November 17th, 2015 § Comments Off on Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Author Fest! § permalink
I just got back from Ottawa where I attended OPL’s Teen Author Fest with Megan Crewe and Morgan Rhodes. What an amazing time! The librarians and teens that we met were welcoming and enthusiastic. Megan and Morgan are fantastic speakers and we got along so well, we were asked several times if we’d known each other for a while; it really feels as though we have! I hope our Rat Pack can hit the road together again sometime really soon!
The day was packed but organized and relaxed. We started the festival with a panel chat with students from John McCrae Secondary School at the Ruth E. Dickinson branch of OPL that was so engaging, some students nearly missed their bus! Big thanks to our moderator librarian Jean Broughton for being such a wonderful host!
After a great dinner and some very lively conversation, we were off to the Other Worlds panel discussion at the Nepean Branch with OPL’s Christine Chevalier, Candice Hupe, and several other awesome librarians and teens. The audience was great and so was the panel! Book sales were handled by Kaliedoscope Books.
At the end of this superlative day we jumped in a cab and rode back to ARC, our lux hotel, where we had a posh nosh and a great night’s sleep. Blue skies and crisp air greeted us in the morning. We grabbed a cab to the airport and then a quick Porter jet home. Thanks OPL! Teen Author Fest was a blast! Hope we can come back soon!
August 5th, 2015 § § permalink
Last night I had the most potent dream. I dreamt a shadowy demon crept into my room and set upon me as I slept. I fought with all my strength, the demon growling as it tried to overpower me. With sheer strength of will I managed to fend the monster off and it fled.
Then I saw an image, as clear as if it were a photo in front of me. It was a powerful being – a beautiful, otherworldly man – sitting on a plain throne-like chair, a sword held loosely in one hand, a gold light shining all around him. He was tall with short blond hair, all sinew and muscle, but not bulky. He wore leggings of some kind, and a tight shirt of silver and black, no wings. He looked out at me, confident, strong. When I asked who he was he showed me the name AURIEL in big gold letters above him. It was as though the cover of a fantasy novel or unique tarot card had come to life.
I’d never heard the name Auriel before and I didn’t know what it all meant. As a lark, I googled the name when I got up and was surprised to see that Auriel (also known as Uriel or Oriel) is the fourth archangel whose name means “the light of God.” He is known as the angel of repentance who watches over thunder and terror, and is often depicted as being as “pitiless as any demon.” He accompanies archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, ruling the earth at the end of days. He is also known as the patron saint of the arts and is called upon for answers, insights and ideas. He rules the mental plane and assists in the shift of universal consciousness. He is even known to help students with exams.
I went on to discover that Auriel/Uriel has been referenced in many books and movies, none of which I’ve read or seen. It seems rather odd to me now but I’ve never done any deep reading of angelology. Simply put, I don’t know angels outside of the most fundamental of fundamentals, like Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, and only in a limited sense. In my book, Dark Company, I deal in cosmic light beings. But they are not angels in the way most people imagine them to be. So how is it that I dreamt of an entity that is completely unknown to me?
I was more than surprised to say the least. What a strange dream with a strange encounter and an even stranger outcome. What did it all mean? Am I supposed to write this character into a novel? Is he to be my new muse? Why did he come to me at this time?
My husband considers it a kind of conversion, and I can’t help but feel he’s right. I am compelled to find out more; the experience has pushed me in a new direction. Maybe he appeared to me with an unspoken message, or at least one that I can’t remember at this time.
Whatever the reason for my introduction to Auriel, it was a rich and evocative experience that I will never forget, the deeper meaning I hope someday to discover.
July 12th, 2015 § Comments Off on If wishes were horses… § permalink
Meet Mystical. I made him for a sweet little girl who has just discovered horses. She’s been riding a broom around her yard, seeking adventure, and I thought it was time to take her interest up a cavaletti or two. And so, Mystical was born!
He is the hobby horse I would have wanted as a child – except mine would have been jet black. In making him, I was transported back to younger days. He’s a far cry from the sticks adorned with binder twine manes and tails that my sisters and I used to make. But those stick horses were an expression of our deepest passion, and we road them day and night until we got horses of our own.
I hope Mystical inspires a lifetime of horse fever in the heart of this sweet little girl. I hope someday we can ride together. Until then, may Mystical carry her safely on all kinds of fantastical adventures!
Happy Birthday, Darcy!
August 26th, 2014 § Comments Off on German Educational Company…? § permalink
I received an email from a German educational company asking permission to use clips and pictures from No Small Thing for their school program. Thrilling! But then my website promptly erased it. So, if you see this, and you’re that company, please feel free to email me again. I’ll make sure my page behaves this time 😉
April 1st, 2014 § Comments Off on Waiting § permalink
One of the hardest parts of writing books is waiting for feedback from your editor. It’s a good time to rest from writing, take a break, do something different, or maybe even start another writing project completely unrelated. But as the weeks go by, you start to itch to get back to the novel, and you hope your editor will respond in a timely manner.
I’m waiting to hear back from my editor about my not-so-new teen novel. I’ve been working on it for years, off and on, and now I want to see it fully realized. I took a month-long detour into another project, not writing related. And it’s been so much fun. But I’m ready to get back to it now. I’ve cleaned my desk and organized my office. I found things I didn’t even know I’d lost. I even finished my taxes a month ahead of time. I have a four-week writing workshop to teach and that should occupy me nicely. But after that, I’ll be ready to write again.
