Category Archives: Journal

WINTER HEAT

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WINTER HEAT

You and I. We
Warm the cabin
With a fiesta.
Slow dances.
Tortuous torch songs.

He who orchestrates touch
Who once handed me
My limping orders
Favours the melted
And I,
Kiosk chocolate.
Cormorants black as cinder.

You ban air quotes. Kink.
I, fake railings. Balloon releases,
Especially for no occasion.
You inform me that yes
Some gingers are cold.
I confide that meanly handsome
Hot headed micks
Only made me think of We.

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Novel reviews are in! And a poem called “Flesh Pot”

Slowly trudging along the dreaded book marketing trail-the main challenge being a lack of both time and money-but so far she’s receiving the star treatment and good reviews:

“The pace is electric, the scenes pulsate with energy, and through the character of Fiona, the reader is pulled into a world that can be beautiful and passionate one moment, and scary and ugly the next. The writing is so honest and direct, and dealing with such powerful feelings and social issues, that it will take your breath away.”-Nick Faragher, author of  The Well and other Stories and No Big Thing. Nick also characterized it as a punk Moveable Feast, which I love.

“You couldn’t ask for a better tour guide. Fiona wants to take you by the arm and show you everything – everything! – and you should let her. She’ll walk you through absurdly dysfunctional families, creatives and poseurs, mountains of cocaine, the thrills and bitter frustrations of band life, a city on fire, and sex that explores a lot of territory: tender, frenzied, exhilarating, surreal, brutal. Fiona tells it all, unflinching, with a survivor’s wry humor. Go on, get in – it’s a ride worth taking. Fiona will drive too fast, and you’ll love it.”-Katy Barzedor

“Don’t let the punk rock scare you; this is a woman’s story of love and adventure and survival. This is about sex and drugs and rock and roll. This is about a woman’s personal journey from young girl to abused victim to scarred survivor. It may begin with the punk rock years, but follows the lead character Fiona through scenes of punk rock violence, to a more insidious violence of personal relationships. Warning: There is quite a bit of sex here, so if you are offended by graphic scenes of sex, stay away. But if you like sex and classic sexy writing, you will love this book. We know that not all sex is good. Sometimes there is a dark side. Poor Fiona discovers this horrible truth as an attraction becomes a trap. The scenes during the LA riots evoke the Jump into the fire scene in Goodfellas, but told through a strong woman’s perspective. Rarely do you read books from a woman’s perspective about sex and music. The Town Slut’s Daughter takes you into the dark side of the music business. Why it makes punk rock seem tame in comparison.”-Dennis Milt

“A whirlwind tale about a girl looking for identity and artistic expression, that takes you from the early Vancouver punk scene through the trenches of rock and roll, life and excess in 1980’s Los Angeles and culminates with the L.A. riots. Intense, passionate, at times brutal, and also funny. The dialogue between characters had me laughing out loud. A rollercoaster ride that raises your hair and lands you back into your seat with a hard bump.”-Tracy Bissonnette

No time to write! But I will be included in several anthologies coming out next year; Love Where the Nights Are Twice As Long, a Goose Lane collection of love letters penned by Canadian poets, edited by David Eso, and a Simon Fraser University anthology of work from their Lunch Poems reading series which I participated in. They selected this one:

FLESH POT 

Born muscle bound

Backboned, map, matrix-

Mother intact

Into families, slums

 

Manors, private

Security firms, institutions.

Pirates or the pious

We flourish. Raw teeth, germs,

 

Clubfeet do not impede us,

Rank and garbled speech fleeting

As tin jeeps, our struggle

Barbie Doll drama, tumult banal,

 

Pain prosaic, strife fueling ripeness

Gauntlets passed through swiftly

Until the day we drop. Nominated,

Cornered, required to wither

 

Under the gun,

Succumb, for we remain

That tender, precious human

Flesh terminators aim for.

