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…

Many Changes

Probably the biggest change that has come over my household was my move from PC to Mac. This is a bigger deal than you might first think. You see, ever since I was a teenager playing video games on my Commodore 64, it’s been drilled into me not to trust Mac. Of course, back then we referred to them as “Apple.”

I still recall the arguments between me and my cousin Dion, and my swearing that I would *never* buy an Apple computer. Even IBM (now known as “PC”) was far inferior to the Commodore machines. One of my fondest memories as a teenager was trading in my 64 for the Commodore Amiga, a computer far ahead of its time. (Much of Mac OS, in my opinion, copies what Commodore Amiga was doing in the 80s.)

Unfortunately, Commodore went bankrupt and I had to make the choice between PC and Mac. In the 90s, there really wasn’t a choice. Software and support just wasn’t there yet for the Mac, and all my friends had PCs. So, to the PC I went.

I’ve never been impressed by how difficult it is to maintain a PC. The constant software updates, the security glitches, and the viruses drove me nuts. I’ve lost entire hard drives to viruses, or to software glitches, and lets just say when my PC died recently I made what I consider a bold decision.

First, let me tell you a few reasons why I made this decision. At every CWC camp I’ve gone to where I’ve shared a room with Lee Fodi, I’ve had the chance to directly compare his Mac to my PC. Windows takes forever to load, and every program, because they have to go through the virus checker first, takes forever to run. The hard drive is loud, having to load drivers when you install new hardware is annoying, and Windows crashes constantly. Then there was Lee’s Mac, that would load up, connect to the Internet, and allow him to answer emails just as my PC was finishing loading Windows. I kid you not.

After our trip to Korea, where my PC let me know it was going to die and die soon, I decided that it was time to replace it with a Mac.

I went Mac. It’s been an easy switch, and I think it may be due to my teenage years with my Amiga-500. The Mac feels like the Amiga, and it even acts like one. It’s user friendly, simple, and a powerful little machine. I do have some Windows only programs that I can’t do without, as well as a near brand new version of Office 2007 for which I paid a lot of money. So rather than invest in Mac Office 2008, I bought VM Ware and Windows XP to run on the Mac. Now I have two computers in one – and let me just say that Windows, so far, runs more efficiently on my Mac than it ever did on my PC.

To make the switch even more fun, fellow writer and friend kc dyer has also gone Mac. There’s nothing more fun than sitting in a cafe, Mac to Macbook, discussing the cool new things you’ve learned.

Good times ahead!