Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It's that time of year -- all the Surrey stuff is coming to a head, my own book promo is in full swing and things are just nuts around here.

Today was the SiWC 2009 road show, and I had a marvellous reception at Archbishop Carney Secondary in Port Coquitlam, followed by a brief trip into the new Surrey campus of SFU to talk with a World Lit 100 class about the conference. This is a shot of the inside of the campus. It's like the prow of an enormous ship -- quite, quite beautiful.

Huge thanks to Allison Wall and her wonderful creative writing class for their kind welcome! And also to Melek Ortabasi and her group at SFU. Hope to see many of you at the conference!

Had to deal with many phone issues [as those who follow me on twitter have no doubt learned], but all is well now, new phone in place, fully functional and I am communicado once more.

Make sure you check out recent blog posts over at www.siwc.ca, as that's where I am spending most of my energy capital these days. Tons going on -- all fun, all nuts, all the time.

More soon -- catch up day tomorrow.

sweetly tweeting @kcdyer

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Exciting End to September!

Tons of stuff to look forward to over the next couple of days. Tonight is the premiere of FlashForward, the tv show adapted from the Robert J. Sawyer novel. Exciting! The premiere got an incredible review in the New York Times, and from Time magazine, and  Rob's face can be found right now hovering on the pages of Time.com

How incredible is that?

On Saturday, I'll be on Bowen Island, celebrating the latest release from Bernice Lever -- a book of poetry called Generation.

On Sunday, it's Vancouver's Word on the Street. I'll be out pounding the pavement [in neon tights, of course] talking about the Surrey International Writers' Conference. I'll have posters and registration forms with me and will be tweeting throughout the day. Sign up for the conference and get your picture in our blog!

And speaking of the SiWC....

...something weird is trying to take over my blog at www.siwc.ca. Have a look at THIS. And what about THIS?

I'm really hoping it's just a prank, and not some kind of warning...


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall Book Harvest -- coming October 16, 2009

Fall Book Harvest moves to the North Shore this year. A chance to see the latest in books for kids and teens, meet the authors and have an all-round good time.

For the whole scoop, check out the CWILL BC blog HERE. You can also win a FREE author visit to your school -- details HERE. [I'll be one of the authors participating...]

And if you'd like to spread the word, you can download copies of the poster HERE.


Pee Ess -- check out the latest news for the Surrey International Writers' Conference on our blog. New presenters, events...and we've joined twitter! If you're so inclined, I'm @kcdyer and SiWC is @SiWC2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bookclub Extravaganza!

Today is the day to visit Christianne's Lyceum in Vancouver. Propriator Christianne Hayward is holding a Bookclub Extravaganza...a chance to buy gently used books at discount prices as a fundraiser for the Lyceum. But that's not all -- prizes, draws, fun and a chance to chat with local authors can all be yours.

The event runs from 10am to 3 pm, Saturday, September 19th. I'll be there for an hour or so around 1 pm, so please feel free to drop by and say hello. You might even pick up a few books for this good cause!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Busy Fall...SiWC 2009 Road Show

Hey. September has launched like a cherry bomb in the school bathroom, and things are suddenly really nuts around here.

First among nuttiness is that my lovely website re-design was supposed to be up and running by now, but alas...image problems have slowed the process drastically. So we keep on keeping on, and when it's up and running, we'll have a contest to celebrate!

Now, let's see...where to begin. A couple of upcoming events should do, and I will add to the list as soon as I am able.

The most important right now is the SiWC Road Show. I'm putting on my wandering minstrel shoes and heading around the Lower Mainland (and Northern Washington state) to visit book clubs, universities, creative writing classes, high schools...you name it, to talk about the Surrey International Writers' Conference.

Mostly doing this to help spread the word about this amazing conference, and make sure we have a sell-out again this year. You can read more about the conference at www.siwc.ca or if you are interested in having me come and speak to your group for an hour (no charge, will bring own Diet Coke), drop me a line in the comments and we can connect.

