...is this a word? It should be, I think -- to describe the state of being parapatetic, which, if you want to get technical, is not a state, but a fluidity of movement, n'est-ce pas?
All this to (most ridiculously) describe the upcoming bit of summertime. First, off to Calgary this week, with a side trip to Edmonton for the CAA CanWrite Conference. This Alberta jaunt is to be followed by another, when fellow author James McCann and I head off with the latest installment of the Chocolate & Chat Tour.
Here's our media release:
Chocolate & Chat: Writing for Teens and Young Adults
Just in time for summer reading, authors James McCann and kc dyer are pleased to announce the ‘Chocolate & Chat: Writing for Teens and Young Adults’ tour. These prolific authors will be touring through Western Canada and the Rocky Mountains from July 7-15th, 2008, with stops in Banff, Calgary, Red Deer, Cochrane, Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Kelowna. They’ll be talking about their own novels and answering questions from people interested in writing for kids and teens. James and kc have spoken to thousands of children and adults about reading and writing.
This free event promises to have something for readers and writers alike. At each location, the authors will be on hand to autograph copies of their books and give a presentation for aspiring writers about breaking into the Canadian writing market. Don’t miss the hottest event of the summer…they will bring the Chocolate and YOU bring the chat!
For further information: email@example.com or call 604-312-7813
I'm really looking forward to this -- it's going to be a blast and I'll blog as much of it as I can. Comic Life has come on board as a sponsor, so we'll be giving away very cool software packages at every stop.
But first -- a pause for Canada Day, and the inherent celebration that will occur to mark the 16th year since the birth of my boy. An auspicious day!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
...where a big, sudden project leaps up and bites away the entire day from all the other things that were supposed to get done. But now, all the information is in place for the programming of the new SiWC registration system, so that is a good thing. And my girl has sorted through the morass of registration for university in the fall, and is ready to throw herself on the mercy of the on-line registration system in the morning. Also a good thing.
The writing, editing and promoting that was supposed to happen today, however -- well, they just didn't.
However, tomorrow is the first day that both my offspring are officially done school for the year. Here's hoping the sun shines and the writing (etc.) time stays open while the teenagers sleep in!
And in honour of the Trickster's 9 month birthday which occurs this week sometime...here he is, in all his glory.
It amazes me how he can keep all four feet, tongue and ears in the air with so little apparant effort.
Silas has taken very fondly to his new jail cell, but still managed to get into the garbage twice this week, chew up his new ball AND Meaghan's just cracked HARDCOVER copy of Stephanie Meyer's new novel (the title of which escapes me at the moment, as it is 12:25 am and I have not yet kicked into my post-meridian second wind). Anyway, the book is beyond repair, and Silas is back in the hoosgow.
For those who might like to see what is new on the SiWC front, blog posts are here.
Monday, June 23, 2008
In mourning today for George Carlin, a comedian who brought a lot of pleasure to me over the years.
I spent my teenage life chortling at his jokes and marvelling at his fearlessness.
More recently, I have enjoyed his musings on the page. Yes -- George was a fan of words -- and more than just the seven of them you couldn't say on television.
His books include Sometimes a Little Brian Damage Can Help, Brain Droppings, Napalm & Silly Putty, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops and Three Times Carlin: An Orgy of George.
I liked his books, but to see the real thing...well, there was only one George Carlin. Do yourself a favour -- hie on over to YouTube, punch in his name, and laugh yourself silly.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
My buddy Jay Clarke, who writes as Michael Slade, has been all over the news lately with his thoughts on the rash (if one can call it that...) of floating feet along the BC coast.
See... the interesting thing is that Michael Slade wrote a book with a very similar series of occurances just a few years ago. It's called DEATH'S DOOR and you can read all about it here.
A little tidbit from the Cemetery Dance website:
A mummy has been stolen in England. Authorities believe the motive is the treasure hidden in its fetid wrappings. THEY'RE WRONG.
Mutilated bodies of missing Hollywood stars are discovered washed ashore on West Coast beaches. Authorities think they're victims of a random serial killer. THEY'RE WRONG.
When Chief Superintendent Robert DeClercq and his team follow a clue to an underground snuff film operation, they believe they've encountered man's sickest desires. THEY'RE WRONG.
Something even more cunning, even more depraved is waiting for them. If they have the guts to follow the clues through Death's Door...
Here's the Vancouver Sun's take on it...
While some people have mooted a theory connecting the feet with a plane crash from a few years ago, but in spite of that line of investigation, the recovered DNA has not been matched.
Is life imitating Art?
What do you think?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The latest version of the C&C tour is really starting to come together. We now have seven (or maybe eight) stops along the way from Vancouver through Calgary to Red Deer and back. Dates will be from July 7-15th, 2008.
James and I will be stopping in Banff, Cochrane, Kelowna and Salmon Arm, along with several dates in Calgary. We've got room for maybe one more gig and that's it -- a full itinerary!
This trip is all about the writing -- we'll be talking about our own books, of course, but also about how to go about becoming a published writer, particularly if you want to write for children or teens.
We'll be blogging and podcasting the tour along the way -- so if you are interested in learning more about the process of getting published, or if you'd just like to listen to someone read to you for a while, we'll see you on the road! One of our sponsors will be Comic Life, so we'll be having some amazing give-aways, too. I'll put up the final itinerary here as soon as we get everything confirmed.
In SiWC news, make sure to head over to the site at www.siwc.ca and take a peek at the new 'SiWC In The Media' page. You'll find it as the first listing under the News & Media link on the home page (or by clicking here). It's where we'll be listing anything exciting we find in traditional media, in blogs or on-line about SiWC and its denizens.
I spent the day today ironing out some of the last corrections for the SiWC brochure today, and once everything is in place, it'll be off to the printers. This means that you can expect programming for this year to start appearing on the website very soon...
I am really happy to find myself also in the midst of working on the edits for my next book, coming out next spring with Doubleday. The book is called A WALK THROUGH THE WINDOW, and it is the first of a new series of time-shift novels set in and among some of the most exciting events in Canada's past.
Not much time for sleep these days...
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
My dear dog-walking buddy and sister-in-words Meg Tilly and I went for a farewell jaunt through our favourite park today, with Molly, Silas and Seamus careening around our legs like park-mad pinballs. This was a farewell jaunt because I have a crazy-busy, here and there, in and out, been and gone summer in front of me ...(Stream-of-consciousness aside: Bean and Gone was the name I gave to the bus station coffee shop in Ms. Zephyr's Notebook. I think it was my favourite place-name in the book....) and it's unlikely we'll get to meet for our weekly walk for awhile.
Now, Meg is one of those heart-of-gold people you only meet a few times in a lifetime. She has been working her tail off all year promoting her third lovely book Porcupine, and is 90+ pages into a new novel. As anyone who is in the middle of slogging through a new manuscript can tell you -- it is hard work. And in my own defense, I was really just thinking of her welfare....
All the same, I feel compelled to hereby offer my heart-felt apology to all of Meg's blog fans for asking her
Now, Meg LOVES blogging, but y'know...everyone is entitled to a little down time, right?
[kc ducks toll-house cookie, hurled by irate fan, made from recipe ONLY available on Meg's blog....]
Hey -- I said I was sorry!
~kc, who will miss her daily dose of Meg-blog, too...
Monday, June 16, 2008
I'm actually so tired that I just typed 'One thong at a time' for my title, and then had to pause a moment to think about how just one letter made such a difference -- AND a better blog entry title. Perhaps another day...
Really, the title is a reference to my little over-commitment problem, but instead of harping, I think I'll just get down to it.
Friday the 13th turned out to be a pretty auspicious night this month, as we had our 'pass the baton' party for CWILL BC.
James McCann and I bid our respective positions as Prez and VP of CWILL good-bye, and we welcomed the new leadership in the form of Pam Withers and Crystal Stranaghan. A good time was had by all.
After the official event, a few of us hied off to a local establishment to finish off the evening in style. Lee Fodi, Kirsti Wakelin, Crystal Stranaghan, James McCann and self joined Kari-Lynn Winters (who took this shot) for some girding of the loins in preparation for Spring Book Hatching, 2008, which was to begin bright and early the following morning.
SBH 2008 took place on an uncharacteristically sunny Vancouver day, but the weather, somehow, didn't keep the crowds from out of the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library.
The place was packed, and as befit the setting, was filled with all kinds of wild and wonderful creatures,
including a crazed fairy in drag, (aka Dan Bar-El, author of SUCH A PRINCE).
With the SPCA in attendance as a sponsor, even the dogs wanted to come and be a part of the celebration. (Please note: This is a GOOD dog, who came to the event, behaved like an angel and was a total asset to the procedings. This public service announcement is intended as a break from all the usual BAD dog posts you'll find around this joint.)
And we didn't stop there for animal kingdom contributions -- we also had a couple of cute chicks on hand to help direct the crowds...
All in all it was a huge success, and a happy way for James and me to hand over the reins of CWILL to Pam and Crystal. That incredibly organized duo will spearhead the Fall Book Harvest sometime in September. As always, keep an eye on this space -- you'll read all about it here first.
Enough for tonight, I think, except to say...
Make sure to check out the latest SiWC blog post here -- a big shout-out to the dear and delightful Janet Reid, who said some mighty fine things in her blog this weekend.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Ay yi yi.
