Children’s Book To Be Released May 2021

My writing has taken me in a number of directions the past 12 years, from magazines to photo books, screenplays to interpretive panels. But, one genre I’ve been particularly excited to sink my teeth into is children’s books.

Usually, a new genre requires some research on my part, and in the past six years, I’ve had the chance to read hundreds of children’s books with my own kids. I’ve developed a personal taste for what works, what is most engaging, which rhyming patterns I like the best, and which illustrations resonate with adults and kids alike. I have also learned to appreciate the ways that children’s books can challenge our thinking through the most simple of concepts.

A few years ago I had a concept for a kid’s book, after observing my own experiences in the outdoors with my kids. What is it that they see that adults do not? What do I walk past in my own ambition to reach a destination? What might I learn from slowing down the pace and seeing the world the way my kids see it? For over two years the idea swirled around, until one beautiful sunny evening this past spring I sat on my back porch and pounded out a full-length poem.

Meet Geneva, the main character of The Wonders That I Find. Illustrations by Taylor Odynski.

Fast-forward six months and I have the privilege of working with a talented Calgary-based artist, Taylor Odynski, to bring the story to life (she had previously done work for us with the Canadian Rockies Annual). We pitched the book to Rocky Mountain Books, with whom I’ve already published a series of travel/photo books about the Canadian Rockies, and they enthusiastically agreed to publish it.

So, with that, The Wonders That I Find will be published in May 2021! We’ve got a journey ahead of us pulling everything together, but I’m looking forward to every step of the way.

If you’re interested in receiving email updates about this book, please sign up for my newsletter!

New Publication: Unearthing a Story at Head-Smashed-In

Every writer savours the moment when a new development emerges on a story they are already working on. Last year I was working on a feature for the Canadian Rockies Annual about Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump when an archaeological site discovered 26 years prior was finally excavated.

IMG_1775

What was so significant about it? The site was an oven, deep in the earth, with a 1600-year-old meal still contained inside it. What could it tell us about the Blackfoot people who used to reside there? What does it add to the story about Head-Smashed-In?

Of course, you’ll need to read the piece to find out why (!), but here is an excerpt:

Standing amidst the tall grasses that carpet the base of the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, I close my eyes and try to imagine the buffalo stampede approaching. An inescapable dust cloud forms as their hooves pound the earth, sending a shockwave of thunder through the landscape. The herd’s panic is palpable as it is rushed to the cliff edge, driven by their hunters. Then it happens: hundreds of beasts hurtle over the cliff, cascading to their deaths in a massive heap. Soon the pungent smell of smoke, blood and flesh permeates the air as the Blackfoot work swiftly to preserve the meat for the long winter ahead.

I open my eyes. Centuries of erosion have worn away the base of the cliff, shortening the drop and burying layer upon layer of bones – 11 metres worth – beneath a jumble of soil, grass and rubble. To the untrained eye, the cliff looks… unimpressive. But time has changed the landscape. And what now appears to be a non-threatening tumble used to be an 18-metre-high fatal drop.

There is more than meets the eye at Head-Smashed-In, not only with the buffalo jump, but also with the award-winning interpretive centre constructed into the adjacent cliffside. From the exterior, the structure disguises itself well, blending inconspicuously with the exposed sandstone that extends from the grass-covered escarpment. Enter the seven-tiered building, however, and a world of discovery is revealed.

The cliffs and plains that make up this buffalo jump have an intriguing story to tell – one that continues to unfold today.

→ Read the rest in Volume 2 of the
Canadian Rockies Annual

17-0613_CRA_Ad 1

My 5 New Finds This Summer

Time is precious, and in a world where we have a million options to choose from (in every possible realm of life!), I find it helpful when other people help me narrow those down. When you come across something great, why not share it? That’s what this post is all about – my latest finds for making life easier, more productive and interesting.

1. This I Know, by Terry O’Reilly

downloadI put a call out through Facebook earlier this summer, asking for summer reading recommendations and I was inundated with some amazing responses.

One, in particular, caught my eye: This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence. I have enjoyed Terry O’Reilly’s radio show for years, and this book perfectly summarizes the lessons I needed to hear running various small business. I highly recommend it to business owners and marketers.

 

2. Great Big Story

Like many of you, I can’t resist a compelling video. Unfortunately, most of what I see featured on Facebook looks great until you watch it and realize you’ve wasted five minutes of your life. But not with Great Big Story. This is a global media company that does storytelling right, and they are always on a quest to, according to their website, “discover the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing.” I highly recommend you follow them on Facebook for a weekly dose of content you’ll actually enjoy.

screen-shot-2017-07-27-at-3-29-45-pm.png

 

3. Fjallraven Kånken No. 2 Laptop 15″ Bag

My husband will tell you I have heaps of bags at home. Laptop bags, hiking packs, backpacks that second as laptop bags. Despite the choices, I have my favourites, so I’m constantly switching my stuff around, emptying out my snacks and gear from a hike to load the bag up for a desk day. I also find that bags can be too big, leaving me with lots of bulk when all I need is to transport my laptop to the office, with just a few other items. Enter: the Fjallraven Kånken No. 2 Laptop 15″ Bag. I love the bag’s durability, size, and detailing. Plus I trust this long-standing Swedish bag-maker to make something that feels comfortable to wear.

 

4. LastPass

If you struggle to remember passwords across your devices and accounts, I highly recommend you take a look at LastPass. Between my personal and business accounts online, I have dozens of passwords and logins to remember. With LastPass you can say goodbye to notes scribbled on paper or the need to reset your passwords when you forget. It takes a bit of effort up front to get all your passwords into the system, but after that, you’ll be so glad you did.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 3.55.28 PM

 

5. Happy Scribe

Writers and researchers know just how long it can take to transcribe an entire interview. I remember hours spent pausing tracks and pounding as fast as I could at the keyboard. Often, I’d only use a small portion of the interview, but I still felt it was important to have the whole thing recorded in a document. Happy Scribe is a service that allows you to upload your recordings and pay a nominal fee to have it transcribed at lighting speed. You’ll likely need to do a pass of it to make any corrections, but the bulk of it will be there. Major time saver!

screen-shot-2017-07-27-at-3-20-42-pm.png


Notes: None of these companies paid to be listed in this post. These choices, and my opinions of them, are entirely my own. This post contains affiliate links – if you click on them and make a purchase, it sends me a small ‘thank you.’ Finally, thanks to Fjallraven for sending me the Kånken No. 2 Laptop 15″ Bag. You know what a writer needs! I have many bags for laptops, but this one now takes the cake. I didn’t need to include it in this post, but I chose to because it’s truly one of my new favs.

 

 

Interview on Hike Like a Woman

How does a mom, business owner, and outdoor adventurer balance it all? Have I ever had a family adventure that went horribly wrong? What would I tell my 12-year-old self?

Rebecca from Hike Like a Woman sure had a wide range of questions for me in her podcast, on an episode she called “Real Life in Banff.” Sounds about right, seeing as I get down to the bare bones (sometimes skeletons) of things, and give you the honest truth on my life as a parent, wife, entrepreneur. Plus, I was entirely unscripted and somewhat unprepared, so my answers are about as authentic as they come!

→ If you’d like to give the podcast a listen (I highly recommend tuning into her other episodes, too!), head on over to Hike Like a Woman.