Monday, 30 September 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Querimony

I see some of you are newfound pageists... Good for you!  This week I give your inner hispter an obscure way to talk about something very common.


n. - a complaint

I won't listen to any more of Roscoe's querimonies about Arcade Fire.  I've had enough!

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dreamers Interview Series – Guillaume Couture

This weeks I have the pleasure of hosting Guillaume Couture, nutritionist and owner of Equipe Nutrition/Team Nutrition.  I had the pleasure of meeting Guillaume before he launched his own company and I must say that his methods really helped me! 

Information about the giveaway will follow the interview

 Tell us a bit more about what you do?

After working as a nutritionist for other companies for 4 years, I decided to start my own nutrition consultation business called ( We offer conferences and individual consultations. Many need nutrition advice to help them with health issues, sport performance, or weight loss. We help those people find the key solution for their goals and ensure they achieve them.

Did you always know you wanted to build your own company or did that come later in your career?

I started thinking of building a business while in university. My uncle was my inspiration as he always told me about the benefits of either being an independent worker or owning a business. At first I did not have the confidence to start on my own. I feel it is important to gain experience first. Since gaining experience is mostly done through making mistakes, it is always better to make mistakes for someone else than for yourself.

What was most difficult in setting up  How did you overcome the obstacles?

From my experience, most businesses do not want you to make a life for yourself. Most will try and discourage you, and make it very difficult by making sure you cannot work on your own and for them at the same time. Without capital, you can’t start up, and not being able to make capital while starting up makes things extra difficult and stressful.

I needed to build the backbone of my business and build strong business relationships in order to ensure the success of my leave without getting into conflict with my employer. I did this for about 8-12 months by taking classes, meeting influential people in my line of business and saving in order to ensure I had enough capital to survive. I needed to be confident things would work out before making everything public and quitting my job.

What is your next goal?

We are now a small business with less than 5 employees. My main goal right now is to offer the best nutrition services around for companies either looking to offer the service to their clientele, their employees, or their sports teams. We already have many satisfied clients in Hockey Québec, UQAM, CPE McGill, Restoralax, Club Mansfield, MyoActif, etc.

What do you think is the quality most needed to follow your dreams and, in your case, become your own boss?

The first answer is perseverance. There are a lot of difficulties along the way. Most quit after the first or second big setbacks. However, perseverance does not mean to try the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Learn from your mistakes, and move forward. The second is to be great at what you do. Do not expect anything less than the best of yourself.

It is not easy to start up on your own; however the drive you get from achieving financial security on your own was well worth the risk for me.

What advice would you give to would be entrepreneurs?

Inform yourselves well on resources for new entrepreneurs. The government helps people with good ideas. Also, emphasise on good public relations. If you are not comfortable in meeting new people, public speaking, or have fun in promoting your service, get a partner that is. You might be good at what you do, but if you can’t communicate well, your project will most likely die.

Author and previous featured guest Marc-Andre Charron would like to know:

What is the scariest part of leaving a grounded, sure world and jumping into your own adventure. And how did you overcome that?

I have the philosophy that if I am not progressing, I am regressing. Thus I felt the need to try something new. I slowly built confidence in my work, and I planned everything ahead. I had calculated my risks, and found that any risk was negligible. With hindsight, I feel I was well prepared.

Our next guest is horror writer Brick Marlin, what would you like to ask him?

Horror novels seem to seep into your bones line after line. How do you make horror novels feel so real?


For a chance to win a copy of Bien manger sans culpabiliser (French recipe book), leave a question for Guillaume in the comment section.  You have until Tuesday October 1st 11:59 ET to enter.  The winner will be announced on Thursday October 3rd along with the answers to your questions.  Best of luck!

You are a dreamer and would like me to interview you?  Drop me a line at scbecauseican(at)gmail(dot)com. I love meeting passionate people!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Review Wednesday – The Infernal Devices – Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess is the last volume of the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.  If you haven't read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince you might not want to read my review as it contains spoilers.

The book opens a few months after the last events of Clockwork Prince.  We find Tessa and Jem engaged,  Will, his curse lifted, madly in love with Tessa and Gideon Lightwood living at the Institute.  The peace is immediately disturbed by Gabriel Lightwood's call for help; Benedict Lightwood, now a gigantic demonic worm, is terrorizing Lightwood manor.  The Shadowhunters fly to the rescue.This first battle start the chain of event that will eventually lead them to Mortmain and his evil plans.

