Tuesday, March 30, 2010

McCann on Writing!

Hey -- check this out!

If you live in the Vancouver area,

and you're interested in writing for kids & teens,

author James McCann is offering a course for adults on Sunday, April 18th. Details HERE on his blog. This is a don't-miss opportunity -- James doesn't get a chance to share his secrets very often, and when it does, it's worth it!

There's a limited enrollment, so sign up fast!

I'm off to an SiWC 2010 meeting now, and then a ballistics class at the Vancouver Police Museum after that. Busy day...will report on both when I can!


Monday, March 29, 2010

This and That...Punkin' with Steam and SiWC

Spent some time this weekend working through details of the new website -- it's looking grim [ha! on purpose, of course] and I'm hoping to have it up very shortly. Really excited about it on a number of fronts -- I am going to be moving to an new ISP that supports relatively easy updates, AND we should be able to snag the blog ...[snog???] so that everything appears in one spot. Beauty!

More on that soon. [Here's a sneak peek of part of the home page--->]

What else....?

SiWC 2010 Board meeting tomorrow...loads of fun things in the works for this year. New conference coordinator Kathy Chung is doing an incredible job with the line-up of presenters -- lots of fangirl moments in my future, I can tell you!

If you haven't yet done so, hie on over to www.siwc.ca and pick up the RSS feed for the blog posts. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter, too.

My new steampunk-timeslip novel is hurtling towards being finished -- I'll be thrilled to get this one in the can, as it's been five years in the making. AND, with luck, it'll be the first of a new series.

Lots going on! For daily updates, you can follow me on twitter @kcdyer. 

More soon...


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour Today!

For the fourth year running, nations all around the world are celebrating Earth Hour by turning off the lights at 8:30 pm local time. What started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 has now reached around the globe.

For me, this is an incredible symbol of what happens when people each take a moment of personal responsibility, acting in concert with others around the earth.

What will YOU be doing at 8:30 this evening? [I've got a night ghost stories with friends lined up.]

Join in.

And tomorrow, when it's over, give a thought to what else you can do to take a stand. Let's work together to fix this mess our species has made, shall we?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


...of a few sundry items.

I've attended the Vancouver Police Museum's forensics for adults series twice now, and really enjoyed myself both times. The last event of this series is ballistics -- next Tuesday. Hoping to make it through unscathed. Weird little museums have always held a thrall for me,  and this place is something special for Vancouver. Heartily recommend you check it out. [Pictured, a heady collection of autopsy dismembering tools. Unbloodied, of course, because blood spatter was not covered until the following week....].

In other news, I spotted this post on the Author's Booking Service blog yesterday -- some great ideas here for teachers and parents who want to raise money for an author visit in these financially trying times. Have a peek!

It was a week ago today that I set up my treadmill desk. For those who follow me on twitter, [@kcdyer], you'll note that it's been a busy week. It interests me intensely that I have, this week, racked up 19 hours of walking on the thing while typing, which has translated into 55 kms walked, without really noticing. I can't do everything that I can do at my writing desk [handwriting is out], but I can work on my computer and do phone work. This has left me with slightly sorer feet than usual, and a daily reminder to get myself into some new runners, but...holy crow. I'm really pleased.

And finally, today is Ada Lovelace Day, where computer geeks such as myself pay homage to women in the sciences and technology. Ada herself was one of the first computer programmers -- you can read more about her AND donate to her cause HERE. One of my women-in-computing inspirations is blogger and writer Xeni Jardin, who is most often seen on the pixellated pages of boingboing. Do you have a woman in your life who inspired you in the sciences or in technology? Add her name to the comments in honour of Ada!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Saturday Night...

...and with it, a couple of Items Of Interest.

Canadian SF writer Peter Watts, [whom I tweeted about when it first went down] in a bizarre take on actual justice, has just been convicted of assault when crossing the Canada/US border last year, even though everyone  -- judge, jury and legal teams -- agrees that no actual assault took place. Like just about everyone I know, I've had my share of bad border-crossings, but this one takes the cake. Freakish and frightening. Sending out the power of the collective Canadian writer vibe to Peter. And a strong hope he appeals the verdict.

