A Great Memory Of Stephen Sondheim

With the passing of legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim last week I had to retell the story of what a great kindness he did back in 2006. I was involved in a production of A Little Night Music here in Lethbridge. It is a Sondheim classic. Our version was directed by Fran Rude who is a huge Sondheim fan. Fran’s husband, Vic was dealing with advanced Alzheimer’s disease at the time. While her husband was getting to the point where she barely knew who Fran was, listening to the music of Sondheim had a very positive effect on him. I thought it would be wonderful if I somehow was able to contact Mr. Sondheim and ask him if he would wish Fran and the cast good luck on the show. I was hoping it would give Fran not only a thrill to get a note from someone she truly admires but perhaps it would give her a big emotional lift as she continued to cope with seeing a loved one go through such a traumatic disease.

Derek Scott of Lethbridge was working in New York at the time performing in  Slava’s Snow Show. I asked him if there was any chance he could find out what Sondheim’s mailing address was. He said he knew someone who might. Soon after he forwarded me that address. I will be forever grateful to Derek for that. I sent the note to Mr. Sondheim.

A couple of weeks passed and I had given up hope that I would get any response.

It was our opening night. I got home from work and there was a letter from New York. It was none other than Stephen Sondheim wishing Fran Rude and the cast good luck on the show.

I was able to have a cast meeting on stage before the performance and presented that letter to Fran.

I just loved her reaction.

It made me think that if a man who is as busy as I’m sure Stephen Sondheim is can take the time to answer a letter from a random guy in little old Lethbridge, it can be a lesson for me that I can do the same kindness to people who reach out to me for whatever they’re looking for as a TV personality or now as a member of City Council.

I was writing a newspaper column at the time and I had written the story about Derek Scott getting that contact information for me and the subsequent wonderful moment that took place on stage on opening night.

I sent the column to Mr. Sondheim. And to my surprise, he again wrote back thanking me for the column.

And yet there’s more. I had this big dream of writing the words for a song about Alzheimer’s, maybe get some celebrities to sing it ala “We Are The World.” I can write lyrics but I have no ability to write music. Once again I wrote a letter to Mr. Sondheim.

I sent him the words I had written and what I was hoping to do with the song and asked if he would he be interested in writing the music for it.

Again, to my shock he wrote me back in what is the nicest rejection letter ever.

Please forgive me? I should be asking for his forgiveness for being such a pain in the ass.

I will never forget what Mr. Sondheim did for me. (And his music is pretty amazing too.)

And speaking of music and Alzheimer’s. Fran tells the amazing story of how her husband went to a night of Christmas carol singing while in the throws of that terrible disease and when the songs would come up, he would magically start singing all the lyrics and was in perfect pitch. That was something he could never do before he got Alzehimer’s.

I am also reminded of the final tour of Glen Campbell who could still perform a concert of his music even with full-blown Alzheimer’s.

And most recently, watching Tony Bennet come alive in concert with Lady Gaga and performing his songs flawlessly.

Music can be a miracle drug.    

15 Random Thoughts On A Snowy Day In November

  1. There was snow out on my sidewalk this morning. I was going to go shovel it but there was a supply chain issue on motivation that I had to deal with.
  2. Christmas Eve is one month away. I’ve already mentally decided what stores I’ll have to go to for my last second shopping.
  3. I randomly decided to listen to a compilation of Anne Murray songs. I played her tunes a bazillion times as a D.J. and thought I’d be O.K. if I never heard her ever again. But, she really does have an amazing voice and she does have some great songs that have stood up over time. There’s a brilliant duet she did with Glen Campbell that mashes “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Say A Little Prayer” together that I particularly like.
  4. I’ve been trying to get back into doing weights after a period of not doing them. They’ve never been my favorite form of exercise. My body is aching at the moment and it’s quite apparent that I’m not going to look like The Rock anytime soon.
  5. I really loved The Morning Show on Apple+. Jennifer Aniston is certainly more than her Rachel character on Friends
  6. I really loved the last episode of The Good Doctor where Sean breaks down after a baby died because his hospital had expired medicine. Quite an emotional episode.
  7. I continue to watch Call The Midwife on PBS. The older I get the more I’m prone to shedding a few tears over poignant programs. Call The Midwife is one of those.
  8. It was great see the new posters that were commissioned by Lethbridge Tourism to highlight local attractions. There were 6 local artists who did an outstanding job in their respective creations promoting Lethbridge, The Japanese Gardens, Fort Whoop-Up, The Helen Schuler Nature Centre, The Galt Museum and The Southern Alberta Art Gallery. I’ve known for a long time that we have very talented artists in this city and the posters showed just that.
  9. I haven’t embraced the massive world of Marvel super heroes that exist these days. As a kid I enjoyed Batman, Superman and The Rawhide Kid. That was pretty much it. (I know, the Rawhide Kid wasn’t a super-hero but he was to me.)
  10.    I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy a car that has a function that heats up your steering wheel. But I love it.
  11. How did we ever enjoy 8-tracks? I mean really. If you had a bunch of them you needed an extra seat in your car. And what’s with the song fading out until it goes into the next track? Really dumb.  
  12. I just saw a video of Connor McDavid showing his house. I’m pretty sure his rec room is worth more than my entire house.
  13. Can the Flames actually win the Stanley Cup this year? I believe it’s possible. I think about the impact that Andrew Mangiapane had with Canada winning an improbable gold medal at the World Championships earlier this year and I feel that can be parlayed into another impressive victory.
  14.  I was happy to see that K-9 Klippery is open again on a limited basis. Our dog George likes to go for his spa day every 2 months or so. I asked what they had to close down earlier this year and they told me it was because there is a huge shortage in qualified groomers. A possible idea for a career move for someone looking to get into something different?
  15. Do guys ever get perms anymore? That last one I got was in 1976 and I ended up looking like Leo Sayer. Eeesh…

Life At The Dentist

Tuesday morning I was in a dentist’s chair at 7:30 preparing for one of the most invasive procedures you’ll ever have in your mouth: A root canal. As I was sitting there getting my shot of novocaine followed by the implementation of dental hardware that I think originated as a form of medieval torture a lot of memories surfaced.

My first memories of going to the dentist were with Dr. Wayne Matkin who had an office beside Stubbs Pharmacy on 9th Avenue. My mom took my brother and I to him for all of my youth and like many kids I developed a few cavities. (note: my brother had way more than me) but nevertheless I had to endure some freezing and uncomfortableness and the ever-present swirling mouth toilet that was right beside you so you could try to spit out the phlegm you had developed. In 10 years I doubt I ever did a perfect spit. It mostly would dribble on the nappy that was around your neck.

I never feared going to the dentist like I know some people do. Dr. Matkin was mostly gentle and for whatever reason I was able to accept that whatever pain he had to inflict on me was necessary and nothing personal.

For the most part I would say I have had good healthy teeth. My parents instilled in me that I need to brush my teeth twice a day and I have my entire life. Perhaps seeing my dad take out his dentures at inappropriate times reinforced that I didn’t want to go that route when I got older. Flossing is another thing. I believe in it I just don’t do it. (And I always lie to the dental assistant when she asks if I floss regularly.) I even have all of my wisdom teeth which some may argue is an oxymoron.

All of the dental work I had as a kid was routine-a few cavities but I had a decent set of teeth.

And then one hockey night in Canada while I was playing in an Industrial League game I caught an errant stick to the mouth. It hurt. It bled. But I didn’t think much of it until my one front tooth started to turn black.

And that was my first root canal and crown. I think that was over 40 years ago. There were a number of appointments, there were some very uncomfortable moments in the dental chair and I learned to hate having to endure a mouth dam for what seemed like 5 hours. I have always been a mouth breather so I was in hell as I tried to survive breathing through my nose while smelling the unpleasant odors of tooth mining that was going on in my mouth.

The job got done. I had a crown on my right front tooth and eventually I felt pretty good.

In 1978, I quit my job as a radio announcer and took a 6 month trip to Australia in search of fame and glory. (I’m still looking but I digress.) While there on one crazy night I was with a number of fellow travelers at a party and as one does on occasion, I decided to do my impersonation of a dog biting on this gal’s shirt sleeve. (It was a very good impersonation.) But as I let go of my “victim” I realized that the crown on my tooth had popped off.

Oh geez. I’m in Australia. I have no front tooth. And I don’t have any dental coverage. My mode of travel at the time was hitch-hiking. I also decided that I didn’t want to shave so it became a difficult task to actually get a ride. I’m sure it was perceived that I was some kind of a meth-head who was going to be trouble if I got into a stranger’s car.

I actually got to a dentist and to my surprise, he was able to glue my tooth back on. It seemed as good as new. And he didn’t charge me much,

Flash forward to about 1981. I’m back in Canada. I’m back working. I have a great new dentist-Dr. Bob Rice. He’s been looking after me and I was having no problems until one dark and stormy night at the old Saville’s Restaurant. I was enjoying a steak when all of a sudden, there on my plate was my trusty old tooth. It had reached its point of usefulness and with one fell chomp of my T-bone it relieved itself from my gums. It was awful. I started whistling as I spoke to the people at my table. I had to be on the air first thing in the morning. I couldn’t speak like this. So, in a panic I went to the pay phone (no cell phones back then) looked up Bob Rice in the phone book and phoned him, hoping he could at the very least get my wounded tooth back into working order for at least one morning. I found Bob Rice and called.

And this is how the conversation went: Honest. This is what I said:

“Hi Bob? It’s Mark Campbell. Sorry to bug you but the old tootheroo popped off. (yes I used the word tootheroo.)  Is there any chance you could get it back on tonight? I’ve got to be on the air in the morning and I sound like Daffy Duck.”

There was silence.

And then to my horror, I heard the voice on the other end:

“Um…this is Bob Rice, the accountant, not Bob Rice the dentist. I think you’ve got a wrong number.”

It wasn’t my best moment in my life.

I was too traumatized to call the real Dr. Bob and decided to just go on the air with a plethora of sibilance.

I eventually got to back in the dentist chair and had more work done and until this past Tuesday I haven’t had any other major issues other than a recurring dream where I put my lower teeth over my upper teeth and they all come off. The only nightmare the comes up more often is what is a common theme among almost every DJ I’ve ever known: Dead air.

Until my next appointment which of course is at toothirty may your tooth fairy be gentle and kind. (I hear some are giving kids Bitcoin now)  

Remembrance Day

On this day I think back about the stories my dad would tell about working in a coalmine in Dominion, Nova Scotia during the second war. Coalmining was deemed an essential service so it was imperative to have young men working in the pits. Three of my uncles headed oversees and thankfully they all came back. However, my grandfather died in 1941 so they all returned without having had the chance to say goodbye to their father. My dad would talk about the regular drills the town would have by sounding the air raid siren in the event they would be attacked. (They were on the east coast and there were numerous sightings of enemy ships on the Atlantic.) He talked about listening to the radio for regular news and was quite up on his historic events and I would be mesmerized by some of his recollections. The music that came out of World War II was important for the morale of the country. Perhaps it was his love of big band music and in particular Glenn Miller that influenced how much I love that genre to this day. He loved “In Flanders Field” and would often recite it to me. I remember reading it out loud to the class one year during elementary school. The documentaries I saw over the years about the two great wars had a profound effect on me and I was always eager to hear from Veterans about how their lives were changed forever as they fought for our freedoms. I also had a great uncle, John MacPherson who fought in the first world war. He survived the bullets but he couldn’t defeat the Spanish flu. He died in England as he was trying to get home and is buried in a place called Grayshott. So on this Remembrance Day let’s all remember the sacrifices so many made during Canada’s international conflicts whether it was during WWI or WWII or in Afghanistan. Lest We Forget.

Remembrance Day

On this day I think back about the stories my dad would tell about working in a coalmine in Dominion, Nova Scotia during the second war. Coalmining was deemed an essential service so it was imperative to have young men working in the pits. Three of my uncles headed oversees and thankfully they all came back. However, my grandfather died in 1941 so they all returned without having had the chance to say goodbye to their father. My dad would talk about the regular drills the town would have by sounding the air raid siren in the event they would be attacked. (They were on the east coast and there were numerous sightings of enemy ships on the Atlantic.) He talked about listening to the radio for regular news and was quite up on his historic events and I would be mesmerized by some of his recollections. The music that came out of World War II was important for the morale of the country. Perhaps it was his love of big band music and in particular Glenn Miller that influenced how much I love that genre to this day. He loved “In Flanders Field” and would often recite it to me. I remember reading it out loud to the class one year during elementary school. The documentaries I saw over the years about the two great wars had a profound effect on me and I was always eager to hear from Veterans about how their lives were changed forever as they fought for our freedoms. I also had a great uncle, John MacPherson who fought in the first world war. He survived the bullets but he couldn’t defeat the Spanish flu. He died in England as he was trying to get home and is buried in a place called Grayshott. So on this Remembrance Day let’s all remember the sacrifices so many made during Canada’s international conflicts whether it was during WWI or WWII or in Afghanistan. Lest We Forget.

Remembering Life In TV

I’m quite honored to be asked to participate in a forum this Friday at the Galt Museum. Here’s the press release:

Lethbridge—A new exhibit will be on display at the Galt this fall, Don’t Touch That Dial. The exhibit delves into the rich history of broadcasting in southern Alberta.

“Since 1955, local television broadcasting has both reflected and shaped the community,” explains Curator Dr. Aimee Benoit. “It’s been an important platform for showcasing the voices and stories of southwestern Alberta—and there are some really talented personalities and memorable programs that have helped give this region a distinct character.”

Several of the talented personalities have been invited to the Galt to share their stories and give audiences a glimpse of what it was like to work for local studios in decades gone by.

The panel, called “Stand By, 3, 2, 1, You’re On!”, will be made up of Bob Johnson, Brent Seely, Quinn Campbell, Gordon Colledge and Mark Campbell. With careers spanning decades, these professionals have the inside scoop on the industry and how it has grown and changed. Friends of the Galt member Elisha R. Rasmussen will put her 50-year career in broadcasting to work as the host of the panel.

“We have invited a team of excellent broadcasters from the past and present to reflect on TV then and now, and share their memories,” says Rasmussen. “It’s going to be a great night, full of humour, wit, charm and interesting stories that will delight the audience”.

Tickets for Stand By, 3, 2, 1, You’re On! are available online and at the front desk of the Galt Museum & Archives. Doors open at 6:30 pm on November 12, with the 2-hour panel starting at 7. Refreshments will be served before the panel starts and a cash bar will be on site. Seating is limited so purchasing tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended.

My very first job in media was in 1974 when I was hired to be a telecine operator at what was then CJLH. I was required to cue up commercials that were on film and video tape. The film went on projectors much like we used to have in Grade 8 science class and the video was on Beta tape (I think). I was hired for Saturday and Sunday nights. That was back when there was a master control in Lethbridge. I was not very good at telecine operating and if you were watching TV one late Saturday night in February of 1974 and there was dead air for about 30 seconds, that was my fault. Later that year I got hired on in radio and that went from 1974 to 1993. There became an opening for weather man in 1994 and I was able to get it on a part-time basis. Eventually I got on full-time and was able to keep that job for about 20 years. Along with the weather I ended up doing Scene & Heard which became the favorite part of my career. I had the great chance to interview local people and celebrities. I never dreamed I would be able to talk to people like Lady Gaga, Keith Urban, members of the Tragically Hip, sing with Tanya Tucker and the Beach Boys, and the list goes on and on. It was some of the best years of my life. It was also some of the most tense years of my life because since the day I was hired there were always rumblings of when the hammer was going to come down and we would be downsized. That finally happened to me and it was one of the toughest moments of my career as I walked out that studio for the last time.

It will be fun to be on the panel with people like Gord Colledge, Brent Seely and Bob Johhnson who were in the business during an exciting time in local TV. Elisha Rasmussen is a real pro so I’m looking forward to her questions. And it will be fun to be with Quinn Campbell who I’m sure still gets asked if she’s my daughter. (She’s not.)

Hope to see you at the Galt on Friday.

I think I was 13 in this photo.

The Blue Jays, Squid Game & Halloween-15 Thoughts

Welcome to the last week of October. Other than a blustery day on the 23rd, October has been an amazing month weather-wise. As history will tell us we can get pretty much anything from a 15-degree, sun-filled day to a blizzardly -25 degree day that makes you want to move to a tropical island. Actually you can apply that to almost every month here in Lethbridge. Remember the snow we got in August of 1992? I lost a lot of tree branches that year.


It’s been awhile since I’ve written in my blog for many reasons so as a form of my own literary therapy that I need from time to time I figured it was time to throw in a few brain synapses that have filtered through my brain follicles (I don’t even know if that’s a thing) and write my 15 Thoughts:

It was 29 years ago this month that the Blue Jays won the World Series over the Atlanta Braves four games to two. It was very emotional series that kept me on the edge of my seat.

  • I saw the final game in a hotel room in Salt Lake City. I was driving back from a holiday in Las Vegas and I had to stop to see the game.
  • I met my future wife on Oct. 22 in Vegas back in 1992. I was watching the Blue Jays on a TV set at a bar at the Excalibur and I had to leave the game early to make it to a George Carlin concert at Ballys. We were seated at the same tableI remember getting really annoyed by the Tomahawk Chop the Atlanta Braves fans kept doing. I’m still annoyed when they do it.
  • I also got annoyed at all of the close-up shots of Jane Fonda praying for the Braves. And I do like Jane Fonda.
  • As I get ready for my second term on City Council there’s a line from the musical Hamilton that kind of resonates with me. George Washington says to Hamilton during a difficult negotiation to make a deal with opposing politicians: “Winning is easy, governing is hard.” While I can’t say that winning is easy, governing certainly can be hard. Hopefully the new council can get along and we can do some great things for the city.
  • I cleaned out my desk at City Hall before the election in the event I didn’t get re-elected. It was a good thing to do. I found an old Oh Henry bar stuck in the back of one of my drawers.
  • The city did a great job of getting more people out to vote. The drive-by voting concept was a wonderful idea. For the next election, they’ll just need a few more people to man the stations at peak times.
  • I just finished watching Squid Game on Netflix. It was really intense but I found it quite compelling. If you’ve seen it you know the entire series is in Korean and that there are sub-titles throughout. The Korean language is very guttural. Sometimes when someone is saying something nice it sounds like they’re angry.
  • The VIPs in Squid Game spoke in English. The actors (in my opinion) sounded like they were dubbed in from an old Bruce Lee movie.
  • I wonder what the big costume will be at Halloween this year? I’m thinking of taking my grandkids out on November 15 to do a round in the neighborhood. And when they come to the door and ask what’s going on, I’ll just say we would have been here on Oct. 31st but there was a supply chain issue.
  • When I first started going trick or treating I went every year as a witch. I would wear a witch mask-it was the first time I encountered smelling my ow breath for two hours. It took me a number of years to realize that a witch was actually female. (I didn’t really care, mind you. It was all about the candy.)
  • As I got older, I went Trick or Treating as a doctor because my mom worked in the OR at St. Mike’s hospital and had access to doctor gowns and masks. The older I got, the more rancid my breath became.
  • When I became an adult and got invited to costume parties, my costumes were always lame. I remember putting on a garbage bag with a white suit and dumping flour in my hair and going as The Man From Glad. The flour went everywhere.
  • Another year I decided to go dressed up as Greek singer Nana Mouskouri. What was I thinking? I had just seen her in concert and thought, no one else with think of that. I actually shaved off my mustache, put on a wig, horn-rimmed glasses and a dress and went to my old pal Lyndon Bray’s house to test it out. I knocked on the door, he answered and said, “Can I help you?” He didn’t recognize me. Once he realized who I was we laughed pretty hard. The rest of the night at the party people would ask me, “Who the #@$ are you supposed to be? Even when I told them they’d say, “Who?” Another costume fail. I actually found on old picture. My sincere apologies to Nana.
Me as Nana Mouskouri

The Real Nana Mouskouri

Blue Jays-A Season To Remember

Well, what a season for the Toronto Blue Jays. I’ve always been a sports fan and while the most emotion I ever expend is usually when Canada plays significant international hockey games (Canada-Russia ’72, Canada Cup, World Cup, World Jr.s, Olympics and naturally the Spengler Cup) I have spent (wasted?) what is probably way too much time watching almost every Blue Jay game this year. But they have been truly entertaining and there was so much to like: Watching Vlady turn into an MVP caliber player this year has been a real joy. I love his smile, his obvious joy for the game, his playfulness with the opponents he meets at first base, the fact that he acknowledges the opposing catcher and the umpire at his first at-bat every game are all traits that show the kind of class he has. Bo Bichette was phenomenal, George Springer fit right in, Teo Hernandez, like Vlady has an ever-present smile, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. with his pineapple hair-cut and his ability to hit grand-slam home runs, the acquisition of Marcus Semien who has hit more home runs by a second baseman than any other player in the history of the game, Robbie Ray with his Cy Young kind of year, the emergence of Alek Manoah and I love the home-run jacket. It’s obvious how much these guys love each other. That makes you want to cheer for them even more. What is truly remarkable is that my wife has embraced this team and has been enjoying watching the ride.

On the down-side, there were times I got so frustrated. Baseball is a funny game. And by funny, not ha-ha funny. How is a team that scores 12 runs in one game not capable of getting more than 2 hits in the very next game against the same team? How can a pitcher be so dominant one day and then give up 4 home runs on another day? And walks!!! Argh….at the beginning of the season it seemed there were no relievers that knew what a strike looked like. But that’s baseball.

It is remarkable that it took 162 games to decide whether or not the Blue Jays would make the post-season. In the world of shoulda-coulda-woulda…I think about a few games they just threw away. Specifically a game against the Tigers where a throwing error with 2 out in the 9th ended up costing them the game-the game that would have guaranteed a spot in the wild-card discussion.

There is a bit of irony in that the team I used to adore, the Montreal Expos who broke my heart on many occasions became the Washington Nationals and had a shot at helping the Blue Jays get into the post-season. Instead, like a Rick Monday Home run, Rafael Devers hit a 2-home run homer in the 9th to give the Red Sox the win that ended the Blue Jay season. Such is sports. You live, you die. But you move on. (Sort of-I still have Rick Monday nightmares.)

You have to admire that the guys played through Covid and 3 home fields this year. You wonder what the season would have been like had they been able to play all 81 home games in Toronto in front of rabid fans. That was really annoying watching them play “home” games in Dunedin and Buffalo when the opposing team was getting more cheers.

So, what about the future? I think the biggest challenge management faces is how are you going to be able to afford the core of this team? In an ideal world you’d love them to give long-term contracts to Vlady, Bichette, Hernandez, Gueriel, Semien, Ray, Romano….and it goes on. They better start having bake sales.

Here’s to 2022.

A Chat With Author Scott Sakatch

I first knew Scott Sakatch as a talented journalist for the Lethbridge Herald. Today he is a prolific author with quite a resume. I caught up with Scott this week to talk about his latest offering and his process of writing.

You come from a background of newspaper writing. Does that help or hurt when you go into writing a novel?

I think it helped a lot. The cardinal rule of journalistic writing is to be concise, and as far as I’m concerned, the best fiction is also written simply. Working at a newspaper also helps you get into the habit of writing, which is absolutely necessary if you want to make a living at it, and it teaches you to edit your own work. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that I have a really nasty tendency to edit while I’m writing. I have to consciously work at not doing that pretty much every day.

What gets you motivated to write a book?

Money. I know that sounds glib, but it’s true. This is the way I make my living now, so if I don’t produce, I don’t get paid. I think every writer has grand dreams about writing a masterpiece and being wooed by a literary agent, but banking on that is like basing your retirement plans on winning the lottery. It’s a different story if you’re writing for your own enjoyment; if that’s the case, you can muse and ponder and fiddle with your prose all you like. I don’t have time for that myself. I have to pump out the content and promote it all day, every day.

How do you choose the genre of book you want to write?

I sort of fell ass-backwards into writing in 2017 via a Facebook group for writers. I ended up ghostwriting novels for a publisher out of the UK for a flat fee per book, so I basically followed whatever genre I was assigned: romance, science fiction, post-apocalypse. I wrote something like 20 novels that way before I finally decided it was time to publish on my own under my own name. I landed on vigilante justice thrillers because I’ve always been a fan of stories about people who kick ass and walk away from explosions with a grim expression. They’re so much fun to write.

Funnily enough, the main character in my new series, Angel Morana, started out as a secondary character in a novella I wrote as my entry for a contest put on by James Patterson (I obviously didn’t win). My wife Janine loved the story, and years later when I told her I wanted to go on my own, she immediately said, “Are you going to write books about Angel?” I hadn’t even thought of that, but here I am, absolutely immersed in Angel’s world.

When you’re writing, do you feel you are writing like Scott Sakatch or do you feel that other writers are influencing you?

I definitely write as myself, even when I was ghostwriting. I’ve been influenced by others, for sure, but I don’t actively try to copy anyone’s style. That would be too much work.

It’s funny how many reviews there are of my romance novels where readers just assume I’m a young American woman instead of a middle-aged Canadian man. I even had a reviewer of one of my post-apocalypse novels say that it was obvious I’d spent a significant amount of time in the Colorado city in which the book is set. In reality, I’ve never even stepped foot in the state, let alone the city. Thank God for Google Street View.

Talk about this latest book.

It’s actually a series of books starring the same character, Angel Morana, a young Latina vigilante out for revenge. Here’s the blurb from Angel of Vengeance, the first book in the series:

They thought she was dead. But Angel is back, and there’s hell to pay.

Angelica Morana is young, orphaned and undocumented, surviving on the mean streets of L.A. by avoiding conflict and authorities at all cost. But when she finds herself in the clutches of human traffickers, a twist of fate—or maybe an act of God—transforms her from helpless victim to apex predator, hungry for revenge against the untouchable power brokers who abused her and countless others. Can a lone woman survive against the most insidious criminal organization in America?

The better question is: can they survive against her?

If you like gritty action, unique characters and cheering for the underdogs, this series delivers. Take the first step into Angel Morana’s dark world today with Angel of Vengeance.”

There’s another book on sale now, a novella called Angel of Sonora, that I consider to be Book 1.5 in the series (because it takes place in the middle of the Book 1). Book 2, Angel of Death, is on pre-order and will be available at the end of October. Finally, I’m also finishing up a prequel story that happens before the events of Book 1 and should be out next week. It’s called The Devil’s Due.

I hope they’re all as much fun to read as they are to write. I’ve had a blast with it, especially some of the characters (a commando drag queen and a recovering alcoholic street preacher, to name a couple).

Is it possible to ever be completely satisfied with what you’ve written?

Nope. Like Da Vince said, art is never finished, only abandoned. I’d obsess over my stories all day, every day if I allowed myself to. I think a lot of writers do that instead of just accepting that what you write will never be perfect. Finish it and move on to the next story or you’ll drive yourself nuts.

How important is it for you to write?

That’s an interesting question. Writing is what I’ve wanted to do literally as long as I can remember. I wrote my first “book” in Grade 2 with a construction paper cover. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Van Orman, had it put in the George McKillop library. I ran into someone years later who said it was still there. Writing always came naturally to me, but I gave up on it after high school.

Then, in my mid-20s, I ran into Richard Powell, my Language Arts teacher at Wilson, at the northside Safeway. He asked what I did for a living and I told him I worked for the railroad. He nodded, but there was this look in his eyes, like he was disappointed in my answer. That stuck with me, and I remembered how much I loved writing, especially in his class and for the Wilson newspaper. A few months later, I got laid off from the railroad and that was it – I applied for the Comm Arts journalism program at LCC and I haven’t gone a day without writing since then.

Can you foresee your books turning into movies?

