NOVEMBER 2023 update
It is an exciting stage with my writing but also a time for patience. The publishing world has been in turmoil over the past couple of years and I’m hearing that a huge backlog of waiting manuscripts is the result. Waiting, although difficult, is what you sign up for when you send a work out on submission. Sigh. It’s also exciting to submit a project to an agent and have said agent show enthusiasm for the project. So, this November finds me in the waiting room, so to speak. I have one project out on submission, and one project with my agent, waiting for editorial advice to determine what is necessary to prepare the manuscript for submission. Agents are also very busy people!
While I wait, my mind is percolating on a new project that is beginning to take shape. It is very different from any of my previous projects. So far, I’m at the jotting-random-bits-on-a-notepad stage. My blog will have updates from time to time on this shiny new thing I am attempting.
Mentoring is continuing to go well. I’m learning a lot about writing fantasy! Who knows. Maybe a fantasy story will be somewhere in my future, haha! That is not the shiny new thing.
At the beginning of June, having completed my teen manuscript, I had fun virtually visiting a school in Edmonton to talk about my novel, The Journal. The kids were amazing. Such good questions. I have missed doing school visits.
By the time I was home from my fabulous holiday to Seattle and Canada’s west coast, my manuscript was back from my agent and editing team with lots of positive comments. And lots of work to do! So, the summer was spent on revisions.
And now, it’s back to the Fall schedule. I’m working on my shiny new project while waiting to hear from agent Stacey Kondla at The Rights Factory about my teen manuscript.
Another passion I’m participating in this fall is mentoring. I am currently mentoring an emerging writer, helping her shape her story, develop her characters and avoid some of those beginner pitfalls. I could definitelly have used a mentor when I was writing my first novel. It would have saved me from a lot of rewriting!
In this course we will explore how to build a roadmap for a YA novel by writing key scenes. When I began to write my first novel, one of the hardest things I encountered was how to get my character out of the room! Sounds silly doesn’t it? Yet those transitions can eat up a lot of time and creative energy at a time in the novel writing process when transitions aren’t really important. This approach allows the creative juices to flow while ensuring the building blocks are in place for a solid story arc. Come, write and have fun while watching your novel take shape. Register at www.alexandrawriters.org
September 27 – November 15
Join me at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary and get that young adult novel kick-started. It will be a lot of fun and will be a great opportunity to meet other YA writers.
During the winter, like many of you, my efforts to accomplish much of anything were confounded by Covid. Still, I pushed on at whatever pace I could manage and am thankful that now my energy level has returned and progress is gradually picking up speed.
That said, I am super excited about my new project. In The Last Stop (working title), Islay receives two tickets from her estranged father, for her seventeenth birthday, to travel by train from Halifax to Edmonton for a reunion of sorts. Islay wants nothing to do with this plan, but when her best friend Gracey agrees to go with her, she agrees to the trip. A last minute change of plans means that Jaxson, grandson of her grandparents’ friends is now her travel partner. When this geeky boy she remembers as a kid turns out to be smoking hot, Islay realizes the trip has suddenly become much more complicated.
This story has been a lot of fun to write. I’ve just finished the second draft and am now at the point where I’m building my “big picture” chart. That’s where I make a chart of what is happening in each chapter so I can track characters, themes, issues, basically everything that’s important, at a glance.
By June, my goal is to have a third set of revisions done in which I focus on strengthening the writing (wordsmithing) and then I will send it off to my amazing agent Stacey Kondla to get her opinion. Fingers crossed!
Thanks for checking in!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022!
How much we have taken for granted in this familiar greeting! This year begins, once again on shaky ground. In 2022 I have decided to approach my writing a little differently – from a different perspective. Perhaps Covid has taught me some lessons. More on that in the coming days.
Ronald Hatch, of Ronsdale Press, the publisher of my two novels passed away near the end of 2021, which was a huge shock to me. I hadn’t realized he was not well. Such a wonderful man. Such a loss to the world of publishing. What will become of Ronsdale Press?
As for me, I have one manuscript out on submission, and I am working on a fun teen contemporary, rom-com cross-Canada train adventure. It’s at the get-it-on-the-page very rough first draft, but I’m having lots of fun with it.
No school visits this year. I’ve decided that I wanted to sort out my own writing and where I’m at with that rather than work on virtual writing courses or presentations.
Time is flying by! Enjoying my newest WIP, after a summer of muddling, wavering indecisiveness. I am taking this entire school year off of school presentations. I will reassess in the spring. Also, no teachers’ conventions. As for my WIP, I am currently using a stream-of-consciousness process in writing through the entire story. It would be a nice idea to think it would be finished in time for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so that I can write the first draft in November. Check back on November 1, 2021 to see what’s happening! There will be more detailed updates in my blog.
A trip to Toronto, Ontario. Some visiting. Exploring. Yes, possibly some research. My WIP involves several Canadian cities so…
My plan for July is lots and lots of reading! If you want to check on my most recent favourites, or get inspiration for a great read, go to my Blog page. I’ll also post updates on what’s happening with my new work-in-progress.
On the 11th I will virtually visit Whitecourt Elementary school. Looking forward to creating some Random Stories with the grades 4’s, 5’s and sneaking in some parts of speech with the Grade 3s as we create some tongue-tangling-tales. And’t wait!
My visit to Whitecourt Elementary wraps up my virtual visits for this year, but I’m looking forward to jumping back in this fall. Contact Young Alberta Book Society or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in booking an author talk or writing workshop!
Highlights for this month include some virtual school visits, thanks to the generous sponsorship from Cenovus Energy and organized through Young Alberta Book Society. Wordpower is a great program and I am excited to once again be part of the team of authors, illustrators and storytellings who get to virtually visit schools and share my passion for reading and writing.
Thursday, April 22 – I.V. Macklin School, Grande Prairie, Alberta
I’ll be spending the day with Grade 5 and Grade 6 classes writing Random Stories. Looking forward to having a lot of fun!
Friday, April 23 – Ecole Dr. Bernard Brosseau School, Bonnyville, Alberta
Half of the day will be with Grades 5 and 6 classes and the other half, I’ll be working with the Grades 7 and 8 students. It is my second visit to this school, AND it’s pyjama day, so it’s sure to be a blast! Can’t wait!
March 21, 2020
Spring has arrived and with it, spring-like weather. That in itself is a miracle around these parts!
My new WIP is beginning to come together, although I am still at the stage where I’m trying to solidify the personalities of the characters. Also, I do NOT have a working title yet. So… lots to!
Pictured above are a few of the great YA novels in which I have immersed myself lately. These authors have certainly set the bar high for those of us new to the genre, but the research is So Much Fun!
Young Alberta Book Society and Cenovus Energy team up for a virtual Alberta tour. So excited to be part of a group of sixteen authors, illustrators and storytellers! I’ll miss the in-person experience but am looking forward to the virtual visits. Thanks Cenovus!
April 23, 2021
Writing sessions with students in Grades 5 – 8 Ecole Dr. Bernard Brosseau School, Bonnyville, Alberta
22 – A relaxing weekend after finishing 4 more sessions for Teachers’ Conventions in Alberta. Looking forward to my final session in early March at the Mighty Peace Teachers’ Convention. Then, in April, it’s on to a Cenovus Virtual Tour of schools in northern Alberta. Lots more fun to be had!
Another highlight? Well, that would have to be the arrival of my Canada Council for the Arts cheque from the Public Lending Rights library search. I’m happy to report that both of my novels were found in all of the libraries checked, which made for a nice bonus! With all of my excitement over teachers’ conventions this year, I totally forgot that I get an extra pay check in February!
Looking forward to an exciting year of writing, presenting at virtual conferences, and virtually visiting some schools. Last year was a bit of a learning curve. I missed the in-person interaction with the kids, but the “not travelling” part was kind of nice, and it’s never a bad idea to learn some new skills!
My recently finished, teen contemporary manuscript, This Girl That Song One Summer, went out into the world to look for a home. So excited! And nervous!
I’m very passionate about the sessions I’m presenting at teachers’ conventions in February and March. Writing Outside the Box for Grades 4-6 focuses on using writing and stories as tools for learning in content areas such as Math, Science and Social Studies. The activities are so much fun! My other session, for Grades 7-9, is designed to infuse creativity, identity, and confidence into fiction writing. Fiction writing is the perfect vehicle for developing strong, confident learners. Students get to BE the hero (and improved writing skills is a nice side effect!)
Received a lovely letter from Geary, New Brunswick, Grade 5 students. Always a happy day when I hear from excited readers! They have a few questions about Winds of L’Acadie as well. It turns out that their teacher, Madame Peters has been reading my novel to classes for TWELVE years!
February 11 – City of Calgary Teachers’ Convention Association sessions:
- 10:45 Webinar – Compose Yourself: Stories and Identity
- 2:15 Webinar- Writing Outside the Box
February 18/19 – Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention Association
- 2:15 February 18 – Writing Outside the Box
- 2:15 February 19 – Compose Yourself: Stories and Identity
February 19 – South West Teachers’ Convention Association
- 10:15 Writing Outside the Box
- 11:30 Compose Yourself: Writing Identity
Thursday, March 4 Mighty Peace Teachers’ Convention Association
- 9:00 – 10:15 Compose Yourself – Writing Identity
Looking Way Back…
It’s that time of year when the various teachers’ conventions associations in Alberta are making their plans for the 2021 events. This year, of course, with Covid19 refusing to leave, all conventions will be virtual. I am excited about the two writing sessions I have planned and will post details as soon as they are available. Most of the conventions take place in February, 2021.
Please note: My writing video, Recipe for Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary is still available on the YABStv YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cesrUwYJy4
The video, Recipe for Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary is still available on the YABStv YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cesrUwYJy4
I’m thrilled to be presenting at the virtual Calgary Young Writer’s Conference on Saturday, June 13. It will be a different experience not getting to interact with the writers face-to-face, but it will still be a lot of fun!