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.

Listen Up Friends, We Have a Voice

by E. D. Morin

Yesterday, I lay in bed for much of the day with a frozen neck and shoulders. It was as if my body knew what was about to happen down south, what had in essence already happened. As if something had its hands on me and was clamping down hard, immobilizing me. Trumpland.

Is it any wonder that on this day I was also handed my voice?

In a small room in the basement of the Memorial Park Library, David Irvine launched his new book Caring is Everything. David spoke about the need for a true dialogue and about the power of caring. He was charged up with a desire to do something to counter all the anger and greed and inattention in the world, this blatant inattention to what is happening in front of our eyes. Climate change. Inequality. Violence. It was no accident that David’s book launch fell on the same evening that American election results were rolling out. He brought a bright ray of hope to the day’s circus show.

I’m generally not one for being in the spotlight, but last night both David and his publisher Ashis Gupta of Bayeux Arts spoke highly of the work I did editing this new book. I was a bit embarrassed by this. But as I tossed and turned all last night, as so many people must have, it came to me that I have a voice.

So today, weirdly, I feel hopeful. Paradoxically, this American election win has unleashed a sense of urgency in me, an incredible impulse to speak out now. Rome is burning. The window to change our footprint, to reduce carbon emissions, to save our species is closing. It doesn’t take a scientist to see that we are coming to the end of our planet’s capacity to give what we take from it. The ice caps are melting at a shocking rate, bringing devastating storms and rising sea levels. Our indigenous peoples in Canada have been telling us this for so long. We haven’t been listening. Instead, we’ve been poisoning their water. We’ve been taking away their livelihoods.

Start by watching Before the Flood. Read David’s new book. Read Wenjack by Joseph Boyden, and while you’re at it watch Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire’s The Secret Path. Then go to the Leap Manifesto and sign on.

I have a voice. You have a voice.

Speak up.


Alberta Book Publishing Awards 2016

Crabapple collective members Elaine Morin and Lou Morin attended Alberta’s annual book publishing awards event, held this year in Calgary on September 16. We ate, drank and breathed book talk, and were reminded of the communal labour of love that’s involved in publishing.

We were thrilled to see CMC book designer Natalie Olsen sweep the Book Design award category. With three nominations, she took away the award for A Revision of Forward.

Keynote speaker Will Ferguson spun tall tales and described his path to getting published for the first time, divulging tips that tended to the unorthodox but were nonetheless effective. See where it got him.

The evening culminated with the announcement of the winning Alberta Reader’s Choice award title. In a David & Goliath move, self-published indie author Laurel Deedrick-Mayne accepted a giant-sized $10,000 cheque for A Wake for the Dreamland. She spoke to the importance of hybrid publishing channels in today’s book world, and brought home to us as Crabapple members what’s possible on this publishing path.

Calgary’s sparkling Freehand Press won the Publisher of the Year for among other things its commitment to producing high-caliber, ‘quirky’ literature.

All of this reinforces the great work being done by Alberta’s book publishing community. Read Alberta Books!

Winging it is done!

Winging It is done!

Well, sorta…..

Writers, the world over, know that a book isn’t really done until the editor says it’s done. Typing ‘The End’, onto the last page of the manuscript is, in many ways, just the beginning

So, on to step 2: Hand it over to editor extraordinaire, Elaine Morin, who will wrestle with the unruliness of the manuscript for a few months before she throws it back my way to carry on fighting that thing into submission. After more nail-biting and hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth, I will chuck that baby back in Elaine’s direction. Back and forth we’ll go until one of us yells ‘Uncle!’

After we’ve both come to the conclusion that there is no possible way to make the manuscript any shinier, we’ll high-five our way to the closest pub where we will imbibe a few and sleep it off before proceeding to step 3, which is to send it to award-winning designer, Natalie Olsen of Kisscut Design. Because you must never rush a genius, this will, of course, involve plenty of waiting mixed with difficult lessons in patience, and all of it sprinkled with a subtle sauce of unrelenting self-doubt and fear that we’ve missed something.

And then one day, we will get that email from Natalie that we’ve been waiting for. Attached there will be a couple of choices for the cover. Natalie created the cover art for A Root Beer Season, as well as When the Wheels Fall Off. For Root Beer, she created three choices from which I chose my favourite and then we tweaked until we were both seeing the same vision. By the time she created the cover art for Wheels, she knew so well what would hit that sweet spot that only one shot was needed.

Now it was time for the checklist: Acknowledgements, back cover copy, blurbs, ISBN, and reserve Owl’s Nest Books for the launch. All the boxes ticked. The only thing remaining is the notification that the printer has shipped the book.

Easey-peasy. With the enduring support and encouragement, not to mention the odd bottle of wine, from my Crabbie-Apple sisters, the seemingly impossible becomes possible and with everyone’s sanity intact.

Since, as is well-known in the Calgary writing community, winter traumatizes me, and for the most part, leaves me whining and snivelling on my sofa for the duration, the launch of Winging It will take place sometime in the late spring of 2017.

Watch this space!

