2017

Inside Dundurn with Margaret

Posted on December 21 by Kyle in News

If you’re looking for someone who enjoys talking books, you’re going to want to meet Margaret, our director of sales and marketing. She’s responsible for the company’s overall sales performance and marketing efforts, as well as overseeing a team of nine other people. Of everyone on the marketing team, she’s been at Dundurn the longest, starting in August 2007.

And that’s just her recent experience; she’s been in the book business for a long time, over 20 years so far.

"The Showrunner has all the drama of All About Eve and the attention to detail of The Devil Wears Prada. Moritsugu nails the California sun-drenched anorexic ethos. She rivals Nathanael West’s fabulous descriptions of Hollywood where the hopefuls become twisted by their own ambitions."

Catherine Gildiner, bestselling author of Too Close to the Falls and Coming Ashore

Picture this: you just separated from the other parent of your children. The foundation of your life has crumbled, and you face a lifetime still connected to the person associated with the most intense sadness, hurt, and anger you have ever felt. That’s how co-parenting starts for many. That’s how it started for me.

Creating a new life which supported my children and me while surviving tidal waves of emotion was hard and lonely.

An Intern’s Quickly Growing Reading List

Posted on December 7 by Kyle

This likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but people in publishing love books. Being around books all the time makes cutting down on your to-read list really difficult. Since starting at Dundurn in September, I’ve spotted countless books on our shelves and website that have peaked my attention, making my mental reading list roughly twice its regular size.

Here are just a few of Dundurn’s books that I’ve added to that quickly growing list (and for the record, yes, a few of these are definitely being judged by their beautiful covers, at least at first glance):

Accountability Rising

Posted on December 5 by Art Horn in Non-fiction

Over the sound of his straining engine, a pilot really did shout that I should throw my two boxes of personal items out the small side door of his two-seater aircraft. The idea was that we were going to crash because the plane was too heavy and there was nothing but forest beneath us. Even during takeoff he voiced his concern about the weight of my baggage, but once we were airborne there was no longer a question. Perhaps we shouldn’t have taken off in the first place.

The 4 Year Olympian Book Trailer!

Posted on December 1 by Kyle in News, Non-fiction

Improbable, heart-wrenching, and uplifting, Jeremiah Brown’s journey from novice rower to Olympic silver medallist in under four years is a story about chasing a goal with everything you’ve got.

After nearly being jailed at age seventeen and becoming a father at nineteen, Jeremiah Brown manages to grow up into a responsible young adult. But while juggling the demands of a long-term relationship, fatherhood, mortgage payments, and a nine-to-five banking career, he feels something is missing. A new goal captures his imagination: what would it take to become an Olympian?

Recipe For Hate is a work of fiction – but, these days, the events it describes may feel very real.

Far Right racists in positions of power. Violent clashes in our streets. Extremism being treated as virtue. All of those things take place in Recipe For Hate, a novel set in the late Seventies. But they are happening on a near-daily basis in 2017, too.

Dundurn Press is pleased to announce that Dr. Oronhyatekha: Security, Justice, and Equality by co-authors Keith Jamieson and Michelle A. Hamilton has been shortlisted for the 2017 Speaker’s Book Award. The book is one of 9 shortlisted titles, which can be viewed here.

At Dundurn we publish many series, mostly in the mystery category (though we have also developed quite a few in other categories, such as the immensely popular Weird Stories Gone Wrong books for kids and the political science series Point of View to name a couple). Mystery is a genre that has great potential for series development, as its devoted readers often expect their favourite characters to return for more sleuthing for years to come.

Eleanor Wish got gunned down in Hong Kong.

Eleanor was the ex-wife of Harry Bosch, the LAPD detective at the centre of Michael Connelly’s absorbing series of crime novels, and though her murder was hardly the typical fate of the wives and girlfriends of homicide detectives and private eyes in crime fiction, it’s still true that many women, maybe most, who hook up with sleuth figures don’t find especially happy endings in their relationships.

No, this isn’t a real-estate blog, but the familiar mantra is just as relevant to fiction, where the setting can be as central to a novel as one of the characters. As a reader, I love books that transport me to foreign settings, whether they conjure up memories of places I’ve been before or introduce me to somewhere new. And I’m far from alone. There’s a reason writers like Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, and Mark Billingham are so popular with North American readers, just as Michael Connolly and Louise Penny are beloved in Europe.

Randy Richmond’s lively history of the City of Orillia has won an Orillia Museum of Art & History Award. The illustrated history book The Orillia Spirit won in the category Historical Publications and/or Research. The award was presented in a ceremony at the Museum on November 9.

Uncovering The Roma Plot

Posted on November 9 by Mario Bolduc in Mystery

After sending con artist Max O’Brien to India for his first mission (The Kashmir Trap, 2016), I wanted to use this character in a second book. I did not want to follow with a sequel, but a standalone story that would send Max in a different location. The situation of the Romani people immediately appealed to me. First of all, they originate from India and have travelled across the world for many centuries – which made a nice thematic link to The Kashmir Trap. Secondly, their fate during the Holocaust was not widely known.

We usually think that war is decided by mighty battles and often it is. In the Second World War such battles as El Alamein, Stalingrad and Midway all had decisive effects on Allied victory. However, I wanted to write the book Ten Decisions to show that if you stand back and look at the Second World War, many of the decisions that mattered most, ones which were the most far-reaching, were not always made on the battlefield.

