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