It’s a Mystery, Pig Face!

February 2017

It's a Mystery, Pig Face!

It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! Chosen as a Best Book of the Year!

 

 

Am so happy to announce that It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! has been chosen by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s as one of its Best Books for Kids and Teens 2017!

 

 

It’s a real honour to be included in a “best of” list by such a prestigious organization, and it’s fun that Pig Face is right beside his good friend Holly Farb, written by the wonderful Gareth Wronski!

 

The funny thing is, when you write a book you have no idea if other people will like it.

So I’m happy to end 2017 on such a high note and looking forward (I hope!) to making next year’s list with my next book, The Frame-Up!

And yes, Pig Face makes a wonderful holiday gift!

 

 

The Writing Process

 

Every book I write is different.

My writing process, for good or bad, is not.

Since I am in the throes of revising to meet a December deadline, thought I would share the exact process I go through to write a book.

Granted, I’ve only written nine books in the last three years (only three of which will likely ever see the light of day) but the following list is a somewhat humorous and oh-so-accurate depiction of my writing life:

  1. Struggle with idea (multiply this by 10)
  2. Run idea by agent.
  3. Agent points out the wonderful bits, kindly calls horrible bits “problematic”, suggests new bits, sends me back
  4. I write a synopsis
  5. Rinse, Repeat
  6. Final synopsis
  7. I do an outline, write character sketches, think of backstory that I will forget in about one week, realize my synopsis is so vague as to be almost incoherent, and promptly begin to write and throw away half of synopsis by the end of the first quarter
  8. Characters run amok
  9. Plot turns out to be plotless
  10. Someone who I’ve not been expecting shows up and decides they want to be in my book. I ask them to leave, but it turns out they are more interesting than half the characters I drafted sketches for and allow them to stay, at which point they completely bugger up the plot some more
  11. Finish first draft. Allow self one hour of solid jubilation then switch into a shame spiral, where I decide I really ought to call my agent and explain what a mistake she has made and then call my editor and give her money back.
  12. I do neither of these things because I am inherently selfish
  13. Begin draft two. Realize draft one must be set on fire. Characters taunt me. Plot holes are so deep I fall int them and take days to dig out. I soldier on, because I am Capricorn, and frankly, that’s what we do
  14. Finish draft two. Have some moments of jubilation. Come to shocking conclusion that my unmatched brilliance is unmatched because there is no brilliance. Somehow, dreams of writing like Neil Gaiman has given way to writing like the wanted ads or a bad Saturday Night Live sketch
  15. Send to critique partners
  16. Receive their feedback
  17. Move to fetal position. Check want ads. Wonder if my fifties is too late to become a plumber. Don’t care; plumbing is a noble art
  18. Crawl out of hole
  19. Take what is useful from critique partners and beta readers and my own understanding after doing first two horrible drafts
  20. Rewrite
  21. Discover there is a book there
  22. Finish third draft – there is no jubilation, but there may be alcohol and chocolate
  23. Send to agent
  24. There is a book there, but it is hidden under bad writing and ill-conceived plot and characterization
  25. Start fourth draft. Wait – there may be themes. Actually have decent descriptions. Characters more fully created and less likely to taunt me because they want to make the cut
  26. Finish 4th draft.
  27. Agent blesses me or sends me for counselling

Do it all again with editor

 

Am I alone in my misery????

 

 

 

The Joy of Wordless Picture Books

 

I don’t know about you, but the holiday season always seems like the perfect time of year to add to my picture book collection.  (Well actually, any time of year seems like a good time of year to add to my picture book collection, but never mind…)

And one of my favourite genres is the wordless picture book.

 

This is the ultimate example of how wonderful illustrations can tell a story.

It’s also a wonderful reading experience, curling up with a child and together, you and they add your own spin to the story.

When my children were young, they were crazy about Peter Spier’s wordless picture books:

 

 

 

Other wonderful options:

 

Zoom, by Istvan Banyai

 

 

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman

 

 

This year, I’ve added a new wordless picture book to my collection, one that combines two of my favourite things: The Nutcracker and Author/Illustrator Elly MacKay.

