Saturday, November 08, 2008

Home sweet home

I can't believe how lovely it is to be home. I not only have wonderful memories and lots of new friends, but I'm bursting with story ideas! Unfortunately, while I was away, the one mouse who had found it's way into my house multiplied as mice tend to do, and I am battling the invasion heroically. Advice appreciated. Sheryl

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Home Soon

It's been ages since I've posted, and now I'm almost ready to come back home sweet home, especially since it has been raining like all get out since I've been here in a small village near Barcelona. Yesterday we went into town to look at the Gowdy buildings which I had seen long ago, but they are even more impressive today, probably because I know better what I am looking at. The thing I am enjoying most though is visiting with my old writer friend Ellen. I have been missing the chance to talk books and writing, and am so looking forward to getting home and back to work. Last night we had a couple of bottles of the local champagne which was absolutely delicious. Wish I could bring a bottle home, but it is a little beyond my means! The next post will be from home! Yippee

Walking the Camino

Walking the last few hundred kilometers of the Camino de Santiago took about 10 days, and every one of those days was fabulous, even the one where I was sick as a dog. I love the rhythm you get into. I loved all the little villages and churches along the way. I loved the way everyone was so helpful and friendly, always wishing you a "Buen Camino." Locals would put you back on track if they happened to see you walking the wrong way. It was amazing. Once in Santiago, the trip to the cathedral to was equally awesome. I attended the pilgrim's mass, and was amazed at how much of the ceremony I remembered even thought it was done in Spanish. I won't be able to load pictures until my return as my little laptop has died. It is an experience I won't soon forget, and I'm pretty sure I'll be back here again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Goodbye to La Alberca

It's been a while since I've had a chance to post, but teaching English in La Alberca has pretty much been a full time endeavor. The expectation is that you are always on task; either speaking English one on one to a Spaniard, having two on two conversations (two English speakers + two Spaniards), working on skits together, doing group activities, sharing meals, and even dancing together for the nightly parties that go on and on and on. It's exhausting but so much fun. The Spaniards don't even start dinner until after 9pm and they still get up early! Fortunately, there is a "siesta" during the afternoon. I never managed to actually sleep, but instead used the down time to walk into the nearby village to explore, or get to know some of the other Anglos who had come from as far away as Australia!

I met so many wonderful people and made a few friendships that I think will last for some time to come. I'm pretty sure I'd like to do this again, and perhaps next time I'll have a bit more Spanish under my belt and will tack on a bit more Spanish travel either before or after the week of teaching.

Right now I'm feeling exceedingly lazy in Leon, and am not even sure if I'll make it out for dinner! I'll have a few hours in the morning to putter about here and hopefully catch the cathedral which I understand is fabulous. Later. Sheryl

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Who knew Madrid had TWO TRAIN STATIONS

Not much more to report. More touring, more sightseeing, more tapas eating and wine drinking. I did spend a pleasant hour in Plaza Mayor, reading my book, watching the human statues who were still the entire time, and listening to some wonderful music. It was exquisite, especially after having spent an hour & a half in line at Atocha train station to buy my ticket to Leon (with an accent) only to find that I want the OTHER train station! Who knew Madrid had two train stations! Of course I would have had I read the guide book which I did after the fact!

One of the things I have really liked about Spain was the high value put on art & architecture. There is art everywhere (old & recent) and even modern buildings are interesting.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Prado

