Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAP-py...oh, wait a minute...

I'm early. This has never happened. Somebody write it down. My house is pretty tidy -- at least the bits that show. My dogs are fed. I remembered mascara. The food is ready.

I have time to blog.


To tell you the truth, I'm not actually wearing a tiara. I don't own one, sadly -- though I've just remembered I did buy one for my last CWC class. Must hunt it down sometime.

[I'll never find anything again, since I tidied my house today...]

So I'm wearing my bat hat. Never go for the expected -- my motto.

Anyway -- just a final wish to you, my loyal readers. May the next year bring you joy, and may you, in turn, bring happiness to someone else. Be safe and stay cool.

Talk to you in 2010.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve Eve...

A busy day around these environs may preclude a blog post tomorrow, [I'm having a 'Lost Souls' New Year's party for those who haven't anything else on their dance card], so I thought I'd take a moment and post links to a few interesting items.

First -- for Spider Robinson and his wife Jeanne...a fundraising opportunity HERE. You can score an e-copy of Lawrence Santoro's LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION, and help defray some of the costs the Robinson's are facing as Jeanne battles cancer. I read about this on Matthew Sanborn Smith's One Thousand blog, and by posting here, I'm participating in the blog rally for the Robinsons. You can do it, too!

Second -- since my link to the graphic of 20 Things That Happen in One Minute has proved so popular, here's another that caught my fancy today. From my beloved boingboing, of course, here is a graph that compares the cost of printer ink to the costs of other precious liquids [including blood, vodka, crude oil and more...]. Let's just say that there is a reason some people call printer ink 'black gold'.

And finally, one of the writers at whose [metaphorical and thus far electronic] knees I have long worshipped -- the amazing Jo Bourne -- muses about The Odds of Getting Published...and what a person can do to improve 'em.

So there you have it -- a whole lotta link love to end 2009. And now...let's watch for that Blue Moon tomorrow night, shall we?


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Time...

Ah, the Christmas season. Filled with family joy. Time together.


As an individual who has spent no small amount of time thinking about how to deal with time [meta-time?], I came across a new way to look at time the other day. Ever thought about what happens over the course of a single minute on our planet?

250 babies are born, 113 of whom are born into poverty.

Lightning strikes the earth 360 times.

5 earthquakes rattle the planet.

The average person on earth earns $0.013 [That's just over a penny.] And Oprah Winfrey makes $523.
[To be fair, this is peanuts compared to what Nike makes in the same time period].

Anyway, for a very cool graphic of 20 or so things that happen in a single minute on earth, take a look at this link, courtesy of Mother Jones's Marian Wang.

And enjoy every little minute of the holidays, wouldja?


Pee Ess....

Speaking of time, I just found out today [via the dear @linda_grimes] this year will end on a Blue Moon. More on that soon....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Was Going to ... about CWC Winter Camp and all the Winter Follies...

but then I got tired.

So instead, I offer you this marvellous little snippet, told in a voice made to mesmerize, of the truly horrible torture that is Christmas to one, special man...

With thanks, of course, to Neil Gaiman.





Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Take on Holiday Feelings...

My friend, author Kate Coombs has done a lovely holiday posting on her book blog Book Aunt.

Kate's is an awesome blog, and well worth following, but I found this post particularly moving, especially for those for whom holidays bring less than joyous memories.

A collection of welcome stories for the holidays -- from a slightly different perspective.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Crazies

Holiday madness a bit ramped up this year, so for your viewing pleasure...

Jack finds his way onto ... the naughty list:


Sunday, December 13, 2009

N Dub Rocks...Solid

I'm quite, quite sad to report that this week marked the end of my experience as a Writer in Residence at New Westminster Secondary School. I took on this gig when the amazing writer Meg Tilly moved away, and generously recommended me to teacher-librarian Sarah Wethered.

[Ed. Note: The photo of the school here is the only unaltered one of this posting -- all the others have been adjusted to obscure the kids' faces.

It was a sweet gig from the start -- amazing teachers to work with [Traci Cave and MJ Hunt, along with Sarah] and creative, funny, talented kids [primarily Ms. Cave's senior drama class and Ms Hunt's Creative Writing class].  Together we worked on the 'Rock Solid' project -- an anti-bullying dramatic production put on by the students of N Dub Secondary for kids in the feeder schools of the area.

