THE COPYCAT

Coming March 2020

The Copy Cat

JUNE!

Happy June!

As we all get vaccinated, there does seems to be a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel kind of feeling, doesn’t there?

I’ve been beavering away at my work in progress, which I expect to finish the first draft of by late June/early July! That’s when the heavy lifting starts, though to be honest, it started early on this project, as I just couldn’t find the voice.

But perseverence does indeed pay off, which is something all writers need to remind themselves of when they get discouraged!

Other, non-writerly news:

Husband built a picnic table for the animals and it has been quite a hoot watching them use it:

THINGS I RECOMMEND THIS MONTH:

Trying to think of some ways to keep the kids occupied during the summer months?

I highly recommend HOW TO GO ANYWHERE (AND NOT GET LOST) by Hans Aschim, illustrated by Andrés Lozano.

This fun book covers everything a budding navigator would need to know, including Early Navigation, using the sun and the stars, distance and dead reckoning, finding longitude, maps and compasses and radio waves.

It’s simply and clearly written and I can’t tell you how much I learned from reading it!

You can pick up your copy at any major bookseller or online! Guaranteed hours of fun!

Given how much I love little critters, I HAVE to tell you about this book:

I’ve been a fan of Nancy Rose for a long time, but this board book is simply DELICIOUS!

And who knows, maybe it will inspire children (or adults!) to make their own little vignettes with the critters around the house!

Finally, I recently read THORNLIGHT by Claire LeGrand, and got completely sucked in! Definitely worth a read!

Have a fantastic month!

FRYE FESTIVAL

Happy April!

I’m so excited because The FRYE LITERARY FESTIVAL BEGINS TODAY!

I participated in the festival several years ago as a new author, so I was thrilled to be invited back!

As with EVERYTHING these days, the festival is virtual, which is challenging, but also neat, because regardless of where you live, you can tune in!

The full schedule is here.

I’m doing a virtual reading on Sunday afternoon at 2pm AST. You can catch me on the Frye YouTube Channel!

In addition, I’m doing a TON of virtual school visits next week – I can’t wait to talk to kids about writing/books and doing a reading!

Thanks so much to the festival for inviting me to such a prestigious event!

Hope you check it out – there are AMAZING authors participating!

MARCH!

Oh my gosh – it’s been sooooo long since I last wrote! February was a bit of a right-off for me (turns out that a mild concussion makes writing HARD), but I am on the mend and ready to embrace March, because MARCH means SPRING!!!

Okay – it’s a LOOOONG way until this, but a girl can dream!

March is also when paperback version of THE COPYCAT comes out!

I love when my books are available in paperback, because it means more kids can afford to read them! So if you haven’t bought THE COPYCAT yet, don’t you think it’s time? And what a fabulous Spring gift it would be!

Now that I am feeling 100% again, I am back to writing and I couldn’t be happier. I’m still on the first draft, but I love seeing the story start to come together!

In other news, I’m participating in the Frye Literary Festival in April!

The Frye Festival is the largest literary event in Atlantic Canada and a bilingual celebration of books, ideas and the imagination. Amounting to ten days of festivities, the festival takes place at the end of April and unfolds in the Greater Moncton region, in neighbouring communities, and, in the case of school visits, all over the province.

Of course this year, the festival is basically virtual, but I can’t wait for the school visits and the reading! I’m so honoured to have been invited!

In other news, the raccoons are waking up. Expect pictures soon!

Have the best day and STAY SAFE!!!!!

2021!

Okay, so I didn’t have the heart to write a post last week, but it’s become abundantly clear that the universe wants to toy with us a little longer, so am just blithley stepping forward!

I hope you had as fantastic holiday season as you possibly could under these circumstances, and just know that I am thinking of you all!

I love January. Mostly because January is my birthday month.

And because it’s my birthday, I’m running an exclusive chance to win THE COPYCAT here! Leave me a comment by January 21st and I’ll enter your name in the draw! This is open to both U.S. and Canadian blog followers!

