Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beverly Stone: Provocative

Meet Beverley Stone, all-around awesome person. For the next few weeks, she'll be blogging about life as an author, with the same warm and honest humanity that defines her novel No Beautiful Shore. Settle in and enjoy a peek into the mind of a very talented writer.

Narcissism and the Single Novelist
II. Provocative

No updo.

First of all, I have to say thanks to Bryan for enhancing my credibility by posting the only glam shot I have ever had taken with my hair “swept into an updo,” directly above the blog entry where I say I never do such things. In case you are wondering, I got myself all titivated off (as my people say) to attend the Book Lovers Ball, 2008. I decided that I would wear my vintage 1960’s cocktail fit-out and go as Holly Golightly. However, upon examining my wrinkles in the mirror, I realized that I couldn’t pull it off, even if I could find one of those fancy cigarette holders. I decided to go as Gladys Golightly, Holly’s older sister, who had her own money for the powder room, and would never, ever have abandoned Cat to the streets of NYC. Gladys -- practical, responsible, and unfairly excluded from the story by that Capote fellow. Perhaps I will write my own novel from Glad’s point-of-view: Breakfast at Zellers.

Bryan has given me what I think are some pretty confining terms for this blog. I have been told that I can neither swear not slur others, but otherwise the sky is the limit. Well, fahooie on Cormorant Books, I say.

See that was provocative. I ask myself, why am I like this? Where does this desire to show people that they are not the boss of me come from? I am four-years old on some fundamental emotional level. Saying or doing things to chafe at people’s comfort level is not a wining quality in an employee, spouse or blog writer. I do, as a friend of mine pointed out, really enjoy saying things to bother people.

It’s not that I set out to be an irritant, but it is a gift. I read back what I have written sometimes, and I think, ‘My Lord, Beverley. Don’t be writing that.’ (read this statement as if it was said by your mom, because I am channeling mine here). It’s not that I start with that goal in mind, but my characters make some unconventional, uncomfortable choices, as does Janice in No Beautiful Shore. Unlike a character in a Hollywood romance, she stays with the man she doesn’t love, mostly because she is scared. I think that is what people do in real life – they are too scared to make changes.

So when I am not consumed by the black dogs of doubt, I am overwhelmed by the desire to say things that shock people. I’d apologize, but that would be insincere.

I like being a bit of an excrement disturber. Notice that I did not say the vulgar word for excrement that starts with an “s”, and I promise you, I would not, even if my mouth was full of it. I am all about colouring inside the lines. And I never, ever wear my hair in an updo either.

Want more on Bev? Visit her website at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Online Previews

In addition to posting downloadable files for those who want to check out first chapter samples of our books, we've now also put up online browser-based previews for anyone who doesn't like to deal with PDFs.

Check them out!

Underground Trailer

In stores soon:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beverley Stone: Narcissism and the Single Novelist Part I

Meet Beverley Stone, all-around awesome person. For the next few weeks, she'll be blogging about life as an author, with the same warm and honest humanity that defines her novel No Beautiful Shore. Settle in and enjoy a peek into the mind of a very talented writer.

Narcissism and the Single Novelist
I. Doubtful


When Bryan asked me to blog for Cormorant, I cringed and said, maybe later, very busy, etc. Unlike the authors that Mr. Harper knows, I do not go to galas each night of the week and spend my days getting my hair swept into an updo and my nails painted chartreuse. I work in an office with nice people, nine to five, Monday to Friday. Not much happens in my daily life to blog about.

But as a writer, I like to think that if my days are outwardly boring; I have a “rich inner life,” as the artsy types say. The thing that most people ask me about (other than is my writing autobiographical) is how does a story take form? What is happening in your head as you write? Since not much happens on the outside, I thought I’d tell you what’s happening on the inside.

Here goes. Topic one: bone-crushing doubt.

Doubt – and I think someone else said this first – is the black lung disease of writers. The act of booting up the computer triggers it at a cellular level. I think, for me, it might be terminal.

I am working on something new and I am fighting with my doubts every step of the way. How will I find a publisher now that capitalism is on its knees, begging for handouts? Do I have anything even vaguely interesting to say? Mostly, I think that I am wasting my time and that of others – people like yourself, who might otherwise be boiling pasta or cleaning out under the bathroom sink instead of trolling online for narcissistic blogs by unknown, Canadian writers.

It takes a lot of effort to move that doubt aside some days, as it stands like a needy cat in front of your computer screen. The truth is though, it’s just not relevant to the story, so you have to make yourself chase it away. You can’t think about who will publish or who will read the story. That’s the outside world pressing in, which I think can’t be much help in an honest day’s writing.

Want more on Bev? Visit her website at

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Gift from Berlin reviewed at The Globe & Mail

This morning brings us a fantastic review of The Gift from Berlin, written by the delightful Lucette ter Borg and translated by the nicest lady on Earth, Liedewy Hawke.
Ter Borg shows great restraint with her characters, who give little away but nonetheless pose profound questions about compassion, responsibility and self-preservation. She sees no need for easy answers and doesn't try to smooth the tangles of a complicated story that spans almost a century and is weighted down by two world wars. With every page, there is a mounting sense of the things that don't get talked about.
Read the rest ...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Smokey Bear Does Not Approve

Dave Hugelschaffer, author of One Careless Moment, has gone through some pretty incredible lengths in order to research his books. You should hear the story about his visit to the morgue. Or that one time when he tried to buy explosives. I'm not making this up.

Anyways, Dave has posted an awesome photoessay on his site detailing his research into forest fire arson devices. And by research, I mean he actually built the devices used by the antagonists of his mysteries, to see if they would work.

Don't try this at home. For realz.

That, folks, is commitment. Read the article here!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Preview: Underground

by June Hutton

Sixteen-year-old Albert Fraser believes that serving in the First World War will make him a man; but after a shell blast buries him alive in a trench, he instead finds himself withouat a sense of self or purpose. Spending the next few years on the roads and rails, taking whatever jobs he can, Albert seems destined to be a constant wanderer, until an exhibition of Picasso's Guernica shows him where his life went wrong, and what he must do to set it right.

A tribute to the outsider, to the underdog, to those who endure and those who long for something more, June Hutton's stunning debut reminds us that every road has a destination - but only for those with the strength to follow it to the end.

Read the preview!

Watch the trailer!