I spent most of my time with MJ's creative writing teams who were putting their ideas on paper, taking the idea of bullying and letting it play out using themes including homophobia, racism, mysogeny and more.

The resulting plays were fantastic, and I was lucky enough to get to watch a couple of performances at Queensborough Middle School.

 I spent half my time with my eyes on the production and the other half watching the audience. I was blown away by the way these young men and women magically combined the power of the written word and the power of performance. The audience of young students sat spellbound. They laughed. They gasped. And yes -- they even cried.

The authors' words carried power, with conviction and clarity. The actors' skills took the ideas and philosophies expressed in the plays and gave them dimension and humanity.

The dedication and hard work of these playwrights and actors translated into something amazing to watch. The plays' inner themes of friendship, solidarity, and kid power rang through to the hearts of the audience. The messages you passed on against bullying, racism and homophobia were powerful and resonan.

I'm so proud and honoured to have had a chance to work with the teachers and students of NWSS. I spent some time with a few other classes, as well, and we shared ideas and conversation and a whole lotta gory, grotesque history, as is my wont. The whole experience has given me very fond memories of the school and the kids and teachers who give it heart.

Thanks for having me, N. Dub!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

We have a Winnah!

Apologies for the delay of this post -- lost wireless and had to fight it out with ISP.

But all is well now, and the winner of a copy of a kc dyer title of choice is...

Rachelle Reese!

Congratulations, Rachelle! In your entry you said you'd like a copy of  A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, so as soon as you email me your mailing address, I'll get it off to you.

And thanks to everyone for entering -- and to Lorna Suzuki for the great interview.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Red Bird

A quick one tonight ...

A friend of mine -- great writer -- Ev Bishop has a piece of short fiction published in Alien Skin Magazine, the latest issue.

It's called Red Bird

I still have goosebumps from reading it. Dare ya...

Congratulations, Ev!

[You can read Ev's blog HERE if you want more...and who wouldn't?]


Sunday, December 06, 2009


On this day 20 years ago, I was pregnant with my first child.

I didn't know I was going to have a little girl, but for the first time I was trying to get my head around what it was going to be like to be a mother.

I spent most of the day weeping, I recall, for the mothers of the young women lost in the shooting at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have watched as I re-tweeted the name of each of these young women, an idea begun by @katrinaarcher. I like the idea that their names live on. My latest manuscript has as one of its themes some of the historic acts of violence against women, though I hadn't really thought about it until today.

My own girl is now in university herself. Second year, as were some of the students who died or were injured that day in Montreal. She doesn't remember December 6, 1989. But I do. And as writer Carla Luchetta remarked on my twitter feed today -- all young women at the time, regardless of where they were going to school, were changed and shaped by that day.

Ten other young women and four young men were injured at the Ecole Polytechnic that day. If you don't know the story, you can read more about it here. And just in case you didn't see them are the names of the young women who were lost that day. We cannot possibly know how much they are missed, but...

I think they bear repeating.

Annie Turcotte
Sonia Pelletier
Barbara Daigneault
Annie St-Arneaud
Michele Richard
Anne-Marie Lemay
Maryse Laganiere
Maude Haviernick
Anne-Marie Edward
Maryse Leclair
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz
Helene Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Genevieve Bergeron


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Technical Difficulties...


Looks like the email link on my website has been dead awhile.

Apologies for not noticing sooner!

It's up and working now, so for those trying to reach me
[including those entering the contest] ...

please try again!

The email address is

We'll extend the contest deadline until Wednesday, to make up for the glitch!


Friday, December 04, 2009

When Self-Publishing Becomes Cash Grab...

I don't often rant about the publishing biz here on leftwriter, but something has recently attracted a bit of public notice, and as it has touched a nerve for me, I'd like to take a closer look.

Today's subject is the traditional vs self-publishing model.

My books are published by traditional publishers. I have to admit to starting in this business with a snobby, anti-self-publishing view. I believed people who published their own books didn't go through an adequate editorial process, they were not patient enough to go through the traditional route and they were prepared to put sub-par work out into the public, just for the sake of saying they had books in print.

