If you are a CAA Toronto member and have recently published a book, please email .
CAA Toronto Branch is happy to present the following works by our members:
Poor Man's Galapagos by Christopher Canniff, published by Blue Denim Press, 2015.
Poor Man's Galapagos is a work of literary fiction about Tomas, an irrigation engineering student living on a small, impoverished island in Ecuador, South America. He is conscripted into military service in a border war where he is certain he will die a senseless death. His father, a renowned British travel writer, is accused of embezzling government funds and quickly leaves the island. Tomas searches for answers amidst the backdrop of a fight for conscientious objection; the construction of a luxury hotel designed to attract tourists and infrastructure; a priest promoting the philosophy that it is against the precepts of religion to focus on spiritual needs while ignoring the worldly ones; and a nurse who longs for escape from serving as a doctor in a remote rural community. Tomas embarks on a journey of discovery that may lead him closer to his father, his biological mother who abandoned him at birth, and away from his home country for the first time in his life. The novel explores the enduring themes of duty, honour, obligation, sacrifice, and how the struggle to improve the condition of our lives sometimes comes with an inestimable expense….
The novel explores how duty shapes a family over generations, the struggle for self-discovery, and how the abandonment of selfish obligations in favour of altruism can lead to a renewed faith in humanity, and ultimately, in ourselves.
In the Shadow of the Conquistador by Shane Joseph, published by Blue Denim Press, 2015.
After a silence of twenty years, Jimmy receives an unexpected letter from his old friend and nemesis, George, inviting him on a trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Arriving in Lima, Jimmy finds the ailing George as mercurial as ever. They begin their odyssey, catching up on the intervening years, reliving periods when their lives had intersected, and revisiting the events that destroyed their relationship.
Both men are haunted by the enigmatic Denise, the woman they had lured, loved and lost in Canada. Their conquest of Denise parallels the plunder of Peru by conquistadors Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, the topic of a novel that George is writing in an attempt at self-discovery.
On the Inca Trail, George and Jimmy meet trekkers Ali and Bea who exhibit the duality of Denise: beauty and introspection. They team up, even share tents. But there are many treacherous turns along the Trail before the travelers arrive in the sacred city where George is forced to confront his personal demons and Jimmy is pushed to reverse the legacy of the conquistadors.
In this novel, Shane Joseph explores the hunger for conquest that drives change, the bonds of friendship that sustain faith, and the power of love that transcends evil. He also subtly questions his boomer generation for being consumers rather than sustainers of the planet.
Abundance of the Infinite by Christopher Canniff, published by Quattro Books, 2012.
The story of a psychologist specializing in dream interpretation who travels to a small coastal fishing town in South America, where his recently deceased father lived. There, he discovers many unsettling truths about himself and his family which eventually transform his reality into a lucid, disparaging dream from which he may not be able to escape….
An expedition through the emotional terrain of a man on a quest, Abundance of the Infinite is a succinctly crafted gem of a story. Author Christopher Canniff's intuitive writing style masterfully blurs the line between dream and reality, torment and tenderness.
— Edward Brown
Canniff’s novella, with its Borgesian-like surrealism, sharp, insightful analyses, and De Quincey atmosphere, is a brilliant, unforgettable exploration of guilt in the service of love.
— Royston Tester
Summer of the Dancing Bear by Bianca Lakoseljac.
Bianca Lakoseljac's novel, Summer of the Dancing Bear, published by Guernica Editions, June 2012, is a mesmerizing melange of love story and mystery, as young protagonist Kata explores the unfamiliar world of the gypsy tribe that has befriended her and embarks on a quest to discover the fate of a neighbour's missing child. Memory and magic play their roles until the shocking denouement that reveals Kata's own family secrets and forever alters her perception of life as she once knew it. Engaging and original, set in a folkloric village near Belgrade, the novel fuses history, myth, and tradition in a whimsical literary voice that reminds us that the complex and innocent humanity in us is too often haunted by human tragedy.
— Elizabeth Abbott
Fire Underneath the Ice by Sharon Crawford and Waterloo-Wellington member Irene Gargantini (aka Rene Natan) writing as R.S. Natanevin.
The paths of Michael Hamming, poor boy turned rich, and Karyn McDonnell, heiress turned penniless, cross during the 2008 financial crisis. Michael decides to get revenge for that old grudge he has against Karyn's late father. Karyn is in need, alone and defenseless. In total coolness, he offers to take care of her financial problems if she becomes his girlfriend. Karyn, who always liked Michael, accepts.
Karyn's beauty and kind heart, however, conquer him, to the point that when Karyn is kidnapped, Michael takes chase, first aboard a speedboat, then riding a motorcycle to follow the clues left by the kidnappers and set her free.
As the events of October 2008 plunge the stock market into a record minimum, it is now Michael who gets in financial troubles and Karyn who goes to his rescue, trying to hide her good deed.
Published by Rogue Phoenix Press.
The Defendant — Insights & Motivation for the Salesperson by Dominic Spano
The Defendant is the story of Julius, a salesman who suddenly finds himself trapped in a cycle of failure and inadvertently sets in motion a series of events that makes him go on. As its setting, the storyline incorporates a sales environment in which the motivational & psychological themes can be tangibly applied. Nevertheless, the setting is, in essence, a metaphor for life. Hence, the notion of "the salesperson in everyone" used in the subtitle. The psychological themes that are explored through the trials and tribulations of the principal character, will be readily identifiable to most readers, hence the book will often provoke introspection that is both relevant and personal to the reader.
When Reindeer Fly by Teresa Panjer.
Christmas is approaching, and young Ashur is bursting with excitement. His imagination runs away with him, then he experiences magic that is truly out-of-this- world. Hardly able to sleep on that special night, he writes about his fantastic journey in his Holiday Journal. BUCKLE-UP as he takes you on this wild ride, when the reindeer fly!
Available through the author.
Yazmeenka Goes Electric by Teresa Panjer.
Once Yazmeenka gets her heart's desire, she can think of little else but her guitar. With her life taking a downward spiral, sadly so does her music. Only she can come up with a plan that works for her. When she does, her family notices that she is truly happy, and her musical creativity sounds wonderful too. Her life takes on a new meaning when everyone sees Yazmeenka go electric.
Available through the author.
Bridge in the Rain by Bianca Lakoseljac, published by Guernica Editions, 2010.
A collection of short stories linked by an inscription on a bench in Toronto's High Park.
Bianca's writing, precise and elegant, is shot through with the element of surprise as she gently but firmly pushes the boundaries between reality and the supernatural. In this delightful collection, Bianca Lakoseljac has found her literary voice in the ordinariness of lives touched and transformed by magic.
— Elizabeth Abbott
For an interview with the author, see the related article in Inside Toronto, “Local author draws inspiration from chance encounter.”
Masks by Patricia Caviglia.
Rebecca Jacobs doesn't need vampires, werewolves or magic for her existence to be chaotic. She has overprotective abusive parents, a secret boyfriend, and a best friend who tries to steal her boyfriend. How will she deal with all of this?
The necessity of honesty and mutual respect in relationships, whether it's with family or friends, is the powerful message this novella effectively delivers to adults as well as teens.
Spirits of Stone Cross Lake by Margo Georgakis.
A violent armed robbery catapults Alethea into a mystical journey. As she revisits the traumatic event through alternative mindscapes, she seeks out an old family friend, Fiona, who lives in solitude near the shores of Stone Cross Lake.
Written in the genre of magic realism, this dreamlike novella celebrates the blurred lines of reality and the power of reconciliation.
Five Seconds at a Time: How Leaders Can Make The Impossible Possible by Denis Shackel & Tara Bradacs.
When a tragic mountain-climbing accident left business professor Denis Shackel stranded on Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, he turned to leadership principles that he'd been teaching for years to survive.
At a time when many leaders are feeling overwhelmed, Five Seconds at a Time provides effective tools and strategies to excel. With its compelling mix of survival, leadership principles and real-life stories, it will inspire readers to achieve the seemingly impossible.
Available through amazon.ca.
Denis Shackel is head of Management Communications at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and a consultant for corporations throughout North America. Born in New Zealand, he has an M.A. in psychology from Canterbury University and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. In 2005 and 2007, Denis Shackel was voted Professor of the Year by students at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario, respectively. He lives just outside of London, Ontario.
Tara Bradacs is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She has worked in leadership development and labour relations and has been a strategic human resources consultant in both the private and the public sector. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Memoirs of a Praying Mantis by Bianca Lakoseljac, was published in December 2009 by Turtle Moons Press, a First Nations publisher.
Memoirs of a Praying Mantis, is a collection of poetry consisting of seven sections some of which are:
Smoking = Problems (BIG Problems!) by Maria Muirhead.
Nana is one of the coolest people that Flora-Lee has ever known. She lived on a bus (just for a little while), writes books and tells the most wonderful stories. Best of all, she is fun to hang out with. But, Nana's lung disease has gotten the better of her. Now, Nana doesn't have anywhere near the energy that she used to have. Flora-Lee is not happy when Nana is hospitalized. To make matters worse, Flora-Lee's much older sister, Tracie, decides to visit. Flora-Lee is not impressed with Tracie's habits and sparks fly.
The Ivory Monkeys, an historical mystery/suspense novel by Stephen Colwell, has been released by Rock Publishing Company. The action-packed historical plotline weaves through seventeenth-century Japan and Patani during the realm of Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616). The contemporary plot takes place between Toronto, Boston, and Dallas with antiquities smugglers engaged in a ruthless search for an ivory statue carved in the shape of the Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil monkeys.
Observations of Heart and Mind by Graham Ducker.
J. Graham Ducker has an opinion on just about everything … and he's not afraid to share. If you like your poetry to hold a straight line from here to there, this is the collection for you. Often ironic, occasionally irreverent and sometimes irritating, the pragmatic poet takes no prisoners. This is life celebrated through the eyes of an opinonated grump with the heart of a child.
— Ruth. E. Walker, Founding Editor, Lichen Arts & Letters Preview.
Precious Memories of a Unique Northern Ontario School by Graham Ducker.
This book of memoirs is about 15 years of teaching Kindergarten in a unique two-room school on the edge of the bush in Northern Ontario. The external environment was used as an integral part of the curriculum. It is filled with the history, culture, coloured pictures and many anecdotes of that wonderful time. It has received a 9 out of 10 book rating.
Holiday in Hell by Trisha Smith is a true story — tragedy, drama, and relentless suspense chronicling years of the author's life. A brutal assault in 1999 on an exotic island and then — an ensuing legal clash: Cuba is reluctant to charge the assailant, he's not Cuban, and ironically, the Canadian police refuses to arrest the Canadian. The legal aftermath becomes the real crime: the Canadian justice system cannot charge a Canadian for a crime committed outside the border of the country. The crime is only charged due to a parole violation — previous violent assault! The actual crime is never punished.
After the Flood — a dystopian novel of hope, by Shane Joseph
An allegorical tale of love, loss and lust in a fundamentalist society formed in the aftermath of a giant flood that destroys most of the earth in 2012, After the Flood poses the question: "If mankind was granted a new slate to create Utopia, could it?"
This novel has been dubbed, "Noah's Ark meets Samson & Delilah at Camelot in the Brave New World."
Until the Deep Water Stills — An Internet-Enhanced Novel by Michael Robert Dyet. Each chapter in the novel has a corresponding entry in the on-line companion which includes text, photographs and audio recordings.
More here: mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
Until the Deep Water Stills is available from all major on-line booksellers. ISBN 978-0-9811995-0-4. $19.95 Cdn. $16.95 U.S.
Gwynneth Heaton's book All about me, or is it I? Beware the wild pronoun! is an amusing comprehensive reference book on pronouns for age 13 and above. She held signings at the Rail's End Gallery in Haliburton, the Ambleside Bookstore and Canterbury Tales Bookstore in Vancouver, The World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto. In Vancouver she was interviewed on Breakfast TV, and in Haliburton by Canoe FM.
Updated: May 2, 2017