Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vaughan Poet--that's our Cristina!

  • By Tessie Sanci, June 21, 2012

Vaughan poet appears at Books and Biscotti festival

Cristina Rizzuto. Cristina Rizzuto is one of the featured writers in this weekend's Books & Biscotti event at Chapters Woodbridge. Steve Somerville
If you ask Cristina Rizzuto where she loves to shop, she will tell you it’s her local bookstore.
“I could do without clothes. I’ll go secondhand or vintage shopping, but Chapters is, literally, my favourite store,” she says.
So, it is fitting that Ms Rizzuto’s first book signing will be at Chapters’ Woodbridge location, just minutes away from her home.
This weekend’s event, titled Books and Biscotti, celebrates Italian-Canadian writers. It is organized by the Association of Italian Canadian Writers in collaboration with the National Congress of Italian Canadians and Accenti Magazine.  Read more::

Sunday, June 10, 2012

News of Virgil Burnett.

We at Blaurock Press have some very sad news to report. Virgil Burnett, one of our earliest authors, died on Friday night. Virgil was a francophile, a sculptor, a writer and an illustrious illustrator. He was a good friend and mentor to many young artists, and a generally good citizen in the art world. He will be missed. RIP Virgil Burnett.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rebecca Babcock and Colin Fullerton's book launch in NS

The readings took place at the ""  in Halifax NS.  Great pictures from the event courtesy of Roxanne Bay of  "Let There Be Light" Photo Studio.   Unfortunately, none of the Blaurock group could be there, but the event was wonderful according to all accounts.  We're very happy for both Rebecca and Colin!  Congratulations.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

An Interview With Antonio Michael Downing

South American-born author and musician Antonio Michael Downing talks about the inception of his first published novella, describing Molasses as “a rhythmic, seething odyssey into the centre of heartbreak.”

Blaurock: When did you first start writing Molasses

Antonio Michael Downing (AMD): It was a Saturday in June and I got up and walked out into my backyard which was surrounded by trees and the wind was blowing, and I sat on a chair listening to the wind and I basically sketched out the characters and the plot in one day over ten hours.  I knew what was going to happen; I just didn’t know how it was going to happen.

Blaurock: Can you talk a bit about what the writing process was like?

AMD: I wrote pretty much twelve hours a day for the entire summer, half of it in Trinidad, and south of Trinidad in the jungle.  I would stay up late at night, listen to the rainstorms blow through, and I would write then. I liked walking at night whenever I was stuck and I couldn’t figure something out.  I would walk and talk to myself and talk to the characters, listen for the characters, and almost without fail every walk would yield a solution.  I did that intensely for probably eight weeks, which produced the first draft.

Blaurock:  What lead up to that day in the backyard when the light bulb first went off? 

AMD: There’s a long period of incubation where I’m not really sure where it’s going but I have certain images that are sticking with me and that are vibrating at the same frequency.  In this period, all I do is just read, and I read things that I feel are going to nourish these visions.  I’ll listen, and I’ll be very direct in rationing my experiences so that they feed into the vision so the people I hang around, the places I go, the things I do, the reading that I’m doing is all geared towards it, and then at some point it hits a critical mass.

Blaurock: Were there any authors that particularly affected you during your research for this book?

AMD: Certainly, Kathy Acker’s Empire Of The Senseless was a light bulb moment in terms of pushing the form of prose and of the novel; what you can do with it and what you can’t.  Ondaatje’s In The Skin Of A Lion, and Camus’ The Outsider was a big influence on it. Cynthia Heimel’s Sex Tips For Girls certainly gave me a new perspective on what was possible in terms of portraying female characters.  And then newer forms…places like, I enjoy the way they approach those little snippets of chaos and debauchery.

Blaurock: The distinct voices are probably one of the things that stand out most in the story.   The text is very rhythmic.  Did that come naturally to you as a musician?

AMD: Yeah, I think voice is one of the things that as a writer I’m most interested in.  I do music like a literature guy and I do literature like a music guy. That voice is really stitched into my DNA.

Blaurock: What inspired you to write from the female perspective?

AMD: The book is so sensual, and because I wanted to keep it in that realm of the five senses, and in that realm of emotion and of heartbreak, of sensation and exhilaration, I felt that the voice had to come from a female. Not so much because men don’t feel that, but more in the sense that that’s how society sees it.  As soon as we hear it in a woman’s voice, society makes a lot of assumptions, and it’s those assumptions that form a lot of the soil that the novel grows out of.

Blaurock: When you set out to write the book, did you intentionally plan to mess with the reader’s expectations?

AMD: Yes, definitely.  Ultimately it’s an experimental novel and those ambiguities are exactly the thing I wanted to explore.  That is the real topic of the book; it’s not so much the plot.  The characters are hiding and unveiling and revealing, and then hiding themselves, and I wanted the way the story was told to reflect that fact.  What do we really know about ourselves, about our gender, about our relationships, about our partner, about the very fabric of what we call reality?

Blaurock: Do you really think that Oprah’s book club and RIM are bad for society at large?

