But, I need to focus on the work. I want to ship the kids off to their grandparents and crawl into bed. But as Sweeney says:
In my defence, every winter we seem to go through this never-ending cycle of sickness. I blame the fact that all three kids are six years old and seem to have no concept of germs or contagion. I mean, last night, one of my sons licked my face and told me I was delicious. Maybe, if I hadn't finished binging all three seasons of Hannibal, I would have found the comment endearing instead of skin-crawlingly horrifying (although the action itself would have still been disgusting). Now I expect to come down with the plague or something.
I can not afford to get sick right now. So many things are going on right now. The Song of Hadariah is being released in a mere couple of weeks, and as I have my ARC now, I am working hard on getting it into as many hands as possible. Any volunteers? I also have The Hedgewitch's Charm, Bath Salts, and a few others in various stages of edits. I am up to my eyeballs in writing The Island of the Mystics, and (what I am super fantastically excited about) my brother Brian is all gung ho about a little project we conceived together about five years ago. That's right poppets, I am revamping and reediting Sibling Revelry. (Now called - in my head at least- Sibling Revelry: This Time it's Animated!!!!) Just goes to show that all things that are worthwhile take time and effort.
But, I sit here wracked with dread. The kids are all finally feeling better. As a parent of young children, I know that my exhaustion and my close proximity to their snotty noses, lack of covering their mouths when they cough, late night vomitous explosions, and their desire for sickly snuggling up to me have created a perfect storm. My downfall is imminent. I've already come down with the flu, strep throat, and a double ear infection so far. I am terrified as to what's next. And last night, I feel my son dealt me the fatal blow. I can feel it, like a tickle at the back of my throat. Stupid winter flu season. Grrr....
But, I need to focus on the work. I want to ship the kids off to their grandparents and crawl into bed. But as Sweeney says:
And the work can be impatient. And I love it. I will focus on all that I need to accomplish, and I will channel this into (probably) tormenting my characters on their lovely island (spoiler, there is an island. There may be mystics on it), and I will transform my pilot into the best damn pilot for children's television ever!
It's finally here! Today is the day you can officially get your copy of The City of Arches! I am so excited, and I am so proud of the work I put into this book. I think that if I had to choose one of the books to be my favourite, it would be this one. I am so happy with how the cover came out.
And I can't say how greatful I am to my friend Ryan for his help in steering me to the right people like Sage in helping me nail down the character of Learsi. One of the aspects of her character is that she's deaf. For me, representation is important. It matters. I wanted Learsi's deafness to be importnat to who she was as a character, and I also wanted to do my best to get it right. So, as I said in the Acknowledgements in the back of the book, all mistakes were mine and mine alone.
One of the things I also wanted to accomplish with this book was the possibility of giving back. For Brian and I, we believe very strongly in helping our community, and for the past six years, that community has included the Sunnybrook Hospital High Risk Pregnancy Unit, and the Neonatal Follow Up Clinic. So, on February 21, 2017, I will be hosting a book launch/funraiser for the Sunnybrook Hospital. Tickets are now available here. It will be an evening of food, fun, and a chance to win great prizes. Furthermore, everyone in attendance will get a signed copy of The City of Arches.
In other news, you may have noticed that a number of things on my website have been renamed. This was a choice made by myself and my publisher. The Hadariah Chronicles is now known as The Dybbuk Scrolls, and each book in the trilogy has a new title. I am thrilled by the new direction of this piece of work, and I can say here that I have seen the new cover of the first book, now called The Song of Hadariah, and I am so happy with how it looks. We have a cohesive plan with the rest of the series to give all three books a uniform look and feel, and I can not wait to show it to everyone!
In a related matter, all the Sitnalta books have a new vibe as well for many of the same reasons. Behold! The new and improved Sitnalta Series!
And again, because I love it so much!
Yes, I've been derelict in updating this blog. But I swear! I have a good excuse! Several of them really. It turns out, I have EIGHT books coming out in 2017. I am alternating between hyperventilating over the sheer number of titles, and doing a massive happy dance. This year, you will see four new Sitnalta titles, the rerelease of The Hadariah Chronicles and the rerelease of Bath Salts. This is going to be one whirlwind of a year, and I couldn't be happier about it.
