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!