AMD: I think that’s what Amanda thinks.  I think it’s more a comment on wealth and how we relate to it, and a comment on technology and our faith in it, which she doesn’t share.  Do I feel that?  Sometimes.

Blaurock: Any more works in progress?

AMD: At this point, they’re all in incubation stage.  I’m still working with novellas and there are definitely more works coming.

Watch clips from the video interview (8 minutes):

Visit the Molasses page on Pinterest

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Starlight, Waterloo, and Cristina Rizzuto

A report on Indie Night at the Starlight, by Zara Rafferty, who took the lovely photos too.

On Tuesday, May 15, I attended Indie Lit Night at the Starlight Lounge. Borne out of a partnership between Words Worth Books and The New Quarterly, the annual event brings together several acclaimed indie presses, along with Canadian writers and readers, in a celebration of Canadian literary talent.
About 60 writers, readers, and publishers were in attendance at this year’s event. Based on the buzz in the room, Mandy Brouse, co-owner of Words Worth Books, called the event, “an unmistakable success.”  In the interest of full-disclosure, I have to admit that I was geeking out seeing familiar faces from BookThug, Coach House, ECW, The New Quarterly, House of Anansi, and Blaurock.

follow link for more:

Indie Night at the Starlight, Waterloo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

News of one of our authors, Eric Schachter

We're delighted to see that Eric Shachter, one of our authors, has made a film about the issue of gentrification of Harlem. He says the film was directed by the people of Harlem.

Eric's book is called "Dry Bones", published in 2009.

Harlem USA

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Indie Night at the Starlight in Waterloo, May 15th.

A great photo of Cristina, thanks to Zara Rafferty.  Cristina will like this much better than my efforts!  The reading went wonderfully.  

The Blaurock Press contingent plus Cristina, but unfortunately, minus Julie,  who had to be somewhere else.   This photo is also courtesy of Zara Rafferty.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Every Second Weekend Launch In Halifax Next Week

Celebrate the launch of Every Second Weekend with 
two readings by Blaurock's Rebecca Babcock and Colin Fullerton.

Wednesday May 23, 2012
6:00 & 8:30 PM
Sweet Hereafter Cheesecakery
6148 Quinpool Road, Halifax

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Video of part of Cristina Rizzuto's book launch.


Filmed at the Intercontinental Hotel Yorkville Toronto,
May 11, 2012

Cristina Rizzuto's Launch, Friday, Toronto

This was an amazing event.  Half of Toronto turned out!  Thanks to the huge Rizzuto family and friends for supporting Cristina and Blaurock Press.

A few photos:

Cristina-- in green

Cristina's father on right

Cristina's mother on left

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A review of Rebecca Babcock's book

A Review of Rebecca Babcock's book in The Coast from Halifax.

We're really happy for you Rebecca!

The link to The Coast:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We're very happy to announce our latest publication,  The Music Makers by Cristina Rizzuto.

Short lyrics and sketches of emergence, whose signatures are a startling precocity of taste, judgment and reticence. The poems are organized in four sections or cantos under headings of musical direction, here indicating narrative markings and precise emotional and intellectual registers: Da Capo, from the head; Lontano, as from a distance; Adagio, at ease; Cadence, a falling. These are urban poems, poems of streetscapes and street people, of movement and light, of the anonymous and disinterested gaze, variously reminiscent of Baudelaire, Eliot, St Vincent Millay. A first collection of surprising strength and authority.

For more information about the book  and where to buy, check out our website:   Blaurock Press.  For more information about Cristina see Author Interviews on this page.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Interview With Cristina Rizzuto

 One of two things happen to me at the end of every day. Sometimes, it is enough for me to close my eyes and enter the world of my dreams, where love and colours and yellow-brick roads await me. And sometimes, I don’t want to close my eyes, so that I can watch the night. I don’t want to miss all of its morbid, beautiful, frightful obscurities. This is my idea of happiness.”  So begins our conversation with Toronto-born poet and eternal hope-seeker, Cristina Rizzuto.

Blaurock: When did you first start writing The Music Makers

Cristina Rizzuto (CR): I never really started. It has accumulated over time. But I wrote the most in summer 2011 while living downtown on my own for the first time – more than half of it. The first poem was “On my balcony”, which I wrote when I was 15.

Blaurock: What is your favourite poem in the collection?

CR: That’s a hard question. I think my favourite is “Be rare”. I want to be rare, not beware. I want to live in a daring world. I want the world to be a place without the barriers of tradition.

Blaurock: What prompted you to group the poems into musical stanzas?  Has music played an important role in your life?
CR: That was the very last thing I did, when I finally started to think about a finished product. I do not play any instruments but music has played a very important role in my life. It inspires me, it moves me, it makes me think, it makes me feel. Without music, I am just going through the motions. And I cannot write anything unless I am listening to music.

I listen almost exclusively to film scores. When I’m driving, when I’m writing, when I’m cleaning the house, or making dinner, or doing yoga. Instrumental music is the only music I can concentrate to, and lose myself in.

Blaurock: What time of day do you usually write?  Do you have a routine?