 

 

Most of you know that Elly is one of my favourite illustrators. Her work is magical, and her latest book, THE WALTZ OF THE SNOWFLAKES, doesn’t disappoint.

 

 

The illustrations are absolutely glorious, and I can imagine many children poring over this book and inventing their own dialogue between the two main characters, a young boy and a young girl, who are initially reluctant, then enthralled, to attend the ballet.

I always want to step right into Elly’s worlds, and this book is no different. You can watch the short You Tube video below to see how she does the incredible world she does:

Want to buy Elly’s latest book?

Amazon.com

Chapters

IndieBound

 

And please, share your favourite wordless picture book titles with me! Would love to add to my collection!

Renovating a Book

 

I’m in the midst of a kitchen renovation, and it’s not fun.

we’ve just started the tear-out and it looks like this:

 

In other words, a total mess.

My latest book looks remarkably like this:

  • Things piled up  haphazardly.
  • Walls half torn down.
  • Cupboards and countertops waiting to be torn out.

When I look at these pictures I can’t imagine December 1st, when the reno is scheduled to be done.

But I trust that it will be.

 

I’m at the point in my revisions where everything is a jumble.

I feel like I’m groping in the dark.

I feel like it will never be pretty.

I can’t imagine being able to turn it in to my editor on December 1st.

But I trust that I will.

 

The thing is, you have to practically dismantle your book to see what needs to be there and what needs to go.

What you need to do to make it coherent.

The kitchen reno has a plan, but no doubt things will crop up and that plan will have to be adjusted.

The same thing is happening with my revision.

You can’t have a new kitchen unless you tear the whole thing apart.

Just like I can’t have a good book without tearing my WIP apart.

It’s not fun, but it can be very satisfying…

Someday, it might even look good….

I’ll keep you posted!

 

(On the kitchen and the reno!)

Books, Glorious Books

 

Have you been reading a lot this fall?

I’ve been a reading and writing machine, casting aside all other pursuits to get my current work in progress completed by deadline and greedily adding to my to-be-read pile.

 

Here’s some new releases that you will adore (I promise:

 

 

I also just read DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone in one sitting and it is fantastic!

 

 

And here’s the to-be-read pile, which is getting out of control.

 

There is so much goodness in this list that I don’t know where to start. I can’t NOT begin THE BOOK of DUST by Philip Pullman, and I suppose I should get to those library books, but this pile will be completed in the next two or three weeks.

Because soon it will be time to start planning my holiday list…

In the meantime, are you looking for books to give as gifts? Then pop over to SCBWI Book Stop – you can query authors, titles, mosey the shelves, see what you’d like…

 

 

And by all means, visit my page and say hi!

Have a great week and let me know what you’re reading this week!

Winner!

 

We have a Winner!

 

Lisa Maucione – You’ve won these three books! Hope you and your class enjoy them! I’ll be in touch to send them your way!

 

Thanks everyone for entering! Stay tuned for another giveaway in late November!

 

Meanwhile, I’m spending the next week dreaming about the release of Philip Pullman’s new book, . I cannot wait to read it! Hmmm. we may have to talk about HIS DARK MATERIALS next week…

 

 

Have a great weekend!

Book Giveaway!

 

First of all – thank you for the kind words about my friend Brian Carty. He will be missed forever, but his light goes on shining!!!

In honour of Brian and the fact that it’s October and I’ve just finished the first draft of my third book, I’ve decided to do a giveaway!

This time, one lucky winner will win not one, not two, but three MG books!

The 1st book is PATINA by the genius that is Jason Reynolds. I loved this book and think you will, too!

 

 

The 2nd book is NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES by my friend Jonathan Rosen in honour of Halloween and because it is one of the funniest books I have ever read!

 

The 3rd book is IT’S A MYSERY, PIG FACE! by moi, guaranteed to make your nostalgic for summer days and crave chocolate!

 

 

All you have to do is leave a comment and I’ll pick a random winner next Thursday night.

 

Open to the US and Canada.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

A Heartfelt Remembrance of my “Number Three Fan”

 

I lost a good friend this week.  

His name was Brian Carty, and we have been friends for just about forty years.

 

 

And he was wonderful.

But even better than being wonderful. He was good.

