I’m not sure if I’m an actor who reads or a reader who acts.
(Inge and Elaine’s take on the literary tastes and quotes of the famous)
Crabapple Mews Collective is an author collective made up of volunteer writers and editors. We draw on our backgrounds as writers, teachers, editors, booksellers, designers, academics, publishers and producers of kick-ass literary events to help bring new stories to readers.
Our story starts here.
It’s been an industrious fall for the collective. We launched first one new CMC book, then another. Now we’re launching a digital storybook—our new website—featuring such futuristic technologies as responsive templates, share buttons… and quotes! Most of all, we’re excited at the opportunity to more easily share news and stories with our readers. So grab your pocket computer, pull up a comfy chair, and flip through the pages of our site. We hope you enjoy its twists and turns.
On Sunday, November 22 at 4 pm, Pelee Island Stories will receive a proper Florida launch at Craftsman House Gallery. Tanya will read from her short fiction collection. Joining her to celebrate her book are three friends and mentors:
Read by E. D. Morin to those assembled at the When the Wheels Fall Off Calgary launch:
Tonight, I want to introduce a book project our collective recently helped to put out into the world. The Crabapples, I should mention, are a group of like-minded writers and editors, and we include as our members Inge Trueman, Annie Wesko, Jane Cawthorne and Lou Morin.
Our recent book project is called Pelee Island Stories and it’s a short fiction collection by Tanya Coovadia. The gorgeous book layout and cover is by Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design who also designed both of Inge’s novels.
We found Tanya Coovadia through Jane Cawthorne. And Jane and Tanya found each other while studying Creative Writing at Pine Manor College just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Pulling Tanya Coovadia’s stories together and turning them into a book was a labour of love for the Crabapple Collective. In June, Tanya was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and given perhaps a year to live, if she is lucky. As Tanya puts it: “This is, possibly, the only way I’ll actually get a book of my work made within my natural lifetime.”
Tanya Coovadia is an accomplished and gifted writer. She makes her home in Florida, grew up in small-town Ontario, and spent many of her formative years on Pelee Island. Pelee, as Coovadia writes in the collection’s final story “Coming Back Alone,” is a “nine by four-mile oblong in the middle of the west corner of Lake Erie with two finger-like projections, one that points north, toward Canada, and another that points south toward the US.” Each of the five stories in the collection are set on Pelee Island, and span about two decades.
From author Sandra Scofield: “Tanya Coovadia is in the midst of it. Life. And life on the islands is hardscrabble. The problems are familiar, sure. Who to love, how to make it, how to stay out of the way of what’s coming next. But they are particular, too. Coovadia creates a universe all her own, and her characters announce themselves as survivors. They give and take, and somewhere in the tension you find yourself remembering to catch your breath.”
Pelee Island Stories was birthed as a limited print run at the University of Toronto. I am lucky to be holding a copy, which I just received yesterday! The book will be widely available on Amazon, but we don’t have an exact publication date yet. I encourage you to check the Crabapple Mews Collective website (the address is on our bookmark!) for news about the book’s release.
E. D. Morin
In the summer of 2015, the Collective took on an unusual project. One of our members, Jane Cawthorne, heard from a fellow MFA student, Tanya Coovadia, that she had cancer. Jane is a huge admirer of Tanya’s work, especially a series of linked short stories that are set on Ontario’s Pelee Island. With Tanya’s permission and the help of our member editors, a book was born. Pelee Island Stories is our first crowdfunded project. Here’s how the project unfolded.
Posted on Tanya’s GoFundMe campaign site.
Tanya Coovadia is a talented writer and an all around wonderful friend. She has a collection of moving stories set on Pelee Island in Lake Erie where she lived as a child. Tanya also has cancer – Stage 4 esophageal cancer. (If you want to know more about this, see her blog, I’m literally fucking dying.
I have this dream of having Tanya hold her own book of stories in her hands and have some of her amazing writing to give to her family and friends. To a writer, what can be better than holding your own book in your hands? And for the rest of us who don’t know how to help or who live far away, this is a tangible gift we can give to her.
