Sunday, 15 November 2020

Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen Humphreys

This morning I finished reading Rabbit Foot Bill. It's the second Helen Humphreys novel that I've read, the first being Leaving Earth.

Canwood, Saskatchewan, 1947. Leonard Flint, a lonely boy in a small farming town befriends the local tramp, a man known as Rabbit Foot Bill. Bill doesn’t talk much, but he allows Leonard to accompany him as he sets rabbit snares and to visit his small, secluded dwelling.

Being with Bill is everything to young Leonard—an escape from school, bullies and a hard father. So his shock is absolute when he witnesses Bill commit a sudden violent act and loses him to prison.

Fifteen years on, as a newly graduated doctor of psychiatry, Leonard arrives at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, both excited and intimidated by the massive institution known for its experimental LSD trials. To Leonard’s great surprise, at the Weyburn he is reunited with Bill and soon becomes fixated on discovering what happened on that fateful day in 1947.

Based on a true story, this page-turning novel from a master stylist examines the frailty and resilience of the human mind

Rabbit Foot Bill is an intense and powerful read. I really enjoyed Humphreys style of writing. Not only is it stylish and the story well laid out, but she does an excellent job of  describing scenes and char actors. Just enough to allow me to paint the picture in my head, without overdoing it. I didn't realize the novel was based on a true story until the Author's Note at the end.

Having now read two of her books, I look forward to reading a third!

Helen Humphreys is the author of four books of poetry, five novels, and one work of creative non-fiction. She was born in Kingston-on-Thames, England, and now lives in Kingston, Ontario with her dog, Hazel. Her first novel, Leaving Earth (1997), won the 1998 City of Toronto Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. 

Her second novel, Afterimage (2000), won the 2000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her third novel, The Lost Garden (2002), was a 2003 Canada Reads selection, a national bestseller, and was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Wild Dogs (2004) won the 2005 Lambda Prize for fiction, has been optioned for film, and was produced as a stage play at CanStage in Toronto in the fall of 2008. Coventry (2008) was a #1 national bestseller, was chosen as one of the top 100 books of the year by the Globe & Mail, and was chosen one of the top ten books of the year by both the Ottawa Citizen and NOW Magazine. Humphreys's work of creative non-fiction, The Frozen Thames (2007), was a #1 national bestseller. Her collections of poetry include Gods and Other Mortals (1986); Nuns Looking Anxious, Listening to Radios (1990); and, The Perils of Geography (1995). Her latest collection, Anthem (1999), won the 2000 Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. 

Humphreys's work has been translated into many languages.

Monday, 9 November 2020

PC Chef Korean Gochujang Chicken

This past weekend, PC Chef had a buy one, get one free deal on their order in meal kits and we took advantage. On Saturday we placed our orders. I ordered Korean-Style Gochujang Chicken and Chicken Fettuccini meal kits. Teena ordered two of their Roasted Jerk Chicken meal kits. 

Each kit comes in a bag.

The rice and red pepper powder goes into the hot oil.

As this is for two, place rice on two separate plates. Preheat a little oil and in goes the precut chicken.

Next, the vegetables and shredded green cabbage.

This is followed by the gochujang sauce.

Pour this over the plates of rice and garnish with the sesame seeds and viola! It's ready to eat.

It was sweet, hot and delicious. I'll be sure to have this again!

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump

With everything which is going on down in the U.S. lately, I decided that Too Much and Never Enough by May Trump, Donald Trumps niece would be an insightful read. It was.

In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric. 

 Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.

Some people may look at this book as a spiteful, revenge piece written by a person who was effectively defrauded of tens of millions of dollars and whose father was always treated as a failure. No. They'd be wrong. 

Mary Trump wrote a very effective look into the Trump family and empire. The traits Donald displayed as a child, in his teens and later, in his real estate career are consistent with what we see in him today. They are also consistent with personality traits of Donald's father Fred and the way he raised the children and treated his wife. 

Mary's father, Fred, was the first born of Mary's grandparents and named after his father, who I guess would be Fred Senior. The fact that the younger Fred would spend a lifetime seeking approval, praise and support, even love from the elder Fred and was never given any of it, made me wonder why he never just said 'to hell with it' and be happy with his own life and accomplishments. From what I read, the younger Fred had many.

The Trump family idea of happiness and success appear to be built strictly on premise that the amount of wealth a person has and not what they give to the world, is the only measurement. Those who don't have it, are not worthy. Why people, after the past for years, still want to vote for this vile man, after all the ill he has wrought over the past 4 years, I'll never know.

