Friday, June 27, 2014

Hello Summer, G'bye quiet house

Soooo, I'm an SLP and a writer and a crazy cat lady restricted by my unreasonable husband who has limited us to two felines... but first I'm a Momma.

My four monsters are now 11, 10, 8 and 8 and just finished grades 6, 4, 3 and 2. (My 8s are virtual twins, which isn't reference to a cyber existence but the fact that they are two months apart born in 2005 and 2006). Summer's here! I love summer with them! We pick adventures to do around the province, we stroll the waterfront, we hit the candy store, we chillax at home for pj and movie days... but I don't get my writing days to myself. Sometimes I'll sneak into my writing spot while they trash the house but it's not quiet and calm and productive.

So, today starts two months of searching for writing time. I've given up for today, though, and we're heading to The Ovens for our first summer adventure as soon as the pre-teen rises from his slumber.

Happy SUN!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Thirteen Book Challenge!

Today I finished up the Thirteen Book Challenge I did with PJ's and Mrs. Laurie's third grade class. Every Monday I went in to read a picture book to the class, one from each province and territory in Canada in support of Amy's Marathon of Books (she's reading a novel a DAY).

Here's what we found:

British Columbia - Go Away Unicorn by Emily Mullock
Alberta - The Lime Green Secret by Georgia Graham
Saskatchewan - I Know Here by Laurel Croza
Manitoba - This is Not my Hat by Jon Klassen
Ontario - Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Quebec - The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier
New Brunswick - Penelope's Imagination Runs Wild by AJ Funn
PEI -  Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, abridged by Barbara Greenwood
Nova Scotia - There were Monkeys in my Kitchen by Sheree Fitch
Newfoundland - Johnny and the Gypsy Moth by Deannie Sullivan-Fraser
Nunavut - Unikkaaqatigiit edited by David Natcher, Mary Ellen Thomas, Neil Christopher
NWT - A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch and Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak
Yukon - I am a Fox by Olga Majola

I was very impressed by the kids' ability to sit and listen attentively, then draw from the story to make their own connections to the books. They were bright and thoughtful and humourous and kind in their responses. We all had a great time. At the end they gifted me with their own creation, inspired by our Saskatchewan pick I Know Here.

Here's the cover and the cover page, then my own PJ's contribution that, while starts a bit gloomy, is really sweet and provides quite an intimate view of her perspective.

Thanks so much Amy for leading us on our adventure! It was an excellent way to explore Canadian authors - I found a few new favourites!

If you have a moment, and maybe an extra dime, please consider supporting Amy in her Marathon of Books fundraiser here.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Wandering Copies

Scattered Directions

It's Friday and I'm happily at my desk, ramping up to my writing day and listening to last night's Jays Talk. It's a late start as I had to get my chick to the eye doc and will be a shortened day to get my pup to the vet, so likely a less productive day. Doesn't help that I'm somewhat scattered in my WIPs these days...

WIP 1 - Aptitude - I'm still sub'ing it to agents and publishers trying to find a perfect fit to get it published. I love that story and really believe in it so I need to see it get out there. Also it needs a new name.

WIP 2 - Henry - It's only called "Henry" b/c that's the name of the first character I wrote. I've finished a few drafts of this one and have offered it out for beta reading. It needs a lot of work, I know, but kinda feel like I need to step back a bit and give it some space to settle and breathe before I go back in to try and 'fix' anything.

WIP 3 - Charlie's Story - I'm working on a companion short for Game Plan that tells the Halloween Party from Charlie's perspective. When it's done it'll be offered for free on the eBook platforms. I'm enjoying working on this b/c Charlie was one of my favourite characters in Game Plan, but I'm really struggling to make sure it's true to him, something the lovely ladies of Fierce are helping me with.

WIP 4 - There's a voice whispering at me right now... it's intriguing. And painful. And scary.

So what do I do now? Probably hide from them all in the mess of Facebook and Twitter and Blogger and Jays Talk.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Finally is a good title for this post b/c it's LONG over due.

FINALLY the third book of the Madgeburg Trilogy was finished.
FINALLY I got to read it (before all'o yous :P)
FINALLY the cover was released so FINALLY I can post my review!!!

 One of the reviews of Game Plan started with an advisory that the reviewer didn't typically like contemporary YA. I appreciated the review she wrote because it meant she went out on a limb to read it, so I offer up the same advisory: I don't typically read fantasy. I don't typically read about fairies or vampires or monsters or werewolves... but the Madgeburg Trilogy is different. Kat Kruger cements the world in such well researched science that I'm almost convinced it's NOT fantasy at all, but absolutely possible given all her explanations.

The Night is Found is the closing novel, following The Night Has Teeth and The Night Has Claws. Connor Lewis, the sorta loser-ish, mostly lost foreign student at a Paris high school has followed his fate and found his place in a world he never knew existed. Through the first two books he made friends and enemies and decided where he stood in the controversy escalating around him. Everything comes crashing together in the final story, The Night is Found. Kruger's characters are consistent throughout the three books, which isn't true for every series. They change and grow but do so in ways that are understandable and realistic given the challenges they face. This third book answers all the questions and brings resolutions that are not always perfect for the characters or preferred by the readers but are believable and congruous with Kruger's effort to present a realistic and conceivable world.

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the books, but think the third might have been my favourite. My eleven year old son is insanely jealous that I got to read it first and is anxious for the release of The Night is Found in July. Definitely a book to check out!


Monday, June 09, 2014

Up Super Late Reading THIS:

I finished a little after one last night - this morning? Not that long ago. My copy is the movie picture release that was super cheap at Costco, I like this cover better.