Here’s more background. Tanya and I met as MFA students at the Solstice Program for Creative Writing at Pine Manor College in Boston. Our program director advises all new students to fall in love with someone else’s writing, and I fell in love with Tanya’s. Tanya earned her degree in July 2015.
I happen to belong to a publishing collective called the Crabapple Mews Collective, and we have everything we need to create a great book for her. Well, we have everything except money. Tanya has done all the hard work in writing the stories. My sisters in the collective and I are volunteering our editing skills. But there are a few people who need to be paid. These include the book designer and the printer.
With $2000, I can get a beautiful design for the book and print a short run (about 50) of Tanya’s Pelee Island Stories.
You might ask, why not do a bigger print run? Well, I’m trying to work quickly. Time is pretty important right now. My priority is to get this ready as soon as possible. Also, the goal here is to give Tanya a gift of her own work, not to sell books, although that might be something we could consider in the future. This will be a very limited edition. If we go over the goal, we can print even more for her to give away, or possibly even print some to sell to all of you, but I have to take this one step at a time. I’d rather start small and grow. When we are done, Tanya will have the files to do with as she wishes and all the up-front costs will have been covered for her.
You might ask, why not do a smaller print run? The upfront costs of design would get spread out over an even smaller number of books, increasing their individual cost even more.
You might also ask, why not do this through a traditional big house publisher? Good question. First, it’s the time thing again. Second, there are only a few stories, and generally, a publisher would want more. It will be a slim little volume, but packed with great prose. One of the stories has already been published in an anthology put out by Writers In Paradise, a writing conference in Florida. But there’s something special about seeing a whole book of your work.
When someone has cancer, no one knows what to do or how to help. This is one way. Thanks for helping.
Tanya’s crowd-funding campaign has reached its goal!
(Jane – is this ok? it’s from your email) People are mailing me cheques. So we should be able to print quite a few books. With the funds raised through GoFundMe, I received a little over $1800 and this new money brings us back over $2000. The printer at U of T will try their very best to print fast. It’s the beginning of school, so they are busy, but she knows the situation and, like the rest of us, will work as fast as she can.
Tanya has her book! The first book arrived at her place this week. A box of books will arrive some time in the next two or three weeks. Tanya has the files and it is her plan to make Pelee Island Stories available on Amazon. She is also having a book launch in St. Pete. I’m sure she will be keeping everyone informed via her blog. Happy reading my talented friend and enjoy all the well-deserved accolades on these beautiful stories.
This is my last update for the project. I’ll take this opportunity to say one more huge thank you to all of you for making this dream come true.
Tanya with Pelee Island Stories
CMC member Inge Bremer-Trueman was asked about her projects, inspiration, process and writing tips. Here’s an excerpt:
What inspired you to write your first book?
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write books. I think it was because Nancy Drew was getting so boring. I suppose, too, I was picking up on the formulaic nature of the structure and figured, “I can do better than that!”
Please join Inge at Owl’s Nest Books, 815A-49 Avenue SW on Thursday, September 24, 2015, at 7 PM as she launches her latest book, When the Wheels Fall Off, a sequel to A Root Beer Season. There will be plenty of nibblies and wine and, just to maintain tradition, root beer too. Hope to see you there!
Hey Edmonton friends! As part of the Mill Woods Artist Collective event, The Glass Door Reading Series, I’ll be reading from my new book, When the Wheels Fall Off (the sequel to A Root Beer Season), along with Edmonton author and journalist, Michael Hingston (Dilletantes), and Calgary poet, author and editor, Dymphny Dronyk (Contrary Infatuations, A Life in Clay). Edmonton singer and songwriter Ella Coyes will be also be performing for your listening pleasure.
When: June 25, 2015, 7 PM
Where: The Koffee Café
6120 – 28 Avenue, Edmonton
A&W is sponsoring its 6th Annual Cruisin’ to End MS event on August 21, 2014. Please join me at the White Oaks A&W, 12222 137 Avenue in Edmonton where I will be signing copies of my book, A Root Beer Season from 4–8 pm. 30% of sales will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Hope to see you there!
Learn more at cruisintoendms.ca