Blog Hop

One of the cool things about being a kid’s book writer is the mutual support and help members are happy to give each other.  It’s a wonderful community, and I so appreciate being a part of it…which is how I ended up agreeing to this blog hop.

My invitation came from Adrienne Mason, a west-coast writer and editor that I first met through CWILL BC.  CWILL BC started out as a small group  published BC children’s writers and illustrators, but today it’s bursting at the seams with more than 150 members.  Be sure to check out CWILL BC as well as Adrienne’s blog which is full of her gorgeous collages. And, don’t forget her books. They are a real joy, not to mention totally informative.

While you’re at it, please check out the three writers I am in turning tagging:

Margriet Ruurs,

Helaine Becker,

and Lois Peterson (a crazy busy work schedule is preventing Lois from participating in the blog hop, but she has such an awesome blog that you should be sure to check her out anyways).

What am I working on?

One of the things I love about being a writer is that I’m almost never doing the same thing.  So, one day I may be researching moonsnails and the next, I’m studying the official rules of baseball.  It’s absolutely never boring.

Right now I’m working on an untitled chapter book about Joey and his best friend Matt.  Both both love dogs, have annoying sisters, and can’t get enough of baseball! When Joey makes the tournament team and his best friend doesn’t, he knows the coaches have made a mistake.  He has to find a way to get Matt on the team.  The championship, and their friendship depends on it.

But, this isn’t the only thing I have on the go.  I’m often revising another story, making notes about new story ideas, and editing stories for other writers.  I have a serious passion for picture books (yes, I have books shelves overflowing with them).  I love writing them, and  I have one on the back burner that has been percolating for some time. Stories are like that; sometimes it takes them a while to bubble to the surface.

How does your work differ from others in this genera

From my very first book, Waiting for the Whales, my work has been rooted in two things: place and lyrical language. I grew up in Arizona, and I love the desert.  But, the west coast stole my heart from the very first moment I laid eyes on her. This place has inspired many of my stories and I’m sure that it will continue to do so.

I also love lyrical language and the way words flow together to create something bigger and richer and more beautiful than mere sentences. Not surprisingly, I am a big fan of all sorts of poetry 🙂

Lately, my writing has taken a new direction. I’m finding that I’m enjoying playful characters. Sometimes my characters are 9 year old boys who can’t stay out of trouble. And, sometimes my characters take the shape of a canine who wants to do the right thing but just can’t quite master it. I hope that my readers will agree that these are characters that jump off the page.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m not nearly as prolific as many of my writer friends, probably because I’m easily distracted and a whole lot lazier. I need to fall in love with an idea, a character, or a concept that won’t let me go.  When that happens, I’m ready to commit to the time it takes to write and rewrite and rewrite again  until I have something  that  I know I will be proud to share.

How does my writing process work?

I don’t have a specific time or schedule that I work by.  I’m always fooling around with some bit of writing. I often mull things over for quite some time before I start a project.  Even then, I may find it I need more thinking time.  I don’t tend to outline, although I suspect if I could work that way I would be a much more efficient writer.  Alas, I’m not an outliner, so I just muddle through.  Usually,  by the time I start writing, I have a pretty good idea of what, when, where, and who in my head.  Once I start, I’m terribly obsessive and have a hard time stopping.  When I’m in my obsessive phase, I usually work through dinner, late into the evening.  My dog, Ruby is no happier about that than my children were all those years ago when I first started writing.

I do a lot of editing and usually end up rewriting a story at least half a dozen times. I probably spend quite a bit of time in the final edits getting the language just right.  That’s probably because for much of my career, I’ve been a picture book writer, and with only 32 pages, every word counts.

You won’t regret checking out these three other writers!

Margriet Ruurs

I’ve known Margriet for more than 20 years.  She is a whirlwind in the children’s book world and I can hardly keep up with the books she’s written or the places she’s travelled.  She’s also one of the kindest most generous people I know and it’s a privilege to call her a friend.


Margriet Ruurs is the author of 30 books for children. Margriet works in elementary and middle schools across North America and also in many international schools around the world. She loves writing but also sharing stories with children and educators, getting them excited about writing their own stories.

Margriet lives on Salt Spring Island, BC where she and her family run a booklovers’ Bed & Breakfast called Between The Covers. Her next new books will include Families Around The World with Kids Can Press and A Brush Full of Color, the biography of Canadian artist Ted Harrison with Pajama Press.



Helaine Becker

I first met Helaine about 10 years ago at a conference we were both presenting at. I was unfortunately coming down with the flu. Despite not feeling very well, Helaine made me laugh so hard that I almost forgot about being sick. She is such a bright light in the writing world, that you just have to read her books.

Helene is an award-winning writer of books for children. She has written over50 books, including the best-selling picture book, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, theLooney Bay All-Stars seriespopular non-fiction, including Magic Up Your Sleeve,Secret Agent Y.O.U. and The Quiz Book for Girls; and young adult novels includingTrouble in the Hills and How to Survive Absolutely Anything. Helaine loves bright shiny colorful things, especially happy faces and flowers. She is crazy about fluffy dogs, coral reefs,  ice cream and color-changing nailpolish.


