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.

Why you should buy the farm

In case you’re thinking of your own Christmas list, and you’re not planning to craft your own presents (you big chicken), may I suggest a book?

I know, I know. You’re bowled over in surprise. (By the way, have you heard of that 50 Questions series? I hear it’s all the rage for Christmas…)

No, no. That’s not what I was going to recommend. I was going to suggest that for all the middle-grade girls on your list, you check out Christy Goerzen’s Farmed Out. Christy is a member of my most-awesome-writing-group-ever, and her book, in my highly biased but still reliable opinion, is wonderful.

I’ll prove it. Christy had a launch a couple weeks ago in Surrey. The day before the event she sent out a message on Facebook that read something like, “Should I read the part where the mom writes on the goat butts in lipstick, or the part where she does reiki on the pigs?”

Now, if you buy the book, you get to read BOTH those sections. Or at least the gift recipient does.

If you can’t give a handmade gift for Christmas, giving a goat/lipstick/reiki experience is the next best thing.