I know now that while all of these things can be true to some extent, self-publishing isn't only a cesspool of the underskilled and unloved. I know of several people who make a living giving talks to large groups -- self-publishing works perfectly for them, because it allows them to get their books to the audience they want, and they have a built-in distribution system. And a know of a couple of cases where lightning has struck, and an author who has self-published goes on to get a decent contract with a traditional publishing house.

But for the most part, I still see companies who encourage self-publishing as predatory. They steal aspiring authors' dreams, wrap 'em up in a sub-standard package with little or no decent editorial input, and slap 2000 copies into the poor creature's garage, leaving them to sell the books through mercy-buys to friends and relatives. And they charge the authors for the privelege of being taken to the cleaners.

I know of _hundreds_ of cases like this. More. This is still the norm.

It is HARD to get published traditionally. It can be a brutal, soul-eating experience to have your first book published. But there is a reason for this. It's also very hard to make money as a publisher, and many, many people believe they can write books. These aspiring writers do it by the thousands every day. They write 'em and they write 'em...and the acquisitions editors at publishing houses have to read 'em.

The magic of a brilliant story, well-told is a comparatively rare circumstance. So, yeah -- it's hard to go through the process. But it is possible. [The living proof is typing these very words...]

When you do go through the traditional process, the advantages of traditional publishing -- even with all its flaws and foibles -- are manifest. Design teams for the cover. Editorial teams for the content. Publicity and distribution. All these things are missing from most self-publishing business models.

What this boils down to is that the vanity presses and self-publishing houses are in it strictly for the money. But surely even traditional publishing houses want to make money? Of course they do. But legitimate publishing houses make their money through the sale of books. Who do the self-publishing houses make money from? YOU. The self-published author.

I spend a lot of time sending the aspiring writers I meet off to writing workshops or conferences like the Surrey International Writers' Con. I hope they will have fun, meet new colleagues, learn the ropes of good writing. But I also want them to learn that if ANYONE wants them to pay to produce a book, they are not working in the authors' best interest. This includes people who claim to be legitmate agents who charge reading fees. This includes self-professed poetry journals who offer 'prizes' to poets, in exchange for the exorbitant cost of paying for the shoddily-produced book in which the poem appears. And this includes ANY so-called publishing house that charges the author to produce the books. These are NOT publishing houses. They are printers.

Sometimes the siren song of the money to be made through self-publishing lures even legitimate publishers. Harlequin Books dipped its toe into the water of self-publishing biz, recently, and the noise in the industry has been loud and clear.

But don't just take my word for it...

 Agent Kristin Nelson, Romance Writers of America & others [via Making Light] , Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers, Mystery Writers of America [via Richard Curtis].

It will be interesting to see what comes of this. The world of publishing is changing, and those of us who live within it are riding an amazing wave right now. But wherever people have dreams, there are always charletans out there, willing to take your money and not deliver.

If you are a beginning writer -- be cautious. Listen to your colleagues -- in classes, in conferences, in writing groups. Weigh offers carefully -- if they seem too good to be true, they probably are. There is no doubt it is a often a long, hard road to becoming a published author. But if you find a group of friends with whom to share the journey, the trip becomes a lot more enjoyable.

If you have thoughts you'd like to share -- do so in the comments. Let's talk about this!

And to finish? A tip of the hat to blogger/agent/author Nathan Bransford. He calls this little clip the future of publishing.

He may be right.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Guest Blog -- and a Contest...

Writer Lorna Suzuki has just posted an interview of yours truly on her website HERE.

Lorna's a real dynamo and she asked some great questions, so trot on over to her site and have a look. [She's got some beautiful stuff there -- really enjoyable to just cruise around a bit...]

As a bonus to the interview, we're also offering an autographed copy of whichever of my titles you'd like. Just to keep things interesting, I'm not going to post the rules have to read the interview on Lorna's site and follow the instructions by posting your comment below.

Contest closes December 7th -- midnight PST. Will post the name of the winner on December 8th. Remember to check back! I'll personalize the book of your choice and pop it in the mail to you just in time for holiday giving.

More soon!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guerilla Reading -- Philly-style

Monday, November 23rd. Our last day in Philadelphia. Goal: to run up the steps of the Art Museum, a la Rocky Balboa.

Result: A little different than what we expected....

We'd said goodbye to Lori Sherrit-Fleming and her wonderful family the night before, and had a few hours to kill before our flight home, so Lee Edward Fodi, Kari Lynn Winters and I headed out to see a bit more of the city of Philadelphia.

