The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie

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The Long Hello by Cathie BorrieBook Review
Title: The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me
Author:  Cathie Borrie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: January 6, 2015
Pages: 225
ISBN: 978-1-4767-9251-4
Book Reviewer: Christine Bode
Stars:  2.5

 

My younger sister died five months ago today from ovarian cancer at the age of 48 so it’s quite possible that I’m just not in the right frame of mood to be reading and reviewing a memoir about a woman who spent seven years caring for her mother before she died from Alzheimer’s in her late 80’s. Nonetheless, the good people at Simon & Schuster enticed me into reading The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie by using these paragraphs to describe it:

“It explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities. The Long Hello demonstrates how caregiving creates an opportunity to experience the change in a relationship that illness necessitates, one in which joy, meaning, and profound intimacy can flourish. 

Written in spare, beautiful prose, largely in the form of a dialogue, The Long Hello exquisitely captures the intricacies and nuances of a daughter’s relationship with her mother.”

After reading the book, this is not my experience of it. My 62-year-old cousin, who cared for her own mother while she was dying from Alzheimer’s three years ago, read it before me and she found Borrie’s to be very unlike her own experience and not as moving or profound as she thought it might be based on what we were led to believe by the above description either.

Another thing that caught my attention and makes me wonder is why Simon & Schuster chose to use the quote “Joy!” from Maya Angelou on the cover of the book because it hasn’t been published yet and Angelou died on May 28, 2014. If she did indeed have a chance to read this book before she passed away, I would have thought she’d have more to say about it than one word, but this to me is suspicious and the word is in my humble opinion, inappropriate.

Born in Vancouver, Borrie started her career as a nurse before attaining a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and later graduated from Law School at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2005, she earned a Certificate in Creative Writing from The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She is also a ballroom dancer and has performed in the theatre and as a clown. She has some impressive credentials but I don’t feel that this book “is immensely lyrical and moving” nor a “powerful display of Cathie Borrie’s talent as a writer.”

On a positive note, it’s a very quick read. I read it in two sittings. It’s written somewhat like a journal, almost in point form with the Canadian author flipping back and forth between her past and the present as she’s caring for her mother who is slowly slipping further and further away into the tunnel of dementia. However, I find that there is very little joy in this book aside from the often amusing things that Cathie’s mother Jo says as she’s losing her mind. Borrie recorded conversations with her mother so that she could write this memoir but her own emotions come across as flat and depressed, which I can totally understand that she would be, while going through such a difficult experience. When she describes the facts of her life, they’re just that, facts. The way she’s written them down it appears that she’s had very little joy in her life and maybe that’s the truth of it, I don’t know. She was, at the time of writing The Long Hello a 51-year-old single woman who couldn’t get her own needs met, but was compelled to do everything she could to help her mother before she died and that I can definitely relate to. But it makes for a sad, downer of a read and I was somewhat offended when she wrote this passage:

“My surgeon’s in his forties, easy on the eyes.

“How are things?”

“I’ve been praying for ovarian cancer.”

“You what?”

“So I’d be dead before you have to replace my hip. I figured it was a fast cancer so I’d be dead before my name got to the top of your waiting list.”

The things people say and write when they’re depressed…I’m telling you. We shouldn’t be allowed near a writing implement. I know this from experience.

Cathie Borrie’s mother left her alcoholic father when she was a young girl and soon after her 13-year-old brother Hugh was killed in a random fight with a neighbourhood bully. His, like so many others, was an utterly tragic and meaningless death. Years later, her mother remarried an older man who was always away on business but when he was home he didn’t want his wife’s child to be there because he’d already raised one family and didn’t want to deal with Cathie so she was sent away to boarding school, a fact that upsets her for the rest of her life.

Three quarters of the way through The Long Hello, Cathie’s mother asks, “What happened to the joy of life, Cath?” She replies, “I don’t know, what do you think?” “I think you thought it was going to be better than it was.” That is certainly a statement I can relate to at this point in my life and I also identified to Cathie saying, “I wish I was dead too. And when I’m old there isn’t going to be anyone left to take care of me…No one left who knows my story.” “Goddamn it, Hughie – why did I have to be the one left behind?” I’m sure that’s how many people feel when they lose a beloved sibling because I have and that’s exactly how I feel. And I didn’t need to read this book to be reminded of it.

Introducing Ron Chatterjee and The Colony of Roses – A Novel of Murder and Politics Set in 1960’s India

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The Colony of Roses by Ron ChatterjeeMEDIAARIA CDM is proud to announce the signing of writer Ron Chatterjee for the publication of his debut novel – THE COLONY OF ROSES.

