The Frame-Up

June 5th 2018

The Frame-Up - Bookcover

A birthday present for you!

So my birthday was this past Monday.

I’m not sharing my age, not because I particularly care, but because a lovely young man during a school visit this week guessed that I was “at least twenty years old”.

I’ll take it!

As a thank you for subscribing to this blog, I’m offering an exclusive contest for you!

This week on twitter, I offered to give away a copy of The Frame-Up and It’s a Mystery, Pig Face.

But I’m sweetening the deal for my followers here at wendymcleodmacknight.com:

Not only will one lucky reader get a copy of the above, but I’m throwing in bookmarks, some bookplates, an extra copy of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face, and the story I wrote about the characters in The Frame-Up, A Beaverbrook Holiday!

To enter, just leave a note below! I’ll draw a name next Thursday and send them off to you!

Thanks for hanging in here and Happy Wendy’s Birthday to YOU!

Happy New Year!

Well 2018 flew by, didn’t it?

I’m in the throes of final revisions for my next book, which must be turned in mid-month, so this is a short post.

I had a wonderful holiday.

My favourite present? The handmade book pillow my husband had made for me:

I’m also excited to share a recent interview I did that appears in the winter edition of Canadian Children’s Book News:

Kind of thrilling that someone thinks I should be kept an eye on (though my parents said that my entire childhood!!!)

I hope you have a wonderful 2019! My birthday is only days away, which means one thing: next week I’m giving YOU a present!

Thank You, Next

This is my last post for 2018

I’m taking a couple of weeks off to enjoy the holidays and gear up for a busy 2019.

But I wanted to write a quick post to thank you for all your support in 2018.

So often, we see social media posts that make the lives of writers seem glamorous and perfect.

The reality is this: I spent most of 2018 alone in my office, writing and revising. 

So even though it may have seemed like my life was a whirlwind of book-related events —and sometimes it was—there were many moments of disappointment, many book signings where only 2 or 3 people showed up, many times when I thought my writing was so horrible I contemplated giving up.

But I didn’t give up.

And I am grateful. Grateful for the people who purchased The Frame-Up, grateful to the people who recommended it to their friends or borrowed it from the library or simply congratulated me.

I got to experience so much this year: interviews on the radio, being Artist-in-Residence at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, meeting Mona Dunn’s grandson, being reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. 

I’ve been edited by the best, from my first readers to my beloved agent, Lauren Galit, to my esteemed editors at Greenwillow Books, Virginia Duncan and Katie Heit.

Mostly, I remind myself, as the year comes to a close, of how fortunate I am. Six years ago, I left my job to pursue this dream. Four years ago, Lauren Galit changed my life when she offered to represent me. My family and friends support me on a constant basis and are so patient.

In the end, our successes can only be measured against the experiences we have along the way.

Not every day as a writer is joyful, but the good days more than make up for the bad days, and the people I have met along the way have inspired and humbled me.

And the readers who have loved my books have sustained me.

You are why I write, and I thank you. And next year? Next year, I’ll be sharing lots of news about my next book, promoting the paperback version of The Frame-Up, and hopefully selling my next book. 

And look for a special giveaway for blog readers only in January!

I hope the rest of 2018 treats you well, and that 2019 is all you dream it will be. So dream big, knowing I am rooting for you! Happy New Year!

Come See Me at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery This Sunday!

 

Sunday, December 9th is the last Family Art Day at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery for 2018.

 

I’ll be there with bells on!

 

I had the opportunity to judge the Writing on the Walls exhibition, and I can’t wait to meet the middle graders who wrote such amazing poems and short stories!

 

The details:

12:30- 1:30 pm (RBC Learning Centre)
Awards and presentations for the Writing on the Walls exhibition, on display in the Sobey Youth Art Space

Zach Hapeman, Nancy Bauer, and Wendy McLeod MacKnight invite families to celebrate the creative writing of Devon Middle School’s Grade 6 classes.

The Writing on the Walls program is a partnership between the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Fredericton’s literary festival, Word Feast. The goal of the program is to support the development of student literacy skills through creative writing and an increased exposure to fine art. 144 Grade 6 students wrote about 10 selected works of art in the collection! See their prose and poetry here and view the original artwork throughout the gallery.

 

I’ll also be talking about The Frame-Up and A Beaverbrook Holiday, doing a reading, and signing your copies!

 

Details:

2:00- 3:30 pm (International Wing)
Visit author Wendy McLeod MacKnight for conversations and readings from The Frame-Up and her new short story A Beaverbrook Holiday!

 

Finally, do you love collage and puppets?

Then the Beaverbook has an activity for you!

2:00- 5:00 pm (RBC Learning Centre)
Paper Collage Puppets with Laura Bird

Use paper cutouts, magazines, glue and pins to create your own masterpieces inspired by the Gallery’s collection of masterworks and the popular children’s book The Frame-Up written by Wendy McLeod MacKnight,

Laura-Beth Bird is a theatre artist based in Fredericton, New Brunswick with 4+ years of production experience, set building, and visual arts experience. Laura-Beth has taught youth in classrooms across New Brunswick through the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s Outreach Program initiatives. A graduate of St. Thomas University, Laura-Beth studied Dramatics and Theatre Production. She is a mixed media artist, focusing on production for children’s entertainment.

 

Laura-Beth also happens to have played Madame Juliette at The Frame-Up book launch!

 

 

I absolutely plan to go down and make my own puppet!

Hope to see you Sunday!

 

xx Wendy

The Nutcracker Tea and Holiday Giveaway!

 

It’s December!

I mean, technically, December starts of Saturday, but it feels like November has flown by!

I’m almost done my second week as Artist-in-Residence at The Beaverbrook Art Gallery and am hard at work on my writing!

I did take some time this past Sunday to launch A Beaverbrook Holiday during the gallery’s Nutcracker Tea and it was so much fun!

My favourite part was leading some children in singing Christmas carols to the paintings!  We spent extra time singing to Mona, who was very appreciative!

And yes, I wore a PLAID SUIT!  I’d had the two pieces and never worn them together, but they were just the perfect amount of garish, and kind of punk when paired with my one of a kind Beaverbrook Converse sneakers!!!  I’m not going to brag, but Clem Cotterell gave it two thumbs up!

 

 

My favourite part was this little boy, who bought his copy of the companion story and immediately read it all in one sitting while sitting below Mona Dunn:

 

 

Lots of companion stories and copies of The Frame-Up were sold. If you recall, the story is a fundraiser for the gallery and tells the story of what the paintings do at holiday time!

It’s the perfect gift for The Frame-Up lover in your life, and you don’t need to live in Fredericton to get a copy!  Just email shop@beaverbrookartgallery.org and they’ll be happy to sell you one and mail it straight away! The cost is $12 CDN.

But you might have a chance to win your own copy! I’m giving away a copy of The Frame-Up and the companion story, A Beaverbrook Holiday, as a way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported the book this year!  Leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner on Monday, December 3rd, autograph it for you and mail it off right away!

 

 

Just leave me a note below, or on the twitter post or Insta post and you’ll be entered to win!  Open to both US and Canada.

Good Luck!

The Frame-Up Named One of the Best Middle Grade Novels In Canada!

 

I was thrilled to receive the latest issue of Canadian Children Book Centre’s Best Books and see that The Frame-Up is included!

 

 

It’s such a thrill because I have so much respect and admiration for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre!

 

 

Not only that, I am in stellar company, with some of my favourite authors being recognized as well!!!

We don’t write books for recognition, but I’m not going to lie: it’s nice when it comes!!!!

 

Books I loved this year!

 

The holidays are coming and I thought I might share some books that I particularly loved this year and that I think you might want to contemplate reading or giving as presents!

 

 

 

This list is not ranked, nor have I annotated it.

Just know that these books made me very happy, sad, and inspired this year!

 

What books did you love this year?

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A in Telegraph Journal

 

I’m in today’s TJ, sharing all sorts of inspirational and embarrassing details about my life!

 

 

Unfortunately, the TJ has a firewall, so I’ve had to put it into two separate images:

 

The Frame-Up has a Companion Story!

 

I’ve got some exciting news to share!

 

You know how much I adore the Beaverbrook Art Gallery…

But many of you might not know that the Gallery is a not-for-profit organization that is very reliant on donations, memberships, etc, to keep the lights on and to expand arts programming.

With that in mind, I wondered if the Gallery mightn’t like a gift from an author who holds it in high esteem?

With the blessing of my publisher, I’ve written a holiday story with the same characters as appear in The Frame-Up and have given it to the Gallery to use as a fundraising tool in any way they see fit.

They’ve decided to publish the story as small chapbook and will begin selling it on November 25th!

 

 

How lovely is that cover?

All of the proceeds of the small book will be invested back into the Gallery.

While the story will only be for sale at the Beaverbrook gift shop, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck! They are prepared to ship anywhere!

To pre-order your own copy, you can call: 1.506.458.2028

or you can email the gallery at: emailbag@beaverbrookartgallery.org

I promise to autograph all copies!

