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This is What the Essence of Reading Sounds Like  (May 26, 2015)  Earlier this month, I took an incredible, whirlwin ...    On Authors for Indies Day, Please Support Your Local Bookshop!  (April 21, 2015)  Saturday, the 2nd of May is Canada’s first ...    An Interesting Time for Train Travel in the UK and Japan  (April 12, 2015)  You might file this under Things In Which Only I&# ...    Spock, Science Fiction, and Me  (February 28, 2015)  The death of Leonard Nimoy was sad news. There ar ...    The Creature Department Nominated for the 2015 Silver Birch Award  (January 19, 2015)  Happy 2015, everybody. The year has started well f ...    The Wonder of the Webcam: Tips for Virtual School Visits  (January 12, 2015)  Because I live in London, England and much of my ...    Out Today: The Creature Department, GOBBLED BY GHORKS  (November 13, 2014)  NEWS! NEWS! Today is the day the sequel to The Cre ...    The Vancouver Writers Festival, 21-23 Oct  (September 15, 2014)  Good news everyone! Next month, I’ll be appe ...    Nagasaki, Japan: My Favourite Bits  (August 18, 2014)  It’s been quite a while since my last post. I ...    Enchantium Gas is Real (Tell Me Something I Didn’t Know)  (May 8, 2014)  This morning I read an article about a “qu ...    Canadian-UK Young Adult Literary Salon  (April 12, 2014)  On 7 May 2014, the Canadian High Commission is hos ...    Happy World Read Aloud Day!  (March 5, 2014)  The first Wednesday of March is World Read Aloud ...    Blues for Zoey is published—today  (January 28, 2014)  Good news everyone: Today is the day Penguin/Razo ...    The Greatest / Saddest / Oddest Events of 2013  (January 10, 2014)  Happy New Year, everyone. Welcome to the year two- ...    Book Trailer for Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff (with lemmings)  (December 5, 2013)  Okay. So, yes. Technically, I’m a bit late w ...   
VOL. Fri 29 May 2015

This is What the Essence of Reading Sounds Like

Earlier this month, I took an incredible, whirlwind trip to Canada. It was fortuitous, exciting, inspiring, bittersweet—all the stuff a good trip ought to be. Here's why: 1. Fortuitous: At the start of 2015, if you had asked me if I would be in Canada by spring, I would have said, "Unlikely." Then a few disparate stars lined up and things changed. First, The Creature Department was nominated for the Silver Birch award, and then I found out my father, whom I don't see much, would be in Toronto around the same time. So...I hopped on a plane. 2. Exciting: The Forest of Reading children's book festival is always exciting! In my very unscientific study of the world's literary fest

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On Authors for Indies Day, Please Support Your Local Bookshop!

Saturday, the 2nd of May is Canada's first ever Authors for Indies Day, when authors will celebrate independent booksellers—by visiting them in person, giving readings, perhaps even hand-selling a book or two. The concept is simple. Independent booksellers face many challenges. The trend of the embattled indie is ubiquitous, observed not only in Canada, but also in the UK and the US. It only stands to reason that authors lend their support. We not only rely on booksellers to sell our wares, but we also rely on them to foster and buttress a literate society. As for me, I'm very fortunate because I'll be in Toronto for the Forest of Reading Children's Book Festival and Authors f

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The Creature Department Nominated for the 2015 Silver Birch Award

Happy 2015, everybody. The year has started well for the crew of The Creature Department, one of the books shortlisted for this year's Silver Birch Award, part of the Forest of Reading Festival. As ever, it's an honour to be selected, and to appear on a list alongside so many wonderful children's authors. But wait, it gets better. The awards ceremony is in Toronto in May and guess what—I'll be there! I'll be in southern Ontario in the first couple of weeks in May. While I'm there, I'll be available to present at schools and libraries (for more on that, please contact the Authors Booking Service). Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and perhaps making so

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An Interesting Time for Train Travel in the UK and Japan

You might file this under Things In Which Only I'm Interested, but if you're a bit of a train-geek like me, then by all means read on. I wouldn't call myself a genuine trainspotter because a) I'm not, and b) trainspotting as a serious hobby is probably taking it a bit far, but now and again I do spot small but significant junctions of train news. Junctions. See what I did there? Train-geek! This past month marked the ends of two iconic passenger trains, one on each side of the east and west extremes of Eurasia. First, there was the retiring of British Rail's hallowed and quite wonderful Intercity 125. Much ink was spilled over its impending replacement by the Hitachi Class 800.

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Spock, Science Fiction, and Me

The death of Leonard Nimoy was sad news. There are very few actors who spend their entire careers so closely associated with a single character—and Spock was a great one. I still remember the first time I saw Leonard Nimoy interviewed, how ironically alien and unnatural it was to see him without pointy, prosthetic ears. His death brought back a lot of fond memories of growing up watching reruns of Star Trek's original series. Spock's character will always have particular appeal to me. Being quite a mixed bag myself, I couldn't help but feel akin to his multi-ethnic (multi-species?) birth. Star Trek also reminds me of the way science-fiction, with its limitless possibilities

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The Wonder of the Webcam: Tips for Virtual School Visits

Because I live in London, England and much of my professional life as a children's and YA author happens in the North America, I often do virtual school visits via Skype and Facetime. Regardless of what a technophile may tell you, I wouldn't quite call virtual visits a perfect, painless substitute for an in-person presentation (nothing's as good as interacting with readers in person), but that doesn't mean virtual visits don't work. In fact, they can be great fun and allow to connect with readers you would never otherwise meet. The important thing is making them run smoothly. Here's what I've learned to help make that happen... 1. Test Your Connection Beforehand By this point i

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BLUES FOR ZOEY
“A wonderful coming-of-age story”


CREATURE DEPARTMENT
“A feast for the imagination”


PRINCE PUGGLY OF SPUD & THE KINGDOM OF SPIFF
“Ought to enchant readers, whether they are fashion plates or reprobates”