En route, we enjoyed [in our own way] the incredible statuary to be found in the city. Please note Kari's sophisticated style when posing amongst wildlife...

 And Lee, under threat from a metal croc...

After a lovely walk punctuated by a misty-rain and a dissertation from Lee on the Masonic roots of the city's layout, we made it to the gallery.

Evidence of the enthusiastic run up the steps...

Almost to the top!

And then....?  Disappointment.

But hey. We are proud Canadian authors, stranded atop the storied steps at the Philadelphia Art Gallery. Did somebody say storied steps? Well, then...

What better place for a Guerilla Reading?

We were not the only disappointed visitors to the Art Gallery that day. At the top we stumbled upon a couple of young families, and a group of teachers who had paid unconscionable sums of money for a private tour that they had been a few minutes late for and subsequently been locked out of. [Also the most fetching transvestite model, bedecked in vivid pink and black and with one of the lovliest crinolines I have ever seen. You may see the accompaning balloons from her photoshoot in the background below...]

Super-Canucks to the rescue! We whipped out Lee's Mr. Wiz hat, and the guerilla reading began.

First, Lee mesmerized the group with a taste of KENDRA KANDLESTAR AND THE BOX OF WHISPERS....

Then Kari wowed 'em with a song and rendition of the full text of 'ON MY WALK'.

And I finished off with an introduction to Darby and her time travel adventures from  A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW.

It ended up being a Fantastic Event -- we all had so much fun, and the teachers and children were delighted when they found out that we had not only written and performed the books -- but were signing and giving away a copy each, as well.

Free Trade and many positive International Relations resulted!

We finished off the chilly day by live-podcasting our thoughts for later broadcast on 'Authors Like Us', and then trotted trippingly off to the Franklin Institute for a taste of science, with a good sprinkling of Victoriana, much to the delight of yours truly and her latest work-in-progress.

It was altogether a most satisfactory first visit for me to the city -- and I left Philadelphia with many fond memories. Oh -- and a wicked cold. But that came on the plane, so the city harbours no culpibility whatsoever...

And now -- I am about to bury myself in some serious writing time. Will post as I can -- but be on-line silence should result in some on-page productivity!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Philadelphia Revisited

kc and her fellow Canucks storm the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Philadelphia, PA....

The story begins before dawn on a rainy, West Coast pre-dawn flight to Phoenix, Arizona. Much flying ensues.

Also lots of waiting.

But finally, West Coast sunrise leads to East Coast Philly airport. More rain. [This is the airport tower in the dark and rain, which looks MUCH cooler when seen through actual eyeballs, as opposed to a grainy iPhone shot...]

More waiting, as fellow-traveller Lee Edward Fodi was stranded for six hours in Houston, due to nation-wide travel computer glitch.

Interesting note: there is no food in the arrivals area of the Philadelphia airport. Also no free wifi, rendering stranded author entirely unable to catch up on email from frantically emailing travelling companion.

But all was finally well, and the two Canuck writers were
reunited in time to go to a 24 hour bar and eat veggie wraps.

After a couple of hours of sleep, the intrepid authors met up with friend and colleague Lori Sherrit-Fleming,
IMGP7246  and put on a rocking demonstration of how to use other modalities within the arts [drawing, music, drama] to entice children into and enhance the experience of becoming life-long writers and readers.


After which there was much walking around the conference floor, meeting up with old friends and signing books with new friends [this is Lee with author-illustrator Jerry Pinkney and author Malinda Lo].


All the while, the Very Busy Kari Lynn Winters was tearing up the turf in Prince Edward Island on the final day of her CCBC Tour. [Evidence that Kari Lynn is secretly a human whirlwind: this week ALONE, she flew to the Maritimes, did 16 gigs on her tour of PEI, flew to Philidelphia, attended the NCTE conference, plus a few other gigs thrown in for good measure, flew home and just yesterday was awarded the title of Doctor of Letters when she successfully defended her thesis in a 21/2 hour examination. WooHOOO! Let's hear a cheer for Doctor Kari!]


And yet... when she did finally arrive, she somehow managed to stay still long enough for me to photograph her with an ice cream cone on her head.