Is there anyone out there who hasn't heard of this story? It came out as a movie in November though apparently I totally missed that fact and had planned to go see it when it was released now that I'd read the book. At least I'll save money if I watch it from home.

I find books about the Holocaust hard to read. Gripping and intriguing but hard to read. This was no different. The story is told by Death, who is a sad, exhausted, empathetic creature who seems truly heartbroken over what is happening in WWII Europe. The main character, Liesel, first loses her communist parents to Hitler, then her brother dies on a train. She settles into a new life with foster parents Hans and Rosa, spends her time learning to read and playing soccer with her best friend Rudy and the kids on Himmel Street. She keeps the secret of Max, a Jewish man hidden in the basement and steals books by climbing into the Mayor's house through the library window.

The story is a haunting balance between the reality of daily existence for any ten year old and the devastating way Nazi Germany tainted the lives of everyone. Early in the story Liesel is embarrassed and bullied because of her poor reading skills. Her foster father teaches her to read, building both her skill and their bond. Books, both reading and writing, become a central part of Liesel's life. She recognizes the beauty of words in the stories she reads, the books written for her by Max and ultimately her own story written in the basement and kept by Death. At odds with that appreciation is Liesel's realization that words are what give Hitler his power and his dominance. In WWII Germany words are used to pelt hate and perpetrate fear. What's truly magical is Zusak's creative use words to build images and express emotions.

So if you're looking for a book to read, and you've read Game Plan once or twice, this is a good choice. It took a while for me to work through but it wasn't laborious, I was careful to pick up every detail and appreciate each trick of the words.


Saturday, June 07, 2014

Versatile Blogger

Sooo, in the blogging world there are these awards that are really chain letters dressed up in glittery tank tops and tutus. The cool thing is, these awards help me meet new writers and new readers which in the writing world is very cool. (There are books in print that prove the theory that media hype and notoriety can trump good writing in impact on book sales). 

My Twit Mate, Ellen appointed me as a "Versatile Blogger". It should be a compliment, though her status as A's fan does have me questioning her taste. I'm choosing to consider her ball team as an outlier on the study of her character. 

Here are the tasks I must do:

1. Thank the giver.
2. Name 15 new recipients. (this is the one I'm breaking)
3. Tell the giver 7 special things about yourself.

Fifteen blogs. Hmm. Back in the day I could rattle off fifteen easily but truth is I'm much more persnickety (yes, I thesaurused that) about social media these days and spend less time reading blogs to waste more time on FB and Twitter. So, my list is considerably shorter than fifteen and I'm going to choose not to pass on the award to them, just hope that the burning comet won't hit the house directly (or whatever other evil thing is supposed to happen when the chain breaks). Still, here are a few of my favourites:

Amy's Marathon of Books. Seriously, check out the work she's doing! Raising money for YA authors in Canada through a read-athon fundraiser with the CCBC.

This Is Photography. A local photographer with BEAUTIFUL work. I love looking at her updates.

The Bloggess. Is this a lame entry since I'm probably the last person on Earth to hear of her? I was handed her book first, then followed her blog and followed her Twits... she's f'in HILARIOUS.

This is the reason Tumblr is worthwhile.

So four is close to fifteen right?

Now, seven things about myself... Almost as challenging.

1. I chew my nails, 'specially when I'm thinking so when I get lots of writing done my nails are kinda short.
2. I'm a die-hard Toronto fan - Jays, Leafs, Raptors - and yes, I know they lose a lot. 'Cept this year, right?
3. I have a hoodie problem... like other people have too many shoes or too many purses? I have hoodies.
4. I drink diet Coke like some people drink coffee.
5. I love to sing to loud music in the car. My kids still think that's cool but I realize time is limited.
6. Speaking of kids, I have one born in each season, which would make a very cool tattoo, I think.
7. I've aways wanted to be on Broadway, 'cept I can't act, sing or dance and I hate being in front of people.

:) Happy Weekend!


Friday, June 06, 2014

Remembering Why I get to Write

In my existence, I've got many roles - Momma to my four Munsters, half of a 'You-and-I-Against-the-World' duo, feeder of four four-legged, furry souls, friend to some certifiable nut cases, SLP to some pretty awesome kids and families and most recently writer of stories. There are days when I love being all that and days when I hate being most of that and most days are frighteningly dynamic in that balance, moment to moment mood swings even!

But I'm safe.

I have a cushy job (well, two cushy jobs) that won't make me rich but help me feed my kids. I work in warm, clean, safe buildings with comforts such as ergonomical chairs (I'm told 'ergonomical' is not a word, but I'm not sure how to use ergonomically), and M&Ms and diet Coke. My kids are healthy, stimulated by education, music and sporting opportunities. They're safe and free to imagine whatever existence they want to find in the future, be it an NHL player or a horse riding coach (this week, anyway). My husband, parents, brother, sisters-in-law, friends live close or far, a phone call or Twit away, I know where they all are. Again, safe.

Here's why:

June 6, 1944

And in case you think that photo is dated and irrelevant: 

 June 5, 2014

So, from my cushy, ergonomical chair (see? I made it a word), it's important to be grateful to people who pick less cushy, less safe jobs so I can be free to sit here and write.


Monday, June 02, 2014


I try to blog at the beginning of each M/F writing day... as a rule. And I figured out that pictures make pretty blog posts (I'm smart like that). Today I wasn't sure what to blog about, so I went looking for the pretty picture. After much surfing and searching and getting back on topic several times I found this:

And maybe that speaks for itself?


#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction