Wednesday, August 24, 2016

what's wrong with this map?

I bought this postcard when I was downtown today. It's a map of the city of Montreal, right? But something is wrong with it.

Sure, all the hot spots are there.

The Plateau. The mountain with its cross atop and where you can go skiing in the winter. The Oratory where you can do the stairs on your knees if you're feeling pious and want everyone going by on the Queen Mary bus to know. Espresso in Little Italy. Bagels in Mile-End. Downtown. The Gay village. And over on the Decarie the famous Orange Julep.

Cardinal directions in case you need orientation, including a patriotic fleur-de-lys in the event you need that kind of orientation as well. The highways showing you how to get off the island.

On the other side of island, the river. Not just any ol' river but the St. Lawrence River that Jacques Cartier thought would lead to China. Up top you have the remains of Expo '67. Below that the site of the Grand Prix. The Champlain Bridge which is being rebuilt as I write.  An arrow to head you toward New York.


Why is the neighbourhood where I live not marked on this map?

There is it, right there. It's called Pointe St-Charles. Believe me, it exists.

more Five Roses

I haven't much to write for Rapunzel these days because I'm busy with Alice writing, but let me show you these wonderful reviews:

Pretty happy here!

Monday, August 15, 2016

weekend escapade

The forecast for the weekend was wet. Wet plus wet plus wet plus MORE WET.
Look. Each pine needle had its own raindrop.

Forget the rain. There was a pear tree on the south shore we had agreed to pick while the owners were gone on vacation. I love pears, especially hard, green ones.

Now I'm looking for a recipe to make pears in brandy, if anyone has one they'd like to pass along.

The next part of our trip was visiting friends in North Hatley. Despite the forecast, we still planned to go camping. Who could resist with that view onto Lake Massawippi? In the afternoon when R was setting up the tent, we thought we might hear the water lapping on the shore as we fell asleep. What we heard was rain, and when it wasn't raining--which it mostly was--the crickets. Crickets are louder when you're on the ground with them. And rain, as everyone knows, is louder when you're inside a tent.

Our tent held out till the morning when a fine drizzle started to seep through the fabric. The edges of our sleeping bags were waterlogged. The air mattress had deflated. Nothing was so terrible that a steaming latte, croissant, and fresh blueberries couldn't fix.

That field, by the way, is not unkempt. The grass has been left to grow like that. Other parts of the property have been landscaped with sculpture installations. The mastermind is Pat Webster who can be found at

Although I took lots of pictures, mine aren't as fine as the ones you can see on her blog, so have a look at it.
I'll just show you my favourite, which is the bed of moss:

This belongs to an installation piece in memory of the hotel that once stood on this site and burned down in 1909.

We slept in a very comfortable dry bed on our second night. Also with a view on the lake and to the sound of rain.

It was dry long enough that I went swimming. I had company on the first day, but on the second I was told that it was too grey for everyone else. I don't need sun to love being in a lake.

The last time I was here, it was sunny and warm and there was a wedding.

And now...

She's about to say something and I was waiting to hear what. She can't say much yet, but she's getting ready. You can see it in her eyes.

We returned home to a garden bursting with tomatoes--too many to eat so I'm stewing them to freeze. And looking for a recipe for brandied pears. And following the pebbles I left myself to find the trail back into a new manuscript. I've read my Hansel & Gretel. I know birds eat crumbs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Five Roses week #1

Lots of great things happened for Five Roses during its first official week in the world.

To start, I got an amazing review by the well-known Can Lit blogger, Kerry Clare:

That was followed by a generous review (Ian McGillis) in the Montreal Gazette, for which I was very happy.

My publisher, Dundurn, sent Five Roses on a blog tour, so every day of the week I got a new review, which made for excellent breakfast reading. If you're interested in several different takes on the novel, here are the links:

My friend, Matilda Magtree, also offered her reflections. Since I admire her writing (which can be found in her Kent Clark guise as Carin Makuz--or is that the other way around? Maybe Matilda is Kent?), I was most curious to read what she thought.

I wrote a blog post for the Dundurn website about the writing of the novel which might interest those who wonder how big--or little--of an idea can spark a novel.

The week ended with a stellar review (Dana Hansen) in the Quill & Quire.

I'm still dancing a little bit around the room about that. If you know me, then you know that I'm not much of a dancer, so I have to be careful not to trip over my feet.

And although it's part of this week, not last week, on Wed morning, in her discussion of great summer reads on CBC Ontario Morning, Kerry Clare said this: 

CBC: "How does [Zorn] compare to Richler?"
KC: "She has her own tone, her own approach."

Which is what I think too.