That of course gives you the preconceived view this reviewer had before he had ever turned a page.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Visiting the Media with Promotional Copies of "Saving Tiberius"

I spent much of last week visiting the various media outlets to give them promotional copies of my new novel, Saving Tiberius

Morgan Watson has a problem. When word leaked that his cat, Tiberius, miraculously cured itself of diabetes and may hold the key to a cure, he is attacked in his home and almost killed in a bloody fight. Paula Rogers, a strong-willed dedicated police officer, has put herself in the line of fire protecting them, and for the first time is stretching the rules and hiding facts from her superiors. The two fiercely independent people find their romantic feelings for each other grow as they search to find who is behind the brutal attempts to get Tiberius before they find themselves intertwined with the growing list of dead bodies.

I made stops in Toronto at the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and Now Magazine. My hope is that they will either review my novel or mention it under New Releases. All three have print and on-line editions.

I then paid a visit to Canada Post to mail out copies to the Montreal Gazette, the Winnipeg Free Press, York and CBC Books. All have a print and online presence except for CBC books which is entirely online. 

Fingers crossed one of them decides to mention my book or contact me for an interview.

Monday, 12 October 2020

That's Why I'm a Journalist by Mark Bulgutch


Journalists live fascinating lives, many being fortunate with being witness to some of the biggest stories of our times. It's one of the reasons I wanted to read Mark Bulgutch's That's Why I'm a Journalist.

News stories are like collective memories, encapsulating the most iconic moments in recent history around the world. But to those who work in journalism, up-close involvement with these stories can also be life-changing. In That’s Why I’m a Journalist, veteran broadcaster Mark Bulgutch interviews 44 prominent Canadian journalists, who each share their behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the most memorable stories of their careers and describe the moment that made them say to themselves, "That’s why I’m a journalist." 

 Although many of the contributors' stories are related to their roles in the most high-profile events of the 20th and 21st centuries, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to 9/11, here too are reflections on quieter and more intimate moments that had a deep personal impact. Peter Mansbridge talks about a trip to Vimy Ridge on the hundredth anniversary of World War I, Adrienne Arsenault recalls bringing together old friends separated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Terence McKenna recounts what it’s like to worry about being kidnapped as part of the job and Wendy Mesley reflects on the satisfaction of asking tough questions—and uncovering the truth.

At the beginning of each of the 44 stories in this book, Bulgutch gives a short biography of the journalist telling their story and what led up to the event which they are covering. So many of the Canadian journalists in this book, I not only have heard of have but have watched regularly over the years. Each story is written in the journalist own words and not retold by Bulgutch. 

Some will tell the story of how fascinating or horrifying it was to witness an event, but most tell their personal connections to the story in relation to the people they met during their covering it. I was surprised at the friendships they built with those people, friendships which continued long after the story. 

The stories vary. Some are large and horrific and makes you wonder how they dealt with what they saw for the rest of their lives. Others are smaller, unique, personal stories. 

That's Why I'm a Journalist is a fascinating book, one which makes me want to read his follow up to it, That’s Why I’m a Doctor.

Mark Bulgutch’s own entry into journalism started with a paper route. After journalism school, he worked for the CBC News for over 35 years. He was the senior editor of The National for 11 years and retired as Senior Executive Producer of TV News, which put him in the control room for all major special events, from election nights to commemorations of Remembrance Day. He is the recipient of 14 Gemini awards, 4 RTNDA Awards, the Canadian Journalism Foundation Award of Excellence and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon Award. He currently lives in Toronto, ON.

Monday, 5 October 2020

New Crime Thriller by Gordon K. Jones Now Available for Purchase

I'm excited to announce my new crime thriller, Saving Tiberius from publisher, Bookland Press, is now available for purchase. 

Morgan Watson has a problem. When word leaked that his cat, Tiberius, miraculously cured itself of diabetes and may hold the key to a cure, he is attacked in his home and almost killed in a bloody fight. 

Paula Rogers, a strong-willed dedicated police officer, has put herself in the line of fire protecting them, and for the first time is stretching the rules and hiding facts from her superiors. 

The two fiercely independent people find their romantic feelings for each other grow as they search to find who is behind the brutal attempts to get Tiberius before they find themselves intertwined with the growing list of dead bodies.

Saving Tiberius can be ordered through Chapters IndigoAmazon or better bookstores near you.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)

Today I finished the 3rd and final concluding book in the Illuminae Series, Obsidio.

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza--but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys--an old flame from Asha's past--reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

The series, created and written by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, may be listed as YA  but is also an exciting story for any fan of science fiction. All three books are partly as a a written story and partly, perhaps mostly in graphic novel style. All are brilliantly done.

In Obsidio, the storylines from the previous two novels, Illuminae and Gimina, come together as the survivors of both novels are racing to free the now enslaved planet, Kerenza, from the conquering company BeiTech. I really enjoyed the depth the characters are given plus the twists, turns and surprises the story takes.

Obsidio is a terrific conclusion to a really enjoyable series.