When the Canadian federal election was called for December 17, 1917, most Canadian women west of Quebec already had the provincial vote and, in most parts of the country, they had earned the right to vote and hold municipal office. It is clear that even without the First World War the right to vote federally would soon be realized. Both major political parties were on record supporting the cause and Canadians were well aware of the international currents promoting women’s rights.

Mary Beacock Fryer 1929 - 2017

Posted on October 31 by Kyle

We're deeply saddened to share the passing of Dundurn's first author, Mary Beacock Fryer.

Mrs. Fryer was born in Brockville in 1929. Her love of history showed as a young woman and she eventually graduated from The University of Toronto with an Honours Degree in Historical Geography.

She worked as a town planner, instructor, and map curator before moving on to become a dedicated author in 1974.

The human-to-animal connection is a topic that never ceases to fascinate me, and one that I explore in all my novels. In connecting with animals, my characters find strength and courage, and feel less alone as they face their problems. Just because animals don’t speak our language doesn’t make them stupid, and it’s our job to translate.

          In the Saddle Creek series, I go one step further. Alberta Simms, nicknamed Bird, hears what animals say very clearly, and transmits thoughts telepathically.

A Day of Mystery

Posted on October 23 by Michelle

North America's biggest mystery convention, Bouchercon, came to Toronto in September! Our crime fiction authors came from across the country to showcase their fine books and had we had a blast with them when they visited us in our office.

Inside Dundurn with Lorena

Posted on October 19 by Kyle

“Ask me anything, I’m an open book,” says our production assistant, Lorena Gonzalez Guillen, “Just make me sound smart.”

Well, that won’t be difficult.  Lorena is one of the go-to people on our design and production team. You want to know what stage of design a book is in? Well, you should check the schedule, but Lorena is happy to help. She does, after all, do a little bit of everything on our design team.

Two Dundurn authors have been nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading Awards in the Red Maple Category—Jennifer Dance for her novel Hawk, and David Poulsen for his novel And Then The Sky Exploded. Both authors have been nominated previously for their novels Red Wolf (Dance) and Old Man (Poulsen).

Purple Palette for Murder is the eighth book in the Meg Harris Mystery series, which began with the publication of the first mystery, Death’s Golden Whisper. When I started out on this journey with Meg, I had no idea where she would take me. I wasn’t even certain if it was going to be a series. But by the time I finished writing Death’s Golden Whisper, I knew I wanted to continue with Meg and see where life led her.

Could it be mere coincidence that the same year Dundurn is celebrating its 45th anniversary is also the year Daniel Rotsztain's A Colourful History of Toronto is being published? Perhaps not!

So when we had the idea for a piece of art depicting the building that's housed Dundurn Press for the last decade, there was only one artist we had in mind. The one who just made an entire book on historic sites in Toronto.

The scene: Banff National Park. It was grey and cold and early November. With a light snowfall hinting at the coming winter, we followed an unkindness of ravens to the bull elk lying only metres from the Trans-Canada Highway. It was on its side, horribly mutilated, and it was clearly dead from something other than natural causes. When my warden partner and I found the bullet hole in the elk’s shoulder, we were silent.

An Intern’s First Festival

Posted on October 10 by Kyle

(because you can’t go to Word on the Street and not talk about it.)

Starting a marketing internship in September means a lot of things, from working with a very full fall list (so many amazing books!), to getting to participate in one of Canada’s biggest literary festival there is, Word on the Street. As my first Word on the Street, I was super excited to not only go, but to help out with it as well. And for anyone thinking about going, or wondering what it’s all about, here’s a handy little guide from your trusty Dundurn intern.

On Writing an Art Book

Posted on October 10 by Stephen Grant

The thought of writing an art book, of any description, never really occurred to me until Julian Porter came along. I had known Julian for years, of course, as one does practising law in one community for any length of time. But when Dundurn published Porter’s 149 Paintings You Really Need to See in Europe, I thought, what a great way to share one’s enthusiasm and knowledge. Still, I really didn’t think anything more of my own involvement.

As I’ve done interviews over the past month, one of the most frequently asked questions is: what prompted you to write this book? For me, music is the elixir of life. Without it, I don’t know what I would do. My iPod with more than 83,000 songs is my constant companion. It’s there when I am high and when I’m low. Nothing beats up a sombre mood better than music. By the same token, there’s no greater feeling than cranking up the stereo and singing along to one of my favourite songs.

#BookFaceFriday: A Why-For and How-To

Posted on October 2 by Kyle

has been a growing trend among booksellers and libraries for the last few years. It gained popularity in 2015 with a couple articles by the Guardian and the New York Times. A customer shared one of the articles to our facebook page, and we thought, “That could be fun!” I had just taken a course on social media for small business and was looking for ways to improve our presence online. 

I was raised in S.W. London at a time when that area was a cradle for the young British music scene. Pioneering night clubs such as Eel Pie Island and the Ealing Jazz club, and later, the Crawdaddy club, provided a nurturing environment for the likes of Alexis Korner, Cyril Davis (the godfathers of the early British scene), and legendary bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.

It’s an exciting time to be having a baby. Even if you, yourself, are not the one having the baby. I discovered this over the last year as I wrote my newest book, Green Mama-to-Be: Creating a Happy, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Pregnancy. Some of the research is so new that the studies are literally just now being published. They are changing the very idea of what we thought to be true about the nature of human life. They are also fundamentally hopeful concepts: perhaps our health — or lack thereof — is not as set in stone as we once believed.

