Friday Review

A Turn Of Light

Well, I am officially in love with Marrowdell, the setting for Julie Czerneda’s A Turn of Light! Oh, yes, and the toads. I’ve always liked frogs, but Julie’s ‘Little Cousins’ are loyal, stoic, and courageous. Each household in Marrowdell has a house toad to stand guard for them, and I think all homes should have one, even here in the real world. 🙂

Julie sucked me into her fantasy just by hinting at its historical aspects. In the beginning, wandering along with Jenn, I was entranced by the mill, the town well, and all the quaint pioneer homes. There were hints that made me believe that the sleepy little valley was not all it appeared. Then came the arrival of the truthseer with his not-horse and faithful companion, Tyr. Bannon noticed things that others did not see, or preferred to ignore.

As a writer myself, I must commend Julie for her perfect descriptions and clever story progression. The magical qualities and beings were not revealed all at once. Like a mystery novel, certain pertinent bits of information were dropped like pebbles in the woods, marking a path to follow before arriving at one’s destination. Even the characters, themselves, did not fully comprehend the depth of the dangers and wonders around them or the consequences of what certain actions might bring down upon them. Jenn learned her lessons the hard way.

As with most coming-of-age stories, A Turn of Light explores the impulsiveness and carelessness of youth. Jenn Nalynn hated wearing shoes and avoided her chores whenever possible, often escaping to her meadow where she dreamed of leaving her home and travelling the world. (Sounds like most teenagers, right?) The closer she came to her nineteenth birthday, the more she realized her dream might never be realized. She must learn to cope with the changes that could destroy her, make an important decision about her upcoming wedding, and learn how to save the home she loved.

I hope you all get the chance to visit Marrowdell. I know I can’t wait to return there when Julie’s next book comes out. For those of you who missed my interview of Julie Czerneda, please read it here. I hope that all who live in Canada & the U.S. have a wonderful Labour Day weekend – and may the rest enjoy your shorter weekend as well. It’s the perfect time to forget about chores, like Jenn Nalynn, and indulge in the fantastic world of Marrowdell! 🙂


My Weekend

In case you were wondering what I was up to this weekend and why I hadn’t posted anything, it was because I was out in the country helping friends. Hubby & Son helped our friend raise a steel out-building while I helped his wife with the cooking. Sounds like a regular old-fashioned barn raising, doesn’t it? Well, in fact, it was very similar, although I doubt you would have see a barn like this back in pioneer times!

Let me show you all the hard work the men-folk did:

Unfortunately, my impatient Hubby with the once-broken-now-arthritic ankles tried to climb a ladder to help with the bolt installation. My friend and I watched with trepidation as he inched his way up and held our breath as the ladder shifted. Before we could shout out to warn him, he was on the ground. He’s been hobbling around ever since and I hope he hasn’t re-broken his ankle or heel. He’s hoping it’s just bruised, but there might be tendon damage. We’ll have to wait and see how severe the injury is. If it still pains him tomorrow, we’ll be off to the doctor. 😦

Before Hubby took his plunge, I also took some fun clips of their new kittens, frolicking amongst themselves. They were very cute and reminded me of our Cat when he was small like them. 🙂

When I wasn’t watching the wee kitties, I was helping with the food – and not just the meals for the hard-working guys. It’s harvest time, which means canning. Yesterday, we scrubbed a huge pile of cucumbers. We canned a few jars, cut some up for meals and last night, my friend soaked some in alum to make into sweet mixed pickles.


The dills canned Saturday.

So, what was your weekend like?

Crafty Wednesday – cupcakes

Things are getting hectic again. I’m trying to finish reading A Turn of Light so I can review it and this afternoon I took a Grant Writing Workshop in case I decide to apply for a writing grant in the near future. As a result, my Crafty post is a little late, again.

