Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Introducing....Alison Bruce

Alison Bruce has a degree in history and philosophy, which has nothing to do with any regular job she`s held since. After university, her first career was a comic book store manager where she was in charge of advertising and promotions as well as the usual retail chores. She started writing and editing professionally for business and community organizations in 1991. In partnership with two other women, she published Women’s Work for five years, serving as the principle writer and general editor. In addition to CWC, Alison has worked for York Region and the Windfall Ecology Centre. And she will still argue philosophy after all these years.

Okay, that’s the official biographical info on Alison, as given to me.  Now here comes the fun stuff:

Alison started writing stories for other people when she was twelve. She lost her first novel in the women's washroom at Ryerson University (not known if it was stolen, or if she flushed it). A year later she received her first rejection slip for another story. Being a sensitive sort, she waited several years before trying for her next rejection slip.

As a result of having inherited her mother’s and sister’s libraries, she now has six copies of The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer.  Her niece is named for the title character.  Her daughter Kate is named for comic characters: Kitty Pryde of the X-Men and Katie Powers of the Power Pack. Her son Sam is named for the cat she had as a child.  Her blog, “Have laptop will travel” (http://alisonebruce.blogspot.com/) was inspired by the book title: Have Gat Will Travel, first seen as a child climbing the bookshelves.

Alison is fueled by coffee and one heck of a sense of humour about life. She’s the kind of gal who gets your back and won’t let you down. She won’t let you down as a writer, either.

Her book Under a Texas Star is now available at Amazon.com.  And it’s damn good.

Melodie Campbell

Let's Be a Reality Blog

I avoid Reality Shows. To me, they promote the competitive side of humanity, and not in a positive way. Big Brother, the Bachelorette, Flavor of Love, Survivor, Dancing With the Stars. To be fair, I haven’t watched full episodes of these.

Yet the last Olympics held me in thrall. That was Reality, too, though, with very deliberate dramatization of individual’s backgrounds. The difference? A very inspirational presentation.

There is no denying that Reality Shows are popular, and have been for a long time. Survivor started in 1992. Some thought Reality Shows were a hedge against strikes by the Writers Guild, and would not be here for long. Hmmm….Survivor, est. 1992…

I will admit to watching one: So You Think You Can Dance. This is more Sport than What Can We Film When They Think No One’s Looking. Each season begins by showing a range of applicants from phenomenal dancers, to heart of gold but missing an element dancers, to have you ever watched the show? foot shufflers. Dramatically presented, and with a positivity and a hey you gave it a good try attitude. But what really seals it for me is the growth of the selected competitors. Some just blossom before your eyes from one week to another.

So, Karen Blake-Hall was starting a blog, with emergent mystery writers. Driving home from work (the best time for ideas!), I mused…with a multitude of blogs out there, what could make hers special? Somehow the Reality Show popularity occurred to me, and I thought…

…How would a Reality Blog work? You can’t eliminate contestants. The blog is a group of writers working together, not competing. Oh, but let’s be real….everyone wants to sell their books and there may be a limited pool of book-buying dollars out there…

I proposed to Karen that part of my role here could be to present challenges. Writing related. Promotion related. We’ve got a number of writers just ready to blossom on the mystery scene with a bloody big splash. Watching their progression, seeing how they respond to different assignments, could be entertaining and for the mystery crowd…intriguing.

The first challenge will be issued June 14th. Keep your mystery-loving, adventure-craving eye on us!