 

From September 14 to September 17, I traveled around Nova Scotia, talking about my new book, Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting. The book examines how 20 sets of royal parents from medieval times to modern times raises their children, from fending off Viking attacks to fending off paparazzi.

Dundurn Behind the Covers

Posted on September 22 by Kyle in Non-fiction, Teens

Three of the most recent covers to come out of the Dundurn design department are Sadia, The 4 Year Olympian, and The Teen&;s Guide to Debating and Public Speaking. These books all feature illustrated covers but are aimed at vastly different audiences. Here are the upcoming books and what our designers had to say.

After I spent years interviewing and studying serial killers, I felt drained. Many people have asked me how it felt to be in-person with murderers. When I was interviewing them, my professional skills took over, but I felt the effect of my exposure to some of the darkest parts of humanity in my personal hours. Researching their crimes made me feel haunted. While what serial killers have done is part of our reality, they only represent a very small portion of the human race.

Born in a manse in Molesworth, Ontario, in 1884, John Paris Bickell would overcome family tragedy to become one of Canada’s true renaissance men of the first half of the twentieth century. JPB or ‘Smiling Jack’, as he was known to many – was fatherless at seven, owned his own brokerage firm at twenty-three and was a millionaire before he turned thirty. As one of the most important industrialists in Canadian history, J.P. Bickell cut an enormous swath across a nation that he helped to shape.

In Canada, weather is always on our minds. Mother Nature is a constant companion, sometimes charming, sometimes atrocious, but never taken for granted. When two Canadians greet each other, the first words out of their mouths, often before hello, are a commentary on the weather. “Lovely day, isn’t it?” “Isn’t this awful?” “Do you believe this snow?”

The Magic of a Backstory

Posted on September 11 by Steve Burrows in Mystery

The spotlight shines on the magician’s stage. In the box lies a lady, her torso sliced in two by a shiny, razor-sharp blade. In the audience, breathing stops. Beads of sweat trickle down temples, palm are damp. Can she have survived her ordeal? Is she still alive? Suddenly, the magician speaks: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait a while before you find out what happened.”

Before the mid-twentieth century, if you’d asked someone to describe a quintessentially Canadian story, they might’ve used the words “historical” and “wilderness”. That’s because many of the popular Canadian books from this period — such as Wacousta (1832) or The Man From Glengarry (1901) — followed characters contending with natural forces and historical contexts. These kinds of books created a mythology around a so-called Canadian identity: a mythology rooted in the natural landscape and a particular version of the country’s history.

An Internship to Remember

Posted on August 30 by Kyle

I knew this was coming, and I’ve dreaded having to write this post, knowing that it will truly mark the end of my marketing internship here at Dundurn. Throughout my time here, I have gained a unique and insightful outlook of the marketing side of the publishing industry, and I cannot be happier. I’ve been a part of so many different projects, from helping to organize the Deer Life blog tour to mailing out sales promotions.

Many of the demands we make of forest managers, if practiced, will ensure that the future forest will not be what we want or need.

For seven decades I have been a part of the eastern Canadian boreal forest. I grew up exploring and examining the forest of central Newfoundland Island. Despite living in a logging community and spending some summer vacations with my Dad in logging camps I disapproved of the way the forest was being harvested by the pulp and paper company that managed the land.

It’s funny how one or two statements uttered in a casual conversation can lead to the genesis of an entire book project. I suppose that’s both the curse and joy of those who continually court the writing muse. Everything is fruit for a story or writing project. In fact, I find that there are days where I might often toss out as many as a half dozen ideas.

“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question I am often asked.

I’ve always found it challenging to answer that, because, for me, the answer is simple.

Everywhere.

It was 1975. The Vietnam War had ended and the United States had been defeated. That part of the story most people know.

Less well-known is that in 1975, all along the Canadian U.S. border, U.F.O.s were everywhere. There were large number of sightings in Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

Besides all the mistakes I make, what I most have in common with my character Stephen Noble in The Artsy Mistake Mystery is that I walk dogs a lot. Usually it’s my Jackapoo Mortie that I stroll with between the scenes that I write, but sometimes it’s my granddog Worf and any guest dogs, like Holly the Bichonpoo. I walk through our neighbourhood, which means I know the dogs and their owners in my community. At least I know the dogs’ names—Spike, Diesel, Akita, Princess, Bailey, Niko etc. —what they like to eat and whether they like to play.

Circumstances surrounding any writing about Glenn Gould these days can best be explained if I point to what happened one Saturday afternoon years back in St. Peter's Anglican Church in Erindale, the ever-morphing suburb where I grew up. For a pre-Christmas event for children to help explain the meaning of the season, a parishioner known to play a little piano was asked to provide accompaniment on few hymns.

Evangeline, Pelagie, and La Sagouine are all Acadian symbols — fictional characters who represent the history and culture of the Acadian people. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Antonine Maillet wrote about Acadian characters, inspired by the true story of the Acadian people of eastern Canada. This rich literary tradition of telling the Acadian story has not often included actual historical characters. Until now!

All of us writers have voices in our heads.  I’m fairly sure of this.  In my novel, Thin Places, Declan is used to having the traditional imaginary male friends that have stayed with him since childhood. But now he is hearing the voice of a girl, an Irish girl. And he is certain it is not coming from his imagination.

Rebecca is real. Soon he not only hears her but he sees her as well — even though no one else can. His life is going nowhere at home and he knows he must solve this riddle of this girl in his head. He must go to Ireland and find her.

Those formulating puns during conversation take pride in believing it an intentional act. Recently, I recognized one shortly before the listener noticed the double meaning. I concluded that the pun arose from the subconscious mind. One doesn’t go through all the words and phrases in one’s vocabulary before speaking; one talks extemporaneously. The words and sentences flow out.

Canyoneering involves roped-up, wetsuited adventurers descending waterfalls and sculpted canyons. It’s a sport so heart-stopping and photogenic that when I saw a spread of it in a magazine, I declared, “This is the topic of my next adventure novel!”

Tracker’s Canyon is my seventeenth young-adult adventure novel, and I still get excited when I discover a new so-called “extreme sport.” It gives me a chance to research it in-depth and meet its athletes, maybe even try it out. Why do all my novels involve outdoor adventure and sports?

Capital punishment, or the execution of someone found guilty of a crime, dates back to the arrival of European explorers on Canadian shores. Historically, punishment for serious crimes included hanging, death by firing squad, and burning at the stake. But by the time the Dominion of Canada was established in 1867, one method was available for the capital crimes of murder, rape, and treason:  hanging.

#InsideDundurn with Sheila

Posted on July 19 by Kyle in News

Are you ready for a history lesson in Canadian publishing? Today we’re talking to someone who’s been in the business for a very long time, Dundurn’s manager of contracts and administrative services, Kirk Howard’s executive assistant, and our colourful resident fashionista, Sheila Douglas.

“I’ve been working for 44 years,” Sheila says, “And exactly half of that I’ve spent in publishing.”

“You boys have told a good one!” Such was the sentiment that greeted Andrew Traficante and I when we made our way to Newfoundland in support of our recently published book, A Boy from Botwood. With kind assistance from Dundurn’s Michelle Melski, our schedule permitted us to catch up with Frank Gogos, the remarkable, engaging Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum curator and author, in St. John’s and meet some terrific regional booksellers (such as the Downhome Shoppe, pictured here) who are carrying our work.

I love going to conferences. I love travelling and touring too, but there’s something about attending a conference, or any organized event that’s scheduled over an intense short period of time, in a new place, that makes life thrum in a different way. There’s a certain group of people all there for the same reason – but all with different agendas and perspectives. Some are the movers and shakers, the bigwigs, the celebrities of whatever group you are with. Their agendas are more obvious. There are things that you want, too. You schmooze, you connect, learn.

There are moments that can be called classic Orillia, and the reasons why I will always love the place.

Its leaders and ordinary citizens have always striven to make their hometown unique, and that’s led to inventions and movements ahead of their time.

But that same spirit has led to some amusing battles and derailed the ordinary achievements that other cities accomplish with less effort.

In the second edition of The Orillia Spirit: An Illustrated History, the classic Orillia moment comes with the battle to build a long-sought recreation centre.

Hello from Crime Writers of Canada

Posted on July 10 by Kyle in News

Thanks to Dundurn for giving Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) this chance to connect, especially this year when Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday, CWC will celebrate its 35th anniversary, and Bouchercon will be held in Canada too. It sounds as though it’s going to be a very Canadian year! On behalf of our more than 300 members I’d like to let you know you’ll be extremely welcome if you choose to visit us this year – at our website, by reading our work, or in person.

It’s always difficult to get everything that you want into a book. In the case of the Second Edition of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, Robin and I trailed around all over the province in order to taste beer at well over 200 breweries. We revisited the majority of the brewers who were in their second year of operation because we wanted readers to understand that there is a sharp uptick in brewing quality year over year from the point when breweries open.

As a proud Canadian citizen would like to express my sincere thanks to Canada after 66 years of coping with adversity and surviving with dignity. I was sent to join my mother in 1947 in Montreal, Quebec, as a thirteen-year-old boy. I was put out to work on the day after my arrival in Canada. My new stepfather was a Second World War veteran who wanted me to contribute to his family home. Since that time I never stopped working, or was ever unemployed in Canada. Also I have not had to use any government benefits that Canada has for its people.

2017 marks not only Canada's 150th year as a country but Dundurn's 45th year as a publisher. In honour of this, we asked our authors to describe how the Canadian identity or history influenced their work. Some went into great detail, some kept it simple. Here's what they said.

Calgary-based author of mysteries and young adult novels David A. Poulsen is a finalist in the Young Adult category for the High Plains Book Awards.  The awards were established by the Billings Public Library Board to recognize regional literary works that examine and reflect on life on the High Plains.

 

The winners will be announced at an awards banquet that is held in conjunction with the 2017 High Plains BookFest on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Each winner will receive a $500 cash prize.

 

I started school in 1956 in a one-room schoolhouse west of Wilton, Ontario, in a tiny community called Thorpe, which encompassed about five or six farms. From that moment on, my teachings about Native Studies encompassed, to my recollection, a few pages on the Iroquois and pictures of teepees and longhouses. To be a Native at that time was definitely not cool. Being designated a Native would have brought beatings, stares, and a path towards poverty because no one would hire you.

No matter where you are, any avid reader knows that it’s crucial to have a book on them at all times. How you enjoy the book, however, is crucial, so why not enjoy it with your favourite coffee? Whether it is a mid-day coffee break, or that endless “just one more chapter” promise to yourself before bed, these coffee and book pairings are perfect to suit any type of reader, and all types of coffee lovers.      
     

The Donald Grant Creighton Award 

The Donald Grant Creighton Award honours the best book of biography or autobiography highlighting life in Ontario, past or present, published in the last three years. The 2016 award went to Steve Paikin for his outstanding book, Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All, published by Dundurn.

