Summertime Stories 2017

This afternoon I had one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as author of The Alchemists’ Council thanks to the people at Nanaimo Association of Community Living. As described on its website, “NACL is committed to removing the barriers faced by individuals with a developmental disability.”

When facilitator Robin Erickson asked the participants in her Career Exploration group what people they would like to interview about careers, one creative member suggested “an author of a fantasy novel.” Not knowing if she could find such a person in Nanaimo, Robin told her group she would nonetheless try. A fortunate Google search led her to me!

NACL Group Photo
Left to right: Cynthea, Tina, Dustin, Jeremy, and (front) Stephen

Robin’s group comprises five people, four of whom joined us today: Tina, Dustin, Jeremy, and Stephen. The questions posed by the group were extraordinarily thorough and interesting. They ranged from basic (such as “What inspired you to write the book?”) to complex (such as “What is the most difficult part about being an author?”) to pleasantly unique (such as “Do you read with your glasses on?”). Today’s interview was one of the most thought-provoking I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. I extend my gratitude to everyone involved for welcoming me to the Career Exploration session!

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In other book news . . . most of the summer thus far has been spent working on edits of Book 2 (The Flaw in the Stone) and writing the initial chapters of Book 3 (The Amber Garden). However, in June, I had the opportunity to travel to Ontario, where I met with various people associated directly and indirectly with The Alchemists’ Council.

My first stop was at ECW Press itself, which is nestled amidst a variety of eclectic shops and colourful murals on Gerrard Street East (near Broadview Avenue) in Toronto.

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Featured here are photos of the building, its mural, and me with publisher David Caron. David and I enjoyed a leisurely chat over tea and muffins about the books and various related topics. I always appreciate our discussions!

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Later that day I met with Bridget Wareham, the reader of The Alchemists’ Council audiobook. Last year, when she was in the midst of recording the book, we chatted on the phone several times–particularly in regard to the pronunciation of character names and alchemical terms! But this visit was the first one in person. I absolutely loved meeting her, and I look forward to our paths crossing again.

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You may be interested to know that, in addition to recording audiobooks, Bridget is a screen and television actor. To learn more about her most recent film, Hunting Pignut, check out the film’s Facebook page or click on the image of the film’s poster.

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Another highlight of my Toronto trip was an impromptu visit to Bakka-Phoenix Books. While checking to see if they carried The Alchemists’ Council–which I was happy to find they did–I had the good fortune to chat with author Leah Bobet.

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Leah’s lastest book, An Inheritance of Ashes, has had great reviews, including this one: Quill & Quire Review.

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A second author I had the pleasure to meet on this trip was Randal Graham. He is another ECW Press novelist, whose book Beforelife is about to the hit the shelves.

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Our editor, Jen Hale, now refers to us as her two professor authors who write about eternity. (Randal works at Western University, and I work at Vancouver Island University.) The three of us enjoyed a delicious lunch in London, Ontario, and talked about everything from academia to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Of course, I often talk with academics about Buffy; however, unlike Jen and I, Randal has never been to Slayage. Well, not yet . . . but the 2018 conference awaits!)

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On one final note about connections with other authors, I’ve recently had the pleasure to correspond with Dee Willson, who won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in the Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction) category for her novel A Keeper’s Truth. Dee and I were both nominated for that award, and I sincerely congratulate her on the win. (If you’d like to see all the nominated authors and their books, click here.)

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Finally, thank you again to the Independent Publisher Book Awards! In addition to the gratitude I expressed in my previous post about the award, I must say that I love the visual coincidence of a gold medal on the cover of a book about alchemy.

Long live the Quintessence!

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Scroll to the bottom to see #CouncilCats Gallery. Or scroll to the top for menu items, including Book Reviews for The Alchemists’ Council.

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