In this installment of the Weekend Name Drop, I’m featuring another Atlantic Canadian writer, this time even closer to my homeland of Pictou County. Meet Sarah Butland.

Name: Sarah Butland

Creative field: Writer, Advocate for Nutrition and Literacy

Location: Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada

Best known for: Author of the Adventures of Sammy series

My connection: I first heard from Sarah in my Facebook group. Sarah had been added to the group by my cousin, Kelli Cruikshank. In fact, it was shortly after I featured Kelli in my very first installment of The Weekend name Drop. Sarah posted in the group, offering to review one of my books. Delighted to hear from an author from my homeland of Pictou County, I sent her a copy of The Chain and she kindly reviewed it on Amazon. Since then, we have maintained contact on Facebook and Twitter.

20445234Inspiration for this writer: Sarah has been a prolific writer for most of her life. She has many books already available on Amazon, including Kindle editions of short stories, an idea I am still exploring. However, it is her presence on social media and advocacy for local authors which drew my attention and admiration. For years now, she has amassed an impressive following on Facebook and Twitter as well as a wider portfolio including YouTube and several blogs. In 2013, she organised a Meet Your Neighbourhood Author event in the Highland Square Mall in New Glasgow, an event covered by The NewsEven just this one article introduced me to authors in the Pictou-Antigonish region such as Sheree Fitch, Jennifer Hatt and Monica Graham. I recognise some of myself in Sarah, as I also try and promote local authors in my area of Taumarunui. Sarah also conducts interviews on her blog, again promoting fellow authors.

Why you should check her out and share with others:
 Sarah writes for a variety of ages and in a variety of genre and for a variety of purposes. Her Adventures of Sammy series promotes healthy eating for young people in order to combat childhood obesity and encourage literacy at the same time. Daringly, she’s also ventured into the horror genre, writing Arm Farm for adults. Perhaps even more daringly, she’s recently published a short story, Life Imitated, involving euthanasia. Sarah has a lot going in in her imagination and channels it creatively and productively into her books and blog posts.

Sample of work:

31119810“The hospital couldn’t keep me any longer so my parents were coming back from their summer home. With gritted teeth, because I could still do that, I waited their arrival. Between visits from nurses, beeping of machines and voices of passersby I floated between sleep and memories.

Moments of my past which I thought would be my future were now horrible reminders of who I wouldn’t be. Costumes, recitals, audiences, applause and the positive energy all would allow me to feel were gone. In place was the dreariness of a hospital room, awkward stares and pity. I couldn’t stand their pity but couldn’t be bothered to tell anyone.” 

Here’s Sarah, herself, sharing from her book, Sending You Sammy:

Find out more: sarahbutland.com, Facebook, TwitterAmazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, YouTube, Pinterest

The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother MurrihyTe Kauhanga and The Chain.

Smashwords Cover Te_Kauhanga_Cover_for_Kindle (2)The_Chain_Cover_for_Kindle

In this installment of the Weekend Name Drop, I am delighted to be one of the first to reveal the cover of a soon-to-be-released children’s book by an award winning Canadian author. Meet Jennifer McGrath.

Name: Jennifer McGrath a.k.a Jennifer McGrath Kent

Creative field: Writer, Author, Make Believer

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Best known for: Winner of the 2009 Hackmatack Award for Chocolate River Rescuetwice shortlisted for the OLA Silver Birch Award and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award

My connection: I studied with Jen at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. We started and finished our four-year English degrees together, sharing courses like Romantics, Shakespeare and Western Literature. We both also shared a fondness for Derek Wood who was our thesis supervisor. In recent years, we reconnected on Facebook where I discovered Jen has been busy producing books for children. Reading her blog, I also found out she has an admiration for Northrop Frye, the celebrated critic whose work I enjoyed while studying at StFX.

Inspiration for this writer: It’s terrific to see a fellow English major from StFX who is writing. Like most writers, Jen has a diverse portfolio of activities. She furthered her study, completing a Master degree at the University of Victoria and has taught at university level. She has written for CBC Radio and is a popular author in schools she has visited. I’m somewhat jealous of the Masters degree, though I am more inspired by Jen’s obvious passion for words and stories and her dynamic endeavours to deliver her own words and stories to her audience.

Why you should check her out and share with others: Thus far, Jen’s books have been aimed at Middle-school readers (7-10 years) although Gadzooks the Christmas Goose looks like a fun one for younger ones. Her first two books are set in New Brunswick. Canadian Teacher Magazine endorses her first book, Chocolate River Rescuecalling it a “fast-paced adventure story…that will keep readers turning pages right to the ending.” It’s sequel, White Cave Escape, has been noted as “an action packed, thrill ride of a book…” by Greg M. Romaneck. I hear there’s a third in the series in the works . . . look out for something in 2017.

THE BIG NEWS is that Jen is soon to launch her brand new book, The Snow KnowsAccording to her publisher’s websiteThe Snow Knows is “a lyrical prose poem” in which “a pair of award-­winning storytellers share the joys of winter … destined to be a perennial winter favourite, and read aloud by a crackling fire.” Complimented beautifully by illustrator, Josée BisaillonThe Snow Knows will be available on Amazon in October 2016. Look out for it and remember you heard about it first in my Weekend Name Drop!

The Snow Knows Cover

Sample of work

Chocolate River Rescue“Maybe we should swim for it,” said Tony.

“I don’t know,” said Shawn doubtfully.

“What other chance do we have?” said Tony.

“We’ve gone around the bend. Nobody can reach us now. We should swim before the river gets any wider. The bank doesn’t look that far.”

Shawn squinted at the bank. It looked pretty far to him.

“I can’t swim very well,” shivered Craig. “I can’t even feel my feet anymore.”

The ice floe bobbed as a wave washed against it, sending another ripple of water across their boots. The boys braced themselves on the slick, wet ice, clutching each other’s arms.

“We’ve got to do something,” persisted Tony. “We can’t stay on this thing. We’ll freeze!”

“If we swim, we’ll freeze and drown,” said Shawn, bluntly. “The water’s too cold. And look at those banks…we’d never be able to climb up them.”

“If we stay on this ice floe, we’re dead anyway,” argued Tony. “We’re either gonna freeze to death or get tipped into the river or float out to the ocean. What other choice have we got? We’ve gone around the bend. It’s the point of no return, guys! Don’t you get it? Nobody is coming for us.”

Here’s Jennifer, herself, in a brief interview at the 2010 Frye Festival:

Find out more: jennifermcgrath.ca, Facebook,  Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter

The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother MurrihyTe Kauhanga and The Chain.

Smashwords Cover Te_Kauhanga_Cover_for_Kindle (2)The_Chain_Cover_for_Kindle

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