Book Distribution

I am pleased to announce that both my new novel, Teeth, Lies & Consequences as well as Blue Saltwater will be distributed to most libraries and major bookstores by Red Tuque Books Inc. which is operated by fellow author, David Korinetz from Penticton, BC. See www.redtuquebooks.ca for more information on their catalogue.

The Third Option: Teeth, Lies & Consequences

In the closing pages of T L & C as Frankie and Friedrich board a plane for Los Angeles, Frankie shares his plan of returning to Israel to open dental clinics in Israeli Muslim Communities and in the “third world” communities of new Jewish immigrants from Muslim countries.

His dream is to promote a third option of hope and reconciliation to the dominating themes of hate and revenge that govern the lives of both Jewish and Palestinian citizens in Israel.

Promoting Hope and Reconciliation may seem like a worn out cliché but in the Middle East these days it is a concept that is sadly lacking on both sides of the conflict. Maybe this story, in its own small way, can help to change that.

Teeth, Lies & Consequences: Title Launch

It’s been about two weeks since this new title saw the light of day on Amazon.com and Kindle. Now it is also available on Amazon.ca making it easier to access for Canadian readers. I am also working with David Korinetz, of Red Tuque Books Inc. which will be distributing the book to bookstores and libraries in Canada and the US. Hopefully by the end of the year all channels will be up and running.

Teeth, Lies & Consequences

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I’m excited to announce that my new novel, “Teeth, Lies & Consequences”, is now available on Amazon.com and on the Kindle Store. It is the story of a dentist who takes an oath to never reveal a secret but then must go against his word to save the life of his son. More detailed information can be seen on the Amazon.com website.

I am working with a distributor to have books available in bookstores but this is still a work-in-progress and may not happen until sometime in the new year. For those of you in Vancouver, I hope to have books available for direct sale from me in December for $25.00 CDN. Due to the prohibitive cost, I cannot do mail-outs unless prepaid. According to Canada Post, envelope cost and mailing for this book is around $14.00-17.00 per copy in Canada and around $18.00 to the US. Best deal as usual is the Kindle e-book.

For the next four months, I will be donating $5.00 CDN from the purchase of each print copy and $2.50 CDN from the purchase of each Kindle copy to the Semiahmoo Dental Outreach which is directed by my classmate and old friend, Dr. Ken Stones from White Rock, BC. All the funds generated will go toward supporting his humanitarian projects in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru, Tanzania and Kenya. See semiahmoodentaloutreach.org for more information.

If you enjoy the book, please provide a short review on Amazon.com to drive the algorithm and generate interest and hopefully sales. Feel free to share this with all your friends. Any feedback you may have after reading would be much appreciated.

Surrey Writers’ Conference

I’m attending the annual Surrey Writers’ Conference today and looking forward to attending several stimulating workshops along with meeting Literary Agent, Jill Marr for a one-on-one pitch session telling her about my new novel, Teeth, Lies & Consequences.

The Davin Report: Where It All Started.

After the passage of the first Indian Act in 1876, Prime Minister John A. MacDonald commissioned Mister Nicholas Flood Davin to study the workings of the Industrial Indian Boarding Schools in the United States. Davin travelled to the south and was particularly impressed with the school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where the founder, Richard Henry Pratt claimed that he had discovered a new way to deal with the “Indian Problem”–by education and assimilation.  On March 14, 1879, Davin delivered his seventeen page report to The Minister of the Interior where he recommended the funding of four schools in the West to be operated by different religious institutions. The report provides a fascinating insight into the Colonial Mindset of governments at the time and should be required reading for all students studying this sad period of Canadian history.  http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/multimedia/pdf/davin_report.pdf

Residential School Victims: First Nations and Otherwise

The release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report, makes over ninety recommendations to provide solutions for what happened in Canada from the 1880’s until 1996 in the Indian Residential School System.