Unless you’ve spent the past few weeks living in an internet-free cave in Afghanistan, you are probably aware of the “cultural appropriation prize” fiasco. In short, attempting to explain the expansive creativity of contemporary indigenous writers, Write magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki suggested a learned ability to appropriate. “Buffeted by history and circumstance,” he wrote, indigenous writers must borrow and engage with cultures not their own, and “so often must write from what they don’t know.” As a joke, he suggested a “cultural appropriation prize.”

Explores the history of Toronto through the final moments of the famous (and infamous) who made it their final resting place. From ancient First Nations burial mounds to the murder of Toronto’s first lightkeeper; from the rise and fall of the city’s greatest Victorian baseball star to the final days of the world’s most notorious anarchist.

Get a small visual glimpse into Adam Bunch&;s Toronto Book of the Dead with this neat infographic (right-click and save to see a bigger version)!

June 2, 2017 is the 64th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. In Season 1 of the Netflix series, The Crown, there is a dramatic scene where Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, argues that the Queen’s coronation should be shown on television so that audiences around the world could share in the event. As depicted in The Crown, there was substantial opposition to televising the coronation including skepticism from then Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Recently I was the moderator for a panel discussion that was part of Calgary’s participation in the nationwide Arthur Ellis Crime Writing awards simultaneous shortlist announcements. The topic was “Not Your Grandmother’s Whodunit.” Over the course of the discussion the panelists and I examined the changing face of crime writing over the last century.

Bringing the Funny

Posted on May 30 by Mark Sampson in Fiction

Being an author almost always means being a reader first. Before I set out on any new writing project — whether it’s the lengthy drudge of a novel, or the more abbreviated jaunt into a short story or poem — I become very cognizant of, and even go back and reread, major works written in a similar vein that came before.

Michael Hill is the author of The Mariposa Folk Festival, and the festival's unofficial historian too. Both the festival and Dundurn had some questions for Michael about writing the book and his interest in folk music's legendary roots.

Here are a few questions we asked him, and a video Q&A he did with the festival below.

Tell us about your book: What was your inspiration? Were there overarching themes you felt compelled to explore?

I was inspired to write about my tour in Afghanistan after I came home in 2006 and this resulted in the strict accounting of events and combat actions described in my first book, What the Thunder Said: Reflections of a Canadian Officer in Afghanistan (2009). This book is a war story of a logistics unit.  It is all about the “up and out” experiences of my battalion. 

At one point in Widow’s Walk, the twenty-ninth novel in Robert B. Parker’s masterful series featuring Spenser, the Boston private eye, Spenser says to another character in the book, “In all the years I’ve known you, you haven’t aged any more than I have.”

    The joke in this remark is that at the time—Widow’s Walk is a 2002 book—Spenser would have been all of seventy-two years old!

A Canadian veteran of the Second World War has been awarded France’s highest military and civic order of merit, the Legion of Honour. Murray Peden was presented with the Legion of Honour as a member of the aircrew who flew supplies to the French Forces of the Resistance.

Four children’s books have been selected by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for its twice-yearly publication of Best Books for Kids & Teens. The titles are: Everton Miles is Stranger Than Me by Philippa Dowding; In Over Her Head by Melody Fitzpatrick; Missing Piece by Robert Priest; and White Jade Tiger (second edition) by Julie Lawson.

Part of my novel, After the Bloom, is set in a decrepit boarding house in the Bloor/Lansdowne neighbourhood of Toronto. This house is inspired by an actual house I visited with my father a number of years ago – the house where he grew up. He lived there during the postwar era, after his family had been released from Japanese internment camps on the west coast (my grandmother was interned in Minidoka, Idaho, and my grandfather in Kaslo, B.C.).

Every poet from William Shakespeare to John Lennon has tried to define love. They all failed. Good. To precisely define a concept of such profundity is to trivialize and cheapen it. Such is the also the case with other notions of importance, and among them is community. The concept of community is being tested today in countries and companies and schools. Perhaps we owe it to ourselves to walk the poet’s mile toward community’s unattainable definition with the hope that the existential journey affords wisdom, or at least grace.

Dundurn Press is thrilled that four of our authors were nominated for the Arthur Ellis Awards this year! Sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada, the awards honour the best in Canadian crime, mystery, detective, and thriller literature.

We&;re happy to say that of the three awards our authors were shortlisted for, two winners emerged! Look below to see the nominees and winners!
 

Memoir of a Marketing Intern

Posted on April 24 by calyssa in News

Wow, no one told me April was almost over. That means my internship is drawing to a close, and it’s time for me to write this farewell to you, reader. Over the last four months I’ve been working behind the scenes: putting events on the website, writing press releases, and sending out newsletters, just to name a few.

Writing a non-fiction book, for me, begins with developing a clear focus on the subject and creating an outline that describes in detail the progression of the argument. But that is just the beginning. Once I finish the research and begin to write, the book takes on a life of its own. The months of immersion in a project helps to bring it alive, deepen my understanding of the subject, and breathe life into the book.

Yes, the lakes may still be ice-covered, and shrinking snowbanks might yet line the roads, but the spring season in Canada’s western mountains may be the optimal time to board one of the spectacular train excursions to explore the canyons and peaks of Canada’s finest scenery.

After all, it is the time of year when daylight extends well into the evening and busloads of tour groups have yet to clog the attractions.

#InsideDundurn with Laura

Posted on April 18 by Kyle in Interview
You can’t judge a book by its cover. That’s how the old saying goes, and it’s true. But a good cover does help you pick up that book to judge it later. That’s part of the work of the book’s designer. We’re going into our design and production team for this Inside Dundurn. Meet Laura, our Senior Designer.

