Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thrice Presenting the New Book

The New Book gets out....
Many thanks to Marsha Skrypuch of Author's Booking Service for organizing a major event with 113 of the Durham Teacher / Librarians. What a great way for those of us who write to see so many librarians at one time.  Genius idea on Marsha's part.  
We each got a short time to present. Helaine Becker was hilarious as always and got the most laughs.  Later the T/L 's came to buy books or chat.  We writers had a great time there and appreciated getting a chance to talk business with each other when things slowed down. Some were first-time authors whose books had already been nominated for (or won) awards. Most of my better known compatriots had several books on the go and several more that had already earned awards. For me, I always feel a bit guilty when I think about the manuscripts I have sitting... waiting... Maybe I'll revise further... Maybe I'll send it out the way it is - but then I risk getting a bad reputation for sending out unfinished stuff... 

I'm at the back, as usual. With me, in no particular order, are prize-winning children's & young adult authors: Helaine Becker, (holding the underwear) J. Timothy Hunt, Pat Bourke, David Carroll, Lucy Falcone, Alma Fullerton, Wesley King, Karen Patkau, Karen Krossing, Shane Peacock, Richard Scarsbrook, Martin Springett, Ted Staunton, Bill Swan, J.Torres and Marsha Skrypuch. Also included are staff from the Durham School Board.  

Today, between bouts (tractor vs snow) I'm getting ready for the Ontario Librarian's Association Book Launch & Love Fest in Toronto next Monday January 31st. Many thanks to CANSCAIP  (Canadian Society of Children's Authors Illustrators and Publishers) and Scholastic Canada for including me in this event in Toronto.
This is another chance to meet librarians. they are always in the know about what kids like and their comments are helpful. My friends and former neighbors Kathryn and Dan will likely join me there.  The last time I went it was for the launch of Leaving Fletchville. This time I have a rhyme I will use as part of my presentation.  Wearing various hats to show the different characters I will read the following:

If I come to your classroom, be sure to leave some room

For the bevy of characters who will follow me there
For my stories and diction are from fact and not fiction
To appeal to readers liking who, what, and where

(Sou' wester)
And if I read Newfoundlandish, don’t be off-standish
For the Rock’s seen much more than it’s fair share of grief
Drilling rig sunk in ocean, or 77 sealers frozen
The disasters and rescues here beggar belief

(Russian hat)
And in your auditorium, I tell of Neshan Krekorian
Who yumped into lifeboat being lowered away
While many there panicked, Neshan survived the Titanic
This Canadian immigrant lived to grandfatherly days

Have your students any notion, that accidental explosion
Once leveled Halifax like a nuclear blast?
Or that bodies still moulder, buried deep under boulders
When a whole mountain covered a town in the past?

Who paid the awful price, of the Quebec bridge that fell twice
A cantilever design that collapsed being built
75 died in terror, from design and math error,
So the iron ring reminds engineers of that guilt

For every Canadian region, there’s tragedies legion
Arctic explorers gone missing, their ships frozen fast
But researchers there are desirous, to find Spanish flu virus
So that millions won’t die if it returns from the past

Now I’m a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett’s privateers…
(I sing one of Stan's better-known choruses) 
How many tales linger, of Stan Rogers, folk singer
A big balding troubadour dying in a burning jet’s flame
Safety changes inspired, from that tragic jet’s fire
Has saved plenty lives from then, to this day

(Miner's hardhat)
As once a shaft miner, I’ll describe the points finer   
of places so deep where the dark is profound
If I attend on your school-day, I’ll tell you of Westray
or bumps in Springhill killing hundreds around  

Floods and jet crashes, disease, fire and ashes,
All these are part of the Canadian lore,
Though the topic ain’t tasteful, to forget history is wasteful,
Of the lives and the efforts from those of before

But since I hate restriction I also write fiction 
Stories for young adults made up in my head
Leaving Fletchville’s my tome of three kids and their home
Without parents to guide them – being both of them dead

Hear how they turned out before they were found out
And the lazy big thug who narrates the allegory
Read of problems tragic and solutions pragmatic
And an ending that critics call conciliatory

That’s all I have written but I hope you are smitten
To pick up a book of adventure or tragedy
It doesn’t have to be my book, just as long as you get hooked
On reading the habit that smartens you gradually

So that's my week to come. Everything comes in threes because I am also visiting Brighton Public School this coming Monday afternoon. I'll tell more about that in the next post.
But lately we've been battling the weather more than the usual issues.  
I fought the snow and the snow chilled
Friday night Shirley and I could not get the car up our driveway, even after successfully battling drifts & whiteouts from Brighton to Trenton on the unplowed back roads. Sure enough, our driveway was just one drift too far (sounds like a title...) and it took 2 hours of diesel-enhanced bucketing and shoving this morning to get the driveway clear enough to garage the car.
My plans on getting the Saturday Globe & Mail were futile.... As Robbe Burns would say; 
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men, 
gang aft a-gley   

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