More Information on Books and School Visits

Friday, 14 December 2018

TD Canadian Book Week 2019!

Adopt an Author Program
Taking 75 grade 4/5's down the publishing path of
Family of Spies: Paris.
I have extremely awesome news! I've been selected to take part in the TD Canadian Children's Book Week 2019 and tour school and libraries in Ontario. So very grateful for this opportunity. I love presenting nearly as much as I like writing. 

So, what is it all about?

Here is a snipping from the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Page:

Sharing books I wrote at age ten, with ten-year-olds.
TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is the single most important national event celebrating Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading. Each May, over 400 readings are given to over 28,000 children, teens and adults in roughly 175 communities across the country as we make every possible effort to reach children in more remote regions and communities. Hundreds of schools, public libraries, bookstores and community centres host events as part of this major literary festival.

When is it?
The next TD Canadian Children’s Book Week touring program will run from Saturday, May 4 to Saturday, May 11, 2019. Thirty Canadian children’s authors, illustrator and storytellers will be visiting schools, libraries, community centres and bookstores across Canada throughout the week.
                                                          Who organizes it?
Using our Senses with Grade Three's.
TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is organized by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, in partnership with the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, and is made possible through the generous support of sponsors and funders.

If you are a teacher, librarian or bookstore in Ontario, please visit the website. I would love to meet you and your students and spread my love for reading, writing, and following our creative passions.
Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food with Grade One's
Looking for reviews for Family of Spies: Paris?

"It is an absolute page turner, and I spent every spare minute I had reading it. My favourite character is Ellie, because she is really organised, however Ford and Gavin are really good as well! This review has been a great joy to write, and I’ve only just come back from being on holiday, and this is the first thing I’ve done. Congrats Jodi, and thanks for sending an advance copy!" Mango Bubbles Books 

Mango Bubble Books is a site where kids read, write and draw book reviews. No adults allowed! The Guardian has called it "The most influential children's review site in the UK."  

Presenting at an I Love to Read Month Assembly
to 600 Students, Staff and community members.

CM Review of Materials Highly Recommends Family of Spies and awarded it a four out of four!

"Family of Spies will grip readers from the first page and will not let go. While Carmichael has done her research and briefly ventures into the scientific realm of time travel and psychic ability, Family of Spies forces readers to suspend their disbelief and just enjoy a really good story. Told in the third person, this time travel tale successfully immerses readers in the City of Lights during both the 21st century and WWII, highlighting the incredible food, culture, language, history and architecture. The WWII era scenes, complete with marching Nazi troops and flapping swastika flags, are replete with vivid description that captures all of the senses. Chock full of action, suspense, history and intrigue, Family of Spies is a must-read with something for everyone!"

"Such a joy to race through Paris with brothers Ford and Gavin and cousin Ellie as during family reunion/vacation they discover not only that Ford is clairvoyant, but that through him they might solve a mystery swirling around their great grandfather's WWII service. The novel is fast moving-- literally! I mean, those kids never stop running! And eating, which made me crave French pastries something fierce. Jodi Carmichael effectively entwines humour with a truthful punch of history that will not only engage young readers, but also breathe life into a past that is just too important to ever forget. The novel ends with a very clear indication of the next adventure, the next in this series." Anita Daher, Vice Chair of The Writers' Union of Canada and Author of Forgetting How to Breathe, Two Foot Punch and Itty Bitty Bits

Speaker Testimonials:

"Our goal for adopting Jodi was for students to see the hard work and determination that it takes to get a book published. We wanted them to connect with the author, but also the journey. As a teacher, it was heart-warming to see how excited the students were when they knew Jodi was visiting. Jodi’s rapport with students was confident and relaxed. Her presentations were organized and included visuals and artifacts to make it personal for our students.

At the book launch, which was outside of school hours, almost half of the students attended with their families. One student created a book trailer for Jodi and others built an Eiffel Tower which she displayed at the launch. The impact Jodi had on our students last year was lasting.

I hope more students across Canada can have the same meaningful experience as the kids at Beaumont. " - Colleen Nelson, Teacher Librarian, Beaumont School


"As part of our I Love to Read celebrations, we invited author Jodi Carmichael to present her ‘Reading, Writing and Editing’ workshop to our Grades 2/3 class. 