Realistically? No. But a guy can dream. I’ve had several people who’ve read Angel of Vengeance tell me that it was like “reading a movie.” I specifically write all my books to be page turners. There’s a function on Amazon (where my books are published) that allows you to see how many of your pages have been read by Kindle Unlimited readers in any given day. So far, everyone seems to be going through all 440 pages in one or two days, which absolutely astounds me. I myself couldn’t read that fast if you put a gun to my head.

Do you already have an idea for another book?

So many I can’t keep track of them all. There will be at least three more books in the Angel series, plus I have plans for two spin-off series for characters introduced in the Angel books. Plus I’m going to rewrite False Witness, the first novel I ever wrote back in 2014, to fold it into the Angelverse and re-release it as a standalone.

How do we get your books? 

They’re currently only available as e-books on Amazon, though I have plans to make paperbacks available soon (assuming enough people by the ebooks that I can afford to do it). You can read them on any device (e-reader, tablet or phone) that will run the Kindle app.

Here’s the link to my Amazon author page with all my books, including the sci-fi detective novel Burnside’s Killer, which I co-wrote with Timothy Ellis: https://www.amazon.com/Scott-Sakatch/e/B06XTFC4QC?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1632260985&sr=1-2

I also invite anyone interested to like my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/scottsakatchauthor

Random Thoughts On A Day In September

  1. If you haven’t had the chance to read the entire interview with Rhonda Ruston on her 12-year struggle to get a fair deal for Residential School survivors I hope you do. It was a tough decision for Rhonda to recount her experiences and share what was a deeply emotional and gut-wrenching story.
  2. I am always stunned by how many flies show up after my dog does his business on my lawn. I mean, it’s instantaneous. Do flies have scouts who watch out for that sort of thing?  And what do they get out of landing on a pile of poo?
  3. I hope the Blue Jays can keep up their winning ways. It’s so much more fun when they win rather than when they lose a game by giving up an inside the park home-run.
  4. My tree is starting to look like it went to a beauty shop to get tints on its leaves.
  5. It’s great to see Canadians doing well in sports that we don’t traditionally win at. We’ve had a number of golfers who have consistently been in contention. (I remember when the only Canadian golfer who was any good was George Knudson.) And how about those young Canadian tennis stars at the moment? Fun to watch. And then there’s soccer. I don’t pretend to understand how you qualify for the World Cup but our Canadian team is giving it a real shot.
  6. I remember playing soccer in elementary school. Having only played football with the neighborhood kids I thought you could ram anyone with the ball when playing soccer too. Peter Sikora was the star athlete on the soccer field and I felt I had to take him down. (Not that I was capable of taking him down hard but I did ram him much to the chagrin of the phys ed teacher.
  7. Every time there’s an election I think of the Five Man Electrical Band song, “Signs.”
  8. If an audiologist says he’s the best in the world is it just “hear say?”
  9. While there continues to be a controversy on a Jeopardy host I see that Pat Sajak and Vanna White signed on to make it to 2024. By then someone will have invented new letters.
  10. I want comedian Josh Blue to win America’s Got Talent.
  11. There are some amazing Lethbridge vocalists who should try out for Canada’s Got Talent. Are you reading this Bridgette Yarwood?
  12. There have been some dark moments in this season’s Ted Lasso. I’ve still cried at practically every episode. (I don’t want Nate to be mean!!!.)
  13. The series Virgin River has been my guilty pleasure this year. It’s shot in BC and there are gorgeous scenes. Though the fictional town is supposed to be set in northern California, all of the episodes were actually shot in Vancouver and British Columbia. Most of those sweeping panoramic views that show off the exterior of Virgin River were filmed in Snug Cove on Bowen Island, Burnaby, and Port Coquitlam.
  14. Of the 5 rose bushes I have in my back yard I think they’ve only produced a total of 4 actual roses. I suck at gardening. My thumb isn’t green, it’s more of an ecru.  
  15. I had gotten rid of 3 skunks in my back yard earlier this year. This morning I got letter in the mail from someone named Pepe. It said, “Do you miss me punk?” I’m a little afraid.