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!