Here it is, the last day of 2014. Like most of you, I have a Facebook page where I recently received my "Your Year in Review" compilation of photos. While I'm always creeped out when Facebook reaches into my life to show me who I am (weird hall of mirrors there), I did realize after looking at the photos that it was an amazing year for me. In fact, 2014 will be difficult to top. I'm very, very grateful for any successes that came my way, thank you to readers, voting committees, fans, and my publisher, Dundurn Press. Here's a brief rundown of an amazing year:
1. January: A book launch! The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden came into the world.
2. February: The Gargoyle at the Gates was nominated for 5 awards: the OLA Silver Birch Express award, the SYRCA Diamond Willow award, the Hackmatack and Red Cedar awards, and the Co-operative Children's Book Centre Award. It was also a White Raven Book from the International Youth Library in Munich, 2013.
3. March/April: I toured the Near North (North Bay and Parry Sound) with the OLA Silver Birch and Red Maple nominees. Won the Near North vote for best Silver Birch Express book (my first-ever win!), talked to 1500 kids in Nipissing University, had dinner with Kelly Armstrong (yes, THE Kelly Armstrong), and got to do 4 whirlwind presentations with my friend Rebecca Upjohn. Here's a video of kids' dancing to the gargoyle shuffle (that's me playing guitar) and a link to more about my Near North tour.
4. May: did the amazing OLA Harbourfront Festival of trees, where I whipped fake apples into the crowd (that was pretty fun!). Also my daughter and I toured New Brunswick and PEI with the Hackmatack award, which was fantastic. Met Dan Bar-El and Ashley Spires! I also won the Durham County Silver Birch Express vote for best book (my second-ever win).
5. June: Honoured to have an excerpt of Jake and the Giant Hand, published in the first-ever kids' issue of Taddle Creek Magazine. Have a read.
6. July/August: signed contracts for two new books, Myles and the Monster Outside, and Carter and the Curious Maze (the next two books in the Weird Stories Gone Wrong series, thank you to my publisher, Dundurn) coming Oct 2015 and May 2016, respectively.
7. September/October: A second book launch! Jake and the Giant Hand came into the world at Indigo Yorkdale. Shawna Daigle, the wonderful illustrator, and I signed books and answered many questions about our craft, really, really fun. (Her favourite illustration is the last one, of the giant hand, FYI).
8. November/December: An award nomination! Very, very honoured to say that The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden was nominated in November 2014 for an OLA Red Maple 2015 award, a first for me. Fellow nominees include Eric Walters, Kenneth Oppel, Richard Scrimger, Sigmund Brouwer, Jacqueline Guest, Caroline Pignat, Vikki VanSickle, Jess Keating and Sarah Ellis. Wow.
So, 2014 was a year of 2 new books, 6 award nominations, 1 magazine excerpt, and two author tours, plus two regional Silver Birch Express wins for The Gargoyle at the Gates. I'm very lucky, and very honoured, a banner year for sure. Happy New Year, and all the best to my readers in 2015!