Despite the combat at Lighwood mansion at the begining of the book, the first half of it is very much about the love triangle and Jem's slow death.  Suddenly, the novel fully becomes a teen love story with much ansgt, sacrifice and pain.  It drags on for a few hundred pages and robs the the novel of its usual fast pace.  Finally, when the main action begins, Clare goes back to her usual rythm but even after what should be the end of the story, she goes back to describing Will's courtship of Tessa. This does not take into account the two other love stories that add their weight to the narrative.

At this point in the series, the readers are well aware that Jem is half-Chinese and that Will is Welsh.  Yet, with Tessa now able to understand a little Chinese and Cecily (Will's sister) living at the institute, the reader is constantly overwhelmed by an unnecessary number of Chinese and Welsh dialogue lines, most of which are not translated.  It feels like the author is trying to show off her language skills and it hinders the reading.

Despite all this, Clare does tie the whole story together and there are no loose ends.  There are surprises and unexpected turns that delight the reader.  The author also manages to create interest for the following series, The Mortal Instruments, with an open ending.  

As a whole, I feel The Infernal Devices series has a promising start but loses its strenght and momentum as the love story develops to become the central element of plot.  I still recommend it; Clare's prose is, in general, a delight to read and improves with each volume.  However, the reader should be aware that the series is mainly an angsty love story and that the world Shadowhunter comes second.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Pageism

You should really go see a doctor for that ozostomia... What? Oh, no, no, nevermind.  More importantly,this week's word should please the ladies' inner hipsters.


 n. - masochism fantasy of a man imagining himself as servant to a beautiful woman

I was into pageism before it was cool.  It's not cool?  Oh. Well, I'm even more into it now.

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review Wednesday – Second Coming

Set in New York's undergound world, Second Coming follows the tribulations of Jesus Hollywood, Cowbow Rodeo, Carolina Skye and Lola Plum.  The bigger than life characters tackle fundamental problems that have the power to change their life and who they are, forever.

Shannon Noelle Long's first full-lenght is a fast paced-staccato of events that the reader can't help see as a movie in their heads.  The stories in themselves are mundane, but their treatement by the author is far from ordinary.  Through the unsual setting and the delighfully cliché characters, she bring the tale to life in full technicolor.

Long has crafted perfect names for her characters, each plainly defining the archetypes they represent.  From the start, the reader knows who he's dealing with and this allows the author to skip lenghty descriptions.  She always uses their full names and, although it could be annoying in another context, in Second Coming, it feels right, even necessary.  It reinforces the idea that these people are the epitomes of the clichés they are meant to embody.

Then, as soon as the reader feels comfortable, Long works to completely destroy the clichés by throwing her characters in situations at the antipodes of what you would expect them to deal with. The player Jesus Hollywood discovers his homosexuality, Cowboy Rodeo, the epitome of masculinity acts shy, Carolina Skye the genious photographer who could get anyone she wants, shows insecurity and Lola Plum, escort extraordinaire,  debunks the myth of the junkie prostitute and reveals a woman of great lucidity.

Of all the protagonists, Lola Plum is the one whose developement is the most subtle.  The story ends with an opening that leaves us with the feeling that she'll be alright. She was my favourite character.  Her glamour, her complete honesty about her reality and the illusion that what you see is what you get hide a heavy past.  She's the most scarred of them all and  her character was the most developped.

Althought we follow all the characters throughout the book, Second Coming is divided in three parts, the first one talking mainly of Jesus Hollywood and Lazarus, the second being about Cowboy Rodeo and Carolina Skye and the last delving into Lola Plum's secrets.

Second coming is a thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more of Shannon Noelle Long.


You're an author and would like me to review your book?  Drop me a line at scbecauseican(at)gmail(dot)com and it will be my pleasure to showcase your work!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

ATUA's Very Own

Want to join a book club but can't decide which one? ATUA has the solution for you: join them all!  

Welcome to

Each month, the members ATUA's book club Crashers (ABCC) will read a book selected by one of the many book clubs available online.  This is a no-obligation club, which means that you are free to skip a month or read the featured book only for pleasure without participating in the discussion.  Meetings will be held online once a month but the conversation can begin (or continue) in the ATUA facebook forum.  We will not be joining the original book clubs for the discussion. 

This month we're crashing the Book and Reading Forums and will be reading The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling).  The meeting will be held on October 17th.  Although you don't need to do anything to join the ABCC, you will need to confirm your participation to the discussion (more on that later).

