Here’s the next book giveaway ~ La cache

From Nov 8 to 16th, Canadian residents can enter to win a free signed copy through Goodreads of La cache, the French language translation of my book Stuff We All Get. More details about the story can be found on this website under the “Books” tab.

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Distractions

Writing demands consistency; one is supposed to show up and stay on task. It’s great when the words are flowing and I’m in “the zone” but often (let’s say at the beginning, the middle or the end of a book) it’s plain old work.  Any little thing can become a distraction at that point. My current distraction is an inquisitive Steller’s Jay. He (she?) has been determined to remove the egg shaped rocks from a nest that sits on a shelf by my door. After a few messy episodes, I decided on a solution – provide peanuts. Ha. Apparently, I am now the object of routine surveillance. I need only glance up from the screen to find a hopeful beak face peering through the window, either from the sill or a nearby branch. I think I’ve been played. 

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Book Giveaway ~ Perfect Revenge in Swedish and Norwegian

Time for the next giveaway! I have 2 signed paperback copies of Perfect Revenge in Norwegian and 2 copies in Swedish. It was great fun for me to receive these from the foreign publisher and see the cover art they chose, but these books aren’t being enjoyed while languishing in a box. This giveaway runs from October 23 to October 31st. I hope someone out there in Canada is learning a second language or has a friend, family member or pen pal in Norway or Sweden who might enjoy receiving this as a gift from you!

In Norwegian:

In Swedish:

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Book Giveaways!

I’ve been attempting to clear space in my home, and there’s a box in a closet containing some extra copies of my books that could be better appreciated in a new home. I’ve launched a free giveaway for an English copy of my latest book, Quiz Queens, on Goodreads (see sidebar), and a few more titles will follow here soon.

Most of the extras in the box are foreign language translations of my books, and my hope is that someone out there will appreciate a signed (free!) copy of these titles. There will be Spanish, French, Swedish and Norwegian translations of some of my other books. Watch for them here.

The Goodreads giveaway for Quiz Queens runs October 10th – 18th, 2017.

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Quiz Queens ~ New book Spring 2017

Ever tried doing an online quiz? These characters did … with unexpected results.

http://www.orcabook.com/Quiz-Queens-P1256.aspx

quiz-queens-cover

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Perfect Revenge Book Trailer

A Grade Five student from British Columbia sent me a book trailer she made for an assignment from her (clearly) hip and excellent Language Arts teacher. I am sharing this with permission and am so delighted with the creativity of this project. Love how Ayla has worked to create interest in the story by posing leading questions – that may or may NOT be true – about Perfect Revenge. Fine work here. Thank you, Ayla!

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Failure and Success

A reader working on a study project about Canadian authors has asked me to share something about my “successes and failures”. This is a straightforward request and the answer ought to be simple but I’m having trouble with it. Why? I suspect that at some point I stopped thinking about life and writing in the stark black and white terms of success and failure, and finding my way back to framing a response to this is a challenge.

So here goes. Failures. There is no doubt that a publisher’s rejection of a manuscript I’ve babied, loved, hated, fought or flown with for a year (or more) of my life could be deemed a failure. For a book I’ve labored to create to be dismissed with “meh, not good enough” is tough. It happens. It happened a number of times when I first began submitting manuscripts to publishers and, woe, it continues to happen.

Generally, I’ve decided the rejecting editor is an utter fool. And time passes. I may then decide said editor had a point. And time passes. Finally, I decide to revisit the manuscript—or not. I’ve yet to actually burn one but the impulse has occurred. There’s one book in particular that has been kicking around for over 10 years and it refuses to quietly die. I hope and fear in equal measure that the day will come when for the third (or is it the fourth?) time I will tackle it again. Some stories insist on being told and when I figure out exactly how they must be told then perhaps the story will have its time to be shared.

Success. I suppose for a writer this could be measured by the sheer fact of having books published. That’s not easily done and for me, there have been ten books so far with number eleven due out in the spring of 2017. I was so delighted when my first book, Battle of the Bands, was published in 2006, and each book thereafter has been cause for celebration.

Success could also be measured in terms of awards; my books have earned some of these, including the short-list for the Governor General’s award for Me, Myself and Ike. There have been many good reviews. There have been solid sales figures, audio books, and translations into French, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, Korean and Norwegian.

But in truth, as hokey as it may sound, to me success has resonated most deeply when I feel I’ve made something beautiful. That “something” could be a single sentence or it could be a massive, “Aha!” I got that. I understand that character, I understand something I never understood until now when it sprang from this thing I do for the love of it—writing.

Oh, and in case anyone doubts that Canadian authors write for the love of it and not the money, a 2015 survey done by the Writer’s Union of Canada found the average writer’s annual income is a mere $12,879 (way below the poverty line and $36,000 below the national average income). This certainly explains why I must keep my part time “day job” and devote far less time than I’d like to writing books.

Most writers I know seldom have the option to discuss “success” in terms of monetary value. So let’s pretend (writers of fiction enjoy pretending) that I didn’t mention the nasty money thing and I’ll return to the bit where if and when I’m inclined to measure success I dwell on the joy of this thing. Creating. That’s it, right there. To create, even if it’s wrong, or messy, or no one else gets it, or it’s awkward or gorgeous or busting out with teary kindred-soul recognition, that act in and of itself, in whatever form it takes, is success. I believe that leap, that try is what we humans were made to do.

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Angus the Swede

Angus the Swede

Angus the Swede

Great fun to receive this Swedish foreign language edition of Agent Angus! Beautifully done hardcover binding.

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Amy’s Marathon of Books

365 books read and reviewed in one year – quite an accomplishment! You can read about Amy’s marathon and her goals here: http://amysmarathonofbooks.ca/

And I’d like to thank her for the lovely review of Me, Myself and Ike. http://amysmarathonofbooks.ca/me-myself-and-ike/

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Walking in the Field of My Identity

While driving and listening as I do to Canada’s CBC radio broadcast, I recently heard Roch Carrier being interviewed about the 30th anniversary of his classic children’s story, The Hockey Sweater.

Mr. Carrier was asked to tell how the story came to be and he explained that he’d been offered the opportunity to write a CBC radio piece regarding how he identified as a Francophone Canadian. He accepted, but was attuned to creating fiction and ended up struggling with this assignment. He called CBC and told them he couldn’t do it—the words he’d written felt dull and uninspired. The programmer protested that a half hour had been scheduled for his work and at this late hour (two days from deadline) they simply needed anything he wanted to write.

Fine, okay, but what? He had a weekend to come up with a new piece of work and he’d been focussed only on considering what being French Canadian meant to him. And then, in the midst of the interview, he said something spectacular. He said that as he’d worked on unearthing facts for the assignment, “I had been walking in the field of my identity …of that time.

Stop.

In all the years I’ve been writing Young Adult fiction, I have not heard anyone express so simply and eloquently exactly what it is that we YA and children’s book authors do when we conjure the emotional places we tap into to create our work. And there it was. “Walking in the field of my identity.”

The interview went on and the only bit I recall from the rest was that The Hockey Sweater came to him swiftly, like a gift, plucked from his recollections of childhood.

A lovely gift indeed, as are these new words I marvel over. They continue to resonate, to make me ponder how frequently we walk in that field of identity, drifting back and forth, sometimes stepping on thistles or cow pies, sometimes lying down in the tall grass to watch clouds afloat, to listen for cricket songs, to blow dandelion seed to the wind. Some of those seeds travel far.

Mr. Carrier. My gratitude for your words.

~ K. L. Denman

A lovely film adaptation of The Hockey Sweater can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgydkfnUEi8

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