Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell

Shortlisted for the 2021 Red Maple Award!

 Hi, my name is Derek Cowell.

You might remember me from when I was popular.
Before that, I was invisible. And after.. well, that's a long story.

I never expected to become popular. It just sort of happened.
An accidental photobomb, a chance encounter with a real live celebrity, and suddenly, I was somebody.

These things never last, though, unless you help them along.
That's where I ran into trouble.

Reviewed in Atlantic Books Today 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Finding Avalon

This fall will see the publication of my daughter Pamela's first novel. I was so happy to be part of it, contributing a minor character voice. You can't even imagine how proud I am of my girl! Here is the stunning cover of this forthcoming story for teens!

A bit about the story:

Avalon Monday doesn’t mind telling schoolmates that her mother ran off to California to live with a guy she met on the internet. After all, that’s way less embarrassing than the truth.

But one fresh start and three years later Avalon discovers there are things you can never truly leave behind. When her past collides with her present, will it expose her secret and leave her new life in ruins?

Monday, March 30, 2020

I LOVE this guy!!

By this post's heading, you're probably expecting a long, mushy message about my husband (whom I DO love) but I'm afraid another fellow has also captured my heart. His name is Cooper Clark, and I have to admit, I'm quite smitten with him.


Cooper is full of opinions and ideas! In his first adventure (book # 2 is in the works) he comes up with one zany plan after another in order to avoid facing his fear of dragons. Some of his plans will be recognized by young readers as things they themselves have tried. Others are unique. Here's what happens:


Cooper Clark's world takes an alarming turn when his regular babysitter gets a new job. 

 Arrangements are then made for Cooper to spend his after-school hours with old Mrs. Mulligan — a plan he does not care for one bit! Everyone knows that Mrs. Mulligan has a real live dragon in her basement and although he has kept his fears secret, Cooper is very afraid of dragons. 


Not willing to expose his secret, Cooper does his best to find a way to avoid Mrs. Mulligan's dreadful pet . 


It isn't until he runs out of ideas that Cooper makes a most important discovery. 


This is my first chapter book. I hope you love it as much as these reviewers did -- or even more! 


Review of this story from Atlantic Books Today

Review of this story from CM Magazine

Review of this story from CanLit for Little Canadians



Monday, March 14, 2016

Rain Shadow

Bethany knows that she is special.

She doesn't learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names -- including the really "bad" name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbour Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Daddy when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins.

Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany's world apart in way she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again.
* * * * *
I have chosen to return to the fictitious setting of Junction, Manitoba (setting for The Glory Wind) in this story.
* * * * *  
Please support independent bookstores, whenever possible. 

  Select Awards and Reviews for Rain Shadow: 

Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association 2015 Book of the Year for Children.

Silver Birch Fiction Honour title Award 2016.

Shortlisted for the 2016 Ann Connor Brimer Award. 

Shortlisted for the 2016 Diamond Willow Award. 

Shortlisted for the 2017 Rocky Mountain Book Award 

Rain Shadow has been reviewed by:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Glory Wind

How it happened.

The news was just on in the background that evening - I was in the other room, and only caught a snatch of a story that probably lasted less than half a minute.  It made no particular impression, but the next day it had created the beginning of an idea that would bloom into The Glory Wind.  And this is often how it is.

About the story.

Luke Haliwell must come to terms with the prejudices of his 1940's prairie town when Gracie Moor and her mother move in next door.  Gracie is unlike anyone Luke has ever known, but when the town discovers that Gracie's mother is hiding a shameful secret, Luke learns that friendship can come at a great cost.

Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, this story is in bookstores now.

I loved writing The Glory Wind.  I hope you will love it too.

News Updates for The Glory Wind

Winner of the 2011 Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction for Young People Award

Winner of the 2011 Ann Connor Brimer Award

Winner of the Bronze Medal in the
2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Canadian Regional

Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association
2011 Children's Book of the Year

Shortlisted for the 2011 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award

Shortlisted for the 2012 OLA Silver Birch Fiction Award

Ontario Library Association Best Bets List for 2010


A few reviews of The Glory Wind:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Random Acts

In the haze of a food-induced stupor, Zoey Dalton and her best friends Bean and Jenna make a pledge to begin performing random acts of kindness—anonymously. Their previous track record for good deeds is pretty much a flat line, so anything they do to help others is bound to be an improvement.

Or is it?

What if the random acts of kindness are unwanted and misunderstood? What if, instead of spreading joy and good will, the trio’s actions stir up trouble, wreak havoc and maybe even cause bodily harm?

That, of course, would be a different story.

This story, in fact.

News Updates for Random Acts!

Random Acts was one of ten titles selected for the 2016 All-Star Reading Challenge
kicked off by DeMar DeRozan!

Random Acts has been reviewed in:

Monday, March 7, 2016


A personal favorite!!

It never stops being thrilling - seeing a new book for the first time. I'm especially excited about this one - it's the first time I've written a novel that has stories within the main story. Loved my main character -- loved all the characters, actually, and the way everything came together.

About the story:

Adam's summer is off to a disappointing start. His so-called "best friend" has bailed on him, choosing to stay behind to care for a sick dog, instead of joining Adam and his family at the seaside campground as planned. Adam is furious with Billy for abandoning him, impatient with his mother for her artistic obsessions, and embarrassed by his dad's lame attempts at being funny. At least an ever-changing cast of new summer friends proves to be an entertaining distraction: Joey, the shoe-thief with the cute sister; the mischievous Linden twins; enigmatic Nevin; and Ethan, the adventurer. But it is Theo, the blind gentleman up on the hill, with his magical stories of driftwood, who helps Adam to see the true nature of friendship.

A middle grade novel.

Updates for Driftwood

Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association 2014 Book of the Year for Children

Shortlisted for the 2015 Rocky Mountain Book Award

Shortlisted for the 2016 Hackmatack Award