More visits to schools and communications from readers!

I have been successful in donating copies of my books to most of the schools in Calgary where I taught. You have seen the donation to John Ware Jr. High. I also dropped a book off at Sir John A. MacDonald Jr. High but nobody was there to have a photo taken. Since then I visited Thomas B. Riley Jr. High, and Huntington Hills Elementary. I attach the photos here.

The other schools I need to visit are Keeler Elementary, Buchanan Elementary and Cambrian Heights Elementary. They have not responded to my query yet.

My thanks to my friend Phyllis who sent me a gift card to buy two copies of my novel to donate to schools. Thanks to her, John Ware and SJAM got copies for their libraries.

Just this month I heard from a boy in Holland who was doing a book assignment using my novel. He wanted information about the author so I sent him some. I also heard from a woman in USA who is teaching The Holocaust in her classroom. She gave the book a glowing report and it’s in her library at her school now.

This book experience keeps going almost a year now since it was published. There is a Jewish Book Festival in Vancouver in February and I am a “featured author” in their brochure! I may be speaking at the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners in the spring. The awards ceremony for Forest of Reading is in May. And people are asking me about another book. Not sure there is anything that is as much a labour of love like this book was for me. I like the idea of writing through letters because I am a veteran and enthusiastic letter-writer. Maybe a book called Letters to My Mother might happen. I have a large stack of letters I wrote my mom; she kept them all!

Right now I am trying to do virtual visits with teachers in Ontario to talk to the students who are reading the novel for Forest of Reading. If you are reading this and know Ontario schools involved with Forest of Reading, tell them I am available. I’ve also let the CBE know I will speak to classrooms.

Well, better go and do something else with my day now. Here are the photos. And one with a note from the USA teacher. DSC03937 (1).jpgDSC03941.jpgfrom USA teacher.jpg

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Donation to John Ware Jr. High

My friend Phyllis gave me a gift certificate for Owl’s Nest Books with strict instructions to buy two of my novels and donate them to schools of my choice. On December 13, I bought the books and delivered them to the principal of John Ware Jr. High, where I taught from 2000-2002.

After that, I took the second copy and gave it to the librarian at Sir John A. MacDonald Jr. High where I taught from 1998-2000. I’ve emailed the other schools where I taught to arrange more donations to their libraries. That will be done in the new year.

Here is a photo of David Ball, principal at John Ware Jr. High and yours truly with the novel donation. It was taken just outside of my former classroom!

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Catching up…

As a result of the Jewish Book Festival in Calgary, the novel When We Were Shadows made #3 on the best seller list for Saturday December 15. This was due to selling out the book at the Festival. More books were brought in and they sold at the festival and then at Owl’s Nest Books the next week. The list is compiled by three independent bookstores in Calgary and is according to how many books are sold. Festivals are good for that!

The Vancouver Jewish Book Festival is in February and I will be there Feb. 8 – 16. Hope to be able to do some signings as well as the 5 minute talk that Sunday morning, Feb. 10. It will be a nice holiday in Vancouver nevertheless.

Ray, a fellow White Hatter, invited me to her book club in November. There were nine women there, all with copies of When We Were Shadows. Lots of discussion and good food. As an aside, keeping with my theory that there are only 2 degrees of separation with Saskatchewanians, I met 2 women from Makaroff, which was really close to where I lived as a child – Togo Saskatchewan. And we knew a family in common. Small world!

Now when people ask me the age range for the book, I say “middle-school to middle-age”.

 

Whirlwind last few months!

Since the publication of When We Were Shadows, I feel I have been on a whirlwind journey. Almost 1000 bookmarks have been distributed on buses, in supermarkets, in letters, at launches, on airplanes, in libraries, bookstores, malls and to friends and relatives. Not sure how many books have been sold to this date, but I am hearing of more and more people I don’t know who have the book and want me to sign it. So nice! And adults are reading it for book clubs, and inviting me to their club times.

On May 16 there was a launch in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson’s Books and they served their wonderful hummus. Relatives and friends helped me celebrate the novel. Not only did many of my books sell, but I got my friend’s book that was on the shelf and told my audience about it as well. Some of her books (At This Juncture by Rona Altrows)were also sold!

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The dates of my launches were significant dates. The Calgary launch was on my late brother Ben’s birthday. The launch in Winnipeg was my late pen pal’s birthday. The one in Edmonton was my boyfriend’s late mother’s birthday.

