And the Winners are

 Those people who won copies of Burn are: 

Tanya Kitay
Feary writer
Joanne Coupland
Kim Marcus
Tammy Jonsson Comeau
Melody Shore
And Kim Baccellia 

Yes I know there are seven here but two names stuck together. If you're here send me an email almafullerton at almafullerton . com
If I don't already know where to send it. Please let me know who you want it signed to.

Defining Reader Level by Character's age

I dislike when people automatically fit manuscripts into mg/ya categories because to the age of the character - assuming children don't like to read about other children younger than themselves. I believe that if a story is thought provoking, the plot riveting enough, and the character believable children are not going to be turned off by the age of the character.  Generally yes, a story about a ten year old would be classed as a lower mg but sometimes the situation that character is in or what's going on around that character bumps it up to a YA. The Boy in Striped Pajamas and To Kill a Mockingbird are both YAs about young children going through tough situations. Neither are lower mg and you'll find them both in the YA section of stores.  I know of several others books like this as well.

I personally don't know a teen that would turn away a book if it sounded compelling simply because the mc is ten. (They may not want to read it if the cover is too childish but covers are a whole other topic - for another day).

Upcoming Appearances



International Festival of Authors Toronto


TD Canadian Saturday, October 24, 2009

Children’s Literature 1:00pm

Award Reading: Studio Theatre

235 Queens Quay West


Roundtable: Saturday, October 24, 2009


Studio Theatre

235 Queens Quay West


Sonia Levitin's Upon the World Children's book Award


Award Ceremony Sunday November 1, 2009

Simon Wisenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance LA, CA


Monday November 2, 2009

Museum of Tolerance LA, CA



Literacy Evening for Parents

St. Elizabeth Catholic School Toronto ON

Tuesday November 10, 2009



Parkdale Elementary School Montreal, PQ

Thursday November 12, 2009 1:30 PM


CCBC Children's Awards Gala

The Carlu in Toronto

November 19, 2009



John Provenzano, who works at Access Copyright, has composed a cut-and-paste letter

The Great Canadian Copyright Consultations - A "How to" Guide for Creators 
on Submissions

A few minutes of your time could help shape the government's promised 
copyright bill!


anadians have answered the Federal Government's invitation to air their 
views in this summer's Copyright Consultations with enthusiasm, sending in 
thousands of responses.

However, to date, the majority reflect the perspectives of education 
professionals, students, or others with little sympathy or insight into the 
rigours of survival as a professional creator of copyright works. Beyond 
this forum, opponents of an effective copyright regime have worked hard to 
build support through websites, blogs and email campaigns.

If you are concerned about the impact on your livelihood of new exceptions 
under the Copyright Act or an extension of fair dealing that will expand 
uncompensated uses and erode the market for Canadian books, magazines and 
newspapers, you still have a chance to be heard. You still have a chance to 
help ensure the government's promised copyright bill does not undermine your 
livelihood. Make sure your voice is heard.

If you believe that Canada should better protect the rights of creators, 
drive innovation, catch up with its trading partners and meet its 
international commitments, then please prepare a submission right now.

Your submission should respond to some or all of the six questions the 
government has posed (see below). This guide has been created to help you 
draft it. The suggested structure and arguments are just that - 
suggestions - to make this task fast and easy for you. This can be completed 
in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. You can cut and paste the arguments below, 
build on them, or write down your own reasons for reforms. The main thing is 
to send your views to the government. Ask your friends, family and work 
colleagues to do the same.

Send your submission now! The deadline is Sept. 13, 2009.

All submissions should be sent directly to the government at


Preparing Your Submission

Question 1: How do Canada's copyright laws affect you?

Briefly introduce yourself and explain why copyright reform is important to 
you. For example,

I am a writer who makes a living from books. My income depends on royalties 
from the sale of my books as well as from the reproduction of my books under 
collective licences. This income pays for food, shelter and clothing for my 
family, and allows me to continue.

Copyright should exist to protect creators like me. When others use my work, 
it should ensure I am compensated.

Collective licences exist to allow universities, schools, corporations and 
governments to make copies of my work and the works of other creators while 
ensuring that we are fairly compensated. This is a system that works well, 
but is in peril.

