Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good books and a writing conference

random photo from last summer because I've started counting down days till kayak season
Each year around this time I start hearing about amazing writing conferences, and writers getting together and partying and having FUN and I get a little jealous. Well, I've just signed up for the SCBWI Canada East conference in Niagra Falls, Ontario. The price is amazing and I've never been to Niagra Falls. I'm so excited!

Is anyone else going? I'd love to hear from you!

I'm hoping this will inspire me again to do more writing. I have been on a hiatus, but doing lots of READING. I'd like to recommend some fabulous books:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. 

Ever read a book that changes you?
This book did for me, and blew my mind with brilliant writing. Such an important story and Ruta tells it beautifully with characters that are so memorable, they feel like family. I was mesmerized from page one. And have I mentioned the WRITING? This author can WRITE! 

Illegal by Bettina Restrepo.

A story of struggle and desperate times, but somehow written with a feeling of hope. I'm left with a deep gratitude for all that I have. Beautifully written.

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen.

Such a delightful read! Lamar is charming and vulnerable and tough and sensitive and hilarious. Crystal managed to make me laugh, then cry, sometimes on the same page. Loved it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A few of my sled dogs

Today I woke to find Susan Fields had reviewed my book, DOGSLED DREAMS on her blog. WOW! I'm so happy that she enjoyed the book. And so did her kids! Susan mentioned how much she liked it when I posted a picture of one of my real dogs from the book. Here's a few more.

Doppler with some admirerers
Tarzan - unfortunately I don't have any pictures with him smiling
Doppler (bottom), Ulu, (left) and Orbit (smiling) as pups in the dog truck
On the stake out line at camp. Denali is the big white guy carefully not sitting on his straw
giving rides. Apollo and Soho in lead
Fall training. Blaze in lead. Doppler and Tarzan in point. Ulu and Apollo in Swing (or Team position). Orbit and Belle in Team. Elsie and Denali in Wheel


dogs howling on the stake out line

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amazing dogs - amazing race

Must watch videos of Iditarod dogs in action from the official Iditarod Insider site.

Montage ONE

Montage TWO

Do these videos bring a lump to your throat? For some reason, I get very emotional watching how gorgeous and true the dogs are. And the dramatic music caps it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


WOW! I'm thrilled at how popular this contest was. ELEVENSIE BOOKS are feeling the love.

I'll be doing another mega contest for Elevensie books in the summer as I continue my pay-it-forward project.

And now I have even more reason to be thankful - my publisher has just informed me that DOGSLED DREAMS is the best selling title the company has had!  THANK YOU to everyone who has helped support me!

The following people have won

Jackie White has won a copy of UNEARTHLY

 Pamela Green has won a copy of THE IRON WITCH

Donna Earnhardt has won a copy of HEAD GAMES

Bethany has won a copy of SO SHELLY

Deb Marshall has won a copy of HAVEN

Mindy Crump has won a copy of RIVAL

YAY to the winners!

and the bonus books:

Rose Green has won a copy of A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE

Meredith Miller has won a copy of DOG GONE

Sherrie Peterson has won a copy of PERILOUS

Congratulations everyone. Make sure you check back for more contests and outdoor fun and photos!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Congratulations Amy Fellner Dominy!

My beautiful and talented friend, fellow Elevensie, and agent sister, Amy Fellner Dominy author of the upcoming OyMG, Walker and Company, May 2011, has sold her second teen novel!

Publisher's Marketplace announcement:

Author of the forthcoming OyMG, Amy Fellner Dominy's AUDITION AND SUBTRACTION, in which a 14-year-old girl faces competition in her school band from the new boy, who could take away not only her spot in District Honor Band, but also her best friend in a story of shifting friendships, divided loyalties and unexpected romance, again to Stacy Cantor Abrams at Walker, for publication in Fall 2012, by Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).


Saturday, March 12, 2011

SNOW! and other things almost as awesome

We've been hit with snow this week - little late for the two dogsled races that had to be cancelled, but just in time for March Break.
Tanzer on watch

"would you get off the blog and come snowshoeing already!"

about 30 cm more yesterday!

I haven't been writing as much recently, but I call this time in between "percolating". I'm also doing lots of reading. GREAT books lately. Here's a few paranormal suggestions:

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Haven by Kristi Cook
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Warped by Maurissa Guibord

And a story that I LOVED - one of my absolute favourite reads - I can't even talk about. It's a manuscript by my fabulous critique partner, Paul Greci. 

 Have you ever read a manuscript that you were so excited about you just wanted to tell the world?


Lastly, I will be in CHAPTERS bookstore in Sudbury this Wednesday for a presentation and signing. Please come by and  say hello if you can!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

An Iditarod story

Several years ago, I handled for a musher in the Iditarod, Stan Zoray. For me, being in Anchorage surrounded by dogs and mushers was a little like going to the red carpet for the Academy Awards. So many famous mushers! Everywhere I turned, OMG - there's Dee Dee Jonrowe! There's Charlie Boulding! I even managed to get a picture of me standing beside my favourite author and musher, Dave Olsen. (except at the exact moment the photographer snapped the picture, Dave's dogs needed his attention, and he bent down to them. So I proudly show my photo of me and Dave Olsen's butt)

Fellow blogger Kim Kircher was lucky enough to be at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod yesterday in Anchorage, Alaska. Check out her awesome post about the sites and stories

To follow the teams, or to read more, go check out the Iditarod Official Website. Or for indepth coverage including the actual start today in Wasilla at 2pm check out Eye on the Trail.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Best part of being an author, and a challenge

First, I have to show you what I watched this morning while having breakfast:

My dog watched for a while, then shrugged her shoulders and went back to her squeaky toy. She's seen this show before.

Now, allow me to share with you what I think is the best part of being an author. Here are a few awesome emails I've been receiving from young readers of DOGSLED DREAMS.
note: some are editted to take out spoilers and I've replaced the name with the first initial

Dear Ms Johnson,

I really liked your book "Dogsled Dreams" and really liked how you described the characters. My favourite dog would be Apollo, because I think Apollo is a good dog.
I thought the book was REALLY FUNNY, interesting, and sometimes surprising. Sincerely J (gr. 5/6)

Dear Ms. Johnson,
I loved your book Dogsled Dreams. the dogs love running and stuff like that. I would love to try dogsledding. It sounds fun.
It was funny when the teacher slipped and landed on the pups’ pee. And I’m just like Rebeca I do those things and say those words !

Dear Ms. Johnson,
I love your book "Dogsled Dreams". I thought your characters were fun and adventurous.
My favourite characters in "Dogsled Dreams" are Rebecca, Apollo, Rebecca’s dog team and Rebecca’s dad. But my favourite character would have to be Rebecca. She was exiting!
I probably like her so much because I am a girl too!
I liked it because of the thrill. It made me nervous exited and worried.
K Grade 6

Dear Ms. Johnson,
I loved your book Dogsled Dreams sooooo much. I think it is the best book our teacher has read so far. I am going to read all your books.

My favourite dog is Doppler it is also Rebecca’s favourite dog. The book is so funny, I really liked the part when Rebecca and her dad went to the school to show the dogs to little kids and the dogs ran outside the classroom and to the hallway and one of the dog peed in the hallway and made the teacher slip, that was hilarious.
I think you write awesome books and I cant wait to read them all.
Sincerely, Y Grade 5

Dear Ms. Johnson,
I loved your book, Dog Sled Dreams. My favourite part was when the teacher slipped on the pile of pee. It was so funny. Your book was so cool. I loved it so much because it also had humor. One thing is that I hate Robin, she is so bad.
S Grade 5

Dear Ms. Johnson,.
I thought your book was interesting, EXTREMELY funny, and sometimes surprising.
My favourite part is when Rebecca and her dad brought the puppies to school and they went to the bathroom on the floor. Then the teacher slipped and landed in the puddle the puppy made.
My favourite dogs are Tarzan, Doppler, Apollo, and Blaze.

Do you actually have a dog named Apollo? And do you race dogs yourself?
Your #1 fan
E. Grade 5

LOVE ALL OF THESE! And yes, Emma, Apollo was my leader for many years. Here he is:

And finally, I know I've already posted a cell phone pict, but please indulge me again. And to make it worth your while - here's a challenge -

if you find my book in your own bookstore, send me a photo and I'll send you a YA or MG book. Simple as that!

And so -  a few pictures that I can't stop looking at and grinning:

 Cole's bookstore. bottom left - that's me!
Chapters bookstore - holy crap!!!

Don't forget to enter my Insanely Mega giveaway. Nine winners! Nine fabulous books up for grabs.