Category Archives: Uncategorized

In the Fool’s Footsteps – Free Download (until Nov. 25, 2013)

Okay, so my novel was never even submitted for the Giller Prize, let alone making it to the long list. But, one book blogger thought “it would be a top contender“.

Why?

Well, get the free ebook and find out for yourself. From November 21-25, 2013, you can download the ebook for free (regular price $5.99). Free is nice, no?

But, please, if you like what you read, don’t keep it to yourself. If you don’t like it, that’s cool, too. I’m just happy that people are reading it. But, do me a solid and take a few minutes to honestly rate and review it on Amazon or Goodreads. It’s a free and easy way to support the arts (if that’s your thing).

The blurb:
You’re in a used bookstore when you find a filthy old notebook. You smell the mildew and feel the aged mushiness of the remaining pages, about to disintegrate in your fingertips, and stained with mud, coffee, tears, who knows what else. Further inspection reveals that it’s a diary. Do you read it? Who wouldn’t?

Then you notice that it has passed through several hands since 1928 when a teenaged runaway named Clara started the whole thing. Now it’s in your hands. Do you add your own story to this odd message-in-a-bottle collection?

This is the question Kal Winters is avoiding. Seventy-six years after Clara dropped her diary on the steps of Union Station, Kal finds it in a used bookstore and sets out to trace its path, hoping to learn the secret of Clara’s identity. During this surreal journey that draws from folklore, legend and tarot, Kal encounters a cast of weird and wonderful players in a story about alienation and the human need to connect.

In the Fool’s Footsteps

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Thoughts on A Work in Progress Inspired by True Events in the Author’s Life

I’ve always known that I would write about my experience with full-grown neighbourhood bullies. I just wasn’t sure how best to tell the story, whether as a monologue, a play or a book. I thought it had to be a first-person account, and I struggled to get to a place where I could begin to write about a very painful period in my life. I had many false starts as I tried to go over it all in my head. I considered how to write about people I know, and I worried a lot about leaving out the things I may have forgotten. Names, dates,  newspaper headlines and the necessity of getting it right all hounded me.

Then I remembered that I’m not a journalist.

I’m a novelist: I pull the truth out of everyday details and I weave it into fiction that illuminates some aspect of the human experience. (Or, so I like to think.)

What point would rehashing every little detail and putting it into chronological order serve other than to bring my pain to the world-wide stage of the internet? Really, that shit’s personal and it’s not going to help anyone. And, quite frankly, I don’t want to relive it in TechniColor.

The new work is full-on fiction inspired by what I gained from a bad situation. I’m finished talking about it as a victim and ready to give it some artistic thought. I’ve moved on with my life and have no interest in going backwards, but it’s also important to learn from the past. What did I take away from the experience and how do I turn that into art?

(First step: find a new title.)

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Filed under Bullies Suck, Uncategorized, Writing

Book Giveaway!

Over at Chapters and Chats, I’m giving away two signed copies of my book, In the Fool’s Footsteps. Check out the contest details here.

While you’re there, make sure to follow this book blog – it’s insightful, well-written and diverse.

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“I’ll send an SOS to the world…”

As I walk farther along the self-publishing path, deeper into the promotional woods, I can’t help but feel a little lost and alone from time to time. The internet is full of advice, some of it useful, a lot of it, not so much.

Bloggers insist that I should be updating my blog daily, following every other blog I can find about indie authors and commenting prolifically. My Twitter feed is full of other self-published authors promoting their books, indie publishers advising and admonishing, and even some authors boasting about their huge sales. (That’s more than a little depressing to me, especially after purchasing one of said books to find out that it’s terrible.)  I’m on Wattpad and Goodreads. I’m still learning the pros and cons of self-publishing on Amazon (like that you need to purchase expanded distribution to make your book available on Amazon.ca even if you’re a Canadian author).

And I’ve barely written a word for my latest project because my precious writing time is spent keeping up with social media.

Since the early days of this process, I have stubbornly insisted on not blogging unless I actually had something to say and was happy with what I wrote. And there’s the uneasy feeling that spending too much time on marketing and promotions was not only going to have a negative impact on my creative life, but also be a complete and utter waste of what little time I have to dedicate to writing.

Social media and the internet in general is amazingly powerful, but tweeting and blogging is also a little like sending a message in a bottle out into the wide, wide ocean. Or hundreds of bottles, if that’s your strategy. At best, it will work. At worst, you will annoy someone who may otherwise have been inclined to read your stuff. Most likely is that it will go completely unnoticed.

Then, I came across this blog post by Michael J. Sullivan and I feel much better. In a nutshell, Michael reminds us that we have to build our fanbase one reader at a time. It sounds daunting, but for me, it’s a reason to hope that it will happen.

So, for now, I’m sticking to my guns and ignoring the blog and Twitter hype around self-publishing (especially the 50 Shades of Nonsense), and choosing to concentrate instead on arranging readings, reviews and interviews. Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t think anything is more effective than person-to-person interaction. Maybe it’s slow, but just a few months ago, my book was still hidden in a drawer.

Besides, I have another trick up my sleeve…

If you are interested in writing a review of In the Fool’s Footsteps, email me at simplicity[dot]kh[at]gmail[dot]com.

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July 23, 2012 · 8:32 pm

Book Launch Highlights

Last Friday, I launched my book, In the Fool’s Footsteps, and I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I invited friends and family to my local bar and restaurant, where much of the book was written. (There was something creatively magical about three coffees and two pints that propelled the story forward.) Champagne, food, a reading and book signing – perfection.

Click here for a quick video of a portion of the reading I gave.

In the Fool’s Footsteps is available on Amazon ($12.99 for the paperback; $9.99 for the ebook).

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My Best Toronto

Check out this lovely write-up about my upcoming book launch. I used to write a column for GayGuideToronto.com called Cheap Thrills about fun and inexpensive things to do in Toronto, and the site owner, Shaun Proulx, with his infectious positivity, was instrumental in my decision to self-publish.

http://gayguidetoronto.com/2012/05/22/my-best-toronto-karen-hoffman/

 

 

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