 

 

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Deliverance! “I am my own bitch. At last.”-Fiona Larochelle. Plus Book Launch Party recap

Woo hoo! This is the official announcement. We are live!  The Town Slut’s Daughter is available online at Amazon in paperback or ebook form. I hope you will order a copy to read and enjoy.

The book launch party at Slickity Jim’s in Vancouver was a resounding success. Wonderful venue; staff, food. Standing room only. Sold 42 copies! And we had a blast, the room brimming with goodwill and revelry as well. My film student son Lucas documented the event. I was nervous, running on adrenalin trying to pull together all the loose ends but the evening came off well. Bowen Islanders and fellow scribes Nick Faragher and Carol Cram attended, with Davina Haisell, my copy editor. I am so grateful. Carol has generously guided me through the indie publishing jungle and Davina saved the copyediting day. The book is so much better because of their input. Soul sister Julie Vik came out as well as did old school punk comrades Dennis Mills, Diane KM and Alex Varty. Dear friends Megan Gray, Trevor Clark, Stephen Vogler, Dan Harbourd, Chris Walter, Jennifer Dodds, Page Turner, Dennis Bolen, Soressa Gardner, Jeff and Madeleine,  Victor Bonderoff, who created the fantastic cover art was there, and Derek von Essen, book designer extraordinaire. Tracy and Regina kindly facilitated books sales and mirth. I’m so lucky to have such supportive and talented peeps. Besides Junior, other family included Josef, Michael, nephew Kyle and his girlfriend Joanna and my lovely muse, protagonist namesake Vanessa Larochelle and entourage who  travelled from Vancouver Island. A joyous occasion! Despite a little chaos. Thanks to everyone for being there.

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THE LATEST from “The Town Slut’s Daughter” front

Obsessing over the novel, worrying about how it will be received. Or not. Naturally. Just keep reminding myself that it takes courage, and resolve to write a book, especially one so unruly, uncompromising. I have managed to resist removing the debauchery, the bits that made me squirm. Still do. My son interviewed me yesterday for a school assignment and asked an interesting question. Had I learned anything through the experience of writing this book? Certainly my writing muscle is pumped and I have learned a lot, about myself. ‘Tis quite the effective mirror, and I don’t flinch readily anymore. Whether that’s a good thing is another matter. I’m glad I watched the Wolf of Wall Street despite tiring of its unrelenting bacchanal. (DiCaprio is brilliant and the crawling-on-Ludes scene hilarious.) It put things in perspective. Fiona’s a Girl Scout compared to that dude.

Will go to Word on the Street on Sunday and talk her up. Oh right, it’s been dubbed  Word Vancouver. Whatever it’s called, this book fair is always fun and a great opportunity to catch up with friends and associates. This year several are launching their own new titles at the Poetry On The Bus stage: 12:30 pm Nilofar Shidmehr, Between Lives (Oolichan Books), 12:45 pm Catherine Owen, Designated Mourner (ECW Press) and at 1:00 pm Phinder Dulai, dream/arteries (Talonbooks).

Back to the grind. Formatting for Kindle and The Town Slut’s Daughter should be ready for downloading by Monday. Also, revamping this site with my dear friend Andy Flaster and will launch next week along with the book. And Megan Gray gave us a plug  at VanCity Buzz!

Yikes! Book launch party next Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 pm at Slickity Jim’s, 3469 Main St, Vancouver. Though financially challenged, I was hoping to buy a new dress for the occasion. Oh well, it’s moot as I’m running out of time.

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“THE TOWN SLUT’S DAUGHTER” What’s in a name?

Just so you know, politically correct or not, “The Town Slut’s Daughter” is a spoof on “The Pilot’s Wife,” “The Bone Cutter’s Daughter” and all the rest. And yes, I realize it’s provocative but so is the book. In that sense it’s aptly titled. Several people have tried to convince me to change it, but good for business or not, I just can’t. I’ve been writing and publishing a long time though and I think it’s funny, and intriguing. I’m trusting my gut on this, and have to go indy.  Publishing is in a state of flux and publishers are impotent. No one has the balls to embrace a book called “The Town Slut’s Daughter,” though her time has come.