Possessing all the ingredients to be a literary master work of its genre, THE COLONY OF ROSES is a story of murder and politics set against the backdrop of a changing 1960s India, where societal issues of abortion and divorce rages between political factions of the ultra-left and ultra-right. Told in the best tradition of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, over the course of seventy-two hours, THE COLONY OF ROSES follows the investigation of an Indian homicide detective’s dogged pursuit of the truth and his journey deeper and deeper into the shady and macabre world of lovable rogues, fall guys, femme fatales, corrupt cops, idealists and all the myriad quirky characters that inhabits THE COLONY OF ROSES.

Ron Chatterjee was born in a small town in West Bengal, India, where his life experiences would inspire his high-octane political thriller. Ron immigrated to the United States twenty years ago and has since settled into small town American life. Ron currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter working on his second novel.

Prepare to enter an intricate world of dysfunctional characters, greed and head-spinning adventure that will leave you guessing until the explosive end in Ron Chatterjee’s debut novel – THE COLONY OF ROSES.

To keep updated with news concerning Ron Chatterjee’s THE COLONY OF ROSES, click here. The novel is due for release in 2015.

The Caterpilion by Boris Glikman

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The CaterpilionThere once was a Caterpillar who was thoroughly sick of always being stuck near the bottom of the food chain. All the other animals –  birds, moles, lizards, frogs and spiders – would hunger for his soft, succulent sausage-like body, licking their lips avidly in anticipation of a delicious meal. Even the tiny ants posed a mortal danger to his life.

The only option open to the Caterpillar was to mimic some inedible object like, for example, a bird dropping, but that would be such an ignominious existence. Not only would he have to remain motionless all day long, but, most humiliating of all, he would be forced to alter his appearance to resemble a piece of dung. Surely, that was a price too high to pay for staying alive, for nothing could be lower than looking exactly like the end product of the digestive process.

One day, full of anxiety and fear as usual, lest he be seen and eaten, the Caterpillar was furtively drinking from a puddle on the forest floor. In the reflection cast by the clear and still water, he noticed, for the first time, that his head was covered by a thick mane of yellow hair. It was then that the Caterpillar was struck by the happiest, most brilliant insight of his life – he realised that, given his looks, he could impersonate a lion! The advantages of such a mimicry would be numerous: amongst other things, not only would he be on the very top of the food chain, afraid of no other animal, but, even more importantly, he would be simply gorgeous.

All the insects scoffed at the Caterpillar, saying how ridiculous his plan was, but the Caterpillar just ignored them and, enclosing himself in a cocoon, proceeded confidently with the metamorphosis.

A certain time had passed and the silly Caterpillar with his crazy dream was almost forgotten about, until early one morning, there was a terrific thunderclap of noise that reverberated right across the woods. The cocoon that held the Caterpillar burst open and out of it emerged a perfect specimen of a flawlessly proportioned, at-the-top-of-his-strength, full-sized lion.

The insects were petrified as to what the Caterpillar-Lion might do to them in revenge for their previous jeers, but he haughtily disregarded them, for, after all, he now was the king of the jungle that wouldn’t even deign to notice such measly bugs.

Proudly, the Caterpilion descended from the tree and began to stride majestically, as befitting his new station in life, roaring at the top of his lungs and showing off his muscular, lithe torso and luxuriant mane.

No other animal dared approach him, of course, and the Caterpilion was very pleased with himself, feeling the kind of deep, pure contentment that only those who had tasted the very dregs of life and found a way to clamber out of the abyss could ever feel. Ahead, a whole new existence shimmered in all of its glory and the Caterpilion was eager to find other lions with which he would live out the rest of his days in joy, happiness and freedom.

And so, when he saw a pride resting lazily in the midday sun, he rushed blithely towards it, eager to make friends with those he now saw as his compatriots, being completely unaware that lions are territorial animals who are viciously protective of their domain. The incensed pride could not believe that a mature lion would be so recklessly stupid as to completely ignore the markings that they assiduously used to bound their dominion, and enter carefree into their land. They promptly tore him into little pieces and that was the end of the Caterpilion and his happy, new life.

Boris Glikman is a writer, poet and philosopher from Melbourne, Australia.

He says: “Writing for me is a spiritual activity of the highest degree. Writing gives me the conduit to a world that is unreachable by any other means, a world that is populated by Eternal Truths, Ineffable Questions and Infinite Beauty. It is my hope that these stories of mine will allow the reader to also catch a glimpse of this universe.”

Boris welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at bozlich@yahoo.com.au

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bozlich/
Twitter: @bozlich
Previously published at http://omtimes.com/2013/07/the-caterpilion/

Father of 12 Inspires and Encourages Youth Through Epic Fantasy Now Shares Secrets Of His Success

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Father of 12 Inspires and Encourages Youth Through Epic Fantasy Now Shares Secrets Of His Success

MADE FROM SCRATCH becomes a book with buzz.

