Authors for Indies 2016 – Return to Blue Heron Books!

My first book launched way back in 2011. Shelley Macbeth of Blue Heron Books invited me to celebrate the birth of SUMMER ON FIRE at her incredible bookstore in downtown Uxbridge, Ontario. It has since been voted CANADA’S #1 INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER. Quite an amazing feat, as you could imagine.

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BLUE HERON BOOKS in Beautiful Downtown Uxbridge, Ontario
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My first booksigning, for SUMMER ON FIRE, which took place at BLUE HERON BOOKS in Uxbridge. A packed house!

I have the honour of returning to the bookstore for this year’s upcoming AUTHORS FOR INDIES (AFI)day! If you haven’t heard of Authors for Indies, it’s a Canada-wide lovefest for independent bookstores. Authors from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Mt. St. Elias, Yukon Territories (or, from east to west) will be visiting independent bookstores on Saturday, April 30th…to help flog their favourite reads. And they may even have their own books on hand for signing. All writers are readers (hopefully, passionately so). I love having the opportunity to gush about the books I love. For one day, authors across Canada get to be booksellers. It’s filled with so much awesome, I can’t even!

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You can check out the AFI ABOUT PAGE to learn everything you need to know about what goes on during this incredible day. Quickly, from their site, here’s the WHAT IS IT? details:

Authors for Indies Day (Saturday, April 30, 2016) is a day when authors show their appreciation for Canadian independent bookstores (indies). We do this by volunteering as guest booksellers for the day. When you visit an indie bookstore on AFI Day, you’ll have the opportunity to meet local authors, chat with us booklover to booklover, and get book recommendations from us. Perhaps share your recommendations with us. You may buy a book or two, or just get to know your local bookstore better. 

Authors are doing this to raise awareness of indie bookstores and how important they are to our communities, our reading lives, and our cultural well-being. It’s a day to give some love to your local neighbourhood bookstore.  

So save the date on your calendar. Tell your friends, family, and colleagues about Authors for Indies Day on April 30. 

All other questions will be answered on their ABOUT page linked above.

What you need to know is—GO TO YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER on Saturday, April 30th. Buy BOOKS. Meet AUTHORS. Talk BOOKS. SUPPORT LOCAL.

See you at BLUE HERON BOOKS! Connect with Canada’s #1 Independent Bookseller on FACEBOOK. You can also follow @BlueHeronBooks on Twitter.

Thanks to Shelley for the invite back to her incredible bookstore. And thanks to the organizers of this wonderful event! What could be better than celebrating books and the people who bring them to us in such beautiful ways on a spring day in Canada!

 

Writers at the Mic – Taking Your Words on the Road

Ten years ago. That was when I did my first reading at a microphone. I was a complete and utter mess. Walking to the mic was equivalent to the walk to the gallows. Even thinking about speaking into the mic had me hoping and praying for a lightning bolt to take me from this mortal coil. And yet, there I was, walking up to the mic and preparing to read words that I myself actually wrote. The horror!

I neglected to mention that when I get myself into these pickles, it’s usually all or nothing. It’s a BIG BAD PICKLE! My first turn at the mic was actually in a recording studio at CBC Radio. Yep! Someone who hyperventilates at the mere imagining of sharing his words was stepping into a recording booth to–are you still with me here–SHARE. MY. WORDS! On a national scale. With people at a soundboard watching my every move. With the producer of one of the station’s most popular listener-contributed shows on CBC Radio1 (FIRST PERSON SINGULAR) smiling at me from the other side of the glass.

Go big or go home.

With that dip into the world of reading under my belt, you would think that it would begin to come easier to me…right? You’d be wrong. I was asked later in the same month to read the same piece in front of an audience of writers at the (WCDR) Writers’ Community of Durham Region’s monthly Breakfast Meeting. The request sent me into a tailspin of panic. I mean, I was ready to call 9-1-1 for myself. What did I do? I said YES. This only increased my anxiety. I thought of many ways to get out of this. I would tell them a taxi ran over my legs, so I’d be unable to make it to the meeting. I would tell them I was stung by a Brazilian Wandering Spider, and I only had a few short minutes to live…so I’d be unable to attend. Or, I could tell them I fell down one of those wells everybody always seemed to be falling down. These may seem like ludicrous alibis now, but at the time each one was viable. ANYTHING to get me out of the horror of reading my words in public. It was a double whammy of anxiety stew. Public speaking AND sharing my words. The horror!

I did it. I sat down with my back to the audience, but I did it.

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The whole time I’ve been on this writing journey, I understood that public speaking and the sharing of my words were both necessary. I could not get out of either if I were to progress to anyplace of any significance. So, I hunkered down and accepted my dismal fate. I bit the bullet. I read. In public.

A reading I did at the Renaissance Café in Toronto.
A reading I did at the Renaissance Café in Toronto.

I think I’ve come a long way since that first audience interaction where the audience remained out of my field of vision and I sat down so that my wobbly legs were not forced to hold me vertical. I know I’ve become more comfortable…or that I’ve become more adept at hiding my discomfort. I’m not sure which one it is, but does it matter? I’m biting the bullet whenever I can, now. It hurts! I won’t ever pretend it doesn’t. But I’m doing it.

Reading at my first book launch at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario
Reading at my first book launch at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario

In today’s world, the writer is a self-promoting machine. It’s no longer enough to sit in a candle-lit garret room and write the next Gatsby. One has to take that work on the road. Even the shyest most introverted writer would do good to get to open mics and spread their words. Believe me when I admit to you here and now. I AM THAT SHYEST AND MOST INTROVERTED WRITER of which I speak. It’s me. I’m it. And if I can do it, anybody can.

A million open-mic may not prepare you for the shock of having your first book launch, but they will prepare you to give a reading from that book while you're there!
A million open-mics may not prepare you for the shock of having your first book launch, but they will prepare you to give a reading from that book while you’re there!

Wherever you live, I’m sure there are open mics happening in your area. Do yourself a favour and sign up. Attend. Read at the mic. Listen. You will never get good at it if you don’t keep doing it…especially if you’re an anxiety ridden lunatic like myself. Keep this in mind before you attend your first one–people are there because they want to hear writers read. Upon arrival, you already have their support. All you have to do is read.

One more piece of advice. Whatever you write–read it aloud. Whether you intend to stand up in front of the mic and read it to an audience or not. READ IT TO YOURSELF. OUT LOUD. A writer who reads their work out loud will discover that this is one of the best editing tools in the writer’s toolbox. Hearing your words will help you to hear what works and what isn’t quite ready. The writer’s ear knows.

NOW 3 Reasons to Visit Blue Heron Books on June 16th!!

#SaveBookStores is coming! June 16th is the date this year. Go to your local independent bookstore on this day and buy a book (or 4)! This event is the brainchild of agent KELLY SONNACK of ANDREA BROWN LITERARY AGENCY. You can read my previous post on the event HERE. That’s the 1st reason to head to Blue Heron Books on June 16th (OR, if you’re not in the area, just head to your own favourite independent bookseller…after all, that’s what it’s all about. Supporting your local).

Bookswarm is from 10AM-1PM—but early or latecomers will also be celebrated! PLACE: Blue Heron Bookstore – 62 Brock Street W. Uxbridge, Ontario (905) 852-4282

The 2nd reason to get yourself to Blue Heron on the 16th? To congratulate them for being awarded CANADIAN BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR at the CBA LIBRIS AWARDS! (Check out the nomination story HERE!) (Photo is from Blue Heron Books’ website)

What is the 3rd reason to get yourself to Blue Heron in Uxbridge, Ontario on June 16th?

One of Canada’s funniest people will be on hand at 1:00PM on Saturday June 16th to sign copies of his new book, WHO FARTED! (I am so compelled to change the title to WHO TOOTED.) The F word was a bad word in our house. (-:

Neil is a Canadian staple. He’s a screen star, a stage star, a columnist, comedian, Emcee extraordinaire! You need to get to Blue Heron on Saturday to meet him and get a copy of his book. (Read more about Neil Crone at his website HERE.)

With all these things happening at Blue Heron this coming Saturday, it kind of feels like Uxbridge is the new mecca of the arts in Ontario…not that those of us in the know didn’t already know this. (-:

See you SATURDAY!

 

Save Bookstores Day – June 16th – Support YOUR Local!

Reminder that Save Bookstores Day is coming up! Which means – BLUE HERON BOOKS 2ND ANNUAL BOOKSWARM!

Thanks again to Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary Agency for starting SAVE BOOKSTORES day! Kelly was frustrated with the closing of several historical bookstores and put a call out last year to get people to support their favourite independent bookstores.

Kelly’s 2011 campaign inspired me to hold a BOOK SWARM for my own favourite bookstore, BLUE HERON BOOKS in Uxbridge, Ontario. Last year’s swarm was a great success…and lots of fun, too. It’s always fun hanging out in your favourite bookstore.

This year, we’re having another swarm. On Saturday June 16th, head to Uxbridge for the 2nd Annual Blue Heron BookSwarm! (This is the day before Father’s Day…great time to pick up some books for Dads!) 10AM-1PM—but early or latecomers will also be celebrated!

PLACE: Blue Heron Bookstore – 62 Brock Street W. Uxbridge, Ontario (905) 852-4282

Please come. Please bring friends. Please tell everybody you know about it.

Who: You
What: Buy a book (or 4)
Where: Your local bookstore (or Powell’s ships)
When: June 16th (The Saturday before Father’s Day!)
Why: Because we need to support our storefronts. No more obituary section in publishing news, please!

Click Link to Go to BLUE HERON website.

Don’t forget to support your favourite local independent bookstore year-round! June 16th is the day to CELEBRATE them. (-:

JOIN THE BLUE HERON BOOKSWARM FACEBOOK EVENT!