To start 2017 off with a bang, The City of Arches is coming out on January 10, 2017. I am so unbelievably proud of this book. The City of Arches is more than just the third book in The Sitnalta Series. In this book, secrets will finally be revealed. We will learn about the secrets behind Kralc and the coin. We will find out how everything began. I had so much fun writing it, and my editor Rachel was an unbelievable help in making sure that I didn't retcon the hell out of the first two books. I am so happy with how it turned out, and I can't wait for everyone to read it!
In line with the release with The City of Arches, I am finally going to be able to give back to a cause that is near and dear to my heart. For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I am a mother of triplets. When I was pregnant, I was actually turned away from a few hospitals because I would not have a selective reduction, and turn my triplet pregnancy into a twin one. The multiple births clinic at Sunnybrook Hospital took me on, and I firmly believe that they were instrumental in the fact that I now have three healthy and beautiful children. So, on February 21, 2017, I will be having a fundraiser/book launch celebrating the hospital that helped me birth my three inspirations for all I do.
I will be posting links to buy tickets, and more information as I plan. So far, this will be takign place February 21, at the Vaughan Estates at Sunnybrook. Links will be forthcoming, and all in attendance will get their own copy of The City of Arches. All proceeds from the event will directly go to the Multiple Births Clinic at Sunnybrook Hospital.
Sebastian, Sea Bass, Mr. Face, Bastoo, Sebasti, Puppyo. Nine years was nowhere near enough. I don't know what to say. All I know is that my heart is shattered. My handsome boy, my cuddle bug, my babies' protector and friend is gone. A dog's life is not long enough as it is, and yet, he was taken from us far too soon.
Nine years ago today, a litter of puppies was born. Not long after that, Brian and I went to see them, excited to get our first pet together. All we knew was that we wanted a goldendoodle. I always had issues around certain dogs, and we figured that a cross between a poodle and a retriever would be a a good way around that. When we went to see the puppies, we were told that there were two young males that still needed placing in a good home. One of them had the light, tight curls that we expected of a doodle, while the other was a straight haired, apricot coloured mess with white feet. Clearly, we wanted the former. However, while there, the curly little boy kept hiding from us. He wanted nothing of our petting, our kisses, our hugs. And yet, the other puppy was all over us. We were the best thing he had ever seen. He was jumping all over our feet. His little tail wagged with excitement. His tongue was out, showering us with his kisses. This dog adored us. This dog was begging us to give him a home. Who were we to argue?
In the time that followed, I used to joke that his mother ( a pure bred golden retriever) after getting impregnated by the apricot poodle that was supposedly his father, had had an affair with some sort of fox hound. It was the only thing that explained his straight hair, his white markings, and his propensity for shedding an unbelievable amount. But we took him home, and we determined that we were going to train him to be the best behaved dog possible. But first, we needed to name him. I suggested Kermit. Brian said no. I suggested Fozzie, Kugel, Brisket, and Chewie. All of these were shot down. We both talked over our mutual love of Disney, and I also threw out some Shakespearean suggestions. Eventually we settled on Sebastian. It was perfect. It suited him, and he loved listening to music.
The first few nights home with him were tough. I had been opposed to crate training, and I never wanted it in my room. But after two nights of Sebastian making it known that he wanted to be with us, and not by himself, (Nights that prompted me to change his name temporarily from Sebastian to Sir Bastard the Poo Flinger) he found his crate firmly ensconced in our room, and there he would remain.
Sebastian quickly became a part of our family. He was our cuddle bug, our friend, our companion. He was our mischief maker, our annoyance, our pain. Brian complained often that they had taken the dog that ate anything and everything, and had bred it with the dog that could figure out how to get to anything and everything. Something that was never so apparent as when our boy ate pot pourri, and wound up hospitalized for a week with ulcers throughout his digestive system. I was terrified then, and when he came home, he ran right back to the bowl to see if there was more. He never learned. Over the years, he ate several sponges, two chickens (one raw, one cooked), the thumb off an oven mitt, a plastic fork, chopsticks, chocolate chip cookies, baby wipes, socks, my underwear, various toys, kleenex, paper towel, countless ear plugs, and had a memorable encounter with a skunk. It got to the point that I would call the vet, and she would ask immediately what he had eaten once I said who I was.
