Touring Alberta schools on #TDBookWeek Author Tour

This week (May 6-13, 2017), I’m visiting schools in Alberta: Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, Penhold, St. Albert, Calmar and Thorsby.

I’ll be talking to kids about writing, and picture books, and “critical thinking” about the media. My main goal, for all my presentations, is to inspire kids to write (or draw) and to read.

I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people, and seeing things I haven’t seen before. I took a two-day train ride here, so I could see the country and boy, did I! If you’ve never taken the train for a long trip, you definitely should. It’s much, much more than “transportation.” There was live music, and really interesting fellow passengers and even a stop-over to see Winnipeg. So good! Hey, I even saw my first, live-in-the-wild moose! Incredible!

If you’d like to follow my journey across Canada and around Alberta, please follow me on Twitter @JGCanada (even if you don’t have a Twitter account). Or, check out the hashtag #TDBookWeek.

There are 30 authors touring this week during TD Book Week. Check out who’s where: http://bookweek.ca/book-week-2017/whos-on-tour/

Thank you, to the sponsors including TD and the CCA  and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, as well as my awesome and super-supportive publishers, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, and Lorimer.

And, to my fellow touring authors — I hope you have an amazing trip!

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Last round of edits for Tagged Out

Pits pano hi rez Oct 2015

I’m in the final round of edits for my baseball novel, Tagged Out, which comes out in March 2016.

This round is when I check and double-check and triple-check everything, and supply the dedication and acknowledgements information.

After this, the book goes “into production,” which means that it will go from my current editor, the amazing Kat, to a project manager. She will find a copy editor/proof reader for it, and she’ll co-ordinate all of the production, cover photography and design, layout, etc.

So, as I am wont to do… I headed down to Christie Pits. I just sat and looked out at it and man, it was beautiful! Good setting for a novel, if I do say so myself.

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Out at Home

 

Christie Pits Panorama Bigger

The title of my baseball book may be “Out at Home.”

It still has to pass muster with Lorimer’s marketing and publishing experts, but Out at Home seems to be the leading contender. I like it–it not only harkens to the book’s gay theme but it is also (slight spoiler alert) descriptive of one of the major chapters.

Out at Home.

I love it.

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Hit by a Curve — my first novel!

Image: Paul Hum

Image: Paul Hum

I’ve just hit ENTER and sent my first novel manuscript to my editor, Kat, at Lorimer Publishing.

It all started last August, when Christie Harkin–who had signed me for the Gabby series at Fitzhenry and had recently moved to Lorimer–sent out a note to authors asking if they wanted to write a middle-grade novel.

I called her and she suggested that I write a baseball novel, since my son (the kid on the left in the photo, back when he was 10 years old) is an avid baseball player and most days in the summer I can be found on the sidelines at a game–or two, or three.

Christie said the novel had to have a few specific things: an urban setting, kids around 12 or 13 years old, lots of baseball action, diversity and problems or issues that kids can solve for themselves, without involving adults.

I went home and talked to my son and my husband about it. Together, we came up with a scenario in which a struggling PeeWee Select team is getting a talented new player–who just happens to be gay. It’s a new situation for these kids, who aren’t the most open-minded bunch to begin with. So how do they react? On one hand, they desperately need the new boy’s skill and expertise on the team. On the other hand, they’re now confronted with their own prejudices–that they perhaps didn’t even know they had.

I’ll be blogging about the novel and about the writing process, so please stay tuned. And I’ll let you know what my new editor says about the manuscript! (Fingers crossed!)

PS: Christie has recently started her own publishing firm, Clockwise Press, whose “mission is to publish high-quality young adult and children’s books featuring themes of diversity, inclusion, and global awareness.”

PS2: “Hit by a Curve” is just the working title. It will be changed. I’ll letchya know.

 

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