Access Copyright Foundation = Opportunities for Writers Review from a site dedicated to reviewing books for young readers.

Thanks to a grant from the Access Copyright Foundation, I’ll be living in old town Lunenburg for the month of August and researching the arrival of the first Lunenburg settlers (among them, my French Huguenot ancestors from Montbeliard) in the 1750s. I’ve received support from ACF one time before when they gave me a grant to attend the Carver/Stinson writing retreat in Port Joli. Grants are hard to come by, and I’m feeling lucky to have their support for researching this project.


My Menegaux (Mingo) family arrived in Nova Scotia originally in 1752, but as far as I can tell, they then moved to Philadelphia for a few decades before returning in the very early 1800s and settling in the River John area. I have a clay jug that came to Canada with those original settlers, and I’ve always wanted to write a novel, maybe inspired by that jug, somehow connecting a kid today with those original ancestors. I’m planning to dig deep, visit all the local museums, and hope that somebody will introduce me to an expert in the area of the “Foreign Protestants”, as they came to be known.  I’m so curious to see what random bits and pieces I’ll stumble upon that will spark my interest and ignite the story.  It won’t be the story of my actual relatives, but rather of the original inhabitants of Lunenburg, many of whom still have descendants living in the Lunenburg area. Wish me luck!

Do you have a story you’ve always wanted to write?


Booksellers + Volunteers = Happy Writers


love-bookI had a chance to talk about The Power of Harmony at the Atlantic Booksellers Conference on the weekend. Rather than read from the book, I talked a bit about how I’ve spent most of my life writing the book (to steal a thought from Kathy Stinson), since it had its origins in the 1960s on my elementary school playground in Truro, NS. Besides three other authors, the group attending the breakfast meeting were all dedicated and friendly booksellers, either retail or wholesale, and it was great to meet Sonya Gillis, Fitzhenry & Whiteside’s Atlantic sales rep. I SO appreciate all the things these booksellers do which enable me (and everybody else) to continue being a writer!

This weekend, I’ll be one of three WordPlay authors reading and giving workshops at Read by the Sea in beautiful, charming River John, NS.

RBTS kids poster 2013

I’ll be doing a workshop on “Character Craft” for middle-grade readers; Jackie Halsey and Vicki Grant will lead workshops for younger and older readers. There’s also an adult component, and the adult authors this year include Vincent Lam, Martina Endicott, Phil Hall and Rebecca Silver Slayter.  This annual festival is completely run by volunteers (with financial help from sponsors including Canada Council), and it’s a nice opportunity to get out and be part of the literary community – events include readings and picnics, and I’m looking forward to meeting some new people, staying at the lovely Tatamagouche Centre and maybe doing some beach strolling. The volunteers I’ve communicated with via email have been incredibly attentive and accommodating, and it’s so great when committed, dedicated people work together to make these festivals happen year after year. Cheers to them! Stop by if you’re in the area this weekend!