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Gracie goes to Gibsons March 20

Author Heather Conn signs a book at Woods Showcase

Want to meet Gracie the goldfish and the author of Gracie’s Got a Secret? Don’t know how to keep the kids busy during March break? Come to Woods Showcase at Sunnycrest Mall in Gibsons, BC on Tuesday, March 20. Heather Conn will be reading from her new book, starting at 10:30 a.m.

She’ll chat with the children and their parents and ask for several kid volunteers for her reading. Heather will have some fun puppets to help tell her story, thanks to the participation of her husband Frank. This free event is aimed at kids age 4+.

Budding authors in Seattle

Donna in Seattle

While in Seattle recently for a conference, I introduced Gracie to seven-year-old Donna, who was staying at my hotel with her family. She and her brother were using the computers provided in the lobby. They both said that they wanted to become writers, so I encouraged them to write down their ideas in a notebook so that they wouldn’t forget them.

They kept asking me: “Are you a real writer?” I insisted that I was. They seemed incredulous, as if they could never meet such a person in the flesh. I felt like a rock star. It was great to hear them rattle off ideas for characters and to share in their enthusiasm. They wanted to know all about getting a book published and were excited at the prospect. I didn’t want to explain the stack of rejection letters that I had received.

Who knows? Maybe one or both of them will be an author some day.

Some of Gracie’s secrets spilled in Times Colonist blog

This week, my guest post “Spirituality and writing for children” appeared on the blog Spiritually Speaking, produced by the Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria, BC. (The blog’s creator invited me to contribute and I was delighted to oblige.)

I was happy to share my story about how Gracie Got a Secret came to be.Ā  You’ll discover some of Gracie’s “secrets.” Click here to read my post.

Gracie, meet Grace

I recently received a lovely note from Grace McCarthy, former B.C. cabinet minister, after she had read Gracie’s Got a Secret. I had spontaneously decided to give her a copy of the book, about her namesake, after speaking to her in a dentist’s office. (You can read more about our encounter on heatherconnblogs.com.) Here’s what she said:

“Your book, Gracie’s Got a Secret is so great. I’ve read it right through, and love the message. It is truly inspiring. Many thanks. Do hope our paths will cross again. . . with all good wishes as you continue to inspire.”

I’m touched by her thoughtful thanks. In this era of digital media, it’s still wonderful to receive a personalized card and hand-written message. Thank you, Grace.

Gracie at West Sechelt Elementary School

Gracie and Heather Conn, along with Sunshine Coast author Shelley Leedahl, will be selling books Dec. 1 at a special kids’ event at West Sechelt Elementary School. From 5 to 8 p.m., they’ll join other vendors with home-based businesses who offer products for children.

If you haven’t bought Gracie’s Got a Secret at one of the Sunshine Coast bookstores or craft fairs, this will be a great time to get a signed copy from the author.

Plenty of smiles at Gracie’s launch

— photos by Janice Williams

Author Heather Conn and storyteller John Conway

A plucky three-year-old girl who can trumpet like an elephant. A talented storyteller who brings words and characters to life with accents, puppets, and sound effects. Free goldfish crackers for a goldfish book. How can you not have a fun book launch?

Several dozen hardy listeners battled high winds and darkness Nov. 26 to attend the 5 p.m. launch of Gracie’s Got a Secret in Sechelt, BC. Local children’s entertainer John Conway was a hit at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre event with his hilarious antics and puppet interactions. He and a child volunteer shared elephant sounds while raising their respective arm like a trunk. The girl was a natural!

John used a puppet for each of the book’s three main characters to tell the story. When Nellie appeared, as an elephant puppet with tusks, I was waiting for some young voice to point out that she had tusks, but no one did. When one of her ballet slippers fell off, I felt compelled to run up and correct this “wardrobe malfunction.”

John was wonderful at prompting smiles and giggles from the audience. He invited adults to add glub-glub-glub sounds to his own fish noises for Gracie, but people seemed a tad too shy to become temporary goldfish.

— William Gelbart photo

After John read the book to the group, using three volunteers in his performance, we took a short break for free snacks: cookies and goldfish crackers, juice, and coffee and tea.

Afterwards, in the Q&A, someone asked me if I’m planning to do a sequel. The answer is yes. I’ve already got another character that I want to use with Gracie. There wasn’t room for him in this story.

Many thanks to everyone, young and old, who came to the reading. I appreciated the help with book sales from Bev from Talewind Books and her daughter.

— William Gelbart photo

Thanks to John for putting on such a great show. And a huge thank you to my husband Frank, who spent time getting everything set up and ready while I was selling books at the Seaside Centre before the event. Your help made all of the difference.