Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kootenay Tour -- Grand Forks and Castlegar, Day Two

My first view of Grand Forks in the morning -- flowers, banners and tiny gymnast/divers to start my day!

I was met this morning by the wonderful Leanne Strang of the Kootenay Library Foundation. Leanne was the one who pulled all the funding together and then organized this tour for me, so it was great to meet her and thank her in person. We headed off for a presentation at Grand Forks Senior Secondary, and I had a great time.

Here's a view of the school.

Then it was off to Castlegar again, for a meeting with the kids at Stanley Humphries Senior Secondary School.

This visit was overseen by Arlee Venier, Castlegar's librarian. Thanks to Arlee for helping me find my way!

This is a shot of the countryside en route to Castlegar. This part of the world is situated between the Monashee range of mountains and the Selkirks -- beautiful rocky crags, but not the towering monsters of the Rockies just yet. Very close to where skiing Olympian Nancy Greene grew up here in Rossland -- lots of evidence of her around (Nancy Greene Lake, for example).

After my event in Castlegar, I drove the very windy highway up Kootenay Lake to Kaslo. I've never been to Kaslo before, and the views are truly breathtaking.

I'll leave you with a peek of what greeted me outside my very lovely B&B:

More on Kaslo tomorrow. Thanks to all the teachers and librarians who shared my day today -- and to the kids of Grand Forks and Stanley Humphries Senior Secondary Schools.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Kootenay Tour -- Day One

Flew into Castlegar yesterday afternoon. Truly a surreal final approach -- apparently they only do it in daylight and if the weather is fine. The flight is through a mountain pass, with a tight circle at the end and then the landing -- breath-taking. Someone who lives in Castlegar today told me that she swears she can see the squirrels on the trees as she flies in...

This is a view of the sky as I drove from Castlegar to Grand Forks -- about an hour through a winding pass. Lovely -- though I spent the entire time with my eye glued to the trees for deer.

This is a shot of the road at sunset.

The Kootenays are a rare and beautiful part of the Rockies. I am feeling very priveleged to be invited to speak in this amazing part of the world.

Two (and a half) gigs today -- more on that in tomorrow's post.

...and have you checked our SiWC blog lately?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

WOTS 2008

An amazing, gorgeous, sunny day. I could only stay an hour as I had a plane to catch, but here are some random impressions...

Illustrator, CWILL BC member and now Canadian Children's Book Centre rep Cynthia Nugent chats with a fan.

Crowd shot of folks listening to poetry being read. And in the centre of it all? Vancouver Poet Laureate George McWhirter (in the very fetching cap).

At the Canadian Authors Association booth, author and president Margaret Hume chats with an aspiring writer.

CWILL BC's author Meg Tilly chats about her new book FIRST TIME with Vancouver author Susan Juby.

I wish I could have stayed longer!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Word On The Street...

Busy Day tomorrow.

I head off to Castlegar on the first leg of my tour of the Kootenays.

But before that?

I'll be at Word On The Street in downtown Vancouver, round about the main branch of the library on Georgia (from Homer to Hamilton at Library Square).

I love WOTS, and it looks like a sunny day for it this year. Books, readings, games, food -- an amazing day. Free admission, too -- it's a street fair! (I'll sure be missing my usual companion, but as she's off having a great time at Queen's, I'll forgive her for standing me up.)

I'll be at the CWILL BC booth from 11 to noon.

Come say hi!


Ye'll Never Collar Me, Copper....

Mr. Innocent models his new collar. (Actually a hand-me-down from Seamus...)


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Acadian Star Party

My friend and fellow CompuServe denizen Hélène Boudreau is launching her very first book in October. The book (as you might have guessed) is called ACADIAN STAR.

To celebrate,
Hélène is having a book give-away party on her blog. Fun! Prizes! Even a peek at 'The Count'...what more can you ask?

NO one throws a party like a Nova Scotian!

Find out all about it here:
Hélène's Blog


October 15th -- Heads Up

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

On October 15th, I'll be participating in blog Action day both here on this blog and on Defining Canada, the Dundurn blog site.

Lift your voice -- change the conversation. And for one day -- let's talk about poverty.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Death By Latte

One of my favourite authors, Linda Gerber, has a new book out! DEATH BY LATTE is the follow-up to her smash hit DEATH BY BIKINI, and follows the adventures of Aphra and Seth in a rollicking adventure in Seattle.