A few weeks ago, I visited my sister-in-law, who has a small Cricut die-cut machine so I took advantage of it and cut out a bunch of cupcakes which I added to some masculine cards, all with different designs. I hope you will see that a single theme can be as varied as cupcake sprinkles.

cupcake 1

All of the cards had a 5 x 7″ base in cream card stock. The first card is a simple design, united with a curved top right-hand corner on all the pieces, punched with a corner punch. With this card, I turned it so it was a portrait-oriented card. I added brown textured card stock as the main background. I used a green card stock behind the blue patterned paper. The central square had spotted beige paper behind a light cream-coloured card stock, on which I added the cupcake and stamped Happy Birthday in black ink. Finally, I glued on chunky coloured sparkles as cupcake sprinkles.

cupcake 3

Card #2 is a landscape-oriented card. I used 5 different patterned papers, four were squares with the centre background piece  being a long rectangle. Using the Cricut, I also cut out the centre star paper and the lined paper on which I stamped the Happy Birthday greeting. I added striped ribbon to the right-hand side, through the centre of the squares and added two wooden buttons with Glue Dots. The finishing embellishment is the cupcake, cut with the Cricut.

cupcake 2

The first two cupcakes were cut from brown card stock to make them look like chocolate, with the paper cup from striped paper. These next two are vanilla, using white card stock. This time, I used a piece of brown card stock cut 1/2″ smaller than the base card, on which I added 4 strips of patterned paper. Onto that I added a beige rectangle with the bottom corners punched out. I stretched green twine across the top of it, added 2 brown buttons and stamped Happy Birthday in black ink. The cupcake got the same sprinkle treatment as the chocolate ones and I stuck it onto the top left-hand corner with 3D sticky squares.

cupcake 4

The last one is the simplest with a turquoise patterned paper as the background, cut 1/2″ smaller than the base card. Before attaching it to the card, I wrapped red-and-white bakers twine, running it through a fancy brown button and tied it in a bow. I added the same type of Happy Birthday square as the card above along with the cupcake complete with ‘sprinkles’. I also attached a ‘candle’ made with one of the stripes cut out of the cupcake paper. I added a yellow flame for the card-receiver to blow out. 🙂

There you have it, four very different-looking cards with the same theme – using a simple cupcake design. Now, it’s your turn! lol If any of you do decide to make a cupcake card, let me know. I’d love to see your creative ideas. 🙂

Sunday Interview – S. M. Beiko

Hello, everyone! I hope those in this fair city are hunkered down and weathering this summer storm! Man, the rain pelted down for quite some time, this morning, mixed with a bit of hail and those thunder-boomers are enough to make you want to jump out of your seat!

Anyway, I’d like to introduce Samantha Beiko author of The Lake and the Library. If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of it you can check it out here.

Samantha and I met at the C4 Lit Fest in April and the cover art of her novel enticed me to buy a copy. I know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, the story was even better than the cover, if that’s possible! So, please say hello to Samantha Beiko. 🙂

Would you please begin by telling my readers a little bit about S. M. Beiko?

Well! I’m 4’10”, I’m a red head, and I love books! I mean, I know it’s difficult to tell, what with being an author, working in book publishing, and making the power of books a big part of my first novel . . . you’d never know, huh? 😉

The Lake and the Library

I am always intrigued by the things that inspire wonderful stories, so what sparked the idea for The Lake and the Library?

Someone asked me this once before, and the memory is pretty fuzzy now. I was in high school at the time, and I think I was wandering around a library in St. James, looking for old editions of Coleridge poetry. As I searched, my brain conjured an image of a teenaged boy appearing out of nowhere, doing magic tricks with books and vanishing around shelves. He walked into my head fully formed, grinning and silent. He had a story but he was going to make me chase him through the stacks to figure it out.

Wow! That’s wonderful!

Who created your book trailer? It gave me chills! Also, who designed the backdrop for your web page? It is fabulous!

