Thursday, November 10, 2011

Righting the Wrongs: Gus Wedderburn's Quest for Social Justice in Nova Scotia

Righting the Wrongs: Gus Wedderburn's Quest for Social Justice in Nova Scotia

Marie Riley

Nonfiction: Biography, Nova Scotia, Black History
96 pages
6" x 9" Paperback (includes photographs)
ISBN 978-1-897426-28-9

Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9) or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

This is the story of H.A.J. (Gus) Wedderburn. During his 50 years in Nova Scotia, Gus brought his determination and energy to any situation where an injustice needed to be addressed. Growing up in Jamaica, he learned the tenets of respect, fairness and social responsibility from his dynamic family who taught him that giving one's time in the service of others was what life was all about. After studies at McGill University and Mount Allison University, he came to Nova Scotia in 1957 where he took a position as principal at Partridge River School in East Preston, one of the province's oldest Black communities. Here he set out to impress upon students and their families how important education was for them and started a tutoring program that enabled many students to graduate from high school, a first for the community. Years later, former students remember how he encouraged them, recognized their potential and boosted their self-confidence. His was an attitude often not held by teachers towards minority students in those days.

Gus moved on to teach at Bloomfield and Ardmore schools in Halifax, and in 1970, at the age of 41, he changed careers. Three years later he graduated from Dalhousie University's Law School, and practised law until his retirement. Described as "a lawyer with the soul of a social worker," he often worked pro bono and remained a mentor to many young people. A driving force for many years in the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, he was a founder of the Black Educators Association, the Black United Front, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, and the Black Cultural Centre. He was a vocal crusader for the rights of the disadvantaged at a time when discrimination in education, employment and housing was the status quo.

When he died in 2007, Gus could have taken comfort in the diversity of races, religions and political persuasions represented at his funeral—people who came to pay their respects to a gentle, genial man who made a profound impact on his adopted home.

Marie Riley was born and brought up in Nova Scotia. After graduating from Mount Saint Vincent and Carleton Universities she worked as a journalist for the Calgary Herald and for the Canadian Press news agency in Ottawa. In 1970 she went to West Africa with CUSO where she taught at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and the University of Ghana. Following graduate work at Simon Fraser University, she taught in the public relations program at the Mount until her retirement in 2008.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Mi'kmaq Anthology, Volume Two In Celebration of the Life of Rita Joe

The Mi'kmaq Anthology, Volume Two

In Celebration of the Life of Rita Joe

Edited by Theresa Meuse, Lesley Choyce and Julia Swan

Autobiography, Poetry, Traditional Stories, Essays
224 pages
6" x 9" trade paperback
ISBN 978-1-897426-29-6
(Available in October 2011)

Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9) or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

It has been 14 years since the landmark publication of the first volume of The Mi'kmaq Anthology, a project initiated by Rita Joe. Mi'kmaq culture continues to thrive in Atlantic Canada and this new volume brings together many new as well as familiar writers from the Mi'kmaq community. Included are essays on culture, history, and spirituality, as well as autobiography, traditional stories and poetry in this unique volume.

Contributors include Daniel N. Paul, Patricia Doyle-Bedwell, Lindsay Marshall, Catherine Martin, Mary Louise Martin, Robert Bernard, Laura Johnson, Clayton Paul, Denise Larocque, Shalan Joudrey, Peter C. Julien, Marie Battiste, Sunset Rose Morris, Theresa Meuse, Jean Augustine-McIsaac, Alice Azure, John Sylliboy, Denise Larocque, Eva Apukjij, David Marshall, and Charles Doucette. Also included are poems from Rita Joe.

The collection is informative, varied and spirited. It includes a variety of powerful voices on many subjects and is intended to be a celebration of the life of poet, Rita Joe, who encouraged many people from her extended community to write and bring forward their poetry and stories. Rita Joe was born in Whycocomagh in 1932 and received the Order of Canada for her writing and contribution to Canadian culture. Before her death in 2007, she published several important books of poetry and inspired many younger Mi'kmaq authors.

