Sunday, December 25, 2011

Best of 2011

Favourite picture of the year. Sled Dog Central
Top Five reads

1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
2. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
3. Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
4. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
5. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Dogsled Dreams book tour 2011. Dog race mascot came over to admire my books!

Top Five Things from this blog

1. This dogsledding video
2. My sled dogs
3. Best part of being an author - fan mail
4. Georgian Bay adventure
Announcing my book deal for Ice Dogs

Top Two Things from other people's blogs

1. Sandra Mitchell's post Eventually You'll Care Less
2. Tahereh Mafi on Being a Writer

What were some of your favourites this year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Story Siren 2011

What a year of reading! I completed my Goodreads reading challenge with 81 books! And 36 were debut's which also completes my Story Siren debut challenge.

I'm so thankful for being part of the amazing group The Elevensies. When I needed to share good news, or bad, they were there to talk me down. We supported and learned from each other, and I've made friends that will hopefully remain for my writing career.

A bonus of doing the debut challenge was it introduced me to books in genre's that I wouldn't normally read.

I've learned:
  • Dead people? - very very cool to read about! Especially if they are dressed in, you know... blood.
  • Ramadan? Yiddish? - I'm embarrassed to confess, I didn't really know much. But so glad to learn.
  • God Stones? - yeah, I'm a new and frothing fan of fantasy! Woo!
  • 1941 in the Soviet Union? - reading Ruta's masterpiece rocked me to the core. It changed me.

Here's my 2011 debut list

1. The Trouble With Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante (MG)
2. Warped by Maurissa Guibord (YA)
3. Vesper by Jeff Sampson (YA)
4. XVI by Julia Karr (YA)
5. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (YA)
6. Head Games by Keri Mikulski (YA)
7. Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner (YA)
8. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (YA)
9. Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer (YA)
10. So Shelly by Ty Roth (YA)
11. Haven by Kristi Cook (YA)
12. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (YA)
13. Clarity by Kim Harrington (YA)
14. How Lamar's Bad Prank Won Him a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Chrystal Allen (MG)
15. Illegal by Bettina Restrepo (YA)
16. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (YA)
17. The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder (YA)
18. The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless by Allan Woodrow (MG)
19. OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy (YA)
20. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (YA)
21. Memento Nora by Angie Smibert (YA)
22. Divergent by Veronica Roth (YA)
23. Possession by Elana Johnson (YA)
24. Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (YA)
25. Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sherif (YA)
26. Dead Rules by Randy Russell (YA)
27. Wither by Lauren DeStafano (YA)
28. Vanished by Sheela Chari (MG)
29. End of the Line by Angela Cerrito (YA)
30. Popular by Alissa Grosso (YA)
31. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (YA)
32. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (YA)
33. With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (MG)
34. My Very Unfairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski (MG)
35. Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough (YA)
36. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (YA)

Can't wait to get started on 2012!

Did you do this challenge? Which books rocked your world?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

ICE DOGS announcement

photo credit

Today I finally get to spill the beans and tell you my exciting news.

I've been waiting impatiently to be able to share, but now that the day is here, I'm actually a bit lost for words.

Here's someone else's words.
Deals from Publisher's Marketplace:

Children's: Young Adult
Terry Lynn Johnson's ICE DOGS, in which a 15-year old dogsled racer and sled dog owner loses her way on a routine daytime outing with her dogs; with food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods, is up to her, to Ann Rider at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's, for publication in Winter 2013, by Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).

My novel will be a real hardcover book in two years!!!

I cannot even begin to tell you how good this feels. My dream of being published with a big publisher has come true!! And I owe much to my amazing agent Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown Lit Agency.


A GIGANTIC and GRATEFUL shout out to my long-suffering crit partner PAUL GRECI

who read the manuscript about 608 times without complaint.
He is beyond awesome. He is also a spectacular, uber talented writer.

Really, a writer's most important tool is her critique partners. I also have to thank

Sue Kay Quinn
Kendare Blake
Medeia Sharif
Cynthia Chapman Willis

also my good friend, and not even a writer Jackie White  who keeps me grounded with her honesty.

I also owe a debt to the good friends I have made this year at the ELEVENSIES

See the village of support I have? I am one lucky writer! And now, thanks to my support team, I am soon to be a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt author.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Debut reading challenge

Have you signed up for this challenge? The Story Siren has the deets.

I am still doing the 2011 reading challenge. See my list here. I'm up to 33!

This is the place I'll be listing books read for 2012 challenge. There's a bucket load of fantastic books coming out next year that I can't wait for!

I'm listing the books I definitely plan to read. Then I'll go from there.

1. May B by Caroline Starr Rose
2. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
3. Chained by Lynne Kelly
4. Shadows Cast by Stars by Katherine Knutsson
5. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
6. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
7. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
8. Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hatchet cake

I couldn't resist sharing these photos with you.

