More Information on Books and School Visits

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Literacy Matters

The fantastic literacy professionals of the MRA.

Literacy matters. 
No one would deny that. 

Without good reading skills, school becomes an increasingly challenging place for students. This weekend I had the great privilege to present to a group of dedicated teachers and librarians from across Manitoba at the Manitoba Reading Association's General Board Meeting.

Their work focuses on classroom strategies, growing libraries and resources in remote northern communities, supporting international literacy crises and new initiatives like bringing NERD camp to Manitoba and so much, much more.
I take the most interesting photos...

Do these volunteers work hard? Indeed. Do they love their work? Definitely. If you are a teacher, should you get involved with the MRA? Without a doubt. 

My thanks to Susan Hayward who invited me to discuss my school presentations and thanks to the group for asking great questions and making me feel so welcome.

Looking to get involved with The Manitoba Reading Association?

You can find them on twitter or visit their website.

Authors, you can contact them to join their growing list of recommended school presenters. Click here to find out more.


Friday, 22 February 2019

Never Give up, General Byng Barons!

Ready to go!

Prepping for a school visit is no small feat. I like to customize my presentations as much as possible and if time allows, I include a student activity. I often head to the public library to check out books to share with the kids. I am willing to do anything and everything to support and foster a love of reading, writing and following creative passions--heck any passions! 

One of the messages that runs through every one of my presentations is perseverance. Keep working to improve. Don't give up when times get tough. YOU CAN DO IT!
A Family of Spies thank-you for the students.

Today's visit to General Byng School, nestled in the "planet streets" in Fort Garry was no different.

This time I brought in books from Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, J.K. Rowling and Kate DiCamillo.

Today's lesson from these well-known authors: rejection is hard, but it doesn't have to define you nor does it have to defeat you. 

Dr. Seuss was rejected twenty-seven times before he had And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street published. He went on to write a further sixty books.

Judy Blume had two solid years of rejection, then Blubber, Frecklejuice, Are you There God, It's Me Margaret enriched our lives. J.K. Rowling had  twelve rejections and now the Harry Potter Series is one of the highest selling book series in history and the movies are the TOP selling series.

But all awards for perseverance go to Kate DiCamillo. Rejected a whopping 473 times, yet she persisted. Now her books are classics. Because of Winn Dixie. The Tale of Despereaux. Flora and Ulysses. Thank goodness she didn't give up.

Sharing Spaghetti
I shared my own experiences of rejections, rewrites and edits, followed by tales of triumph and success. The students listened intently, asked so many thoughtful and intelligent questions that they left me wanting to return another day!

My most favourite question was one I often hear from the younger grades and when it gets asked, I know the students feel comfortable with me. I know it means I've done my job. It never fails to make me smile.

"How old are you?"

I smiled. "49."

According to the students and the gasps that filled the library, I am ancient. Beyond ancient.
I am as old as their parents.


****And a huge thank you to teacher-librarian, Mrs. Scibak for inviting me to the school. It was the highlight of my week****
Go, Barons!


I love Primrose!


Thursday, 21 February 2019

I Love to Read (and write) - General Byng School!

A little something for the classrooms.
How to Become a Writer
(In 12 to 14 easy steps...)






















I am supremely excited to be presenting to two groups of students at General Byng School here in Winnipeg.

Every year, I visit loads of schools and enjoy meeting students and teachers in each and every classroom, but tomorrow I am at my youngest daughter's school. She will act as my "Ambassador" and ferry me through the school.

She is handling it all very well. 

She has yet to die from extreme parent embarrassment and as long as we don't bump into any of her friends, she will survive the day. 



Thursday, 14 February 2019

Happy Valentine's, Galentine's and Dudentine's Day!



Sending you all a hug whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day with your sweetie or Galentine's Day with your BFF's! Not sure what it's called when guys send flowers or chocolates to their pals. 
Dudentine's Day?

Whatever you want to call it, three cheers to love!

And three cheers to tiny tin-foiled chocolate hearts!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

To the Library!


View from our Toronto Airbnb.

What a whirlwind trip. 

I arrived at our Airbnb in Toronto at 1:00 a.m. with fellow author, pal and absolute perfect travel companion Colleen Nelson, and was out again by 7:30 a.m. to get to a full day in at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference.

This cover created a lot of buzz,
thanks to Relish New Brand!
I met lovely authors, teachers, publishers and the reps from Publishers Group Canada, the distributors for Yellow Dog titles. Bronte, Margot and Michael graciously hosted us in their booth and for a feverish twenty minutes I signed books and chatted to teachers and librarians about Family of Spies:Paris and the school visits available through the TD Canadian Children's Book Week Tour.

