Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My new site is up

I've been busy building myself a new site which includes a wordpress blog and website rolled into one.  I'm gradually transferring content.  This is where all new posts will be located.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

National Aboriginal Day and Summer Solstice Today

Today is the summer solstice, but also National Aboriginal Day.  I'm hoping to get to a few of the activities to celebrate with my First Nations and Metis friends.  Just about right now, a Salish Welcome Totem is being raised at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.  I'll be there in spirit, and will try to get down soon to take a picture of it for you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Guardian's top non-fiction list

The Guardian posted their 100 top picks for non-fiction.  Sadly, there were quite a few of the titles that I hadn't read, but then I do tend more toward fiction, so I suppose I can be forgiven. Here are a few that I read, although I confess that when it came to Hawkings' A Brief History of Time, it was more of a "tried to read" kind of thing.

It makes me wonder if anyone has put a similar list together for kid's non-fiction?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blink & Caution takes home the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

Here's a  shout out to Tim Wynne-Jones for winning the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction.  Way to go Tim!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Michael Hauge's 6 stage plot structure

Today I'm trying to apply Michael Hauge's "6 stage plot structure" to the young adult novel I've been working on.  He also has a wonderful "Story Concept Template" that I find useful. If you don't know who Michael Hauge is and you have writerly aspirations, you may want to spend a little time on his website. You may even want to order a book or two. This guy is amazing.  I took a two day workshop with him, and I would love to do more.  He gets right the heart of your writing, doesn't mince words, and he's good.  His credentials speak for themselves.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Cat is Out of the Bag: Pajama Press

My former publisher, Gail Winskill has started a new press.  I'm super excited.  They are starting out with three fabulous authors, who have all been edited by Ann Featherstone, my long-time editor.  I just know that this new publishing house for children's titles will be great.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Help Slave Lake, AB rebuild their fire-devestated library

My son-in-law has been up fighting the fire in Slave Lake Alberta.  In a phone conversation to us he spoke about how terrible the destruction was.  What a nightmare for the people of that fire-devestated town. My heart goes out to them. One of their losses has been their new public library.  I'm so happy to see that support from other libraries, publishers and book lovers has been pouring in. Please consider helping with:
1) cash donations which can be made through on their "Make a Donation" link, or
2) donating new or nearly new books (they are asking for books no older than 2 years, probably to avoid musty cast-offs).  These can be shipped to the Peace Library system headquarters for cataloguing and storage until a temporary library can be opened in Slave Lake.

ATTN: Books for Slave Lake Library
Peace Library System
8301 -- 110 Street
Grande Prairie, AB T8W 6T2

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mom's out there, especially those who have taken the time to read to children.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blogging vaction

Life is crazy busy right now, so I've decided to cut myself a little slack.  I'm taking a blogging vacation until things settle down a little.  Feel free to peruse the past few years of  posts.  I'll still be tweeting and facebooking on occasion so I won't be disappearing entirely.  Happy spring.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My friend Margaret

Yesterday I visited my dear elderly friend Margaret in the hospital.  She's had a stroke, and is making pretty good progress. But Margaret is a fish out of water in the hospital. She misses her books, even though she is still too weak to hold them. A smattering of magazines and a few soft covered picture books are not enough to feed Margaret's lively curiosity and active mind.  She's one of those people who has read at least a book a day since forever.  She can discuss Virginia Wolf, the latest Margaret Atwood, or the appropriateness of the ending of Lane Smith's It's a Book, with equal ease.  Unfortunately, talking books don't work for Margaret as she is a little deaf and is in a room with several others.

Every Thursday since Margaret has been housebound (several years now) she has held a "salon" day where friends dropped by toting books and ideas.  Lively discussions, wonderful snacks, and exotic teas have always been part of those Thursdays which I have missed since Margaret's illness.  Still, Margaret is tenacious, and although she desperately wants to be home, with her books, and the lovely garden that her husband Ernst has created, Margaret is still with us. For that I am grateful. There aren't many people in this world as generous, kind, loving and cracker-jack smart as Margaret.  Today after work, I will bring along my Kobo, and my boyfriend's iPad to see if either work for Margaret. I have my fingers crossed that one of them will do the trick.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Celebrate Teen Lit Day with Rock the Drop

Yep, it's Teen Lit Day today, and there is no shortage of ways to celebrate.  For ideas on how to make this day rock, check out YALSA (Young Adult Library Services)

Meanwhile, readergirlz, one of my favorite blogs, have come up with a pretty cool way to get the word out. It's called Rock the Drop!  Here's what you do.

