Saturday, November 24, 2001

Despite several efforts at retyping yesterday, I was unable to complete the entry due to some BLOGGER glitch and now, of course, have forgotten whatever it was I wanted to say. Eventually I gave up on the computer and completed revisions to Keeping Secrets at Dark Creek (on the hard copy). I then typed all the changes into the electronic draft and e-mailed to Sono Nis.

I must say this has been a very good week for good news. The Norwegian publisher that has brought out the first two StableMates titles in Swedish has signed a contract for StableMates #3 and #4. We are also supposed to hear early in the new year whether or not the German rights have actually sold for the series. I've received word that I can write the next Estorian Chronicles book (The Battle for Carnillo) next. I'll start that in January. Sono Nis also tells me they will be reprinting StableMates #2 right away and #3 and #4 as well as Tarragon Island quite quickly thereafter. Sales continue to be strong during the pre-Christmas period, which is wonderful.

The cover art is in for Jo's Triumph and it looks very cool. Jo's Triumph is a little different to my other novels as the illustrator (Stephen McCallum) will also be doing some interior drawings for the book.

Friday, November 23, 2001

Well, how did this happen? I've been back nearly two weeks and haven't posted once! That's pretty pathetic, actually. However, I have many excuses, most of them writing-related...

The minute I landed here I whipped out the Pony Express manuscript (now officially known as Jo's Triumph). For five straight days I wrote and rewrote and rewrote, working in all the new material I've gathered about Sarah Winnemucca, slashing a couple of chapters to make room for it all. Once I'd rewritten the story, I was about two thousand words over my 22,000 absolute outside word limit so I started trimming... Only managed to whittle it down by about 800 words and decided to let Maggie have a look at it. I was a bit worried that the manuscript would read as if two different stories had been patched together: that of Jo's with that of Winnemucca's. On Thursday of last week received the notes back on StableMates #7 from Sono Nis Press and on Friday, e-mailed the Jo's Triumph manuscript back to Orca Books.

Meanwhile, began another round of e-mails to try and sort out the dates for a short tour in March of 2002. At this point the schedule looks like this:
March 4: Courtney - 2 schools
Marrch 5, 6: Campell River - 4 schools
March 7 - North Vancouver - 1 school
March 8 - Nanaimo - 2 sessions with North Island Distance Education students

Also in the works, preliminary planning for a promotional horseback ride through Nevada next September to promote the US launch of Jo's Triumph. More on this as plans progress.

Began work on the StableMates #7 rewrite on Monday and attended the grand opening of the renovated and expanded Bolen Books here in Victoria.

Oh, rats... just clicked the wrong button and deleted about another page of notes instead of saving it! Argh. Now I have to try and remember all that stuff again!

Also on Monday, Dani (14) and I did a presentation to Grade 7 students at Glenlyon-Norfolk School. Last year Dani wrote her first novel (Love Always, Ophelia C.) and we talked about the differences and similiarities between our two writing processes. Dani was also one of the student readers at Thursday Night Live, a reading series hosted by the Glenlyon-Norfolk Senior School. Featured readers were Patricia and Terrence Young and their daughter.

Thursday, November 08, 2001

Checking in from Guelph!
I do like these public Internet terminals... they make it so much easier to keep in touch while on the road. And, I must say that this week I have certainly been on the road - on the trains - on the busses - in cabs- in vehicles owned by various kind librarians and teachers... I have been zipping back and forth across southern Ontario visiting with some terrific groups of kids... Today spent the whole day at Kortright Hills School and spoke to about 300 kids in two sessions (grades 3-7 plus a handful of particularly brilliant grade 8 students who are interested in writing). Fantastic questions and really enthusiastic students and teachers made my job lots of fun. I was even presented with a poster featuring photographs of my morning talk before we left the school to have lunch! How amazing is that? Not only that, those same photos will be emailed to me so I can put them up on the website! How efficient is that???? (check the MSN site in the next few days - I'll try to get photos, etc. uploaded ASAP).

The place where I'm writing is called the Bookshelf in Guelph... This is one of my favourite bookstores in the whole country (I lived in Guelph many years ago and I used to come here all the time). The store is bigger and better than ever with a wonderful cafe, a cinema, and, of course, a couple of Internet terminals. How great to see an independent bookstore doing well, expanding... This is a very good thing!

Well, though Guelph is just as cute as I remember it to be, it is pouring with rain here. I have stored my luggage in the hotel lobby and must scoot off now to retrieve it, grab a bite to eat, and then catch a bus back to Union Station in Toronto. Hope to post a few more details of what I've been up to all week when I have a little more time.

Sunday, November 04, 2001

Logging in from Toronto!
Spent a rather hectic day today at the Royal Winter Fair (check out the photos I've posted over on the MSN site). The folks at the Country Quill Bookstore graciously hosted a signing and I enjoyed having a chance to meet some readers from this part of the country.

After I was finished at the bookstore, off I went to explore. There were plenty of interesting critters to be seen- both human and animal. I was able to get a bit of good spying done as I watched the 4-H kids (from clubs across the country) primping and preening their animals in readiness for the show ring. They even put hoof polish on the cows! I've never seen such a glorious herd of bovines in my life. They looked absolutely gorgeous.

The kids who do vaulting (gymnastics on horseback) were extremely cool. At times there were two kids on the horse at once - one doing a headstand while the other rode backwards. The horse was quite amazing - steady, steady, steady - despite the fact six different kids kept leaping on and off his back, hanging upsidedown off his side, sliding off his rump... Did he care? Nope. I wonder... would Jessa like to take up vaulting? Maybe that would be more of a Cheryl thing.

Also interesting was a display of sidesaddle technique - complete with a rider in a long, flowing dress.

Last week Dani and I heard terrible news that Karen Brain (an excellent Canadian event rider, our former riding coach, and the person to whom Jessa Be Nimble is dedicated) had a bad accident last month during a training ride. She is in a hospital in London, Ontario recovering from her back injury. As instructed by Dani, I picked up a soft, cuddly stuffed horse (who looks a bit like Merlin, a horse Karen used to ride) at the RWF. I'll be in London tomorrow and Tuesday and I hope to be able to have a quick visit with Karen to say hi and see how she is doing.

Working on the road
Despite the fact I'm travelling, my deadlines don't go away. I am nearly finished one of my library books about the Pyramid Lake War of 1860 and have been making all sorts of notes about how I might incorporate the Winnemucca storyline into the existing book about Jo and the Pony Express.

That's all for now! Will try to post again providing I can get access to a computer!

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Okay - I am quite used to being busy - but this is getting a bit silly! Since I last posted (and though it is only a few days ago, I have to say it feels like years and years have passed since I last made a few notes here...) I have completed a full set of revisions on the StableMates 7 manuscript. In this book, a new boy (Andrew) comes to Kenwood Middle School (Jessa, too, is now in Grade 7), Jessa continues to have problems adjusting to riding Jasmine, and she and Cheryl discover an antique pocket watch under an old shed near the Dark Creek Railway Trail.

As I did with the revisions to the Pony Express manuscript, I'll note a couple of examples of changes made to the StableMates book...

Editor Freda said: Jessa's reaction to hearing about Andrew's secret isn't strong enough (I just typed out his secret and then had to delete all that just in case you might someday like to read the book - Andrew's secret is, after all, one of the main storylines in the book). Suffice it to say that Andrew's secret is a bit shocking and Jessa (in the first draft) didn't get quite excited enough about what she hears.

Nikki's Solution: Added about half a page of dialogue which, I hope, will make Jessa sound more horrified than before. Also added a bit more of a physical reaction to support her words.

Editor Freda said: Molly needs to be more fully developed. Currently wimpy.

Nikki's Solution: I added a big confrontation between Molly and Jessa (in case you haven't read Book 6, Molly is the young rider who has been riding Rebel. Jessa can't stand her, especially since Jessa has been having such a tough time on Jasmine). The new scene is about three or four pages long and... Hmmm, I guess I shouldn't say what happens there, either, as it is sort of central to the plot, too - I can say that Jessa got so upset while I was writing this scene that I started crying as I wrote it! That girl is really getting to be quite troublesome!

Editor Freda had a couple of pages of notes and comments. I hope I have addressed them all to her satisfaction. I dropped off the revised draft last night. The timing was excellent because today I was able to pick up the Sarah Winnemucca biography (as well as another book about the Paiute War of 1859-60) from the library AND the book I ordered from the USA arrived in the mail today. Amazingly, Sarah Winnemucca was in Carson City at exactly the same time that my character, Jo was locked up in the Carson City Home for Unfortunate Children. Not only that, but when I thought they might meet again the following October, Sarah Winnemucca is in the hills not far at all from where Jo gets lost! So, I should be able to find a way to have them meet not once, but twice!!!! It feels like Sarah just wants to be in this book.

