Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If I Did The Morning Traffic Report

Public Domain use image from Wikipedia

Every morning on my drive in from Hamilton to Toronto, I love listening to Ben, Kerry & Shawna of Y108, a Hamilton rock radio station. Their fun banter helps alleviate the morning traffic blahs.  And the regular traffic reports by the chipper Cara Graham are something I also appreciate. 

Cara's pleasant voice makes even the bad news seem not as grim.  But, with all due respect, I think about how Cara and other morning traffic reporters tend to sugar-coat the morning traffic with terms such as "seeing a bit of volume" and "starting to fill in" rather than what it really means.

That's why, if I were doing the morning traffic, I'd be a bit more tempted for it to sound like this.

Good morning, this is Mark Leslie, your Y108 traffic reporter. Yes, I know, this job is like being the weather man when all you have is constant showers on the weekend. But suck it up, sunshine, you've got to head in to work and the truth is, it's not going to be a pleasant drive at all.  Here's the dirt:

The QEW coming in on the Skyway bridge is starting to fill in. And by fill in, I mean it's looking like the parking situation in the neighbourhood near Ivor Wynne stadium just before a big game.  You'd be better off jumping off the bridge onto a canoe and paddling your way in to downtown Toronto.

We're seeing a bit of volume where the QEW and 403 meet in Burlington. And by volume I mean the loud screams of the drivers who are yelling at each other because of the idiots who don't use their signal and cut everyone else off by racing up the merge lane and cutting in at the last minute.  At this point you'll likely be kicking yourself that you didn't take the 407 toll highway.

By the time you pass Walker's Line you're really better off just parking your car and getting out and walking -- you'll get there faster.  Between Appleby and Burloak you'll find there are more jackasses whose constant lane changes end up slowing down two full lanes of traffic.

As you near Erin Mills you'll come to realize that traffic is at a dead stop because 5 years ago some idiot slowed because they saw a shiny object on the side of the road that they thought was a penny.  Experts estimate that we'll still be seeing the effects of that slow down for another three years.

Heading further into Mississauga you might as well put your car in reverse -- that'll likely get you to your destination faster. If you take a glance out your window, you might just see a chain of ants zipping past your car.  Seriously, there's no other way to describe the traffic at this point other than stupid.

And if you make it all the way to the Gardner without repeatedly banging your head into a bloody pulp on the dashboard out of sheer frustration or having a stroke because of your consistently elevated blood pressure, you might want to pull the horseshoe out of your ass and stop in at the nearest convenience store to buy a lottery ticket for this week's Lotto 649, which is bringing you this morning's traffic report.  

Lotto 649:  Just imagine not having to deal with this bullshit.

And that's what my morning traffic report would be.  Simple. Honest. And pointing fingers at the small handful of idiots who make the drive worse for pretty much everyone else because of their selfishness.  I'm pretty sure there's a special place in hell reserved for these assholes. 

Of course, my positive attitude about the whole thing is which is why I'll never get a stint as a traffic reporter.

All joking aside, getting frustrated just causes more grey hair.  Which is why, after ten to fifteen minutes of getting my morning fix of the cool folks at Y108, I tend to sit back and relax and listen to an audio book in the car.  I figure, if I'm going to be stuck in traffic, I might as well do something productive and useful such as "read" a book.  Of course, this morning, having already finished the latest audio book in my queue, I composed this blog post in my head.

Monday, June 25, 2012

No One Gets Left Behind

Yesterday, I joined a team of 10 intrepid co-workers on the Spartan Sprint - a 5K extreme obstacle race north of Barrie.  Our team name was Kobo Blooddrops.

The Kobo Blooddrops - pre-race- waiting for the shuttle bus

The route entailed some amazing trail running, mud pits, hurdles, walls, crawling through dark tubes, under tight spaces, through about 70 or so feet of mud trenches under barbed wire, over hay bales, up inclined walls, and with various stations to perform "feats of strength" by carrying sand-filled sacks, pushing weighted wheel-barrows, pulling oneself up a rope, hauling up a pulley with weights and spear-chucking.

The rowdy kids on the back of the bus

It rained most of the route, making the trail that much more muddy and slippery.  On the plus side, nobody was dehydrated and the shuttle bus was less stinky that it might have been. (There was no hope, however, for the Port-A-Potties - we considered the very FIRST obstacle to be surviving using one of them.  The last obstacle, we joked, while waiting for the shuttle bus, was PATIENCE)

Post-race - Spartan battle cry!

