Monday 30 November 2015

The Boy from the Sun: Expanded Edition –Second Printing

The Boy from the Sun is selling like hotcakes. Thank you Thunder Bay! In the last three months I've recovered 20 percent of the printing cost! A record for me and it means every dollar I invest eventually quadruples. And every new book I print gives me more selling opportunities and new markets. It doesn't make me rich, but it keeps me self employed as a full time artist, which is rare in these parts. I had 2,000 of 5,000 books delivered. The plan is to sell the rest in other cities. So later this year I will buy a vehicle for the first time in my life to take the books on the road beginning with Winnipeg.

Friday 6 November 2015

AMA: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade

I met Manu Herbstein in Accra, Ghana in 2012 and one of the discussions we had was of our difficulties with the publishing industry in our respective countries. The link HERE is where you can order his book and has a brief description of Manu's current troubles. AMA: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, is a great story and well-researched novel which won the 2002 Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book. 

The description below is provided by Daniel Musiitwa 
The story is set in the west coast of Africa, where Ama (or Nandzi as she is then known) lives. After her village is ransacked, and hundreds of her kinsmen are shipped off to slavery, Ama is left alone to care for her baby brother. Life turns even uglier when she is later captured, raped and enslaved. Although she manages to escape the first time, she is recaptured. We follow her journey into slavery, as she is transferred from one group to another, eventually ending up onboard an English slave ship, where she unsuccessfully tries to instigate a rebellion.  Ama, as she is now known after being renamed by her slave masters, is shipped to Brazil, where along with other slaves, she starts a new life working long, back-breaking hours and suffering humiliation. Still her spirit never breaks, and Ama refuses to see herself as a slave. 

Ama has been taught at several U. S. universities including Harvard (Prof. Emmanuel Akyeampong), East Carolina University (Prof. Kenneth Wilburn), Carleton College (Prof. Martin Klein, University of Toronto) and Boston University (Prof. Heidi Gengenbach, University of Massachusetts). This fall Prof. Rebecca Shumway is teaching it at the College of Charleston in a HIST 361-02 course entitled West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade.

Reviews: "A book written with tremendous moral passion about a monstrous episode in human history." The Right Reverend Bishop Richard Holloway, Chairperson for the pan-Commonwealth judging panel, author and former Bishop of Edinburgh.

"A monumental work, epic in scope and design, and clearly the result of extensive research, which has been skilfully woven into an enchanting narrative. This panoramic story, with its vividly realised characters and heroic action, restores the ancient link between history and literature." Africa Book Centre, London

"Ama is a story of struggle, resistance and inner strength. Great attention is paid to detail and the descriptions are atmospheric and sensual . . .this is a notable debut which amply deserves its recognition, in particular because of the deep research which underlies the text." Rayda Jacobs, Rapport (South Africa) 29/06/02

Friday 19 June 2015

Gifts from Finland!: The Beautiful Illustrations of Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin

I contacted an illustrator in Finland whose work once appeared in Canada in a collection of stories called the Kalevala. We exchanged a few emails and Pirkko-Liisa was very helpful with information regarding the industry. We agreed to exchange books, and to my delight she sent me five book that she illustrated. Her work is beautiful, and very inspiring, but sadly she has retired from the industry a few years ago finding a new love: gardening.

Saturday 23 May 2015

The Ugg Lives! Dr. Yes, and Book Stand

Christopher Rantala made wonderful bookstands for me and Summer Havelin did an amazing job creating two stuffed Uggs, along with a surprise Fimo version of Dr Yes, both from the Ugg and the Drip. Both commissions were created for promotional purposes. Thanks!! They look great! The kids love them.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Giving Back: Big Book Giveaway at 3 different schools in Thunder Bay.

To give back to Thunder Bay for all the public's support of my endeavours as a self-published author I wanted to give away 300 books to kids across the city. About 260 + children each received their choice of one of three of my self-published picture books in the last month. And last year I gave away 90 books in Surrey, B.C. In T. Bay, I visited three different schools. The best reaction came  from kids who asked me, "Can I take this home?" When I said yes, they were either thrilled or stunned. The response from the principals, teachers and the kids was fantastic. I did get paid for the readings, which basically covered the printing costs of the books, but the fun and excitement generated was what it was all about.
The photos above were taken last week at Ecole Catholique Franco-Superieur, in grades 4 and 5. At Ogden School kids in 2nd and 3rd grades got books. I did readings in two sessions. During the second reading the teachers were whispering and talking in the halls. They apologized for the distraction as it turned out that Ogden was in lockdown mode informed that a "shooter" (man with a gun) had  left Intercity Mall which was evacuated. The teachers and staff handled everything very professionally and quickly. A group of children waited in the library for their parents, a few distracted by the books they just received. The man with the gun was soon after arrested without incident. 
     At St. Martins (photos below) in Westfort I did the reading in the gymnasium to 88 kids who all got books.

I also talked a little about how the stories were created, the underlying meanings, and what it's like to work as a freelancer and self-employed person. The children had lots of questions and were very attentive. There are always a few good insights and I get a few good laughs from the unpredictable responses, questions and interpretations. Thanks to all involved. It was a blast. I might do more come September. Please contact me if you think your school might be interested. Thanks!

Monday 9 February 2015

Book Stand by Carol Kajorinne with Books

                                             I commissioned Caroline Kajorinne, a young metalsmith in Thunder Bay to create a book stand for me. Her boyfriend, Kriev, did a little sculpture version of the Ugg, featured at the top of the stand, complete with little buildings and the cloud of dust the Ugg kicks up when he stomps down his path. You can see Carol's work HERE.

Sunday 8 February 2015

Helping out students at Confederation College

Had fun last week helping out students of the film program at Confederation College, playing the lead role as the "Liftman" - operating an elevator, getting berated mostly by the tenants in an old apartment building. The students are from all over the world this year - Sudharm from India, Zhenya from Ukraine, others from the Caribbean, South America, and elsewhere. Some shooting was done in an actual apartment building, but the students built a set in the green screen room at the College where most of the filming was done, and allowing for some special effects. Can't wait to see the results.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Interview with upcoming radio host and author, Sadie Nastor

Bright young Sadie Nastor, a neighbour and fan interviewed me not long ago about my books. She is an author herself, having completed a novel! Good going Sadie! You can check out her other podcasts HERE. And check out the interview with me HERE.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Opening Night rescheduled: Some New Works Including Images (illustrations) for a secret international project: EMERGENCE

Special thanks to Thomas White who is opening his Espresso Bar/Gallery in the newly happening downtown North Core centred amongst our booming new restaurants - waiting times of up to two hours! Thomas is likely to do well from the spillover alone. Paintings I couldn't complete for my last show, will be featured here. Joya will be open this Tuesday, February 17th. Official opening night for the show will be announced shortly.