Salvage by Stephen Maher has been shortlisted for Best Paperback Original Novel for the ITW Thriller Awards.  The 2017 ITW Thriller Award Winners will be announced at ThrillerFest XII, July 15, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt (New York City).

ABOUT SALVAGE

Pat Nogier: A Reflection

Posted on April 11 by Kyle

It was March 20 at 8:08 a.m., when the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets tweeted that they were recalling defenceman Nelson Nogier from their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, for a game the next night against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

Shortly afterwards, Pat Nogier, Nelson’s father, retweeted the message. After that, you have to think he got busy making arrangements to get himself and his wife, Lori, to Winnipeg.

The Nogiers are from Saskatoon, where Pat carries the title of Inspector with the Saskatoon Police Service. He has been with the SPS since 1993.

Tony Westell 1926 - 2017

Posted on April 11 by Kyle in News

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tony Westell.

A lifelong newsman and journalist, Anthony Westell joined the Globe and Mail in 1956, becoming a member of the editorial board, and then Ottawa Bureau Chief. He joined the Toronto Star as the national affairs columnist in 1969 and later moved to Carleton University&;s prestigious Journalism school to teach his profession. Eventually, he moved on to become director of the School of Journalism and Associate Dean of Arts.

Dundurn Press has just released Foreign Voices in the House, a striking book published ahead of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Its 600 pages are filled with, among other things, the major speeches 64 world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Boris Yeltsin, and Barack Obama delivered in our House of Commons over the past century. Alongside pithy bios of each leader, illustrated with the dramatic Parliament Hill photos of these history-makers, are many surprising facts about them, which you might never have suspected.

While the future of the world weighed on his mind, a corporal in the middle of the Great War noted that life goes on.

In the spring of 1917, as he and the entire Canadian Corps prepared for the greatest battle of their lives, Ellis Sifton, a twenty-five-year-old farm boy from Wallacetown, Ontario, stopped to notice familiar activity in the French countryside. Despite the approaching Easter offensive against German armies entrenched on Vimy Ridge, he noted in letters home that the planting season in France would go ahead no matter what.

I grew up with a ghost. We all did in our family — the ghost of Billy Bishop — and that has meant for interesting times.

Like his other four grandchildren, I never knew my famous grandfather, the highly decorated First World War flying ace. I was only three years old when Billy died at the age of 62. But for our family, and as someone who has achieved almost mythical status in the annals of Canadian history, it feels as if grandpa Billy is still around, continuing to live on with us in spirit, shaping each of our lives in ways that we did not expect.

Written in the Ruins by Paul Chiasson has been nominated for the 2017 Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction, part of the Atlantic Book Awards. The Dartmouth Book Award honours books published which have contributed the most to the enjoyment and understanding of Nova Scotia and its people.

In many ways, The Unbroken Machine began out of my own frustrations as a parliamentary journalist as to the kinds of lapses that I see around me on a daily basis. I see MPs who don’t understand their jobs and who burn all kinds of time and energy on things that aren’t their responsibility. I see my fellow journalists struggling to properly cover certain events without having a proper grounding in how our parliamentary system works, leading them to import American terms and ideas as though they were interchangeable with our own.

Jack McLaren almost went to war without his most vital weapon. As it was, when he enlisted in 1914, the army recruiting office in Toronto had no uniforms, no rifles, and few training facilities. A fine arts graduate and amateur playwright, J.W. (as he was known) dashed to join Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in September 1915. In his kit he carried his personal effects, foolscap for his diary, a few sketch boards, water colour paints and brushes. And because he thought they just might come in handy, he also packed some writing paper and theatrical makeup.

Acclaimed children’s author Philippa Dowding’s Myles and the Monster Outside has been named a finalist in the Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Awards in the Diamond Willow Category. Myles is the second book in Dowding’s short fiction series Weird Stories Gone Wrong.

Some of the 7,000 Canadians wounded in the battle for Vimy Ridge couldn’t believe their eyes when they were taken from the battlefield following their victory in April 1917. Suddenly, after weeks or months in the front lines knowing no one but their comrades-in-arms, some members of the Canadian Corps awoke to the strangest looking stretcher bearers. Instead of male medics and physicians, they came face-to-face with ambulance personnel such as Grace MacPherson.

Every crime novel begins with a disquieting event, whether in the news or observed, that ferments in the author’s imagination, sometimes, for years before appearing on the pages. The germ of the idea for Shallow End, fourth in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, came from my earlier years working as a special education teacher.

For some time now, I’ve been learning to juggle. I’ve pretty much mastered the principle of throwing objects up in the air at different times; it’s just catching them on the way down I’m still having trouble with. Regardless of how high I throw things, they always seem to come back to me at the same time. The same is true of writing a series. I have written one Birder Murder Mystery per year for the last four years and sent them out into the public arena. This is the equivalent of throwing them in the air.

The last thing Gavin McDonald expected when he joined up in 1915 was participating in a massive covert operation in the Great War. Nor did he enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force anticipating that he would serve his country as far underground as he did.

In fact, McDonald, a twenty-five-year-old farmer from Saskatchewan, volunteered as if it were just another chore on his prairie homestead to-do list:

Lately, I have been reading a number of articles by industry experts and journalists espousing the virtues of the sixty-equity, forty-bond allocation. Their reasoning is that There Is No Alternative (TINA) to earn a good return on your hard-earned capital. I know enough to know this advice is more in line with their interests than yours. In 2017, it will only have been ten years since the beginning of the last financial crisis. For someone who is retired, or soon to be, the 60-40 allocation may be very dangerous advice. Here’s why!

