A THOROUGHLY WICKED WOMAN (Non-fiction) Caitlin Press, 2010 (See Vancouver Sun Feature Article Jan 8/11) On a foggy evening in November 1905, 48-year-old Thomas Jackson returned to his home on Melville Street in Vancouver after nine months of prospecting north of the Skeena River. He was happy because he had just made a significant gold strike. Four days later he was dead from strychnine that had been slipped into his morning dose of Epsom salts and beer. Reporters from Vancouver's newspapers chose Jackson's teary-eyed, fragile, 24-year-old wife, Theresa, as their first choice for the guilty party. Then as the days went by, their preference shifted to the dead man's steely-eyed, light-fingered, American mother-in-law, Esther Jones. Suspicion also fell on the two boarders—Harry Fisher and Ernest Exall. What followed was a series of hearings and trials with fledgling lawyers trying to make their names in judicial combat while the newspapers, locked in a deadly circulation war, tried desperately to scoop each other with juicy bits of information.
A STAIN UPON THE SEA: WEST COAST SALMON FARMING (Non-fiction) Harbour Publishing, 2004 Though years and years of shoddy logging and farming practices near streams, mine tailings leaking into rivers, untreated human waste being pumped into the ocean, and the damming of salmon-bearing waters have imperilled Pacific salmon stocks, it is the most recent menace—salmon farms—that will finally destroy the last of these remarkable animals unless drastic measures are taken--and soon. A Stain Upon the Sea, which contains a condensed and updated version of Sea Silver: Inside British Columbia's Salmon Farming Industry (1996) by Rosella M. Leslie and Betty C. Keller, synthesizes the various threads of danger posed by salmon farming to wild fish, the threat posed by the Atlantic salmon, which are being cultivated in west coast fish farms, and the lethal infestations of sea lice originating on salmon farms. Leslie and Keller chronicle the haphazard growth of the industry, the contradictions in DFO and MAFF regulations, the unwillingness of government to investigate or police the industry, and its control by foreign multinational companies.
Reviews: Currently, the corporate-government collusion prioritizes the profiteering of salmon-farming operations with minimal regard for the environment, wild creatures, First Nations and the health of workers and consumers while staunchly refusing cost-incurring alternatives. In western society, citizens caught stealing from corporations are severely punished, but when corporations steal the right of citizens to a clean environment and healthful food, they are too often unpunished and seldom penalized harshly. As A Stain Upon the Sea illustrates, this is a scenario that must be changed—the continued existence of wild Pacific salmon may depend upon it. Kim Peterson, Shunpiking: The Discovery Magazine (online)
A Stain Upon the Sea is a necessary critique of fish farming practices used in BC and abroad, featuring an all-star cast of contributors. BC Book Prizes
Awards: Winner of the 2005 Roderick Haig-Brown Prize given annually for the book that "merits distinction as the work contributing most to an appreciation of British Columbia." Finalist for the Second Annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, sponsored by CBC Radio, Okanagan College, BC Book World and the George Ryga Centre. SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW The Caitlin Press, 2001 (Fiction) A picaresque novel of early Vancouver nightlife. Meet the Reverend Abercrombie Dodds, better known to His friends—and enemies—as Crumbie Dodds, and his wild assortment of associates, including a couple of prostitutes who could never be accused of having hearts of gold, and a five-year-old hellion whom Crumbie is desperately anxious to unload.
Reviews: Better the Devil You Know is an outrageous romp of a novel set in turn-of the-century Vancouver when Gastown was still the hub of the fast-evolving city. . . . Amazingly, Keller is not kidding when she says that much of this tale is constructed on fact. The story is also liberally peppered with actual photos, mostly prised from the B.C. and City of Vancouver archives. However, Keller confesses candidly that she has used poetic licence to play fast and loose with the historical facts. Clearly it was time for Keller, the historian, to let her literary hair down a little. So why not suspend some disbelief and join her? Beth Haysom, The Victoria Times-Colonist. Buy Now
PENDER HARBOUR COWBOY: The Many Lives of Bertrand Sinclair Touchwood Editions, 2000 (Biography) This is a biography of writer Bertrand Sinclair, British Columbia's least known highly successful novelist who lived from 1881 to 1972. Born in Scotland, he grew up on the Canadian prairies and in the Peace River country, became a cowboy in Montana, then a writer of westerns. After coming to B.C. in 1912, he began writing logging and fishing stories, and ended his life as a salmon fisherman. His best known work is Poor Man's Rock.
SKOOKUM TUGS: British Columbia's Working Tugboats Harbour Publishing, 2002 Photography by Robb Douglas Text by Betty Keller and Peter Robson Reviews: "Skookum Tugs: British Columbia's Working Tugboats . . . conveys the feel and language of the Pacific Northwest right from the word "skookum" in the title. The word, which migrated into the English language from the Chinook Indian trade jargon, means both good and strong-a fitting description for the tugs in this book. The text by Peter Robson and Betty Keller describes, in an introduction and five tightly written chapters, how the British Columbia industry has developed and maintained itself around the forest industry. From towing the acres of slow-moving log booms to the huge self-dumping log barges, the importance and challenges of moving logs on a coast with few roads through weather-protected but current-filled passages can't be overstated. . . . A chapter entitled "Ship Wrangling" describes the work of putting ships into and out of the docks around the port of Vancouver. A final chapter takes its title from that oft-repeated description of tow-boating: "Many hours of boredom punctuated with moments of terror. . . . This is a book that will warm the heart of anyone with marine experience, while it will show those without marine experience something of what it is that keeps calling the mariner back to sea." Alan Haig-Brown in Professional Mariner #75 October/November 2003
Awards: Published in 2002, this insider story of the tugboat industry on Canada's west coast won the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award for that year as "the best work published in British Columbia."
SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
PAULINE JOHNSON: The First Aboriginal Voice XYZ Publishing, 1999 (Biography)
This is a new biography of the Mohawk poet, E. Pauline Johnson, intended for young adult readers. It is #3 in XYZ's Quest Library series.
FORESTS, POWER AND POLICY: The Legacy of Ray Williston The Caitlin Press, 1997 with the late Eileen Williston. (Biography)
A personal biography of Ray Williston, former MLA for Fort George, B.C. Minister of Education from 1954 to 1956, and Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources from 1956 to 1972. 318 pages. SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
BRIGHT SEAS AND PIONEER SPIRITS: The History of the Sunshine Coast Touchwood Editions, 2009) With co-author Rosella M. Leslie. (History) 246 pages. A newly revised and updated edition of the history of the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, including a brief outline of geologic history, flora and fauna, and in-depth histories of local industries: logging, fishing and aquaculture, mining, and tourism. Awards: The first edition of this history, published by Horsdal & Schubart in 1996, won third prize in that year's B.C. Historical Federation Writing Competition in a field of 45 submissions.
SEA SILVER: INSIDE BRITISH COLUMBIA'S SALMON FARMING INDUSTRY Horsdal & Schubart, 1996 with co-author Rosella M. Leslie. 138 pages A primer on the west coast's salmon farming industry including a history beginning with the first experimental farms in the mid-1960s and an outline of the economic and ecological impact of the industry. SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
ON THE SHADY SIDE: VANCOUVER 1886-1914 Horsdal & Schubart, 1986 121 pages
Although the recorders of the early years in Vancouver, B.C. were careful not to take note of that city's underbelly for posterity, this humorous account exposes all of its citizens' sins and indiscretions in glorious detail. Drugs, alcohol, prostitution, graft and corruption. You name it, they did it, but with finesse! SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
BLACK WOLF: The Life of Ernest Thompson Seton www.amazon.com/Black-Wolf-Ernest-Thompson-Seton/dp/B000WPCVRS Hardback: Douglas & McIntyre in Canada, and Salem House in the United States, 1984. 240 pages. Paperback: Douglas & McIntyre in Canada in March 1986 and Salem House in the US in April 1986. Awards: Book of the Month Club selection in February 1985.
PAULINE: A Biography of Pauline Johnson Douglas & McIntryre, 1982 317 pages https:// www.amazon.ca/Pauline-Biography-Johnson-Betty-Keller/dp/088780151X (Biography) Released in the United States by Salem House in 1982. Paperback publication by James Lorimer Publishing in 1987. Optioned for film by Dreamreel Limited in June 1998. Awards: Winner of the Canadian Biography Medal for 1982. Book of the Month Club selection for April 1983.
IMPROVISATIONS IN CREATIVE DRAMA Merriwether Publishing and Contemporary Drama Service, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988 175 pages. (Plays) This is a combination of Trick Doors and Other Dramatic Sketches, Opening Trick Doors, and Taking Off in a single volume for the high school, college and amateur theatre trade, marketed in the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
TRICK DOORS AND OTHER DRAMATIC SKETCHES November House, 1974 (Plays) Fourteen of my very short plays. It was used as a course book for Grades 11 & 12 Acting in B.C. schools from 1975 to 1984. 129 pages.
The plays "Holed-Up" and "Tea-Party" from this book were produced on CBC Radio; "Sophie" was published in Inquiry into Literature by Fillion and Henderson [Collier-Macmillan Canada, 1981]; "The Victim" was published in The Process of Writing by Parker [Addison-Wesley, 1983] and also in The Independent Writer by Parker [Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986]; "Tea-Party" was published in Literature: an Introduction to Reading and Writing by Roberts and Jacobs [Prentice Hall, Editions 2 through 5, 1988 to 1997]. OPENING TRICK DOORS November House, 1975 (Plays) A guide for teachers and directors using Trick Doors and Other Dramatic Sketches, it suggests warm-up exercises and creative drama techniques to get the most out of the actors. 33 pages. SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
TAKING OFF November House, 1975 (Plays) A handbook for secondary school teachers of creative drama, it was used as a course book for Grade 8 creative drama in B.C. schools from 1975 to 1983. 66 pages. SORRY, OUT OF PRINT
LEGENDS OF THE RIVER PEOPLE November House, 1976 (Non-fiction) Collected by Norman Lerman; Edited by Betty Keller A collection of authentic legends that the Chilliwack Indians of British Columbia told to anthropologist Norman Lerman over half a century ago. The story-tellers were the old people of the tribe, all of them aware that the stories would be lost forever if they were not soon recorded. With infinite concern for exactness of language and detail, Lerman recorded nearly a hundred complete stories as well as many more variations and story fragments.