Toronto book launch, hip checks and school visits

I’ve been off line lately due to an epic fail on the part of apple (and I don’t mean the one that falls too close to the tree, I mean the computer). Seems my imac set up a force field that blocked the internet from entering it (too bad I don’t write science fiction!). That was the technical diagnosis, in lay person’s terms it was a manufacture's defect of the Ethernet port. An open letter to Steve jobs is writing itself in my head….

This is a bowl of Fiesta Chicken Soup (aka my pre-Toronto book launh bowl of soup). It was created by my DFOTP Toronto team consisting of Nancy M2 (I know a lot of Nancys so we need to catalogue them) and her daughters Diane and Lydia. Nancy’s sister Virginia (a vice principle of a school I visited) was also part of the team, but wasn’t part of the soup creation. Without all of their logistical talents and enthusiasm I wouldn’t have been able to pull off a launch in Toronto.

In fact, they have been planning my tour for years. I remember a couple of years ago (before I got the contract, but while I was getting closer) I phoned Nancy. I was droning on about everyday things like watching my neighbour’s house get robbed, convincing the same elderly neighbour to remove a dead rabbit from my backyard, and stealing raspberries over the other neighbour’s fence (my neighbours love me BTW) and she interrupted my dissertation.

“Wait a minute – I thought you were calling to tell me that you are getting published.”

“Ahhhh, no, but I’m getting close.”

“Yeah, but we have your book tour all planned out!”

Now that’s enthusiasm!

Thanks to all the familiar and new faces at my Toronto launch of Dead Frog on the Porch. It was at Scooter Girl Toys. Here's a pic of me, Nancy M2 and my writer friend Rukshana, author of Wanting Mor.

I went to a school in a town called Courtice and did two sessions. The librarian, Christine, is involved in the Battle of the Books a reading program for the Peterborough school district.

I’ve done a few school visits now and this is what I’ve experienced so far:

You get recess!

If it’s pajama day they let you wear your pajamas (now that’s my kind of casual Friday).

And you get to meet some awesome kids.

Here’s what happened at Fern Public School in Toronto where I presented to a few grade three and four classes. The librarian Ellen (who has a blog about kids books called Fern Folio) organized my visit. Before the bell rang the library was abuzz with activity. Ellen had purchased 6 copies of my book and they were on the check out counter. Then the bell rang. Everyone scurried out, including the librarian. I was alone, in the overheated, hundred year old school library. A grade three girl ran in. She grabbed one of my books and turned to run back out. She stopped dead when she saw me.

Girl: “Can I borrow this book to show my teacher? She’s in the hallway. This author is coming to our school today. There are posters up all over the school and I wanted to show my teacher the book. I‘m going to meet this author today!”

Me: Honey, you just met her. I’m the author!

The look on her face was as if she had just met Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy all in one. She was super excited.

I took the classes through a writing exercise – here’s the pic.

In another school visit, the kids had started on the writing exercise and a grade three girl came up to me and said: “Jan this isn’t going to be my best work because I had a hockey game yesterday and got hip checked into the boards.”

To my bloggowers outside of Canada – this is what a hip check looks like.

Ouch, I wouldn’t be doing my best writing either after that.


Angie said…
How much fun is that? The soup looks delicious.
Peter said…
Sounds like you had a great time Jan!! Great post.
Jennifer Landels said…
Whaddya mean you don't write SF? What else do you call mutant frogs? Seriously, I see a plot for book 3 of the Megabyte mysteries already: dead mouse on the macbook...
Jan Markley said…
Good one Jennifer! I was looking for more titles ... ;-j
Jan, it was a pleasure to meet you at the Once Upon A Huckleberry Bush launch, too! Your book is a riot! Really fun and clever. I look forward to the next one.
Carol J. Garvin said…
Sorry to hear about your iMac issue. We get so dependent on our computers and the internet that when they fail we figure we can't function. I'll bet denied internet access allowed you to get more writing done. ;)

Your launch and school visits sound fabulous. Congratulations on a great reaction to your new book. (It sounds pretty fabulous, too.)