This is crazy season. I am currently gearing up for the CWILL BC wrap-up party and Spring Book Hatching this week. The edits on my new book are arriving Monday. Tour planning for the latest incarnation of the Chocolate & Chat Tour (with James McCann) is in high gear. Before that can happen, I have to nip over to Calgary and then up to Edmonton for the CAA CanWrite conference. The brochure and website for SiWC, 2008 are demanding daily attention.
(New post up for SiWC...with a little teaser here.)
But fiddle-dee-dee...I'll think about it all tomorrow. Because right smack in the middle of all of this...my girl is graduating high school.
This is a shot of her when she was just two -- the first Hallowe'en where she understood the whole costume thing. Her choice was to go as PuppyCat, the eponymous character in her favourite book of the time. (The stuffed version is beside her on the couch. And no cracks about the costume made out of a thermal onesie spotted with black magic marker-- I am a writer, not a seamstress, okay?)
On Saturday, she'll wear the dress she wore to her semi-formal this year. She's giving up a day of a big swim meet (apparently the kid suffers from a touch of the family's little over-commitment problem...) to traipse across the stage in order to please her mother, having eschewed all the other trappings of graduation this year as nonsense.
The look is a little different from Puppy Cat, but she chose this costume, too. Thankfully, her mother had nothing to do with costume design this time. (Here the stuffed friend is upgraded to the real thing -- her friend Berta, who will also graduate from grade 12 this spring.)
And, though I'm not really encouraged to say it aloud (and certainly all other expressions of outward affection or soppiness are MOST strongly discouraged)...
I'm pretty proud of her.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
...from visiting a writing class at UBC, run by Tradewinds publisher Michael Katz. Michael will be a presenter at SiWC 2008, and it was great fun to talk to his group of budding author-illustrators.
One tool I can surely recommend is the new Comic Life software I've just lucked into. This is an amazing little piece of software (I bought the Magiq variety for a ridiculously low price) and I am having a blast with it. Author James McCann turned me on to it (and I think author and artist Cynthia Nugent clued him in) and I've been playing with it every day, checking out all the possibilities.
The poster you see here is an early effort -- (before I figured out how to crop pictures), but it's just a quick example of how cool this program is. I plan to post more of these comics -- and hopefully you'll see my style improve.
Last night my boy put his whole homework assignment (on Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury -- and may I just note -- that book NEVER grows old) together in Comic Life. Who knew homework could be so much fun?
Oh yeah... new SiWC blog post up here. Have you subscribed yet?
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Busy Saturday, most of it spent with the creative minds of the kids at CWC -- Creative Writing For Children. In the morning, I hied myself over to the Cameron Rec Centre in Burnaby, and we spend some time discussing The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by none other than the apparently prolific author Julie Andrews Edwards.
Yep, that Julie Andrews Edwards.
I must say, I had no idea of this facet to her career.
The CWC kids at Cameron Rec Centre were divided in their opinions about the book, tho' the group at Molly Nye House in the afternoon were unstinting in their praise.
We spent the rest of the time deep in discussion of biographies and testimonials and other things authorial. Oh...and making funny pictures with Photobooth (on the break, of course...)
And of course, comic book heroes.
Finished the day with a look at the new Indiana Jones. It was not bad...which is to say I didn't hate it, anyway.
Friday, June 06, 2008
A hodge-podge of events to report...
Tomorrow I'm lending a hand to my buddy, writer-illustrator Lee Edward Fodi. (You'll remember him from a couple of posts ago -- nice smile, wizard hat...)
Lee's a busy guy these days, so tomorrow I'm looking forward to stepping into his shoes for a day and working with two of his CWC creative writing classes. More on how it all shakes down tomorrow.
Spent some time with the new novel today. (The picture you see right here is the Millennium Clock, from the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, and it plays a pivotal role in the story...)
I'm messing about with a new piece of software, too -- it's called Scrivener, and works really beautifully with my Mac's operating system. So far it's a lot of fun -- who knows where it'll take me?
New blog post up at the SiWC site -- click here to read about Bob Dugoni, one of the amazing presenters we have coming to SiWC this year. The speaker's list is almost complete...an embarrassment of literary riches to choose from.
This week is a busy one -- Spring Book Hatching 2008 is coming, the final wrap-up for the CWILL BC season, I've got a chat lined up at UBC with some aspiring writers one night, and ...well, a whole lot more.
The rest will have to wait for now -- I've got lesson plans to review!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
...or perhaps the Black Creature from the Blog?
Whatever his current alias, he is presently chewing cowhide on the floor beside me. He ate a bit of my best rug today, which upset me so much I couldn't even photograph it. He also broke a glass yesterday, so is holding the puppy behaviour up to his usual high standards.
I like this shot of him, mostly because he is standing still.
This is not the norm.
It's kinda like photographing a whirlwind, actually. Most of the shots I take are useless -- blurry and painfully out of focus.
It's so hard to know where the thing will land next.
Or what kind of damage it will do when it does finally come down.
Silas Ermineskin and his reluctant brother Seamus missed out on a walk today with their canine companion Molly (and her mother, Meg). We're hoping the rains pull back tomorrow, long enough to let us traverse the paths of our favourite woodland park. Molly is the only dog I've met who can give Silas a run for his money -- time with her is pure gold.
In other news...
Planning for the upcoming July Chocolate & Chat Tour is well underway. As soon as all the locations are set, I'll put the itinerary up here. We're crossing the Rockies, baby!
I've put up a new post on the subject of success stories on the SiWC blog, and a newsletter is going out this evening, too.
You know where to find 'em.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
This is Lee Edward Fodi. Nice hat, eh?
Lee is one of the amazing presenters who will be attending SiWC 2008 this year. He is a writer-illustrator, and wears a very cool wizard's hat (tho' not all the time, I'm sorry to say...)
Speaking of wizards, I'm feeling pretty excited today, thanks to the wizardry of webmaster Dale McGladdery, as the blog for SiWC has just gone live. This means the email newsletter that goes out to the listserv every few weeks will now be supplemented by a daily blog, outlining all that is new and fresh for the conference -- and both are on RSS feeds.
Now, I've talked about this here before, but RSS feeds truly rule, and they make reading blogs WAY more fun, and WAY less of a chore.
SiWC's Wizardly Webmaster Dale McGladdery found this amazing video to explain the process. I LOVE it -- a fantastically simple and clear (and SHORT!) explanation of the whys and hows behind RSS feeds. Now, Dale is very cleverly going to post this on the SiWC upload page -- tomorrow, I think.
Not one to miss a scoop, I am going to post it here first. (The video is displayed under the specifications of its Creative Commons license.) It's by Lee LeFever, with CommonCraft, and is definitely worth a peek.
How great is that? A big tip o' the hat to Dale for finding this! (If you couldn't see the video, you can follow this link to find it on YouTube.)
But that's not all...
In addition to the newsletter and the blog, Dale is also setting up a 'What's New' section on the SiWC website home page. This will link you to all the changes and happenings within the conference and on the website itself. It should be up and running in the next few days.
So, if you haven't done it yet, hie yourself on over to the Surrey International Writers' Conference website and sign up for the newsletter and the blog feeds.
Monday, June 02, 2008
On Friday, while my dogs were getting their hair cut and my car was getting its brakes de-squeaked, I had an appointment to meet James McCann (to pick up a big stamp for Spring Book Hatching, 2008 and talk about our upcoming Chocolate & Chat Tour) on Granville Island. So I decided to ride my bike.
It was the perfect day for a ride. A bit overcast in the morning -- a bit windy, but not too bad, and then the sun came out for the trip home. A great ride. But it was my first time across the Lions Gate since I rode the Golden Gate last year -- which led to this post.
It was fun to ride across the bridge again. It was actually a four-bridge bike ride for me, as I crossed the Lions Gate twice and the Burrard Bridge twice.
I really enjoyed riding through Stanley Park on the other side, checking out how things have recovered since the big storm.
(Still a ways to go -- say 300 years or so -- until the growth is back to where it was, as you can see...)
I've never felt the same about the Lions Gate since I saw The Bridge. It was interesting to ride across in light of all I have learned about it since seeing the movie. I noticed that there is no protective netting or fencing anywhere on the span, apart from this piece:
where they clearly don't want anything or anyone landing on the railroad tracks below.
But apart from that -- nothing.
I can't find the stats for people who jump off this and other bridges in the Lower Mainland, but I did find an article here in The Province, indicating that the Lions Gate will be equipped sometime this year with crisis phones.
For me, in the end, the bridge was a link to the city, a beautiful ride on a nice day. I wish it was the same for everyone.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Bit of a brutal weekend.
Good for writing, bad for real-world function.
I spent the weekend doing a final clean-up of a manuscript. I seem to struggle with switching worlds -- I mean, I've always struggled with this, even as a reader. But it doesn't seem to be getting any easier, however many books in I am into this writing gig.
It's tough enough to rip myself out of whatever world I am in to deal with things like feeding children and so on, but Silas takes it as a special licence to shred everything in sight, which makes real-world emergence even more unpleasant. And last night I got into bed to find that my daughter, who had been holed up in the only room with access to the litter box, had the door closed all day. To paraphrase Dumbledore: Alas -- cat pee.
On top of that, I am out of chocolate -- like really out. Haven't had any for at least a week, and this is NOT good for the soul.
A lot going down this week, so I'll leave you for now with a peek at my boys swimming in the Capilano River with their new haircuts. At last -- real world food without dog hair in every bite! Silas is getting mondo attention for his new 'do, since for the first time, he actually looks like a puppy.
Check out those Sister Bertril ears!
Hoping to be more coherent tomorrow...