The amazing Helen and Laura Marshall did my book trailer for me! They are sort of experts at it. They are two very good friends and former ChiZine co-workers, and they were so excited to work on my trailer. They got it together in less than a day, and I still sometimes sit and watch it over and over, not really believing that it’s mine. You can check it out here:

(Or watch it now) 🙂


As for the backdrop on my site, it’s a photograph of the library inside The House on the Rock, which is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It appeared, most notably, in American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and was represented as a gateway into the minds of the gods. You can learn more about this incredible piece of American architecture here:

What was the process you went through to get The Lake and the Library published?

First of all, I wrote a solid draft, something clean that I was proud to submit. I also made sure I had a solid cover/query letter to go along with it.

You have a new book that just came out, but this is one in which you were co-editor. Please tell us what Imaginarium 2013 is all about and how you came to be involved with it.

Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications), is an annual reprint anthology that ChiZine puts out each year. Authors submit their work that was published in the previous year (short fiction and poetry), and we collect it in Imaginarium. It was a lot of fun, being exposed to a lot of new Canadian writers in the genre, but it was a lot of reading! And out of some 400 submissions, you can only realistically take 20 or so, or else the book would just be thousands of pages long. We have an Honourable Mentions list, though, for those authors whose work we loved but didn’t include. I was asked to co-edit it by Sandra Kasturi, co-publisher at ChiZine, because I worked on and loved the first Imaginarium we did, and I was excited to help out with this year’s in any capacity. Co-editing was a new challenge for me, because, like I said, you can’t pick ‘em all, but it’s a great experience.

After being a judge for a writing contest, I know how tough it can be to choose ONLY the number of entries required! 🙂

Not only are you a writer and editor, you are also an illustrator. In addition to a natural talent, have you taken any formal training? How has this helped you in your career?

Nope, no formal training per se. With all of my digital artwork, I learned the Adobe Suite, and programs like it, by just playing around in them and making myself use them whenever I could. I think I started around age 12, and I’ve been using them ever since. A lot of my work in publishing has also forced me to crash-course learn certain programs, like Adobe InDesign for book layout purposes, which had a steep learning curve to be sure, but was the best thing for me. I use it all the time now, and I feel crippled without it! I looked into taking professional courses in graphic design, but found that I probably wasn’t going to learn anything that was new or innovative from what I already knew.

As for traditional art (drawing, painting, sculpting), again, I’ve been playing around with different mediums since I was a kid. I painted murals on my walls and filled paper after paper with drawings until I ran out of space. I did, however, start off in University in the Fine Arts stream, and my first year was filled with some amazing studio courses that I learned a lot from. Though I didn’t stay in Fine Arts, I do still use a lot of the principles of art and design that I learned there in my day-to-day work.

What a talented young lady you are! 🙂

Now for some fun questions: What is your favorite comfort food?

CAKE. Any kind of cake, but mostly Red Velvet from Baked Expectations. Or vegetarian poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie, which is right next to my day-job. Oh woe betide me!

Oh, you poor thing! lol

What does your writing space look like? Are there any special items in it that inspire your writing?

My writing desk is my Baba’s old 1911 Treadle Sewing Machine cabinet, which I converted into a writing space. It still has the wrought iron pedal, in working condition, so while I’m working I pump away at it, imagining that there’s a like-pedal churning away inside my head. But my writing space is always in flux. Sometimes I’ll end up doing my best writing in the kitchen, in the coffee shop down the street, outside, on an airplane, etc. Anywhere that can allow me to focus and get into the zone is fair game.

Cool! My best friend’s Dad had MS and used an old treadle sewing machine to keep his legs strong. I love them!

Do you have any social media sites you’d like to share with us?

My Twitter is @SMBeiko, website is, and my Tumblr is Sensing a pattern?


Do you have any parting words?

