APOL In Sunny Cartagena

APOL - Cartegena 1

APOL’s quirky tour has landed in Colombia to follow in the footsteps of magical realism’s godfather, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Gabo, as he was known, first arrived in Cartagena as a student, defying pressure from his father to study law, to become a writer instead.  This makes Garcia Marquez something of a hero to APOL, an admirer of persons of letters above all others.

APOL arrived with high hopes for a breakout in the Spanish language market. “I won’t be lost in translation,” it assured a local publisher.  Later APOL was sighted at Cartagena’s plaza Santo Domingo, cozily enveloped in the embrace of sculptor Fernando Botero’s magnificent Beatriz. “I am SO over Vicky,” it was heard to mutter.

While his book enjoys its eclectic world tour, APOL’s envious author subsists on second hand news, corny puns, and literary allusions. Did the Maytag repairman entertain himself thus?

Note: “APOL” is the anthropomorphic version of my satirical novel A Person of Letters, which has gone on tour without me (with a wink and a 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.

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March 24: The Ottawa Women’s Canadian Club

OWCC - program

On March 24th I will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Ottawa Women’s Canadian Club at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier.

The OWCC is a century-old service organization dedicated to public service, culture, and international understanding. Every month it hosts a luncheon and invites a speaker to address its members on a topical issue. I’m honoured to be included on this spring’s program, which includes distinguished Canadians such as journalist Rosemary Thompson, former Senator Sharon Carstairs, and former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. I will be speaking about writing and publishing in the digital age and reflecting on my own influences and experience as a writer.

For updates, follow my Facebook Author Page.

APOL Sighted in Okanagan

APOL - Vernon

After its tumultuous breakup with Vicky in Honolulu, the heart-broken APOL retreated to parts unknown. Unknown, that is, until Valentine’s Day, when it was spotted in Canada’s Okanagan Valley (wine country, of course), pining like a Harlequin at the end of a dock. The moody manuscript was gazing out at frigid Kalamalka Lake, all alone and crooning along to a current hit. “Hello from the other side,” it warbled, its plaintive first-person voice echoing the length of the valley. To observers, APOL seemed dangerously close to the edge.

But this book is not one to be shelved for long. After a few days of rest APOL bounced back and resolved to reboot its tour, setting out immediately to promote itself in local bookstores. It returned late in the day, having found none. “Sign of the times,” it mumbled, its mood again dark. It repaired to the dock where, after nightfall, someone (never identified) was heard belting out a passable rendition of Nate Rateliff’s “SOB”.

Next morning, the hard-driving APOL was gone (apparently back on tour) and Jack Daniels was found floating in the lake.

A note to readers: APOL is the anthropomorphic version of my novel A Person of Letters, gone walkabout without its author. (A wink and a tilt of the hat here to magical realism.) Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page. For information about A Person of Letters, go to Martin Scribler Media.

APOL-ha Aloha

APOL - Hawaii, Waikiki on Oahu 1

The APOL tour has swept ashore in Hawaii where the book was spotted hitching up Diamond Head with an accommodating hiker. Returning to Waikiki, APOL closed down the Sheraton’s Rumfire Bar then lingered on a table in the lobby with a Victoria Secret catalogue, the two seeming on very friendly terms. Again next morning, they were observed canoodling on a beach towel, reminiscent of Lancaster and Kerr in the famous beach scene in From Here to Eternity, although both were careful to avoid the surf.

The steamy affair was not to last. That very afternoon APOL discovered Ms Secret poolside, scantily clad and in the grasp of a newly-arrived GQ. There are reports of a clash between the rival romancers in which one or both got dunked in the whirlpool. Whatever the truth, APOL was seen that night boarding a redeye for the mainland, looking blue and visibly pulped. Observers believe the party-hard playbook is headed for rehab, hoping to dry out once and for all.

The book on which From Here to Eternity was based – call it FH2E for convenience – was author James Jones’s first published novel. The parallel with APOL’s own status as a first novel has led to buzz that the Oahu dustup was a publicity stunt, and that A Person of Letters film deal is in the works.

The book’s befuddled author can neither confirm nor deny the rumour, having, it seems, lost the narrative.

A note to readers: APOL is the anthropomorphic version of my novel A Person of Letters, gone walkabout without its author. (A wink and a tilt of the hat here to magical realism.) Follow APOL’s quixotic world tour here or on my Facebook Author Page.  For information about the book, go to Martin Scribler Media.