The plan is to go out the last week of September/first week of October, as SiWC 2009 is October 23-25th this year.  I've already got gigs coming in, so get in touch soon and I'll make sure I find time to get your group on the Road Tour!

I'm now officially the Writer In Residence at New Westminster Secondary School this fall, so I'll be posting about that excitement very soon. Also CWILL BC's Fall Book Harvest is just around the corner -- more on that soon, too.

So much going on!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jack the Bear is born!

Spent yesterday afternoon with Christina Leist and her friends, celebrating the release of her new picture book JACK THE BEAR.

The party took place at Christianne's Lyceum in Kitsilano, and by the time things got going, it was standing room only.

Christina read her story, and then helped all her fans learn how to draw a picture of Jack on the backs of paper grocery bags. (Here Christianne Hayward acts as a human easel for the artist.)

The whole story was illustrated that way, and a most beautiful book it is. Though she has illustrated other books, this is Christina's first endeavour as the writer and the illustrator, and the results are just beautiful.

Kids love reading it.

Grownups love reading it.

And to finish? Rob the baker from Tinker's Hatch Bakery brought in special Jack the Bear cookies!

If you'd like to see more pictures, check out my flickr page HERE.


A Brief Note on Word Verification

Hola, loyal readers. Big post coming soon with loads of pix from Christina's Leist's launch of JACK THE BEAR yesterday. Much fun was had and cookies eaten!

But first... a mention of word verification.

I've managed this long (since 2005, actually) without it, but am currently being stymied by a particularly virulent spammer, so I'm afraid you'll now be subject to word verification to prove you are, in fact, human before commenting.



Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11.

Fall is here and I am spending this September day the way I have spent so many others in the past -- coordinating the details for the Surrey International Writers' Conference. This year the conference runs from October 23-25, with Master classes on October 22, 2009.

This will be my last year as the coordinator, and though I plan to stick around on the Board of Directors (since they don't know what else to do with this bad penny...) I am feeling a little nostalgic about each job as it gets completed.

This conference is one of the building blocks in my own career as a writer and [bias aside] I can't recommend it highly enough. If you are at all interested in being a writer, this is the place to start.

And if you already write for a living, SiWC is the place to go to refresh, rejuvinate, get new ideas and professional development.

One of our long-time presenters Elizabeth Lyon recently sent me a letter in which she called our conference the "best in the universe". Fine praise.  We're working hard to deserve it.

Elizabeth is just one of the strong American presence we have had at the conference over the years, and I cannot help but remember our American friends on this day. One of the best essays I've read on the memories of September 11, 2001 was written by author Rebecca Solnit and can be found here on the Mother Jones site: How 9/11 Should Be Remembered.

It's a brief, heartfelt and thoughtful piece.

Back to working on the conference. If you'd like to find out more, check out www.siwc.ca or leave me a comment and I'll answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.

And I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing all my friends and colleagues in October!


Monday, September 07, 2009

Forget Labour -- Viva Brazil!

I'm sitting in Dundas Square in Toronto, at the moment, typing on my knees and surfing the only free wifi I can find [outside my hotel room] on this Labour Day, 2009. Sheesh -- you'd think in Toronto I'd be able to work on this day to celebrate work, wouldn't you? But it's taken me two hours to get set up here.

And I am not alone. I am surrounded by crowds of rowdy Brazilians, celebrating their day in brilliant yellow and green and some very funky music. There is a band setting up on the stage, but the crowd aren't waiting -- they are singing along with each other in a big group in front of the stage. It's Brazilian Day Canada, the sun is shining, and Toronto is Brazilliant.

Getting ready to start the Viva Brazil party...
I'm here to meet with my publisher tomorrow, but today I need to get SiWC work done -- emails sent, schedules compiled and so on. So for you, dear readers -- a little round up of some of the arcana that has caught my eye recently:
  • First, a nice little review of WALK on TheFreeLibrary.com HERE
  • Care to find out how the internet sees you? Check out your Persona online.
  • And finally, for those among you who are Mythbusters fans, [and who could not be?] Adam Savage has created a geekfest he's calling Wootstock. Looks like it'll just be in California, with dates set up in San Francisco and LA in October, but surely there'll be a geek or two livestreaming the thing, so here's hoping! http://tinyurl.com/mnwf6p
 Now, can someone tell me how to type without leaping up to salsa?

Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Round-up -- Contests and a Hark Back to Summer Dream

I'm deep in the bowels of Ontario at the moment, seeing to a little family business and a bit of workishness and other skullduggery. Poor timing on my part, as I am in the midst of a couple of contests right now requiring dexterity of email ability. But it is fall, and fall is the Prime Time for the writing community -- no one sleeps at this time of year. Much running about, attending, reading, writing, promoting. Such is the life I love!

A recap...

First: The SiWC 2009 Writing Contest closes tonight ...last chance for entries to be submitted by email is essentially right now. Check it out online at www.siwc.ca and send entries to contest@siwc.ca. If you do submit by email, entry fee must follow via snail mail in cheque or money order form. Website is there for details. Do not think you are alone in last-minute submissions -- you are legion, my procrastinating writer friend!

Next: The intrepid Darby's interview this week on Darby Speaks is with Princess Meg, star of THE RUNAWAY PRINCESS  and the just released smash sequel THE RUNAWAY DRAGON. You can win a copy of the latest novel by leaving a comment on Darby's blog HERE. Spread the word! You have until tomorrow night.

And finally, a fond remembrance of this year's wonderful Summer Dream in Stanley Park. This is one of my favourite images -- my friend the zany author Lee Edward Fodi, reading from his latest book Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard From Greeve, whilst a young woman signs the story to a group of clearly mesmerized children.

You can see more of my pix from Summer Dream 2009 on my flickr page HERE.

More catching up soon!


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Google Book Settlement -- Choice Made & Deadline Extended


Am quite desperately behind in this particular blog -- I have a huge backlog of topics to discuss, but lately appear to have run out of time to discuss them. Will try to remedy over the next little while.

In the meantime, today I finally decided to opt out of the Google settlement.

What is the Google Book Settlement, you ask?

HERE is a pretty good, failry recent summary of both sides of the issue.

Is it sour grapes to opt out of the noble cause of digitizing all books?

In my own case, sizeable chunks of several of my books were printed verbatim on-line, without any discussion by said printer [Google Books] with the author [me].

It was a very odd situation, when I first discovered it a couple of years ago. It continues to rankle.

And then a mass lawsuit was struck, on behalf of all the authors and publishers in the same boat as myself. What to do, what to do????

This thing has been eating at me for a long time -- opt in and get paid for the work they took of mine and put on-line without asking? Opt out because of insultingly small settlement for said work?

And what about the basic ideals behind Creative Commons? Do we not all grow when we share our work? Does not other, better art grow from the art we make and share?

Tough, tough call. I know many writers who have been struggling with it.

In the end, I opted out for the reason above, plus the general queasiness I feel with handing my work over to a giant megacorp to do with what it will. I am not opposed to sharing of work on-line and in new media, but I like to be able to have some say which bits of my stuff I share, when and with whom.

So I opted out with the proviso that they contact me, please, to discuss the works they have already displayed.

We are surfing a new, weird wave in publishing. With so much of our work now readily available on-line, will writers lose their only source of income -- storytelling -- to this brave new world which is demanding all content be available for free? Does sharing of work help spread the word, and make the storytelling stronger (and the author able to earn a living?)

I'd like to believe the latter. But for now, I want to choose what to share, where and with whom.

If you want to learn more on the opt-out, go HERE.

And by the way, the deadline has been extended...[from the Google site]:

Important Update: On September 2, 2009, because of issues with the Court's electronic filing system, the Court extended the deadline to file objections and amicus briefs from September 4, 2009 until 10:00 am Eastern Time on September 8, 2009 (see Court order). The Extended Opt-Out Deadline remains September 4, 2009. The Final Fairness Hearing is scheduled for October 7, 2009.