Month Book club Book Discussion
September  Book and Reading Forums The Cuckoo's Calling – Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) 17/10/2013
October The Unputdownable Book Club TBA 21/11/2013
November Penguin's Book Club TBA 23/01/2014
December No Book Happy holidays! N/A
January Melissa's Online Book Club TBA 20/02/2014
February Book Talk TBA 20/03/2014
March Real Simple – No-Obligation Book Club TBA 24/04/2014
April Guardian Book Club TBA 22/05/2014
May We don't bake muffins Book Club TBA 19/06/2014
June Book Group Online TBA 24/08/2014
July No Book Enjoy your vacation! N/A
August Clare Library Book Club TBA 18/09/2014

Monday, 16 September 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Ozostomia

Found any weird looking naevus on your body?  At ATUA we like to teach your inner hipster how to be rude to people without them knowing; this week's word is a real treat.


n. - foul-smelling breath.

Someone should tell Pearl about her ozostomia; she's almost killed my geranium.

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Author Interview Series – Marc-André Charron + Giveaway!

Photo credit Marjorie Guindon
Today I have the great pleasure of hosting a great friend of mine, Marc-André Charron.  We know each other pretty much from birth and our parents knew each other even before that.  Well for as long as I can remember, Marc-André has always written.  Well, maybe not always, but before he could write, he was the best at making up stories for our games!

The giveaway information will follow the interview


Tell us a bit more about you and about what you do.

I’m a freelance actor/writer/director, mostly for the theatre world. My work touches on - but isn’t restricted to - the written word. What I mean by that is that theatre being a visual and sensual medium, I also write through images and bodies. I think they’re undistinguishable in my form of art. For many practitioners today, theatre now exceeds straight writing.

For as long as I've known you, you've always loved writing.  Did you always know you wanted to do this for a living?

I always knew I wanted to tell stories. Exactly how that was going to happen, I didn’t quite guess early on. Writing was a way telling stories, of flying away, of imagining other worlds and so on. I thought I was a writer, then I learned to be a theatre artist and actor, I did that for a while; yet writing always comes back to me like a friend I love and want to punch in the head.

Painter Chuck Close Once said, "Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just shows up and gets to work." How do you "get to work?" Do you have any ritual or specific requirements to get the juices flowing?

Like most people my age who write, I seldom get paid to do so. So I have to work hard to  put the time and money aside so I can get a good chunk of writing done. If I knew how to write an hour a day and keep moving ahead, I’d love that, but I’m not wired that way. I really need a whole day, preferably more than one in a row. But other than that, no. I just get up, have a light breakfast, pour a cup of coffee and get rolling. I guess, since I take long pauses between writing sessions, I’m just anxious to get back at it.  

My girlfriend’s family own an amazing country house near Magog, that has this beautiful, long wooden table where you can sit and work. I set the dictionaries and other tools around me - drawings, other people’s writing, pictures, music - and dive in. I feel like I spend too much time on the internet, so I absolutely avoid it when working creatively. I like looking out at the birds and the trees, they make for good distractions when you’re stuck with a character or a scene. I also appreciate having something to do with my hands to shake up the cobwebs. I often have a woodworking project close by when writing, especially first drafts.

Also, my creative process is split between solo work and group development. I mostly write for plays where I know the actors and spend time creating parts of the show with them. So I’m not blind going in, I often have a good idea where things are going, or at least I can fall back on what’s been going on in the rehearsal room. But I also let myself be free of that and let new things spring to life as I go. Then it’s back at rehearsal to see if it all makes sense with the group. The process edits itself, until hopefully it all works.

What are you working on at the moment?  Do you have a play coming up on stage soon?

I’m working on a very free adaptation of the Three Musketeers by Dumas called Les Trois Mousquetaires, Plomberie - which rightly translates to Three Musketeers, Plumbing. It’s a great project, full of magical realism and rule bending. Lots of fun. It’ll be coming out next year, in the 2014-2015 season. I’m also directing it, so I’m very excited.

What is your definition of a writer?  What does it take to be one?

I like to think they are simply storytellers.  If it’s a good storyteller, we’ll listen like we’re children. And to be a good storyteller, you need empathy and curiosity. And also to work like hell.

Turlough Myers, swing dance instructor at Cat's Corner and our previous guest, left you the following question:

"I have a question for Marc-Andre! Many people tend to view theatre as a relatively open art form where just about anything is possible within the medium.  With constant new expression and new ideas involved, how important (if at all) is the preservation of “old fashioned” ideas in theatre and what place does “old fashioned” style theatre art have in our contemporary world?"