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FIONA’S ON FIRE!

The fun never stops.  Junior is preparing to attend university, I’m entering the final stages of proofreading the novel and will be able to order copies for the launch Oct. 2 while intensively programming this year’s Visible Verse Festival. My gig at the Visitor Info Centre just finished and so I’m pounding the pavement as well. Here’s the press release for the book launch. I hope to see you there.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE TOWN SLUT’S DAUGHTER

Book Launch Party

Thurs, Oct. 2, 7:30 pm

Slickity Jim’s-3469 Main St, Vancouver

THE TOWN SLUT’S DAUGHTER

Not even punk rock could save her

With a staccato narrative style and singular descriptive cadence, Canadian poet Heather Haley’s debut novel, “The Town Slut’s Daughter,” engages the reader through deftly drawn characters and a series of startling events.

Fiona Larochelle flees a harrowing home life only to land in Vancouver’s violently blazing punk rock underground. Music provides a catalyst when she mines a talent for singing and songwriting to form an all-girl band, the Virgin Marries. After the group breaks up, Fiona is stranded in the U.S. and forced to navigate a minefield of vice, drug abuse, jealous lovers and predatory record producers as she works to rebuild her dream. She discovers that although rage may have facilitated her quest in the beginning, it cannot deliver her. Amid the tumult of the LA Riots, Fiona bolts from her cocaine-fueled marriage to a modern-day Bluebeard. Throughout it all, a fierce, indomitable spirit prevails.

“Haley chronicles the punk scene with insight gleaned from the mosh pit, backstage and onstage fronting her band the Zellots. It was a grimy few years when poverty was a style and anyone with the guts to get onstage could be a star. Haley has written a coming-of-age-novel in which Holden Caulfield is a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm.”-Les Wiseman, Vancouver Magazine, Bloodied But Unbowed

“Quick and nervy, this book vibrates with the intensity of the punk scene it describes.”- Janice Erlbaum, author of GirlBomb and Have You Found Her: A Memoir

The Town Slut’s Daughter is a wild romp through the madness of youth, a pagan celebration of life and living. But be warned Heather Haley is no lady. She’ll kick the ball right in your face and it will hurt.”-Chris Walter, author of East Van and Chase the Dragon

CONTACT:

Howe Sound Publishing

778 868-5845

howesoundpublishing@gmail.com

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DIY!

After several years of frustrating dealings with publishers, even with representation by a literary  agent, I’ve decided, enough waiting. I’m going DIY and publish this novel myself. It’s time, time for Fiona Larochelle to enter the world. It’s been a long, brutal gestation but we’re finally entering the final phase. Several talented friends have been instrumental throughout the process; Victor Bonderoff conceived the incendiary cover artwork, Derek von Essen, the fabulous book design, Gabor Gasztonyi, a sublime author photo and Carol Cram, author of the Towers of Tuscany, has kindly guided me through the indie publishing jungle. Today, I need to reload the cover artwork and order a copy for proofing. Once proofed, we’ll go live and then the book can be ordered in e-book or print form. I’ll have copies to sell at the book launch party Thurs, Oct. 2 at Slickity Jim’s in Vancouver.

At this point in my life I’ve certainly gained enough experience and skills to do this. I started my own company, Howe Sound Publishing. Authors have to do most of their own promotion these days anyway. Why should some publisher get the major percentage, benefit from all my hard work? I’m excited! Deliverance at last. Here’s the back cover copy:

Fiona Larochelle flees a harrowing home life only to land in Vancouver’s violently blazing punk rock underground. Music provides a catalyst when she mines a talent for singing and songwriting to form an all-girl band, the Virgin Marries.

