Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Self-Promo for Writers

Today, with all of the social media options available and with marketing budgets shrinking at publishing houses, marketing is falling more and more to writers. This is likely overkill for most of us, but author Jenny Blake has shared her spreadsheet for self-promo. Almost exhausting to look at (and think about), but certainly lots of ideas and options for every writer, self-published or not.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Random Sunday

I've been busy with several writing projects - a new children's book, the last details on the Tofino walking tour, and finally finalizing the details on a book I affectionately call The Long Suffering Beach Book, but I've been trolling the Net as per usual too, and here are a few links I've been meaning to share.

Three new takes on the alphabet book.

Recently bought to satisfy the wannabe field naturalist in my nature, at least voyeuristically.

Incredible images from plastic cups, repeated words, plastic dolls.

My absolute favourite new go to website. (With the best name.)

Another new favourite, New to Nature.

Look what you can do with 35,000 staples.

Ten things I should really try to do.

Thoughts on darkness in YA fiction from writer Jocelyn Shipley.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canadian Children's Book Centre Shortlist Announced

Congratulations to all of those Canadian writers and illustrators on the CCBC's shortlist.

(But an especially huge whoot whoot to my friend, fellow Clayqout Sound writer and local lightkeeper (!), Caroline Woodward for her wonderful picture book, Singing Away the Dark, which is short-listed for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A New Book: 18 Meditations on Chesterman Beach

I have a new little book out. This is published through Postelsia Press and it is a beautifully hand bound chapbook of an essay on Chesterman Beach that I starting working on about four years ago.

You can find out more here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Typewriters of the Literati

There's something about the clackity-clack of a typewriter. It's nostalgic, but I seem to recall having to really whack the keys of the old style models. It probably hurt. Good therapy perhaps?

I dropped French to take typing, so I'm a pretty good typist and know my way around the keyboard (but I really wish I knew French too), but I'm glad our current keyboards are quiet and don't require carbon copies (actual ones), White-Out, and re-typing a new version every time you make a mistake.

Here are some writers and their typewriters. I do love my grandmother's though.

Friday, June 03, 2011


I have a soft spot, not to mention a substantial section of my office library, devoted to dictionaries.

I am the sort of person that thinks giving a good dictionary as a wedding or birthday gift is a good idea. I know this skews my personality firmly towards "nerd," but I'm okay with that.

The photo above isn't showing all of them. I have my beloved COD and a whomping huge old copy of The Concise English Dictionary right beside my desk, ready to access at all times. I have two dictionaries for children, which helps at the magazine when I am trying to simply explain terms for young people. They are also great for phonetics.

I use the science dictionaries all the time, and the etymology dictionary, too. I picked up the Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms in university; it's essential reading for any biologist, especially students trying to remember all those phyla. If you understand what echinoderm breaks down to, it's much easier to file it away forever.

Some are just quirky. Gould's Pocket Pronouncing Medical Dictionary? Because you never know when you need to define edeoptosis (a prolapse of the genitals). Wet Coast Words? Because nothing says British Columbian by understanding the origin of skookum. (And nothing says Islander, than using "up island.")

You never know where these dictionaries will lead. The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics, helped me craft this.

When I troll the second-hand stores, I am always looking out for unusual dictionaries. I picked up four new ones this past week.

I'm not sure quite why I got this one, but it did come in handy as I was reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes, the latest choice of our book club, with its netsuke, vitrines, and bibelots. (It's a great read, by the way.)

And this find was perfect because I've decided that I am going to try and wade through The Bible. My understanding of religion is, frankly, pathetic, and I'm going to try and rectify that over the next while. A conversion is not imminent, however. This dictionary was immediately useful as I tried to figure out what an "unclean animal" was and why only one male and one female of the unclean animals were allowed on the ark, while seven of each "clean" animal were permitted passage.

I don't see any immediate use for this, but for $2 it can take up space on the shelf for awhile.

And then I found this little gem.

I couldn't resist. It is totally falling apart and someone has attempted to stitch the linen covers together. Plus it is the size of about 3 1/2 matchboxes and cost me a loonie.

So what is your favourite dictionary?