Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Winners

First -- the BC Book Prize winners (including CWILL BC member Katarina Jovanavic).

Next, more internationally...the Nebula Award Winners.

And finally, (and most importantly, of course) the Darby Speaks Skateboard Haiku Contest winner!


Friday, April 24, 2009

News, a winner and the best cat videos evah....

First the news:

I'll be signing books at the opening of the new Indigo store in White Rock tomorrow from 11:00 am to sometime in the early afternoon. If you're around -- drop by and say hi! They are giving away free bookbags to the first 1000 visitors -- come and fill one with books!

Then the winnah:

The skateboard haiku contest on Darby's Blog has a winner. Check it out!

And finally, a frivolous feline Friday post, courtesy of Darren Barefoot. Same cat -- different boxes...


Thursday, April 23, 2009

I'm Torn...

...torn, I tell you.

I just found the funniest book promotion video ever. However, as the audience for this blog also includes a certain segment of my youthful readership I daren't embed it here.

So, instead, I will link to it. HERE.

The book is titled ETCETERA AND OTHERWISE, by Sean Stanley and looks to be a bit of a love story.

A couple of caveats -- while the contents are rude and the language is generally not safe for work, it's all talk, really. And for those of you teenagers who think this is a license to watch -- bear in mind that it is a parody of the plight of the Canadian author. A political statement.

No good stuff.


I had never heard of Tightrope Press before today, but I'll be buying this book for sure.


PS The picture? It's a shot my girl secretly took of herself on my computer, and put in place as my wallpaper before she left for her first year of university. Is that not love?

She comes home this weekend. I am thrilled.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Less bloodthirsty Earth Day post...

First, the Big Blue Marble, courtesy of the 1972 Apollo space craft (and Wikipedia...)

And next, a beautiful piece of evidence that the world over, voices can raise in harmony. (This one is via Cory Doctorow on boingboing.) Make sure you check out Playing For Change, the people who put this video together...

Happy Earth Day!


Eagle Takes Seagull

This week, whilst walking with my son and my dogs at Ambleside (below the north side of Vancouver's famous Lions Gate Bridge), I watched a flock of seagulls tormenting a pair of eagles.

The tables turned.

This is pretty typical behaviour when springtime nests are threatened, but in this case, the whole thing took place over the waters of Burrard Inlet. We watched as members of the seagull flock swooped around and over the pair of eagles (bald eagles, fully mature, white heads and tails). The eagles usually are pretty good at ignoring this behaviour, but at some point the focus shifted. the two eagles began to dive bomb one of the seagulls from the flock. As we watched this interchange, one of the eagles swung from below up to the seagull, claws extended and plucked it right out of the air. The other eagle flew off.

The hunting eagle dropped straight to the water, wings spread, with its heavy prey. The eagle never stopped flying for a moment, but rearranged its trajectory along the surface of the water. It flew along slowly for maybe 2-3 full minutes, wingtips touching the water with each stroke, and drowned the bird in its claws.

The eagle continued along the surface of the water, and made land on the lighthouse sandbar off the beach at Ambleside, where he ignored all the little birds flying in to take a look, and ate his seagull snack.

I spent the whole time wavering between marvelling at the hunter and kicking self for not having camera.

These shots are taken of birds on Howe Sound.

I love where I live.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In a classic case...

...of opposition highlighting the best in each, HERE (via the delicious Bookninja) is a list of this year's Pulitzer Prize winners. [I think George may have the Orange Prize recipients up now, too...]

And here via, who knows where, a version of Oceans 11 I would pay good money to see:


Catching Up Whilst Battling Microscopic Demons

Hey -- cool news! Waterloo Public Library picked A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW as one of their Sizzling Staff Selections.

Just what I need to help me in my battle with this Epic Germ I have now been jousting more than a week. I am beyond behind in reporting events, so a quick precis follows...

Last night I dragged my sorry, coughing self out the door to catch Robert J. Sawyer's book signing at White Dwarf Bookstore in Vancouver. Rob read (in true SF form, from his Blackberry!) to a rapt group of standing room only fans. His new book, WAKE is the first in a planned trilogy. (This is a shot of Rob mid-stream in his reading -- see the Blackberry?)

After collecting my signed copy from Rob, I hightailed it over to Gastown to catch the end of this month's Shebeen meeting. Raincoaster (alias Lorraine Murphy) had facilitated a spirited discussion led by Monique Trottier of Boxcar Media on the subject of 'Old Publishers Have a New Think Coming.' I arrived too late for the talk, but in time to connect a bit with those in attendance. I'm excited to report that Monique and Lorraine will both be coming to SiWC this year for our special social media stream -- more on that later, she sez, mysteriously.

Working backwards, last Saturday I went with a group of CWILLers to help celebrate the nominations of fellow writers at the BC Book Prizes soiree. This year's event was partially sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association. Here is a shot of Kathie Shoemaker and Irene Watts -- the two nominated CWILL members in attendance -- along with Margaret Hume and Anthony Dalton, CAA members. (Left to right: Kathryn Shoemaker, Anthony Dalton, Irene Watts, Margaret Hume).

