Surrey International Writers’ Conference 2013

Yes, two posts in one week! Only because I attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and had to chat about some highlights.

If you’re a writer and you haven’t attended – what are you waiting for?? Go! Now!

I hadn’t attended in four years. I was overdue. My highlights include:

  • Michael Slade‘s “Shock Theatre”. For anyone who’s ever attended SiWC, this is ALWAYS a highlight. This year, MS and crew brought to life “Tell Tale Heart” featuring (as usual) Jack Whyte, Diana Gabaldon, Anne Perry, and kc dyer.
  • Being inspired by the keynote speakers:  Jim C. Hines, known for his gender-swapping cover art post and calendar, received a well-deserved standing ovation. I managed to drag Jim aside prior to his keynote and ask pertinent questions regarding social media and privacy — how much is too much sharing?? Thanks for sharing, Jim! While I’d heard ZsuZsi Gartner do a reading from “Better Living through Plastic Explosives” in Calgary last year, who knew that she was freakin’ hilarious in person too?! As a bonus, she also got me thinking about technology, its pros, cons, and why I feel fully righteous in my resistance to succumbing to the mass desire to be digitally enveloped. Susin Nielsen and Jane Porter not only made me feel good about myself as a writer, but also reinforced the rumor that there really is a formula for getting published: 1/3 talent, 1/3 hard work, 1/3 luck. I just need to find that luck….
  • Finding out that Diana Gabaldon is a pornography connoisseur (her words, not mine!). In her session “How to keep the reader turning the page,” I discovered that the secret is not only to keep posing questions, but also that sex sells. And, frankly, if it sells books, do it. Again, her words.
  • Sharing a banquet table not once, but twice, with JJ Lee. What serendipity! The story about how he found out he was a Governor General’s Literary Award nominee is awesome!
  • Turning the corner during the book signing to discover my former classmate and colleague, Bradley Somer, is now a published author! Words cannot express how immensely happy I am for him 🙂 Hooray Brad!!
  • Lastly, but not least, singing happy birthday to Anne Perry just before I started sobbing my eyes out. My heartfelt gratitude to Victoria Zackheim for taking me aside after she and Anne Perry had finished their session “Rock the Boat for Women.” Embarrassing but true. Their session about taking risks, being vulnerable, and bleeding upon the page touched me. It wasn’t necessarily the content of the session, it was the intent. They both spoke with such passion, such truth, that I was moved to blubbering uncontrollably in public. (Of all the people I could have broken down in front of, why two such established authors???)

It was a fantastic and exhausting weekend. I met many, many wonderful people, both established and upcoming authors. And because I love doing a wee bit of shameless promotion (especially around the banquet table), he’s a bit for the folks I met. Hope to see you all again soon!

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