Category Archives: author visit

SD73 YAC Conference May 5th!

I’m pretty excited about attending this conference again this year! Not only does it mean a roadtrip to Kamloops, but I also get to meet some fantastic authors both of the professional and aspiring kind.

2017-young-authors-conference-poster_orig

Jeremy Tankard’s Hungry Bird Booklaunch

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing long-time friend Jeremy Tankard launch his newest creation, Hungry Bird, at Vancouver Kidsbooks. As a library tech who does storytimes with preschoolers, I’m familiar with his other books. A favourite with the kids is Grumpy Bird, as you can read the book as an interactive with the kids acting out the animals plus you can discuss how you know when someone is angry and what we can do when we’re angry.

hungry

Along comes Hungry Bird, also a familiar feeling for the young and old. “Who brought me something to eat?” is the theme of this book, and again this will be an amazing picturebook for storytimes and early education. You can buy a copy from any retailer.

Congratulation, Jeremy, on an amazing book!

 

 

tankard

Radio Interview, Culture Days, and a Free Book!

At noon today I’m doing a reading on a pop-up radio station called Leave Your Mark FM outside the Richmond Cultural Centre. In honour of the event, you can get the Kindle version of Rise of the One-Eyed King FREE.

9780993748653

For more information on the pop up radio station, follow this link!

 

James in His Jeep Getting Java-the Cloverdale Edition

20160617_144729June 17, I was invited to present a workshop at the Cloverdale branch of the Surrey Public Library on writing action scenes. Writing action is what I’m known for with paranormal fiction involving wars between werewolves and vampires (mine was out before Twilight before your mind goes there) and secret martial arts clubs in Flying Feet.

There’s a lot of violence happening in the world right now, and it may seem irresponsible for authors to write about it in fiction–especially in books where impressionable youth are involved. However, those who believe that don’t give enough credit to just how sophisticated a tale youth desire these days, nor to the power of a story to guide youth (and grown adults) through questions and concerns they may have of living in such a violent world. My main talking points were:

  • Write responsibly.
  • Violence should move the story forward, not be a plot device nor be gratuitious.
  • If you can cut the violent scene out without changing the flow or meaning of the story–cut it.

Ten teens showed up (the entire creative writing group) and they were friendly, kind, and intelligent writers. They asked questions, they supported each other, and they made me feel welcome. I have no doubt that we are in for some incredible literature from the next generation and I left feeling encouraged.

The Cloverdale library is set in a city of just over 71 thousand people close to the City of Langley. Historic Cloverdale was settled circa 1870, and is a very cute spot to get a lunch and spend an afternoon. If you remember the TV series Smallville, you will recognize this area as the spot where the show was filmed. The theme song for this post is the intro song to the TV series.

Below is the area where the library is found. There is a museum, an old clock, plus a log cabin in this square. I arrived several hours early to explore (and grab some java) and was glad that I had. Unfortunately, I found the museum too late but will certainly make my way there another day.

What I loved most about exploring this small section of a few blocks was old signage. While the buildings had that rustic “old village” feel, the signage on the side of buildings and the shingles were what really made this place worth seeing. Below are a few of my favourites.

For you Smallville fans, you may recognize the theatre (now closed) as the Talon from the TV series.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I wound up at the Rustic Rooster for coffee, and had their blended iced coffee which hit the spot on such a hot day. They have a small patio for nice days, and a rather spacious interior with several places to sit and enjoy their food. As well, if you are interested in crafts, they sell quite a few knick knacks worth looking at.

Unfortunately, none of my photos turned out of the cafe so you’ll have to check out their website before heading down there.

Final Day of C&C Rocky Mountain Road Tour

This was the final day in the Chocolate and Chat Rocky Mountain Road Tour. Whew! After seven days we did nine venues – seven bookstores and two libraries. Sometimes we had great turnouts, and sometimes we had modest turnouts. (Yes, at one stop we even outnumbered the audience.) Yet, no matter what the outcome, this was a tour worth taking. We met some great people along the way, were introduced to some very nice bookstore staff, had a fun lunch with the children’s librarians in Red Deer, got to meet Terrence in Cochrane (one of the nicest fellows I’ve ever met!) and, best of all, kc and I had a chance to get to know one another even better.

Big thanks to Comic Life for sponsoring us with awesome giveaways that everyone was so excited to receive. Just so everyone knows, that’s the program I’ve been using to blog our trip. Head on over to their website and check it out!

Rather than recap what kc has already blogged, I’m leaving my farewell with the comics. For a more in depth read of our travels over the last few days head on over to kc dyer’s blog.



Chocolate and Chat Tour – Day Four

So far, this has been a whirlwind tour where every stop is different than the last. I must admit that last night when kc and I arrived at our “home,” (kc’s sister was nice enough to give us a roof over our heads,) I was so exhausted that I just went to sleep.