In January, there are good discounts on generic drugs on the website.

In other news, I’m currently editing two picture books — which may or may not ever see the light of day — and hoping to start drafting my next novel ASAP.

I’ve also been reading, and here are some books that I’ve just devoured and recommend:

THE DAILY STOIC

Hard times require backbone and self-mastery.

Turns out the stoics have been teaching us that since forever. These daily readings are LITERALLY changing my perspective and thus my life!

DUNE

I know, I know – I’m the last one to read this book.

Somehow, when I was devouring Tolkien in high school I skipped past Herbert. That was a mistake. My son gave me a gorgeous copy for Christmas and I read it in two days. Masterpiece.

Guess it’s time to read Moby Dick.

Have a great week!

Happy Holidays!

The tree is up and I am still writing madly, but I wanted to send you a holiday card and say THANK YOU!

Your support this year has been particularly appreciated. Each and every comment has warmed my heart and encouraged me to keep going!

As 2020 comes to a close, I want to wish you and your family a happy holiday season and most of all, a blessed and healthy 2021. If this year has taught me anything, it is that we are all in this together.

One of my favourite authors, the timeless Charles Dickens, said it best:

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

YOU have lightened MY burdens! Stay tuned, as I’ve decided that the first week of January, I’m going to offer a fantastic (and exclusive) giveaway to followers of this blog!

In the meantime, feel free to pop over to middle grade minded blogspot, where I talk about my writing mentors, including YOU!

Until, then take care of yourself, be kind to yourself, and BELIEVE.

I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This and That…

Happy December!

While this holiday season feels like no other, I am comforted by the fact that we are all in this together, and that 2021 promises some relief, thanks to good news on the vaccine front!

I do love a December sky!

The Copycat gets a lovely review!

I’m not going to lie: book reviews by librarians have a special place in my heart. I am a librarian fangirl, so when I was tagged in a review by A Library Mama, I was tickled pink! You can read the review here.

Speaking of The Copycat, I’ve started doing virtual visits again this week! If you are a teacher or librarian, by all means, reach out, I would love to talk to your students!

Books as Presents

It’s nearly the holidays, and what would make a great present? Books! Ideally, mine (hee hee!) but giving the child in your life a good book is a wonderful thing!

If by chance you do purchase a copy of one of my books, let me know – I’d be happy to send you a signed bookplate(s)!

The Frame-Up Holiday Story!

Some new followers may not know that two years ago, I wrote a holiday story about the characters in the book and donated it to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery to be used as a fundraiser for gallery programming.

The gallery may be closed right now for restoration, but you can still get a copy of the book, which is the perfect stocking stuffer, and gives you a sense of the kind of shenanigans that have been happening at the gallery since the book ended!

There are still copies available! If you’re interested, contact Westminster Books, Gallery78, or GalleryonQueen and they can help you out!

Books I’m Loving Right Now

If you’ve already bought all my books, here are two books I’ve read in the last few weeks and LOVED!

Cleo Porter and The Body Electric by Jake Burt

Jake must have pre-cognition, because this book, set in the late 21st century, tells the story of Cleo, who lives in a gigantic apartment complex after a deadly flu virus ravages the world. It is thrilling, inspiring, and made me think a LOT about our current reality…

The description:

n a future forever changed by a pandemic, a girl survives in total isolation.

A woman is dying. Cleo Porter has her medicine. And no way to deliver it.

Like everyone else, twelve-year-old Cleo and her parents are sealed in an apartment without windows or doors. They never leave. They never get visitors. Their food is dropped off by drones. So they’re safe. Safe from the disease that nearly wiped humans from the earth. Safe from everything. The trade-off?

They’re alone. Thus, when they receive a package clearly meant for someone else–a package containing a substance critical for a stranger’s survival–Cleo is stuck. As a surgeon-in-training, she knows the clock is ticking. But people don’t leave their units.

Not ever. Until now.

A must-read!

