Congratulations to Leslee C. the first winner of a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Leslee was randomly selected from all the subscribers to my mailing list after the first one hundred new sign-ups mark was reached. Leslee has been contacted and her gift certificate delivered.
Don’t worry if you didn’t win this time, I’ve reset the count and once I get another one hundred sign-ups, I’ll do another draw.
Remember, winners are randomly picked from ALL names on the list (so if you have already signed up, you’re automatically entered and you are eligible for every subsequent draw).
Subscribers to my mailing list get the news first. They were the first to know about Tantor Media picking up Harry’s stories for audio and they will be the first to know the yet to be released name of Harry’s next book.
So, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, join my mailing list by clicking HERE.
I’m feeling a little sad today. If you’re a Canadian over the age of 35, you’ll probably understand why. If you’re not, well let me explain.
Last night, an iconic Canadian band bid the country farewell in a live concert in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. The show was broadcast across the nation and played on screens big and small from St.John’s to Victoria. They even had a special screening down in Rio for the Olympic athletes. In a way that is usually reserved for gold medal hockey games, the country stood still for a few hours and came together to celebrate something uniquely Canadian – The Tragically Hip.
The Hip, as they are often lovingly called, consisting of members lead singer Gord Downie, guitarist Paul Langlois, guitarist Rob Baker, bassist Gord Sinclair, and drummer Johnny Fay have been rocking their way into the hearts of Canadians since 1984. They’ve released 14 studio albums, two live albums, 1 EP, and 54 singles. Nine of their albums have reached No. 1 in Canada. They have received numerous Canadian Music awards, including 14 Juno Awards. Remarkably, despite being superstars here at home, they never achieved the same fame internationally, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s one of the things that make them so special to Canadians. They are truly ours and we didn’t have to share them with anyone else.
With a new album just released, you would think it would be a strange time for a farewell tour, but the reason is significant and, dare I say it, tragic. Gord Downie has cancer – a terminal brain tumor – and is dying. Cancer sucks, what can you do? Instead of packing it in, The Hip packed the trucks and the bluesy-rock band whose lyrics often portray long-forgotten moments from Canada’s history or familiar scenes of Canadian life, hit the road for one last tour.
At times triumphant, others raw and emotional, Gord Downie and the band cranked out almost three hours of classic Canadian rock, songs that have been a huge part of the soundtrack of my life. I know I’m not the only one. As I sat dazzled in front of the TV often snivelling quietly (so as not to alarm my son who just wouldn’t understand) I saw others in the crowd, men and women alike, that were just as teary as I was and I wondered at the courage it must take to get up on that stage over and over again across the country singing songs for possibly the last time.
As he belted out the final encore, Ahead by a Century, I couldn’t imagine what was going through Downie’s mind. Sorrow? Fury? Gratitude? All of the above? While I will never know, I hope that he was also thinking about how the entire country was bidding him a fond farewell and thanking him for being a part of their lives.
‘The Bechdel Test’ was inspired by cartoonist Alison Bechdel‘s 1985 tongue-in-cheek comic strip ‘The Rule’ which became a basic measure to see if women are fairly represented in a film.
Anita Sarkeesian, creator and host of the FeministFrequency, does an excellent job explaining what the Bechdel Test is all about. Basically, for a movie to pass the Bechdel Test, you must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:
1: Does it have at least two female characters?
2: Do they talk to one another?
3: Do they talk about something other than a man?
Simple, right? Well, you’d think so, but a surprising number of Hollywood movies don’t pass the test. What is even more surprising is the number of films you would think should pass but don’t. This is because, as Anna Waletzko discusses in her Huffington Post article, the Bechdel Test may be an excellent tool in triggering discussion, but it is a superficial measure of female empowerment in film.
Despite these limitations, it can be argued (as in this article by Charlie Jane Anders) that the test is important because it is often a part, or the beginning, of a larger and more complicated conversation about female representation in movies. It serves as a measure of how we are doing at promoting and increasing the opportunities for women.
Yes, besides Harry there are her roommates, Holly and Tess, as well as several other supporting women, including the two sisters and mother of the the main character Nash.
2. & 3. Do they talk about something other than a man?
Yes. There is a fair amount of banter between Tess and Harry especially, and very little of it is about a man. There are also plenty of conversations between all the female characters THAT ACTUALLY MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD.
The R-word is the word ‘retard(ed)’. You’ve probably heard it used or maybe used it yourself. You may think it’s not a big deal, it’s only slang or a figure of speech, but it’s more than that. When you use the R-word as slang, you are hurting people with intellectual disabilities because of the negative connotation of your comment. The R-word has long been associated with people with intellectual and development disabilities, so when you use the word in a negative context, you’re putting down people with intellectual disabilities, regardless of if you mean to or not. The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive and it’s derogatory.
What is the YELLOWCARD Campaign?
The YELLOWCARD Campaign for Special Olympics aims to end the use of the R-word in everyday conversation. Special Olympics athletes have voiced how harmful the use of the R-word is to them. It invokes memories of bullying, of being demeaned, and of being framed as an outsider not worthy of respect.
A yellow card in soccer is shown to an offending player as a warning – a way of letting you know that you’ve crossed a line, perhaps without even intending to do so. Even when it’s used in a way that seems harmless, benign or even positive, the truth is there is #nogoodway to use the R-Word. The goal with YELLOWCARD is to inform and engage without being punitive or threatening, to invite change, not force it.
October 8th is Yellowcard Day. Show your support by using #nogoodway on social media and remember to make the choice to eliminate the R-word from your vocabulary not just today, but everyday.
Take The Pledge to Become a YELLOWCARD Ambassador Today
I was joking just the other day that Google must think I’m a serial killer and then I saw this. Love it! I’ve mentioned before that Google is your friend when you are writing. You can find almost anything and everything with Google. And, although I look forward to the day I’ll be able to afford to go abroad on a research trip, in the meantime I have Google streetview to show me around any potential locales for future books.
It feels like I have been on radio silence for a several days. It’s been a while since my last post, but I have been busy, busy, busy. With the cover for Dead and Kicking finalized (LOVE IT!) I have been busy updating all the various platforms with the final version of the manuscript and making sure the cover files are updated. October 2nd is fast approaching and there seems to be a lot of things to get organized. Press releases, promos, blog tours, launch party…these are a few of the things on my plate.
You might have noticed a new addition or two here on the website. First, I played around this weekend and created a book trailer. You’ll find it here. I have to say, I think it turned out pretty good. What do you think?
Second, I added individual detail pages for each book in Harry’s trilogy. Just click on the book covers to take you to each page. Speaking of book covers, now that the cover for Dead and Kicking is done, my designer is hard at work on book two’s. Watch for details in the near future.
It hasn’t been all work though. I spent the weekend at the cottage. My absolute favourite place to be. It seems summer isn’t quite ready to let go and the weather was beautiful. I love the cool, crisp, starry nights out there. Sitting in front of a bonfire with the sound of the lake in your ears and the stars overhead. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
This picture is from a couple of years ago. Looking over the beach on a gorgeous evening.