Another big 'un.
The side of the mountain came down on the highway here last night about midnight. Just a kilometer north of Porteau Cove, so between Lions Bay and Furry Creek. Link to CBC story with a few pix is here.
One more close-up picture can be found here at the Mountain FM site.
Unlike the last big slide in February, 2007, Lions Bay is still accessible. (This is a shot of what we drive through every day -- the upgrade continues...)
All I can think about right now are the 40,000 people who just made their way down and back across this very stretch of road this past weekend. Police are saying that no one was caught in this slide (though I am not sure how they can tell -- the buried areas are 10 m deep in places), but if this cliff had come down last weekend, the death toll could have been very high.
More on this -- and on Summer Dream -- soon.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
I have to take a moment here, in honour of this auspicious day, to pay homage to my always-cheerful, reachable and honourable web-guy Bryan Hoff.
He's been my go-to guy for my website since its inception, and without him I would still think html was slang for hate mail.
Thank you Bryan, for all that you do!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I'm working on the edits for my new book, emerging this spring, now called A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. I got a first look at the cover this week. It needs a bit of tweaking still, but bodes well...
Dale McGladdery and I did our first SiWC podcast yesterday. I think we may need a bit of a re-do, though, for while the traffic thundering along the Kingsway in Surrey didn't prove to be a problem at all, the noisy guys at the next table were.
This is Dale, setting up the equipment at our coffee-shop podcast site.
However, we are meeting again this weekend at Summer Dream, where we plan to buttonhole a few of the other SiWC 2008 presenters for our podcast. (We're currently calling it the SiWC Soapbox, but are offering a little contest prize for anyone who comes up with a name we like better. Check out the SiWC blog here if you have an idea you'd care to share.)
After our abortive podcast attempt, Dale and I attended the July edition of the SiWC Board meeting. Here's the evidence...
This is transportation goddess Sue Goddard, travel and journalism genius Ursula Maxwell and Webwizard Dale. (You might also notice the meeting ended at 6:10 pm...)
And here the irreplaceable Carmen Merrells tells me to 'talk to the hand', while Volunteer Vixen Camille Netherton gives her opinion on Carmen.
The Board is made up of a fantastic group of very talented people -- our meetings are always fun and fruitful. Next time I'll get shots of The Missing...Estelle Bogoch Stelmach, Tara Holt, and Carrie Higgins.
After I get my edits in to Doubleday next week, I'm off to Portland for a few days to take in the Willamette Writing Conference. My first time to Portland (tho' not to Oregon) and to this conference. I'm _really_ looking forward to it and will blog all I see and do while there.
In another editorial note, I'd like to offer a warm BC welcome to Barry Jowett, my editor at Dundurn, who has just announced he'll be leaving the company and moving west. Invermere will gain what Toronto has lost -- Barry is a wonderful editor, and when he gets set up in his new life, I'll make sure to link to his new office here.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Just received the press release from the BCSPCA regarding their latest fundraiser. I wrote a short story for this endeavour, and it appears that it will be available for download for a short time as a means to help raise funds. Here's the press release:
Lions Bay author kc dyer is using her talents to help the animals. Dyer, who has published a number of historical and contemporary fiction novels for young adults, is among several award-winning B.C. writers who are donating their work to support the BC SPCA’s Biscuit Fund, which pays for life-saving veterinary medical care for hundreds of homeless, abused and abandoned animals. For a limited time, donors who make a contribution to the Biscuit Fund can download dyer’s short story, PIONEER … A Traveller’s Tale. The piece was written specifically for the Biscuit Fund campaign.
“We have a number of entertaining short stories available, as well as vegan recipes, poetry collections and a novel excerpt,” said Melissa Balfour, coordinator of the BC SPCA Biscuit Fund. Balfour says there is something for every literary taste, so donors can choose just one or be decadent and read them all. “It’s a great way to satisfy your thirst for summer reading materials without having to make a trip to the library or the bookstore, and you’ll be helping the animals at the same time,” says Balfour.
