Monday, January 1, 2007

Fall 2006 Releases

Driving Minnie's Piano: Memoirs of a Surfing Life in Nova Scotia

Lesley Choyce

ISBN 1-895900-85-9
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*Autographed copies are available by clicking here.

Novelist Lesley Choyce weaves together his real-life adventures living by the sea at Lawrencetown Beach on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore. He writes of his love for the rugged coast and tells tales of the ordinary and the extraordinary. His story includes accounts of what it's like surfing in the Canadian North Atlantic through all four seasons including the frigid depths of winter.

Also threading its way through this narrative is the story of Minnie's piano. There is music here in word and spirit along with the lessons learned from the old and the young. Driving Minnie's Piano is an eloquent personal memoir about the precious and fateful moments that change our lives. It is an exploration of what makes us tick and prompts us to be both heroes and fools in the daily enterprise of living.

Not one to take himself too seriously, Choyce recounts the true story of how his life was forever altered when 16 skunks took up residence beneath his 200-year-old farm house. This calamitous event and the deed of evicting the skunks (with the care of a die-hard environmentalist) is a hilarious chapter that was the basis for the film, The Skunk Whisperer, which aired on three national networks. Also up for discussion are the subjects of fog, drumlins, lichen, fools, baseball, class reunions, hair, the origin of the SurfPoets and the nature of the "drowned coast" that is a stone's throw from the author's back door.

Lesley Choyce recently edited Nova Scotia: A Traveller's Companion. He is the author of The Republic of Nothing and numerous other novels. Choyce also hosts the literary TV show, Off the Page. His popular history, Nova Scotia: Shaped by the Sea is published by Penguin.

Shipwrecks of New Brunswick

Robert C. Parsons

224 pages, includes index and photographs
ISBN 1-895900-82-4
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Shipwrecks of New Brunswick is about a time when one of Canada's most thriving provinces staked out a claim on that great element of nature forever pounding its shores. But the 2,250 kilometres of coastline along these shores have always held many dangers to shipping. The captains and the mariners sailing here have been prey to shifting ocean currents, dramatic tidal changes, high winds and impenetrable fog. The coastline itself is broken by many deep bays, inlets and estuaries, each with its own dangers of rocks, cliffs or sandbars.

Many areas of coastline lie in wait for ships: the Richibucto islands and bars, the Caraquet and Shippagan coast, Cape Tormentine, Miramichi Bay, Chaleur Bay and the ever-changing Bay of Fundy. In the era of sail, the number of ships traversing Fundy was enormous. Dangers in the great bay lurked at points like Partridge Island, Yellow and Murr Ledges, Grand Manan Island, the myriad rock, crags, islets and islands that ring Passamaquoddy Bay and the tricky approaches to the busy port of Saint John.

Countless ships and sailors came to grief in these New Brunswick waters in the days before long-range weather forecasting and reliable navigational instruments. Adverse winds and rocks claimed many a ship. But human error also lay at the root of marine disasters. Shipwrecks of New Brunswick preserves these stories in word and image.

In the past 20 years, Robert Parsons has become one of Atlantic Canada's most popular and prolific writers, specializing in the stories of shipwreck, rescue and survival. He devotes much of his time to researching, writing and promoting the sea-going history of Canada's eastern provinces, their ships and the people who sailed them. His books include Ocean of Storms, Sea of Disaster, In Peril on the Sea and The Edge of Yesterday: Sea Disasters of Nova Scotia.

Back Roads of Membertou County

Alfred Silver

6 x 9 paperback
ISBN 1-895900-81-6
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Bonnie and Ben Marsden are back - Back Roads of Membertou County picks up where Clean Sweep left off.

Forty-something Bonnie Marsden didn't intend to become a professional charwoman or an amateur detective. Both Bonnie and Ben Marsden have lost their steady jobs but manage to get by with Bonnie working as a cleaning lady and Ben as an all-purpose pair of hands and strong back.

Ben's methods of employment sometimes involve dealing with people on the wrong side of the law. Ben barely knows Jack Burton, but knows him well enough to explain to Bonnie, "If you play around the edges of the law, you'll sometimes run across a guy who's smart and tough and crazy. All you can do with somebody like that is stay the hell away from him and hope he gets caught or shot before he runs over somebody you care about." But law enforcement will put the squeeze on anybody even remotely connected with Jack Burton, and now even Bonnie's friend, Corporal Kowalchuck at the local RCMP detachment, can't prevent Ben from going to jail.

The complex situation tests the Marsdens' marriage and it looks like they are both about to lose. Bonnie's amateur detecting helps resolve one crisis but lands them in another more dangerous predicament that puts their marriage and their lives in jeopardy.

Alfred Silver has published 10 novels, including Clean Sweep, Acadia, Three Hills Home, and The Haunting of Maddie Prue.

The New Brunswick Phrase Book: Old Sayings, Expressions & Odd Names of New Brunswick

Dan Soucoup

ISBN 1-895900-84-0
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So let's all go dulsin' and winklin' down at the wangan, over at the shimshack and go breakin' the jam. And then we can set the dogs, find a twitching horse, go sparking, sacking with our Kennebecers, or wait for the May run as long as there are no gewgaws or swampers coming along. Or we may want to try fly beer or cockaninny with our hodge podge at the sit-down supper. What's the difference between the walking boss and the main man? Or between a Richibucto goose and a Shippegan turkey? And perhaps we can take a trip to Pull and Be Damned Narrows, Petit Large and Hole-in-the-Wall.

Each region of Canada has its own distinctive dialects and colourful language. New Brunswick is no exception. This handy book has captured the essence of the province, the words and phrases that are so often heard but not really understood or explained. This informative and funny book includes more than 1,000 sayings, phrases, descriptions, and curious names that are listed in alphabetical order and defined in plain English.

Dan Soucoup is the author of several books including Historic New Brunswick, The Maritime Book of Days and the best-selling Maritime Firsts.