 MADE FROM SCRATCH: The Ultimate Guide To Self-Publishing by Jaime D. Buckley

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014 – Santaquin, UT — Jaime Buckley, Author of Chronicles of a Hero is known as a champion of the underdog. Believing each person has inherent value, he helps the world laugh at themselves, use each experience as an advantage, then encourages others to get up and try again. This same focus has turned him from youth and their parents towards bloggers and writers of all skill levels. Jaime’s alter ego Wendell P. Dipmier, the main character of his fantasy series, takes a back seat this time as the author expands his reach to the business minded.

MADE FROM SCRATCH: The Ultimate Guide To Self-Publishing became an obsession to help Indie Authors do the seemingly impossible—publish a professional product on a shoestring budget. No stranger to extreme hardships, Jaime shares his decade of experience and working against the odds, including homelessness, lack of funding and dealing with a cynical market to point out advantages many authors miss. His 21 books and prolific writing habits make him a unique role model for new authors seeking a non-traditional path. The book takes readers from idea to promotion and beyond.

“This idea started when I made some new friends at Be A Better Blogger,” remarked the author in a recent interview. “I met powerful, unique personalities—but few of them had ever published their work. With so much to offer others, I saw the opportunity to give that brilliant community a huge boost in the right direction. Sharing some personal experiences and pointing out a path most people could follow has become a specialty of mine. MADE FROM SCRATCH was written for bloggers, but it applies to writers in general.”

For digital review copies of MADE FROM SCRATCH or media interviews, contact the author through WantedHero.com or email him directly: jaimebuckley@wantedhero.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JAIME BUCKLEY is a veteran Indie Author who started his career as a comicAuthor Jaime Buckley book creator. Husband, father of 12 and grandfather, he inspires youth and parents alike through his daily blog while designing games and reaching out to readers around the globe. Since 2005 he has donated both his comics and novels to underprivileged children and continues to engage in charitable events involving youth and youth-focused organizations. Photos of Jaime Buckley and the book’s cover available.

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Jaime Buckley
jaimebuckley@wantedhero.com
(608) 620-4376
http://wantedhero.com

 

Sultans of String Release Official Music Video for “Will You Marry Me”

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Award-winning world music super group Sultans of String have just released their brand new video for the Chris McKhool penned “Will You Marry Me”, the proposal song he wrote for his lovely wife Catherine who appears in the video with their beautiful young daughter, River. Not only is this the perfect proposal song but I think it’s the perfect song for a first dance at a wedding too. Unabashedly romantic, this is certainly one of Sultans of String’s finest!

 

Toronto, Markham, Oshawa- Mark your calendars!Sultans of String Live with Ontario Philharmonic

Friday, November 28, 2014 – 8pm
with the Ontario Philharmonic
Regent Theatre
50 King St E, Oshawa
http://www.ontariophil.ca/
905-579-6711

Saturday, November 29, 2014 – 8pm
with the Ontario Philharmonic
Flato Markham Theatre
171 Town Centre Blvd, Markham
http://tinyurl.com/q8ac9st
905-579-6711

Thursday, December 4, 2014 – 8pm
Sultans and Divas
Koerner Hall
273 Bloor St W, Toronto
http://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/sultans_divas
416-408-0208 $35+

First up, two shows with the amazing Ontario Philharmonic performing the songs from their 2014 multiple award winning album, “Symphony!”, at Oshawa’s Regent Theatre on November 28 and Flato Markham Theatre on November 29.

I used to play classical violin in the youth symphony orchestras. I really love that sound and one of the things that I like to do with Sultans of String is lead us in different directions so that we can explore different sides of our musical selves. I thought it would be a really fantastic musical exploration to hear those world music grooves and rhythms and melodies with the majesty and the glory of the symphony orchestra. There really is nothing like it! ~ Chris McKhool

 

Then Sultans of String perform a collaborative concert with a whole team of heavy hitters in “Sultans & Divas – Discoveries in Canadian Arab Performing Arts” at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, December 4, 2014. The Canadian Arab Institute is co-producing this glittering cultural event featuring a dynamic assortment of opera, world music, literature and dance.

Sultans and Divas at Koerner HallAward-winning singer and actress Julie Nesrallah will perform Arab-inspired arias; critically acclaimed soprano Miriam Khalil will offer renditions of the legendary Fairuz; the Montreal orchestra OktoEcho, appearing for the first time in Toronto, will perform their own brilliant blend of East-West sounds; and Juno-nominated Sultans of String will deliver their joyful and liberating fusion music.

