Tag Archives: News

So Very Behind…

I haven’t updated in ages. The past month or two has been crazy-busy, writing-wise.

My revisions on Boarder Patrol were due October 31. There wasn’t that much to change, but some of what needed fixing took some thought. Since the book is under contract, I didn’t feel right working on anything else until I had that work done.

My newest manuscript, Tyler’s Intergalactic Spy School, won the juvenile category in the Muskoka Novel Marathon. I was able to revise it a little before sending it to the level-two judges, Kevin Craig, Anne Millyard and Roy McGregor, for feedback. (Well, Kevin was gracious enough to look at the raw manuscript, but that was due to a scheduling issue.)

The next step will be preparing it to go to a Canadian children’s publisher for January. The publisher is going to give feedback and not necessarily consider the manuscript for publication, but obviously I want to do the best job I can before submitting it. And there’s a lot of work to do before January! Especially around the ending…

My short story, ‘Julia’, was published in On Spec; I finally received my copies just this past week. It’s exciting! I’m especially grateful to the readers who got in touch with me and had very kind things to say about the story. My first reader feedback! 🙂 I won’t mention names, but that first email that appeared in my in-box made my week. Thank you so much!

I learned some great things in Brian Henry’s writing course and at the CANSCAIP conference, Packaging Your Imagination, which I’ll try to share here when things slow down a bit. I’m working on more changes to Boarder Patrol this week, and planning a book launch. The book launch will get its own post.

I’ve also plunged into CANSCAIP and volunteered as the new co-recording secretary. Taking the meeting notes, I’m fine with. Voting on issues feels somewhat less comfortable, given that I have all of two months’ experience as a member. I suppose I can balance out the more established authors and illustrators, or stretch out the bell curve, or something.

Finally, my husband insists on dragging me into the twenty-first century despite my misgivings. I caved and opened a Twitter account. I’m still not sure I’m doing it right, but I’m following some people who have interesting things to say (including said husband, because otherwise he’ll get cranky). Every now and then I pop up with a reply or a link, and I’m learning how to “retweet”. I’m @erinlthomas, because erinthomas was taken.

More later. Back to work.

We have the books!

Last weekend Paul Kropp, the publisher of the Dragon Speaker book series, had Cheryl, Deb and I over for lunch because the books were in!!!

I think we spent the first little while just looking at the books and holding them and flipping through them… there was something rather surreal about it.

I’m having trouble uploading pictures right now, but I have cover shots and some other photos that I’ll post later.

The books are available from the HIP-Books web site (it doesn’t look like you can order them yet–the teacher’s guide isn’t back from the printers yet, which may be why), and in about a month, will be on Amazon.

On Wednesday night, Cheryl, Deb and I introduced the books at the CANSCAIP meeting in Toronto… nerve-wracking, but everyone was friendly and supportive. We had a few questions about what it was like, working together on the series and how we managed the logistics of it (gotta love the web). The last question, I think, was whether we’d work together again–of course we would! 

Sylvia McNicoll, who has written about eight zillion excellent YA books, was there and gave us our first ever book sale. That might have been exciting regardless, but the fact that it was Sylvia made it special. I found a good home for the actual bill she gave me–and no, it’s not my bulletin board, although the cheque from my first-ever writing sale (Globe and Mail, 2002) is still there. Sorry about that, Accounting people.

There’s a web site for the series: www.dragonspeakerbooks.com. The Art section is worth checking out–Charlie Hnatiuk, the artist for the series, contributed some really interesting process sketches and a blurb on how he goes from sketch to book-ready art.

Proofs and a Contract

My big job for this weekend is to go through the proofs of Draco’s Fire, my first book, which is due out this September from HIP Books (book three of the Dragon Speaker trilogy–the first two books were written by Cheryl Rainfield and Debbie Ouellet).  I’ve never actually seen proofs before, so it’s pretty exciting. This is the way the book will look, pictures and everything. The typesetting is very nice. 🙂 

I also just signed a contract for my snowboarding book, Boarder Patrol, with Orca Sports. It will be published in Spring 2010. 

Both books were written in response to calls for submission that I found out about through the CANSCAIP newsletter. If anyone is interested in writing for children, it’s very much worthwhile to become a CANSCAIP friend. The organization is a great source of information, and the meetings (not that I often go; too much of a wimp to drive into Toronto more than necessary) are great.

I’m excited about these two books, and about my new novel marathon draft, but for the time being, I’m back to work on Pyro: or who to be in high school. I’ve lost track of which rewrite this is; maybe the seventh or eighth substantial one over two years. It’ll be nice to get back to those characters.

NYC Midnight Short Story Contest: 3rd place

This is the second year that I’ve participated in the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest. It’s a great way to get new story ideas. Each participant is assigned a genre and a topic to build their story around. There’s also a fairly tight timeframe, so it encourages “just get it done” writing… which, to be honest, is the way I like to write my first drafts. I find it much easier to revise when I’ve got something to work from.

In round one, participants are divided into heats… usually 30 heats, with 20 or so participants in each. Each heat is assigned a different genre and topic, then participants are given a week to write their 2500-word stories.

Round one first-place and second-place winners go on to compete in the final round. Everyone in the final round is given the same genre and topic, and has 24 hours to complete a story.

It’s a great way to end up with two seedling stories, and since the contest does not publish the winning stories and ownership stays with the writer, you’re free to revise and market them.

Last year my first-round entry (sci-fi, investment) turned into a story that I was able to sell to On Spec magazine. My second-round entry (ghost story, salesman) was terrible and shall never see the light of day.

This year, I was less happy with my first-round entry (action-adventure, hot air balloon), but my final-round entry (sci-fi, neighbours) won third place overall. Apparently I like to write grim sci-fi stories. Very strange. That’s not at all what I read.

Novel marathons and contests like this one have convinced me that constraints and time limits make it easier to write… first drafts, at least. I don’t write a lot of short stories, but I think next year I’ll sign up again and hope for the chance to write two more.

Short story contest–third place! :)

I entered a YA short story in the WCDR (Writers’ Circle of Durham Region) short story contest, and it won third place! 

I’m very happy, because I like this story. I’d been working on it for a while, with feedback from my wonderful writing group and from Peter Carver’s class at Mabel’s Fables last spring. 

I’d also like to point out that the second-place winner, Nora Landry, is a friend from that same wonderful writing group! Yay, Nora. 🙂 

There’s a link to all the winning entries here, if anyone would like to read them.