Friday, October 23, 2009

Indie Books

I attended the `At the Mike' readings in Victoria this week. I was most impressed by Des Kennedy's vigorous reading and re-confirmed our old acquaintance. The reading was organised by Brindle and Glass, an independent publisher. I know this publisher gets support from the hand of government, namely the Canada Council. But there are other independent publishers who survive, even in these harsh economic times, without government assistance. We tend to admire, for instance, an independent film maker who finances a film from his/her own resources, but the independent writer who finances getting their book in print is denigrated. It is extremely difficult to even have the book reviewed. There is a stigma in the world to independent book productions. We don't refer to independently produced moves, or music as `vanity films' or `vanity CD's'. Why have we allowed this to refer only to books?

I am therefore pleased to announce that a book I help to distribute, `Something to Ponder' - independently produced, to the severe detriment of the author's bank balance, has just become a winner of the US Book News prize in the eastern religion category. `Something to Ponder' is a 21st century reflection and intepretation of the Te Ching by Colin Mallard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Diamond River Books - The Book Blog

The Age of Stupid is an engaging movie I saw this week. Thanks to a screening by the Cowichan Citizens Coalition in Duncan. It stars, according to Steven Spielberg, the best actor in the world. He's talking of Pete Postlethwaite. So what is this movie? I'd describe it as similar to Al Gore's `Inconvenient Truth' with more emotion and less statistics, but it's even more disquieting. If the The Age of Stupid shows us a planet in peril, Wade Davis was in Victoria last week and spoke of people in peril. Wade Davis is the Massey Lecturer for 2009, and although he spoke at length at the University of Victoria, the audience heard a condensed version of the entire Massey Lecture series, as UVIC isn't on the official Massey lecture circuit. The Audience also got a signed copy of Wade Davis' Massey lecture book, `The Wayfinders'. I've been a follower of Wade Davis for many years. I'd just finished reading his first book, the Serpent and the Rainbow, (back in 1986) when he came into a paddle sports store in Victoria where I worked. I have to take some responsibility for selling Wade a traditional red cedar and canvas canoe which he wanted for his home waters in the Stikine Valley of northern British Columbia.

I was at a regular meeting of PEAVI (Professional Editors of Vancouver Island) yesterday evening and listened with rapt attention as mystery author, Nicola Furlong, motivated me with a talk and discussion on E-publishing. In addition to the potential of e-books, she encouraged all the attending editors to set up their own blog. That's why I am writing this. I have my own book, The Mercedes Variation in print, and as a publisher for Diamond River Books, I also have other books in print;
The Sunset Watcher by a local author, Barry Proud - he lives in Victoria. Barry gleaned much of the material for his book from his many years working on development projects in central and South America.
A very successful book is The Polski Affair,
an engaging holocaust novel based upon original research by Abel Shulman on the Hotel Polski's role in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. It's a really great read. Technically it's historical fiction, but it reads like a suspense novel. The tension is real! For a very good in depth review of this book please visit Jew Wishes