A Different Kind of Parenting Book

So here’s something I’m working on…

They always say you should write the book that you want to read yourself.

When my daughter was born I wanted to learn more about babies. I wanted to know how they perceive the world and how they learn. I wanted to know how her body was going to grow and develop. I wanted to know when her teeth would come in, and in what order, and what caused hiccups and if she would yawn if she saw me yawning right away or if that was something she had to learn. I wanted to know how she would figure out who the baby in the mirror was. I wanted to know about eye colour and hair colour and right- or left-handedness. I wanted to know what babies like and what they don’t like. I wanted to know what babies laugh at and why.

I wanted to know what was going on in that great big sweet-smelling head of hers.

So I searched through bookstores and libraries but couldn’t really find what I wanted. The parenting books I saw were all rather limited in scope. Continue reading


Filed under My Projects, the Writing Life

Debate Club, Elementary School style!

The kids at my daughter’s elementary school are keen on starting clubs. Handwritten notices show up all the time on the main bulletin board.

Last fall a Debate Club started in this way. A group of grade 4 and 5 girls began meeting in the library during lunchtime recess. They were inspired by the CBC Radio show “The Debaters”, in which comedians debate topics for laughs. Not all the girls had heard the show, but the few who had were in possession of the basic format: you have a topic, you are assigned a position ‘for’ or ‘against’, and you take turns stating your views. At the end the audience applauds and picks a winner.

Continue reading

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Filed under Education

11 Things I Love About John Berger’s Ways of Seeing

John Berger died recently, and in the publicity wake of his passing I discovered that his Ways of Seeing was not just a fantastic book I had to buy for a course many years ago, but was originally a BBC series. A tragically short series, that is – there are only four episodes. I’ve just finished watching them on the youtube and enjoyed them immensely, both for the intellectual content but also for… Continue reading

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Where the Heck Have I Been?

Bad author (slaps hand)! It’s pretty awful to leave an “official author website” unattended for so long, but the bottom line is this:

Sometimes a person just has to make a choice between keeping  up with self-promotion, online presence and social media, and actually sitting down and writing!

Increasingly these days I’m opting for the writing thing. I was forced to, with deadlines looming for the Eldritch sequels, and (phew!) I handed in #3 this spring. Since I was fully immersed in writing #3, I wasn’t even able to properly promote #2 when it was released last Christmas… (Bad, bad author!)

So here’s a little more about Shadow Wrack, which turned out pretty well, I must say…


After defeating the forces of evil in Eldritch Manor, Willa must rebuild the manor — and her family.

Can Willa rally her supernatural friends to defeat an invasion from beyond?

After battling and defeating the forces of darkness, Willa is looking forward to a little well-earned peace and quiet. Unfortunately, her recent adventures have given birth to new problems, not the least of which is the task of rebuilding Eldritch Manor, a retirement home for supernatural beings, from the ground up. And no one is behaving themselves: Mab’s fairies have declared war on the dwarf construction crew, Willa’s Mom and Belle are feuding, Baz is running amok, Horace is living in the woods, the phoenix squawks all night long, and there’s never a dragon around when you need one. To be perfectly honest, Willa is starting to think the forces of darkness were easier to handle than her family and friends — until those forces start to rise again!

Trouble is definitely brewing, and the source lies very close to home, Who can Willa trust? Who will betray them? Who will open the door for the darkness to enter?

Hmm, intriguing, no?

Stay tuned for the third installment, Darkling Green, which is scheduled to make its glorious appearance in time for Christmas 2016.

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Filed under the Writing Life

More Eldritch To Come…

So true! (Bill Watterson)

So true! (Bill Watterson)

Okay, I think I can finally make it official… I have signed with Dundurn for two (yes, two!) Eldritch Manor sequels. I am nearly finished writing Book 2, actually sprinting/stumbling to the finish as we speak. Which would be why I’ve been neglecting this blog and not leading a writing club at the library this fall. Must… focus…

(Obviously on the to-do list: come up with a title!)

Thanks to everyone who urged me to write more about Willa and her friends, and thanks of course to Dundurn, for agreeing to more of this creepy foolishness!

Stay tuned for more details about release dates! I’ll pass them along as soon as I know more.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to work.


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Writing Process Blog Tour: My Fiddly, Neurotic Way of Doing Things

The summer disappears into the sunset and here I am, back with something called a Blog Tour post… it seems to be kind of like a chain letter but without the promise of quick easy cash. Oh well.

Nobody's+DogWhen I attended the Festival of Trees events in London and Toronto in May I met many talented and enthusiastic children’s authors, including Ria Voros, who was nominated for the Silver Birch Fiction Award for Nobody’s Dog. Ria teaches in Nanaimo, BC, and her young adult novel-in-verse The Opposite of Geek came out in 2013. She also co-created Fork and Fiction, a blog about the love of food and books. Visit her at www.riavoros.com or www.forkandfiction.com.


BC beach bums

Recently Ria came with her family for a short visit to my little Salt Springy Island and we sat on a beach and talked of serious, writerly things. (Well, not entirely.) We did chat vaguely about starting some sort of writing support group for curmudgeonly BC writers (or maybe it was just me who was curmudgeonly). Anyhoo, now she has tagged me in this blog tour about Writing Procedure. You can find her post on the topic here.

And now it’s my turn…

Question 1: What are you working on? Continue reading


Filed under Author Info/Biographical, the Writing Life

Entering Summer Slacker Time!

Oh I wish I was slacking off! I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be posting much in the next while because I’ll be busy teaching my summer camps, and after that I’ve got me some overdue writing to attend to! (An Eldritch Manor sequel is on the top of the pile…)

Have a terrific July everybody!


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Monday Movie Prompt

Let’s get our week started with a little writing fun, shall we?


After the Thin Man (1936), with Myrna Loy and William Powell

First: what are their names? occupations? favourite cocktails?

Next: write some dialogue that matches their expressions perfectly.

Another option: write dialogue that runs counter to their expressions.

And another: what’s the dog thinking?

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Filed under Get Writing!

Weekly Eldritch: The Trunchbull


the Trunchbull by illustrator Quentin Blake

My weekly pick of something creepy/scary to share with you all… Anyone who has read Roald Dahl’s Matilda will know exactly whom I am speaking about. If you haven’t, Agatha Trunchbull is the headmistress at the school Matilda attends. Continue reading

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Forest of Reading Trip: the final chapter

The day after the Harbourfront hoopla (or was it more of a hootenanny?), I hopped on the GO train to meet more students in Ajax… Another fun day with wonderful authors and fabulous readers.


Continue reading

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Filed under Author Info/Biographical, the Writing Life