Participating authors include Pete McCormack, Andrea MacPherson, Maggie de Vries, Sarah Kramer, Margaret Thompson, M.A.C. Farrant and Ann Walsh. Visit www.biscuitfund.com for more information, but hurry - the reading materials will only be available for a limited time.
For more information: Melissa Balfour, coordinator, BC SPCA Biscuit Fund, 604-647-1329.
And here's the link to the Biscuit Fund, and the stories, recipes and poems you can download:
BC SPCA Biscuit Fund
Monday, July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
July 26th will mark the 5th Annual Summer Dream festival, to be held all day at Lumberman's Arch in Vancouver's Stanley Park. This is the second year in the big park, and it's sure to be a major success.
Summer Dream is the brainchild of Pandora's Collective, the amazing duo of Bonnie Nish and Sita Carboni. Bonnie and Sita are behind many things poetic (and Slammin', for that matter!) in and around Vancouver, and I invite you to share an amazing day in the park on July 26th. There will be poetry, stories and music for all ages, open mics, workshops, children's stage -- loads of things to do for a sunny Saturday. (Or even a rainy one -- it rained last year and we all still had a blast!)
See you there.
Friday, July 18, 2008
...and he's pretty Horrible. Or ...at least he's trying to be. With a nemesis like Captain Hammer, it can't be that hard. To be horrible, that is. Or actually -- Horrible.
As you can see, I've fallen hard for the Doctor (who used to be Doogie) and the Captain (who used to be Mal). If you have any love in your heart for Joss Whedon (and what cold, corrupt soul could not love Joss?), hie yourself on over to www.drhorrible.com
The final installment of this three-part Sing-Along Blog aired today. I laughed. I cried. I read the credits to find out the Very Bad Horse's real name. (Dobbin. Sorry for the spoiler.)
And may I just say, that Moist is the absolute epitome of a superhero side-kick. I melt for him.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Spent the day whirling through the funnel cloud of first-day issues, but it looks like all is well, and after a few glitches, things are running smoothly.
If you have no idea what SiWC is -- check out the freshly updated website here. When I'm not gallivanting around the countryside promoting books, or writing the things, I'm usually hanging with the Surrey crowd, lending a hand with the annual conference. This year promises to be stellar, and we've had a record crowd turn out to register the first day, so it bodes well for another sell-out event. Just wrote a new e-newsletter (which will likely go out tomorrow), or if you'd like to see a blog post or two, head over here and all will become clear.
I have to admit, I am groovin' on this new Picnik shareware. I like playing with my pictures! Thanks to Kirsti Wakelin for steering me towards it.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Quite a bit of dashing about, nonetheless. Ferrying kids, running dogs, collecting passport paperwork (as we all collectively expire -- our passports, that is) this month and more. In the midst of all this, today was deadline day for a story I committed to for an SPCA fund-raiser. The Biscuit Fund raises money for rescued animals in need.
More about the fund-raiser soon, but in the meantime, I had a story to finish for them. Just sent it off now. The story is called PIONEER...A Travellers' Tale, and a Very Odd little snippet it is, with a scrap of this very lovely painting as a closing piece.
The painting is now considered to be in the public realm of creative commons, and was painted by Noël-Nicolas Coypel: Enlèvement d'Europe,1726-1727. It's found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
When I find out more about the fund-raiser, I'll post the info here. Stay tuned!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The 2008 Chocolate & Chat Tour is now history, finishing on a high note in Kelowna with distinguished guests including on-line friend, author and CWILL BC member Karen Autio, and the distinguished Jack Whyte (looking very dapper in his golfing hat). Many thanks to Curtis, Conrad and the staff at the Orchard Hill Chapters for making us feel so welcome.
After dinner, James and I went out for a celebratory ice cream, and while we were in line, we discussed the preponderance of body art in women compared to just a few years ago. This led me to remember a most remarkable video I had seen recently, depicting women in Art over a period of 500 years.
This video montage was put together by animation artist Phillip Scott Johnson, with music by Yoyo Ma. I love it for the sense of shifting fashions in beauty, and for the resultant sense of fragility in life and loveliness.
More tomorrow on the tour -- likely a Comic Life version. Don't forget to check James' blog, too -- for perhaps he has the strength to be more articulate than I right now.
We had a great day yesterday, after our surprisingly ghost-less stay the night before in Canmore. Wended our way through the Rockies (this is a shot of Castle Mountain, just past Banff) to Salmon Arm and set up our travelling road show tent at Spirit Quest Books near the centre of town.
James and I have decided that Spirit Quest owner Maggie and her team have a little white magic on their side, because we spent most of our time in the shop checking out some Very Cool things that we just had to have for future presentations.
I was especially taken by their selection of enchanting little fairies. When we were back at Monkeyshines in Calgary, I met and chatted with an aspiring writer named Cameron, who has written a whole collection of stories in a world of Faerie all her own. Cameron -- these fairies made me think of you!
We had a wonderful time in Salmon Arm and want to thank Maggie and Shannon and the rest of the staff at Spirit Quest Books for hosting this part of our tour.
Sadly, we were unable to find accommodation in Salmon Arm last night, so we beetled along the highway and managed to score what must have been the final rooms in Kelowna. This saves us from doing any driving today (for the first such day on the tour) and we have been able to get a bit of work done in town this afternoon before our gig this evening at Chapters in Orchard Park.
I'll just finish this post here with one of the shots I took last night of a fire-juggler on the beach at the waterfront park in Kelowna. There was a blues band playing live, people dancing in the streets , tons of vendors and food -- a wonderful summer Saturday night for everyone to share.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Heading out today for Salmon Arm. Yesterday we had a bit of time off; a chance to get caught up on email, take a quick tour of the Stampede and head off to a very tiny gathering at Pages in Kensington. Let's just say that the chairs outnumbered the aspiring writers by a substantial ratio. But it was a lovely day and we had fun. Thanks to Sonia and the rest of the crew at Pages for hosting us!
We decided to take some time off our drive to Salmon Arm, so hit the road for Canmore last night. It's a pretty drive, and a quick one, so there was still a sliver of daylight in the sky as we pulled into town, at the time talking about a shared favourite scene in a movie.
In this movie, called 1408, John Cusack plays an author who debunks ghost stories for a living. It's taken from a Stephen King novella, and is considered a horror movie because of all that happens to Cusack's character once he meets a truly haunted hotel room.
But King's little in-joke for writers is the scene where his author is faced with a book signing. He walks into a bookstore, and no one recognizes him from his publicity poster. Worse -- there are fifty chairs set out and perhaps three people show up. The quintessential mortification moment.
Back to Canmore.
The intrepid authors pull into town, looking at hotel rooms that backed right on the railroad tracks.
"Well," kc sez, cruising the main drag, "where do you want to stay?"
"D'you think we'll hear the trains if we stay in one of these places?" sez James.
"Nah," sez kc. "We're tired. Let's just find a place and go eat. Which one should we choose?"
"I dunno," sez James. "I guess as long as it doesn't have a room 1402, it'll be okay."
"Ha ha," chortles kc. "We've already had our '1402' moment today."
"You're right," sez James, and they laugh together ruefully. They drive maybe 100 metres. They pass a hotel which happens to back on the train tracks.
"How's that one look?" sez kc. "Did you see a vacancy sign?"
"You're not going to believe this," sez James...
So, of course -- we have to check it out. And the girl at the desk (an Aussie by the name of Jodi, with a tattoo of the 'Made in Australia' logo on the back of her neck) finds us the last two rooms in the place.
We take them.
Then, because she is funny and punchy from a long day at work, we have to tell Jodi the whole 1402 story, including a synopsis of the movie, since she hasn't seen it. (We also warn her that the hotel may, in fact, burn to the ground, due to the presence of the ghosts that we will invariably stir up by our presence.)
This story takes a long time to tell.
Jodi, like us, is wildly impressed. She gives us a BCAA discount on the rooms. (She would have done this anyway, but hey...)
We prepare to depart for the rooms, offering dire (dyer) predictions of our potential doom in Hotel 1402, when the other front desk clerk steps forward.
"I hate to tell you this," he says, and there is true regret in his voice. "But you've made a slight mathematical error. That movie was actually called 1408."
The only thing that haunted either of us all night were the trains that drove, at regular intervals, right through our rooms.
(comic version coming tomorrow. Check out James' version of events here.)
Friday, July 11, 2008
Before the re-cap, a quick word about kindness.
This is a shot of James, about to fill up the car with gas provided by our friend Meg Tilly. Before we left town, Meg gave us a gas card as a Chocolate and Chat Tour parting gift, to help speed our tour on its way.
Meg is kindness personified, and both James and I want to thank her for her very thoughtful (and useful!) gift.
(Please note how James is somehow able to brandish the gas card, hold the nozzle AND stand on one foot all at once. Can this guy multi-task, or what?)
Meg hasn't blogged for a few days, so I like to think she is enjoying her family and the summer weather, inventing scrumptious recipes, and romping with her dog.
Back to the update.
This is Sue, manager of Monkeyshines Book Store in Calgary, still smiling after our workshop conducted with a group of amazing young writers. Thanks to Sue and Monkeyshines for hosting such a fun event for us!
As you might have noticed from the comic I posted this morning, our next stop was the wonderful Owl's Nest Book Store in the Britannia area of Calgary. We had a small, but enthusiastic crowd and shared wine, fruit and chocolate along with our conversation. Here is a shot of writer and bookseller Judith Duthie, hanging out with Virtual James.
After our marvellous visits with Sue and her staff at Monkeyshines and Mike and Anne and Judith from Owl's Nest Book store in Calgary, we headed north. The next day saw us on the road to Red Deer. Highway 2 is an adventurous experience at the best of times, but we had a particularly memorable drive, with a temperature that suddenly dropped to 6 degrees, lashing rain and Stephen Spielberg clouds, scudding along at different levels of the stratosphere.
"Look at this amazing sky," sez kc, snapping pictures through the open window.
"Why are these truckers driving at 150 kph through this storm?" sez James, tooling along at slightly over the speed limit himself and watching in awe as the semis roared by with their 100 tonne loads.
[kc pauses the narrative here to note that she just typed 100 tonne toads, and was briefly amused by the ensuing mental imagery...]
"What is that white stuff on the side of the road?" sez both kc and James together, in the curious sing-song style they have developed over the course of the tour.
In spite of questions remaining unanswered, they rolled safely into Red Deer and met up with James's long-lost friend Jen, now children's librarian at the main branch in town. Jen and her colleagues treated the authors to a marvellous lunch (thanks, Jen!) and then kc and James had a fantastic time speaking to a whole whack of young (and young-at-heart) writers for the afternoon. (This is Jen with James, both stricken by the sudden appearance of a Mysterious Stranger...)
We then (intrepidly) leapt into the car and hurtled through the wind and rain back down the highway to Cochrane, for a presentation at the Nan Boothby Memorial Library, under the kind eye of Head Librarian Terence Haxton. Terence had set up a cosy collection of chairs around a fire place -- much welcomed by the frozen travellers -- and a lovely evening was had by all.
It was not until a late-night viewing of email that all became clear -- the hail, the dropping temperatures, the speeding trucks...we had been driving through a tornado warning (with the radio off and the music blaring) and while we were unaware of the danger, those trucks and other drivers were clearly trying to get to their destinations ahead of any tornadoes that might appear!
Deep thanks to Jen and her staff in Red Deer and Terence and his staff in Cochrane for your kind hosting of our events. Again...kindness rears its head. A good way to finish, I think. Tomorrow we plan to avoid tornadoes...
Thursday, July 10, 2008
'Ohh-ohh we're halfway there, Oh-oh livin' on a prayer'*
*Clearly a direct result of driving long distances lately with a metal-head...
Will post most Comic Life pix tomorrow, depicting our wonderful little tour and the strange creature who appears to be stalking us...
(Having WAY too much fun turning my life into a comic book with this software. Comic Life has been a great sponsor to us -- blogging about our tour on their site, and giving us a pile o' software to give away. We are leaving many Comic Life Crazies in our wake...)
