A Fedex truck arrived today at exactly the same time that my neighbour Keira showed up to walk my dog Sebastian. The 1-Dogpower Garden Team, illustrated by my cousin Gretchen Ehrsam, and published by Heather Nickel of Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, is in memory of Sebastian’s “brother” Bailey, both of them adopted from the Regina Humane Society in September, 2010. Bailey’s enthusiasm for digging was put to work (by me) as a way of digging up garden weeds. Bailey, an Aussie Shepherd, loved playing this game in the summer of 2018 – and a year later, remembered it and wanted to do it again.
The 1-Dogpower Garden Team will soon be available for order from Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing http://www.ynwp.ca/ for $14.95.
Lately it’s been hard to keep up with all that has been going on!
Canine Cupid is now officially out from BWL Publishing, and has been receiving some great reviews. It’s presently available from Smashwords in ebook form, at 50% off, for all of July. In this case the cost of the ebook is only $1.49 for the next week or so! Check out: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1088124
Coming in August is my 300-word flash fiction “Off the Wall”, officially written by my alias, “Ainslie Lloyd”, which will appear in an anthology on the theme of “Ink”…..
Coming in September is my fifth picture book, The 1-Dogpower Garden Team,illustrated by my artist cousin Gretchen Ehrsam, to be released by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing! Today we finalized the colour scheme for the small “spot drawings” that appear on the bottom corner of each page of text. Sophie loves to play outside with her dog, Max – and Max loves to dig. This becomes a major issue when Max decides he wants to dig up Mom’s garden. Sophie comes up with an innovative solution … which is a game I used to play with my (late) dog Bailey, 2009-2020. A sampling of Gretchen’s amazing art:
Coming in 2022!
— another contemporary romance, coming out in June from BWL Publishing. Its working title is “Strong As a Pharaoh”…though I suspect the publisher will have a much stronger idea for its title! This novel is set on a tour of Egypt, similar to one I took in 2013 … and includes the tragic hot air balloon crash that occurred only days after our tour group had a truly amazing hot air balloon over the area around Luxor.
— and my seventh early chapter book, Tyler Evans the Great, again with Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing. Young Tyler so longs to be a hero, but everybody else seems to outshine him. Or perhaps there are a variety of ways to be heroic?
It’s been a very busy past several days, and I’m thrilled to report that Canine Cupid, my first contemporary romance novel with touches of added suspense – plus two engaging dog characters who are partly responsible for the blossoming relationship – is now up for pre-order on both Amazon . ca and Amazon . com! It’s available in both ebook and print format. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0228618517?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860
A lot of emails have been flying back and forth over the past couple of days. BWL Publishing had scheduled my first romance novel, “Lost and Found Dog”, for release in February, 2022.
However, there was a sudden change at their end. First thing yesterday morning (May 18), they wondered if it would work for the book to be published in July, instead! So a lot of work has been going on to finalize everything quickly, including the creation of a cover.
Last night they told me the title really should be changed. This was not a surprise, because publishers often have excellent ideas about what titles work best. I started thinking of new possibilities, but hadn’t come up with anything special. At the same time, publisher Jude and cover designer Michelle were brainstorming too.
This afternoon, a great email came in. Between the two of them, they came up with CANINE CUPID as a possibility. What did I think of that?? I love it!
Canine Cupid will now be out on July 1, 2021! What a lovely way to celebrate Canada Day! Thanks so much to Jude and Michelle, for your brilliant idea!
This past week has been absolutely astonishing!! First, my poetic flash-fiction piece “The Gift” was accepted for publication in Grain Magazine!
My newest exciting news has to do with my first contemporary romance novel, “Lost & Found Dog”. To put it briefly, on Monday April 19 I sent a query to BWL Publishing. On Tuesday/20th, they asked to see the complete manuscript. Yesterday morning (April 26) came an incredible email saying they wanted to publish Lost & Found Dog! A contract followed, which I signed this morning (April 27). A lot of emails were exchanged, and now I’m officially on their website for a February 2022 release of this book! Author photo is courtesy of my friend Laurel Beyer. https://www.bookswelove.com/lohans-alison/
I’m deeply honoured that the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan is running a feature/interview on No Place for Kids this week. Many thanks, Kristine Scarrow, for this referral!
ASCS Interviews Local Author Alison Lohans about her book “No Place for Kids”
Alison Lohans is an award-winning Regina-based author of 26 books for young people and teens. She has given more than 1000 author talks about her work, and writing, in schools and libraries. Additionally, she has taught writing and worked as an editor.
