Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer Camp!

I've never been to a sleep-over summer camp. Last year I taught at the Vancouver Public Library's Canadian Summer Writing Camp, but that doesn't count, because we still went home at the end of the day.

Things are about to change.

On Monday, I shall hie myself off to Abbottsford to teach (and sleep over!) at the Creative Writing for Children (CWC) Summer Camp 2007. Three days of writing stories, learning new skills and making great friends. I'll bring my camera and get a few shots of some of the action to share. I'm also bringing my computer -- time to take another shot at DEADLINE.

One of the CWC teachers this year is James McCann. James' new book PYRE has just come out and he and I will be sharing a book launch sometime soon. Stay tuned for details!

~kc, wondering if there is such a thing as marshmallow-free s'mores...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday, Monday

Another busy day. SiWC board meeting with more good news -- a new presenter confirmed today. Will be putting together a note to the listserv to outline some of the good things happening behind the scenes of this year's conference.

But first -- a Very Important Confab in Bellingham tomorrow -- the SiWC Contest Assistants put their heads together at last!

The SiWC Writing Contest has an early deadline this year -- August 3, 2007. More info can be found at

Got a lovely note from Helene Boudreau yesterday. We met for the first time in Toronto over Thai dinner, and though I may have shared just a little too much of myself with her, she's clearly forgiven me. Helene is (along with Rose Holck and Marsha Skrypuch) a section leader in the YA and Kidcrit forums. Apparently MS. Z is to be the featured book for July in the YA/Children's forum. Got to send in my bio, first, though -- it's on my list, Helene! (I hate that I can't insert your accents here, dammit.)

I'm really looking forward to being a part of it!

And as for the pic, well...

doesn't everyone love a little baby duck?


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Stargate fixation...

My daughter is a geek.

She's proud of this state of geekiness. Revels in it. She's an IB student, about to go into Grade 12, spends six days out of seven in the pool, training with her swim team, spends most of her time with her nose in a book.

MOST of her time.

Lately, however, I've noticed she's been drawn to the dark side. Her inner geek is being sucked dry by a Stargate fixation. She's taken to buying entire seasons, planning her life around the next re-run and locking into the final episode that ran this week. She happily reported to me that she is not sad the final season is over, as there are at least two movies planned.

Now, I remember Kurt Russell running through the very first Stargate what seems like eons ago. Not a bad movie, as I recall. But was it the substance from which 8 or 9 seasons of a tv show could emerge like bacteria on agar? Apparently so.

I don't know if I am alone, here, in saying that this particular fixation is a mystery to me. I feel so sad for the guy forced to wear the '80's glasses into the new millennium. It hurts me to see Richard Dean Anderson morphing into William Shatner. And maybe I'm crazy, but I have to say I'm very relieved they at least let the guy with the little gold issue on his forehead grow his hair for the final season...


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Apropos of not much...

This is Seamus, in a state of such total relaxation that he cannot close his lips over his teeth.

I envy this state.
I am not there.

In actual fact, I am currently a brain in search of a pensieve. Too many thoughts -- not enough cognative material left in which to make sense of any of 'em. If you don't get the allusion, you are definitely behind in your Potter reading. Better get on it -- July 21st is looming!

I may have expounded upon this subject in this space before (and if I have, see above mental state for explanation) but the reason that I love reading JK Rowling is her express adoration of language. Dumbledore's pensieve is a case in point. The word evokes the state of mind one requires for deep thought, the vessel in which to do it AND the emotion one might experience whilst in such a state. Pure genius. And as a liguist, she also creates brilliant voices for her characters.

I am lucky enough to be reading another story by my friend Michael Hiebert, who in this case is giving the most human voice to his main character, who happens to be Jesus. Michael is brilliant at voice -- the most important weapon in a writer's arsenal (other than a stellar ability with a decent military metaphor, of course...). If you want a taste of his efforts, check out My New Cardboard Box, his blog. (The link is over to the side -- just on the left over there somewhere. No...further down. You've got it.) The Jesus Book Tour is amazing, funny and poignant and wicked. I can't wait to see how it ends.