The Searcher by Tana French

Tana French is one of my favourite authors and I devour all of her books (except her last one, The Witch Elm, which left me kind of meh). But she is back in the full glory of her powers with The Searcher, which had me hooked from the first page and turning the pages to see what happened next over one long feverish day!

The description:

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

Definitely not a kid’s book, but a riveting read!

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Until then, keep reading!

Remembrance

This week marks Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the United States.

It’s a bittersweet time, thinking of the sacrifices made on our behalf. We are proud of them, and sad for them, and most of all, thankful for them.

Clearly 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. I am reminded again and again that the only thing that helps us make it through difficult times is by sticking together for the common good. Certainly my grandfather must have thought that when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at age thirty-nine.

For me, November is also a month for remembering my parents and my grandfather, all of whom passed away this week. It’s a funny thing, how grief can be so white hot in the beginning, then eventually settle to a lovely shade of evergreen.

I often feel a pang of grief when I finish a writing project, too, for my characters have become fully formed individuals who continue to live on to me.

I’ve been writing another book, a book I personally find kind of creepy, and I wonder as I write what the final version will be, where it will go, what kind of life (if any) it will have.

Books are living things and I can’t tell you how often I’ve finished reading a book and grieved that it was done, which for me, is the highest compliment a reader can give an author!

But enough melancholy! We are six weeks away from the holiday season and I’d like to give you a chance to win a gift from me!

How about a copy of every one of my books, plus the companion Christmas story to The Frame-Up?

Leave me a comment below, and I will choose a winner on November 17th and pop it in the mail to you! And of course, this giveaway is a open to both Canadian and U.S. readers!

Good luck!

UPDATE!

Congrats to Michelle Carlos – who’s the winner! Thanks for entering everyone and stay tuned for more giveaways!

October

Hi everyone!

Can you believe it’s almost Halloween?

I’m not sure what Halloween is like in your neck of the woods, but it’s a little strange here – contactless Halloween if you will.

If you like Halloween, I suspect you also like spooky books, so I thought I’d share a recently released one with you:

Written by my writer pals Heidi and Kati, this is on my TO-BE-READ-BEFORE-HALLOWEEN list!

A brief description:

Stranger Things meets The X-Files in this eerie, heart-pounding middle grade adventure about a young boy and girl who must protect their small town from otherworldly forces threatening to destroy it.

Rae’s father vanished without a trace—and Rae knows what happened to him. But no one believes her when she says that her father didn’t run off, that he was actually taken. Now, a year of therapy later, Rae’s mother decides they need a fresh start, and so they move to a new town in the hope that life can return to normal.

The problem is, there is nothing normal about the town of Whispering Pines.

No one knows this better than Caden. He’s lived in Whispering Pines his entire life, and he’s seen more than his fair share of weird—starting with his own family, as the town is the perfect home base for his mother’s ghost hunting business.

When several kids go missing and then show up like zombies with their eyes removed, many locals brush it off. Just another day in Whispering Pines. But Caden has a dark secret, one that may explain why someone is stealing eyes. And Rae, who knows how it feels to not be believed, may be just the person Caden needs to help him put things right.

*************************

DOESN’T IT SOUND AMAZING? You can order the book online or through your local independent bookstore!

I’ve never tried to write a spooky book before, but have spent the last few weeks working on an outline for a new MG book that definitely gives me the willies!

In my experience, a thrilling spooky book can make even the most reluctant reader turn the page to see what happens next!

How about you? Any good recommendations for me?

And if you’ve yet to pick up a copy, I highly recommend THE COPYCAT, which is filled with plenty of spooky fog and strange shenanigans!

While it’s not middle grade, I am completely engrossed in Kathleen Peacock’s YOU WERE NEVER HERE. I’m about a third of the way through and I have NO IDEA what is about to happen and it is literally the most delicious feeling!

Highly recommend (and she’s from New Brunswick, too!

I hope you all have a very happy halloween. Save me some rockets!

WHERE HAS THE SUMMER GONE?

I mean seriously…

This has been a strange summer (soon to be followed by an even stranger autumn I suspect), but I have managed some great overnighters and day trips here in New Brunswick:

The Fundy Trail. Every view is fantastic.

And I still have at least one more trip up my sleeve in September.

Even better: I have finished my revisions!!!!!

The historical middle grade novel I’ve been wrestling with for a LOOOONG time is finally complete and is currently with two readers. My hope is to send it to my agent by the end of September. What happens then is TBD!

I’ve also started plotting another novel, which has got me VERY excited. It’s different than anything I’ve ever written, so we’ll see….

School is about to begin again, and this will be the first time I won’t be in schools in person in several years.

However, I am offering free Q&A sessions online for teachers, so grab your spot soon.

And if you’ve never read IT’S A MYSTERY, PIG FACE! Simon and Shuster is currently offering it for FREE on kindle! Get your copy today!

It really is a fun book….

How about you? Anything exciting going on in your lives? I’d love to hear about it!

Finally, thought I’d share a list of books I’ve read in the last month that are well worth a read:

Wow

A PURE DELIGHT

I LOVE HER CHARACTERS AND WORLD BUILDING
THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE HORRIFIED YOU ARE
BRILLIANT YA

I hope you all have a fabulous Labour Day Weekend. And for those of you going back to school to teach or are sending kids back to school: GOOD LUCK!!!

See you in September!

Summer!

I love summer!

Autumn used to be my favourite time of the year, but the older I get, the more summer makes me happy – the warmth, the trees, baby critters (there are four baby raccoons living behind our shed right now!)

Other things making me happy:

THE COPYCAT has been chosen as a 2021 Rocky Mountain Book Award Nominee!

If you look at the list below, you will understand how thrilled I am – the other authors are all amazingly talented!

How it works:

“The Rocky Mountain Book Award invites students and educators to participate in our readers’ choice program. This program is designed to stimulate the reading interests of students in grades 4 – 7. The Rocky Mountain Book Award is an Alberta based program designed to connect young readers with exemplary Canadian literature.

The Rocky Mountain Book Award is a readers’ choice program, which invites students to choose the best book from a shortlist. This Alberta-based program is designed to stimulate the reading interests of students in grades 4-7. Students and educators are invited to read exemplary Canadian literature, and then the students vote for their favorite book. This award program is for schools, libraries, and interested groups of students. This may include children who are being home-schooled or families who wish to become involved in reading good Canadian children’s literature. Each reading group must have a teacher or adult leader.”

In this case, it is absolutely an honour to be nominated!

If you recall from previous posts, I am a HUGE proponent of OWN VOICES books and truly support the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the best ways I know to learn about oppression is to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes through a book.

Let me suggest these three to get you going:

All three are wonderful, powerful reads!

I hope you are all staying healthy and enjoying the summer weather.

These are challenging times, but I believe we will get through them!

xo Wendy

Still here!

Hi guys!

I’ve been quiet on this site, as frankly I didn’t have much to report, but the spring weather (finally) has brought me out of hibernation, so thought I would share news!

  1. Turns out selling a new book during a pandemic is NOT easy. Trying not to be too bummed about it! But if you haven’t bought The Copycat yet, please think of doing so!!!! (pretty please with sugar on top?)

2. The Copycat has gotten some lovely reviews, which I am seriously grateful for!

Colline’s Blog gives The Copycat 4 stars!

Elena Reads says The Copycat is going into her reread pile!

School Library Journal had this to say about THE COPYCAT:

MACKNIGHT, Wendy McLeod. The Copycat. 432p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2020. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062668332. 

