Woozles, SLJ, WOTS, ALL and PJ (in a world full of acronyms)



Woozles Pink Day
Woozles Pink Day




The nicest people seem to hang out at book stores! Woozles had this wonderful window display for anti-bullying/pink day a couple of weeks ago – I was happy to see Harmony as part of that display. The Woozles women were also working hard at Word on the Street on Sunday, and they’re always so happy to see you!


http://www.slj.com/2013/09/books-media/collection-development/focus-on-collection-development/children-of-war-tales-of-child-refugees-and-safe-havens-focus-on/ Nice to see HARE included on this comprehensive list compiled in School Library Journal (SLJ) today.


I was part of a middle grade authors’ panel at WOTS, along with writer friends JoAnn Yhard and Jill MacLean – we had a great chat on the topic of “Food For Thought – the role of novels in encouraging empathy,” and we actually had a decent crowd there to listen to us. Thanks to all the volunteers, including our friend, Jackie Halsey, who agreed to moderate the panel at the last minute.

Irving CentreWednesday night, I went down to the Irving Centre and met the people in the intro to writing for kids workshop I’ll be facilitating through Acadia’s Lifelong Learning  (ALL) program for the next six weeks. They’re a dynamic group, with lots of writing/editing experience, and it’ll be interesting to hear what they bring to share each evening. I typed out the text of Kathy Stinson’s new picture book, THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN (Annick), based on the Joshua Bell/subway story that went viral on the internet a year or two ago, and read it to the group. The 440-word text is a brilliant example of a picture book text standing perfectly on its own without the enhancement of illustrations – but they’re brilliant too (Dusan Petricic – I think he’s an editorial cartoonist as well as an illustrator).

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our writing retreat to Port Joli last week. This was my fifth year retreating to PJ for a writing week, and we got lots of writing done, but managed to fit in some beach time every day, too, plus long chats about writing and a million other topics. Thanks Marcia and Jackie:)

Port Joli, 2013

Port Joli, 2013

Thank you, Roald Dahl!

So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone. – Roald Dahl, from Matilda

Second Story Press posted this quote on Facebook today, as I was contemplating my night’s agenda for the Writing for Children course I’m facilitating through Acadia’s Lifelong Learning program. Kids do look to their books, expecting to find things relevant to their own lives – as adults writing for children, we need to somehow summon the child inside to the surface -to help us remember how it felt to be young.

Thank you, Roald Dahl – for this, and also for making me laugh out loud so many times:)

Scattered Thoughts of a Kijiji Surfer


So, I ask myself – what have I been doing this summer rather than updating my blog?  Well, I have been working on my writing, but here are a few other things I’ve been up to:

a) surfing Kijiji for everything from a new apartment in Toronto for Liam, to a circa-1980 caramel-coloured Scandinavian leather chair/ottoman for Don’s birthday (I think I was actually looking for an old wooden double headboard at the time – a rare item as it seems people used to be a lot smaller and only required 3/4 beds rather than doubles, queens and kings);

b) painting – walls, not canvases. In particular, recycled Sky Blue (Walmart, $13.88/gallon) for Liam’s room and Aqua Whisper for the kitchen at The Lazy Loon. What a great job for somebody, making up names of paint colours;

c) avoiding vacuuming up dog hair and weeding flower beds, while hoping housework becomes Don’s new retirement passion;

d) Googling everything under the sun – I’ll be writing away, pause to look up something pertinent to the manuscript, then an hour later find myself browsing all-inclusive vacations or walking tours of Ireland – go figure!

e) reading – most recently (I even bought this book) – The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous (Suzanne Crowley) – reading is actually classified as “working”, fortunately;

f) thinking about facilitating a course as part of the Acadia Lifelong Learning program – an introduction to writing for children – this is also actually classified as “work”;

g) eavesdropping on conversations from Inverness to Bridgewater, Quebec City to Queen St. West in Toronto – this is also classified as “work”;

h) helping Shannon get ready to live in France for the year – this apparently involves upwards of 400 forms/applications to be completed;

i) catching up on the sleep I miss while “brain writing” between 2:00 and 4:00 am most nights!

Are you an expert at avoiding the task at hand? Did you do anything equally interesting this summer? Scattered thoughts welcome:)