Things are a pretty much ’January’ here in Southeastern Alberta. Know what I mean? Like many of you, this is my least favorite month of the year, for reasons mostly related to climate. It’s been a cold one so far. We live on a farm, so that means that we (when I say ‘we’ I mean mostly Dwight) have been fighting the good fight…thawing waterers…boosting tractors …swearing more than usual. It seems things always break when its 40 below, right? Additionally, I just LOVE Christmas, so the end of ‘the most wonderful time of the year” hits me kind of hard.
During the first week of January I have a bit of an urge to get into my pajama’s and stay in them until February. It turns out that this isn’t an option, because apparently, I’m a “grown-up” and hibernating is not something we are supposed to do. I am choosing to be a big girl, and get moving! I have a few things on the go this month which you may, or may not, be interested in! Read on if you wish!
- Berry Creek School Author Visit
I have an author visit planned at Berry Creek Community School later this month. This school is in the Hamlet of Cessford , which is surrounded by some of Alberta’s largest farms and ranches. The ‘rodeo gene’ runs deep and strong out there. Some of rodeos biggest stars have ‘learned the ropes’ living and working in this corner of southeastern Alberta. Some of the world’s most famous bucking horses roam the expansive grasslands of Alberta’s Special Areas. This area is the ‘home-base’ of some of rodeo’s most famous stock contractors, Klassens, Sunstrums, Girletz’s and the legendary Calgary Stampede Ranch.
Many moons ago, I traveled out to the Berry Creek Community School to watch our family friend, Laci Suitor, perform in her school musical theater presentation – ‘Grease’. It turns out that ‘ol ‘Barrel Racer Lacer’, sings like a bird! Laci co-starred in a lead role as ‘Sandy’. The cast sang ‘Summer Lovin’ better than Olivia and John…! The performance was memorable, and I was just so impressed with that progressive little school. The school left mark on me, and I am so grateful to be invited.
I gotta say – I just love what small schools bring out in kids. All students get involved – in student government, fundraisers, school trips. Places like this turn out high performers, with a strong work ethic and a heart for community. Can you move? You play on a sports team. You have a voice? You are in the school play. You have a pen, pencil or crayon? You are a writer. That’s where I come in…see you soon Berry Creek!
I still get a bit nervous before these events, but I know this will subside the more I do them. Everybody has to start somewhere. Whenever I start to get nervous about doing things that I lack experience in, I think of this very simple quote that I have never forgotten.
You lack nothing, use what I gave you.
So, I will do just that!
2. Hanna Family Literacy Day
I have been invited to participate in the Family Literacy Day event in Hanna at the end of this month.
Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative that was created by ABC Life Literacy Canada. Its goal is to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. This event happens in communities across the country.
This is the first time I will directly participate as an author, but last year got a little taste of Family Literacy Day in my hometown of Brooks, Alberta.
At the time of last year’s Brooks event, I had just received a few advanced copies of Cowboy Cody from the printer. I knew that one of my co-workers had been selected as a ‘Celebrity Guest Reader’ for the event. So I shamelessly dropped hints and bird-dogged him to choose my book to read there.
I was so happy when he did! I will never forget the feeling I had watching him reading the book to a little group of kids, it was a pretty cool moment. I had achieved a life-long goal…’write a rodeo- themed children’s book’ – Check. A great moment and big day for me personally.
Book 2 Update
Things are moving forward. Last weekend I had a Skype meeting with Dane Larocque, who was the illustrator of Cowboy Cody and is the illustrator of the current book in progress (title TBA).
We spent some time going through a game plan for the illustrations for Book 2. Also, we have some other work in progress for a side project I am working on.
So far, I am finding that this is that just like most things, about 50% easier the second time around! I think Dane would agree. We both have some experience behind us, and we know what to expect and knew where we needed to adjust our sails. We both learned from the first book, and are a bit wiser.
I can’t get over how Dane and I have worked together on this project without having to ever be physically in the same place. I live in Alberta and he lives on the West Coast. Between email, text, phone, Dropbox and Skype we have everything we need to work effectively together.
I am so grateful that I get to work with this very talented young man again. Dane is such a force and an incredibly versatile artist. I am constantly amazed when I hear stories of children (and parents) spotting things in the illustrations during second or third readings of Cowboy Cody that they didn’t notice the first time around.
We will soon create a line of merchandise! We are going to start small at first. The first wave will be ready within a month. Please let me know if you want a Cowboy Cody T-shirt for the little reader in your life!
Random Personal Fun Facts
It’s time to celebrate…Later this month, I will attend a much anticipated get together with some of my oldest friends. One of the main reasons for the special occasion is a milestone birthday for a good friend. Truly though, we will be celebrating long-term friendships cemented by a love of rodeo, and the lifetime of connections we have through the sport. I am sure there will be lots of laughs and reminiscing. I absolutely can’t wait.
Speaking of milestones, this one’s Silver…My dear husband Dwight and I celebrate our 25th anniversary early in February. Being married is not easy, at times bumpy and certainly no straight-line. It has been an incredible journey. I am so proud that we have made it work in a time where statistics for long term marriages are less than remarkable.
This was one of the passages read at our wedding (I know…it’s read at EVERY wedding…almost 😊) It certainly frames up what it takes to make a marriage work, and it does it in such a beautiful way. Timeless words right here…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
New beginnings…The company that I have worked for nearly 17 years divested the area that I work late in 2017. The end of 2017 was a bit stressful for all of us. I am happy to say that after the smoke cleared, the company that purchased the area decided to keep me! I am so grateful for that, but as expected, the month of January is very busy with the transition and getting accustomed to my new corporate ‘normal’. The future looks bright!
Are you looking for more western-themed books for the little cowboy kid in your life? I think that this is a such neglected corner of the market, and I love seeing authentic western/rodeo books available for our little people.
Have you seen these books by Saskatchewan Author Kelley Byrne? I think Kelley has another book soon to be released, if it is not already!
Kelley’s character Billy Buck inspires children of all ages to dream and believe in themselves. Billy Buck s a rough and tumble little boy who grew up on the family ranch knowing that when he grew up he would be a cowboy just like his daddy, Benjamin Buck. Visit Kelley’s website at billybuck.ca
Well that’s all I have this time! I am going to end as I began, complaining about the weather! When it’s cold like this, I often think of my friends from El Salvador, who live here in Brooks. I am in a class in town called “Spanglish” (They teach us Spanish, and we help them with English). Lino, one of my classmates, is in El Salvador right now and he is finally able to bring his wife and son to live here. They have been apart for many years, waiting for all of the Canadian immigration boxes to be checked. I am told she is excited to move to Canada. They will arrive next week. I can’t help but think it wont be long until she feels like this…
Four more things…
Did you know that you can get Cowboy Cody on Amazon? Find it at this Link (click)
Find me on Facebook, like my page, leave a review! Becky Wigemyr – Western Children’s Author
Find me on Instagram @beckywigemyrauthor
Take a look the ‘Buy the Book‘ link here on my website to find a retail location near you!