Forest of Reading Trip, first stop London!

Wow, what a week I’ve had! From my quiet country life to the raucous, celebratory hullabaloo that is the Forest of Reading Festival! And now that I’m back home, on my sunny deck listening to the wee birdies twitter (actual birds, not the 140-character ones), I’m ready to share my adventures.

First stop was the mighty city of London, Ontario, and their first-ever Festival of Trees event.

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Kevin Sylvester (author of the Neil Flambe series) and I arrive at the Progress Building fully caffeinated and ready to go. (photo by Kevin)

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Travelling! Next week’s events…

forest+logo+framedSo on Sunday I’m off to Ontario for the OLA Forest of Reading Festival events! Here’s what I’ll be up to…

May 12 – Forest of Reading, London

May 13 – school talk at the Danforth/Coxwell library branch, Toronto

May 14 – school talk at Northern District branch, Toronto

May 15 – Forest of Reading Festival at Harbourfront, Toronto

May 16 – Forest of Reading, Ajax

Holy marimba, by this time next week I’m going to be tired! But it will be a good kind of tired, the best kind, after meeting about a zillion eager young readers and talking about storytelling and books. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this!

Unfortunately, however, preparations for my trip have left little time for other things, like posting on this blog… sorry! I promise I’ll have lots of photos and stories when I get back. Until then, keep writing!

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Weekly Eldritch: Naoto Hattori

Oh the internet! Where else can you easily find adorably freaky royal cyclops kittens?

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Summer Camps 2014!

Hi everyone! I’ve got some information to share about the Summer Camps I will be teaching this year. Both camps will be held at my home on Salt Spring Island, just a five-minute drive south of Ganges.

Summer Writing Camp

ages 11-14
July 7 – 11
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$175
(Early bird deal: $165 before June 20)

This was a big hit with participants last year. Story ideas, character development, plot structure, dialogue, setting, genre, theme, style, and much more! Discussions about favourite books and movies, vocabulary builders, technical tips, games, exercises and prompts. Whether you are working on a project and need a little advice or are looking for inspiration to get started, this camp is for you.

Bring your own lunch, notebook and pen. (Computers ok too.)

“It was so much fun – I learned so much and I’m actually writing the book I’ve been planning to write for a long time.” – Holly

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Junior Writers Camp

ages 8-10
July 14-18
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
$175
(Early bird deal: $165 before June 30)

For younger writers, this is a very active version of the older kids’ camp, focussing on games, exercises, and storytelling, with a bit of acting, art and puppetry thrown in for good measure.  We’ll make up crazy group stories and talk about our favourite books and movies. With a little less emphasis on actual words-on-paper than the older camp, this week is designed to get kids thinking about story, characters and plot in fun ways.

Bring your own lunch, notebook and pen. (Computers ok too.)

To register or find out more info, please drop me a line!

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Another Fill-in-the-Blanks Story

IMG_5995 - Version 2Here’s another story for some Writing Group fun – another Fill-in-the-Blanks story. (See previous post for our first example.) Basically you just write words on slips of paper and drop them into the appropriate bowls: NOUN (character), NOUN (object), NOUN (location), ADJECTIVE, VERB, or ADVERB. Then proceed with the story and draw a word every time you need to fill in a blank.

Here’s one our Friday group came up with:

Fantastic Man and Fedora Dude

Go To School

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Weekly Eldritch: Orcs. Oorg.

Here’s something creepy for this week. At our house we’ve finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and watched the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, so Orcs have been on my mind recently. They were bad enough in the LOTR movies…

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Weekly Eldritch: Fantasia / Night on Bald Mtn

This week’s item of creepiness is the Night on Bald Mountain segment of Disney’s 1940 film Fantasia. Now the music by Mussorgsky is pretty dramatically frightening all by itself, so adding a host of demons to the top of said mountain just adds to the scariness.

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We Have a Winner! Eldritch Contest Results

IMG_0156 - Version 2Thanks to everyone who entered the Eldritch Contest! The winner of the contest is… drum roll please…

Sarah (Gr 6) from Lackner Woods Public School in Kitchener, Ontario! Sarah sent me a wildly imaginative story called “The Curse of Agatha’s Knife”. Congratulations, Sarah!

Among other prize items, Sarah will have a character named after her in the sequel to Eldritch Manor!  More details on that to follow…

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Weekly Eldritch: Black Webs

I don’t think you need to be an arachnophobe to find this art installation creepy..

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Group Writing Fun: Fill-in-the-Blanks Story

IMG_5988 - Version 2The game that has taken my writing club by storm recently is what I call the Fill-in-the-Blanks Story. We start by writing words on slips of paper and dropping them into the appropriate bowls: NOUN (character), NOUN (object), NOUN (location), ADJECTIVE, VERB, or ADVERB. Then we proceed with the story and draw a word every time we need to fill in a blank. The results can be… weird. Continue reading

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