Critiquing new writers, and other things

The gathering of my Kensington Writers’ Group was great. People’s careers are really taking off. Not only did Shenaaz have lots of interesting stories about being a GG nominee, Jan has just signed her contract for the publication of her children’s novel, “Dead Frog on the Porch” (great title, eh?) and she and Francis had cool stories to tell about their weekend at the Surrey Writers’ Conference. Also, we have a new member of our group.

GG Nominee Shenaaz Nanji

Did I mention that my good friend and writing-group member, Shenaaz Nanji was nominated for the Governor-General’s Award for her children’s novel? Her book, Child of Dandelions was wonderful. Not only was it well written and a gripping story, but I learned a lot about a period in history that I lived through but was pretty unaware of, as the events happened half way around the world. Very cool. Shenaaz was interviewed multiple times over the past couple of weeks and flown to Toronto for a few days as well. Hot stuff! She, along with the rest of my Kensington Writers’ Group, is coming over for a Christmas party on Monday, so I’m hoping we will hear more of her stories then.

Very cool!


Notice that “Back” is now listed on the SFCanada site

Have a look at Canadian SF for all the awards in Canada, latest news in Canadian SF, as well as all the works eligible for the Auroras. I just posted “Back” (Analog, June 2008 — you can read it right here on my website under “Publications”) which will be eligible for the upcoming Auroras (to be presented at Anticipation in Montreal this summer) as well as for the current Nebula award. I already have two recommendations for the Nebula.


Write Off

IFWA, my writers’ group, has a bi-yearly tradition of setting aside a weekend JUST for writing. It’s a poor-man’s writers’ retreat. As members, it’s free to us (and the group even buys us pizza for the Saturday night when we all read a little of what we have written so far). From 6 PM Friday to 5 PM Sunday, you can hear nothing but the clacking of keys — especially my daughter, Heather’s. I forget how many thousand words she wrote over the weekend, but the excerpt she read aloud on Saturday night was to die for. I am so proud of her!

I got no actual words written, but I went through all the notes I have been accumulating over the past few weeks and wrote plot outlines for 2 novels. Lots of thinking / problem solving involved, so even though I had most of it worked out ahead of time, I was pretty cooked by the end of the weekend. However, I’m ready to go!

THIS weekend, I work on chapter one of my new novel, and I get almost 2 full days to work on it because the ski season hasn’t (quite) started yet — have to keep the instrument tuned, you know: healthy and active — and because last Christmas, Heather gave me the best gift a writer can get: a weekend to write. She is doing all my chores for me this weekend, so I have nothing between me and my story.

Yes it WAS fantastic!

So much to post about – I should have kept my promise and posted about World Fantasy every day. David Morrell was a wonderful guest to host – his workshop was great (he has lots of good stories to illustrate his points) and he was very easy to talk to. I sat on a panel with Tad Williams and Lee Moddisett which was informative and hilarious, and I got to make a point or two as well (Thanks for moderating, Barb). Great experience. My reading went very smoothly, and signing books at the Edge table was lots of fun – I even got to do a podcast with Randy McCharles and Holly Phillips.

As for the rest of the convention, I sat in on some very informative panels, enjoyed the art show immensely (I think it was one of the better ones I’ve seen) and had fun at Edge Press’s kickoff party with the Plaid Tongued Devils. In between, I was able to catch dinner with the likes of Barbara Hambly, Tom Doherty and George R R Martin at various venues, including Kim Greyson’s home (thanks, Kim!).

Probably the most awesome part was that Rob Sawyer introduced me to an agent in the firm that handles him, and although the meeting was only supposed to be 5-10 minutes, we wound up all going for lunch together, which as a real thrill. And, yes, I do have an invitation to send my manuscript in (I sent it last Wednesday), so now my writing has to sell itself. Wish me luck!

The convention ended with the World Fantasy Awards, and David Morrell graciously invited me, as his host, to sit with him at the head table. It doesn’t get much better!

All in all, World Fantasy was a first class convention. The hotel was upscale and well-situated, the book bags have a million pockets and will be used for years (not to mention that they were bulging with free books), the entire affair was well-organized (not a glitch in the entire weekend, that I could see), the parties were fun, the people were in good spirits — a very classy affair, all around. Kudos especially to Randy McCharles who is AWESOME and to Kim Greyson, who set out to treat the guests like princes, and succeeded.