Jodi’s workshop was well planned and at an appropriate level for the students.  From the outset, students were engaged as Jodi shared her experiences as a young reader and writer in elementary school, even bringing samples of her earliest work to share!  The PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the workshop included photographs and images that helped the students to make connections with what Jodi was sharing.  Likely, the favourite part was when Jodi guided them through a writing activity, drawing on their five senses, and using props to deepen their experience.  Jodi modelled the writing process through a shared writing activity, honouring the ideas and abilities of all the students.  This workshop built upon and expanded the work we have been doing as a school to improve writing skills.  Our students came away inspired and excited about reading and writing because of this personal connection with a local published author. 

I would highly recommend Jodi Carmichael as a presenter!" - Trish Steadman, Teacher Librarian, Ecole Crane


"Jodi visited 4 grade 4 classes, talking to them about being a writer and encouraging them in the writerly life! She was well prepared, very at ease with the students and full of excitement. As Jodi shared her story of becoming a writer with all of us she certainly removed some of the mystery surrounding writing and getting a book to the publishing stage!

Our staff would eagerly recommend Jodi's high powered and insightful workshop for any other school. As Teacher Librarian, I was very pleased with the outcome of Jodi's visit and would certainly recommend her as a presenter to other schools." - Claire Sutton, Teacher Stanley Knowles School


"Jodi is a dynamic speaker with a natural ability to encourage spontaneous participation while maintaining the students' attention and respectful listening.  She was able to very quickly adapt her presentation when, minutes before the children assembled, she realized the classes had not yet read her book.

I would definitely recommend Jodi Carmichael as a speaker for diverse groups of elementary students to help with learning to appreciate differences." - Karen Slippert, OTReg.(MB) Occupational Therapist, Pembina Trails School Division

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Leaping Hurdles of Self-Doubt

Writing here, writing there. Writing anywhere.
It's a long and winding road..."dah-dah dah-dah daaaaah"... to the next book.

I hope you read the dah-dahs to the tune of the The Beatles song, Long and Winding Road. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please follow this link:

Now that I've dumped that song into your brain, let's talk about writing, shall we?

Worry. Anxiety. Self-doubt.
I am a master of all three.
I know what you're thinking.
A writer's life isn't all J.K. Rowling's theme parks and Roald Dahl's movies. It isn't all writing from morning's first light, to the pitch black of midnight either. It is a daily routine of setting pen to paper, or fingers to key board and leaping over the hurdles of self-doubt. Yes. Self-doubt. Will my next book be any good? Will it find an audience or am I writing for an audience of one?

There's a saying in the writing community: "You are only as good as your last book." No resting on laurels over here in my big yellow house!
Pixabay says this is laurel.
It looks like holly to me.

So, I have chucked out all laurels and taken a good long running start and am jumping as high as possible over anxious feelings. I've now completed my next middle grade, A Time of Peril, and have sent it to an agent for consideration. Fingers crossed, he likes it. In the meantime I have promised myself not to stalk my inbox for his reply and am well into the book that follows it.

Here is the book blurb: 

A Time of Peril is a humorous fantasy about twelve-year-old Lizzie’s daring mission to rescue her confused tea-cozy-wearing Great Aunt Bess imprisoned in the dungeon of an evil dark faerie queen in a magical land called the Kingdom. Under the guidance of a two-foot-tall talking, purple-suit-wearing spider Guardian named Sir Duncan, Lizzie adopts a feisty Staff of Wisdom named Roofinius, a book of spells, evil-turned-sweet gnome-like gnarfs, a young fellow junior-warden named Trevor and his shrunken Guardian, Sir Leopold. Lizzie’s courage is continuously tested as they trek across the Kingdom—facing fears and foes with hearts and minds set not only on freeing all the evil queen’s prisoners, but the entire Kingdom as well. 

And what's in book two?
Leprechauns of course.

"I'm afraid at failing at whatever story I'm writing - that it won't come up for me, or that I won't be able to finish it." Stephen King, Rolling Stone 2014 Interview 

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Family of Spies Launched!

It's official! 
Family of Spies has launched and will land on bookstore shelves over the next few weeks.

My thanks to everyone who came out to McNally Robinson Bookseller's to celebrate. 
What a party!

Jamie and I. Excited. Nervous. Pens ready.

Illustrator, Jamie Gatta and I, were thrilled to see so many students from Beaumont School. And of course I was proud to introduce Kennedy who created the awesome Family of Spies' book trailer, which you can view here: Family of Spies Book Trailer.

McNally's atrium was packed with kids, adults, friends, and family and looking on a sea of smiling faces, is something I will never forget. 

Family of Spies was inspired by family lore that swirls around my grandfather's still-sealed World War 2 records and my cousins from across North America, including Hawaii, flew to Winnipeg for this event. We quickly planned a Winnipeg Crawford family reunion and re-introduced ourselves after decades of separation. Books aren't just about getting lost in a good story, they can bring families together! At least they are, if you are a FAMILY OF SPIES! 
Gorgeous cookies by Prairie Ink.