It was a great way to spend a Sunday with a good group of people.  But what I'm most proud of was the way in which we stuck together as a team, rooting each other on, pushing each other forward, helping each other at each obstacle.  We had agreed, going in, that nobody would get left behind, and that's what we did.  One of the best moments was when we formed an arm-linked human chain to traverse the mud river.  It was an amazing team effort and a fun and exhilarating experience.

The only damage I rec'd was chewed up knees, from a few of the crawling events, as well as kneeling at the top of one of the walls.

No happy knees this morning . . .

Owie . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

That’s the Spirit: A Dollars and Sense Analysis of A Self-Publishing Decision (Reviewed One Year Later)

Here’s one of those self-publishing stories that you WON'T hear much about. Nobody pays much attention to the plethora of writers out there who don’t sell a million copies of their self-published book. It’s like a lottery ticket winner who wins a free ticket or a small, less than extraordinary prize amount. It is simply NOT worthy and therefore won’t be reported upon.

But it’s my self-publishing story. And in the interest of providing a bit of balance to the universe, I thought I would share it. Perhaps sharing it will help illustrate to other writers out there who are not bringing in a huge windfall, that the stories you continually read about concern a small percentage of authors.

Last June I decided to experiment in the digital self-publishing world.  I took a story that I had written but had not been able to sell to a traditional market and decided I would self-publish it as a digital short.  “Spirits” which is a contemporary love story set in a haunted theatre had trouble finding a good home.  It didn’t make it in literary markets because of the speculative element to the tale; and similarly, it wasn’t right for horror markets because the creepy element to the tale wasn’t scary enough. 

The length, 6000 words, also was challenging, because there were other markets that might have considered it, but the story was beyond their word length limit.

(I also balked at sending it anywhere that didn’t pay professional rates, which are considered 5 cents per word – there might have been markets that would consider it that paid less – but it’s rare that I’ll send a story to a market that pays less than pro rates – so that was another thing limiting this story’s options)

I persisted for about a dozen years of getting some really great rejections from various markets I had sent it to (things along the lines of: “Great love story, but we didn’t like the ghost.” Or “Intriguing and touching speculative tale, but it wasn’t frightening enough for our readers.”

But last summer I thought I’d push it out through the self-publishing realm.  I figured, a 6000 word story at 5 cents a word would mean I was holding out for about $300 to sell this to a fiction market.  I figured, certainly I could find about 1000 readers who would be willing to drop a dollar for this tale, ultimately netting me about the same amount.

So, during a week of vacation last summer, I compiled the story into an eBook-ready form for Amazon’s KDP program and to Smashwords for distribution to Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony and Diesel.  The eBook includes the story itself as well as a bit of a behind the scenes explanation that outlines the genesis of this story as well as how and why I decided to self-publish it and make it available for $0.99.

On the day that “Spirits” became available, I also did a special live uStream video launch for it.  I spread the word through my blog, through Facebook and through Twitter.  For the launch, I did a short reading from the story and then spoke about my decision to self-publish it as well as a bit about The Phoenix movie theatre in Ottawa that helped inspire the tale.

For the launch (which took place on June 3, 2011), the only places that had the story available for sale were Amazon and Smashwords.  It took a few weeks for the eBook to make its way downstream into other retail markets like Kobo, B&N and Apple.

Here’s how the sales in June of 2011 shook out.

Okay, not bad.  For launch day I sold 19 copies and made $7.70.  Nothing to write home about; nothing to garner any special attention.  But I had traveled to book launches in which I sold a lot less and earned a net royalty of even less. My spirits weren’t crushed.

Within a few days, as people finished the story, a few reviews started to appear on Smashwords and Amazon – mostly as a response to my desperate pleas that if people liked the story they please share that by posting a review of it.

As the weeks passed, sales dwindled and never really went anywhere.  I continued to learn more and more about self-publishing, and learning some of the subtle yet distinct differences between traditional publishing and eBook publishing. I read blogs, listened to podcasts and paid attention to what was happening in the self-publishing realm.  I was certainly already familiar with it. I had self-published One Hand Screaming, a collection of some of my previously published horror stories, back in 2004, making it available in print using POD and then later making it available in eBook format. I had also started up a new sideline business within Titles Bookstore at McMaster University using an Espresso Book Machine and was working with many local self-published authors who wanted to use the machine to get their own print books into the world.

In fact, as an aside, I ended up, towards the tail end of 2011, getting paid to research and learn the ins and outs of self-publishing. I was hired by Kobo as Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations. The main focus of my role involved creating a DIY portal designed to make self-publishing easier for authors (Ironically, we’re getting close to the eve of releasing Kobo Writing Life to the world – this was definitely something I could have used to make sure it was available at Kobo as quickly and easily as I made it available on Amazon)

A lot happened since I launched “Spirits” as an eBook.  Admittedly, there were days when I would obsessively go to the dashboard on Smashwords or the Reports page on Amazon and click refresh, hoping to see the sales of “Spirits” or one of my other eBook projects take off.

None of them ever did.  Sure, sales trickled in here and there.  But again, nothing major happened.
I even released a full audio version of “Spirits” on my Prelude to a Scream podcast feed.  It received approximately 500 downloads.

But, again, uptake on sales was slow.

Instead of continuing to obsessively check on the sales that weren’t rocking any bestseller lists, I focused on a few other writing projects.  I pitched a book to Dundurn Press that they accepted. I spent the rest of the summer madly researching and writing Haunted Hamilton: The Ghosts of Dundurn Castle & Other Steeltown Shivers, which is coming out in August 2012.  My novel I, Death, which had been accepted by Atomic Fez, was also slated for publication in November 2012 (in time for World Fantasy Con which takes place in Toronto in November).  Somewhere in there, I accepted the role of editor for the latest Tesseracts anthology and Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound is slated to come out in September 2012.

And, of course, for my day job, I spent my time focusing on helping other self-published authors with their success via, while working with the development team on the building of the DIY portal that would become known as Kobo Writing Life.

Also, in January of 2012 I realized that the cover I had designed, while it spoke directly to me about Greg Bartholomew, one of the characters in the story, didn’t really capture the type of tale I was telling.  (Thie cover featured a photo a buddy of mine, Greg Roberts had taken – Greg occasionally allows me use of his fantastic photos for some of my book projects)  The cover featuring the shadow of a tall man perfectly suited the character of Greg Bartholomew who is, in a sense, a shadow character. The shadow itself was also the perfect representation of the concept of leaving one’s “spirit” behind in a place.

The original cover for Spirits

However, because, at its heart, this was a love story, I looked at the cover and wanted to come up with something that spoke of the tension in the relationship between Rob and Sally, the two star-crossed lovers that the story focuses on.  I browsed a few sites before finding an image that I thought worked nicely.  The image cost me $9.80.

Again, I wanted to employ the use of a shadow to denote leaving a spirit behind, and I kept the tag-line, "People who haven't died can still leave their spirits in a place."   I also threw in the words "love story" to try to appeal to those who might be intrigued by the non-speculative element to the tale, the love story between Rob and Sally, because at its heart, that's what the story was really about.

Interestingly, sales of “Spirits” picked up a little since I revised the cover.

The revised cover for Spirits

So let’s now take a look at the end result of the sales of “Spirits” one year later.

Hmm.  87 units sold for a total of $46.37.

“Spirits” certainly wasn’t going to be allowing me to retire. And, if I wanted to round up the earnings to an even $50 (just for the sake of simple math), it would take me another 5 years before I earned the $300 I had originally hoped to make.

Of course, that doesn’t take into account the $10 I spent on the cover.  But then again, I likely spent at least that much money on postage to send this story out over the years.  And besides, while the story sat in a drawer, or spent time in slush piles, I was earning exactly $0.00 on it.  At least now it is bringing in a few trickles of sales.

Again, I am not crushed. But nor am I sharing a great story of a successful self-publishing venture.
It also reminds me of the importance of outlining what success means in this space. Does success mean millions of downloads of tens of thousands of dollars? Or does it mean producing a product that I am truly proud of and which has entertained a relatively small group of readers?

So, I have learned that there are different ways to measure success.  I perhaps learned that pulling this story from the drawer and making it available to readers has perhaps added to my brand. I have had reader feedback from people who have read this story and then moved on to purchase one of my books (in either print or eBook format) – and all because they took a chance and bought a short story for about a buck.

What Else Have I Learned?

1)    Patience
The sales will continue to trickle in – slowly.  Sure it’s great to be excited about a new publication, but spending every second focusing on it and worrying about whether or not it is selling isn’t going to help. Instead, I’m going to focus on producing more content, look at what I can do to continue to provide stories for those who are interested in reading them. And, as time passes, recognize that the trickle of sales continuing to come in is better than the zero eyeballs on my story while it languished in slush piles hoping to be published.

2)    Change is good
With digital publishing if you don’t like the cover, you can change it. If you don’t like the price, you can change it. If the description for the blurb isn’t working, you can change it.  Change is good, and so is experimentation. If something doesn’t work, you can fix it.

3)    Mistakes Aren’t The End of the World
Certainly you don’t want to be making terrible balls-up mistakes every day. And there’s value in putting out content that matches a key element of an author’s brand. But that’s not to say that you can’t make mistakes. You can. And you should. So long as you learn from those mistakes and end up putting out a superior product.  Think of the first draft of one of your stories. Is it always perfect the first time those words get laid down?  Of course not. You edit them, you re-write, you refine. You iron out the mistakes, patch the errors, make it better. The same holds true in digital publishing.  You can make mistakes and recover from them quickly.

4)    Self-Publishing Is Not a Get-Rich Quick Scheme
At least, it isn’t for me. Nor will it be for the majority of writers out there. But then again, I’ve been a writer for a long time and I never suspected it would be easy. I expected it to be a lot of hard work, taking a lot of patience, a lot of practice and an extreme amount of dedication.  I have, therefore, been conditioned to understand that self-publishing is no different than traditional publishing in that regard.  As a traditional writer, I never commanded the million dollar advances that you often read about. And as a self-published writer, I doubt I will ever command the blockbuster audiences, sales and cashflow that are often celebrated.

5)    Self-Publishing is Not for Everyone
There are certain projects and certain people who are simply not cut ouf for self-publishing. There are also particular works and particular projects for whom self-publishing is the dearest option. Recognizing that it’s not a black and white environment and there are a lot of shades of grey (the pun, for those who get is, is completely intended) is important.  As I look at a few different writing projects on the horizon, I can see some of them better suited for traditional publishers and others better suited to my own self-publishing endeavours. And in my mind, there’s room for both.

I also learned a few things about making my work available in a broader market. If I had just stuck with Amazon, which, at the time, was the easiest system to use, I would have sold less than 20 units and pulled in less than ten dollars.

But making it available on Smashwords seemed to have done me some good.  Through Smashwords the book sold decently on Smashwords as well as on Kobo, Apple and Barnes & Noble. Interesting how an upload to a single place pushed my story into multiple markets – there was value there in saving me time and energy. And the royalties rec’d from Smashwords ended up netting me an average of 58.8 cents per book as opposed to the 35.5 cents per book I rec’d from Amazon.

And there is the tale of a year in the life of one of my self-published stories.  You’ll see that it didn’t make me rich, it didn’t make me famous. But it added to the greater “Mark Leslie” catalog and continues to entice new readers at a slow yet relatively consistent pace.  And in the meantime I continue to enjoy my role working with self-published authors, those who are extremely successful in it and those who, like me, are making their way in the SP world without any stellar blockbusters but are enjoying the experience just the same.

And I’m JUST fine with that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Darth Vader And Son

As a special treat for Alexander and I, we recently picked up a copy of Jeffrey Brown's hilarious new book Darth Vader and Son

It is a cute little book of cartoons examining what life might have been like for Vader if he has raised his son Luke. In the cartoons, Luke is about four years old.

Alexander and I have been enjoying reading through it.

There are so many moments that a Star Wars fan and a father might enjoy, with wonderful fatherhood lines like:  "When I was your age we didn't even have Star Destroyers." 

But this one is one of my favourites, particularly because it reminds me of the ongoing struggle to get Alexander to bed every night (a struggle that has been going on for 7 years now . . .)

My Father & My Son

Father's Day is a special day for me not only to remember my dad, but also to relish in the very special joy I have to be the father of such an amazing and wonderful little boy.

My dad and Alexander never had a chance to meet, but I'm sure they would have gotten along smashingly.

Being the generation that binds the two of them together in this subtle way, and being so lucky to be the son of a great man and the father of a wonderful child is an honour and a privilege.

Here's one of my favourite pictures of Alexander, taken last spring, sitting on my truck (what used to be my dad's truck).  Dad and Alexander are beautifully connected in this picture, which brings me a great sense of joy and bitter-sweet pleasure.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wallenda's Key Message: Don't Give Up!

Last night an estimated 1 billion people watched Nik Wallenda's historic border crossing from the US to Canada.  It is historic, of course, because he was crossing over the horseshoe falls; something nobody has ever done, nor likely ever will do, again.  Yes, people had crossed Niagara Gorge on a tight-rope, but nobody had ever done it over the falls themselves with issues like the heavy mist to contend with.

Speaking of the crossing, I thought it was cute when the Canadian border guards who met him asked to see his passport and Wallenda made a joke of sighing as if he forgot it and had to go back across to get it.  It was a subtle, but wonderfully executed little joke, before he pulled the passport (which had been in a sealed plastic bag) out. He then promised them that he wasn't bringing anything across with him.  When asked the nature of his visit to Canada Wallenda said:  "To inspire people around the world."

Nik Wallenda walks over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Friday, June 15, 2012. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

He certainly did that.

Wallenda fought for two years to get the permission from both countries to be able to do this stunt; in the face of being told it would never happen (stunts at Niagara Falls have been banned for almost 130 years), Nik and his family and team never gave up.  They made it happen.  They even made a small compromise with ABC, who insisted that he be tethered, for the purpose of the broadcast.  (Not that he needed the tether - he never faltered once during his trek across, which took less than half an hour - and he never lost the calm focus that kept him on track and on balance despite the challenges odds of wind, mist and low visibility)

Francine and I let Alexander stay up to watch this historic event.  And it really was something to see.  We had talked about making the trip down to see it live, but the ABC broadcast was well-done and offered some amazing views and perspective. 

In my mind, the message that Wallenda offered was a critical and important one that can be interpreted by individuals into whatever their dreams are.  For me, (for example), it would be related to writing and the importance of concentration, focus and training that Wallenda spoke about; for someone else, it is whatever dreams or goals they might hold fast in their heart.  But chances are, it involves the same sort of dedication, concentration, focus and training.

One of the wonderful scenes at Brick City on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, Ontario

It was a wonderful event to watch live, but, as stated, what I was most impressed with was Wallenda's ongoing message in this stunt:  Don't give up! Pursue your dreams! 

He said it beautifully, and it's something for us to all keep in mind as we pursue our dreams and work at the goals that we set for ourselves.  I know that I'll keep his words in mind.

"The impossible isn't quite the impossible if you set your mind to it!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hanging Out With KJA

One of the perks of the long and exhausting week at BEA last week was getting to spend time with Kevin J. Anderson.

I met Kevin and Rebecca Moesta at EerieCon a few years ago. They are both great writers and wonderful folks.  I was immediately impressed with just how down-to-earth and approachable this author of well over 100 novels with 20 million books in print was. I'd been a fan of his since first reading a novel he co-wrote with Doug Beason called Ill Wind and there we were sitting on panels together with Kevin treating this particular "unknown" writer with the same amount of respect he would treat a fellow NYT bestselling author.

I had been in contact with Kevin within the past 6 months for a couple of reasons. 

First, I'm re-printing a story (Drumbeats) which he co-write with Neil Peart (yes, the lyricist and drummer from Rush) in Tesseracts 16.  (Link to the book on Amazon -- Link to the book on IndieBound).

Second, Kevin has been one of the beta authors involved in helping provide feedback and insights that helped in the development of Kobo Writing Life, the new DIY portal for self-published authors (which we announced in NY at BEA last week)

During a busy week, Kevin and I had a chance to get together at The Pony Bar - a wonderful little spot that specialized in craft brew.  We sampled some great beer while chatting about writing, science fiction, publishing, digital publishing, self-publishing, hiking, and of course, Kevin's work on Clockwork Angels, a project he wrote in conjunction with Neil Peart as a tie-in to the Rush album of the same name.

Kevin was an author guest at the open discussion media breakfast we held on Tuesday June 5th to announce Kobo Writing Life -- and he was also one of the featured writers in residence at the Kobo booth.

Right now I'm reading Kevin's first novel, Resurrection, Inc. -- this is the novel that he wrote while listening to the Rush album Grace Under Pressure (the album my buddy Pete forced me to listen to and which turned me into a Rush fan - THANKS, Pete!) and it's really fun to read through and pick up elements that were inspired from Peart's lyrics.

