Summer in Cape Breton

Realized I haven't updated the site since returning from the Yukon over 4 months ago! And now it's summer in Cape Breton--a bit cool and grey this week, which is great for the garden, but makes it tough to go to the beach. Although, I've already been to Ingonish twice this spring/summer. Hoping to hit the west side of the island this year--and finally make it to Mabou!

Photo at left is of Ingonish Beach back in May--when no one was on it but me.

Yukon Readings

I'm all set to read at both the Dawson City and Whitehorse libraries this month. Leaving Dawson is going to be quite bittersweet--it'll be hard to give up all this writing and thinking time, but I'm really looking forward to being back on Cape Breton Island, enjoying the woodstove and saying "hi" to the ocean. Still, being in the north has been wonderful. I love the Yukon and can't wait to come back. Here are my reading dates!

Dawson City

Thursday, March 19, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Dawson City Community Library


Thursday, March 26, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Whitehorse Public Library

Photo of Northern Lights over Robert Service's cabin by yours truly.

Yukon Photos

I'm in Dawson City! Yippee! So far the temps have been a balmy average of -19, but I see some -30s in the forecast. 

Photo, as always, by Julien.

Upload speeds are dreadfully slow at the Berton House, but whenever I get the time, I'll be uploading Yukon photos. I'll also post a few photos to Instagram, which so far is faster and a bit more reliable. 

Happy new year!

Two Weeks till the Berton House

I'm dreaming of a White(horse) Christmas.

Photo from Wikipedia.


Hackathon Winners


Over the weekend (Oct. 18-19) I participated in Marcato Festival's first Hackathon. I complain a lot about how few women are involved in technology in Cape Breton and, well, everywhere. Then my friend Leah Noble signed up, and I got all inspired, so I signed up, too. I know a bit of code, but I want to know more, and that's exactly why I signed up. To learn, and for the experience (and, ok, maybe the free beer helped to seal the deal).

So Leah, me, and Ardell MacKinnon, who's the software developer at Pure Project Relations, formed a team ahead of time, and decided we'd build an app for the Cape Breton SPCA. We called ourselves Team LOLCats. Our skills divided up quite nicely--Ardell took the lead on programming, Leah, who's a graphic designer, made the app look good, and I wrangled the data. I got to play around with Petfinder's API and plug in an XML file to the app (an Android app, built in Java). APIs are big in librarianship right now, so I have been really wanting to learn more about them. 

The Hackathon was a competition, but we honestly weren't in it to win. So when they announced our name, we were shocked. Happy, but really surprised. Turns out we were able to build an almost complete app in 2 days, and that really impressed the judges. 

I won't go into too many details, especially since Leah wrote all about the day and our win over at her Dream Big Cape Breton blog. We were also in the Chronicle Herald, and CBC Information Morning interviewed us very early Monday morning. 

Now we have a meeting next week with the CB SPCA and the app may get out into stores and onto phones very soon!

Update: The app is now avaialble at Google Play! Curious how to look under the hood and see the code? Check it out on GitHub!

Making a Difference on Cape Breton Island

Cape Breton's CBC Mainstreet has a series called "Making a Difference," about Cape Bretoners who are doing positive things in their communities on the island. Alyce MacLean, CBC's freelance reporter, interviewed me for the series. We talked about writing in New Waterford, east coast stories, working (as a woman) in technology, and revitalizing the economy of the island by supporting local businesses. Here's the link to the interview!

CBC Interview about Alistair MacLeod

I was asked to share a couple of stories about Alistair MacLeod for CBC Cape Breton's Information Morning. The segment aired this morning (April 25) and I remembered to record it. Yup. I had a scotch with Alistair MacLeod. Here's the story!

The M Word Launches in Toronto

I have an essay in The M Word: Conversations about Motherhood called "Babies in a Dangerous Time: On Choosing to Be Child-Free." It's a non-mom essay in an anthology that's very mom-oriented--kinda like non-moms in a very mom-oriented world. Anyway, I'm heading to Toronto for the launch on Tues., April 15, 6 p.m., at Ben McNally Bookstore, 366 Bay St. I'll be reading with other contributors and there'll be a discussion. Gonna represent for the child-free! Woot!

After this I hope I never ever have to explain why I'm not having kids. I know I probably will, but, hey--wouldn't it be nice if I never ever had to ever again? Dreams...

Berton House Writers' Retreat

It's official: I'll be heading to Dawson City, Yukon, next January-March, to be the writer-in-resident at the Pierre Berton House. The promise of 3 months to write and only write would tempt any writer to the Yukon in January...right? For more info about the program, you can read the Writers' Trust's official press release.

The World at Six

After Alice Munro's Nobel win, CBC's The World at Six did a segment on Canadian short story writers and I was mentioned!

I finally got a hold of the clip. Enjoy!


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