Quotes

“A new fusion of roots and classical…the results are mind blowing.  Even though the instrumentation is different, you get the feeling this is Strunz & Farah or Willie & Lobo or Gypsy Kings taken to the next level of the game, sometimes all at once… any fan of world beat or contemporary instrumental music is sure to absolutely flip for this gem.  Hot stuff throughout and a sure bet to notch a Juno and any other award winning hardware to come its way.“ ~ Midwest Record, Chicago 

“What this band does is not only good fun, it’s stocked wall-to-wall with irresistible international musics – gypsy jazz classics, flamenco music, Inuit melody, ukulele raveups, visiting musicians from the Chieftains…Lebanese music, you name it. If it’s got strings and fingerboards, count them in. What they never forget to provide, though, is enough melodic charm to beguile almost anyone. The large orchestra certainly does give them gravitas but, on their own, they’ve got as much charm as they need.” ~ Buffalo News 

 

The Curious Story of Frank and His Friend Mr. Stims, The Hydrophobe by Boris Glikman

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Earth without oceans…so anyway, like I was saying, I was sitting comfortably in this nice chair when Mr. Stims told me what he wanted to do with his invention. But please don’t interrupt me again, because I am going to forget what I was saying and won’t be able to tell you the whole story of what happened that day.

Let me begin again from the start, as I can’t remember now what I have already told you. My name is Frank. I finished school two years ago. I stay at home most of the time and watch TV. I live with my mum. I like her a lot. She is very smart and knows about everything. So I don’t see what’s wrong with saying, “That’s what my mum told me”, but the other kids used to laugh when I said that and called me a retard, which made me angry. Now I can’t hang out with them any more; my mum tells me I have a bad temper and could hurt them.

My only friend is my next door neighbour, Mr. Stims. I enjoy being with him. I love the brain games that he is so good at inventing. The game I particularly like is the one in which he asks me to guess what he is thinking of at that very moment. It is not an easy game to play at all.

Usually I spend time in his living room, where we drink tea, eat some biscuits and discuss interesting topics. But that day, Mr. Stims invited me into his study and asked me to sit in a comfortable chair beside his desk. He himself sat behind the desk, on which lay writing pads and folders, all neatly organised.

After staring at me in silence with an odd look in his eyes for about a minute, Mr. Stims started talking: “For the past five years, I have been engrossed in a fiendishly difficult task, as you probably have noticed Frank. I no longer need to be secretive about what I do, but I did want to apologise for being evasive and unpredictable in the past.”

He was right. He never told me what he did for a living, but it seemed to me that he was spending much of his time working on some scientific problem. All of his rooms were cluttered with books, whose titles I didn’t understand, and papers that were covered with calculations and formulas in his scribbly handwriting. And his strange ways did confuse me sometimes. I remember once asking him how he would like to be remembered, and it produced an odd reaction from him. He turned first red, then white and only replied that he had great hopes for the future. Another time I told him that even though we don’t live far from the ocean, we don’t know much about it, and that there could be big sea monsters and other curious fishes living in its depths. For some reason, he got all agitated and started going on about the chemical properties of water. Then, suddenly, he stopped mid-sentence and started talking about something completely different. But I still find him a fascinating person to be with. He knows so many things and can always answer my questions.

Mr. Stims continued: “You might remember from your school days, my friend, what a polar molecule is. Well, water just happens to be comprised of polar molecules. This fact is the linchpin of my work.”

I did not actually remember anything about those molecules. To tell the truth, I really do not recall much from my school days. I was always surrounded by people brighter than me, which made me afraid to speak up and say what I thought, in case I might say something stupid.  That is why I like Mr. Stims so much. He has never treated me as a fool and is always happy to listen and explain things to me.

“The fact that it is a polar molecule, does that suggest anything to you, Frank?” he asked. Not waiting for my reply, as he usually does, he continued: “I will get straight to the point. For your benefit, I will state it in simplified terms. The water molecule is a charged particle. Charged particles respond to magnetic fields. By creating a magnetic force of appropriate strength and by aligning it in the right direction, we can separate the water molecule into its constituent parts! We can turn liquid water into the gases of hydrogen and oxygen. The theory behind it is of course much more complicated than that, but what I have just stated is my work in a nutshell.”

He stopped talking for a short while, to give me time to understand what he had just said. But to be honest with you, I did not really see the point of it all. I thought it would be much better if you could go the other way and make water out of the invisible gases, so that people everywhere would have enough to drink, especially people who live in the hot deserts.