I admit to feeling very sad as I post these pictures. Last year, I sent the pics from this event to Derek Weiler for the Quill & Quire blog. Derek died suddenly last week at the unconscionable age of 40, and the wee publishing community of this country has been rocked by the loss. (You can read more details on the Q&Q site HERE.)

There is much more to report, but this blog post is as packed as I dare make it for now.

More soon, no doubt.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Battling the Germ...

... and I'm winning, so far, but at some cost to my energy levels. Thus, a brief (and yet somehow entertainingly informative) blog full of fascinating information, not all of it arcane.

Apologies to all whom I owe email. (There are at least 159 of you out there...) Will be back to you as soon as I can!

And now, the news...

Darby has a new contest up at her blog. Full details will emerge tomorrow, but apparently she's looking for a haiku -- featuring a skateboard. Prizes will be good, though, guaranteed! (I stole the cherry tree pic from her, too...)

A few April events to note:

April 18, 2009. My friend Linda's birthday. (She'd kill me for that, but she never reads my blog, so I'm safe. Ha! Some friend, eh?) Also the soiree for the BC Book Prizes. I'll be there along with a whole pile of other local BC authors who like free parties. (You'll need a ticket to attend the actual prize banquet). At the Metropolitan Hotel on Howe.

April 20, 2009. 7 pm. Science Fiction phenom Robert J. Sawyer will be signing (and reading, I believe) from his new book WAKE at the White Dwarf bookstore in Kits. 3715 West 10th Avenue.
I'll be there!

April 25, 2009. 11 am. Chapters is opening a new store in White Rock this month, and I'll be joining in as a part of the celebrations. Love to see you!

And to finish, a dogblog, of course. I've seen canine singers, but never one who accompanies himself on the keyboard... (tip of the hat to a Raincoaster tweet for this one)


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Joyous Noise

A little non-secular inspiration for your Easter Sunday. Not embeddable, for some reason, but click HERE for some joyous noise.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Fantastic Friday

Forget Good Friday -- this day is going to be a Fantastic one -- at least for one winner over on Darby Speaks. For today -- this very evening -- the draw takes place for the winner of a copy of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW (my latest opus), and NEVER A STRAIGHT LINE, a wonderful book of poetry by Canadian author Bernice Lever. In order to get your name in the draw, you were required to submit a poem -- a limerick, to be exact, on the subject of skateboards and boarding.

I'll be posting the winner's name shortly -- did you enter?

If not, you'll have another chance next week, but with a format change. In honour of National Poetry Month (NaPoMo), Darby will be asking for a haiku (though I do believe you'll be spared the struggle of waxing poetic on the subject of skateboards this week...). Check over on Darby Speaks to find out more!

In other news, there's a couple of new posts up at the Surrey International Writers' Conference blog, as things progress apace for the early opening of registration this year. Find out more HERE.

Now, let's see...just for fun. Found this very cool site via Mark Frauenfelder (of boingboing fame) -- it's by Chrome Experiment, and is a lovely musical amusement to take more time out of your day.

And if that isn't enough to pique your fancy, how 'bout a live cam view of a nest of hatching eaglets? The Hancock Wildlife Foundation has their webcam up, and the eagles are parenting one baby so far, with hopefully more to come. I spent a lot of time watching last year... hope you enjoy.

Finally, the picture (above) is of a very cool door Lee Fodi and I spotted in False Creek building (NOT a church) en route to the opening of his friend Alex's art show last week. As the title of my latest book attests, I'm particularly fond of interesting portals, and I have a strange feeling this one just may show up again sometime...

More on Alex Walton and his artwork soon, too.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Daffodil Yen & Other Artsy Nonsense

I've had a yen for a few days to get a pic of the newly bobbing daffies by moonlight. I'm pretty sure they don't close at night like the tulips do...

Anyway, here's the proof; not by moonlight, but by streetlight, outside Palki in North Van on a fine (if overcast) April evening.

It's an iPhone pic, so a trifle grainy, but still, proof of spring in the nicest possible way. Hoping for some cherry blossom pix tomorrow -- the trees were awash in bloom downtown tonight, but out here in the more mountainous coastal environs, our cherries are just now taking a first peek skyward.

Speaking of pictures, I want to upload this one of Jian Ghomeshi, interviewing singer Divine Brown on the set of Q live. Jian survived an interview from hell with Billy Bob Thornton today with grace and good humour. You can see the interview HERE. Personally, I think Jian should have thrown the bum out -- his bandmates were clearly mortified -- but he kept his cool. Here's to you Jian!

(Once again a crappy iPhone picture -- must remember to bring my Pentax with me to these things!)

In other news, author Robert J. Sawyer is embarking on a North American tour to celebrate the publication of his new novel WAKE. Here are his dates -- check it out to see if he's coming to a venue near you...

Borderlands Books
866 Valencia Street
San Francisco, California
Monday, April 13, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

White Dwarf Books
3715 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
Monday, April 20, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Sentry Box
1835-10th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta
Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Audrey's Books
10702 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Thursday, April 23, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore
2220 McGill College Avenue
Montreal, Quebec
Tuesday, April 28, 2009, 6:30 p.m.

Ottawa Book Launch Party!
The Clock Tower Brew Pub
575 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by Perfect Books

Toronto Book Launch Party!
Dominion on Queen (pub)
500 Queen Street East
Toronto, Ontario
Thursday, April 30, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by Bakka Phoenix Books

McNally Robinson
1120 Grant Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Saturday, May 16, 2009, 2:00 p.m.

Waterloo Entertainment Centre
24 King Street North
Waterloo, Ontario
Thursday, May 21, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
Hosted by Words Worth Books

1425 Kingsway Road
Sudbury, Ontario
Monday, May 25, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

McNally Robinson
3130 8th Street East
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Thursday, June 4, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

Book & Brier Patch
4065 Albert Street
Regina, Saskatchewan
Saturday, June 20, 2009, 2:00 p.m.

I'm planning to be at the White Dwarf event in Vancouver -- see you there!


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A little behind....

Okay -- time to close a few tabs. My computer screen is starting to look like my binder in high school...

First, a note from author extraordinare and CompuServe Books & Writers Forum section leader --

Ann Featherstone, longtime editor with Fitzhenry & Whiteside and formerly with Orca, will be the guest editor on Compuserve's Books and Writers Community forum for two weeks,
starting April 13. In the first week, she'll answer questions.
In the
second week, she'll give virtual blue pencil sessions to a number of
submissions. Here's what she'll give feedback on:

The first page of a children's or YA novel, or the first page of a
picture book text
A query letter
A pitch

She will select from those submitted, not necessarily the best, but the ones that exemplify something in particular. She will also select the three best submissions and award prizes to those three.

Second and third prize will be an editorial critique of an entire first chapter and outline. First prize will be that too, plus a phone conversation with Ann so that she can go into more depth with her comments.

In order to participate, go here:

You will have to sign up, but it's free. Once you get there, scroll down to the YA/Children's section for complete instructions.

And at last, a meaningful glossary -- apparently this was first posted in 2006, but it deserves a revisit now. Please note the definition of 'author'...

And finally -- This is what I get for not sleeping enough...


Pee Ess

Don't forget the Skateboard Limerick Contest over on Darby Speaks. Closes Friday!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Darby Walks Through....Guelph

A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW had a short mention in the Guelph Mercury recently:

In A Walk Through a Window (Doubleday, $14.95 softcover), British Columbia writer kc dyer tells the story of Darby Christopher, who is stuck in a small town for the summer, living with her grandparents and feeling that there's little to do.

When Darby walks through a magical window, however, she's swept into several dramas from the past, including the Irish Potato Famine and the crossing of the Bering land bridge to North America by the Inuit.



Thursday, April 02, 2009

Thursday Thunder

Heading off in the morning to St George's School -- very excited to visit Jody Unger's classes again this year. She's an amazing teacher and the boys there are so lucky to have her -- great ideas and lots of enthusiasm for books and reading!

(Won't it be amazing if we get a sky that colour for my visit tomorrow?)

Don't forget to add your limerick to the contest on Darby Speaks -- win a signed copy of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, plus a volume of Canadian poetry (in honour of NaPoMo).

In other news, I'm working madly to design a spanking new website -- will keep you informed of the progress! We're almost ready to announce the presenter roster for SiWC 2009 (am WAY behind in my blogging on that site -- must make it up soon!). And finally...

don't forget our SPRING INTO FANTASY event this weekend at the Strawberry Hills Chapters in Surrey. Sunday, April 5, 2009. 1-4 pm.

There will be cupcakes, crafts, refreshments, digging in dirt and signing of books. What more can one ask of spring-time? (I've also heard that there is NO snow forecast to fall !)

See you there, I hope.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Into Fantasy

The Strawberry Hills Chapters (Surrey) event is nigh!

This Sunday, as you can see from the poster above. Featuring authors James McCann, Lee Edward Fodi and myself.

Where: Strawberry Hills Chapters, 12101 72nd Ave, Surrey, BC
When: 1-4 pm, Sunday April 5, 2009.
Who: Lee, James and kc
Why: To have fun while selling our new books
What: cupcakes, refreshments, games, draws, and books galore

I'd love to see you there...


Pee Ess

If you're in the mood for a limerick -- Darby's got a contest going on her blog! Spread the word and win... Wins the AFD Honours

It's 2 pm ish now, and April Fool's Day is officially over, being as it's only a half-day, and so on. I spent far too much time today chasing down the best AFD stories, and no doubt in my mind that (or, as they are now to be known: TÖRdötCÖM) are the winners, hands down.

With stories on Alan Moore's beard, Neil Gaiman's desireablity (or lack thereof), and Anne Rice's proclivity for Jesus fiction, it was a stellar day for them all around. Well done TÖRFolk!


Rare Were-Bunny Sighting

Romping through the snow in Lions Bay, scattering chocolate eggs.

If only it were an April Fool's joke. Sadly -- he's out on the deck right now, barking madly at the snowflakes...

Happy April 1, everyone! And can someone PLEASE arrange for it to stop snowing?