CR: I can only write in the early morning. I feel focused then. Maybe my best ideas come to me when I’m half asleep. I also work best alone. I usually start writing at my kitchen table at 5 a.m. and stop whenever reality requires me to get ready for work and contribute to the economy.

Blaurock: You’ve interned at HarperCollins and worked with a variety of literacy organizations.  Has your work experience changed your attitude about getting published? 

CR: I loved interning at HarperCollins. I even loved my morning commute, because it gave me time to read. The experience has actually made me so much more positive about getting published and the industry in general. They were an amazing team. It was nice to be in an atmosphere where everyone loves books – and loves talking about books! I do that a lot.

Blaurock: Who are some of the writers who have affected you most?

CR: J.K Rowling and Jack Kerouac have affected me the most. For a long time, my existence was defined by Harry Potter.  It gave my childhood meaning, and gave me somewhere to escape to when I had to stay where I was. I read On the Road in my early teens, after taking it out from the library one summer, and became obsessed with the Beat Generation. It was about young people seeking meaning in their lives, searching for the answers. It helped me begin the process of finding them within myself, and gave me a powerful story and powerful ideas to think about forever.

Another book that had a big impact in my life was The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – I read a passage from it when I was 16, and it never left me. I can recite it by heart. “Beauty is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon...”

Blaurock: Any favourite poets?

CR: Shel Silverstein! Of course. Children’s books are the best of them all. Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Dante Alighieri, and Christina Rossetti are also among my favourites. I really love to read contemporary poetry. There are so many wonderful writers today.

Blaurock: What would you like readers to take away from the experience of reading The Music Makers?

CR: Pay attention to life. Pay attention to your family, your friends, strangers on the street, the wind, your history, the sound of coffee grinding in the morning, conversation. Pay attention to the music.

In a world of ongoing conflicts and strife, outside and in our own lives, colours still exist. The sky. Family. Love. Plants. Animals. Food. Art. Oceans. Bridges. Cafes. Friendship. Hope. I see traces of hope everywhere.  It is good to remind ourselves of this.

Explore the world of The Music Makers and read excerpts from the collection at:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

News of Cristina Rizzuto from "Open Book Toronto"

Read interview with Danielle Webster of  "Open Book Toronto".

Cristina Rizzuto is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, The Music Makers (Blaurock Press), which will be released in May. Her work has appeared in Dragnet Magazine and Inquire Publication. You can find Cristina online at her blog, Crisitina’s Library.
Cristina talked with Open Book about her collection and the “simple melody of ordinary existence.”

Poetry with Cristina Rizzuto

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Interview With Colin Fullerton

Halifax’s Colin Fullerton discusses the writing of Like A Road, and how he got from being “raised on a farm on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere” to being a prolific novelist.

Blaurock: I understand you started writing Like A Road in 2007 after a few other attempts?  Is this your first published novel?

Colin Fullerton (CF): Yes, Road is my first published novel. I’ve written thirteen so far.  The subjects vary.  My first three were pure crap.  They’re available in the Kindle store for 99 cents if you like to read crap.

Blaurock: Define crap.
The first one was about a couple of friends who lived in a summer town…romance ensues.  My wife liked it.

The second was about a father/daughter tending a lighthouse on Nantucket Island after the end of WWII.  Romance ensues…

The third was about a broken down rodeo rider who was forced to work at ranches and farms so that he could continue to pursue his dreams. My dad liked it.

Blaurock: What is your writing process like?  What time of day do you like to write?  Where?

CF: I'm a morning writer, where doesn’t matter to me. I like to listen to music while I write; Bon Iver was the soundtrack to the last one. I write on a word count: 100 words per 5 minutes, 1200 words Monday to Friday, 2000 words Saturday and Sunday, for a total of 10,000 per week.

Blaurock: What inspired the story of Like A Road?  Have you ever been to prison, flown in a hot air balloon, or done yoga?

CF: I don’t know where this one came from.  I was walking my dog one morning and the first line popped into my head. 

I have not been to prison, or in a hot air balloon.  I started doing Yoga a couple of months ago.  I have yet to find nirvana except in my CD rack. 

I am not a researcher, I just write whatever pops into my head; never let the facts get in the way of a good story. 

Blaurock: Can you talk a bit about theme of decision-making in the book?  Jerry chooses at different points throughout the book to ignore his strong instincts, and at other times follows them.

CF: Decisions are a constant theme in my novels. I am fascinated with alternate realities, about how even one small decision can change your life. Ever come close to a car accident, where you almost missed t-boning a car by about 2 seconds? Now imagine if you hadn’t stopped to look at yourself in the mirror just before you left your house. That’s scary to me.

Blaurock:  In general, do you think that the voice inside our head or our gut feelings should be listened to?  Are they usually right or wrong?

CF: Mainly I view this as a person’s inner strength; you have to have it or things go wrong.  I always go with my gut.

For excerpts from the book, visit:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Author Interviews -- more on the way!

Watch this spot for upcoming interviews with Colin Fullerton, author of "Like a Road", and with Antonio Michael Downing, author of "Molasses".