Monday, 25 April 2016

Spring Reading Season Begins!

Photo by David Koren
It's that time again. Time to shake off the winter rust, get a handle on the nerves, and get out there reading.

This week I had an opportunity to appear at the 2016 Arthur Ellis Award shortlist event at Chapters Rideau in Ottawa. Along with a stellar group of mystery authors including Mary Jane Maffini and Linda Wiken, I helped celebrate the announcement of the short lists for this year's awards. It was a lot of fun, and thanks go out to Linda for all her hard work.

Yesterday I was back at it again, appearing at the 2016 edition of the Navan Fine Arts Festival with Lynn L. Clark. Located at the curling club in this town on the eastern edge of Ottawa, it was an opportunity for us to try a new venue. We were pleased with the results. We both did short readings by the fireplace and chatted with interested readers. Thanks go out to Anne Warburton for all her hard work and support at this event, to the Navan Lions Club, and everyone else involved in making this event a reality.

I should mention that this festival included a very interesting event that other communities might like to try as well. Called the Chair Project, it was a goodwill contest in which families were encouraged to donate wooden chairs. The idea was for children to decorate the chairs in whatever way struck their fancy, donate the chairs to the event, and have a chance to be declared the winner in various categories (Cuteness, Amazingness, etc.). There were three age groups, and a surprising number of chairs entered into the contest. The chairs will be set out around the town during the summer for people to sit in and admire. I thought it was a great idea!

Watch this spot as spring rolls into summer for more updates on our travelling road show!

Monday, 11 April 2016


Spring is slow to arrive in our neck of the woods these days, so it was with a mixture of pleasure and relief that I took a couple of hours yesterday to attend the semi-annual vinyl record show and sale at St. Anthony's Hall in Ottawa.

Now, I've blogged before about being an avid collector of vinyl records, an addiction that goes back to my teens, when we haunted Moondance Records in Peterborough scoping out the latest arrivals. I must stress, too, that I don't collect these things for their value, although I'm aware that vinyl has caught on again and prices have shot through the roof. I collect them because I love them, and I love the music.

As I was walking into the hall, I passed some guy on a cellphone explaining that the record he was thinking of investing in was an original pressing, and the dealer was asking only $99 for it. Well, once I was inside I discovered the prices on most of the stock matched what this guy had found. For me, that would have blown my entire budget. And besides, I've always been something of a bottom feeder, not only for budgetary reasons but also for the challenge. I love finding hidden gems for bargain prices. Who doesn't?

Some of the discoveries not currently in my collection that I pounced on for under $5 included Last of the Red Hot Burritos by The Flying Burrito Brothers, Bare Wires by John Mayall and the Blues Breakers, vibraphonist Fred Raulston's Open Stream, and The Best of Buzzy Linhart, one of those two-record sets issued by Kama Sutra Records in the mid-Seventies. Somehow Buzzy's records  never made it to Peterborough that I ever noticed, but that's what this is all about--filling the holes and catching up with the past!

Oh yes, and my favourite grab of the day--Garden of Joy by the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, pictured above. The cover was a little worn, so the guy ignored the $2 sticker and threw it in for free.

How great is that???