Meet Inge at When Words Collide

Calgary’s annual writer/reader conference, When Words Collide, runs from August 12-14. Come meet me in person and buy my books at the independent booksellers’ area on Sunday, August 14 from 2-3 p.m. The complete set of both Sonja Pfeiffer books will be available for purchase, all tied up in a bow, for $25.

Buying Inge’s books online

Although they’re available on Amazon and iTunes as e-books, my two novels can only be purchased in paperback through select bookstores or the Crabapple website. 

As part of an ongoing process to improve our site, we’ve updated Inge’s book order page. Hooray! It’s now even easier to buy copies of my books. Here, you’ll find an online form wherein we can exchange addresses, determine the method of payment, and even chat a little, which I love to do. There’s just no better perk for an author than to chat with a reader. Really! 

Go on, try it. You know you want to.

People have also been asking to read excerpts of my work. So I’ve posted a chapter from my first Sonja Pfeiffer novel, A Root Beer Season. And here’s an excerpt from its sequel, When the Wheels Fall Off.

Update on Writing Menopause project

Co-Editors Jane and Elaine are gearing up to launch Writing Menopause, a literary anthology forthcoming from the indie Inanna Publications in Spring 2017. The project has flourished with the help and support of the Crabapples, including our resident book doula Lou, (also a contributor) and boosterism from our six members all around. We can’t stress enough how important it’s been to have the enthusiasm of supportive writers in our lives.

It’s been quite a journey from idea to book, especially with the typical extended publication timelines associated with book publishing. We first identified the need for an anthology in 2013 after reading a post on a writer’s forum. Someone mentioned that menopause was affecting their work and asked if menopause had also affected anyone else’s writing. The idea for an anthology was born.

It felt like the right time to highlight an experience that’s had too little exposure in literature. In January 2014 we put the word out. We knew we were on to something when the submissions started filling our inboxes. Then, a publisher, having seen our call for submissions, requested to see the manuscript. Their interest confirmed we were heading in an exciting direction and although we didn’t feel they were the right fit for us, we’ve since found a perfect fit with Inanna.

In June of 2015, we presented the anthology in Boston at the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference – a group of academics and artists that study all aspects of women’s reproductive health, including menopause. We were delighted to discover that what our contributors had written as fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry dovetailed with the most up-to-date findings of academic researchers. Likewise, audience reaction to an excerpt read at an Inanna authors event in Calgary reinforced we were heading in the right direction.

Meanwhile, we’ve had the joyful experience of working with over fifty contributors who’ve explored menopause through their writing. Our publication date is coming swiftly. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be working with Inanna to finalize the manuscript and cover design. We’ve come a long way, and are excited to share this project with readers and writers!

Elaine and Jane

Tampa Bay tribute

From a lovely tribute to Tanya Coovadia in the Tampa Bay Times:

“Her writing had all the wonderful traits that come with being associated from a place like that,” said Watson, 68, referring to Pelee Island. “If life gives you anything, it makes you unusual. … I think the place she came from had made her unusual.”
Colleen Wright, Tampa Bay Times

Read the full article.

Missing Tanya

We are sad to report that our friend Tanya Coovadia died yesterday. Her IPPY award – which she received two weeks before she passed away – was a true affirmation of the excellence of her writing, and the impact of Pelee Island Stories.

Emily Dickinson said “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” The truth must dazzle gradually, she advises. Tanya’s writing is like this, dazzling gradually, letting us see the truth on a slant so we won’t be blinded by it. Pelee Island Stories is about love, loss and hope. Her writing evokes place so strongly, readers feel as though they too have lived on the island as they brush against the forsythia and walk the dusty roads with Ranger the dog at our heels. The characters become our family and neighbours and their struggles are our struggles. 

In person, Tanya dazzled all at once with an effervescence that made everyone around her bubble too. Her enthusiasm for life was total. Generous in every way, she had that rare ability to make everyone feel like they belonged. Her love of her children, her husband and her friends was evident in every conversation we had. 

We are grateful to have had a hand in sharing her work and letting others who may not have had the good fortune to meet her get to know her this way. We send our sympathies to her family. 

Vive l’indépendance!

On May 10th, independent publishers gathered from across North America to celebrate the 2016 IPPY Awards. And to gaze at the view from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower on the Skydeck in downtown Chicago. There, our very own collective members, Jane and Elaine, represented Tanya Coovadia’s Pelee Island Stories. So much book publishing goodness in one place! See the full list of winners.

Click on an arrow to scroll through the album.

Image credit: Jim Barnes

Elaine and Jane do Chicago

Hi. We are honouring Tanya by taking Pelee Island Stories around to see the Chicago sights. Highlights include Myopic used bookstore, walking the 606 and enjoying the adjacent graffiti, Van Gogh at the Chicago Art Institute, the bean and Millenium Park, and a fantastic architecture tour by boat. Oh yes, and the IPPY awards, of course, atop the Willis tower with brilliant views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. It was like going to a lovely wedding reception with an open bar and bonus awards. We both wore lipstick. Will send pics.