...and I'm doing a bit of reading. This year there are fewer entries than in past years, as we fiddled with the deadline to make things easier for all involved. We'll likely change it back next year -- people just associate the fall with the SiWC writing contest, I think.
Anyway, there are a bunch of folks getting bloodshot eyes this year as each category goes through a long-list, then a short-list process before going off to the judges.
All this reading doesn't leave much time for blogging, so it's on to our feature presenters for the day.
One of the wonderful new faces who will be joining us this year for the first time is Jacqueline Mitchard. Jackie's first book THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN was a NY Times bestseller, and a featured pick on Oprah. She's had a series of other bestselling books since then, and has even written a y/a novel or two for teens. You can check out what Jackie is up to lately on her blog, which you can find at her website: http://www.jackiemitchard.com/
If you are a regular attendee at SiWC, you'll know that the board likes to keep things fresh by inviting new presenters every year. But popular demand means that invitations have to go out to some favourites as well. One of those particular favourites is the affable and laconic Don McQuinn.
Don has a special place in my heart, as a few years ago he served me up an unforgettable combination of embarrassment and pleasure, by presenting me with the SiWC /Surrey Board of Trade Special Achievement Award. Unfortunately, I happened to have just come in from a run and promptly spilled a hot chocolate down my shirt, so I stood up to accept my award looking pretty much like I always do, but perhaps not exactly as an award recipient should. However, I do believe my ensemble that day inspired board members to ensure that winners are now discretely notified enough ahead of time to allow appropriate dress for the occasion. Let's hope so, anyway.
Drawing a veil across that sorry incident in McQuinn's past, let us focus on his remarkable achievements. He's a published writer of nine novels and spends a lot of his time teaching people how to write -- and write well. Don will be teaching a beginner-level workshop this year in Surrey -- beginning writers and beginning stories. He'll also sit in on a panel or two. And I can pretty much guarantee he'll help make someone's day when he presents the Special Achievement Award this year. Hint to the winner: wear black.