Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

I’m not an Oprah fan – I’ve only ever seen her show a handful of times, but I love this quote!  It can apply to just about every situation I can think of today; friendship, family relationships, exercise goals, teaching, writing, – even world peace! The possibilities at the beginning of a new year seem endless…

Finally, at the end of 2011, and after ten long years of receiving rejection letters,  I can describe myself as a working writer.  I have three book projects underway as 2012 begins, and a dozen other ideas  – can’t ask for much more than that.  As my kids are thinking about potential career paths, I can only hope they’ll find something equally satisfying and rewarding – hopefully a few years before they hit 51!

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

I wish you excellent health, lots of occasions when you laugh until you cry, and plenty of warm times with people you love (furry and otherwise) in 2012, and beyond.  Cheers!  Hope you enjoy this video…

Rideau Hall, November 24th

So, thanks to the wonderful Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and my publisher, Red Deer Press, I did get to go to Rideau Hall last week for the GG ceremony. It was a grand event, and I spent the evening with Kate Watson of the Hackmatack program and Trecia Schell of the Pictou Antigonish Regional Library.  The pictures are with His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston (I think that’s his correct title…); with son Liam and our MP, Scott Brison; with Christopher Moore, winner of the GG for Children’s Text for his non-fiction book, “From Then to Now”; the room where the ceremony was held; and with Patrick DeWitt, fiction winner for “The Sisters Brothers”.

I had a chance to talk to one of the jury members for my category and hear a little of how they sorted through the 260 books nominated in the children’s text category – about a quarter of  the 1,000 English language books nominated  in all 7 English categories – seems to me there should at least be separate categories for younger and older children’s text (ie. picture books vs. novels). At the moment, they’re all lumped together, with a separate category for illustrations. Hmmm…

Liam and I had a lovely visit with Kings Hants MP  Scott Brison.  He gave us a tour of the Parliament Building and is a most amiable and personable guy. I was most impressed by his various references to fairly obscure details from my blog – he obviously did some research before our visit! Liam didn’t actually get to go to the GG ceremony – I can’t figure out how they give out the invitations (240) – all I do know is that the finalists aren’t invited, which seems kind of strange to me.  Most of the people I spoke to there didn’t really know why they had received an invitation, other than that they have some connection to the book world.  Rideau Hall is beautiful, and I had a nice chat with Mrs. Sharon Johnston who told me she likes to write and has a book-length manuscript almost completed. What a busy life it must be for them! They have 8 grandchildren who I’m sure love to visit them in that palatial space!  We found a few random plastic dinosaurs and Christmas elves in the greenhouses of Rideau Hall – cute!

While in Ottawa, I signed a few books at Kaleidoscope Kids, a cozy children’s bookstore on Bank Street. Thanks, Kim  and Kelly! I finished my trip with a 24-hour whirlwind visit to Kingston. Liam’s already in his 4th year at Queen’s.  Where does the time go?