Patricia McCowan

Writer, reader, walker.

Month: January 2016

Winter Afternoons at the Library

It’s a cold January afternoon, and I’m just back from the library. I went looking for a particular book and, after browsing nearby shelves, came away with that book and two others that looked interesting. Browsing is the best! And there’s something deliciously cozy about leaving the library with a small stack of books on a winter’s afternoon. The anticipation of getting back home to a warm cup of tea and some time spent paging through my reading stash – that’s a feeling that never gets old.

What that feeling reminds me of most are the countless winter afternoons I spent with my daughters when they were small and I needed to find ways to keep them entertained when things got too cold outside. We’d trek to our local library branch (side note: pushing a stroller over snowy, un-shoveled sidewalks is a huge workout!) and spend an hour or so pulling picture books off the shelves, reading some there, setting some aside to take home. It was wonderful to know we had such easy access to a pretty much endless supply of books – all for free! The library made a long winter a little more bearable.

Now my daughters are 20 and 16. The oldest one texted me yesterday from her art-school university library about some research she was doing. The youngest mentioned working over the lunch hour on a project at her high school library. I’d like to think that as they work their way towards their futures, they remember those old, warm feelings that come from spending an hour or two with their mom, surrounded by books.

Time to put the kettle on; I’ve got some library books to explore!

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New Year, New Book

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that, for a writer, knowing you have a new book coming out soon is the best way to start the new year. Okay, I suppose the best, best way for a writer to start the new year (or day, or week, or month) is to WRITE. But having a finished book is a very close second-best. As Dorothy Parker said, or wrote, “I hate writing; I love having written.”

So what have I written? Upstaged, for Orca Book Publishers’ Limelights series. Like my first book, Honeycomb, it looks at what it takes for a young person to immerse herself in a particular performing art. Upstaged puts readers front and center in the world of a youth musical theater company. Here’s how Orca’s Spring 2016 catalogue describes the story:

 Ellie is used to getting leading roles in her small-town school’s musicals, but her place at center stage disappears when her dad becomes the host of a breakfast TV show and they have to move to the big city. When Ellie auditions for – and lands – a spot with the Youth Works Theater Company, she comes up against a tight-knit group of talented, experienced and competitive triple-threat performers.

Upstaged officially launches April 12, 2016. I can’t wait – so it’s a good thing I get to sign some pre-release copies of the book at the OLA (Ontario Library Association) Super Conference this month! I’ll be at the Orca booth with my favorite pen on Friday, January 29 at 10:00 am, signing books for librarians. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year.

© 2017 Patricia McCowan

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