Mint chocolate chip, I believe, if you want to get technical.


Kari, Lee and Lori celebrate by actually sitting down together!



Other weekend highlights included a ghost walk... [in which we spied the remains of the ancestors of one of our missing friends in the McCann Family Vault], a trip to the Philadelphia Portrait Gallery [second largest in the United States only to the one in the Smithsonian],


....a wander around a very cool old bookstore with this amazing tree out front....

...its roots gnarled and growing around the old bricks from the road...

...and a visit to the Franklin Institute, loaded with lots of steampunk arcana [very helpful for the new book].

We topped the trip off with a palm-reading session,


complete with crystal ball [VERY illuminating -- note stack of US Magazines neatly placed close to hand...]

AND a Guerilla reading on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.


But this last event has earned its own hang on tight and you can read more, very soon, my pretties!

[And if you'd like to see more of the pictures in detail, you can check out the Philadelphia set on my flickr page.]

Back soon!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We interrupt this posting...

Working on a Philly post and getting my photos on-line, but while you are waiting...get a load of this before it goes viral...

According to @xenijardin it was 18 years ago today that the world lost Freddy Mercury. A tip of the hat to @dbarefoot for sharing this little piece of muppetebration!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Philadelphia Freedom...

Last day in Philly today after an amazing NCTE Conference. Met lots of great new people, and reconnected with some familiar faces -- our presentation went very well and we've had a great time.

Yesterday, Lee Fodi and I spent the afternoon taking a quick peek at the city -- we hit the portrait gallery [second largest in the US after the Smithsonian], the Liberty Bell, the Delaware River waterfront, a very cool bookstore called The Book Trader...and had our palms read by a lovely gypsy woman. [Actually, she wasn't a gypsy...and her crystal ball was set up beside a stack of US magazines, but it was beyond fun anyway!]

This is a shot of the clock outside our hotel on Chestnut Street, evidence that we were having a bit of trouble adjusting to the time change.

Today is our Freedom Day -- a few hours to wander round and check out the city before we fly home. Freedom to Read seems like a workable theme, so we're planning a Canuck Guerilla Reading on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Gallery. I've talked my slightly stunned-by-the-idea friends into reading a line or two from their books on the steps ... and then finding someone in the crowd to donate the books to.

Will be twttering details as the time approaches and report back here with photographic evidence!

Speaking of pictures, I'll be posting the best ones up to my flickr page, and will liven the link here as soon as I do. Lee has also been recording snippets for his podcast 'Authors Like Us', so will link to that when it appears, too.

Now -- time to go spread a little Canadian author love around the streets [and steps] of Philadelphia...


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flying Through Phoenix...

A quick word from Phoenix, Arizona – just a pit stop here en route to the NCTE conference in Philadelphia this weekend.

This was kind of a last-minute event, and I’ll be presenting with my friends Lee Edward Fodi, Kari-Lynn Winters and Lori Sherritt-Fleming.  I can’t believe they let me take part, when I only have TWO names, both lower case, to boot...

[This is Lee playing uh...not-golf, in not-Phoenix...]

Because this is a bit of a radical adventure for me, I’ll be tweeting and blogging on the fly – and I’m going to try to talk my compatriots into a couple of guerilla Canuck readings on the streets of Philadelphia.

More soon!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Madness Monday...

The Madness portion of my day has been fulfilled. In fact -- there is no room left in my brain that is in any way share-worthy.

So, instead -- I give you these two items:

Number 1: Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk makes a case for why schools are killing our children's creativity. His dry and humorous delivery is delightful -- and his point profound.

[With thanks to James McCann for the link]
And for the writers out there: 11 salient points made by author Tim Wynne Jones for those who want to write their best work. HERE.

No madness in either locale....would you agree?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

kc November Update

H ello fair readers!

Well -- life is certainly interesting, is it not?

Fall is always a busy time for me, but a few family issues have ramped up the pressure a little. Busy is the new black. Or...frantic is the new busy.  Or something like that.

Anyway, this post will have to serve to bring you up to date on A Few Things I Am Up To, as well as A Few Things I Currently Find Interesting. Shall we begin with the former?

On chatting with my Most Wonderful Agent this week, I found myself promising to show her BOTH books I currently have Under Construction by the end of the year. [Insanity runs in my family. Have I mentioned that here before?]

