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

Today’s the Day and I Did It!

Yes, I did. With a gnawing in my stomach that other years caused me to bypass my first choices, with lips pursed and heart thudding, today I took a deep breath, checked two particular names, clicked “submit” and cemented my decision.

Registration opened at noon today for the 2010 Surrey International Writers’ Conference. I’ve attended for several years and taken part in the editor and agent sessions, never confident that my writing was worth the time they gave to listen and evaluate, despite their encouragement. I love this conference for its information, inspiration, rejuvenation – and, of course, the pure pleasure of hobnobbing with other writers and writing professionals. It’s a heady environment!

This year I decided to register early and try to book an interview with my first choice of agent and editor. I value their opinion and can only know what that is if I actually present my material for scrutiny, right?

The deed is done. Registration and the appointments are confirmed. Gulp. Now I have to live with this trepidation for four months until conference time arrives. One consolation: I should lose weight between now and then. The butterflies are bound to consume any calories I manage to eat.

Do you have plans to attend a writing conference this year? Have you attended one before? How was your experience?


It’s Not Too Soon To Start

Seven months. Seven oh-so-long months to wait. My inbox brought the first tantalizing reminder that this year’s dates for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference are October 22-24. I save up my shekels to go every second year and this is my year to attend. Woohoo!


Conference staff already have plans underway and there is information starting to show up on their website and blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. Still seven months to go but the hype has started. It may seem like an eternity but we all know how quickly weeks and months slip away. There’s a writing contest, too, so if we’re thinking of vying for the $1000 prize money it’s not too soon to start working on a submission.


Hmmm… let’s see… a topic. I need a topic. It’s only seven not-so-far-away months.


What benefits do you think conferences and writing contests offer aspiring authors.


Brushing Elbows With SiWC

Surrey1This is THE weekend — the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is underway. I’m not a delegate this year but was there today as a volunteer to help staff a trade table for the Federation of BC Writers. As people drifted past or stopped to chat I was struck with a sense of belonging. I’ve attended before and everything was so familiar.

Surrey2When my task was done I reeeealy wanted to join the stream of hungry writers heading into the ballroom for dinner and tonight’s keynote speaker, Anthony Dalton, and then stay on for Michael Slade‘s infamous Shock Theatre presentation with Diana Gabaldon, Anne Perry, Jack Whyte and, of course, kc dyer. Instead, I left for home. My turn as a delegate comes up again next year. Not until next year…. ::sigh::

SiWC Afterthoughts

Memories of SiWC 2008



Crush of people

Laughter erupting

Waiting for elevators

Glue gun, glittery beads and feathers


Shari Green & Carol Garvin

Shari Green & Carol Garvin

Tired butts

Feverish note taking

Nerve-wracking interviews

Moments of enlightenment

Incredible presenters

Sumptuous food

Purple tights


Purple tights - kc dyer
kc dyer



Shock Theater script

Daunting dinner table companions

Glimpses of genius

“Glorious Mud”


Jack Whyte

Jack Whyte


Hotel room keys

Devil horns and angel wings

Wallet-depleting piles of books

Outing of introverts

Not-so-white wine

Sharing ideas



Information overload, overload, overload, overload… need sleep… system crash!


Check List

Let’s see, toothbrush, alarm clock, camera and writing supplies plus all those important extras like my synopsis and business cards. Yes, I think I have everything packed. Oh, but I also need to tuck in a dose of reinforcement for my self-confidence and a smidgeon of determination.


I’m off to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference this afternoon to join with writers, both novice and professional, for a weekend of inspiration. There will be workshops led by the best in the business, lots of opportunities for meal-time mingling and after-hours schmoozing with renown authors, agents, editors and publishers. All the most beneficial aspects of a conference involve interacting with the people, but I’m so NOT a social butterfly! I’m usually the tongue-tied shadow observing from the outer fringe.


After more than a decade of running my own people-oriented business, however, I know what I have to do to survive the inevitable stress — focus on the people, not their persona. Remembering that human beings are under those professional cloaks gives us a commonality that helps to lessen the intimidation. I’ll also be bolstered by the company of my daughter who thinks along much the same lines.


I expect to meet some wonderful people this weekend and come home ballooned with mega-quantities of renewed creativity, enthusiasm and energy for my writing. But first I’d better locate those extra underpinnings to slip into my suitcase.




Today’s the Day!

Today’s the day! Registration opens at noon today for the Surrey International Writers Conference   October 24-26, 2008. I plan to be among the early ones on their doorstep to ensure my choices for Agent/Editor interviews and Blue Pencil Cafe appointments will be available.


This will be my third conference. Since 2004 I’ve been attending every second year, using the alternate years to focus on saving money for the not-insignificant registration fee and cost of accommodation. I could easily commute, but one of the major benefits of the conference is always the schmoozing before, between and after the meals and workshops and I’d have to forego some of that if I opted for a couple hours’ travel time each day. I’d also miss out on intimate evenings sharing a hotel room with my daughter and a dear friend, and I have treasured memories of those times at past conferences.


So the excitement is building. It starts now with anticipation, moves through a weekend of exhilaration (and exhaustion), and leaves behind a renewed enthusiasm for writing. It’s going to be wonderful!