Category Archives: Author Info/Biographical

Toronto Finale: Glorious Library and Pointy Museum

My love affair with libraries and museums continues. A quick stop at the Toronto Reference Library, mostly just to ooh and aah…


And a final stop at the acutely angled Royal Ontario Museum, a strange melding of old and new.



Luckily my enthusiasm for these places is shared by my travelling companion.


So ends our T.O. trek! Back home, back to school, and back to work!

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School Talks, Day 3!

IMG_3257I’m finally putting up photos from last Monday and my last batch of school talks. First stop was Allenby Public School, where we had a VERY full house! An extremely enthusiastic bunch, these kids sure LOVE  to talk about stories! Thanks for a fun morning, Allenby!

Next I made my way to another stately old library – the Bloor Gladstone branch, which has undergone a beautiful update and reno…


And there I talked to kids from two nearby schools, Pauline and St. Sebastian.IMG_3306

Some terrific questions from this group, about graphic novels, and book series, and self-publishing, among other things. I’m pretty sure there are some future authors in this bunch!

I really enjoyed talking to all the school groups on this trip. I can’t tell you how great it is to meet so many kids who get excited about books! These kids LOVE to read!

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Gorgeous bookstore

Last Saturday I had a great time signing books at the Chapters Runnymede store. I was kept so busy chatting to parents and kids, as well as friends who dropped in to visit, that I didn’t take any photos! It was great fun, and when I left we’d almost almost sold out… the manager told me I left only one lonely copy on the shelf!

This store is a centrepiece for the whole Bloor West Village strip and I’ve always loved it. I knew it used to be a cinema, but I’ve just learned it was also a vaudeville theatre!

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Here’s a wonderful account of the history of the theatre and the Chapters makeover.

And now for the Bad News… Only a few days after my book signing rumours started floating about that Chapters will be moving out! How disappointing if the place gets turned into condo’s or something…

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School Talks, Day 2

IMG_3254Yesterday I visited Warren Park School, a smaller school with a lot of spirit… even on the day after Hallowe’en!


Even after a late night the students showed no signs of being tired, in fact they were abuzz with their love of stories. And after we talked a little about characters and the basic elements of plot, I heard that they went right off to their classes and busily started on their own stories!


Thanks for your enthusiasm and terrific questions, Warren Park!

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School Talks in Toronto, Day 1

I hit the ground running on this trip – on our first full day here I did 3 talks at our old school, Runnymede P.S.


I spoke to three massive groups in the school’s wonderful library, first the Grade 7/8s…


Then the 5/6s…



And finally the 3/4s…



Holy Mackinaw! Coming straight from small-town life to this was quite a shock. On Salt Spring when you get ten people in one place it’s considered an unruly mob…

It was a whole lot of fun to talk to them about being a writer, making up stories, and the importance of reading, though it turns out the last topic was entirely unnecessary because they already seem to be rabid readers. It’s fantastic to meet kids who are so excited about books!

And at the end of the day I was so exhausted I could have slept for a week. But, as they say, it was a good kind of tired…

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We Leave Tomorrow!

caudron_dualAll systems are go for our big trip to Toronto!

We haven’t been back since moving away over a year ago, so it will be fantastic to see as many of our old friends as possible. But also, of course, I’ll be busy with Eldritch Manor -related events:

Wed, Oct 30 – visiting Runnymede Jr & Sr Public School

Fri, Nov 1 – visiting Warren Park Junior Public School

Sat, Nov 2 – Book Signing at Chapters Runnymede – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Mon, Nov 4 (morning) – visiting Allenby Junior Public School

Mon, Nov 4 (afternoon) – reading for school group at Bloor/Gladstone Public Library

With all of that, plus Hallowe’en fun, we’ll be pretty busy! Keep checking in for updates and photos of events.

Writing Club friends: I will do my best to put up a prompt or two to keep you going while I’m away!


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Sometimes all you need is a plan.

On-WritingI’ve been having trouble getting going on a book… getting stuck – procrastinating – doing other things – napping – getting stuck again… you get the picture. So today I revisited notes I took while reading Stephen King’s great book On Writing.

He says that the first draft of a book should take no more than three months. He aims for ten pages a day, or 2,000 words. Some days he’s done by 11:30 am, other days it can take him until 1:30. And all he needs is a “serene atmosphere”.

So my atmosphere here is pretty serene, ridiculously serene even. I should have no excuses!

I don’t get to write every day – I’ve got a lot of projects on the go right now – but by keeping my goals humble (1,000 words per working day, 3 or 4 days a week) I hope to have the first draft of a sequel to Eldritch Manor done by the end of January. Of course I also have going for me the fact that a YA novel is way shorter than one of King’s books!

I also have as a secret weapon an Outline, one I’ve been pondering and building on for a year or more. That’s enough time to percolate… now I’m going to get to work!

After the first draft is done, he recommends setting it aside for six weeks and not looking at it or talking about it. Once you’re thinking of new projects and immersed in other things, then it’s time to pull it out, get reacquainted, and get back to work on it.*

I love having a plan! (Today’s 1,000 words – check!)

* Stephen King, On Writing (New York: Scribner, 2000), pp. 154, 211-212.

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Book Signing at Chapters Runnymede – Nov. 2

190411411_8be2c2959aDuring my upcoming trip to Toronto I’m doing a book signing at the magnificent Chapters store in the neighbourhood we used to live in, Bloor West Village. Come one come all! Looking forward to hanging out in the old ‘hood and seeing lots of friends!

Book Signing

Runnymede Chapters store

2225 Bloor St. W, Toronto

Saturday, Nov. 2 – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

(here’s the facebook event link)


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OLA Silver Birch nomination for Eldritch!

1226_silverbirch_logo_new1Very excited to get the news that Eldritch Manor has been nominated for a Silver Birch Award in the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program!

Ten books are nominated for the Silver Birch Fiction award, which is aimed at readers aged 8 to 12 (grades 3-6).  Readers from all across the country are encouraged to read at least 5 of the 10 books and vote on which should win.

I will post more news on the OLA Forest of Reading events as they come up, but for the moment, I’m just totally chuffed!

Will you read the 10 nominees? See the list here.


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Visit to Toronto … for Hallowe’en!

Halloween-PartyFinally, a trip to the big smoke is in the works! Along with my entourage (one excited seven-year-old) I will be flying to Toronto at the end of October. The main big deal will be a reading at the Lillian H. Smith/Boys and Girls Branch of the Toronto Public Library on Nov. 4, but I hope to do a few school talks as well.

That’s pretty much all I know so far, but I will keep you updated…

p.s. My entourage is pretty excited about trick or treating in the big city. Way higher loot yield than a rural outing, apparently.

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