If you have a dream you are reaching for, or a goal you’ve set, don’t stop moving towards it! Even if things get bumpy, just remember that the path to success or achievement is a squiggly line, not a straight one. And if you don’t know how to achieve your dreams, talk to the people who you admire, get a dialogue going and investigate. If you’re a writer, go to conferences, conventions, or readings, and ask questions. If you don’t know how to get started in writing, maybe read more of what you love. Always ask, always investigate, and always keep moving.

Good advice! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Samantha, and I wish you great success.

My dear followers, I hope you take the time to check out the backdrop for her web page and browse through all her tabs. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, despite inclement weather! 🙂

Friday Review – The Lake and the Library

The Lake and the Library

Today, I’d like to rave about a new fantasy tale by another local writer. The Lake and the Library, by S. M. Beiko, is an imaginative tale about Ashleigh, a sixteen-year old malcontent, who has waited ten years to hear her mother say, “Were leaving.” Getting out of the crumbling, incredibly boring small Manitoba town has been the only thing she’s talked to her friends about for more than half her life. However, now that it’s becoming a reality, she’s discovered something that threatens to keep her there forever.

The Lake and the Library is not just about a girl wishing to leave a dull life behind and finding excitement in a place that seems too good to be true, it’s an analogy of what books do, in general. They take us to places where dreams come true, where we can interact in fantasy worlds, and where spirits become real. The Library holds such magic for Ash.

When she strikes out on her own without her friends, Tabitha and Paul, to learn the secrets of a place she has always felt held a certain mystery, Ash discovers more than she bargained for. At the abandoned building, she meets an intriguing, yet mute, guy, who silently draws her away from the humdrum into a make-believe world of their own making. It’s a hurricane ride that threatens to overturn her lifeboat of reality and plunge her into the depths of madness.

I found the story fascinating. Samantha’s references to so many classics made me want to go back and immerse myself in those words, once more, and I hope it will encourage her young readers to check them out for themselves, if they haven’t already read them. Her descriptions transport the reader into the magical library and make them feel as if they are Ash, taking part in a marvelous adventure and falling in love with a boy who seems to be everything she’s been craving.

Since the Library becomes a bit of an addiction for Ash, as a reader (and a mom), I felt a certain amount of anxiety while reading, worrying how far Ash would go before she’s lost all touch with reality and what that might do to her. I would love to find out if the story affects a teen the same way or whether they’d feel like Ash and not want it to end! That shows how powerful a story this is, when I can be that drawn into the story that I feel intense motherly protectiveness towards a fictional character!

I hope you will check out The Lake and the Library and let me know what you think. Did you feel the same way I did, or did you just float along and enjoy the magic, like Ash?


The Lake and the Library book blurb:

Wishing for something more than her adventureless life, 16-year-old Ash eagerly awaits the move she and her mother are taking from their dull, drab life in the prairie town of Treade. But as Ash counts the days, she finds her way into a mysterious, condemned building on the outskirts of town—one that has haunted her entire childhood with secrets and questions. What she finds inside is an untouched library, inhabited by an enchanting mute named Li. Brightened by Li’s charm and his indulgence in her dreams, Ash becomes locked in a world of dusty books and dying memories, with Li becoming the attachment to Treade she never wanted. This haunting and romantic debut novel explores the blurry boundary between the real and imagined with a narrative that illustrates the power and potency of literacy.

About S. M. Beiko:

S. M. Beiko holds a degree in English Literature from the University of Manitoba and this is her first novel. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Crafty Wednesday

Happy ‘Hump Day’ everyone!

It’s been awhile since I shared some of my anniversary designs, so I thought I’d show you a few that I handed out at the family gathering on August 3rd.

anniversary lacy

The first card is done in the turquoise colour I love so much. I’ve used it a lot and you might recognize the patterned paper when I show off some of my other projects. I think I’m down to the very last of it, unfortunately.