He went on to say, “The idea sounds simple enough. Let me tell you, putting it into practice was another kettle of fish; the years I have spent trying to create a functional apparatus, attempting to discover the right alignment. Failure followed failure. Many a time I was tempted to throw it all up in the air and just walk away. Only one hope kept me going. I cannot say it was a well-defined sensation, but it was something like…well, that by achieving my goal, all my past deeds would gain the meaning they were lacking.”

I looked closely at Mr. Stims’ face. Sweat had gathered on his forehead and there was a distant look in his eyes, but it quickly disappeared.

He then said, “Let me tell you a little of my past, as it will explain to some degree the present. I was a brilliant university student, majoring in chemistry. I was heading straight for a conventional academic career. But my personality did not sit well with the scholastic surroundings. The claustrophobic atmosphere and the daily routine were stifling my natural creativity; the imperiousness of the professors, the ceaseless competitiveness prevalent amongst the students. Once I left the university, there was no way back. To this day I remain an outsider to the scientific community. You, Frank, are the first person in the world to hear of my achievement.”

Although I was flattered, I still thought it would be better if water was made out of the invisible gases, so that people everywhere would have enough to drink, especially people who live in the hot deserts.

“But what are we waiting for!” he exclaimed. “Actions speak louder than words. Just one minute and I will show you how it works.”

While he was gone, I stretched my legs; they had almost gone to sleep. I also had an itch on my back where a mosquito bit me and I gave it a good scratch. I could not do that while Mr. Stims was in the room. When I am with him, I try to behave properly so he will respect me. I remembered dinnertime was coming soon and wondered what my mum had cooked for me. I hoped it would be fish fingers with mashed potatoes. That’s my most favourite meal in the whole world.

My friend wasn’t gone for long. When he came back, he was carrying a small, shiny box and a full glass of water. I thought it was really thoughtful of him to bring me water, because I was really thirsty. I was about to reach out my hand and say, “Thank you Mr. Stims, it’s really thoughtful of you,” when he put that shiny box over the top of the glass. There was a hissing sound and the water disappeared before my eyes. Well, it didn’t actually disappear straight away. For a second, it looked like the water was cut in half, like a fresh bread roll with a sharp knife, and then both halves vanished. I was a bit miffed, as I really did want to drink that water, but still the sight was so amazing I could not help crying out, “WOW!”

The room filled up with a funny smell, like a cross between rotten eggs and fresh pineapple. Mr. Stims must have noticed me sniffing for he said, “That’s nitrous oxide or laughing gas, as it’s commonly known. The oxygen released by the process has combined with the nitrogen in the air. You have to be very careful with nitrous oxide. It messes with your mind.”

I knew he expected me to say how impressed I was and I did say so. He didn’t reply for a while and then he started a long speech. I can only remember bits of it:

“I have great plans, great plans,” Mr. Stims said. “Imagine magnifying the strength of this machine a hundredfold, a thousandfold, a millionfold! Look at the map of the world, Frank! Look at how much space is taken up by the oceans. Two thirds of our planet is water. Two thirds! How much land is wasted because of it! So many regions are overpopulated. This leads to stress, stress leads to crime. And on top of that, the world population is growing at a faster and faster rate. What use is ocean water? We certainly cannot drink it. And in any case, many regions that are now ocean used to be land once. We need to reclaim that land. And we need not stop there. The time has come for the oceans to go! We will make them disappear, just like the water in this glass. Certainly, this might cause some climate changes, but they will be easily fixed. And just imagine…land, land, land everywhere! One great continuous continent! No barriers between countries! The whole world finally united as one, living in peace! Room to plant crops, room for cattle to roam! Spaciousness that, at present, mankind doesn’t even dare to dream of! Whole continents underneath the oceans are just waiting for us to populate them! The potentialities are breathtaking in their scope! Yes, there will be a price to pay. That price will be paid by the ocean inhabitants – but we need not concern ourselves with that. Intelligence arose on land and it is the land dwellers that will rule this planet. And I will go down in history as the man who made it all possible – the new saviour of humanity!”

Mr. Stims was getting very excited. Whenever he gets excited, he walks from one end of the room to the other and waves his arms around. Well, he was certainly doing that; his arms swung like the blades of a windmill and he shouted out, “Liberation from the tyranny of water! The time has come! The possibilities are endless!”

It was all very interesting, but I was getting rather hungry and kept thinking more about the fish fingers with the mashed potatoes. It was then that a terrifying thought startled me so much that I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I realised that without oceans there would be no more fish, and without fish there would be no more fish fingers for me to eat. Fish fingers really are my most favourite food in the whole world.

I said, “Hey, wait a minute Mr. Stims. I really like fish fingers. You can’t kill all the fish. Give me that shiny thing! I don’t want you to destroy the oceans.”

“Fish, shmish,’’ he replied. “Who needs them? They don’t sing, you can’t pat them and they smell terrible.”

