Wednesday, December 09, 2009

2009 Kids' Book Bash is bak

The Victoria Kids'Book Bash held at Fairfield Community Place was wonderful. Author Della Burford posted a short video that you can check out on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Orca Book Publisher is celebrating 25 years

No excuses for the lack of news aside from "the lack of news".

But I am excited to report that my friends and fellow authors, Andrea and Dave Spalding will be in town on Friday to stay overnight. We'll all get dressed fancy to attend the 25th anniversary of Orca Book Publishers. Should be lots of fun, with their children's book covers on display and a silent auction to support literacy. I do love Orca Books, and told Times Colonist reporter Katherine Dedyna just that in a phone interview. The article won't be out until the second week in November, but hey, you can all celebrate now by going out and reading, or better yet, buying and then reading, one of Orca's titles. With classics and a great new list to choose from, how can you go wrong!

And now I'm off to my pilates class so that I can drink champagne on Friday without any guilt whatsoever about those extra calories.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ruby is a Reader

What a crazy busy week.

My new puppy Ruby has settled nicely, and although she is pint-sized, she's claimed my yard as her territory so be warned neighborhood cats! House training is going well with only a few accidents. I do have to watch my computer power cord though, because she finds it most attractive. I confess that I am a little on the tired side given that she hasn't yet figured out that night time is for sleeping and it's probably why I've come down with a cold. But, I'm thrilled to say that Ruby is a reader. Here she is checking out Gordon Korman's Born to Rock, an awesome book about a kid who discovers that his real dad is a rock star.

In non-Ruby news, I managed to get to the Cowichan School District's Young Author Conference all day yesterday and had the opportunity to work with some very fine student writers. This was the first year that grades 10-12 were included in the Conference, and they were so good that they blew me away with at least two of them writing publishable quality poetry. It's so good to connect with young writers of this calibre.

At the other end of the spectrum, I visited kindergarten and grade one classes in Oaklands Elementary School here in Victoria. I just love those kindies! I'm hoping to see a few pet stories come out of that visit!

I also want to congratulate all of the Orca Authors and Illustrators for an awesome book launch held at Bolen's Books. My dear friend Andrea Spalding has the sweetest new board book that you won't want to miss if you or someone you know has a new baby in their life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A busy week ahead

Spring has finally arrived, and after taking a few days off to get my garden back into shape, I am back to work.

Tomorrow I head to Calgary for their wonderful Young Author's Conference where I'll be working with middle grade students. This is such a super conference, and it serves a huge number of students by bringing in dozens of writers. The organizers and kids are awesome, and I can't wait to get there although I'm really hoping the weather is good since I lack a winter coat. Last year I was not terribly lucky since Calgary was hit with a snow storm which left me stranded for more than 8 hours! I'm optimistic though since that can't possibly happen two years in a row. Or can it? Keep your fingers crossed for me and I'll keep you posted.

I'll be back to Victoria just in time for a visit to Oakland's Elementary School primary students, and hopefully, I'll have a package of pre-conference student writing waiting for me when I get home. I should have just enough time to read the work of grades 10, 11, and 12 students who are participating in the Cowichan Young Author's Conference. It's been a while since I've worked with older high school students and I'm excited about helping these promising young writers take their work to the next level. Talk about hitting all the age groups in a single week!

And to top the week off, I will be bringing my new puppy home from Saltspring Island. Somewhere in there I have to do some fencing. Yikes but life is busy. Better get back to work.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Flat Stanley spends a weekend with a children's author

I spent a lovely weekend with girl friends at French Beach this past weekend, and one of my friends brought along two versions of Flat Stanley that her twin grandchildren had sent to her. The idea is that you take Flat Stanley with you on various adventures and send back pictures which the children can share with their classmates. Hmmm. I think that Flat Stanley has done quite a bit of traveling, but I wonder if he's spent a weekend with a children's writer? Here are a few pictures of Linda and I on the deck of our rental house with the two Flat Stanleys. The sunset is gorgeous, and I can assure you that both Flat Stanleys loved the beautiful view from our balcony. So hello to Adam Seifred of Bertschi School in Seattle and to Ava Seifred of Bush School in Seattle.

Puppy update

Puppy update. I popped over to Saltspring yesterday for a little visit with my cutest ever puppy, Ruby. Can't wait until after the
Calgary Young Author's Conference because that's when I get to bring her home. Yippeeee.

Millstream Elementary Rocks

I spent the day out at Millstream Elementary School and had the most wonderful time. The teachers and students at this tiny little Sooke, BC school are awesome. I had time with every one of the kindergarten to grade 6 classes. They had great questions, and were a superb audience. I can't wait to get the lovely poster the kids welcomed me with, but they will all be signing it before it gets mailed to me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Poor me

I'm so sad. I've come down with a cold/flu bug and had to miss Susan Juby's workshop. Ah well, at least I had the chance to catch one of them.

Pender Island

Had an fabulous few days on Pender Island with writer friends Andrea and David Spalding. We explored an ancient First Nation village site and midden which was pretty cool. Here I am with my sweetie Lloyd in front of the midden. And here is the view from Andrea and Dave's front window overlooking Mayne Island.

No wonder they are so inspired as writers! I also caught a snap of this piliated woodpecker raiding the bird feeder.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cutest puppy ever!

Here's a picture of my puppy, the cutest puppy ever! I won't get to bring her home for another month, but I am so excited. Expect another dog story!

