Caturday quickie: Things and stuff are happening


On Monday, Union Gas retrenched the gas line, as promised. Plus, we got a lovely new meter out of it. We’d just had our meter upgraded last year, but this one’s even nicer 😉

Tuesday passed without much activity, but a huge chunk of a cliff fell onto Regent Street the week previous and we figured the crew was occupied elsewhere. A jumbo (rock drill) appeared in the driveway, however.

Wednesday, the foreman dropped by to talk to my mom (she lives right beside us). He was going to talk to Phil and me after work.

By the time we got home, the front steps had been relocated beside the house, and our rosebushes and honeysuckle torn out.


My steps are beside themselves 😛

The foreman came by, as promised, and advised that they would be drilling holes in the rock to prepare for blasting on Friday. We took him down to see the piece of the rock that was in our basement, and he advised us to take down anything fragile or valuable. While his aim was not to damage anything, they would be blasting.

They were drilling tonnes of holes and packing smaller amounts of explosive into each to break up the rock, but not carry the damage to the foundation.


Thursday was Nuala’s next glucose curve. We dropped her off and discovered that while she looks to be in much better physical shape, she’d actually lost a half kilogram from last week. We think she’s rebuilding muscle.

When we went back to pick Nuala up at 6:30, we learned that she’d been a clinic dog for the day. After two hours in the kennel, she wouldn’t stop pawing at the bars. The vet, remembering her Houdini of last week, said, “She’s not staying in there. Might as well let her out.”

Nu spent most of the day in the vet’s office, or wandering the back room.

Her sugars were still too high, so we were advised to up her insulin dose by another unit and come back in three weeks for another curve.

We’re using the VetPen now and it’s supposed to be better with respect to ensuring a consistent dosage of insulin, but we still feel more confident in our ability to draw a proper syringe. Maybe it will just take a little getting used to.


The drilling was done on Thursday evening.

On Friday, I was home sick, but the blasting started, as scheduled.

The City Engineer came by and I signed off on the plans. He explained that there might be further delays as the person completing their retaining walls was behind by a few weeks. The plans for a full height retaining wall with railing are still going forward, however.

They’re even selecting a railing colour to harmonize with our house, either in a sand, or dark brown.

Our driveway will be fully repaved, with proper substrate, and the two water shut-off pipes will be repaired.

The foreman came by before every blast and asked if I wouldn’t be more comfortable outside the house. I assured him I would be fine. And I was, but the actual shockwave from the blast was something else. I felt the whole house do the wave 🙂


So this is how things look now. As you can see, the rock is all nicely broken up and they left the blast mats in place to keep things more or less tidy until they come back to clear things out on Tuesday.


And that’s where we are.

Phil and I are going to enjoy our Thanksgiving long weekend.

Tonight is Doctor Who night 🙂

Caturday Quickies

WWC 2014, day 2: An hour with Mark Leslie

Mark is a writer, editor and bookseller who was born and grew up in the Greater Sudbury Region, spent many years in Ottawa and currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Find him online at



I ended up in publishing because I’ve always loved writing. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid, I told stories with my Fischer Price people.

I got a job in a university books store and I noticed that the new edition of a textbook was being developed before the current one was even on the shelves. Students were getting outdated information. Sometimes the changes were subtle and I realized it was a big money grab. I decided to do something about this abuse of students.

I talked the bookstore into investing in an Espresso Book Machine and we entered into an agreement with McGraw-Hill Ryerson and Nelson publishers. A professor would choose the chapters he felt were pertinent to the class he was teaching and the publisher would provide a .pdf of the chapters. These were printed and sold in store.

The custom edition of the material would be 50-60% cheaper for students. The publisher made more. The store made more. Free digital copies were made available if sales of the print edition were reasonable and everyone still profited.

I tried it out for fiction. Amazon ships in 24 hours, but with the Espresso, I could print on site in 15 minutes.

I learned that if you put authors first, you can both make money.

A textbook that cost $86 could be printed for $25 on the Espresso and we could ship it wherever the client wanted. Later, we uploaded it to Kobo and the ebook is still selling everywhere for $10.

I became a consultant for On-Demand Books and then joined Kobo. When Kobo wanted to put out a writer-centric platform, I wanted a part of that action. Kobo Writing Life came into being. It was less money, but I was passionate about books and authors.

Kobo Writing Life was built for writers. We’re in the top five in every territory. We sell more units than Random House in Canada.

As the platform grew, I gained staff. My team nurtures authors.

Q: How does Kobo Writing Life make self-publishing easier?

Authors used to have to go through the same process as a publisher to get their books on Kobo. Now you can do it overnight.

This raises an important question: you can put your book up overnight, but should you? Many authors rush into self-publishing before they’re really ready. Make sure you’re putting your absolute best work out there.

Q: I was in Adrienne Kerr’s session and she mentioned Booknet. Can you speak to that?

The average author can’t access Booknet. Until we can more of the key players on board, it won’t happen.

Q: If I’m an indie publisher or author, why should I bother with Kobo?

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The more ways your readers can get hold of your books, the better. It’s not Kobo only, but Kobo and.


As ever, my notes cannot reflect the full experience. I can’t write that fast (!) And, Mark, if I’ve gotten anything wrong, please let me know and I’ll fix ‘er up post-hasty.

Up next: a Caturday quickie on the developments (construction and dog-wise) of the week.

Next weekend: Jacqueline Guest: Have Pen, Will Travel.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers, and we’ll see you on Tipsday with the Writerly Goodness of the week.