Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some Early Feedback On Leap Of Faith

I've only heard from a few people who've finished Leap of Faith in the first couple weeks of its release, but the feedback so far has been almost universally positive.  Here are a few samples:

"Well- I've finished it Matt and I'm misty eyed.... Thanks for a great read and you've wowed me. Can't wait to tell everyone! — feeling wonderful."

"I wanted to thank you again for your wonderful book.  As always, you have brought the characters to be very personal and real as if you could meet them on the street.  This makes them, for me, individuals that you can identify with and care about...  I read the book in 2 days.  Congratulations and keep up the good work.  Put me on the list for your next release."

And, in the spirit of brevity, there was this one:

"fantastic" (that's all there was, really... I didn't edit it down!)

Anyone else out there done the book and ready to tell me what they thought of it?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kind Of A Big Deal

In a week that saw Leap of Faith achieve profitability just 12 days after its release, I would've been happy just reporting on that fact here.  But I actually have much bigger news to pass along...

I've been lucky enough to be selected as the first Emerging Artist by the website BOOM-QA.  If you click on that link, you'll see that they've posted lovely profiles of both Leap of Faith and its author.  Much to my delight, they also sent out press releases to a couple of the local news outlets here in London, which may lead to some further exposure for the book, if things go well.  This is exactly the sort of opportunity I was hoping for with the new book, as I think it has a huge amount of potential if I can get it into enough hands.  Please help me spread the word about Leap of Faith.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Five Bike-Ride Week!

Three round trips downtown (Mon, Fri & today), a lunchtime ride to Westmount Mall and back (Wed), and an hour-long spin class (Tue night) all add up to my busiest biking week since I retired back in 2008.  The best part?  I wasn't feeling all that tired as I pedaled the last few kilometres home today, mostly uphill and into the wind.  It's been years since I've tested myself like this, but it's nice to know that even at 51 I can still handle this much exercise over a six day period.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wind Turbines Don't Kill Many Birds

The next time someone tries to warn you against building more wind turbines "because of all the birds they kill", just refer them to this article (and chart) and you'll be good to go.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Approaching Profitability On Leap Of Faith

Just eight days after its release, Leap of Faith is very close to being "in the black" in terms of making a profit!  I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll get there later this week, which would be one of the quickest starts I've ever had for one of my books.  Thanks to everyone out there who came to our Launch Party two Sundays ago and to everyone who's bought a copy of the book since then.  It really helps to have the money rolling in so quickly as that gives me something to play with as far as promoting Leap of Faith, such as my current plan to do a flyer blitz in our neighbourhood for it.

I've gotten a little bit of feedback on the book so far, all of it very good, but I expect to hear a lot more over the next few weeks.  Really looking forward to that!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Launching Leap Of Faith

Another book launch party has now come and gone!

We had a great turnout for Leap of Faith's kickoff this afternoon, hosting 31 people along with Vicki, Susan Garner, Emma and ye olde author himself.  As usual, I didn't get nearly enough time with each attendee as I'd have liked, but that just seems to be the nature of the beast.  Hopefully everyone understands that, and no one felt neglected.

Before most of the people arrived, Emma took this lovely photo of Vicki, Rich and I showing off my four novels.  Not a bad start to my body of work, I'd say!

If you couldn't make the party but want to get your hands on Leap of Faith, get a hold of me any time now and we'll set up an opportunity to make that happen.  Though the list of readers of the book is still quite small at the moment, every bit of feedback I've gotten so far has been very positive.  Leap of Faith definitely seems to be a winner, and that's all I could ever ask for.

Raising A Moral Child

Via Tammy, here's a great article about various studies done on the topic of how to raise a moral child. There are lots of gems in there, including experimental proof of the old adage, "Actions speak louder than words."  It really puts the boot to the notion that parents can successfully preach one type of behaviour to their kids without living by those same standards themselves.  You really do have to model the sort of principles and values you want your children to adopt, it turns out.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How We're Losing Our Ability To Read Deeply

I found this article on how our human brains are adapting to the cursory reading style of the Internet fascinating.  I've always been a skimmer when I want or need to be, something I picked up back in elementary school when I was part of a trial speed reading program.  I found I could, with practice, dramatically increase my reading speed while only suffering moderate reduction in comprehension of the material.  To me, this seemed like a useful skill, though not something I'd want to do all the time.  As an example, I decided to read Heart of Darkness a year or two ago on Vicki's Kindle because I'd always been interested in learning how it influenced Apocalypse Now, one of my favourite movies, and yet had never tried the book before.  Within a few pages of starting it, though, I realized it wasn't written in a style that I'd personally enjoy.  So I kicked into high-speed and blew through it in about half an hour, picking up most of the key points of the plot without spending any time absorbing the nuances or even most of the word choices.  In general, though, I'd never read a book that way as I want to lose myself in it and savour every bit of it.

Anyway, it sounds like more and more people are (perhaps unintentionally) adapting their reading style to a similar cursory approach, thanks to the Web.  Studies are finding that people miss out on many of the details or even quit reading partway through, especially if they're reading on a screen rather than a paper page, simply because their attention wanders or they get bored.  It's pretty frightening to think that's the way current and future generations are headed, considering how much learning and unadulterated fun can be found by reading, if you invest yourself into it.

Needless to say, I hope that Leap of Faith and all my other novels continue to capture readers' imaginations and keep the pages a-turning.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Big News: Colbert To Replace David Letterman On Late Show

As a one-time fan of David Letterman (back in his NBC days) and a big-time fan of Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report, today's news that the latter funnyman is taking over the former's spot on The Late Show is both exciting and worrisome.  Colbert's on-screen persona as a staunch conservative buffoon is, presumably, not the one taking over the hosting role on CBS.  It'll be the real Stephen Colbert, I would imagine, sitting behind the desk, rather than the satirical character he first developed on The Daily Show.  If so, it's exciting to think that we'll get to know the real man, but sad to consider losing the great figure he spent so many years perfecting.  I guess we'll have to wait and see just how it all plays out, though.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Launch Of Leap Of Faith Now Less Than A Week Away!

Six days from right about now, we'll be hosting a party to get Leap of Faith off the launchpad and up into orbit.  I've already heard from a few early birds who've gotten their hands on copies of my fourth novel ahead of the party, and they're all telling me that they can't put the book down.  I think binge reading may end up being a "major problem" where this book's concerned, if the first readers are anything to go by.  But what a nice problem to have...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

How Long And Cold Was The Winter?

Well, we just pulled the corner back on the pool cover, intending to drop the submergible pump in and lower the water level... only to discover there's several inches of solid ice on top of the water!  We've actually never seen that before.  As Vicki says, it's probably partially due to the fact that we didn't have much in the way of mid-winter thaws this year, as well as all the ridiculously cold temperatures we've hit over the past three or four months.

So it looks like we'll have to wait a while for that ice to melt before we can begin to deal with the excess water in the pool.  What a crazy winter... it just doesn't want to end!