An aside: In case you are wondering, I do all of my revisions in longhand on the most recent draft. All new scenes I write out by hand. Then, I go back through the manuscript and type in all the changes, print off the new draft, read through it to check for errors, and then correct those (first on paper and then on the computer). This process is very hard on trees but I can't seem to work very well directly onto a computer screen. I blame this process for any awkward sentences or incoherent paragraphs I might post on this BLOG.

Other projects I've been busy with over the past few days: E-mailing teachers in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Comox, and North Vancouver to finalize dates for a week of school presentations in early March, 2002; corresponding with Malaspina College in Duncan to figure out how we might organize two on-line writing courses in the spring term (it looks like I'll be teaching two, five- week courses - the first called : Fiction Writing Workshop, and the second: Introduction to Freelance Writing; running errands and preparing my materials for air travel (I leave at the crack of dawn on Saturday for my Ontario trip); continuing to put a dent in my dreadful accumulation of emails; and, finally, doing my duty as a soccer mom - watched Dani's game and ferried her between practices, a field hockey tournament, and her team photo shoot on the weekend. Did I mention grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning out the summer house?

One final note before I sign off - Wonderful news yesterday- Here is a copy of the BC Bestseller List for children's books for last week:

Week of October 22, 2001

Children's Titles

1 A Pacific Alphabet (Whitecap Books)
2 Tarragon Island (Sono Nis Press)
3 No Cafes in Narnia (Sono Nis Press)
4 Rebel of Dark Creek (Sono Nis Press)
5 Cat's Eye Corner (Raincoast Books)

This is very cool! Thank you so much all you readers out there! You all made my day! My week! My month!

Thursday, October 25, 2001

Since finding my feet back here in Victoria, have been hard at work revising the Pony Express novel for Orca. We are contemplating a title change as 'Jo's Triumph at Ruby Lake' was only ever meant to be a working title. Alas, Jo doesn't actually triumph anywhere near Ruby Lake, so this must change. Some ideas include:
Rider Last
Orphans Preferred
Jo's Triumph
Horse Before Rider
... and, with any luck, some brilliant suggestions by my editor, Maggie.

Most of the revisions to the manuscript posed few problems. Here are a couple of examples...

Maggie suggested Jo (a girl who, in 1860, disguises herself as a boy in order to be able to get a job as a Pony Express rider....) seems a bit blase about riding (she has spent some time in an orphanage and the riding is supposed to be a pretty exciting experience for her...)
Nikki fixed this by adding some more bonding moments between horse and rider on the ground and more communication between rider and mount during the riding scenes when Jo is thundering across the barren landscape of Utah Territory...

Maggie noted that the motivation of the bad guy, James, is a little unclear during the final scene (can't tell you what happens or it will spoil the ending).

Nikki fixed this by adding a bit more dialogue between James and Jo and changing the way James barges into the cabin where she and the militia are waiting for him.

Maggie does not like the use of italics throughout the text to indicate Jo's innermost thoughts.
An easy fix for Nikki who just changed everything back to regular old Times Roman.

...and so on...

A more difficult problem to address was Maggie's concern that the Paiute Indians are portrayed negatively in the story. This is true. Jo (and just about everyone else) are either terrified of or quite hateful to the Indians of the area. This may be historically accurate (there were some pretty horrendous battles fought in 1860 resulting in casualties on both sides) but is not politically correct today. So, off I went to search for some plausible (more positive) encounter Jo might actually have enjoyed with some member of the Paiute nation. Lo and behold I discovered a wonderful character, Sarah Winnemucca, a terrific advocate for her people who might have been active during the period when Jo is riding around in the wilds of Utah Territory.
I've ordered her authobiography (from a rare book dealer in Idaho...) and tracked down a biography here in our public library system. Maggie (somewhat alarmed at this development) has given me an extra three weeks to revise the manuscript. My hope is that I'll be able to orchestrate a believable encounter between Jo and Sarah. Failing this.... well, I'll come up with a plan B if I have to.

Meanwhile, the length of the book is getting to be a problem. The Orca Young Readers Series includes books from 12,500 - 15,000 words. Though some are a bit longer (up to about 22,000 words), Jo's Triumph is already at 21,000 and is likely to grow with the addition of this new sub-plot. On this point, Maggie was adamant I was not to stretch the book much longer. Therefore, for each word I add about Sarah Winnemucca, I'll have to delete something from elsewhere in the manuscript. This should be lots of fun!

