Crabapple Mews Collective is an author collective made up of volunteer writers and editors. We draw on our backgrounds as writers, teachers, editors, booksellers, designers, academics, publishers and producers of kick-ass literary events to help bring new stories to readers.
Our story starts here.


Tanya Coovadia’s short story project

How it all started

In the summer of 2015, the Collective took on an unusual project. One of our members, Jane Cawthorne, heard from a fellow MFA student, Tanya Coovadia, that she had cancer. Jane is a huge admirer of Tanya’s work, especially a series of linked short stories that are set on Ontario’s Pelee Island. With Tanya’s permission and the help of our member editors, a book was born. Pelee Island Stories is our first crowdfunded project. Here’s how the project unfolded.

July 23, 2015 – Kickoff

Posted on Tanya’s GoFundMe campaign site.

Tanya Coovadia is a talented writer and an all around wonderful friend. She has a collection of moving stories set on Pelee Island in Lake Erie where she lived as a child. Tanya also has cancer – Stage 4 esophageal cancer. (If you want to know more about this, see her blog, I’m literally fucking dying.

I have this dream of having Tanya hold her own book of stories in her hands and have some of her amazing writing to give to her family and friends. To a writer, what can be better than holding your own book in your hands? And for the rest of us who don’t know how to help or who live far away, this is a tangible gift we can give to her.

Here’s more background. Tanya and I met as MFA students at the Solstice Program for Creative Writing at Pine Manor College in Boston. Our program director advises all new students to fall in love with someone else’s writing, and I fell in love with Tanya’s. Tanya earned her degree in July 2015.

I happen to belong to a publishing collective called the Crabapple Mews Collective, and we have everything we need to create a great book for her. Well, we have everything except money. Tanya has done all the hard work in writing the stories. My sisters in the collective and I are volunteering our editing skills. But there are a few people who need to be paid. These include the book designer and the printer.

With $2000, I can get a beautiful design for the book and print a short run (about 50) of Tanya’s Pelee Island Stories.

You might ask, why not do a bigger print run? Well, I’m trying to work quickly. Time is pretty important right now. My priority is to get this ready as soon as possible. Also, the goal here is to give Tanya a gift of her own work, not to sell books, although that might be something we could consider in the future. This will be a very limited edition. If we go over the goal, we can print even more for her to give away, or possibly even print some to sell to all of you, but I have to take this one step at a time. I’d rather start small and grow.  When we are done, Tanya will have the files to do with as she wishes and all the up-front costs will have been covered for her.

You might ask, why not do a smaller print run? The upfront costs of design would get spread out over an even smaller number of books, increasing their individual cost even more.

You might also ask, why not do this through a traditional big house publisher? Good question. First, it’s the time thing again. Second, there are only a few stories, and generally, a publisher would want more. It will be a slim little volume, but packed with great prose. One of the stories has already been published in an anthology put out by Writers In Paradise, a writing conference in Florida. But there’s something special about seeing a whole book of your work.

When someone has cancer, no one knows what to do or how to help. This is one way. Thanks for helping.

August 4, 2015 – Update

Tanya’s crowd-funding campaign has reached its goal!

(Jane – is this ok? it’s from your email) People are mailing me cheques. So we should be able to print quite a few books. With the funds raised through GoFundMe, I received a little over $1800 and this new money brings us back over $2000. The printer at U of T will try their very best to print fast. It’s the beginning of school, so they are busy, but she knows the situation and, like the rest of us, will work as fast as she can.

September 20, 2015 – Update

Tanya has her book! The first book arrived at her place this week. A box of books will arrive some time in the next two or three weeks. Tanya has the files and it is her plan to make Pelee Island Stories available on Amazon. She is also having a book launch in St. Pete. I’m sure she will be keeping everyone informed via her blog. Happy reading my talented friend and enjoy all the well-deserved accolades on these beautiful stories.

This is my last update for the project. I’ll take this opportunity to say one more huge thank you to all of you for making this dream come true.

Tanya Coovadia

Tanya with Pelee Island Stories

Mandy Eve Barnett interviews Inge

CMC member Inge Bremer-Trueman was asked about her projects, inspiration, process and writing tips. Here’s an excerpt:

What inspired you to write your first book?

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write books. I think it was because Nancy Drew was getting so boring. I suppose, too, I was picking up on the formulaic nature of the structure and figured, “I can do better than that!”

 Read the rest of Inge’s interview.

The Glass Door Reading Series

glass-door-seriesHey Edmonton friends! As part of the Mill Woods Artist Collective event, The Glass Door Reading Series, I’ll be reading from my new book, When the Wheels Fall Off (the sequel to A Root Beer Season), along with Edmonton author and journalist, Michael Hingston (Dilletantes), and Calgary poet, author and editor, Dymphny Dronyk (Contrary Infatuations, A Life in Clay). Edmonton singer and songwriter Ella Coyes will be also be performing for your listening pleasure.

When: June 25, 2015, 7 PM
Where: The Koffee Café
6120 – 28 Avenue, Edmonton

Bears, Books and Beer

root-bear-with-ingeEverybody’s favourite grumpy old bear and the A&W mascot reunite for a fantastic day of sharing great stories and supporting the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Thanks to all who turned out to the event!

Hey Edmonton friends – let’s all go to A&W!

A&W is sponsoring its 6th Annual Cruisin’ to End MS event on August 21, 2014. Please join me at the White Oaks A&W, 12222 137 Avenue in Edmonton where I will be signing copies of my book, A Root Beer Season from 4–8 pm. 30% of sales will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Hope to see you there!

Learn more at cruisintoendms.ca

Meeting and greeting our supporters

morin-sisters-surprise-visit

The Morin sisters celebrate Crabapple Mews (image credit: Bruce Lecky)

Writers, readers  and surprise family members from distant cities came out to cheer on the CMC at their first meet and greet. Words were read, books found new homes and a good time was had by all. With a big thank-you to the wonderfully supportive Calgary writing community and Owl’s Nest Books.

Crabapple Mews Collective Meet ‘n’ Greet

We hope you can join us at Owl’s Nest Books on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 1–4 pm for a Meet ‘n’ Greet with your favourite Crabby Apples. Find out who we are and what the Crabapple Mews Collective is all about. Nibble some nibblies, imbibe a little wine, browse and maybe even buy a couple of books (Owl’s Nest loves that!).

Hope to see you there!

Freefall Magazine reviews A Root Beer Season

A Root Beer Season was recently reviewed by Freefall Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

Sparkling dialogue written in the authentic voice of a fifteen-year old narrator Sonja Pfeiffer is what carries this novel set in Edmonton in the summer of 1967. Sonja is a typical teenager of any year, hormones budding, but still under control, desirous of being independent of scrutiny by her parents, who in her case, were born in war-torn Germany, clinging to a strict, unforgiving religion, Gemeine Alles Gottes (GAG) that restricts almost every enjoyment.

Read the rest of the article.

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