Book News!


On February 21st, Kathy will be at the Ingleside Library from 6:30-8:00 pm, talking about her book, “With A Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood” and other future writing projects.  She will also be making some appearances in Montreal around the same date. More details to come soon!

“With A Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood” now available as an eBook from Kobo and many other retailers! 


“With A Closed Fist” Chosen By Ontario Book Clubs!


The Niagara Falls Public Library book clubs selection committee has chosen Kathy’s book, With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood, as one of its book club selections. It’ll be read by all seven groups, then the books become available to other book clubs around Ontario.  

Kathy’s book will also be read by the Ingleside Public Library’s book club, and she looks forward to meeting with the group of readers to discuss her book and future writing projects.

If your book club is planning to read Kathy’s book, and would like to have her come speak, please get in touch!


Does Public Speaking Make Everyone Feel Nervous?


After speaking at the Montreal “Books and Breakfast,” an event I wrote about a few months ago, I thought I had mostly overcome my fear of public speaking.

A large audience, including many from the publishing industry, all gathered in a large ballroom of a fancy downtown hotel had their eyes trained on me for fifteen minutes straight while I babbled incoherently about my recently published book, With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood.

Looking back, it was sort of like peeling the Band-Aid off all at once. With a machete. For someone with a fear of public speaking it was a ‘trial by fire crash course’ kind of scenario.

In the end, as I’ve previously wrote about here, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. Sure, I didn’t exactly sound off-the-cuff with my crumpled-up cue cards scrunched between my sweaty, shaky palms. But I had been afraid that when I walked up to the podium, I’d forget how to speak, becoming temporarily blind, deaf, and mute.

I admit that, looking back, anticipating it was much worse than actually doing it. (Okay, that’s not actually true. Doing it was much worse than anticipating it. I just say this to make myself feel better.)

After the Books and Breakfast event, I figured I’d be up for anything. I was now a war-hardened, veteran public speaker. Compared to the Books and Breakfast, speaking at the Ingleside Public Library would be like just talking to a small group of close friends. Right?

So naturally, I was a complete nervous wreck.

At the Books and Breakfast, something that was surprisingly comforting was the fact that I felt like I couldn’t see the audience. My field of vision was limited to the three inches between my face and the cue cards. The ballroom where the event was held was so large, and the lights were so bright, it was almost like the audience was lost in a fog. Sort of like that saying about “not seeing the forest because of the trees.”

But in the library, I was going to see each individual person. They weren’t some large anonymous crowd who, if I utterly humiliated myself in front of them, I could cry and run off the stage and drive 500 kilometers away and begin the slow, painful process of blocking the memory out and hoping it never resurfaces.

This was a room filled with people whom I’ve known for years and consider many of them to be pretty close friends. People that I really care about what they think of me. Especially considering how personal and raw and vulnerable the subject matter of my book is.

I’d be speaking to people like Jackie from the post office, who my son Scott, at age four, vowed to marry one day. And Sandy Winchester and Margaret Power, two of my children’s favourite teachers, the kind of teachers who make life long lasting impressions on many of their students.

In the end, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to worry- that it really would be like speaking to a group of my closest friends. And that I think I’ve finally overcome my fear of public speaking.

Yeah. Right.



Writers aren’t just writers anymore


One of the things I’ve been surprised to learn about the book publishing industry is how much of a crucial role today’s author must be willing to play in order to help promote their own work. 

Writers aren’t just writers anymore. They’re marketers, publicists, lecturers, and public speakers.

It seems naïve to me now, but last year I thought my only job was to write the best book I was capable of writing, then just be open to any suggestions regarding final edits and rewrites from my publisher.

After submitting my final draft of “With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood,” a part of me was happy to be finally finished with the whole damn thing. After all, it had pretty much dominated my life day and night the entire time I was researching, then writing, and then editing the book.

Come to think of it, the research part took just as much- if not more- time than the actual writing part.

Yet even before I had finished the happy dance around my home office after completing the final draft and pressing “send” on the email to my publisher, I quickly realized that my job wasn’t quite done yet. Next I had to help find my readers.

I’m not sure what I used to think- that my book would somehow magically find readers on its own?

My publisher, Simon Dardick at Véhicule Press, has gone above and beyond in his support of “With a Closed Fist.” But I’m not his only author of course. Nor his last. As I’ve been quickly learning these past few months since my book’s launch in Montréal back in November, I have an important role in helping to get the word out there.

So I Twitter, try to update my Facebook status and website with any news about my book, happily accept all press interviews, speaking engagements, and swear a lifetime debt to the few individuals who- quietly behind the scenes- are trying to help me reach some other important goals in regards to my book.

But I admit, it feels a little weird sometimes. I’m a writer. I feel most comfortable sitting in front of my laptop, doing research and working on my current writing project.

Not that I’m complaining, because really I’m not. Talking about my book is actually turning out to be much more fun than I ever expected it to be.

But to be honest, I just hadn’t realized just how hands-on today’s writer has to be if they want to reach as wide of an audience as possible.



Kathy will be in the Cornwall area on February 13th, at the Ingleside Library at 6:30 pm, for a reading, signing, and discussion about her book, “With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada’s Toughest Neighbourhood.”

Book reading at Ingleside Library



If you’re in the Ingleside area on Monday February 13, Kathy will be giving a book reading and signing copies of her book With a Closed Fist at the Ingleside Branch of the SD&G County Library. Check out the library’s Winter 2012 program here.


Book Reading and Signing, With a Closed Fist
Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry County Library: Ingleside Branch
10 Memorial Square
Ingleside, ON