While I wait for my reference books to arrive, I am working on the revisions to StableMates 7 (more on this another time). Apparently Pat Cupples has started work on the cover design.

In other news.... did an hour-long interview on CFUV last night with three other children's authors: Margaret Thompson (EYEWITNESS, and a story in the anthology, BEGINNINGS: STORIES OF CANADA'S PAST, Sylvia Olsen (NO TIME TO SAY GOOD-BYE, and Maggi de Vries (CHANCE AND THE BUTTERFLY. And, yes, by coincidence, this is the same Maggie who is my editor at Orca). Airing today on Richardson's Roundup - a segment taped last week at the Vancouver International Writers Festival with Loris Lesynski. Also visited grade six and seven students at Hampton School yesterday. Thanks to Ann Warren for organizing things! Made posters to send to the Country Quill store in Ontario. They are hosting a book signing at the Royal Winter Fair on November 4th....

Ok - I'd better stop now - those StableMates 7 revisions are not doing themselves!

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Though I was back in Victoria for a couple of days, my computer was kaput and my relatives from California were in town. Not only that, but I had to finish up all those articles I've been groaning about (did get them finished, finally!). Started work on the revisions for the Pony Express book, ran about a thousand errands, and hopped on an early ferry to Vancouver on Wednesday the 17th, headed for the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival.

I had soooooo much fun - though I was pretty worn out by the time I had survived three days of intense literary activity! I'll post more on this in the next few days - As you can imagine, I'm behind on nearly everything - e-mail, snail mail, revisions (oh, yes - received an e-mail from Freda, my editor on StableMates 7, with her list of comments about the first draft.... More on that, too, as I begin to work on that again...), and, ummm... laundry.
Oh, how annoying is it when the computer crashes???????? And burns???? And dies????? I have been terribly grumpy for nearly two weeks - struggling along without my virtual right arm. And, of course, it just figures that the past couple of weeks have been reeeeeeaaaaaalllly busy so now I'm waaaaaaaay behind with my posting here. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

On October 10 I scooted up to Campbell River so I could visit with students at Penfield Elementary School. What a wonderful reception! I've posted a few photos over at the MSN site, if you're curious about a what one might see in Campbell River... (scroll down until you get to the Campbell River album...) Penfield Elementary is one of those fantastic schools where everyone seems to love books and reading. The teacher-librarian there (John Woolley) was extremely welcoming, well-organized, and helpful and the kids were well-prepared with great questions.

Saturday, October 06, 2001

Wow - a very busy week. Frantically trying to finish all those Island Parent review books (reading, reading, reading) and write all those Island Parent articles (writing, writing, writing)... The absolute final, my-kneecaps-will-be-broken-if-I-don't-deliver-deadline is on Tuesday. So, just the small problem of a turkey dinner and a soccer tournament to deal with between now and then and all should be well.

On Thursday morning chatted with grade 3's and 4's at Cloverdale Elementary School. We had a great visit - I'm looking forward to going back again next year! Thanks to Peter Crawford for organizing things with such an excellent sense of fun (note, Mr. Crawford, that I did drink every last drop of my water this year...)

Today, scooted up to Duncan for a signing at the Volume One Book Store. The event was, I suspect, somewhat underpromoted - However, I had an excellent visit with a small but very enthusiastic group of kids who had some great questions. Hanna presented me with a copy of a marvelous school report she wrote about me as well as a lovely card with a photo of a mare and foal on the front (... like the one one Jessa's poster, I wonder?). Lovina provided me with the inspiration for another very, very cool character name... Information has been filed.

Thursday and Friday nights were both Bolen shifts... great to be back in the best bookstore on the planet, now even bigger post-expansion.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Yesterday morning visited Greenglade Elementary School in Sidney where I talked to a group of grade 4 and 5 students. Yesterday was the first time I was able to read from the new book (CAVE OF DEPARTURE)... One boy asked if I ever received fan mail that told me how much my books sucked. Hmmm.... I should have asked what his name was just in case he writes me a letter! Generally, the group was very enthusiastic and kept me busy right until the end of our 90 minute session with lots of great questions. Great fun!

In the evening (after picking Dani up from soccer practice) I photographed a group of women who were taking the Beginners Course at Scrapbook Parade (one of the Island Parent articles will be about scrapbooking for families).

The manuscript, Jo's Triumph, arrived this morning in the mail along with comments from Maggie (the editor at Orca who is working on this project). I've barely had a chance to glance at her notes never mind do anything about them as I've been busily working on all the Island Parent articles that are due... well, the minute I can get them finished!

Found a few minutes today to update the MSN Nikki Tate News site with a few pics from Whistler and Pemberton. The Blackcombe Lodge in Whistler wins the prize for having the cutest fake fireplace in a hotel room.

Saturday, September 29, 2001

Hmmmm... My Dad was one of the first people on the planet to get a copy of the Cave of Departure (the big shipment still hasn't arrived, just the handful of samples...). Dad is the kind of person who loves to read books with maps - in fact, he was the one who drew the map that you'll find inside the front cover of Cave. The way he reads books like this is he'll stop each time he gets to a geographical reference and then locate the spot on the map. Well, it turns out, in the first 11 pages of the book he found a place where the text and map do not match exactly. A river is mentioned in the text that is not on the map (you can draw one in... it should run through the Sumbalon Valley west to the sea near Barenta.)... Ooops!

Friday, September 28, 2001

I arrived home last night after a quick trip to Pemberton and back. On Wednesday morning I popped into Sono Nis to see if the handful of new books had arrived yet from the printers. It hadn't. I decided to wait for a few minutes and, lo and behold, the courier arrived with a box of books! "Cave of Departure" looks lovely! I was able to take a few with me on my trip to Whistler and Pemberton. I left that afternoon and drove up Vancouver Island to Nanaimo, took a ferry over to Horseshoe Bay (just north of Vancouver), and the drove up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. I stayed at the Blackcomb Lodge, located right in the heart of Whistler Village. The custest part of the room was the fake electric fireplace. Armchair Books was still open and I dropped in to sign the books they had in stock and to deliver a few copies of "Cave of Departure." That means Armchair Books was the first bookstore in the world to have copies of "Cave of Departure" in stock!

First thing the next morning (Thursday) I scouted out a good breakfast place (Forks Restaurant) and then headed up to Pemberton (about a half-hour drive past Whistler).

At Pemberton Secondary I chatted with a grade 11 English class about writing and then told the story of Sir Lancelot and his troublesome underpants to the grade 8 students. After the storytelling presentation I jumped in my car and raced for the coast. Alas, highway construction and tourists who drove very, very slowly as they admired the lovely view meant I just missed the 5pm ferry back to Vancouver Island. That made for a late arrival back home last night.

Now, back to work on the articles for the Island Parent Magazine books section. Also on the agenda for today, catching up with all my email!

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Diane (at SNP) has asked for another Tarragon Island book. Well, she's been asking for a while now, but yesterday said she would like a new book featuring Heather even before I start work on books two and three in the Estorian Chronicles series. Hmmm. That means I have to seriously start thinking about what Heather could get up to next.

One of the kids in Dani's grade has been making amateur films for years now and I'm thinking maybe I'll introduce a character in the book who is also a director/producer type. Subject? Maybe kids on the street - though I'd have to figure out a way to get the Tarragon Island kids to either Vancouver or Victoria as I don't think TI would be a very good place for street kids to hang out...

If you've never been to Vancouver, you might have heard it rains a lot out here on the west coast. That's true, but even so, there's lots to do in Vancouver on a rainy day. I live in Victoria which is, in my humble opinion, the best place in the whole world to live.
Mystery solved!
Received an e-mail yesterday with tentative details of travels and appearances during the Canada Book Week Tour in Ontario. Yes, indeed, I will be taking a train from Toronto to London and back again. Other stops scheduled so far include:
Pickering College (Newmarket)
Elgin County Library (Dutton Dunwich Branch)
Kawartha Lakes Public Library (Lindsay)
Ajax Public Library (Ajax)
Kortright Hills Public School
Leo Baeck Day School
Still waiting to get confirmation about a possible reading at the Royal Winter Fair on November 4th. That would be fun. I haven't been to the fair for about... let's see... twenty years or so. It's high time I went back!

Monday, September 24, 2001

Passed the first test with SM #7. Diane of Sono Nis Press (publisher) read and liked the first draft. Yay! It's now with the editor (Freda).

Meanwhile, getting ready to go to Pemberton on Wednesday where I will speak with Grade 11 students on Thursday about the writing process. Will also perform an Arthurian legend for Grade 8's. I'm looking forward to the trip - get to stay in Whistler on Wednesday night.

Strange item arrived in the mail today from VIA Rail Canada. It's a return trip ticket from Toronto to London, Ontario. I am guessing this means I will be in London for a day during my Canada Book Week Tour but haven't actually received a schedule yet!

Not so good news - received a rejection letter from Kids Can Press today. I guess they didn't think my idea for a non-fiction series was as great as I thought it was. Oh, well - I'll have to send the package off to someone else as soon as I get a chance.

Also working away at the five articles for the Books feature of Island Parent magazine. So, though my computer has been very ill with that nasty virus that's been going around, I have been keeping rather busy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Worked steadily and managed to key in all changes to the StableMates #7 draft. Will drop it off on my way to pick up Dani from school. YAY! Now, I sit back and wait for Freda (my editor for this book) to tell me of all the many problems I'm sure she will spot.
Some of the research details added to draft of StableMates #7:
Destinations in Nepal:
-outside the zoo in Patan palm readers tell visitors which kind of animal form you will take in your next incarnation

Wouldn't it be nice to go to Ireland on a horseback riding holiday? This place looks great:
Horse Holiday Farm
So does this one:
Clonshire Farm
Right - enough drooling over cool websites. Back to work!
Spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday completing revisions to the first draft of StableMates 7. Caught a silly mistake- called the owner of the tack store Roslyn Anderson instead of Suzanne! Oops. As usual, made all these revisions by hand on the hard copy so over the next few days I have to type the changes into the computer and then print off the manuscript again. Hope to have all changes keyed in and manuscript (called Draft 1) to SNP by Friday, Sept. 21.

Sunday, September 16, 2001

Completed revisions to StableMates #2.
CWILL BC meeting 11:00am.
Developed complete topic list for Island Parent Magazine Book Insert. Now all I have to do is write the articles!

Friday, September 14, 2001

Made a final decision on the contest entries and sent them off yesterday. Then, started work going through the first edition of StableMates #2 (Team Trouble at Dark Creek). It has now basically sold out so SNP msut reprint. This is our chance to fix errors, add the map, and for me to make any changes to the text... I'm a little more than half way through now and keep coming across things I obviously wrote but have completely forgotten about. For example, I had completely forgotten that Jessa and Cheryl repainted the tackroom in book two. Even stranger, I'd forgotten the whole bit about the bubble gum disaster that caused them to have such a terrible argument. Maybe it's time I re-read all the StableMates books!

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Well, strangely, business calls and mail arrive and I have to get back to work, though I am constantly distracted by news reports, pacing, and worrying about what I hear on the radio/TV.

First order of the day is to read and rank the finalists in the Federation of BC Writers creative writing contest (I'm a judge for the writing for kids 8-12 section).

This took several hours as I had to read all the entries, sort, re-sort, weigh, juggle, consider, and re-read. I have a tentative top three now and will re-read all three tomorrow to make sure I still agree with my own decision. Phoned Vancouver to verify how the manuscripts should be couriered. Organizers there asked if I can make it to Vancouver for Word on the Street on September 30th. I have to figure out if I can fit another trip to Vancouver into the schedule.

Spoke with a teacher in Campbell River. Will travel up-island in order to do two presentations to students in Grades 4, 5, 6 at Penfield Elementary on October 11th.

Contacted the CCBC in Toronto to see if we can arrange a signing at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto (met someone in Spruce Meadows who would like to host such an event).

Spoke to Heather at SNP about the upcoming book launch in October and agreed to do a book signing up at Volume One Books in Duncan on Saturday, October 5th.

Day ended with an exhibition soccer game at Beacon Hill Park (Dani's team against the U-14 Boys Gold team). Tie game (1-1).
Monday night

Home again:

Arriving at Victoria International Airport on Monday night we had no idea that the next morning airports across North America would be closed. Most of Tuesday spent watching the news, making sure my family in the US was okay (they are fine), and staying close to home.

What a week. Spent last weekend signing books at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. The Masters was, as usual, a wonderful horse show, and I had a chance to meet and talk to many StableMates readers. On the plane on the way home, worked on the StableMates 7 manuscript. Made revisions to pages 14-32. Research note: find out more about treating multiple wasp stings.