Theresa Meuse is the former chief of Bear River First Nation and has worked in various jobs with Mi'kmaq organizations. She is an educator and advisor and author of a children's book titled The Sharing Circle. Lesley Choyce is the publisher of Pottersfield Press, an English instructor in Dalhousie University's Transition Year Program and the author of a number of books. Julia Swan is an editor with Pottersfield Press and teaches at Dalhousie University.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cold Clear Morning New Revised Edition

Cold Clear Morning

New Revised Edition

Lesley Choyce

A Novel
300 pages
5 1/2" x 8 1/2" trade paperback
ISBN 978-1-897426-32-6
Includes an Afterword and Interview with the Author
Currently in Development as a Feature Film

Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9) or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

Now available as an ebook for your ereading pleasure:

Kindle | Kobo | Smashwords |

"I just love this book. The scenes are evocative and meld into the action seamlessly, never seeming to interrupt or delay its movement, yet are so richly detailed. I give special praise to the deeper and much more difficult challenge of creating a believable fictional musician." —Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of Rush.

Taylor Colby grew up in the tiny Nova Scotia fishing village of Nickerson Harbour, but his guitar-playing skill led him to become a much sought-after studio musician in Los Angeles. Along with him went Laura, his childhood sweetheart and soulmate. In L.A., Laura becomes enamoured with the dark side of rock and roll life, leaving Taylor lost, distraught and deeply damaged. It is then that Taylor realizes he has to go back home to Nickerson Harbour, to confront LauraĆ¢€™s parents, to reunite with his father and confront the truth of his own dysfunctional family.

Back in Nova Scotia, Taylor learns that his mother, who had abandoned him as a child to move to Ontario and remarry, wants to come home to reconcile with her own past. Taylor is haunted by his loss and grief but must also come to terms with some hidden truths about Laura. As he begins to make sense of his past, he befriends a feminist professor from Philadelphia who has run away from a miserable marriage to start anew in Canada with her troubled twelve-year-old son.

Cold Clear Morning is a novel about dreams realized and dreams shattered. It is about love and loss, hurting and healing, grief and forgiving. Taylor Colby speaks his story of love and loss and what it takes to pick up the remains of a shattered life and find renewed purpose and hope. It is the story of going back to the home that you thought you could never go back to. In his odyssey from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and back home to Nova Scotia, he attempts to find real meaning to his life of adventure and despair.

"Cold Clear Morning is an evocative read. Watching Taylor Colby, his mother, and his father work through their memories and their pain, toiling towards peace, evokes powerful emotions. And then there is the sea—it speaks through the pages and mesmerizes the soul." —Kimberley Blevins, Regina Leader-Post

Lesley Choyce is also the author of over fifty books, including, for Pottersfield Press: the poetry collection The Coastline of Forgetting, children's books Far Enough Island and Famous At Last, and non-fiction books Driving Minnie's Piano: Memoirs of a Surfing Life in Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia: Shaped By The Sea, and Peggy's Cove: The Amazing History of a Coastal Village. He has also edited for Pottersfield Press: Ark of Ice: Canadian Futurefictions, The Mi'kmaq Anthology, The Mi'kmaq Anthology, Volume Two (with Rita Joe), Nova Scotia: Visions of the Future, Nova Scotia: A Traveller's Companion, and Pottersfield Nation: East of Canada.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Steven Laffoley

Nonfiction: Nova Scotia, History, Crime, Ships
192 pages
6" x 9" paperback
ISBN 978-1-897426-27-2

Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

Madness arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, silent and wet, at the bottom of a ship's dory, in the rough folds of a thick, grey canvas—a shapeless, nameless dream, radiating shadows and darkness.

Investigating murder is grim business. This is particularly true if the murder happened more than a hundred years ago in the cramped cabin of an old schooner later torpedoed and sunk. Think about it. Everybody involved in the case is dead. And the important clues to the mystery are buried somewhere beneath ocean sand.