What it doesn’t mention, is that although the system primarily victimized aboriginal children, by it’s dysfunctional nature and the physical isolation of the schools, there were also casualties among the teachers and administrators who served on the front lines. Although these victims have yet to be heard from, the novel Blue Saltwater touches upon this with the predatory, alcoholic and suicidal behavior of Brother Denny Boyle, the antagonist in the story.

As Canada and the United States became populated with a dominant European culture in the nineteenth century, North American aboriginal tribes were seen to be languishing in poverty, shame and cultural disintegration. Well meaning and respected educators, clergy and government officials proposed this system as a way of elevating aboriginal children to a more assimilated and productive existence. It was thought that by removing the children from the primitive ways of their culture, changes would be more rapid and permanent. But as everyone acknowledges now, even though well intentioned, forcibly removing children from their families was a catastrophic failure in social engineering.  

Raising Public Awareness

The story of Canada’s Indian Residential School System has been front and centre in the news this past few weeks with the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report. It contained over 90 recommendations and it will be interesting going forward to see how many are acted upon.

Through the media, I have already heard educators and executives of the TRC proposing to rewrite textbooks for elementary schools, high schools and universities so they contain additional chapters detailing the findings of the commission. This is all being proposed to raise awareness in future generations. Wrong!

As I helped my granddaughter with a grade eleven social studies assignment on Canada’s role in WW II the other day, she said: : “I won’t remember any of this after I hand it in, grandpa.”

That’s my point. The most effective way to raise awareness is through effective storytelling rather than having kids answer questions from a textbook. These days the best vehicles are either online, television or movies. Good novels can work but with so many alternatives, their penetration with the younger audience can be a challenge. Think of the movie, Saving Private Ryan, as a good example. Raising Awareness of what happened on D-Day by watching this movie is much more effective than reading a dry account of dates, times, locations and casualty counts in a textbook.  

 

Truth and Reconciliation Commmission: Final Report

After six years of receiving testimony from 7000 witnesses and survivors of the Indian Residential Schools across Canada, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission under the leadership of Justice Murray Sinclair will deliver its final 300 page report on June 2, 2015.

The commission was established by the federal government and aboriginal leadership in June 2010 with high hopes that it would help repair the relationship between aboriginal people and the rest of Canada. Sadly this hasn’t happened.

The Residential School System which was started in the 1880’s and shut down in 1996, forcibly removed aboriginal children from their families with the mandate to change them into productive assimilated Canadians. The system has been referred to as “cultural genocide” by both Justice Sinclair and Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Over the years 150,000 children attended the schools and it is estimated that over 6000 of them died. Many were buried in unmarked graves and are still unaccounted for.

The story of Blue Saltwater attempts to put a face to those anonymous thousands of innocent children who were torn from their families and abused in the schools.

The dysfunctional effects continue to this day.

Perry Bellegarde: New AFN Chief

Congratulations to Perry Bellegarde who was elected as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations here in Canada. As an organization that proposes to speak for the almost five hundred Indian bands across the country, Perry has got his work cut out for him. His predecessor, Shawn Atleo, resigned after he was unable to convince a majority of the chiefs that his negotiation on aboriginal education with the Federal Government was the way to go. Considering that almost half of the eligible chiefs didn’t show up for Perry’s election since they no longer consider the AFN relevant, tells you what he’s up against.

On another note, both Chief Bellegarde and his probable nemesis, Prime Ministrer Stephen Harper, are career politicians. This could be a good thing in the sense that they may understand the meaning of the word: Negotiation: it means, “not getting what you want but getting what you can live with.” The chiefs “didn’t get that” with Shawn Atleo’s efforts.  Chief Bellegarde sold himself as a champion of aboriginal rights with over-the-top rhetoric like; “Canada is Indian land” I’d say he better tone it down and show a little more common sense, pragmatism and flexibility if he wants to make a positive difference in the lives of his people, particularly the next generations.