Roaming Bookstores and Seashores

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Roaming a bookstore is something akin to roaming the seashore for me. There is exhilaration and discovery, the heady smell that is unique to the location. My daughter loves to do both, too, as her blog post and Flickr pictures yesterday attest.

Her enthusiasm for acquiring books reminded me of my recent visit to one of my favourite out-of-town haunts. A few days ago after travelling to my writing group meeting I took the rare opportunity to visit a mega Christian bookstore — Blessings Christian Marketplace.  I was looking for a particular book, which I didn’t find, but I still came home with four others! It just isn’t possible to escape a bookstore with empty hands!

Books by Mary Connealy

As I browsed the shelves it was a delight to discover the books of people I’ve encountered online. It felt a little like running into friends in the crowded city. Or coming upon an eagle “perusing the menu” on the salt washed shore. What are the odds, I often wonder after such encounters.

Seeing the books was a strange sensation… there was a recognition that sparked pride in the authors’ accomplishment. It made me wonder how I will feel the day I see my own title among them, if that day ever comes. At this stage of my writing career I can’t imagine it. But the sight ignited my enthusiasm to continue working towards that day.

The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

Code Blue by Richard Mabry

Books by James Scott Bell

What emotions do you experience when you visit your bookstore or library, or are you just focused on locating a book?

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Gull photo courtesy of pdphoto.org

SiWC in Retrospect

Even if you leave late nights to the partiers, the pace at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference keeps your brain in perpetual motion. Every year I come home emotionally recharged but physically and mentally exhausted. It takes a couple days before my brain kicks into gear again, and I can begin to digest all the nourishment it’s been fed.

During registration I added a fourth day to the Conference package, drawn by the addition of James Scott Bell to the panel of presenters. His Thursday Master Class on Next Level Fiction went way beyond informative –it was stimulating, rejuvenating, and motivating, and the same can be said of the workshops he led over the next three days. He brought a fresh voice to the panel, and shared his expertise with confidence, warmth and humour. (I also had a ‘Blue Pencil’ interview with him that brought light into the darkness of a long-standing genre dilemma. For that alone I am supremely grateful.)

There were many other notable presenters there, too, of course — fifty of them in all — sharing their wisdom and wit. Some were familiar and much-appreciated people from previous years; some were also post-mealtime keynote speakers whose words brought nods of agreement, laughter and standing ovations – Elizabeth Engstrom, Tim Wynne-Jones, Ivan Coyote, Julia Quinn, Arthur Slade. The closing address by Robert Dugoni left me in tears!

I’m not going to try and condense all my notes to share with you. Other conference attendees around the blogosphere are posting theirs, but it’s impossible for me to convey all the benefits of attendance to someone who wasn’t there. Words on a page can’t replicate the experience.  I heard more than one presenter call the SiWC the best conference in North America. How can I give it any better accolade than that?

 

"It's a wrap!"

Update: I haven’t provided a lot of conference details here, but DD Shari Green has blogged each day since our return. Check out her posts for a more intimate look at all the highlights, beginning with her post on Monday.

 

Unresponsive Brain Cells Don’t Matter, Do They?

Information Overload’ is a reality. I know, because I’m afflicted. Just home from four days at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and my fuzzy brain refuses to offer up coherent words for a timely post of writing inspiration. Not that it doesn’t contain lots of said inspiration. It does. It’s just that the great helpings of it acquired this weekend are nestled away in sluggish grey matter that refuses to release it. I need to go to bed! Hence, a shortened version of my weekend’s highlights:

Awesome Thursday Master Class on ‘Next Level Fiction’ with James Scott Bell

… who had the greatest gelskin for his laptop!

Daughter, Shari Green, winner of the SiWC Writing Contest, YA category.

There’s a brief podcast interview with Shari here.

Hundreds and hundreds of fellow writers, authors, editors, agents, and publishers making connections, attending workshops, sharing good ideas, good news, good fellowship, and good food.

Bottles of wine, late night gatherings, Tweeted directions.

(Of course there is no picture! Would you really expect one?)

A Silent Auction, huge Trade Show, books and bargains galore.

(I wanted one of everything!)

The Saturday evening Book Fair and its author book signings.

The annual rendition of “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud” by Jack Whyte.

(Just ignore the bottle… a little pre-song fortification.)

There’s tons more, but eyes are glazing over. Have to sleep now.

To be continued….

Conference Time! Yaaaay!

Today has finally arrived! My camera and I are headed for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference with sessions today through Sunday. Talk about awesome! My choice of Master Class for this evening’s session is James Scott Bell’s “Next Level Fiction”.  Over the next three days there are more than seventy workshops to choose from, all led by great presenters. Wow! Decisions, decisions, decisions!

I received word that I had been shortlisted again as a finalist in the writing contest, so that was cool. Didn’t win… but I know someone who did, and that’s more than cool.

I’ll be back on Monday to tell you all about it and share my conference experiences and some fresh photos. (These ones are from the last time I attended.)

View from the hotel room