Kamloops Young Authors Conference 2020

This year’s young author’s conference looked quite a bit different than it has in years past. It’s my favourite conference, and one that I look forward to every year all year. In a normal year, I’d take a few extra days off work, take a road trip checking out favourite spots (or newly discovered spots) along the way and then visit family in Vernon before heading home.

This year was different.

When the pandemic hit and many conferences were being shut down (I was also scheduled to be on a Dungeons and Dragons panel for the BCLA conference this year), I took the initiative and suggested to the organizers of the Kamloops YAC that they take their conference online.

I wasn’t the only one who had suggested this, so after a meeting with organizers I pledged any help that I could provide (you do this sort of thing when you believe in the value of something as much as I do this conference) and it was taken online to Zoom.

I was asked to teach a workshop for grades 6/7, and another for teens grades 8-12. And these workshops could not have gone better.

Chances are you can tell I’m a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons fan. I got into the game when I was 12 years old, and was hooked ever since. This was the game that taught me how to write a story, and how to write a book. How could D&D teach you to write books?

That was my first workshop. I talked about the game, how it’s played, the collaborative storytelling, and all my maps. You can see by my table setup above that I wanted them to see how the game can inspire creativity.

My second workshop for the teens was on crafting a great villain–and I talked about my favourite villains (Darth Vader, Johnny Lawrence from Karate Kid, Hans Gruber from Die Hard, and the Governor from Walking Dead) and also about how I got published.

The world has certainly changed. But to me this means creativity and teaching kids to think outside the box is more important than ever. We need the arts and stories to get us through this, not only to help with boredom but also to spark imaginations to come up with creative solutions to problems we encounter in this new normal.

I hope if you’re reading this you’re doing okay. If you’re finding you’re sleeping more and not feeling productive–be easy on yourself. Things will get better.

2017 in Review

2017 had a pretty rough start for me, but it finished extremely strong. When I look back on the year I feel pretty happy about the accomplishments I have made. I’m almost done my lib tech course, I began learning the ukulele, adopted a dog, took some road trips, wrote a new book, started submitting my work to publishers, and I met a really amazing woman.

Here’s a list of my top 12 events. Some have links to longer blog posts or to other sites of interest.

  1. Manresa Castle in Port Townsend.

That time I spent a night in a haunted hotel, and woke up the next day with the entire town dressed in steampunk costumes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

2. Grinfinn the Pekingese.

That time I met a dog, and he chose me to be his caretaker.

20170616_132356

3. Friday Harbor, WA

That time I took a ferry to a town in the San Juan Islands, and met a couple at a cafe who turned out to be a good friend’s uncle and aunt.

48

4. Leavenworth, WA

That time I went camping in a town that does Christmas all year long.

20170620_175725

5. The Steampunk Festival in Belligham, WA

That time I went to a steampunk festival and wished that I was in a costume.

20170722_122748

6. Coupeville, WA

That time I discovered the beauty of just sitting by the ocean with a cup of coffee, a dog at my feet, and a notebook on my lap.

20170728_140148

7. Arlington, WA

I wound up here by accident after taking a wrong turn. Then, after a second wrong turn, wound up finding the BEST homemade ice cream place I’ve ever discovered.

20170825_13321520170825_133154

8. First book signing since Flying Feet!

That time Denise Jaden and Eileen Cook asked me to be a part of their summer signing.

YASummer

9. Digital Services Tech at Richmond Public Library.

That time a part of my job was to create a digitization station for digitizing VHS, LPs, and cassettes. (It now does SO MUCH MORE!)

20170721_134917

10. Chosen to be a part of the literacy quilt.

The quilt was 50 feet from my station, and it still took me weeks and weeks to notice I was on it. In fact, it was a patron who asked, “Are you the James McCann that’s on the literacy quilt?” And then when the quilt travelled to another library, I got an email from a coworker who realized I was the author of one of her favourite books as a teen.

20170720_130742

20170720_130752

11. Family came to visit.

My sister and mom came in July, and my nephew came in September. We took many road trips together and had an absolute blast.

DSC05470

My sister, Grinfinn, and I in Horseshoe Bay on our way to Whistler.

Hell’s Gate was one of the many trips my nephew and I took.

20170906_151726

My nephew, Justin, in Hell’s Gate, BC

12. Had a Nice Surprise

If you follow my Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been spending a lot of time with a special someone, Jessica. Here we are writing at the Penny, a really cool cafe in Mission. You can read Jessica’s work on Wattpad.

JessieJames

 

And, I started learning the ukulele (as in actual lessons). I (almost always) end my blog posts with a song that fits the moment–so, here’s me playing the ukulele on week four.

SD73 YAC Conference May 5th!

I’m pretty excited about attending this conference again this year! Not only does it mean a roadtrip to Kamloops, but I also get to meet some fantastic authors both of the professional and aspiring kind.

2017-young-authors-conference-poster_orig

Radio Interview, Culture Days, and a Free Book!

At noon today I’m doing a reading on a pop-up radio station called Leave Your Mark FM outside the Richmond Cultural Centre. In honour of the event, you can get the Kindle version of Rise of the One-Eyed King FREE.

9780993748653

For more information on the pop up radio station, follow this link!

 

Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival

sdlaOn Saturday, August 25th, I participated in Pandora Collective’s Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival. I was a featured author in the children’s author tent, where I gave a 30-minute talk about what inspires me as a writer.

Later that day, I gave a one-hour talk on publishing – focusing on the difference between getting paid to publish and paying someone else to publish you.​ There’s lots of misinformation out there about publishing, and if you are thinking about self-publishing you may want to take a workshop first.

By the end of the workshop, the participants were feeling much better about their publishing future. The general consensus was that they wanted someone to pay them to write, even if it means publishing their work will take much longer.​

Summer Dreamin’

Come out and meet your local authors at one of Vancouver’s most lively literary arts festivals! CWILL BC will have a table promoting authors in your community.

As well, kc dyer and James McCann will be reading from the children’s tent from 4:30-5:30 p.m., and will also be celebrating* their new books Ms. Zephyr’s Notebook and Pyre!

The Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival is an annual, engaging, outdoor festival established to raise public awareness regarding the on-going literary events, programs and resources available in the community. This year the festival will be located in beautiful Stanley Park at Lumberman’s Arch on Saturday July 21st from 12:00 to 7:30pm.

This literary celebration will be comprised of performances by twenty literary groups, including multi-cultural readings in various languages, a Poetry Slam and a Story Slam competition to be judged by attendees.
Entertainment will also include dancers and two local bands. There will be a children’s area with puppet shows, music, storytellers, face painting and a craft table.

Throughout the day Pandora’s Collective will offer workshops, a panel discussion, a creativity table for crafts and writing, a poetry contest, open mic readings and there will be information tables showcasing community groups and resources such as the Vancouver Public Library and
The Federation of BC Writers.

Vancouver Poet Laureate, George McWhirter, will do the opening reading at the Festival. For more information, see here:
http://www.pandorascollective.com/sdrfestival.html

*due to park regulations, books cannot be sold at the festival. If you’d like a signed copy, simply pick up your copy ahead of time from your favourite bookstore and bring it with you!

Spring Book Hatching 2007!

The Spring Book Hatching was a resounding success! With anywhere from 300-500 people (depending on who you ask), we kept a packed house of revolving (meaning not the same all day) people who came out to meet their local authors.

A big thanks goes out to the Spring Book Hatching planning committee, namely kc dyer, Diane Haynes, Melonie Jackson, Jaquie Pearce and Lee Edward Fodi. I also feel the need to thank Pam Withers for suggesting this idea to me during her 2005/2006 Presidential term over CWILL.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some photos.