Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beautiful Fall!

Like many writers, I love to walk!

I take a long stroll through my neighbourhood every day — to keep both body and mind in good working order. I often find that solutions to writing problems present themselves while I'm on foot in the fresh air.

And today? An extra gift! The sun was shining brightly against the backdrop of a clear blue sky and the trees overhead were spectacular in their glorious autumn colours. Here is a sample of what I saw.

It's fall on the west coast. What a wonderful time to be here!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thank you, Eden Mills!

Thank you to the wonderful town of Eden Mills, Ontario, for a marvellous weekend!

I'm just back from the Writer's Festival hosted in that glorious spot and it couldn't have been a better time. The setting is idyllic, under the sweeping trees and alongside the Eramosa River, with dozens of authors and poets reading their works to a most gracious and receptive crowd.

A few times over the weekend, I had to pinch myself to believe it was real.

The community (of about 350 people) pitch in to provide warm hospitality to the festival visitors and authors. A team of volunteers cooks and serves dinner to a great crowd of people on each of two nights, and serves up homemade pies for dessert. Not only that, but homemade champagne is poured!

What were the highlights? There are almost too many to count:

- delicious food
- friendly volunteers
- a gorgeous natural setting
- sitting in the sunshine, listening to the authors and poets read their works
- the making of new friends in the Canadian literary scene
- catching up with old friends living across our vast country
- the amazing young student, Samantha, who introduced me at my reading — the best introduction I've ever had! Thank you so much, Samantha!
- the careful and competent organization of travel details, hotels and flights
- the kindness and generosity of everyone I met

I could go on... but suffice it to say, it was a weekend I will always remember.

My sincere thanks to everyone involved in putting on the festival. I feel enormously privileged to have been invited! One day, I hope to return.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Eden Mills Writers Festival

Tomorrow, I am on my way to a wonderful writer's festival held in the scenic hamlet of Eden Mills, Ontario. What a privilege to be invited!

If you'd like to find out who's speaking over the weekend, you can check this festival link.

And here's a lovely piece of art showing the town and environs (borrowed from the Eden Mills website). I'm looking forward to spending the day on the banks of the Eramosa River.

I hear it's going to rain (but I don't mind — my umbrella is packed).

Back soon!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Back to School Wishes

In my part of the world, it is back-to-school day. I am thinking about all the children and teachers who are bravely returning to the classroom as the new school year unfolds.

I wish you all a successful and happy year, with much learning and many good books to read!

And if you are interested in finding out more about children and school, you might enjoy my friend Margriet Ruur's book, School Days Around the World.

Have a fun first day! I'll be thinking about you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer's Here!

We made it! Summer is here and the schools are on hiatus until the fall. Children and teachers everywhere have earned a well-deserved holiday.

As for me, now that school visits have wound down for the year, I hope to find a little quiet writing time and finish a manuscript that's been patiently waiting. 

Also in the plans, is a short family holiday by the ocean. I hope to see a lovely flock of sandpipers like these as I walk along the beach. 

Thank you to Karen Reczuch for this wonderful illustration from our book, West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet. 

Have a safe and happy summer! See you in September.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Finding Time...

Lately I've been feeling the elusiveness of time. Where does it go and how does it move so quickly? It's always easy to let a busy schedule take over.

Thank goodness for the sage advice of both my father (also a writer) and poet, Jane Kenyon, who remind me that a writer must always (and sometimes ruthlessly) set aside time to write.

In the words of Jane Kenyon, "Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours."

And for a little while now, that is what I will strive to do.

Thank you to Jane and my dad for a great reminder!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Celebrating Literacy with Vancouver Schools

It was a wonderful event yesterday at Shaughnessy Elementary, celebrating books with a big group of enthusiastic students from Vancouver schools.

The Vancouver Elementary Principals and Vice Principals Assocation (VEPVPA) chooses a book by a local author each year to donate to all Vancouver Schools. What an amazing show of support for literacy! And then students from every school, along with their teacher-librarians and school administrators, are invited to a celebration afternoon where they receive their book and get a chance to meet the author.

Karen Reczuch and I were fortunate to have our book, West Coast Wild, chosen this year. It is a such an honour and we are thrilled.

In addition to receiving a book, the children each get a chocolate gift and this year, it was in the shape of an orca whale (to match the ocean theme of our book). What fun!

Thank you so much to the VEPVPA for an amazing day and for their support of books for children in the schools!

Here are the student greeters handing out books as each child entered the library.

After the presentation, almost every student had a photograph taken with me. I loved meeting them all!

Here's me holding my chocolate orca.

And here's the book that the VEPVPA kindly selected this year as their choice for all the Vancouver schools. Thank you so much to everyone involved!