To celebrate, Linda is having a wild and rousing cyber-launch over at her blog. Loads of giveaway books and other cool prizes to be had.

I'm giving away a copy of MS. ZEPHYR'S NOTEBOOK in a random draw, so pop into Linda's site and leave a comment on my guest post -- and you could be a winner!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Book Tour to the Kootenays!

I'm heading off for the beautiful Kootenays this weekend, about to spend a week touring around, talking about my books, and writing -- and maybe a disgusting plague symptom or two.

The tour is courtesy of the hard work of Leanne Strang of the Kootenay Library Federation. I'm so looking forward to meeting Leanne and the folks she has lined up for me to talk to along the way.

The Kootenays are in south-eastern BC, an area I haven't been to since I was very small, so I am just delighted this trip has come to fruition. Over the next week, I'll be doing talks in Grand Forks, Castlegar, Kaslo, Nelson, Trail, Salmo, Cranbrook, Fernie and possibly Kimberley. I'll have my camera and my computer, and Leanne assures me there are internet connections I can use at every stop along the way -- so I guess I will be bringing YOU with me, too!

(I promise to do a better job of the photojournalism than on the recent trip to New York, when I left the camera in Calgary en route...).

One of the absolute highlights of the trip for me will be a chance to see Deb Anderson, a most excellent writer, wise woman and friend.

Of course, the timing of this trip is typical kc dyer ... right smack in the absolute busiest, craziest time of year.

I'm choosing to think that's a good thing.

also blogging over at SiWC

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Blushing...

Blushing, I tell you.

Here's what I received this morning from Books On The Nightstand...

Our Grand Prize winner is KC Dyer and her mapped-out nightstand. Michael and I loved the annotations and the Powell's Map on the top of the stack! KC will receive an autographed ARC of Blindspot by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore, a book that I loved. It comes out in December and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Yes, yes...it's true. GRAND prize winner -- no less.

Apparently no one has a nightstand quite so ...so... special as this one:

In my candid and simpering acceptance speech [televised last night, right after the Emmys] I promised to remember the little people -- and by little people I mean every one of you out there who suffers under the burden of a _tidy_ bedside table, books replaced in bookcases -- perhaps even --dare I say it? -- DUSTED upon occasion. I know one look at the photo above leads you to clutch a handkerchief to your bosom, longingly dreaming of the day when YOUR bedside table can look like this one.

Yes, yes -- it is not a pipe-dream. If I can attain this pinnacle, this... this epitome of teetering literary merit, well, anyone can. [ I am typing this like I almost mean it, I swear.]

My dear friend A Novel Woman may have won the Bulwer Lytton contest more times than I can count, but now she is forced to allow me to join her vaulted ranks. For this Grand Prize...is the Bulwer Lytton of Book Ownership.

And for bestowing upon me this esteemed and deserved award, I humbly thank Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness of Books on the Nightstand, and also a certain owner of the pink Octopus (whom, I might add, is a bridesmaid to my triumph, having been selected in the far less esteemed category as one of the four random winners. There, there Janet dear. There must surely be a next time. )

And now, dear friends and earnest also-rans, I must hie off to my mailbox to await my Grand Prize.

I have the perfect pile of books to add it to....


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hitchin' a Ride


This is my 299th post. Been blogging since...uh...2006, I think. But since my NEXT post is number 300, I think I'll use THIS post to rant. Just a little bit.

I just read that Eoin Colfer is going to write a new sequel to Douglas Adams' HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY series.

Now, I really like Eoin's work. It took me about 5 or 6 chapters to initially warm to Artemis Fowl, but once I was in, I was hooked. The fairies and the puns and especially the dirt-eating dwarf with the trap-door in his pants. Great stories -- lots of fun. I'm just wondering how Eoin would feel if, after he was dead, someone picked up the Fowl ball and ran with it. *

* sorry.

But seriously. I don't care if Eoin Colfer is THE greatest writer on the face of the planet. Whatever book he writes will not be a sequel to Adams' work. It will be Colfer's work, or perhaps Colfer trying for the spirit of Adams. My rancour on this subject leaves me slightly breathless and definitely inarticulate. It just seriously bites me that someone, no matter how noble the intent, has the temerity to step into someone else's idea. It feels like theft to me.

But then...I don't get Elvis impersonators, either.

What do YOU think?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Poachers in the Pingos -- Out!

Anita Daher -- sister scribe, last year's most promising writer in Manitoba (and, come to think of it, the only woman about whose hair I have waxed poetic) has authored a new novel. 'POACHERS IN THE PINGOS' is the story of nefarious gyrfalcon poaching, and is set in the vast and beautiful Northwest Territories of Canada. Anita is a mistress of middle grade suspense and this novel is the second in her Junior Canadian Ranger series with Orca.

You can find out more or buy your copy here: POACHERS at Chapters

I was unable, for some reason, to upload a picture of the cover, so a shot of the lovely author will have to do.

Congratulations, Anita!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

HEY, You! Yeah...you, writer!

Have I got a contest for all you emerging writers out there...

Check this out!

16th Annual Short Prose Competition
for Developing Writers

$2,500 PRIZE

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that submissions are being accepted until November 3, 2008 for the 2008 SHORT PROSE COMPETITION FOR DEVELOPING WRITERS. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of 2,500 words in the English language, fiction or nonfiction, written by an unpublished author.


$2,500 for the winning entry and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian magazines.


We are proud to announce that Joan Barfoot, Carellin Brooks, and David Helwig will serve as the jury.


This competition is open to all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who have not had a book published by a commercial or university press in any genre and who do not have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or nonfiction.


* Entries should be typed, double-spaced, in a clear twelve point font, and numbered on 8.5 x 11 paper, not stapled.
* Computer disks, CDs, e-mails, or faxes will not be accepted.
* Include a separate cover letter with title of story, full name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and number of pages of entry.
* Please type the name of entrant and the title of entry on each numbered page. This is not a blind competition.
* Make cheque or money order payable to The Writers' Union of Canada. Multiple entries can be submitted together and fees can be added and paid with one cheque or money order, $25 per submission.
* Entries must be postmarked by November 3, 2008 to be eligible.
* Mail entries to: WFC Competition, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5C 1P1.

Results will be posted at www.writersunion.ca. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Me, again.

This is a VERY sweet prize -- why not give it a try?

also blogging at SiWC

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm so ashamed...

Books on the Nightstand is having a giveaway. I hadn't seen this blog before, but was directed to it by the inimitable Janet Reid, whose very tidy, Octopus-topped night table can be found here.

Just to punish Janet for putting such an idea in my head, I sent her a semi-annotated view of exactly what my bedside table looks like now.

And then I sent her a shot of my other bedside table.

Embarrassing. (Note the cat's tale in this one. She was a bit perturbed with all the night-time camera flashes...)

However, this is what most flat, open surfaces tend to look like in my house.

Are yours any better? If so...send 'em in!


Monday, September 15, 2008

CWILL BC Fall Book Harvest approaches...

Fall Book Harvest Logo

Sunday, October 5
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Central Library - 350 W. Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC
Held in the Alice MacKay room (lower level)
Admission is free

Alas and alack, I will not be able to attend the CWILL BC Fall Book Harvest event this year. But there are many local writers who will be there, and lots of fun to be had -- so off you go!

Check out a great description of the event on the CWILLBC blog, here:
Fall Book Harvest

And keep an eye on this spot -- more amazing fall events for writers and readers of all ages will be here soon!

also blogging at SiWC

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Speaking of Pound Puppies...

Okay, so Silas (aka the Devil's Loinfruit) Ermineskin Dyer was once a pound puppy, rescued by the SPCA. Allow me to point out that not all animals rescued by the SPCA and hitherto adopted into loving families show the same proclivity for evil as does my Black WolfSpawn.

In fact, most of them don't.

I just had word from Melissa Balfour, SPCA Biscuit Fund coordinator, that the recent Biscuit Fund Book Tour was a success -- raising more than $3500 for animals in need. (And I believe today was the cross-Canada 'Paws For a Cause' SPCA Dog Walk, as well). 100% of the biscuit funds raised go to medical care and rehabilitation of animals in need.

The stories and poetry contributed by BC authors are now gone, but the need continues, so if you'd like to learn more or contribute in any way, click here and all will become clear:

SPCA Bicuit Fund


Silas' Post

My dear friend Jenn told me she was interested in a Silas update.

"He's been so good lately," sez I. "Hardly anything worthy of a blog post."

