you're painted green and have a colander on your head.

Because we were reading/performing at the festival, we had automatic entrance to the VIP lounge, which was where Big Name Authors such as John Ralston Saul and David Suzuki and (be still my beating heart) Jian Ghomeshi were supposed to hang out.

As you imagine this scene, please keep in mind -- I am painted green.

So while I made an immediate and (perhaps) lasting impression, I still came across as a lunatic of reportable proportions.

The most famous person I saw while in there was Dave Bidini, who, while incredibly talented and clearly a Big Name Writer, is also one of those ubiquitous Torontonians that I've fought to get the server's attention at places like La Hacienda since the late 1980s. So I was more or less thisclose to asking him if he wanted to swap his trademark fedora for my equally-fetching colander. I think he noticed me eyeing his hat, because he friggin' FLED the VIP lounge.

I may have told Allison Baggio, who was sitting at my table, that Susan and I were writers of erotica.

However, when I opened newspapers this morning, I didn't notice that any of the Big Name Writers (lookin' at you, Jian Ghomeshi) had their photos  plastered across the broadsheets. And, well. I did. Apparently in The Toronto Star as well.

It ain't easy being green, but sometimes, it gets you noticed.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's Good to Be Scared

Really, it is. It's good to do things that scare the shit out of you.

Take the Phone Call. It's my agent, Sandy, whom I love in ways that are really quite unreasonable. I'm driving, right? I'm driving and I still take the call. I'm turning into the parking lot of a Home Depot (forever etched in my brain), and I'm finally stopping because my agent is giving me The News.

Night Shade Books wants me. Or, more specifically, they want Deadroads. They love it. They love the original version, with the original suckerpunch ending, because they see where it's going, which is a continuing series.

This is, without a doubt, the scariest friggin' thing I've ever heard in my life. It's like getting a rock lifted from you and the sunlight is nice -- dear God, it's nice -- but it's also illuminating. I'm exposed. Is my slip showing?

You bet it is.

So, forthwith: Night Shade Books is going to publish Deadroads, likely in spring of 2013. God and my editor willing, and in whichever order they give me comments.

This has meant spending the whole summer, or at least the last couple of weeks, telling people about it. The response usually goes like this:

Me: So, uhm, yeah, it's been a good summer.
Friend/Family/Stranger: Really? The weather's been terrible. Though you spent all that time at that wonderful cottage, right?
Me: Yeah. The cottage, it was great.
F/F/S: I wish I had a cottage like that. Did you see any movie stars up in the Muskokas? I hear Goldie Hawn has a ...
F/F/S: (pause) You've written a novel?


ETA: grammar, folks. A sentence needs a verb.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Things That Scare My Dog

First off: My dog is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or even tool in the shed. He is, quite simply, a little thick, even for a dog. Poodles are smart. Border collies are smart. These are dogs that will drive you nuts with their cleverness, like having Mad Man's Pete Campbell as a roommate.

Living with my dog is more like having Jeff Spicoli turn up at your breakfast table.

Dog (aka: Arlo, photo credit: Lizz Sisson) is sweet as a cinnamon bun clutched in Paula Deen's hands. But there's not a lot going on upstairs, yeah?


Awful scary thing:
Yes, imagine my pride.

Very next day (I can't make this crap up), VERY NEXT DAY, we end up on a nice long walk to the nearby campus. On said campus is a newish building with a nice sculpture celebrating peace and whatnot. Apparently, peace is a scary concept to a Springer Spaniel. Arlo bravely circled the statue. Then he sniffed it. Brave dog. Then jumped back a foot. Then...he barked at it. Arlo never barks, mind you, one of the very good things about having a Dog of Little Brain.

The object of Arlo's fear, loathing, and perhaps, secret servitude HERE.

Thank god he makes me laugh, otherwise the dog would never see another bowl of kibble.