1. Visit their site (the link is above)
2. Download the same bookplate I've snagged below
3. Print it
4. Paste it into your favorite YA novel
5. Drop the book in a public place (bus stop, coffee shop, etc.
6. Snap a photo 
7. Send it on over to readergirz AT gmail Dot com 
8. check out their site to see the YA love
9. Thank the cool ladies at readergirlz
10. spread the word

Here's my contribution.  I left it in the lobby of my local rec. centre and it was gone when I finished my workout an hour later.  I know that whoever has it will enjoy Miss Smithers by Susan Juby.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Volunteer Week

This is National Volunteer Week, a special time in the year to celebrate how important volunteers are in our community. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that volunteers make the world go around.  So, be sure to let volunteers know how much you appreciate them no only this week, but every day of the year.  And while your at it, consider becoming a volunteer yourself if you haven't already...become a big sister or big brother, offer to drive seniors in your community to appointments, help out with a school fundraiser, volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen, organize a beach or park clean-up, donate one on one time to a literacy group, or offer your building skills to Habitat for Humanity.  There are endless ways that you can make our world a better place.  Make a difference today.  Volunteer!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

When work is good...

Yesterday I started playing around with a new picture book manuscript over lunch but had to leave it to get back to what I'd been working on earlier.  Last night I dreamed about poka dot pajamas and this morning I got up and the words to the yesterday's picture book flowed through my fingers onto the screen.  Magic I tell you...pure magic.  Of course, tomorrow when I look at it again, I'll see all the little flaws that will require painstaking and finicky editing, but for now, I'm thrilled.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Professional development is better with muffins

What a great morning.  It started out at 5am.  I was on Galiano Island visiting friends, but had to rush back to meet up with fellow author Julie Lawson for a little  private professional development, and of course food; muffins and tea in this case.  What fun.  Be sure to catch Julie at the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable on Monday, and watch for her new book, Ghosts of the Titanic.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Yikes...I missed International Children's Book Day

Can't believe that I missed International Children's Book Day which was April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson.

I guess I was just too caught up in March Madness basketball and wedding stuff. More wedding venues coming up.  Looking at a little community hall by a lake out of town, a friends farm, and then taking the ferry to Galiano Island where we'll check out a friend's place for the ceremony, and the community hall for the reception.  So much to do!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Weddings and Basketball

Today is all about weddings and basketball...I can already hear you saying,"What?"

It makes sense, honestly... In a few minutes I'll be heading out to the ferry to pick up my daughter & her longtime boyfriend ( I suppose I should be saying fiancé now that they are engaged) to look at wedding venues.  As a former UBC basketball star, this 6 foot 8 inch sweetheart of a guy is very very into basketball.  And, as it turns out, today is the showdown for "The Final Four" of NCAA March Madness; and will likely be some of the best college ball of the season.  So, you see, weddings and basketball.  They go together, at least in our family.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Poetry Month and Kidlitosphere Central

Garden with some tulips and narcissusImage via Wikipedia
April is an exciting month.  Spring is in the air.  The publishing world is aflutter with fabulous new books, and the entire month is a celebration of poetry. There are poets and poetry out there to inspire pretty much anyone and everyone.  At Kidlitosphere Central, more than a dozen Kid's Lit and YA Lit bloggers have stepped up to share all things poetry;  from a Poetry Potluck to a Poetry Party...from EduHaiku to Teen Poetry, you'll want to check out the links.
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No more least not for a while

My running career, such as it is, is on hold...back to walking.  Could be worse.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jessie's Island, a best-seller since 1992

Pleased as punch to hear that my second book, Jessie's Island, continues to make the The Association of Book Publishers of BC's best seller list.  Not bad for a book that I published in 1992!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't miss BC Book Prizes Soirée 2011

BC Book Prizes Soirée 2011

Event Date(s)
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The Listel Hotel, Impressionist Gallery
1300 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
7:00 - 9:00 pm | free
Event Description

The West Coast Book Prize Society invites you to the 8th annual BC Book Prizes Soirée on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at The Listel Hotel.
It’s a great opportunity to mix and mingle with nominated authors and BC’s vibrant literary community while supporting the BC Book Prizes On Tour program.
Enter to win great door prizes and bid for weekend getaways, prize-winning books and many other treats in a fabulous Silent Auction while enjoying light refreshments from The Listel Hotel.
Finalist authors will sign copies of their books at the People’s Co-op Bookstore table.

The BC Book Prizes Soirée 2011 is made possible by the following sponsors:

  • The Listel Hotel
  • People’s Co-op Bookstore
  • Please contact us if you’re interested in sponsoring the Soirée

Friday, March 25, 2011

Harper Government has fallen

The big news is that the Harper Government has fallen and Canadians will be going to the polls sometime in May.  Now's the time to let your MP's know that the arts matter!  Make your vote count.

Earth Hour is March 26 at 8:30 PM

The logo for Earth HourImage via Wikipedia
Tomorrow is earth hour.  Help the planet by unplugging for an hour.  At 8:30 PM on Saturday March 26, people around the globe will be switching off their lights for Earth Hour.  To find out more and to find out about other ways to help our planet, visit
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A terribly sad anniversary.

Today is a terribly sad; it's the 20th anniversary of the abduction of Michael Dunahee, a 4 year old boy who disappeared from a park in Victoria, BC.  His parents appealed for information about their son again on this most difficult day.  They still have no idea if he is alive or dead.  I can't even imagine their anguish.  My heart goes out to them and to the families of all children to have disappeared. Here is a site where you'll find a few links if you want to support them

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy World Poetry Day

Happy World Poetry Day!  \Celebrate by sharing a poem with someone you love, or with a unexpected door just might open in your life.

