Maxine Trottier & Susan Tooke visit KCA

Thanks to Box of Delights’ owner, and KCA Librarian, Mitzi DeWolfe, we enjoyed a visit from children’s author, Maxine Trottier, and illustrator, Susan Tooke today.  They both have books nominated for the Atlantic Book Awards tonight. We had a few technical difficulties, but the kids did get to hear (via CD) Shauntay Grant read Up Home, her beautiful picture book illustrated by Susan.  They started writing down some of their own “I remembers”, but time didn’t allow them to finish. I was amazed to hear that Susan can illustrate (acrylic paints) an entire picture book in only 6 months!  I’m envious and told her my art hadn’t advanced past the grade 3 level.  Both women were very engaging and the kids were impressed to have two “famous” people visit their school.  Maxine was first published in 1991 and has over 50 books, to date!!  She was a grade 2 teacher for 31 years, and many of those books were written while she was still doing report cards, prep, etc.  She’s happily retired (from teaching) and living in Newfoundland.  Susan lives in Halifax – she would be one of my dream illustrators – if I ever get another picture book published!  The detail she includes in her pictures is incredible.  She invited me to stop by her studio sometime I’m in Halifax.  TTYL

365 days isn’t the same for everybody

So, lately I’ve been thinking about time.  How is it that it seems to pass by so much more quickly the older you get?  There are always 24 hours in a day, 365 days, give or take, in a year.  Someone once tried to explain it to me in terms of fractions.  For example, when you’re 10, a year is 1/10th of your life.  When you’re 50, a year is 1/50th of your life, a tiny little fraction of all that has happened to you up to that point.  It sort of makes sense to me, but I don’t like it, however it’s explained.  Since I had an unexpected, and unexplained, heart attack a year and a half ago, time has become very precious to me. It’s depressing to see how much valuable time people waste complaining and being unhappy.  Researching the story of the Lost Boys has also certainly helped me have a brighter outlook on my own relatively easy life here in small-town Nova Scotia.  I only wish I’d been brave enough to volunteer in a country like Southern Sudan when I was younger…Always lots to think about!  TTYL

Yeah Chocolate!

We’re having a pretty quiet Easter Sunday.  First Easter in 19 years that we haven’t had an Easter egg hunt in our house…Mailed “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk” off to Gary last week – it’s close to 66,000 words now, 234 pages.  It cost almost $10.00 to mail the manuscript!  I’m feeling pretty good about it and spent a lot of time over the past week scrutinizing it for anything that smacked of inauthenticity (is that a word?).  Amazing some of the things you can find when you’re really looking.  I’m also working on a query letter and an application for a Creation Grant through the NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture & Heritage.  Query letters are amazingly hard to write, – especially trying to summarize the essence of 234 pages in a page or less.  It will probably take the rest of the week for me to produce something I’m reasonably content with.  I’ll meet Gary in Truro next Sunday; we’re both judges in the Ada Mingo Teen Writing Competition (named after my late mum, proprietor of The Book Nook in Truro for 20+ years), so it will be interesting to see what Gary has to say about this latest revision.  I’m hoping the snow has finally left us for another winter – today is cold and wet, but I’m thinking I’ll have to force myself out for a walk anyway…TTYL