Lois Peterson

I first met Lois online when I was looking to share a room with another writer at the LA SCBWI Conference about six years ago.  We don’t get to see each other often but she is a fine and dedicated writer that I have learned a lot from. Her books for kids are wonderful thought-provoking reads, and I especially recommend  her 101 and more Writing Exercises for anyone wanting a writing career.













Check out this interview of illustrator Sheena Lott and I

Check out this interview of illustrator Sheena Lott and I about the process of creating Moonsnail Song in both book and e book forms by Laura Langston over at her blog.  While you’re there, be sure to check out a few of Laura’s  varied posts on:  fiction, filling the well, hope, pride, research, social media and story ideas.  Such an engaging writer 🙂

A word of advice for David Gilmour and writers in general

Not surprisingly, Canadian author David Gilmour’s words are coming back to haunt him.  Mr. Gilmour, who teaches literature at the University of Toronto, may be having nightmares over an interview  in an online magazine in which he dismisses, Canadian writers, Chinese writers and women writers.

I know.  It’s hard to believe that anyone could be that dumb!

Unfortunately, for Mr. Gilmour, the  interview went viral with widespread accusations that he was both a racist and a misogynist.  Instead of apologizing, Mr. Gilmour made the further mistake of blaming the interviewer for taking his words out of context and missing that his remarks were supposed to be humorous.  News flash…that isn’t an apology David.

You could almost feel sorry watching him dig himself deeper and deeper…Until  he goes on to say that he only apologized because his publisher was concerned about a backlash against his latest book.


This guy badly needs advice.  So here it is.

My advice to you David Gilmour, and to other writers:

  • Think before you open your mouth 
  • And, if you’re stupid enough to offend more than half of your reading public, have the good sense to apologize

‘Nough said!

Check out this great Interview with Linda Bailey

Check out Marsha Skrypuch’s  “Youthful Appetite” column for a great interview with Linda Bailey, the author of the Stanley books and  Toads on Toast.  


Don’t miss the Guardian’s interview with Brian Seznick

Did you see the Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo?  Want to know more about the film’s inspiration?  Check out this interview with Brian Seznick in the Guardian.

SLJ Exclusive Interview: Walter Dean Myers, the New National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Walter Dean Myers is just been appointed the next Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature.   He is such a wonderful advocate for young people, especially the disenfranchised.  And he’s such an amazing writer.  Here’s an interview that will give you a taste of the next two years.  SLJ Exclusive Interview: Walter Dean Myers, the New National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

REEL: Children and Poetry by Joel Shapiro

REEL: Children and Poetry by Joel Shapiro is an interview with children that is articulate, inspiring, and truly wonderful.  I love the fact that the film maker chose not to include the interviewer, letting the children’s words carry the film.  Thank you Joel Shapiro for a most wonderful film.

Kenn Nesbitt interviews Lee Bennett Hopkins: audio interview

Don’t miss this interview with one of USA’s finest children’s poets.  AUDIO: Kenn Nesbitt interviews Lee Bennett Hopkins over at Poetry  Play which has been doing awesome things in the short while since it began.

Ellen Hopkins and 8 words


One of my favorite authors is Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, and Fallout.  This is how she answered the following question:

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

Ellen. Time voyage–false starts, choppy seas, safe harbors.

See what I mean.  She’s awesome.  Each word is like a shiny polished pearl that really tells you something important.  Her books are exactly like that, spare and yet perfect.  Something else I really enjoy about her works is her characters. They don’t read like characters in a novel at all…thy are as real as you and I..except they’re not.  How does she do that!

How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

Lidsey Carmichael’s Authorpalooza!

Over at 10 Stories Up, Lindsey Carmichael is hosting an Authorpalooza!  Her plan is to post interviews with 20 authors and illustrators during July.  Each week she’ll have a different theme – picture book, middle grade nonfiction, middle grade fiction and teen.  See the schedule below to meet some of my favorite Canadian authors and enjoy!


Linda Bailey – July 4

Ruth Ohi – July 5

Sheree Fitch – July 6

Nicholas Oldland – July 7

Rebecca Kool – July 8

Picture Book Giveaway – July 9


Helaine Becker – July 11

Claire Eamer – July 12

Lizann Flatt – July 13

Joan Marie Galat – July 14

Moushumi Chakrabarty July 15

Nonfiction Giveaway – July 16


Arthur Slade – July 18

Alma Fullerton – July 19

Karen Spafford-Fitz – July 20

Yolanda Ridge – July 21

Danika Dinsmore – July 22

Middle Grade Fiction Giveaway – July 23


Nora McClintock – July 25

Vicki Grant – July 26

Robert Paul Weston – July 27

Tim Wynne-Jones – July 28

Moira Young – July 29

Teen Giveaway – July 30