Coming Soon: Poplar Lake!

Poplar Lake - NON 2018 editionI’m pleased to unveil the final cover for Now or Never Publishing’s edition of Poplar Lake, which will be released on October 15 – just six months from now! The cover and the novel went “live” on NON’s website today, as NON released its Spring 2018 titles and announced its “Coming Soon” (Fall 2018) list.

Click here to go to NON’s Poplar Lake listing now.

Poplar Lake is a prequel to my 2015 novel, A Person of Letters, with which it shares two characters – the narrator Jake, and his girlfriend Genny.  Here’s a synopsis of the book:

Jake’s fallen hard for Genny—and now he’s bringing her home to meet the family. On the long trip to the prairies, and as he tours her around town, he amuses her with anecdotes of his childhood, and regales her with stories about the town’s founding (on land stolen from the Cree) and of the scoundrels and visionaries who shaped it. Yet he’s careful what he tells her. There are things he doesn’t want to acknowledge, even to himself. Genny, though, can see he’s hiding something, and is determined to uncover the secret that’s tearing him apart.

Poplar Lake is “a darkly satiric novel about families and relationships and the day-to-day lies that sustain them, a tragicomedy rich with yearning, heartbreak, and love.”

Stay tuned. More news as it becomes available!

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Cover Concepts for Poplar Lake

 

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Some time ago, my friend, artist Andrew Judd, produced sketches inspired by his reading of my novel Poplar Lake (which will be released this fall).  Poplar Lake is “a darkly satiric novel about families and relationships and the day-to-day lies that sustain them,” set in a small prairie town with its own dark and checkered past. Andrew drew on his reading, and our conversations, to produce the evocative images shown above.

At that time, I was considering publishing Poplar Lake myself, and these drawings would have been refined and worked up further until one of them evolved, under Andrew’s sure hand, into the book’s cover illustration. And then, in mid-2017, Vancouver’s Now or Never (NON) Publishing accepted Poplar Lake for publication in 2018. NON is currently hard at work on editorial, layout and graphic design. They will produce a cover image for their forthcoming edition in due course.

Poplar Lake, the book, covers a lot of territory, and Poplar Lake, the (fictional) town, is more than a prairie whistle stop, but they are both undeniably of and about the Canadian west. Andrew’s images capture superbly the stark grandeur of the book’s setting and the isolation of its characters.  I’m pleased to share them with the world.

Whenever I’ve posted anything about Poplar Lake I’ve used an elegantly minimalist image produced by another good friend, designer and artist Jana Pavlasek. It (below) will remain my go-to image for a little while longer, until NON completes its art work for the cover.  I’ll post that image when it becomes available.

Thanks to both Andrew and Jana for their unstinting help with these images.

Poplar Lake - Placeholder Cover

Persons of the Tour

 

The APOL world tour officially ended last month. The tour, in support of my satiric novel A Person of Letters, touched down on six continents and in dozens of countries. “APOL” was an anthropomorphic version of my book, its persona that of a louche, narcissistic huckster and lush. Needless to say, this was a figment of my imagination, as were all of APOL’s tour adventures.  Yet the photos that accompanied each post were real, taken with great forbearance and good humour by many generous travelers and friends.

A number of these people posed with the book themselves in some exotic locale. Others posed with it when they got home. To all those pictured here, and to everyone who sent me photos from around the world, thank you for sharing you suitcase with A Person of Letters.  It’s been fun.

The tour lasted two years, and all one hundred instalments can be found in sequence on the tour archive here.  It’s in reverse order, last to first, so it requires a lot of page-downing to get to the beginning. I will post the tour in its entirety in proper sequence, start to finish, as soon as I figure out how to do it. So much to do, so little time…

For updates on my forthcoming book, Poplar Lake, please check in here or at my Facebook Author Page.

The Tour Ends

APOL - Bus 2

I’ve Been Everywhere, claimed Hank Snow, and in APOL’s case, it’s true. APOL’s tour was from the start a whimsical  piece of performance art. APOL’s persona and adventures are all (Spoiler Alert!) products of my fevered imagination; yet the photos I’ve posted weekly for the last two years were all real. The book really has been in all those places—thanks to its many fixers, enablers, friends, and fellow travellers; that is, thanks to many of you.

As Nelly Furtado once sang, All Good Things Come to an End. And so my effort to document APOL’s world tour ends now. This is my last official tour post. There will be a few additional housekeeping posts tagged to the tour, particularly to thank contributors, but I’m turning now to focus on other things. Next fall, my novel Poplar Lake will be released—I’m very excited about that. And I have several other projects underway. In due course I’ll post about Poplar Lake and other developments. Please check in from time to time, either here or on Facebook or Twitter, to stay in touch.

Although my weekly dispatches are ending, the APOL tour bus continues to roll. APOL is still on the move, somewhere Out There, headed for places and readers yet unreached. Godspeed, little blue book!

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which, in January 2016, began a global book tour without me (with a post-modernist wink and nod to magical realism). Every week for two years I’ve posted a dispatch from some near or distant tour stop detailing APOL’s quixotic (mis)adventures. Find them all in sequence on this tour archive or on my Facebook Author Page.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

 

Canada’s Favourite Season

APOL - Toronto, Leafs 1

Home for the Holidays, because ’tis the Season. Hockey that is. To mark the NHL’s one hundredth anniversary, and the recent hundredth stop on its world tour, APOL performed a pop-up this week at a Maple Leafs game at the Air Canada Centre. It was suitably attired in the home colours.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a post-modernist wink and nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

Open Content and Star Wars

Wikipedia edits on Star Wars - The Last Jedi

Just to illustrate the pros and cons of Wikipedia, here is how para 3 of the article on The Last Jedi read this morning, and again a half hour later.

I use Wikipedia all the time. It’s a really useful general resource, and I donate every year to the Foundation. Still, let’s acknowledge its limitations. Its open content status means it can be manipulated by anybody in the short-term.

There is no substitute for diligent, independent research based on multiple sources. In other words, get thee to a good old-fashioned library.

In the Heart of America

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APOL was in Chicago this week, ostensibly on tour, although dispatches received by its grumpy author suggest little actual work was accomplished. APOL is known to be easily distracted, and there is much to distract the ADHD-prone in Chicago. The Midwestern burg is known by many names—the Windy City, Chi-Town, Second City, the City of Big Shoulders among them. Perhaps the most apt of Chicago’s monikers is “the Heart of America,” for the city has long had an outsized creative and cultural influence on the United States and the world at large.

Route 66 begins in Chicago. The Ferris wheel was invented there. Ferris Bueller spent his day off there. The zipper was invented there. Walt Disney was born there. Hugh Hefner started Playboy there. Ebony began there. The deep-dish pizza was invented there. So was the vacuum cleaner, and spray paint, and the Twinkie. The first-ever baton-twirling contest was held there. The world’s first skyscraper was built there, as was the first air-conditioned office building. The first blood bank was created there, and the first mail order business.

As Frank Sinatra liked to croon, “My Kind of Town, Chicago Is.”  (Yoda-like, Frank was.) Interestingly, “My Kind of Town” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1964 for best song. It lost to “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins, a film produced by, yes, Chicago’s own Walt Disney.

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a post-modernist wink and nod to magical realism). Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page, and read about all of APOL’s (mis)adventures in sequence on this tour archive.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.