I know, I know, it’s been forever since I posted. I’ve been busy with some writing things (news to come!) and some personal things, like an upcoming move, and an otherwise busy summer, but I wanted to personally invite you to come see me and many other amazing authors at this year’s Telling Tales Festival on September 17, 2017!
This is one of my very favourite book events where tons of authors and book lovers come together for a day of stories and fun at one of Southern Ontario’s best-kept secrets – Westfield Heritage Village.
Even if you’ve already bought (and hopefully loved) CRUSHING IT, if you’re in the Hamilton, Ontario area, why don’t you come out to help me celebrate the book? I’ll be reading from the book and answering questions AND will be signing while you mingle and consume snacks.
There will be giveaways, too! Bring the book you’ve already purchased for me to sign or there will be copies there to buy.
If you’re local, I’d love to see you at the LAUNCH PARTY on January 28 at the Westdale Libary (2pm).
Don’t forget to please review CRUSHING IT (unless you hated it) at review sites like Goodreads and at retailers. That is the kindest, and cheapest way you can help authors get the word out about their books.
Apparently it’s been months since my last blog (September? How did that much time slide by?) but I guess that goes along with the theme that I’m not a very good blogger and really only crawl out of the woodwork when I have something to tell you. Well guess what? I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU!
While Small Medium at Large is out in the world and people still seem to be reading it (thank you!) I’ve been working on some other things and one of those things will be published by Simon and Schuster’s Aladdin M!X imprint in 2017 December 2016! If you’re not familiar with the M!X books, check out the website (see, those exclamation points were intentional).
The book is called Crushing It and is a tween version of Cyrano de Bergerac – see the official deal notice at Publishers Weekly. I can’t tell you too much about the story yet, but it will be fun and funny and will likely include some awkward moments and maybe a cat. You’ll just have to wait and see.
And if you believe it, some kind soul has already put it up on Goodreads (which means you can add it to your TBR list, you know, because you’re already worried about what you’re going to need to read two years from now).
This isn’t the Oscars, so I’ll keep this short, but I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to my agent, Caryn Wiseman for facilitating this. She has been tirelessly working toward getting my books out there and I so appreciate having her on my team.
Yes, I know, I haven’t blogged in a while and I probably wouldn’t have even written this post if not for the wonderfully awesome Philippa Dowding! I have to tell you how I met Philippa, because meeting her was just one part in the amazing Forest of Reading experience I had last spring! When I did the ‘near north’ tour, Philippa and I traveled together (through some crazy terrain and a heck of a storm, I might add) from North Bay to Parry Sound and we got to know each other and had great chats, as writers often do. I can’t tell you what we talked about (what happens on tour, stays on tour) but by the end of the trip, I was so glad to have met her!
AND we exchanged books, which I love, because the one thing I cherish and collect more than anything (because it’s hard to collect cheese, though I do love it so) is signed books.
Please check out Philippa’s post and her books and make sure you tell her I sent you. Make sure you watch the trailer for The Strange Gift of GwendolynGolden (Philippa even did the music for the video—could she be any more talented?).
Now, to the questions!
1. What are you working on?
Oh, okay, so let’s start this with the hardest question to answer! I hate talking about projects I’m working on, because inevitably, they don’t freaking sell and then people are all like, “Remember you were working on that story about the purple alien that fell in love with a crocodile who ate beets? When is that coming out?” and I have to tell them that the book will come out on the fifteenth of never. So I think I’ll play it safe here and tell you I’m working on a wickedly funny Facebook post.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I wrote it, so that’s the most notable difference. Plus, my writing tends to be funny and honest. I try to mine the most embarrassing moments from my own youth (real or imagined) and project them onto my characters. Then, I manipulate those scenes to make them even funnier and work them into a plot. So yeah, there’s a good chance if you’re reading my work, you will laugh. I keep hearing there’s not enough funny books, so I’m trying to help fill the niche.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I have always looked up to authors who honestly portray the lives of tweens/teens and who write the books that everyone relates to. There are so many experiences that we all go through in some way or another and sharing those experiences is one of the great parts of being human. Dogs can’t share the story of a great romp at the leash-free park or describe the taste of a really delicious steak bone found at the bottom of a garbage can. The stories we share bond us to each other with no reciprocal hind-end sniffing required. So I write to share stories like that. ALSO, and maybe more importantly, I love to make people laugh and if I can do that with strangers I’ve never met, well, that’s the most amazing feeling ever. No, the second most amazing feeling—having a kid come up to me wearing a shirt with my book on it, that’s pretty much THE most amazing feeling.
4. How does your writing process work?
This is a very wide-open question, which I’m guessing is by design… Uh, I come up with an idea, and then I have four or five plot points in my head before I start actually writing. Then I sit down (or, actually these days, I go to my treadmill desk) and start writing. I don’t normally write to outline, so I make up the story and characters as I go. This means I need to do more editing/layering of details later as I learn more about my book and what/who it’s actually about, but it’s how I work. I’ve tried outlining and it just doesn’t work for me. If I need an outline or synopsis for a proposal, I pretty much have to write the book (or most of it) first.