But as those words left my lips, I thought of my welcome home....

So happy to see you!

See? I've brought you your favourite oven mitt!

And you were mentioning a post? Have I got a post for you!

Let's take a closer look at that, shall we?

Next week -- Silas learns how to sand...


Friday, September 12, 2008

Miserable No More...

This is entirely aimed at one of my loyal blog-readers -- the incredible A Novel Woman...

purely for her love of Le Miz...



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Back!

My wonderful, patient sister sent me my camera back. It came wrapped in a pink terrycloth bathing suit back -- fully lined, surrounded by odd twig-textured stuffing encased in a box, which was itself surrounded by foam shipping peanuts in yet another box.

THE most safely wrapped package I have ever received. And as you can see from the shot above, I am delighted. (What kind of weird techie geek takes a picture of herself taking a picture of herself on her computer camera?)

Off to Surrey for a SiWC meeting -- we are getting down to the wire. (Have you registered yet? Details here: SiWC 2008)

Lots of news about the conference in the days to come --and also about a tour I will be taking of the Kootneys at the end of September. More soon!

Also blogging at SiWC

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hurry! Deadline Looming...

I just received notice of this contest today -- but it's a good 'un, (winner gets a book contract!) so if you've got something in your notebook that might work...send it in!

Canadian Aid Charity
invites writers to participate in the


The 2008 Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest winning author will receive a
TRADE BOOK PUBLISHING CONTRACT with the contest sponsor BookLand Press for publishing of the winning manuscript.


- Anthony Dalton, National Co-Vice-President of the Canadian Authors Association
- Deb Loughead, President of the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers
- Anne Millyard, Co-Founder of Annick Press
- Donna Allard, President of the Canadian Poetry Association
- Dr. Jasmine D’Costa, President of the Writers and Editors Network
- Bianca Lakoseljac, President of Toronto Branch of the Canadian Authors Association
- Robert Morgan, Publisher of Bookland Press


- Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry and Children’s Books;
- Manuscript length - 50 pages minimum
(with the exception of children's books, which must contain at least 25 pages);
- Not previously published as a printed book;
- The judges, staff and owners of BookLand Press Inc. and the directors, board members, staff and volunteers of Canadian Aid Charity may not enter the contest.


- The Canadian Aid Literary Award and Publishing Contract are given to the manuscript(s) chosen by the panel of independent judges. Entries are judged anonymously on the basis of the author's use of language, originality of subject and writing style;
- Manuscripts should be submitted on a CD (in Microsoft Word) OR printed on 8.5" x 11" paper, double- spaced and numbered;
- Blind judging requires that the author's name, address, acknowledgements and manuscript dedications do not appear anywhere in the body of the manuscript;
- Include author’s name, address, e-mail, phone number, manuscript title and a brief bio on a separate sheet of paper;
- Manuscripts will be returned if accompanied by a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope with sufficient return postage. Judging comments are not provided to the contestants;
- Contest entry fee is $45 per manuscript. Multiple entries are allowed. The $45 entry fee must accompany each entry. Include a cheque or money order made payable to Canadian Aid Charity;
- Contest entry fee is tax-deductible as a charitable donation. Official tax-deductible charitable receipts will be issued by Canadian Aid Charity (Revenue Canada charitable registration No. 822819074 RR0001);

ENTRY DEADLINE: Postmarked by September 15, 2008


Canadian Aid Charity
Attn. Literary Award Contest
5650 Yonge Street
Suite 1500
Toronto, Ontario M2M 4G3
Acknowledgement of receipt will be sent to those who provide a valid e-mail address or a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. Award winner and finalists (short list and long list) will be announced by December 15, 2008. Results will be posted online at www.canadianaid.org and www.canadianaid.com. Winning author(s) will be notified by phone, post and/or email.

For information about Canadian Aid Charity please visit www.canadianaid.org (for high-speed internet access) or www.canadianaid.com (for dial-up internet access). For information about BookLand Press please visit www.booklandpress.com.

All funds raised during the 2008 Canadian Aid Literary Award contest will go to
Canadian Aid Charity’s HELP-A-CHILD-TO-SEE project to provide reading equipment
for visually impaired children from disadvantaged families.


- 2006 Contest: Marianne Paul for her novel "Tending Memory" (www.mariannepaul.com)
- 2007 Contest: Michael Fraser for his poetry collection "The Serenity of Stone"
(will be published by BookLand Press in July 2008, ISBN 978-0-9783793-4-6).
For questions regarding the contest please contact Canadian Aid Charity at
literarycontest@canadianaid.org or (416) 607-6083, ext. 702.

also blogging at SiWC

Monday, September 08, 2008

Georgetown Boys -- A Must See Event

This is the poster for the upcoming production of the play GEORGETOWN BOYS, being produced (where else?) in Georgetown, Ontario. The play is an adaptation of CALL ME ARAM and ARAM'S CHOICE, two novels by the wonderful Marsha Skrypuch. If you are in the Georgetown area this fall, make sure you take in the play -- I've heard it's not to be missed!


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Resources for Young Writers

Right now I am hard at work in my position as the contest coordinator for the Surrey International Writers' Conference Writing Contest. I've volunteered for this job for many years now (five? six?) and I love it. The contest is closed for the year, and now the scramble begins to find the best entries in all four categories.

This contest is aimed at adult writers, but it has led me to thinking about contests and opportunities for writers out there who have not yet attained the age of majority.

So if you're under 18 and you love to write, here's a list of some resources that you might want to have a look at. And if you have had experience with any of them, feel free to send me a comment, and let me know how things went! I can tell you that my daughter Meaghan got her first publishing credit with 'What If' magazine when she was 16 -- and these contests and other writing venues are a great way to get started for a young writer.

A BIG tip of the hat to writer (and CANSCAIP member) Gisela Sherman for compiling this list!


Stone Soup is a print magazine of writing by young people up to age 13.
Check out www.stonesoup.com.

Owl Magazine is a print magazine for 9 - 13s. It accepts drawings, poems,
short stories and photos for publication. www.owlkids.com.

New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams - print magazine edited by
8 to 14 year-old girls. See www.newmoon.org.

Wet Ink Magazine - a literary, visual arts and multimedia magazine for and
by Canadian youth aged 13 to 19. www.wetinkmagazine.com.

The Claremont Review - an international print magazine of young adult
writers. It accepts manuscripts by writers 13 to 19. See

Canadian Student Writing Contests and Resources are listed through
Wordwrights Canada at www3.sympatico.ca/susanio/WWCcomp.html.

The Toronto Star Starship Writing Contest is open to kids 15 and younger.

The Toronto Public Library has the Young Voices Contest for Teens (age

The Hamilton Public Library has an annual Power Of The Pen contest, poetry
and short fiction, for ages 12-18. Look for it in the spring. Check the Teen
Page at www.hpl.ca .

The CBC4Kids website (www.cbc4kids.ca) allows kids to submit stories under
the Writer's Corner or add to a story at StoryBuilder.

The website www.cyberkids.com accepts work for online publication.

KIdsWWwrite - e-zine for young authors and readers at

Skipping Stones Arun Narayan Toke', Editor
P.O. Box 3939 Eugene, Oregon 97403-0939 Tel. 541-342-4956
Email: editor@SkippingStones.org Website: www.SkippingStones.org


What If? magazine, published out of Guelph, takes writing by teens

Check for local papers and contests in your area.

Launch Pad: Where Young Authors and Illustrators Take Off! is a new
print magazine devoted to publishing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book
reviews, and artwork by children ages 6-12. We do not charge teachers,
children, or their parents any sort of publication fee.

For more information, go here:


Me again.

My buddy James McCann, who writes for young people but is also a great mentor for young writers has more resources on his site. Be sure to check those out, too!


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Camera Down...

I left my camera in Calgary two weeks ago. Entirely my own fault -- and en route to New York City, too. As a result, most of the pics my girl and I garnered from the trip are of this variety from the American Natural History Museum -- fuzzy and indistinct. (Just to clarify, that's the dino on the right...)

My very patient sister is planning to mail my camera back to me, before I go into total withdrawal.

With the SiWC Contest closing, booking all the presenters' travel for this year's conference,
AND my copy edits for A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW arriving all in one day, you'd think I wouldn't have time to miss the camera.

But I do!


Friday, September 05, 2008

Brilliant Book Blurb

This little piece by Brad Meltzer is just a brilliant way to highlight his book. Who wouldn't want to read it?

Tip of the hat to the Smart B*tches for the link!