My friend Christine Selinger and her son have done something that I think deserves some kind of award. Her son's favourite book is Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and for his school project, Chris decided they should use cake. Yes, this is totally edible, and indeed, was eaten that very day by the class.

Four handmade cakes, two different kinds of homemade icing, jello, three different kinds of brown sugar for the sand, all adds up to one enormously creative ode to a great book.

If you've read the book, you'll recognize items in the model. Turtle eggs. The sinking plane. Berries. The skunk. Moose, wolf, bear. The cave. Is this seriously cool or what? What do you think? Mom of the Year Award material?

close up

Front view
back view

the cake artists

Any other books made into a cake out there?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scat messaging

This is the message I received this morning from our new neighbours

click to view in all its glory
 Right at the end of our driveway - an impressive pile of wolf poop. And I mean a PILE. This can't be from just one animal, therefore this required a community effort. What does this message mean?

  • We're big so don't mess with us.
  • This is the line into our territory. You own the driveway, we own the rest.
  • Hello there, dear neighbours, here's our card. Call us.
  • We know you are dogsitting a tasty little morsel of a Chihuahua right now.
The past few days we've had lots of wolf excitement. One evening I looked out the window in time to see the dog running for her life onto the deck with a huge brown timber wolf on her tail. The wolf came right to the bottom of the stairs before he noticed me standing there, and then wheeled around and took off down the driveway.

Two nights ago the dogs and I were walking in the dark and found ourselves in the middle of the pack taking down a deer. We didn't see anything, but the noises surrounding us had me hustling home with my feeble little headlamp frantically scanning around behind us. In the morning we found the evidence of a fight to the finish. The tracks told the story of how the wolves went around downwind, and then launched the attack. The deer went down, got up, went down again. We have many, many deer in our area, so it must be a good spot for the wolves to hang for a while.


In the evenings, the pack sings. They sometimes wake us in the middle of the night. They obviously have some pups who can't sing yet, but try to make up for it by being the loudest. Sled dog pups do this too. It's hilarious to listen to.

Any wolf stories out there? Anyone care to decipher to scat code?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall training insider

If you like dogsledding, check out the 2011 Iditarod Fall E-runner. It's full of pre-race stories and great pictures of the amazing sled dogs and how they get geared up for the big race.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Giving thanks and announcing winners

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I have much to be thankful for:

my man
my job
my dogs
my home
my health
my family
my ability to smell when the milk is about to turn. It's a gift really.

and the most recent huge thing I'm thankful for, I can't talk about yet. Please stay tuned.

Now, on to the winners of my recent Elevensie Celebration Giveaway:

Winner of the YA package is Lucy D'Andrea

Winner of the MG package is Irene Latham

Winner of the MIXED BAG package is Angel Cruz

So, what do you have to be thankful for today?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cover Love

A recent new blog I found, CE HART's post on covers has inspired me.

 I LOVE book covers. I could wallpaper a room with some of the delicious art that is wrapped around books. Give me a cup of Starbucks Chai Latte and let me loose to wander around Chapters. Bliss.

I will admit to purchasing many just because of the cover.

Here are some of them:

and these:

But really, my all time favourite cover, the one that stopped me in my tracks as I was trying to leave a bookstore, was this beauty:

Have you ever discovered a new favourite author because the cover drew you in?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Six sentence Sunday

I'm jumping in to the six sentence meme.

Here's six from my own novel DOGSLED DREAMS, published by 4RV December, 2010

Chunks of ice flew off the dogs' feet and bounced on Rebecca's chest. Sometimes, more than just ice flew back.The dogs were trained to poop while they ran, as all racing sled dogs are. Rebecca kept watch for brown missiles flying in her direction. She made sure to keep her mouth closed.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway - two weeks left!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

End of Summer Elevensies Giveaway

It's that time again, where I celebrate my good fortune of getting published by giving away books! 

I'm sharing the FABULOUSNESS that is the 2011 debut author group THE ELEVENSIES.  (seriously, go check out all the amazing books. I can't believe I know these writers)

This time I'm going completely nuts giving away books in BULK. There are three packages up for grabs - some are bonus books. All you have to do is tell me which collection of books you'd like. I know, I know, the choice is TOO HARD! But life is full of choices, as all the protags in these stories demonstrate. You will just have to pick.

  • fill out the form (make sure you fill out your email, dudes! You are hard to track down.)
  • no need to follow (but I'd love if you did)
  • ends October 10, 2011 (which is Thanksgiving, Canada style)

On to the books:


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy
The End of the Line by Angela Cerrito
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Popular by Alissa Grosso
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (signed copy!)

(yes, Jay Asher is not an Elevensie, but it's a pretty awesome book)


*Vanished by Sheela Chari 
*With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton (signed copy!)
Plain Kate by Erin Bow
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

BONUS: included in this package you get stickers and bookmarks of the upcoming middle grade novel

Caroline is a peach of a lady (wait, not peach. She deserves more than a cliche. I don't even like biting into one of those - too much fuzz. It should be something really yummy like watermelon. Yeah, Caroline is a seedless watermelon) I can't wait for January 2012 when this novel in verse to comes out!


The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Seven Tears into the Sea by Teri Farley (signed copy!)
Unwind by Neil Shusterman
Ingo by Helen Dunmore
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

Please fill out the form here

edit: hey, I forgot to ask for your blog addy. If you have one, stick it on there so I can visit. Or comment on the post!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lake Superior Park kayak trip

I'm back from another awesome expedition. This time to the remote, wild coast of Lake Superior. The official Park description:

Along the eastern shore of Lake Superior is a landscape like no other. A succession of massive headlands disappears into a shining expanse of water, forming a rugged coast that stretches farther than the eye can see. The world's largest fresh water lake - deep, cold, beautiful, myth-inspiring.

Gitche Gumee slept for most of our trip allowing us to get up close to the magnificient towering cliffs and spectacular pictographs. Here's a few shots, but of course, the photos don't do it justice. Most days we planned the headlands to avoid the afternoon winds, so the sun wasn't right for good pictures. I wish everyone could experience actually being there and witness the power of nature.

Click any photo to view larger.

checking out the pictographs on the rock

heading to the Devil's Warehouse where ancient scrolls were kept in a cave

Denis contemplating the Devil's Chair, where the giant supposedly rested after stepping over the lake

self portrait of the coast

Denis checking out one of many sea caves

my view from the tent couldn't be better. Cliffs aren't bad either

three cedars growing together from rock

Only a few moments of pure terror with some interesting crossings. And an unceremonious dumping and thorough pounding of one wet Terry under a rolling surf in the first three minutes of the trip. Yeah, welcome to Superior.

What grand adventures did you have this summer? Tell me about how the simple power of the outdoors filled you up.

Three days left

Thought I'd pass along this insider scoop. The 2011 Iditarod summer raffle has 2000 tickets to sell, and they've only sold half of them. And the draw is in three days! Good odds.

Do you want to help support Iditarod 2012? How about a chance to win one of two grand prize trucks. Check it out here.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

top ten childhood reads

I got the idea for this post from a great blog I've just discovered
There's a weekly Top Ten Tuesday feature and I loved this topic.

Top Ten Childhood Reads:

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl. I've lost track how many times I read this when I was young. Then I read it to my step daughters. Twice.

2. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I've read every book in this series. Also the Pellucidar series. But this one is the classic. This is the cover I had too.

3. Red Sonja the Ring of Ikribu by David Smith and Richard Tierney. I found my original cover! Loved this!

4. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. Who doesn't have this on their list?

5. Man from Atlantis by Richard Woodley. This I read in grade nine and it instantly grabbed my imagination. I didn't see the TV series though. I'm feeling a little old with some of these covers! Sheesh!

6. Hawkmistress by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Best. Book. Ever.

7. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. This isn't the origninal cover I have, but I couldn't find that image on line.

8. The Gandalara Cycle by Randall Garrett - a 6 book series. Anyone else read these? SOOOO good!

9. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal - okay. Just when you were thinking I'm one strange cat right? Yes, I did indeed read these as a tween.

10. Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. This was later highschool, but it began many years of a pre-history reading frenzy. Too bad it took so long for the rest of this amazing series.

So. Lay it on me. What are some of your top childhood reads?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Great recent reads

As you can see by the photos I've been posting, I've had a busy summer. But now that I'm home, I'm back to reading every spare moment. Here's a quick review of some great books:

DEAD RULES by Randy Russell

LOVE this book!Complex characters where no one is as they first seem. And loved the crazy humour - real left-field things that had me laughing out loud. Kept me surprised, entertained and frustrated throughout. 

Possession by Elana Johnson

Very creative! A whole new world for the reader to enjoy. Action junkies take note. And features a hard-core female mc.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
A wild, wild ride! Brilliant. Every page had tension. AMAZING READ!

BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton
Loved the romance bits of this story. Such great characters! Mystery, romance, magic and suspense all wrapped together. Creepy and addictive. I read this a while ago, but it has stuck in my head. A good sign!

Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sherif

Great characters here. Especially Grandpa! I love to read books where I learn something new, and I must confess to not really knowing what Ramadan was. Funny and touching and brought me back to highschool and all the drama and problems of those tender years. Medeia is a contemporary Judy Blume!

Merle's Door: lessons from a free-thinking dog by Ted Kerasote (non-fiction)

Okay, as far as dog books go - this is a MUST READ! I feel changed.

Black Star Bright Dawn. by Scott O'Dell

Scott O'Dell. Need I say more? Great stuff here, of course. I bow down.

Watch for my next ELEVENSIES giveaway this fall where some of these books and more will be up for grabs.
What great books have you read recently?