A Leaf For Hand In Hand

    By Walt Whitman

A leaf for hand in hand!
You natural persons old and young!
You on the Mississippi, and on all the branches and bayous of the
You friendly boatmen and mechanics! You roughs!
You twain! And all processions moving along the streets!
I wish to infuse myself among you till I see it common for you to
walk hand in hand!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

a walk with Val & our dogs

Had an lovely walk with the awesome Val Wyatt, non-fiction editor for Kid's Can Press.  Our dogs raced up and down the beach while we had a great chat.  It's so refreshing to be able to talk to someone about the changes and trends in the business we both love and have spent so long working in.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness

ASAA March Madness 2011 015Image by ACVB PR via Flickr
A whole day of March Madness.  Love college b-ball!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Changing the World, One Child at a Time

MangoesImage by Mahesh Khanna via Flickr
Took a break to eat absolutely yummy fresh mango.  Still reading story entries for the Canadian Children's Book Centre writing contest, "Changing the World, One Child at a Time".  Hope to get out to do a few hours of yard work because everything is leaping out of the ground faster than you can say spring!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Canadian authors speak up: Is this country good to its writers?

An interesting Globe and Mail post this morning about working as a writer in Canada. Well worth reading, even though they didn't feature any kid's book writers.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Icelandic children's author speaking at UVIC in early April

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, author, at the Edinburgh ...Image via Wikipedia
Yrsa Sigur›ardóttir is an Icelandic children's writer and civil engineer involved in large scale hydro electric projects.  She'll will be speaking at the University of Victoria on Monday, 4 April, 7:30 pm at the Clearihue Building, Room A311 

With characters like the Little Mermaid, Pippi and the Moomins, Scandinavian literature has a secure place in the hearts of children. But what of other Scandinavian writers for the young? Yrsa may not be well-known among English speakers, but that's all the more reason not to miss this chance to explore the literature of another culture, especially the work of one of it's award-winning authors.

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Canadian Children's Book Centre Story Writing Contest

Off to pick up the package of stories sent by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.  I wonder how many there'll be this year.  Last year I had about 200!  This year I'll be judging the grade four stories and poems guided by the theme of Changing the World One Child at a Time.  Check out the Canadian Children's Book Centre website for more info on Book Week and how you can be a part of it.  Can't wait to dig in to those stories!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Secure Footing in a Changing Literary Landscape

Last night was my first run in 2 weeks...ugh, unpleasant, painful, totally back of the pack stuff; but at least I did it despite flying in on a red-eye flight & having zero sleep.

No time to play catch up though.  Today is the Writers' Union of Canada's all day symposium, "Secure Footing in a Changing Literary Landscape."  Several writer friends who are coming from out of town will be staying over, and I have to come up with a quick but delicious dinner.  So, will have to hit the grocery store on the way home.

My take on the changing literary landscape of the future is that we writers will have to continue to be creative while being especially resourceful with the little we make, but hey isn't that what we've been doing all along!'

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home from Hawaii

Tired but happy to be back home from Hawaii.  We had a lovely time...some rain, but still warm.  The humpback whales were breaching & spy-hopping, the waterfalls were roaring & raging, the trade-winds were blowing & howling, and we loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Women's Day, celebrating 100 years

Happy International Women's Day. Although we didn't really start celebrating IWD here in North America until the 1970's, this is the 100th year celebration.  Join with women across the world to celebrate the strides we have made since 1911.
A 1932 Soviet poster for International Women's...Image via Wikipedia
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today's the day to wish Dr. Seuss a happy birthday.  He published 44 children's books, with off-the-wall c characters and dynamo rhyme. We all know his books, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, an How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but my fav. has always been One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. His birthday  has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association so happy birthday Read Across America Day too.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Oscars tonight.  Hawaii tomorrow.  Life is not bad...I have a few posts scheduled to appear while I'm away.  Otherwise, see you in two weeks.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

No news is good news

The news is that it's snowing here in Victoria AGAIN...
Fortunately, an Air Canada seat sale has come to the rescue.  I'll be off to Hawaii on Monday morning, so take that snow!  No, I'm not bringing my laptop, so no news will be good news at least until I get back.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Sid Fleischman Award for humor announced

Congratulations to the Sid Fleischman Award Winner

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze
by Alan Silberberg

SCBWI Golden Kite Awards announced

Congratulations to the Golden Kite Award Winners
Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer Holm
Random House Books for Young Readers
The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie
by Tanya Lee Stone
Viking Juvenile
Big Red Lollipop
by Rukhsana Khan
Viking Juvenile
A Pocket Full of Posies
by Salley Mavor

Golden Kite Honor Recipients

by Kathryn Erskine
Fort Mose
by Glennette Tilley Turner
Interrupting Chicken
by David Ezra Stein
Bunny Days
by Tao Nyeu