Monday, October 26, 2009

Leaving Fletchville a Red Maple Nominee

I've just seen that my novel, Leaving Fletchville, has been made a Red Maple Nominee by the Forest of Reading program offered by the O.L.A. (Ontario Librarians Association). Wow!
My friend and librarian Kathryn Corbett at Stockdale P.S. (near Trenton) is a huge fan of the Forest of Reading and she made sure all the kids and staff at Stockdale knew about it. This means more students will hear about it and maybe read it and find out why Brandon and Leon act the way they do... (So why do they act that way?)
And why Leon is trying so hard to keep people from noticing him - to the point of letting Ricky bully him...

Is this Kingsville School like your school?
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

A research Project

I had a great time interviewing Rev Kevin Fast of Cobourg. Rev. Fast was the guy who pulled a C-17 Globemaster jet for 8.8 metres at Trenton Airbase last month. The article is for a newspaper probably nobody in this part of Ontario would ever read, so I'll post it here...

Lutheran Pastor Sets World Record

On September 17th 2009, strongman Rev. Dr. Kevin Fast of Cobourg achieved his ninth Guinness World Record. Outside a hangar at CFB Trenton he pulled a C-17 Globemaster, one of the largest aircraft on the planet, a distance of 8.8 metres.

On hand to witness the pull of 188 694 Kg was an official of Guinness World Records. It took almost 40 seconds of agonizing effort just to begin to move the giant jet and about 30 more brutal seconds to pull it 8.8 metres. “I had to be checked out by a doctor before I did it. They wouldn’t let me attempt it otherwise,” he says.

Since age twelve Kevin Fast has attempted tests of strength, beginning with weightlifting and eventually competitions in the ‘Heavy Events’ at Highland Games. His father and grandfather were also known for feats of strength. Fast loves every new challenge. In 1998 his first Guinness record was for pulling a 16 tonne truck 100 feet. By 2007 his record increased to pulling 63 tonnes of truck.

Rev. Fast, who is 46, admits, “I may soon be too old to do this type of thing.” However, when asked what he would like to try next, he muses, “It would be great to tow a train. I asked the VIA rail people but they refused permission. I’d really like to pull a large freight ship…” The glint in his eye suggests that a few more world records can be expected.

At Highland Games in North America and Europe Fast wears the traditional blue and grey kilt of the clergy and serves as “Pastor to the Masters.” He delivers benedictions, blessings, and an impressive caber toss. “There never has been a Highland Games where I wasn’t asked some question of theology, or asked to pray for a situation or talk to a troubled person,” he says.

“I don’t mention my world records at church. That would be falling into pride. I will answer when people ask me about it, but that’s about it.” However, when he does a presentation with troubled youth, he says, “I usually begin with showing a video of one of my pulls. All of a sudden the room is totally quiet. When I begin my message they’re all listening.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A book I'm working on...

I am working on a new book for high-school aged readers. It is about a young guy named Sid who is constantly bullied and insulted at school. It gets so bad he becomes suicidal. As time goes on he finds his ability in music helps him overcome many problems and he becomes famous, but at the same time suffers really bad abuse which he can't admit to anyone.
After becoming one of the Top Ten singers in an IDOL contest, he is involved in an apparent murder. I can't give away any more than that. It is a 'work in progress' and not finished yet.
Hopefully someone will publish it...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Canadian Disasters, third edition, 2006

Canadian Disasters by Scholastic has been in print, in three different versions, for 24 years and I would like to thank all those who helped with writing and editing over the years. This is what the latest edition looks like now --->

This version was published in 2006 and can be ordered from most book-stores.

As usual, I asked students to help me read and edit the stories to find the boring parts. (Their names are listed in the acknowlegements section.)
I'm grateful for their great input.

Now that I have retired from teaching I have more time to write... but I miss the students!

Leaving Fletchville is my first published fiction novel. It came out in 2008. It was nominated for the Red Maple awards by the Ontario Library Association and though it wasn't first, it was one of the top three.
Years ago my mother read me a news story of a girl who secretly moved her brothers and sister away from alcoholic parents and how she worked and provided for them, sent them to school and kept them clean and healthy while she worked. She was only fifteen. The story fascinated me and I thought often about kids who are as responsible as adults every day of their young lives. It happens all around us. I also decided this family needed a male in the care-giver role model because most men are responsible and make excellent parents, despite all the stupid and inept men we see in the media these days...

I had fun writing it. The setting of the town is Brighton, with a few parts of Toronto thrown in, and various schools I taught in. The characters are mostly mixes of people I have taught or worked with over the years.