One -- SEVEN DAYS, is a re-write. [In fact it is both a re-write and a co-write, as I am trying a new little social media experiment with the story. I'm hoping to be able to get more specific about this shortly.]

The second is the realization of a project [as yet unnamed] that has been several years in the making. [To give you an idea of just HOW many years, I began working on this story before I took a stroll with a certain Scots colleague through the streets of Edinburgh during the last winter Olympics.]

Yipes! Time flies. I took this picture on that trip. It's a distant shot of Edinburgh Castle taken from the North Bridge and across the city on a moonlit night. I still remember the wind.
Edinburgh in February -- beautiful!

Anyway, this project is the first in what I hope will be a series of steampunk y/a novels -- time travel a required element, of course.

I'm also working on a large desk-topping project [hardly ever do this sort of thing any more, but occasionally the draw of the dollar compels me to creep down out of my artist's garret and make a few bucks]. Not sure where I fit this in, but...will figure it out.

This week I am making a trek to Philadelphia, PA, in order to speak at the NCTE conference. This, for those who don't care to click the link, is the National Council of Teachers of English, and they are holding a giant conference in Liberty City. I'll be going [and appearing] with Kari-Lynn Winters, Lee Edward Fodi and Lori Sherritt-Fleming. Hoping to meet lots of teachers and share as much WALK as anyone will care to listen to!

After I get back, I have the performances of the New Westminster students' plays -- the fruitition of some of the writer-in-res work I've been doing.

And this week I collared Sean Cranbury who was crazy enough to agree to brainstorm a potential collaborative project starting in the new year. In the meantime, make sure you check out his site at Books On the Radio  . He has scored some amazing interviews lately!

More on all of these doings as they ripen. I'll be tweeting @kcdyer if you feel like following the action more closely. 

And to finish -- A Few Items of Interest [aka a tab-closing fest for all!]

*   The first is the blog responsible for the beautiful drop-cap I've inserted here today: A click of the needles to knitting/blogging goddess Leanne Prain for the tip via twitter!

*   The Telegraph's List of a Hundred Books that Defined the Noughties. Definite UK bent, but an interesting means to open debate on the topic, just the same. How many have you read? And which others would YOU add to the list?

*   Just found out there is to be a mini-TED right here! TEDx-Vancouver ... the very idea of it thrills me no end. Not sure how it will all shake down, but you can follow the details HERE.
That's it for now -- more to come. Busy week ahead!


'Authors Like Us' Inaugural Podcast

Authors like Us have gone live with their first podcast. They chose the very risky tack of cranking on their recorder at a Hallowe'en Party, comprised only of kids under 10 and authors...well, like us.

This new idea is the baby of Lee Edward Fodi and James McCann. They plan to interview authors they find from all over the world -- and ask them about EVERYTHING ...except their books.

A great idea!

I put in an appearance in this episode, since I was at the Hallowe'en Party, after all, but really -- this episode is best described as the' crazy inaugural event'. Or maybe -- 'what happens when a group of geeky authors get dressed up in the presence of children'.

Loads of fun, though.

You can listen HERE.

Join the Authors Like Us Facebook page HERE.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day here, Veteran's Day in the US.
A day to remember ... thoughts too big, perhaps for a single day.

For a little taste of something different, I invite you to enjoy this compilation post, American in origin, which has had me alternately laughing and crying my eyes out today.

A must for canine-lovers -- dogs welcoming their soldiers home.

[For non-dog lovers, the final clip of children being surprised by their returning dads is incredibly moving, too.] 


Happy Remembrance Day!
[tip of the hat to boingboing for the link]


Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Night Cool...

Yes, sir -- it's been a busy week. However, I have managed to accumulate a shipload of cool, and since it is the coolest night of the week, I'm going to share it all with you.

