SiWC

Tonight I head off to Surrey to enjoy one of Canada’s best writer’s conferences – located right in my own backyard! (Not literally, of course – though that, too, would be tres cool…)

This will be a weekend of sharing experiences; mine with those who are struggling to get to where I am, and other’s with me as I struggle to get where they are. I’m teaching two workshops, one master class with good friend and fellow author Lee Fodi, and one on my own about visualizing your story onto paper. I’ll also be sitting on two panels, one on sci-fi and another on kid lit. Lastly, I’ll be offering my advice in the Blue Pencil discussions – hopefully I can find helpful things to say in a very short time.

Here’s a teaser of my workshop, as I introduce myself and talk about what was important to me as a teenager.

I used Comic Life to create this little slide show, and will be giving away 10 copies of the program at the conference – courtesy of the creators, Plasq. Do check it out, it’s an incredibly easy to use program (and very cost effective, too).

Hopefully there’ll be Internet access at the hotel, as well as time (and energy) for me to blog. I’ll be seeing quite a few familiar faces, and some famous faces whom I’ll be meeting for the first time. I’ll do my best to take you all there with me!

Final Day of C&C Rocky Mountain Road Tour

This was the final day in the Chocolate and Chat Rocky Mountain Road Tour. Whew! After seven days we did nine venues – seven bookstores and two libraries. Sometimes we had great turnouts, and sometimes we had modest turnouts. (Yes, at one stop we even outnumbered the audience.) Yet, no matter what the outcome, this was a tour worth taking. We met some great people along the way, were introduced to some very nice bookstore staff, had a fun lunch with the children’s librarians in Red Deer, got to meet Terrence in Cochrane (one of the nicest fellows I’ve ever met!) and, best of all, kc and I had a chance to get to know one another even better.

Big thanks to Comic Life for sponsoring us with awesome giveaways that everyone was so excited to receive. Just so everyone knows, that’s the program I’ve been using to blog our trip. Head on over to their website and check it out!

Rather than recap what kc has already blogged, I’m leaving my farewell with the comics. For a more in depth read of our travels over the last few days head on over to kc dyer’s blog.



Chocolate and Chat Tour – Day Four

So far, this has been a whirlwind tour where every stop is different than the last. I must admit that last night when kc and I arrived at our “home,” (kc’s sister was nice enough to give us a roof over our heads,) I was so exhausted that I just went to sleep.

So, what was our day like yesterday that I was so tired?

The day began with a drive from Calgary to Red Deer on the #2 Highway. To say the drivers on this highway are CRAZY would be an understatement of the extreme. Most of the trip was stormy with hail seen on the side of the road. There were even sightings of tornadoes in the area (of which kc and I were both unaware). The speed limit was 110 kms/hr, and I was driving pretty close to it.

Other drivers, even giant semis hauling cement cylinders that could crush two or three cars with a single slip, were doing about 140. My favourite was the guy on the cell phone who, when driving in front of me, insisted on doing 10-20 kms slower than I was going, but, whenever I attempted to pass, sped up to 150.

Thankfully, we made it to the Red Deer Public Library alive! Jen Waters was there to greet us, as well as to take us out to lunch with the other children’s librarians. Jen is a very special librarian to me, because she and I met seven years ago while working at Vancouver Kidsbooks. We bonded over the International Film Festival, and have been great friends ever since. To do an event in a library where she works, for me, is a dream come true. To have such a great turnout and see such wonderful enthusiasm with those kids is a testament to Jen’s ability as a librarian to inspire young readers/writers!

After Red Deer, we immediately left for Cochrane, where we were to speak at the Nan Booth Memorial Library. We were greeted there by Terrance who runs the events at the library. He had advertised the program well, though we had but a modest turnout. Truthfully, kc and I were beat tired by this point and were grateful for the chance to sit by a fireplace with a few writers and chat about publishing. This group had some great questions, and, as always with these events, I got to learn a little more about kc. We left that library feeling very positive about our Chocolate and Chat Tour!

Chocolate and Chat Day Three



Also be sure to check out the tour over at kc dyer’s blog.

Chocolate & Chat Rocky Mountain Tour – Day 2


Chocolate and Chat – Day One

Our goal was to leave at 9 AM this morning. Unfortunately, as will always happen with best-laid plans, I was running quite late. It was already 8:30, and I still had dishes to get washed, a bag of trash to put out, and breakfast to gobble down. The good news: the partner I chose for this trip, kc dyer, has much the same personality as I do. Just as I was running behind, so was she. We got on the road at about 10:30 (after a stop at Starbucks for “breakfast”).