That’s a great question, I love it. I think we need to know about old fashion ideas, or else we actually don’t come up with new ones at all. If we don’t know what came before us, we may think we’re doing something radical, and then produce something that it simply in fashion. In art, I believe fashion is the opposite of innovation, because innovation is a profound thing, an immersed thing, that evolves out of what precedes it. Much of slapstick cartoon humour (of the likes of the Loony Toons of our childhood takes, for example) take root in commedia dell’art. Well if you don’t know that and want to be inspired by cartoons to make something theatrical, you’ll fumble around reinventing the wheel before realizing there’s actually something right there that exists that could help you on your quest. You can’t pretend to be inventing anything of you don’t know what’s been done. Should we be producing Shakespeare for ever? I don’t know, but we can’t ignore what it’s been and the place it held. If you want to write something as profound as the Odyssey, you might want to learn about it first.  

Our next guest is a nutritionist who left the corporate world to establish his own practice.  What would you like to ask him?

What is the scariest part of leaving a grounded, sure world and jumping into your own adventure. And how did you overcome that?

Marc-André is the author of La Descente de Jack Lebeau, Bonsai Maple Syrup, DIG, Mouving, Bouffe, «T» and Les Trois Mousquetaires, Plomberie. You can learn more about him at


For a change to win a copy of DIG (French version,) leave a question for Marc-André in the comment section.  Whoever asks the best question win!  You have until Sunday September 22nd 11:59 ET to enter the giveaway.  The answers to the questions along with the name of the winner will be posted on Tuesday September 24th.  Good luck!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Review Wednesday – Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's crossing by Geraldine Brooke is the story of Caleb, the first Native American graduate of Harvard College.  Through the eyes of Bethia, daughter of the minister of Great Harbour (Martha's Vineyard,) we follow the lives of these two young souls as they struggle to reconcile diametrically opposed faiths. The tale is loosely inspired on historic events.

Although Bethia is the one who initiates Caleb's crossing to the christian faith, somehow, the title doesn't match the content.  Their stories do overlaps, but the book mostly tells of her life, not his.  The difficulty of creating a tale from the boy's point of view is understandable (lack of historical evidence being one of the main obstacle that comes to mind,) but he should still have been the main character, not Bethia.  This doesn't mean it isn't a great story, just that it isn't the one the reader expects. 

Brook's characters are well fleshed with distinct realistic personality.  She skillfully uses of the context of the extremely puritan American colonies to bring the protagonists to life.  Bethia's inner struggles make her a great character against which to pitch Caleb's certainties.  As their lives progress, it's the weights shift in the balance, the former gaining in peace and the latter sinking deeper in incertitude.

Religion plays an important part in the story, as it dictates most of Bethia's action and reaction.  The book itself reminds the reader of the Fall of man, the heroine paying for her sins as she befriends the young Wampanoag and explores his faith with too much curiosity.  It seems that, despite her happiness, she keeps on paying her entire life for the errors of her innocent age.

I read Caleb's Crossing for the Atwater Library Bookclub and it definitely was a read outside my comfort zone.  I usually enjoy historical fiction, but I tend to avoid religiously charged books as the subject matter hinders my reading (to be entirely honest, it really annoys me.)  Although it was in context, it still took me a few chapters to adjust the the religious zeal that Bethia evolved in.  However, as the book progressed, I was reminded of how lucky I am, as a woman, to be able to make my own choices and choose to get an education if I wish to.  Bethia is truly revolutionary in that sense.  She takes control of her own destiny, a pioneer in her times.  Once again, this shows how much more the story is hers and not Caleb's.The characters are very well-fleshed.  We can't help but be annoyed by Makepeace and be fond of Caleb.  The religious view of Bethia annoyed me greatly, proof that the character was very well built.

Despite the somewhat misleading title, I would recommend Caleb's Crossing.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Nisei Blue – An evening with Mieko Ouchi

Thanks to Ms Ouchi for her bookshelfie
On September 3rd, the Playwright Workshop Montreal Studio hosted half-Japanese, half-Irish, but 100% Canadian actress, playwright and director Mieko Ouchi for an intimate reading of her award-winning play, Nisei Blue. Those who hadn't already been won over by her warm smile and friendly demeanor, were indubitably enthralled by the perfectly timed punch lines and lovable characters of her compelling story.

Set in both the 1930s and the mid-eighties, Nisei Blue tells the story of two partners in the police force who, after more than forty years, go back to the remnants of a once striving bar in Vancouver's Japantown in hopes to pick up the trail of a cold case.  Soon, the memories of this distant past bleed into reality as John, fighting the onset of Alzheimer, tries to make sense of events long passed.  The characters are well-fleshed, the dialogues economic yet powerful and the contrasting eras make for great transitions.  The play is a nothing short of a masterpiece.

