Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

Posts Tagged ‘#torkidlit’

A New Page (No, this isn’t another New Year’s post)

In Toronto Tuesdays, writing on January 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

This blog post is mostly for the benefit of our new Torkidlit Facebook Page (that you are more than welcome to like, love, follow, fan, creep, or whatever!) This new page is designed so that the Toronto MG/YA Group authors’ blogs will feed directly into one convenient space so readers can see news and updates in a flash.

So, to familiarize you with some of the authors in the group, I thought I’d post a recap of the Toronto Tuesdays Interviews I’ve done with them so far. Feel free to browse the list of names, click, and get to know these amazing writers and illustrators!

Cheryl Rainfield – author of the YA novel, SCARS – Governor General Literary Award finalist, and nominated for too many awards to even remember!

 Andrew Tolson – agented author, MacLean’s photographer, and uber torkidlit supporter.

Marina Cohen – author of several middle-grade books and YA GHOST RIDE which has recently been nominated for the Red Maple Award. Also, her new YA, MIND GAP is due to be released soon.

Anna Humphrey – author of two forthcoming YA books  – RHYMES WITH CUPID (Dec. 2010) and MISSION (UN)POPULAR (June 2011). Look for them. They look great!

Rob Weston – super fantastic author of the wildly popular ZORGAMAZOO and the new, gritty YA rooted in fairy tales DUST CITY. Both highly recommended reads. ZORGAMAZOO won the 2010 Silver Birch Fiction Award.

Megan Crewe – author of GIVE UP THE GHOST and forthcoming dystopian THE WAY WE FALL.

Adrienne Kress – author of ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN and TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON’S GATE. TIMOTHY has recently been optioned for film and Adrienne has also just sold her YA novel, THE FRIDAY SOCIETY.

Nelsa Roberto – author of ILLEGALLY BLONDE. And I happen to know she’s working on something new; something awesome! You’ll want to keep your eyes open for it.

Patricia Storms – amazing author and illustrator. Her picture book THE PIRATE AND THE PENGUIN was both written and illustrated by her. She has also illustrated countless other books.

Mahtab Narsimhan – author of THE TARA TRILOGY: THE THIRD EYE, which won the 2009 Silver Birch Award, THE SILVER BRACELET, and the forthcoming THE DEADLY CONCH. A trilogy that’s definitely worth reading!

Frieda Wishinsky – author of numerous books for children, including BLOB, her most recent YA title.

Bev Katz Rosenbaum – editor and author of I WAS A TEENAGE POPSICLE and BEYOND COOL, two very uniquely premised YA novels. Bev is also currently shopping some new work!

Vikki VanSickle – book-lover, manager of The Flying Dragon Bookshop in Toronto, and author of the newly released WORDS THAT START WITH B.

Joel A. Sutherland – author of the newly released BE A WRITING SUPERSTAR. Joel is also a horror writer and one of the latest Wipeout! Canada contestants!

Deborah Kerbel – prolific YA author of MACKENZIE, LOST AND FOUND; GIRL ON THE OTHER SIDE; and the newly released LURE.

Kari-Lynn Winters – author, teacher, and literary scholar who has written many books for children, including her latest picture book, RUNAWAY ALPHABET.

Helaine Becker – author of numerous books for children including the newly released THE HAUNTED HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT and THE HILARIOUS HISTORY OF HOCKEY. Her book, WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? has just been nominated for the 2011 Silver Birch Award for non-fiction.

Helene Boudreau – author of several books including ACADIAN STAR, KEEP OUT, and the newly released REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS.

Joanna Karaplis – debut author of FRACTURED, a book about three well-known fairy tales as they would happen in today’s world.

Happy reading!

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Toronto Tuesdays Interview: Helene Boudreau

In torkidlit, Toronto Tuesdays on December 7, 2010 at 9:00 am

It’s my pleasure to interview Helene Boudreau for this week’s Toronto Tuesday. Helene is a terrific author and friend who is extremely witty and has a flair for slanting many a tête-à-tête towards the humorous side of things. (How’s that for throwing in a smidge of Francaise? Uh, or is it Francais? Anyway…) Helene is also a dedicated mom who loves sharing cute little snippets of life at home with her “chicklets”.

Meet Helene Boudreau.

Please introduce yourself to us.

Hi! I grew up on an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and now I write fiction and non-fiction for kids from my land-locked home in Ontario, Canada.

My debut middle grade time-travel novel, ACADIAN STAR, was nominated for the 2009-2010 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award. My eco-adventure chapter book KEEP OUT! was released this past spring (sequel is WATER HAZARD, out spring 2011) and my tween book REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS was released December 1st.

I have never time-travelled or saved an endangered bird, nor have I ever spotted a mermaid in the wild, but I believe mermaids are just as plausible as sea horses, flying fish, or electric eels.

Tell us a bit about your latest book.

Click for more info and to buy

REAL MERMAINDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS is a tween coming-of-age novel about a plus-sized aquaphobic mer-girl who is trying to balance the two-legged angst of zits, friendships and boys with a quest to save her memaid mother from very scary mer-dudes.

Back-of-the book blurbity-blurb:

“First zit. First crush. First…mermaid’s tail?

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But this revelation raises a serious question: if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. But how does a plus-sized, aqua-phobic, mer-girl go about doing that, exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend Cori, and her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…”

How much has your background played a role in your writing?

Well, so far I’ve written a middle grade novel about a time-traveling Acadian girl from a small fishing village in Cape Breton, a chapter book series about twin boys solving eco-adventure mysteries about shore birds and lobsters in Prince Edward Island and a tween book about a mermaid. I grew up near the ocean. Can you tell? J

Why did you choose to write children’s books?

There is no better audience than a kid losing him/herself in a book on a quiet afternoon or while walking through the playground, nose buried in the pages, or sneaking in an extra chapter by the light of the hallway after his/her parents have hollered ‘lights out!’.

What do you find to be most challenging about being a writer?

The hardest thing for me to come to terms with is that progress doesn’t always equal output. I often get caught up in thinking I need to be constantly producing words on the page but writing a book takes a LOT of rumination for me. Some might call it procrastination (and trust me, there’s plenty of THAT going on, too) but I need a lot of ‘thinking time’ before and during the writing process.  I need to remember to allow myself that time, without guilt.

Is there anything specific you want to achieve through your book? Was it written with a specific purpose in mind?

Jade’s not so different from other girls her age. She’s wondering about boys, trying to figure out friendships, and seeing changes in her body. Though, in Jade’s case, make that BIG changes!

My own daughter is almost ten and is just at the precipice of entering those uncertain years of raging hormones and topsy-turvy emotions. I really wanted to write a fun story for her (and girls like her) to ease her into the land of zits, training bras and smelly armpits. The upside being that—no matter how hard puberty might get—at least she doesn’t have a TAIL!

And, in fact, that same almost-ten-year-old chicklet of mine stole my Advance Review Copy as soon as it arrived in the mail, and hid it from me until she could finish reading it. Can raiding my closet be very far behind?

Do you have any other interests? What are they?

I am a big-time long distance walker and have participated in several half-marathons and longer walks. Walking is a big part of my writing life since it’s a time for me to catch up on audio books and also a chance to let ideas stew. I’m a huge believer in fresh air and sun on your face. It does wonders for a person’s frame of mind. I also love cheese and cheap chocolate so walking balances that out. Kinda.

Are there any helpful books on writing that you’d like to recommend?

I love the book HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL by James N. Frey. That book was an eye-opener for me, early on, and it taught me a lot about pacing and the mechanics of developing identifiable/ sympathetic characters.

Can you share a favorite quote with us?

“I tried to follow along as Cori went on about Luke’s sun-bleached hair and cute surfer shorts, but the only thing occupying my mind at that moment was the fact that—even through all the miracles of modern science—they still hadn’t invented a bathing suit that didn’t creep up your butt. Maybe my brilliant engineer dad could get to work on that instead of trying to unify the theories of the universe.” (REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS)

***

Thanks so much, Helene! C’est interview est tres bon! ( :/

To find out more about Helene and her books, you can visit her website.

No Lack of Talent Here!

In writing on November 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

Just a reminder that Toronto Tuesdays is on hold for the month of November as I dig myself deeper into NaNoWriMo. Over 13,000 words so far. Not as far as I’d like to be, but I hope to rectify that this week sometime.

Just so you’re not left dangling as you reached out for your weekly author interview this morning, here are the links to all the interviews done so far. Hopefully this will tide you over for the next few weeks.