It's funny -- here I thought, that with 3 books coming out from three different publishers in the next 6 months, that I was a hard-working and busy writer. But after spending so much time last week with Kevin and realizing he has something like 8 books coming out this year, it would appear that I'm slacking big time. One must admire his non-stop energetic charge towards efficiency (I quite admire the multi-tasking manner by which Kevin writes while hiking -- he brings an audio recorder along on hikes and writes while enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

In comparison, I'm simply not working hard enough!  Time to look at any of those wasted moments where I could be more productive.

The truth is that, hanging out with Kevin, I can't stop thinking big!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week It Was, What A Week It Was, It Was

Wow.  Between last Sunday and today I have certainly packed a heck of a lot of special moments in.

The challenge, in all honesty, would be ensuring I capture each highlight, from beginning to end.

Here goes.

On Saturday June 2nd I flew out to New York to prepare for UPublishU, a pre-BEA event focused on self-publishing authors.

Sunday June 2nd, I sat on a panel with Hamilton's Bob Young (Hamilton TiCat owner and CEO of and got to share some tips for authors looking at self-publishing.  Immediately after our panel, I caught a taxi back to LGA to fly back to Toronto to introduce the brilliant and talented Terry Fallis as MC of the CBA Libris Awards dinner and reception.  Because of a delay coming through customs, I was just arriving as Terry was onstage pretending to be me and kicking off the evening.  I commented, after dinner, when I officially "introduced" Terry as the evening's host, that I'd never looked so handsome)

On that same evening, I not only got to present Michael Ondaatje with his Author of the Year CBA Libris Award (quite the honour, since I've long been a fan of his writing), but I also got to present that evening's special honoured guest, Margaret Atwood with the CBA Libris Lifetime Achievement Award.

Twitter pic from @RandomhouseCA of me presenting award to @MargaretAtwood
It was a special honour to get to share the stage with Terry Fallis and present awards to literary icons such as Ondaatje and Atwood (And what a fantastic way to end off my term as CBA President!)

I was back in New York the following day to meet with Kevin J. Anderson, explore some fantastic craft brews at The Pony Cafe and discuss self-publishing, writing, the thrill of being a writer during this time of dramatic digital change, and, of course, the new Clockwork Angels novel that he wrote with Neil Peart of Rush and will be released as the band begins touring for the new album.

On the morning of Tuesday June 5th, Kevin J. Anderson and Bella Andre joined Michael Tamblyn (EVP of Content, Sales & Merchandising at Kobo) and I with media representatives that included folks from Time, Oprah Magazine and Publishers Weekly to announce Kobo Writing Life, the new self-publishing portal for authors at a breakfast and open discussion about eBooks and self-publishing.

It was fantastic to finally share something that I have been working on since I joined Kobo back in the fall of 2011 as Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations.  KWL is the result of 6 months of really fun and exhausting requirements gathering by listening to the self-pub and author communities on all the elements needed for successful indie author publishing of eBooks.

There is a video of me talking to Mercy Pilkington of Good eReader that took place immediately after the media breakfast . . .

Of course, there's an even better and longer video of Michael Tamblyn sharing the KWL and general Kobo love . . .

I spent the next several days talking to hundreds of small publishers and authors about Kobo Writing Life; do back to back media interviews with a variety of wonderful folks, and got to meet some fantastic authors and bookish folks who I had only previously known through social media.  (And despite not pausing to do more than gobble down a quick cereal bar for lunch each day, I still didn't get a chance to meet with everyone I had been hoping to touch base with . . . I DID manage to get about 3 to 4 hours of sleep each night, though, so one might think that perhaps if I had skipped that "lost time" I might have gotten more productivity in to each day -- that, or drop dead of exhaustion at the end of the week)

On Wednesday June 6th I had an opportunity to sit down in the Kobo booth with Michael Connelly and talk with him about writing, what it's like having published his first novel (the one that introduced Harry Bosch to the world) 20 years ago with the publication of The Black Echo and various aspects of the universe he has created featuring Bosch, Mickey Haller (portrayed by Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer) and other wonderful characters.  Part of our discussion was captured on video and will likely be shared with aspiring thriller/mystery writers via the Kobo Writing Life portal Learning Centre.

Because so much was packed in to the past week, I'll likely be putting up separate blog posts regarding some of the specific details mentioned above in the next few days.