Key Conference Takeaways:

  • Middle Grade. Middle Grade. Middle Grade.
  • Shorter Middle Grade is needed
  • Middle Grade Fantasy remains high in demand
  • Manitoba stories are being very well-received
  • Great Plains Publications has an extremely good reputation

On a personal note:

  • I need to produce more words if I want to grow my writing career.

To get those words onto paper, I plan to take my mobile office to various libraries around the city as I complete the first draft of my next book. I need zero distractions and household chores always scream for my attention, so beginning Monday morning I am off to the Fort Garry Public Library to write for the day. Funny. My love of literature is coming full circle. When I was a child, we spent hours at the Fort Garry Library reading everything we could get our hands on. In fact, years ago I wrote a piece about this for the publisher of Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons, Little Pickle Press. You can read that article here: Featured Library: Fort Garry Public Library

Makes me think of that old John Denver song,
Fort Garry Library.
Library Sweet Library.

And finally, my deep gratitude goes to the Manitoba Arts Council and their ongoing support of Manitoba's writing community. Without their grant, my journey to Toronto would not have been possible.
Looking to book an author?
Click here!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2019

Look out people, Flatlanders are coming to town  
...erm... 
to the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2019!

Hmm. I need to work on the slogan. Doesn't roll of the tongue, does it. Maybe a song? A riddle? Or what about a limerick!

Ahem.
Portage Avenue Collides with Yonge Street
by 
Jodi Carmichael

There once were three writers from Winnipeg.
They really liked to pull your leg
But their jokes soon fell flat
Even rhymed cat with kitkat
And got bonked on their heads with a shillelagh. 

Think I'll stick to novels.

Let me get straight to the point. Three Manitoba authors will be signing books at the Ontario Library Association's Super Conference the last week of January to showcase prairie talent and to represent publisher, Great-Plain Publications. Anita Daher, award-winning author, presenter and The Writers Union of Canada Vice-Chair, will be arriving old school, via ViaRail. The second award-winning author to make the trek is a contender in the Forest of Reading once more, Colleen Nelson. She'll be climbing aboard Westjet with me for a quick flight from Winnipeg to Toronto.
I'm signing copies of Family of Spies: Paris
at booth #421 on Friday at 10:30 am!

Next up: Family of Spies: Paris Bookmarks!
Are we ready? Yes we are.

I am in full-on marketing mode:

  • Designing business cards
  • Printing marketing sheets for my presentations
  • Preparing a binder of speaker testimonials 
I'm also mulling over questions like:

*Can I bring back list books for teachers to look at?

*Should I bring some sort of marketing piece - maybe a postcard with a blurb about my middle grade fantasy manuscript, A Time of Peril? Is that tacky or is that being a smart business person?

*And of course, most importantly...
what should I wear? 

I strongly feel a new outfit is in order. 
Nothing like new clothes confidence to set the day off right.


And now that I have my priorities in order it is back to writing
Rise of the Dark Faeries
Spooky, yes?
This middle grade novel follows A Time of Peril
and precedes,
Return of Dragons
Please pop by, say hello and pick up some fabulous novels from Manitoba authors. 
We'll be at the Publishers Group Canada's booth #421!




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: https://youtu.be/OIHEuYfDypg.

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.
Overachiever. 
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.
Jodi
xx

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


https://www.amazon.ca/Family-Spies-Paris-Jodi-Carmichael/dp/1927855942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525091306&sr=8-1&keywords=family+of+spies+jodi+carmichael
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.

FACT VS FICTION

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.

CHARACTERS:

Edward Hugh Martin Crawford - born 1894 died 1972

Edward Hugh Martin Crawford Circa 1944
Fact:
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.

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

General Carl -Heinrich von Stülpnagel - born 1886 died 1944

Fact:
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.

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

Sir William Stephenson – born 1896 died 1989

Fact:
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.

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

Jean Moulin – born 1889 died 1943

Fact:
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.

Fiction:
His association with any characters in this book is fiction.

Harry Crawford – born 1919 died 1990

Fact:
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

Fact:
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.

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

Physician Network

Fact:
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.

Fiction:
Any connection to characters in the book.

Female Agents

Fact:
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.

LOCATIONS:

Hotel Du France

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

Hotel Raphael

Fact:
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.

Fiction:
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.  

Fact:
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.