Category Archives: booklaunch

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.

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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!

 

 

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Dyslexia in the Zombie Apocalypse

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Took a road trip to Shannon Falls today with a friend of mine, and as we were walking along the trails we came across a sign that warned about the safety of the hike and a caution that you’d best be prepared.

She and I hadn’t discussed what we’d be bringing, but we compared our packs and sure enough we had everything that was required–no doubt this was in due part (for me, anyway) from writing a story about a zombie apocalypse that made me really consider, “Am I prepared for a disaster?”

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Prepared or not, Rise of the One-Eyed King paperback edition comes out on Monday, August the 1st. It’s been blurbed by two of the most well-known children’s authors in Canada–which, I have to admit, was a huge relief for me. Up until now, I wasn’t sure that I had written a book worth reading, but now I’m feeling confident and excited.

“Smart and crisply written.  If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead you’ve found your next read!” –Eric Walters, bestselling author of the Rule of Three series.

“Zombies? Check. Non-stop apocalyptic action? Check! This book will get your heart pumping. Read it with one hand on a machete (just in case).”  –Arthur Slade, bestselling author of Dust.

Click on the cover below for the Amazon page.

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What I haven’t told very many people until now, is that there is also a special paperback edition that features a font called, Opendyslexic. This is a font that increases the readability for those with dyslexia, and I’m hoping that by creating this edition teens (or adults) with dyslexia may have a book to read that will be less of a struggle so they can concentrate on enjoying the story and not just with the mechanics of reading. (Click on the cover below for the Amazon page for the version with Opendyslexic font.)

I should say that none of my characters in the story have dyslexia (not that’s mentioned, anyway), and that my reasons for making this edition was from working in a bookstore and struggling to find books for teens with dyslexia. I’m planning on releasing this format for another paperback edition of Rancor: Vampyre Hunter, as well. But that’s a future project! For now, give Rise of the One-Eyed King a try!

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And for those of you who may have missed the book trailer, here it is again!

James in his Jeep Getting Zombified? Rise of the One-Eyed King

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One of the great things about having friends who are writers, is that they do a wonderful job of offering advice when it’s needed. My original title, “One-Eyed King” has been recently over-used and so I wanted to change it.

kc dyer, one of my earliest readers of my novel, suggested, “Rise of the One-Eyed King.” As soon as I heard the suggestion, I knew that was it. That was the title.

Another friend of mine, fellow writer and storyteller Susan Cormier, worked with me on the summary (and my author profile). Again, she is an early reader and knew the story. And I loved her brilliant suggestions. Check out the link to her Vancouver Story Slam Page.

Want to know more about the book? You can pre-order a copy here:

A physical copy of the book.

A Kindle copy of the book.

If you are a blogger and would like to review an advance reader’s copy (in .pdf form) please send me an email.

Zombies and the British Columbia Interior

In 2010, I was trying to decide what kind of book I wanted to write and a friend of mine in tae kwon do suggested zombies. At the time, I laughed and told him that zombies were not scary and maybe a little stupid. “I’m going to bring you some reading material next class, and your mind will be changed.” I’m always up for a challenge, so I accepted.

He brought me the Walking Dead comics, World War Z: Recorded Attacks graphic novel, and World War Z the novel. My. Mind. Was. Blown. This sent me on a spiral of discovering George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (plus the remake by Zack Snyder), playing Left for Dead 2 on STEAM, and coming up with my own story that started my then named novel, Zombiepocalypse.

Clinton, BC 2012

At the time, I used to take a yearly trip from Vancouver to Williams Lake to sell books for Vancouver Kidsbooks at a teacher’s conference. This particular year, after all the literature given to me by my tae kwon do pal, I wound up stopping in a little town called, Clinton. Clinton has a population of just under 600 people and is quite beautiful. It looks like an old frontier town, and gives its visitors a sense of history. As I pulled over my rented van filled with books for the conference, I knew that I had found the place where Zombiepocalypse would take place.

First, a few highlights from the town. In a lot that’s been for sale every year I’ve visited, there are posts with shingles nailed to them. On each shingle is someone’s name and where they are from. This was an incredible sense of history to me–kind of like a library, but with carvings instead of paper books.