He refused to give me the box. A scuffle broke out between us, because I was getting a bit angry about not being able to eat fish fingers any more, all because of his stupid invention. I reached for the gadget and tried to take it away from him; it was then that I accidentally pressed the round red button on its top. What happened next was the strangest thing of all. You know when you blow up a balloon, and then let it go without tying it up and it flies all around the room, letting out air? Well, something similar happened to Mr. Stims. All this vapour started coming out of his eyes, nostrils and mouth and he was getting thinner and thinner and changing in shape before my very eyes. Then he just fell to the floor, or what was left of him, for by now he looked like a gigantic squashed raisin.

“I am very sorry about this, Mr. Stims,” I said to him, “but I really do like fish fingers. They are my most favourite food in the whole world.”

I then took the box that was lying on the floor and broke it into small pieces. You both know what happened after that.

The two detectives exchanged glances and one of them said, “Looks like it’s going to be a long night for all of us, Frank.”

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (My All-Time Favourite Series of Books)

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Outlander by Diana GabaldonBook Review
Title: Outlander
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Seal Books
Released: October 9, 2001
Pages: 896
ISBN-10: 0770428797
ISBN-13: 978-0770428792
Stars:  5.0

Like millions of other Outlander fans, I’ve been watching the new Starz television series of the same name and LOVE it! I think the producers have done an excellent job of staying true to the book and I’m sure that’s because author Diana Gabaldon is a consultant for the series. The casting of Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire & Jamie Fraser and Tobias Menzies as Frank/Black Jack Randall is perfect, and even though the casting of Dougal MacKenzie seems wrong because Graham McTavish doesn’t look like Dougal and seems too old for the part, he is doing a great job with it. I can’t wait to see what comes next…although having to wait for April 2015 to see the second part of Season 1 is PAINFUL!!

Needless to say the Outlander series of books are those which fans read over and over again. While I’m not a super-duper obsessed fan, I have always named Diana Gabaldon as my favourite author since I read the first four novels in the late 90’s. Then, like everyone else, I waited and waited and waited for the next books to be written and in the meantime, I had theChristine Bode meets Diana Gabaldon for the second time great pleasure of meeting Diana Gabaldon twice at book signings…once after the release of A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005) and once after the release of Lord John and The Brotherhood of The Blade (2007).

I own all of her novels but I haven’t read the last two books in the Outlander series yet and that’s because I decided that I would have to make the time to re-read the series in order, back to back, so that everything would be fresh in my mind. I read A Breath of Snow and Ashes when it came out and haven’t read another of her books since. So, now is the time! The television series has inspired me and the next year will be the year of Diana Gabaldon for me. And what a sensational year of reading it will be!!

I finished reading Outlander for the second time at 3:00 am this morning. It took me two weeks and two days, and that’s with reading at least a couple of chapters a day. These mammoth tomes are hard for an engaged reader to put down so that they can sleep, work or just get on with their day. I know they’re very long novels, but I swear that every chapter is captivating.

Although there have been an army of authors who have tried to replicate the success of these novels for themselves, no one else has come close to the popularity of Diana Gabaldon’s novels. This very intelligent woman, who happens to hold three science degrees including a PhD in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, has sold over 25 million copies (the books have been published in 26 countries and in 23 languages) and continues to live happily with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona. Diana Gabaldon is an extremely smart, charming, witty and beautiful woman and that’s why her books have stolen the hearts of so many people.

I’m going to reiterate what Outlander is about using Diana’s own words:

“In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones—such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain.  She walks through a cleft stone in the circle…and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank—and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall—though for other reasons.

In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall—and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry. The story rolls on from there…”

And what an amazing, fantastic, romantic, adventurous, historical story it is!!

There’s not much more that I can add about Outlander except to say that if you haven’t read this series yet, do it! Now!! Before you die, you have to read at least the 8 novels that are currently in print (if you skip the Lord John Grey novels, you’ll be forgiven, but you should read them too) because I guarantee you, that if you love romantic, historical, adventurous, fantastical stories, no finer have ever been written. And no ladies, Jamie Fraser does not actually exist. A man like that is purely a fictional creation! Amen.

NOTE: Chapters Kingston is now selling the Outlander series (except for Written In My Own Heart’s Blood) for 2 for $15!