So we hit the road to drive from Vancouver to Kamloops, with our first stop on the Chocolate and Chat Rocky Mountain Tour at Kamloops Chapters at 6pm. Plenty of time! kc drove until Merrit, where we finally stopped for lunch. Along the way (guided by my brand new GPS system – that’s SUPPOSED to speak like Darth Vader but is staying quite silent,) we entertained each other with chit chat about life, writing and hopes for the future. You’d think with all the time kc and I spend together that we’d run out of things to talk about – but that’s the way it is with good friends – you never get tired of hearing each other’s stories.

After a brief lunch at Boston Pizza in Merrit (and one of the best steak sandwiches I’ve had in awhile), we hit the road once again! This time it was my turn to drive, and -don’t ask why- I immediately took a wrong turn. You may recall that I mentioned a brand new GPS system guiding us. You may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t you follow the GPS system?” My answer is simple: because I am a directional idiot. The GPS was very clearly telling me to turn around. It was very clearly indicating that I was going the wrong way. (Of course, in my defense, the voice isn’t working so there is no Darth Vader telling me that the force is weak in me and that I need to go the other way.) Once I did a short drive by the Merrit airport, we were back on the right course (GPS and crew were all very celebratory), and headed for Kamloops.

The Chapters was quite easy to find. We also found a nice Super 8 motel nearby (nice in looks – the guy in the room next door is watching TV at what must be full blast. I’m wishing I’d brought ear plugs now). First thing we did was to geek out and check out email. Once that was accomplished we readied for the event – our first in a series of nine stops. Our plan was to do a short talk on publishing, and then host an informal chat with the public. Again, as all best-laid plans go, we had to be ready for a change. People were in and out, and there was never a large crowd that gathered at our table. One mom and daughter had read about us in Kamloops Weekly, and made a special point of coming to meet us. The look of excitement on their faces could only be matched by the equal look of excitement on our faces that someone would be so keen to do that. Another highlight was the family from Williams Lake that stopped to chat – and then returned later that evening to buy our books. A personal highlight for me was a couple of young ladies who I saw at the “If you enjoyed Twilight, you should also read…” table and coaxed over to us. We chatted for a good hour on writing, publishing, favourite authors, and, yes, vampires.

Another part of this trip is that Comic Life is along for the ride, and has given us 2 copies of CL Deluxe and 1 copy of CL Magiq to give away at every stop. I’m glad to say that one of the young ladies that stayed to chat with us for so long was also one of the winners in that draw! I hope she has a blast with it!

Well, it’s been a full day and I am beat. Will blog tomorrow, when we appear at Banff Indigo! We’re even hoping to get in a little video blog…

Road Trips

I’m certainly no stranger to the road trip. In 1997 (still can’t believe it was 11 years ago), I took a road trip in a ’68 Beetle from Vancouver to Kelowna, then over to Banff, up to Jasper, across to Edmonton, then down to Calgary through Drumheller, and over to Winnipeg.


The entire way I slept in a tent, and ate food that I cooked over an open fire. (I had a Coleman stove, but couldn’t ever get it to work.) It was the best time I ever had, and probably the most adventurous thing I’d ever done.


Back then, my goal was to inspire myself as a budding writer. I wanted to find my creative spark, and to get in touch with my creativity so that I could one day be an author. Though my friends and family thought that was a little far-fetched, I did it anyway.


Here I am, 11 years later, with three books published – one that’s going into reprint and a fourth due out this Christmas. Life is pretty awesome. The best part – I’m planning another road trip! Granted, there will be some changes this time around. First, I won’t be going on it alone. kc dyer, friend and fellow scribe, will be sharing the experience with me! Second, I won’t be sleeping on the hard ground in a tent. Comfort all the way!

The best part of this trip is that we have destinations planned. Stops in Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Banff, Cochrane, Calgary and Red Deer. We may even have one more to completely fill our itinerary.

Another difference from that first trip is that Comic Life will be along for the ride! kc dyer and I will be blogging our trip through comic, using this easy and fantastic program. (It’s what I used to create my book video, and many of my past posts.) Comic Life has agreed to let us give away a copy of its program to each of our stops – not a bad value for those who come out to our events! Hear two popular authors, eat some chocolate, and be in a draw to leave with a free copy of Comic Life!