The little talked about key to writerly success

People have an idea (perhaps born of Hollywood movies?) that the key to a writer’s success is writing a great book. From there, life takes off.

While that’s a building block, I don’t think a writer’s network gets enough credit. Critique groups help us hone our writer’s voice and story. They help us learn how to take feedback and to parse which feedback works and which doesn’t.

But there’s also the writer’s social network – our friends and family who jump in to support and lift us up. Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to be a Writer in Residence for four international schools in Hanoi, Vietnam. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible if not for family members who stepped in to help with the at-home duties.

So, today, I’d just like to give a shout out to our critique partners, family, friends, and all the people who help us to foster and grow our creative selves. Thank you!

Me, about to go on my first scooter ride!


It wasn’t just the schools, but the people in Hanoi who made every day so wonderful. Shout out to the hotel restaurant and all the hot chocolate they sent my way.


When your profile picture becomes an exercise in math class. What a kick!


One of the schools turned this poster into a scavenger hunt of sorts. What a super fun way to explore the school!


It sticks with me – the effort and organization that schools undertake when they bring in an author/artist. I hope they know how much we appreciate their work.


You know this is my favourite pic, right? 😉


Beautiful roses from one of the schools. The gorgeous welcome and generous spirit of the schools continue to warm my days.


A highlight of the trip was the chance to meet Joanna Ho, author of “Eyes that Kiss in the Corners”


Celebrations of literary are such a joy!


Great News for Tuna

Each year, the Toronto Public library releases “The List” their top 100 YA books for the year (reviewed and chosen by teen volunteer reviewers). I’m delighted that Tuna is a selection for 2023! For the full list, please head here.

Registration is open

1717 – Writing for Children: Introduction

Course runs May 9th – June 27th, 4:30-7:00 PM (MDT). Classes run online. Please visit here to register and for more information.

This course is the first step in the children’s writing stream of the Certificate in Creative Writing. You’ll explore the vibrant world of children’s literature, absorb basic literary technique and emerge with a draft of a picture book, story or opening chapter. You’ll meet a community of writers working in your genre and pick up advanced tips on writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels and young adult fiction. There will also be a primer on how to get published.

  • Understand the structure and techniques of telling stories for children.
  • Know trends and innovations in Canadian children’s literature.
  • Understand the publishing process.
  • Complete a draft of a picture book or early reader, or the opening chapter of a middle grade or young adult novel.


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