Gr 5-8–Set in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, this lightly fantastical novel explores themes of belonging, self-awareness, and individuality with a unique premise about inherited shapeshifting abilities. The author admirably steers her 12-year-old protagonist, the indecisive but determined Ali, through the fog of coastal Saint John as well as her confusing middle school social life. After Ali’s family moves in with her grandmother, she unexpectedly gains the ability to turn into anyone or anything—a skill her father and grandmother possess, but is believed to have passed over Ali. Her newfound power forces her to confront her desire to be accepted by her peers. Add in a longstanding family feud, a secret about her uncle’s death, and the terrors of making friends at a new school, and readers are presented with a story brimming with angst, magic, and drama. Though the narrative is slow to start, once Ali embraces her abilities and takes charge, the action comes fast, with MacKnight mining Ali’s special skill for comedy and suspense. MacKnight also writes from a deep understanding of the push and pull  between wanting to stand out and wanting to fit in. As Ali struggles to figure out the right things to do, readers will grow to admire her, even as they relate to her growing pains. Voracious readers will also appreciate that, in her lonely moments, Ali takes solace in kid-lit mainstays like Stuart Little and The Golden Compass. VERDICT A fun and fast-paced romp with a relatable protagonist and a touch of the supernatural.–Abigail Garnett, Brooklyn Public Library

Books on Beechwood had this to say about The Copycat:

Set in the author’s home province of New Brunswick, The Copycat by Wendy McLeod MacKnight finds Ali Sloane starting classes at a new school in yet another new town. Having long since learned that being a bit of a copycat is a good way to fit into a new school, actually being able to physically change your appearance to copy someone else’s is not exactly what Ali had in mind. Though she thinks this strange Sloane family inheritance is going to take new friendships completely off the table, not only do her new classmates surprise her, but they help her accept this new aspect of her life and come to the realization that there’s no better person to be than herself.

I have a new friend!

First came Brownie:

And then suddenly Rusty showed up this week. I’m not going to lie: I love a groundhog. Am even following Chunk the Groundhog over on Instagram. So Rusty is a welcome addition!

I’m connecting with readers!

I’ve done several virtual class visits, but have also done some one-on-one sessions with kids and their parents who are homeschooling because of the virus!

If you’d like a (free!) Skype or FaceTime visit, send me an email at wendy@wendymcleodmacknight.com.

Well that’s my news! The world is slowly opening up, and I hope that you and yours are safe and healthy. In the end, that’s all that matters!!!

Talk soon!

Thinking of You All…

Wow, what a difference a few weeks makes.

Around here, April has come in like a lion, which seems apropos, given our collective angst over the state of the world right now.

We are well here, and hope you are the same, but if you are anything like me, I suspect you are having difficulty concentrating, and may be more than a little nervous.

At times, like this, I turn to things that give me comfort: reading, watching TV or movies, baking, going for long walks (if the weather cooperates!). I am also painting every wall and cleaning like I expect a health inspector to show up at any moment!

Let’s just say I’m NOT losing weight during this isolation period…

Unlike many of you, I don’t have kids at home that I am also trying to entertain/school.

There are lots of good resources out there, but since I’m a writer, thought I’d share a couple of links where you can find authors reading their works out loud:

Huffington Post article. For some reason, they described me as a detective fiction writer. Perhaps that’s a sign?

CBC also shared a list of authors’ reading online.

Also, if you visit my instagram page, @wendymcleodmacknight, look under the IGTV symbol – I’m reading from all three of my books!

My friend Jarret Lerner is sharing all kinds of activity pages on his website. Click here to access them!

Finally, we all need to reach out to one another during these stressful times! Feel free to drop me a line at wendy@wendymcleodmacknight.com – I’m always here (where would I go?) and happy to chat!

And thanks for supporting The Copycat! It’s a strange time to be launching a new book, and your support cheers me immeasurably!

STAY SAFE!

Virtual Copycat Book Club/Online Reading

Since I can’t go to schools or libraries to do visits, I wanted to create a forum for talking about the book.

To that end, I’m creating a members-only Facebook group for kids, parents and teachers. If you’re interested in receiving an invite, email me at wendy@wendymcleodmacknight.com and I’ll send you an invite!

I’m also reading from my books on my Instagram IGTV channel!

check it out! https://www.instagram.com/wendymcleodmacknight/channel/

Most of all – stay safe! We will all get through this together!

