High Praise

High praise for the students at Chaffey-Burke Elementary in Burnaby, BC! And happily, high praise from them, as well! I recently visited their grade four/five class after they finished reading LIVING ROUGH and did their ‘Book-in-a-Bag’ projects. It was wonderful to meet such eager readers of my novel. Their in-class questions were just as interesting as their printed letters, which I received before the visit and have since responded to individually.

What great fun! Some of my favourite comments and phrases:

I’ve never seen a book that belongs so much in a classroom like this one.

I drew the part where Edgar had to talk on camera and we had to draw about something important and I thought that part was important because he was trying to help his dad. I love that book. 

When we ended a chapter, we were begging our teacher to keep reading!

Even though reading isn’t my favourite, your book really sucked me in.

I am your number one fan!

For Christmas, I’m probably going to beg my mom for the 2nd book! (Guess I better hurry and write it!)

I also loved the comparison of my books to others – not sure ALL the praise is deserved but it is definitely appreciated. Here are some of the great compliments:

I have interests in chapter books, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It is just as good as your book! 

In my opinion your book is as good as Harry Potter!

Your books are wonderful as a diamond!



Upcoming Author Presentation

Want to know more about my books or my writing process?

Want to visit a VERY cool place while the weather is cooperating?

Then plan to come out to South Surrey this Saturday, September 29th and spend some time at the library before heading to White Rock Beach or Crescent Beach for a walk and some sunshine! I will be reading/presenting at Semiahmoo Library at 1:00pm and Ocean Park Library at 3:00pm. This is all part of Surrey’s first Arts4All Festival.

See all the great activities happening around the city here: http://arts4allfestival.com



This was a busy week as I finished round one of edits for UNLOCKED, my newest endeavour with Lorimer SideStreets. I also planned and facilitated a poetry workshop with loads of activities to get even the most reluctant poet inspired! Then I gathered my information and tweaked and fine-tuned my application for the TD BOOK WEEK TOUR. Next year’s tour runs from  Saturday, May 4 to Saturday, May 11, 2019.

If chosen, I would get to travel to any other province or territory in Canada than my home province of BC. That means seeing new places and meeting new people. I would have the opportunity to share my love of stories with others and may even inspire those who don’t typically pick up books to want to find a novel and get lost in the pleasure of reading! What fun!

This is my third time applying. And since the deadline was a Friday the 13th and I was born on a Friday the 13th, I’m hoping that is a good sign! For more details on TD BOOK WEEK check here: https://bookweek.ca


Hearing from your readers…

One of the best things to receive as an author, besides great questions from students when you visit their class, like this recent presentation to Queen Mary School, are letters. I have a busy weekend ahead answering the wonderful letters from the grade five students at this lower mainland elementary school. Below are some of my favourite messages from their letters. What better accolades can one receive than these:

  • What I liked about “Living Rough” were the cliffhangers.
  • Whenever you put a cliff hanger we wanted to read more.
  • I enjoyed your novel because it sounded so realistic.
  • It’s really inspirational!
  • I really enjoyed that your book could make me picture perfectly what was happening in the book.
  • I really improved my writing skills from your book. Also, I got a stronger, creative mind.
  • I love your book because it makes us a better person by making us care more about the homeless and about any people who have any problems at all.
  • I loved how you didn’t tell us Edgar’s secret. I think it is a very good strategy to pull people into the book.
  • Some suggestions that I have for you are that I really think that you should make a Living Rough #2.

And on this last note, it would be great fun to revisit my characters and give them a follow-up story. I have no shortage of ideas for what book two could entail: from this batch of letters and from previous notes from other students. Please keep reading books and sharing your wonderful messages with us – it is the best part of being an author!






New Year’s Resolutions

Back in 2007, I sat alone for New  Year’s Eve in my apartment. I was reflecting on my year and its many challenges. I was also looking ahead to what I could differently in the coming year. I knew one thing for certain, I wanted my New Year’s Resolution to be meaningful; I wanted my goal to be something that would bring me pleasure and fulfill my life-long dreams. I decided at two minutes to midnight that my resolution for 2008 would be to write a book. I had done some work for our school district and knew that Orca was publishing the kind of books I wanted to write: books that would appeal even to the most reluctant readers. My resolution was set!

Jump ahead to December 31st, 2008. I am in the same apartment and still don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve. Instead, I am madly writing and finishing the last lines of the story. At four minutes to midnight, I write, “The End.” I have accomplished my goal. I didn’t eat less chocolate or lose 50 pounds, instead, I did what I set out to do the year before: I finished writing my novel, Benched. Exhilarated by the prospect of achieving my goal again, I set a new Resolution for 2009. I decided I needed to workshop my completed novel and by the end of the year, send it off to Orca Book Publishers. I also threw in an additional challenge, just for fun. I would write a second book.

Now we are at December 31st, 2009. Though I had a few offers for things to do for New Year’s Eve, I stayed in so that I could complete my goal. At 10:00, I wrote “The End.” My second book was done! I also sent off my query for Benched to Orca a few weeks before the end of the year. I was amazed at how my Resolutions had helped me finish two books. So, naturally I set my new goals for 2010. To be published (okay, that was a little out of my control) and to write my third novel.

