I am very excited to be a part of TD Canadian Children's Book Week in 2015. I'll be touring Alberta, one of the few provinces I have never visited.
If you happen to be an educator, librarian, or are interested in having me talk at you about books, writing, YA literature, &c. all the information can be found here:
My specific information is at Jeff Ross
It has been awhile since I've written here at all. (I read a lot of writerly blogs and if we were to ever collect information about the most written phrases, I'm sure 'It's been awhile since I've written here' would be at the top of the charts. It's amazing that writers are, at least in this realm, such poor communicators.)
Our trip to Anticosti Island was something else. I have never been anywhere like that, though sections of it reminded me of Gatineau Park, others, especially the dramatic cliffs, of New Zealand. I'd say the people were great, but we had very little to do with anyone (those people we did speak with were all extremely kind, especially the park worker who, when we seemed uncertain by a specific French word or phrase would switch to her native Dutch in an attempt to clarify). Though there were other people staying in near-by cottages, we only briefly spotted one another. The one down side of the island were the sand flies and deer flies. They were both forces of nature. After the first couple of days we knew when to stay in doors, and as great as it was to have a fireplace stove outside, the evenings were brutal for being eaten alive. I went exploring one of our first evenings there, right at dusk, and was driven to run the better part of three km on the rocky beach wit my hoodie pulled tightly around my head, being pursued by a halo of deer flies and, whenever I slowed, eaten alive by sand flies.
I think Alex's bites are all healed now, though one can't be certain.
The rest of my summer was all about being outside with the boys. Swimming, skateboarding, running, biking, whatever kept us outside and moving. We've become regulars at the skateparks here in town.
I had decided to really, truly, take time off this summer. And it seems to have worked. Since September began I've edited my Limelights book, At Ease with my new editor at Orca, Robin Stevenson, picked up and put down my YA novel Everything You're Not Supposed to Be at least ten times (I will get back to this, but it was causing me more pain than it likely should have), and am now getting at a first draft of the still unnamed Anticosti novel while also working on the adult novel for which I received a City of Ottawa grant over a year ago. I have been working at this book since I received the grant and now, 50,000 of a likely 80-85,000 words in, it is truly working.
Sometimes first writes are painful and ugly. Other times, they flow beyond your expectations and you can see down the road where things will need to be added, other areas will need to be trimmed. This book has taken both routes. Sometimes it has been truly awful. Other times, it has just worked. I understand that those times it works or falls apart have less to do with the book and much more to do with my own moods and outlook. Nevertheless, I'm back to getting 2000+ words a day in and am doing my best to not think too deeply about the process. I still have a plan for both books, but am keeping things loose. There's every possibility I'll write myself into a corner, but, then, sometimes those corners can be just as interesting to get out of. As I began writing mostly short stories, I often found that I am a just get it down kind of writer, at least for fiction. When it comes to Scriptwriting, I'm a planner by necessity. But for awhile there my Scripwrting and novel writing had banged against one another and I was attempting to plan every little bit of my books. This doesn't work, at least not for me.
In the true spirit of keeping this short, I'll send out the obvious advice that working on more than one project at a time is really not a great idea. Working on seven, as I was attempting to do, is insane.
I'm now only focusing on three, all of which are in slightly different stages. Set You Free my YA mystery/thriller is in a first official edit (again with Robin Stevenson who has been bold enough to suggest killing the first chapter and deleting major characters right from the start. Both ideas I see the wisdom in.) My yet unnamed adult literary thriller, is creeping toward completion, and my YA Anticosti novel is just now getting its legs. If I can keep working at the pace I am, I hope to have Set You Free done before the end of November, and a good second write of both the adult novel and the Anticosti book finished before the new year. I'm back to teaching as well: Scriptwriting for Game Developers and Communications One for great groups of Game Dev and Animation students at Algonquin College. Every year these students make me unbelievably happy with their enthusiasm, intelligence, and desire to learn as much as they can.
I'm counting down the days until May now, but living in anticipation of skateboarding season ending, and snowboarding season right around the corner.