Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A dream day at R.H. Lagerquist Senior Public School

A brilliant writer herself, Amy Corbin, a teacher
from R.H. Lagerquist Senior Public School, arranged a day of writing workshops for the students who wrote to tell her why they wanted to work with a published author.

I lead four short workshops to groups of about 20 students in the library. Look how attentive and hardworking they were. The last group liked computer writing and as we had a little extra time, we wrote scripts, one of the choices being, a student tells his parent (father in this case) that he's in trouble. In turn the ending has to be a resolution of some sorts where his dad metes out punishment or deals with the situation. I don't know how it got to that point, but striped shirt boy plays the part of the gun wielding dad who helps red hoodie son wipe out some other dudes. This is the last scene in which father and son get handcuffed and taken to jail.

Strange developments and hilarious creations. The future writers of Canada.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beauty Guide Dog Novel Series Trailer

The Beauty Series: Bringing Up Beauty, A Different Kind of Beauty and Beauty Returns, represents the books for which I'm best known. Essentially they follow Elizabeth as she fosters first a black Lab, Beauty I, then a Chocolate Lab, Beauty II, and finally a golden retriever, Magic.

In the second book, the view point splits to hers and that of sixteen year old Kyle's who gets a white cane instead of a driver's license. In the third, they go out. No dogs every die.

Over the course of creating Kyle, I met and chatted with many people with visual impairments.
I also wrote the lyrics for a song because I wanted him to sing a lullabye but darned if I wanted to track down rights. Angela McKay, one of the women I interviewed, is a singer songwriter and she and her husband Brian helped me set the words to music.

This trailer gives snippits of all three novels with Angela singing Kyle's Lullabye.
My son, Craig McNicoll, did the filming and editing. There are voiceovers for Elizabeth (Jennifer Filopowicz, my daughter) Alicia (Eireann McNicoll, my daughter-n-law) and a scene with Kyle acted by Ian Garden, Eireann's brother. Many dogs acted in this video including Buster, Beauty's brother. Yes there is now a real Beauty named for the book. Also the golden retriever belongs to Amy, another young woman who fosters guide dogs because she readBringing Up Beauty.

The covers of my novels were painted by Shariff Taribay.

For me the video reminds me of a huge voyage in my life and all the wonderful docks (as well as dogs) along the way. Listen carefully to the end and you'll hear my granddaughter Violet give a cry.

If you know a dog lover, you should buy these three books. Available from the usual online sources but also at Burlington's A Different Drummer Book Store.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baby Show for Today's Parent Toronto

To keep up with trends for babies my editing job with Today's Parent Toronto, I like to go to the various baby shows.

I dragged my son Craig (and film maker for my excellent new trailer, and his baby girl Violet. Not in the photo is beautiful Mom Eirean and Bob, my photo sidekick and partner in life.

We had a really good time testing out all kinds of equipment. Here you see me trying a Fisher Price infant chair for editors.

Sudbury Catchup Post-Coppercliff School

A writer wears many hats. Here I am wearing antlers. Visiting Sudbury to present in schools, this time Coppercliff and then the next day Walden Public School, allows me a chance to browse Science North and report on the new Wild Life Rescue exhibit. I loved the Born to be Wild 3d Imax as well. After seeing it, kids will be happy to pledge to help save the environment. In the exhibit there are several posters suggesting different commitments the children can make to help save endangered species and all animals in general. The antlers are part of the exhibit.

In the schools, I talked about different novels depending on the age group. The response was phenomenal. Kids stopped me in the hall to thank me or tell me how wonderful an author I am.
In the photo, the whipped cream on the face is a demonstration on rewriting for plausibility.
Believe it or not.