Smile You’re on Radio

Multi-media, I love the sound of that word. As writers, our chosen media is usually print but Ontario Library Association wanted to produce some 15 second radio commercials to publicize the fantastic Forest of Reading Program. Because my novel crush. candy. corpse is up for the Red Maple which means grade seven and eights read and vote on it, I was privileged to be able to read a one page script for this commercial. Lisa Morales at Skyword Studio in Markham was my producer.

IMG_2720The first thing we noticed and I should have realized from my year of screen/script writing classes, is that one page of double spaced 14 font text is too long. It took me 40 seconds to read at a normal speed. In screen writing, one page equals one minute.

I offered to edit/cut the script on site, so that I wouldn’t have to drive back from Burlington to Markham, and then we conferred with Meredith Tutching to see which words absolutely needed to stay.

And then I read out loud, again and again as Meredith and Lisa timed. The neat thing is you can see your voice register on the computer screen. I should have taken a photo. There are mountains of colour showing inclines in your pitch, and valleys when it goes down. When you pause there are white gaps.

In order to get the message down to 17 seconds, Lisa deleted all the white gaps. One of her pieces of advice, “Smile when you talk into the microphone, the listener can hear it in your voice.”

The difference was amazing. You may be lucky enough to be in the car at the right time and place to hear this brief quip about the Ontario Library Association (OLA)’s amazing program that gets hundreds of thousands of kids across

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the province reading and voting.

But probably not. So here’s the gist. Visit the OLA website at Register yourself and/or a bunch of your friends in your own Forest of Reading club. Read the list of age appropriate books, yes there’s one for adults,too, and vote. Then order tickets to the Festival of Trees in May and you can meet the amazing authors.

Happy Reading!


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A Blog/Vlog

My daughter, Jennifer Filipowicz, a science fiction writer herself, introduced me to a new media form: blogging. Here Jennifer interviews me about crush.candy.corpse, writing and life in general. If you’d like to know more about her writing life visit her website

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Stars, rankings, reviews

We’re all obsessed, writers. We look for book reviews and count the stars and worry about the comments and why someone can seemingly love everything about a story and then just give it 2.5 stars. As though the reviewer has a very limited budget of stars in their pocket that he/she must ration and parcel out miserly.

Enter the internet. No longer does a seasoned review writer sprinkle the star dust. Now we must endure the ravings of (say) the disgruntled student who must read the book for a novel study. In fact this year a library student in the thick of exams felt compelled to open a book reviewing blog in which she reviewed nothing else but crush. candy. corpse. She didn’t have time to read the whole book, what with a

thesis due and job applications, but still she launched a new blog specifically to diss the first chapter which admittedly she skimmed. In it she accused the author, me, of being lazy. Really.

IMG_2143I know what my reaction should be. Note the photo of my Jackapoo.

I wonder if the ranting reviewers understand that a disgruntled author could potentially track them down and tp their house. Or worse. I know, I know, writers should just ignore reviews and write from the heart.

Unfortunately another writer showed me a website called Bookmanager which shows sales rankings. A new form of self flagellation. Chapters/Indigo lists which stores carry my books and how many. Book by book I could follow how they sell and where. Googling can show me which libraries stock it. Couple that with the news that a potential publisher for my newest work is looking at

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sales to determine whether they will make an offer and probably what that offer will be as though the past is a reliable predictor of the future. This next novel may prove my blockbuster. Or not.

The challenge for us perhaps is to step away from the Internet and remember our own inner sense of worth. Excuse me, I’m going to shut down now and go write something amazing.



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