Thursday 26 December 2013

Little Neve Memorizes My Books!

Success! Neve, my three year old niece can't yet read, yet Neve has memorized the complete text of my books Big Electric Cat and The Ugg and the Drip. She can be heard reciting the text aloud while she plays with her toys. "Dr. Yes is a crazy fool!" she'll declare. And she makes noises in rising volume to mimic the increasing size of the text. The dialogue is printed in different colours to help children discern between characters, potentially reveal a character's mood, and to make reading a little more fun. What I didn't think of was how the shape of the text on the page, which is very identifiable with the illustration, allows a child to more easily memorize the text that belongs to the corresponding picture. When Neve asked me to read The Ugg and the Drip to her, I sat with her. When I began to read she immediately began reciting the text. I was only there for comfort. She read the entire book to me! What a nice surprise. I'm honoured to have my books memorized, two of the dozen or so she has completely memorized.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Book Signing and Reading

Soon TBA at Coles in the Mall

If you would like to order my books to have them mailed to you or a child, please send $20.00, cheque or money order, per book (shipping and handling included) to PO Box 26053 Memorial PO, Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 0B2. Please include the child's name so that the package can be addressed to the child. Please let the child open the package - there will be creative packaging.
Past Book Signings
COLES in the Mall: This Thursday, Nov. 28, 11am to 5pm, Friday, 11am to 5pm
Baggage Building at Prince Arthur's Landing: Sunday, Dec. 1: 11am to 5pm, as part of Christmas on the Waterfront. 
Waverly Library: Readings with projected images from the stories on Saturday, November 30 at 2:30pm.
Wiggles and Giggles:  Corner of Park Ave. and Court St. Saturday, November 30, 10am to 6pm (excluding 2:30 to 3:30 for reading at Waverly, same day.
Chapters/Indigo Memorial: Friday, Saturday, November 15, 16.
BAGGAGE BUILDING ARTS CENTRE: in Prince Arthur's Landing as part of the Christmas on the Waterfront showcasing local artists and artisans: Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8. 11am to 5pm. 

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Coinciding Events: Word on the Water, October Walkabout, Baggage Building Show

14 hour work days for a few weeks before last weekend kept me busy, with the bulk of the promotional work for the Walkabout tour, where friends sat for me in my home (also occupied by the artist John Books and his wonderful bronze sculptures) while I was in Kenora for the Word on the Water Festival. Meanwhile I have about twenty paintings and drawings in the gallery space at the Baggage Building in Prince Arthur's Landing. But no complaints! It was stressful, yet fun. Some of it made me money, and some won't but I met some wonderful people and got involved. Now I'm painting, writing and practicing lines for 3 student films where I'll play Victor von Frankenstein, an action hero, and the son of a man with Alzheimer's. More fun stuff.
In the photo above is Mike Grandmasion (amazing photographer) getting a copy of Little Ship of Fools signed by the author – our very own Charlie Wilkins who is, by the way, an excellent travelling companion. We rode back and forth to Kenora and had excellent and honest conversations. Thanks Charles! The list of other authors allows me to do some serious name dropping - Gail Bowen, Catherine Hunter, Chadwick Ginther, Sherry Peters, Doug Whiteway (whose photo above needed to be censored, but I dare not say why), Robert J. Sawyer, Karen Dudley, and the young and talented Samantha Beiko. Attendance may have been strangely low, but I loved Kenora, the enthusiasm, getting to meet other writers and being able to commiserate about this bizarre industry. The Best Western Hotel was wonderful. I loved my room! The sculptures (above) were a nice addition to the school yard by the hotel. The kids playing there were interacting with the colourful monoliths.
The October Walkabout Tour saw eight artists (see card) opening their studios with work for sale. My art was on my walls (and books for sale) and John Books had his sculptures dispersed throughout my dining/studio room. And finally, I threw up my work when a short term space became available at the Baggage Building. It's coming down soon (no deadline as yet), but I love an opportunity to show somewhere new.
One of my next missions is finding a place to show work and sell books before Christmas.

Thursday 10 October 2013

I joined two different orange gangs of crazy to contribute poetry for Random Acts of Poetry arranged by DEFSUP with their mission bring the poetic word to the people. We entertained city council last week, in camera, and heard a couple great little poems from two of the city councillors. We entertained all sorts of kids and in turn some sang for us. I forgot my camera on these tours, so the visuals above come from the Chronicle Journal.

Friday 30 August 2013

Design Work Complete for The Ugg and the Drip

Each book gets its own look. This one is brighter than the last two and the back is packed with information and a "shadow" over the text and images - just for fun. 3,000 copies will be delivered towards the end of October and promotion of all 3 books as a package will begin.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

The Big Cat says Thanks! Original Art for the book is up for another month or so.

Thanks to all those who turned up, and especially Julie Einerson of Sweet Escape Café and Bakery for her amazing cake, cupcakes and for allowing me to use her space for the launch. My apologies to all those who couldn't make it! It's my fault. I picked the long weekend and the day before Canada Day, without really checking the calendar. Silly me. For those who don't know us Northerners, here in Thunder Bay, the city is vacated as everyone heads to camp (cabins), especially when the sun is out, like it was. So, I'll follow up some time next month with a little party for everyone.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Lara Wood will be out in 2014. The paintings are going well. Once they are complete (sort of), I go back into them, looking to balance out colour, correct shadows, tones, etc, so that the images don't look too dissimilar and yet exciting on their own. It's quite the task, like trying to create 14 little masterpieces, a story within each, that leads to a dramatic conclusion. And it's a dark story, so I'm taking a risk in terms of sales. I have no idea how it will be received. I'm trusting the child creator within to guide me more than I trust the adult who has too many societal weights on his shoulders and worries too much.  The text has yet to be fully sketched, but it's looking good. I aim for five hours of painting a day, but I have to take days off to market the other books, work on other projects and continue with writing columns and reviews. 

And I took in a couple baby skunks. I kept them for one night. I Googled for some knowledge and figured they were old enough to be outside on their own, that their mother was probably alive and hadn't abandoned them. They like cat food. Didn't make much of a stink. After I let them out, they had joined up with another sibling, so there were three. And the night after an adult skunk appeared - a very big and fast skunk. After sighting this skunk, the three little ones disappeared from under the back porch. 

Friday 14 June 2013

Two Months: Fun, Press, Painting and New Book -– BIG ELECTRIC CAT

Big Electric Cat has arrived! Years ago I took a break from working on Night Wall and after an exciting trip to Mexico, I completed BEC in six months. It was rejected by a number of publishers.
Finally it's out and after only two weeks parents are reporting that their kids are loving it. At the market where I was selling the book, kids were demanding the story be read to them a second time. Good signs!
In May students from the Confederation College Film program came to interview me for a documentary about visual artists in town. Click here to see the video. Andrea Feltrin asked very good questions. Two weeks later Luke Skalesky, in the same program, did an interview with me and other writers to ask about a writer's life, inspired by his brother who was completing a novel. He was able to capture on video the arrival of 3,000 copies of Big Electric Cat from Winnipeg. At the time I had just set up a show at the Sweet Escape Cafe and Bakery.

Evelynne Bernstein, a Teacher-Librarian at Lawrence Park C.I. in Toronto interviewed me for the glossy Teaching Librarian Magazine, distributed to all public schools in Ontario. I had to recall thoughts and feeling from years ago when I came up with ideas for my stories. I felt it was important to show how being open-minded to all sorts of influences allows for ideas to flow - creating "writer's waterfall."