And that goodness sustained not only himself and his family, but his many friends.

And when I say many, I mean MANY. Bri-Guy was beloved, because he knew how to love.

A little over ten years ago, Brian made a major professional change. I’d known he was dissatisfied; we talked about it all the time. But when you have two young children, it’s hard to make big changes, it often feels like its impossible.

But Brian was also brave, and that bravery and subsequent career change meant that hundreds, if not thousands, of social work students benefited from his wisdom and his goodness.

Five years ago, when I decided to drop everything and pursue my wildest dream of writing for children, he had my back. Big hugs. Always interested in what was happening. Always telling me it was going to happen soon.

There were high fives when I signed with my wonderful agent Lauren Galit.

And when I sold my first book in 2015, he was almost as excited as I was.

And when I created this website and began writing this blog, he was my third subscriber. (When I told him that he said he was my Number Three Fan)

The thing about we writers is that we are an insecure lot. We toil away in solitary places (or in busy places with earphones!) and pray that what we bleed onto the paper touches someone.

And we rely heavily on our wonderful family and friends who buoy us up and ask us how things are going and keep at us not to keep plugging away.

Brian was one of those people for me.

I saw him one Friday afternoon this summer and we marvelled at how, after so many rough patches, our lives were turning out pretty darn well, thank you very much.

Two weeks ago when I saw him, he was walking towards one of the tents at our local Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, a bounce in his step. He was going to his happy place.

But then, he always carried that happy place with him. And even better, he shared it with everyone else.

When you lose a friend too soon, you can’t help but wonder “what if?”

I like to think I’ll see Brian again. I hope so. But this is my way of thanking him for supporting, no, celebrating, what was one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life.

That made all the difference to me.

And what makes me happiest of all? That not only did Brian touch my life in such a positive way, but  that he touched so many others in exactly the same way.

Love you, Brian. And thank you.

 

 

Sequels you need to read! (and they’re Canadian, too!)

 

Hi everyone,

Wanted to share two new releases this week, written by a couple of Canadian writers who are exceptionally talented!

They’re the second in a series and you absolutely do NOT need to read book one (but you are SO going to want to, I promise!)

Without further ado:

Howard Wallace, P.I., #2: Shadow of a Pug

 

Description:

“Give this to fans of Encyclopedia Brown who are looking for longer (and funnier!) well-plotted mysteries.” —Booklist on Howard Wallace, P.I.

“My partner scanned the message and a slow grin took over her face as she said our four favorite words: We have a case.’”
HOWARD WALLACE IS BACK!
Middle-school detectives Howard Wallace and Ivy Mason are itching for a juicy case. But when their friend and cohort Marvin hires them to prove his nephew— über-bully Carl Dean—didn’t pugnap the school mascot, they’re less than thrilled. To succeed, not only must Howard and Ivy play nice with Carl, they’ll have to dodge a scrappy, snoopy reporter and come face-to-face with Howard’s worst enemy, his ex-best friend Miles Fletcher. Can Howard deal with all these complications and still be there for Ivy when her life is turned upside down? Or will he once again find himself a friendless P.I.?

Another sequel is in the offing, and young mystery fans should be glad.” —Kirkus Reviews (less)

What I think:

Howard and Ivy are back! And twice as funny as they were in book one! This time they’re hot on the case to figure out who took school mascot, Spartacus, and framed Howard’s #3 nemesis Carl. You know this is going to be a humdinger, and Casey Lyall does not disappoint. This is a wonderfully fun book, and I can’t wait for book three!

 

For more information:

Visit Casey’s website!

 

The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (and Why They Keep Biting Me)

 

 

Description:

Get ready for dragons, robots, and an even more dangerous quest in the sequel to The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes!

Anne, Penelope, and Hiro have returned to Saint Lupin’s Quest Academy for Consistently Dangerous and Absolutely Terrifying Adventures, where there’s only one way to leave: pass or fail. At the annual Quest Academy awards, they’re recognized for their success in their first outing-Best Illegal Quest That Nearly Destroyed the Entire World–but a strange boy steals Anne’s gauntlet and activates a new quest that pits them against all of dragonkind. Their charge: kill the dragon queen. The problem is, Anne doesn’t want to kill any dragons! But ignoring a quest can have horrible consequences, just as killing the dragon queen would start an all-out war between people and dragons. To avert disaster, Anne and her friends will have to dodge robot attacks, defeat new foes, and survive the dangerous dragon trials just for a chance to explain.