Book Tour Postponed

Hi guys!

Unfortunately, because of the Corona virus, I’ve been forced to cancel my school visits to Saint John and the Kennebecasis Valley and my Saint John launch!

I’ll get there as soon as it is safe again!

In the meantime, I’m going to be working on content for the website that can be shared with readers and probably putting up a few videos, so stay tuned.

Most importantly, stay safe. These are challenging times. Be kind to yourself and others and we will all get through this.

Thought I would share some pictures from recent school visits and the book signing at Westminster Books!

Thanks for all your support! And remember: you can still have The Copycat sent to you! Or purchase it on kindle or as an audiobook!

Talk soon!

Upcoming Book Signings!

Holy Cow! The Copycat comes out in less than two weeks!

I’m already lining up school visits and book signings, and I wanted to give you plenty of notice of where I’ll be in March!

Also: if you’d like a free Skype visit with your class or are in New Brunswick and would like an author visit, drop me a note – I love talking to kids about writing, reading, what it’s like to be an author, how to get published, the whole she-bang!

The Copycat will be available to purchase on March 10th, but if you want to be sure you get your copy on that day, pre-order now!

Pre-orders are fantastic for authors – they build buzz and tell the publisher and booksellers that this is a book to watch for!

Books Signings:

MARCH 14:

I’ll be signing at Westminster Books in Fredericton from 11 to 1 on March 14th! Come by and say hello! They’ll be copies of my other books as well!

MARCH 21:

I’ll be doing a reading/book signing at the Saint John Free Public Library at 2 pm. Come by and say hey!

And stay tuned, as there will be more giveaways in March, along with more news!

I can’t wait for you all to meet Ali and discover the mystery of The Copycat!

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Guys! We’re a month away from the publication of The Copycat, and I want to do an exclusive give-away just for my blog followers!

How about an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book? And a copy of The Frame-Up? Oh heck, let’s toss in a copy of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face, too!

To be entered in the draw, all you need to do is be a blog follower and leave

a comment below! I’ll draw a name on Friday, February 7th!

UPDATE: for some reason, my blog letter didn’t go out last week, therefore, am continuing the contest until MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10th!

Good luck!

Happy New Year and Book Giveaway!

We are already ten days into 2020 and I don’t know about you, but what with the terrible fires in Australia, and other dreadful news, I wondered about going back to 2019!

Best to keep calm and carry on!

In happier news, we are now exactly two months out from the release of The Copycat!

I’ll be all over the place in March and April promoting the book, but I thought a cheerful way to kick off 2020 would be to give away an Advance Reader’s Copy!

Want a chance to win a copy?

Leave me a note below, or on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook by Friday January 17th and you could win a copy! Open to Canada and the US!

This is also the perfect time to pre-order your copy at your local indie bookstore or online. Click here for options!

Pre-orders help build momentum and buzz, and make we authors feel awesome!

December!!!

Can you believe it is December????

The tree is up, and incredibly, it is fatter in person than it is in this photograph! They say the camera adds ten pounds, but in this case, it seems to have subtracted them!

November flew by, filled with tons of events, the husband’s birthday, and writing!

It is also only three months until The Copycat comes out, so I am starting to think about books launches, school visits, the whole she-bang. More on that in the new year!

You can also expect a Copycat ARC giveaway in January, so stay tuned!

Other things I’m thinking about this month:

How the holiday season is so fraught for some people, especially those missing family members or friends. I know I especially miss my parents and my sister these days, so big hugs if you are going through the same thing.

How lights cheer me up. When you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or some other festival, seeing the lights covering people’s houses and windows makes me feel better during these shortest days of the year. It may be pitch black by five o’clock, but those lights are keeping me going!

How this has been a banner year for kid lit. I’ve read fantastic books this year, including:

These are guaranteed good reads!

Mostly though, I want to thank you for sticking with me this year! I am excited to share my adventure in 2020 with you and hope you have a wonderful and peaceful 2020!

Author of Children's Literature

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