See What Flowers Book Signing at Indigo

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This past Sunday, I was thrilled and honoured to have had the opportunity to sign copies of my début novel, See What Flowers, at the Yonge and Eglinton Indigo location in Toronto, Canada.

Set in Toronto, Vancouver, and the Canadian Arctic, See What Flowers is a contemporary fiction about love and mental illness.

While this is not the first event I’ve done to promote my book–I launched it in both Toronto and Ottawa, and did a book signing in Shawville, Québec–I was most nervous to talk about my book in front of Indigo customers, most of whom I had never met before.

Chapters/IndigoChapters/Indigo is Canada’s biggest bookstore, so it felt like I had entered the “big league” with this event.

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During the event, there were most definitely awkward moments. I felt shy about encouraging readers to purchase copies of my book when copies of Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings were prominently displayed on the shelf in front of me.

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But I kept reminding myself that my last name is “Mullen”…which gives me the alphabetical order advantage to be shelved beside “Munro” (as in Alice).

This little self-pep talk gave me the boost of confidence I needed to chat about the plot, setting, and characters of See What Flowers, my writing process, and about book publishing in general.

In the end, many customers took a chance on my book, choosing to place See What Flowers alongside the many books that fill their own personal libraries.

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I am very fortunate and grateful that Chapters/Indigo has such an active “Local Authors” program to support emerging authors like me promote their work.

The best part of the day was when one of the staff members placed the remaining copies in Indigo’s CanLit section, complete with “Signed By Author” stickers.

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My novel, See What Flowers, is available through Barnes & Noble

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See What Flowers, my début novel about love and mental illness, is now available to purchase in the United States through Barnes & Noble. Click here to access the listing.

See What Flowers is also available in Canada as both a paperback and e-book through Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.

For more information about the book, you can join the conversation on Goodreads.

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About See What Flowers

All that remains is a note: “Gone to get pancakes.”

Her 30th birthday party’s over, yet it’s the happiest Emma Watters has ever been. Life couldn’t be more perfect. She’s an emergency room doctor and shares a home in Toronto with the love of her life, Adam Davison.

The next morning, Adam is gone. Emma’s shocked. At first, she decides that Adam’s having an affair and scavenges through photos on Facebook, trying to identify “the other woman.” But as the days pass, Emma seeks out help from the Toronto Police and floods social media with pleas for assistance. Where’s Adam? Has her life become an episode of Breaking Bad? Has she been dating Walter White all along?

Wild, beautiful, and terrifying, See What Flowers is a thrilling depiction of love’s attempts to survive in the face of undiagnosed mental illness. Set in the hectic, cosmopolitan cities of Toronto and Vancouver, as well as against the harsh, rugged landscape of the Canadian Arctic, it’s a raw and compelling journey towards understanding, forgiveness, and, ultimately, escape.

See What Flowers: Ottawa Book Launch at Terrace on the Canal

 

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It was a beautiful evening, at a beautiful venue, with a beautiful audience.

Last night, See What Flowers launched in Ottawa at Terrace on the Canal, a cozy outdoor patio/bar and event space nestled next to the Rideau Canal with picturesque views of the Parliament buildings and downtown Ottawa. A host to weddings, weekend yoga classes, and a pit stop for cyclists or tourists out for an evening stroll, it’s no surprise that Narcity recently described Terrace on the Canal as “the most amazing spot for literally any reason.”

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Terrace on the Canal was an absolutely stunning venue for my book launch.

It provided a relaxed café feel where people could lounge on couches and catch up with old friends, combined with the magic of being at the heart of the nation’s capital, the fairytale charm of waving to a group of tourists as their boat drifted down the historic waterway and into the sunset.

 

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The evening opened with a musical performance by Ottawa-based band, The Bristol Hum.

Featuring  Shawn Baldwin, Scotty Lean, Tex McManus, and my super talented cousin, Sean Keohane, The Bristol Hum plays “straight-up rock n roll with a little funk and folk thrown in for good measure.”

To capture a more folky, emotional and bookish feel, they played their first ever acoustic performance, which seemed to draw out the magic of surrounding landscape. Their mesmerizing and melodic harmony warmed my heart underneath the twinkle of patio lights.

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The Bristol Hum is playing at Baconpalooza on Saturday, August 26 at 1:45pm at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum. Their is music is also available on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify

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The second half of the evening involved a book reading of select passages from my novel. The book is written in he said/she said first-person narratives in the style of Gone Girl, alternating between the main characters Adam Davison and his girlfriend, Emma Watters and is set in Toronto, Vancouver and the Canadian Arctic.

I read two passages from Emma’s point of view and one from Adam’s, attempting to capture the various plot, characters, and setting without revealing too many spoilers.

 

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“Is there such a thing as being too happy?” 

“We’re lost in each other, in the heart of Toronto, slow dancing to nothing but the beat of my heart and the sound of her breath on my neck. I know the subway trains are trembling beneath my feet and that we’re amidst the constant buzz of city life, yet I hear nothing but my heart beating and feel nothing but her breath on my neck.”

“When we begin to search a little deeper into the heart of the glacier, into the wisdom preserved into the remains of the last Ice Age, we can see that all life contains elements of light and darkness, and that to live truthfully, we need to be able to accept the joy as well as the pain.”Meg and Shan

 

Following my book reading, I participated in a Q & A led by my longtime friend, Megan Valois. Megan read early drafts of See What Flowers and provided some important feedback and criticism, ultimately motivating me to persist with writing and publishing, so it was very important to me that she was involved in this event.

During the Q& A, we chatted about my writing process, inspiration for See What Flowers, and future writing endeavours. Megan asked some thought-provoking questions that I am still reflecting on. Thank you, Megan, for your involvement and for being such a fantastic interviewer!

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I was absolutely touched and honoured that so many friends and family members took the time to come to this event.  Self-publishing is a difficult and extremely vulnerable process and I really wouldn’t have had the courage to do it without your continued support and encouragement.

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See What Flowers, a contemporary fiction about love and mental illnessis available on Amazon.

My next book event is a book signing on Sunday, October 1 from 1-4pm at the Yonge and Eglinton Indigo location in Toronto.

 

 

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See What Flowers Book Signing at Café 349

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Thank you to everyone who came out and supported my first novel at Café 349 in Shawville, Québec today! It was so nice for me to chat with some new and familiar faces about books, publishing, and summers in Norway Bay.

One thing I find hard about self-publishing, is that I am required to do all of the book promotion and marketing myself. This means that I have to sell myself and my work. As a shy and humble person, it is quite a challenge for me to ‘knock on doors’ and self-promote. Luckily, I have an enormous support network of friends and family who have helped me along the way. I have been touched and overwhelmed by all of the ongoing support you have provided for me.

Thank you to everyone from Norway Bay, Shawville, and the Pontiac who came to my book signing. Special thank you to Ruth Smiley Hahn at Café 349 for providing me with the opportunity to promote my work.

Paperback copies of See What Flowers are available to purchase in Café 349, or through Amazon.ca, and Chapters/Indigo. See What Flowers is also available as an eBook.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, August 24, 7:30pm-9:00pm

Ottawa Book LaunchTerrace on the Canal, Ottawa, Ontario, featuring acoustic performance by The Bristol Hum

Sunday, October 1, 1pm-4pm

Book Signing at Yonge & Eglinton Indigo, Toronto, Ontario

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My Book is on the Shelves @ Yonge & Eglinton Indigo in Toronto

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It is pretty much the coolest thing ever to see my book on the shelves at the Yonge and Eglinton Indigo…with a special “signed by author” sticker.

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See What Flowers is currently available to purchase through Chapters/Indigo online store and copies will be available in some select stores in Toronto and Ottawa.

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, August 12, 11am-2pm

Book Signing at Café 349, Shawville, Quebec

Thursday, August 24, 7:30pm-9:00pm

Ottawa Book Launch, Terrace on the Canal, Ottawa, Ontario

Sunday, October 1, 1pm-4pm

Book Signing at Yonge & Eglinton Indigo, Toronto, Ontario

Ottawa Book Launch: See What Flowers

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Reading from See What Flowers at the Toronto Book Launch

I’m excited to announce that I will be launching See What Flowers in Ottawa!

The event will feature acoustic performance by Ottawa-based band The Bristol Hum, author Q & A with Megan Valois, and book reading and signing.

Event Details:

Thursday, August 24, 7:30-9:00pm

Location: Terrace on the Canal

Cost: Free, no tickets required, first come, first serve

Copies of See What Flowers will be available to purchase for $20, cash only.

Facebook Event: http://bit.ly/2vexe6u

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Signing books that I wrote at the Toronto Book Launch

Additional Information:

Amazon listing for See What Flowers: http://amzn.to/2u0yYQZ

Chapters/Indigo listing for See What Flowers: http://bit.ly/2vjY1Ok

Shannon Mullen’s Author Profile on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1e6r62f

Louise Johnson’s article on the Toronto Book Launch: http://bit.ly/2f59Cuw

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Upcoming Events:

Saturday, August 12, 11am-2pm

Book Signing at Café 349, Shawville, Quebec

Sunday, October 1, 1pm-4pm

Book Signing at Yonge & Eglinton Indigo, Toronto, Ontario

My novel, See What Flowers, is now available at Chapters/Indigo!

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How exciting that Chapters/Indigo, Canada’s leading bookstore, has made See What Flowers available through the online store! You can find the listing here.

Paperback copies of See What Flowers will also be available in select Indigo locations in both Ottawa and Toronto soon.

See What Flowers: Upcoming Events

Saturday, August 12, 11am-2pm

Book Signing at Café 349, Shawville, Quebec

Thursday, August 24, 7pm-9pm

Book Reading and Author Q & A at Terrace on the Canal, Ottawa, Ontario

Sunday, October 1, 1pm-4pm

Book Signing at Yonge & Eglinton Indigo, Toronto, Ontario

Have you read See What Flowers? Please support me by writing a review!

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 11.44.14 AMIf you have read the book, you can support me by writing a short review and providing a star rating via:

Amazon (if purchased through Amazon)

Indigo (if purchased through Indigo)

Goodreads (if purchased directly from me, borrowed from friend, purchased through any platform)

Thank you and happy reading!

Toronto Book Launch for See What Flowers

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The night was absolutely magical.

That’s the only way I can describe the Toronto Book Launch for my first novel, See What Flowers.

Magical. 

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So many of my closest friends and family gathered together at The Steady Café and Bar to celebrate my book being published. I could feel the warmth of love all night. I truly appreciated that so many people made the effort to partake in this special night.

The night, MC’d by Rachael Glassman, began with a musical performance by my amazingly talented friend, Keira Loukes. Her choice of songs: hopeful, angry, sad, accepting, perfectly captured the theme of love and mental illness that centres the novel.

Keira’s performance was followed by an “Author Q & A” led by Toronto-writer, Louise Johnson, a friend of mine from summers spent in Norway Bay, Québec (who I previously interviewed for the Inspiring Women Series). Louise asked me about my writing process, the inspiration behind the book, and some content-specific questions about See What Flowers.

I closed the night by reading three passages from the novel that I felt showed the characters of Adam Davison and Emma Watters, as well as two of the settings: Toronto and the Canadian Arctic.

Oh, and then I signed the book that I wrote! How cool!

For more photos and details about the book, check out Louise’s post about the Toronto Book Launch for See What Flowers.

 

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See What Flowers is available to purchase as both a paperback and eBook on Amazon.

Stay tuned for info about an Ottawa event in August!

                  

See What Flowers Longlisted for Novel Beginnings Competition 2017

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Not sure how I missed this, but See What Flowers was longlisted for the “Your Writeful Place Novel Beginnings Competition 2017.” Your Writeful Place is a Paris-based agency which runs writing retreats in inspiring natural settings.

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While See What Flowers did not win, it’s an honour to have my work recognized amongst esteemed writers. Congrats to American novelist D.K. Dailey for her winning entry, Pearl Passing.

See What Flowers is available as an ebook on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.co.uk, and is currently available as a paperback on Amazon.com.

Paperback copies of See What Flowers will also be available for $20 at the Toronto Book Launch on June 15th at 7:30pm at The Steady Café & Bar, 1051 Bloor Street West.

For more info about my book launch, check out the listings on BlogTO and NOW Magazine.

 

 

 

Where I Wrote It! The Making of See What Flowers

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My début novel, See What Flowers, is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook

The first draft of my début novel, See What Flowers, was written in Toronto, after I’d returned from just over a year of teaching in Nunavut, Canada. (Check out my interview in Shedoesthecity for details on how living and working in the Canadian Arctic influenced the writing and research for my novel. )

In addition to Vancouver and the Arctic, much of See What Flowers is set in Toronto, particularly on Dufferin Street and Bloordale Village. Landmarks such as Christie Pits Park, the Baldwin Steps (Spadina stairs by Casa Loma), Snakes & Lattes, Toronto Western Hospital, High Park, and the #29 Dufferin bus are described in the novel.

Not only is Toronto featured in See What Flowers, but various locations in the city also inspired the writing of it. Here’s a few Toronto landmarks where See What Flowers was written:

1. Boxcar Social (Summerhill)

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Boxcar Social is my favourite café in Toronto. I love the ambience, the lattés, and the back patio. One Sunday afternoon, I even saw Andrew Coyne, one of my heros in Canadian writing, there. He was writing too. I was writing. He was writing. I thought, maybe one day, we’ll both be Canadian writers. Maybe one day.

Boxcar will always have a special place in my heart because that is where I finished the first draft of See What Flowers.

It was a Saturday night in October 2015, just a few weeks before I left Toronto for a year to teach in Colombia. I arrived at the café at about 7pm intending to stay for a couple of hours. The café turned into a nightclub and I didn’t even notice. At midnight I was still writing. Some guys came over to ask me if I was freezing and if they should close the back door. I didn’t even notice that the back door was open. I didn’t even notice that it was dark out. I didn’t even notice that the café had turned into a bar. It was like I was in the zone on a long run. All I could focus on was what I was doing right then. The writing.

The last thirty or so pages of the book contain the strongest writing. They are also the most autobiographical and get as close to the truth of life as I know it. I’m really proud of them. So thank you, Boxcar Social…maybe it was the music, maybe it was the coffee, maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the crowd, but you certainly inspired something in me the night I finished the first draft of my first novel.

2. Toronto Reference Library

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In 2015, I took almost a year off teaching high school to write. But I kept my job as a fitness instructor at Goodlife Fitness Clubs and taught lunch time classes from Monday to Friday at the Yorkville, Manulife Centre, and Bloor Park locations. My days usually involved writing at my aunt and uncle’s Forrest Hill mansion (where I was living) in the morning from about 8:30am-11:30am, then I would go teach my class from 12:15-1;15pm, and in the afternoon, I would go to the nearby Toronto Reference Library from about 2:00-5:00 pm.

Luckily, my good friend, Keira, was writing her Master’s thesis at the time, so we would often meet and write together at the library. This enabled us to take coffee breaks together and support each other in what can be a very isolating process.

One thing I loved about writing at the Toronto Reference Library was that I was surrounded by thousands of books. The books were written by humans. Maybe I could write a book, too. It was also great to have a free space to use for the afternoon during a time when I had very little income.

3. Balzac’s (Toronto Reference Library)

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All of those afternoons spent writing at the Toronto Reference Library made for many, many coffee breaks at Balzac’s. I often brought my laptop with me and stayed there for an hour or two for a change of scene. Balzac’s coffee is some of the best in Toronto. They even have an Atwood Blend, named after Canadian literary icon, Margaret Atwood. So perhaps Balzac’s coffee contains some secret ingredient to inspire great writing.

4. Saving Gigi

Saving Gigi.jpgSince she lived in the west end at the time, often my friend Keira and I would meet at Saving Gigi a hip café on Bloor at Ossington. It serves coffee, beer, brunch, and amazing salads and sandwiches. The part I loved most about writing there is that it attracts the staring artist type. I was always surrounded by others working on screenplays, articles, blog posts, graphic design, and other creative projects. Their work made my own creative venture seem less of a silly fantasy and more of a worthwhile venture.

I was inspired and motivated by others struggling to pursue their dreams at a time when social pressures were encouraging me to develop a sustainable financial plan and settle.

5. Bloomer’s 

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Just west of Saving Gigi is Bloomer’s, a homey vegan café which serves coffee, tea, beer, whiskey, salads, sandwiches, and delicious home baked goods. It is an amazing space to write, especially in the summer. It has big booths and tables, a positive vibe, and a garage-style open window which allows you to write while people watching the passerby’s on Bloor Street.

Bloomer’s is the only café in Toronto that I wrote at which is actually featured in the novel, See What Flowers. Adam and Emma’s basement neighbour, Jess, describes a terrible Tinder date experience that she had at “Bloomer’s, you know, that great vegan café at Bloor and Ossington?”

6. TTC

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Most of my writing happens when I’m not writing. I get ideas when I’m walking or running or biking or thinking or staring into space. Or reading. I get inspired by ideas that were written by other authors and incorporate them into my characters and plot.

So when I get an idea in the midst of doing another activity, I often stop and write it in my phone. Then I email it to myself and incorporate it into the draft of my writing.

In March 2015, I marked the OSSLT (Ontario Literacy Test), which is a great opportunity for teachers to gain experience in assessment. But it is also a bit soul crushing. It is like an assembly line for grading essays. I marked the same answer from thousands of students across Ontario for two weeks straight! It took me over an hour to travel to the location of the OSSLT at the Toronto Congress Centre. I had just started writing the first draft of Parts 1 & 2 of See What Flowers, and much of it was written on the 52 Lawrence West bus as I worked a little creativity into an extremely monotonous work day.

Where I Wrote It: Outside of Toronto

While I wrote the first draft of See What Flowers in Toronto, much of the editing happened outside of the city.

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Many of the edits were done at Juan Valdez café in El Cable, Manizales
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I went to Kaffe Florida almost every other day while I was working in Manizales. Much of the second draft was written here.
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The final draft and edits were completed at my cottage in Norway Bay, Québec in August 2016.

See What Flowers is available as an eBook and paperback on Amazon. Thank you everyone for all of your support.