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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CCBC author profile – with insider info!

Want to know more about the sequel to Tagged Out, and how Tagged Out came to be?

Or how I got out of gym and recess for a whole year in elementary school (not that it’s a good thing…)?

Check out this profile in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s newsletter.

Yeah… probably not the principal’s best call, to let me out of gym and recess… but I do thank him for it!

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Some people will do anything to avoid being tagged out!
Blue Jays’ Chris Coghlan sprints for home… catcher about to tag him… leaps in the air and performs a somersault *over* the catcher, to touch home plate. Safe!
Baseball is awesome.
Blue Jays baserunner Chris Coghlan's dive over the head of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to score in the seventh inning on Tuesday night in St. Louis has play of the year potential.
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Tagged Out in hardcover! (US only)

Tagged Out hard cover edition*knock knock*

Nope, it’s not a joke–that’s me knocking on the cover of the new US version of Tagged Out. Exciting! Seeing as this is my first novel… these are my first hardcover editions. Oh, and you can order one from Amazon.com here. Um, if you’re in the States.

 

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The missing pigeon section

Photo by Paul Hum

Photo by Paul Hum

Here’s the part with the pigeon, which was cut for length.

I was using the pigeon to break up the tension of the big fight between Gnash and Jock–sort of like cutting to Gabby Hayes, standing in the doorway of the saloon during a gunfight in the Old West.

CHAPTER 5: SHORT BENCH
The voices died down and became silent. The crunch of shoes on the dry in-field dirt and far-off curses and laughter from the soccer players were the only sounds in the Pits, as the baseball crowd looked towards Jock and Gnash at centre field.

A grey speckled pigeon, stabbing with his beak at a cigarette butt in the dirt behind home plate, turned its nervous, darting, pin-prick eyes on the scene.

Coop took off his baseball cap and ran his fingers through his sweaty faux hawk, and then tamped the cap back down onto his head.

And then, in a sudden outburst, Gnash angrily threw his glove onto the ground, wound up with his foot and gave the glove a kick that sent it flying towards third base.

“Seriously?” asked Jock, rhetorically. And then he added in a squeaky sing-song taunt, “and is that how we treat our equipment?”

“Shut up!” yelled Gnash, his face beet red. “Shut up! Shut up!”

Gnash launched himself toward the much taller boy, charging at him with his head down like an angry goat. Jock was caught off-guard by the attack, and soon he was on his back on the ground with his glove over his face, covered by Gnash who was landing blows anywhere he could find a soft spot.

The dugout cleared as the entire team ran to pull the boys apart. They converged on the dust-up, each boy grabbing a limb or a piece of jersey and yelling at the two to stop fighting.

With a furious flutter of its wings, the old pigeon scrambled up the hill behind the home-plate fence, cigarette butt clenched in its tiny beak, desperate to flee the angry scene.

You do remember Gabby Hayes, right?

Gabby_hayes

 

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The “Tagged Out” pigeon returns!

In an early draft of Tagged Out, there was a curmudgeonly pigeon. He got cut for length, but editor Kat Mototsune and I still miss him.

In fact, when we got together a couple of days ago, we talked about him. How much we liked him but, alas, how he had to go (it was the right editorial decision).

Toronto Playgrounds is the league that plays in Christie Pits. This is truly life imitating art.

Photo: Paul Hum.

Photo: Paul Hum.

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Thanks, to the students at Unionville Montessori!

Unionville Montessori TO presentation Jan 2017When I heard about this, it made my day. Thank you to all the kids at Unionville Montessori — it’s always a great pleasure to visit and to present there.

We had an all-school assembly on Friday, January 30th, to announce and kick-off the start of our annual Literacy Week. All the students were gathered in the gym, numbering almost 600, from grades 1 to 8.

Our coordinator, Gary Kohl, announced that authors would be visiting the students beginning that coming Monday. As he read through the names, in order, from authors visiting the grade 1s and up, the students listened intently. A few names were familiar, as they have visited before.

But when Mr. Kohl announced the return of Joyce Grant, a spontaneous and sudden cheer went up into the air. I was surprised to hear it, not because Joyce isn’t a dynamic and engaging speaker — she truly is — but because this cheer was so sudden and spontaneous. It’s been a pleasure having her.

– Adrianna McQuaid, Vice-Principal
Unionville Montessori Private School

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Tagged Out on Glad Day’s Top 20 list

I’m extagged-out-15-on-glad-day-best-seller-list-2016cited and thrilled that Tagged Out is the #15 book at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto.

Glad Day is an incredible bookstore–the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore, in fact–and the staff are smart and knowledgeable. I’m super-proud and pleased that Tagged Out is on their best-sellers list, in very good company.

Co-owner Scott was a beta-reader for Tagged Out, so how’s that for a bookstore that cares about and supports authors? Amazing.

 

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