Monday, March 22, 2010

Two in the hand

A bumper crop of books arrived this week... plus a boxful of bookmarks to help promote them.

THE BALLAD OF KNUCKLES McGRAW is a Young Reader for children ages six to nine, published by Orca Book Publishers.

I'm busy practising my lassoing in time for the cowboy-themed launch on Saturday, April 10. (Doesn't matter how many times I write it, that word 'lassoing' just looks wrong.)

A STAR IN THE WATER is the special limited edition sequel to MEETING MISS 405. 25 copies will be available exclusively as door and contest prize for readings, events, and for my website contest.

I'll be publishing STAR in e-book format later this spring, with all proceeds from the $5 download price going to the organization Libraries Without Borders, which brings libraries to small communities overseas.

(A percentage of author royalties from MEETING MISS 405 benefit Surrey Public Library's Legacy Fund, and royalties from KNUCKLES go to Alexandra Neighbourhood House.)

More information about the launch, the FREE storytelling workshop that follows, and the contest is posted at my website

Monday, March 08, 2010

And the ladies of the club

Today is International Women's Day.

Dundern Press Tweeted the question, who's your Canadian heroine?

I was able to answer than in a heartbeat: June Callwood. Writer, social activist, and someone I had the chance to meet twice, and who I might 'credit' for one of the of speeding tickets I've ever received.

I was driving her to the airport after a conference presentation, quite caught up in her description of her recent passion of hangliding - she was into her seventies, by then. (And I remember was wearing a gorgeous yellow suit - though what that has to do with much, I couldn't tell you.)

A cop pulled us over, told me I'd been doing 80 when I should have been doing a lot less, then sent us up to Departures so I could drop JC off, where he then proceeded to write my ticket.

"Was that June Callwood?" he asked me, scribbling away.

"No," I said, wishing to deny him the opportunity to tell the story of his brush with celebrity once he got back to the station house or donut shop of wherever cops congregate. I mean, I was not going to pay $80 for the pleasure of increasing his status!

"Mmm," he said, still writing up the ticket. "I read that article about her in Saturday Night. And was pretty disgusted about that bad time they gave her over the Jessie's Place situation."

This was a young guy, a cop. The last person I'd have thought would have heard of her, read SN... How's that for prejudice?

I did relent. "Okay. I'm sorry. That was her," I said. "I was just being mean."

He grinned. "My wife will be thrilled when I tell her. 'f I'd known, it might have saved you a ticket," he said as he handed it to me, and ducked back into his cruiser.

Footnote: a few weeks later I got a note from her, voicing her regret about the ticket - but not offering to split the cost, I noted.

My other Canadian heroes might include:
The BC journalist Ma Murray
Beryl Smeeton
Carole Wahl - you won't know her, but she was my mentor and 'guru' and I miss her still. She's been gone about five years.
Author Jean Little
The Famous Five...

Maybe I'll think of more later. But I know these are all women I admire for their convictions, and work that made a difference to so many Canadians - men and women alike.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Love that fan mail

Today in my email Inbox:

Subject: Letter to Lois Paterson

Hi my name is < > I I live in Toronto Iive < > and the school I go to is < >.
I am 8 years old and I am in grade three.
I loved the book meeting miss 405 that you wrote.
It was awesome,and fantastic.
I loved that Tansy did not know that the lady whow took care of her was a great writer.
The most funny part for me was that each time someone would say and stuff Tansy would say "And stuff".
I love your books they are mighty awesome I wish I could read another one of your books
Wish I could see you in person.

From: EP

'Mighty awesome'... now there's a compliment.