Continuing your writing education

I am doing an MA, Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Gloucestershire.

The program is in conjunction with a program by the Humber School for Writers.

They asked me about my MA journey, and posted this Q&A. If you’re interested in furthering your writing education, I highly recommend the Humber/UoG MA program.

Click the link below for the Q&A.

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Reading for the Love of It Feb. 22/23: “Teaching About Fake News”

I’ll be at the awesome Reading for the Love of It conference in Toronto, talking to educators about “How to teach kids about fake news–and how to avoid it.”

If you’re interested in media literacy, this is a not-to-be-missed presentation (in my humble opinion) because … well, check out what you’ll get:

  • How to spark critical thinking in kids
  • How to know if an article is real or not
  • How to investigate an article
  • The entire “fake news” spectrum
  • Awesome in-class lessons
  • Resources
  • And so much more (and that’s not just click-bait, baby! Okay, that’s actually a little click-baity. But my presentation isn’t!)

I’m presenting on Thursday Feb. 22 (12:45, Cedar Room) and on Friday Feb. 23 (12:45, Maple East & West) at The Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto,

Here’s more information about Reading for the Love of It.

See you there!

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OLA Superconference

Are you going to the OLA Superconference in Toronto?

And might I just add–if you’re not, you should! But I digress.

I’ll be signing copies of my latest middle-grade novel, SLIDING HOME, on Fri., Feb. 2 at 1:00 at the Lorimer Booth.

More details here:

Drop by, say hi and pick up a copy of Sliding Home!

See you there!

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Breaking In (to kidlit publishing)

L-R: Authors Jon-Erik Lappano, Joyce Grant, Heather Camlot, Melanie J. Fishbane after the 2017 PYI Breaking In panel discussion.

I recently moderated a panel about how to “break in” to kidlit publishing.

The panel was held at CANSCAIP’s annual Packaging Your Imagination conference in Toronto. My panelists were three successful recently debuted authors: Jon-Erik LappanoMelanie J. Fishbane and Heather Camlot.

This is the second Breaking In panel I’ve moderated and I think I can safely say, from the comments we received, it was helpful to many people who are trying to become published children’s authors.

If you’re trying to break in, check out the list of resources we put together after last year’s panel. It has been freshly updated this year with new dates and information.

See you next year!

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Coke “accidentally” gives my next novel a boost!

Picture of a Diet Coke bottle with the words Sliding Home on it. Sliding Home is the name of my next novel!

This Coke came out of the machine–randomly. It has the name of my next book on it!

My next novel is called Sliding Home — it comes out in January 2018, through Lorimer Publishing.

The other day I was on Toronto Island (where I hardly ever go) doing some research. I put a toonie in a Coke machine and THIS is what came out! I didn’t even notice until my husband and I had drunk nearly half of it.

If this isn’t a good omen for Sliding Home, I don’t know what is!

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Coach Coop in real life!

The other day, I bumped into the real-life Coach Coop at a baseball game at Bond Park in North York, Ontario.

My son is one of 10 young baseball players that Coop (and several other North York coaches) have coached over the years. A bunch of those kids happened to be playing, so he came by to see how his young proteges were faring.

As you’ll know if you’ve read Tagged Out, the real-life Coop let me use his name for the Coach of the fictional Toronto Blues. “Coop” will also feature in the upcoming Home Team (to be published in 2018).

In Tagged Out, I gave Coop a faux hawk but I think the real-life Coop was none-too-pleased about that. For Home Team, I’m thinking I’ll let him keep the beard. What do you think?

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Rain, rain, go … into my new book!

This 2012 photo is from the Bridgewater Eagles website.

It’s raining.

The rain has cancelled my son’s two games today and all of the games at Christie Pits. But if you read Tagged Out, you know what “rain” means to the kids on The Blues — Mudball!

So, instead of writing the chapter about the Blues vs. the Pirates for my new book, Home Team, I’m instead writing the Mudball chapter.

I’m listening to the sounds the rain makes on my roof, and putting Miguel in that situation. And what it looks like on the window, and on the street, and in the trees. We all have memories of rain, but it’s great to have the rain dictate its characteristics, directly, in its own way. All I’m doing is listening, and writing it down. And calling it “Chapter 9.”

Rain, rain don’t go away — because it’s Mudball time.

Not it!

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Thank you, Alberta!

Thank you, to all the students, teachers, librarians and other people I met in Alberta during TD Canadian Book Week.

I had an incredible time, touring 19 schools and libraries. I talked about Gabby and letters, about Tagged Out and inclusiveness, and and how to spot “fake news.”

I saw deer, and prairie dogs and a moose and fiery oil wells and gorgeous freight elevators. I ventured down dusty country roads and stayed in the heart of big-city Edmonton. I met the most amazing people. And I loved all of it.

If your students write me, I will answer them. If they send me a drawing, I’ll post it in my online kids’ art gallery. If you want to book a Skype visit with your class, please let me know.

Thanks again, Alberta–it was a blast. Let’s do it again sometime soon!

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Literary costumes to celebrate Book Week

The students and teachers at Holy Family School in Red Deer dressed up as literary characters, to celebrate book week. Which characters can you name?

I visited them this week on the TD Canadian Children’s Book Week Author Tour.

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