When we moved houses, I was worried about how he would take it. He loved escaping our old house, and running through everyone's unfenced yards. I was a little unenthused about the constant chases. But he quickly adapted to the fact that we now had a massive french door facing the street where he could sit, watch and bark a friendly hello to everyone that passed by. A couple of years later, and his life would change again. I was pregnant with triplets. Now, I couldn't run around the yard with him. Now I was on bed rest, and Sebastian was my companion, lying on my bed with me. He wasn't the active dog he was before. He acted as if he had a more important job to do. It was as if he sensed that things were changing once again. He was looking after me.
After the triplets were born, we brought them home one at a time. Introducing them to Sebastian was of utmost importance to us. We wanted him to care for them, to recognize them as a part of his family. But, we needn't have worried. He treated them as if they were his puppies, smelling them, giving them gentle kisses. He guarded them and he cared for them. As they grew, their relationship with him grew as well. They used him as their cuddle buddy. They rode him around the house as their noble steed, renaming him Galahad. They played tag with him, fetch, and tickled him. They made him the baby in their family, and they dressed him up for tea. But of the three of them, it was Joseph who latched on the most tightly from day one. He was the one who loved his kisses, and made Sebastian his pal. He declared him his dog, and his best friend.
I thought these things would never change. Everything was great. I knew that this was wishful thinking, after all, pets never stay in your lives forever, as much as we wish and hope that they will. And Sebastian proved that to be the case. Last week, Brian and I noticed that he was breathing rather heavily, so I made an appointment with his vet. Two days before his appointment, his heavy breathing worsened, and I rushed him to the emergency pet hospital. He was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. I was given meds for it and told that he's be better in a few days. Instead, he worsened. I took him to his normal vet, and they did blood work and gave him an x-ray. As we waited for results, he continued to deteriorate. He started to have nose bleeds, and he looked utterly miserable. We took him to a special pet clinic, and we were given the news that our baby, our special handsome boy has a malignant nasal carcinoma. There is no cure, and anything we can give him to prolong his life will do nothing to improve the quality.
It seems so unfair! A week ago he was running through the backyard, playing tag with our kids, licking their faces. Last night, he lay at our feet, looking up at us with pain in his eyes. He occasionally got up and kissed us, as if he were telling us he was done, and that it was okay. It really does not feel okay. Nothing about this is okay. Joseph wants to know why his pal is not coming home. He wants to know why he has to be alone with no more cuddles. It seems so unfair. Hailey says that God is taking Sebastian home. My heart is breaking.
Today it's his birthday, and he woke bleeding. We took him to his vet, and she met us in their backyard. On a blanket in the grass, under the sun, we said goodbye. He got one last walk around a yard. We got our last kisses, and our last cuddles. He was so peaceful. He is no longer in any pain. I am thankful for the wonderful care that Dr. Hughes provided us. She was there for him as a puppy, and she was there for him today. I am grateful that we could be outside. I like that my last memories of him are under the sun, and not in a sterile room. I want to think that my Mr. Face knew we loved him. I know that he loved us.
Goodbye Sebastian. Goodbye to a wonderful dog, a troublemaker, a protector, a cuddler, a kisser, a noble steed, a pal, a friend, and a beloved part of our family. You were one of a kind, and we loved you with all our hearts. I don't know what we will do without you. There is a massive furry, dog sized hole in our hearts. They are broken.
Those of you who know me personally, know how much I have been wanting to see the musical Hamilton live on stage. I mean, it's gotten to the point that it probably annoys them how much I've been talking about it. I realize that, and to the people in my life, I am sincerely sorry about that. (But I am not sorry enough to stop.)
I have been trying to get tickets for this show for probably a year now. It has been frustrating, and I still firmly believe that Ticketmaster needs to do better to curb the legal scalping they are allowing by not capping the fan to fan resale prices. You people are not fans if you are asking for over $1,000.00 for a ticket you paid $199.00 for! Really!
In April, the moment the Tonys ended, my husband and I ran to our computers and we tried to get tickets for Hamilton from the new block of tickets that had just gone on sale. As we clicked pairs of tickets, they were bought out right under our noses. Show after show became sold out. Nothing in January, February, March, April, May, in 2017. I wanted to cry. Then I got a Facebook message from a friend of mine. "Try September," she wrote. I laughed. It seemed impossible. But I looked. There were two tickets for a show in September, being offered at face value, from the venue. I bought them. September 15, I had tickets to Hamilton!
