Awkward Positions

My story “Awkward Positions” appears in the new issue of The Bloody Key Society Periodical, a new litmag out of Montreal. Many thanks to Adam Kelly Morton and the other editors and readers at BKSP! It was a pleasure working with you.

Writing the City

Thanks to Shaun Hunter for featuring a scene from my first novel Love Minus Zero in this morning’s installment of her most fascinating blog,  Writing the City. In Writing the City, Shaun explores Calgary through the eyes of writers, and over the last couple of years she’s turned up some wonderful material. I urge you to visit and have a look around. Well worth your time!

Reading West Podcast

I am very pleased to be part of the first episode of the Reading West Podcast. Many thanks to Lisa Guenther for using my recording of my story “Vermin”, which was published in Joyland and is now part of my new short story collection which is currently seeking a publisher. Also featured is Saskatoon author Todd Devonshire. You can listen to the podcast here or through iTunes.

Hope you enjoy!

‘Tis the season…


…to at least start your Christmas / Yule / Holiday shopping, right? And what better way to do it than by taking advantage of Thistledown Press’ Holiday Sale? This week they’re featuring select novels, including my latest, After You’ve Gone, at 30% off. But act now — the sale only goes through Dec. 4th, while supplies last.

Writers Helping Writers

Canadian Authors Association is Canada’s oldest writers organization. Since 1921 they’ve been helping writers connect with other writers, hone their craft, and publish books in many genres. I joined Alberta Branch Canadian Authors in 2004, after writing book reviews for Canadian Author (formerly Canadian Author & Bookman) for six years. I’ve made some wonderful friends through CAA, attended excellent workshops at CAA’s national conferences and have gone on to lead workshops for them myself.

After helping writers all these years, Canadian Authors is now seeking donations so that it can keep helping writers. Join us — and members, please donate now.

Sunworks Reading



Up next: a reading with my comrade Rea Tarvydas in the Coconut Room at Sunworks in Red Deer on October 28th. Looking forward very much to reading with Rea in Red Deer and hanging with writers and readers in Central Alberta. Many thanks to Leslie Greentree and Fran Kimmel, the masterminds behind this event. Can’t wait!

A Morning With Madeleine Thien

I am very excited and a bit stunned to say that I have been invited to host A Morning with Madeleine Thien, aWordFest event taking place at 8:30 AM, Wed. October 12 at Sidewalk Citizen, located in the Simmons Building at 618 Confluence Way SE. I’ll be talking to the Montreal author about her new novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which has longlisted for both the Giller Prize and the Man Booker Prize.

Many thanks to Shelley Youngblut and WordFest! I’m looking forward to this event.


Beer and Literary Pairings



Beer and books. A match made in heaven? Perhaps. Come and find out at the WGA’s first Beer and Literary Pairings event Tuesday, Sept. 27th, 7:30 PM, at Shelf Life Books (1302-4 St. SW). I’ll be reading along with Dymphny Dronyk, Todd Babiak and two TBA writers (Alice Munro? Margaret Atwood?). We’ll be talking and reading about beer, and sampling some tasty brews by some fine local brewers. Sounds like a whole lot of fun to me!

Some wise words from my wise friend Cecelia Frey:A Passion for Narrative@

“Drifters, driven in, taking the tamarack out on sleighs across the frozen Red Deer river, through frozen swamp, feet rag bound, knee deep snow, walking beside the load, fifty miles to …

Source: A Passion for Narrative@

Canada Day rant

For folks unhappy about some minor changes to the wording of our national anthem, here’s some history for you. “O Canada” was composed in 1880 by Calixa Lavallee, lyrics were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. These are the original lyrics:

Sous l’œil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant,
Le Canadien grandit en espérant.
Il est né d’une race fière,
Béni fut son berceau.
Le ciel a marqué sa carrière
Dans ce monde nouveau.
Toujours guidé par sa lumière,
Il gardera l’honneur de son drapeau,
Il gardera l’honneur de son drapeau.
De son patron, précurseur du vrai Dieu,
Il porte au front l’auréole de feu.
Ennemi de la tyrannie
Mais plein de loyauté,
Il veut garder dans l’harmonie,
Sa fière liberté;
Et par l’effort de son génie,
Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité,
Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité.
Amour sacré du trône et de l’autel,
Remplis nos cœurs de ton souffle immortel!
Parmi les races étrangères,
Notre guide est la loi :
Sachons être un peuple de frères,
Sous le joug de la foi.
Et répétons, comme nos pères,
Le cri vainqueur : “Pour le Christ et le roi!”
Le cri vainqueur : “Pour le Christ et le roi!”


Under the eye of God, near the giant river,
The Canadian grows hoping.
He was born of a proud race,
Blessed was his birthplace.
Heaven has noted his career
In this new world.
Always guided by its light,
He will keep the honour of his flag,
He will keep the honour of his flag.
From his patron, the precursor of the true God,
He wears the halo of fire on his brow.
Enemy of tyranny
But full of loyalty,
He wants to keep in harmony,
His proud freedom;
And by the effort of his genius,
Set on our ground the truth,
Set on our ground the truth.
Sacred love of the throne and the altar,
Fill our hearts with your immortal breath!
Among the foreign races,
Our guide is the law:
Let us know how to be a people of brothers,
Under the yoke of faith.
And repeat, like our fathers,
The battle cry: “For Christ and King!”
The battle cry: “For Christ and King!”

Other English translations were written in 1906 and 1908. The 1908 version was revised twice before 1980, and once again that year when “O Canada” became our official national anthem (before that it was “God Save the King / Queen”).

So we changed a few words just now. Personally, I’m proud to live in a country that’s trying to be inclusive and self- reflective. Where things like words to our national anthem are not sacrosanct. Also: whenever I’ve sung “O Canada” in a public setting, I’m one of the few who know the lyrics beyond the first few lines, and one of the few who actually bother to sing our anthem. So get over it.