Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lest you think life is just one happy horseback ride after another, rest assured that plenty of progress is being made on actual work projects. But a photo of my messy desk just doesn't compare to a horse on a beach! A quick update on what's going on around here...

The month of June began with a bang with the Victoria Children's Literature 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Tea, a rather elegant affair featuring 25 children's authors and illustrators gathering at a local historical landmark, Point Ellice House.

Many of the authors came dressed in period costume (as did many of the audience members!). Penny Chamberlain (author of The Olden Days Locket and Chasing the Moon) was the picture of elegance in her black ensemble.

Dr. Ron Jobe (our Master of Ceremonies and the father of Roundtables in Canada) was dapper in top hat and cape. And I was very... pink. To be truthful, I felt a bit like a cupcake in my glossy dress!

Susan Musgrave was our featured speaker and she, in turn, introduced our many guest authors and their newest books. The guest list included Kit Pearson, Polly Horvath, Sarah Ellis, John Wilson, Sylvia Olsen, Lyn Hancock, Pamela Porter, Sheryl McFarlane, Storma Sire, Dan Bar-el, Kristin Butcher, Diane Leger, Diane Haynes, Sarah Harvey, Jeff Rud, Jacquie Pearce, Colin Williams, Dayle Gaetz, Julie Lawson, Troy Wilson, and Laura Langston - a testament to how many of Canada's finest writers for children find themselves living on the west coast. A good time (and better food!) was had by all.

This event was just the start to an exceptionally busy month. Sylvia Olsen, Penny Chamberlain, Diane Morriss and I enjoyed another fine Sono Nis author dinner at the Med Grill restaurant - excellent conversation and tasty, tasty food! The Roundtable steering committee met for the final time this year- congratulations to Sheryl McFarlane who returns to the helm as Chair (I'm moving over to the position of newsletter editor). Wearing my 'SNP Publicist' hat, started work organizing the amazing launch of Yetsa's Sweater (Sylvia Olsen's new book) and Chasing the Moon (Penny Chamberlain) to be held at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, BC. Said launch will last almost a full week and involve sessions both for the general public and for students from half a dozen area schools. More on this in a future post - it should be a really cool event!

A trip to the local track (Sandown Racetrack) produced a number of photographs that will be included in Behind the Scenes at the Racetrack.

And speaking of BTSAT Racetrack, the first (rough) draft was in Toronto on the editor's desk by June 22nd - a miraculous delivery THREE WEEKS EARLY!! That never happens, trust me.

My research assistant finished scanning the last of the Karen Brain photographs and obtained permission to use various unusual photos for the racetrack book. I reviewed several books for the Canadian Book Review Annual and wrote my column for Island Parent Magazine. In my spare time, I picked up 40 bales of hay out of my neighbour's field, loaded them into the truck, and then unloaded and stacked them in the hay barn. Also in June, a quick trip to Vancouver for the Chocolate Lily Book Awards (the winner in the picture book category was Drumheller Dinosaur Dance by Robert Heidbreder). I was delighted to find out that Trouble on Tarragon Island is a 2006-2007 nominee in the novel category, which keeps my streak of nominations intact: I've had at least one book nominated each year since the awards began four or five years ago!

Show season is under way and this means lots of chances to add to the collection of equestrian-themed photographs.

Father's Day did not pass un-celebrated. We hauled Dad, cane, broken hip and all, up to a winery in Cobble Hill for a delicious luncheon in a garden. The ambience included live music, a lovely old dog, and a puppy - and the meal included samples of half a dozen wines. Fantastic food and a great setting combined with a tour of the winery (more samples) made for a wonderful outing.

Dani and I also enjoyed a jumping lesson on Bonny and several more trail rides in June, all with an eye to taking part in several horse shows over the summer (first one is next weekend!!!!). We did squeeze in a fun horse show at Bodicea Farm - a good old-fashioned play day like those I remember from my childhood. Who knew that Bonny would be such a good pole-bending, barrel-racing, keyholing horse? We came home clutching a fistful of ribbons, a new halter and lead rope, and a collection of anti-bacterial horse care products.

Goals for the coming month include finishing the first draft of Double Take: The Olympic Dreams of Karen Brain (sub-title not finalized!), a trip to Hastings Park to fill a few photographic gaps in the track book, and getting a good chunk of the next Behind the Scenes book (with a Horse Vet) finished. And then, there's the pig pen. By the end of the day, we should be pretty well done construction on the new digs for Mikey, a rather rotund pot-bellied pig we are about to adopt from one of the neighbours. More on THAT project in a future post.

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