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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James in his Jeep Getting Zombified? Rise of the One-Eyed King

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One of the great things about having friends who are writers, is that they do a wonderful job of offering advice when it’s needed. My original title, “One-Eyed King” has been recently over-used and so I wanted to change it.

kc dyer, one of my earliest readers of my novel, suggested, “Rise of the One-Eyed King.” As soon as I heard the suggestion, I knew that was it. That was the title.

Another friend of mine, fellow writer and storyteller Susan Cormier, worked with me on the summary (and my author profile). Again, she is an early reader and knew the story. And I loved her brilliant suggestions. Check out the link to her Vancouver Story Slam Page.

Want to know more about the book? You can pre-order a copy here:

A physical copy of the book.

A Kindle copy of the book.

If you are a blogger and would like to review an advance reader’s copy (in .pdf form) please send me an email.

Conan

This is a special thanks to author kc dyer, who gave conan a very special toy. It’s a plush skunk minus the stuffing, but with two easy-to-use squeakers!


As you can see, Conan is loving his new toy!

Summer Vacation Day 2

On Friday, right after seeing the new Bat Man movie (it was AWESOME), I scooted down to the airport and picked up my Mom. She’ll be visiting from Winnipeg for 10 days, so I can show her around my city and take her to the Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival this coming Saturday.

Yesterday was a blazing 26C, so we headed down to the water at Steveston Village. It’s a great little place in Richmond where one can buy fish right off the boat. Mom and I picked up shrimp and prawns, right after a great lunch of salmon and Caesar salad.

The shrimp and prawns we took back to my place where I BBQ’d them. Nothing quite like a meal of fresh seafood, along with skewered vegetables.

Today we went to Fort Langley(the woman in the sun hat who is looking directly at the camera is my Mom). This is a cool little place with a neat little fort (we didn’t go in – due to the $20 admission fee). For lunch we went to Wendel’s, and then we wandered up and down the streets looking at all the cool shops. Much of this place has been recreated to look like a town from the 1800s.

I found a cool little shop that sells amazing costumes and Goth ware. (Yes, there is Goth ware.) It’s called Hallowville Manor and you can check it out here. While I was there I found a very cool dragon candle holder as well as a dragon wall ornament. (Both are very Goth-looking.) Tomorrow after I unpack them I’ll snap photos. I also discovered that there is going to be a Renaissance festival at Fort Langley from August 29th until the 31st. You can check that out here. (Lee Fodi and I have plans to go – kc wants to, but she’ll be sending her daughter off to university that weekend.)

Tomorrow, we’ll be taking it easy, as our only committed plan is to have lunch with cousin Bob. In the future: Burnaby Mountain (thanks Jacquie!), Ikea, Kits Beach and Bowen Island.

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.