Ok, the whole getting lost thing is starting to get to me. Half the problem is that I can't actually see any of the little streets on my map; hence a lot of guess work that is not working out so well for me! Thus, the minute I'm back home, I'm making an appointment to get new reading glasses. On a positive note, while lost, I discovered the shopping area with stores like H&M. Mind you, everywhere seems to be the shopping area here, but this area was slightly less intimidating for those of us who are more casual in our appoach to dressing. Did I mention that Madridians ar very very very fashionable, even the guys! Really, I only went in the store for an umbrella because it was raining guessed, I came out with two gorgeous tops, and a burning desire to buy a bigger suitcase. Having resisted the temptation (at least for the larger suitcase), I did get directions and proceeded to the Prado(see above picture which is not as good as it could be I admit). I managed to spend the better part of the rest of the day in there. I think my favourite painting of the entire day was Caravaggio's "David Victorius over Goliath" although there were some stunning Raphael's, Rubens', Goya's and Rembrant's. I also very much enjoyed seeing Velazquez's paintings (I know there should be an accent, but I'm not sure where to find it on my keyboard). Although I didn't really know him previously, I found I quite liked his work. There was a quality in the light which I really admired, especially given some of the more sombre Flemish and Italian pieces. I suppose that just shows my ignorance...sigh. Here I am, well past 50 and so much to learn.
On the way home I took a bus as I was rather beat and passed this very cool building with a living wall of green on the side. I took a quick picture, but didn't do it justice. It was absolutely spectacular, and was next to a modern building that was also quite interesting in that it had an elaborate rust coloured iron upper half that blended in with the roof

Not much more to report tonight, except for hearing that Ursula LeGuin will be in Vancouver for the Vancouver Writer's Festival while I'm away makes me homesick. I'm so sad that I WON'T GET TO SEE HER. Boo hoo. I love her books and if you haven't read her A Wizard of Earth Sea which was originally published in 1968 and is as good today as it was then, you have to do it immediately! In fact, read all of her books. You'll love her. She is beyond awesome. If you are in Vancouver, go and see her and then write me about it.

All for now. S.

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Madrid

Recuperating after wandering around old Madrid for the better part of the day. I did a bit of a walk about first thing just to locate things, which was good because of course I immediately got lost. Fortunately, there are plenty of plazas and open air cafes to sip a cup of cafe con leche while you reconnoiter! I located the Prado, and will go back tomorrow as it's closed on Mondays. Then I headed the opposite direction to the Palace which is quite stunning. The guide book insists it rivals the Place of Versailles in France, and I can't say that I'd argue.

The nearby gardens are gorgeous as is the little plaza just in front with it's walkways lined with statues of people whom I'm sure I should know but don't. Sigh...makes me wish I had a friend along who knew Spanish history as well as my friend Richard knows British history. Despite my ignorance though, it is a gorgeous and vivacious city.

Once I've recouped, I'll head out again for a bite, a glass of vino, a bit of people watching, especially the women who dress most elegantly, unlike me as you can see below.
But, best of all it was 24 degrees Celsius today. I wish I would have checked out the temperature before I left! Tomorrow I'll know better; tank top and sandals.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunny Spain

So here I am in sunny Spain. I can't believe how much I lucked out weather wise when in England, but the afternoon before I left, the skies opened up and it seriously poured with rain bouncing off the pavement and puddles everywhere. I had a great time, and especially appreciated my friend Richard driving here there and everywhere, including the airport which was an hour and a quarter away! After various flight delays, we finally took off, and a few hours later, here I am in Madrid. I treated myself to a cab into town despite the expense as I was pretty beat and still have the sniffles, but it will be walking and metro from here on in. I have a cute hotel on the forth floor of a bustling street, but sadly don't have a room that faces the street. I suppose it will be quieter though as I hear the Spanish are real night owls. All for now, time to unpack and find myself a bit of dinner.

Today is my last day in England and I am lucky enough to be having a lovely cup of tea in bed at the B&B I'm staying at. Looking out the window at the rain, I'm glad I'm cozy and warm and equally glad that I'll be in Spain later today. Mind you, I've had an absolutely wonderful time here in England, including mostly sunny weather. Yesterday, before the rain set in, Richard took me to Jane Austen's house which was quite a sweet place, although it now mainly has replicas with the real stuff being moved down the road to a manor house that unfortunately wasn't open. I did take a picture of her writing desk though. Here it is below.