My husband and I planned a road trip, secured childcare, a place for the dog, and we packed. We would be staying with my brother Brian, and his fiancée Dayna. It was all set! September 14, I picked up the kids from school, had dinner, and we packed the car. We would drive the four hours to Syracuse that night, and we would stop at a hotel. The next day, we could get up early and drive the other four and a half hours. Plenty of time to get there for a 7:00 show. It would be easy!
Now, Brian and Dayna had just moved to a new place, and my mom had asked me to help out by taking them some of their engagement presents. We are talking about crazy things to take over the border. I am talking about dishes, towels, a couple of coffee table books about Barbra Streisand. Maybe a cheese board or two were in the boxes we packed into my trunk. We got to the border making good time, and stopped at the duty free for a quick bathroom break. We would make Syracuse in a few hours, and all would be well. I was happy, and excited. We waited our turn for the agent at the border, and handed him our passports.
"Business or pleasure?"
"What will you be doing in New York?"
"Are you bringing anything with you?"
I suppose at this time, we could have said no. But we didn't. We told him we were bringing my brother his dishes and towels for his new place. I emphasized that they were his. We weren't bringing goods or anything like that.
"Open your trunk."
We did. He saw the piles of boxes, all neatly labeled with my mom's address from when they were shipped to her off of their registry. He shut our trunk and directed us to the customs office where we were locked in a room and questioned about my brother and his status in the states. I answered their questions to the best of my ability.
"Ma'am, why don't you have a form 3299?"
"What is that?"
"Third party goods."
"No one told me I needed it?"
They were annoyed. I was annoyed. It was 1:00 in the morning. They tried to find my brother in the system, and decided he didn't exist. After an hour in that room, they told us we had to turn around and go back into Canada. We could not enter the U.S.A. However, if we wanted to get rid of my brother's stuff, we could come right back.
Brian and I entered Canada again (paying the $3.00 toll) and pulled back into the duty free parking lot to look at our options. I called my mom, and told her what had happened. Our phone call ended with me saying the following:
"If I miss Hamilton because of my brother's f*cking dishes, I am not speaking to any of you ever again!"
Suffice it to say, this was not my proudest moment.
Then my husband had an idea. I have a cousin who has a home in Niagara On The Lake. This was a half hour away, as opposed to the two hour drive back to our house. If they were there, we could still make the show. I called my mom back for my cousin's number, and said it was that or I toss the stuff. She was not happy with me. My mom called my cousin, and my cousin called me. She was not in Niagara, but she had a back deck where we could put everything. I hoped, for my brother's sake, that it would not rain.
Now, at this point we realized that there was no way out of the duty free that did not involve crossing the border. This was the thing we were still not allowed to do, due to the boxes still in our trunk. Brian went into the store and asked where to go. We cut past the U.S. border and went back through the toll booth onto the highway once more. (Another $3.00)
We drove to Niagara, and my husband and I commenced breaking into my cousin's backyard, armed with our cell phone flashlights to hide my brother's boxes under the table we found on the deck. My fears at this point were threefold:
2. The neighbours would see us and call the police, thinking we were burglars.
3. The time. Would I make Hamilton? We were so far behind schedule!
We ditched the boxes without incident and continued on our way. The agents let us through into the U.S. without incident at this time, and we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Denny's, and drove for as long as possible, stopping for rest periods, and making Syracuse at 6:30 in the morning. Here we had two choices, drive on exhausted and sleep deprived, or stop and nap at a hotel. I was a bit panicky. Napping meant time. However, driving while on the brink of exhaustion is not safe, so we stopped.
We left after noon, and consulted our maps. We were due to arrive in New York at around 5:00. I kept telling myself that two hours was plenty of time to make a show. We would be fine, but as we took a few stops to grab a sandwich, pee, get gas, that time kept creeping upwards. 5:00 turned into 5:30, then 5:40, then back down to 5:38. I was getting nervous.
We finally made it into the city at 5:40. My brother had told us there was a parking lot next door to his new building. We pulled in and were told "We're full. Try down the block."
We dumped our stuff in my brother's lobby and went down the street. Luckily the next place had room. We ran back to my brother's apartment and changed out of our sweaty shirts. (You don't see Hamilton stinking like a locker room.) We then ran outside and started towards the theater. It was over twenty blocks away. We grabbed a cab, and I started to pray.
