Bits and Pieces of Fall in this Virtual World

I enjoyed my first virtual school visit last week (Dr. Arthur Hines School), using Google Meets. It went well, although for the Q&A portion, kids had to approach the teacher’s laptop directly; otherwise I couldn’t hear them. From grades 4 and up, the students in Nova Scotia are masked, so it was a little tricky to make them out by times, but they had tons of great questions. Of course, it’s not like soaking up all that young energy like I usually enjoy during school visits, but at least now I know it’s doable. During my slideshow, the kids could see me in a postcard side image, but I could only see my screen as I was talking into my little camera light on my laptop, so that’s a little strange, and it was tricky to ask questions during the presentation since the teacher had to relay answers to me. But doable. And Arts Nova Scotia and the Writers Federation of NS are fully funding school author visits this year through the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program, which is amazing!

I spent two months with my kids in Kingston and Toronto, Ontario during the fall; we were all working, but it was so nice to be part of their daily lives for a short time. I was lucky enough to receive a grant from Arts Nova Scotia this fall, so I was working on an illustrated chapter book project, “Charley & Maple,” which has been so much fun! I ended up doing 25 pencil/ink illustrations – now to find a publisher… You can see some of my illustrations here:

I was glued to the American election last week and was part of the collective sigh of relief echoing around the world once the end result appeared imminent. I do wonder if Kamala Harris will be the first female President after hearing her speak for the first time.

I was part of the group launch Nimbus Publishing had last weekend for its fall titles, including my new middle grade novel, THE HERMIT. I’m not a huge fan of book launches, organizing, begging people to come out, etc., so I didn’t mind the group launch at all. Everyone was keeping their distance and wearing masks, as we all are these days.

We’ve had a nice stretch of weather for November, but I’m not looking forward to the long cold winter ahead, especially without our annual trip to Georgia to look forward to. But we have lots of firewood, and there are always crossword puzzles to be done.😊

10 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces of Fall in this Virtual World

    1. Well, I’m not holding my breath, and with all this talk of a vaccine that’s close, I’m speculating on how many people will refuse the vaccine, thereby keeping Covid alive and well:) Stay safe!

    1. Have to admit I was doing a happy dance as the election began to turn, especially when the Georgia results started trickling in, since we’ve spent lots of time there over the past few years. Animals are such great company!

  1. Susan Yeaton

    Hi It is hard to believe that you were gone 2 months. I am completely happy but envious that you got to spend this time with the kids. The pandemic has changed so much in our lives and not being able to physically be with Alli and Mike has been the hardest one for me.

    You have been busy writing (the norm) but getting said writings out to the world seems to be going more quickly than normal which is just great. The virtual school visit sounds challenging to say the least. It will no doubt get easier as you do more of them. Winter travelling to the schools not even an issue virtually.

    Russ and I are as usual. Our mothers are both doing quite well and like the rest of us don’t want to go back to full lock down. Nova Scotia is the place to be for sure but continued vigilance and following all safety measures should remain de rigueur.

    Hope to see you sometime before the year is out.

    Stay well.



    1. Nice to “see” you here, Susan. Glad to hear all is well with you and yours. Dave stopped by last week, so we got a bit of your news. We all have outdoor fireplaces, so we’ll definitely have to make a plan for a get-together. As of right now, we’re planning to drive to Ontario on Dec. 20th, but of course that’s not carved in stone…

  2. Lovely post, Jan. I’m not looking forward to the long winter either, with no trip south — but the days are already getting longer, so that’s something. I have yet to try a virtual school visit but I have a bunch lined up for this winter/spring, so I’ll have to figure it out. It’s really helpful to hear your experiences. Your creativity inspires me. 🙂 All the best to you in this new year!

  3. Hi, Catherine: I had noticed a tiny bit more light at suppertime these past few days – hopeful sign! I typically feel inspired to write in January, and I’m still making masks, so I’ll find things to do, but I’ll be looking longingly at the temperatures and my pictures of Georgia from time-to-time… Cheers to a healthy, peaceful 2021 for you and yours!

  4. Dear Jan, I finally caught up on all your posts. Your artwork is lovely. I’m so glad you had extended time with your kids. We did too and they just left this morning to start a new school semester. I’m tidying up the house and looking forward to returning to our monkish lives…

    1. Hi, Vijaya – nice to “see” you here:) We’ve had a lovely mild (just above freezing) January so far, for which I’m grateful since we won’t be making our annual trek to Georgia this year. I’m having so much fun playing with watercolors and creating cards with my pieces. Hope we’ll all be vaccinated before long!

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