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September 11, 2017

Happy Half-Birthday, Mitzi Bytes!

It’s Mitzi Bytes’ half-birthday! This week marks six months since Mitzi was launched and hit the Independent Bestseller list, reaching #2 for Trade Paperback Fiction and #6 Overall. It’s been an excellent run, and we’ve celebrated by finally making use of our custom cookie cutters from our friends at Jammy Dodger, The Bakery. I am grateful to everybody who has supported this book, booksellers, festivals, friends and readers. You’ve made this all such a pleasure.

And speaking of pleasures, have never known one quite like the Dunedin Literary Festival. It was the most beautiful, fall colours just beginning to give us glimpses, and the sun was shining and the sky was blue. I appeared on a panel with my friend, Kate Hilton, moderated by Tish Cohen, whose Town House I read and loved ten years ago. We had such a good time, and afterwards I hung out with my husband and children and we soaked up all the goodness of a day out in nature—there were activities for kids, a playground and swing, delicious local fare for lunch (empanadas to die for), and I got to see the panel later that day with Alison Pick, Cecily Ross, and Claire Cameron. It was a wonderful day, and I’m really looking forward to returning in 2018.

There are more good things coming up this week! I’m doing a talk on the (long and winding) road from blog to book at the Brockton Writers this Wednesday at the Glad Day Bookshop. And Word on the Street is next week, Sunday September 24. In conjunction with WOTS, I got to do a fun questionnaire with She Does the City answering questions about my writing life and readerly fixations. You can read it here.

August 30, 2017

Mitzi Bytes: Coming Up

I am looking forward to a busy fall with Mitzi Bytes things, with two events in Toronto (including Word on the Street!) and trips to Dunedin and Stratford. At Brockton Writers on September 13, I’ll be giving a short talk about my experience of how I got from blog to book. And I’ve got book club visits scheduled too—very excited about these. Do let me know if you’d like me to visit your book club—email me at kerryclare AT gmail DOT com.

In other Mitzi Bytes news, my interview with Shelagh Rogers was rebroadcast last week (during the eclipse, even!) and that was fun. I was super happy that my #MitziInTheSun summer prize pack found an excellent home. Thanks to everybody who participated. And I’m grateful for this wonderful review by Heidi Darroch; one paragraph begins, “Like Maria Semple or Meg Wolitzer…” so I pretty much have everything I ever wanted.

July 21, 2017

Mitzi Bytes in the World

A thing I never had sufficient appreciation for before I became an author is the the work of literary festival volunteers. I’ve attended festivals as a reader, and always had the general impression that these were the kind of events that just kind of happened. But this spring I’ve learned that they only happen because a lot of people work really tirelessly to make it so, and this was definitely the case at the Lakefield Literary Festival last weekend, which was such a pleasure and an honour to be a part of. Having grown up down the highway from Lakefield, the festival has always been on my radar, and then to be invited for an event with Zoe Whittall and Marni Jackson, whose books I enjoyed so much last summer, was utterly fantastic.

Our event was such a pleasure, and I think it wasn’t just me who enjoyed it—you can read about it here. On Saturday morning I taught a session of my blogging workshop, which was made so excellent for me by the engaged and interesting people who’d signed up to be part of it. And while that was happening, my husband and children were enjoying the children’s events. Later that day we’d all head back to the festival for the reception, with delicious food and a perfect ambiance. There were other great events going on all weekend, and we enjoyed our time at the festival so much.

In other news, the Mitzi Bytes e-book (at Kobo or Kindle) is on sale right now for 4.99 as part of Savvy Reader’s 50 Book Pledge Deal. The lovely Theresa Kishkan wrote about how Virginia Woolf haunts its pages in a gorgeous post about summer reading. And I was so happy to see the book reviewed in the Tri-City News as part of a round-up of summer reads, along with a spread of other books that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in this past while. Librarian Kathy Johnson writes, “This is a dishy and modern Harriet the Spy for an adult audience.”

July 11, 2017

Mitzi Bytes in the World—and in the Sun

“You’ve got to have a long view,” is a thing I told a writer last year who was troubled that her book had not been the explosive sensation she’d been hoping it would be. From a reader’s perspective, this seems obvious—there is no such thing as a book best-by date and the number of times it’s taken me ages to finally pick up a book I’d fall in love with is kind of preposterous. But for a writer, there is pressure, for a book to be a hit the moment it’s out of the gate, and while it’s true that there is a limited window in terms of media coverage and award eligibility and things like that, these aren’t actually the literary connections that matter. And now I keep having to deliver my own advice to myself, to remember that the life of a book is long, serendipitous, sometimes subtle, and always surprising. And while my book is now old news as new releases go (literally, so last-season), it’s continuing to have adventures out in the world and I find this so delightful.

And first, if you’re looking to come along on a Mitzi Bytes adventure, tickets are still available for my event at the Lakefield Literary Festival this weekend with Zoe Whittall and Marni Jackson. (I am also teaching a blogging workshop on Saturday morning.) Having loved both Marni and Zoe’s books last summer, it’s especially exciting to be appearing with them on Friday—for it’s a long way from the screened-in porch where I devoured Zoe’s book to a seat alongside her on the festival stage. (!!)

