Countdown to Litfest


I’m reallitfestly looking forward to Litfest…only a few more days until I grit my teeth for take off. Really not the world’s best flyer but it will be worth it to be in the company of such wonderful authors and hosts. I’ll be doing three events, starting with the Strathcona Library on Thursday night where I’ll be hosted by David Chereos.

On Saturday, we’re heading to the Rose and Crown pub for “A free-flowing forum for teachers, parents, and friends of special needs children. Starting off with an introduction and reading of Time Out by author Liane Shaw, we will open the floor to a sharing of experiences and venting of frustrations about a system strapped for cash, that constantly swings between integration and segregation. The host for the evening is Heather MacKenzie.”   It seems that those frustrations are not unique to us here in Ontario!

And finally, on Sunday, I am honoured to be in the company of authors Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail and Jane Christmas for “A Brunch of Writers” at the Sutton Place Hotel.

033Then it’s another seat-gripping plane ride as I head home to see if my daughter survived babysitting duty for our two giant dogs who are both much larger than she is!

Right By You

download (1)“Let’s open the door so that we can drive more conversations regarding youth mental health, and get our children the help they need by calling on the government to establish a National Suicide Prevention Fund.”


Understanding Teachers’ Perspectives on Student Mental Health

studentsStudent mental health constitutes another aspect of the complex issue of class composition and student
diversity in schools in terms of the challenges teachers face in working to meet a broad and growing range
of student needs, including those related to mental health and well-being. 

This quote is taken from a study published in 2012 which takes a close look at the challenges facing both teachers and students in dealing with mental health issues within the classroom setting.  I wrote Time Out about a time in education over twenty years ago, but this report seems to be telling us that the issues haven’t changed nearly as much as they should have…if at all.   StudentMentalHealthReport

From Disneyland to Alberta….

litfest“From Bob McDonald to M.G. Vassanji, from Naomi Klein to Liane Shaw, from Ted Bishop to Ted Barris there is something for everyone at LitFest 2014.”   I got my schedule for Litfest today and it looks really interesting.  I’ll be doing a reading and then hosting a group of teachers and parents who want to talk about the issues facing children with special needs.   Got my plane tickets purchased which is a true testament to how excited I am to be going because I’m actually somewhat afraid of flying.  Not the flying part so much as the being locked into a vessel from which there is absolutely no chance of exiting on my own terms……I thought I was going to pass out when my girls made me go on Space Mountain at Disneyland….anyway, there are all kinds of interesting books and authors being featured so check it out at

Road Trip


Looks like I’m heading off on my first literary road trip….or I guess more accurately, air trip.  I’ve been invited to Lit Fest in Edmonton…a literary festival focusing on nonfiction.   I’ll be doing a couple of readings from Time Out and also taking some time to share “horror” stories from my teaching days in a forum with other teachers.   I’m not much of a traveler and have never been to Alberta so I’m really looking forward to it.

This entry was posted on May 21, 2014. 2 Comments

Making friends in Toronto

Had the chance to travel to Toronto for the OLA superconference a couple of weeks ago.   While it’s always fun to meet readers and sign a few books, the highlight of this trip was my train ride home.  I was seated beside a lovely seventeen year old lady named Adrienne, who entertained me with her wonderful opinions on life for most of the trip.   Being with someone the age of most of my novel’s protagonists reminded me of the reasons I started writing in the first place.   Teenagers are truly the most fascinating people on the planet!

It’s done! Now the panic….

Time Out: A Teacher’s year of reading, fighting and four letter words is finally completely finished and has been sent off to the printer.   This is the point where panic sets in.   Did we catch all of the typos?  Does everything make sense?  Did I take enough time on that final edit?  Will the readers like my students as much as I did?  Will everyone like the cover that we picked?  Did I say everything I  wanted say….now that it’s too late to change or add anything?   Other than all of that, I am extremely excited it’s done and eagerly anticipating seeing the final product!

Time Out

I had the chance to travel to Toronto for my first sales meeting at Ampersand this past week.   I’m used to speaking to groups but there was still something mildly intimidating about sitting in a room filled with sales reps, all of whom had very specific questions for me about the new book – which by the way is now entitled Timeout: A Teacher’s Year of Reading, Fighting and Four Letter Words.    I managed to make them laugh which broke the tension.  It was a new and interesting experience…one more step along the road to learning about this strange business I’m a part of.  Also had a nice lunch with the ladies from my publishing house, Second Story Press.