First Review for Epic Fail

October 2, 2017

Following a great interview with Alex Browne of the Peace Arch News last Friday for my newest  novel, Epic Fail, I was excited to see the first review go up for the book on Goodreads. It originated on net galley, and I was thrilled to see that the reviewer understood the parameters an author must follow for books in the hi-lo category. While they wished there was more time with the characters and story (a wonderful plus), they also recognized that for the targeted audience of reluctant/struggling readers, or English Language Learners, the chapters are short and the plot is fast-paced and linear. Thank you, Isaiah, for this great review! And in a few weeks, I should see the interview in the Peace Arch News for Epic Fail. Launch details to follow soon!




They are here!!


After a summer of visiting my family in Calgary and a few mix-ups with the mail, I came home at the beginning of September to find my box of books! An exciting feeling as I opened the box holding my sixth novel!

I always think of that moment in Back to the Future, when George McFly has followed his dreams, written his novel and the books arrive at his house. I remember thinking at that time how great it would feel to have a book published and to open a box full of my novels. I hoped I would have that experience some day.


In 1985, when Back to the Future first came out, I was attending the University of Calgary to become a teacher of high school English. I also had applied to the Creative Writing Program but was sadly declined a spot in the classes. It deterred me for many years but when I finally got my ‘writing groove’ back (somewhat like George McFly’s journey) I punched out a story and Orca Book Publishers said, ‘YES’! Here I am six books later, still thrilled every time I see my stories in print. Thanks, George McFly!


Throwback Thursdays…

First published on8/26/15

Since then I also was featured on a blog post for Orca:


Part of the author life is waiting…

Waiting to hear back on books you have sent to prospective Publishers.  I have two of those pending.  I am in the window for OwlKids Books.  In the next few weeks I will either hear a YES on my picture book (what I hope will happen) or I will find a manila envelope in my mailbox (what I hope will NOT happen). I also have a few months left in the waiting game for my children’s picture book with Second Story Press – same deal as above!

Waiting to see the production team’s decisions for your novel’s cover.  I have one of those pending with Lorimer SideStreets and one just went up today for Orca Books.  I am thrilled with what Orca chose for my cover and tagline: Cue the Conflict: Family versus Passion!  Wow!  March 22, 2016 is the release date but you can check it out before then on their website:

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!

Throwback Thursdays…

Okay, so it is Friday today! But, I just thought of how to add my old blog posts to this page. I will use Throwback Thursdays as a way to reinvent my page and share some older information and pictures with you. Thanks for reading and for visiting my page!

This was a blog I posted on 6/15/2014



I wanted to post this message on Friday but couldn’t log onto my account.  Because of the 13th?  Maybe it wasn’t just me?

I have decided that although I am not keen on form letters from publishers, I would like to have them, after all!  I have two Manuscripts out with publishers who say on their websites that if you haven’t heard from them within 6 months, assume they do not want your work.  Well, given that I sent 3 poems in to a contest with the theme of ‘lost and found’ and my poetry got lost, only to be found on the day they announced the winners, maybe I should be concerned?  Assume – that means I can assume they actually received my MS in the first place.  What if they didn’t?  What if it got lost in the mail, like my poetry and ended up on the wrong desk or the wrong inbox?  What if the MS fell into an empty space on the truck and is still there now?  Being born on a Friday the 13th, I find strange things happen to me all the time, so it is not impossible that my work is not where it should be!!  And even if the publisher says no, it could be because they just published a similar story, which leaves me with some promise for the merit of my work.  But no response, leaves one with many questions and no answers.  Hrmmmph!

On a lighter note, I had a fabulous time on Friday the 13th reading at an event put together by Pandora’s Collective, so authors of poems in the CV2 2-day contest could hear one another’s work.  Keeps us going until the winner is announced on July 1st.  Heidi Greco and I shared our work and marveled at the great uses of ‘putative’, ‘cramp’ and ‘booster’.  Heidi is also the author I tagged in the ‘Blog Hop’, so please check out her page. She did a MUCH better job than I did of sharing her message and highlighting other authors!!



This past August saw me entering a poetry marathon. As it was my first time, I chose to complete the half-marathon. For twelve hours, on the hour, contestants received a prompt for writing a poem. Within the hour, the poem had to be published on the site. I finished the first poem with 4 minutes to spare, enough time for a bathroom break and to pour a second cup of coffee, but then I got behind for the next one and ended up writing a haiku. Not that haiku are easy, and not that mine was any good, but it was short enough that I had time to edit and work with it! I caught up and continued on in much the same way for the remainder of the contest.

I now have twelve poems I can edit and perhaps send in for publication. The Poetry Marathon hosts, Caitlin and Jacob Jans will put together an anthology of the contest winners and will publish one of my poems: TWO THUMBS. Thank you both for the work you did over the course of the contest and for all you do throughout the year to support and promote writers!

I also learned a new form for writing a poem: The Golden Shovel. This was from prompt eight of the contest:

The prompt for hour eight is to write a golden shovel. Not familiar with the form? That is not surprising, it was created in 2010 by the poet Terrance Hayes in his poem The Golden Shovel.

It is pretty simple though. First you take a line or lines from a poem you admire.

Use each word from the line(s) as the end word of each of the lines in your poem. So for example if you used a line with ten words, your poem should be ten lines long.

Keep those words in order.

Give credit to the original poet.

I chose Margaret Atwood’s poem, It Is Dangerous To Read Newspapers.

Here is my certificate for completion of the half-marathon. The contest may not run next year unless volunteers step up to take it on. I am so glad I entered this year as I met fabulous folks from all around the world. Poetry brought us together!


It’s been a long time

Wow! It’s been over a year since I last published a blog post. I guess I was hoping my old blog would surface and I wouldn’t need a new space. But, here we are!

It’s been a busy year as an author. I had three novels come out in quick succession (it was a crazy time writing and editing) with CUTTER BOY being released in February, 2016 and ON CUE coming close on its heels in March, 2016. Then in August of last year, DEAD TO ME was released. Now, a year later, Lorimer Publishers just released my sixth YA novel, EPIC FAIL.

For EPIC FAIL, this was the first time I held a contest. I hosted a ‘giveaway’ on Goodreads and while it didn’t quite go as planned, I was amazed that over 1,000 people entered. Four of the winners were in the US and one was in Canada. It was a fabulous way to promote my newest book and I will be sure to do that again in the future. Maybe even when I receive a reprint of one of my older books!


New Blog

UnknownPhoto of the Rocky/Coastal Mountains en route from Calgary back to BC. Fodder for my recent WIP.

Lost my original author blog/author website. I had several difficulties with the site and just before heading to Calgary for the summer I thought about copying and pasting my entries and page information in case something should happen. Well, the blog is gone, not just for me, but for everyone. Sad to lose so much, but especially because I planned to do something about it and didn’t follow through.

While I lost a lot of information, thankfully, Jacket Flap had my most recent posts embedded on their page. Yes!!! So, I will be able to re-post some of my blogs. But, beginning of the school year is hectic, so it may be a few weeks before I have a fully active page. And wouldn’t you know, all this happened when I had two important possibilities on the go…  I applied for TD book week 2017 and I applied to be a writing mentor with the U of C creative writing department.


First blog post

Welcome to my blog! I had a previous blog site that disappeared one day and with it, all my posts and information about my books. Rebuilding anew will take time but this page and information about my novels, volunteer work and presentations should be up and running soon. Stay tuned…

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