Still, on a cold afternoon in late February, I found myself standing at the edge of an old Halifax wharf investigating another cold-case murder mystery. The case was just too damned good.

In the summer of 1896, an old schooner sailed from Boston to Argentina with twelve people on board. A few days into the journey, the captain, his wife, and the second mate were all murdered—with an axe. And no one on board saw it happen.

The surviving crew members were a rogues' gallery of gruff, seafaring brutes, each offering the weary, cold-case investigator multiple names, wild accusations, and fast-changing testimony. Also on board was a passenger, a young student from Harvard University. Perfect.

Like I said, I had to take the case. It was just too damned good.

And so begins another cold-case murder investigation by writer Steven Laffoley, as he travels the tough streets of Halifax to the courtrooms of Boston in search of a killer. Along the way, he explores the world of 1896 and discovers that nothing in this case is what it first seems. In turns fascinating, frightening, and funny, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is an intriguing true tale of murder, mystery, and madness.

Steven Laffoley has been a writer, teacher, and dues-paying member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He is the author of Mr. Bush, Angus and Me, the award-nominated Hunting Halifax, and Death Ship of Halifax Harbour.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Social Worker by Michael Ungar, PhD

The Social Worker

Michael Ungar, PhD

240 pages
5 1/2" x 8 1/2" Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-897426-26-5
(Available in March 2011)
Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Amazon or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

$12.95 ebook on Smashwords 
(suitable for Kobo, Kindle, Sony, Stanza, iBooks ereaders)

Joey is not your typical social worker. He burns down houses to solve bureaucratic deadlocks, steals to get his clients bigger welfare cheques, and lies if it will help prevent his supervisor from intruding in the lives of his young clients.

Joey knows all too well what it feels like to be a client. In and out of foster homes, his father dead, his mother an abusive emotional wreck, Joey puts his talents as a juvenile delinquent to good use, even when he's locked up in a secure detention centre. Fortunately for Joey, there's one youth worker, a former boxer with his own secrets to hide, who inspires Joey to finish his education.

Still the delinquent at heart, Joey sets out to get revenge on the system that he believes failed him and his family. Joey's plan for revenge may have worked, except buried in old agency files he learns that his family has many secrets yet untold and that the lives of social workers are more complicated than they seem to the children in their care.

The Social Worker is a controversial and provocative story of what it means to reach out to the most vulnerable, set amid the hidden world of those whose motivations to help can be as difficult to understand as the systems for which they work.

Michael Ungar, PhD is a prize-winning fiction writer and among the most influential social work authors and speakers on parenting issues in North America. His nine non-fiction books include The We Generation and Too Safe for Their Own Good. The Social Worker is his first novel. His work has been the subject of cover stories in magazines and he is a regular contributor to radio and television. His blog can be read on Psychology Today's website. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers Distinguished Service Award for Nova Scotia.

Currently, he is a Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Halifax where he directs the Resilience Research Centre. His website is

Michael Ungar is also the author of Playing at Being Bad: The Hidden Resilience of Troubled Teens.

The Mi'kmaq Anthology Edited by Rita Joe and Lesley Choyce

The Mi'kmaq Anthology

Now back in print!

Edited by Rita Joe and Lesley Choyce

Autobiography, Poetry, Traditional stories, Essays
286 pages
6" x 9" trade paperback
ISBN-10 1-895900-04-2
ISBN-13 978-1-895900-04-0
Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Amazon or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

This is the most comprehensive single volume of Mi'kmaq writing available. Included are essays on history, culture, spirituality as well as autobiography, traditional stories and poetry in this spirited and varied collection.