We’ve all heard it. The sound of one team sucking. Our team. The Leafs. It usually starts this time of year. And while everything seems rosy for Leafs fans, just wait. The panic will soon set in.

Building in intensity with each defeat until, sometime after the All-Star break, the sound explodes — an internalized shriek like the noise a star might make if you ripped its heart out.

It’s a ritual for us.

A group of women wrapped in furs and warm winter cloaks stands on the quay at Boulogne. Around them surges a blue, red, and khaki sea of French, British, and Belgian soldiers. White-veiled nurses run alongside patients being carried on stretchers onto waiting ships. There are shouts, marching orders, and whistles as the women stand silently watching, absorbing the details of what they are seeing, overcome by the reality that they are on the doorstep of the Great War.

They are the first party of female Canadian journalists allowed into France to visit the lines of communication.

The Best Reads for Commonwealth Day 2017

Posted on March 12 by Kyle in News
As multicultural as Canada is, you have to appreciate the range of new international writers you&;ll discover from either one of these fantastic reads.As difficult as it was, we pick a few of our favourite stories from each book to entice you further.  For an award-winning collection of short stories

 

I have been quietly sitting here by the phone waiting to be interviewed about my new book, You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead.

It’s already been three days and the only calls I’ve received are from people asking me to put out used clothing and a man trying to sell me a roof that lasts for one hundred years. Maybe I should have called the book, “I Won’t Need a Roof When I’m Dead”.

Women's History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women around the world.

Merna Forster is the author of 100 Canadian Heroines and 100 More Canadian Heroines, the source for all the trivia about to follow. Test what you know of the almost encyclopedic knowledge of Canada's HERstory found in these two books!

Recent articles on the lack of affordable, detached houses in Toronto — and there are many such articles — fail to show proper respect for the elephant in the room: unfettered population growth.

Article after article blames low interest rates, land transfer taxes, red tape, the provincial government’s efforts to protect our greenbelt and all sorts of other “villains” for what is essentially a matter of simple math.

Dundurn in Montreal

Posted on March 6 by Kyle in News

Dundurn hit the road in February to visit booksellers in Montreal for the Montreal Book Fair. Enclosed in their rental Fiat, sales manager Synora Van Drine and publicist Michelle Melski battled snowbanks and cold weather to find what they love most: books and booksellers.

The first stop for Synora and Michelle was Bibliophile, an English-language bookstore that has been in business for over thirty years. Inside those cozy walls is a curated collection that is both intimate and wide-reaching. Be sure to sign up to their newsletter for book reviews!

Modernist Nudes

Posted on March 2 by Evelyn Walters in News

You might want to have a look at the nudes in The Beaver Hall Group and Its Legacy.

Today it is difficult to imagine that at the time they caused such a stir. It was not only their Modernist style, but also their “unbridled sexuality.” Several Beaver Hall artists dared to break academic tradition, which required that the nude be idealized and set in a landscape to counter any sensuality or eroticism.

It is a curious thing about the Balkans that they seem to swing from being forgotten and ignored by the rest of the world to becoming abruptly and frighteningly relevant. Each time this happens we end up rushing back to understand the battle lines of the latest conflict and scrambling to re-learn the broad strokes of the larger context.

The Gift of Reading

Posted on February 21 by Kristine Scarrow in Teens

As the author of young adult novels that tackle gritty and difficult subject matter, I am often asked why I write what I do. What I think fuels my desire to write about these topics more than anything is the idea that life can be challenging, and reading about real issues is important. We need to know that we are not alone in our struggles, and that no matter how dire things may seem, there will be brighter days ahead.  I hope that when the characters in my novels dream beyond their current circumstance, it inspires the reader to do the same.

When Bryan and I initially read Arthur Manuel’s untitled manuscript, we were uncertain as to his intentions when he had decided to “tell his story” almost forty years ago. The document tone suggested Arthur wanted to set the record straight, as he saw it  — a Great War history told from the common soldier, front line infantryman’s perspective. He had plainly spent many hours researching, as the stubs from various book chapters confirmed, ones inserted at places where Arthur was making a specific point.

During my mother Marjorie’s final days, I found myself wondering if I had asked her all the questions that I needed to ask. It made me feel badly, as it took me away from being fully present. This worry had no place here. It was her time — her time to rest, her time to go forward and not look back. Not to worry — not to dig up the past — old wounds, old traumas. I had to let it go but it was not easy. This mother of mine with so many secrets. Her buried past. Did she tell me all, or were there other stories too difficult to bring to light?

Sault Ste. Marie-based author Nancy Scott has been nominated for a Gertrude H. Dyke Award for her work Lake Nipigon: Where the Great Lakes Begin.

The Gertrude H. Dyke Award recognizes the best popular full length book published about the history of Northwestern Ontario. This is one of the several awards that the Thunder Bay Museum gives every two years.

Helen Mclean 1928 - 2017

Posted on February 10 by Kyle in News

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Toronto writer and artist Helen Mclean.

A talented artist, she exhibited her paintings across Canada, she has shown in several cities and has painted portraits of authors Margaret Laurence, Michael Ondaatje, and Sarah Sheard. 

She also worked as a teacher and a journalist.

