Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My new site is up

I've been busy building myself a new site which includes a wordpress blog and website rolled into one.  I'm gradually transferring content.  This is where all new posts will be located.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New site coming soon...

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I'm in the midst of a website/blog move...I hope to have the new site up in a few weeks so watch for announcements.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

National Aboriginal Day and Summer Solstice Today

Today is the summer solstice, but also National Aboriginal Day.  I'm hoping to get to a few of the activities to celebrate with my First Nations and Metis friends.  Just about right now, a Salish Welcome Totem is being raised at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.  I'll be there in spirit, and will try to get down soon to take a picture of it for you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tall Tale Books

Kids' BooksImage by pattie74_99 via Flickr
Although Victoria, BC is not a particularly large city, we are lucky enough to have our very own children's book store, Tall Tale Books.  Unfortunately, this fabulous little bookstore, like many other independents, is having a tough time these days.  The owners aren't willing to give up though.  Here's their plan...they've created a "Hero Society" which is open to any patron who agrees to pay a mere $10 a month in return for children's books of their choice. The idea is basically to give the store a guaranteed income so that it can keep going. Anyone can join, and even if you don't make it to Victoria regularly, you can save your store credits and cash them in any time. 

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Getting Started

Like most other professional writers with a focus on books for kids and teens, I'm frequently asked by family and friends to look at their stories and/or help them get published.  But, writing a cute story simply isn't enough. Most amateurs aren't aware of just how much time, effort, and work goes into getting published, especially these days.  Even very short manuscripts can require a dozen rewrites, and of course you have to find a publisher interested enough to take a chance on your work.  Writing for kids is not something you can do just because you've got a little retirement time on your hands.  It takes knowledge about the industry and a commitment to the craft of writing. Even if you decide to opt for the self-published route, you still need to follow the previous steps, but in addition, you will also need to find the services of a professional editor, designer, and illustrator or photographer for your book's cover (and, if necessary, interiors), possibly a computer expert (if you are going the e-book route) and you'll still need someone to handle promotion and sales.

If all this is sounding a little overwhelming, you may want to check out Harold Underdown's "Getting Started" pages.  Underdown, is a former editor, and the author of The Complet Idiot's Guide to Children's Publishing.

His advice is solid gold.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canadian Children's BookCentre announces 2011 award short-lists

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is pleased to announce the finalists for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the inaugural John Spray Mystery Award.

The books on these shortlists exemplify some of the best work by Canadian authors and illustrators. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to share these titles with you.

Written by Alma Fullerton (Midland, ON)
Dancing Cat Books
Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Written by Gordon Lightfoot (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Ian Wallace (Brookline, MA)
The Glory WindWritten by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
I Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books

Plain KateWritten by Erin Bow (Kitchener, ON)
Scholastic Canada

Sponsored by TD Bank Group
Le chasseur de loups-marins
Written by Claire Vigneau (Sherbrooke, QC)
Illustrated by Bruce Roberts (Westmount, QC)
Éditions Les 400 coups

Devant ma maisonWritten and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Éditions La courte échelle

La fille d'en faceWritten by Linda Amyot (St-Charles-Boromée, QC)
Éditions Leméac

Oh ! la vache !Written by Alain M. Bergeron (Victoriaville, QC), Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, NB),Colombe Labonté (Saint-Lambert, QC) and Guy Marchamps (Trois-Rivières, QC)
Illustrated by Caroline Merola (Montreal, QC)
Soulières éditeur

Xavier-la-luneWritten by Martine Audet (Montreal, QC)
Illustrated by Luc Melanson (Laval, QC)
Éditions Dominique et compagnie

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000)Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie
I Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books
In Front of My HouseWritten and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Translated by Yvette Ghione (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press

Singing Away the DarkWritten by Caroline Woodward (Victoria, BC)
Illustrated by Julie Morstad (Vancouver, BC)
Simply Read Books
SporkWritten by Kyo Maclear (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press
Stanley’s Little SisterWritten by Linda Bailey (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Bill Slavin (Millbrook, ON)
Kids Can Press

Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Case Closed! Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science Written by Susan Hughes (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press
Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to BeWritten and illustrated by Daniel Loxton (Victoria, BC)
Kids Can Press

Not Your Typical Book About the Environment
Written by Elin Kelsey (Pacific Grove, CA)
Illustrated by Clayton Hanmer (Toronto, ON)
Viola Desmond Won't Be BudgedWritten by Jody Nyasha Warner (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki (Halifax, NS)
Groundwood Books
Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces
Written by Hadley Dyer (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Marc Ngui (Cambridge, ON)
Kids Can Press
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

Exiles from the War: The War Guests Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss
(Dear Canada)

Written by Jean Little (Guelph, ON)
Scholastic Canada

Written by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, ON)
Tundra Books
The Glory WindWritten by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Queen of Hearts
Written by Martha Brooks (Winnipeg, MB)
Groundwood Books
Wild GeeseWritten by Caroline Pignat (Kanata, ON)
Red Deer Press

Sponsored by John Spray

Written by Allan Stratton (Toronto, ON)

Dead Bird Through the Cat Door
(Megabyte Mystery)
Written by Jan Markley (Calgary, AB)
Gumboot Books

The Mystery of the Cyber Bully
(Marty Chan Mystery)
Written by Marty Chan (Edmonton, AB)
Thistledown Press
A Spy in the House
(The Agency)
Written by Y.S. Lee (Kingston, ON)
Candlewick Press

Victim Rights
(Ryan Dooley Mystery)
Written by Norah McClintock (Toronto, ON)
Red Deer Press

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guardian's Top non-fiction picks

The Guardian posted their 100 top picks for non-fiction.  Sadly, there were quite a few of the titles that I hadn't read, but then I do tend more toward fiction, so I suppose I can be forgiven. Here are a few that I read, although I confess that when it came to Hawkings' A Brief History of Time, it was more of a "tried to read" kind of thing.

It makes me wonder if anyone has put a similar list together for kid's non-fiction?