First published in 1997, the book is a valuable landmark of an ancient culture that speaks directly to those intrigued by Aboriginal history and culture. The writers in this volume express both pain and joy, outrage and celebration. There is wisdom here to be shared as the contributors document Mi'kmaq life both ancient and modern. Sacred ceremonies and beliefs are explored and personal histories revealed. Included also, however, are writers documenting some of the harshest realities of Nova Scotia history, including Cornwallis's scalping proclamation of 1749 and the travesties of the residential schools of the twentieth century.

Contributors include Don Julien, Lindsay Marshall, Murdena Marshall, Mary Louise Martin, Elsie Charles Basque, Shirley Kiju Kawi, Noel Knockwood, Helen Sylliboy, Marie Battiste, Theresa Meuse, Isabelle Knockwood, Katherine Sorbey, Daniel N. Paul, Harold Gloade and Rita Joe.

Rita Joe states in the introduction, "When it comes to Mi'kmaq history, there are many unanswered questions for all of us. Poets pose some of those questions. Mi'kmaq historians attempt to reveal truths that have long been hidden. Many writers in this volume tell us stories from their own lives to reveal experience, tradition, knowledge and spiritual understanding. Ancient stories handed down provide insight into a way of looking at the world that differs greatly from the messages we receive on TV, in the newspapers and from our political leaders."

Rita Joe was born in Whycocomagh in 1932 and received the Order of Canada for her writing and contribution to Canadian culture. Before her death in 2007, she published several important books of poetry and inspired many younger Mi'kmaq authors.

Lesley Choyce is the publisher of Pottersfield Press, teaches English in Dalhousie University's Transition Year Program and is the author of a number of books.

In the fall of 2011, Pottersfield will publish The Mi'kmaq Anthology, Volume 2, a book celebrating the life of Rita Joe.

The image of my people is uppermost in my mind, the beauty told, one thought inspiring another. Nenwite'ten ke'luk weji tu'ap. (Remember I found the good.) Jika'winen we'jitutqsip kutoy ninen. (Look at us and you too will find the good.) Being a stranger in your own land is a sad story. The turnaround may be the schools. Let us have our say or none at all. Iknmulek na! (We give! Let us.)

- Rita Joe

Diligent River Daughter by Bruce Graham

Diligent River Daughter

Bruce Graham

224 pages
5 1/2" x 8 1/2" Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-897426-23-4
(Available in March 2011)
Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Amazon or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

In 1914 when Canada is swept into the Great War, Charlene Durant is already a veteran of loneliness and heartbreak, yet her indomitable spirit and belief in her own intelligence keep her from sinking into despair.

There is nothing normal about her life. A mother's death is not unusual in the time of widespread epidemics and neither is the quarantine imposed on the shattered remnants of her family. But becoming her father's assistant as a young girl and travelling the dusty roads of Nova Scotia as he sells tombstones to the recently bereaved is an unorthodox education. After almost going mad with grief at his wife's death, her father has become an aging Lothario, unpredictable and miserable when the army repeatedly refuses to enlist him. But finally, by 1916 with thousands dead on the battlefields, he becomes a soldier and goes to Europe to fight.

Hurt and angry over her father's decision to desert her, Charlene takes her unstable Aunt Matilda and leaves for Boston, where she lies about her age to get a job in a newspaper. She falls in love with a youthful crime reporter and befriends an old Irish sea dog who takes her into the midst of a kidnapping and murder.

Charlene brushes against the great events of her time: the Titanic sinking, the Halifax Explosion, the suffragette movement, and the struggle of a young woman to be accepted into the man's world of newspaper work. Overshadowing all is the war that changes the world and everyone in it. Diligent River Daughter is the story of how a brave and strong-willed young woman from the Parrsboro Shore fights for her independence and identity in a most troubled time.

Bruce Graham is a Nova Scotia writer and former broadcaster, who for many years was the face of the evening TV news in Maritime homes. Bruce and his wife Helen live in their hometown of Parrsboro. Diligent River Daughter is his fifth book. The Ship's Company Theatre adapted two of his previous novels—The Parrsboro Boxing Club and Ivor Johnson's Neighbours, both published by Pottersfield—for the stage.