(See what I did there? Clever, yes?)

A huge thank you to McNally's launch staff who seamlessly guided the afternoon. You make every author, whether they've published one book or twenty-five books, feel like J.K. Rowling.

Family of Spies was completed on the day movers arrived at our home in Hertford, England to pack us for our return to Canada. While in England, I met two writers through The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and we formed a critique group called, The Streamers. (Named after our pub, The Millstream. Of course.) This novel would remain unfinished if it weren't for The Streamers. Alice and Louise graciously agreed to do my book launch introduction via video, and as expected everyone found them as funny, thoughtful, and amazing as I do. As they took us down "memory lane" of how we three met and worked so well together, my heart was full. I am happy to say, The Streamers has gone international, and we meet via Skype every three to four weeks to critique each others work.

Two thirds of The Streamers: Alice and Louise from Hertford, England

Sharing the writing journey of Family of Spies
And then the presentation continued and in what felt like just a few minutes, I was signing books.
Thank you!
Signing, signing, signing. Smiling, smiling, smiling.
E.H. Crawford
 This day was made possible by Yellow Dog, an imprint of Great Plains Publications. 
Thank you for all you do for Canadian writers.
And my thanks to my cousin, Jim Crawford of Newfoundland - our family historian. Thank you for helping me keep all our Crawford Harrys and Henrys straight. 

Finally, I am extremely grateful that I am fortunate enough to write books and find an audience who enjoys the stories I create.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Family of Spies Blog Tour Schedule

And so it begins! 
So excited to start the tour for 
Family of Spies.
Won't you join me as I travel the Internet and visit bloggers across the globe?

April 30, 2018 – Chapters Through Life – Review

May 1, 2018 – Chapter by Chapter – Interview

May 2, 2018 – BookHounds YA – Guest Post

May 3, 2018 – BooksChatter – Interview

May 4, 2018 – Stacking My Book Shelves! – Interview

May 7, 2018 – Belle’s Book Blog – Spotlight

May 8, 2018 – Writing Pearls – Review

May 9, 2018 – Mango Bubbles Books – Review

May 10, 2018 – CanLit for LittleCanadians – Review

May 10, 2018 – MG Book Village – Review

May 11, 2018 – laura’s bookish corner – Review
Available Now!
It will be a busy two weeks. 
Hope to see you in the comments section.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Fact vs Fiction in Family of Spies

I am currently creating a new website and will then have a separate tab for a Fact vs Fiction page for Family of Spies for easier access for readers. Until then, this is where you can find the details surrounding the background for my latest novel.


Family of Spies is loosely based on the mystery revolving around my Rhodes Scholar grandfather, Edward Hugh Martin Crawford. He was a pilot with the R.C.A.F. and was awarded an MBE based on his involvement in World War 2. Eighty years later, the details of his military career remain sealed. Our family lore of code-breaking, secret missions, and connections to Bletchley Park, fueled my imagination when writing this story.

Family of Spies blends truth with imagination. Here is a list of where fact and fiction met to create a story with verisimilitude.


Edward Hugh Martin Crawford - born 1894 died 1972

Edward Hugh Martin Crawford Circa 1944
Born at Benton, NL he attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar for Newfoundland and received a BA degree in Jurisprudence, Bachelor of Civil Law, and Master of Arts. He moved to Winnipeg and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1921. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1939, and during the Second World War, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Wing Commander and received the Member of the British Empire (Military) Medal. His war records remain sealed.

His involvement with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) as a Spy Master.

General Carl -Heinrich von Stülpnagel - born 1886 died 1944

He held many posts in Nazi Germany and played a role in the “July Plot” – a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler— on July 20, 1944. The chief aim of the plot was to take control away from the Nazi party and seek peace with the Allies. General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel stayed in Paris from 1942-1944. The assassination attempt was discovered and he was ordered back to Berlin to face trial for treason. He was sentenced to death and executed on August 30, 1944.

His meeting with SOE Agent Morah a.k.a. “Scout.”

Sir William Stephenson – born 1896 died 1989

Master spy from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Code Name: Intrepid. Stephenson is believed to be one of the real-life inspirations for the fictitious master spy, James Bond. Stephenson was in charge of British Security Co-ordination in the Western Hemisphere, with headquarters in New York City. He set up an allied agent training centre near Oshawa Ontario called Camp X for infiltration into Nazi-occupied Europe.