The amazing women of Pandora's Collective have also picked July 21 as the date of their Summer Dream event, this year to be held in Stanley Park. My buddy James McCann and I will be a part of it, representing CWILL BC. I am pretty sure I'll also be doing a reading for the North Shore Writers' Association and possibly even the CAA. James and I are also working on the details of a book co-launch -- perhaps to be held that day in defiance of the Rowling juggernaut. More to come as things coalesce.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Still Awaiting Final Confirmation...

...but I think my buddy James McCann's new book PYRE has finally made it's much-delayed (and much-anticipated) appearance. Watch this space for further details, or better still, cruise on over to James' blog for the latest. He's at

In other news, I just found out yesterday that Quill & Quire, Canada's publishing industry stalwart, has also got a blog. The mysterious Quillblogger even mentioned my so-brief-you'd-better-not blink appearance at the CCBC event at Book Expo. We'll forgive the minor misquote in favour of cheering their acknowledgement of the existence of an author hailing from west of the Rockies. (West of the Coast range, too, if you want to get technical about it...). Go Q&Q!

Lots more going on, but tonight my head is full of the boy's penultimate lacrosse game of the season, the first in which he was actually knocked off his feet, and the second in which he scored a goal. His team won a resounding victory tonight, hot on the heels of a win in Abbotsford last night, so he's a pretty happy guy these days. Go Northshore!

And to close, perhaps a fitting shot of the goalie he built to stand in when he doesn't have a human around to take shots at -- looks a bit familiar, somehow...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back from Toronto...

...and with much to catch up on.

To begin -- a quick look back at the Spring Book Hatching. We had a pearly grey morning which dissolved into full rain by the time the event began, but for some reason still ended up with a full house and many happy people.
The Alice MacKay room of the Vancouver Public Library was full to overflowing with authors, illustrators, kids, parents, teachers and book lovers of all shapes and sizes. The place looked great thanks to Kathie Shoemaker and her helpers. Blackberry Books reported brisk sales, countless autographs were signed, dozens of Cobs cinnamon buns consumed and tons of book prizes were given out to joyful recipients.

Cynthia Nugent, who was celebrating the launch of two new books, dashed around taking pictures, and can be given full credit for the shots displayed here. At the top of the page, we have huckster Dan Bar-El, demonstrating a great book-selling pitch along with extraordinary sartorial flair. To the left is CWILL BC President James McCann, in deep consultation with brilliant emcee (and Pandora's Collective founder) Sita Carboni.

Here is Maggie deVries in possession of a Really Big Fish, (with a preternaturally calm Ainslie Manson seated nearby).

And finally, a shot of a Most Relieved CWILL BC vice president (standing beside her equally pleased colleague), enjoying the evidence of a good time being had by all.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to make the inaugural Spring Book Hatching such a success, and to all who came out to enjoy. We may have to just do this again sometime!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Book Expo Canada

Am blogging in the shadow of the CN Tower after a full day in Toronto. (My hotel is the tiny little brown building to the right of the base of the tower in the picture.) Got in this morning at 2:30 am and after a few hours sleep, hit the ground running. It's been a GREAT day, with lots of excitement in the works -- more details when I can. I shared the stage today for a brief while with a number of other authors as the Canadian Children's Book Centre sponsored a reading of some of their 'Our Choice' authors from last year. SHADES OF RED was an 'Our Choice' selection, and I had a lot of fun listening to the other authors speak about their work. Plan to chase down several to get them to sign their books for me!

Met with my wonderful agent, Carolyn Swayze, for a non-coffee chat after she'd been to the Christie Blatchford breakfast. It was great fun to see her, particularly since we both had to travel 3000 km to do so.

Ran into Eric Walters and was able to thank him in person for the great blurb he wrote for Ms. Z. I caught him signing at at least three booths today. Prolific man --and _really_ nice guy.

Many celebs from the CanLit world to be seen wandering around today, not to mention a Stockwell Day sighting in the airport. How could my day be any more complete?

Dinner with a goodly percentage of the CompuServe Writer's Forum KidCrit crew. I met several of the group for the first time in the flesh and it was great fun. Anita Daher is here celebrating SPIDER'S SONG and RACING FOR DIAMONDS. Marsha Skrypuch is celebrating the impending arrival of her DEAR CANADA book about the Spirit Lake internment camp. Marina Cohen was signing at the Vanwell booth. Helaine Becker was signing today for Maple Tree Press and tomorrow will be back to sign some of her many titles for Scholastic. Mahtab was celebrating her very first book --THE THIRD EYE, with Dundurn. Nancy, Helene and Deborah made the evening complete.

The Spring Book Hatching went off yesterday without a hitch. (Well -- the coffee arrived a little late. But that was it. So no hitches that couldn't be bourne....)

Will have SBH pictures and more detail soon. I have once again run out of day.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Actual Cover

Here is my first view of the final cover art for the new novel. I am really thrilled and have to extend a warm thank you to Eric Walters for his lovely blurb. The scrawl is not his -- but in fact belongs to Dundurn designer Alison Carr who has done a fantastic job with this book. (Apparently Alison's mother -- a teacher -- had a hand in the lettering!) Thanks, Alison! Thanks Alison's mum!


Ms. Z and MS

Spent most of today working on the SiWC brochure -- a hard-copy summary of the program for this year. Some astounding writers will be in attendance -- check out to see a listing of presenters. Names, pix, bios and workshops are slowing going up -- our webmaster Dale McGladdery is doing a bang-up job.

Still haven't held Ms. Zed in my hands -- hoping a copy arrives by Friday...

Hey -- a shout-out to Kirsti Wakelin, CWILL BC member, blogger and arteest extraordinaire, who will be missing our Spring Book Hatching this weekend to do a Very Big Bike Ride in support of research for MS. If you'd care to find out more, or pledge to help her meet her goal, here's the link:


Monday, June 04, 2007

Ms. Zephyr is a Book!

Got an email from my editor, Barry Jowett, today.

He was holding my new book in his hands. He likes it. I hope I like it!

I can't wait to see it, I know that much.

Soon -- in time for this Saturday's Spring Book Hatching, I hope.

So, I don't have new book euphoria just yet, but I _almost_ have completed book euphoria. DEADLINE is now 100,000 words when I thought it was going to be 85, but it is a mere couple of pages from being finished. Had a great writing day today and hoping tomorrow brings the euphoria. Hope with me. Chant with me -- Charlie's mantra: Stay Calm, Staying Calm.

Much happening this week:

  • MS. ZEPHYR becomes a book. (It was not supposed to happen until tomorrow, but it actually happened one day early!)
  • Spring Book Hatching on Saturday
  • Flying to Toronto Saturday night
  • Book Expo on Sunday and Monday, with CCBC launch of Ms. Z and signing at the Dundurn booth lined up, along with meetings of many friends from afar.
  • Somewhere in there I have to fit in DEADLINE becoming (if not a book) a completed ms.
  • Plus all the things I have to do before I leave for Toronto.
But... is this all fun?

Why yes -- it is.

I love my job.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

DEADLINE Approaches

Worked all day today (with the exception of a couple of hours spent viewing a boy's lacrosse game from atop an eliptical trainer, thereby killing two birds with one treadmill) on meeting the DEADLINE deadline, which is, in fact, tomorrow.

I am touching wood as I type this (which makes typing darned difficult, I have to say) but I think I may finish this thing tomorrow. Not finish--finish, but finish. (I could articulate this more succinctly, but the writers among you know what I mean, and the non-writers must know by now that the writers are nuts anyway, so there we are.)

Got the absolutely marvellous news yesterday that MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK will be delivered on Tuesday to Dundurn. Much planning of launches and readying for this week's Spring Book Hatching, trip to Toronto, CCBC event at Book Expo Canada, Dundurn signing at same and meeting of many friends and compatriots throughout next weekend. (The image of the book tower, left, is courtesy of the Book Expo Canada website...)

All of this predicated on achieving above DEADLINE deadline -- so in order to facilitate same, this is it for now. (Forgot to mention that whilst watching the lacrosse match and pedalling rapidly nowhere, I also read the latest David Sedaris story in the New Yorker. The undisputed highlight of the day.)