Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview Round Up - So Very Different

 I am lucky to have done a few - four actually - interviews in the last while.  Even though the interviewers chatted the same author, about the same books, and about the same main character, each interview was distinct.  

First up was the one with Bill Selnes for Mysteries and More.   Bill has read and reviewed all three Sasha books.  Bill is also a practicing lawyer.  So, the lawyer side of him prompted some interesting questions.  Bill also posts his reflections in a separate post after publishing the interview.  I think it's really cool that he does that - I like reading his thoughts. Click here to read Q and A with Bill or click here for his reflections.I also love the fact that in his reviews, he picked up early on that Toronto is as much a character in my books as is Sasha or Lindsey or anyone else.  Thanks Bill! (If I ever get arrested and can only make one call, it would be to Bill Selnes).

Patricia Flewwelling interviewed me for Nine Day Wonder.  This is the only time I've been interviewed by someone I have actually met a couple of times (at book launches, Bloody Words, etc.).  She knows (and gets!) my sense of humour, so some of my answers are out in left field (Keith Richards & coconuts???) Check it out HERE.  I knew I could get away with being cheeky in this instance.  (If I ever want to collaborate with someone on writing a radio drama about Alfred E. Neuman, it would be Patricia.)

Paul D. Brazill interviewed me for "You Would Say That, Wouldn't You?" I like the range of questions Paul asked me, including questions about my own reading preferences, about social media, and about big dreams for the small screen.   Have a look at Paul's House of Ill Repute here.  (If I ever needed an alibi to cover me as part of planning the perfect crime, it would be Paul). 

Finally, Richard Godwin interviewed me at his Slaughter House.  I've got to say, Richard asked me some of the darkest and most diabolical questions I've yet been asked in an interview (about motives and motivations and other great stuff).  He made me think carefully about my answers.  Here is the link to the Chin Wag with Richard.  (If I ever need an accomplice to help me carry out the perfect crime, it would be Richard.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Review I Really Appreciate

The Lies Have It just got a super review by Bill Selnes on Mysteries and More .  My first two books were also reviewed by Bill on his site, and those reviews were favourable as well.  So, I am thumping my chest a bit (hee hee).

Besides doing a little happy dance, the reason I am writing about the review by Selnes is that - for all the books he reviews, not just mine - he gives specifics and details and examples and substance (But don't worry: he never gives away endings or spoilers). 

I've had many positive reviews for all three Sasha Jackson books, but in some cases, the review doesn't offer much in terms of WHY.  It's all well and good to know what a critic thought of a given work, but it's more interesting (and to me it's very helpful) to also know why a reviewer liked or didn't like something, whether it be a plot line or a character or what have you.  I try to repeat the things that work, and to avoid in future the stuff that rubs people the wrong way.

Another reviewer who does what Bill does is Amy Steele of  Entertainment Realm.  Full disclosure: Amy has also reviewed all three Sasha books favourably.  I regularly read Steele's reviews, and often pass them along to others. She often writes about books I've never heard of, and she does not focus exclusively on mystery fiction, but because of the detail Amy includes, she piques my interest quite a bit. (Steele also writes about music and movies and all things in the entertainment realm).    

So there you go: reviews with substance and specifics matter to me as both a reader and a writer.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salsa and Terrorists and Canada Reads

The CBC hosts a book contest called Canada Reads.  In a nutshell, the contest encourages reading in general, but with a specific focus on Canadian authors.  Sounds good, right?  Promote literacy and promote domestic writers - should be a win/win.

This year, the theme for Canada Reads is on NONFICTION.

The general public nominates a bunch of books; the suggested titles are whittled down to a Top 40 list, then to a list of Ten Finalists.  Then things change a bit... when it gets down to the five books on the shortlist, five judges discuss the books on CBC radio throughout the week, and a book gets eliminated from the final five each day until there is a winner. (This is kind of like the literary equivalent of "Survivor").

For a list of the contenders, or for more info on Canada Reads, click HERE.

