Archive for May, 2012

May 28, 2012

Listen to Chapter 2 of my new novel “Triumph the Lion” on CJSF Radio


The lion that was one of the inspirations for “Triumph the Lion”. (Photo by Terry O’Neill)

I have just completed my new novel “Triumph the Lion,” a story about a South African safari ranger who documents the activities of a lion with a peculiar trait. Blu, the Toronto-raised ranger who works at a luxury lodge in Kruger Park, publishes a blog that makes the lion world famous with accounts of the animal’s feats. Children from around the globe visit the blog for the latest happenings in the lion’s life, while tourists come to Africa wanting a glimpse of the lion named Selrahc. Some visitors, however, arrive with sinister plans that have nothing to do with photographing this particular king of the jungle.

I have been reading excerpts from the book on KP Wee’s show “Smitten with the Written” on CJSF Radio (90.1 FM) in Vancouver. In a recent show, KP and I talked about sports writing, seeing that we are in the midst of the NHL Playoffs, and why sports make such an intriguing topic for both fiction writers and journalists.

Listen now to Excerpt 7 from “Triumph the Lion”:

Click here for Excerpt 7, which concludes Chapter 2 of the novel, after KP and I wrap up our hour-long talk on sports writing, both in fiction and journalism (click here for the first half of that interview).

Click on the links below to hear Excerpts 5 and 6.

Click here for Excerpt 5, which is after a 10-minute interview about character development in fiction.
Click here for Excerpt 6, which is more from Chapter 2 of the novel.

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May 14, 2012

Tom Wilson plays a secret Toronto house party


Tom Wilson gives it his all wherever he plays. (Photo collage by Julia Pelish)

[Had a chance last month to catch up with Tom Wilson, great musician, great guy, at a secret house party in Toronto. Here’s the report from]

On March 21, Tom Wilson headlined at Massey Hall in front of 2,750 fans. Less than three weeks later, he is tuning his guitar in the living room of a home in a middle-class neighbourhood in midtown Toronto, about to play to 31 people, many of whom can’t believe their fortune. The performance that ensues gives new meaning to bringing down the house.

On “concert nights,” the home takes on the persona of a venue. It’s nicknamed “The Growler,” tickets are sold, amplifiers are brought in, the musicians have their own “backstage” space in an upstairs bedroom, CDs and other paraphernalia is for sale, and there are no encores until the audience delivers loud applause and calls for “more, more, more!”

Wilson doesn’t hold back anything, either. The singer/songwriter with a wide range of tunes plays for an hour, including a two-song encore that starts with a cover of “Ring of Fire.” His voice resonates with clear, dead-on pitch like what you might be treated to in a studio session. As always, his showmanship is as much a part of the entertainment as his music. His self-effacing comments and hilarious stories of rock ’n roll life never fail to win over a crowd.

During this set on Good Friday, Wilson reveals that Colin Linden nearly showed up, too. Linden, Wilson and Stephen Fearing form Juno Award-winning Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, who finally headlined a gig at Massey Hall after 15 years together. Although it would have been a great bonus to see Linden, the audience is more than satisfied with Wilson and his band members, who on this night include his son as well as long-time collaborator Ray Farrugia. The trio are paid with the money brought in from ticket sales.

It’s Wilson’s second time making the trip up from Hamilton, Ontario to play “The Growler,” and he says he’s open to more. “These people are great,” he adds. “Really, we come back for the food.”

One of the owners is from Mexico and apparently spoils the band with fabulous cuisine prior to the show. The homeowners, who will remain anonymous because operating a “concert venue” out of their house may not fly with some authority figures, also offer bed-and-breakfast stays to the musicians.

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