Monthly Archives: March 2008

Human Research: A Real Live Gamer

Yesterday, I met a living breathing follower of Neil Strauss who penned the ultimate little black book for boys: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.

As a writer, I am a student of human nature — so I jumped at the opportunity to spend an evening of debate and conversation with someone who has spent the last few years leaning how to converse with those odd and completely “unpredictable” yet beautiful 50% of the human race under which I fall — namely females.

Poor man — there were three of us and all Geminis, so actually it was six to one — if you look at the world that way — and I think gamers do. What did we learn from him:
There are types of women:
Murders — don’t even bother saying hello
Marriage — don’t even bother talking to them
And I can’t remember the third group, but those are the best to hit on.

Can’t quite figure out what he was doing with us — we all fall into the first two groups. In spite of that, all of us had a great time and we even fixed him up with a date — perhaps against his will, but he agreed.

What we really learned, is that he, like most people just want to connect with other humans. Some of us are naturals, some need lessons, but hey, as long as we are all working toward better communication, it’s all good.

And if you find yourself alone and in a bar, remember, don’t bury your head in your beer, instead use his best line: “You look like an interesting person. What’s your story?”

I could have given him that line, without making him buy any of my books. So what we really learned is that Niel Strauss is quite smart — his books are best sellers.

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Blog Block

I know I am committing the ultimate blog sin, but not posting with consistence and regularity. So, I want to thank all of you who continue to visit and put up with my extreme laziness. Here are some reasons for not blogging:

– Painting the living room and dining room has resulted in the complete household disorganization
– My hair is acting up and it takes about an hour in the morning to make it behave
– Easter
– I have read about 60 books in the last few months — a true form of writerly procrastination
– I would rather be sleeping
– I have been overly social of late
– I don’t really have a lot to say
– I have too much to say

This too will end! I will be back on the blog soon. In the meantime, just for you people at Celebrity Hair — this pic is for you:
My Hair is Acting Up


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Blogs Belonging to Writers I Know Professionally

There are some fabulous Writers in British Columbia. The following (as I do), all belong to the Canadian Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia (CWILL) and you might want to check out their blogs as well.

Fiona Bayrock

Diane Haynes

Shelley Hrdlitschka

Eileen Kernaghan

Tanya Kyi

James McCann

Victoria Miles

Jacqueline Pearce

Nikki Tate

Meg Tilly

Kirsti Wakelin


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My Dream Vacation: A Dude Ranch

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed about going to a dude ranch — it’s a little known fact that I have a diploma in Agriculture from Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek — something I pursued because the thing I’ve always wanted to be if I grow up is a cow girl.

At the end of May, I am taking my daughter to a dude ranch in Ashcroft, British Columbia — true God’s country. This ranch has everything — cowboys, horses, sagebrush, an amazing menu, a heated pool and our own private cabin with a view that goes on forever. It’s called Sundance Guest Ranch. and after much research, I’m convinced it’s the best ranch BC has to offer.

Neither of us has ridden for ten years, so I plan to bring lots of painkillers to ensure that after the first ride, we will be able to get back in the saddle again. When I was on their website, I saw that they are in need of “wranglers.” That’s my kind of job! Who knows, maybe I’ll stay for a while 🙂

The pictures will be amazing — something to look forward to for all of you who share the same dream.
Giddy up!


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NPA Nomination Meeting Date Announced

I have known Peter Ladner for a long time — as a friend, which is why I am supporting his bid to win the NPA nomination. Of course, as an artist, I’ve never voted for the political parties that sit right of center, but I can vouch for Peter Ladner as good human.

Visit Peter’s website if you want to know what he stands for, or join Peter Ladner for Mayor on Facebook.

In order to send Peter Ladner to the mayor’s office in the November Civic election, Peter needs your vote at the NPA Nomination Meeting to be held on Sunday, June 8th, 2008 at the Marriott Pinnacle at 1128 West Hastings Street (at Thurlow). To vote, you will need to be a member of the NPA by April 18th.

To become a member of the NPA, you will need to: complete the NPA Membership form.

Fax the form to Peter Ladner’s Campaign at 877-889-7830

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EVENT magazine’s Annual Non-Fiction Contest

Three winners will each receive $500 (plus publication payment).
Publication in Event 37/3 (December 2008). Other manuscripts may be published. Preliminary judging by the editors of Event.

Final Judge: Timothy Taylor is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of the novels Stanley Park and Story House. He is the recipient of three National Magazine Awards and the Journey Prize. He is a columnist with The Globe and Mail and a Contributing Editor at both enRoute Magazine and Vancouver Magazine. His writing on arts and culture has also appeared in Saturday Night, Toro, Food & Wine, The National Post, The Wall Street Journal and other publications. He lives in Vancouver.

Writers are invited to submit manuscripts exploring the creative non-fiction form. Check your library for back issues of Event with previous winning entries and judges’ comments. Contest back issues are available from Event for $7.42 (includes GST and postage; US$7 for American residents; CAN$12 for overseas residents).

Note: Previously published material, or material accepted elsewhere for publication, cannot be considered. Maximum entry length is 5000 words, typed, double-spaced. The writer should not be identified on the entry. Include a separate cover sheet with the writer’s name, address, phone number / email, and the title(s) of the story (stories) enclosed. Include a SASE (Canadian postage / IRCs /US$1). Douglas College employees are not eligible to enter.

Entry fee: Multiple entries are allowed, however, each entry must be accompanied by a $29.95 entry fee (includes GST and a one-year subscription; make cheque or international money order payable to Event). Those already subscribing will receive a one-year extension. American and overseas entrants please pay in US dollars.

Deadline for entries: Postmarked April 15, 2008.

Send entries to:
Creative Non-Fiction Contest
P.O. Box 2503
New Westminster, BC
Canada V3L 5B2

Tel.: (604) 527-5293
Visit: Event

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Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize Finalists Announced

You all wondered why I was so busy in January. I had over 45 books to read and I read each one cover-to-cover. It felt like a huge responsibility and honor to judge my peers and narrowing down the final five was extremely difficult. Anyway, I had to keep it all hush-hush until the announcement came out today — And the finalists are:

Supported by the BC Library Association
Judges: Julie Burtinshaw, Shelley Hrdlitschka and David Ward

The Alchemist’s Dream
by John Wilson
Publisher: Key Porter Books
The Alchemist’s Dream

In the fall of 1669, the Nonsuch returns to London with a load of fur from Hudson Bay. It brings something else, too-the lost journal from Henry Hudson’s tragic search for a passage to Cathay in 1611.In the hands of a greedy sailor, the journal is merely an object to sell. But for Robert Bylot-a once-great maritime explorer-the book is a painful reminder of a past he’d rather forget. As Bylot relives his memories of a plague-ridden city, of the mysterious alchemist John Dee, and of mutiny in the frozen wastes of Hudson Bay, an age-old mystery is both revealed and solved.

Baboon: A Novel
by David Jones
Publisher: Annick Press

Fourteen-year-old Gerry Copeland has mixed feelings about flying back to his parents’ research camp in the African savanna. While his biologist mom and dad study baboon behavior, he’ll be thinking about the video arcade and restaurants back in the city. Suddenly, their small plane’s engine stutters and dies. They go down hard. Gerry wakes up thinking a baboon has broken his fall. He’s shocked to realize the furry arm is his own. Somehow, he’s become one of the beasts his parents are studying. Gerry’s only chance is to stay with the baboon troop. His parents don’t recognize him and he begins to lose hope he’ll ever be human again. His final, desperate bid to turn back means giving up the animal family he’s come to care about for the human family where he truly belongs.

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane
by Polly Horvath
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Like her National Book Award-winning The Canning Season, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is filled with plot twists and extraordinarily strange characters. It is also a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places. Following the death of their parents, two cousins are sent to live with their distant, scholarly uncle and his eccentric house staff. Told in four characters’ voices, the novel is a layered account of one bad year from multiple points of view linking humour and pain. Polly Horvath has written many award-winning books for children and young adults including The Trolls and Everything on a Waffle.

For Now
by Gayle Friesen
Publisher: Kids Can Press

In Friesen’s previous book, Losing Forever, Jeslearned to accept the inevitability of change. But the change is moving at a heartbreaking pace and her world shifts by the day. There’s lots of uncertainty in Jes’s life, but the biggest uncertainty of all is love. Everyone has a different opinion on it. Dell says love should be so intense that it makes you puke – this from a girl who’s swept off her feet as easily as a dust bunny. Jes’s teacher says that love is about reuniting what was once divided – this from a guy who’s going through a divorce. If anything’s for sure, it’s that love is never predictable, always confusing and may hurt sometimes. But, as Jes begins to see, no one ever gives up on it.

by Meg Tilly
Publisher: Tundra Books

When her father is killed in Afghanistan, twelve-year-old tomboy Jack Cooper (or Jacqueline, as her mother insists on calling her) watches helplessly as her mother crumbles. Before long, with her younger siblings, Jack moves from her Newfoundland home to a run-down farm on the Prairies with a great-grandmother they didn’t know existed. In the process, she learns that families come in many different forms and that love, trust, and faith can build a home anywhere. A moving and inspiring tale, Meg Tilly’s Porcupine is a novel about adaptation and new understandings. Formerly a film actress, Meg Tilly is the author of two adult novels, Singing Songs and Gemma, and is currently at work on her second novel for young adults.

For Details on all the finalists in every category and to get tickets for the gala event on April 26th, visit BC Book Prizes.

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Rock Solid. Heart Touching: ASUS

That’s what it says on the user manual for my brand new Eee PC and it’s true. This amazing little computer fits in my purse and is super easy to use. It only cost $300! I went out to buy a lighter laptop, thinking I’d have to spend thousands, so I actually saved about $1900!

Lin (Sadly, I do name my computers and assign them a gender), named after her operating system, is matt black, although the EeePC comes in red, green, white and even pink — less memory = more beauty.

Battery lasts three hours, there is voice command, webcam and comes preloaded with Skype,Google Docs, Wikipedia, Internet Radio and much more — all open source.

So tiny, so light, so easy…

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Teachers: Why You Should Invite Me Into Your School

I’ve been doing quite a few talks this month in schools/colleges/libraries and I’ve been really well-received. Although self-promotion is not my forte, I came across this accolade in The T/L Report about one of the workshops I did a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to Northern Voice, I knew I should blog about it, so that all the teachers out there who are looking for great speakers/creative writing workshop leaders, will contact me and invite me into their schools.

On another note, I got this really great rejection email from the Canada Council. It was titled: Unsuccessful But Recommended: It went on to say:

The assessment committee for the program, has recently completed its deliberations, and we regret to inform you that your application was not successful. Although the assessment committee recommended your application, a grant could not be recommended due to a lack of funds.

Usually, I am just


Only a Canadian writer could see the silver lining in this…

Oh, well — Maybe next year, there will be enough cash for me.

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Galley Proofs: A Joyous Thing

Yesterday my publisher sent me the galley proofs for my next book. In a writer’s life, Galley Proof Day is bigger than Christmas and birthdays combined. After what is sometimes years of work, editing and re-editing, deleting and rewriting, one finally has the almost finished product in hand.

The proofs for The Perfect Cut have more than met my expectations — still I will spend the weekend pouring over the text one last and final time, as will my editor — because we want it to be what it never can — faultless in every way.

I will resist the temptation to carry the proofs around with me and show them off to everyone I meet — after all, like babies, they all look the same — unless they are yours and then they are the most beautiful things in the world.

This is How Great I Feel!

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