Although our family if rife with rumour, his association with Edward Hugh Crawford, is a work of fiction.

Jean Moulin – born 1889 died 1943

He was the leader of Armée secrète (French Resistance) and was captured in June 1943 when Germans raided a meeting of several resistance leaders. Moulin was interrogated by the Gestapo in Lyon and Paris and died, as a result of torture, on a train taking him to Germany.

His association with any characters in this book is fiction.

Harry Crawford – born 1919 died 1990

Harry was Edward Hugh Crawford’s nephew and was a codebreaker in the (Royal Air Force) RAF at Bletchley Park during World War 2.

All Other Characters in the novel are fiction

The Special Operations Executive

The Special Operations Executive was ordered by Britain’s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, to “set Europe ablaze” in efforts to undermine German-occupied countries. The SOE’s primary task was to work with resistance movements, chiefly the French Resistance.

The SOE agents in the book are works of fiction, but based on research on real agents and the missions they undertook.

Physician Network

This was a spy network organized by British SOE agent, Francis Alfred Suttill (Code Name: Prosper). The network was controlled by the SOE and was its largest network in France. The Physician Network was compromised and destroyed by the Germans in the summer of 1943.

Any connection to characters in the book.

Female Agents

Female operatives worked for the SOE and were trained to handle guns and explosives, memorize complex codes, organize munitions and supplies drops, endure harsh interrogation, and, in some cases, were in charge of thousands of men.


Hotel Du France

It does not exist; however, the German military did take possession of any building they desired to use as interrogation centres.

Hotel Raphael

High-ranking officers of the German command lived in this luxury hotel. During the attack on Adolf Hitler, General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel and some of the other conspirators used Hotel Raphael as a headquarters.

It is not known if General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel resided in this hotel during his time in Paris.

Madame Bellerose’s house

This is a completely fictional home on a fictional street.

The Rental Apartment

The location of the apartment where Ford, Ellie and Gavin stay while in Paris is close to an actual rental location. When writing apartment scenes, I referred to photos of that apartment to capture details.  

All other locations

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Family of Spies Book Launch

It is official!

The McNally Robinson launch date for my third novel 
Family of Spies
is set for April 29th at 2:00 p.m. 

Please join me in McNally's atrium for a fun-filled afternoon. Of course there will be cookies, clues, and prizes! 

This is a family friendly event, with special guests from the Adopt an Author program at Beaumont School.

Family of Spies, is a middle grade novel loosely based on the mystery revolving around my Rhodes Scholar grandfather, Edward Hugh Martin Crawford. He was a pilot with the R.C.A.F. and was awarded an MBE, based on his involvement in World War 2. Eighty years later, the details of his military career remain sealed. Our family lore of code breaking, secret missions, and connections to Bletchley Park, fueled my imagination when writing this story. Back in 2013 when I began research for this novel, I wrote a blog post exploring my grandfather's life. You can read it by clicking here: The Queen's Rum Runner.

When cousins Ford, Ellie and Gavin, discover their great-grandfather was a rogue World War 2 spymaster, they must outrun MI6 and the CIA through the streets of Paris, relying on their wits and Ford’s newfound clairvoyant skills to unlock Great-Granddad’s spy secrets buried in the past. Great-Granddad hid something important to the war effort and these agencies want it back!

And finally, a huge thank you to my editor, Stephanie Berrington of Yellow Dog, an imprint of Great Plains Publications, for working with me to strengthen every passage of this novel. 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Meet The Streamers!

Writing is primarily a solo occupation and can be a little lonely at times. Writing groups build a community of like minded folks, people who truly "get" you.

When we moved to England in 2015, I sorely missed my Winnipeg writing group, The Anita Factor and already homesick, I soon became writer sick. I needed to find a new "tribe" with whom a could talk story and so I began a search for fellow children's authors. Within a few months, and my first British Isles SCBWI event at Hertford's Leaf Cafe, I found two writers also searching for a writing group. Kismet? Karma? Fate?

Who knows, but from our first session at our local pub, The Millstream, we knew we had struck gold in finding each other and quickly named ourselves The Streamers. 

The Streamers:

Alice Hemming, Louise Morriss, and Me.
 Apparently, we are selfie-challenged. 
 Perhaps, it was the fizz. 
We may not have been calm, but we carried on.
Definitely the fizz.

Since then we have been to conferences together, workshops, agent meet and greets, and have completed many books together. Now that I have returned to Canada, The Streamers has gone international and we hold our crit session via facebook video. Technology is a wonderful thing.

