Thu, Oct
Thu, Oct 19, 2017

Off to Ottawa


Erin and I are off on a working vacation/anniversary trip to Ottawa, returning to Kitchener on Monday. Thanks to the grandparents for stepping in to look after the kids and Luna. Erin has been invited to the city as part of the Ottawa Teen Authors Festival. She’ll be doing two school visits tomorrow and attending an event at the main branch of Ottawa’s library on Saturday afternoon. We took advantage of the festival comping Erin’s hotel room by having me buy a VIA Rail ticket to accompany. We’re looking forward to our time working and visiting this beautiful city.

While we were on our way, we ran into fellow local author Kristen Ciccarelli, whose debut novel, The Last Nasmara is being featured at the conference. Her publishers paid to fly her down from Pearson Airport, and she was using VIA Rail and the UP Express to access the airport. Personally, I think we got the better deal by taking the train all the way, but that’s just my opinion. We walked her to the UP Express stop and, having a little time before catching our connecting train to Ottawa, went to the lounge “UPstairs” from the UP station for lunch.

I have to say, I think we’ve found an excellent spot to stay and write when we’re stuck in downtown Toronto for a couple of hours. The place wasn’t too busy, but the food was good, and they allowed you to lounge. They even offer power sockets for laptops, and they weren’t pushy about us sticking around. It doesn’t have a direct view of the trains, but it does overlook the loading platform at the UP Express station, so it’s a great place to sit and people-watch.

Sat, Oct
Sat, Oct 14, 2017

On Sobey's Marvel Promotion


So, my local grocery store is running a promotion where, if you spend more than $30, you get one Marvel minifigurine.

Whether you want it or not.

A bunch are pictured above.

You know, I think it was much cooler when you got to save up stickers to buy a kitchen knife set from Jamie Oliver…

Fri, Oct
Fri, Oct 13, 2017

The Anti Cookie Monster


This sign display at my local Sobey’s calls this an “Oreo Cookie Frog”, but I know better. I mean, just look at it: this is a demon cookie from the Cookie Monster’s world that would eat him.

Henson Company, write this up.

Tue, Oct
Tue, Oct 10, 2017

Hell Candy


Spotted at the Crossroads Restaurant and Merchantile Exchange near Elmira, Ontario earlier this month.

Years ago, when Erin and I were moving into our first apartment, Erin pulled out a package of liquorice and offered me one. What she didn’t tell me that this was Dutch Liquorice. Unsweetened. And salty. She parlayed my reaction (which included the phrase, “Ew! It’s stuck to my teeth!”) into a story she wrote later on, so I guess that’s okay. I actually quite like black liquorice, but I can’t fathom why people would eat it without a healthy dose of sugar. But, that’s the Dutch for you, I suppose. Centuries of holding back the Atlantic Ocean must do something to their attitudes about pleasure.

Fast forward to today, where I spot this. It’s liquorice. It’s Dutch (apparently). It’s stuffed with hot peppers. And it’s designed to stick to your teeth.

They eat these recreationally, folks.

And that’s how I know for sure that the Netherlands will never sink beneath the waves.

Sat, Oct
Sat, Oct 7, 2017

Unboxing my Aurora Award


When I told my folks about Icarus Down winning the Aurora Award for Best YA, my father-in-law Michael asked that there was a trophy. I said that there was and he talked about it in terms of like a sports trophy, with a cup, or a player holding a book. It was all in good fun, but it did give me a bit of a revelation: writers trophies are not shaped like sports trophies. There’s no cup to drink champagne out of. On the contrary: writers’ awards, if they are trophies, are shaped like bookends.

Which is appropriate. And an inducement to get more awards. Since, after all, how else are we going to manage all of the books we buy?

But, seriously, the Prix Aurora Awards trophy is a wonderful work of art, and it arrived earlier this month thanks to the efforts of the awards’ administrator Clifford Samuels. Erin kindly took some photographs while I unboxed it:


The package arrives well padded, in a box.


Included in the box is the winner’s envelope and a nice note.


And the winner is… (which I’m told was read out at HalCon by author guest of honour Tamora Pierce, which I’m extra chuffed about.)


The Prix Aurora Awards also offers a very nice pin, which I now have in my computer bag.

And the award itself is above. A very fine piece of art, and one which I am proud to display on my shelf. Thanks again to the organizers of the Prix Aurora Awards for making this possible, and congratulations again to all the winners and the nominees.

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