At just after 6:40 we got to the corner of 45th and 8th. I could see the theatre. We were going to make it! Then, Brian turns to me.
"I am not eating a cookie for dinner."
I gave him a blank stare.
"There's a Pret a Manger right there. Let's grab a sandwich."
I follow him in and grab a banana and a half sandwich package. I can eat this quickly, I reason. Besides, the bathroom here won't have a line. I'm sure the Richard Rogers is full of people waiting to pee. I eat as quickly as possible, and we're off. I enter the theatre, and I can't believe we made it! I slide into my seat at 6:55. Then I start to worry.
I have listened to the soundtrack, so many times I have it memorized. How can the Hamilton on stage possibly live up to the Hamilton in my head? What if I've overhyped it? What if I'm surrounded by HamilFans and they... sing along? That would be too awful. I remember what it was like when I saw Rent. It was so obnoxious. I wanted to hear the people on stage. Not the off key people behind me. Ugh.
But, just as I was freaking out, the lights went down, and the show started. All my worries were swept aside. It was better than I had hoped. Finally there was something that lived up to the hype. There is just something about live theatre that is simply magical; and that was what I saw on that stage: magic. The language was astonishing, the script is indescribable in how Lin-Manuel Miranda works with language to tell a story. I have seen so many shows where I see places where I would change things, make something less cliché, tweak something to add humour, or tension, lines that don't sit right for me. But here, I wouldn't change a word.
I left that theatre inspired. I was inspired to do better; to write better. I left full of ideas, and a drive to create more. Those performers gave their all, and I was floored. By the end of it, I was a sobbing mess. It was just incredible. My one quibble: I wish it hadn't been so damn hard to get there!
So many things to report! Where do I begin? Well, I suppose that you have all noticed that the cover images and buy links have disappeared from all of my Hadariah books, as well as Bath Salts. This is not a glitch. There is a very good reason for this, and that is that all of the books will now be published by the amazing people at PANDAMOON! That's right, we will be having some rereleases soon, and An Tran is now an official Panda! I have the press release announcing this and everything. Exciting times are here! (And I am overusing my exclamation points. But I am just so excited!)
This past weekend was also Toronto FanExpo, and yes, I am still unhappy by the destruction of authors' alley. I had so many people come to me complaining that the author's were all scattered around both buildings with no rhyme or reason to it. It was frustrating to see that there were no literary guests other than Margaret Atwood (who is great), while in past years, there were around a dozen of us. The past few years also saw the deletion of the literary panels as well. This has been sad to see. There used to be panels on world building, character development, and on publishing fantasy and SF. Now, the emphasis is on the stars, and the cosplay. I understand the appeal of the actors, (I met Jewel Staite and she has my book!) and I love looking at the costumes and the creativity that goes on. But after a few days to think and to decompress, I feel jaded. Writers are the ones who tell the stories, and who put those words in the actors' mouths. Without the storytellers, there would be no stories. There would be no shows on TV, or movies to watch. I'm not saying that I should have been an invited guest. I am far less famous than the majority of the people who get invited to these things. However, I just wish that the writers got more love. So many people came to our little table and asked us about our writing, about how they wanted to do what we do, how they too create stories of their own. Imagine how amazing it would have been to have had panels for these people; where they could have an open forum to discuss these things with professional authors. This is what FanExpo used to be; what they used to have. It saddens me to see it tossed aside. And for what? I'm not sure. I wish I knew.
But on to happy and exciting news once more! This past summer, I was asked to collaborate on an extremely important project. For orientation, York University commissioned myself, Kristen DaSilva, and Katie Edwards to write a play outlining all the issues with regards to sex and consent. This play became There Is No Maybe. In it, we wrote out different scenes and monologues teaching students through the magic of theatre, all about how important it is to get enthusiastic consent from one's partner, and about how you can help and intervene if you see an assault occurring. These days, when people like Brock Turner roam free, and where it seems as if you can't go anywhere without hearing about rape culture, or victim blaming, it seems as if we need more ways to reach students, and to teach them that they can make a change.
