Uninvited guests

I was having an idyllic writers’ group meeting in the backyard with Kallie George, Rachelle Delaney, Stacey Matson, and Christy Goerzen. Once the wine was poured and the fruit crisps passed, Rachelle got up to snap this photo.

We discussed picture books. All was well in the world.

Until I saw movement from the corner of my eye.

“Uh… guys? There’s a skunk in the yard.”

But it was fairly benign. When we made noise, it waddled along the fence until it could duck into the neighbour’s yard.

Then its friend arrived. This one wandered all the way around the pond and headed toward us. When  we made noise, it raised its tail. It took a few more steps forward.

With great squealing, snatching of laptops, and scattering of chairs, we sprinted en masse toward the house.

For the record, if there’s ever a track meet for children’s writers, Kallie George is a sure winner in the 100-meter dash.

Book promotion in the language of cookies

Since I posted about Prince of Pot on Facebook last week, my friend Bettina in Switzerland has ordered a copy, my high-school friend Heather ordered one from Amazon UK, and my cousin Chelsea in Edmonton emailed to ask which method of ordering would have the most impact. (Thank you, Bettina, Heather, and Chelsea. You’re awesome.)

In case I have other friends and family members who might be willing to help with a little book promotion, I’ve put together a list of possible actions, complete with handy categories.

If you love me like store-bought cookies:

  • Consider posting “Can’t wait for Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s new PRINCE OF POT” on your Facebook or Twitter feed. Tag me, so I can share.
  • Tell your friends, your sister, your dentist, your kid’s teacher-librarian, and anyone on the street who looks bookish.

If you love me like coffee-shop macadamia nut cookies:

  • All the above.
  • PLUS, stop in at your local independent store and ask for a copy. If they don’t have one, say, “Oh, she’s awesome. I love her better than store-bought cookies. You should probably order the book.”
  • OR, pre-order a copy on Amazon or Chapters Indigo. Pre-orders help booksellers decide to stock extra copies.

If you love me like homemade chocolate chip cookies, still a little gooey in the middle:

  • All of the above.
  • PLUS, rate the book on the Goodreads, Amazon, or Chapters websites. Preferably, rate it highly. My mom asked her friends to do this for me once, and one of them got confused and gave me one star. At least, I hope she was confused…
  • Post a picture of yourself reading my book. Tag me, so I can share.

If you love me like Christmas shortbread:

  • Hi, Mom! Thanks for reading this far. I’ll send you your copy in the mail!

In miniature

I went last night to the book launch for Kallie George’s new Heartwood Hotel series, an infinitely adorable collection of books about a resting place for forest animals.

There were masses of kids at the launch, and Kallie entertained them all with stories of her near-death hiking experiences. Then, she sent them to the crafts table to create their own woodland creatures. Once completed, the creatures could check in here:

Yes, that’s a replica of the Heartwood Hotel, created by Kallie’s husband Luke.

So of course I went directly home and showed my pictures to Min, who said he would be happy to build me a miniature grow-op for my Prince of Pot book launch.

But it doesn’t seem quite the same, does it?

Plus, I can’t think of a single craft idea. Well, not a single appropriate craft idea…

Entirely unrelated things

Let’s see… should I start with the most intellectual and go toward the least? Or the other way around?

1. Bizaardvark video
My daughter played this for me this morning and it made my day. I think this song is about me!



2. Eyes and Spies
Friends have been emailing and texting me all week about Alex Van Tol‘s piece about Eyes and Spies in BC Bookworld. (You can read it here, on page 35, if your eyesight is excellent. Or you can look for a real-life copy at various bookstores.) It’s such a good article, it made me think Alex should have written the book instead of me.

3. No Is Not Enough
Min and I went with our friends Jacqui and Carl to see Naomi Klein Saturday night, as she launched her new book, No Is Not Enough. That woman opens her mouth and brilliant things spew out of her. Which is really not fair to the rest of us who muddle through life trying to seem smarter than we really are. I do think I may have gained a few IQ points just from listening, and have hopes I’ll gain more as I read the book.

In case you couldn’t tell, I decided on least intellectual to most. But if you’re overwhelmed, Silence also showed me this emoji video. Enjoy.

Overheard

Conversation between two 12-year-olds:

Girl A: Where are you going to be a neurosurgeon?

Girl B: Probably Los Angeles. They’re well known for pediatrics.

Girl A: But then you’ll have to charge people.

Girl B: What?

Girl A: In the United States, people have to pay for health care.

Girl B: Oh no! That’s so sad!

Girl A: Sorry to ruin your future.

Birthday tales

Last weekend, we packed the car and headed to Creston for my dad’s 70th birthday. He’s one of those people who takes one look at his wrapped birthday presents and knows exactly what they are. But this year, thanks to the combined efforts of my family, my sister’s family, a few friends, and my very sneaky mom, we managed to surprise him.

Exhibit A: My dad, surprised.

But half an hour later, he was back in his usual element.

Exhibit B: Telling us how he accidentally left my brother-in-law in the middle of Kootenay Lake.

You will note that, while I tell my stories on paper instead of before crowds of people, I do come by the tendency honestly.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Running away to the circus

Why Rachelle Delaney is smarter than me:

First, she wrote books set in Moscow and Prague, and therefore had to travel Europe for research purposes. Then, she wrote a book about a circus school, and took trapeze and parkour lessons.

Why on earth am I setting my books deep in the forest in the middle of the Kootenays?

This is entirely bad planning on my part.

But back to Rachelle. Min, Silence, Violence, and I went to her Wednesday night book launch for The Bonaventure Adventures. The Book Warehouse on Main did a wonderful job of hosting. Rachelle was funny and smart as she told us all about her parkour-lesson bruises (at least I only get mosquito bites on my research trips), and the book is fabulous.


I hope L’École Nationale de Cirque has extra lesson spaces for those of us about to launch our own aerial acts…

The spill-all edition

I am terrible at keeping secrets. I tell you this not so you’ll keep from me your pregnancy and job interview news (though you probably should), but so you’ll understand how painful it was for me to keep THIS a secret for the six years weeks it took to sign the contracts.

I wrote a middle-grade novel! And someone liked it!

Titles sometimes change, but at this moment the book is called THE CAMPAIGN. It’s the story of one 12-year-old girl’s plan to get her own cell phone. (And if there was a 12-year-old girl in my house this year who happened to be lobbying for a phone, that was a complete coincidence.)

It’s going to come out with Tundra Books in 2019. Which seems like a long time from now, but at least I can talk about it until then!

The Red Cedars

I went to the Red Cedar Awards Gala on Saturday. This is a student-choice award (the very best kind). About 100 kids from across the province were in attendance, along with their teachers and librarians. Some of my favourite authors were also there. In the photo below, you’ll see Linda Bailey (Seven Dead Pirates), Janet Whyte (Shot in the Dark), Robin Stevenson (The Summer We Saved the Bees), Jordan Stratford (The Case of the Missing Moonstone), Sharon Jennings (Connecting Dots), Jennifer Mook-Sang (Speechless), Merrie-Ellen Wilcox (What’s the Buzz), and me.

It never matters who wins a student-choice award. The reward is in the nomination — knowing hundreds of kids will read your book (DNA Detective, in this case), discuss with friends, and vote. But I did think it was funny that my daughter, when scoping out the competition, said, “Mom, it’s too bad you’re up against that animal rescue book.”

And alas, she was right!

A big congratulations to Julia Coey, who won the Red Cedar information book prize this year with Animal Hospital.

Note to self: add baby chipmunks to all future books.