2011 saw both Benched and Living Rough published. I continued my goals each year of writing a new book, and sometimes even finished two. Although it wasn’t until 2016 that I was published again, the books were from each successive year of New Year’s Resolutions. I think I found a great way to ring in the New Year and it has kept me writing and being published, ever since. Now with Cutter Boy, On Cue, and Dead to Me coming out in 2016 and Epic Fail being released in 2017, I think I can say I am on a slow roll. Orca signed with me for Room 555 for 2019 and I have hopes for another book with Lorimer. Of course, there are still two other options floating around and I am writing a new book! Thank you New Year’s for making my dreams come true! Now back to work!

Throwback Thursdays

This article was posted on my original blog on 2/12/16


Today is the release date for Cutter Boy! I am anxious to have a book in my hands. As mentioned in my two previous blog posts, I plan to share the final artist showcased in my novel, through this post.

When writing a book, one may have the germ of an idea for a story. So much more has to come together for the story to have plot, tension and to be a compelling read. When I first decided to write about a boy who self-harms, I knew that was not enough. I knew the story needed more to be a compelling read, and it needed more to help those in distress and/or helping others who struggle.

When I first discovered paper-cut art and saw the artist, Béatrice Coron through my character’s eyes, it made it so much easier to peruse the web for more artists. I knew which ones my character was drawn to and why he connected with them. The last artist alluded to in my book is Canadian, Calvin Nicholls. His work can be seen here: http://www.calvinnicholls.com/

I was mesmerized by his work and it becomes a connecting moment between Travis and Chyvonne is the book. As Cutter Boy is released today, I hope that readers enjoy the art mentioned in the book and I hope

that the story helps those youth, who need to be heard.


Throwback Thursdays



Last week I started a 3-part blog in anticipation of the upcoming release of my first hi-lo YA novel with Lorimer Sidestreets. Cutter Boy will be released on February 12th and thanks to Netgalley, is receiving a high volume of ratings and reviews posted on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27788155-cutter-boy

Please see my previous blog post: Art in Cutter Boy – Take 1, for a synopsis of the story and for information on the first artist to be showcased from the novel, Béatrice Coron. You can order Cutter Boy here: Lorimer Sidestreets: http://www.lorimer.ca/sidestreets/Book/S/32/2893/Cutter-Boy.html

Once Travis (my main character) became hooked on paper-cut art through his discovery of Béatrice Coron, he searched the internet for other artists using this medium. In one scene I have him being introduced to the art of Elod Beregszaszi, who focuses on 3-dimensional and pop-up paper-cut art. A favourite piece for Travis is a set of lines that look like crazy stairs going nowhere: http://www.popupology.co.uk/galleries

The next artist to be featured here is Miriam Dion, a Canadian who studies in Quebec and uses newspapers and magazines to create her images. She often leaves parts of the text in tact, adding to her unique art. Travis refers to one piece as, The House That Screamed. Check out her work here: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/10/cut-lace-newspapers-myriam-dion/

As promised in my first blog on Cutter Boy, I am also including places to access support because of the sensitive nature of the story.

kidshelpphone: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home.aspx

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: http://keltymentalhealth.ca/


Another Friday, the 13th

PAN article on Epic Fail

A previous re-post from 2014 was titled, Friday the 13th, Lucky or No? Well, yesterday was another Friday the 13th, and I have to say it was VERY lucky!! I received good news following my bone scan – I do not have a recurrence, or metastatic disease. This was a worry from February until now, but all is good! So, I can say with certainty, I am FIFTEEN years clear! Fifteen is a beautiful number, I have to say!

Also, yesterday saw the publication of an interview I did with Alex Browne at the Peace Arch News. Alex has a wonderful writing ability and honed in on the essence of my story, bringing it to life in an amazing way. Thank you, Alex for your thoughtful and insightful review of EPIC FAIL. The interview can be found by clicking on the link at the top of this page.

Throwback Thursdays

This was originally posted on my previous blog on: 1/27/16


As the publication date nears for my first novel in the Lorimer Sidestreets series, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the art that inspired this book. When I decided to write about the sensitive issue of self-harm, I knew that the story required me to be real. That meant going to difficult places as a writer, and it meant asking readers to go to those same dark places with me. Something light had to balance the story.

For so long, I didn’t write what was originally called, ‘Edge of Grey’ because I couldn’t find the ‘light’. I knew Chyvonne would be the friend Travis needs but I also knew the story required more. As a Faculty Advisor for a few years with UBC, I was introduced to the amazing world of TEDtalks.

One day my Facebook feed presented me with a talk by artist Béatrice Coron. It was about stories cut from paper. In that moment, I saw her work not as Cristy the writer, but as Travis, the character. I instantly knew this incredible art would speak to him, and I knew I now had a story. Thank you to Béatrice Coron for her fabulous paper-cut art and for introducing Travis to a whole new world. Her art, and the TEDtalk, can be viewed on her website: http://www.beatricecoron.com

While I know there are many things that need to come together for a person struggling with self-harm to move forward, including the support of a caring friend, teachers, parents and counsellors, I also know the power of healing, when an individual discovers a passion within them; be it art, music, dance, writing, or sports. Travis found art and that, combined with a good friend, was the first step on his journey forward.

I hope this story opens the conversation and allows us to talk about tough issues, particularly those affecting young males. I also hope it offers some light to those suffering in silence. Please reach out to supports in your community. Today is Bell’s National Let’s Talk Day, so let’s talk and let’s listen! Check out their web page here and youth supports on our Canadian Mental Health page. Next time I post I will share more supports within our local community and more of the art that inspires Travis.



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