Thanks again for tagging me, Philippa! And of course, one good turn deserves another, so I tag: Jocelyn Shipley! I know Jocelyn from #TorKidLit, a social group of writers from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) that gets together monthly. I’m a big fan of Jocelyn and her work (particularly her HOW TO TEND A GRAVE that I couldn’t stop raving about when I read it) and I’m looking forward to her post next week.
Thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment about your process.
I know it’s kind of crazy that after months of nothing, I’m posting twice in a week, but remember when I talked about going to Sudbury to do some school visits? (You can’t tell me you’ve forgotten, it was just a few days ago!) Well, I just got an e-mail with a picture of another poster made by one of the kids. How cool is this? So cool, I just had to share:
Thank you, Scott! This is one of my favourite scenes in the book, too. Great job!
First, let me start with the Oh, My! Has it really been this long since my last blog post? Wow. Yeah, I guess it has. I’d like to blame my lack of communication on being really busy and that’s part of it, but mostly I didn’t have enough cool stuff to share. Until now.
So. Where to start.
Cool Thing #1 – SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE has been named an Honour* Book by the fine kids of Manitoba in their Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Cool, right? MAKING BOMBS FOR HITLER by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch won, which is awesome and so well deserved, but my book was one of two honour books (with UNGIFTED by Gordon Korman). I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this is.
Cool Thing #2 – As you may know, SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE is a Red Maple nominee in the Ontario Forest of Reading program. Another huge honour for me and my little book about ghosts, boys and bras. So I was afforded the opportunity to do a little bit of touring last week up to North Bay and Parry Sound to celebrate at their Festival of Trees. I didn’t take near enough pictures, but here are a few. I always have a great time hanging out with book-lovers of all kinds and I have to say that this event made me feel like quite the rock star. Look at all those fans! Thank you to the Near North School District for making this happen. What a great couple of days!
And this isn’t even the whole crowd. I was told there were about 1600 kids there. Amazing!
Here’s a smaller crowd of SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE fans who came to my presentation and sat in the front row (check out their cool SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE buttons!). <3!
Here I am with fellow Red Maple nominees, K.L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr (LOKI’S WOLVES: THE BLACKWELL PAGES)
And a group photo with the rest of the authors (K.L. and M. A. had to leave early) and some of the event organizers. Thank you Near North!
Also, I was fortunate enough to do some school visits in Sudbury on my trip. Check out the cool artwork some kids did to tie in with my book:
Here I am with Ms. Vigna’s ASD class. These kids were so great and engaged and asked some of the best questions. I loved meeting you!
AMAZING! Thank you so much to these great kids. I loved meeting you all and chatting about books.
There will be more Forest of Reading events next week and I’ll update again once I have more pictures.
Until then, thanks for making it to the bottom of my post. Here’s your reward, a dancing chicken:
*These cool things are happening in Canada, so I’ll be using my Canadian spelling here.
Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for, despite it being a tough couple of months. I’m not going to go into great detail here, but I lost my mom fairly suddenly in September and if you know me or follow me on Facebook, you know we were close and well, it sucks.
Okay, so that was some detail, but I don’t want to get all maudlin on you; I’m here today to talk about the things I’m thankful for*:
My husband, who makes a mean turkey
Family and friends who have been amazing these past weeks
Being shortlisted for the Fiction list of the 2013 Hamilton Literary Awards (which take place on my birthday–attention universe!). I’m in excellent company on this very small list of three and am amazed to be on there. Go Hammer!
That I was able to go to NYC last week and have a really good time, including seeing ANNIE! Check out Katherine Longshore’s cool recap because I’m too lazy to do one of my own (includes goofy dancing video–must see).
That SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE has been chosen to be on the 2014 Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading Red Maple list. This is one of those things that I crossed my fingers for, hoping it would happen, but didn’t dare believe it would. This is HUGE and to be recognized here at home in Ontario is so special. I’m honoured and in such great company with wonderful fellow Canadian authors that I really feel like we all win. I’m also so glad I attended the 2013 award event in support of my author friends, so I have a good sense of the impact of this program. I’m so, so, so excited and I know my mom is watching and she is, too.
This means more readers for SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. So cool, right? My little book about bras and boys and ghosts and kissing. Still feels weird to me that people who are not immediate family members want to read my book.
There is a Chinese food buffet that we go to called…wait for it…RED MAPLE! I think it’s kind of the law that I need to go there and celebrate, right? Just as soon as I eat all of this turkey…
YOU. Thank YOU for being here and for supporting me and my book. Even though SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE came out last year, it’s still finding its way to readers and I’m so thankful for that. I wish I could hug you all, but failing that, anyone want a drumstick? Some turkey soup? Casserole? A turkey sandwich, perhaps? Please?
*As I finished writing this list, it occurred to me that I should note that these items are not in any order of importance.