This month ASCS has chosen to shine a light on Childhood Trauma and the importance of being Trauma Informed when caring for children who have had adverse early childhood experiences. With this in mind, could you tell us a little about the book you have published titled No Place for Kids?
No Place for Kids features young Sarah and her older sister Jennifer, whose once-comfortable life is shattered by the death of their mother. Their dad turns to drinking for solace, and things fall apart even more: he first loses his job, then begins pawning off their furniture, and eventually loses their house. When the story opens, this small family has been surviving by travelling around Western Canada, staying first with one of Dad’s “buddies”, then another and another, a few months each time. These are often grungy “party houses” where nobody has any interest in providing responsible care for the two sisters. At this point the girls haven’t been in school for quite a while. Their only other living relative is their Aunt Ellen in Vancouver. In yet another “buddy’s” home in Winnipeg, they encounter Wes, a creepy character who seems to have an “unnatural” interest in the girls. Jen, the older sister, reaches a point at which she’s not willing to take any more – and so, with a small amount of cash saved from doing odd jobs, the two hungry girls take off in the middle of the night, planning to make their way to Aunt Ellen, whom they know will provide a loving home for them. Jen’s meagre savings only cover the cost of bus tickets to Regina, where the two are suddenly truly alone and must depend on their wits for survival – which is a particular challenge for Sarah when the bossy Jen gets sick. Hiding out in garden sheds and a neighbourhood school, it’s a struggle simply to eat, let alone buy more bus tickets – until Sarah defies her older sister and tells a bit of their story to a new schoolyard friend, while Jennifer gets picked up for stealing. Finally, Social Services becomes involved and the girls will be assisted for the remainder of their trip to Aunt Ellen in Vancouver.
What does this book mean to you and why did you feel compelled to write about the main characters; Jennifer and Sarah’s often painful but resilient experience?
No Place for Kids started out as a companion book to another one of my books for younger readers, Mystery of the Lunchbox Criminal (Scholastic Canada, 1990). That chapter book for grades 3-4 involved kids’ lunches going missing at school, with JJ and his friends needing to solve the mystery of the “criminal” who was stealing the lunches. That it turned out to be a pair of sisters, runaways, opened up a huge spectrum of childhood traumas that far overshadow the day-to-day issues faced by most middle class children. So there it was – an enormous well of human challenges: of abandonment on virtually all levels, leaving it up to sisters Jennifer and Sarah to take matters into their own hands, in taking on the risks of striking out for a better life (and survival) when it was clear that the adults around them were totally incompetent in parental roles, in the face of their own personal weaknesses. I wanted to point out that kids are capable of figuring out workable, options, and of summoning up the courage to take action in search of a better life. It also opened up so many layers of challenges faced by the homeless – particularly when no adult is around to take charge.
What do you hope both young adult and adult readers can take away from their experience in reading No Place for Kids?
There are a number of things I hope readers will keep in mind after reading No Place for Kids:
It’s important to think issues through from several different perspectives because actions have consequences
People in positions of responsibility for others need to consider their needs first, before indulging in their own wishes
It’s important to keep in mind that people can and should speak up if something is wrong
It’s not wrong to ask for help when help is needed
Substance use and over-use is not an appropriate means for dealing with emotional pain. Instead, turning to counselling will help strengthen a person and assist them with positive decision making.
Young people shouldn’t be underestimated: they are capable of making plans and carrying them out
The importance of working to sustain one’s needs, rather than leaning upon others
Do you wish to share any personal thoughts about the valuable knowledge that youth and adults can gain when they read stories like No Place for Kids. In terms of gaining empathy, understanding and a different world view?
There are many, many things that we take for granted in our day-to-day lives. It’s important to be aware of this, and to recognize that many others are not so privileged. It may be hard to know if – or when –we should step in to help … however, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to such situations. Stories such as No Place for Kids can provide excellent springboards for discussion in classrooms and other areas, opening people’s thinking toward greater consideration for, and empathy toward, others. They may also provide opportunities to become aware of community and provincial departments and resources that have the knowledge and expertise to provide help in challenging situations.
ASCS wishes to express our gratitude to Alison Lohans for providing an inside look at the writing of her published work; No Place for Kids. This book is available through the Carol Bothwell Resource Library at the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan. For more information on No Place for Kids and Alison’s other books, please visit her Facebook Page and Website.
Gretchen Ehrsam, my talented artist cousin, has completed two more illustrations for our coming picture book The 1-Dogpower Garden Team, to be released later this year by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing.