Tag Archives: happy things

The Anxiety of Reviews

obt logo_2Okay, so reviews of my book make me anxious. Really anxious. Wincing, cringing, whinging anxious. I mean who likes being criticized for something you worked really hard on?! I prefer my days to be serene and content, so I don’t go out of my way to hunt down reviews, but if someone sends me a link to one I summon all my courage and take a look. (I also figure that if someone sends it to me, it won’t be terrible.)

So I was glad to read the lovely Open Book Toronto review of Eldritch this morning. The only complaint the reviewer had was with how sudden the reveal at the end is, a criticism I’ve heard from others. It’s a valid point, but I don’t regret ending that way, really. I just didn’t want the book to trail on and go out with a whimper, so I saved a bit of a bang for the last page.

What I especially loved in this review was the fact that the reviewer, YA author Kim Firmston, and her daughter both liked the book and found it kept them guessing. I think it’s fantastic whenever parents and kids can share enthusiasm for a book, and discuss it together.

“…this was an awesome read — when I was finally able to read it. My twelve-year-old daughter snatched the book away after reading the first chapter over my shoulder. I didn’t see it again for a while.

So if you have a fantasy lover, put a little Eldritch Manor in their stocking this Christmas, and when they are done reading have a crack at it yourself.”
(Kim Firmston, Open Book Toronto, Nov 13/2013)


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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 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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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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New Caillou books: Ecology Club series

DSC08985I’d almost forgotten about these! Last spring I wrote two picture books for Caillou, and I just received some copies in the mail now that they’re finally out.

They recruited me to write these because I’d story edited the tv series Caillou for a season, and wrote a pile of scripts for the show. These titles are part of their Ecology Club series:

Caillou learns to recycle

Caillou Learns to Recycle – in which Caillou’s daycare teacher tells the kids about what happens to the things we recycle, and what new products can be made from them.

fresh from the farm

Caillou – Fresh from the Farm – in which Caillou’s family visits a farmer’s market, and Caillou learns about local and seasonal foods.. and tries a new recipe.

This style of writing is certainly worlds away from fantasy fiction, but I can put on the Preschool Writing Hat when I need to! Which probably looks something like this…


p.s. Dang! I said it as a joke, but now I really want a Preschool Writing Hat!

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I love this…

One of the best parts of talking to kids:

May art - Version 2

(from my daughter’s Gr. 1/2 class, if you hadn’t guessed it already)

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