Author Cory Doctorow's view HERE. Tor Editor Teresa Nielson-Hayden's thoughts HERE [under the title Empathy Failed]. And words from the man himself HERE. [photo by Dan Brooks]

In more cheerful artsy news, my friend writer Jacqueline Pearce has a show on right now combining her Haiku with her friend Jean-Pierre Antonio's photography. It's at the Sawa Tea Lounge & Gallery in Vancouver. Find out more HERE on Jacquie's blog.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is my knee...

[Warning: The post contains a bare naked knee.]

This is it:

Pretty great knee, eh? I have another one that is much less fetching, having had 27 stitches sunk into it once when I  took an unfortunate plunge through a broken dock. With a rusty nail.


Back to the good knee. Here it is at some point last year, dressed up for a day on the town in Toronto:

Sorry about the blurry foot. [Pic was actually taken to demo Very Cool New Skull Scarf].

Regardless, this knee has a secret. It just LOOKS like a good knee. In truth, inside this perfectly functional-looking joint is a torn meniscus. The medial meniscus, if you want to get technical. I tore it last summer, August 20th, to be exact, taking a gazelle-like sideways leap across an embarrassingly low pylon in my boot-camp exercise class.

[I am going somewhere with this story....]

So, after the requisite time to allow the thing to heal, followed by the requisite denial phase, and the requisite 'I don't actually have a doctor, because the one I had moved to Vernon' phase, plus a number of pain-induced sleepless nights, I actually broke down and showed up at my friend Linda's office and asked her to have a look at it. [She is a doctor, needless to say, though not my doctor, as that would not be fair.] She told me she thought I had a torn meniscus, and sent me off to a series of experts, who all agreed with her. So did the MRI.

My friend Linda the doctor is very smart. She's also lived through a number of body-rending events with me so has learned to Expect The Worst.

As a result, there hasn't been much running done lately, by the knee you see pictured above. I'm scheduled for surgery sometime fairly soon to have the torn stuff scraped out.

But I digress.

Because this is my meniscus and not an ACL or other more important ligament, I can still do the elliptical trainer at the gym and swim and so on.

And yet, I fear. I fear the encroaching portliness. The avoirdupois. I fear becoming my other friend Norma's new favourite word, which happens to be zaftig. Also, you may not have noticed, but my particular profession requires a certain amount of sitting and typing, which when combined with the lack of running in my life, may lead to same.

No more.

[At last -- she gets to the point!]

All this to say, I have just set up a treadmill desk in my office. Not only that, but I've put a file on my desktop titled LIVE WRITER WALKING so I can record my progress [if any]. I tried it today for the first time with pretty decent success. Walked for an hour and a half at 2 km an hour [which is slightly over the recommended speed, but I couldn't get my rhythm at 1.6 km/hr...so 2 it was.] I actually forgot to record the distance, but according to the machine I managed to burn [and my guess is this is very approximate] 254 calories, which is likely a few more than I would have burned with my posterior in my desk chair.

Will keep you appraised of progress. Am thinking of walking across Canada for fun. Why not?

In other [more writerly] news, my friend Marsha Skrypuch has just opened registration for her summer Brantford Writing Workshop. You can find the details on her blog HERE. I can't recommend this camp enough -- if you are in the Brantford/Toronto region and have some time this summer -- THIS is the place to be.

And to finish, make sure you check THIS out - some amazing pictures of the paralympic Games, just about to wrap up here in Vancouver. The inspiration I get from watching these athletes is hard to measure. They are incredible!

Enjoy. I've got some walking to do...


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And a Steampunk St. Paddy's to ye...

Last night I spent the evening in the old Vancouver morgue, now the Vancouver Police Museum, listening to a talk about forensics and crime. Bliss. Next week is blood spatter. But tonight, I celebrate the wearin' of the green with a trip to see The Commitments, the film from the book by Roddy Doyle.

