News | 2019

2019 Reading List

Looking at my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2019, I see I gave five published books 5 star ratings this year. Rather than rank them any further, I'll instead give a shout out to each author for sharing a work I felt was truly extraordinary. Alphabetically by author, they are: Scrappy Rough Draft: Use Science to Strategically Motivate Yourself & Finish Writing Your Book by Donna Barker (which reframes the adage attributed to Ernest Hemingway about first drafts being shit into something positive); The Footstop Café by Paulette Crosse (I can never look at carrots and microwave ovens in the same way ever again); Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (a fun and refreshing D&D-party-as-rock-band-but-being-a-bard-still-sucks ride); 5 Critical Things For a Successful Book Signing: An Essential Guide for Any Author by Adam Dreece (filled with excellent tips for authors hand-selling their books); and Lamentation by C.J. Sansom (a Tudor murder mystery series I simply can't put down).

Scrappy Rough Draft by Donna Barker  The Footstop Café by Paulette Crosse  Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames  5 Critical Things For a Successful Book Signing: An Essential Guide for Any Author by Adam Dreece Lamentation by C.J. Sansom

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Golden Ears Writers and Readers Festival

Golden Ears Writers and Readers Festival

On Saturday, January 18th, 2020, I invite you to join Cathy Ace, Eileen Cook, and I at the Golden Ears Writers and Readers Festival at The ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge where there'll be vendors and blue pencil opportunities (from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.) and workshops, too, but there won't be an admission charge.

John Mavin (10:30 a.m.)
Extraordinary People: The Craft of Character Creation
Cathy Ace (Noon)
Find Crime, Detective and Mystery Books to Match Your TV Viewing Tastes
Eileen Cook (1:30 p.m.)
The Power of Story: How Stories Can Change Your Life--or at Least Your Brain

If you'd like to know more, check out either the Facebook event page or the ACT website.

Tellers of Short Tales

On Thursday, October 10, I invite you to join me for the Royal City Literary Arts Society reading series Tellers of Short Tales, which goes from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Anvil Centre (4th Floor Room 413A, 777 Columbia St) in New Westminster. If you're reading this post, please, consider this your formal invitation. And oh yeah, admission is free.

Royal City Literary Arts Society: Tellers of Short Tales

Surrey International Writers' Conference

Royal City Literary Arts Society: Tellers of Short Tales

I'm rather excited to announce I'll be participating in this year's Surrey International Writers' Conference, running from October 25-27. Not only will I be presenting two workshops (Story Origins and How to Build a Story), I'll also be offering blue pencil critiques as well as sitting on two panels with some very, very talented people (Plotting Your Novel and The Art of Short Stories). If you're coming to the conference this year, please, stop me and say hello. Or come to one of my sessions. Or sign up for one of my blue pencils. Or meet me at the bar. I haven't been to the SWIC before, so along with the excitement, I'm also feeling a bit nervous and a tad awestruck I was invited in the first place.

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Extraordinary People Workshop

Greater Vancouver Writers Association: Romance and Beyond

This coming Saturday (June 15), I'll be presenting an expanded version of Extraordinary People: The Essential Qualities of Good Characters for the Greater Vancouver Writers Association: Romance and Beyond (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jubilee United Church at 7551 Gray Ave. in Burnaby). I've been told membership in the GVWA isn't required to attend--although if you are thinking about becoming a member, you're invited to drop in as a guest, participate in a workshop, and get to know them (I've met them before and I can attest they're all very welcoming and incredibly supportive--plus they host the most amazing potluck lunches). To learn more about the GVWA: Romance and Beyond, check out their website.

And oh yeah, here's the workshop description so you'll know what you're getting into:

Most readers look for stories about interesting (and preferably unique) people doing fascinating things in the most surprising of ways they'll always remember (as opposed to stories about ordinary people doing ordinary things in the most ordinary ways they'll soon forget). This workshop examines the essential qualities of all good characters, giving you the tools to populate your fiction with compelling and memorable people both heroic and villainous (and everything in between).
Extraordinary People: The Essential Qualities of Good Characters

Just Joshing...Again...Part Two

Joshua Pantalleresco and I conclude our conversation on his podcast Just Joshing after the events of Creative Ink. We talk about what people want, random elements in writing, my next book, my career approach and much, much more.

Just Joshing Podcast

Just Joshing...Again

Joshua Pantalleresco invited me to return to his podcast Just Joshing at this year's Creative Ink Festival. Check out episode 247 as we talk about the role of teachers, whether or not people get what they want, my current work in progress, and Josh being published in OnSpec--all while running the merchants' table in the final hour of the festival. Hear us chat before we get overrun!

Just Joshing Podcast

Beyond the First Draft

On Saturday, April 6 (from 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.), I'll be presenting Beyond the First Draft: Revising Your Work for the Tri-City Wordsmiths at the Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam (2470 Mary Hill Road). Space is limited and library registration is required (just call 604-927-7999), but if you'd like to learn a method of rewriting to take a first raw draft to a polished story, I invite you to join us.

Beyond the First Draft: Revising Your Work

Fool Me Twice

On Monday, April 1, I invite you to join me, Savannah Erasmus, Jaz Papadopoulos, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Raoul Fernandes, and Dayna Mahannah for the joint Locution/TWS Reading Series event Fool Me Twice. We're on from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Hood 29 (formerly Cottage Bistro) at 4470 Main Street in Vancouver, and the evening (headlined by Savannah Erasmus--who's also a stand-up comedian), should be a lot of fun.

Fool Me Twice: An April Reading/Locution

Extraordinary People

On Saturday, March 30, I'll be presenting Extraordinary People: The Essential Qualities of Good Characters at this year's Creative Ink Festival. If you find yourself in the Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre around 11:00 a.m., I'll be in the Firenze room and I invite you to join me. More specifically, I'll be talking about how most readers look for stories about interesting (and preferably unique) people doing fascinating things in the most surprising of ways they'll always remember (as opposed to stories about ordinary people doing ordinary things in the most ordinary ways they'll soon forget). This session examines the essential qualities of all good characters, giving you the tools to populate your fiction with compelling and memorable people both heroic and villainous (and everything in between). Hope to see you there.

Extraordinary People: The Essential Qualities of Good Characters

Camp NaNoWriMo

On March 26 at the North Vancouver District Public Library (from 6 - 7 p.m.), author Rae Knightly and I will be sharing writing prompts and advice for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo--a more laid-back, less intimidating version of many writers' Novembers. Pick any kind of writing goal you want and come for the motivation and encouragement. Adults, teens and tweens are welcome.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Drop in or call 604-987-4471 (ext. 8175) for more information.

Authors Among Us

Authors Among Us

On Thursday, March 14, I'll be in participating in a panel at the Ocean Park Library in Surrey along with Michelle Kim and Marta Styk. The panel, which will be moderated by Jennifer Wilson, is called Authors Among Us, and is an opportunity for people to meet some local authors, ask us questions, hear us read from our work, and maybe even pick up a signed copy of our books. The event is free, registration is now open, and, oh yeah--I'm told there'll be refreshments. Just click on the poster for details.

Lobby Night: Writing Effective Dialogue

Golden Ears Writers

Tuesday, February 19--I'll be at the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and I invite you to join me with Golden Ears Writers as we talk about the words your characters say. We'll also discuss how dialogue differs from real speech as well as share tips on how to use dialogue to effectively establish your characters and advance your plots.

For more details, check out the Facebook event.

This is an adult event, but mature teenagers with an interest in writing are welcome. No young children, please. No charge to attend.