Friday, February 29, 2008

Contest!

The first person to guess the correct title and author of the fabulous picture book featured in our tea time mug wins a free copy of the book! Please post your guess as a comment for this post.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Possible Worlds

Writers of fantasy and science fiction not only have to craft a compelling story, they also need to create a believable world in which the story takes place.

No one knows this better than Dennis Foon, author of The Dirt Eaters, Freewalker, and The Keeper’s Shadow. Over the years, he has led many workshops for young people and adults alike on how to build new worlds. Using the example of the City in his Longlight Legacy series, Dennis guides emerging writers through the steps towards developing imaginary worlds and characters.

As Dennis says, “Creating worlds—whether fantasy, science fiction, or the fusion of the two found in The Longlight Legacy—is a huge job. It took many years to fully explore the story and worlds where Roan traveled. In my workshops, I hope to give the participants a taste of how complex and rewarding these explorations can be.”

Over the next few months, Dennis will offer workshops at the Vancouver Public Library, WordFest in Calgary, and the Denman Island Writer’s Festival.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Crocs are Super Critters!

Hi! I’m Claire Eamer, author of Super Crocs and Monster Wings: Modern Animals’ Ancient Past.

I’m fascinated by animals, both ancient and modern. Where I live, in the Yukon, we know all about the ancient animals. During the last ice age, large parts of the Yukon escaped the glaciers. Instead, the land was covered with grass and home to some of the animals in my book, including giant sloths, beavers as big as bears, and North American camels.

It wasn’t crocodile country, even then, but I have met crocs, up close and personal. Fortunately, there was a good, strong fence between us.

In Australia a couple of years ago, I visited a wildlife preserve with scores of saltwater crocodiles living more or less as they would in the wild. Humans were safely fenced into gravel walkways or loaded onto boats, while the crocodiles glided through the muddy river or basked on the bank in the hot sun, their mouths wide open to avoid overheating.

A saltwater crocodile eyes tourists in Australia.

Those mouths! Most of them were at least the length of an arm, but you wouldn’t want to check that measurement. And when the crocodiles snapped at each other, the sound was like a trap closing. A big trap. With teeth. Lots and lots of teeth.

On a hot day in Australia, any water looks inviting--but you may change your mind when you check the warning signs!

That’s why, when I heard of a prehistoric croc as big as a city bus, I just knew I had to include it in the book.

Want to see some more of my writing? Check out the following:

* "Dopted" -- Cover story for the 2007 Holiday Edition of Written Word Magazine

* "The Lost Land" in POLARIS: A Celebration of Polar Science (Star Ink Books, 2007)

* "Time Change" in Vestal Review 27

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dangerous Crossings! author reads at Spirit of BC

Dangerous Crossings! author Antonia Banyard is in good company at this year's Sprit of BC. Among activities such as the Chocolate Festival, Chinese New Year Celebrations, and Drum Building, Antonia will be reading from her non-fiction book for kids ages 8-12.

You can catch her presentation at:

Agassiz Public Library
Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Hope Public Library
Wednesday, Feb 13 at 1:00 p.m.

Chilliwack Public Library
Thursday, Feb. 14 at 1:00 p.m.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A word from the west coast

Toni and Colleen staff the Vancouver office, along with a cast of unseen freelancers

In 1999, Annick opened an office in Vancouver so we could be in contact with creators on both sides of the country. Annick West handles the editorial and production of about half of the Annick list, while maintaining close contact with the Toronto office by Skype and email.

Not only do we work with exciting authors, designers, editors, and illustrators, but the office itself and the neighborhood are full of character. We’re on the second floor of an old garment factory in Vancouver’s historic Gastown. While our actual floor space might be small, it has a big personality. We share the space with a magazine, an adult trade book publisher, an arts publicist and a dance company. There’s a lot of camaraderie within the office. In the late afternoons, we listen to the acting classes on the floor above as they go through their vocal warm-ups. They sound like a herd of huffing buffalo. (“Are you sure they’re OK up there?” we ask when the noise gets especially boisterous.)

The last tenants painted the beautiful tin ceiling a decadent gold.

On the way to work, we jostle past clusters of tourists enjoying an ice cream or browsing through gift shops. Our neigbours are the homeless people from the downtown East Side or students from Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus; high-end shops, restaurants, design studios, and galleries. The whistle of the steam clock down the street punctuates our day, and in the summer the voice of the guide on the open-air tour bus floats through our open windows. As we write this, a large crane is setting up outside our window for a movie shoot. We are not in the movie.
Preparations for a movie shoot are underway beneath our window.

We’re convinced this eclectic mix gives us energy for the exciting task of working on new Annick titles. Combined with the enjoyment we take from the other people working within these walls, we feel we have the best office situation imaginable. And the bonus? Gelato is only a few steps down the street.
This is our street in historic Gastown.

We’ve got to have the best view from a bathroom in all of Vancouver.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Red is STILL Best!


Outside the snow has blanketed everything in white - but inside the Annick house red is best!

Today we had a visit from one of our favourite picture book authors - Kathy Stinson. Coincidently, Kathy's daughter Kelly - the inspiration for her book Red is Best - celebrates her 30th birthday today. I wonder if red is still Kelly's favourite colour?

Watch for Kathy's latest project, A Pocket Can Have a Treasure in It, coming to a bookstore near you this spring!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting the Picture

Hi! I'm David, an editor here at Annick Press. I must say that being a children's book editor is a fantastic experience ... often quite literally. Many a workday do I spend poring over manuscripts for novels set in places that exist only in the imagination. Picture books, on the other hand, are slightly different beasts. With a picture book, it us up to the illustrator to show us those imagined worlds and all the characters who inhabit it. A big job!

No picture book illustrator goes it alone. As an editor, it is part of my job to work with the illustrator, as well as the author, the art director, and the publisher, to make sure the pictures and words are working together to tell the best possible story. It's an amazing collaboration of creative ideas, and when the final artwork arrives, I'm always excited to see the story come so vividly to life.

That was the case this week, when we received the final artwork from Ruth Ohi for her newest picture book Chicken, Pig, Cow (coming in Fall 2008). I've been lucky enough to work with Ruth on her last several picture books, for which she has been both author and illustrator. She also wears both hats for Chicken, Pig, Cow and never before have her humor and imagination been on better display. In a word: fantastic!

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