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Cold Snap

This week in Waterloo, Ontario, we’re in the midst of a cold snap, with wind chills dropping to –26 degrees Celsius (that’s around –8 Fahrenheit to our non-metric friends). It’s pretty brisk, reminding me of the weather from my years in Lethbridge, Alberta… a very dry and sharp cold can cut through to your bones, […]

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Lessons My Father Taught Me

During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in 2003, more than 100 people braved a cold and windy winter night to visit the Land Rover Newfoundland dealership for that province’s launch of the first edition of Standing Tall: A Daughter’s Gift. On the 10th anniversary of that memorable evening, it seems fitting to share some of the lessons my father […]

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Location Scout – Cape Spear

I’ve already explained that the opening scene from Whitecoat was inspired by a place called Green Gardens, in Gros Morne National Park. However, given Lady Alex’s penchant for taking long swims around the island of Newfoundland, it seems appropriate to highlight a stretch of coast with particular significance: Cape Spear is the eastern-most point in […]

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Launching Firebox: The Champions of 1941 – Part 1

“Iceberg just launched a new series, The Champions, which will release novella-length installments as ebooks throughout 2013, a latter-day take on the typical Victorian custom of monthly cliffhangers in magazines. Again, a merge of journalistic strengths — rapid writing to deadlines, and creativity.” – The National Post Canadian writer Kenneth Tam is pioneering a new […]

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Behind Cover

I am sometimes asked about book covers… where they come from. The details of my answer vary depending on the context and the person asking the question, but the essence is very simple: they come from the book. The current edition of Standing Tall: A Daughter’s Gift, for instance, features an image of the ‘old […]

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Before U.S. Hegemony

Looking to the release of Firebox, I want to revive another discussion I first began in the historical notes for The Frontier –– in this case, a conversation about historic U.S. military power… or lack thereof. For many of us alive today, the military strength of the United States has been a consistent truism. As […]

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Friday Favorite – Richard Bode

It’s Friday, and we’ve decided it’s a good time to launch a recurring ‘Favorites’ theme in our Author Notes (we prefer the alliteration of Friday Favorites to the less poetic Tuesday Favorites). We won’t post a Friday Favorite every week, but you can expect them a couple of times a month. One of the first […]

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Black Sun Hints

My recent work on Black Sun has brought a number of questions from Defense Command readers, all interested to know what’s coming next. Here’s the little bit of information I can share so far. The new series will take place after Ken Barron drafted his reminiscences about the Martian War. If you do the math, […]

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“Beam me up, Scotty”

I recently received two emails that reminded me just how much things have changed in the book industry since Iceberg started a decade ago. The first was from Kindle, announcing that its Canadian store was online and providing instructions on how to transfer my account from the .com to the .ca store. Delivery time for any […]

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The Quarterdeck

Anyone who has worked with me knows that, given the choice between sitting and standing, I often prefer to stand. I’m effectively a bipedal horse –– though far less handsome than an equine, obviously. I’m not sure how my strange habit came about, but wherever it began, it clearly influenced the bridges of Defense Command […]

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Button Box Inspiration

Packing up the Christmas decorations is, for me, like taking a trip down memory lane. Each ornament is part of a story that has been unfolding for more that 30 years, and I find memories and inspiration as I pause over various items during the annual packing-repacking process. Objects that are used on special occasions […]

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What A Difference A Decade Makes

I’ve come to terms with the fact that, when developing a series, not every idea will necessarily fit. Trying to create a plot that accommodates everything is usually a recipe for disaster –– you need to have discipline, understand the story you’re trying to tell, and then trim away some of the distractions… without gutting […]

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Writing to Music

Earlier this week I talked about writing as a tactile experience –– about how switching from keyboard to pen and paper can, among other things, help the words flow. It can also be an experience that is enhanced by sound… more specifically music. I wrote Standing Tall: A Daughter’s Gift while listening to tracks from […]

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Races And Empire

Ahead of the release of Firebox, I think it’s wise for me to revive a discussion that I first began in the historical notes of The Frontier. As we grappled with questions of race in that book, I felt it important to set my own context when it came to ethnic ‘authenticity’… and indeed, to […]

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Putting Pen to Paper

Writing isn’t generally thought to be a tactile experience, but there is a tactile element –– whether it’s the touch of your fingers on a keyboard or the feel of your pen moving across the page –– and over the years, I’ve found that switching from the keyboard to pen and paper can help the […]

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Firebox Excerpt Online

With just over three weeks to go until the release of Firebox, the first installment of the Champions of 1941, an excerpt from the novella is now online. Visit the Firebox page to learn how this tactic for containing a rogue Champion got its name, and to see Alex, Stephanie and Strong attempt to teach […]

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Alzheimer Awareness Month – See the Person

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month in Canada, and the Alzheimer Society has just launched a new campaign: “See me, not my disease. Let’s talk about dementia.” According to the Society’s website, the goals of the campaign include increasing knowledge about Alzheimer’s, decreasing the stigma associated with it, and helping people remember to see the person […]

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National Post: Rise of the Independent Publishers

In yesterday’s National Post, Barbara Kay wrote on the future of publishing, and spoke with Kenneth Tam about Iceberg and Champions. Here’s a peek: “Tam’s decade-long pioneering experience in this new, no-rules publishing world shows that small presses can invent themselves as they evolve. Iceberg just launched a new series, The Champions, which will release […]

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Two Female Leads?

I was recently asked why the lead characters in Champions are “Alex and Stephanie”. I misinterpreted the question with my first response; the person actually wanted to know why the series has two female leads. Still, my first answer stands, even if it might make me sound insane… Lady Alex Smith and Second Lieutenant Stephanie […]

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New Year’s Eve Tradition

Later today the Iceberg partners will have what I regard as the company’s annual meeting. It has become our New Year’s Eve tradition to review the past year and lay out the key priorities for the next over sushi at our favorite Japanese restaurant (Yummyaki’s in Waterloo). The meeting runs for around two hours, after […]

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