I’m Still Here!

I can’t believe I haven’t made it onto my blog for so long, but I’m finally here. Seems time just keeps skipping by more and more quickly the older I get!

We bought a family cottage in the Haliburton, Ontario area a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve already spent five days there, most of them without running water… But I already love the beautiful lake-rich area, the friendly people we’ve met so far, and the cozy cottage. The previous owner is 94 now, and with his late wife, he built the Viceroy home in 1975. He planted many hardwood trees around the property which are quite big and shady now, and he left just about everything in the cottage, so other than fully winterizing it, there’s not much for us to do but enjoy when we’re there! I’m hoping it’ll be a place where we can watch Ada and Noelle grow up – they’ll no doubt think it’s our house since I expect we’ll see more of them there than here in Nova Scotia.

I had kind of a big book week this week. Tuesday night Red Deer Press hosted a historical fiction Zoom launch for Christine Welldon’s new middle-grade novel, Knight of the Rails, and my new picture book Anna Maria & Maestro Vivaldi, with stunning art by Francois Thisdale. It was so great to finally meet Francois, who I’ve gotten to know through a lengthy set of emails as he was working on the art for this book. I’ve admired his work for years, and his passion and enthusiasm for his art is inspiring. I’m very grateful to have had an opportunity to create a book with him. Plus, he regularly bikes 35 kms a day as part of his artistic process (6,000 kms total in 2022) I’ve also gotten to know new Red Deer Press editor Bev Brenna through email, and it was wonderful to meet her, sort of in person. Thanks to friends and family who tuned into the Zoom launch, including baby Noelle, the youngest-ever participant on a Red Deer Zoom launch😊 Giant thanks to everybody on the Red Deer Press/ Fitzhenry & Whiteside team, including former editor Peter Carver and former publisher, Richard Dionne, who acquired this book back in 2019.

If you didn’t make the launch, but you’re interested in hearing how both the words and art evolved for this book, here’s the link. Our bit starts at about the 23 minute mark:


Passcode: .v7F7$z1 (note there’s a period in front of the “v”)

I spent two mornings this week at Coldbrook School (the wall outside the office above), visiting grades primary to two classes, and I completely enjoyed talking about writing and being with kids again (I wore a mask as much as possible since everybody is coughing these days). Thank you to all the young writers who shared their energy, dreams, grandparent poems, and guessing games with me. A special shout-out to Mrs. MacLean’s grade 2 class, my first audience for Anna Maria & Maestro Vivaldi – they listened so closely, and I loved your energy for the guessing game activity. Hope to see you again! There are so many teachers, educational assistants and students absent with various viruses these days – even though they’re tired, the adults in the building keep the school ship afloat – not an easy task at the best of times. Thank you!

Hope you’re settling in for the winter and enjoying spending time doing things you love with people you love – cheers!


11 thoughts on “I’m Still Here!

  1. mirkabreen

    You’re (still) there, and I’m glad. I enjoy you posts and happy you are so productive, Jan.
    Life is, or so it seems, all about being busy in one way or another. I have yet to enjoy Zoom (launches or meetings) but they are the way of the now.

    1. Hi, Mirka – nice to “see” you on here. I’ve done school visits via Zoom, too, and it’s nice to be able to see kids in more distant places. Hope you’ll enjoy some quiet (or noisy?) family time over the holidays.

  2. Sounds like your life is moving along nicely as it should be. Congrats on the new-to-you cottage and the latest book! Aren’t school visits great? My favourite part about being an author. I love the sign you shared from the school. A perfect message for kids.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Darlene. I always enjoy your tropical pictures – so far winter has been kind to us here in NS, but we know the snow is coming… Hope you’re having fun with Amanda!

  3. Oh wow! Lots of news on your end. So excited for you. You’ll be seeing Ada and Noelle a lot, oh and your kids. 😉 lol So glad you were able to find a cottage.

    I really enjoyed the zoom launch. It was so interesting! I hope you sell a million copies. 🙂

  4. I’m so happy to hear you found a cottage – and have already spent time there. How wonderful. No doubt it will be the source of many wonderful memories for your whole family!

    It’s always lovely to hear your “voice” in this space; maybe we can meet up before the end of the year so I can see some pictures of your new “home-away-from-home!”

  5. I felt I’d hit the jackpot when seeing both your notification of a new post and Sarah Emsley’s arrive in my Inbox at the same time after such long absences. Congratulations, Jan, on the publication of Anna Maria & Maestro Vivaldi! And thanks for providing the link and password to the book launch so that those of us who missed it, could enjoy the event too. I loved hearing you talk about the source of your inspiration, and the process it took toward the completion of such a beautiful book! The illustrations are gorgeous! I imagine Anna Maria will be on many award lists this year. Have another successful writing year ahead!

    1. Nice to “see” you, Peggy – thanks for checking in, and especially for tuning in to the Zoom meeting after the launch. The book is so beautiful, and Francois really outdid himself – I’ve loved his work for many years, and I feel so lucky that he loved my story enough to do the art for it! For his sake, I sure hope it does get some notice, but who knows? Hope you’re well and that you’ll enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

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