Throwback Thursdays…

Seems like little has changed since this post from June 6, 2015. This summer has seen me editing books for others, reading YA novels for my third time as a judge for the RONE Awards, and participating in fun and challenging poetry contests. I just arrived back home in time to pick up the short stories I am co-judging as part of a Library Writing Competition. I also judged the short story contest for the junior group for Earl Marriot Highschool just before the end of June and I visited Queen Mary School for the second time as an author. The picture included here is a new one, since the old blog is having trouble showing the picture I posted back then. Here is the original post from over two years ago…



Bulletin Board Queen Mary School in North Vancouver

Before I begin, I will say it is more like… the life of an author over six weeks and a bit.  From the middle of April to the first week in May, I only came up for air when I had to work at my regular job.  The job that isn’t called, Author, but Teacher.  I love both jobs but typically try to do my writing over the school breaks.  Then I have what I call ‘brain space’ for creating. But, this past Spring is the busiest I have ever been as a writer.  I had two deadlines with two different publishers for two unique books.  Orca wanted my first draft of the MS by April 15th and Lorimer was still considering whether my book could fit their Sidestreets, so the editor there, had given me a May 5th deadline.

I was back and forth between two stories.  One with a heavy theme of self-harm and one with a more lighthearted message, but still complicated in terms of characterization.  I wanted my secondary character to ring true for a boy with autism.  So, I split my brain, so to speak, between both story lines and jumped back and forth as deadlines approached.  As well as writing, I continued to work three days a week in Langley facilitating Peace Circles with several elementary classes. And on May 14th, I hosted Open Mic at the Pelican Rouge, where I wanted to be sure we could continue offering this great opportunity to writers in the Fall, with the new owners.  Good news on that front – we will return in the Fall.  Celebrating our Patron of the Arts, Shelly O’brien, will happen June 11th.

I met with two writers who appreciated encouragement, along with suggestions for contests, and places to share their words. Each time we met, I was inspired, too!  I edited two picture book MS’s and sent them off the first week in May.  ’The Potato Sack Dress’ I sent to Second Story Press and ‘O, What Are You?’ I sent to Owlkids Books.  I’m not sure what possessed me to work on those stories when I was deep in editing my two YA hi-lo novels, but I guess I was motivated by all the time I spent writing!

For May I have continued with editing sometimes as early as 5am before work and coming straight home to my writing room and continuing until 10pm at night.  I am cramped in my shoulders and neck from so much time spent sitting at the computer but every round of edits helps to build and improve the stories.  June 2nd I sent the next draft to Lorimer and now can relax for a few weeks before round three begins.

I have prepared an author presentation for a school in Surrey and I enjoyed participating as an Author for Indies on May 2nd.  See their link here:!british-columbia/c6zp

All this hard work pays off!!  The picture accompanying this entry is from a school in North Vancouver.  The students of the Grade 6/7 class at Queen Mary Elementary read ‘Living Rough’ and created a ‘book in the bag’ project.  The teacher-candidate, Mr. Fong, along with his sponsor teacher Mrs. Clausen, sent me this photo of their final projects on display.  The bags have pictures depicting scenes from the book, as well as information and notes they took while reading.  Five to six items were placed in each bag that related to a theme or feeling from the story. Attached to the email I received, were six letters from students with comments and questions about the book.  As an author, this is the best award one can receive.  Hearing from students who engaged in your story!  So thank you to the teachers and students at Queen Mary Elementary.  You made my month!!

Now to read six YA novels I am judging for a contest for Indie Authors!

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