This is a perfect stocking stuffer or Hanukkah present for someone who already loves The Frame-Up!  And I hope they sell out, because that means the Gallery will make tons of money for programming and services!

Am so excited for you to see what the characters are up to this holiday…

 

Losing Your Power and Getting it Back!

 

I lost my power for a couple of days this past week after a huge windstorm.

 

I can’t complain: we only only lost power for two days and have a generator, so we were able to stay warm and our food wasn’t ruined. Many more New Brunswickers were without power for many days and a few still don’t have power five days later.

It was okay for me – I hunkered down and have been working on edits for my latest book.

But I also did a couple of days of school visits – one day in person, the other day virtually – and talk about getting your batteries restored!

On Tuesday I visited Sunny Brae Middle School in Moncton and spent the day talking to kids from grades six and seven about my books, writing, and reading.

 

 

It was so much fun and I felt so invigorated to get home and start writing again!

On Wednesday, I spent a good part of the day skyping with students from Hesston Middle School in Kansas!

I’m a mentor as part of the wonderful #kidsneedmentors MG author program, and this was our “meet and greet”! They asked all kinds of amazing questions and inspired me!

Two weeks ago, I did a similar exercise with students from Hartford Upper Elementary School in Iowa, who also had wonderful questions.

I never cease to be amazed by the enthusiasm and excitement of young readers and writers! They are the reason I write. And their passionate teachers are awe-inspiring!

So I may not have had any power for a couple of days, but I am fully charged and ready to fly!

 

 

Many thanks to the teachers and the schools listed above! It is privilege to work with you!!!!

 

Have an awesome weekend!!!

 

 

 

 

Book Giveaway and Halloween!

 

Can you believe it’s already November?

 

It feels like the fall is flying by!

I’m happy to share that Donna won the copy of The Frame-Up!  But don’t worry; I’m planning a super giveaway at the end of November for the holiday season!

 

A Frame-Up Halloween

 

I had a thrill this week when a young girl named Charlotte, who loves The Frame-Up, decided to dress as Mona Dunn for Halloween!

How cute is she?

 

And kudos to her mother, who did an amazing job of the costume!

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery also got into the Halloween fun, sharing this ghostly image of Madame Juliette on their instagram page:

 

 

It’s always a thrill when people love The Frame-Up!

I’ve got a busy week ahead – school visits and I absolutely HAVE to finish book 3!  Yikes!  Wish me luck!

 

 

I’ve got Exciting News (and am celebrating with a Book Giveaway!

 

Guess what?

 

I’m going to be the Artist in Residence at The Beaverbrook Art Gallery from November 19th to December 16th!

 

 

Expect special tours, talks and pop in to watch me tear my hair out as I edit book #3 on deadline!!!

 

I can’t wait to see you!  And in honour of this wonderful opportunity, I’m giving away a copy of The Frame-Up, along with a copy of It’s a Mystery Pig Face!, bookmarks, and a Merrymaking Christmas ornament!  Just leave a comment below by November 1st end of day and you’re entered to win!

 

 

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

TD Canadian Children’s Book Week

 

I’m a huge fan of the ongoing commitment to bring books and authors to kids all across Canada.

 

 

And guess what? I just found out I’m one of the thirty authors chosen to participate in Book Week 2019, happening next May!

 

 

 

 

What is TD Canadian Children’s Book Week? The description from their website:

TD Canadian Children’s Book Week connects Canadian authors and illustrators with children and teens across Canada. Tour participants speak to their audiences about the pleasures of reading and the delights of Canadian children’s books through their presentations and workshops. Meeting authors, illustrators and storytellers can be a turning point in a child’s life, inspiring a lifelong love of reading.

The readings and workshops that take place during Book Week can open a child’s eyes to the world of literature. These readings and interactions with authors, illustrators and storytellers can excite a child about literacy. Whether a child is interested in writing, drawing or telling stories aloud, Book Week inspires young imaginations, teaches children how wonderful a good book can be and encourages them to tell their own stories.

I am so honoured to represent New Brunswick and middle grade literature and I can’t want to learn which province or territory I’m being sent to!

Next week: A book giveaway and some more fun news!

NErDCampNNE, Library Visit, SWEEP by Jonathan Auxier

 

This post is all about things I have absolutely adored this week….

 

First off, I attended my very first NErDCamp NNE this past week and it was wonderful!  I met so many amazing teachers and librarians and learned so much! I also got to meet some old and new writer friends, which was a blast!

 

Me and the wonderful Jill Diamond, author of the delightful LouLou and Pea books!

Elly Swartz, author of Smart Cookie and Finding Perfect, and Jarrett Lerner, author of Enginerds, both of whom are amazing!

