Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Since when do New Best Friends start the relationship off with a death threat?

Enter The Assassin Scam

Much of my working day is spent as a publicist. I phone. I text. And, I send out a lot of emails. I get even more back... every minute of every hour. I stream tweets and Facebook on my I-Pad clock. No time for friends and it does get very lonely, tolling away in my attic office, trying to make other people loved, respected and famous.

But that has changed. I just got an email from my NBF. Thiocluse Mark. Funny name. Not so funny friend. And English isn't his strong suit. He emailed me today to say that my life is about to end, because someone close to me has already ordered (and paid for) my murder. He and his team have come up from the Philippines to kill me!

Thoicluse has, in his words "ordered 3 (three) of my men to monitor every move of you and and make sure you are not out of site (sic) till the date of your assassination."

Think I spotted one of them pretending he was going through my recycling bin looking for empties. Saw another one pretending she was scooping up after her designer dog on the front lawn. Have not spotted the third operative... yet.

Good news is that Thoicluse has already figured out that I am innocent and if I contact him, he can call off the Hit. Yeah!! So, I guess he is my new best friend, right? He thinks $20,800 should do the trick. But oops, his last email did come with this note.

WARNING: Tell no one about this mail to you because he or she might just be the person who wants you dead, and if that happens, I will be aware and am going to make sure you DIE instantly!

My wife and I have great seats for the dance this Wednesday here in Toronto. Second row. If there is an empty seat you will know that it was not an empty threat from Thiocluse.

And if you are like me and work from home, and need a giggle or two to break the silence and the never ending flood of incoming work, drop Thiocluse a note at either of the addresses below and see if he can call off your hit. He may take Canadian Tire money.

Meanwhile I have added him -- Thiocluse Mark -- to my press list mailing list. If you are a publicist feel free to add him to yours. It is very busy these days. I suspect he will be the one begging for a hit in no time flat.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Charles Taylor Prize winner named

Noreen Taylor and Andrew Preston - photo George Socka
 Andrew Preston is named top Canadian non-fiction writer - takes the Taylor Prize!

The Winner of The 2013 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is Andrew Preston (Cambridge, England) for Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy, published by Knopf Canada. Preston teaches American history and international relations history at Cambridge University, where he is a fellow of Clare College. Before Cambridge, he taught history and international studies at Yale University. He has also taught at universities in Canada and Switzerland and has been a fellow at the Cold War Studies Program at the London School of Economics. He was born in Ontario and received his BA from the University of Toronto. Jury Citation: "Fluently written, comprehensively researched, and scrupulously balanced, Andrew Preston's Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith describes how the foreign policy of the United States has been and is influenced, alternately decisively and marginally, by the fact that so many Americans regard themselves as a people chosen to do God's work to others and because American leaders all the way from Lincoln to George W. Bush have used religious convictions to justify political acts. Showing that the centrality of religion in American life is by no means unique to fundamentalists and neo-conservatives, this important work has such chapter titles as "High Priests of the Cold War" and "A Judeo-Christian Foreign Policy," which convey Preston's originality and, indeed, his bravery.
During the course of a six-week cycle of publicity and promotion, over 80% of all English-speaking Canadians, over the age of twelve, learned about the shortlisted authors and their books. Andrew Preston was awarded a commemorative crystal trophy and a prize of $25,000. The remaining finalists — Carol Bishop-Gwyn, Tim Cook, Sandra Djwa, and Ross King, were each awarded $2,000.
The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction recognizes excellence in Canadian non-fiction writing and emphasizes the development of the careers of the authors it celebrates. Andrew Preston will tour select cities across Canada on behalf of RBC Wealth Management, presenting sponsor of the prize; he will be invited to speak at an event in his honour at Toronto's International Festival of Authors and he, together with all of the 2013 prize finalists, will be invited to headline Litfest's Charles Taylor Prize gala this fall in Edmonton, Alberta.
Today's announcement marks the twelfth awarding of the prestigious prize. The 2013 prize jurors are broadcast executive Susanne Boyce, award-winning author and newspaper columnist Richard Gwyn, and author/educator Joseph Kertes. In determining their shortlist, the jury read and reviewed 129 Canadian-authored non-fiction books submitted by 43 publishers from around the world.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are Michael Bradley (Toronto), Judith Mappin (Montréal), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto).
The Presenting Sponsor of The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is RBC Wealth Management. http://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/
The Major Sponsor of The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is Metropia. www.metropia.ca/about.php
Media sponsors are exclusive newspaper sponsor The Globe and Mail, Canada Newswire (CNW) Group, CBC Books and CBC Radio One, The Huffington Post Canada, Maclean's magazine, and Quill & Quire magazine.
In-Kind sponsors are Authors at Harbourfront Centre, Ben McNally Books, Event Source, Indigo Books and Music, The King Edward hotel, and Kobo Inc. For more information please visit: www.thecharlestaylorprize.ca