April, 2010

Wine and Weiner

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

A million things go through your mind when you’re writing and then marketing a book, but the threat of volcanic ash isn’t generally one of them. I’m curious now, however, how the volcanic ash from Iceland that shut down international air travel affected plans to market the book outside Canada at the London (England) Book Fair last week. Hopefully, I’ll get an idea over the next week.

Here in Canada, the book has gotten back onto the Globe and Mail‘s bestseller list. It’s amazing how you can warm up to a competing newspaper, when they print things like that.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a fun speaking engagement at the Roselawn Centre in Port Colborne on Thursday. It’s part of a series put on by humour writer/savant William Thomas, and in the past it has included the likes of Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler and Pierre Berton. They feed you and buy up a batch of books, leaving you nothing to complain about, no matter how hard you might try. Since it’s part of a pre-sold subscription, the theatre is generally full and the people in the seats have put put in a good mood with wine and cheese before the speaking starts. It’s hard to reconcile wine and cheese with talking about Weiner Kellestine. I remember once speaking at The University of Western Ontario and there was only one person in the audience. I wasn’t sure if he was really interested in the topic (the Canadian Mafia) or he was snowbound, since there was a storm outside. I also wasn’t quite sure if I should be a trooper and keep on talking, if he left. Fortunately, he stayed and the storm eventually let up. This Thursday, I’ll try to pull the tone up by explaining why there’s Shakespeare throughout the book.

Crime site

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I’m really pleased that a question and answer interview has been posted at www.thecrimereport.org, the excellent website for the Center on Media, Crime and Justice. The Center is a partner of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a leading international think tank on justice issues, based in New York City. Life can be so strange, with smart folks at a leading think tank trying to make sense of a night of utter stupidity.

Booth G305

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Literary rights agent Catherine MacGregor of HarperCollins will be at the London Book Fair in London, England this week, gauging world interest in the Bandido Massacre, the biggest known biker massacre anywhere in the world. Australia, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Germany and Italy all figure in the book, from Australian bikers encouraging the independence of the No Surrender Crew in Canada to Mick the Nomad of Britain, trying to forge some sort of peace after the slaughter. She’ll be at Booth G305. It’ll be interesting hear from her on the response over there.

On another note, convicted mass murderer Wayne (Kellestine) remains an unhappy man in a solitary cell apart from other prisoners at Millhaven Penitentiary.

Big moment for former paperboy

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I lived in London,  Ontario for 11 years while growing up, and worked briefly as a paperboy for the London Free Press. Getting up so early in the day didn’t come naturally and I had to drink a Coke every morning as I pedaled about my route, just to keep awake. Eventually I got a part-time job in the sports department, chasing down scores from high school sports, among other things. By then I was attending the University of Western Ontario’s Masters of Journalism program and drinking massive amounts of coffee to stay awake. My extended time in London, Ontario means a review in the Free Press is a big thing for me, and so I was happy this morning to read a positive one from reporter/author Chip Martin today. In a couple of hours, I imagine that former friends at Central Secondary in London like Ross McLean will be reading it, when they have their morning coffee, which is a cool thought. I imagine my former Central Secondary English teacher James French will see it too. I didn’t need Coke or coffee to stay awake in his classes, as he was truly excellent. Among other things, he brought in world-acclaimed local author Alice Munro to speak to us on the life of a writer.

Sad anniversary

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

My thoughts today are with the families of the eight victims, who learned four years ago today that they had lost their loved ones. It’s easy to think of the mother of Frank (Bam Bam) Salerno, who told court in her victim impact statement that she finds some solace in words of Tennyson that she studied as a schoolgirl:

Oh yet we trust that somehow good

Will be the final goal of ill,

To pangs of nature, sins of will,

Defects of doubt, and taints of blood:

That nothing walks with aimless feet:

That not one life shall be destroy’d,

Or cast as rubbish to the void,

When God hath made the pile complete…

Moving well

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
It has been a little over two months since The Bandido Massacre appeared on bookshelves and it’s still moving well. I read in the weekend Globe and Mail that it’s #2 in the country for true crime books. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books/bestsellers/

Easter anniversary

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

It is almost four years ago to the day that the Bandido Massacre took place and I find myself thinking this Easter Weekend alot about the families of the murder victims. I was struck at the trial at just what nice people they are and how dearly they loved their sons/husbands/fathers/brothers who were slain. It was such a sharp contrast between real family and false brotherhood. The raw emotion of mothers, sisters and others sobbing at the back of the courtroom was searing and something that doesn’t go away. Some found a measure of comfort in knowing that their sons, brothers, fathers and husbands had a chance to make peace with God before being slain. Such thoughts are especially poignant at Easter Time.