One of the books to make it to the shortlist of five is a memoir called Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre. 

(UPDATE: Feb. 09th -  Carmen was announced as the winner/"Something Fierce" as the winning book on Canada Reads!!!)

On Monday, one of the book judges, a miserable old cow named Anne France Goldwater, made some really volatile comments about Something Fierce, and about one of the other finalists, The Prisoner of Tehran

Goldwater said the Tehran book was full of lies, and that Carmen Aguirre is a "terrorist who should never have been let in to Canada."

I find this all very interesting for a number of reasons.

First of all, I think Ms. Goldwater is doing a disservice to literacy and the arts and all those nebulous concepts.  Secondly, I think Goldwater has missed the point about being a book judge - she doesn't come across as fair and unbiased to me.  Thirdly, Carmen Aguirre was the main focus of the final thesis of my MA (completed in 2009 - before Carmen's memoirs were even published), so it's kind of interesting to see her name in the news so much these last few days (albeit for the wrong reasons...)

I really hope that Tehran and Something Fierce each experience a HUGE spike in sales as a result of the controversy stirred up the cranky old battleaxe Ms. Goldwater!!!

Relevant Links:

My MA thesis HERE or a shorter version of it HERE.

Feb. 06th - "Terrorist" article in the Globe and Mail HERE.
Feb. 07th - Miserable Hag defends her comments, in the Globe and Mail HERE.

One of my favourite comments in response to the Hag's defense of her stance (posted on the Globe & Mail online):

"She's a fat loud mouthed pig who is likely sexually frustrated and needs to get laid."
(Admittedly, this is an ad hominem attack, but in this case: SO WHAT?)

Another comment (online) that I really liked:

"She appears to have completely missed the point of Canada Reads - to encourage reading - not about panelists doing whatever it takes - including trashing the books and slandering their authors - to win a "debate". Is she an unmitigated narcissist or just obtuse?"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What on Earth are People Searching For...????

Okay, so I keep a close eye on the analytics and stats for this blog.  Most things I see in terms of pageviews, comments, traffic sources, and such are boring and contain little that I didn’t expect.

However, periodically, I get a bit surprised by a search term or the key words that ultimately landed someone on my blog.  In many cases, I can figure how an unusual combination of words or search terms led an Internet surfer to me, but other times, nope.  I’m baffled!

The easily explained (though still odd) terms include:
  • “fetish bdsm cake”
  • “bdsm knife play”
Each of the above could have something to do with “The Lies Have It” and/or the launch party for it. 

The search term “spelling bee falacio” is directly related to a blogpost I did ages ago. (It was a character background of Sasha Jackson as a kid, and it also included a mention of the CN Tower).

As well, I did a post not too long ago about cool/funny book marks, so that post probably explains the following two search terms:
  • “bookmarks for your book that says cruz” (No idea what 'cruz' is about...)
  • “whodunit charming bookmark” (Yeah, some of the pics I added to the post were kind of charming...)
But then there are the key words that really boggle my mind; these are search terms that seem like they’ve come from outer space.  A few examples:

  • “douglas cork murderer” (Huh...?)
  • "bryan adams unibrow" (Huh again...?)
  • “biggest ruffle chip” (This is my all time favourite!)
  • “nut bolt art xxx” (Perhaps related to the character profile I did of Mimi-Minerva?)
  • “mature female sex tourism” (The idea of sex tourism infuriates me, so seeing this one in my top search terms that day or that week really rankled me... Am at a loss as to which blogpost could have had similar words.  I’d change it if I could figure out which post it relates to...)
  • "collectibles american road signs" (what...?)
  • "apostle thomas rod" (I have no idea...)
  • "van johnson actor and marilyn monroe on train" (wtf???)
  • "whiskey makes me frisky" (Ooooh! I like this one!)
  • "google earth pics funny xxx" (Okay, whatever...)
So, there you go.  That’s a random snapshot of things some people think (hope?) they’ll find on this blog.   I wonder how they react when they find out the blog is about mysteries and writing...