Bruce Graham is also the author of: Anchorman, Parrsboro Boxing Club, Dream of the Dove, and Ivor Johnson's Neighbours.

Otto Strasser in Paradise: A Nazi in Nova Scotia by H. Millard Wright

Otto Strasser in Paradise: A Nazi in Nova Scotia

H. Millard Wright

Nonfiction: History, World War II, 1950s, Nova Scotia, Politics
160 pages
6" x 9" Trade Paperback
Includes photographs
ISBN 978-1-897426-25-8
(Available in April 2011)
Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Amazon or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

Otto Strasser along with other top Nazis such as his brother, Gregor Strasser, Goebbels, Goering, Hess and a few others, laid plans to take over Europe and then the world. But Otto eventually disagreed with Adolph Hitler on various issues in the National Socialist Party and was ejected from its ranks and formed the Black Front, a breakaway Nazi movement. Gregor Strasser was murdered by Hitler, who feared his influence in the Nazi Party. And Otto, who could well have been the leader of the German government but for some dramatic twists of fate, ran through Europe with Hitler's hitmen hot on his heels. So how did he end up living in bucolic, rural Nova Scotia for 13 years, from 1942 to 1955?
Strasser continued to criticize Hitler from outside Germany. Britain whisked him out of harm's way and sent him to Canada where he remained from 1941 to 1955, literally a prisoner. The Canadian government prohibited him from publishing articles; his mail was censored and the RCMP kept him under surveillance. By the time he was allowed to return to Germany, he was largely forgotten. He died in 1974, a dispirited and disheartened man.
Much has been written about Otto Strasser, but little about his years in Bridgetown, Clarence and Paradise, Nova Scotia. It is this period of his life that this narrative explores.

H. Millard Wright was born and grew up in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. He had a successful business career, becoming a vice-president and board member of L.E. Shaw Ltd. and president of Clayton Developments. He is a past president of the Halifax Board of Trade, a past director of the Maritime Chamber of Commerce, past director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and past director of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. He formed his own company, Colonial Scientific Ltd., in 1971 and retired in 1992. He has published eight books.

Angels and the Afterlife by Laverne Stewart

Angels and the Afterlife

Laverne Stewart

Nonfiction: Angels, The Maritimes, Spirituality
176 pages
6" x 9" Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-897426-24-1
(Available in April 2011)

Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Amazon or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.

Available as an ebook:
The inspiration for this book began on June 12, 2009. Laverne Stewart was at a women's retreat. At 5 a.m. she was alone in her room thinking about her frustration over various works of fiction which she hadn't been able to complete. She suddenly heard a voice say, "You have not been called to write fiction. You have been called to write the truth." She knew that there was no one else with her. It was then she realized she was supposed to write a book about angels and the afterlife.
As a journalist, with over 24 years of experience, she decided to do some research. Did she really hear what she thought she'd heard? She contacted two intuitive mediums who told her they had seen this book being written six months before she'd contacted them. Stewart didn't know anything about angels or the afterlife. The mediums told her not to worry about it because the angels had everything under control. They did. In the nine months that followed she was overwhelmed by the number of people who came to her to share their stories.
"I have met and interviewed dozens of people who have shared their angelic encounters as well as their experiences with the spirits of the deceased. I have interviewed spiritual mediums and people, like me, who don't claim to have any intuitive abilities but who have had encounters with the other side and with angels. I have spoken to people who received healing and encouragement from angelic encounters, those who say the spirits of their deceased children come to them as well as the adult children of elderly parents who said they heard, saw and felt angels in the minutes before their parents crossed over to the other side."
Angels and the Afterlife contains the many stories of people whose lives were saved by beings that others could not see. There are heartfelt stories from people whose lives have been changed forever by their encounters.

Laverne Stewart spent 11 years with CTV in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before making the leap to print media in 1999. She currently writes for The Daily Gleaner in Fredericton. This is her first book.