Cool Item #1:

Darby got a great review in The Muskoakan: []

A Walk Through A Window

By K. C. Dyer
Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2009, 230 pages, $12.95 paperback
Darby’s idea of a great summer is hanging out with her pals in Toronto doing whatever is dear to the hearts of young teens anywhere. To her dismay, her parents pack her off to her grandparents in an out of the way village on Prince Edward Island while they renovate their house and generally sort out their shaky marriage. Big time bummer, thinks Darby. Little does she know………….
                K. C. Dyer has skillfully woven a coming of age story into dramatic, action packed glimpses of Canadian history that include early aboriginal nomads, desperate settlers fleeing the potato famine in Ireland and Scottish immigrants seeking a new life in the colonies. The literary device of letting a character step over a magic boundary into a totally different time gives the story the ghostly quality that readers relish. Darby’s connection to her ancestral past as she discovers more and more about her grandparents’ genealogy brings her an eye-opening new appreciation of her family as well as a more exciting summer than she could have ever imagined.
                This is a lovely summer read for girls from 10 to 14.  
Thanks, guys!

One of these days the newspaper style-police will learn to just leave the name in lower case. No caps. No periods. Just kc dyer  -- lower case, low key. Canadian.

Think it'll happen?
Nah, me neither. I'm just happy they liked the story!

Cool Item #2:

Got my flu shots this week. I've got asthma, and that puts me in the high risk group, I guess. Not really cool...but this is:

[hat tip to QI elves...]

Hmm. Not sure that worked...

But, come ON,  who wouldn't want to learn how the flu takes over your body?

And finally, Cool Item #3:

Not quite sure how big those viruses really are?

Check out the very cool comparative size chart, from the size of the font here [Times New Roman 12 pt] to a carbon atom -- and many things [including viruses!] in between:

[hat tips to a tweet from Grant Imahara of Mythbusters, and to the University of Utah for building the page]

Okay -- I think that must be just about as much cool as any person can stand, even for a Friday night.

More soon!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Peripatetic Author...

Heading off to Calgary for a quick, family-related trip this weekend [tho' I plan to hit a few bookstores and sign up all the stock I can get my hands on!]

However, a few other opportunities have come my way lately, and I'm trying to take advantage of 'em wherever I can. I'll be presenting to the Ontario Libraries Ass'n in the spring, and I might have a chance to flit off to Philidelphia in the next couple of weeks to present to a group of teachers there.

Busy times! Will keep you posted!

This pic is from the latest installment of 7 DAYS -- my satirical mystery, aimed at an audience aged slightly north of my usual suspects. I'm working on a bit of a re-write right now -- hoping Charlotte will find a way to make her way into the world between the pages of a real book one of these days!

Charlotte is a reluctant traveller, unlike myself. But that doesn't stop her -- nor does the faulty suitcase depicted here. Fingers crossed she'll emerge unscathed in her new incarnation!

More soon...


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

N Dubs Playwrights ROCK!

This, my friends, is Sarah Wethered.

She loves shoes.

She's a teacher.

She's a librarian.

And, as you can see from the giant yarn sceptre she's weilding -- she is a Killer Knitting Machine.

Sarah is also the person responsible for bringing me in as Writer-in-Residence at  N Dub -- aka New Westminster Secondary.

I've spent the night reading scripts produced by Ms Hunt's terrific writing class -- and they are fantastic. The kids were tasked with writing scripts for this year's Rock Solid production -- topic: bullying.

And they've done an amazing job. I'm hoping to get a few shots of Ms. Cave's drama class in rehearsal for the production later this month. Will post them here if I can.

An amazing experience -- I'm loving every minute!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Chapters Poster saga continues...

Short post today. I had a ton of meetings, running around to do.
Conference starts for me in a matter of hours.

Passed the ONLY Indigo in town without posters -- they are never sent them, as they have no window space.

Still no winner in my contest.


For the love of all things kc [kanadian and crazy]

...somebody PLEASE get me a picture of my book cover on one of these Chapters posters.

And remember -- if you get a picture of the poster and it is actually up on a window -- DOUBLE the prize!

~kc, dsp*

*kc, deperately seeking poster...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CONTEST! [and protest, while you're at it...]

For those who don't follow my twitter posts [@kcdyer], I just found out this evening from a friend [the astonishing Kari-Lynn Winters] that a picture of the cover of my latest book, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is featured on a poster at Chapters.

Now, I haven't seen this picture, but I love Kari-Lynn and count on her I am having a sudden, twitter-inspired Canada-wide contest.

To win a signed copy of the book, be the first to send me a picture [camera phone or otherwise] of the poster at Chapters.

But wait...there's more!

If you can get a picture of the poster actually up on a window -- bonus kc dyer book, signed, sealed with a kiss and sent to anyone you love through Canada Post.