But there’s nothing you can do to speed up an editor. Tentative emails with pleasantries about the weather garner few results. So you wait. And you hope that when the feedback does come, it’s good. *fingers crossed*
February 16th, 2014 § § permalink
So, I just finished my new novel, the one I’ve been picking at for the last eight years. I want to eat a whole cake by myself. Not just because I’m excited to have finished the book. But because I just discovered that the name of my main character was used in another teen novel that was just recently released. Which means I need some dessert therapy.
What am I going to do?
Eat cake and find a new name, of course. But I was crushed when I made this discovery. I’d lived with that character’s name for so long, it was a part of me. How can I replace it?
I’ve been searching, searching, searching, trying to find something suitable. But it took me two years just to come up with a new title for the book, which I only did because my editor didn’t like the original one. I don’t have that kind of time anymore. I need to come up with a name, fast.
Anyway, my OTHER new book – the one that took 15 years – is coming out in May. Did I mention that? It’s called Millhouse. It’s a dream come true. Another milestone achieved. I illustrated this one, inside and out. And it’s a hardcover. Now all I need is to sell the movie rights and the fantasy will be complete. Heehee!
November 12th, 2013 § Comments Off on …ummm… § permalink
…has it really been a year since my last post…? I’m shocked at myself. Where did the time go?
A lot has happened, though. Not that I’m making excuses…but…
This time last year, my middle grade novel, Millhouse, was picked up by Tundra. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of crazy activity: writing, editing and illustrating. Yes. I am proud to say that I illustrated my newest novel – including the cover! It was a dream come true! But there was a lot of work involved – so much so that I thought I would cry at one point.
But I got it done and today I am celebrating my novel’s journey to the US to be published! In a few short months, I will be holding the culmination of 15 years of work. It’s almost too amazing to bear.
Nevermind! A pastry freakout is in order! Or something equally decadent…
Nom, nom! 🙂
November 29th, 2012 § Comments Off on It’s been a good long while… § permalink
I have been very lax, dear readers, and I apologize. For the last seven months I’ve had my head buried in the revision of my new teen novel. It didn’t come easily: every step of the way was uphill. But it was worth the journey. And the sun is very pleasant at the top of the mountain.
I’m waiting for edits to come back, though I’m not drumming my fingers on my desk. I took the time to draw a picture of one of my favourite characters from the novel. Her name is Kestrel. Her friend’s name is Sebbie. She would love to meet you. 😀
June 22nd, 2012 § Comments Off on Mucke, Knochen und Pieps! § permalink
I was completely stunned yesterday when my mailperson showed up carrying a huge box with my name on it. I had no idea what it could be or where it was from.
After paying the $18.50 COD, I threw the box on the couch, then saw the Taschenbuch logo on the side and realized what it was: my author copies of the German translation of The Odds Get Even. I’d completely forgotten about it.
I opened the box and was gobsmacked to discover that the book is a hardcover. I stood there, staring at it in wonder for several minutes before I even picked it up.
I turned the book in my hands. What a beautiful thing it is. Then I opened it and found the illustrations: bona fide flip animation comics. I was beside myself with glee! So many years I’ve dreamed of having such a thing in one of my novels, and here it was, right in my hands – and I didn’t even have to ask.
And better still, when I looked at the back cover, there is an illustration of The Fart King ripping a big one. I couldn’t believe it! How was this possible??
When I wrote the story all those years ago, my editor was uncomfortable with the name “Fart King.” She thought kids would find it offensive. I tried to convince her otherwise but to no avail. So we came to a compromise: I could call Larry Harry the Fart King three or four times, then I had to find something else to call him. Hmmmm.
To meet these parameters, I devised a convoluted storyline to allow the kids to change “Fart King” to “Prisoner 95.” Those of you who have read the book know what I’m talking about here.
After all this, I get the German version, and the farts are front row center. The Germans get the humour. What fun!
Staring at this book, (I have a copy beside me on my desk), I can honestly say it is the culmination of a lifelong dream: that a publisher would take my work, advance me adequately, and realize the finished product with such faith, such passion and pride, that I myself couldn’t have done a better job.
My new hope is that the children of Germany enjoy this story and that it makes its way into the hands of many. And I hope the faith that DTV has in this book returns to them ten-fold. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to type an umlaut in my blogs!
Welcome to the world, Mucke, Knochen und Pieps!
April 20th, 2012 § Comments Off on Been so long… § permalink
It’s been far too long since I posted last, Dear Reader. But I can assure you I’ve been busy. I’m not procrastinating. No. I’ve had my nose so close to the grind I didn’t realize how swiftly time was passing. And here we are.
One of the things that kept me cloistered in my office is my new novel. Having missed two years of deadlines I thought I’d better pony up. So I chained myself to my desk for the last six months and ground out a readable draft.
The truth is, it wasn’t the missed deadlines that set me to purpose. It’s the fact that my editor at Random House is soon to depart on maternity leave. The idea of waiting six to twelve months for the book to be read was unthinkable.
As my mother used to say, “an imminent hanging focuses the mind.” So I harnessed my best horses to this book-draft wagon and set to driving. I am proud to say the draft is in my editor’s hands as I write this.
But that’s not all that occupied me. There were taxes and weddings and birthdays and designing an album cover for a new band, and all the things that crop up in spring. And did I mention my new-new writing project…?