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!