James in His Jeep Getting Java–Kokanee Creek

Crow’s Nest Highway was a spectacular drive, with these statues on the side of the road (there were many, I stopped to photograph two of them). While they made the drive interesting, it bothered me that they seemed to be for entrances to private high-end homes for the uber wealthy. They kind of said, “You can’t afford here. Move on.”

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While researching where I was going to camp, my original plan was to drive to Drumheller. When I saw Kokanee Creek online, it looked so beautiful that I decided to spend a few days there instead. Glad I did.

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I was a short walk to the lake and in a spot where I couldn’t see my neighbours. I could hear them though, as the kids playing in the campsite were screaming at the top of their lungs (one repeated the same Queen’s lyrics “We are the champions” over and over). They even rode their bikes into the washrooms, spreading wet mud everywhere. Thankfully, they were only there for the weekend and I was there for a few days into the week.

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I did have one thunderstorm while I was there, and branches from above broke and fell on my tent. The poles snapped in two, but the tent held up enough to get me through the night and early morning. The day turned out sunny (plus 30), with intermittent sun showers. I bought another tent, and carried on the rest of my trip making a mental note to invest in a much, much better tent..

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This was my view each morning when I woke up. I’d make a cup of coffee, walk to the lake, and sit and stare at the water.

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Instead of an inspirational song, I’ve added a video that I took while sitting on the beach. Enjoy!

SD 43’s Annual MACC Writers Conference

When Cheryl A. of SD 43 asks you to participate in the annual MACC Writer’s conference for grades 6/7, the only response is to say yes and then figure out how to free your schedule. This year’s all-day event had around 300 students, and 11 authors teaching them the craft.

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From left to right: (top) Lee Edward Fodi, Sean O’Reilly, Richard Dal Monte, CC Humphreys, kc dyer, and Rob Taylor. (bottom) Pia Guerra, Denise Jaden, Me, Tiffany Stone, and Tanya Lloyd Kai.

I talked about one of my favourite subjects–Dungeons and Dragons. As a collaborative storytelling game, it really is the perfect training ground for young writers.

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But not all was school and writing and conference. I also stopped into a cafe along the way called, Coffee+Vanilla. If you’re in the Coquitlam/Maillardville area, this is a pretty sweet spot with very good coffee!

 

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Zombie Apocalypse: Saved by Book Characters

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Cristy Watson weighs in on her zombie apocalypse survival plan.

A few days after James McCann asked me if I would like to join several authors in writing a guest blog post…

…for his new website, I was driving to work early in the morning along Highway 10 on a stretch of road between Cloverdale and Langley. As I came over the crest of the hill, I was thrown off guard by the strangest sight. On the road, close to the white line dividing the two lanes going East, was a workman’s glove. Now you may think that isn’t all that strange. However, the glove was HUGE and it was not lying flat on the ground, but rather, it was propped up, and I swear it looked full, as though there was a hand in it and it was reaching for my car! Of course I swerved, and thankfully, avoided causing an accident, but I was unnerved by what I saw. Was I channelling James and my future blog post to his page, or was this something more sinister, something about which I should be worried?

So far, I have not seen any other signs of a future apocalypse.

But what I spotted that day has definitely put me in the right frame of mind to be prepared for the future, and for writing this blog today. So what skills do I possess to help me, if the end of the world is nigh? Well, my best defence would be to somehow get to Calgary where my sister lives. She is the one person who would know how to defend us. She is an expert in all things related to Zombies. In fact, I phoned her for a little research, and her first response was that I should throw my Rupert Holmes album at the approaching horde. I laughed at her reference to Shaun of the Dead and she took that moment to add that she can think of a number of my albums that could be thrown toward the slow-moving masses of grizzled, hanging flesh. She went on to share other ideas that did not include ruining my record collection. However, none of them seemed to be solutions I could manage.

I have to admit it – I would be in trouble. I am fairly inept when it comes to the necessary skills and knowledge required to survive in a world over-run with Zombies. So, I have decided to look at the characters in my books. Would they fare any better than me? Would they be able to protect me?

In Benched, Taz would probably be my go-to character for support.

He is fast, jumpy and impulsive, but also loyal to his friends. He would rise to defend those he cares about and would literally, run circles around the zombies, but that would only be helpful for so long.

Living Rough has a main character who loves Edgar Allan Poe and is in fact, nicknamed, Poe.

On his own he wouldn’t be much of a threat, but if he could get a hold of The Tell-Tale Heart, he could throw it at the Zombies. That might buy him some time.

My next story with Orca Currents, has a secondary character named Toby, who loves to play Plants vs. Zombies on his iPad. If he were able to access plant arsenal, we’d all be saved! Failing that, I would still be in trouble!

In my latest book with Orca (released January 2019) my MC, Roonie, would be all over this epidemic.

She loves to dance HIP HOP and has all the right moves. She could dance her way out of this. Since I have trouble touching my toes, I might still be in trouble!

Of my three books with Lorimer Sidestreets, only one character comes to mind as being able to help me.

As long as we can find a car with gas, Logan loves street-racing. He’s living on the edge and is reckless enough to get us out of town, running over anything that gets in our way. We won’t have enough gas in the tank to get all the way to Calgary, but since the Rockies are a high climb, hopefully the Zombies won’t have reached that far, yet. And then Sis, the rest is up to you!

In my current WIP called A New Dawn, one of my main characters is a leader of the Winged-People.

Even though her wing is damaged and she can’t fly, her comrades can. I think I would fare well on the back of one of her clansmen! Because all my characters are fictional, my final thoughts on my best skill for surviving a Zombie attack – I don’t have one – so I better turn and run!

 

 

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Zombie Apocalypse: Clumsy and Claustrophobic

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Lee Edward Fodi weighs in on his zombie apocalypse survival plan.

What is my best skill in the case of a zombie apocalypse?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and have tried to imagine what I would do if I was dropped into a scenario of such apocalyptic proportions. It made me think of all the adventures I’ve had that might be comparable. Such an exercise made me realize that I’ve explored a lot of places to do with the dead.

See, when I was a kid I had visions of walking in the footsteps of such intrepid explorers as Indiana Jones, Tintin, or Stryder. I wanted to visit as many tombs, crypts, dungeons, and catacombs as possible.

The good news? I’ve made that happen!

The bad news? Turns out I’m clumsy and claustrophobic. Not exactly the best fit for a world explorer—or survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

There was the time I visited the ancient temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt. Located on the banks of the Nile, it includes a section dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god. There were many crocodile mummies here—so, if you think about it, I’ve actually encountered what is the closest thing to a real zombie. Unfortunately, it was at Kom Ombo where I fell into a giant hole up to my neck.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: If we actually set a trap to capture zombies, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the one who plunges into it.

Another time, I was visiting the ancient temple complex of Tikal in Guatemala. You’d recognize these temples from the very first Star Wars movie ever made—they filmed the exterior of the Rebel Base here. They are also the biggest Mayan ruins in Central America, where different rituals and sacrifices were performed. Surely spirits inhabit this place—but, undaunted, I traipsed up incredibly steep staircases, the kind with narrow ledges and no railings and made it to the top of one of the temples where I watched an incredibly gorgeous sunset over the junglescape. The problem was that on the short trek back to our cabin, I got separated from my companions and became lost in the jungle. Howler monkeys screeched at my shoulders and shadows clutched at the meager path before me. Then a giant jaguarundi bounded out of the foliage, right across my way.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: If we have to hide from zombies in the wilderness then I’m probably not going to make it. The zombies will find me wandering around, alone and disorientated.

The final episode I want to discuss happened during my honeymoon. My wife and I decided to go to the city of love and romance: Paris. There are many romantic sites in Paris, but one of the first things we did was descend into the underground tunnels known as the catacombs. It’s here where you can see countless bones and skulls, testament to the long and often inglorious history of the city.

I could have easily got lost down there, but we had a guide, so I managed to stay with the group. There we were, creeping through the catacombs, absorbing the eerie atmosphere, when suddenly an alarm began to blare from my coat pocket, right in the middle of one of our guide’s spooky stories. Everyone turned and looked at me and I suddenly became that guy who can’t even turn off his cell phone when he’s on an incredibly cool tour a league beneath the crust of the earth.

I should mention here that I don’t even OWN a cellphone. It was my iPod and no one can call or text me through it. It’s just that I had set my alarm for a different time zone, and now it was shrilling.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: It wouldn’t be hard to imagine myself and a group of apocalypse survivors hiding in the root cellar, trying to avoid detection when, at the most inopportune moment, I knock over something or set off some sort of bell to alert the zombies to our location.

. . . So, what is my best skill in case of the zombie apocalypse? I hate to admit it, but probably a decoy. When you think about it, that’s what I do for a living anyway. I tell stories and provide distraction. During the zombie apocalypse, I imagine it would be quite the same.

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Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a professional daydreamer. He is the author of several books for children, including The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar and The Secret of Zoone, which is coming out with HarperCollins in 2019. In his free time, he’s a traveller, adventurer, and maker of dragon eggs. He especially loves to visit exotic places where he can lose himself in tombs, mazes, castles, and crypts. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and unhelpful cat.

Share Your Survival Tips!

Surviving a zombie apocalypse is not for the faint of heart. Have some tips? Want to guest blog? Contact me. Help save the world.

80s TV Shows

If you ever needed proof that the 80s really did have the best TV shows, you only need to take a look at all the remakes being done on both the small and big screen. 90210 (although I find myself screaming at Spelling – dude, Kelly is in her late 30s – not a big deal that she’s a single mom with past relationships!!!), Transformers (even if they didn’t use the Kick Axe songs from the original soundtrack), and Degrassi the Next Gen (had a crush on Caitlin as a teen, still do now).

The latest of these is Knight Rider, the series premiering next week. Tonight I watched the movie – expecting a cheesy, awful laughable show – and found myself completely mesmerized. Granted it did upset me that new KITT wasn’t a Trans Am (a Mustang? Really?), but I soon found myself completely engaged in the same way I was as a preteen/teen. (Do keep in mind that I’m very forgiving when a show involves fast cars and great chase scenes. I still stand by that the Fast and the Furious was awesome.)

As a writer, I find it interesting what choices the script writers make in keeping the new series connected to the successful predecessors. 90210 has Kelly and Nat, though they have been written into the plot in a sad, awful way. The Transformers used famous lines from the original – “There’s more to you than meets the eye” – and then mocks them – “What a stupid line!” Degrassi continued on with Spike’s daughter, with Snake as a teacher and Joey as a used car salesman. And now Knight Rider, sorry for the spoiler, continues with the original Michael Knight’s son – who was quite unaware of his dad’s extracurricular car-driving activities.

If this trend should continue, I hope they remake an old 80s TV show Werewolf. It only had a dozen or so episodes, but it was a great spooky show made well before its time.

Mom’s Vacation Day 4

Today I took my Mom to Tojo’s for lunch so she could meet Lee Fodi and his girlfriend Gabriella. We had a great meal and a fun time … even if I did misjudge the distance from my home to the restaurant and convinced my mom to walk. Sometimes I forget that not everyone enjoys as long a walk as I do, and this may have been one of those times. As always, my mom was a good sport about it.

After that, we picked up Conan and took him to Kits beach. Once there, we stopped off at Starbucks for fraps and then found a comfy bench with a great view. Conan had a blast, as is evidenced by his collapse into deep sleep by 9pm tonight.

After yesterday’s blog, it seems people are surprised that I cooked for my mom. Yes, there are a few dishes that I can do, and I can do them well. One of those dishes was tonight’s meal.

I BBQ’d spare ribs, and french fries. We also had Greek salad as our vegetable. (Oh, okay! The fries and salad were leftover from our take-out yesterday … but the ribs were all done by me!)