I am worried that new exceptions and expanded fair dealing could 
significantly undermine my income while at the same time damaging the market 
for books, magazines and newspapers published in Canada.

Question 2: How should existing laws be modernized? (Use as many of the 
points below as reflect your views)

I want Copyright Act reforms to follow the principles outlined by the 
government for Bill C-61:

The rights of those who hold copyright must be fairly balanced with the 
needs of users to access copyright works.

The Copyright Act must provide clear, predictable and fair rules to allow 
Canadians to derive benefits from their creations.

The Copyright Act should foster innovation in an effort to attract 
investment and high-paying jobs to Canada.

Canada must ensure that its copyright framework for the Internet is in line 
with international standards.

Canada's Copyright Act needs to be reformed because:

New digital technologies have made it cheap and easy for anyone to copy 
files and make money from them, or to copy and distribute works without 
recognizing my need to get paid for these uses.

By failing to take action, our government has allowed a culture that demeans 
and devalues intellectual property to flourish. This is a culture that 
assumes copyright works can be expropriated without proper compensation for 
those who invested their talents, skills, time and hard work to create them.

Canada's Copyright Act is badly outdated. We are years behind our key 
trading partners in modernizing our copyright laws for the digital age. 
Canadian copyright law should recognize international standards by 
implementing and ratifying the WIPO Treaty.

We need rules to discourage the unauthorized taking of other people's 
property without compensation.

It is only fair that we protect creators' investments of time, money and 

Question 3: Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright 
changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?

Canadian copyright law should be technology neutral. It should be based on 
general principles rather than specific technologies. The ability of a 
creator to get paid for the use of his/her work should not depend on the 
technology used.

Question 4: What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster 
innovation and creativity in Canada?

Creativity and innovation will thrive only when they are rewarded. Fair 
compensation for creators provides the resources and incentives they need to 
continue to create and innovate.

I want my work to be distributed as widely as possible. But I want to be 
paid fairly when my work is used.

Fair dealing already allows for substantial free use of copyright works. 
With a system of collective licensing in place, there is no need to expand 
fair dealing.

Instead of resorting to exceptions and expanded fair dealing which do not 
offer compensation to creators, the government should facilitate an 
expansion of the existing system of collective licensing which provides 
users with easy access to copyright materials through one-stop shopping and 
creators with fair remuneration when their works are used.

Collective licensing helps consumers obtain access to works while ensuring 
creators are fairly compensated. It is a "win-win" for everybody.

Question 5: What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster 
competition and investment in Canada?

Canadian creators and publishers are actively pursuing new business models 
and opportunities. Expanded fair dealing, new exceptions in the Copyright 
Act, and a weakening of collectives and collective licensing rules would 
undercut these models and the sustainability of our Canadian cultural 

The copyright reforms advocated by creators and publishers are reforms that 
have been successfully implemented in other markets. In many countries that 
have modernized their copyright laws, digital marketplaces are flourishing, 
consumer choice far exceeds that in Canada, and illegitimate file sharing is 
declining. The result? Legal online activity is skyrocketing among teenagers 
and illegal behaviour has plunged.

Question 6: What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in 
the global, digital economy?

Canada's creative community has proven it can win accolades and achieve 
greatness in the global marketplace when the conditions are there for it to 
flourish and thrive.

To flourish and thrive, creativity and innovation need to be rewarded. 
Canada can be a leader in the digital economy by ensuring that copyright 
laws protect the livelihoods of creators and provide incentives to produce 
compelling, professional content that draws international audiences.

Summary and Thank You

Thank the Government for the opportunity to provide input on these issues of 
critical importance to you, your colleagues, and your family. Reiterate how 
these issues are directly important to you because they affect your 
livelihood. For example:

I am a professional, and I produce professional quality products. Like other 
professionals, I expect and deserve to be paid. No-one suggests that 
teachers should not be paid, or that the suppliers of computers and other 
materials used in the classroom should give them away for free. Canadian 
creators and information producers need the same respect if we are to 
continue making an important contribution to Canadian culture and society.

New exceptions and extensions of fair dealing that are being called for will 
be done at the expense of creators like me, eliminating with a stroke of the 
pen revenue streams that are fairly earned and on which I and my family 

Thank you for the opportunity to express these views and help ensure Canada's 
copyright laws match international standards and reward innovation and 

Email your submission to:


Libertad a Finalist

The Official Press release is out. The CCBC awards have been announced and Libertad has been named a finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature award.

Never expect to win these things (can't expect anything in this business) but I have as much chance as  the other finalists and they have as much chance as me. If I win it's a bonus. If I don't I'm fine with just being a finalist. But it would be nice because then maybe I would be able to at least cut back my hours at my day job and work only part time - leaving more time for writing  and umm... sleeping. More than 4 hours sleep would be good. Working/writing 60 - 80 hours a week and doing the Mom thing right now has been a little draining.

Anyhow - here's the full list. Congrats to everyone!’s_book_centre_awards

Oh Man

 It's been like forever since I updated. What's happened since then? Let's see...

Libertad won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz award. Won the Golden Oak Award. Was shortlisted for the 2010 MYRCA awards, won the Once Upon the World Children's book award (given by the Simon Wisenthal center in LA). It was also named an honor book for the Canadian Library Association Children's book of the Year and got on a couple of great lists. I've done two readings, three speeches, a character workshop and am doing another reading at the Books By the Bay Festival in North Bay this weekend - should be fun. Would love to do more of these - and more school visits when school is back in session. I love doing that kind of stuff.

I've gotten very little sleep in the last few months  - either people partying (not here) but around the neighborhood, or loud music or a car engine revving at the house next door or just insomnia - (mostly insomnia and the music thing). With insomnia I usually just get up and write. 

Weather here still sucks mostly rain and cool but we have had some nice days too. At least we are saving on air conditioning bills. Went fishing a few times. Caught a few fish - only two that I could keep but I don't fish to necessarily catch big fish but it's always nice.

I think that's about it mostly.


It's April for pete's sake. A SNOW DAY?

Even the dog was depressed to wake up and have to go pee out in this... (the snow not the house)


SCBWI Canada East Spring Thing


The Canada East Chapter of the

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

presents our Annual Spring Writing Conference:


It's a retreat, it's workshops, it's fun! It's


The Spring Thing 2009!


April 24-26, 2009

Kempenfelt Conference Centre

Barrie, Ontario



Lisa Graff, Associate Editor, Farrar Straus & Giroux

Kathy Lowinger, Publisher, Tundra Books

Karen Li, Editor, Kids Can Press


Limited all-inclusive weekend attendance but lots of Saturday day-only spots. Come take part in the writing and illustrating inspiration, networking, and fun! For more information, see the Events page of our website <> for the conference brochure and registration form.


My last post was FOUR WEEKS AGO. Holy crap. Guess I've been a little busy.

I was wide awake this morning at about 3am with an ah-ha moment. I really love those but not so much at that hour of the morning when it was after midnight when I turned in. Normally I would have gotten out of bed and wrote what I was thinking but it was too cold and I had a school visit this morning so I just tried to get back to sleep. It didn't work so well. I fell back asleep probably 15 minutes before my alarm went off - I HATE that.

School visits though - I love doing those. This particular group of teens was fantastic -or almost teens as I suppose most of them were between 11 and 13 - it was a six/seven class. The teacher who was also wonderful had read Libertad in class and the class had done a whole skit on the book during a school assembly last week. They showed me part of their skit today after my presentation. They lined up chairs in rows as if it were a bus and went on a chicken bus ride. They had Latin music playing and rubber chickens and kids were piled on top of each other in the seats just like you'd sit on a chicken bus. One boy was even pretending to run behind the bus. Anyhow, it was all very cool and so much fun. It's always so great to see children/teens get so involved in the books they're reading and also to see teachers getting children that involved in books.

This weekend I'm off to NYC for the SCBWI mid-year. I opted to take the train again instead of flying so I could get writing done so I better attempt to write. I'd like to have at least 1/2 of 'Nowhere but Here' editor ready and most of BURN by the end of Feb - hopefully more of each. And 12-14 hours on a train will help me meet that goal.

There's been so much going on that my writing has taken a back seat which is unfortunate for a lot of reasons. But after this weekend things will be slowing down again and I really need to push ahead with these novels.

Hope to see some of you in NY this weekend.