Well, I'd better move along or I'll miss my plane. Next post from Spain. S.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stonehenge & chalk horses

Another exhausting day of touring. Went to the two most famous stonecircles in these parts, Stonehenge & Avbury. Stonehenge was awesome, but I love Avbury because you can walk around the stones which are right in the middle of a village whereas Stonehenge is cordoned off with herds of tourists walkiing along a roped off walkway. I also love that there is a stone avenue leading up to Avebury. It's otherworldly, and you can't help wondering about the people who managed such incredible feats of engineering. I will put up pictures, but sadly, not until I get home as I seem to have lost the cord between my camera and my computer.

The area is also full of chalk downs, and there are a herd (not quite but still) of huge chalk horses carved into the hills, the oldest being the famous Uffington horse which has been considered one of Britian's greatest archeological treasures and is thought to have been created about 3000 years ago. We saw about 7 horses, and will be off to see one more today, plus Maidencastle and the Cerene Abis Giant, another chalk figure thought to be associated with fertility.

I am loving all the history, but the country is incredibly beautiful, and it is so wonderful to have a friend like Richard who has taken the time to tour me around. More later. Sheryl

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Goodbye to Scotland

Had the most wonderful time in Scotland, and am so sorry to leave it. What a stunningly beautiful country. The last few days there, my friend Richard and I took the train to Glasgow and then on to Edinburgh, both of which were fabulous. Glasgow was so interesting, especially the museum where a Rodin sculpture was thrown in with a mix of unknowns and an incredible Dali hung nonchalantly in the hallway. Also did an architecture tour of the city which was incredible.

Of course Edinburgh was even more fantastic with the castle being outstanding while the new Scotland parliament was just sad; especially after $430 million lbs was spent on it.

After that, we went to visit old Roman ruins in the form of Haidrian's wall and a Roman fort at Vendelow.

The weather had cooperated until then, but the rain has set in, so we'll be heading south. Today we toured the estate where the film The Dutchess was made. Now I suppose I'll have to go see it. All for now, as I'm off to dinner.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Isle of Bute

Still on Isle of Bute in Scotland, and still having a wonderful time. The picture to the right is the local castle in the centre of town. It was destroyed by Norse invaders. Yesterday was stone circles, and an early Christian church, and an old Anglo Saxon fort. Totally awesome, especially since we followed up our day of walking with a feast of mussels and cream pie. Hard to beat! Do wish I could upload some pictures to show you all just how wonderful it is here. Richard is a fabulous host, not to mention a pretty good cook. His sheep love the leftovers too, so no smelly compost buckets to wash out...Tomorrow we are off to Edinburgh and Glasgow for a few days. We'll take the ferry & train, so will return to pick up Richard's truck at the end of the weekend before driving down to Haidrian's wall and then on to Manchester. This place reminds me so much of the west coast without all the big trees, and of course, minus the oodles of history. You hardly turn around before you see another Anglo Saxon or Roman ruin. All for now. Sheryl

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Another sunny day in Scotland

Having fabulous weather here in Scotland on the Isle of Bute. Visited the Rothesay Castle, 12th century, and the arts and crafts castle of the Stewarts yesterday; a gorgeous arts & crafts castle with stunningly beautiful wood & marble carvings. I especially loved the grounds though, and spent quite a bit of time walking. Then my friend Richard picked me up for another round of golf. I'm getting a little better, and he's a very good teacher. To the right is Richard and the golf course. Notice the sheep in the background. I almost hit one! Richard also took me fishing just out in the bay where I caught 10 mackerel! We had some for dinner. So much to see and do here. This afternoon we'll be off to see the remains of an ancient stone circle on the far end of the Island. In the meantime, I'm reading about stone circles, chalk horses, castles, and, of course, my sheep mystery which seems perfect as Richard has two sheep in his back garden (what we Canadians call a yard) to keep the grass down. I'm loving it here. Later...Sheryl

Saturday, September 20, 2008

post from the Isle of Bute in Scotland

Arrived in Scotland after hours and hours of flying & airport security in Heathrow. So glad I don't have to do that again. Staying at Richard's place on the Isle of Bute. Wonderful view. Too bad I can't upload pics. Played golf yesterday with the sheep watching. Spectacular course but I couldn't seem to hit the ball. Been pubbing, and more to come tonight. It is so gorgeous here! Still, the walking is wonderful & I'm reading a very cool sheep mystery. Can't remember the title, but will try & put it in next time. Internet time is running out, so more later. This is the view from Richard's front window, and here are the sheep that mow his lawn.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I'm so excited. Flying to Scotland tomorrow although I won't arrive until the day after. Hoping for sun, but being a west coaster, I have my gortex packed! I might even learn to like Scotch, although I'm not counting on it. More once I arrive.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Almost time to go

After a not so warm summer, the fall has been amazing. Nothing but sun, sun and more sun. But with less than a week before I head off for a two month working holiday to Scotland, England & Spain, I'm so exited. I've been writing like a fiend and hope to keep that up while I'm on the road. My bags are sooo packed...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oregon Coast

Just back from a windy wet trip to the Oregon Coast with one of my girls. We stopped off in Seattle to visit my nephew his wife and my adorable grand niece, Abby. The weather wasn't as cooperative as it could have been, but walks on the beach, bike rides an incredible aquarium, and lots of good books kept us busy. Here are a few pictures caught between storms.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good News

A bit of good news arrived in the mail this morning. The Smell of Paint was included in The Canadian Children's Book Centre's 2008 Best Books for Kids & Teens.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I've been fairly quiet for the last while mainly because I was so busy touring. After resting up, getting my vegies planted, and having time to read, I'm feeling far more energetic. I thought I'd be back to writing by now, but it seems a longer break is in order, so I'm happy to enjoy the time with my nose in a book instead of a manuscript. In the meantime, helping to sort out next years program for the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable is keeping me busy. Getting in touch with awesome authors like Margriet Ruurs and giving new writers like Michelle Mulder and Robin Stevenson is not a bad way to start the summer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Jessie's Island a top seller since 1992

An email came in from Munro's Books, one of Victoria's fabulous independent booksellers, telling me that Jessie's Island (published in 1992; yikes can it have been that long ago!) was their top selling title again last month.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I love Mo Willems books but...

I have loved Mo Willems since Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! first hit bookstores. I was thrilled when Knuffle Bunny won the Caldecott Award and have enjoyed the further adventures of pigeon. So, when I heard that Mo Willems was speaking at a Seattle conference that I was attending, I rushed to his website to check out a bit of background info. It was all I expected and more. I was so excited. Sadly, I found Willems to be a bit of a lazy presenter, relying on his quirky, off-the-cuff humor and general charm. It was a bit disappointing coming from someone with such obvious talent.

Still, I remain a fan of Willems picture books as well as his early readers like I am Invited to a Party from the Elephant & Piggie series. Willems uses a minimum number of words along with priceless illustrations to maximum effect. His simple line-drawn animal characters are perfectly imbued with facial expressions and body language that children easily identify with. Like other Willems' stories, I am invited to a Party! has that perfect story arc that kids find universally appealing. The tension in the story develops as a result of the familiar personality types that kids will recognize and appreciate. It's classic, and yet not. Willems success lies in his ability to bring an appealing freshness & quirky sensibility to the familiar. In fact, I've yet to read a Willems book that I didn't like. Still, I think I'll stick to enjoying his books and leave public appearances for other conference attendees.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm the proud owner of a Janet Wilson sketch

Just back from Vancouver where I attended a fabulous fundraiser for the Canadian Children's Book Centre. Wine, cheese, seriously yummy deserts and 100 illustrations donated by Canadian book illustrators were up for grabs. My daughter managed to get a very cool Wallace Edwards sketch and I, lucky me got a graphite sketch done by Janet Wilson from the book by Andrea Spalding, Sarah May and the New Red Dress. I have always wanted the chance to work with Janet who is a wonderful illustrator, but never had the chance. Owning one of her drawings is the next best thing. I totally love both the sketch and the book. You can't check out my sketch because it's too big too scan, but you can check out the book. It's such a lovely story, but then that's no surprise because Andrea Spalding always writes lovely stories.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Literacy for Life

Just back from the most awesome Literacy for Life Conference in Saskatoon. Judy Ostrander, John Barton, our wonderful drivers Noreen and Jackie, and the rest of the fabulous volunteer crew put together a celebration of literacy that rivaled any I've ever been to. The 1200 kids out of 5000 kids and their teachers that I saw were a pleasure as were authors like Jaimie Bastedo, Helaine Becker, Diane Swanson, Bob McDonald, Joe Schwarcz, and illustrators George Littlechild and Jeremy Tankard.