With charming, funny text and lots of heart, The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons is the perfect read for anyone who likes fantasy with lots of laughter.

 

What I think:

Seriously, Wade Albert White is one of the funniest authors writing today. This book, book two in the Adventurer’s Series, is even better than the first and just as witty and creative. Anne and Penelope and Hiro are off on another quest, one that could result in them being shish-kebobs for the Dragon Queen. Rollicking adventure, brilliant writing, clever plot-twists – this book has it all!

 

For more information:

Visit Wade’s website!

 

Guaranteed good reads!!!!

Podcasts You Should Know About!

 

One of the things I love doing is listening to podcasts about children’s books.

They are hosted by passionate educators and writers and they have one thing in common: they love children’s literature!

The upcoming long weekend is the perfect opportunity to take a listen to one of these wonderful podcasts, so I thought I’d share a small list of my favourites!

 

Books Between

 

Hosted by Corinna Allen, I ADORE this podcast!  Corinna always ask the questions I would ask and has the best guest! A real treat in every episode!

 

 

Click here to start listening!

 

KidLit Drink Night

Hosted by Amy Kurtz Skelding, this podcast hosts great discussions about books and my throw in the odd recipe as well…

 

 

Click here to start listening!

 

Fuse 8 n’ Kate

Hosted by Betsy Bird and Kate Ramsey, this is all about picture books and is such a delight!

Click here to start listening!

 

 

Secrets of Story

 

 

this is not just about kidlit, but SO helpful for writers that I need to include it!

Click here to start listening!

 

Reading with Your Kids Podcast

 

A fun podcast (I was recently interviewed!)!

Click here to starting listening!

 

I’d love to hear what podcasts you love!  Happy Labour Day!

End of Summer

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to let the summer go…

It was 10C when I woke up this morning.

Which means fall is coming.

But what better way to celebrate the end of summer with some great middle grade books that take place in summer?

Savour the warmth. Take those last outdoor swims. Eat that ice cream.

And read!

Here are five books that evoke those lazy days of summer:

The Penderwicks

 

 

Because of Winn-Dixie

 

 

One Crazy Summer

 

 

This One Summer

 

 

All of these books are great reads for your end-of-summer hurrah!

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Some books to read in the aftermath of Charlottesville

 

This has been a terrible week.

Hate marched, its opponents were murdered or injured, and a country realized that the leadership to address racism and bigotry was not there.

Of course, many would rightfully argue that we have lacked true leadership on that issue for hundreds of years. And not just in America.

But we can change that. And one way to do that is through books, especially children’s books. Here’s a short list of books we could all benefit from reading this week and the coming months. I’ve also tossed in a couple of adult books.

We need to learn. We need to do better.

 

 

Recent Books I’ve read that I know are going to be “Forever Books”

 

Don’t you love to reread favourite books?

 

Most of the time, those books are books I read when I was much younger:

 

 

But this summer I’ve had the pleasure of reading two books that I am positive are going to require multiple readings over the course of my life:

 

ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder

 

 

The Description:

For readers who loved Sara Pennypacker’s Pax and Lois Lowry’s The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

 

My Goodreads review:

There are almost no words to express my Wonder at what author Laurel Snyder has achieved in this book. Part childhood meditation, part mystery, part glorious wonder, this book is amazing. A true achievement and an author at the top of her game.

 

Weeks later, I’m still thinking about this book. And I know I will want to read it again soon.

 

SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS by Claire Legrand

 

 

The Description:

Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
-Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
-Never having met said grandparents.
-Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

 

My Goodreads Review:

If you ever want to read a truly magnificent book about the inner lives of children, especially ones who are hurting, this one is for you. The story of Finley, sent to stay with her grandparents for the summer (grandparents she’s never met) while her parents contemplate divorce, this book is a beautiful treatise in imagination, pain, friendship, and hope, and is truly one of the finest books I’ve ever read. Legrand is a remarkable writer.

