Rumi and the Red Handbag

Reviewed in Alberta Views Magazine


Rumi and the Red Handbag has been reviewed by Merna Summers in the latest (December 2015) issue of Alberta Views. The review isn't available online, but here is a short excerpt:

"Lemay's superb writing holds the many disparate elements of this novel together. The author is a respected poet and has written a short non-fiction book, but Rumi marks her entry into the world of the novel. Clearly it is a form for which she has great gifts."

"...this allusive and gracefully written story." 


Giveaway - Book and Tote Bag

Because it's Friday, and because I have a tote bag leftover from my launch swag, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway. So, if you'd like to win a signed copy of the book and the cute tote pictured above (modelled by my daughter, Chloe), here's what you need to do: 

Leave a comment below telling me about a favourite purse, an unusual thing you have in your purse, or something you always must carry. Or, tell me a story that involves a purse or handbag. Or, tell me what your favourite literary reference to a purse or handbag might be. Or, tell me about the purse or handbag of your dreams. 

I'll do a random draw next Friday, November 20, 2015, and announce the winner here. Please leave your email in the comments and I'll notify you personally. 

Printer's Copy

On Friday, I came home from work to my book (the printer's copy sent by my publisher) and to a nice bottle of pro secco, which Rob had dashed out to buy after he picked up the mail. 

It was too dark to take a photo until the next day, so we have to settle for some tea and cookies. (The mugs are the ones from the Museum of Bags and Purses, again). 

I love the way the book feels. It's glossy but not too glossy. The typesetting is lovely, easy to read. What's funny is that even though I very well know it's not a long book, it was surprising to see how slim it ends up being. This is just because I've been used to working with the huge slug of paper that was the manuscript. The book should arrive next week at the bookstore for my launch on October 14th, and soon will be sent out hither and thither. 

Am I nervous? Oh, yes! But a little less so now that I have the book in my hands.

On Saturday Rob and Chloe went out to the art store to buy supplies, and I took the opportunity to read a few passages out to the dog. He seemed to like what he heard. 


Second Print Run

In February of 2011, I somehow convinced my husband and daughter to take a trip with me to Amsterdam to visit the Museum of Bags and Purses. I was working at the public library part time, and I was also teaching a creative writing class at the university because the professor who'd been scheduled was suddenly unable to, and so I was pinch-hitting. It was reading week, and the teaching meant I had a few extra dollars. At this time, I'd written about half of my novel, Rumi and the Red Handbag, and it seemed important to see the museum. In truth, I don't think the book would be what it is without my having been there. 

We visited the museum twice, stayed for tea, and bought up all the sweet souvenirs in their shop (including the mug you see in the photo above). We wandered the nearby streets, I took photos of the canal, and we sat on the bench at the end of the street the museum is on, and just hung out, soaking it all in. Of course, we also visited the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, and many other museums in Amsterdam. As well, we took a day trip to The Hague to visit Rob's cousin who was living there at the time, and to see Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring at the Mauritshuis

Flash forward to the end of September, 2015. The official release date of my book is mid-October, but I just heard yesterday from my wonderful publisher, Palimpsest Press, that the book is already going into a second printing, based on pre-orders. Obviously, a lot has happened since that visit to Amsterdam four and a half years ago to bring me to this rather lovely place right now. I haven't seen the book yet, though I'll probably get a 'printer's copy' within the next week. 

And the book has yet to be properly launched. The Edmonton launch is on Wednesday, October 14th at 7pm at Audreys Books. I'll also be in Calgary at Pages on Kensington on October 24th, Saturday afternoon, at 2pm. 

As for right this very second, I'm in that happy place that an author gets to inhabit before a book is released. All the hard work is done. The edits are finished, the cover has been designed, the acknowledgements have been written, the proofs approved. But no one has read the book besides a select few. The book is still just mine for a few more weeks. The characters are still mine. And yet, I can't wait for you to meet Shaya and Ingrid-Simone.