Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blogger Meet-Up VIP Guest #4 - Grace O'Connell

Grace O'Connell is the fourth VIP author that we'll be hosting in November! 

Grace's debut novel, Magnified World, was published by Random House earlier this year. She is a freelance writer and editor, and she currently resides in Toronto.

Her work has also been published by The Walrus, Taddle Creek, and the Quill & Quire. She also teaches at the University of Toronto.

What's a girl supposed to do after her mother kills herself by walking into the Don River with her pockets full of unpolished zircon stones? Maggie removes the zircon stones from the inventory of the family's New Age shop and opens up for another day of business. 

Then her blackouts begin, as do the visits from a mysterious customer who offers help for Maggie's blackouts and her project of investigating her mother's past in the American South. Is Maggie breaking down in the way her mother did, or is her "madness" a distinctive show of grief? Nobody really knows, not her father, her boyfriend or her psychiatrist, and especially not Maggie, who has to make some crazy decisions in order to work to feel sane again. 

A vivid look at the various confusions that can set in after a trauma and an insightful, gently funny portrait of a woman in her early twenties, especially relatable to readers who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Magnified World dramatizes the battle between the head and the heart and the limitations of both in unlocking something as complicated as loss.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blogger Meet-Up VIP Guest #3 - Brian Francis

Our third guest author for the Second Annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet-Up is... *drumroll*... BRIAN FRANCIS!

About Brian Francis:
Brian Francis’ second novel, Natural Order, was published in hardcover by Doubleday Canada in 2011. The paperback is scheduled for release in August, 2012.

Natural Order made Best Books of 2011 lists for the Toronto Star, Kobo Books and The Georgia Straight. The novel has also been short-listed for the Ontario Library Association's 2012 Evergreen Award and 2012 CBC Bookie Awards.

Natural Order tells the story of Joyce Sparks, a senior woman trying to come to terms with the lies she told surrounding the life - and death - of her only child.

Brian’s debut novel, Fruit, was published in Canada by ECW Press in 2004. The novel was published in hardcover in the U.S. by MacAdam Cage in 2005. A paperback version was published by Harper Perennial the same year under the title The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington.

Fruit was selected for inclusion in the 2009 edition of Canada Reads and was also a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection.

Fruit tells the story of 13-year-old Peter Paddington as he tries to fix everything he feels is wrong with him by the time he finishes his Grade 8 year.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blogger Meet-Up VIP Guest #2 - Allison Baggio

Our second guest author is the lovely Allison Baggio

Allison Baggio has an Honours B.A. in English and Mass Communications from York University. She is also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers Correspondence Program in Creative Writing, where she worked on Girl in Shades with celebrated author, Shaena Lambert. 

She currently resides in Whitby, Ontario and works as a freelance fundraising copywriter for non-profit organizations. 

Allison has had her writing and commentaries appear in numerous magazines and newspapers, including: The Toronto Star, Surface & Symbol (Scarborough Arts Council), Whitby This Week, The Globe and Mail and Today’s Parent magazine.

Sweetly funny and deeply perceptive, this novel follows eleven-year-old Maya Devine's search for her mother, her father, and above all, herself, offering a fresh take on what it means to grow up and discover who you really are. Maya has always seen color around people’s bodies, and can sometimes even hear what’s going on inside their heads. These insights make everyone a bit more interesting, but the one person she'll never figure out is her mother. Marigold has never been like the other moms, but still, Maya sometimes feels like she is all she has.

When Marigold is diagnosed with cancer and vows to spend her final days in the tepee she’s set up in the backyard, neighbors and strangers, believing the dying Marigold to be a prophet, camp out in front of the family’s house. As her father grows ever more distant, Maya finds solace in the music of Corey Hart, but when Marigold’s death leaves questions unanswered, she sets off to discover the truth about her family and identity.

Building on themes introduced in the author’s previous novel, this collection of 12 short stories further explores the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds. The array of stories includes “Spilt Milk,” in which an ordinary fare leads an Indo-Canadian taxi driver, who is unhappy with his current circumstances, to marry his passenger’s unattractive sister. In “Possessed,” a man receives a heart transplant and begins to suspect that his new heart is still attached to its old owner, triggering a psychological thrill ride. In the novella, “As She Was,” a motorcycle accident leaves a teenage girl with a serious brain injury that dramatically alters her personality and body. The four people closest to her must reflect on who she was in order to accept who she has become, revealing the details of the accident and their own feelings of guilt in the process. Showcasing a range of voice and breadth of vision, this anthology marries a gentle probing of familial relationships with an incisive look at the human body, exploring the ways it defines, fails, and frees humanity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blogger Meet-Up VIP Guest #1 - Lesley Livingston

We are super excited to announce that Lesley Livingston is our first VIP guest for the Second-Annual Ontario Blogger Meet-Up.

Lesley is the author of the Wondrous Strange trilogy from Harper Collins, Once Every Never from Penguin Canada, and the newly released Starling from Harper Collins.

This mutli-talented Canadian author is laugh out loud funny and we look forward to spending an afternoon with her.

Be sure to take a look below at the trailer for her latest book Starling!

Second Annual Ontario Blogger Meet-Up: Tips!

Wow!  Can you believe that we are only 59 days away from the Second Annual Ontario Blogger Meet-Up?  It seems like just yesterday that we started planning the event and putting ideas down onto paper.  While the event last-year was a huge success, we had the idea when we began planning this year's event that we wanted it to be even better.

Not only will you be finally meeting a lot of bloggers you have only had the opportunity to talk to over the Internet, but you will also be getting the chance to meet some special VIP guests.  Keep in mind that the event is a great networking opportunity with other bloggers, authors and publishers.

Did you catch that?  On top of bloggers being at the event, there will also be authors and representatives from our amazing Canadian Publishers.  Exciting isn't it?  Here are some little tips for the event from myself and my fellow organizers.

  • Be courteous - I know it sounds pretty obvious and I probably shouldn't have to say it, but I am anyway.  We all want you to have a great time at the event and to ensure that we are asking that everyone be on their best behaviour.
  • Don't crowd the VIP guests - We know everyone will be excited to meet them, but lets all try to give them some breathing room
  • Mix and Mingle - Be sure to meet some new people.  Try not to stay in one clique or group, and yes, this goes for the organizers as well.  There will be so many new people there for you to meet so get out there and mingle.
  • Bring a tote bag - This is also not mandatory, but a good suggestion all the same.  Whenever I get together with my fellow organizers it tends to result in a giant book swap of doom.  This may be a good opportunity to swap books with your fellow bloggers.
  • Business cards - Again, these are also not mandatory, but a good idea nonetheless.  Maybe you want to work with another blogger on a project, or you want to work with a publisher you have never worked with before.  Well the easiest way to make sure you can connect with them after the event is if they have your contact information.  Remember, they don't need to be fancy and you don't have to run out and spend huge amounts of money to get business cards done.
 Oh yeah, stay tuned.  In the next hour or so, we will be releasing some info on our first VIP guest!

Remember, if you have any questions or comments about the event to email ontarioblogsquad@gmail.com and we will get back to you ASAP.