Edmonton launch was on June 6 at Audreys (no apostrophe) Books. It was very crowded and people surprised me by attending from out of town. I never got any food because I was too busy signing books but it was a great event. I saw so many friends and cousins. There never seems to be enough time to just visit!

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In July I had a Saturday signing at Cafe Books in Canmore. I love the cozy atmosphere of the spot. Many people came in and good conversations ensued. The bookstore was very supportive and had great advertising. While there I bought a necklace that says “I even love the smell of books”. Here are Julie, a friend, and her daughters.

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I flew to Saskatoon later in July and then drove to Kamsack SK where I had a reading at the public library, where I used to borrow books, but now in a different location. So many friends attended, and almost everyone bought a book. A highlight of the evening was that my friend Colleen got someone to bake cookies that looked like books and had the title, and my name on the covers! It was a joyous night, and beyond my wildest expectations.

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The next day I went to Yorkton SK to do a signing at Coles Books. That was fun as I could call over people who were with their children and hand out bookmarks. I even met the aunt of a former colleague! Small world! This was also where I had my first face-to-face with a Holocaust denier. I was shocked and virtually blocked out everything he was saying. I stared him down until he slunk away. It was unnerving to say the least!

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Once home in August I had a signing at Dalhousie Station Indigo on August 4. There were  a good number of books sold and signed, and lots of great conversations. My former student and her adorable little boy came by to get their book signed. A fellow White Hatter stopped by. Once again I met nice people.

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In October there was supposed to be a signing at Coles in Penticton but it didn’t materialize so my sister-in-law hosted her book club one afternoon and we discussed the book, the process and its effect on people. What a lovely intimate gathering. Thank you Laurie!

Squeezed into the launches, readings, and signings, I continued to market the book on Facebook and twitter and by word of mouth. Shameless is a word that comes to mind. I have found as many reviews as I can and posted them. I send them to my publisher who uses them on their timeline.

This month, October, the novel was short-listed as a finalist for the Red Maple non-fiction award for Forest of Reading in Ontario, sponsored by Ontario Library Association.  What an honour! What a surprise! I am hoping to “visit” classrooms over the next months using Skype or Face Time because I can’t get to the actual schools if I live in Calgary. Looking forward to sharing with the readers and telling them about the process of writing and reading and the journey that got me here.

Coming up on Nov. 11 is a talk I am giving at the Signal Hill Library in Calgary for Remembrance Day. It will be about the novel and its telling of the story of one family and how the Resistance helped save lives in Holland.

From Nov. 11 – 18 the novel will be for sale at the Winnipeg Jewish Book Festival. I can’t be there to sit with the novel but will send the organizers bookmarks.

On November 25 I am speaking at the Calgary Jewish Book Festival in Calgary, and will be sitting and signing my book there as well as one night (November 18)at the Jewish Film Festival.

On February 10, I am part of a group of authors at the Vancouver Jewish Book Festival doing an activity called “quickies” where we promote our books within a 3 minute time limit. A couple of days I’ll sit and sign there as well. So drop by if you live in Winnipeg, Calgary or Vancouver!

The Festival of Reading will involve, hopefully, some virtual visits to schools in Ontario, and possibly a workshop done virtually as well. I have a steep learning curve ahead of me to get acquainted with Adobe Connect so I can connect with those students. Every day brings a new surprise and information about the involvement in the program. It will be my life for the next 7 months. Trying to void some days so I can get time to myself for a whole day, uninterrupted. But there are always bookmarks to give away,  people who want advice about their writing,  coffee conversations to be had and of course, letters to be written. So happy that I have my health and energy to buoy me on this sea of wonder.

 

 

The Calgary launch

April 29, Ben’s birthday, and the first launch of my novel When We Were Shadows. He would have been proud of his big sister!

The launch was at Owl’s Nest Books in Calgary. They ordered about 40 books for the launch I think, but some sold beforehand so there were only about 15-20 left for 80 people! Books were depleted before the book talk even began.

It was an experience like no other! I will remember this launch forever because there were so many people I’ve met through my life in Calgary. Fifty said they would come so chairs were set up, but 80 showed up! People must not know what RSVP means anymore; but even so, it was a delight to see everyone. For weeks after though, I would realize that someone that was there never got to my signing table and I never knew they were even there. Apologies if you are reading this.

Seeing all the people and signing their books resulted in a very long line and a late departure. So much to say to people and find out about what they’ve been doing. I should have had a guest book for them to sign. If any of you are reading this, contact me and we can get together. I am going to try and attach some photos from the launch. This is all new to me, so bear with the novice.

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