Extraordinary Opportunities

Extraordinary Opportunities

When I walk into a bookstore with this vinyl cobra wrapped around my neck, you would be surprised at how many people freak.

“Does this snake look real to you? It doesn’t look real to me. His name is King by the way and he’s the star of The Snake Mistake Mystery.”

The young girl stares at me, gape mouthed. She steals an anxious glance back at her dad. Am I a danger stranger, can she talk to me?

She shakes her head slightly.

“Would you like an autographed bookmark?”

“We’re looking for a book,” the girl finally says.

“What kind of book?” I ask. “Maybe I can help.”

“Your book,” she answers. Apparently I spoke at her school. She’s not sure which in the Great Mistake Series she heard me talk about but I know it’s the one with King in it. When Mom joins us, she suggests they buy all three. Smart woman.

One of my favourite precocious readers, three year old Finley, my granddaughter, visits me at an Indigo Chapters signing.

We call them signings but most authors agree that beyond the dreamlike trance you go into when your writing is going well, the best part of our careers are the one-to-one experiences we enjoy with our readers. it always feels a little surreal to realize someone else will actually read our work; we’re sharing a very intimate creative experience with you after all. The bookstore signing is perhaps the easiest way to achieve this interaction.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be painful to sit at a table with piles of our book surrounding us and no one stopping by. Or worse people avoiding our glance. Some writers are introverts.

And while I am an extrovert and love meeting and chatting with new people, I do find the selling of my own stories awkward. So here’s what I tell myself. I am giving each child an encounter with a real live Canadian author.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for them, a cultural experience totally free to them. The book, or just an autographed bookmark, is their souvenir of the experience.

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Engaging Characters take over the story


I never meant to write about them. The bombsquad using a robot to disengage a backpack “bomb”. A friendly crossing guard who twirls his stop sign like a baton and shares his driving judgements even though he can’t drive himself. And these two dogs, they literally grabbed the story like a stick floating in the water.


Two best friends, sort of, relate in a complicated way. Do they like each other? Mortie will stand up for Worf to the max of his little lung capacity. Worf does not kill Mortie when their respective fangs lock onto the same bone or stick–a huge compliment from a food defensive pound puppy.


The two of them hijacked my story about a dogwalking 12 year old who spots something he shouldn’t have and doesn’t even know it. An emailed threat warns him not to talk to the police. When the police interview him, the criminal kidnaps Worf aka Pong (transformed mysteriously into a greyhound by the way).

“Give me five hundred dollars or the dog dies”. Mortie aka Ping leads his walker in the rescue mission.


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