Anyway, I started with a 5-1/2″ x 11″ square base of white card stock, folded in half. I cut the striped paper to match exactly (5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″), attaching it with Sookwang. Using my Cuttlebug and the ‘Fancy Labels’ cut & emboss die, I cut out the label. I sponged the embossed areas and stamped the greeting (which was from a clear acrylic stamp set of sentiments from Recollections) with aquamarine-coloured ink. Using the Spellbinders cut & emboss dies, I cut out the large and small lacy patterns, stamping through the emboss openings with the same ink pad as above.

I cut a piece of blue/green card stock measuring 1″ smaller than the card base and trimmed the corners with my corner punch. Placing the piece in my splatter box, I sprayed it with a white glitter paint to give the card stock a bit of interest. Once it was dry, I began assembling the card, starting with the blue/green card stock on top of the striped paper. I stuck the small lacy bit to the centre of the big lacy piece, attaching it all with Sookwang. The label I attached with 3-D double-sided sticky squares.

butterfly anniversary

For the second anniversary card, I used a standard size base (5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″) folded in half. I attached a 5-1/2″ x 4-1/4″ piece of blue/green flowered paper to the front with Sookwang. I like it because it has a bit of glitter to it, although that’s hard to see from the photo. Using my Cuttlebug & Spellbinders lacy oval cut & emboss die, I made the label with blue paper. Instead of inking the open embossing areas, I used an embossing tool to raise the pattern. I traced an oval, using the centre of the Spellbinder die cutter as a guide and cut it out with scissors. I then stamped ‘Happy Anniversary’ on it, using an old Stampin’ Up stamp and a Versa Mark sticky pad. I sprinkled on blue embossing powder, shook off the excess and used my heat tool to set the powder. I used a glue runner to attach the sentiment to the label. Before putting the label on the card, I stuck two wire & mesh butterflies through the holes at the top right hand corner, attaching the wire with Sookwang to the back of the label. I also attached a paper flower to the label with a yellow brad. I used Sookwang to attach the label. Finally, I tied a bow near the end of  a piece of blue & green 1/2″ ribbon and measured the length of the ribbon with the bow so it would fit the width of the card with a bit of an overhang (approximately 6″ long, not including bow). I attached a piece of Sookwang to the back of the ribbon on either side of the bow and a 1/2″ piece to each end of the card where I wanted the ribbon to go so the ends wouldn’t unravel. I stuck glue dots to the bow, then placed the ribbon across the bottom of the card, trimming any overhang.

owl anniversary

For the third card, I started with dark blue card stock, cut to the standard size (same as butterfly card). I then used my spatter box and sprayer to get the starry night effect.

While the paint dried, I utilized my Stampin’ Up Owl punch. I cut out 2 of the patterns, one from the cream coloured paper, the other from brown paper. I swapped the colours to make opposite-looking owls, attaching the pieces with either glue runner or glue dots. I also cut out several branches from the ‘Friendship’ punch (also from Stampin’ Up). The label was cut from pale blue card stock using my Cuttlebug and ‘Fancy Labels’ die & emboss plate. I sponged green ink on the exposed areas of the label and stamped ‘Happy Anniversary’ in the same ink. The stamp was the same as I used for the first card. Since I don’t yet have a Cricut to cut out such shapes for me, I used a stencil of a large circle (I think it was 3″ in diameter), which I traced, and carefully cut out the ‘moon’. Once the splatter paint was dry, I assembled the card, starting with the moon, which was attached with Sookwang. I used glue dots to attach the owls, hearts, and branches. I used 3-D squares to attach the label.

Since I did a few cards utilizing my home-made spray box, I probably should give a tutorial on how the splatter patterning is done, but not today. Hope you enjoyed this week’s cards. 🙂

Friday Friends

Since I haven’t had a whole lot of time to read and review anything new, I thought I would take the time to tell you some of the things my blogging friends have been doing.

First of all, Jennifer M. Eaton has recently been published! Congratulations on Paper Wishes, Jennifer! For those who might want a chance to win a copy of this book, pop over to her post on the subject: If you aren’t following her, yet, you must investigate her site. You might stumble upon her tips for writers, or one of her interviews by the Little Blue Lady from Mars, but make sure you don’t drink anything while you read the interviews or you’ll probably snort out your (insert beverage name here) through your nose when you laugh!

Jenny Keller Ford recently did a series on Young Adult genres and conducted a poll by young people to see what some of their favourite reads were, why they read and when. You can find the results here: . Jenny also wrote the sweetest post expounding on the virtues of dating a girl who reads. You can find it here: . Oh, and this, just hot off the presses, Jenny shares a secret with her readers – a cover release for Danielle E. Shipley’s YA novella, The Stone Kingdom. So pop on over to The Dreamweaver’s Cottage to see what else is happening.

If you want to read about all the summer fun happening in the Upper Peninsula, visit Lake Superior Spirit. Your hostess will provide you with beautiful photos and enthusiastic descriptions of life in the back woods – and she might even share some thimbleberries with you! 🙂

Roger Colby is promoting his post-apocalyptic novel This Broken Earth. It’s free for the next few days, so if you’d like to take advantage of the offer, head on over to Writing Is Hard Work for the details. While you’re there, snoop around for some great writing tips.

Today, C.B. Wentworth shared a couple of cute animal videos and a link to a very inspiring story. Normally on her blog you will find gorgeous photos of her world travels, thoughts on writing, success stories about her knitting projects and some very creative ‘Wreck My Journal’ entries.

If you want to keep up with what’s new in Canada’s Speculative Fiction field, check out Derek Newman-Stille’s blog, Speculating Canada. He always shares fascinating SF book reviews, interviews the writers behind each great SF story and discusses the genre as it applies to Canadian society.

I guess that’s it for now. Happy blog-hopping! 🙂

Crafty Wednesday

Sorry this post is rather late in the day. I was at the office of the Manitoba Writer’s Guild all afternoon, helping to sort out their extensive library. Anyway, on with the cards!


I thought I’d start with this cute feminine card with plenty of visual elements. It was based on a sketch challenge, which featured three different patterned papers, each containing 3 embellishments. There was supposed to be a musical element and one other stamped image. I used a base card of beige card stock 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ folded in half so that it opens from the bottom. Onto that, I added some old calendar/ruler paper for the background. Before attaching the rectangles over the background, I put flower embellishments on the first rectangle, attached with tiny star brads. The middle rectangle contains green flower beads attached with green jute. The last rectangle holds gem-shaped brads in an antique brass colour. The rectangles were then attached to the card base with Sookwang to make sure the heavy bead & brads would not pull the paper off the card. I used a ticket corner punch with the corner guide removed so I could take bites out of the rectangle of music paper to get a scalloped edge. The corset is from the Stampin’ Up set ‘Rue des Fleurs’. I stamped it with red ink and carefully cut around it. I attached both the music and the corset with 3-D squares.

blue magic

The above card is a whimsical concoction designed for a child using Close To MY Heart‘s ‘Magic Adventure’ stamp set. I really like this set. You may remember some of my other cards where I used the roller coaster stamps and the circus tent stamp from the same set. This time, I used the carousel horse, using black embossing powder to get the raised outline so the shiny paints I used to add colour didn’t run into the wrong places.

But let’s backtrack a bit – I began with a dark blue base measuring 5-1/2″ x 11″ folded in half to make a square card that opens from the right-hand side. I cut 4 – 2″ squares of different patterned paper and placed them around the card. I cut a light blue square measuring 4-1/2″ and a green square measuring 4″ and used a glue runner to attach them together. Around the square, I wound navy blue jute and placed a cloth-covered brad to the bottom centre, separating the strands of jute. I then attached it to the base card with Sookwang. Finally, I attached (with 3-D squares) the carousel and the sentiment, which was also from the same stamp set. I used my Versa Mark sticky pad and black embossing powder to create the sentiment.

Well, that’s all the photos I have processed from my Creative Gathering weekend. I am hoping by next week I will have processed all the pictures I took of the recent batch of birthday and anniversary cards so I can share them with you. Have any of you done anything crafty you’d like to share?

See you next Wednesday! 🙂

Sunday Interview – Jodi Carmichael

Spaghetti has Arrived!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Jodi Carmichael, author of Spaghetti is NOT a finger food (and other life lessons). If you haven’t read my review of Spaghetti, yet, you can read it here. I’ve run into Jodi on many writing-related occasions and enjoyed every encounter. I hope you will enjoy meeting her, too. Please welcome Jodi Carmichael.

Hi, Jodi! Glad you could join us, today!

To begin, would you please introduce yourself and tell us what makes Jodi Carmichael tick?

I am a children’s writer, a mother of two wildly imaginative daughters, and a very part time school secretary. I am incredibly curious about people and what motivates them to do the things they do and act the way they do. I am constantly asking, “Why?” followed by wondering, “And what if this happened…”

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Pretty much. I knew in 7th grade I wanted to be a writer but was too scared of failure to follow my writing dreams. It took my mom enrolling me in an online writing course that got me hooked. That was 7 years ago and I’ve been writing since.

I love that you are an advocate for Asperger’s Syndrome and I really enjoyed your character, Connor. What prompted you to write his story?

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons

When I wrote the first draft, Connor’s voice was very clear in my head. Once I finished it became obvious to me, that he was quite unique. I explored the possibility that he had ADHD, but it didn’t fit. I was somewhat knowledgeable of Asperger’s Syndrome, and that seemed a better fit. I then had two child psychologists review the manuscript to ensure his character traits were accurate.

How difficult was it to find a publisher and what was the process like for you?

I sent it to 6 publishers in Canada and the States prior to Little Pickle Press. One small Canadian publisher asked to read the entire manuscript after I queried with the first chapter, which was very exciting. Funny enough, I received their rejection long after I’d signed my contract with Little Pickle.

Glad it worked out so well for you! 🙂

What sorts of things have you done to promote Spaghetti?

I’ve done newspaper, TV, and Radio interviews, which were so much fun! Our local journalistic community embraced Spaghetti, which was thrilling. Early on, my publisher arranged a Twitter Spaghetti Party, which was a blast as well.

Spaghetti posters, taken at the C4 Literary Festival where we were both guests.

This past March, we ran a Spaghetti Potluck Dinner for Asperger Manitoba, which was really well attended. We expected 80 and served over 150 people. We were fortunate that DeLuca’s donated the pasta and Little Pickle Press donated book posters which we sold at the event, with all proceeds benefiting AMI. I tweet and facebook quite a lot, although as I get to the final revisions of my next book, that is falling off.

And, of course, the book launch at McNally Robinson, which is every Winnipeg author’s dream come true. We sold all but 5 copies of Spaghetti, which was totally awesome.

I do have one more promotional event coming up on Saturday, August 10th. I am reading 3 to 4 chapters of Spaghetti on MagicBlox Radio, which is an online radio show. You can follow along here:

That spaghetti party sounds awesome! Good luck with the radio interview, That sounds very exciting! 🙂

Do you only write stories for younger children or do you write for other age groups/genres?

I write the story that comes to me, regardless of age group or genre. I have a picture book that I am shopping around, a Young Adult story in revision and my next novel is an older middle grade.

Sounds like a typical writer to me! 🙂

Are you working on anything new at the moment that you would like to share with us?

Yes! My current work in progress is a Young Adult story about a 16 year old girl who is struggling with depression and a verbally abusive boyfriend. It is both funny and poignant and I absolutely adore the main character, Julia. She’s working hard to find the strength to become the young woman she’s meant to be.

Sounds like a great story! I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

And now for the fun stuff! What is your favourite comfort food?

Chocolate. Chewy caramel en-robed in chocolate. Strawberries dipped in chocolate. And cookies, as long as they are soft and as large as your face.

Please describe what your writing workspace looks like. Feel free to include a picture, if you like.

My writing space changes based on where I am. As I type this I am sitting at my dining room table at the cottage, staring out the screen door to sparkling Lake Winnipeg. In my big yellow house in Wildwood Park, I either sit at the dining room table among the kids’ homework or in my office/spare bed room upstairs next to Pink and Floyd, our gerbils.

I love the names of your gerbils! And writing at the cottage must be wonderful! 🙂

Do you have any rituals or objects that help you bring out your muse?

I sign off all internet. No facebook, twitter or email. I am VERY easily distracted, so I have to eliminate those distractions.

Yes, I know what a HUGE distraction the internet is! 🙂

Are there any social media sites you would like to share with my readers?



Twitter: @Jodi_Carmichael


Thanks for joining us, today, Jodi. Hope all my readers enjoyed our little chat. 🙂

Friday Review – Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food (and other life lessons)

Click on the picture to link to Little Pickle Press

Spaghetti Is NOT  A Finger Food is a chapter book for early readers ages 8 to 12. While I don’t normally review books aimed at this young an age level, I was intrigued by Jodi’s character. Not only that, I think this is a book that all ages can enjoy and appreciate because, I’m sure we’ve all met people like Connor.

Working with Special children within my local school division, I have come across many Connor-like kids and, sadly, have also met teachers who just don’t get kids like Connor. I love that the author, Jodi Carmichael, is donating the proceeds of her book’s posters to Asperger Manitoba and that her publisher, Little Pickle Press, produces many books that deal with similar subject matter. 

Spaghetti gives us a humourous, yet sensitive, peek into the life of a child who is dealing with some impulse control issues. Connor is a sweet little boy who makes some unfortunate choices that land him  in trouble. His teacher and principal don’t seem to be able to connect with him and always seem to be disappointed in him. Connor does have an advocate in Mrs. Rosetti, his resource councilor, who helps him understand his impulses and how to make better choices. 

The story is written from Connor’s perspective, giving the reader some delightful insight into how his brain works. I especially liked the way he innocently suggested his teacher try a particular product – an anti-wrinkle cream – that he’d seen advertised on TV because of the way her face was all scrunched up and wrinkled with stress over Connor’s antics. In this way, Jodi shows that he is not being malicious in his actions, he just hasn’t learned how to react in certain social situations, much like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

While most children with Asberger Syndrome, or any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders, are extremely intelligent, their ability to pick up on social cues is a little different from ‘the norm’ and they must learn the protocols in order to function well in our society. They need rules of conduct, very SPECIFIC rules to follow, so their actions are not considered ‘bad’ by others.  In Connor’s case, he has a vast knowledge about dogs, but can’t understand why his friend won’t let him use a stool she’s sitting on so he can reach a dog book in the library. He needs the stool because, as everyone knows, they are what one uses to stand on, unlike a chair which is used for sitting. The end result is a bit of a scuffle between the two children and, ultimately, an accident. Connor is very sorry for the consequences, but he needs Mrs. Rosetti, through the use of specifically worded questions, to figure out how to deal with a similar incident in the future. 

I think Spaghetti would be a great resource for any school because I haven’t been in any that don’t have their own versions of Connor, who are regularly misunderstood and end up in trouble if they do not have advocates such as Mrs. Rosetti standing in their corner. Teachers and classmates need to learn what makes these children tick and how to act towards them, making the educational experience better for everyone. Spaghetti, because of Jodi’s whimsical informative writing style, has won both the 2013 Gold Mom’s Choice Award and 2013 Silver Benjamin Franklin Award.

I highly recommend picking up a copy (it’s available in all formats) and getting to know Connor because you never know when you’ll meet someone just like him. Oh! And drop by on Sunday to learn more about the author, Jodi Carmichael. 🙂