Category Archives: Publications

Look! Free buttons! And a new book!

For various reasons, I’m feeling neither clever nor articulate these days. I mean, um, all my clever-articulate-ness is being routed into my writing projects. Yes. That’s it. (Nods sagely. Hides writing projects.)

And so, in lieu of a proper blog post, I offer you buttons that you are welcome to use on your website if you like. Amazon makes their “buy” buttons widely available, but I wanted a matched set, and my web developer husband was kind enough to make some. They’re at the bottom of this post, due to technical issues. (That means I can’t make it look right any other way and I don’t want to bug my husband again.)

New Book

My latest book, Wolves at the Gate, has just come out from HIP Books. I haven’t even seen a copy yet. They’re in the mail, apparently. I’ll be updating my Books page as soon as I get a look at the back cover text.

Wolves at the Gate is part of another fantasy series written with Cheryl Rainfield and Deb Ouellet, but this time, the books share the same world but deal with different characters. That means you can read them in any order or combination that you like.

My character, Ren, is a thief who learns over the course of the book that he is a Skinwalker — someone who can choose between two shapes. Ren needs to decide whether learning to use his new skills is worth the risks that come with joining a community. Human or fox, loner or pack member. And he has to decide soon, because the Skinwalkers are planning an attack on the king.

This is a novel for reluctant readers, which means it’s a fast, action-packed read. It’s targeted at readers in about grade five and up, but written at the grade three reading level. Charlie Hnatiuk did the illustrations. I had fun creating Ren’s world, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about his adventures.

At Last: The Buttons

Here they are! Matching buttons for Amazon, Chapters and others.

Please note the addition of Blue Heron Books, my lovely local bookseller. Shelley is so supportive, she deserves her own button. There’s also a “Find Local Bookseller” button for those of you who don’t live in Durham Region, Ontario.

Book Launch, School Presentation, Deadline!

Lots of blog-worthy news lately. Not a lot of time for blog writing.

Book Launch

My book launch, held on May 15 at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, was a huge success. There were more than 50 people there–far more than the 30-40 that I had guessed might come. I feel hugely grateful to everyone who came: my wonderful family and friends and writing buddies, and even some people from Uxbridge who read about the event in the local paper and came by to see what was going on.

Uxbridge Cosmos, May 13, 2010, first page (links to a PDF file of the first page of the May 13 Uxbridge Cosmos, featuring an article on Boarder Patrol written by Neil Coxworth)

Thank you so much, everyone who was there!

Special thank you’s to my incredible mother, who made not only the cake but also many of the door prizes, to Judy Diltz (“Aunt Judy”) for baked goodies, to Peggy Pflanzer (“Aunt Peggy”) for putting together a yummy cheese tray, to Susan Blakeney for delicious rhubarb tarts and for offering to drive my Toronto-based writer friends, to Marty Bays of MORTIS Photography for being thoughtful enough to capture the moments with his camera and for granting me permission to use the photos, and to Orca Books for donating several door prizes and helping with the launch expenses. And especially thank you to Shelley Macbeth, who let me use her beautiful bookstore for the event, who was helping for months ahead of time with the organization and details, and who managed to make a success of a tricky situation.

Here are some photos from the event.

Friends, family and readers at the Boarder Patrol book launch. Photo by MORTIS Photography,
My mom talking to my grade five teacher, Mr. Blackstock. Photo by MORTIS Photography,
Snowboarding consultant Travis Tedford with my dad at the book launch. Photo by MORTIS Photography,
Signing a copy of Boarder Patrol. Photo by MORTIS Photography,
You knew there had to be a picture of the cake. Cake by Susan Thomas, photo by MORTIS Photography,

Apparently it’s traditional to have books at a book launch. We didn’t quite manage that part. The night before the book launch, Shelley Macbeth of Blue Heron Books phoned me with the bad news: the books hadn’t arrived! Between us, we managed to scrounge together 16 copies. For the rest, we worked out an advance order system. Everyone was very gracious and understanding, so even without the piles of books that Shelley and I had hoped to have on display, the launch was a success. I received the books last week, and I’m working my way through the pre-orders, autographing and delivering the books. So far, so good!

For more about the book launch, stay tuned for my blog post on planning a book launch, coming soon to the Orca Books Web site.

School Presentation

Three days after the book launch, I headed to Greensville School for an author presentation to the fifth grade classes. My friend Jennifer Vince, a teacher at the school, arranged for me to be there–for which I am extremely grateful! It was a lovely experience. Great kids, a beautiful library, and lots of opportunity to visit with some of the younger classes for informal Q&A sessions on writing. Lots of fun!

Sadly, I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask anyone to get pictures. Oh, well. Next time.


I’m very, very close to being ready to send a new draft of Wolves at the Gate to Paul Krop, the publisher at H.I.P. Books. So close, in fact, that I have set June 2 as the delivery date. I’m excited, because I think this is a much stronger version than what I had previously. I’ve received some useful and encouraging feedback from my writing group and from a couple of critique-based night classes where I’ve shared chapters. I’ve struggled a lot with this project, so it’s nice to see things finally coming together.

Now… gotta go write.

Downloadable Guide to Uxbridge and Book Launch Poster

The book launch approacheth. Five days. Eep.

Things are well under way, though. Door prizes taken care of. Icing topper for the cake ordered. Crafts and decorations in hand.

