Wednesday, September 07, 2011

How Do You Read to a Rabbit by Andrea Wayne von Koningslow

This is my grandaughter Violet's official first book.  I'm sure there were many other board books that she gummed along the way but How Do You Read to a Rabbit is her go-to favourite because she loves the pictures.  She loves animals, anyway, but how can you resist Andrea Wayne's whimsical gentle drawings?  I love her Bing and Chutney characters too and have a portrait of them hanging in my bedroom.  Violet currently likes the dolphin page in her book and has learned the phrase "all wet" from it. Her dad, my son Craig, also enjoyed many Annick picture books.  I remember his favourite used to be Mashed Potato Mountain by Laurel Gugler.  I'm so grateful to Annick for those little handsized picture books that I used to carry around in my purse, the emergency stories that I used to entertain my three children in the waiting rooms of life.  They introduced my kids to reading and to many great Canadian children's writers like Andrea. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Linwood Barclay and Chevy Stevens' Thrillers on my Ereader in the forest

My e-reader, just like my laptop, closely resembles my favourite childhood toy, my etch a sketch.  Okay, hands down physical books are still better.  I like to know where I'm at in a book, if I'm close to the end in physical page thickness.  My ereader makes me read faster just like SRA did when I went to school.  Who remembers SRA in the late 60s and early 70s?  Scientific Reading Association.  You were tested and put into a colour and then you had to read short stories on that colour of cards while being timed.  Afterwards you answered questions, again timed, and corrected your answers from another card.  Faster and faster, up the ladder of colours. Yes I can speed read now and it can be a blessing and a curse.  I don't savour details like some people.  Instead I gallop through plots which makes me a pretty good concept editor.  Too bad I have to copy edit things too.
I am a big Linwood Barclay fan as I first encountered him as a Star columnist who wrote about his Burlington (my town) home life.  His first mysteries still had that comfortable suburban feel and column humour.  Now they're gone to thriller twists and turns, but still with the great funny characters. I loved The Accident and read it in this copse of trees at Bronte Creek, in their dog park. Now I hate using any Chinese electric products.  Thanks Linwood!
Chevy Stevens is a BC thriller writer whose stories Still Missing and Never Knowing were great reads to gobble up on an Ereader. In the first, the real estate agent is kidnapped and lives a year with her abductor, bears him a child and all things creepy.  In Never Knowing the main character finds out some horrible truths about her birth father.  Twist seekers charge your Ereaders please.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

L.M. Falcone Ventures into Graphic Novel

Lucy usually writes scary novels like The Mysterious Mummer or Walking with the Dead (a Silver Birch Winner) but here she's collaborating with my daughter Robin McNicoll to touch up some illustrations on a new graphic novel.  It's still in grant proposal stage so I don't want to say too much about it.  I did read the first fifteen pages and it's hilarious. I hope Canada Council juries like having their funny bones tickled.  Still who cares, as long as I can buy and read the whole book soon.  Attracted by the hum of creativity, Hunter sat down to watch the process and in the end, received an autographed first draft, worth millions once Lucy takes over for J.K. Rowling.

Emceeing Discovery Landing's 2011 Sandcastle Competition

Nothing to do with writing or selling books, I just love sandcastles.  For the past couple of years I've been a judge in Burlington's Sandcastle Competition.  I wouldn't say I'm an expert in anything sandy but I just love the sculptures and the beach, watching the sailboats come in.  This year they made all their past winners judges and really didn't need me.  How about I emcee instead?  So same deal, great sandart pirate themed this year, hot hot weather, good beach music and lots of yachts and other boats drifting in.  I intro'd  bands and events into a microphone, something authors are pretty used to doing and enjoyed the day.  Now I said it had nothing to do with writing but as I stood there looking out on the lake, I remembered the scene from Dying to Go Viral. As part of her redo of her last week on earth, 14 year old Jade wants  to go to the beach but has no car or means and can't share with her family that she's only got a week to live either.  So she hops a bus and heads for Burlington Beach and it's a great day even though it's not Hawaii or California or any other exotic beach locale.  Dying along with Jade, taught me to appreciate local sunrises and sunsets and beaches as well as sand pirates like this.