I just wanted to make sure everyone gets all 10 writing tips, so here they are:

1. Keep a journal
2. Be a reader
3. Play with words
4. Research is half the fun
5. Fictionalize: play the lying game
6. Pay attention
7. Create an idea web
8. Make a list (see the first page of Waiting for the Whales for an example)
9. Imagine the "what if" moments
10. Mine your memories

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Kamloops Young Author Conference

Here I am in Kamloops, looking out the gorgeous sun-drenched river valley wishing we'd get this kind of brilliant blue sky more often. Mind you, the fact that I have to drive to get a cup of tea sucks! Three Young Author sessions coming up tomorrow so I will be one tired author, and that's before the drive back! At least I had the company of fellow writer, Ellen Schwartz on the way up. She's the author of many books, but one of my favs is Abby's Birds. Check it out, it's a lovely story. Later, S.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Checking in

So, back from Calgary, Vancouver, and Seattle having braved snow-storms, mechanical failures, close calls with nasty flu bugs, and way too much fun with my traveling companions, fellow authors Linda Bailey, Debbie Hodge, and Beryl Young. Traveling is exhausting, but I keep meeting such cool people that I'll probably be on the road until I'm a little old lady (likely the eccentric kind with mismatched socks and a garish pink fluorescent purse with flowers plastered all over it). While in Seattle, I met the infamous kids' book blogger, Betsy Bird (Elizabeth to me since I didn't really know her) of A Fuse #8 Production fame, who just happens to be one of my review heroes (check her blog out on School Library Journal's website) and Newbery winner, Susan Patron, who sat by me during a workshop. There were lots of other famous, but typically humble kids' authors and illustrators kicking around both in Calgary and in Seattle. Everyone in kids' books are so cool that meeting a prima donna is a rarity. And did I mention the dozen or so books that I couldn't resist...But, not much time for reading now since I'm heading for Kamloops and then Saskatoon. No matter, I'm hoping for warm weather this summer when life slows down, and I can toss a coin between the lawn-chair and a pile of books, or the weeds...And yes, of course the computer and that rewrite that I keep meaning to get to. Later, Sheryl

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

CCBC announces winners to kid's writing contest

Young Winners Announced in 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest

TORONTO: April 1, 2008 — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest.

The contest is a much-anticipated part of TD Canadian Children's Book Week festivities, allowing hundreds of students from across Canada to share their stories while celebrating and participating in Book Week. The 2007 national tours ran from November 17 to 24, 2007. A total of 1785 entries arrived at the Canadian Children's Book Centre’s national office in time for the December 15, 2007 deadline.

In keeping with this year’s theme — The Magic of Books — young writers from across Canada, in grades two to six, were invited to enchant our judges with their own spellbinding tales of mysterious magicians, fanciful fairies, wily wizards, and dreadful dragons.

The WINNERS of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are:

Grade 2: Seanna Geary of Red Lake, Ontario (Age 7)
Magic and More

Judge's Comments: Magic and More was a delight to read. I loved Seanna’s characters Lots of Locks and Auntie Moo. I particularly enjoyed the suspense of the story and the nice twist with Auntie Moo being the White Witch. And the way magic was an important part of the story made it really work for me. Congratulations again and I hope Seanna will keep writing!!

Grade 3: Colton Van Gerwen of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Age 8)
The Invisible Book of Magic

Judge's Comments: I applaud Colton’s creation − a not very likeable hero who nevertheless gets our sympathy as he realizes that he has fallen into the witch's trap. The Kafka-esque transformation scene is the coolest moment in any of the stories I read.