Ann Walsh and I attended a Susan Juby workshop

After spending the morning doing a Camino de Santiago de Compostela workshop, I rushed over to pick up fellow author Ann Walsh at her hotel. Then we drove over to the Emily Carr Library where we spent two fantastic hours listening to author Susan Juby talk about writing. It was exhausting, but an interesting take on writing to keep the reader interested. Susan covered voice, character, plot, and dialogue. She is a super teacher and if you get a chance to hear her speak, go for it. If not, you can always read her books or catch an episode of the TV series, Alice, I Think. After the workshop, I drove Ann Walsh back to her hotel (through the snow!) and had glass of wine and a visit with the resident hotel seagull who hangs out on her balcony hoping for a hand-out.

Lunch with Andrea and David Spalding

Had a wonderful visit with fellow authors and friends, Andrea and David Spalding. We brainstormed new novel possibilities while eating lunch and overlooking the Sidney harbour. What fun! After lunch, Andrea and I left David to browse the bookstores while we went off to a new lavender farm. It was wonderful, and the bonus was seeing a one day old duckling.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Who knew Rochelle Strauss was a fan

I received the loveliest email from my daughter who is a sales rep. in the book publishing business in Vancouver. She writes,

"Today I was driving Rochelle Strauss ( author of Tree of Life and One Well) around, and we were chatting and I mentioned that you were my mum. She freaked out, because, it turns out, you are the reason that she started writing books!...she was super-excited, because you're basically her hero."

Most authors don't often get many opportunities to hear that you have influenced someone's life decisions. This totally made my week.

Home for the weekend, and a great read...

So good to be home for a whole weekend. On Monday I'll be visiting Braefoot Elementary School here in Victoria. I'm looking forward to it since I don't often get a lot of time in local schools. No ferries or airplanes to catch...a treat.

I finished the most wonderful book the other day called Graceling by Kristin Cashore. It's an awesome fantasy. For those of you who are Ursula LeGuin fans, I can't recommend it enough. I know more is coming from this fine young author, and I just can't wait for the next installment.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Northern Voice Conference

I'll be in Vancouver at UBC this weekend for the 2009 Northern Voice Conference, a blogging and social media conference. I'll be on a panel called "Sick and tired of blogs." Anyone who blogs regularly will get it, but what you won't get, unless you show up, is the low down on blogger burn out, and how or if you can keep it fresh. It's an awesome event and it's cheap and full of creative awesomeness. Sadly, if you're just hearing about Northern Voice now, it's probably too late for this year cuz happily, it's sold out! See you there, and if not, be sure to catch up next year. Sheryl

Powell's Books

I love book stores and visit them in whatever city I happen to be in. A recent trip to Portland for the Portland Jazz festival obviously meant a trip to Powell's Books. Taking up a city block, they are several stories with an easy layout organized by room colour. My friend and I agreed that we would meet back by the front door in two hours. He made a beeline for history, and I headed straight for the Rose Room dedicated solely to kids books. Since it was a Sunday, I had to thread my way through crowds of kids and parents; something you don't see that often in book stores these days. It isn't hard to figure out why Powell's is so successful while so many of our independent booksellers are closing their doors. Powell's has struck gold when it comes to customer ratings, and here's how:
  1. they have a great website with a newsletter, staff pics, etc.
  2. they employ plenty of staff to help you find what you're looking for
  3. they have special sections for award-winners
  4. rooms are colour coded according to type of book such as Rose for kid's books with further designated sections with each room
  5. every area has multiple shelf tags indicating staff picks, hot reviews, etc. making it easy to find great books no matter what section you're in
  6. and they sell quality used books on the same shelf as new tiles, ensuring their customers get the biggest book bang for their buck (I bought 3 used books which were so inexpensive that I decided I could afford 8 new titles; by the way, I went in specifically looking for two books!)
  7. they even have a coffee shop!
So, if you happen to be passing through Portland, run don't walk to Powell's Books. Hey, they even have a few of my titles, if you happen to be looking. Later. Sheryl

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Puppy coming soon...

I'm so excited. I've been waiting for a puppy, and yesterday Nitty had her litter; 5 gorgeous balls of fluff and one of them will be mine in 2 months! I don't have pictures yet, but here is one the puppies from the last litter taken by her human family. Her name is Lucy, and her owner is a good friend. As you can see, Lucy is a reader, even if she isn't quite as literary as her owner. Of course my puppy will be a great reader too! Watch for puppy pictures; coming soon! Oh, and maybe even another dog book on the joys, or not, of puppy training! Sheryl

Friday, February 06, 2009

Happy February

It's true. I've been a total slacker in the blogging department, although, not in all things. Victoria's first white Xmas since the 1970's has come and gone, including all this snow in my front yard. With the holidays well behind me, I have begun reading stories for the Canadian Children's Book Centre's national writing contest. This year I'll be judging grade 4 stories, and so far I have read some real gems. I've kept busy with school visits to Ranch Park and Baker Drive Elementary Schools in Coquitlam, a visit organized by the wonderful Sandra Chan, the librarian of both schools. She and I manage to organized the visit while I was traveling in Spain last year. I also had the great pleasure of visiting James Bay Community School here in Victoria. Dedicated librarian Steve Marta organized the school's literacy week around my vist which included a new authographed book for every single student in the school. To top it all off, he was a super host.

Now that things have quieted down a little, I'm back to working on my next novel, and looking forward to picking out my new puppie from the litter of my friend's mixed miniature poodle cross. Right now I'm anxiously waiting for the pups to be born. Soon though I'll bet my new dog will give me plenty to write about. Until next time...Sheryl