Aaron and I even managed to put together a handy-dandy “Beginner’s Guide to Uxbridge”, for those of you coming from out of town and looking for things to do in the area.

Guide to Uxbridge

My authors’ copies of Boarder Patrol arrived in the mail last week. They look great. The cover is much shinier than on the ARC. Unfortunately, I don’t have any left, but I’ve ordered some more. I have bookmarks, too, thanks to the wonderful people at Orca Books.

Finally, here is the book launch poster. Hope to see you there!

Boarder Patrol Book Launch Poster

Of ARCs and Aliens

It’s been a busy writing week with lots to report. Hence the utter lack of blog updates. When things are happening, I find it hard to make time to write about it, thus my news here tends to be sadly outdated. Anyone else find that difficult when blogging?

Public Reading–yikes!

One not-yet-outdated announcement: I’ll be reading from my new book, Boarder Patrol, at the Whitby Health & Wellness Fair. The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region has a booth there. Sue Reynolds and Ruth Walker will be “enthusing about the health benefits of following your heart and your muse” (according to Ruth), and various WCDR members will be reading throughout the day.

Ruth promises a captive audience, as we will be in the room with the snacks. Isn’t that kind of like live-band-in-bar syndrome? The band is fun if that’s what you wanted to hear, but if you’re at the bar to talk to the person beside you, it makes life difficult. I hope it won’t feel that way to the people at the fair. I’ll keep my reading short, just in case.

Also because the longer I’m up there, the more likely my sweaty palms will stain my lovely new ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of Boarder Patrol.


Which brings me to my second topic. My ARC came in the mail last Friday. It is beautiful. It is glorious. Picture available here.

After I spent most of the day jumping around the house and dancing with the book, I could not bear to be parted with it. I carried it, wrapped in its envelope for safe keeping, to my daughter’s piano and swimming lessons (Friday is a busy night). I have no shame; I showed it to the parents of the little girl in my daughter’s class, simply because they were sitting beside me. They were kind. New writers, like new parents, must beg the indulgence of others.

(Incidentally, the book will be available from Orca Sports in early May, and the book launch will be sometime in late May or early June at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, which is a beautiful bookstore and well worth visiting. But I’m sure I’ll post about that as it gets closer.)

Wolves at the Gate

I finally finished and submitted the rough draft of my new novel for HIP Books. The working title is Wolves at the Gate. (Actually, the working title here at home is “Foxy’s Big Adventure”, since the book was thus christened by my daughter, but “Wolves at the Gate” seems to be going over better with the over-six demographic.)

I’m about two thousand words over the target word count but in a first draft, I can forgive myself that. It needs to be tightened, but I’ll worry about that after I know I’ve got the story right. This is an unusual way to work; normally a book would be thoroughly critiqued and polished before I ever submitted it to an editor. Come to think of it, that may be why I so seldom submit anything… nothing’s ever quite “done” enough.

In this case the publisher (HIP Books) initiated the project, so he’s been involved from the very beginning. He approved my story concept, then my outline, and I won’t touch my first draft again until I hear his feedback.

I’ve had fun with this story. It’s another mediaeval fantasy, like the Dragon Speaker series. I’m working with Cheryl Rainfield and Debbie Ouellet again, but this time, our books don’t have to be sequential. They just share a world. Not sure how much we’re allowed to reveal yet, so I’d better leave it at that. But yes, wolves are obviously involved, and foxes. And a “big adventure”.

And Aliens…

Also this week, I received feedback on my Muskoka Novel Marathon manuscript. My story about a little boy and an alien won in the Juvenile category for the 2009 marathon. Part of the prize is that an editor with a Canadian publishing house agrees to critique it. The novel marathon is a fundraiser for the Muskoka Literacy Council, so it strikes me as extremely generous of the editors and publishers associated with it to volunteer their time.

I was fortunate enough to receive feedback from Kathy Lowinger of Tundra Books, who has volunteered to help the novel marathon in this way for several years in a row. She gave my still-very-rough manuscript a thorough substantive edit and offered detailed (and encouraging!) feedback. She absolutely made my week.

(Well, okay, that and the ARC made my week. Can’t forget the ARC.)

Anyhow. Big week, filled with blog-worthy events. Things should be a little bit quieter now. My next planned blog entry will be about an amazing writing book that I came across recently.

Should you happen to read this before it happens, please wish me luck with the reading tomorrow morning!

Sold a Story!

I’m very excited that my short story, “Julia”, sold to On Spec magazine. I’m not sure when it will be out; I received the acceptance last week, so I’m guessing it will be in the next issue.

I’ve written a few incarnations of this story about a mother who is forced to choose between her children. The first draft, less than 2000 words, was based on a prompt from the NYC Midnight short story contest. After that, I stretched the concept out to short novella length, to explore it better. That draft was close to 10,000 words. Too long; it felt bulky. I’m pretty happy with the current draft, at just under 6000 words. 

Peter Carver, a former editor with Red Deer Press, teaches a course on writing for children through George Brown College in Toronto. He always talks about a work being “the right length for itself”–not the usual length for that genre, or the size it should be to make a picture book, but the number of words it takes to tell the story properly, without a lot of extra fluff in there. I feel like I finally got “Julia” to the right length for itself. It took a lot of trying, though.