Grade 4: Molly Dawson of Toronto, Ontario (Age 9)
Fairy Performance

Judge's Comments: Molly's story is imbued with magic in every sense of the word. Imagine witnessing the most marvelous performance one night; fairies dancing under moonlight by a stream. The magic of Molly's story is in descriptions so real that the reader can easily join in. Her language is rich in description and detail… In the hands of a less adept writer, the story might have been ended differently, but Molly shows her ability to pull a story together when her character insists that "But I KNEW that it wasn't a dream." Molly captures a moment of magic with more than a little magic of her own.

Grade 5: Emma McCallum of Edmonton, Alberta (Age 10)
Magical Friendship

Judge's Comments: This story gives readers an opportunity to think about the power of art. The joy of friendship is also clearly shown in the relationship between Trina and Athiea. Emma’s writing is very imaginative… I enjoyed the bright images of her descriptions. Most important of all I was easily caught up in the plot of her story.

Grade 6: Tamsyn Riddle of Peterborough, Ontario (Age 11)
The Caomhn├│ir

Judge's Comments: Using some “selkie” folk lore, Tamsyn wrote a captivating folk story of her own about a 12 year-old girl, Elizabeth, who escapes from a planned marriage by jumping into the sea. When she arrives at a magical island, she delays answering a question and cannot resist drinking from a special pond. Elizabeth then faces a different kind of trap.

The winner from each grade will receive a $200 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice. The winning stories can be enjoyed on the Book Week website at .
* * *

Due to the outstanding quality of writing submitted by the young writers this year, the Writing Contest judges have also selected two honourable mentions from each grade level.

The HONOURABLE MENTIONS of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are:

Grade 2: Madison Wescott of Kingston, Ontario (Age 7)
Magic is…

Mayson Sonntag of Regina, Saskatchewan (Age 8)
Killer’s Adventures

Grade 3: Brianne Wheat of Vermilion, Alberta (Age 8)
The Spooky Halloween

Naomi Duska of Calgary, Alberta (Age 8)

Grade 4: Thomas Villeneuve of Gatineau, Quebec (Age 9)
The Alphabet Story

Luke Gagnon of Lloydminster, Alberta (Age 9)
A Secret Worth Keeping

Grade 5: Donovan Stagg of Calgary, Alberta (Age 10)
The Vampire Hunters

Moriam Ahmed of Toronto, Ontario (Age 10)
Electra’s Box

Grade 6: Lucas Bennett of Burnaby, British Columbia (Age 11)
A Boy, a Wolf and a Dragon

Elspeth Yates of Calgary, Alberta (Age 11)
You Never Can Tell With Magic…

* * *

The judges for the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are talented authors of children’s and young adult books from across Canada:

Grade 2 judge: David Poulsen (Claresholm, Alberta), author of The Salt & Pepper Chronicles series

Grade 3 judge: Richard Scrimger (Cobourg, Ontario), author of the Norbert series and Into the Ravine

Grade 4 judge: Sheryl McFarlane (Victoria, BC), author of Waiting for the Whales and A Pod of Orcas, The Smell of Paint

Grade 5 judge: Sylvia Gunnery (LaHave, Nova Scotia), author of Out of Bounds and Personal Best

Grade 6 judge: Sylvia McNicoll (Burlington, Ontario), author of A Different Kind of Beauty and Last Chance for Paris

* * *

The Imperial Oil Foundation has a long-standing commitment to supporting education and joins the Canadian Children's Book Centre in congratulating the winners and thanking all of the participants for entering the Writing Contest.

About the Imperial Oil Foundation:
Imperial Oil is committed to supporting community programs where its employees live and work. In 2007 the Imperial Oil Foundation contributed over $11 million to enhance the well-being of communities across Canada. For more information, please visit .

About the Canadian Children's Book Centre:
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976 to encourage the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. The CCBC is dedicated to promoting quality Canadian children’s literature through its services, publications and programs. For more information, please visit our website at

Friday, March 28, 2008


Yikes. I can't believe that I haven't posted since the week before Easter. I meant to get one more post in but ran out of time. Since I've returned, I've been frantically getting a project ready for a screen writers workshop I'm taking this weekend. Wish me luck. I'm heading out there shortly.