June 16th is Save the Bookstore Day…

…or as we like to call it here in Durham Region, the 2nd Annual BLUE HERON BOOKS BOOKSWARM!

Before explaining the details, I’d like to give credit where credit it due:

Save the Bookstore day is the brainchild of literary agent KELLY SONNACK of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Ms. Sonnack was tired–like everybody else–of seeing independent bookstores closing their doors. Save the Bookstore Day was created as a way to bring people into their favourite brick & mortar bookstore…to encourage them to support that bookstore before the unthinkable happens.

Here is a blurb from last year’s Facebook Event page for SAVE BOOKSTORES (I’ve updated it with this year’s info)!

Who: You
What: Buy a book (or 4)
Where: Your local bookstore (or Powell’s ships)
When: June 16th (The Saturday before Father’s Day!)
Why: Because we need to support our storefronts. No more obituary section in publishing news, please!

That WHY is a very good reason to get thee to your favourite independent bookstore on June 16th and buy some books!

You can click on the poster below to go to LAST YEAR’S Facebook Event page for Save the Bookstore:

I will post a link to the event page for this year, once it is created. This is a North American event…so wherever you are, all you have to do to participate is go to your fav independent on the date and buy a book (or 4).

You can also organize an event for your local store. It’s extremely easy. You just talk to the owner to let them know what you’re doing. Then, you advertise. Use Twitter, Facebook, a blog if you have one, email, etc. Just get the word out there that everybody’s meeting up at your fav indy bookstore to show support and celebrate its existence.

I organized one for my fav bookstore last year. You can read about it here. If enough people show up, there’s nothing like a party in a bookstore. You can meet new locals who share your interests…you can have great conversations about your favourite books. Last year was an amazing day. It was great to see BLUE HERON BOOKS filled with booklovers. Our fav. bookstore is well and truly loved. They support the arts in our community like nobody else. We’re lucky to have them. Participating in Save The Bookstores Day was a no-brainer for Uxbridge, Ontario and the surrounding area.

So, on to the 2nd annual!

BLUE HERON BOOKS in Uxbridge, Ontario.

In the heart of the cozy wildly artistic community of Uxbridge, Ontario sits a sentinel. (Ha…sounds a little too Star Warsy. But it’s true.) Blue Heron Books is in the centre of town and in many ways it is the town’s pulse! Owner Shelley Macbeth is a whirlwind. She’s the bookseller for the annual nearby Ontario Writers’ Conference, and the bookseller at the monthly nearby Writer’s Community of Durham Region Breakfast Meetings. She has writing workshops running at the bookstore. She organizes zany and wonderful events such as the HUNGER GAMES reaping in the streets of Uxbridge last week to celebrate the release of the blockbuster movie that began life in independent bookstores across North America (Thankfully nobody died in the playing out of that particular reaping)! Shelley also hosts author talks and lectures. Her BOOKS & BRUNCH series is extremely popular. In a word, Shelley Macbeth and her crew at Blue Heron Books HAVE IT GOING ON! (That’s four words, but I hope you’re not counting)

Blue Heron was recently named in the TOP 10 BOOKSTORES OF NORTH AMERICA. If you think that’s a small feat, you’re crazy.

In appreciation for all Shelley and her fine employees do for BOOKS, WRITERS, READERS, UXBRIDGE, DURHAM REGION and BEYOND…I ask that you mark June 16th on your calendars. AND that you make EVERY EFFORT to get to Blue Heron Books on that day. We’re going to celebrate them in the way that they spend the rest of the year celebrating books and the creative community.

2nd Annual BLUE HERON BOOKS BOOKSWARM – In participation with SAVE THE BOOKSTORE!

DATE: SATURDAY JUNE 16th, 2012

TIME: 10:00am – 1:00pm

PLACE: Blue Heron Bookstore – 62 Brock Street W. Uxbridge, Ontario (905) 852-4282

Please come. Please bring friends. Please tell everybody you know about it. Please buy a book (or 4) while you’re there. (-:

Get Ready to Swarm!

Summer on Fire Book Launch at Blue Heron Books!

This past Saturday I had my very first book launch! Summer on Fire was released in July, but due to hectic scheduling–and summer–the launch was held a bit behind the release date. (-:

The first thing I wish to do is profusely thank BLUE HERON BOOKS and its owner SHELLEY MACBETH for offering to launch SUMMER ON FIRE and for making the launch such a memorable and successful occasion! They did an amazing job. There was even a very tasty CAKE for the attendees to dive into. What get together is complete without the amazing presence of CAKE!

Kevin with Shelley MacBeth (owner of Blue Heron Books)
Kevin, signing a copy of Summer on Fire for friend and fellow Museitup Author Sandra Clarke
Kevin with members of his WIP (Works In Progress) critique group. In the back, from left to right, are – Karen Cole, Barb Hunt, Sherry Hinman, Collette Yvonne and Myrna Marcelline.
Cake – it’s perfect for EVERY occasion!