 

Kingston, Ontario Singer-Songwriter Jenica Rayne Releases Retro Country Rock Album, ‘Hit The Ground Running’

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 10, 2014

 

Kingston, Ontario Singer-Songwriter Jenica Rayne Releases Retro Country Rock Album, ‘Hit The Ground Running

Hit The Ground Running by Jenica Rayne
[Kingston ON] Kingston’s own passionate singer-songwriter, storyteller and seasoned performer Jenica Rayne of Jenica and The RayneMakers and Calamity Janes will release her brand new solo, retro 70s / Country Rock album entitled Hit The Ground Running at BLUMartini Bar & Grill, 178 Ontario Street in Kingston on Sunday, October 26, 2014, 7:30 pm. Her band for the evening will feature Doug Reansbury on electric guitar/BG vocals, Alec Barken on bass, Ken Hall on keys, Duncan Holt on drums, James Wannamaker on tenor sax, Janet MacRae on trumpet, Lynne Hanson and Sandy Stubbert on BG vocals, Danielle Lennon on violin and Rayne on guitar/vocals. Tickets for the CD Release show are available at Tara Foods and Brian’s Record Option.

Hit The Ground Running includes some of Kingston’s and Vancouver’s finest musicians. Recorded during 2013/2014 in Duncan Holt’s Concept Audio Studio in Kingston, and in Vancouver at Hammond Avenue Studio with Rayne’s longtime friend and producer Simon Kendall, the album offers many thoughtful Country Pop/Rock ballads with string arrangements and piano. The title track, “Hit The Ground Running” is an Anthemic Country Rock ballad that starts out slow & builds to mid tempo with brass arrangements and an orchestral sounding chorus, while the up tempo, road tripping “Faster” is Country/Rock inspired by true life events while performing in Mexico.

Rayne wanted to weave the musical influences of her Vancouver players with the sounds of her musician friends here in Kingston. It took a year but she got the sound she was looking for. Her mature alto voice is well-worn like your favourite pair of cowboy boots and her Retro Country Rock compositions and thought-provoking lyrics will take you back to the 70s. This album will fit in perfectly with your Blue Rodeo and Patty Griffin LPs.

Jenica Rayne is a jazz trained, accomplished guitarist and storyteller Jenica Rayne at the farmdescribing soul-searching, fun-loving and heartbreaking experiences. Audiences become engaged, reflective and revitalized with her shows. She has released four previous critically acclaimed solo CDs: Hall of Memories (1999), Essential Elements (2005), Live Rayne (2007) and Love is Love (2013), as well as Calamity Janes (2013) with the Calamity Janes Band.

Rayne recently appeared on CTV Morning in Vancouver with Jessie/Genie Award winner Simon Kendall and has shared the stage with many of Canada’s finest performers. She teaches music and guitar at the Kingston School of Music and is now ranked #1 in Folk / Folk/Rock by ReverbNation in Kingston, and #67 nationally.

Hit The Ground Running is available on iTunes and CD Baby.

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Website: www.jenicarayne.com
Music: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JenicaRayne
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenicaRayneLive
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenicaRayne
CBC Music: http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Jenica-Rayne

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Sherri Provost-Williams
Email: sprovostwilliams@gmail.com
Phone: 1-613-331-3006
Phone: 1-613-539-2774

 

Glenn McFarlane Releases New CD “Music and Friends” Available October 10th, 2014

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Glenn McFarlaneFor Immediate Release:
October 9, 2014

[Brampton ON]
Brampton Folk Club President and long-time member of the Celtic and East Coast duo Brown Ale, Glenn McFarlane, is proud and excited to be releasing his second solo CD. As the title implies, “Music and Friends” is a collection of original songs celebrating two things that are very important to him. The songs are fun and lively folk songs that reflect his East Coast roots, along with strong elements of country, folk-rock and world music, with an underlying theme of camaraderie throughout the album. Like his last release “Food for Thought”, the CD was engineered and co-produced by Wendell Ferguson, James Gordon and Jon Grant, to better capture the diverse musical styles on the album.

Also reflective of the CD title is the long list of special guests on the album, which includes Ferguson, Gordon, Grant, his Brown Ale bandmate Les Smith, his brother Keith McFarlane, Jason LaPrade, Don Ablett, Peter Jellard, Alec Fraser, Mike Shotten, Mark Rolland, and two large groups of backup singers. Some of these guests appear in cartoon form on the album cover in a jam session.

To help launch the album, Glenn has released a YouTube video of his song “Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games”. Arranged for commercial country stations, the song is a light-hearted country-rocker, about what it takes to win, regardless of sport. Another song, “Let’s Talk New Brunswick!” was released last year with a video collage of photos taken in Glenn’s native province. Many of the photos were shot during his “Prodigal Son(g)s Tour” last year, where he sang songs about New Brunswick in New Brunswick, even performing on New Brunswick Day. (A song documenting the tour is included on the CD.) Both YouTube videos can be accessed through his new and improved website www.glennmcfarlane.ca, under the Videos page. Samples of all songs, as well as their lyrics are also posted.