Last night, There Is No Maybe had its premiere at York University in front of over 6,200 students. I was there watching, and to say that I was nervous is an understatement. I felt as if this was one of the most important things I have ever worked on, and I wanted it to be perfect. The show started, and I heard the first reactions, and it was glorious. The students cheered at the right moments, they laughed when appropriate, and there were moments where you could hear a pin drop. They were listening, and they were absorbing our message. I was stunned. I have never felt more proud. I can't thank the administration enough for giving me this opportunity, and I couldn't have asked for a better writing team. Kristen and Katie were brilliant to work with, and our director Theresa Noon-Hunter made our words soar. More schools should implement works like this into their frosh weeks. If only to encourage students to intervene on others' behalf. We need more conscious discussion. We need to change.
So this past weekend was the Pirate Festival! This has always been one of my favourite weekends of the summer. It's like summer camp, where I get to dress like a pirate in a big dirty field, drink cider, and listen to some of my favourite musicians. An and I love seeing all our crazy pirate friends, and it's as if no time has passed every time I see them, not to mention all the new friends we make each and every year. For example, this year I met Sam from Cake's Cove (site linked in the pics below). I think I gained several pounds this weekend off of her cupcakes alone. Also, I need to have another wedding, just so I can have an excuse to order that crazy cake! Just look at it!
This year was also our first year in our new location at Guelph's Marden Park. I was wondering about what would be different, and what would be the same. Up until now, we had always been in Milton. Who would be with us this year? Who would be missing? Would we have the same shows, vendors, food? But everything was great, and the new management handled it all. It's never easy having so much change over, but it all felt very smooth.
Also new this year was our tent mate Sarah WaterRaven. She was a most welcome addition to our crew, and is the author of the awesome Detective Docherty series. I have had a lot of people ask me how I can share a tent or table with another author. Isn't there conflict? Aren't you worried about competition? Sarah and I had some great conversations about it. We both agreed that when it comes to writing, there is always room for more stories in the world. Every book has an audience, and we shouldn't see each others as competition. I have been very fortunate in finding a great group of writing friends here in Toronto, and we view each other as a kind of literary family, supporting one another, and helping each other out when and where we can. It's been fantastic, and as the community is small, it's what we should do. One of the pirates said to me that she views our festival crew the same way, and I heartily agree. We celebrate each others milestones: births, marriages, birthdays, engagements. And when one of us is brought low, we feel it in much the same way. As such, I have no problem sharing my tent with another artist, and Sarah fit right in with or kooky band of cosplayers. An heartily agreed.
And now that that sappy sentiment was shared... Some pics for all!
Oh, and Sarah, sorry again about Captain Dark Water's idea of dinner entertainment. Thanks to you though, I will forever remember the origin of the phrase "the cat's out of the bag". But don't worry, what happens at Pirate Festival, stays at Pirate Festival (and my blog). See you in a few weeks partner!
Things have been absolutely hectic here. I have been hard at work on multiple projects, and I have also been hard at work with the kids. They finished a very successful first year at school as junior kindergarten students, and they absolutely loved it. It's a great feeling to have your kids wake up happy and excited to go to school and to learn. (I know that this will not last. When do kids start going to school begrudgingly instead of with a spring to their step? Grade three? Four? I hope not sooner.) Now they are at camp, and I have to say, I love my kids, and I want to be the best parent I can be. But really, theme days? One day's notice? Come on! If it's not Colour War, it's Safari Day, or Beach Day. Ugh. I remember loving these days as a kid, and being so excited for them. But as a parent, they are absolutely the worst!
I was told yesterday by our bus counsellor that today would be Safari Day. I had also had an email from the camp about this (thank god it was more than one day in advance.) and I was thinking "Okay Ali, we have a lion costume, and we have a dinosaur costume. I know there are no dinosaurs on safari, so that can work. But crap! I have three kids! I need another animal. Ummm... they were bearcats for their dance recital. Hailey can be a bearcat! Yes!" So, with this plan in mind, I was set. Until the kids came home.
Hailey: Mommy! I have Safari Day tomorrow!
Me: Yes, and you can be a bearcat! That will be so cute! You also won't overheat at camp!
Hailey: Noooooooo! I want to be a sloth!
Me: Sloth? (Damnit!) Okay? A sloth has the same shaped ears as a bearcat. Wear those and...
Hailey: Paint my face like the ones in Zootopia!
