Thursday, May 3, 2012

A new trailer! Students come through again!

Back in December my new novel, Chasing the White Witch, was released.

And once again I have an amazing book trailer to show you--made by GRADE SIX STUDENTS!!!

Of course they had help from their amazing teacher, Farhana Panju, but the ideas, acting, filming and artwork was all theirs! I can't thank this wonderful group of students enough for their enthusiasm and creativity! They used an old projector for the stop-motion shadow portion and even created the music using Garage Band! Please take a look HERE!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dear Bully

It’s here! Dear Bully arrived yesterday in the mail, just in time for the start of school—check it out:

I’m so very proud to be a part of this amazing book that has 70 awesome authors telling their own personal bullying stories. I really hope by reading what others have gone through many kids and teens will gain the strength to deal with their own situations.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a very slow writer. Super slow. Like an hour a paragraph. But this was different. I usually write paranormal, fantasy, horror—but this story was so real, so personal, that it just poured out of me. And though it happened a lifetime ago, when I began writing the piece, it was as though I was right there again, feeling the same pain and shame and anger all over again.
Bullying hurts. And even when it’s done it leaves scars.
Now everyone knows there are three parties to most acts of bullying—the bully, the victim, and the bystander. Most people will tell you to stand up to a bully. I believe this is true, however, by doing so the bullying doesn’t magically end. In fact, standing up can sometimes mean things gets worse before they gets better. That’s what my story, My Apology, is about—my final stand and why I shouldn’t have done what I did, but how I’d simply had enough.
I wish I could tell anyone reading this that that was that—that I never encountered another bully in my life, but sadly, that’s not the case. Bullies are everywhere. Some overt, but most subtle. Learning to recognize a bully is one step. Learning how to stand up to them is another. But first and foremost you need good self-esteem. You must like yourself. You must believe in yourself. Self-esteem is your best protection—your shield against the nasty things bullies can throw at you. But this doesn’t come easily for some—it takes practise. My mother always told me to wake up every morning and look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I liked who I was. Try it. Even if you don’t believe it, after about 5000 times you may begin to. And always remember, your-self worth should never be determined by what others say or do!

Dear Bully: if you try this exercise too you may like yourself enough to not need to seek your self-worth from the destruction of others!

Here's wishing everyone a great, bully-free 2011-12 school year!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A day I won't soon forget!

Wednesday was the big day—the Red Maple Award ceremony down at Harbourfront and I had the BEST DAY EVER!

The calm before the chaos.

Green balloons for the Green Room!

I absolutely support school libraries!!!

But my story actually begins the night before. Superstition has it that shards of glass are good luck (Opa!) and that must be true because the night before the big event my back windshield shattered, (not to worry, the car was in the driveway and there were no injuries—except to my husband’s wallet :D), and as it turned out, I had the most amazing stroke of good luck as Ghost Ride was announced as one of the finalists! Huge congratulations to Kelley Armstrong, the other finalist, and certainly to Vicky Grant for taking the Red Maple with her awesome novel, Not Suitable for Family Viewing! Yay Vicky!

Lining up...

Sitting down...

Red Maple readers rock!

Ghost Ride?!! A finalist???!!!

The awesome crowd!

Afua Cooper and Vicky Grant (notice Vicky's huge smile?)

Richard Scarsbrook--White Pine winner. (His smile is pretty big too!)

My wonderful editor and publicists at Dundurn Press!

I’d heard from other authors that the Forest of Reading Awards were beyond amazing and the day so very exciting. They didn’t exaggerate. I really was treated like a rock star by the enthusiastic and incredible readers and I want to thank each and every one of them for making my day so special.

You want a picture with me? I want a picture with YOU?!

The readers made my day!

Tons of fun on the artificial turf!

Spontaneous dancing breaks out!

The Ontario Library Association hosted an awesome event and they certainly lead by example for their exuberance and enthusiasm for books and reading is truly infectious! Thank you OLA! Thank you readers! It was the best day ever!

