Speed Dating With My Daughter

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Who can resist gourmet cupcakes? Yummy!

Book promotion comes in all shapes and sizes. Signing books at a bookstore or doing a presentation at a school, library, or literary festival are all par for the course when it comes to getting the word out about a new book. This week, though, Dani and I took part in a less common book promotion, a speed dating event at a gathering of book reps and booksellers.

Imagine a room (actually, a quasi room, more like a space partitioned off from a rather raucous party behind a not-exactly-soundproof folding divider) in which are placed half a dozen large, round tables. At each table, there are five or six booksellers from various places in British Columbia. The booksellers look a little weary – they have been looking at catalogues, ordering books, and talking to book reps since 9 am. By the time our event starts, it’s almost 6pm. Half a dozen piles of books are stacked on the tables and half a dozen anxious authors stand, one in front of each table. Don’t think about that too hard. It isn’t all that easy to stand in front of a round table.

The format works like this. When the coordinator says ‘Go!’ all the authors begin to talk about their books. Because the room is small and there is a party going on beside us on the other side of the partition, we need to yell at the top of our lungs to be heard. Even so, the booksellers need to lean forward to hear what we are saying.

Dani and I are presenting together as we are co-authors of Birthdays: Beyond Cake and Ice Cream. To make things a little more festive (and because we are not beneath bribery to get the attention of the booksellers), we also deliver a plate of gourmet miniature cupcakes to the table as we begin, one cupcake earmarked for each member of our tiny audience. Because we have very little time to move between tables, we’ve pre-stacked napkins and bookmarks to hand out along with the cupcakes. Because Dani is the goddess of themed activities, the cupcakes are beautifully displayed on paper party plates and she and I are wearing matching party hats.

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Once the timer starts, we have exactly five minutes to do our spiel (including time to pass around those cupcakes). We introduce ourselves (people regularly call me Dani and Dani Nikki. Fortunately, we both answer to both names). We explain how the idea of the book came to be (Dani earns full credit for this one. Birthdays all dates back to an amazing birthday she had in Japan). We then take turns highlighting what’s in each chapter. We’ve picked some nifty factoids to share (about bullet ants in Brazil, coating birthday celebrants in flour, water, and eggs in Indonesia, and what happens on Adults’ Day in Japan).

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Dani in Japan the year she turned 20.

To make things extra challenging, we leave 45 seconds for me to smoothly segue from birthday parties to traumatic climbing experiences, which then leads to the fastest-ever description of Deadpoint, my new climbing memoir. Just because I have two books out this season doesn’t mean I get twice the time to talk about them.

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At precisely five minutes, the coordinator stops the clock and all the authors must move to the next table and do it all again. We repeated this until all the authors had spoken to all the booksellers.

You could say it was all a tad stressful. Dani and I both left feeling a bit hoarse and nursing splitting headaches. I can’t even imagine how the poor booksellers were feeling! That said, it was a fantastic way to introduce ourselves and the new books to a whole lot of amazing, hard working, what-would-we-do-without-them booksellers.

Luckily for the rest of you, there’s no reason to have to listen to me and Dani shout about the new books. All you have to do is visit your local bookseller and ask nicely and they will happily order copies in for you. If you don’t have a bookstore in your town, that is a bit sad, but not the end of the world. You can always order online or head into your local public library.

 

 

Two Book Birthdays in the Same Week!

When it rains, it pours, as they say… As if having one book come out this week wasn’t exciting enough, the latest in the Orca Origins series arrived today! Birthdays: Beyond Cake and Ice Cream is a collaboration with my talented daughter, Dani. Dani and I also wrote Take Shelter together and, in fact, have another in […]

via Two Book Birthdays in One Week! — darkcreekfarmdotcom

New Cover Revealed

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It’s always exciting when we get to see a new cover for the first time. Birthdays: Beyond Cake and Ice Cream will be out in March of next year and is part of the Orca Origins series of non-fiction titles for kids. It was lots of fun to work with my daughter, Dani on this project, particularly when it came time to dig through family archives to find appropriate photos for the personal anecdotes.

Thanks to the team at Orca for creating such a purdy book!

When it Rains…

 

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Manuscript page from Deadpoint, a novel for reluctant teen readers set on the side of a mountain. 

Busy doesn’t even begin to describe what’s on the writing to-do list these days! As sometimes happens, two manuscripts have landed back on my desk for editing at the same time – both with similar deadlines. The first is Deadpoint in the Orca Sports series, a novel for reluctant tween readers. I’ve done a couple of these before (Venom and Razor’s Edge – both novels set in the world of horse racing).

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Deadpoint is about climbing (not much of a surprise there, given how much climbing I’ve been doing over the past year or so… )

The second book is a collaboration with my daughter, Dani. She and I worked on Take Shelter together (which is doing very well – we will be in Vancouver at the Red Cedar Gala on May 7th as the book was nominated for a Red Cedar Award – very exciting!!). Our next project is in the Orca Origins series and is all about birthdays – the history of birthday celebrations, how we celebrate birthdaystake shelter cover in different parts of the world as well as some personal stories about memorable birthdays in our family… We’ve been having a lot of fun doing the research and finding suitable photos that might accompany the text. We are well into the edits now, which is a good thing because next on the list for the same series is a book about Christmas.

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80 candles for Dad’s birthday – yep, he’s going to be in the new book about birthdays!

At the same time, I’m beavering away on two other books – one, an adult memoir about the nature of personality and what happens when someone develops Pick’s Disease (the type of early onset dementia my mother had) and a non-fiction book for teens and pre-teens tentatively called The Young Activists Handbook. 

In other news, Holiday House in the US has picked up a picture book manuscript which combines the two subjects of baseball and bricklaying… because those two topics fit together very naturally, don’t you think? They are currently selecting an illustrator and I’m pretty excited to see who that might be!

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There’s also another climbing-themed project being considered by another publisher – can’t say anything more about that yet as nothing has been finalized, but suffice it to say I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to find ways to write about the climbing bug which has so thoroughly infected me!