Glenn is celebrating his CD release with a series of concerts in Southern Ontario. He will be performing all shows with his brother Keith on percussion and backing vocals. Keeping in the spirit of the CD, he will be joined by special guests on some of these shows. For example, his Celteclectic bandmates Les Smith and Jon Grant will join him at the November 1st concert in Brampton. Other guests include finger style guitarist Don Ablett (who performs on the album) and Steve Kossen, who organizes a popular open stage event in Bolton.

For more information, please visit Glenn’s website at www.glennmcfarlane.ca.


“Music and Friends” – Track Listing

1          It’s a Beautiful Day for a Beer – up-tempo country song about summer long weekends

2          Come See the Stars – romantic acoustic folk waltz

3          Middle Aged and Overweight – whimsical up-tempo acoustic country piece

4          Offense Scores, Defense Wins Games – hard driving country rocker

5          I Am the Kyle – slow dramatic accordion based song about a Newfoundland steamship

6          Let’s Talk New Brunswick! – high energy “Maritime Rap” piece

7          The Prodigal Son(g)s Tour – Acadian style account of my New Brunswick tour

8          An Instrumental Break – a medley of three instrumentals, from lullaby to flamenco

9          Music and Friends – Music Hall style sing-a-long waltz

10        The Christmas Truce – dramatic story song about the 1st Christmas of World War 1

11        The Ballad of Kwakiutl – cheesy country parody about Brampton’s infamous statue

12        Jerry and Jim – mellow rock song saluting April Wine’s bass player and drummer

13        Decompress – parody of Bob Dylan circa 1965

14        Stan Rogers – dramatic folk rock piece about the Canadian folk music icon

 

Live Appearances in Support of “Music and Friends”

Saturday, October 18th, 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • Folk Music Ontario Conference, Mayfair Room, Westin Bristol Place, Toronto
  • Featured as part of the Brampton Folk Club Sponsored Showcase

Saturday, November 1st, 8:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Brampton Golf Club, 7700 Kennedy Road, Brampton
  • A Fundraiser for Brampton Civic Hospital

Saturday, November 15th, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  • Bolton United Church, 8 Nancy Street, Bolton
  • A Fundraiser for Bolton United Church

Saturday, November 29th – 11:15 a.m. to 12 noon

  • Freewheeling Folk Show, Hamilton, 93.3 FM
  • 45 minute interview, featuring live performances and tracks from the album
  • Podcast available at http://cfmu.msumcmaster.ca/

Friday, December 6th, 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Paul’s United Church, 30 Main St. South, Brampton
  • Opening for Boreal’s “Songs for the Snowy Season” concert

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Live Wire Music Series Presents Sarah MacDougall with Special Guest Ash & Bloom at The Octave Theatre, Fri. Oct. 24th

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Sarah MacDougallLive Wire Music Series presents Swedish-born Sarah MacDougall on Friday, Oct. 24th 7:30 pm at The Octave Theatre in Kingston. Now based in Canada’s Yukon Territories, Sarah has been described by Rootstime in Belgium as “one of the greatest talents of our era”, and by 24 Hrs Vancouver as “one of the most promising exports out of Sweden since Abba.”  Known for her unique voice and passionate live performances, this two-time Western Canadian Music Award winner has just returned from Europe and The UK where she is considered a rising star.

Opening the evening will be the Toronto duo Ash and Bloom, playing songsAsh & Bloom from their 2014 release Let The Storm Come, a CD which has critics comparing their sound favourably to both Simon and Garfunkel and Iron and Wine, and which features songs co-written by some of Canada’s greats: Peter Katz, Caroline Brooks (The Good Lovelies), Julie Crochietere and Rob Szabo.  Their shows lean into synergy as their songs turn audiences into unsuspecting choirs.

Live Wire Music Series presents:

Sarah MacDougall with special guest Ash and Bloom
Friday, Oct. 24 – 7:30 pm
Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave. Kingston

Tickets $20 in advance and $25 at the door available at Brian’s Record Option (613 542-2452) and Tara Foods and online at www.livewiremusicseries.ca

www.sarahmacdougall.com    www.ashandbloom.com

 

Recent reviews for Sarah MacDougall from around the world:

Thoughtful, strong, and spiritual The Globe and Mail

This is a real breathtaking and touching record from one of the greatest talents of this era - Rootstime, Belgium

A downright intoxicating beauty! 5/5 stars! – AltCountry.nl, Holland

We’re not so specific about nationality when we declare Sarah one of Sweden’s best singer/songwriters - Nöjesguiden, Sweden 4/5 stars!

A near perfect collection of memories of love Allgigs.co.uk 4.5/5 stars!

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