When Do Bones Lie?

Still no power at our house, but thanks to the great kindness of friends, we are safe and warm (THANK YOU so much, Dr. McE and Alix!). I can’t blog from my regular computer, so please excuse any typos, etc.

When do bones lie?? Never! At least not according to my book Bones Never Lie! The subtitle is “How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries” and my editor Kathy Lowinger helped me match up forensic techniques with famous mysteries involving royals (I explored a similar topic in my book Royal Murder.)

Here are some of the stories I wrote about in Bones Never Lie and because I love amazing triva, I’ve followed the name of each tale with one fantastic fact that I included in that chapter:

Quote Unquote

Because of the weather situation here in Toronto, I'm posting my blog for the 24th today on the 23rd. Please read both and please excuse any typos, etc.

Oddly enough, writers have written a lot about writing. Here are ten of my favourite quotes — I hope you enjoy them too!

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” — Douglas Adams

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.” ― Kingsley Amis

“I never sit down to my desk without revulsion, and I never rise from it but with relief.” — Robert Browning

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” ― Winston Churchill

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” ― Charles Dickens

A Foggy Day in Vancouver Town

Hi — I wrote this post before the incredible ice storm that hit southern Ontario. Please excuse any typos, etc., since my editing and e-mail facilities are a little rudimentary right now. Thanks!

Two months ago today I was on Granville Island, giving my first-ever Power Point presentation. Wow, was I nervous! It was part of the Vancouver Writers Festival and I had a great time. If you’re a writer and you’re invited to take part in this event, don’t hesitate for a second — just say yes!

Secrets Underground

Annick Press came to me with the idea for my book Secrets Underground: North America's Buried Past and I have to admit, I didn’t really understand the concept at first. But then I began my research and I became more and more excited about the stories I uncovered.

Writing a Life — or Two or Three

I’ve written many biographies, ranging from books about a single person to volumes filled with more than 100 short biographies. I love writing them — as I say on my author page on this site, I’m nosy and curious about why people do what they do. And once I find out, I enjoy sharing it with kids and adults.

Biographies are fun. John F. Kennedy said, “All history is gossip,” and almost everyone likes a little gossip! Steven Pinker, in How the Mind Works says, “Gossip is a favorite pastime in all human societies because knowledge is power.” (Will Rogers said, “The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.”)

Creativity II: Sometimes a Cookie is More than a Cookie

I wrote about creativity on December 3, but it’s such a large and important topic, that I want to revisit it.

A painter friend of mine once said that if you’re going to output good creative work, then you need to take in some creative experiences that enrich you. So artists of words, images and more need to take time to figure out what feeds their creativity, then try to provide that nourishment for their brain.

The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Exactly 110 years ago today, the world took flight. It was on this date in 1903 that Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first-ever controlled, powered flight. Think for a moment what it was like for them on a windy North Carolina beach in the middle of December. Yikes!

I’ve written two books about the brothers — The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start and The Wright Brothers — and I loved discovering their life stories and how they felt about their experimenting and great achievement. Here are five of my favourite Wright Facts:

* The Wrights were sometimes discouraged by their lack of progress towards flight. At one point Wilbur even said, “I made the prediction that man would sometimes fly, but that it would not be in our lifetime.”

History and its Ripples

Who in their right mind would suggest to a publisher that they wanted to write a book called A History of Just About Everything?? Not me or Frieda Wishinsky, my co-author for a book by that very title that was published this fall.

When we proposed to Kids Can Press that we write a book about the most important happenings of the 20th century, our editor came back to us with the idea that we should expand our proposal. And we agreed — although there were times in the process when writing all the “180 Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World” (that’s the book’s subtitle) seemed rather overwhelming.

Horsing Around

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Annick Press office, choosing photos for my book about horses that will be published in 2015 (title still to be determined). I wrote about horses in Why Do Horses Have Manes? but this new book uses the focus of horses to look at important events in world history. Kids can read about famous steeds ranging from Bucephalus (Alexander the Great’s horse) to Sea Biscuit (the Great Depression’s amazing race horse — go to to watch him beat War Admiral). The manuscript also includes the story of the Pony Express, pit ponies (the little horses that helped workers mine coal and minerals) and North America’s mustangs.

Oh, Those Fabulous, Furry Felines

At this time of year, our cat Cosimo is either stretched out on my desk under my desk lamp, curled up on a heating grate, snuggled under a duvet or lounging on a laptop. Anyone who knows me is likely amazed that I have waited this long to post a blog about cats.

As Mark Twain said, “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.” Edward Gorey explained, “Books. Cats. Life is good.” and my friend Karen, who is a wonderful writer, editor and grammarian, would agree wholeheartedly (while rubbing her cat Stanley’s speckled belly).

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