 

I love knowing those books are out there, waiting to be reread again!

How about you? Any book you are dying to reread again?

AUGUST MIDDLE GRADE READS!

 

Don’t you love summer?

If you’re like me, you’ve been soaking up the sun (a bit), working (a lot), and reading, reading, reading!

In Canada, there’s still a month until school starts again, so I thought I’d share some new middle grade books releasing this month that are worth checking out:

 

Zinnia and the Bees

 

 

The Description:

Talk about having a lousy day. While Zinnia’s seventh grade classmates are celebrating the last day of school, she’s cooped up in the vice principal’s office, serving detention. Her offense? Yarn bombing a statue of the school mascot. And when Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother, Adam, who also happens to be her best friend, she’s devastated to discover that he’s left home with no explanation. Just when it looks like Zinnia’s day can’t possibly get any worse, a colony of frantic honeybees mistakes her hair for a hive and lands on her head! Told from the alternating perspectives of Zinnia a humorous young loner and knitter and an unintentionally comical hive of honeybees, this quirky, heartfelt novel will strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt alone, betrayed, or misunderstood as it explores the challenges that come with learning to trust yourself and the often messy process of discovering the true meaning to home.

I’ve read this book already and loved it!

 

The Countdown Conspiracy

 

 

The Description:

 

Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5…4…3…2…. Get ready to blast off with this high-action, high-stakes middle grade adventure that’s perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein and Peter Lerangis!

Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

 

Karma Khullar’s Mustache

 

 

The Description:

Debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this sweet and charming novel in the tradition of Judy Blume.

Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.

With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

Again – I’ve read this book already and it’s delightful!

 

Kat Greene Comes Clean

 

 

The Description:

Kat Greene lives in New York City and attends fifth grade in the very progressive Village Humanity School. At the moment she has three major problems—dealing with her boy-crazy best friend, partnering with the overzealous Sam in the class production of Harriet the Spy, and coping with her mother’s preoccupation with cleanliness, a symptom of her worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Read this one, too and it is heartwarming and wonderful!

 

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

 

 

The Description:

Twelve-year-old Devin Dexter has a problem. Well, actually, many of them. His cousin, Tommy, sees conspiracies behind every corner. And Tommy thinks Devin’s new neighbor, Herb, is a warlock . . . but nobody believes him. Even Devin’s skeptical. But soon strange things start happening. Things like the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life.

That would be great, because, after all, who doesn’t love a cute bunny? But these aren’t the kind of bunnies you can cuddle with. These bunnies are dangerous. Devin and Tommy set out to prove Herb is a warlock and to stop the mob of bunnies, but will they have enough time before the whole town of Gravesend is overrun by the cutest little monsters ever? This is a very funny “scary” book for kids, in the same vein as the My Teacher books or Goosebumps.

This book is a HOOT and your kids are going to devour it!

 

Any and all of these books will be a great addition to your home or school library, or ask you local library to order in a copy!

Happy reading!

 

 

Giveaway Winners and a Chocolate Dance!

 

We have winners!

We had such a great response to the giveaway that I decided to add another package!

 

 

Congratulations Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Gettler!

 

Can’t wait to talk to your classes!!!!

And in other news:

 

I’m being induced into the Chocolate Lovers Society during Chocolate Fest 2017!

 

 

 

 

Cannot wait to go home again, see old friends,  AND eating some chocolates and chicken bones (my favourite!)

 

See you in St. Stephen on August 11th!

If you want to learn more about Chocolate Fest, click here!

 

Recharge Those Batteries!

Everyone needs a break now and then

I’ve been working so hard this past month, revising book two, that I feel like my closest relationship is with my computer.

But earlier this week I slipped away for an overnighter in Bar Harbor, Maine.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

There was walking, ocean views…

 

 

Good coffee and blueberry muffins…

 

Excellent Meals.

 

And conversations with real people.

 

 

 

Now I’m back, refreshed, doing the big push to hand in this round of edits by the end of the month.

Late last week, I was panicked, worried that going away was a mistake and I wouldn’t have enough time to to get my edits done if I went away.

But sometimes we need to unplug and step away from a project for a couple of days. Issues I thought were impossible are suddenly more manageable.