The energy and enthusiasm of OLA!

Best hat ever! (can you find Ghost Ride?

Amazing Shadows!

Thanks again everyone!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Wonderful Ride...

As the date of the Red Maple event at Harbour Front closes in, I’ve been reflecting on the past few months. Wow. What an incredible ride it’s been—and I have the Ontario Library Association to thank. I have visited many schools and libraries where the audience was filled with enthusiastic readers—many of which had read Ghost Ride. I was treated to skits and media presentations based on my novel, given all sorts of student art work, and was even sent fan mail.

When I wrote Ghost Ride, now a few years ago, I had no idea it would find its way into so many welcoming hands. I’m so grateful for this experience and can’t wait to meet as many of the Red Maple participants as possible this coming week. It will certainly be a day to remember!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A ghost train in a phantom station...

Today was such an awesome day—certainly one I will never forget!!! With the help of a lot of amazing and generous people, I was able to launch my new novel, Mind Gap, in a slightly unusual way…

It all began in December at my good friend, Helene Boudreau’s, launch of her novel Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings. When asked by other author friends, Deborah Kerbel and Nelsa Roberto, if I’d planned on launching Mind Gap, I said I hadn’t. When I told them a bit about the story—a very freaky ride on a ghost train—Nelsa said, “You know the TTC has a real Phantom Station below Bay Street, don’t you?” Well, no. I hadn’t known that at all. In fact, I set my novel at St. George Station! Well, I thought the phantom station would be such a cool location for a launch, I decided to give the TTC a call. The events coordinator was so super supportive from the get-go—but there were a few issues, the main one being that the TTC requires extensive insurance paperwork in order for someone to rent out the space. I, of course, wasn’t able to provide that paperwork, so I turned to the Toronto District School Board. I google-mapped the area and discovered a local school with an enthusiastic teacher-librarian. I couldn’t believe it when she was able to get the necessary paperwork done!

Now, a ghost train in a phantom station might be cool, but that's not all…

My train needed some party-goers—not just any party-goers, but some zombie-corpse-like ones! Where do you get zombies, you ask? Well, you turn to the children's/teen writing community where lo and behold, you find the BEST people ever—authors willing to don zombie make-up and grunt at students on a dark train…

Pictured here are:

Helene Boudreau (Red Dune Adventures, Acadian Star, and Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings)

Deborah Kerbel (Mackenzie Lost and Found, Girl on the Other Side, Lure)

James Bow (The Unwritten Girl, Fathom Five, The Young City)

Lisa Dalrymple—a pre-published author with a lot of cool things in the works…

And as if dressing up as a zombie weren’t enough—they all donated copies of their books for my draw and bought my book! Even Erin Bow--James' lovely wife donated a copy of her most awesome novel, Plain Kate!!! How awesome is that??!!!

Honestly—I can’t thank everyone enough—from the great folks at Dundurn Press who publish my work, to the TTC, to the students, teachers and librarian at Jesse Ketchum P.S., to my wonderful and supportive zombie friends! You all gave me one ghostly great day to remember!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Trailer for MIND GAP!!!

I never cease to be amazed by the enthusiasm and generosity of people--especially teachers, librarians and students. Here, again, is a shining example! Being the total tech-challenged person I am (seriously, I barely manage to post here!) and desperately wanting a trailer for my new novel Mind Gap--I put it out to a group of students at Parkland P. S. The awesome group--along with stellar teacher, Sue Stapley, set up a photo shoot, took film footage and put together this very cool trailer! Check it out HERE!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Awesome Teachers, Awesome Students!

There is nothing more amazing than connecting with your readers on a personal level and nothing more exciting than to see your book come alive in student responses and work. Here are a few photos from two incredible schools (Ramer Wood P.S. and Parkland P.S.)--with stellar teachers/teacher-librarians and absolutely awesome students! One student even designed a Ghost Ride t-shirt!