√Čirinn go br√°ch!

And in the spirit of the day, I offer this wee clip, which I came upon with great pleasure earlier this week via my beloved boingboing, of course. Pots o' gold, evil leprechauns and steampunk weaponry. Even a little blood spatter...of the green variety. Enjoy the League of Steam!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Speedy Sunday

Especially when an hour of sleep is gone, due to daylight savings! Ah, well...we can always drown our sorrows through eating pie...*

Just a couple of quick notes for tonight. HERE is where you'll find a link to Belva's List...a collection of things to do in and around Seattle. It's compiled by my friend Wally Lane's wife Belva, and is a must-read for those visiting the Emerald City.

This week I ventured out to eat German pancakes and visit the Museum of Vancouver  with friends Annett Stuze and Britta Vorbach. [This is Annett, looking fetching in period gear from the 'Old Vancouver' part of the exhibit.]

We really went to see the Art of Craft exhibit at the MoV which has been curated by Kirsti Wakelin and her partner Darren Carcary of Resolve Design. It was a beautiful and amazing exhibit, and is on until mid-April. I can heartily recommend it. You can read more about the experience of curating such a diverse collection on Kirsti's blog HERE.

Also loved the nightmare-dreamscape peopled by these evil fairies.

More soon...!


*geek pun based on the fact that today is Pi Celebration Day. Now go out and find 3.14 [etc] ways to celebrate it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

BC Book Prizes List Announced

Always a fun time of year -- the shortlists for the BC Book Prizes have emerged.

The full list of nominations can be found HERE.

Congratulations to all nominees, many of them CWILL BC members, and special congrats to my friends Kari Lynn Winters and Christina Leist for their picture book ON MY WALK.

READ as many of these nominated books as you can. They are wonderful taste of left-coast Canada!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Just finished watching...

...coverage of the 2010 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies. I think I enjoyed them even more than the last set. Not sure why CTV only broadcasted in BC, but they are rebroadcasting tomorrow, and I would highly recommend. The segments on Rick Hanson and Terry Fox had me in tears. The whole ceremony was really fun -- very light-hearted, lots of kids performing [including some kids from Lions Bay in the choir!] and, apart from the once-again horrific French of John Furlong [poor man -- he's worked so hard, but obviously NOT at the public speaking element....], a real joy to watch.

Rebroadcast is set for tomorrow [Saturday, March 13th], 2 pm local time.


Flag Waving...

Lot of flag waving around these parts lately -- more than is characteristic - more than I've ever seen, actually. But while the Olympics were on, a bunch of musicians crept into town to wave Canada's flag for a different country: Haiti. The video premiered today -- K'naan's Waving Flag.

I knew it would be good, but I'm still gobsmacked by it. Lovely song. Lovely treatment.

Give generously -- the aftershocks are still rumbling through that devastated country.

I can't find a code to embed this video yet, so click through to the Much Music version. I'll embed as soon as I can.


Monday, March 08, 2010

International Women's Day...

There's still almost an hour left of International Women's Day here in the pacific time zone, and I have seen a number of earnest reminders today for women to go out and get a mammogram.

This one isn't really earnest, but it's hysterical. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger...right?



You know...I work at home. And yet, I still hate Mondays. I think it's the enforced 7 am wake up time. It's just not civilized.

So -- to brighten our collective day, lets gaze at the cherry blossoms and plan some fun ways to spend our summer holidays, shall we?

SFU is running its summer publishing workshop again this year. Find out more HERE on Sean Cranbury's blog. I know quite a few of the presenters this year, [Sean, Monique Trottier and others] and can vouch highly for the program. If you've got the time, why not give it a shot?

If you are a BC teen and interested in writing, be sure to check out the YouthWrite camp in Penticton. Was there last year, going back this year -- FUN on all fronts. Not sure if the info for this year is up yet, but you can read all about last year's shenanigans HERE

To finish... more of an all-year-round thing than a summer one, but how about offering your support to the CNIB 'Right to Read' campaign? Details HERE on how to ensure the CNIB's programs continue to receive adequate funding.

And just like that -- we've survived another Monday. Yay!


Saturday, March 06, 2010


...from post-Olympic hangover? Or perhaps you need a Canadian refresher before the Paralympics begin?

Let's hear Dwight's take on it:


Pee Ess

For the only Novel Woman in my life, a few pictures to bring back the memories of one of our favourite cities in the world HERE.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Dropped Balls... [A bit of a biggish post]

...and files and ideas and things I should've blogged by now.

But first... [as I have been rabidly tweeting all day],


The new boots.

As seen, moments ago, attached to the old legs, and propped up on my kitchen counter.

Pink? Why, yes they are.

I spotted them on Queen Street in Toronto, while I was trolling goth shops for suitable legwear. [Suitable for me, you understand, as one who might be a trifle fond of unlikely legwear. A personal quirk, nothing more.]

Anyway, I spotted these boots through a window, leapt in, and had my heart's desire fulfilled.

They are, indeed Doc Martens. Veggie Docs, in the not-so-common parlance of those who care about such things. I have been trying to find a pair of veggie Docs [non-leather Doc Martens] for something like ten years. They stopped making them years ago, and I don't buy leather. I do have a pair of imitation Doc's in shiny black patent -- until now, my favourite footwear.

But I think the black ones may have been usurped. Or coup-ed. Or something.

Okay, back to what's what. Had an amazing dinner tonight with writers Meg Tilly, Don Calame, James McCann and Lee Edward Fodi.

[This pic taken by James, in an effort to show footwear solidarity, but he somehow managed to cut off the boots!]

I suspect you may be able to hear the result in an upcoming Authors Like Us podcast. HUGE fun to see my friends Meg and Don again, since our paths cross less frequently these days and I really miss them. It was supposed to be an 'Authors Like Us' podcast taping of Meg and Don, but I crashed, and all were terribly sweet about it. We've all got new projects just complete or just about ready to go. Great fun.

And now, to some important items recently overlooked...

My last day in Toronto on the weekend, I had a ton of fun trolling bookshops like Mabel's Fables and the Flying Dragon with authors Kari Lynn Winters and Gwen Smid. Gwen is a Winnipeg girl, who has published a couple of very sweet picture books in the Mary's Atlas series with Peanut Butter press.They are lovely books -- you must check them out!

After I left Toronto, I flew home to the massive celebrations of Canada winning hockey gold. Crosby scored the final goal just before my plane touched down, and as I drove home down Granville Street, this was the view:

Taken on the Granville Street bridge, looking into downtown. The sound was unbelievable.

A bit hard to see in this pic, but...

My blog may not post this whole thing. Fingers crossed! This is just a tiny taste of the tens of thousands who poured into the city on that Sunday afternoon, just to share the joy of a story-book ending to the Olympic Games proper.

As mentioned, my plane was on its final approach into YVR when the winning goal happened, but for those on the ground in my city -- this is the sound of raw jubilation, across False Creek from the stadium.

A joyful noise.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

On Writing Links...and Facing Fire.

Behind as usual, I'd still like to leave you with a few tid-bits for today.

John Scalzi helps to build a little author confidence, by talking about how a manuscript hires people. Read this a few days ago, but has more resonance for me today...since I've just sent in my edits for my fall novel. [Yippee!]

In some cases, however, a manuscript can get you yarded off a plane and hauled down the to the police station.  Sending good thoughts and a fist in the air to fellow author Liao Yiwu.

And finally, CanWrite 2010 is in Victoria this year, and I'll be one of the speakers. I think their registration is just about ready to open... Check it out HERE.


Pee Ess...

The sequel to A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW will be here this October, and at last it has a fer shure title. Can you guess?


Hope you like it.

Monday, March 01, 2010

VPL Publishing Panel

A Week From Tonight...

...check out this great panel of CWILL BC authors, discussing the ins and outs of getting published. I've done this panel a couple of times, and I know it'll be full of information for those looking to get published in the field of kids and teens writing and illustration.