Me and the amazing Diane Magras, author of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter

 

Jill, Diane, and I led a session on how to address gender bias in children’s publishing, and had such a great discussion with a wonderful group of educators and librarians!

 

All the authors! I tried to get Dan Gemeinhart to sign my books (his lines were SOOOO long!)

 

I arrived back for one sleep and then hit the road to visit schools and libraries up and down the St. John River Valley for the next three days.

 

Setting up in the library at Plaster Rock!

Many thanks to the libraries in Plaster Rock, Edmundston, Florenceville, Nackawic, Woodstock, Hartland, Grand Falls, and Perth Andover. I met so many amazing kids on this visit and just loved the whole experience!

 

I even made it into this week’s issue of Victoria Star!!

 

 

Finally, a book recommendation:

 

I’ve been waiting for Jonathan Auxier’s latest book, SWEEP, for months, and it did not disappoint!

 

This book, a tale of a young girl who is a chimney sweep in London in the 1800s, is magical, mesmerizing, and simply brilliant. This book will win awards, as it should.

The perfect book for the student or child in your life!!!

 

Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving, so for those of you who celebrate (like I do!):

 

A Frame-Up Review, Booking School/Library/Book Club Visits

 

Hi everyone!

Sorry to be missing in action these past two weeks.

My wonderful sister passed away and so I was of course occupied. It will take a long time to get over this, but I am glad to get back to work.

 

The first piece of good news is that The Frame-Up just received a five star review from CM: The Canadian Review of Materials, a journal that reviews children’s and YA books.

 

You can read it online and I’ve copied it in full below!

 

The Frame-Up

The Frame-Up

Author:
Wendy McLeod MacKnight
New York, NY: Greenwillow Books (Distributed in Canada by HarperCollins Canada), 2018
374 pp., hardcover, $21.00
ISBN:
978-0-06-266830-1
Grades:
6-9
Ages:
11=14
Review by:
Crystal Sutherland
5 stars

The second piece of good news is that I am now booking in-school visits, FREE Skype visits, library visits and book club visits!

Would love to meet your kids!!!

I’m also travelling a lot in the next week. Come see me!

 

I’m really excited about Freeport, because I’ll FINALLY be able to meet some of my author friends!!!!

Things are hopping again, and I couldn’t be happier!  Will report back next week!

On Writing

 

I am in the throes of writing a new book.

 

 

Every time I begin a new book, I forget how hard it is to write a new book.

You’d think after having two books published, one in the queue and six more squirrelled away in my computer and likely never to be seen again, it would get easy.

But here’s what I’m learning this time:

Planning helps, but you still have a horrible first draft in the end that you wouldn’t want to show your dog. Especially the dog below, who in my opinion, is a bit of a genius…

 

 

 

There is no need to know everything in draft one.

 

I used to stop along the way and make changes. No more.

Can’t remember a name? I leave an X.

Need to do more research? I leave myself a note and tell myself to do it.

I just need to get the words down.

 

 

Write Every Day When Revising

 

 

No, I didn’t want to, but by writing every day, I’ve managed to write this new book in about 40 days.

 

Get Excited About Revising.

What I learned after the last book was that revising is the most satisfying thing.

What changed to make me think that?

Two things: I realize how much better my stories can be with careful revising and I found this book:

 

 

I wish I’d found Sandra Scofield about five years ago, but never mind, she’s with me now.  This book kicks my butt in the best way and makes me excited to start revising!

 

And finally:

 

Realize It’s Not Supposed to Be Easy

 

 

 

 

I used to fantasize that the words would just flow out of me in one, brilliant piece of literature.

Uh, No….

Now I picture my reader when I write, and I think about the books that are effortless to read, thanks to the author’s care and efforts.

I want to be that kind of author.

So bring on the revising — I’m ready!

 

 

Back to School WITH BOOKS

 

Can you believe August is almost over?

 

On July 1st, @Munrokidsbooks picked #TheFrameUp to represent New Brunswick in their cross-country tour of Canadian Kids Book:

 

 

Then the Wall Street Journal gave the book a glowing review, which you can read here.

Then I travelled to Halifax to receive the Emerging Artist Award from the Atlantic Booksellers Association:

 

And then I was interviewed on CBC’s Q:

 

 

And featured in Quill and Quire:

 

 

I’ve been to weddings and funerals, read at libraries, swam, walked, and generally enjoyed myself this summer.

I’m 35,000 words into book #4.

 

But school is about to start, which means I will be hitting the road again soon!

 

And to thank you, my loyal readers, I’m hosting a book giveaway.