I'm excited! Any takers?


I've missed a few significant things lately what with all the to-ing and fro-ing, and I'd like to redress one of these omissions right now.

The BC Arts community is reeling after a series of stealth cuts have decimated Arts funding in the province by as much as 85%. Read a great article by Crawford Killian on writer Loranne Brown's blog HERE.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Heigh Ho...

Hola gentle readers.

A quick post to note that lately, the tiny little slips of time I have to communicate tend to be on my twitter feed @kcdyer 

The pictured version of fall [ambleside, last week -- leaves changing, sunshine, brisk fall wind] is no longer with us.

The ocean has risen up to swallow the sky.

And rain, of course, means it's time for the Surrey International Writers' Conference.

I'm in the throes of the last week before Surrey. May change my plans and move down there a day early -- so much to do, so little mobility to do it with!

SiWC 2009 looks to be astonishing. I've just been reading the script for War of the Worlds, this year's Shock Theatre offering from Michael Slade. It is hysterical, and even ends with a truly modern twist. I simply can't wait to be a part of it.

In other news, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW has been nominated for a Cybils Award. It's a great little on-line award program -- the chicken nugget of awards [both nummy and nutritious]. The books are twice-read by a panel and decisions are made in February. So send positive vibes toward Darby, okay?

More soon. Hope to post lots of pix from Surrey, especially on Friday night when There Will Be Aliens.


Monday, October 12, 2009

This week...

Happy thanksgiving! On my SiWC blog, I put up a turkey [with alien go with our theme this year], but here? I'm allowed to let my veggie side show. Yeah, I cooked a turkey breast for my family, but I also had Indian food -- rice and curry and pakoras and salad.

And I was thankful. Yum. Cranberry sauce goes really well with Indian cusine.

Mostly I was thankful for a fairly peaceful day, as now I dive full bore into conference prep. Mostly dealing with details and last-minute disasters, but it's a busy time. I've got Fall Book Harvest and Vancouver BookCamp on the agenda this week, too, along with another writer-in-residence visit lined up with New Westminster Secondary.

Plus, I picniked myself into red-eyed little green writer. Not sure it's a good colour for me...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Berlin Reunion

Man -- blogging's been a bit sporadic lately, and poor Darby's not been blogging at all. So much to do for the conference -- hoping to get back to a more regular schedule shortly.

In the meantime, enjoy the spectacle of these remarkable pictures -- a French production, to celebrate [can it be?] 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall was erected right around the time I was born, and I remember rejoicing when it fell, just before the birth of my daughter. I thought hers a much more auspicious time to be entering the world than my own. The world has changed so much since she entered it, and tho' she is not yet quite 19 and a 1/2...this celebration still touches me, on her behalf.

For, whatever has happened since, the world is a better place now that the wall is down. And these magnificent puppets -- well, they just took my breath away. The detail...truly awe-inspiring.

Enjoy. [via The Big Picture in The Boston Post]

The Berlin Reunion.


Monday, October 05, 2009

CWILL BC Catalogue

The new CWILL BC catalogue is out. The beautiful cover was designed by Lee Edward Fodi and the catalogue was put together by a group of most excellent volunteers.

Isn't it gorgeous?  You can download a copy for your very own here: 
It's a compendium of current and recent titles by BC authors of books for kids and teens, and gives a little bio of all the authors, so is a great resource for teachers who want to bring these authors into their classrooms. So, tell all your friends!


Friday, October 02, 2009

Visene No More!

Hokay -- finally there. All SiWC contest entries read and re-read. Some re-re-read. Contest conclusions come to. Final discussion amongst contest readers still to take place, though, so shortlisted authors will not hear until tomorrow at the earliest.

Had a break from reading entries today to go meet with Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio fame. We taped an interview for his blog/show, and he tells me it'll go live in a few days. I'll post here when it does.

[This is Sean NOT wearing the Very Cool Hat he had on today. I have dibs on it now -- fair warning!]

What else? You can check out the latest blog post HERE, documenting agent Kristin Nelson's big find at the Surrey International Writers' Conference. [Hint: Local author Janice Hardy shines in the story, too!]

That's it. I'm toast. Tomorrow I need to kill 200 email. It'll be a big-game email hunt. Expect carnage.