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text 2017-03-16 04:40
New Voices - the beginning of a new direction

Further to the new direction in my writing career.


Okay, so you’re saying my writing career had no direction before so how can I have a new one?


Well, maybe having no direction is a direction.


Too Zen for you?


How about: If you write a book and nobody reads it have you really written a book? That one’s been driving me crazy since, well, since I wrote a book and nobody read it.


Before you? me? we? all of us? get too hung up (do people still say that?) on these esoteric ruminations let me continue.


All of my book marketing has been so far done online. I blog, I Tweet, I post on my Facebook page, I send out promotional newsletters to my Advance Reading Team, I review books, I’ve even gone so far as to join and contribute to online reading/writing groups.


And it’s got me_______. (You fill in the blank)


This direction(?) has been macro – my books are available through Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Library Direct, OverDrive and a few more in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and India. They’re available digitally as epub, mobi, pdf, online reader and more, suitable to most reading devices including your cellphone as well as in paperback in the UK, USA and Canada.


My new direction will be micro – I’ll sell actual books to real people face to face.


My first experience with this will be on March 27, 2017 at the Vancouver Public Library where I’ll be reading my work along with five other writers in their “New Voices” series. (How after seven years, seven novels and two plays I can be considered a “new voice” says something – what I’m not sure.)


The event is from 7 to 8:30 pm and our host will even provide a table for us to display and sell our books. I don’t know about the rest of the participants, but I’m taking advantage of the table and might even break off from my reading prematurely if I see someone in the audience interested in the merchandise.


Having been a salesman all my life I’m not the least bit intimidated.


So, I’ve crunched the numbers taking into consideration the price of my books, the exchange rate, shipping and tax and if I sell a book for $15 it’s $4 less than it can be purchased from Amazon and I can still make some money.


Enough, I hope, to at least cover the outrageous cost of parking downtown.


This is marginally better than selling my books at a flea market or garage sale, but if the world doesn’t want to buy them maybe the neighbourhood does.


I’m not afraid of taking chances, going in a new direction, and maybe, likely, failing. I never know where things will lead what’s important to me is to keep moving forward.


Well, at least to keep moving.


One thing’s for certain, if I do nothing, that’s what will happen.


Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.




Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU


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review 2013-07-14 02:02
Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick

Hello, my invisible readers. So good news, I got my hands on a copy of the Silver Linings Playbook  by Matthew Quick.  My Life of Pi book was due this Tuesday and I decided to just swap the two books. I will still be reading Life of Pi, but instead of borrowing it from the library, I might buy it. We shall see how life goes. Anyways, let's get into the review, shall we?



Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him -- the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he's being hunted by Kenny G!

In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. (Source: Back of Book Cover)


What I liked:

Let's not lie, here. This book deals with mental health issues and clinical depression; that said, it is a surprisingly light and fast read. Yes, for once, the Vancouver Public Library did not mis-categorize a normal book as a fast read. Silver Linings is actually a fast-read, I finished it in a matter of hours-- which is a plus for me. I think it is the fact that the writer kind of feeds you the story which makes it easy to go through. 


I really liked the characters; whether it was  Pat Peoples, who is the protagonist, his father, Patrick Peoples, or Tiffany, they each had their quirks that rendered them memorable. I felt that Quick took an interesting take on manhood by juxtaposing Pat Peoples and his father. On the one hand, we have Pat who is very in tune with his emotions, thoughts and seeks to improve himself. On the other hand, we have his father who rarely demonstrates any emotions, who is quite taciturn and who doesn't seek to improve his marital relationship. I feel that in a culture where manhood is defined closer to Patrick Peoples' behaviour, it is interesting to actually observe how beer and football does not make Pat's father seem manly. It makes him seem -- for lack of words-- out of touch with reality.


Tiffany was also a very strong character who is quite outspoken. I suspect that her role in the movie is really different, and I am excited to see the differences between the media.


What I didn't like:


I finally understand why spoiler alerts exist; because, dang this book can spoil your life! So here is a list of books that you can expect to be spoilt for you; that is, Pat Peoples will reveal the end, denouement, whatever you might call it. And it isn't at a point where you can think, "Oh, it is ok because I want to see how the characters get there." No! The protagonist -- or let's be honest-- the writer spoils even how the plot unfolds. I don't know whether to pin this to bad writing or to just how the protagonist would act. Both are plausible. 


Without further ado, the list of spoilers:

1. The Scarlet Letter
2. The Great Gatsby
3. A Farewell to Arms
4. The Catcher in the Rye
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
6. The Bell Jar


Now remember how in a blogpost, I mentioned that I bought the Great Gatsby. Yeah, thanks Pat. Thanks!


On an unrelated note, I was also quite bothered by the portrayal of Danny, Pat Peoples' only black friend. To begin with, I am black and though I am not black/African American, it seems that most people believe that all black people behave like African Americans. Therefore, I have also been asked questions or spoken to, as if I were African American (though, I am East African). I deal with African American stereotypes-- stereotypes that I am sure that even the concerned population hates. Well, Danny's role was not only very limited, but also stereotypical. It is almost as if Quick created Danny in order to appropriate Ebonic phrases such as-- I'm rollin'. When compared to the only other person of colour-- Cliff, the therapist-- the level and depth of characterization are eons apart. I know that this is just a book review; however, in this world, people of colour are too frequently misrepresented and representations of black people should be analyzed critically. 



Final rating:

I enjoyed this book; therefore, I really struggled figuring out how many stars to give it. For me it was a good to average read. It was smack in between a good read and an average read, which justifies the score of 3.5 stars. I am feeling a little guilty for giving this score, because it is a good book and I hope the score does not discourage anyone from reading it. But who am I kidding? No one reads this blog.  


I would recommend this book to... anyone who is looking for a quick, simple read. 


K, that was a review the size of a college paper. My apologies. I will be doing a shorter movie review; so look forward to that. I am really looking forward to watching the movie. Even the trailer looks 200 times better than the book (sorry Matthew Quick!). 


xox, S. 

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