And the salt air made me sleep like a baby!

Now if I can just put my other baby to bed…

 

Classroom Swag Pack Giveaway!

 

It’s been six months since It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! was published!

 

I’ve learned a lot during that time, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I love classroom visits!

The chance to connect with kids and their teachers is amazing! I love talking to them about writing and publishing and about other middle grade books I love!

In honour of that, I want to do a giveaway specifically for teachers:

  • An autographed hardcover copy of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! for your classroom
  • Bookmarks and postcards for all of your students
  • A free one hour Skype or Google Hangout session with you and your students this fall (if you live in New Brunswick, I’ll come to your classroom!)

 

To enter:

(if you do all of the things below they will be counted as multiple entries and will increase your chances of winning!)

By Friday July 21st. Can’t wait to talk to you and your class this fall!

 

 

On Editorial Letters

 

Until I got my first book deal, I had no clear understanding of what an editorial letter was

 

 

I think I had this strange idea that the editorial letter was a sweet note from my new editor saying how much they loved the book, and pointing out the odd grammatical slip-up.

I was wrong.

 

 

 

Oh sure, they love your book – they bought it after all. But if you thought you’d finished the hard lifting, having run through the gauntlet of the slush pile or online pitching to secure yourself an agent, and then had same-said agent pull off the miracle and actually land you a book deal, you will be very very wrong.

I got my second editorial letter this week for the book that Greenwillow Books is publishing in 2018.

It was a wonderful letter, full of kind words.

But then came the list of required fixes:

  • those characters who are not as fully formed as they might be
  • the glaring plot holes you didn’t catch yourself or that defy all logic
  • Pacing that is too slow or too fast.

And then there is the manuscript, line edited perfectly, and you wonder: “Why the heck didn’t I realize THAT was the best way to say that?” or “Who knew that wasn’t capitalized?”

It turns out my editor, Virginia, knew.

The best part of the letter was her last line: Enjoy the revision process.

As I read her comments, I was suddenly looking at my manuscript with fresh eyes and a renewed vigour.

I am excited about the next three weeks and digging into the work.

And then guess what?

There will be more revisions!

 

 

I think the editorial letter is a thrilling part of the publishing process, perhaps almost as thrilling as when a box of books with your name on it arrives on your doorstep.

It’s the beginning of the final assault, the chance for you and your editor to refine the book’s vision, your chance to make the book the best it can be.

Our readers deserve nothing less!

Meanwhile, I’m heading back into the revising cave! Have a great week!

Canada’s 150th birthday – a book party and giveaway!

 

July 1st is Canada’s 150th birthday.

 

In honour of that day, and seeing how everybody else is making their list of their ten best Canadian books, I thought I would share my own list!

These are in no particular order, because frankly, it was torturous enough to limit myself to ten book!

 

And if you leave me a comment before July 6th, telling me which of the books listed below you’d love to have a copy of, you’ll be entered into a draw to win that book! Open to Canada and the U.S.

 

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Seriously, you didn’t think I’d leave this off the list did you?

 

 

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

One of the finest books ever written and will haunt me until the day I die.

 

 

No Great Mischief, Alistair MacLeod

Beautiful story, East Coast at its best.

 

 

Lives of Girls and Women, Alice Munro

Hard to pick just one, but I read this as a young woman and adored it.

 

 

The Deptford Trilogy, Roberston Davies

 

Ok, I’m cheating, but read them all. Davies is so funny!

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

I’ve been nervous around men and the state ever since…

 

 

There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, Sheree Fitch

It’s hard to pick just one of Sheree’s books, but this one always makes me laugh!

 

 

The Coming of Winter, David Adams Richards

I read this at university and it blew me away. Richards is a native of New Brunswick (like me and Sheree Fitch) and has been called Canada’s Tolstoy, deservedly so.

 

 

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

A profound and beautiful book.

 

 

The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King

We need to read more Indigenous authors and this is a great place to begin!

 

My Wild Card:

 

The Sisters Brothers, Patrick Dewitt

Please, someone make a movie out of this book ASAP!

 

 

That’s my list! What’s yours?

Author of Children's Literature

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