Last Friday, I had the good fortune of reading from Mitzi Bytes at Lexicon Books in Lunenburg, NS, which is one of the best bookstores I’ve ever been to (and we both know that I do get around). It was a terrific night with a packed house, and the good company of the brilliant Rebecca Silver Slayter and Johanna Skibsrud, who were kind enough to include me in their event. I’m so grateful to store owners Alice, Jo and Anne-Marie for having me—and to Jo in particular who was actually reading my book as I came into the store, which is a highlight of my life.

Elsewhere, Mitzi Bytes is featured in the August issue of Canadian Living, as “a compelling look into the personal consequences of the digital age.” One of my favourite readers and writers (and my friend!) Sarah wrote beautifully about the novel on her blog, Edge of Evening (and apparently I stole her life—more about that later…). Katy MacKinnon writes a great piece on the book at The Winnipeg Review, and they declare it a “fun” novel about the capacity of women to be more than just one thing—exactly! And long-time blogger Danielle Donders writes a fantastic review of the book here, which thrills me to no end because long-time bloggers “get” this book in just the way I want them too—as a celebration of the history and evolution of women in blogging, the communities and connections blogs created, and how these blogs have helped so many of us define our sense of self.

She writes, “…a book with a blogger as the protagonist released in 2017? How delightfully anachronistic. And yet, the story feels surprisingly current and relevant today.”

And just a reminder that the #MitziIntheSun giveaway runs until July 31. There’s still time for you to share your sunny Mitzi pic for a chance to win an excellent summer reads gift pack (which I will make sure to get to the winner before summer is gone…).

June 26, 2017

Mitzi Bytes in the World

A very nice thing is that #MitziInTheSun kicked off last week and lots of people shared the image or shared their own sunny Mitzi shots (because my hashtag would have been lonely otherwise…): Mitzi by the lake, at the ballgame, in London, even! The photo above is of the excellent #MitziInTheSun summer reading prize pack, which could be yours if you play the game (which runs until the end of July).

Other good things: Mitzi Bytes was featured on Plenty in May: “a clever page-turner of a novel with a powerful engine of a plot, some of the funniest dialogue you will ever read, and a sex scene with a ventriloquist.” Dawn Dumont was kind enough to include it on her summer reading list for The Writers’ Trust of Canada in very good company. And Matilda Magtree had very nice things to say about the book as well when SHE DID NOT REVIEW IT recently.

And now coming up? I’m going to be reading at Lexicon Books in Lunenburg, NS, next Friday, July 6, reading with Johanna Skibsrud and Rebecca Silver Slayter. And the weekend after that, I’ll be at the Lakefield Literary Festival, appearing with Zoe Whittall and Marni Jackson on Friday, July 14 and teaching my blogging workshop the next morning. Hope to see you there!

June 18, 2017

SUMMER READING CONTEST!! #MitziInTheSun

When Mitzi Bytes came out in March, it was packed along on plenty of spring break trips and celebrated by readers as a bonafide beach read—a distinction I’m proud of, and one that only becomes more paramount now that summer is here. And so to celebrate the novel’s beachy qualities—it is plot-driven, comedic and fun‚ plus its pages have been specially manufactured to be sand-resistant*—we’re having a Mitzi Bytes summer reading contest, hashtag #MitziInTheSun.

How to play? Post the official #MitziInTheSun image (above) on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram for one chance to win. OR share your own image of Mitzi Bytes in a summer setting (at the beach, on a picnic, at a bbq, etc. I can’t wait to see your summer takes you, and where you take Mitzi!) for FIVE CHANCES to win. Tag your posts #MitziInTheSun, of course.

And the prize? Three excellent (autographed) summer reads from Harper Collins Canada, posted straight to your doorstep, along with a beach/picnic blanket for you to curl up on. Contest runs until the end of July 31. Canadian addresses only please.

*Just kidding. Or not. Why not try it and see?

May 23, 2017

Mitzi Bytes in the World

After a flurry of busy-ness, I’m playing a bit of catch-up with news of Mitzi Bytes in the world. Earlier this month I had the great pleasure of travelling to Gananoque to take part in the 1000 Islands Writers Festival. This was the weekend it rained every day following the week during which it rained every day, and by Saturday the rivers had burst their banks and there were fewer islands than a thousand. But even flooding didn’t dampen the spirit of the festival. I had a very good time, staying at the historic Gananoque Inn and rooming right next door to Lindy Mechefske, who I’ve been online friends with for awhile and whose Sir John’s Table I loved.  On Saturday morning, Lindy and I did a panel about writing, blogging and social media, which was terrific fun and illuminating for all of us, and then I taught a blogging workshop following that—and got to meet Emily Prout, of the very cool and empowering blog, Arrow It Forward. My other event was later that day, a conversation about motherhood at the Gananoque Library with a small circle of women ranging from new moms to a great-grandmother—and it was wonderful. What a delight to take part in a discussion, one that really happened too, and to get to know other people and learn new things about the context of my book. I’ve never encountered such a group of engaged and committed readers as I did in Gananoque, and the intimate settings were lent themselves to that dynamic.