Through her work, Ouchi attempts to bridge the gap between two seemingly irreconcilable eras despite their being inhabited by the very same people.  Avoiding the formulaic structure, she explores the ravages of the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII through the eyes of two white old men.  Moreover, she does so without even having to mention directly these sad events.  Through John's melancholy about this prewar golden age, she raises the question: how would the community have evolved had it not been permanently scarred by the events surrounding the war?

Following the reading, Ouchi answered several questions from a member of the PWS and the crowd.  What follows is a summarized version of the exchange.

  • The title of the play, Nisei Blue, is a combination of the Japanese term for second generation immigrant and the word blue, which refers to the two policemen.  Nisei blues was also a form of swing singing created by the Nipponese immigrants.
  • Ouchi said she chose not to give her Japanese characters accents because she wanted to tell the story of Japanese born in Canada and thus feeling more at home in their culture of adoption than the culture of their parents.  The Japanese Canadian community's response was positive as they found it easier to identify with the protagonists.
  • Ouchi says she feels it's the responsibility of the Japanese-Canadians to tell the stories of the community.
  • When asked why she chose two white men as her main protagonists, she said that it allowed her to show the prejudiced perspective of Asians of the period but that the coppers stereotype challenge expectations as the play unfolds.  Although it did make the play more accessible to the mainstream, she added that this was not the original intention.  Overall, it proved to be an interesting writing experience.
  • Finally, when questioned on the validity of telling internment stories after all this time, Ouchi answered that younger generations bring new takes on the story, and that they also have something to say about those bleak events.  These retellings help keep the story alive.
Ouchi confirmed that she currently is rewriting Nisei Blue, and that it should be back in theater as well as printed for the very first time soon.

To learn more about Mieko Ouchi's work, visit her website.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Hispster Word of the Week – Naevus

Were you able to use macilent last week?  Today we're learning a word that will allow your inner hipster to look erudite even without clothes on.


n. - small mark on skin; birthmark; tumour of small blood vessel

It's true, I've seen it; Dashiell has an apple shape naevus on his bum.

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Thursday, 5 September 2013

AIS – Announcing Marc-André Charron

Photo credit Marjorie Guindon
Next week ATUA will be hosting playwright, director and actor Marc-André Charron.  You can learn more about him and his company (and prepare killer questions for the giveaway!) by checking his website  

See you next week!

Previous guests
Erin Grace – fiction author
Jim Burke – playwright

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Review Wednesday – Fragile Things

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman is a short story collection, most of which had previously been published in different literary magazines and anthologies.

Judging from the small summaries of each tale in the introduction, the stories don't seem to have much in common. However, as each of them unfolds, a sense of wholeness emerges. All the characters share, to some extent, some fantastic/supernatural elements, whether in a traditional or a psychological way. They are all monsters, one way or another, trying to achieve a goal. At times, their purpose is clear, at others, they follow the path blindly. Regardless, when all is said and done, the reader is left with the feeling that she witnessed something mystical, even sacred.

Neil Gaiman truly has a gift to create universes in the span of a few lines, thus sending a knowledgeable reader directly into fast paced action. He is at home with different genres, jumping from allegorical tales to realistic and harsh stories of cold-blooded murder. Rather than clash, the different styles create an enjoyable rhythm that keeps boredom at bay. 

 I took a lot of pleasure in reading all the stories but if I had to pick the best one, I'd choose Other people, Keepsakes and Treasures as well as The Monarch of the Glen. The ending of the first one totally threw me off. I really wasn't expecting it. As for the other two, I like the fact that they're connected. If was fun to see the same characters come back for one last act. I will also mention Sunbird because it bears similarities with The Gourmet Club by Junichiro Tanizaki. Both story share the same stasis: a dining club that has run out of things to eat, however they end in completely different ways. As for the poetry, The Day the Saucers Came is undeniably my favourite. The clever use of repetition and humour make the peace quite enjoyable. 

This was my first Gaiman ever and I am looking forward to read more of his stories. I was already a fan of the man for his Make Good Art speech and am glad to say that I can extend this love to his work as well.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Hispter Word of the Week – Macilent

So, has your inner hipster encounter many bunnies last week?  This week, an essential word for it describes one of the most important attribute of hipsters.


adj. - lean; thin

Clementine is so macilent!  Do you know what diet she's following?

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy