School Visit on Saturna Island

Canada Council through The Writers’ Union of Canada funded my airfare to Vancouver in order to perform “National Readings” at Capilano and Lynn valley (Thank you, thank you) but we tacked on a trip to a fab writer Rachael Preston and she organized a random drive by author visit at Saturna Island School where the SEEC (Saturna Island Environmental Education Classroom) students dropped by from their unusual campus.
These kids, from anywhere in BC, opt to study for three days (and nights!) a week in a rainforest environment.  They cook for themselves, tidy, plant things, create and study environmental issues.
The Saturna School Building
Keen SEEK Learners

At this point they realize my friend Rachael is taking their photo with the same farmer as on screen

Feather similes

On this day they learned about writing process instead. On the fly, feather and paint chip simile creation as well as reading script drew some great volunteers.  For a change we had two young men play the parts of Sunny, usually a girl, and Cole.  Note the red hair extensions and coffee bean necklaces to help get the young man into character.
Very keen learners eager to read my work now.  Lots of fun.  Thanks to Rachael’s organizing and Canada Council’s funding some very engaged learners enjoyed something totally different.

Gender switching while reading a script

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Embracing Your Inner Douche

At the Writers’ Union AGM for a talk on Promoting You Book-Tricks of the Trade,  here’s Dorris Heffron and Richard Scrimger reading his bio together, she forgot her glasses.  The pearl of wisdom he shared?  Embrace your inner douche, be that guy you hate who says “Hey, buy my book.”

Margriet Ruurs suggested that we think of all the markets for our books, non-traditional ones too, for example she sent her chicken picture book to the egg marketing board and encouraged them to host contests and give her books away.

Zoe Grams, publicist from Douglas McIntyre, shared some basic premises of a marketing platform. “Find the benefit for others.”  What specific value does your book offer?

The workshop was entertaining as well as informative.  Hey writers, you all should have come to Vancouver this weekend!

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crush.candy.corpse Draw Courtroom Scene Contest

Okay, this image answers the question do you illustrate your own books.


But photographs are not allowed in a trial so newspapers often use sketches. Who would do the sketch for me? Photocopying one from a paper would violate copyright and besides there is no sketch that would give my

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details. I illustrated this one myself.

Now I’m asking my talented readers. Submit a drawing of this scene (I recommend you read the first chapter to cue you, scroll down to an older post and you can read it here) and send me it postmarked no later that June 10th. Address: Sylvia McNicoll 2646 Cavendish Drive, Burlington, Ontario, L7P 3V7.

You could win an autographed crush.candy.corpse if I use your drawing to replace my own in my presentation. Make sure you give me your address so I can send your prize to you.

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crush.candy.corpse Drawing Contest

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Dream Readings at North Vancouver Library

All hail to Canada Council for funding these terrific opportunities for me to meet young readers at Lynn Valley Mail Library  and Parkgate Branch
Perhaps there was one dark and scary moment when I reached into my bag and found the connector to my old laptop instead of the one for my MacBook Air.  One moment when I thought oh great, no powerpoint to guide me through my talk.  Am I ever going to have to wing this presentation.  But then I took a breath and rummaged some more.  Of course I had packed the new connector too.
Explaining the concept of your brain as a toaster, what you put in will come out in your writing.  Note the spare brain in my hand.
Everything else about the  readings went perfectly.One of my new favourite librarians Alison Campbell gave me a fabulous intro and Ross Road ( I kept hearing students say Across the Road)  grade 6 and 7 students were so attentive and enthusiastic, the visit felt like a text book author visit, that shining example you hope for each time you step into a library, gym or auditorium.  I handing out parting gifts to the kids who volunteered, autographed postcards of the cover of crush. candy.corpse., suggesting they could sell them on Ebay.  During Q & A period, one enterprising young writer asked how much I thought they would go for.  I answered that if he could hold out till I won the Governor General Award or died, he could probably get more for it. He seemed to consider this answer seriously.  Another question had to do with my crow/legal clerk, eagle/judge and raven/lawyer simile in the courtroom scene opening. I had previously said that a brain was like a toaster.  See the image above.  The young writer asked me if I had drawn my similes from Edgar Allen Poe and told me he had compared lawyers to ravens and judges to eagles.  Wow.  I haven’t read Poe since I was 19, maybe it had finally popped out of my brain like over toasted bread.

Using your passions in writing or perhaps the agony of the Q & A

Next we enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Bistro.  “We” included Norma Charles, author of many fine books most recently Run Marco Run, had driven me to the readings, taken these great photos.

New fans, I hope.  Note at least two male writers in the photo.

Afterwards we headed for Capilano Public Library with another 60 or so attendants.

Creating similes and metaphors using feathers, or just tickling yourself.

Again extremely attentive students, wildly enthusiastic volunteers–no one asked for quotes on Ebay prices for my autograph.  Who were some of the famous people I’d met? With seconds left, the final question was:  Who was my favourite author?  And the answer was…

Conducting my paint chip and feather simile orchestra.

New fans, great writing questions.

Norma Charles!  Thanks again to Canada Council.

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