Times do change... These days nobody thinks twice when CBC Radio carries public service announcements for theatrical auditions for Vagina Monologues in Campbell River. You can swear like a trooper on a public bus and nobody will say boo, but if you dare light up a cigarette... And the first novel by North Vancouver's Paulette Crosse, The Footstep Café (Beach Holme $19.95) has first advertised with an excerpt describing how the heroine likes to masturbate with a carrot: It should be organic. It is important to microwave the vegetable for 26 seconds, thereby taking off the chill and endowing the versatile vegetable with a stimulating heat.

Described as quirky, absurdist, touching and supremely irreverent, the novel was announced for publication in 2005 by Beach Holme in Victoria. After that press went belly-up, Beach Holme editor Michael Carroll moved to Ontario to work for Dundurn and the novel has since appeared under the Simon & Pierre Fiction imprint of that company. The heroine of The Footstep Café, Karen Morton lives near tragedy-plagued Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver where she operates a café (with an accent). Her husband is a podiatrist with a foot fetish. Her daughter thinks she might be a lesbian. Her son is prone to bowel movements in closets. Her father is an oddball Anglican priest. And the priest is married to a Tibetan.

Paulette Crosse is a pseudonym for Janine Cross who has also published the fantasy novel, Touched by Venom, one of Library Journal's Five Best SF & Fantasy Books of 2005.


The Footstep Café (Dundurn / Simon & Pierre $21.99) 978-155002-716-7

[BCBW 2007] "Fiction"