Third Blog Birthday; 1000th Blog Post and News

Now that the cheque is in hand, I can give you the other half of the big news I started to tell you about two weeks ago. It gives me great pleasure to announce that The Young City has been awarded a Writers’ Reserve Grant from the Ontario Arts Council.

The Writers’ Reserve Grant works like this: the Ontario Arts Council gives out a set amount of money each year to a number of publishers whose job it is to distribute it to deserving Ontario-based writers. We writers put forward grant proposals, talking briefly about a project that could benefit from a little money and including some sample pages (you can see my sample pages here). The publishers pour through the applications and award grants to those they see as having the greatest merit.

Although a number of small publishers administer the doling out of grants, the grant comes from the Ontario Arts Council. If a publisher decides that your project is worth a grant, you get the money with few obligations. You have to specify an amount that you want while making the application (somewhere between $1000-$5000), and the publisher can recommend to the Arts Council that you should receive that amount, or some lesser amount. The publisher may not recommend that you receive anything above the amount you state.

The money buys you a little time to work on your project. You are not required to publish your work through the publisher that gave you the grant, and the publisher is under no obligation to publish you once your work is finished. About a dozen publishers participate and you can make an application to each and every one of them — however, some publishers deal only with poetry projects, other with historical literature, and still more with childrens’ literature, and so on, You can receive more than one grant, but you may not receive more than $20,000 per a calendar year, and almost nobody receives that.

Oh, and a progress report is due near the end of the year to ensure that the grant money was money well spent, although the Arts Council isn’t going to take your grant money away if your book isn’t published. If and when your project is published, you must acknowledge the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council in your work.

Erin is no stranger to these grants, but I am. This one, from Dundurn Books, represents my very first. I managed to apply on the basis of my rather thin publishing history and I made five applications to childrens’ book publishers, three of whom turned me down flat before Dundurn gave me the nod.

One more publisher still to go.

It may seem strange that The Young City should win such a grant, given that it’s the third of a trilogy of as yet unpublished books, and I still haven’t heard back from my latest publisher candidate about Rosemary and Time. However The Young City is my current project. Also, if Rosemary and Time isn’t published, The Young City can be reworked into a stand alone novel.

As you can guess, the news has me breaking out the happiness dance. I am currently working on renovating chapters four through six of The Young City, fixing a number of structural problems which are slowing the pace of the book.

I may yet make a go of this writer thing. Wish me luck.

Happy Birthday!!

It was part coincidence and part desire that this, my 1000th post, should fall just four days before my blog’s third birthday. Back in November, I thought it would be neat if the two events could occur simultaneously, but my posting rate was well ahead of such a schedule. The decision to slow down the pace, however, was not related to uniting these two milestones. The arrival of temp work, the final push of the :Trenchcoat Farewell Project:, as well as a few freelance writing and web design commissions meant something had to give. That was this blog.

And the fact that the two events do not occur on the same day (my first blog post was February 13, 2002) should also prove that the slow-down in pace wasn’t related. I just couldn’t stand to go more than three consecutive days without posting, and thus I miss the unification by two days.

So, why not just unite things anyway? Who says celebrations have to be limited to just one day? And as we are in the midst of celebrations for the Chinese Year of the Rooster, how about a few days’ celebration?

Google Maps Unleashed

Hat tip to Geek News Central who reports that Google Maps has been unleasehd to the public. This competitor to Mapquest offers a fully click and draggable interface for all IE and Mozilla-based users (Safari users are, unfortunately, out of luck, for now).

Google’s interface rocks, I must say. They were able to easily drop me down to my house with a simple search, and their directions came up quickly and easily. However, the directions themselves leave a lot to be desired.

Consider the trip it recommends between Kitchener and Des Moines (which I know like the back of my hand, now). It adequately tells you that you should cross into Michigan via the Bluewater Bridge and Highway 402, but that’s about all it does well. To access the 401 from Kitchener, it recommends taking Highway 7 out to Stratford, taking me miles out of the way on country roads. Its route through Chicago is even weirder. Rather than stick to I-80, which leaves the city quickly and has only one toll, I’m to use the congested and heavily tolled I-294 and I-88.

Even funnier, a search from my home in Kitchener to my old home in Toronto suggested that I take a trip up to Gravenhurst before I head back to Woodstock and then head to Toronto (strangely enough, the directions work fine when I ask Google to reverse them).

Mapquest still offers the best directions, in my experience. However, if Google can fix their inadequacies, they will have a wonderful service on their hands.

(Update, years later): Clearly the problems were fixed. I now use Google Maps exclusively for my directions.

blog comments powered by Disqus