Cheryl Rainfield – author of the YA novel, SCARS – Governor General Literary Award finalist, and nominated for too many awards to even remember! 🙂

 Andrew Tolson – agented author, MacLean’s photographer, and uber torkidlit supporter.

Marina Cohen – author of several middle-grade books and YA GHOST RIDE which has recently been nominated for the Red Maple Award. Also, her new YA, MIND GAP is due to be released soon.

Anna Humphrey – author of two forthcoming YA books  – RHYMES WITH CUPID (Dec. 2010) and MISSION (UN)POPULAR (June 2011). Look for them. They look great!

Rob Weston – super fantastic author of the wildly popular ZORGAMAZOO and the new, gritty YA rooted in fairy tales DUST CITY. Both highly recommended reads. ZORGAMAZOO won the 2010 Silver Birch Fiction Award.

Megan Crewe – author of GIVE UP THE GHOST and forthcoming dystopian THE WAY WE FALL.

Adrienne Kress – author of ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN and TIMOTHY AND THE DRAGON’S GATE. TIMOTHY has recently been optioned for film and Adrienne has also just sold her YA novel, THE FRIDAY SOCIETY.

Nelsa Roberto – author of ILLEGALLY BLONDE. And I happen to know she’s working on something new; something awesome! You’ll want to keep your eyes open for it.

Patricia Storms – amazing author and illustrator. Her picture book THE PIRATE AND THE PENGUIN was both written and illustrated by her. She has also illustrated countless other books.

Mahtab Narsimhan – author of THE TARA TRILOGY: THE THIRD EYE, which won the 2009 Silver Birch Award, THE SILVER BRACELET, and the forthcoming THE DEADLY CONCH. A trilogy that’s definitely worth reading!

Frieda Wishinsky – author of numerous books for children, including BLOB, her most recent YA title.

Bev Katz Rosenbaum – editor and author of I WAS A TEENAGE POPSICLE and BEYOND COOL, two very uniquely premised YA novels. Bev is also currently shopping some new work!

Vikki VanSickle – book-lover, manager of The Flying Dragon Bookshop in Toronto, and author of the newly released WORDS THAT START WITH B.

Joel A. Sutherland – author of the newly released BE A WRITING SUPERSTAR. Joel is also a horror writer and one of the latest Wipeout! Canada contestants!

Deborah Kerbel – prolific YA author of MACKENZIE, LOST AND FOUND; GIRL ON THE OTHER SIDE; and the newly released LURE.

Kari-Lynn Winters – author, teacher, and literary scholar who has written many books for children, including her latest picture book, RUNAWAY ALPHABET.

Helaine Becker – author of numerous books for children including the newly released THE HAUNTED HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT and THE HILARIOUS HISTORY OF HOCKEY. Her book, WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? has just been nominated for the 2011 Silver Birch Award for non-fiction.

Whew! Our Toronto MG/YA Writers’ Group is simply packed FULL of amazing talent! And this isn’t all! Many more interviews are yet to come.  First up in December: Helene Boudreau, author of the hotly anticipated REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS.

Hope you rejoin us in December.

Our Decision to Not Charge the Kids Rent.

In excitement of life, torkidlit on August 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Perhaps I’ll share a little glimpse into what’s been happening this month since I’m on hiatus from the Toronto Tuesdays interviews…

We bought a house in downtown Toronto. It appears to have been a rooming house at some point in its existence and, although we’d love to gain a bit of extra income by charging our kids rooming rent, we’ve decided instead to open it up by doing some major renos so it’s a comfortable livable space for five people and two dogs.

The majority of the work is to be done on the main floor and then some on the second floor, since there’s currently a fully functioning kitchen in what will be our bedroom. I do love late-night snacking and all, but a trip down the stairs to the fridge and microwave hasn’t been a problem in the past so… I do believe it’s safe to let the second kitchen go. I may have regrets later.

Anyway, being lovers of an open concept home, so far we’ve gone from this on the main floor…

To this.

The entryway has gone from this…

To this…

To this which, as you can see, has opened up the entire main floor and entry way. The kitchen area is in the back.

The house is approximately 90 years old, and so many interesting things have been found in the walls and under the floorboards: European coins, hair roller pins, hot wheels, 40-year-old newspapers, and Barbie doll torsos to name a few. We’re still looking for the old land deed and map that can point us to the hidden bag of gold.

I’ll give an early heads-up for all you #torkidlit tweeps: you can count on the Dec. tweetup being here! I promise you won’t have to wear face masks, hard hats, and steel-toe boots. There will be real furniture to sit on, too. And if we find that bag of gold, I’ll book a live band, provide swag bags, and cater in an all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet. If not, well, come and we’ll have fun anyway. We always do.

How About a T.O. Tuesday Recap?

In torkidlit, Toronto Tuesdays on July 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Toronto Tuesdays will be on hiatus for the month of August. I hope you’ve enjoyed the interviews so far and have felt like you’ve gotten to know some of the Toronto MG/YA Writers Group members. They are a fantastic group of people and I’m happy to say there are still plenty more interviews to be had, starting up in September.

In case you’ve missed some of the #torkidlit interviews that have already been done, here’s a list of the people who’ve been so kind as to answer my questions thus far:

Cheryl Rainfield

 Andrew Tolson

Marina Cohen

Anna Humphrey

Rob Weston

Megan Crewe

Adrienne Kress

Nelsa Roberto

Patricia Storms

Mahtab Narsimhan

Frieda Wishinsky

Bev Katz Rosenbaum

Hope to see you back in September for more Toronto Tuesdays interviews with the #torkidlit group.

Happy August! 🙂

Overcaffeinated, by Debbie Ohi (inkygirl.com)

In writing on June 19, 2010 at 10:15 am
This is just WAY too good not to share!

inkygirl.com

Debbie Ohi is a #torkidlit author who also happens to be an amazing cartoonist and respected social media guru. (Well, she’s got guru status with me, anyway! Though she IS respected by everyone who knows her.) Click on the cartoon to visit her site.

torkidlit(dot)com

In torkidlit on May 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Just wanted to let you know that our Toronto MG/YA Writer’s Group has a brand new website! Click the link, above, and check it! There you’ll find all kinds of information about group members, upcoming events, and latest releases. You can also follow our twitterstream by using the hashtag #torkidlit.

Thanks to Debbie Ohi for being the brains behind the whole operation. She’s put a ton of time into this – including designing the banner – and it looks great!

Also, I’ll be featuring individual torkidlit writers right here every Tuesday. This week’s featured author is Cheryl Rainfield, author of the newly released YA novel, SCARS. You can read all about her in the post next door —> 🙂 This coming week you’ll meet author/photographer Andrew Tolson, so be sure to check back here on Tuesday for the scoop.

In the meantime, Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Torkidlit is Simply the Best!

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

I want to do a little promo for some local talent, today, if that’s okay with you.

I’m a part of a group of Toronto area writers who meet on a monthly basis purely for the enjoyment and encouragement of hanging out together. I really love my writer’s group. Many of them are published and soon-to-be published authors and I’d like to give you the chance to get to know them, too.

On a grand scale, you can check out this link. It leads to our Toronto Middle-Grade and Young Adult Authors Facebook page where you can familiarize yourself with the amazing authors who live right here, in the Toronto area. Some names may already be familiar to you and you’ll be like, “Hey! I didn’t know that author is from Toronto!” And other names may not be familiar to you, but I can assure you it’s worth it to find out who they are and what they’re writing. Toronto’s writing talent runs deep! And we’re just beginning to scratch the surface!

Most of the authors on the Facebook page are fully accessible via Facebook and Twitter and the published authors all have websites as well. On Twitter our hashtag is #torkidlit and you’re welcome to join the conversation!

Another link that is actually still under construction is the Torkidlit website. Debbie Ohi has courageously taken on this enormous task and is doing a fantastic job of it. Here, you will (eventually) be able to read about individual Toronto area authors, their work, and any events they may be involved in. You will also be able to link to author websites via Torkidlit.com as well.

When you’ve got some time, please do check out the links. I know I’m always excited to find a new local author and I love supporting local talent. If you’re looking for your next good read, Torkidlit author books are available through most bookstores and, of course, online. If you want a few recommendations you can visit The Novel Emporium, a brand new book review blog that supports and promotes Toronto area authors, along with many others.

I truly hope you find your next favorite book from right here in Toronto! Chances are, you will! :0)