Singapore Sightings

APOL Singapore, LesleyA reading, Sands in bkgrd

The latest APOL sighting comes from Singapore, where the book landed to enjoy the lunar new year and a break from the rigours of touring. However, it soon caused a ruckus at the Marina Bay Sands casino and left in a huff – yet another sign that the niceties of its global tour are wearing thin on the testy tome.

When Sands publicists spotted APOL in their lobby they judged the book by its cover and offered it a VIP tour. The Marina Bay Sands, they crowed, is the world’s most expensive standalone casino. It boasts theaters, convention facilities, a skating rink, a canal. Its three hotel towers (shown behind APOL and a member of its entourage) are connected by an 1100 foot roof terrace which has the world’s longest (490 ft) elevated swimming pool with a capacity of 376,500 gallons and a 478 foot infinity edge–

“The book store?” APOL interrupted. It has a head for numbers but it’s on a book tour, after all.

Not really our demographic, the tome was told. But our Shoppes cover a million square feet and comprise more than 300 stores and luxury boutiques. Need a watch? Some Prada? Armani? There are two crystal pavilions. A nightly multi-media extravaganza. The casino itself boasts 1000 gaming tables and 1400 slot machines–

“Oh GAG me with a baccarat paddle,” shouted APOL, silencing the guide. “Get me out of here,” it told its handler. It was later spotted in a more amenable mood at the Long Bar at Ruffles, the historic watering hole favoured by fellow literarians Hemingway and Maugham, and the birthplace of the Singapore Sling. APOL was reading from itself to anyone who would listen.

A note to readers: APOL is the anthropomorphic version of my novel A Person of Letters, gone walkabout without its author. (A wink and a tilt of the hat here to magical realism.) Check in here or follow my Facebook Author Page for future reports on APOL’s quixotic and unpredictable world tour.

Hello from Harvard Yard

APOL - Harvard 2

This week APOL breezed into the Boston area where it was spotted in Cambridge on a ramble around the storied Harvard campus, in the course of which it visited the offices of the Harvard Review, the Harvard Crimson, and the Harvard Lampoon, shilling for an interview or perhaps a review.  Later, it was posing for a publicity still in the Yard with the statue of John Harvard when a group of prospective freshmen came by on a tour. Their guide informed them that students traditionally rub the toe of John Harvard’s left foot for luck.

This has put quite a sheen on the shoe, yet the “tradition” is a hoax of recent origin. APOL knows a lot about hoaxes (in fact it is a recognized source on the subject), and overhearing this codswallop, could not resist setting the record straight. “If you want good luck,” it told the impressionable youths, “forget the founder’s foot. Way better to kiss my cover instead.” Always a charmer, APOL made itself available to those of all genders (it is open-minded to a fault); but the book was definitely on to a value proposition. Harvard undergrad tuition runs US$45,000 a year. A copy of APOL retails for just US$15.99.

At the end of the day, it was back On The Road for the tour. APOL was last seen on US-3 headed north for Lowell to pay homage to hepcat Jack Kerouac

A note to readers: APOL is the anthropomorphic version of my novel A Person of Letters, gone walkabout without its author. (A wink and a tilt of the hat here to magical realism.) Check in here or follow my Facebook Author Page for future reports on APOL’s quixotic and unpredictable world tour.

APOL visits Dubai’s Burj Khalifa

AOPL, Dubai - Birj

The Person of Letters book tour has touched down in Dubai. APOL was sighted this week mugging at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, at 828 metres the world’s tallest building. The book later visited the tower’s Sky Level observation deck, which costs 500 dirhams – approx. US$135 or 4 bbl of oil. Afterwards, it visited the gift shop where it tried to slip onto a bookshelf but was quickly removed and shown the exit.

Perhaps this is why APOL was not enthralled with Dubai, its many luxury outlets and malls, its varied consumer culture. The emirate’s burning mid-day heat may also have been a factor. “What is it, 451 Fahrenheit here?” it demanded at one point. It was looking for a bookstore at the time. APOL looked rumpled and somewhat bent, definitely not in a satiric mood. “Geez,” it asked one of its handlers, “where can you get a drink in this burj?”

APOL has gained a reputation as a Bad Boy of Books on its present tour, not a good thing in a country where Orwell’s iconic Animal Farm has been banned for several years. Apparently, anthropomorphic pigs don’t fly in the Emirates.

A note to readers: APOL is the anthropomorphic version of my novel A Person of Letters, gone walkabout without its author. (A wink and a tilt of the hat here to magical realism.)