I’d gone to see novelist Terry Fallis and spoken word artist PrufRock Shadowrunner the first evening of the festival, and finished the Saturday with a wonderful and delicious event with Lindy and Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller of the cookbook Feast: An Edible Roadtrip. It was also very nice to see Cathy Marie Buchanan and Claudia Davila again, and meet kids authors Paul Covello and Jess Keating (whose Pink Is For Blobflish went down very well at our house…). On Sunday morning all the authors had a delicious breakfast at the golf club on the banks of the river (which were nearer than they should have been) with a packed house of readers who’d enjoyed the weekend as much as we had. I was also glad to get a chance to check out Beggar’s Banquet Books before I headed out of town—an excellent new and used bookstore with Mitzi Bytes in stock.

**

And then Wednesday night was the big finale to a very busy two months of Mitzi Bytes events—although stay tuned for other happenings throughout summer and fall. That night I had the great privilege of taking part in the IFOA Weekly Series with my very dear friend Rebecca Rosenblum, whose book So Much Love (NOMINATED FOR THE AMAZON.CA FIRST NOVEL AWARD!) came out the same day as mine. Moderated by the excellent Amy Jones and hosted by Sheniz Janmohamed, it went as well as you might expect for a conversation by two friends who have a lot of good things to say about each others’ work—which is to say, very well. Amy did a terrific job drawing connections between two novels that are very different, we all had a lot of fun, and, as Sheniz commented afterwards, we manage to broach some very timely ideas: “What does it mean to own your story? What is the responsibility that comes with telling other people’s stories?”

There were lots of people there, and it was such a good vibe—a spectacular close to the season of Mitzi. And I am so grateful to everybody who has supported the book so well this spring—it has meant the world to me.

**

I was also lucky to take part in two great conversations that have found their way into print. Check out “A Spy Among Us”, by Stacey Gibson at U of T Magazine, and Ann Cinzar’s interview with me at Literary Mama.

May 9, 2017

One more time…

Tomorrow is not the very end. Over the next few months, Mitzi Bytes and I will be on tour in Lunenberg, NS, Lakefield, ON, and festivals in Dunedin and Stratford come the fall. But tomorrow does mark the end to a veritable parade of events since the book launched two months ago, and I hope we’ll be going out in style. No doubt, really, because it’s going out with friends. Tomorrow night I’ll be part of the IFOA weekly series with my dear friend and book buddy Rebecca Rosenblum, in conversation with the excellent Amy Jones. Info and tickets are here, and I’d love to see you there.

April 30, 2017

A Remarkable Week for Mitzi and Me

As excellent weeks in the life of Mitzi Bytes go, I don’t know if any other will top this one. On Monday, I had the great pleasure of listening to my interview with Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter. On Tuesday, in preparation for the 1000 Islands Writers Festival (next weekend!!), I published a post on Mitzi Bytes and ambivalence on the festival blog. On Wednesday, I drove to Waterloo to partake in the Appetite for Reading Book Club event, which was so much fun, totally delicious, and dear friends were there, part of a room packed with avid readers—you can see some of their smiling faces above.

Thursday evening was the thoroughly bonkers and wholly enjoyable Toronto Library Bibliobash, which took place at the Toronto Reference Library, which is one of my favourite places on earth. It was hilarious fun and also a privilege to be able to support the library in such a wonderful way. It was very exciting to see Mitzi Bytes in such a setting…

And the next day I would discover it somewhere just as lovely—in Shawna Lemay’s beautiful response to the book at her blog, Transactions With Beauty.

Saturday was the third Authors for Indies day and I had the pleasure of a road trip with CanLit superstars Kate Hilton, Jennifer Robson, and Karma Brown, who were so much fun and (unsurprisingly) delightfully bookish. We went to Curiosity House Books in Creemore and Forsters Book Garden in Bolton, which was so wonderful because there is nothing I ever love more than a destination bookshop. It was terrific to meet the booksellers and the readers…and of course I bought a few books on my own. There was much raucousness and the snacks were great…

…and I arrived back home in time to listen to the rebroadcast of The Next Chapter with my family! (Happy to see Mitzi Bytes included on “15 books you heard about on CBC Radio this week”!).

One more thing—the new issue of The Hamilton Review of Books is up and it’s really great. And it also includes my review of Marianne Apostolides’ memoir, Deep Salt Water, which was such a joy to puzzle out and write about. I’m very pleased to be included in this issue. And I’m closing out here with a photo of Marissa Stapley and I from my Toronto Library Eh List Event on April 13. Marissa was wonderful and it was such a good night—one of many I’ve been experiencing lately.

April 24, 2017

My Book in the World This Week

It’s going to be a very fun week in the world for Mitzi Bytes, which kicks off with my interview on CBC’s The Next Chapter With Shelagh Rogers. Our interview is broadcast today at 1pm and on Saturday at 4pm, and you can listen again online. And yes, our talk—which took place in February—was an excellent experience, everything a debut novelist could dream of. Really, it was such a pleasure.

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