She was the author of Sketching from Memory (Oberon Press), Of All the Summers (Women's Press), and the acclaimed memoir Details From a Larger Canvas (Dundurn Press).

At thirteen, I was sent by my aunts from Jamaica to join my mother in Montreal in 1947. She had emigrated the year before to marry my new step-father in Canada. My life appeared to take a turn for the worse as I was sent out to work on a very cold January day the following morning.

I love Canadian landscapes. I’ve crossed and re-crossed Canada many times on book tours, and the incredible variety of landscapes I discover at each destination always amazes me. Georgian Bay, the Arctic tundra, Newfoundland outports, and stunning sweeps of prairie all have their own feel, beauty and lifestyle, and stir my senses.

As a writer for children this awareness of landscape has massive implications. Children do not travel like adults do, therefore every story I write not only needs a credible plot and well-developed characters, but it must create a strong sense of place.

Remembering and Celebrating Black History Month

Posted on February 8 by Kyle in News

February is Black History month. It is a time when we celebrate the people of African descent who have helped and contributed to make the world the amazing place that it is today. Black History month is most often talked about when you are a student, and it’s where you learn about courageous people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chinua Achebe, and Buddy Guy to name only a few. It’s where you learn about slavery, about civil rights, and about racism.

Alexis S. Troubetzkoy 1934 - 2017

Posted on February 8 by Kyle in News

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Alexis S. Troubetzkoy.

Troubetzkoy, born the scion of a Russian princely family, was an internationally published writer and archivist. Many of us at Dundurn had the privilege to work with him on his two most recent books, Arctic Obsession: The Lure of the Far North and The St. Petersbrug Connection. 

Although born in France and raised partly in the United States, Troubetzkoy called Canada home for more than 30 years with a career in education as a headmaster of private schools in Montreal and Toronto.

In 1972, Kirk Howard began Dundurn Press on his own. Why? How did he do it? What challenges did he face at the time? After asking around the office, I realized that many of us didn&;t know a lot about the early years of Dundurn. After compiling the questions that stumped many of my colleagues, I sat down with the one person who could share the story, the President and Publisher of Dundurn, Kirk Howard.

Toronto-based author Doug Taylor has been nominated for a Theatre Library Association Book Award, which honours a work published during 2016 of exceptional scholarship in the field of recorded or broadcast performance.

Every book I write starts with a personal connection. Blood Brothers was based on a boy I met who lived in a rooming house in a rough part of town with his dad. He’d gotten a scholarship to attend a private school. He spent three hours every day on the bus going to and from school, but he didn’t care. To him, attending the school was the chance to escape from poverty. His privileged classmates had no idea what his home life was like. Unlike the boy I know, Jakub doesn’t leave willingly.

Our kids are called “digital natives” because screens are their natural environment. Most of them will end up working at a screen. What place will reading have in their lives? Why is reading still relevant? 

1. Reading does what visual content can’t do. While reading, the imagination becomes the screen. The reader creates the images, and more importantly, the reader creates the meaning. This is a rich, deep experience that only reading can deliver.

History is not what actually happened, but rather what is recorded to have happened. For numerous reasons, some deliberate, others not, the recording of history can often be a distortion, if not a complete misrepresentation, of the events as they actually occurred. As such, the historian must be a sleuth to uncover, as closely as possible, the actual reality and drivers behind those events. This can be a daunting task as there are a myriad of challenges to obscure the “truth,” especially for military historians.

Tips From Dundurn's Publicity Pros

Posted on January 18 by Kyle in Interview

Dundurn’s Publicity Pros Share Their Tips

We asked Marketer Kate Condon-Moriarty and Publicists Jaclyn Hodsdon, Kendra Martin, and Michelle Melski what makes for the most successful collaborations between authors and publicists (and the most successful books). Here's what they had to say.

 

What advice would you give to authors on how to establish a great working relationship with their publicist and publisher?

The Passing of Patricia Bow

Posted on January 13 by Kyle

This has been a very sad week indeed. So soon after losing one author, we are saddened to announce that author Patricia Bow passed away on January 7, 2017.

A writer of on science, and history for the University of Waterloo by day, her passion for fiction came out in children's fantasy and wrote such titles as The Bone Flute, which was nominated for a Silver Birch Award in 2006. She was also the author of a 2-book young adult fantasy series called Passage to Mythrin. 

Secrecy Vs. the Truth

Posted on January 12 by Deb Loughead in Teens

As a child I was fascinated by mysteries. This clearly originated in my reading, from Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, to Enid Blyton’s adventure, and later every single Agatha Christie novel.  When I was ten, I started my own sleuthing club, the Amateur Detective Club. My sister and best friend and I even followed a pickle trail once.

via GIPHY

The holiday season has passed, and right now, many people are staring glumly at their scales, fearing the inevitable weight creep that seems to come each year. If you find yourself among them, rest assured you are not alone. This holiday accumulation of pounds, brought on by the cakes, booze, stuffing, and chocolate, is the main culprit for the steady weight gain many of us experience as we age from our 30s to our 40s to our 50s. Each year, more pounds get added to the already stretched waistline.

Remembering Stuart Hamilton

Posted on January 4 by Kyle in News

We're deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a Stuart Hamilton. He was a kind man, an accomplished vocal coach, and mentor to generations of Canadian singers.

Hamilton was one of Canada’s premier vocal coaches for over 65 years. 

He was the founder and artistic director emeritus of Opera in Concert and was the first artistic director of the Canadian Opera Company ensemble. 

His master classes in vocal interpretation were widely attended across not only Canada but North America