But for now, a written re-cap is in the cards. Let's see...
James McCann (aka the previously-referenced metal-head) and I left Vancouver on Monday morning, and after a small satellite-related detour through the back roads of Merritt, culminating in an unscheduled visit to the town heli-pad (as depicted in the comic above) we landed safely in Kamloops, secured lodging, free wireless access and a refreshing jolt of caffeine.
Our event at the Kamloops Chapters was just terrific. After a nice write-up by Mikelle Sasakamoose in Kamloops This Week (Her Story on History), we had a great turn-out, with folks from as far away as Williams Lake popping in to buy a book or two.
You can see if you smile prettily enough, James will even let you wear his magic Pyre hat!
The next day we sped off eastward for a short (but sweet) visit to Banff. It was sometime after our trip to the Welch's candy shop that we noticed the scurrying of tiny feet in our wake. But when we looked around...no one was there.
We made a late arrival in Calgary that night, and were joyfully greeted the next morning by the least-sleepy Dempster family member. Last week he ate my shoe, bringing him into the Silas Criminal-Family-Member Club. In this shot, Ronan gives his opinion as to any concern over my chewed shoe.
As a result, he became Ronan, Incarcerated, a state (I understand) he frequently is found in these days.
Next it was off to Monkeyshines, a very cool little bookstore right in the middle of Calgary's Marda Loop.
More on Monkeyshines -- with pictures! -- and our subsequent adventures in the next post, as it's burning past midnight here, and a long day has already been enjoyed. Make sure you check out James' blog for his take on our adventures, too.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Rocky Mountain Chocolate & Chat Tour, 2008: Day One
In which the intrepid authors brave the Coast Mountains, make minor detours in Merritt, have a great time in Kamloops and fall afoul of a few technical problems....
I'm writing this the morning after the night before, due to the aforementioned technical difficulties. As you might well determine from the fetching self-portrait (courtesy of Photo Booth), I discovered last night that I had left my camera cable at home, and was thus unable to bring to this blog all the pix I took yesterday of :
- the beautiful drive through the Fraser Valley
- the extent of the Mountain Pine Beetle damage (and repatriation efforts) in the interior
- the astounding ability of James (that would be my partner in this particular crime, the author James McCann) and kc to get _lost_ in Merritt, BC (a city of fewer than 7,000 souls) wending our way to a heli-pad airport before finding the highway once again...
- a fantastic gig at the Chapters in Kamloops, where we met some wonderful folks who all made us feel truly welcome
Then, I sat down last night after discovering the missing cable and wrote a lovely blog post, complete with Comic Life illustrated panel, only to have my system crash. I took that as a sign from the tech gods, and gave up, hence this morning missive.
One other technical note -- I have also discovered that my home email address will allow me to collect emails but not send them from the road -- so apologies to all those who have recently tried to communicate. I've received all your messages, but cannot send unless I use webmail, which first removes your messages -- so I will do all my replies when I get back. In the meantime, my gmail address is working just fine, so that's the best way to reach me these days.
James and I head on to Banff today, where I hope to find a computer cord and will post a more colourfully illustrated blog entry this evening. And if you'd like to read James' take on our day today, you can find it here.
Friday, July 04, 2008
Am currently at the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite Conference in Edmonton, a hot town with plenty of cool writers these days.
Suzanne Harris and her gang have put on a fabulous event, and I listened to a number of excellent speakers today. This evening I watched a performance done by the Spoken Word Choir, under the direction of author and creative hurricane Gail Sidonie Sobat. The group is made up of a bunch of teens who love to write, and they gave a knock-down performance that wowed the audience gathered at the Timm Centre for the CAA national Literary Award Readings.
Unfortunately, my camera battery died mid-day today, (too many pictures of baby Ronan in Calgary, methinks), but I should have a few shots to post when I get home.
Just posted a discussion of the terms 'advanced' and 'master' writer at the SiWC blog, too.
Now off to escape the heat with a cold shower and a fan...