And, I promise to get another review out soon (hopefully on Monday). In the meantime, check out the reader's choice site on the right. There are tons of great books out there for you. Later. Sheryl

New directions

I've been back home for a few days, but have been frantically working on a new story for a screen writing workshop that I am taking this weekend. I am so excited, but a little freaked out in case what I have prepared is off-base! Being the fanatic that I am, I' working on a second project just in case! Wish me luck. S.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

I was checking out the NY Times this morning and read that Arthur C. Clarke has died. A visionary who penned close to 100 books, I have been reading Clarke for as long as I can remember. Not surprisingly, he was in the middle of another novel. If you haven't read him, or seen the film classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" (based on his novel of the same name) by the equally great Stanley Kubrick, you are missing something special.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lois Lowry is awesome

I went to hear Lois Lowry speak in Vancouver a few days ago and she was awesome. She talked about the way in which serendipitous events in her life have sparked books like The Giver and Number the Stars and Autumn Street. It was fascinating to discover that part of the inspiration for The Giver came from her experience with her aging father who could remember her older sister, but did not remember that she had died. It led her to ask herself a what if question of the sort that many authors find themselves asking. In this case, it was What if one person were responsible for keeping the memories of a community? She talked about the way in which a books often changed kids' lives; one of the reasons she became a children's writer. There is no question that Lowry has changed many many lives with that book alone.

It was also delighted to hear her read from her new book The Willoughby's and I look forward to reading it. Clearly Lowry has a talent for capturing a child's perspective whether drama or humor.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Smell of Paint short-listed

Good news. I just found out that my YA novel, The Smell of Paint, was short-listed for Saskatchewan's Readers' Choice Willow Award. This year's books aren't yet listed, but you can see the winners from 2007.

Support our libraries

Hello fellow book lovers,

Locked-out library workers in Victoria, BC are planning two upcoming events to continue to inform and mobilize public support, in order to achieve a fair contract and get our libraries re-opened.

Two upcoming events:

Thursday March 6, 7 pm
Windsor Park Pavilion, 2451 Windsor RD : Town Hall meeting on the subject of Pay Equity

Saturday March 8 1:15-4:00 pm
The library will be holding a rally on International Women's Day (next Saturday March 8), marching from Centennial Square down Government to the Legislature.The actual march is set to begin about 2:45 although there will be activities preceeding this, beginning at 1:15.

Speakers at the legislature grounds between 3-4 pm.

more and more books

Back after a wonderful weekend with my even more wonderful editor, Ann Featherstone. Now I have even more books to add to my pile of "must reads". And then, of course, there's her sage writing advice and insight. Sometimes I wish we had more hours in the day...sigh

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Reader's Choice

Great news. The Smell of Paint has been nominated for the Saskatchewan Readers Choice Willow Award. Yeah!

New downloads for teachers

Just back from Vancouver, Edmonton, and Cowichan By. So good to be home sweet home. Have had time at least to upload a few new downloads for teachers so check it out. Sheryl

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just a quick note. Edmonton here I come.

What a busy winter it's been. I've been in and out of town, lived through bath room renovations, and been reading reading reading...and yes, even some writing. I am off to Edmonton to speak at their Teacher's Conference, and when I return, I'll only be home for a few hours before heading off again, so will have to catch up with more news later. The thing that is really exciting me though is that Lois Lowery is coming to Vancouver and I have tickets to see her. As one of my all time favourite authors, I could not be more thrilled. Philip Pullman and Lois Lowery all within the space of a few months! Unbelievable. Later. Sheryl

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kid's writing contest

With Xmas having come and gone, I've no excuse for not writing, except wait...I do! I'm a judge again this read for the Canadian Children's Book Centre and Imperial Oil Foundation sponsored Kid's Writing contest. I'm the grade four judge, and boy are there ever a lot of grade four kids out there who are writing their hearts out. Stay tuned for the winners which will be announced on April fooling!