 

Leave me a note between now and September 1st and you’ll be entered to win hardcover copies of Both The Frame-Up and It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! Or you can retweet and follow me on twitter or follow me on Instagram. The only catch? You have to tell me what favourite thing you did this summer!

 

 

Good Luck!!!!

 

Look For The Helpers: Mr. Rogers was right

 

I typically like to keep this blog light, but…

a very sad thing happened in the community where I live last Friday and I think it’s hard to be light when your heart is grieving.

For those of you who don’t know, I live in a small province on the east coast of Canada, a small place that is home to a little more than 700,000 people in an area that is roughly the size of the State of Maine.

It’s a sleepy, friendly place, and it’s where I set my latest book, The Frame-Up.

People here seem to know everyone else, and we like it that way.

Last Friday, all that changed when two people were murdered as were two of the police officers dispatched to protect them.

I don’t know the two people who were the original victims, but I do know the two police officers who went to help them: Constable Robb Costello and Constable Sara Burns.

And I know the pain and fear that this had caused within the policing community becauses my husband was once a police officer, too.

 

In the days since, I’ve thought of the families and the children they left behind, and I’ve thought of my community.

It will take a long time to heal from this tragedy.

Fredericton will not forget Sara and Robb’s sacrifice, but it won’t be held hostage to hate or revenge.

In one of the most moving events of this week so far, the city came together to join hands on Monday night.

Thousands showed up in an act of defiant love, and it was moving and healing.

 

 

I was pleased to see so many children participating and bringing flowers and teddy bears to the makeshift memorial in front of the police station.

In fact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought his own young son to pay his respects to the fallen officers and share messages of hope and healing for New Brunswick.

 

 

Shielding children from sad events doesn’t help them. Most of the time, they know about the events even if parents try to keep it a secret.

The wonderful thing is, thanks to the internet, there are many resources parents can access to help them answer children’s questions about safety.

And there are wonderful books about the aftermath of tragedies.

Visit these sites to learn more about them:

  1. this wonderful Indianapolis Library site.
  • This list on GoodReads.

I leave the final words to Mr. Rogers.

Sara and Robb were the first helpers.

When they fell, many more police officers, ambulance attendants, and just regular people like you and me, stepped in and took their place.

Thanks to them, more tragedy was averted.

Look to the helpers. Their love and sacrifice gives me hope.

Rest in peace Robb and Sara.

 

Teacher David Marsh’s The Frame-Up BookTalk Trailer and #THEFRAMEUPBOOKTOUR goes to ChocolateFest!

 

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know Texas Elementary School Teacher David Marsh and I can say unequivocally that he is a passionate educator!

David’s class got an early ARC of The Frame-Up, and have read It’s a Mystery, Pig Face!

This Spring, we did a SKYPE visit and it was so much fun!

I expect more shenanigans with his class this fall, but suffice to say, this teacher GETS why reading is so critical for kids and he is a tireless champion of literacy and learning.

So imagine my delight when David created a BookTalk video about The Frame-Up?  I’ve watched this video four times and I laugh out loud every time!  When I was a kid, I would have been thrilled to have a teacher like Mr. Marsh!

For your viewing pleasure:

 

 

 

How amazing is that? Kind of makes you want to visit The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, doesn’t it?

 

THANK YOU DAVID!!!!

 

The Frame-Up Book Tour

The Frame-Up Book tour rolls on this summer with a morning in St. Stephen, New Brunswick where picture book author Lana Button (go visit her site and buy her wonderful books here) and I did a morning talk/reading to about 75 interested kids and their parents.

And oh, we sold a few books, too!!!

Sincere thanks to Lana for setting this up, and to #ChocolateFest and the St. Croix Public Library for hosting us!  It was so much fun to be home!!!

 

My favourite librarian, Elva Hatt!

 

 

Stay tuned, because September is going to be a very busy month for The Frame-Up!

Meanwhile, I’m writing another book and having so much fun!!!! Stay tuned for more on that!

Have a great week!

Wendy

Teacher Giveaway!

 

I love teachers!

 

 

I’ve heard from so many teachers that they think THE FRAME-UP will be so awesome to use in the classroom for art, language arts, and history, I thought I ought to do a teacher giveaway!

 

Retweet or follow me on twitter  and I’ll send you some Frame-Up swag and an extra copy of the book for your classroom PLUS a one hour SKYPE visit with your class!  Giveaway ends July 31st!

As a treat, since we are in the groundhog days of summer – you read that right – I thought I’d send a little video along for your viewing enjoyment.

 

Already starting to work on a Picture Book….

 

 

How cute is he or she?

 

Happy Weekend!

 

 

Author of Children's Literature

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