This past spring break, I had the opportunity to do six workshops for the Surrey Public Library system. Working with this library as an author is always a huge pleasure, as the librarians and library techs work so hard to make their programs a success. Plus, they are incredibly knowledgeable and interesting to chat with.
My first stop was Ocean Park Library, and a handful of teens all prepared to write showed up to learn how to come up with story ideas by making their own maps.
I showed them all sorts of maps, including the 3D printed map I use in my Dungeons and Dragons game.
Second, I went to the Semiahmoo branch and met with a handful of teens ready to pen their own tales.
Next, I was at Strawberry Hill where I was met by Orlando Bloom (in a photo) and we each did our thing to encourage teens to read and write.
Him, holding a book so tightly as if to say “You can never have this book,” obviously to make you want it even more since you can’t have it. Me, teaching the one teen who woke at 11am during spring break to come learn how to create stories with maps and cartography.
Before going to the Cloverdale Library, I stopped in at the Rustic Rooster for some food.
And I took a selfie by the dinosaur outside the museum next door!
And then I went to work, talking story writing with the creative writing club. Librarian Carmen, who runs the club, came on her day off to participate in the workshop. Thanks, Carmen!
My penultimate stop was at the City Centre library, where we chatted about how Dungeons and Dragons inspires writing. We also wrote some stories, and drew some maps. One of the teens expressed disappointment that there wasn’t enough time to actually play a game of D&D!
My final stop was at the Guildford branch, where I taught the teens how to create multi-ended stories as a computer game using a program called Inkle. They picked it up fast and wrote some interesting tales!
Again, a big thanks goes out to the Surrey Public Library for hosting my workshops. All of you at the library who were so kind to me were absolutely amazing, and you do an incredible service to your community. Keep up the amazing work!
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 Denise Jaden weighs in on her zombie apocalypse survival plan.
My Zombie Attack Plan…
My only strength in a Zombie attack is my best friend, Shelly. She has rescued me from car accidents and injuries requiring stitches. She is super-capable in all situations, and all I have to do is say the word and she will come to my rescue.
On my own, I am useless. You know how when some people get panicked, they stand up and fight, or reach for helpful battle or protective items, or even run away? Yeah, that’s not me, I don’t do any of that. I freeze. In fact, I’ve been known to pass out from panic—my heart rate drops, my hands and feet turn to ice, and I literally lose consciousness. I’m not proud of this. I always thought I’d be the person others would turn to in times of extreme stress, but the truth is, I’m the last person anyone should turn to!
Denise Jaden wrote her debut novel, Losing Faith, in twenty-one days during NaNoWriMo in 2007. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough, A Christmas Kerril,Foreign Exchange, and Avalanche. Her nonfiction books for writers include Writing with a Heavy Heart andthe NaNoWriMo-popular guide Fast Fiction. Her latest how-to writing guide is Story Sparks.
Full disclosure: I have never watched a zombie movie in my life.
I don’t really understand what zombies are, or what they’re capable of doing. So I’m possibly the least qualified person to write about how I’d respond during a Zombie Apocalypse. Nonetheless, I’m surprised by my strength of conviction about how I’d survive such an attack.
First of all, I am NOT a morning person.
In fact, I have been described as [wait for it….] a ZOMBIE in the morning. Doesn’t that already give me an edge? So if the Zombie Apocalypse were to happen in the morning hours—and my odds are 50/50—any zombie warriors would simply assume I was one of them and would pass me by. Because we’re talking zombies—not cannibals, right? (PLEASE tell me zombies aren’t cannibals too. Otherwise, I’m hooped!)
Just in case I’m wrong about the cannibalism thing, I have a second skill that would surely prove invaluable:
I am profoundly directionally-challenged. In fact, the only thing more non-existent than my knowledge of zombies, is my non-existent sense of direction. My daughters even have a rule when travelling with me: “If Mom says to turn left, just turn right and you’ll be fine.” My directional challenges are virtually on the superpower level. I defy anyone to figure out why I just turned left, veered right, hopped over a fence, or made any other directional move. Even I am without explanation for them. I am one-hundred-percent unpredictable and would baffle even the smartest—or the dumbest—zombie going. Take that, Zombo!
If, on the slightest off-chance, neither of the above happened to work, I’d do something else supremely clever. Like, I’d eat a clove of garlic or I’d wear a cross. Because that would work too. Wouldn’t it?
Karen Spafford-Fitz is the author of three middle-grade and teen novels: Saving Grad, Vanish and Dog Walker. Her two new books, Unity Club (Orca) and Push Back (Lorimer) will be released in fall 2018. Karen lives in Edmonton, Alberta where she anticipates adding “Zombie Escape Artist” to her resumé.