Want to hang out?

Lots of fun book events on the horizon! Here’s a few I’m going to… want to come?

Rachelle Delaney’s launch of The Metro Dogs of Moscow on February 7th at Kidsbooks. Check out Vikki VanSickle’s review of the book, then get your launch details!

The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable illustrator breakfast with Oliver Jeffers. I’ll let this video do the explaining for that event:

The Getting Started in Children’s Books 2013 panel discussion at the Vancouver Library, organized by the lovely Ellen Schwartz. If you have a manuscript stashed away in your underwear drawer, this is the place for you.

Word on the Street

I took my Seeing Red show on the road yesterday (literally on the road) at Word on the Street.

Thanks to an audience chock full of friendly faces, it was great fun. (Thank you, Rachelle and Jacqui and Shannon and Megan and Kit and family members whom I may or may not have paid to attend.)

I got to talk about how the ancient Gauls sacrificed their enemies, how blood solved baby mix-ups in the early 1900s, and how early blood analysis techniques saved people from murder raps.

I also learned a great presentation technique. Get yourself sandwiched between the witty Susin Nielsen and the wonderful Kit Pearson. Voila! Guaranteed crowd!

An interesting coincidence: speaking before Susin was Gina McMurchy-Barber. Gina and I met almost a decade ago, at a great Booming Ground workshop led by Kit Pearson. And of course, Kit Pearson was speaking just a few minutes later. You have to love cosmic mash-ups.

Check this space tomorrow. Official announcement on it’s way…

Butterflies

I was little miss social this week. First, I had a lovely lunch and seawall walk with Alex Van Tol, who was visiting from Victoria for the VPL’s Writing & Book Camp.

I’d only met Alex electronically before this. She’s very smart and funny and pretty. And she swears just as much (maybe a teensy bit more) than the characters in her books. We had a great time talking about plot-development, the obstacles (children) involved in summer writing, and the earthquake/power outage dilemma. (Is it better to be well-prepared, or will that attract looters?) Seriously. That’s what we talked about.

Last night, I had an impromptu back-yard dinner with Rachelle Delaney, who is deep in the editing process for a new pirate novel. We talked a bit about writing, too, but mostly we listened to my husband’s ridiculously inappropriate stories from his time as an Easter Seals camp counsellor.

And today, Rachelle and Alex are going out.

If there are no new books published next year, you’ll know it’s because we were all too busy being social summer butterflies.

The right kind of book

Every once in a while, I find the exactly-perfect kind of book. The kind of book that challenges my brain without straining it, that makes me stop at occasional sentences just to wonder at the rightness of them. The kind of book that makes me feel as if I might look at people differently, for the rest of my life, just because I’ve now read that book.

I’ve met two of these in the last week. Two!

Come, Thou Tortoise, written by Jessica Grant and recommended to me by Rachelle Delaney, was just the most heartbreakingly engaging story ever. I love unusual narrators, and this book has two. One’s a tortoise.

Sorta Like a Rock Star, By Matthew Quick, was a book I picked up after reading a glowing review by Vikki VanSickle. And it was everything she promised. I’ve never fallen in love with a character as quickly as I fell in love with Amber Appleton. The sad surroundings of those first few pages, coupled with her obvious love for her messed-up mom… well, she had me at hello.

What a good way to start the summer reading spree!

Tick-tock

I am waiting for editing notes. The first round of edits is always the worst. Except when the second round is the worst.

Really, neither is THAT bad. It’s more the waiting that’s bad. The knowledge that you’re about to find out everything that’s wrong with your book and it could be anything from “move chapter eight until after chapter five and shift chapter three up thirty pages and rename that guy named Lance, what a stupid name” to “please revisit the theme of this novel and consider whether it might be better if it included zombies.”

That last suggestion has never actually been made to me. Yet.

Anyway, while I wait, I figure I can:

  • Cook a few things, so when I ignore my family for days on end, they at least won’t starve.
  • Catch up on laundry. Of course, having a surplus of clean clothes will probably give my family a collective stroke. And then they won’t need to be fed. Cancel step one.
  • Stock up on sugar. I find that rewriting requires a fairly constant sugar intake.
  • Pray. I could start praying now.
  • Revisit my friend Rachelle’s excellent advice on revising.

Monsters in the drawer

A couple weeks ago, I shared the “how to face the blank page” ideas of my writers group. At our last meeting, we talked about the revision process for fiction. I wanted to offer my blog readers some ideas on this but, well… none of the good ones were mine.

I’m afraid I have a few messy manuscripts in a figurative drawer, and my revision process involves:

  • opening drawer
  • hyperventilating
  • making random changes
  • growing confused and overwhelmed
  • closing drawer

Not a method I would recommend.

Fortunately, group member and writer extraordinaire Rachelle Delaney had much more reasonable and logical advice. Better yet, she’s posted it! You can check it out on her blog.

Happy revising!