Phillip: I'm going to be a monkey!
Phillip: Paint my face like a monkey!
Me: Monkey ears look like bearcat ears! I'll tie this belt around your waist backwards and you have a tail! (Nailed it!)
Joseph: I'm a lion!
Me: I love you.
So, this morning was a flurry of chaos, eyeshadow, and bearcat ears. And then it's time to plan for Beach Day. I wonder if I can Macgyver some leis and stuff. Can one build a surfboard out of duct tape? Ugh. Screw it. I'm sending them in their swim suits and nothing else. Lazy mom for the win!
At least with Colour War all I had to do was send them all in red shirts. (Insert Star Trek joke.)
The Blue Team handed their butts to them.
It's hard enough sending three five year olds off to camp with two swimsuits, extra sunscreen, Hailey's epipen fannypack (for bees), lunch (all nut free), hats (continuously missing, lost, messed up), flipflops, shoes on their feet, etc. Now I have to do it colour coded and with them in animal costumes. Oy.
I guess I can say that their happy sunny faces make it all worth it, but, really, it's exhausting. Can't a camp day be a camp day? I thought I was on summer vacation.
This weekend was my tenth anniversary. It seems a bit surreal to think that I have been married that long. It feels like it was yesterday that Brian and I got married. After ten years of marriage, one dog, and three children (all born at once!) ten years passed by in a bit of a blur.
It's kind of funny to be celebrating my tenth anniversary the same year that my baby brother got engaged. To me, he's still the little baby boy who loved to crawl into my lap and listen to stories about Sitnalta and Najort. Weird.
Now, I tell the stories to my kids. They're still a bit young for the novels, but I can certainly make up stories for them and I definitely do. Their imaginations never cease to amaze me. It is endless entertainment watching them as they play with one another, and the adventures they create for themselves are a source of inspiration for me.
Currently, I am working on writing the first draft of the sixth book in The Sitnalta Series. Right now, it's currently called The Wizard's Apprentice, but like all books and all titles I come up with, it is subject to change if anything changes in the book. I really don't like naming books.
I'm also putting the finishing touches on Sibling Revelry. I have all the music for the first episode, written by Anthony Bastianon and Brett McCaig. Now, we search for the best possible home for it!
Tomorrow is the first of June, and I will be sending out the first edition of my new newsletter. I will also be doing a give away to go along with it, so be sure and sign up for your chance to win great stuff!
So today was both weird and amazing. It was weird because I returned to my old elementary school. It has been years since I'd been in that building. I was there as an author scheduled to give a talk to their grade seven students, and it felt a little bit strange to be walking through those halls with a student escorting me to the library. Truth behold, I remembered where it was, and I didn't need the help! But it was amazing to be able to be there in the capacity of a guest speaker. The Leo Baeck Day School was the first place where I was given the first inkling that I could actually write, and write well. It was my English teachers that encouraged me to keep writing, and to keep telling stories, and to have a couple of them sit in and listen to me speak to their students was almost surreal. Over the course of the day, I gave two talks, one at their southern campus, and one at their northern one. It felt very apt that I gave the talks to the grade seven students. While it is true that the main reason that I wrote Sitnalta was for my brother, what I haven't mentioned was that I turned it in as a creative writing assignments for my grade seven English teacher! (I got an A+, and he asked if he could keep a copy of the story!) When I told the students that, they were shocked. It just goes to show you that you should be a pack rat like me! You never know when an old school assignment will come in handy, for either inspiration, or just for a laugh or two.
I did two readings for them and then I ended up speaking to them about was how I typically go from an idea, or a moment of inspiration, to completing a novel. Then I talked a bit about how the publisher takes that novel through the editing stages, cover art, and finally publication. I showed them the maps I've drawn of both Colonodona and its neighbouring kingdoms, Hadariah, my notebooks of character biographies, chapter notes, and ideas, as well as samples of cover art so they could see how things change from one draft to another. From there, we had a question period, and I loved being able to have a lively discussion with them all.
The day left me feeling filled with energy and I left grinning. So many of them seem like voracious readers, and hearing that I started writing the character of Sitnalta at their age seemed to intrigue them. Already, they were telling me that they were writing as well. I told them not to wait twenty years before finishing what they started. Keep writing. Write everyday if you can. I hope they take my advice.