I know. I said I was going to blog more often, and then what happens? Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m setting my calendar to remind me about the blog every week. Too ambitious? Maybe, but some days I may simply post a picture or two, or just write a little mini-blog. My pledge to you.
Quite a bit to talk about now, though. First of all, the Manitoba Book Awards took place a few weeks ago. It was a great night. I was nominated for Best Book For Young People – Older Category (lost to Jodi Carmichael and her amazing book Forever Julia…the next day my daughter asked if I’d won or not, and I said that I’d lost to Jodi, and she literally screamed and said how much she loved Jodi’s book…so that was all I needed to hear), and Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award (lost to Chantal Fiola, who also won the John Hirsch). I don’t get bummed about losing awards anymore. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you want to win, but when you understand that we’re all this big writing family, and that when anybody wins you feel great for them, and it’s really hard to win, you do feel good about being nominated.
The most fun of the night was presenting the John Hirsch for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Here’s a pic of me doing that:
(photo by Anthony Mark Photography)
And, in the end, losing gave me the opportunity to say, when I got up to the mic, “so this is what it feels like to be up here,” after losing both nominations. If you can’t make fun of yourself, well…
Since then, and before then, I’ve been doing a lot of writing. As you know, I have four books coming out soon. One of them, my young adult supernatural mystery, “Strangers,” is something I’ve been working on hardcore. I wrote a first draft, about 52k words, and my editor ripped it to shreds so badly (but bad is good in this sense, for real) that I decided to pretty much rewrite the entire thing. I did that for about a month and a half, a lot of late nights, and finally handed THAT in two weekends ago. The new draft is 75k words, and gets the whole young adult thing more. I love trying new genres, but I have to learn about them too. So, this is a long process. It helps to read as well. I’ve been reading “The Night Gardener” and it’s taught me a lot. Re-read “Tom’s Midnight Garden” too, but mostly because I love that book to pieces.
Finally got a cover to share for “When We Were Alone.” Check it out!
Amazing, right? Julie Flett is all killer, no filler. So, I’m really excited about this one. It’s got a funny development story, too. Well, I guess not funny, but rather unique and weird. After the TRC recommendations came down, and they cited the need for Residential School education to occur as early as Kindergarten, I thought to myself, “Hey, there aren’t a lot of resources for kindergarteners to teachers to use.” So, I spent about an hour and wrote a script for a children’s book. I thought it turned out really well, and sent it to my publisher, and the rest is history. Getting Julie was a big coup for us. She’s LEGIT. This book will be out this year around the autumn. It’ll be an amazing resource for younger learners to get a baseline introduction to the residential school system.
Finally, The Chief came out two days ago. Big Bear’s graphic novel is another instalment in the Tales From Big Spirit series, and it’s an amazing story that is beautifully illustrated by Scott B. Henderson, my frequent collaborator. Here’s the cover:
Big Bear was an amazing leader, and held out against signing the treaties because he saw much of the difficulties in them that have come to pass. Even after finally relenting, and signing, he urged for them to be revised. He wanted new and fair treaties, a new reserve concept, and one representative for all Cree bands. A great idea. A unified voice like that would be great. But this only led to more hardship for his people back then. We can learn a lot from our indigenous heroes in Canadian history. I hope you take a look at it! Check under my “New Works” section and you can pick up a copy.
I’ll have some great news on a very top secret project very soon. That’ll be my next post. NEXT WEEK. I swear.