So, what was our day like yesterday that I was so tired?

The day began with a drive from Calgary to Red Deer on the #2 Highway. To say the drivers on this highway are CRAZY would be an understatement of the extreme. Most of the trip was stormy with hail seen on the side of the road. There were even sightings of tornadoes in the area (of which kc and I were both unaware). The speed limit was 110 kms/hr, and I was driving pretty close to it.

Other drivers, even giant semis hauling cement cylinders that could crush two or three cars with a single slip, were doing about 140. My favourite was the guy on the cell phone who, when driving in front of me, insisted on doing 10-20 kms slower than I was going, but, whenever I attempted to pass, sped up to 150.

Thankfully, we made it to the Red Deer Public Library alive! Jen Waters was there to greet us, as well as to take us out to lunch with the other children’s librarians. Jen is a very special librarian to me, because she and I met seven years ago while working at Vancouver Kidsbooks. We bonded over the International Film Festival, and have been great friends ever since. To do an event in a library where she works, for me, is a dream come true. To have such a great turnout and see such wonderful enthusiasm with those kids is a testament to Jen’s ability as a librarian to inspire young readers/writers!

After Red Deer, we immediately left for Cochrane, where we were to speak at the Nan Booth Memorial Library. We were greeted there by Terrance who runs the events at the library. He had advertised the program well, though we had but a modest turnout. Truthfully, kc and I were beat tired by this point and were grateful for the chance to sit by a fireplace with a few writers and chat about publishing. This group had some great questions, and, as always with these events, I got to learn a little more about kc. We left that library feeling very positive about our Chocolate and Chat Tour!

Chocolate and Chat – Day One

Our goal was to leave at 9 AM this morning. Unfortunately, as will always happen with best-laid plans, I was running quite late. It was already 8:30, and I still had dishes to get washed, a bag of trash to put out, and breakfast to gobble down. The good news: the partner I chose for this trip, kc dyer, has much the same personality as I do. Just as I was running behind, so was she. We got on the road at about 10:30 (after a stop at Starbucks for “breakfast”).

So we hit the road to drive from Vancouver to Kamloops, with our first stop on the Chocolate and Chat Rocky Mountain Tour at Kamloops Chapters at 6pm. Plenty of time! kc drove until Merrit, where we finally stopped for lunch. Along the way (guided by my brand new GPS system – that’s SUPPOSED to speak like Darth Vader but is staying quite silent,) we entertained each other with chit chat about life, writing and hopes for the future. You’d think with all the time kc and I spend together that we’d run out of things to talk about – but that’s the way it is with good friends – you never get tired of hearing each other’s stories.

After a brief lunch at Boston Pizza in Merrit (and one of the best steak sandwiches I’ve had in awhile), we hit the road once again! This time it was my turn to drive, and -don’t ask why- I immediately took a wrong turn. You may recall that I mentioned a brand new GPS system guiding us. You may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t you follow the GPS system?” My answer is simple: because I am a directional idiot. The GPS was very clearly telling me to turn around. It was very clearly indicating that I was going the wrong way. (Of course, in my defense, the voice isn’t working so there is no Darth Vader telling me that the force is weak in me and that I need to go the other way.) Once I did a short drive by the Merrit airport, we were back on the right course (GPS and crew were all very celebratory), and headed for Kamloops.

The Chapters was quite easy to find. We also found a nice Super 8 motel nearby (nice in looks – the guy in the room next door is watching TV at what must be full blast. I’m wishing I’d brought ear plugs now). First thing we did was to geek out and check out email. Once that was accomplished we readied for the event – our first in a series of nine stops. Our plan was to do a short talk on publishing, and then host an informal chat with the public. Again, as all best-laid plans go, we had to be ready for a change. People were in and out, and there was never a large crowd that gathered at our table. One mom and daughter had read about us in Kamloops Weekly, and made a special point of coming to meet us. The look of excitement on their faces could only be matched by the equal look of excitement on our faces that someone would be so keen to do that. Another highlight was the family from Williams Lake that stopped to chat – and then returned later that evening to buy our books. A personal highlight for me was a couple of young ladies who I saw at the “If you enjoyed Twilight, you should also read…” table and coaxed over to us. We chatted for a good hour on writing, publishing, favourite authors, and, yes, vampires.

Another part of this trip is that Comic Life is along for the ride, and has given us 2 copies of CL Deluxe and 1 copy of CL Magiq to give away at every stop. I’m glad to say that one of the young ladies that stayed to chat with us for so long was also one of the winners in that draw! I hope she has a blast with it!

Well, it’s been a full day and I am beat. Will blog tomorrow, when we appear at Banff Indigo! We’re even hoping to get in a little video blog…