Alice and Louise are two of the most talented writers I have met. Alice has NUMEROUS books published, with one more launching in April 2018! We had the pleasure of working on this book in our group and to see the initial illustrations and cover design is so exciting.

Louise is on the cusp of her first contract, with heaps of praise with her short listed entry in last year's Hook Competition through the SCBWI conference in Winchester.

With another transcontinental meeting coming at the end of the month, I am counting sleeps until I can hear their lovely voices and laugh the day away. Together again.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

I've Been Adopted!

That's right. I've been adopted, but its not quite like it sounds. Beaumont School in Winnipeg, Manitoba has adopted me as their author in residence and I am beyond the moon excited.

Beginning in October, I will visit the school on a monthly to semi-monthly basis to share the behind the scenes details of publishing my middle grade novel, Family of Spies. Together we will journey through revisions, book designs, promotional considerations, more revisions, marketing decisions, final last minute revisions, book printing, culminating with the book launch.

I am so grateful to Prairie Bookings  for being so incredibly forward thinking and responsive and to Colleen Nelson who referred me to this author service. Colleen is the award-winning author of the following; Blood Brothers, Finding Hope, and 250 Hours, and many more! She champions fellow writers, always looking for ways to offer support and is a model of kindness.

I cannot wait to meet the Beaumont students and introduce them to Ford, Ellie, and Gavin. 
A world of espionage, secret agents, and clairvoyance awaits!
*Just found out one more school is interested in adopting me! 
More deets to follow...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Judging a Book

As I journey down the publishing road of Family of Spies, I have started to research middle grade book covers. Since readers do judge a book by its cover, getting this right is imperative.

Yesterday, I met with Winnipeg's McNally Robinson who graciously shared their knowledge on what draws readers in, what sells, and the key features of an older middle grade novel cover.

We found some key similarities in popular titles. More often than not, the faces of the characters are not revealed, leaving more to the reader's imaginations. Certain colours seem to dominate: blues, purples, blacks. Mysteries do lend themselves to a darker cover after all. Each book title has a striking font which reveals a glimmer of the story's tone.

These stunning covers topped the list:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon was our favourite. 
I loved it so much, I bought it and can't put it down.

Then I found these gorgeous books this morning:

I have read many of these titles, and now want to read them all!

Which ones do you like best? 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Family of Spies Launching Spring 2018!

It's official!

Family of Spies will launch in spring 2018!

I am extremely happy to have another book published with Great Plains Publications under their new teen and middle grade imprint, Yellow Dog Press. Partnering with editor Catharina de Bakker on Forever Julia was a dream and I can't wait to work with her once more.

Soon I will start revisions, which will take me into November/December and in the mean time discussions around cover designs begin.

Book covers are always important, but with this age group they can make or break book sales. This week I am meeting with McNally Robinson who have graciously agreed to discuss what makes a middle grade cover pop off the shelf.

Then to plan the book launch. 
Spy theme? 
Yes please!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Write to Write Another Day

Writing a book is thrilling and exciting, and at the same time an extremely difficult business full of rejection, critique, and struggle.

I have often been asked, how I take a nugget of an idea and turn it into a bound novel. So today, I thought I would distill it down to;

The Creation of a Book in Seven "Simple" Steps:

1. A writer combines their passion for words and storytelling with bits of their heart and soul to create a first draft.

2. To produce the best possible manuscript, a lengthy period of editing, rewriting, and revising follows.

3. With heart a' flutter that book baby is then submitted to editors and publishers to find a home.

4. Contracts are signed.

5. Further edits are completed at the request of an editorial team.

6. Cover reveal! Happy Dancing begins.

7. The launch. Happy Dancing continues.

However, this takes time, patience, and an extremely thick skin. Think Earth's crust magnitude.

Not mentioned in the above process are the rejections that flood in. Sometimes it is tempting to quit under the weight of the "no's", the "sorry this is just not for us", or "we like it, but not enough to really get behind this project." Ouch.

However, I am exceedingly stubborn and will not go silently into any good night (er' whatever).

To combat rejection woes, I have developed a (mostly effective) strategy. Perhaps it will work for you. If nothing else, you may find it delicious.

Three steps to overcome writing rejection:

1. I repeat over and over again the following mantras:

"Real writers write, they don't quit."

"Winners don't quit and quitters never win."

2. I write to write another day:

This is more than just a clever sentence. I find the best way to assuage the sting of rejection is to write myself back in the game. Essentially, I write to renew my passion, pouring myself into a new project. This creates the writing fuel I need to continue.

3. Chocolate:

Eat. All. The. Chocolate.

What are your salves for rejection?