I started to imagine where my character might have grown up, who he was, what kind of upbringing he had. Unlike a big city where zombies would thrive by the thousands, what would small town life look like?

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More importantly, who would be his enemies? Who would he compete with for the scraps of what was left? As I drove down the highway wondering where his enemies might hold up, I came across Hat Creek Ranch and knew, instinctively, that this was where the my main character would find his nemesis.

Equally important, was knowing the topography of the area. While I was lucky enough to be able to drive the area (over the course of a few summers, too) I also had the benefit of Google Maps.

Hat Creek Ranch

It’s been a long time since 2010 when I wrote the first draft, and now, six years later, I have the final draft and a final title: Rise of the One-Eyed King. Over the next few months, I’ll let you know when you can pre-order a copy for your very own. It will release July 1st.

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One of the many songs that inspired the novel, and the theme of this post:

Meg Tilly at Kidsbooks

meg_launch_2013I first met Meg and her husband Don while working at Kidsbooks back in 2007 (or thereabouts). She came into the store while I was working, and introduced herself to me as an author researching what would soon become her YA novel, Porcupine.

At the time, I had no idea that Meg was an actress and to be honest have always thought of her as a writer first. I told her that I, too, was an author and convinced her to join CWILL BC, an organization for British Columbian authors that I was president of at the time. Eventually I discovered her work as an actress, and am a fan of her role in Bomb Girls. The best roles I’ve seen her in, however, is when she does a live reading of her books. Truly amazing talent.

One of the amazing things about Meg is that she has this genuine way of inspiring the best of people. At the time, I was getting quite down on myself that I wasn’t the type of writer who wrote pages and pages every day (which is why I don’t post things such as “10,000 word day today” on Twitter) and one day she said something like, “You’re the kind of writer who writes in spurts. You’ll save up your thoughts and then a couple times a week write pages and pages. Maybe you need to accept the fact that that’s okay.”

And so I did.

This is why when Meg has a booklaunch, I make it a priority to go. One of my fondest memories is at a writing camp where she, myself, kc dyer, Lee Fodi and Kallie George all taught. Don was there as well, and we had this super fun week of teaching and hanging out. If you aren’t familiar with any of those names, click the links and read their books!

While I could write about how Meg mesmerized the audience, or how her tales of how she was inspired to write inspires her readers, I think this post is more about the realization of how important kindness and genuineness is. When you read A Taste of Heaven by Meg Tilly, I want you to remember that you are reading a book by someone who inspires the best in all of us. And when you are done, you, too, will be one of the inspired.

Triple Author Event Happens … Sun, Rain or Snow!

A reminder that kc dyer, Lee Edward Fodi and myself will be appearing for a reading and general candy-cane gorge-a-thon at the new bookshop in Vancouver called Once Upon A Huckleberry Bush.

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Store details:
Once Upon a Huckleberry Bush
4387 Main Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V5V 3R1

Phone: (604)876–4010

Triple Author Event runs from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, TODAY, Sunday December 14th.

Don’t forget the free candy canes — we promise to ruin your dinner AND sign any books you buy for free!

Launch of Diane Haynes’ GAIA WILD!

I’d like to take a moment to tell everyone about Diane Haynes’ new book that’s coming out! I’ve been to her launches before, and they are spectacularly fun.

Launch of GAIA WILD!
Today at 3:27pm


Diane Haynes and Whitecap Books Ltd. invite you and a guest to the launch of
GAIA WILD the third book in Jane Ray’s Wildlife Rescue Series!

DETAILS
When: Tuesday, October 28th
Where: The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Studio 103 (click here for directions — parking is free)
Doors: 7 pm
Presentations: 7:30 pm by Diane Haynes and special guest Rob Laidlaw (Zoocheck Canada , one of the organizations that helped rescue Tina the elephant in 2003)

SNEAK PREVIEW
Read a sneak preview of GAIA WILD!

RSVP
RSVP Required by October 23
Reply to janeraybooks (at) gmail.com with your name + number of guests.

TEACHERS
Teachers: Students are welcome so long as they RSVP to janeraybooks(at)gmail.com and are accompanied by an adult.

We look forward to seeing you there!