After the group breaks up, Fiona is stranded in the U.S. and forced to navigate a minefield of vice, drug abuse, jealous lovers and predatory record producers as she works to rebuild her dream. She discovers that although rage may have facilitated her quest in the beginning, it cannot deliver her. Amid the tumult of the LA Riots, Fiona bolts from her cocaine-fueled marriage to a modern-day Bluebeard. Throughout it all, a fierce, indomitable spirit prevails.

“Haley chronicles the punk scene with insight gleaned from the mosh pit, backstage and onstage fronting her band the Zellots. It was a grimy few years when poverty was a style and anyone with the guts to get onstage could be a star. Haley has written a coming-of-age-novel in which Holden Caulfield is a street-walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm.”-Les Wiseman, writer, editor, Vancouver Magazine, Bloodied But Unbowed

“Quick and nervy, this book vibrates with the intensity of the punk scene it describes.”- Janice Erlbaum, author of GirlBomb and Have You Found Her: A Memoir

“The Town Slut’s Daughter is a wild romp through the madness of youth, a pagan celebration of life and living. But be warned Heather Haley is no lady. She’ll kick the ball right in your face and it will hurt.”-Chris Walter, author of East Van and Chase the Dragon

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Bringing home our inner pseudo commandos

Yes, I have lived many places, known many people. All I can do is write, if I’m lucky, as I struggle to understand human behaviour. While still in mourning for the loss of one of the most loving and magnanimous individuals in my life, somewhat ironically, I am astonished at the capacity of others for spite, as if anger holds redemption. Well, if nothing else, I suppose it provides fuel, though far as I can tell, anger only propels one further and deeper down into a well of despair, paranoia and depression. I’ve resided in isolation. I know how it works, feel fortunate to have surfaced, partly due to the efforts of friends and family who never gave up on me.

PSEUDO COMMANDO

Cave apartment.
Lonesome injustice collector,
Lame prospero
Maintains object relations
With others based on envy.
Revenge-romance writer.

Between mean street patrols
And bitch prowling, corrals
The unwanted, hated, feared bits
Of himself, to reassemble,
Form of an enemy
Deserving of merciless rage.

Welcome to the neighbourhood.

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TALL MAN, WILD MAN, OUR MAN DAVE GREGG

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A towering presence in more ways than one, a true rara avis, I had the great privilege of knowing Dave Gregg since our punk rock heyday, when he presided over Fort Gore and played in Private School then DOA and the Real McKenzies. He became close to me and my family through my best friend Cathy after they hooked up. Cathy is my son’s godmother and Dave was like an uncle, an exceptionally jolly uncle and a wonderful role model with his indefatigable exuberance and generousity. Cathy’s an equally extraordinary individual and she and Dave complemented one another. They revelled in a symbiotic relationship, partners in business, life and love. The pair travelled extensively and we always looked forward to meeting up with them for a vacation or whenever they landed in Vancouver. I hold close fond, precious memories; celebrating my birthday on Molokai, kids indulged with kayaking and horseback riding, sleeping in tenatlows on the beach. During a momentous holiday gathering in Whistler, much to our delight and amazement, Dave and Cathy bestowed us all with commemorative white terry robes. One year it was cabins in Waimea Canyon on Kauai, grilling tuna steaks and mahi mahi for Christmas dinner on the Na Pali coast.  We shared many good times and bad jokes over countless meals together.

Three weeks after his departure I am only now beginning to navigate the void, assimilate the sorrow. The loss. He meant so much to us all. Yes, Dave was a consummate musician, a great showman, and a wild man who was as free as a man can be in this world. As bitingly observant and wickedly funny as he was, I never heard Dave diss anyone.  Truly benevolent, I’m certain the man didn’t have a malicious bone in his body, as they say.

Here is a poem that as I told Cathy, couldn’t bear to write in past tense. Dave will always loom tall in our home, hearts and minds.

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ROCK STAR

Head of fur.

Unabashed depth charger

Renegade

As a cascading river

Wilderness alive inside him

Night a badge

Over savannah heart.

Heroic trickster

Dutifully howls,

Coyote-like scatters stars

Unerringly sharing his light.

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